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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 98291 times)
WingsofCrystal
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« Reply #4740 on: Aug 6th, 2011, 06:34am »

S&P Downgrades U.S. Credit Rating From AAA

That's okay, Congress and the White House will go on vacation and all's right with the world, right?

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« Reply #4741 on: Aug 6th, 2011, 06:38am »

New York Times

August 6, 2011
China, a Big Creditor, Says U.S. Has Only Itself to Blame
By REUTERS

One of America’s biggest creditors, the Chinese government, said Saturday that the United States had only itself to blame for losing its top-tier AAA credit rating from Standard & Poor’s.

Beijing also used the downgrade to again call for a new stable global reserve currency.

“The U.S. government has to come to terms with the painful fact that the good old days when it could just borrow its way out of messes of its own making are finally gone,” China’s official news agency, Xinhua, said in a harshly worded commentary.

The S.&P. cut in the America’s long-term credit rating by a notch to AA-plus resulted from concerns about the nation’s budget deficits and climbing debt burden. The move is likely to eventually raise borrowing costs for the federal government, companies and consumers.

By calling the outlook “negative,” S.&.P signaled another downgrade is possible in the next 12 to 18 months.

Worries that the United States was slipping into recession and the euro zone debt crisis was spreading drove a week-long rout in which $2.5 trillion was wiped off global markets.

China roundly condemned the United States for its “debt addiction” and “short-sighted” political wrangling and said the world needed a new stable global reserve currency.

“China, the largest creditor of the world’s sole superpower, has every right now to demand the United States address its structural debt problems and ensure the safety of China’s dollar assets,” the Xinhua commentary said.

It urged the United States to cut military and social welfare expenditure. It also said further credit downgrades would very likely undermine the world economic recovery and trigger new rounds of financial turmoil.

“International supervision over the issue of U.S. dollars should be introduced and a new, stable and secured global reserve currency may also be an option to avert a catastrophe caused by any single country,” Xinhua said.

The business minister of Britain, Vince Cable, backed China’s call for a new stable global reserve currency but said that for the moment the U.S. dollar remained key.

“This argument’s been around a long time and it would be a sensible way for the world to move but it’s not something we’re going to do overnight,” Mr. Cable told BBC TV.

Mr. Cable has been a vocal critic of the Congress’s protracted arguments to agree a deficit-cutting deal and had warned Washington’s sovereign debt rating was at risk.

“In the short run, the United States dollar is the key international currency and although, frankly, the American legislators made a terrible mess of things a few weeks ago, they have now got back on track, they have undertaken to manage their debt in a prudent way,” he said.

The S.&P. blamed in part the political gridlock in Washington, saying politics was preventing the United States from addressing its deficit and debt problems.

In France, the economy minister, François Baroin, said Paris had “total confidence” in the solidity of the American economy.

“Standard & Poor’s rating is only one element in the appreciation of the United States financial situation,” Mr. Baroin said. “I note that the two other key agencies — Moody’s and Fitch - confirmed the triple-A rating. It raises questions on taking a decision on the basis of figures which were not consensual.”

For Mr. Baroin, the move “confirmed that all major developed countries today are faced with the same priorities: bolster growth and reduce public and private debt.”


http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/07/business/global/china-a-big-creditor-says-us-has-only-itself-to-blame.html?_r=1&hp

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« Reply #4742 on: Aug 6th, 2011, 06:44am »

LA Times

Chopper crash kills 31 U.S. troops, 7 Afghans

The helicopter downing, possibly by a rocket-propelled grenade, is the largest loss of military lives in a single incident in the course of the nearly 10-year-old war.

By Laura King
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
4:39 AM PDT, August 6, 2011

KABUL, Afghanistan

Thirty-one American troops and seven Afghans died in the overnight downing of a U.S. helicopter, President Hamid Karzai's office said Saturday. The Taliban claimed to have shot down the craft.

