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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 149867 times)
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« Reply #5790 on: Dec 22nd, 2011, 1:57pm »

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Hooray! I'm in! grin


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« Reply #5791 on: Dec 22nd, 2011, 2:29pm »

Wired

Army Piles on Evidence in Final Arguments in WikiLeaks Hearing
By Kim Zetter
December 22, 2011 | 1:21 pm
Categories: Anonymous, Bradley Manning

FT. MEADE, Maryland – The government finished making its case against accused WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning Thursday morning with a 60-minute closing statement that piled on new details and exhibits, including snippets of 15 pages of chats allegedly between the Army intelligence analyst and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

The prosecution flashed three chat logs onscreen that purportedly show correspondence between Manning and Assange discussing uploading so-called JTF-GITMO documents — classified assessment reports about Guantanamo Bay detainees. The chats also refer to two U.S. State Department cables about Reykjavik, Iceland, as well as a request from Manning to help him crack a password so that he could log onto his work SIPRnet computer anonymously.

Manning’s attorney David E. Coombs opened the morning stating that the Army was overcharging his disturbed but idealistic client and exaggerating the impact of the leaks in order to strong-arm Manning.

Coombs said the government wants to force his client into making a plea deal and turning evidence against Assange, whom the Justice Department is investigating in a criminal case stemming from the leaks allegedly provided by Manning. Coombs asked the court’s Investigating Officer to drop the charge accusing Manning of aiding the enemy and to consolidate some of the charges, saying that many were redundant and that Manning shouldn’t be facing 100 to 150 years in prison.

“Thirty years is more than sufficient punishment,” Coombs said, expressing outrage that the military also included a count of “aiding the enemy,” which carries a possible death sentence — though the military has said it is not seeking the death penalty.

“The government’s overreaction to the leaks and its claims that the sky is falling strips them of credibility in this case,” Coombs said. “The sky has not fallen and the sky will not fall.”

But government attorney Ashden Fein said all of the charges were appropriate and said the evidence clearly showed that Manning abused his security clearance and intelligence training to leak damaging information “using WikiLeaks’ ‘Most Wanted list as his guiding light.” Prior to Manning’s leaks to the organization, WikiLeaks had published a wishlist of documents and data it hoped leakers would send it.

“[Manning] continued to harvest this information knowing it would be used by our enemies,” Fein said.

The Article 32 hearing will determine which, if any, of the 22 charges of violating military law can be brought against the 24-year-old Manning in a court-martial. Manning is accused of searching out and uploading hundreds of thousands of sensitive government documents that were published by WikiLeaks in 2010 and 2011 — including a controversial video of an Apache helicopter attack that killed two Reuters employees, hundreds of thousands of State Department cables, and action reports from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Fein added that the State Department server logs showed Manning’s classified work computer accessed the State Department server 794,000 times in order to steal more than 250,000 cables that WikiLeaks subsequently published. The government, Fein said, had minute-to-minute records of Manning’s searches of the Pentagon’s classified intranet SIPRNet, and had direct evidence he uploaded documents to WikiLeaks.

Authorities say that on March 8, 2010 at 1:42am while Manning was working the nightshift in the SCIF, he burned the JTF-GITMO documents to a CD and immediately thereafter began uploading them to WikiLeaks.

In a chat with “Nathaniel Frank,” an alias that authorities believe Manning assigned to Julian Assange, Manning (Nobody) writes:

Nobody: Anyway I’m throwing everyting I got on JTF-FTMO at you know . . . should take a while to get up thought

Nathaniel Frank: Ok great

Nobody: Uploaded about 36 pct

Nathaniel Frank: ETA?

Nobody: 11-12 hours, guessing since it’s been going 6 already.

In another chat, dated March 8, 2010, Manning asked “Nathaniel Frank,” believed to be Assange, about help in cracking the main password on his classified SIPRnet computer so that he could log on to it anonymously. He asked “Frank” if he had experience cracking IM NT hashes (presumably it’s a mistype and he meant NTLM for the Microsoft NT LAN Manager). “Frank” replied yes, that they had “rainbow tables” for doing that. Manning then sent him what looked like a hash.

