Thursday, September 20, 2012
‘At the time of his death, no charges had been filed against him for any crimes’:
CUBA: A detainee died over the weekend at the US prison for “war on terror” suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the ninth since the detention center opened in 2002, the US military said Monday.
The detainee, who was not identified, pending notification of his country's government and his next of kin, was found “unconscious and unresponsive” by guards in the prison's Camp Five on Saturday during a routine check, the US Southern Command said.
“After extensive lifesaving measures had been performed, the detainee was pronounced dead by a physician,” it said in a statement.
Camp Five is a facility that “houses those detainees deemed to be the highest threat to themselves, other detainees or guards,” said Jose Ruiz, a spokesman for the Miami-based Southern Command.
Eight other detainees have died at Guantanamo since 2002, including six suicides, Ruiz said.
“At the time of his death, no charges have been filed for a crime for war and he has not been designated for a prosecution by the office of the military commission,” said another Southern Command spokesman, Ray Sarracino. He was on disciplinary status for splashing a “cocktail of urine and other body fluids” at a guard at least once, Sarracino said.
Prisoners at Guantanamo have staged periodic hunger strikes to protest their confinement, but Ruiz said the detainee who died over weekend was not engaged in a hunger strike.
Among the inmates in Camp Five is Omar Khadr, a young Canadian who pleaded guilty in 2010 to killing a US soldier in Afghanistan in a grenade attack and has been seeking transfer to prison in Canada.
Most of the 167 prisoners currently at Guantanamo are housed in Camp Six, a facility that allows communal living arrangements among the inmates and is designed for less intensive monitoring by guards.
The command, which gave no other details on the circumstances surrounding the death, said an investigation into its cause and manner had been opened by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.
The detainee's remains “are being treated with respect for Islamic culture and traditions,” it said.
“The remains will be autopsied by a medical examination team from the office of the Armed Forces Medical Examiner. Upon completion of the autopsy, the remains will be prepared for repatriation,” it said. The Center for Constitutional Rights condemned the new death and said there is only party to blame. “Whatever the cause turns out to be, it is clear that the United States government is ultimately responsible for his death.” it said in a statement.
“Military investigations into several of the deaths at the base remain under a cloud of suspicion; and the Center's clients, families of two men who died there in 2006, never got their day in court or the chance to know the truth about what happened to their sons,” it added.
FRANCE: Russia is proposing the organisation of a conference bringing together “all the players” of the deadly Syria conflict, including opposition groups, citizens and the ruling regime, a top official told a French newspaper.
“We are proposing to our Western partners the organisation of a 'Taif conference' between all the players of the conflict,” Russian deputy foreign minister Mikhail Bogdanov told Le Figaro in an article to appear Wednesday.
He was referring to an agreement signed in the Saudi city that brought the end of the Lebanon civil war in 1990.
“This conference should bring together opposition and regime figures as well as Christian, Alawite and Druze community members,” Bogdanov added.
“Given the opposition divisions and the weapons reaching the rebels, the risk of a Somalia-isation of Syria is real, if the regime were to suddenly collapse tomorrow. According to Le Figaro, the Russian official was in Paris over the weekend, where he met French diplomats and Syrian opposition figures.
The Taif agreement was signed October 22, 1989 by Muslim lawmakers and Lebanese Christians to end the 15-year civil war.
Bombardments by troops saw fighting ground to a standstill on Tuesday in Syria's second city Aleppo, a watchdog said, amid reports a civilian refuge was targeted in the same province.
Water supplies were largely restored in the northern city three days after a main pipeline was ruptured during clashes between government forces and rebel fighters, witnesses and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
The Britain-based Observatory reported shelling attacks on the Aleppo neighbourhoods of Haidariyeh, Hanano, Meyseer and Shaar overnight, and that one rebel had been killed in the fighting.
“The rebels have been trying for three days to enter Midan (in central Aleppo). Last night the army launched an operation and pushed them north, back toward Bustan al-Basha,” a resident told AFP on the phone. In the town of As-Safira, “mortar fire from an air defence battalion targeted residential buildings and a school, where many refugees from disaster-stricken areas sought refuge.
MUMBAI: Salman Khan's 'Ek Tha Tiger' (ETT) has been banned by the Pakistan censor board. Though there is no official announcement from the board, but Pakistani distributor Atif Rashid told TOI, "I was just told the film cannot be released in Pakistan and there will be further discussion on it." ETT was to release with 35 prints in Pakistan on Eid.
Filmmaker Kabir Khan said, "It is sad a film that promotes peace and friendship between countries has fallen victim to politics." Trade pundits feel ETT had potential of doing a business of Rs 10 cr. Khan said, "It is not about the money loss but a film with good intention failed to release in Pakistan though places like Dubai and London which has a mixed
population of Indians and Pakistanis have reacted positively to the film."
Nearly half a dozen films in the last five years have been banned in Pakistan. The last film to be banned in Pakistan was Saif Ali Khan's 'Agent Vinod' which also had mentions of Pakistan's intelliegence agency ISI. A Pakistani filmmaker said, "Any Indian film with mention of ISI will not get a release in Pakistan so filmmakers need to keep that in mind if they want to help that territory grow."