The deaths represent the largest loss of military lives in a single incident in the course of the nearly 10-year-old war, and are a blow to Western efforts as the United States and its allies begin drawing down forces in Afghanistan in hopes of ending their combat role in the next three years.

NATO's International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF, confirmed in a terse statement that a helicopter crash had occurred and acknowledged insurgent activity in the area at the time. A Western military official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the twin-rotor Chinook helicopter had apparently been brought down by a rocket-propelled grenade.

Karzai's statement identified the slain Americans as special operations forces. Sensitive to operational secrecy, special forces commanders as a rule are slower than other branches to publicly acknowledge combat casualties, which would account for the military's near-silence on the incident more than 12 hours after it occurred.

The helicopter went down after midnight in the Sayedabad district of Wardak province, west of the capital, Kabul, according to Shahidullah Shahid, a spokesman for the provincial governor. He and other provincial officials said the crash followed a firefight that had left eight insurgents dead.

The NATO force said recovery efforts were under way, and Afghan officials said the crash site had been cordoned off. The statement from Karzai's office reporting the U.S. and Afghan casualties offered condolences to President Obama and the families of the Afghans who died.

Downings of Western helicopters by hostile fire have been relatively rare in the Afghan conflict. Far more military choppers are lost to mechanical problems or bad weather.

The Taliban claimed its fighters had ambushed Western troops after being tipped off to an imminent night raid in the district. The crash site is located in Wardak's Tangi valley, where the insurgents are known to be active.

The Taliban statement, from spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid, was unusually specific in some of its details, and confirmed the "martyrdom" of eight Taliban fighters in what was described as fierce combat prior to the shooting down of the helicopter.

Targeted nighttime strikes, often carried out by U.S. special-operations forces, have been the single most successful tactic employed by the Western military over the past two years, significantly damaging the field-command structure of the Taliban and other insurgent groups.

But night raids are a major point of contention between the Western military and the Afghan government. Karzai has called repeatedly for a halt to the operations, saying they pose an undue danger to Afghan civilians.


http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fgw-afghan-chopper-20110807,0,7157351.story

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« Reply #4743 on: Aug 6th, 2011, 06:49am »

Telegraph

Nudists furious after tower block overlooking naturist club given go-ahead

You cannot be shy of being seen naked in company if you are a naturist – but there are limits.

10:10PM BST 05 Aug 2011

And members of the White House Club in Warlingham, Surrey, have been pushed beyond those by their local council, which has approved plans for a tower block overlooking their grounds.

The club says that its 300 members can swim naked in its 50ft outdoor swimming pool, relax in its sauna or play tennis on its two outdoor courts. Other activities at the five–acre site include table tennis, basketball, badminton and bowls.

But their seclusion looks like it may be rudely interrutped after Tandridge council approved the construction of a five–storey block of flats on the site of a disused office block just 300 yards away.

David Mason, the director of the club, which opened in 1933 and has a membership whose ages range from two to 90, said scores of members had complained to the council and that he was disappointed with the decision.

"Our members playing tennis or standing in front of our clubhouse can be overlooked, especially when the screening trees' foliage is down," he said. "We want to see measures put in which preclude overlooking, and protect our environment, which has been a haven of tranquillity and recreation for more than 70 years."

One of the members, Wendy, 33, a mother of two from Croydon, said she was concerned that the building could attract "undesirable elements".

"This is a lovely, relaxed place where the children and I can come and enjoy its privacy," she said.

Another naturist, a 26–year old secretary who did not want to be named, said she would "not feel comfortable" being overlooked by so many people while swimming, sunbathing or playing tennis. "Not that I'm ashamed of my body, but I don't want any Tom, Dick or Harry staring at me from their windows," she said.

The club's website states that it is a great place to unwind, adding: "Our beautiful naturist club is one of the nicest places to exercise, unwind and enjoy being naked in nature.

"Whether you want to swim naked every morning or simply enjoy getting an all–over tan during a summer weekend, our club is there for all our members to enjoy."

