An Italian manager, Roberto Cassago, is a tad embarrassed after an accident that would befit Mr. Bean. He is facing repair costs to an 18th Century Italian painting after he blew a hole through the canvas with the cork of a bottle of sparkling wine. Fittingly enough, it was a painting depicting a battle with knights and their chargers but the addition of the cork missile to the battle scene was a historical as well as an artistic invasion.
Archive for the ‘International’ Category
The Chinese government has continued its crackdown on environmental and social activists this month with the shocking sentence handed down for Xu Zhiyong, a former law professor who simply campaigned for the right of children in rural areas to be educated in cities and not barred from equal opportunity.
What will happen to Col. Mustard in the dining room with the kitchen knife? It is not just Clue aficionados that will be effected by a new reform being proposed in England, pointy kitchen knives may soon be a thing of the past. A group associated with West Middlesex University Hospital is proposing a ban in the British Medical Journal on pointy kitchen knives as unnecessary from a culinary standpoint and downright dangerous from a crime standpoint.
I have often commented on how breakfast in China is a still evolving skill, particularly with regard to bacon which seems boiled and rubbery. This picture may explain part of the problem. The image is from Wuhan and shows how Chinese bacon is “air-cured” on balconies in major cities. Given the alarming levels of pollution, the image is doubly unappealing. This makes the sale of fake eggs more appealing than the authentic bacon.
The United States continues to pour money into Afghanistan — and not just in those bags of cash that Hamid Karzai has insisted keep being delivered to his office. Billions have disappeared while hundreds of millions have been spent on dubious projects rife with corruption. This week we have an insight into just how shoddy this work is in Afghanistan. The U.S. Agency for International Development paid Afghan firms $17.1 million to build 16 small schools. The contractors ripped off the U.S. and built one school that still cannot occupied due to structural dangers.
French President Francois Hollande, 59, appears to have finally found an initiative that resonates with the public. While 80 percent to French citizens view him as ineffective and his massive taxation policies have led to both companies and citizens fleeing the country, his polarity has taken small uptick with revelations of his affair with actress Julie Gayet, 41. The affair reportedly sent his long-standing partner Valerie Trierweiler, 49, into a hospital. It certainly captures a difference between U.S. and French politics. Gary Hart was not even married but a brief dockside party with Donna Rice was enough to sink his career.
We have been following the worsening pollution crisis in China, but a new report shows how the Chinese government’s rejection of basic environmental protections is degrading the environment of the world. Western states, particularly California, are finding their air quality reduced dramatically by Chinese pollution. A recent study documents adds an interesting twist: calculating the percentage of Chinese pollution tied to exports to the United States. It suggests that we are outsourcing industrial productions and getting the resulting pollution from the Western side of the country.
We have previously seen some hilarious propaganda films coming out of North Korea, including some directed at children. However, Marc Ambinder at the The Week says that he has found yet another classic North Korean cartoon. This one shows children how to use a protractor by showing that it can be useful in killing Americans.
Did Edward Snowden Receive Help From A Foreign Government or is The U.S. Government Alleging He Did To Discredit Him?
Posted in Congress, Criminal law, Free Speech, International, Justice, Media, Politics, Society, tagged CIA, congress, Dianne Feinstein, Edward Snowden, Espionage, FSB, NSA, Whistleblower on 1, January 19, 2014 | 31 Comments »
By Darren Smith, Weekend Blogger
Recently, several high ranking members of the U.S. Congress have made public statements voicing proffering NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden might have had assistance from a foreign power, namely Russia. The announcements have been contemporaneous with President Obama’s speech about the NSA and reforms he proposes. While it has not been proven decisively if Edward has or has not one has to wonder what the intentions of such announcements by Congress are and if these announcements are consistent with others who have been alleged to be acting at the behest of foreign powers and if this is more propaganda than standard counter-intelligence practices.
Posted in Academics, Animals, Bizarre, Congress, Constitutional Law, Courts, Criminal law, Environment, Free Speech, International, Justice, Lawyering, Media, Military, Politics, Religion, Science, Society, Supreme Court, Torts on 1, January 18, 2014 | 55 Comments »
I just listened to the NSA speech by President Obama and as expected there is precious little in terms of real change. For civil libertarians, it is a nothing burger served hot and with a sympathetic smile. It is much of the same. Another review board composed of government officials. Another promise for the Executive Branch to review itself. I am in Salt Lake City today on the Sister Wives case, but I am struck by the absence of civil libertarians on the coverage by the networks. I will have to run to court but I was underwhelmed. It seemed like another attempt to reinvent privacy in a new surveillance friendly image.