Source : Bharti Dubey, TNN
Ambassador-designate of the United States of America Michele J. Sison, who arrived in Sri Lanka at the week-end, called on External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris at the Ministry on Monday.
Minister Peiris discussed with Ambassador Sison political and economic developments in Sri Lanka since the end of the conflict, and the way ahead. He told the Ambassador that, wherever she travels in the country, she would find ample evidence of the new mood of confidence among Sri Lankans, who are looking forward to a secure and prosperous future after the eradication of terrorism.
Ambassador Sison, with the advantage of extensive experience in South Asia, expressed her pleasure at the opportunity of serving in Sri Lanka.
The External Affairs Minister and the American Ambassador discussed co-operation between the two countries in a variety of fields, including trade, investment, defence and the environment.
Minister Peiris will be attending an event over the week-end to mark the 20th anniversary of the American Chamber of Commerce.
Source : Dailynews – Srilanka
The capital market watch dog, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is now in the process of revamping all its activities to attract the Colombo Stock Exchange locally, as well as internationally. For this, the SEC is looking to regulate and to develop the CSE, its Chairman Dr Nalaka Godahewa said.
“At present our key focuses are to strengthen the regulatory process of the Colombo Stock Market and to develop the market in consultation with all stakeholders, which is now slowly, but steadily happening,” Dr Godahewa told Daily News Business.
“My main focus is also to implement four objectives in the SEC Act accordingly which was one of the priorities, “Dr Godahewa said. The SEC Act, stipulates objectives i.e. creating and maintaining the market in which securities could be issued in order to create a fair market, protecting the interest of investors, regulate the securities market to ensure that professionalism standards are maintained and operation and compensation of funds.
He said that the commission was right now hoping to consult all stakeholders, including the broker community; unit trust holders and other stakeholders, get their feedback without rushing for a decision to develop the market.
Dr Godahewa said that they were employing well experienced persons to run the SEC and for that purpose, they had appointed top business personality Dammika Perera as the new Deputy Director General, who would instrumentally be in charge of surveillance, supervision and investigations of the market.
Further, the SEC Act also could be amended in the future and the new amended Act would be a comprehensive one which would be addressing most of the crucial issues pertaining to the market.
This would also help promote the market not only among local investors, but also with overseas investors to create a strong and credible market in the region, Dr Godahewa said.
Dr Godahewa also said that not a single pending investigation of any company, but the commission was only investigating individuals who were involved in questionable dealings in the market, which had to be completed in three months.
Source : Dailynews – Srilanka
The 58th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference (CPC) was inaugurated yesterday morning by Vice Patron of the conference President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre.
Delegates and invitees arrived around 9 am. About 20 minutes later, office bearers and Executive Committee Members assembled at the Nelum Pokuna Lobby.
Commonwealth Parliamentary Association President Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa arrived followed by Vice Patron of the CPA President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
President Rajapaksa was received by president of the CPA and Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa, Secretary General of CPA Dr William F. Sija, Executive Committee chairman Sir Alan Haselhurst, CPA Vice President Mninwa Johanes Mahlangu, Deputy Speaker Chandima Weerakkody and Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Dassanayake at the entrance to the theatre. After lighting of the traditional oil lamp, President Rajapaksa was introduced to the Executive Committee by the CPA Executive Committee chairman.
The official party entered the theatre from the left side entrance and the second procession led by flag bearers entered from the right side entrance and took their seats while the delegates and invitees remained standing.
The Navy performed the fanfare. President Mahinda Rajapaksa, CPA president Chamal Rajapaksa and other dignitaries took their seats on the podium and the choir on the stage sang the national anthem.
After reading the message from the Patron of the CPA, Britain’s queen Elizabeth, the Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa delivered the welcome speech.
President Rajapaksa declared that the 58th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference was opened and CPA executive Committee chairman Sir Alan Haselhurst addressed the meeting followed by a musical interlude.
The President addressed the gathering next.
It was observed that the invitees applauded in between his address. They clapped when the President said Sri Lanka showed the world that terrorism could be defeated and democracy could be restored.
They started applauding when the President stated “we are also aware of how Human Rights can be made a slogan by the worst violators of such rights, to threaten traditional democracies”. President Rajapaksa’s address was followed by the vote of thanks by CPA Vice President Mninwa Johannes Mahlangu.
Thereafter, the President was accompanied by the official party to the theatre lobby to witness the release of the commemorative stamp at 10.55 a.m.
The delegates assembled at the steps leading to the Nelum Pokuna Theatre and posed a group photograph. After refreshments, President Rajapaksa left the Nelum Pokuna followed by delegates and the ceremony came to an end.
Source : Dailynews- Srilanka
SriLankan Cargo has taken a firm step towards positioning Colombo's Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) as a regional hub for air freight, by handling the highest ever volumes of both total cargo and transhipment cargo in a single month.
Janaka Munasinghe, Senior Manager Worldwide Cargo Operations at SriLankan, said: “The BIA Cargo Centre is on course for a record breaking year, if volumes continue as we expect them to.