Sakina Bradbury, a local councillor, defended the proposal. "Putting homes in must be better than what's there now," she said.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/8683714/Nudists-furious-after-tower-block-overlooking-naturist-club-given-go-ahead.html

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« Reply #4744 on: Aug 6th, 2011, 07:00am »

The Northern Light
Blaine and Birch Bay Washington

The tall ships Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain are just part of the fun planned for Drayton Harbor Days this weekend.


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3 August 2011

What’s a pirate’s favorite small-town celebration? Drayton Harrrgghhbor Days, of course.

Held this Saturday and Sunday, Drayton Harbor Days offers a weekend of maritime fun – tour the tall ships, take a Plover ferry ride or compete in the Prestigious George Raft race. There’s a variety of vendors, live music, games and crafts and a pirate costume contest.

The Lady Washington, the ship used in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, arrived on Tuesday along with the Hawaiian Chieftain. Take a dockside tour of one of the ships or sign up for one of six sails being offered. Reservations are recommended; call 800/200-5239 or visit www.historicalseaport.org. Tickets can also be purchased at the ships.

Start the festivities on Saturday with the 5K Run to the Border, have a pancake breakfast, stroll along the boardwalk, watch the sailing regatta and enjoy the day with thousands of other seafarers and pirates. “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” will be shown in the evening at the G Street Plaza.

http://www.thenorthernlight.com/news/article.exm/2011-08-03_celebrate_blaine_s_drayton_harbor_days

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« Reply #4745 on: Aug 6th, 2011, 07:08am »

Hollywood Reporter

Box Office Update: 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes' Overperforms With $18 Mil Friday
2:19 AM 8/6/2011
by Pamela McClintock

Exceeding all expectations, 20th Century Fox’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes was on course to gross $18 million on Friday in a sizeable start for the origins pic.

The opening day performance means the movie -- headlining Andy Serkis as the ape Casesar -- should open in the mid $40 million range at the domestic box office, successfully relaunching the classic sci-fi franchise.

Rise of the Apes was playing well across the country, including among various ethnic groups.

Directed by Rupert Wyatt and also starring James Franco, Freida Pinto and John Lithgow is drawing rave reviews, particularly for the photo-realistic apes, which were created by Peter Jackson’s Weta Digital using advanced performance capture technology.

Moviegoers agreed with critics in liking the movie, and gave it an A- CinemaScore, according to Friday night exit polls. Tracking had been soft among women, but interest picked up noticeably late this week. It showed at Friday's box office, with females making up 44% of the audience. The movie skewed older, with 59% of the audience over the age of 25.

The film, made for $93 million, was produced by Peter Chernin and Dylan Clark’s Chernin Enertainment and co-financed by Fox, Dune Entertainment and Ingenious.

Rise of the Apes earned $1.3 million in midnight runs, nearly double the $700,000 earned in midnight grosses last week by Cowboys & Aliens.

Elsewhere at the domestic box office, Universal's R-rated body switching comedy The Change-Up, starring Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman, underperformed, grossing around $4.5 million.

Directed by David Dobkin, the comedy is expected to only open in the low to mid teens for the weekend.

Sony’s holdover The Smurfs remained a strong contender, coming in No. 2 for the day and grossing an estimated $5.7 million.

Universal and DreamWorks’ Cowboys & Aliens tumbled more than 60%, grossing roughly $4.7 million, although it’s possible Change-Up could pull ahead of Cowboys once final Friday numbers are calculated.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/box-office-update-rise-planet-219964

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« Reply #4746 on: Aug 6th, 2011, 09:58am »

Telegraph

Orange goo baffles remote Alaska village

The sudden appearance of orange goo at an Inuit village in northwest Alaska has left experts baffled.