Manning sat through the seventh and final day of the hearing as he has throughout the rest of the hearing — without displaying emotion — as prosecutors laid out a much stronger forensic case than many observers expected. In a chat with ex-hacker Adrian Lamo — who turned Manning into authorities, Manning said he’d taken strong precautions to protect himself against being caught — including securely erasing his hard drive. He also told Lamo that Julian Assange, a hacker himself, practiced strong “operational security” or OPSEC.

Yet the government says it found pages of chat logs on Manning’s computer that matched the ones that Lamo turned over to authorities, as well as other chat logs that showed correspondence with two accounts that appeared to be used by Julian Assange.

Additionally, investigators say they located copies of the Iraq and Afghanistan action reports on an SD memory card belonging to Manning, a spreadsheet of scripts designed to scrape State Department cables, and copies of the disturbing Apache helicopter video, published by WikiLeaks under the title “Collateral Murder.”

Wikileaks, which donated only $15,000 of a promised $50,000 to Manning’s defense fund, complicated Manning’s defense by publishing the Iran and Afghanistan war and the trove of State Department cables after Manning was arrested.

Coombs portrayed Manning as being troubled with gender identity issues even before he entered the military, and continued his argument that the military itself was to blame for allowing Manning to have a clearance, despite repeated behavioral problems. The Army has since reprimanded 15 soldiers for failing to act on Manning’s outbursts, which included throwing a chair at a fellow soldier before even being deployed to Forward Operating Base Hammer in Iraq.

Coombs quoted from a letter Manning sent one of his superior officers, Master Sergeant Paul Adkins, in April 2010 about his gender identity disorder.

“I’ve had it for very long time,” he wrote. “I thought a career in military would get rid of it. . . . now the consequences of it are dire.”

Manning went on to say that it had been the cause of pain and confusion and remarked, “I don’t know what to do anymore.” The constant coverup had worn him down and had made it difficult for him to work, to sleep and to relate to other people, he wrote.

“My entire life feel like a bad dream without end,” he wrote Adkins.

The court’s presiding officer, Lt. Col. Paul Almanza, will now draw a report of recommendations of what charges, if any, Manning should face in a court martial. That report, which has to be completed by Jan. 16, will go to the special court-martial convening authority Col. Carl R. Coffman, commander of Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall who will then make a recommendation to the general convening authority, Maj. Gen. Michael Linnington, commander of the U.S. Army Military District of Washington, who will make the final decision. Though there’s no hard deadline for Linnington’s decision, that process is expected to take several months.

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2011/12/army-manning-hearing/

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« Reply #5792 on: Dec 22nd, 2011, 2:40pm »

Scientific American

The Elephant in the Room: How Contraception Could Save Future Elephants from Culling

South African reserves facing unprecedented elephant populations could turn to immunocontraception to slow growth

By Rose Eveleth
Thursday, December 22, 2011

In South Africa they have a problem, a big one: too many elephants.

For most of the 1900s extensive poaching threatened to wipe out the country’s elephants. In response, conservationists established reserves throughout the region and relocated as many herds as they could. Now those herds are doing quite well. So well, in fact, that they’re causing problems. Wildlife managers are currently facing a dilemma: how to deal with too many elephants. While some advocate for culling the giants, a group of scientists has outlined a different plan to control their populations: contraception.

Rather than simply setting a quota and culling the extras, immunocontraception could be a tool to allow land managers to control elephant populations in response to conditions on the ground such as food availability. "The approach now has to be much more dynamic and look at the influence the animals are having on the land," says Robert Slotow, a biologist at the Amarula Elephant Research Program in Durban, South Africa. His team recently published a paper in PLoS ONE describing how scientists might be able to use immunocontraception—a vaccine that gets the body to make antibodies that target sperm receptors on the surface of the egg cell. Slotow and his team outlined an immunocontraception schedule that would halt the growth of herds in a South African park and even out their population structure.

