While southern Ethiopia and the Ogaden continues to suffer from the worst drought and famine in 60 years the UN’s World Food Program (WFP) has been turning over all its food aid for the region to the Ethiopian military which uses it to feed the paramilitary death squads conducting a counterinsurgency in the region.
The crimes committed by the UN in the Horn of Africa are legion and the WFP is not new to using its aid as a weapon against the people of our region.
Over the past decade this writer has interviewed several UN workers who described how the UN through the WFP has been secretly turning over thousands of tons of food aid directly to the Ethiopian military instead of distributing it to the millions of starving Ethiopians and Ogadenis it was meant for.
The Ethiopian generals in turn use it as payment for the para-militaries, the “Liyu-police” they use as cover to do their dirty work, carrying out ethnic cleansing, mass murder and an ongoing scorched earth program in southern Ethiopia and in the south east in the Ogaden against the population in areas where the insurgency is raging against the Ethiopian regime.
What food is left over is sold by the Ethiopian generals on the black market with the proceeds pocketed, all the while millions are left to starve.
And what is the UN doing about this crime? Their motto seems to be “silence is golden” and silent they remain since they last sent teams to investigate the region in 2007, the reports of which have remained under lock and key in UN headquarters in Addis Ababa.
With the Red Cross (ICRC) and Doctors Without Borders (MSF) both expelled from southern Ethiopia and the Ogaden since 2007 there is no one other than the resistance movement to protest these crimes. Two Swedish journalist who attempted to enter the region in 2011 paid dearly, almost murdered by the Ethiopian death squads and now rotting in an Ethiopian dungeon convicted as “terrorists”.
All the while the real terrorists, the mafia calling itself the Government of Ethiopia headed by its godfather Meles Zenawi is free to carry out it’s crimes aided and abetted by the UN’s WFP, amongst others.
WFP, angel of mercy or devil in disguise? You be the judge.
The 40 richest individuals on Earth lost a combined $6.2 billion yesterday as stocks dropped amid disappointing U.S. earnings, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a daily ranking of the wealthiest people.
The combined wealth of the index is $1.1 trillion. The 40 billionaires have gained a combined $88.2 billion since the beginning of the year.
Duplicitous White House policy continues to metastasize under Obama, as it has with Reagan, the Bushes and Clinton. For the past thirty years, the government has consistently enacted policies that give more power to Washington D.C. in the name of bettering the lives of regular Americans. The current regime pulls our attention away from this practice with the Obamacare drama in the Supreme Court, the rhythmic and feverish beating of Iranian war drums, and a Republican presidential campaign that resembles reality TV more than effective politics that can actually help Americans.
Washington D.C. has once again created a euphemism to paper over a pernicious policy: the “Council on Strong Cities, Strong Communities” (SC2), which was established by the White House in March, is the latest example of regressive trickery. By name, it involves “help” for municipalities that are struggling financially. This “help” is necessary because, even as the mainstream media touts economic recovery, the risk of multiple municipal collapses festers below the surface. In short, hundreds of municipalities across the country face bankruptcy if they can’t get their finances in order. And some won’t. If one of those towns happens to be yours, thanks to the new executive order, the Fed will come to your town and assist in its bankruptcy proceedings.
According to the rules of the SC2 Initiative, each bankrupt city will be placed into receivership and a federal trustee will be in charge of the hobbled city’s sovereignty. This trustee will have complete and absolute power to determine how to eliminate the city’s debt. Even worse, all city contracts will be null and void – this includes those for policemen, firemen and teachers. It will be like pushing the reset button.
However, instead of a compassionate, helpful friend, these unfortunate cities are receiving an unfeeling auctioneer, who will make sure they are on the raw end of a deal gone bad. Assets will be auctioned off to the highest bidder: parking lots, bridges, utilities, expressways, toll booths, parking meters, whatever the city owns, will be hacked up to bits and thrown to packs of opportunistic wolves. This pattern is already underway in Greece, as the country is getting carved up and auctioned off in exchange for bailouts.
This should be a premonition of things to come in the United States, where the 1% is hungry to fill their vaults and portfolios. In fact, private and corporate interests are already buying up (former) publicly owned assets in the United States. And they certainly don’t give a damn if it comes at the expense of regular citizens. So, something is definitely awry when the Fed is making contingency plans with so much foresight. It seems they don’t want to waste the opportunity to profit in a good, home cooked crisis.
The federal government is about to become the country’s worst backseat driver. Congress wants to put tracking devices in the car of every American, and that’s not even the scariest provision in a new bill being passed around Washington.