We have another conflict that has arisen between non-discrimination laws and religious practices. In Canada, a woman has challenged the decision of a Halifax aikido school to protect a Muslim man from having contact with females and relieving him of the need to bow in adherence with the traditions of the martial art. Just last week, we discussed another story out of Canada where a university ordered such an accommodation for a Muslim man who did not want to have contact with female students despite the requirements of the curriculum. This decision was reportedly supported by Nova Scotia human rights commission officials. [Photo does not show any of those involved in this story]
There is an important ruling in England where an Afghan man is believed to have become the first atheist to be granted asylum based on his rejection of religion. The 23-year-old had good reason to fear that if he returned to Afghanistan, he would be persecuted. While the United States has poured hundreds of billions of dollars into the country, the government continues to reject the most basic civil liberties as well as the separation of mosque and state. The punishment is particularly likely for Muslims who reject their faith. They are considered blasphemers and apostates. What is interesting is that we continue to support Afghanistan when the abuses of that government are now viewed as a basis for asylum in England. We now have the ignobility of one ally (England) trying to protect innocent people from another ally (Afghanistan). More importantly, we still have people putting themselves at risk for a government that denies the very rights that define us as Americans in favor of a rigid religious orthodoxy.
This is going to take a lot of time on the couch for certain thieves in London. The men attempted to steal of 4th Century BC Greek urn holding the ashes of the founder of psychoanalysis and his wife at a crematorium in London. In the process, they severely damaged a 2,400-year-old urn.
The situation is getting worse for homosexuals in Nigeria by the day. The country has been taken over by a violent homophobia that led a few years ago to the enactment of a draconian law criminalizing homosexuality. Police recently have been arresting homosexuals and torturing them to name others for prosecution under the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act, which allows for ten years in jail. The law is not just about marriage. Called the “Jail the Gays” bill, it criminalizes homosexuality and threatens AIDS programs in the country. The question is that, as the recipient of a great deal of U.S. aid, why is it appropriate for us to indirectly support a nation that is abusing, and in some cases killing, gays and lesbians?
Money laundering has long been a crime and the plot to many a good mob movie. However, Nabil M. Lawandy and Andrei Smuk have published results of research in the ACS journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research that suggests that money laundering might just be the ticket for countries looking to save money. A lot of money.
Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw)-Guest Blogger
In recent weeks and months, we have all heard and read the many articles and stories about the whistleblower Edward Snowden and his disclosure of enormous amounts of NSA “secrets”. His disclosures have exposed what the NSA was really doing, which is spying on practically every American’s metadata online and on the phone. His disclosures have also put on display what happens to a “whistleblower” in this day and age. He has been forced to flee his home country and is currently living in exile in Russia.
Just what were his crimes that made him fear for his safety and raised doubts as to whether he would ever be given a fair trial for his alleged disclosures of secret material and programs? He did what any good American should do and that is expose illegal or immoral governmental activities and allow the American public to decide whether its government is acting legally and fairly. Didn’t he?
You may think his disclosures were an unprecedented example of a citizen uncovering and disclosing government programs designed to, at best, skirt the line of legality by spying on Americans, but you would be wrong. (more…)
Below is my article this weekend in Al Jazaerra on the powerful lobby and industry supporting our various conflicts abroad as well as counterterrorism efforts. I previously testified before Congress on this industry and the government’s inflation of counterterrorism numbers to justify huge domestic budgets at the Justice Department FBI, and other agencies. I wrote the article for the anniversary this month of Eisenhower’s famous Military-Industrial Complex speech.
By Darren Smith, Guest Blogger
Shezanne Cassim of Woodbury, MN returned home from the United Arab Emirates after spending nine months in prison in Dubai for posting a documentary-style video, titled “Ultimate Combat System: The Deadly Satwa Gs,” which is set in the Satwa district of Dubai. It opens with text saying the video is fictional and is not intended to offend. The video pokes fun at Dubai youth who style themselves like “gangstas” and shows fictional “combat” training that includes throwing a sandal and using a mobile phone to call for help. Authorities evidently took great exception to this expression, arrested Cassim and later placed him into a maximum security prison. The arrest took place in April of 2013 and it was months before he and several co-defendants were informed of the charges. A state controlled newspaper stated he was accused of defaming the country’s image abroad. Cassim’s supporters stated he was eventually convicted of violating a 2012 Cybercrimes law prohibiting challenging of authorities.