Our projections are that we will handle over 180,000, metric tonnes in 2012, which would surpass the existing record.”
The National Carrier is closely supporting the vision of the government to transform Sri Lanka into a hub for both shipping and air freight.
Remarkably, the SriLankan Cargo Centre has in almost every month this year surpassed the previous records for those months.
Total tonnage handled in the first seven months of 2012 recorded a 12.5 % increase, while total transshipment cargo registered an 11 % increase. July 2012 witnessed a single-month record of 16,136 metric tonnes, surpassing the 16,033 tonnes set in March 2006.
The total transhipment of 3,387 metric tonnes in July 2012 was also a single-month record.
Total transhipment cargo over the first seven months of this year was the highest ever as well at 19,909 tonnes.
SriLankan Cargo is the sole handling agent for cargo of all airlines that operate through BIA. SriLankan Cargo operates on the model of a ‘hub in the Ocean,’utilising the island's geographic positioning to link Europe and the Middle East in the West, Southeast Asia and the Far East in the East,and the Subcontinent.
Source : Dailynews - Srilanka
Younger Americans are ‘comfortable’ with the Islamic world
US: Eleven years after the September 11 attacks a record number
in the United States want a less active global role -- and Americans for the
first time see Asia as more important than Europe.
The poll by the Chicago Council on Foreign Affairs found
strong differences by age range, with younger Americans the most comfortable
with the Islamic world and China and the least enthusiastic about the use of US
The poll, released on the eve of the anniversary of the
September 11 terror attacks, said 67 percent of Americans did not consider the
Iraq war worth fighting and only 30 percent said that the Afghanistan
intervention made the United States safer. Sixty-one percent of Americans said
that the United States should take an active role in world affairs, but the 38
percent who disagreed marked the highest level taken by the Chicago Council or
comparable polls since 1947.
Nonetheless, 70 percent of Americans described their country
as the greatest in the world.
“There's a strong sense of specialness that Americans have
and this is across generational and partisan lines,” said Marshall Bouton,
president of the Chicago Council.
The dwindling support for foreign wars is “not a
discouragement about the character of their nation. It's an assessment in their
minds that... the United States has got to trim its sails in certain respects,”
The study showed public backing for diplomacy and aid,
particularly to Africa, and support for cutting military spending.
Age groups differed on key issues. Only 23 percent of
Americans between 18 and 29 years old said Islamic fundamentalism would pose a
critical threat over the next 10 years, far down from the 50 percent over age
60 who said so.
Younger Americans are ‘comfortable’ with the Islamic world and China:
The 58th Commonwealth Parliament Conference which is currently underway in Colombo has presented many opportunities to different sectors especially for the country’s tourism industry.
The large number of foreign delegates in the country will be an opportunity for image building and promoting tourism on the sideline of the conference.
We are confident that first hand experience gained by the participants will go a long way in promoting the country and developing the tourism sector, Jetwing Group Chairman Hiran Cooray told Daily News Business.
“The presence of significant number of influential people from all over the world in the country will have a positive impact. They will be able to witness the on going development activities in the country and measures taken to facilitate growth in sectors such as tourism, infrastructure and agriculture.
The positive comments and opinions of these world leaders will augur well for the country’s economic progress, " he said.
“The tourism industry is progressing well and we are confident that it will continue to do well. The current product development and aggressive marketing initiatives supported by the promotional efforts will further fuel the industry growth,” Cooray said.
Converging with the purpose to make a difference, to reinforce change across all nations, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association conducted its annual conference for the third time in Colombo under the theme “ensuring a relevant Commonwealth for the future”.
There were 850 participants representing 179 Commonwealth Parliamentary Associations from 54 countries while showcasing the values of the Commonwealth, a series of workshops were lined up to address the issues of global importance.
The Navy arrested 151 persons illegally heading for Australia during the past three days. The total number of asylum seekers apprehended by the Navy during this year now is 1,848, sources said.
The Navy arrested 146 persons on September 8. They were arrested with two multi - day trawlers named Theres Nilusha and Mangala, illegally heading for Australia, 20 nautical miles east of Trincomalee.
The trawlers were brought to the Trincomalee Harbour with 146 persons including 132 Tamils, 10 Sinhalese and four Muslims on board.
Among the arrested included 107 males, 16 women and 23 children. They are residents of Jaffna, Mullaithivu, Vavuniya, Batticaloa, Arachchikattuwa, Chilaw, Kilinochchi, Trincomalee and Mannar.
Another 45 were apprehended by the Navy, 20 nautical miles off Negombo on September 10. The trawler named Shaini Baba was also intercepted along with the asylum seekers. Among the arrested were 35 Tamils, nine Sinhalese and a Muslim. They are residents of Negombo, Mullaithivu, Vavuniya, Mannar, Jaffna, Kalmunai, Hatton, Trincomalee and Wennappuwa.
The 151 asylum seekers who attempted to leave for Australia illegally were handed over the Criminal Investigation Department for further investigations.