The US Senate has already signed off on a new legislation that, if cleared by the rest of Congress, will see to it that the government gets its eyes and ears inside every automobile in the country. Senate Bill 1813 calls for the installation of mandatory recorders and communication devices in Americans’ cars that could connect the whereabouts and actions of the country’s drivers with whomever the government wants to grant access to. It doesn’t stop there, though — another provision in the proposed bill will give the government the power to revoke passports from Americans behind on their taxes, essentially making it impossible for the indebted to escape the country.
It’s being touted around the capital as the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, or MAP-21, and Congress is considering it under the explanation that the bill will “reauthorize Federal-aid highway and highway safety construction programs.” In the abstract drafted on Capitol Hill, however, the act is described as having provisions necessary “for other purposes.” And while no lawmakers explicitly explain the benefits of some questionable content within MAP-21, what the government could get away with if the bill is passed is something eerily Orwellian.
If you’re not scared yet, then here is another eye opener: the US Senate has already approved the bill by an overwhelming vote of 74-22, leaving only the House of Representatives to vote in favor before government-sanctioned blackboxes become as common as carburetors and calibrated friction brakes. At this rate, it won’t be long before every Beetle and Buick in the country is being tracked by Big Brother.
Few parts of the world aptly fit the description of hell better than Somalia’s crumbling capital city, Mogadishu; a nation ravaged by imperialism, domestic instability and economic sabotage from foreign forces. Parades of malnourished Africans queuing up to receive rations are trumpeted in thirty second news pieces on most mainstream media outlets, of which offer embarrassingly insubstantial examples of journalism with little explanation for such images of unparalleled inequality, past the effects of droughts, while never missing the opportunity to highlight the threat of al-Qaeda. While it cannot be denied that the current droughts in East Africa, which have been reported to be the most dire in sixty years, have been negatively exacerbating the climate of food availability in Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia; the mammoth aid conglomerates which ‘shake their coin cup’ for incoming donations from the predominately cash-strapped civilian populations of the ‘developed’ world and the reporting mainstream media outlets consistently fail to maturely scrutinize the basis for such economic dysfunction in East Africa, responsible for the starvation of thousands of people. In Somalia’s case (a nation once self sufficient in it’s food production), the ‘economic medicine’ of the International Monetary Fund and the behest of colossal oil robber-barrens have contributed far more devastation than droughts towards producing the images of deprived and inebriated bodies you see on television.
Rob Kampia, director of the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), has been working on drug policy issues for 17 long years, and during that time he’s seen a dramatic shift toward legalization in the U.S. political climate.
Unfortunately for reform advocates, he told Raw Story recently that the shift in presidential politics has gone in the exact opposite direction. “We started MPP when Clinton was president,” Kampia explained. “Clinton was horrible. Bush was worse than Clinton… and Obama is worse than Bush.”
But it’s not all bad news, he said. ”Congress has generally become more receptive. If you were to take the pulse of Congress, you’d see we have more support for medical marijuana, as well as ending marijuana prohibition entirely, in Congress now than we did a decade ago, there’s no question.”
A month ago we presented the latest derivatives update from the OCC, according to which the Top 5 US banks held 95.7%, or $221 trillion of the entire US derivative universe (which in turn is just a modest portion of the entire $707 trillion in global derivatives as of June 30, 2011). And while the numbers of all this credit money, because that’s what it is, and the variation margin associated with all these trillions in bets is all too real, appeared impressive on paper, they did not do this story enough service. So to present, visually this time, the US derivatives problem, we go to our friends from Demonocracy, who put the $229 trillion derivative ‘issue’ in its proper context. For those curious what a paper equivalent of bailing out the US derivatives market would look like, now you know.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta offered a blunt assessment of the threats facing the United States on Wednesday, saying the potential for another war breaking out remains high in places like North Korea.
“We’re within an inch of war almost every day in that part of the world,” Panetta said in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, in response to a question about the threats in the Korean Peninsula. “And we just have to be very careful about what we say and what we do.”
Blitzer then asked Panetta, who joined with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for an interview during the secretaries’ NATO meeting in Brussels, whether the North Korean threat kept him up at night.
It is the most powerful federal agency you’ve never heard of — and lawmakers from both parties on Thursday vowed to keep abreast of its astonishing growth and rein it in, if necessary.
The Office of Financial Research, or OFR, was created by the Dodd-Frank financial services overhaul that President Obama signed into law in July 2010. Technically housed under the Treasury Department, the agency has until now received its funding not from the Congress, but directly from the Federal Reserve.
Starting in July, the OFR Fiscal Year 2013 budget, estimated at $158 million, will be funded entirely through assessments — also known as taxes — on bank-holding firms with consolidated assets worth at least $50 billion.
But as became clear at Thursday’s hearing by the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, a close reading of the law the president signed provides no limit on the growth of OFR’s budget, nor on the taxes the agency can impose on big banks to fund it.
Local government has long been the place where ambitious politicians seek to get themselves in the shop window, so to speak, but there are limits it seems.