By Alastair Jamieson
1:15PM BST 06 Aug 2011


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The orange colored substance that washed ashore in the village of Kivalina, Alaska
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The substance first washed up on the shores of Kivalina, about 625 miles northwest of Anchorage, on Wednesday. It covered most of the harbour, attracting crowds of bemused residents.

On Thursday residents found the orange matter floating on top of the rain buckets they use to collect drinking water.

By Friday, the orange substance in the harbour had dissipated or washed out to sea, and what was left on ground had dried to a powdery substance.

Samples of the orange matter were collected in canning jars and sent to a lab in Anchorage for analysis.

Until results are known, Kivalina's 374 residents will likely continue to wonder just what exactly happened in their village.

"Certainly at this point it's a mystery," said Emanuel Hignutt, a chemist with the state Department of Environmental Conservation lab in Anchorage.

Kivalina, an Inupiat Inuit village, is located at the tip of an 8-mile barrier reef on Alaska's northwest coast, and is located between the Chukchi Sea and Kivalina River to the north and the Wulik River to the south.

Villagers have never seen anything like this before, and elders have never heard any stories passed down from earlier generations about an orange-coloured substance coming into town.

"This is the first for Kivalina, as far as I know," said 63-year-old Austin Swan.

Portions of the samples will also be sent to the University of Alaska Fairbanks and to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration lab in South Carolina for testing.

"There's a number of experts in the areas who can identify if it's an organic material, for example, and what species this is, or perhaps it's not an organic material, and we're going to determine that, as well," Hignutt said.

The Coast Guard already has ruled out that the orange material, which some people described as having a semi-solid feel to it, was man-made or a petroleum product.

That leaves algae as the best guess, said village administrator Janet Mitchell.

The concern is if it's somehow harmful. What will it do to fish, which villagers will soon start catching to stock up for winter, or the caribou currently being hunted, or the berries?

"We rely 100 per cent on subsistence," she said.

Swan helped collect some samples for testing, and waded out into the lagoon. He grabbed some of the substance in his gloved hand.

"It was really light, a powdery look to it, and it was just floating on there, all bunched up together," he said. "It looked like it could blow away very easily."

He said some of the material had a sheen to it, like it was oil.

"But I couldn't feel the oil at all, any texture at all."

When the material bunched up in the lagoon, it created 10 foot-by-100 foot swaths of glimmering orange.

"When the wind came in, it narrowed them to a few feet wide. The colour was a bright neon orange," said Frances Douglas.

"It pretty much covered the south end of the lagoon in streaks," she said of the attraction, which drew many residents.

"Pretty much, everybody was baffled," she said.

City personnel went to a pump house two miles away on the Wulik River, and found the material there, too. The village is also about 40 miles from the Red Dog zinc mine, but officials there assured the village the substance didn't come from them.

Since the substance was unknown, city officials cautioned residents to keep children away from the orange goo and for residents to boil their water before drinking it.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/8685880/Orange-goo-baffles-remote-Alaska-village.html

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« Reply #4747 on: Aug 6th, 2011, 12:06pm »

"Chopper crash kills 31 U.S. troops, 7 Afghans

The helicopter downing, possibly by a rocket-propelled grenade, is the largest loss of military lives in a single incident in the course of the nearly 10-year-old war.
"


Additionally, over 20 of those killed were Seals from unit 6, the one which got Bin Laden.....

RIP, you will not be forgotten.
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« Reply #4748 on: Aug 6th, 2011, 4:39pm »

I am impressed with the layout and organization of the Swedish UFO website shown below. If you click on "English" in the left hand column, you can go thru the website in English for those of us that are "language challenged".....



http://www.ufo.se/
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« Reply #4749 on: Aug 7th, 2011, 08:05am »

on Aug 6th, 2011, 4:39pm, Swamprat wrote:
I am impressed with the layout and organization of the Swedish UFO website shown below. If you click on "English" in the left hand column, you can go thru the website in English for those of us that are "language challenged".....

http://www.ufo.se/


Good morning Swamprat! cheesy

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« Reply #4750 on: Aug 7th, 2011, 08:11am »

New York Times

August 6, 2011
U.S. Widens Role in Battle Against Mexican Drug Cartels
GINGER THOMPSON

WASHINGTON — The United States is expanding its role in Mexico’s bloody fight against drug trafficking organizations, sending new C.I.A. operatives and retired military personnel to the country and considering plans to deploy private security contractors in hopes of turning around a multibillion-dollar effort that so far has shown few results.