Source : Dailynews – Srilanka
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Tennis brightest star Serena Williams has been spotted getting close to her coach, Frenchman Patrick Mouratoglou, while on a day out in Valbonne, southern France. Williams and her ne man have been long friends according to source he’s not only her coach but her new man. The couple enjoyed lunch at a French restaurant, as Mouratoglou could be seen affectionately touching Williams’ shoulder as they converse over meals.
INDIA: Kanpur-based cartoonist Aseem Trivedi (25), who surrendered to the BKC police on Saturday, was remanded in seven days’ police custody by the Bandra holiday court on Sunday. Charged with sedition for insulting national symbols through his cartoons, he refused to engage a lawyer in protest. The cartoons in question are on the theme Cartoons Against Corruption and one of them depicts the national emblem as comprising wolves in place of lions and the slogan Bhrashtameva Jayate in place of Satyameva Jayate.
The complaint against Trivedi was filed by a Mumbai-based lawyer at the Bandra Kurla Complex police station last December under the Indian Penal Code's section 124 (sedition), the Information Technology Act's section 66-A (sending offensive messages through communication services) and the Prevention of Insults to Nation Honour (PINH) Act's section 2 (imprisonment for disrespect to the national flag or the constitution or any part thereof).
Trivedi's friends said the police action was politically motivated.
“Aseem told us the government targeted him because he supported Anna Hazare in his fight against corruption,” said a friend.
The police were treating Aseem like a criminal, said a friend, activist Alok Dixit. “He decided not to engage an advocate and wants to let the court decide. He maintains he is not wrong. That is why he does not see a need to defend himself.” The Time of
Former judges, lawyers and civil rights activists criticized the police for the development, in particular the custodial duration. “This is a very rare instance where such a thing has happened,” said activist and advocate Mihir Desai. Observing that the case was not maintainable, high court Justice (retd) H Suresh said, “The charge of sedition is patently misused. In this case, what is sedition? Moreover, custody of seven days is fundamentally wrong (in this case).
What further investigations will be conducted while keeping him in custody? The cartoons, which speak for themselves, are investigation enough.” The Times of India
Thursday, September 13, 2012
Kelani Cables is looking at a record revenue in the excess of Rs. 5 billion at the end of the financial year. This would be an increase of more than 25 % from the last financial year. CEO Kelani Cables, Mahinda Saranapala said that they would increase foreign exports by over 15 % and this is the main reason for the increase of revenue.
The first shipment received
in Australia Pictures by Saliya Rupasinghe
He said that Kelani Cables became the first Sri Lanka company to export wires to the Australian domestic market and now they plan to explore the New Zealand market as well. “We received a Special Quality Certificate from Australia which would also allow us to export to New Zealand,” he said. Saranapala said that the first container was exported to Australia last week to their Australian agent, Custom Electricals. He said that the factory had to adapt to several ‘new styles’ to meet the Australian standed which included a flat wire and special plastic coating. “The factory had to do only a marginal investment for this.”
The Australian market was penetrated through a local engineer domiciled in Australia. Kelani Cables products are already being exported to Japan, South Africa, India, Maldives, and Bangladesh which is the largest market for them. “The revenue from these markets was 15 % of the total turn over of Rs. 4.34 billion last year.” “Our company profit before tax meanwhile, increased by 80 % during the year, to Rs. 402 million. With this strong growth, the group secured an impressive bottom line growth of 113 % of Rs. 284.8 million during the financial year.
“We strengthened our presence in the North and East of the country by increasing the number of our agents in these areas and by adding 500 new outlets in Trincomalee, Batticaloa, Kilinochchi, Jaffa and Pudukuduirippu.”
“We have built a new state-of-the-art warehouse in our premises at Kelaniya. During the day we use skylight to reduce and save energy. Invested in a new boom truck to improve cable drum handling and to handling reduce costs.”
The first shipment received
He said that due to low quality exports by some manufactures the high reputation Sri Lanka has earned is now in jeopardy. “These low quality cables and wires are also a health and safety hazard for end users due to their poor insulation capacity. We are deeply concerned to note that such low quality, dangerous goods are gaining market share on the basis of significantly lower prices, endangering life and property in the country.
Therefore, we urge the relevant authorities to enforce the SLSI quality standards within the local cable and wire manufacturing industry, as a matter of priority and public safety.”
He also said that last year over 89 people died due to burn injuries in a Calcutta hospital and investigations had revealed that it was due to a fire originated by low quality wire.
Source : Dailynews
The improved performance of Ceylon Tea Brokers during the financial year under review compared with the corresponding period the previous year is encouraging as the volatility in the global market continued further. It is a positive sign given that the country produced less tea, which sold at lower auction prices, which has a direct correlation to the earnings of a Tea Broking Company, Ceylon Tea Brokers Executive Director Waruna de Silva told Daily News Business.
The year under review, the company recorded revenue of Rs.185.69 million, compared to Rs. 157.49 million in the previous financial year. While the profit after tax increased by 58 %, from Rs. 36.2 million in the previous year to Rs. 57.26 million in the financial year. The company was also able to record a 26.9 % return to shareholders, he said.