Helena Torry’s face remained expressionless as election officials disqualified her from standing in the upcoming council elections in the Hazlehead, Ashley and Queens Cross ward in Aberdeen.
Her crime? Being a mannequin.
The mannequin’s election agent, 63-year-old Renee Slater has been charged by Grampian Police under the Section 65 part 2A of 1983 Representation of the People Act, concerned with forging ballot papers, and is scheduled to appear in court in the near future.
Some were told to boycott the punishment as Colne Valley Specialist Art College launched a stationery crackdown on the first day of the new term.
The school texted parents during the Easter break saying that children would receive a detention if they failed to bring a planner diary, a pen, a pencil, a sharpener, a rubber, a ruler and a calculator.
Anna Norman, 16, was one of hundreds of children given a detention after teachers at the school in Huddersfield, West Yorks., carried out equipment checks first thing on Monday.
Her mother Clare said: “They went through everyone’s pencil case with a checklist. If anything was missing, they got a detention.
“Anna texted me to say she got an after-school detention because she didn’t have a sharpener.
“There are 22 people in her form group and 20 of them got detention. It’s upsetting because my daughter has never been in trouble and this detention will go on her record.”
Sarah Sykes, told her daughter Hannah, 11, not to go to detention. She said: “Are they running a military school or a high school?
“I think it’s absolutely ridiculous – they are not running an army camp.
“I think they have taken it too far and I told the school that my daughter would not be going to the after-school detention.”
China announced it will send persons to join the UN observer mission in Syria and is discussing the details with the UN Secretariat.
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Liu Weimin said in a press conference on Friday “China backs efforts to achieve a lasting ceasefire and start a political dialogue between all parties in Syria.”
He added that China will push ahead with its constructive role to reach an appropriate solution to the Syrian crisis.
Weimin reiterated China’s support to the efforts of the UN Envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan, calling upon all parties in Syria to immediately end violence and launch political talks as soon as possible.
Weimin said that China vigorously participated in the UNSC deliberations and supported an early deployment of observers.
First Rick Santorum slipped out of the race for the GOP nomination, and next Newt Gingrich said he would support Romney but would still run. But what about Ron Paul’s quest for the White House?
According to the latest bulletin from the campaign headquarters of the Texas congressman, Ron Paul is still in the race and rolling in the bucks.
Republican Party presidential hopeful Ron Paul is still polling strong among many demographics and shows no sign of slowing down. At least if his bank records have anything to do with it. The candidate’s camp announced on Friday that so far in 2012 his campaign has managed to bring in almost $10.4 million in contributions from donors determined to keep the congressman in the GOP race.
Those funds won’t be funneled to pay off earlier spending, either. His officials say that in addition to the big bucks that came in for the first quarter, the Ron Paul campaign has zero debt at this point in the race. Compare that to Republican Party rival and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich who was reportedly in the hole to the tune of $4.5 million last week, according to an article published by Slate.
As Ron Paul and Gingrich are now left as the only viable Republican alternative to Mitt Romney, Gingrich’s chances might soon run dry as his pocketbook does the same. Will Paul have a chance to pull through against the frontrunner, though?
What are the chances you are buying and bringing BPA right into your own home? Probably pretty good and there is reason to be concerned. BPA is linked to everything from developmental problems to infertility. Do Your Part and reduce your exposure today.
BPA can be found in plastic food containers. Any time you buy foods or liquids in plastic check the bottom. Avoid plastic marked number 7 because it usually contains BPA.
Another way BPA gets into your house is in canned goods. The chemical is used in the liner of the cans and can actually leach from the liner into the food itself. Seek out cans labeled “BPA-free” or choose food items packaged in safer materials.
Glass and ceramics are safer materials. Use them to heat up foods in the microwave to avoid any risk of BPA leaching into your foods.
Many baby bottles and pacifiers used to be made with BPA. Now, many manufacturers have changed this but it’s still important to look for baby products labeled BPA-free.
And, be careful how you handle certain store receipts. BPA shows up on receipts printed on thermal paper. If you can make an outline with your nail..it probably has BPA on it.
And don’t forget about those reusable water bottles. You want those to be BPA-Free too. bottom line? Reducing BPA exposure is an important way to create a healthier home for you and your family. Do Your Part to make sure it doesn’t contaminate your food, your body, or our planet.
The civil action, believed to be the first of its kind against such a senior ex minister, could lead to Mr Straw facing a criminal prosecution.
Abdel Hakim Belhadj, 45, is seeking a response to allegations that papers approving his rendition were personally signed off by Mr Straw. The amount of compensation being sought has not yet been disclosed although lawyers representing Mr Belhadj have said that they are “not ruling anything out”.
We were happy, studying hard. Neither one of us had a job, because Mitt had enough of an investment from stock that we could sell off a little at a time.