The problem

In the wild, two things control elephant populations: natural mortality and environmental conditions. Calves and full-grown animals get sick and die from all kinds of things, from predation to viruses. And when the environment is unfavorable–during years of drought or food shortages, for instance–females will put off having babies. In closed systems like conservation parks, however, neither of those controls is in place. The fences around the park keep out new animals and pathogens, and controlled park conditions make sure that there is ample food. Mothers keep having babies, and the death rate seems to slow to a crawl.

But simply letting the population boom isn’t an option either. Herds can reduce forests to grasslands by trampling plants and uprooting trees as they feed. There is concern that the elephants are pushing out other species. Kruger National Park, the oldest elephant reserve in South Africa, has about 15,000 elephants. The sustainable number estimated for the park is probably more like 7,500. One way that Kruger dealt with its growing population was to relocate juveniles to other parks in South Africa, which temporarily solved the problem in Kruger but created issues elsewhere. These smaller parks suddenly had a bunch of elephants that were all the same age, which leads to a young, fast-growing population. Now those smaller parks are having the same challenge–too many elephants.

In 2008 South Africa announced it would lift the 1994 ban on elephant culling to deal with increasing populations, although to date the cull has not happened. Culling itself is controversial: some argue it’s a way to utilize a resource and profit from the skin, meat and ivory provided by elephants, whereas others contend that the killing is barbaric and unnecessary.

“All these things that people want to talk about—deer gnawing on your shrubbery, culling elephants—they’re symptoms of the larger problem, which is reproduction,” says Jay Kirkpatrick, director of the Science and Conservation Center at ZooMontana and longtime advocate for immunocontracpetion. And if you want to curb reproduction, he says, contraception is one option.

A potential solution

The specific brand of immunocontraception used in elephants–and most other animals–is called the porcine zona pellucida vaccine, or PZP. Kirkpatrick makes PZP in his lab at ZooMontana. It's a labor-intensive process that involves chemically isolating the proteins from the egg cells of pigs. The vaccine is administered to animals by darts that can be shot from the ground or the air. Each dose of PZP costs about $35, $24 for the dose and $11 for the delivery system. For small herds the vaccines are delivered by darts shot from a car. Larger herds are often treated by helicopter. And scaling up could cut costs, Slotow says: "As with anything new, it costs more when you do it initially." He estimates that a single elephant could be treated for about $60 a year.

There are a few reasons why immunocontraception is an attractive solution for elephants. First, it's incredibly effective—the PZP vaccine has been tested in everything from stray cats to voles to African elephants. The effectiveness of the vaccine varies both within and between species because every animal, and every species, has a different immune system. For some animals, like cats and dogs, it doesn't work at all. For African elephants, it is 100 percent effective. In the past 16 years of immunizing elephants in South Africa, Kilpatrick says, not one breakthrough pregnancy has occurred.

Second, the vaccine affects only the sperm receptor, which means that it has no behavioral side effects. If male elephants are darted by accident, they won't be affected at all. Moreover, a female who is darted several times will have no side effects and still be protected from conception.

Questions remain about how continued contraception might influence such a social species, in which raising babies is an important part of herd bonding. If females are kept from calving for extended periods, might they become depressed? “You can’t not have babies indefinitely,” Slotow says. “That removes an element that’s important to elephants.”

Slotow's model allowed a calf into the herd intermittently, to keep the elephants happy. Even with the occasional birth, after 20 years of immunocontraception, the model showed that the age structure could indeed even out and population growth could be slowed. By doing so, you also decrease the amount you have to manipulate the herds through relocation or culling. "The more natural the population," Slotow says, "the less you have to interfere."

Looking forward

Using contraception in native populations is not a new idea. Kilpatrick and his team began looking into it about 40 years ago. But despite being effective in all kinds of species for which population control is important to keeping the animals from doing environmental damage, from white-tailed deer to wild horses, it is still not widely implemented. When culling was reopened as a possibility in Kruger in 2008, many said that more research needed to be done on immunocontraceptives. Since then, science has shown that the vaccine can offer a solution.