In recent weeks, small numbers of C.I.A. operatives and American civilian military employees have been posted at a Mexican military base, where, for the first time, security officials from both countries work side by side in collecting information about drug cartels and helping plan operations. Officials are also looking into embedding a team of American contractors inside a specially vetted Mexican counternarcotics police unit.

Officials on both sides of the border say the new efforts have been devised to get around Mexican laws that prohibit foreign military and police from operating on its soil, and to prevent advanced American surveillance technology from falling under the control of Mexican security agencies with long histories of corruption.

“A sea change has occurred over the past years in how effective Mexico and U.S. intelligence exchanges have become,” said Arturo Sarukhán, Mexico’s ambassador to the United States. “It is underpinned by the understanding that transnational organized crime can only be successfully confronted by working hand in hand, and that the outcome is as simple as it is compelling: we will together succeed or together fail.”

The latest steps come three years after the United States began increasing its security assistance to Mexico with the $1.4 billion Merida Initiative and tens of millions of dollars from the Defense Department. They also come a year before elections in both countries, when President Obama may confront questions about the threat of violence spilling over the border, and President Felipe Calderón’s political party faces a Mexican electorate that is almost certainly going to ask why it should stick with a fight that has left nearly 45,000 people dead.

“The pressure is going to be especially strong in Mexico, where I expect there will be a lot more raids, a lot more arrests and a lot more parading drug traffickers in front of cameras,” said Vanda Felbab-Brown, a counternarcotics expert at the Brookings Institution. “But I would also expect a lot of questioning of Merida, and some people asking about the way the money is spent, or demanding that the government send it back to the gringos.”

Mexico has become ground zero in the American counternarcotics fight since its cartels have cornered the market and are responsible for more than 80 percent of the drugs that enter the United States. American counternarcotics assistance there has grown faster in recent years than to Afghanistan and Colombia. And in the last three years, officials said, exchanges of intelligence between the United States and Mexico have helped security forces there capture or kill some 30 mid- to high-level drug traffickers, compared with just two such arrests in the previous five years.

The United States has trained nearly 4,500 new federal police agents and assisted in conducting wiretaps, running informants and interrogating suspects. The Pentagon has provided sophisticated equipment, including Black Hawk helicopters, and in recent months it has begun flying unarmed surveillance drones over Mexican soil to track drug kingpins.

Still, it is hard to say much real progress has been made in crippling the brutal cartels or stemming the flow of drugs and guns across the border. Mexico’s justice system remains so weakened by corruption that even the most notorious criminals have not been successfully prosecuted.

“The government has argued that the number of deaths in Mexico is proof positive that the strategy is working and that the cartels are being weakened,” said Nik Steinberg, a specialist on Mexico at Human Rights Watch. “But the data is indisputable — the violence is increasing, human rights abuses have skyrocketed and accountability both for officials who commit abuses and alleged criminals is at rock bottom.”

Mexican and American officials involved in the fight against organized crime do not see it that way. They say the efforts begun under President Obama are only a few years old, and that it is too soon for final judgments. Dan Restrepo, Mr. Obama’s senior Latin American adviser, refused to talk about operational changes in the security relationship, but said, “I think we are in a fundamentally different place than we were three years ago.”

A senior Mexican official, speaking on condition of anonymity, agreed. “This is the game-changer in degrading transnational organized crime,” he said, adding: “It can’t be a two-, three-, four-, five- or six-year policy. For this policy investment to work, it has to be sustained long-term.”

