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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 110964 times)
Swamprat
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« Reply #4545 on: Jul 14th, 2011, 4:24pm »

Well, I spent the week in Washington and got trigger happy with the camera.

Also had the honor of visiting the new Marine Corps Museum at Quantico:

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« Reply #4546 on: Jul 15th, 2011, 07:59am »

on Jul 14th, 2011, 4:24pm, Swamprat wrote:
Well, I spent the week in Washington and got trigger happy with the camera.

Also had the honor of visiting the new Marine Corps Museum at Quantico:

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Fantastic Swamp!

The Marine Museum looks wonderful. Thank you for sharing the photos. The shape of the building looks almost like a sail.

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« Reply #4547 on: Jul 15th, 2011, 08:02am »

Bitsie is home and chugging along very well. It was a gastro-intestinal inflammation. They don't know how they get them. Doesn't seem to be chronic. But I'll be watching her from now on. One little sneeze and she's away to the Vet. She didn't want her chicken broth this morning. She doesn't get solids until this afternoon. She turned her nose up at the broth and went and piled into bed with Alan. Snotty little dog. grin

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« Reply #4548 on: Jul 15th, 2011, 08:05am »

New York Times

U.S. Formally Recognizes Libya Rebels
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: July 15, 2011 at 8:47 AM ET

ISTANBUL (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says the Obama administration has decided to formally recognize Libya's main opposition group as the country's legitimate government. The move gives foes of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi a major financial and credibility boost.

Clinton announced Friday that Washington accepts the Transitional National Council as the legitimate governing authority of the Libyan people. Diplomatic recognition of the council means that the U.S. will be able to fund the opposition with some of the more than $30 billion in Gahdafi-regime assets that are frozen in American banks.

Clinton made the announcement at an international conference on Libya in Istanbul.

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2011/07/15/world/europe/AP-EU-US-Libya.html?_r=1&hp

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« Reply #4549 on: Jul 15th, 2011, 08:09am »

Guardian

Indonesian volcano erupts
Thousands of residents evacuated from slopes of Mount Lokon in Sulawesi province

Associated Press
guardian.co.uk, Friday 15 July 2011 07.37 BST

A volcano in central Indonesia has sent thousands of residents fleeing from their homes as it spit lava and ash high into the air. One woman died of a heart attack, but no other casualties were reported.

Mount Lokon, located in northern Sulawesi province, unleashed its first powerful eruption at 10:46pm on Thursday, said Brian Rulrone, a disaster management agency official. That eruption was followed by a second just after midnight and a third at 1:10am on Friday.

Lava cascaded from the mouth of the crater, triggering forest fires along its western slope, according to Ferry Rusmawan, an official at the nearest monitoring post, who said activity remained high and another eruption appeared imminent.

The 1,750m (5,741ft) mountain continued to rumble late on Friday morning.

Soldiers and police helped rescuers evacuate residents living along the mountain's fertile slopes, said Jimmy Eman, the acting mayor in the nearby town of Tomohon. He said the only victim so far was the 56-year-old woman who died of a heart attack.

More than 6,000 people were crammed into schools, churches and other temporary shelters. Authorities said 27,000 others living within two miles (3.5km) of the crater also would be moved.

"This is the largest eruption I've ever experienced," said Nelson Uada, who was among those evacuated overnight. "It was very scary. Glowing lava flowed like flames in the darkness and it sounded like we were in a war."

Flights to the nearest international airport in Manado, the provincial capital, were not disrupted, said Lucky Podaag, an airport spokesman.

Indonesia's vast archipelago of 240 million people is prone to earthquakes and volcanoes because it sits along the Pacific Ring of Fire, a horseshoe-shaped string of faults that lines the Pacific Ocean.

Mount Lokon, which has been on high alert for nearly a week, is one of the country's 129 active volcanos. Its last major eruption in 1991 killed a Swiss hiker and forced thousands of people to flee their homes.