Ceylon Tea Brokers focused mainly on consolidation. This approach has proved as to be a successful endeavor; based on the feedback received from the industry, clients and the regulators. Along with consolidation, the company has also recorded a moderate growth with the Ceylon Tea Brokers market share based on the volume of tea sold increasing from 8.77 % to 9.15 %. In line with the company’s objectives, its market shares in terms of the value of tea sold has grown to 9.51 % during the financial year.
This is of significant importance as it indicates a better quality catalogue, which has always been the aim of Ceylon Tea Brokers on behalf of their clients.
The company continues to focus on providing each factory with detailed attention and close monitoring at all times.
This strategy continues to help clients to not only to increase the quality of tea produced, but the resultant increase in the prices obtained at the auctions and the increase of quantity produced and improved productivity, thereby improving their bottom line as well. The Golden Cup Awards were also held during the year; aimed at recognizing excellence in production. The awards aim to reward those who have achieved superior results during the year, while motivating others to improve their quality and value. Ceylon Tea Brokers continues to remain strong in the Low Grown category and gaining even more clientele from private tea factory owners.
The company’s market share in this sector has grown from 12.50 % to 13.61 % during this year under review, he said.
“This is a demanding end of the business and we are very pleased that more and more individual owners of factories are considering us as the preferred broker for the marketing of their teas. The growth in our profit has been good and we hope to keep up the momentum by further cost consolidation.
"The infrastructure and capacity of the company at present can easily handle a higher volume of tea and considering that the bulk of the costs are fixed, an increase in volume would have a direct impact on the bottom line of the company.
"The growth in profit has been commendable and Ceylon Tea Brokers aims to keep up the momentum by further cost consolidation," de Silva said.
Lanka Ashok Leyland introduced Double Decker buses and air conditioned sleeper coaches at India Show. For over three decades Lanka Ashok Leyland buses have been moving millions of people to their destinations everyday across the island. Close to 26,000 LAL buses keep the wheels of economy turning by providing and creating more and more job opportunities in transport sector.
Interior of air conditioned sleeper coaches
At the opening of India Show, Umesh Gautam, CEO Lanka Ashok Leyland told Daily News “to our customers we are committed to provide best transport solution that offers the best operating economics, while for users of our buses comfort, safety and reliability.
These facts have driven us to the unchallenged market leadership position in passenger segment in Sri Lanka” and Gautam proudly claims that on any road in Sri Lanka you will find nine out of 10 buses are Lanka Ashok Leyland.
From a 24 seater school bus to a 66 seater luxury bus, LAL has an extensive range of buses to fit in almost every requirement of the island.
Gautam further explain that as a part of commitment to provide best and comfortable connectivity between North and South (Jaffna – Colombo) immediately on the opening of A9 highway Lanka Ashok Leyland provided over 50 luxury air conditioned coaches on a heavily subsidised price with air suspensions despite the fact that road condition of the A9 highway was very poor and these were the LAL buses only able to operate in such bad road conditions.
Similarly immediately on the opening of Southern Expressway (Galle-Maharagama) LAL provided most modern luxury AC coaches with air suspension, TV and public address system. All the 29 air conditioned coaches permitted by NTC after strict compliance of the safety requirements, only Lanka Ashok Leyland buses were selected and all the 29 LAL ac coaches were only permitted to operate on the Southern Highway.
To support the government's initiative of the beautification of Galle road, LAL has already introduced ultra low floor air conditioned coaches with air suspension and automatic transmission with provision for easy movements of wheel chairs for disabled passengers. To further ease out traffic congestion at peak hours, LAL has launched 84 seater Double Decker buses.
To further provide comfort to the passengers LAL has launched air condition sleeper coaches (30beds) for overnight travelling and these buses will also provided with toilet facilities.
Source : Dailynews - Srilanka
JAPAN: Tens of thousands of people rallied on Japan’s southern island of Okinawa Sunday against the deployment of US Osprey military aircraft after a series of accidents elsewhere involving the planes.
Protesters demanded the United States and Japan immediately scrap plans to deploy 12 MV-22 Ospreys at the Futenma US base on Okinawa and shut down the Futenma base in the crowded city of Ginowan. The turnout at the main rally was estimated by organisers at more than 100,000. Okinawan media put the number at “tens of thousands”.
RUSSIA: Asia-Pacific leaders will vow Sunday to fight protectionism in an effort to defend the stuttering global economy from the eurozone crisis and multiple other threats.
APEC group, meeting in the Far East Russian city of Vladivostok, includes the world’s three biggest economies -- the United States, China and Japan.
A draft of the statement to be released after their two-day summit and obtained by AFP reflected worries over the impact of Europe’s debt crisis on growth in the APEC region, which accounts for nearly half of all world trade.
“The events in Europe are adversely affecting growth in the region,” it said, although it also welcomed European leaders’ commitment to “take all necessary measures”.
FLORIDA: President Barack Obama was winning laughs at a packed restaurant on the campaign trail Saturday, where he was introduced to a boy born in his home state, Hawaii.
At a bustling eatery Gator’s Dockside, the incumbent president sidled up to a table of 10 people including five children, at which a woman signaled to Obama that one youngster was born in Hawaii. “You were born in Hawaii? You have a birth certificate?” Obama joked to the boy, whose table burst into laughter.