A man who admitted posting online footage of himself dressed in a Ku Klux Klan costume to stir The widening divide between the United States and England over free speech was captured vividly in the case this case of Christopher Philips who was sent to jail for conduct that would have been viewed as hateful but protected in the United States. Philips was charged with appearing in three YouTube videos dressed as a klansman and posing with a life-sized golliwog doll (a type of rag doll depicting a black person). He is the latest person convicted for “giving offense” in England. Indeed, he pleaded guilty because, as Judge John Warner noted, “It does not require advanced education or knowledge of history to know what you were seeking to convey might cause offense.”
There are times when Iran and other sharia-based countries look like characters out of a Fellini film. This week, Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued another fatwa to Muslims that left the rest of the world chuckling. Khamenei has outlawed participation in social networks that include both men and women. He wants something akin to a Cyber Burka for women to avoid even getting as little as a tweet from a man who is not a family member. Adding to the absurdity, he used his website (which presumably has both men and women) to make the announcement.. He also has a Facebook but presumably any future “friends” will be male.
We have previously discussed the alarming rollback on free speech rights in the West, particularly in France (here and here and here and here and here and here) and England ( here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here). Much of this trend is tied to the expansion of hate speech and non-discrimination laws. Often these cases involve vile or obnoxious speech, but such speech is the test of our values. We do not need laws to protect popular speech. One case in point is French comedian Dieudonne M’Bala M’Bala, who likes to target Jews in his popular shows. He has already been hit with fines approaching $100,000 for his jokes and there is no a move to have been prosecuted criminally. For jokes. Bad even sick jokes to be sure. But jokes.
Even for people who have followed the utter depravity and hatred of Muslim militants in places like Afghanistan, the BBC report from Helmand province yesterday truly shocked the conscience. BBC is reporting that an eight-year-old girl was found approaching a police checkpoint wearing a suicide vest. She is thought to be the sister of a leading Taliban commander.
Many of us on this blog have been critical of the Iraq war from the outset as a war based on a false claim by the Bush Administration and then perpetuated by political cynicism by both Democratic and Republican leaders who did not want to be accused of “losing” the war. The costs were paid by soldiers and taxpayers in a war where the U.S. was often openly opposed by government figures and demonized in many parts of the country. It was clear that we were propping up a government that could not maintain order or loyalty across the country. Now, shortly after our withdrawal of combat troops, one of the most costly “victories” of the war — Fallujah — has been retaken by Al Qaeda as militants threaten additional takeovers in the country. Despite this history, members of Congress are already complaining that we should have continued the ground war longer at the cost of more American lives and billions of dollars.
Submitted by Charlton Stanley, Guest Blogger
Since it has been somewhat tense around here, I thought a bit of adrenaline might relieve some stress. There is a curious thing about aviators. We hate high places. If you can get a typical pilot on a roller coaster or Ferris wheel, you have accomplished something. Oh sure, there is the occasional outlier who doesn’t mind, but few pilots I know are willing to get out on high places. I once knew a Marine Harrier fighter pilot who went over to a friend’s apartment for a cookout. The friend lived on about the 14th floor. The grill was out on the cantilevered balcony. This tough Marine fighter pilot would not go out there, even when bribed with beer.
I have some theories why this is so, but that involves rather dense aviation psychology research discussion that might give some of our readers a math headache, and is beyond the scope of the #1 Legal News & Analysis Blog on the intertoobz. At any rate, some of us would like to be able to ride a real roller coaster without getting any higher off the ground than we are willing to fall. Quite a feat for a designer to build a fast roller coaster that does not go any higher than the average pilot is willing to fall without a parachute. The Austrians and Swiss have accomplished just that.
Below is my column in Al Jazeera on the expansion of presidential powers in the United States. While there is growing recognition of the threat posed by the current powers exercised by the White House, it is important to keep the issue before the public if we are going to realign the tripartite system back to its original balance between the balances.