The question of culling is a complicated one. If managers decide to do it, they will have to decide how many elephants to take out, who to let in for the cull and what to do with the products afterward. Adults are most often targeted, and the juveniles and calves leftover are often relocated to other parks, decisions that can alter the number of elephants elsewhere and the social balance within those herds and continue the population problem. If managers do decide to take out elephants, culling can provide valuable resources to locals in the form of money from game hunters, hide, meat and ivory. But conservationists argue that killing the animals is morally wrong and would encourage poaching outside the reserves. They advocate for contraception and a reevaluation of just how many elephants the parks can hold.

Today, many game reserves, such as Makalali and Welgevonden, are considering using PZP. "It's becoming key to the extent that there is enough research that people can accept and understand the process," Slotow notes. Still, it won't bring the population down immediately. Immunocontraception can create long-term stability to avoid current troubles, but even if the parks started taking steps immediately, they would still have the problem of too many elephants now. "That's going to have its effect in 20 or 30 years," he says. "It's not about what's happening this year."

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=the-elephant-in-the-room

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« Reply #5793 on: Dec 22nd, 2011, 4:41pm »






Uploaded by swtheoldrepublic on Dec 22, 2011

Plainclothes warriors join the battle among Jedi and Sith in the first ever lightsaber freeze mob duel in the heart of New York's Times Square. Watch as over 100 fans joined the battle to celebrate the launch of STAR WARS™: The Old Republic on 12.20.11

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« Reply #5794 on: Dec 22nd, 2011, 7:08pm »

The "crooked forest" of Gryfino (Poland)

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These trees grow in the Gryfino forest. Reason for the distinctive curve is unknown, although numerous theories abound.....

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« Reply #5795 on: Dec 22nd, 2011, 8:48pm »

Thanks for that photo Swamprat. Bizarre trees. And beautiful.

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« Reply #5796 on: Dec 22nd, 2011, 8:51pm »




Please be an angel



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« Reply #5797 on: Dec 23rd, 2011, 08:09am »

New York Times

December 22, 2011
Strong Earthquakes Rattle New Zealand’s Christchurch
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — A series of strong earthquakes struck the New Zealand city of Christchurch on Friday, rattling buildings, sending goods tumbling from shelves and prompting terrified holiday shoppers to flee into the streets. There was no tsunami alert issued and the city appeared to have been spared major damage.

One person was injured at a city mall and was taken to a hospital, and four people had to be rescued after being trapped by a rock fall, Christchurch police said in a statement. But there were no immediate reports of serious injuries or widespread damage in the city, which is still recovering from a devastating February earthquake that killed 182 people and destroyed much of the downtown area.

The first 5.8-magnitude quake struck Friday afternoon, 16 miles (26 kilometers) north of Christchurch and 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) deep, the U.S. Geological Survey said. Minutes later, a 5.3-magnitude aftershock hit. About an hour after that, the city was shaken by another 5.8-magnitude temblor, the U.S.G.S. said, though New Zealand's geological agency GNS Science recorded that aftershock as a magnitude-6.0. Both aftershocks were less than 3 miles (5 kilometers) deep.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center did not issue an alert.

The city's airport was evacuated after the first quake and all city malls shut down as a precaution.

About 60 people were treated for minor injuries, including fractures, injuries sustained in falls and people with "emotional difficulties," Christchurch St. John Ambulance operations manager Tony Dowell told The Associated Press.

"We have had no significant injuries reported as a result of the earthquakes today," he said.

Warwick Isaacs, demolitions manager for the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority, said most buildings had been evacuated "as an emergency measure." The area has recorded more than 7,000 earthquakes since a magnitude-7.0 quake rocked the city on Sept. 4, 2010. That quake did not cause any deaths.

Rock falls had occurred in one area and there was liquefaction — when an earthquake forces underground water up through loose soil — in several places, Isaacs told New Zealand's National Radio.

"There has been quite a lot of stuff falling out of cupboards, off shelves in shops and that sort of thing, again," he said.

Isaacs said his immediate concern was for demolition workers involved in tearing down buildings wrecked in previous quakes.

"It ... started slow then really got going. It was a big swaying one but not as jolting or as violent as in February," Christchurch resident Rita Langley said. "Everyone seems fairly chilled, though the traffic buildup sounds like a beehive that has just been kicked as everyone leaves (the) town (center)."