The US president long has been a target of “birther” theorists who have suggested his Hawaii birth certificate was a fake, and he was perhaps ineligible for high office.
Obama took his case Saturday to the most contested part of the biggest swing state, Florida, and told 11,000 people in St Petersburg, “you’ve got a big choice to make” ayhead of the November 6 election against Republican Mitt Romney.
Obama planned to meet with supporters in Melbourne and West Palm Beach as he pursued his strategy of winning over undecided voters in so-called battleground or swing states.
Florida, where the president will be spending his second day, is one of 12 such states, which don’t have a pronounced political preference and whose voters will likely determine the outcome of the November 6 election.
INDIA: A total impasse in India’s parliament is not only
undermining the world’s biggest democracy but also deepening its economic woes
as long-awaited reforms fall by the wayside. A now familiar chorus of
recriminations echoed around the grandiose circular chamber on Friday as the
second of the three annual sessions ended in paralysis.
Faced with MPs from the main opposition BJP party shouting
and waving papers, the parliamentary speaker called an end to proceedings
shortly after midday.
The BJP has been demanding the resignation of beleaguered
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over a scandal involving the awarding of coal
mining concessions in his first term as premier, which has come to be dubbed
Auditors say the concessions were handed out too cheaply and
in a process that lacked transparency -- heaping more embarrassment on the main
ruling Congress party and Singh in particular who was in charge of the coal
ministry at the time.
Once widely admired as the architect of reforms in the 1990s
that transformed the Indian economy, Singh now finds his latest legislative
plans thwarted at every turn. In the latest “monsoon” session which began on
August 8, lawmakers spent just 25 out of a possible 120 hours considering
legislation, according to PRS Legislative Research, a New Delhi-based
independent study group.
Only four bills were cleared by both houses of parliament,
despite as many as 30 being listed for consideration on issues such as
pensions, land acquisition, tax reform and corruption.
“The coal scandal has changed the entire political and
economic complexion of the country,” Arun Kumar, chairman of the Centre for
Economic Studies and Planning in New Delhi, told AFP.
“The victim of this deadlock is the economy which has been stopped
from getting back to growth,” Kumar said adding that lawmakers had unanimously
ignored their “real business” which, is to “pass bills and introduce reforms”.
“They are holding back India’s economic growth story.”
Singh, not normally known for his temper, made a rare outburst to reporters as
he expressed his frustration on Friday afternoon outside parliament.
“We take pride in the fact that since independence we are a
practising, functioning democracy.
What we have seen in this session is a total negation of
that,” said the 79-year-old Congress party veteran.
While few commentators believe the BJP really wants to force
elections before the scheduled date in spring 2014, the Coalgate revelations
have put further wind in their sails at a time when the economy is experiencing
a sharp slowdown.
India’s economy grew by 5.5 percent in the second quarter of
the year against a figure of eight percent over the same period in 2011.
PAKISTAN: A Christian girl accused of blasphemy was released on bail in Pakistan Saturday after spending more than three weeks in jail, in a case that has sparked an international outcry. Rimsha Masih, dressed in a traditional baggy green shirt and dark-green trousers, was seen stepping out of an armoured vehicle before being whisked to a waiting helicopter to be reunited with her family.
Arrested on August 16 under blasphemy laws for allegedly burning papers containing Koranic verses, her plight has attracted sharp condemnation because she is underage, illiterate and said to suffer from learning difficulties.
Paul Bhatti, Pakistan's minister for national harmony whose brother was assassinated last year for calling for the laws to be reformed, confirmed Rimsha's release along with her lawyer Tahir Naveed Chaudhry.
Her bail had been posted at one million rupees ($10,400) -- a huge amount for most Pakistanis.
Chaudhry said two guarantors submitted the surety bond promising that Rimsha would appear back in court when called, with the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance assisting with the paperwork.
Blasphemy is a very sensitive subject in Pakistan, where 97 percent of the 180 million population are Muslims, and allegations of insulting Islam or the prophet Mohammed often prompt a furious public reaction. Insulting the prophet Mohammed is punishable by death and burning a sacred text by life imprisonment.
An official medical report has classified her as “uneducated” and aged 14, but with a mental age younger than her years.
Rimsha's case took a dramatic development when a cleric who had accused her was arrested last week for allegedly planting evidence against her and on charges of himself desecrating the Koran.
Unlike in previous blasphemy cases, no Muslim clerics, political or religious parties have organised demonstrations against Rimsha.
A prominent Muslim cleric said his All Pakistan Ulema Council was prepared to offer Rimsha protection if necessary and called for a fair trial for all involved.
“All those who staged this drama and were active behind the scenes should be punished and brought to justice,” the cleric, Tahir Ashrafi, told AFP.
“We want a fair trial of this case,” Ashrafi said.
After her arrest in a poor Islamabad suburb, Rimsha had been held in the same jail as the convicted killer of politician Salman Tasser, murdered outside a coffee shop by his bodyguard because he called for a reform to blasphemy laws. Rights groups say Rimsha should never have been held in the first place. They have called on Pakistan to reform its blasphemy legislation, saying it is too often abused to settle personal vendettas.
