No one goes into politics to get rich, but politicians happen to be some of the wealthiest figures around the globe.
German newspaper Die Welt‘s World’s Luxury Guide section recently released a list of the world’s richest politicians, and from local officials and members of Congress to foreign ministers and royal heirs, the list includes newcomers and regulars alike.
Though many of those who made the list come from the Middle East and Southeast Asia, the third richest lawmaker on the list is New York City’s own Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.
Leaders without any real involvement in matters of state, like Bhumibol Adulyad, King of Thailand were excluded from the list.
Channel 4 News has been in contact with him and his team, and are concerned about the welfare of the team’s local driver who was arrested and assaulted in front of the team, and then separated from them. When last seen he appeared to be bleeding from slashes to his arms.
In common with other foreign media, Channel 4 News was denied journalist visas and has been working without accreditation during the Grand Prix. This afternoon, the team was arrested.
Tonight at 7.25pm, the programme will broadcast an interview with Jonathan Miller, recorded as he was being driven away to the police station.
A Channel 4 News spokeperson said:
“We can confirm that our Foreign Affairs Correspondent Jonathan Miller and his team have been arrested whilst reporting for the programme from a village in Bahrain. Our primary concern is for the safety of the team, and we are working with the appropriate authorities to secure a swift release. We are also working hard to establish the whereabouts of the driver who was assaulted and separated from the group.”
Francois Hollande has secured 27.6 per cent of the votes cast in the first round of the presidential elections, with half of the ballots counted. Nicholas Sarkozy is trailing his Socialist rival with 26.6 per cent of the vote.
Far-right candidate Marine le Pen has secured third place with 19.7 per cent of the vote, according to figures released by the Interior Ministry.
Left-wing hopeful Jean-Luc Melenchon has got 10.6 per cent of the ballots. The other six candidates delivered modest single-digit results.
The turnout in Sunday’s ballot has exceeded 80 per cent, the French electoral commission said.
Hollande and Sarkozy are due to meet face-to-face in the run-off set for May 6. According to the polls, Hollande is projected to win in the second round.
When war-torn Somalia was also ravaged by a drought-induced famine last year, which killed tens of thousands and displaced over a million people, international media was quick to blame the Islamist al-Shabaab for blocking humanitarian assistance from reaching its zone of control in southern Somalia.
But according to Ken Menkhaus, professor of Political Science at Davidson College in North Carolina, the United States’ counter-terrorism laws played an equally central role in obstructing assistance from reaching famine victims in desperate need of aid.
Speaking in a seminar in Helsinki, Finland on Wednesday, organized by the Department of the Study of Religions at Helsinki University, Menkhaus said humanitarian organizations suspended food aid delivery to drought- struck areas controlled by al-Shabaab for fear of violating the USA Patriot Act.
Congress passed the Act in 2001 as part of its response to the Sep. 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and under it, anyone who provides material benefits, even if unwittingly, to a designated terrorist group, could face the most severe penalties.
Given that al-Shabaab – the Somali cell of the militant Islamist al-Qaeda, fighting the Federal Transitional Government (FTG) in Somalia and controlling vast swathes of the south except the capital Mogadishu – is designated a terrorist organization by the U.S., humanitarian groups were fearful that an accusation of “aiding terrorists” could damage their entire organization
Thus many reached the conclusion that they were too vulnerable to operate in al-Shabaab-controlled areas.
Though the group undoubtedly prevented assistance from reaching starving famine victims based on its claim that food aid was a Western conspiracy to drive Somali farmers out of business, Menkhaus, a specialist on the Horn of Africa, believes that was not the end of the sordid story.
“There are plenty of western countries, including my own government, who would like to see the conversation stop right there and say it was all al-Shabaab’s fault.” However, the other bottleneck was U.S. policy, which “de facto criminalizes any transactions in southern Somalia,” he said.
Other countries have similar laws, but since the U.S. supplies the bulk of food aid to Somalia, it has the heaviest impact on the country.