Video after the jump
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jul/15/indonesian-volcano-erupts

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« Reply #4550 on: Jul 15th, 2011, 08:16am »

Wired Science

Endangered Snow Leopards Caught on Camera in Afghanistan
By Danielle Venton
July 14, 2011 | 5:19 pm
Categories: Animals


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Images: Wildlife Conservation Society


A surprisingly healthy population of rare snow leopards has been caught on camera in the wilds of Afghanistan. Researchers spotted 30 snow leopards in 16 different locations by placing camera traps in the mountains of northeastern Afghanistan’s Wakhan Corridor.

Snow leopards are threatened by poaching for their fur, the illegal pet trade and shepherds, but researchers with the Wildlife Conservation Society said they were pleasantly surprised by the number of cats they found.


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“This is a wonderful discovery – it shows that there is real hope for snow leopards in Afghanistan,” said Peter Zahler, Deputy Director for Asia Programs, in a press release. “Now our goal is to ensure that these magnificent animals have a secure future as a key part of Afghanistan’s natural heritage.”

Conservationists estimate between 4,500 and 7,500 wild snow leopards still live in the remote mountains of Central Asia. Tourism, paired with conservation, they write, could boost both the local economy and the snow leopard’s chances of survival. The Wakhan Corridor, linking Afghanistan and China, is a historical trading route and one of the few peaceful places in Afghanistan. Its people have largely escaped the conflict and strife found elsewhere.

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/07/snow-leopards-on-camera/

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« Reply #4551 on: Jul 15th, 2011, 08:21am »

LA Times

Head of Murdoch's British operations quits

Rebekah Brooks, one of Britain's most influential women, resigns amid the growing phone-hacking scandal.

By Henry Chu
Los Angeles Times
2:51 AM PDT, July 15, 2011
Reporting from London

Rebekah Brooks, the head of Rupert Murdoch's British operations, resigned Friday after days of intensifying pressure on her because of the growing phone-hacking scandal.

One of the most influential women in Britain until the scandal broke wide open last week, Brooks said in a statement that she was stepping down as chief executive of News International because she had become a "focal point" in the scandal and therefore a distraction to efforts to repair the damage.

"I feel a deep sense of responsibility for the people we have hurt and I want to reiterate how sorry I am for what we now know to have taken place," Brooks wrote to her colleagues at News International.

The company is the British subsidiary of Murdoch's giant News Corp. and owns such storied titles as the Times of London and the Sun tabloid. Until this past Sunday, the weekly News of the World, Britain's bestselling newspaper, was also one of the company's holdings. But News International abruptly shut it down after 168 years of existence because of allegations that it ordered the hacking of cellphones belonging to a wide swath of British society, including celebrities, politicians and crime victims.

Political leaders and commentators have been calling for Brooks' resignation for days, demanding that she take responsibility for the phone-hacking scandal, which has dominated headlines here for more than a week.

"At News International we pride ourselves on setting the news agenda for the right reasons. Today we are leading the news for the wrong ones," Brooks wrote.

The most explosive phone-hacking accusation emerged last week: that a private investigator hired by the paper illegally accessed and deleted voicemail messages belonging to a kidnapped girl named Milly Dowler in 2002. The 13-year-old was later found slain, but the deleted messages had given her family false hope that she was still alive, because they thought she erased the messages herself.

Brooks was editor of the News of the World at the time of the incident.

James Murdoch, Rupert Murdoch's son and the chairman of News International, thanked Brooks for her 22 years of service and acknowledged the difficulties the company now faces.

"The company has made mistakes. It is not only receiving appropriate scrutiny, but is also responding to unfair attacks by setting the record straight," the younger Murdoch wrote.

Both Murdochs and also Brooks are to appear before a parliamentary committee next Tuesday to answer questions about the scandal, which has triggered a wave of national outrage over journalistic tactics, political timidity toward the Murdoch media empire and police relationships with the media.

Although the calls for Brooks' resignation have been almost universal in Britain -- even Prime Minister David Cameron, a friend of Brooks', eventually said she ought to step down -- it was unclear whether Rupert Murdoch would allow it to happen.

Some commentators have said that Murdoch looks on Brooks as almost a daughter and has been one of her biggest boosters. She is also close to James Murdoch and his sister, Elisabeth.