Several Mexican and American security analysts compared the challenges of helping Mexico rebuild its security forces and civil institutions — crippled by more than seven decades under authoritarian rule — to similar tests in Afghanistan. They see the United States fighting alongside a partner it needs but does not completely trust.

Though the new United States ambassador to Mexico was plucked from an assignment in Kabul, Afghanistan, the Obama administration bristles at such comparisons, saying Mexico’s growing economy and functioning, though fragile, institutions put it far ahead of Afghanistan. Instead, administration officials more frequently compare Mexico’s struggle to the one Colombia began some 15 years ago.

Among the most important lessons they have learned, they say, is that in almost any fight against organized crime, things tend to get worse before they get better.

When violence spiked last year around Mexico’s industrial capital, Monterrey, Mr. Calderón’s government asked the United States for more access to sophisticated surveillance technology and expertise. After months of negotiations, the United States established an intelligence post on a northern Mexican military base, moving Washington beyond its traditional role of sharing information to being more directly involved in gathering it.

American officials declined to provide details about the work being done by the American team of fewer than two dozen Drug Enforcement Administration agents, C.I.A. officials and retired military personnel members from the Pentagon’s Northern Command. For security reasons, they asked The New York Times not to disclose the location of the compound.

But the officials said the compound had been modeled after “fusion intelligence centers” that the United States operates in Iraq and Afghanistan to monitor insurgent groups, and that the United States would strictly play a supporting role.

“The Mexicans are in charge," said one American military official. “It’s their show. We’re all about technical support.”

The two countries have worked in lock step on numerous high-profile operations, including the continuing investigation of the February murder of Jaime J. Zapata, an American Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent.

Mexico’s federal police chief, Genaro García Luna, put a helicopter in the air within five minutes after receiving a call for help from Mr. Zapata’s partner, the authorities said. Then he invited American officials to the police intelligence center — an underground location known as “the bunker” — to work directly with Mexican security forces in tracking down the suspects.

Mexican officials hand-carried shell casings recovered from the scene of the shooting to Washington for forensics tests, allowed American officials to conduct their own autopsy of the agent’s body and shipped the agent’s bullet-battered car to the United States for inspection.

In another operation last week, the Drug Enforcement Administration and a Mexican counternarcotics police unit collaborated on an operation that led to the arrest of José Antonio Hernández Acosta, a suspected drug trafficker. The authorities believe he is responsible for hundreds of deaths in the border city of Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, including the murders of two Americans employed at the United States Consulate there.

While D.E.A. field officers were not on the scene — the Mexicans still draw the line at that — the Americans helped develop tips and were in contact with the Mexican unit almost every minute of the five-hour manhunt, according to a senior American official in Mexico. The unit, of about 50 officers, is the focus of another potentially ground-breaking plan that has not yet won approval. Several former D.E.A. officials said the two countries were considering a proposal to embed a group of private security contractors — including retired D.E.A. agents and former Special Forces officers — inside the unit to conduct an on-the-job training academy that would offer guidance in conducting operations so that suspects can be successfully taken to court. Mexican prosecutors would also work with the unit, the Americans said.

But a former American law enforcement official familiar with the unit described it as one good apple in a barrel of bad ones. He said it was based on a compound with dozens of other nonvetted officers, who provided a window on the challenges that the Mexican police continue to face.

Some of the officers had not been issued weapons, and those who had guns had not been properly trained to use them. They were required to pay for their helmets and bulletproof vests out of their own pockets.

more after the jump
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/07/world/07drugs.html?_r=1&hp

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« Reply #4751 on: Aug 7th, 2011, 08:11am »

back in a bit..............
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« Reply #4752 on: Aug 7th, 2011, 11:02am »

LA Times

Londoners protesting police shooting set fire to shops, cars

Clashes erupt at Tottenham station, where demonstrators were rallying after the death of a local man shot by police.