IRAN: Iran on Sunday hit out at talk of more EU sanctions being applied against it as “irresponsible,” singling out Britain for raising the prospect it claimed went against UN nuclear watchdog regulations.
Foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast issued a statement relayed by state broadcaster IRIB calling Western sanctions “ineffective” and “obsolete.” He was reacting to comments made by EU foreign ministers, meeting in Cyprus on Saturday, who said a “growing consensus” was forming to impose new punitive measures on Iran to pressure it further to make concessions on its disputed nuclear programme.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague said after the meeting that existing EU sanctions were having “a serious impact” but it was “necessary to increase the pressure on Iran, to intensify sanctions.” Britain would urge EU governments to agree a new round of sanctions -- targeting the energy sector and trade -- at the next meeting of EU foreign ministers in mid-October, a diplomatic source at the meeting told
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
There’s a reason why 50 Cent wears a bulletproof vest everywhere he goes. Hell, you would too if you survived being shot nine times, which the Honorable Master Cent was back in 2000. Shot 9 times (!) at close range with a 9MM in front of his grandma’s house, in the hand, arm, hip, both legs, chest and face, somehow 50 Cent and a friend of his, who was also shot in the melee, managed to drive themselves to a hospital, where 50 stayed for 13 days, emerging alive and with a new record contract. Naturally, the whole experience gave 50 a new perspective on life, and he used it to both fuel and inspire his rise to the top. Sure, the dude ended up with a small slur and a whole hell of a lot of scars, but he also ended up with a reputation for being a hard ass and with a hell of a story to build his career on. The gunman ended up getting killed himself only a few weeks later, 50 went on to fame and fortune and the Grandma ended up starring in the role of Steven Tyler on American Idol, so I guess it all worked out in the end.
People get shot every day. But since we are a country of star worshippers and spend our days and nights furiously arguing over whatever dumbass story is headlining all the tabloids that week, we don’t really care. Unless, of course, the shooting victim just so happens to be one of those famous folk who get us all hot and bothered. Then we just can’t get enough of it. Of course, most of the time, these shootings result in death and then the crocodile tears flow and everyone and their mother tries to shove their fat faces onto the news for their fifteen minutes of fame. But sometimes, the famous shooting victim actually survives, and it is to these men of steel that this list is devoted. The only thing they all have in common – well, besides their fame – is that they were all shot and lived to tell about it. This is a broad cross section of the famous and infamous. I’ve tried to include all different kinds of famous folk. Otherwise this whole article could just be one long list of rappers. And with all that said, here are eleven famous people who were shot and lived to tell about it.
Pope John Paul II was beloved by millions – hell, billions – around the world. But that didn’t stop a Turkish gunman from trying to assassinate the holy man during a speech in St. Peter’s Square in 1981. Shot in the stomach, the Pope lost ¾ of his blood and underwent five hours of emergency surgery. He miraculously survived and went on to become a much beloved figure throughout the world. His would-be assassin, however, was whipped up on by a nun (!) and restrained by various bystanders until the cops hauled him off to prison, where he was visited by the Pope in 1983, who met privately with the man, claimed that he forgave him and told people that he had his complete trust, which honestly is some of the most gangster shit I’ve ever heard. The nun would go on to win the WWE Women’s title a record 17 times.
Bob Marley, legendary Jamaican singer, activist and humanitarian, was shot in a terrifying attack on his home by gunmen in 1976, only two days before a concert organized by the Jamaican Prime Minister in order to ease tensions between warring political groups. Marley’s wife and manager were both seriously wounded in the attack and Marley himself received minor wounds in the chest and arm. Despite all this, Bob went on to play that concert, claiming “The people who are trying to make this world worse aren’t taking a day off. How can I?” Think about that the next time you want to knock off work early to chill at the beach. Of course, I’m guessing that Bob had some help fighting through the pain thanks to some, uh, special medicine.
Yeah, yeah, I know that Tupac didn’t survive being shot in 1996. But he did survive an earlier shooting. In 1994, the day before the verdict was set to be announced in his sexual assault trial, Tupac was shot five times, including twice in the head, twice in the groin and once through the arm and thigh. Incredibly, only three hours after surgery, Tupac checked out of the hospital against doctor’s orders and showed up at his trial in a wheelchair where he was found guilty of three counts of molestation but innocent of six others, including sodomy, so, uh, thank goodness for small miracles, I guess. The gunman was never officially identified, but Tupac reportedly blamed Sean Combs, better known as Puff Daddy, P. Diddy, and a million other stupid names and Biggie Smalls for the assassination attempt. I’m guessing that they all later worked out their issues and became the best of friends. Right? Right???
Theodore Roosevelt was a huge badass. And nothing illustrates that more than the following story. In 1912, while campaigning for President as the candidate of his newly formed Bull Moose Party, Roosevelt was shot in the chest by a saloon keeper before a speech in Milwaukee. The bullet was slowed by Roosevelt’s steel eyeglass case and his thick, folded up fifty page speech, before it lodged itself in his chest. Roosevelt, an experienced hunter, realized that since he wasn’t coughing up blood, the bullet hadn’t reached his lungs and so he said to hell with it and decided to give the whole ninety minute speech anyway even though he had blood seeping into his shirt. Goddamn! His opening comments to the crowd were “Ladies and gentlemen, I don’t know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot; but it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose.” Indeed. Look, I don’t even have a joke here. Just read that over again and try not to be in awe of the badass that was Theodore Roosevelt.
