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Illegal File-Sharing Opens North Korea to World

Korean Girl Band
© SM Entertainment
Made in South Korea, popular in North Korea. The K-Pop group Girls Generation (SNSD).
North Korea's dictatorship has blocked its people from learning about the outside world for more than 60 years. But the wall of propaganda has begun to crack as North Koreans use real-life social networks to illegally share South Korean TV dramas and pop music on everything from DVDs to USB sticks.

Without open Internet access, North Koreans share South Korean dramas or "K-Pop" songs on physical devices with family, friends or trusted acquaintances, according to a U.S. report issued on May 9.

Such illegal file-sharing has had a huge impact beyond entertainment - North Korean defectors say it has forced the North Korean regime to abandon some propaganda claims about the outside world.

"I was told when I was young that South Koreans are very poor, but the South Korean dramas proved that just isn't the case," according to a 31-year-old male defector.

The InterMedia report commissioned by the U.S. State Department looked at surveys of hundreds of North Korean defectors who fled to South Korea through China. It found that North Koreans - especially the elite - often get the help of Chinese merchants to smuggle in South Korean TV dramas on DVDs, or USBs and MP3 players filled with K-Pop music. Some people in North Korea's border provinces illegally access foreign TV channels or radio broadcasts.


Pastor Delivers Anti-Gay Rant, Suggests Building Electric Fence Around 'Queers and Homosexuals'

A North Carolina pastor's disturbing anti-gay sermon has gone viral, and it's easy to see why.

In a rant delivered just days after President Barack Obama's historic public support for same-sex marriage, the pastor, Charles L. Worley of Providence Road Baptist Church in Maiden, N.C., suggested rounding up all "queers and homosexuals" and quarantining them inside an electric fence.

"I figured a way to get rid of all the lesbians and queers," Worley told churchgoers on May 13. "Build a great big large fence - 50 or 100 mile long - put all the lesbians in there. Fly over and drop some food. Do the same thing with the queers and the homosexuals and have that fence electrified so they can't get out. And you know what, in a few years, they'll die out. Do you know why? They can't reproduce!"

"It makes me pukin' sick to think about," Worley added. "Can you imagine kissing some man?"


Nato talks security and peace, Chicago has neither

© Andrzej Krauze
The paradox of such a city hosting this summit lays bare the brutal way in which inequality is globally maintained and locally replicated

On Friday morning in Brighton Park, a neighbourhood in southwest Chicago, around half a dozen Latina volunteers in luminous bibs patrolled the streets around Davis Elementary school. The school sits in the crossfire of three gangs; the Kings, the 2/6s and the SDs (Satan's Disciples). The trees and walls nearby are peppered with "tags" denoting territory and mourning fallen gang members. There is a shooting in the area every couple of weeks, explains Mariela Estrada of the Brighton Park Neighbourhood Council, which facilitates the volunteers.

That same evening, just a couple of blocks away, a 14-year-old, Alejandro Jaime, was shot dead while out riding his bike with his 11-year-old friend. According to witnesses, a car knocked them both off their bikes. They picked themselves up and ran. A man got out of the car and shot Alejandro in the back. "Although it's the city's job to provide public safety, we had to respond since our children are in danger and continue to face threats of gang violence," said Nancy Barraza, a Parent Patrol volunteer.


Amateur Video of Kelly Thomas' Brutal Murder Revives Case Against Fullerton Police

© Ron Thomas
On July 5 last year Kelly Thomas, a 37-year-old schizophrenic homeless man, was so badly beaten and stun-gunned by Fullerton California police officers that he was left unrecognizable. He died 5 days later from blunt force trauma to the head.

Up to 5 police officers assault him with batons, tasers and fists. When the unconscious and bloodied body of Thomas was finally delivered to the local hospital, the doctors determined that he had suffered multiple broken bones in his face, several cracked ribs and a crushed thorax. Doctors also found that Thomas had choked on his own blood during the attack. He was on life support for 5 days before passing away.


Police pepper spray Montreal bar patrons

Incident during violent street protest caught on video

Montreal - A day after a violent protest ending in a series of street fires, police came under criticism Sunday over an altercation caught on video that shows patrons on a bar patio getting pepper sprayed.

Surveillance footage, played in a loop Sunday on one of Quebec's all-news stations, shows several people sprayed by riot police at close range. Customers are seen scrambling to get inside the bar as a police officer knocks over tables and chairs.


Teacher Threatens Student with Jail for 'Speaking Ill' of Obama

Last Monday, a high school student at North Rowan High School in Spencer, North Carolina, engaged his social studies teacher in a verbal fight about the two leading presidential candidates.

The argument started after the unnamed teacher presented her "fact of the day" about Mitt Romney being a bully back in high school. The unnamed male student then claimed that President Obama had also been a bully.

During the 10-minute verbal exchange, which was recorded (video below), the teacher accused the student of disrespecting President Obama and added that the boy could be jailed for speaking ill of the president.