The shaking was severe in the nearby port town of Lyttelton, the epicenter of the Feb. 22 quake.

"We stayed inside until the shaking stopped. Then most people went out into the street outside," resident Andrew Turner said. "People are emotionally shocked by what happened this afternoon."

Around 26,000 homes were without power in Christchurch, after the shaking tripped switches that cut supplies, Orion energy company CEO Rob Jamieson said.

"We don't seem to have damage to our equipment," he said. "We hope to have power back on to those customers by nightfall."

Hundreds of miles of sewer and fresh water lines have been repaired in the city since the February quake.

One partly demolished building and a vacant house collapsed after Friday's quakes, police said.

Central City Business Association manager Paul Lonsdale said the quakes came at the worst possible time for retailers, with people rushing to finish their Christmas shopping.

Despite the sizable quakes, there was no visible damage in the central business district, where 28 stores have reopened in shipping containers after their buildings were wrecked by the February quake, he said.

"Hopefully tomorrow we'll be feeling a little bit better again and restoring our faith in the will to live and to stay in Christchurch," the city's deputy mayor, Ngaire Button, told National Radio.


http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2011/12/22/world/asia/AP-AS-New-Zealand-Earthquake.html?_r=1&hp

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« Reply #5798 on: Dec 23rd, 2011, 08:13am »

Associated Press

Scrapbook tells how Rudolph went down in history

By HOLLY RAMER, Associated Press
23 December 2011

HANOVER, N.H. (AP) — You know Dasher and Dancer and the rest of the gang. But do you recall, the most "Perfect Christmas Crowd-Bringer" of all?

That's how executives at Montgomery Ward originally described Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, who first appeared in a 1939 book written by one of the company's advertising copywriter and given free to children as a way to drive traffic to the stores.

Curious to know more about how Rudolph really went down in history? It's all in the pages of a long-overlooked scrapbook compiled by the story's author, Robert L. May, and housed at his alma mater, Dartmouth College.

May donated his hand-written first draft and illustrated mock-up to Dartmouth before his death at age 71 in 1976, and his family later added to what has become a large collection of Rudolph-related documents and merchandise, including a life-sized papier-mache reindeer that now stands among the stacks at the Rauner Special Collections Library. But May's scrapbook about the book's launch and success went unnoticed until last year, when Dartmouth archivist Peter Carini came across it while looking for something else.

"No one on staff currently knew we had it. I pulled it out and all the pieces started falling out. It was just a mess," Carini said.

The scrapbook, which has since been restored and catalogued, includes May's list of possible names for his story's title character — from Rodney and Rollo to Reginald and Romeo. There's a map showing how many books went to each state and letters of praise from adults and children alike.

The scrapbook also chronicles the massive marketing campaign Montgomery Ward launched to drum up newspaper coverage of the book giveaway and its efforts to promote it within the company.

Near the front of the scrapbook is a large, colored poster instructing Montgomery Ward stores about how to order and distribute the book. An illustration of Rudolph sweeps across the page, his name written in ornate script. There are exclamation points galore. "The rollinckingest, rip-roaringest, riot-provokingest, Christmas give-away your town has ever seen!" ''A laugh and a thrill for every boy and girl in your town (and for their parents, too!)"

Rudolph is described as "the perfect Christmas crowd-bringer," if stores follow a few rules, including giving the book only to children accompanied by adults. "This will limit 'street urchin' traffic to a minimum, and will bring in the PARENTS ... the people you want to sell!"

The response was overwhelming — at a time when a print-run of 50,000 books was considered a best-seller, the company gave away more than 2 million copies that first year, and by the following year was selling an assortment of Rudolph-themed toys and other items.

But lest this become a story about corporate greed, it should be noted that in 1947, Montgomery Ward took the unusual step of turning over the copyright to the book to May, who was struggling financially after the death of his first wife.

"He then made several million dollars using that in various ways, through the movie, the song, merchandising and things like that," Carini said. "I think it's a great story, because it shows how corporations used to think of themselves as part of civil society, and how much that has changed."