Warhol, the pop-art icon perhaps most famous for his quote that in the future, everyone would be famous for fifteen minutes, was shot in 1968 by an associate of his named Valerie Solanas. Solanas was apparently pissed because Warhol failed to return to her a script she had given him. Warhol said that he lost the script and told her to GTFO. She did, only to come back with a gun and open fire. Warhol nearly died from the attack and would be affected physically for the rest of his life. But he did survive, while Solanas was sent to prison. For only three years.
Yes, that’s right, Valerie Solanas and Plaxico Burress served almost the same amount of time, even though one, you know, almost killed a dude on purpose. Of course, it helped that she was declared nuts, which shouldn't have been that hard since she was already known as a militant feminist who advocated the extermination of the entire male gender and the creation of an all-female society. In view of that, it’s kind of surprising that she didn't cut Warhol’s dick off after the shooting and wear it around her neck as a trophy. I guess he was thankful for small miracles because he refused to testify against her. The whole affair was later immortalized in the film I Shot Andy Warhol, which ironically only received two minutes of fame.
The Gipper was shot in 1981 by John Hinckley, Jr. in an attempt to impress actress Jodie Foster. Yes, that is probably the weirdest and most random sentence in this article. Reagan went on to survive the attack even though he was reportedly near death while in the hospital while Hinckley went on to marry Jodie Foster and live on a rainbow. At least in his own mind. Reagan would later say that God spared his life so he could fulfill a greater purpose, like selling illegal arms to Nicaraguan rebels or absentmindedly sucking on jellybeans in the Oval Office. But none of that really matters. What matters is that the whole affair became a part of Reagan’s legacy, one more reason his devotees loved him and thought that he was specially chosen by God to lead America back to glory following the depressing ‘70s.
Sadly for Rodney King, it turns out that no, we can’t all get along. Or at least no one can get along with him. After being infamously beaten down by a gang of overzealous cops – which ended up even more famously leading to the L.A. riots of 1992 – King went on to be arrested for everything from hitting his wife with his car to driving yet another car into a house. But that was all just the prelude to a mysterious shooting in 2007. While riding home on his bicycle (at least they finally took his rampaging car away from him) King was apparently shot in the face, arms and back by pellets from a shotgun. King claimed that it was done by a man and a woman who were trying to bike-jack him and then shot him when he rode away. Maybe ol’ Rodney thought he was surrounded by some sort of invisible force-field when he rode away. How else do you explain him thinking that he’d be fine if he just casually pedaled away from a dude holding a shotgun? In any event, Rodney King should probably just hang out at home more often, you know? Then again, he’d probably get knifed by his dog or something.
Undoubtedly the funniest shooting on this list, Burress, a star wide receiver for the New York Giants, was shot in 2008 by . . . well, by himself. Naturally, as happens to everyone at some point in their life, Burress found himself out at the club when his gun started slipping from the waist of his sweatpants. Like I said, happens to everyone, right? He then reached for the gun, accidentally pulled the trigger and shot himself in the thigh. The injuries were minor – Burress only spent one day in the hospital – but the fallout was major. Oh, and also completely ridiculous. For the crime of being a dumbass, Burress was sent to prison for a couple of years, while everyone in America took turns mocking him and shaking their head at the severity of the punishment. Recently released from prison, Burress plans on resuming his football career, but no matter what happens to him for the rest of his life – well, short of an OJesque post career episode anyway – when people think of him they will always think of the time he shot himself in a club because he was dumb enough to stick a loaded handgun into his sweatpants. Well done, Plax. Well done.
Before Lance Armstrong, there was Greg LeMond, who won the Tour de France in 1986, becoming the first American to win the famed race. But in 1987, LeMond’s legacy almost took a frightening turn when he was accidentally shot in the back with a shotgun by his brother in law while turkey hunting.
LeMond somehow managed to survive even though he would go on to spend the rest of his career with 37 shotgun pellets lodged in his body, including two in the lining of his heart. That’s remarkable enough, but what’s even more remarkable is that LeMond would go on to win twice more at the Tour de France, claiming back to back titles in 1989 and ’90. And let’s not forget, he did all that with a bunch of buckshot buried in his back. Lance Armstrong had to lose a testicle. Greg LeMond had to get shot. What will happen to the next American who wins the Tour de France? Will he fall victim to hysterical blindness? Have his dick chopped off by an enraged Frenchman? I hear that does make you more aerodynamic, but still, the trend that’s been established by LeMond and Armstrong is kind of disturbing.
The "Mad Men" star gives sexy curves a whole new meaning on the cover of New York mag in Feb. 2010.
“It might sound silly,” she says. “But I didn’t realize I was so different. I was just oblivious. Sometimes I would go on an audition and someone would say something like, Girl, you’re refreshing! That was it.”