From the Associated Press
7:10 AM PDT, August 7, 2011
LONDON

The riot that tore through parts of north London's deprived Tottenham neighborhood has cast a pall over Britain's capital, echoing an earlier era of racial unrest, while spreading malaise through a city preparing to host the Olympic Games.

Eight officers were hospitalized after a peaceful protest against the shooting death of a young man degenerated into a Saturday night rampage, with rioters torching a double-decker bus, destroying patrol cars and trashing a shopping mall.

Looters descended on the area around midnight, setting buildings alight, and piling stolen goods into cars and shopping carts. Sirens could be heard across the capital as authorities rushed reinforcements to the scene.

"This is just a glimpse into the abyss," former Metropolitan Police Commander John O'Connor told Sky News television Sunday. "Someone's pulled the clock back and you can look and see what's beneath the surface. And what with the Olympic Games coming up, this doesn't bode very well for London."

As residents of Tottenham and nearby Wood Green picked through the wreckage Sunday, O'Connor said the disturbance had echoes of Tottenham's 1985 Broadwater Farm riot, a deadly disturbance that led to the savage stabbing of a police officer and the wounding of nearly 60 others -- brutally underscoring tensions between London's police and the capital's black community.

That riot was among one of the most violent in the country's history. It too was sparked by the death of a local resident after an encounter with the police.

Journalist and Tottenham resident Rizwana Hamid, who covered the 1985 riots, said Saturday night's violence was reminiscent of the earlier eruption in Tottenham, an ethnically mixed area which is home to one of London's largest black communities.

"The climate has changed, but very little of the issues have gone away," she told the BBC. She cited desperation, poverty and what she said was a lack of communication from police about the circumstances under which the man -- 29-year-old Mark Duggan -- was gunned down.

British media said that an officer involved in the shooting had a bullet lodged in his radio, suggesting a gunfight, but other details were scarce. Britain's police watchdog is investigating.

The Metropolitan Police, colloquially known as Scotland Yard, has struggled for years to cope with a 1999 inquiry into the death of a black British teenager that concluded that the force was "institutionally racist." In 2003, the Black Police Association even went as far as to call on ethnic minorities not to join Scotland Yard, saying discrimination was rife.

Although the force has made strides in its relationships with black communities, tensions linger.

Saturday's protest set off peacefully from Broadwater Farm, but got ugly as between 300 and 500 people gathered around Tottenham's police station.

Some protesters filled bottles with gasoline to throw at police lines, others confronted officers with makeshift weapons -- including baseball bats and bars -- and attempted to storm the station.

Within hours, police in riot gear and on horseback were clashing with hundreds of rioters, fires were raging out of control, and looters combed the area. One video posted to the Guardian newspaper's website showed looting being carried out at daybreak several hours later, with people even lining up to steal from one store.

The devastated area smoldered Sunday -- some streets littered with bricks and lined with overturned scorched trash cans. Two police helicopters hovered over the burnt-out buildings as residents inspected the damage and firefighters doused the last of the flames.

Local lawmaker David Lammy, speaking to residents from behind police tape, angrily denied that the Saturday night riot hinted at a return to the previous unrest.

"We don't want 25 years of community and trust destroyed because of mindless nonsense," Lammy said.

He was heckled by a man who yelled: "When are we going get justice? We need justice, man! Let's talk about justice!"

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fgw-london-riot-20110808,0,3794324.story

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« Reply #4753 on: Aug 7th, 2011, 11:06am »

Scientific American

When Irrational Thinking and Emotion Prevail, the Economy Suffers
By Larry Greenemeier
August 5, 2011

The threat of a “double dip” back into an economic recession looms, but if this comes to pass, the reasons would be much different from the body blow the U.S. economy received a few years ago. In 2008, a number of major financial institutions failed thanks to unchecked greed, in particular the lending of trillions of dollars to borrowers who lacked sufficient means to repay the money. Major deleterious results included a freeze on credit and a real estate crash as millions of homes went into foreclosure.