May eventually left Montgomery Ward to essentially manage Rudolph's career, which really took off after May's brother-in-law, Johnny Marks, wrote the song (made famous by Gene Autry in 1949), and the release of a stop-motion animated television special in 1964.

Both the song and movie depart significantly from May's original plot, however. In May's story, Rudolph doesn't live at the North Pole or grow up aspiring to pull Santa's sleigh — he lives in a reindeer village and Santa discovers him while filling Rudolph's stocking on a foggy Christmas eve.

"And you," Santa tells Rudolph, "May yet save the day! Your wonderful forehead may yet pave the way!'"

May's story is written in verse, similar to "The Night Before Christmas" by Clement Clarke Moore, and opens, "'Twas the day before Christmas and all through the hills/ The reindeer were playing ... enjoying the spills."

"It's lovely to hear it read out loud, it really comes alive," Virginia Herz, one of May's daughters, said in a phone interview this week.

As a small child, Herz, who declined to reveal her age, didn't think there was anything unusual about growing up in a house surrounded by Rudolph merchandise. It wasn't until she was older that she realized her father's job of "taking care of Rudolph" was a bit different. She tells her grandchildren that their great-grandpa wrote a story about Rudolph, not that he created the character.

"As I child, that's how I felt. I knew my dad had written a wonderful book about Rudolph and now there were Rudolph toys and other things all around us," she said. "But it was no different than the guy next door who sold cars, or the guy down the street who was a painting contractor."

She acknowledges the myths that have become entwined in Rudolph's history — including the notion that May wrote the story as a Christmas gift for his older daughter, Barbara, when his wife was dying of cancer and that a Montgomery Ward manager "caught wind of the little storybook." In reality, Montgomery Ward assigned May to write a Christmas book around the same time his wife was ill, Herz said.

"''What's out there on the Internet is a softer telling," she said. "My dad was aware of it and considered it appropriate. There's the softer, romantic version and the more fact-based version."

Herz said her father would be thrilled to see how his creation and its many incarnations have become part of American culture.

"I think he would be startlingly amazed," she said. "It really is an eternal part of Christmas. He would have been amazed."

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iOXIE9l3-QNoPQEHozQ3SrsRTMWw?docId=3273b486f92d42ca9b40cf374e615cce

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« Reply #5799 on: Dec 23rd, 2011, 08:39am »

Washington Post

Egyptians rally in Cairo to denounce army’s violence against protesters, abuse of women

By Associated Press, Updated: Friday, December 23, 4:45 AM

CAIRO — Several thousand Egyptians rallied in Cairo’s central Tahrir Square Friday to denounce violence against protesters, especially outraged by images of women protesters dragged by their hair, beaten and kicked by troops.

The rally marked a week after deadly clashes erupted near Tahrir Square between protesters and the military, which took power after longtime President Hosni Mubarak was ousted in a popular uprising in February. Seventeen protesters were killed over the past week.

Last week’s violence erupted when military forces guarding the Cabinet building near the square tried to forcibly disperse a 3-week-old sit-in demanding that the ruling generals hand over power to a civilian authority.

During the clashes over the past week, both sides threw firebombs, and several buildings were burned. A research center set up by Napoleon Bonaparte during France’s invasion in the late 18th century was badly damaged.

At least 100 people have been killed in such confrontations and in sectarian violence since the military took power.

Friday’s protest, named “Regaining honor and defending the revolution,” was backed by more than two dozen groups, among them newly formed political parties born out of the uprising.

An unidentified cleric giving the Friday sermon in Tahrir Square blamed the military for divisions and called on the generals to give up power as the only solution to ending “dictatorship.”

Taking a more conciliatory tone in his sermon at Cairo’s main Al-Azhar mosque, Sheik Nasr Farid Wasil said “Islam’s forgiveness calls for peace between security (forces) and the people.”

After the Friday prayers, worshippers began a march to Tahrir Square to join the rally. Among the dead in last week’s violence was 52-year-old Sheik Emad Effat from the Al-Azhar mosque.