James Murdoch said that Tom Mockridge, the chief executive officer of Sky Italia, would replace Brooks.


http://www.latimes.com/news/la-fgw-brooks-murdoch-20110716,0,7933229.story

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« Reply #4552 on: Jul 15th, 2011, 08:28am »

Hollywood Reporter

'Rise of the Planet of the Apes' Simians Stage Uprising Over Carmageddon (Video)

A viral video promoting Fox's upcoming event pic hits the web.
9:32 PM 7/14/2011
by Pamela McClintock

The apes aren’t happy about Carmageddon, either.

In a clever marketing move, a viral video making its rounds on the Internet shows apes from 20th Century Fox’s upcoming event pic Rise of the Planet of the Apes protesting this weekend’s closure of the 405.

The closure, between the 101 and 10 freeways, is expected to cause massive freeway congestion. Sirius XM has devoted a whole channel to Carmageddon, while JetBlue offered $4 flights between Burbank and Long Beach on Saturday that sold out within hours.

Video after the jump
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/rise-planet-apes-simians-stage-211449

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« Reply #4553 on: Jul 15th, 2011, 08:32am »

Geeky Gadgets

Otterbox Unveil 3 New HTC EVO 3D Cases
By Julian Horsey on Friday 15th July 2011 1:31 pm in Gadgets, Mobile Phones


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Otterbox has unveiled three new cases it has just launched to help HTC EVO 3D owners keep their device safe, with the introduction of the Defender, Commuter and Impact cases. All three offer slightly different levels of protection and style to your HTC EVO 3D smartphone.

The Defender Series for HTC EVO 3D is perfect for people who need hardcore protection, while the Commuter Series for HTC EVO 3D is a slim case that offers a high quality safeguard against harmful bumps and shocks.

more photos after the jump
http://www.geeky-gadgets.com/otterbox-unveil-3-new-htc-evo-3d-cases-15-07-2011/#more-86656

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« Reply #4554 on: Jul 15th, 2011, 10:13pm »

Extreme Heat Expected to Surge Throughout Midwest, Eastern U.S. States

Published July 15, 2011
FoxNews.com

The National Weather Service is predicting another blast of hot weather across the country, sending temperatures in midwest and eastern states well above 100, and adding misery to states such as Texas and Oklahoma -- already suffering record droughts.

"The stage is being set for a massive heat wave to develop into next week as a large area of high pressure is anticipated to circulate hot and humid air over much of the central and eastern U.S.," read a bulletin posted on the National Weather Service's website. "Maximum heat index values of at least 100°F are likely across much of this area by the middle of next week, with heat index values in excess of 110°F possible over portions of these areas."

In drought-stricken Oklahoma, Gov. Mary Fallin has issued an outdoor burning ban for the western half of the state in a move to lessen the risk of wildfires.

"The power of prayer is a wonderful thing, and I would ask every Oklahoman to look to a greater power this weekend and ask for rain," Fallin said in a news release Thursday.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry, anticipating droughts in his state, called on Texans earlier this year to pray for rain, Reuters reports.

A U.S. Drought Monitor reading on Tuesday showed that nearly 73 percent of Texas was experiencing the worst possible drought conditions, with 43 percent experiencing the same in Oklahoma.

“The most extreme heat is going to be in the Plains; that’s the area where it is going to be in the 100s,” said Mike Pigott, a AccuWeather meteorologist, to Bloomberg.

Higher-than-normal temperatures could stretch from Salt Lake City to New York, Pigott added, noting that Omaha, Nebraska is expected to reach 98 degrees this weekend -- 12 degrees above it's normal high.

Temperatures in the city of Tulsa, Okla., have not dropped below 90 since May 31, and have topped the 100-degree mark for 11 of the past 17 days, Bloomberg reports.
In Texas, the ongoing drought has produced a cruelly ironic twist: cattle dying from too much water.

Agriculture officials in parched Texas said Wednesday there are no hard numbers on how many head of cattle have died but reports of deaths from too much water or too little are showing up across the nation's leading cattle production state.

"They over drink because they're thirsty," said Dr. Robert Sprowls of the Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory in Amarillo. "Once they fill up on water it happens pretty quickly."