This time around the markets are sinking fast as a result of political missteps and indecision, some of it stemming from the attempts to remedy the original recession via an infusion of money. Meanwhile, “people have just become spooked by a crass failure of political leadership,” said George Magnus, senior economic adviser at UBS in London, told Reuters.

The U.S. government’s approach a few years ago was to “stimulate” the economy by investing in it. This, along with expensive wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, helped create a mountain of debt, which led to a drawn-out, after-the-fact debt-ceiling debate this spring and summer on how and when this should be repaid. Congress’s 11th-hour approach to addressing the nation’s debt ceiling earlier this week was too little too late for investors, who saw a lot political posturing akin to rearranging the deck furniture on the Titanic while unemployment remains high, consumer spending is down and long-term economic remedies appear to be in short supply.

Research on financial decision-making often reveals a lack of rationality among “economic players,” which counters assumptions made in many economic models. And other bodies of thought can muddy the dialogue and hold back policy-making efforts.

“America’s budget deficit challenge is worsened by the country’s deep political division over the role of government,” Jeffrey Sachs, director of Columbia University’s Earth Institute, warned in the July 2010 issue of Scientific American. “Tax increases are anathema, but contrary to common belief, there are few easy cuts in the budget for removing simple waste.”

Still, the hit that the markets are taking this week—the Dow Jones industrial average was down nearly 130 points in midday trading Friday—may be a bit of an overreaction to what’s actually happening. The U.S. economy managed to add 117,000 jobs in July, and hiring in May and June was not as bad as reported previously, according to the U.S. Labor Department. Yet, concerns that 117,000 new jobs isn’t enough to keep pace with demand and fears about the broader U.S. economy are outweighing the improved jobs report and strong corporate earnings, Dan Greenhaus, chief global strategist at the trading firm BTIG, told the Associated Press.

Some scientists think that investors are wired to focus on negative news such as this and make hasty decisions that cause the market as a whole to suffer. As Scientific American reported in its July 2009 issue, “Behavioral economic theories, which focus on the psychology of finance, predict that, at times, irrational thinking and emotion will prevail, leading hordes of people to spend more and more on investments instead of recognizing that they are overpaying only to later stampede out of the market in a panic, precipitating a crash.”

The end of this week certainly appears to be a stampede.

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/2011/08/05/when-irrational-thinking-and-emotion-prevail-the-economy-suffers/

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« Reply #4754 on: Aug 7th, 2011, 11:09am »

Geeky Gadgets

Concept LeDoor Flashlight Is A Detachable Torch On Your Door Handle
By Glenn Santos
Sunday 7th August 2011 4:00 pm
in Concepts, Gadgets


The whole point is in the event of an unfortunate blackout, you can reach for the door, pull off its handle and activate the needed illumination.
Such is the newest from a trio of Korean designers who set about reinventing the all too ubiquitous door handle/door knob.


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More than just an instant flashlight, however, the LEDoor also works as emergency illumination if everything goes dark. When not helping in dire situations, it’s a low intensity mood light as well.

While checking out some of the pics available of the LEDoor, it occurred to us that it’s potentially a risk for infantilized adults. How come? Imagine grownups pulling one of these things then saying, ‘hey I got a lightsaber! Let’s fight!’ There you go.

Of course, assuming the LEDoor becomes available in various homes it shouldn’t become an excuse for not packing a few flashlights. The best is to always keep one beside your reading lamp or somewhere within arms length. Make sure you change the battery’s regularly as well. While a multiplicity of gadgets these days provide illumination, nothing beats a flashlight when demanding situations befall us.

Anyway, as concepts go there’s no word yet on when the LEDoor enters production or much less who’s going to manufacture it.

http://www.geeky-gadgets.com/concept-ledoor-flashlight-is-a-detachable-torch-on-your-door-handle-07-08-2011/

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