Egypt’s powerful Muslim Brotherhood stayed away from the demonstration at the square. The Brotherhood is so far the biggest winner in Egypt’s parliamentary elections and has distanced itself from the protesters’ demand for an immediate handover of power. The military’s timetable is to transfer power after a new president is elected by the end of June 2012.

Some pro-democracy activists are calling for presidential elections as early as February. Activists do not trust the military and its leader Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, who served as Mubarak’s defense minister.

But a wide spectrum of Egyptians remain supportive of the military and want to stick to its timetable for transferring power.

A competing rally of several hundred people gathered in support of the military in another part of Cairo on Friday. They believe an end to the demonstrations will restore stability, attract tourists and boost the country’s sagging economy.

Many Egyptians who back the military were outraged over pictures of soldiers stripping a woman half-naked while dragging her in the street during the crackdown this past week.

Amnesty International said Friday that authorities in Egypt must not use force against peaceful protesters by targeting women with “gender-based violence.”

“The shockingly violent scenes of recent days must not be repeated,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s interim Director for the Middle East and North Africa. “Egypt’s military authorities must ensure protesters are allowed to exercise their right to freedom of expression peacefully, without fear of attack.”

Egypt’s military-appointed prime minister on Thursday called for national dialogue to resolve the country’s political crisis and pleaded for a two-month calm to restore security.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle-east/egyptians-rally-in-cairo-to-denounce-armys-violence-against-protesters-abuse-of-women/2011/12/23/gIQA7jCADP_story.html?wprss=rss_world

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« Reply #5800 on: Dec 23rd, 2011, 08:47am »

Daily Mail


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photo by Jonathan Pow


This Altocumulus Lenticularis was spotted above Farsley in West Yorkshire.


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2077873/Dazzling-picture-UFO-cloud-rarely-spotted-UK.html#ixzz1hMxNiHiu

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« Reply #5801 on: Dec 23rd, 2011, 2:34pm »

Deja vu all over again.....

tongue

You gotta be kidding me! shocked



New Air Jordans Cause Shopping Frenzy Across U.S.

Published December 23, 2011
Associated Press

(Which retail for about $180 a pair)

SEATTLE – The release of Nike's new Air Jordan basketball shoes caused a frenzy at stores across the nation Friday as scuffles broke out and police were brought in to stamp out unrest that nearly turned into riots in some places.

Shoppers stood in long lines through the night to get their hands on a retro version of one of the most popular models of Air Jordans ever made. The fights were reminiscent of violence that broke out in the early 1990s on streets across America as the shoes became popular targets for thieves.

In suburban Seattle, police used pepper spray on about 20 customers who started fighting at the Westfield Southcenter mall early Friday.

Tukwila Officer Mike Murphy said people started gathering around midnight at four stores in the mall for a chance to buy the shoes, which retail for about $180 a pair. The crowd grew to more than 1,000 people by 4 a.m., when the stores opened, he said.

"Around 3 (a.m.) there started to be some fighting and pushing among the customers," Murphy said. "Around 4, it started to get pretty unruly and officers sprayed pepper spray on a few people who were fighting, and that seemed to do the trick to break them up."

He said no injuries were reported, although some people suffered cuts or scrapes from fights. One man was arrested for assault after authorities say he pushed an officer.

Arrests also were reported at stores in Georgia and Michigan.
The frenzy over Air Jordans has been dangerous in the past. Some people were mugged or even killed for early versions of the shoe, created by Nike Inc. in 1985.

Elsewhere Friday, police say about 100 people forced their way into a shopping center in Taylor, Mich., around 5:30 a.m., damaging decorations and overturning benches. A 21-year-old man was arrested.

In Lithonia, Ga., at least four people were arrested after a crowd of customers broke down a door before a store selling the Air Jordans opened.

DeKalb County police said up to 20 squad cars responded. Officers escorted most of the people outside but took four into custody, Fox 5 Atlanta reported.

Police also said they had to break a car window to get two toddlers out after a woman went in after the shoes. They said she was taken into custody when she returned to the car.

Hundreds of people also lined up outside shoe stores in Portland, Ore., downtown Seattle and at a mall in nearby Federal Way.