Producers are losing cattle after moving them from withered pastures where water tanks have dried up. Once in new pastures, cattle that die take in too much water too quickly. The animals die within minutes and their carcasses are found near the stock tanks from which they were drinking, Ted McCollum, a beef cattle specialist with Texas AgriLife Extension Service in Amarillo, said.

Texas is coming off its driest nine-month period ever and its hottest June on record. More than 90 percent of the state is in the two most severe drought stages. The cattle deaths are occurring earlier, in part because of lack of forage growth in pastures.

As with humans, water intoxication can occur when there's too much water in the body, which disrupts electrolyte balance in cells and can result in death.

The situation isn't likely to improve any time soon. Weather forecasters predict the drought in Texas won't diminish until at least the end of September. Ranchers, many of whom are culling their herds, are either providing supplemental fed to their cattle or taking them to other states to graze.

As the drought intensifies in central U.S. states, rain is expected next week from Louisiana to South Carolina, climatologists told Reuters. But 75 percent of Georgia, 50 percent of Florida and close to 40 percent of Alabama were under severe drought this week.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/07/15/extreme-heat-expected-to-continue-throughout-central-eastern-us-states/#ixzz1SEYmiigU
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« Reply #4555 on: Jul 16th, 2011, 08:09am »

Thanks for that article Swamprat. Drink water, water, water. And don't jog in the middle of the day. People did that in Phoenix and I could never figure out why.

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« Reply #4556 on: Jul 16th, 2011, 08:14am »

New York Times

July 15, 2011
Foreclosure Protesters in Spain’s Cities Now Go Door to Door
By SUZANNE DALEY

MADRID — When the police arrived recently to evict María José del Coto Maeso, 53, they found the street in front of her ground-floor apartment crowded with protesters, and they retreated.

“It was a day that for many people would have been depressing,” Ms. del Coto said afterward. “But for me it turned out to be a day of privilege. I met all these marvelous people. And I was very grateful.”

The young demonstrators who camped out by the thousands in Spain’s major city squares for much of May and June, protesting government corruption and an economy that has left them jobless, have mostly gone home.

But the movement has produced an army of volunteers who are making their presence felt in the tangled world of Spain’s foreclosure system — perhaps the harshest in Europe — which usually leaves former homeowners in debt for the rest of their lives.

Organizing the protest in front of Ms. del Coto’s modest home was Eloi Morte, 28, who was juggling several cellphones. Mr. Morte, a flight attendant, decided to help block evictions after he attended a neighborhood meeting organized by the protesters who had occupied the Puerta del Sol, the city’s central square.

“This was something very concrete that I could do,” he said. “I wanted to see results, not just vague protests against the financial establishment, the banks. I wanted to do something constructive.”

Spain, like the United States, experienced a huge housing boom that came to a crashing halt in 2008. As the economy stalled, unemployment rates soared to the highest in the European Union, hovering at 40 percent for young people — who until recently seemed apathetic. That changed on May 15, when young people began congregating across the country in peaceful protests that lasted weeks in some cities.

Now some of those protesters are using their Internet savvy to gather crowds on behalf of beleaguered homeowners. Hundreds of protesters are showing up at threatened evictions like Ms. del Coto’s. They are getting press coverage as never before — and, some say, results.

Since June, about 30 evictions have been blocked, according to a nonprofit housing advocacy group known by its initials, P.A.H. — more than twice the rate than before. And eviction protests are taking place in more cities.

This month, the government and the opposition in Parliament, no doubt looking toward elections next year, issued statements saying they would overhaul the foreclosure laws.

“We are proud that today our demands have become a popular clamor,” said Ada Colau, a human rights lawyer with P.A.H. “This has forced the government to react, despite the pressure from the banks.”

When Spanish mortgage debtors cannot make their payments, Spanish law denies them two ways out that are common elsewhere: they cannot simply hand the keys back to the bank and walk away, and they cannot discharge their debt in bankruptcy. They remain personally liable for the full amount of the loan after foreclosure, and when penalty and interest charges and tens of thousands of dollars in court fees are counted, they can end up on the street facing a mountain of debt.