Syrian media released video footage of the mutilated and charred bodies on Saturday.
This is not the first time armed groups kill civilians and security personnel in Homs. Last month, a number of mutilated bodies belonging to security forces were pulled out of the sewage system in Homs.
Meanwhile, the United Nations Security Council has unanimously passed a resolution allowing a 300-strong ceasefire monitoring mission in Syria.
The ceasefire announced on April 12 is part of a six-point peace plan proposed by the UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan in March.
An advance team of United Nations observers visited Syria’s central province of Homs today. The observers met with the provincial governor and toured the Baba Amr neighborhood in the city of Homs.
The city of Homs, the provincial capital, has been the scene of heavy clashes between Syrian forces and armed groups earlier in the year.
Syria has been experiencing unrest since mid-March 2011. Many people, including security forces, have been killed in the turmoil.
Debt is a “soft” form of slavery. In America today, it is not legal to bind people up with chains and force them to work for you, but that doesn’t mean that there are not millions upon millions of slaves in this country.
When you borrow money, you willingly become a servant to the lender. Sadly, there are millions of Americans that will spend the rest of their lives working to pay off their debts, but they will never escape the endless debt slavery that they have gotten themselves into.
When you add up all forms of debt in the United States at this point, it comes to more than $54 trillion. That is more than $178,000 for every man, woman and child in America. We truly are one nation under debt, and we have created the biggest debt bubble in the history of the planet.
Unfortunately, all debt bubbles eventually burst, and when this one bursts the consequences are going to be unlike anything ever seen before.
Even the most die-hard skeptics among us believe in magic. Humans can’t help it: though we try to be logical, irrational beliefs — many of which we aren’t even conscious of — are hardwired in our psyches. But rather than hold us back, the unavoidable habits of mind that make us think luck and supernatural forces are real, that objects and symbols have power, and that humans have souls and destinies are part of what has made our species so evolutionarily successful. Believing in magic is good for us.
That’s what psychology writer Matthew Hutson argues in his new book, “The 7 Laws of Magical Thinking” (Hudson Street Press, 2012), released Thursday (April 12). Hutson scoured decades of research by psychologists in order to identify the supernatural beliefs we all naturally share, and to discover why the tendencies evolved in the first place. Here’s the proof that you — yes, you — engage in what Hutson calls “magical thinking,” and why.
The activists urged the Formula 1′s governing body, the FIA, to cancel the sport event in response to the suppression of anti-regime protests by the Bahraini forces. The protesters believed that the al-Khalifa regime would use the auto race to cover up mounting human rights violations in the country.
Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell also participated in the protest organized by campaign group Justice for Bahrain. He accused the F1 of supporting the killings of pro-democracy protesters in the Persian Gulf kingdom.
“I would appeal to Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button to withdraw from the Bahrain grand prix. By participating, they’ll be giving respectability to the regime. They’ll be sending out the message that it’s business as usual,” he said.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague has accused the Syrian government of failing to adhere to the April 12 ceasefire with the rebels amid reports that London is arming rebels to inflame armed conflict in the Middle Eastern country.
“I remain extremely concerned that [Syria] is still failing to meet its commitments, and that there has been further violence and the use of heavy weapons since 12 April when a ceasefire should have come into effect,” Hague said in a statement on Saturday.
Damascus announced last week that it can only stay committed to the ceasefire if the rebels halt their terrorist attacks against civilians, stressing if such attacks continue the Syrian army will intervene to protect the population.
According to MSNBC, a 6-year-old girl at Southwest Elementary School in Washburn, Mo., was denied a bathroom break because she and her classmates were in the middle of taking a state standardized test. As a result, the poor kid soiled herself in diarrhea. Teachers did not try to clean her up. Instead, they gave her mother a trash bag to wrap around her child and take her home in.
How would you feel if you were soiled in diarrhea and covered in a trash bag by the adults who are supposed to be caring for you? My guess is you would feel humiliated. And to think this is not the first time a story like this has been in the news. Why would any adult feel this is an acceptable way to treat a child? Is this an acceptable way to treat any human being?
Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton delivers a clear — and dire — message in a Newsmax magazine special report: Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons poses a grave and immediate threat to the United States and world peace.
And in his exclusive Newsmax article “Showdown,” Bolton declares: “Iran’s plan for a second Holocaust must be stopped.”
On Wednesday, the Virginia legislature overwhelmingly passed a law that forbids state agencies from cooperating with any federal attempt to exercise the indefinite detention without due process provisions written into sections 1021 and 1022 of the National Defense Authorization Act.
HB1160 “Prevents any agency, political subdivision, employee, or member of the military of Virginia from assisting an agency of the armed forces of the United States in the conduct of the investigation, prosecution, or detention of a United States citizen in violation of the United States Constitution, Constitution of Virginia, or any Virginia law or regulation.”
Microchip for Every New Pup: Millions Face £35 Bill as Ministers Unveil Hi-Tech Scheme to Tackle the Scourge of Dangerous Dogs
Millions of dog owners will have to pay for their pets to be fitted with a microchip as part of a controversial crackdown on the menace of dangerous animals.
Ministers are due to announce on Monday that every newborn puppy should be microchipped in an operation costing around £35. The chip will contain details of the dog’s owner and address, which will be stored on a central database to which the police and the RSPCA will have access.
Suicide Riddle of Weapons Expert Who Worked With David Kelly: Scientist Tells Wife He is Going For a Walk, Then Takes His Life in a Field… Just Like His Friend
A weapons expert who worked with Dr David Kelly at the Government’s secret chemical warfare laboratory has been found dead in an apparent suicide.
In circumstances strongly reminiscent of Dr Kelly’s own mysterious death nine years ago, the body of Dr Richard Holmes was discovered in a field four miles from the Porton Down defence establishment in Wiltshire. It is not yet known how he died.
Mr Holmes, 48, had gone missing two days earlier after telling his wife he was going out for a walk – just as Dr Kelly did before he was found dead at an Oxfordshire beauty spot in July 2003.
The pro-democracy protests in Bahrain have been going on for more than a year now but the West will keep on turning a blind eye to human rights in the country as long as it acts in accordance with US interests, says journalist Patrick Henningsen.
Some 7,000 marched on Saturday calling for democratic reforms while denouncing this year’s Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix. They say the event glorifies the repressive Sunni government, which has been cracking down on the massive protests by the Shia majority for the past year.
Police fired dozens of rounds of tear gas in the village of Diraz outside the capital Manama on Saturday evening to keep anti-government demonstrators away from a main road on the eve of the global sporting event.
One demonstrator was found shot dead after overnight clashes with security forces, adding fuel to the fire of the protesters’ outrage.
The government has spent US$ 40 million on hosting the Grand Prix and is refusing to cancel the event, hoping to demonstrate that the country is back to normal after the unrest of the Arab Spring.
But the Bahraini people disagree with their government. Opposition activist Sayed Ahmed says the people think the race is “racing on our blood.”
“So the people of Bahrain are asking for human rights first and this will be their priority before any sports,” he added as quoted by the Associated Press.
Jim Chanos made global waves in 2001 with “the market call of the decade, if not the past 50 years”, as Barron’s put it in 2002. He is widely deemed the first person to blow the whistle on Enron, first shorting the stock near its peak in late 2000.
In 1985, he founded his hedge fund Kynikos Associates (the name stems from the ancient Greek for ‘cynic’), which with $6bn under management is the biggest investment group specialising in short selling, notes Switzerland’s Finanz und Wirtschaft. For the past two years, he has been warning that China’s credit and housing bubble will end in a hard landing.
China’s basic problem is that the economy is far too reliant on fixed investment, Chanos tells Finanz und Wirtschaft – much more so than Japan in the late 1980s. Now that the government is slowing the building boom, what can fill the gap in GDP? Exports certainly can’t.