The stock came from Mitt’s father. When he took over American Motors, the stock was worth nothing. But he invested Mitt’s birthday money year to year — it wasn’t much, a few thousand, but he put it into American Motors because he believed in himself. Five years later, stock that had been $6 a share was $96 and Mitt cashed it so we could live and pay for education…
By Ann’s own account, the stock amounted to “a few thousand” dollars when bought, but it had gone up by a factor of sixteen. So let’s conservatively say that they got through five years as students—neither one of them working—only by “chipping away at” assets of $60,000 in 1969 dollars (about $377,000 today).
Amazing they didn’t starve to death, isn’t it?
Police in Georgia handcuffed a kindergartner after the girl threw a tantrum and the police chief defended the action.
The girl’s family demanded Tuesday that this central Georgia city change policy so that other children aren’t treated the same way. They say the child was shaken up by being put in a cell at the police station.
The rumour mill is churning in the Persian Gulf with unconfirmed reports of a failed military coup against the Qatari ruler.
There were even media reports that American military helicopters had whisked the Emir and his wife to a safe unknown destination in the aftermath of the failed putsch, said to be have been attempted by high-ranking officers.
Saudi news channel Al Arabiya reported earlier today a coup bid against Qatari Emir Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani. However, by midday, the story appeared to have been removed from Al Arabiya’s English-language website.
The Supreme Presidential Electoral Commission (SPEC) has officially barred 10 contenders from running in upcoming presidential elections, according to Egypt’s state news agency, MENA. Tuesday’s decision confirms this past weekend’s initial disqualification.
The appeals of three main candidates were rejected Tuesday, seeing Khairat El-Shater – put forward by the Muslim Brotherhood as their candidate for May’s presidential elections, ex-intelligence chief Omar Suleiman and Salafist preacher Hazem Abu-Ismail officialy disqualified from the presidency race.
Sex workers in Amsterdam will have a hard time finding work if two New Zealand academics’ vision of the future comes true.
“In 2050, Amsterdam’s red light district will all be about android prostitutes who are clean of sexual transmitted infections, not smuggled in from Eastern Europe and forced into slavery, the city council will have direct control over android sex workers controlling prices, hours of operations and sexual services,” write futurologist Ian Yeoman and sexologist Michelle Mars.
The duo’s paper, Robots, Men And Sex Tourism, published in the journal Futures, centres on an imaginary future sex club in Amsterdam called Yub-Yum.
It posits that sex tourists will dish out big cash for all-inclusive robot sex romps.
This will be a big win for Amsterdam, they say, as the city will keep drawing huge swaths of randy tourists willing to empty their pockets, but avoid all the downsides, like drugs, violence and underage exploitation.
The sex-bots will even be made from bacteria resistant fibre, the Victoria University of Wellington academics predict.
Mars is a sex expert who discusses topics like designer vaginas.
Yeoman is a professor of tourism management and author of the book Tomorrow’s Tourist, in which he predicts that by 2030 “China will be the world’s largest tourism destination, holidays in outer space will be the ultimate luxury experience, extreme Swedish ironing will be an Olympic sport, embedded technologies will be the norm in future tourists and skiing in the Alps will be no more.”
Young Americans are eschewing cars for alternative transport, leaving carmakers to wonder if this is a recession-induced trend or a permanent shift in habits.
For generations of American teenagers, the car was the paramount symbol of independence. But in the age of Facebook and iPhones, young adults are getting fewer drivers’ licences, driving less frequently and moving to cities where cars are more luxury than necessity.
Figures from the Federal Highway Administration show the share of 14 to 34-year-olds without a driver’s licence rose to 26 per cent in 2010, from 21 per cent a decade earlier, according to a study by the Frontier Group and the US PIRG Education Fund released this month. (Some US states allow 14-year-olds to get a learner’s permit to drive.) Another study from the University of Michigan showed that people under 30 accounted for 22 per cent of all licensed drivers, down from a third in 1983, with the steepest declines among teenagers.
At the same time, cycling, walking and public transport use rose among 16 to 34-year-olds from 2001 to 2009, the Frontier study said. This trend has probably been accelerated by the recession, which has seen young people lose jobs and suffer steep falls in working hours.
“We need to give due weight to the economic realities that these folks have been growing up in,” said Jeremy Anwyl, vice-chairman at Edmunds.com, the car research website. “How do you react to high rates of unemployment and limited economic opportunity? People live at home a little longer, where they have access to the parental fleet.”
A man who said he was fed up with being harassed by airport security stripped to his birthday suit while in an airport screening lane Tuesday evening and was arrested. According to Portland police, 50-year-old John E. Brennan took off his clothes while going through airport screening at Portland International Airport just after 5:30 p.m. and stood naked before other passengers, including children.