Che Guevara

A Victory for All of Us: Obama's NDAA struck down in court of law

© AP/Mary Altaffer
Iraq War veteran Sgt. Shamar Thomas leads a demonstration in New York’s Grand Central Station to call attention to a law signed by President Barack Obama that granted extraordinary powers to the military.
In January, attorneys Carl Mayer and Bruce Afran asked me to be the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit against President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta that challenged the harsh provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). We filed the lawsuit, worked for hours on the affidavits, carried out the tedious depositions, prepared the case and went to trial because we did not want to be passive in the face of another egregious assault on basic civil liberties, because resistance is a moral imperative, and because, at the very least, we hoped we could draw attention to the injustice of the law. None of us thought we would win. But every once in a while the gods smile on the damned.

U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest, in a 68-page opinion, ruled Wednesday that Section 1021 of the NDAA was unconstitutional. It was a stunning and monumental victory. With her ruling she returned us to a country where - as it was before Obama signed this act into law Dec. 31 - the government cannot strip a U.S. citizen of due process or use the military to arrest him or her and then hold him or her in military prison indefinitely. She categorically rejected the government's claims that the plaintiffs did not have the standing to bring the case to trial because none of us had been indefinitely detained, that lack of imminent enforcement against us meant there was no need for an injunction and that the NDAA simply codified what had previously been set down in the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force Act. The ruling was a huge victory for the protection of free speech. Judge Forrest struck down language in the law that she said gave the government the ability to incarcerate people based on what they said or wrote. Maybe the ruling won't last. Maybe it will be overturned. But we and other Americans are freer today than we were a week ago. And there is something in this.

Great-grandma: Ready to 'lose' my life protesting

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Three climbers die on Everest descent

© Dan Rafla/Getty Images/Aurora Creative
A German, a Nepal-born Canadian and a Korean died while descending from the 8,850m (29,035ft) summit.
Reports of 'traffic jam' during busy climbing season as two people still missing after wind storm sweeps the mountain

Three climbers who were among scores who scaled Mount Everest over the weekend died on their descent and two more are missing, a Nepalese official said on Monday.

The first clear weather conditions of the spring climbing season were Friday and Saturday, but a windstorm swept the higher altitudes of the mountain by Saturday afternoon, said Gyanendra Shrestha of Nepal's mountaineering department.

An estimated 150 climbers reached the summit on either day, most of them on Saturday.

"There was a traffic jam on the mountain on Saturday. Climbers were still heading to the summit as late as 2:30pm which is quite dangerous," Shrestha told Associated Press by telephone from Everest's base camp.


'Monster of Riga' Dutch paedophile jailed for 18 years


'Robert M.'
A Dutch paedophile referred to as Robert M has been sentenced to 18 years in prison for abusing more than 60 children, some just a few months old.

Robert M was arrested after a US investigation into an international paedophile ring.

The Latvian-born Dutch defendant has been dubbed "The Monster of Riga" by the national press.

This is the worst case of its kind the Netherlands has ever seen, says the BBC's Anna Holligan in the Netherlands.

There were dramatic scenes in court, our correspondent says, with the accused throwing water and directing obscene gestures at the judge.

The presiding judge said he had imposed a long sentence in view of the "nature of the facts, the refined way they were planned and their duration".

Comment: That's just a garden variety monster. Here be real monsters:

Beyond the Dutroux Affair: The reality of protected child abuse and snuff networks in a world ruled by psychopaths

The psychopath-controlled media is obviously trying to over-sensationalise the story to make it seem like 'This is as bad as it gets, folks!'

It's not, it's far worse than that. Thousands of children go missing every year in The Netherlands alone. We have a good idea where they end up but investigations are routinely blocked in order to protect the psychopaths in power.

Heart - Black

Artist Arrested While Hanging 'I ♥ NY' Bags from Streetlights, Charged with 'Planting Bombs'

© tmiyakawadesign.com
One of Miyakawa's installations
An artist who installed illuminated plastic shopping bags emblazoned with the "I ♥ NY" logo on lampposts in Brooklyn was arrested over the weekend, charged with "planting false bombs" and ordered to undergo a psychological evaluation.

Takeshi Miyakawa, the 50-year-old Tokyo-born artist, was arrested at 2 a.m. in Brooklyn while he was hanging one of the bags from a tree, according to his website. The NYPD bomb squad was alerted after a passerby noticed one of Miyakawa's installations on Friday morning and called to report "a suspicious package attached to a tree."

Police cleared the area for two hours, according to the Daily News. They later observed Miyakawa on top of a ladder with "an assembly consisting of a plastic box containing wires which was connected by a wire to a plastic bag containing a battery suspended from a metal rod."

The installation project was intended to be part of NY Design Week 2012.

On Sunday, a judge ordered Miyakawa held for a mental evaluation, "extending his detainment for an additional 30 days," his lawyer said.