And make no mistake, the bubble is bursting. Chanos says he ignores official figures – anyone who believes in precise official data is making a fool of himself, he reckons – and keeps a close eye on transactions in the private sector. The property sector has cooled rapidly and the prices of cement and steel have also tanked.
This is especially awkward because China’s banking sector “is built on quicksand”. Bad loans reached 40% of the total during two previous credit crises – 1999 and 2004/2005. Weakened banks still don’t have enough capital and now a new wave of dud loans is on the way. “China’s banks should send Greece a monthly thank-you card,” he says.
Once the markets begin to look seriously at China, they’re not going to like what they see. Everyone is hoping the property market can land softly and will have little impact on the rest of the economy. But that, says Chanos, was the prevailing sentiment in America in 2007 too.
The leaked document clearly lays out plans to use “contracts for difference” for nuclear energy, which would allow nuclear operators to reap higher prices for their energy than fossil fuel power stations.
The plans will further inflame rows over energy policy and cause a political furore for the Liberal Democrats, who fought the general election firmly opposing an expansion of nuclear power.
Fiona Hall, leader of the Lib Dem group in the European parliament with a special interest in energy, said she now had no doubt that the contract for difference was a subsidy. “Industry on all sides believe this is a subsidy.” She wants the UK court of auditors as well as the European commission to give a legal ruling on the issue and believes any subsidy runs against the coalition agreement. In a blog posted on the Liberal Democrat Voice website she calls on fellow party members to “speak out” against nuclear subsidies.
The issue is a key one for many Lib Dem supporters and has acquired even greater resonance since the Fukushima disaster and the withdrawal from nuclear of countries such as Germany and Italy.
Green campaigners believe the Lib Dems have been persuaded into allowing higher energy bills to flow into increased profits for nuclear companies by a sleight of hand that lets ministers disguise nuclear subsidies as support for “low-carbon power”.
Fighting and government shelling stopped in Syria’s central city of Homs today and troops hid tanks in advance of a visit by UN cease-fire observers who toured the area, activists said.
An advance team of seven UN monitors has been in Syria for about a week to monitor an internationally brokered cease fire that went into effect on April 12.
The team has visited several restive areas including the southern province of Daraa and some of the suburbs of the capital Damascus. But their visit to Homs is particularly important as the city, Syria’s third largest, along with its hinterland are among the regions hardest hit by the violence that has left more than 9,000 people dead over the past 13 months, according to the UN.
A municipal official in Homs said the team met with the governor in the city, then went out on a tour. They official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to speak to the media.
The United Nations hopes to have 30 observers in the country next week to monitor the tenuous cease-fire between regime troops and the opposition, and the Security Council reached a tentative agreement Friday night on plans for the deployment of up to a total of 300. France’s UN Ambassador Gerard Araud said the text, negotiated over many hours, would be sent to capitals overnight for consideration and the council would meet today for a vote.
The UN advance team did not venture out yesterday, the day when anti-government protests are usually held after the noon prayers, in a blow to the protesters’ hopes. The team’s head, Col. Ahmed Himiche, said they did not go out “because we don’t want to be used as a tool for escalating the situation.”
Activists say Syrian troops fired tear gas and bullets that day at thousands of protesters who spilled out of mosques after noon prayers, while the state media reported that bombs and shootings killed 17 soldiers.
In contrast, much of Syria was quiet today, activists said.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Homs was peaceful for the first time in more than a week.
However, Prime Minister David Cameron’s refusal to call for the cancellation of the Sunday Formula 1 Grand Prix in Bahrain has provided another evidence that the invitation has been a de facto token of friendship rather than a formality.
However, Cameron turned down ,on Friday, opposition leader Ed Miliband’s call to join those who believe the Bahraini F1 is a green light to the al-Khalifa to continue their atrocities against democracy-seeking protestors.
“We should be clear: Bahrain is not Syria; there is a process of reform underway,” Cameron said in a statement.
Bahrain’s rulers have promised to introduce reforms to increase democracy, but campaigners say no reforms have yet been implemented.