In Tukwila, Murphy said the crowd was on the verge of a riot and would have gotten even more out of hand if the police hadn't intervened.

"It was not a nice, orderly group of shoppers," Murphy said. "There were a lot of hostile and disorderly people."

About 25 officers from Tukwila, Renton, Kent, Seattle and King County responded. Murphy said they smelled marijuana and found alcohol containers at the scene.

Shoppers described the scene as chaotic and at times dangerous.

"I don't understand why they're so important to people," Williams told KING-TV. "They're just shoes at the end of the day. It's not worth risking your life over."

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/12/23/police-4-arrested-in-georgia-in-mad-dash-for-air-jordans/?test=latestnews


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« Reply #5802 on: Dec 23rd, 2011, 2:54pm »

on Dec 23rd, 2011, 2:34pm, Swamprat wrote:
Deja vu all over again.....

tongue

You gotta be kidding me! shocked



New Air Jordans Cause Shopping Frenzy Across U.S.

Published December 23, 2011
Associated Press

(Which retail for about $180 a pair)

SEATTLE – The release of Nike's new Air Jordan basketball shoes caused a frenzy at stores across the nation Friday as scuffles broke out and police were brought in to stamp out unrest that nearly turned into riots in some places.

Shoppers stood in long lines through the night to get their hands on a retro version of one of the most popular models of Air Jordans ever made. The fights were reminiscent of violence that broke out in the early 1990s on streets across America as the shoes became popular targets for thieves.

In suburban Seattle, police used pepper spray on about 20 customers who started fighting at the Westfield Southcenter mall early Friday....

"I don't understand why they're so important to people," Williams told KING-TV. "They're just shoes at the end of the day. It's not worth risking your life over."

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/12/23/police-4-arrested-in-georgia-in-mad-dash-for-air-jordans/?test=latestnews




Merry Merry Christmas Swamprat!

That is just crazy! And certainly not worth getting hurt.

Crystal
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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #5803 on: Dec 23rd, 2011, 5:34pm »

Merry Christmas, Crystal!



Brazilian Baby Born With 2 Heads

Published December 21, 2011

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A ocorrência é rara e acontece, geralmente, por problemas genéticos (Foto: J.R. Avelar)

ANAJAS, Brazil – A baby boy with two perfectly formed heads was born in Brazil this week, the country's media reported.

The 10.1-pound baby was delivered by emergency C-section early Monday in Anajas, in the northeastern Para State.

"And for us, it was a great surprise to find out that the child was in really good health."

The mother did not have any ultrasound exams during her pregnancy and was made aware of the baby's condition only a few moments before the birth.

The infant shares one heart and one set of vital organs, but both heads have started nursing normally, doctors told the media.

Joseph Brazil, the obstetrician responsible for the delivery, said the child has "an amazing appetite."

Neila Dahas, obstetrician and gynecologist at the Santa Casa de Misericordia Hospital, said the baby was born with two heads as a result of "a delay in the division of the egg."

"I want her [the mother] to understand that she does not have a monstrous son, a son with two heads, but she has two sons."

The mother named them Emanoel and Jesus.

Dahas said that it "would be absolutely impossible" to separate the two heads as their body shares a liver, heart, lungs and pelvis.

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2011/12/21/brazilian-baby-born-with-two-heads/
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« Reply #5804 on: Dec 23rd, 2011, 7:30pm »

on Dec 23rd, 2011, 5:34pm, Swamprat wrote:
Merry Christmas, Crystal!



Brazilian Baby Born With 2 Heads

Published December 21, 2011

User Image
A ocorrência é rara e acontece, geralmente, por problemas genéticos (Foto: J.R. Avelar)

ANAJAS, Brazil – A baby boy with two perfectly formed heads was born in Brazil this week, the country's media reported.

The 10.1-pound baby was delivered by emergency C-section early Monday in Anajas, in the northeastern Para State....

The mother named them Emanoel and Jesus.

Dahas said that it "would be absolutely impossible" to separate the two heads as their body shares a liver, heart, lungs and pelvis.

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2011/12/21/brazilian-baby-born-with-two-heads/


shocked

Crystal
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