Housing advocates would like to see Spain move to a system that more resembles that of the United States. But the new proposals do not go nearly that far. Most are meant only to ease the current conditions. For instance, banks would still be allowed to take a percentage of a debtor’s salary, but not quite so large a percentage. Similarly, if no one appears at a foreclosure auction and the bank buys the property itself, it will have to pay 60 percent of market value, up from 50 percent under current law.

Still, housing advocates say the proposals are a start.

Santos González Sánchez, the president of a lender’s trade group, the Spanish Mortgage Association, says some of the proposals are not well thought out and that the issues need further study. He dismisses the protesters as “more anecdotal than effective.”

There were about 94,000 foreclosures in Spain last year, nearly four times the number for 2007. It can take more than a year to evict the occupants after a foreclosure, and banks sometimes agree to lease the homes back to their former owners.

The excesses in real estate and banking here were profound, with banks lending at an astonishing pace, often to customers who were poor risks and did not understand the fine print. People who signed mortgages as guarantors were often surprised to realize that they could lose everything they owned.

Ms. del Coto guaranteed a loan for a partner who has since left her and her children, including a disabled 26-year-old son who fell from a window as a toddler. She said she was looking for work as a maid again, but had not found any. Nor does she have a place to move if she is turned out of the tidy home she has been in for 25 years.

The protests block the evictions only temporarily. Advocates say that when the police and other officials involved in the eviction see the crowds, they usually walk away. It takes at least a month to organize another eviction effort, they said, and sometimes much longer.

Mr. Morte said the protesters hoped that in the meantime the bank would be persuaded to rent the house to Ms. del Coto at a price she could afford.

“That is our hope with all of these protests,” he said, “that a negotiation can keep people from being put out on the street.”

Rachel Chaundler contributed reporting.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/16/world/europe/16spain.html?_r=1&ref=world

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« Reply #4557 on: Jul 16th, 2011, 08:14am »

be back in a bit.............


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« Reply #4558 on: Jul 16th, 2011, 12:06pm »

Wired Threat Level

Court OKs Airport Body Scanners, Rejects Constitutional Challenge
By David Kravets
July 15, 2011 | 11:58 am
Categories: 'nude' airport body scanners, The Courts

A federal appeals court on Friday unanimously declined to block the government from using intrusive body scanners across airports nationwide, saying it is “not persuaded by any of the statutory or constitutional arguments” against them.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit was deciding a constitutional and procedural challenge to the Advanced Imaging Technology “nude” body scanners, which began rolling out in 2007 and are deployed to at least 78 airports nationwide. The Electronic Privacy Information Center asked the court to block usage of the devices — of which 500 more are to be rolled out this year — on grounds that they are an unconstitutional privacy invasion, ineffective and unhealthy to airline passengers.

“The petitioners argue that using AIT for primary screening violates the Fourth Amendment because it is more invasive than is necessary to detect weapons or explosives,” the appeals court noted. “As other circuits have held, and as the Supreme Court has strongly suggested, screening passengers at an airport is an ‘administrative search’ because the primary goal is not to determine whether any passenger has committed a crime but rather to protect the public from a terrorist attack.”

The court said that, whether an administrative search is unreasonable, is a balancing test on how much it intrudes upon an individual’s privacy, and how much that intrusion is needed for the promotion of “legitimate” government interests.

“That balance clearly favors the government here,” the court ruled 3-0. The court added that an “AIT scanner, unlike a magnetometer, is capable of detecting, and therefore of deterring, attempts to carry aboard explosives in liquid powder form.” The three-judge appellate panel did not address limited research suggesting that the machines might not detect explosives or even guns taped to a person’s body.

However, the appellate court, which is one stop from the Supreme Court, said that the Transportation Security Administration breached federal law in 2009 when it formally adopted the airport scanners as the “primary” method of screening. The judges said the TSA violated the Administrative Procedures Act for failing to have a 90-day public comment period, and ordered the agency to undertake one.

Generally, under the APA, agency decisions must go through what is often termed a “notice and comment” period if their new rules would substantially affect the rights of the public — in this case air passengers. The Environmental Protection Agency often undertakes “notice and comment” periods for proposed pollution regulations.