Submitted By: Mike Spindell, Guest Blogger
For the many decades now, since my childhood, there have been two underlying ideas about life that have guided me as I’ve journeyed through the years. The first is that life for all of us is at best bittersweet. This blog is about the first of these ideas and the second will be expressed in a companion piece. (more…)
China has released a shocking admission that at least 3.3 million hectares of farmland is now so polluted that it is effectively dead for purposes of growing crops. To put that into perspective, it is an area the size of Belgium. It is the latest statistical insight into the costs of the continued industrial output that reaches roughly 10 percent a year. That is two percent of China’s arable land and there is a concern about whether the per capita land allocation for food production has fallen below the communist regime’s own “red line” calculation. The country now has 135 million hectares of arable land, which translates to about 1.52 mu, or about a quarter of an acre, per capita. The world average is half of an acre, or 3.38 mu per capita.
Posted in Academics, Constitutional Law, Courts, Criminal law, Environment, Free Speech, International, Justice, Lawyering, Media, Military, Politics, Religion, Science, Society, Supreme Court on 1, January 3, 2014 | 30 Comments »
Well, the results are in and we have another distinction to crow about at the blog. We have been selected as the 2013 top News/Analysis site among the competing world blogs in the annual ABA Journal survey. The success of this blog is due entirely to our unique community around the world, which have maintained a site where the issues of our day can be discussed with passion but civility. Thanks to all of our regulars and particularly our our talented and popular weekend team of guest bloggers: Mike Appleton, David Drumm, Mark Esposito, Gene Howington, Elaine Magliaro, Larry Rafferty, Darren Smith, Mike Spindell, and Charlton Stanley. While we created and maintain this site to allow us to share our thoughts, it is always gratifying to receive such recognitions. It is always my hope that the selection will bring new people to our site to further expand the voices and views on legal, political, and sometimes just plain bizarre stories.
Normally, a product containing donkey meat would be the reason for a recall. However, in China, it is the lack of donkey meat that has caused a scandal. The Chinese have found that a produce called “Five Spice” donkey meat contained traced of meat from other animals, particularly fox meat. We previously saw scandals involving rancid or rat meat being sold in China. However, from a Western sensibilities standpoint, this is a rather novel claim that donkey meat was contaminated by non-donkey meat.
We have been discussing of the continuing rape epidemic in India, including repeated rapes by police officers in that country or efforts by police to shield rapists. Police in Kolkata reached a new level of abuse in actually hijacking the hearse of a victim who was gang-raped and dumped at at a hospital for nine days with fatal burns. The police then tried to force the family to agree to an immediate cremation.
There is an interesting ruling by an administrative appellate court in Australia this week awarding an Army widow a pension after the death of her husband in July 2012. Clement Hutton had hypertension and Shirley Hutton argued that he became addicted to salt while serving in the Australian army in World War II.
Submitted by Darren Smith, Guest Blogger
The Chinese Government banned the video game Battlefield 4, developed by Electronic Arts, claiming the video game casts China in a bad light and advocates political issues which make China appear to be a warlike society.
The game play plot takes place in the year 2020 where a military coup occurs in China resulting in a geo-political intrigue that could bring the US into a protracted war. The US sends troops to Hong Kong to fight against the coup and the PLA.
The Chinese Ministry of Culture went as far as to ban all things related to the game including software, patches, and news reports. It censored the topic of the game on China’s main social media website weibo.com. On a link derived, according to ZDNet, from an official Chinese news publication, there was much worry over the video games:
Posted in Congress, Constitutional Law, Courts, Criminal law, Free Speech, International, Justice, Media, Military, Politics, Society, Supreme Court, Uncategorized on 1, December 28, 2013 | 41 Comments »
Submitted By: Mike Spindell, Guest Blogger
I’ve written before about the fact that the murder of JFK in Dallas was to me the most traumatic national experience in my life and the fact that I think it changed the destiny of our country in a negative fashion. I think that for many around my age this is also true, but it is now fifty years past and the majority of Americans have no real knowledge of it. The trauma of that day and the ensuing events of history have left me with an admittedly irrational repugnance towards the city of Dallas and I feel almost a shudder when I hear of Dealey Plaza, where the murder took place. These feelings are so intense that I doubt that I will ever visit Dallas in my lifetime, much less go to Dealey Plaza. When I got my weekly E Mail from my favorite investigative journalism website WhoWhatWhy.com I took note of an article about the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza. The article was a humorous look at the potential for Christmas gifts that might be available at the museum’s gift shop and of course provided a link to the museum’s website, which I then followed. Going to the website and perusing it caused me to muse about the ability in our country to turn even our most solemn national events into commercial enterprises, while we pretend that they provide an educational service. (more…)
There is an interesting controversy in England over a policy of U.K. retailer Marks and Spencer, which has allowed Muslim employees to refuse to help customers buying dishes with pork or alcohol. The result was long lines of shoppers who were told to wait for a non-Muslim employee to check them out. With huge numbers of people buying champagne for the holiday, customers are irate as they stood around for another cashier without religious objections to appear. There is now a Facebook page to boycott the store over the policy. However, the Obama Administration is supporting a similar claim in a U.S. case.