Earlier, Miliband said during a Welsh visit that “given the violence we have seen in Bahrain and given the human rights abuses, I don’t believe the Grand Prix should go ahead.”
He also called on the government to “make its view clear and say the same” stressing “I do not think the Government should remain silent on this.”
However, Cameron’s office snubbed Miliband’s call saying ”it is not for us to dictate what sporting events happen in other countries.”
The Downing Street did not, however, refer to the fact that the F1 Grand Prix was cancelled due to the regime violence last year and its go-ahead this year will suggest the situation has improved this year – what human rights groups deny.
“With the world’s eyes on Bahrain as it prepares to host the Grand Prix, no one should be under any illusions that the country’s human rights crisis is over,” said Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa deputy director, Hassib Hadj Sahraoui.
“The authorities are trying to portray the country as being on the road to reform, but we continue to receive reports of torture and use of unnecessary and excessive force against protests,” Sahraoui added.
The Gulf Ecosystem Is Being Decimated
The BP oil spill started on April 20, 2010. We’ve previously warned that the BP oil spill could severely damage the Gulf ecosystem.
Since then, there are numerous signs that the worst-case scenario may be playing out:
- New York Times: “Gulf Dolphins Exposed to Oil Are Seriously Ill, Agency Says
- MSNBC: Gulf shrimp scarce this season (and see the Herald Tribune‘s report)
- Mother Jones: Eyeless shrimp are being found all over the Gulf
- NYT: Oil Spill Affected Gulf Fish’s Cell Function, Study Finds
- CBS:Expert: BP spill likely cause of sick Gulf fish (and see the Press Register’s report)
- “Study confirms oil from Deepwater spill entered food chain
- Pensacola News Journal: “Sick fish” archive
- Agence France Presse: Mystery illnesses plague Louisiana oil spill crews
- MSNBC: Sea turtle deaths up along Gulf, joining dolphin trend
- MSNBC:Exclusive: Submarine Dive Finds Oil, Dead Sea Life at Bottom of Gulf of Mexico
- AP: BP oil spill the culprit for slow death of deep-sea coral, scientists say (and see the Guardian and AFP‘s write ups)
- A recent report also notes that there are flesh-eating bacteria in tar balls of BP oil washing up on Gulf beaches
- And all of that lovely Corexit dispersant sprayed on water, land and air? It inhibits the ability of microbes to break down oil, and allows oil and other chemicals to be speed past the normal barriers of human skin. Background here. NYT: Impact of Gulf Spill’s Underwater Dispersants Is Examined Speaking on the chemical ingredients of the dispersants used, “The report finds that “Of the 57 ingredients: 5 chemicals are associated with cancer; 33 are associated with skin irritation from rashes to burns; 33 are linked to eye irritation; 11 are or are suspected of being potential respiratory toxins or irritants; 10 are suspected kidney toxins; 8 are suspected or known to be toxic to aquatic organisms; and 5 are suspected to have a moderate acute toxicity to fish.”
Kimberley Big Hole – South Africa
Apparently the largest ever hand-dug excavation in the world, this 1097-meter-deep mine yielded over three tons of diamonds before being closed.
Glory Hole – Monticello Dam, California
This is the Glory Hole at Monticello Dam, and it’s the largest in the world of this type of spillway, its size enabling it to consume 14,400 cubic feet of water every second. A glory hole is used when a dam is at full capacity and water needs to be drained from the reservoir.
Great Blue Hole , Belize
This incredible geographical phenomenon known as a blue hole is situated 60 miles off the mainland of Belize.
There are numerous blue holes around the world but none as stunning as this one.
Sinkhole in Guatemala
This photo is of a sinkhole that occurred February 2007 in Guatemala . It swallowed two dozen homes and killed at least three people.
Shit Hole, London
This is the famous shithole. It is capable of swallowing millions of Taxpayers money annually, never to be heard from again! It is reputed to contain at least 600 arseholes.