The court did not penalize the TSA for its shortcomings. The TSA argued to the court in March that a public comment period would thwart the government’s ability to respond to “ever-evolving threats.”

Judge Douglas Ginsburg, writing for the majority, said the TSA must allow for the 90-day notice-and-comment period because of the new “substantive obligations” on airline passengers.

“It is clear that by producing an image of the unclothed passenger, an AIT scanner intrudes upon his or her personal privacy in a way a magnetometer does not. Therefore, regardless whether this is a ‘new substantive burden,’ the change substantively affects the public to a degree sufficient to implicate the policy interests animating notice-and-comment rulemaking, Ginsburg wrote.

“Indeed, few if any regulatory procedures impose directly and significantly upon so many members of the public. Not surprisingly, therefore, much public concern and media coverage have been focused upon issues of privacy, safety, and efficacy, each of which no doubt would have been the subject of many comments had the TSA seen fit to solicit comments upon a proposal to use AIT for primary screening.”

The court declined to address whether the TSA could have skirted the notice-and-comment under a so-called “good cause exception.” That allows agencies to bypass public input when it is “impractical, unnecessary or contrary to the public interest.”

Despite the TSA breach, the court would not stop scanner usage. Doing so, Ginsburg wrote, would “severely disrupt an essential security operation.”

Marc Rotenberg, the president of EPIC, the group that brought the challenge, said the decision means the “TSA is now subject to the same rules as other government agencies that help ensure transparency and accountability.”

He said “Many Americans object to the airport body scanner program. Now they will have an opportunity to express their views to the TSA and the agency must take their views into account as a matter of law.”

That said, the court acknowledged “the steps the TSA has already taken to protect passenger privacy, in particular distorting the image created using AIT and deleting it as soon as the passenger has cleared.” During oral arguments in the case in March, Department of Justice lawyer Beth Brinkmann said the government is moving toward adopting new technology that produces a broad outline of a passenger instead of a virtual nude image.

Regarding health concerns, “the agency has commissioned two studies of the safety of the scanners,” Ginsburg wrote. The judge added that the studies — which were not generally accepted in the scientific community — concluded that “the scanners emit levels of radiation well within acceptable limits.”

Ginsburg added that the scanners are optional. “More telling, any passenger may opt-out of AIT screening in favor of a patdown,” he wrote. Ginsburg’s ruling did not address accusations that passengers opting for a patdown are often groped or harassed by TSA security officials.

Joining Ginsburg were Judges Karen Henderson and David Tatel.

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2011/07/court-approves-body-scanners/

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« Reply #4559 on: Jul 16th, 2011, 12:09pm »

BBC

16 July 2011 Last updated at 12:57 ET
Obama holds talks with Dalai Lama despite China protest

US President Barack Obama is holding talks with the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, despite strong criticism from China.

China's foreign ministry earlier urged Mr Obama to cancel the White House engagement.

The private discussion was intended to show Mr Obama's support for Tibet's identity, the White House said.

Mr Obama's last meeting with the Dalai Lama in February 2010 also drew strong condemnation from Beijing.

An aide to the Dalai Lama said the talks - which were expected to last half an hour - were held in the Map Room rather than the Oval Office, which is traditionally reserved for visiting heads of state.

Announcing the meeting earlier, the White House said in a statement: "This meeting underscores the president's strong support for the preservation of Tibet's unique religious, cultural and linguistic identity and the protection of human rights for Tibetans.

"The president will highlight his enduring support for dialogue between the Dalai Lama's representatives and the Chinese government to resolve differences."

It comes just hours before the Dalai Lama is scheduled to leave Washington at the end of an 11-day Buddhist ritual.

China had warned the US not to receive the Dalai Lama, saying that Mr Obama "could harm US-Chinese relations" if the talks went ahead.

A Chinese foreign ministry statement said: "We firmly oppose any senior foreign government officials meeting with the Dalai Lama in any way."

The White House has not commented on Beijing's displeasure.

The Chinese authorities have long vilified the Dalai Lama as a "splittist", although he has repeatedly stated that his goal is for meaningful Tibetan autonomy rather than independence.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-14174944

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