There is a little reported story about U.S. service members who have developed cancer and other illnesses after serving in the rescue efforts following the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. In an account that could have easily been written for the nuclear tests in the 1950s, service members have said that the Navy told them that there was no harm from radiation so long as they avoided the plume rising from the plant.
In July, we discussed the horrific cases of Saudi blogger and activist, Raif Badawi, who was sentenced to 7 years in prison and 600 lashes for “insulting Islam”. Badawi created a popular site called Free Saudi Liberals in 2008 to discuss the role of religion in Saudi Arabia. That was enough to declare him a criminal in the Saudi Kingdom, which denies freedom of religion and freedom of speech as well as the rights of women and political dissidents. Now, there are new concerns over a report that a Saudi judge has ordered Badawi to return to court to face a new charge of apostasy for which he could be executed.
We have another outrage out of India in the rape of young girl . . . by police. Four officers of Chandigarh police were arrested but only one booked last week for raping, molesting and threatening a minor schoolgirl for two-and-a-half months. They were identified as constables Akshay, Sunil, Jagtar and Himmat Singh. There was a fifth officer also accused by the girl who said that she had to sneak out of school because the officers would be waiting to take her away for more sexual assaults. In what passes for responsibility in these communities, the rapists showed amends by offering for one of the officers to marry the victim so she could live with her rapist.
Computer pathbreaker and World War II codebreaker Alan Turing has been finally pardoned. It only took 61 years after his 1952 conviction for homosexuality and his chemical castration for the British government who contributed so mightily to the defeat of the Germans. What is particularly astonishing is not just that “moral people” in the United States and Britain not only did this to their citizens, but did this to a man who was protecting his nation so brilliantly and barred him from continuing work that was so pathbreaking in computer science. In the aftermath of the Sister Wives decision and our discussion of morality laws, Turning is a reminder of the hateful measures meted out in the name of morality or science or both.
There is a surprising report out this month in the British Medical Journal that one in two hundred women in the United States claim to have have been impregnated without ever having sexual intercourse. These are women who later give birth so this are not cases of pseudocyesis or a false or hysterical pregnancy that we discussed earlier. Some 31% of the women studied had signed a “chastity pledge” and 15% of non-virgins who became pregnant claim to have made similar vows. I imagine that many might take offense at the title and timing of this study: Like A Virgin (Mother). They might have wanted to stick with the rest title “Analysis of Data from a Longitudinal, US Population Representative Sample Survey.”
Last week, I wrote about the dangers of tasks forces bearing gifts for civil libertarians and noted how Obama stacked the task force on NSA surveillance with hawks to guarantee the preservation of the program. One of those was former Acting CIA Director Michael Morell who served during the secret development and use of the program. Obviously, if he were to conclude that the program was illegal, it would have meant that he was part of the violations. Not only did the task force maintain the program was legal (in conflict with the recent ruling of a federal court), but now Morell has called not for the limitation of the program but its expansion. That is what President Obama considers a reformer in the national security field.
Below is my column in the Sunday Los Angeles Times on the basis for a pardon for Edward Snowden. It is clear that President Obama (and ranking congressional members) are opposed to such clemency. Snowden embarrassed a great number of powerful people in Washington, including the President. However, there is historical precedent for such a pardon and compelling arguments that such a course may be the right course for the country.
Submitted by Charlton Stanley (Otteray Scribe)
Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.
Video made in Russia.
Music: The Cinematic Orchestra: Arrival Of The Birds
Submitted By: Mike Spindell, Guest Blogger
“The Hunger Games” represents a wildly popular trilogy of science fictions books aimed at first toward the Teen and young adult market, but then becoming popular with the “adult” market as well. It has become a very popular movie trilogy; the second installment was released in November, with the final film next year. A synopsis is a dystopian North America of the future and a country named “Panem”. The narrator is a 16 year old girl named Katniss Everdeen, living in District 12. Panem consists of twelve districts, rigidly controlled by a central government located “The Capital”, a city of wealth and great technological advancement. Each of the other districts are dedicated to particular industry’s and the people of each are kept at a subsistence level of life. There is little hope for the future and brutal retribution for disobeying the “The Capital’s” edicts. We are told that there had been a revolution some 70 years before that was brutally repressed and ultimately failed. As a reminder of the futility of revolution, each year there is a lavish production made for TV of a gladiatorial conflict and called “The Hunger Games.” From each of the 12 districts two young people are chosen randomly to fight to the death. Each district sends a male and a female. The ultimate winner (survivor) is gives a life of wealth, luxury and status. The “Game” is set up in such a way that each of the contestants tries to compete for the affections of those privileged to be citizens of “The Capital”. These elite citizens can spend exorbitant sums of money to send aid to the contestants of their choice to try to ensure their survival. The “Game” is further rigged by the “Gamekeeper” in ways that tend to favor some contestants, so ultimately the contests are deadly shams. Their purpose is to show the 12 districts the punishment that will be meted out should they ever again disobey “The Capital”, the futility of resistance and also to supply hope that one could survive the games to attain the benefits of a privileged citizen. (more…)
Below is my column in USA Today on the NSA proposed reforms. I do believe that there are many worthy suggestions among the 46 recommendations, particularly the amending of Section 215 of the Patriot Act. However, what is missing is any true reform in ending this massive surveillance program since the White House panel started with the presumption that it was lawful. What remains are interesting but largely collateral changes. This includes a worthy proposal of adding an advocate to the FISA secret court. However, the panel does not (as with the program itself) seriously consider the need or the questionable legality of the secret court. Indeed, by tinkering around the edges of the program, the task force would effectively legitimize the program for the future. It will become the new normal in the President’s vision of a surveillance-friendly model of privacy.
The task force does call for serious changes in clearance rules however to avoid future disclosures of the abuses revealed by Edward Snowden. What is lacking is one measure that would go far in showing good faith by this President after years of rolling back on privacy: a pardon for Edward Snowden. Such pardons are not given because the subject is innocent or that a president agrees with his actions. They are granted in the totality of circumstances that mitigate the crime, including the disclosure of abuses that were long ignored, if not supported, by both the White House and Congress. A pardon can be legitimately conditioned on certain measures such as the return of undisclosed documents (which is a massive amount of files) and the signing of a non-disclosure agreement to allow prosecution for future disclosures. That would prevent further damage with disclosures, as suggested by at least on ranking intelligence official. I do not take violations of classification laws lightly and I understand the anger of many officials. However, the current standoff is not just undermining the credibility of the Administration but also doing little to limit further damage. I do not believe that Snowden is using the document to force such a pardon which remains unlikely. However, it is time to consider it. Despite the President’s understandable opposition to his method for raising the abuses, the Snowden disclosures have caused a comprehensive and international reexamination of surveillance rules, including new international measures to protect privacy. Perhaps it may be time to stop hunting the man and focus exclusively on the abuses that he disclosed. The column below is unfortunately limited in space, but it tries to raise some of these issues.
There is a fascinating new breakthrough out of Utah where engineers at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) have invented a machine that can convert algae and into crude oil in minutes — skipping the usual millions of years of natural development. The invention could offer a unique and plentiful biofuel.
While our closest allies are condemning us for massive surveillance systems abroad, including the interception of communications from foreign leaders, President Obama has found one notable admirer. Russia President Vladimir Putin previously praised President Obama for his very Russian like surveillance system. Now he has added envy to his feelings toward Obama. He was asked by the press on his reaction to the current surveillance scandal and responded that he only wishes that he could act with the same sense of impunity as Obama.
I am often surprised (despite prior cases of religious lunacy) of how self-described religious people can commit the most heinous and unjustified acts of violence in the name of faith. We have seen a series of riots and murders committed by Muslims after word has spread of the desecration of a Koran (Quran). The latest riot however is truly one for the books in sheer insanity. A rumor spread in Quetta, Pakistan that a crate of pomegranates from Iran contains some pages ripped from a Koran. As a result, Muslims went on a rampage looking for Shiites to kill. The mob ended up killed one man and wounded three others and torching neighborhoods to get right with Allah.
Now this would make for an interesting torts case in the United States. In Cabo Frio, Brazil, doctors performed a cesarean section on a 37-year-old woman only to discover that she wasn’t pregnant. The hospital later said that they were relying on the woman who said that she thought that she was pregnant and that they panicked when they could not hear the baby’s heartbeat.