People in Ukraine’s Odessa Died Instantly, Poisoned by Unknown Substance – Report

21:09 03/05/2014

KIEV, May 3 (RIA Novosti) – During the fire at Odessa’s Trade Unions House people died instantly, having been poisoned by an unidentified substance, the UNIAN news agency reported on Saturday.

“Many people died by jumping from the fourth and fifth floors, while others died of carbon monoxide or burned to death…I was at the accident scene and saw a great number of dead people. It was evident that they died instantly, very quickly,” the agency quoted Ukraine’s First Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Yarema as saying.

PressTV – Odessa inferno victims poisoned by unknown substance

Fire at Trade Union House building in Ukraine



Continue reading “People in Ukraine’s Odessa Died Instantly, Poisoned by Unknown Substance – Report”

Forced Meds Are OK to Prosecute Threat Charges / “client was exposed to asbestos and was a “whistle-blower”


(CN) – The government can continue to forcibly drug the man it says threatened to kill federal employees over a delusional asbestos cover-up, the 9th Circuit ruled Friday.
Charles Lee Gillenwater II was charged in 2011 with sending threatening emails to employees of the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). In the emails, Gillenwater allegedly threatened violence against the federal employees for failing to properly investigate his claims that asbestos had been illegally removed from the Flamingo hotel in Las Vegas. Continue reading “Forced Meds Are OK to Prosecute Threat Charges / “client was exposed to asbestos and was a “whistle-blower””

USA gives up control of Internet

Friday, 14 March 2014

U.S. officials announced plans Friday to relinquish federal government control over the administration of the Internet, a move likely to please international critics but alarm some business leaders and others who rely on smooth functioning of the Web.

Pressure to let go of the final vestiges of U.S. authority over the system of Web addresses and domain names that organize the Internet has been building for more than a decade and was supercharged by the backlash to revelations about National Security Agency surveillance last year. Continue reading “USA gives up control of Internet”

This map could mean militia mayhem for Mexico

Many say armed self-defense groups are filling a vacuum left by a near-absent government, becoming Mexico’s next big security challenge.


Self-defense groups have surged in western Mexico’s Michoacan state, fighting gangs in at least 70 communities in 25 municipalities. The Spanish text says “Apatzingan is considered a bastion of the Knights Templar [gang].” Courtesy El Universal

MEXICO CITY — Hell seems ever more liable to bust loose in western Mexico’s Michoacan state, with heavily armed civilians squaring off against feared meth-producing gangsters who’ve had the run of rural hamlets and towns for years. Continue reading “This map could mean militia mayhem for Mexico”

Goldman Sachs rogue trader to be jailed seven years AFTER concealing an unauthorized $8.3 billion trading deal / For a whole 9 months

  • Matthew Taylor, 35, was sentenced Friday to nine months for wire fraud in 2007
  •  U.S. District Judge William Pauley questioned why it took Goldman and the government so long to bring the misconduct to light
  • Taylor had admitted in a guilty plea this year that he concealed an unauthorized $8.3 billion trading position in 2007
  •  He told Goldman within 36 hours but escaped criminal charges until this year
  • ‘Goldman was silent about Taylor’s lies,’ the judge said in federal court in Manhattan

By  Daily Mail Reporter and Associated Press Reporter

PUBLISHED: 00:00 EST, 7 December 2013 |  UPDATED: 00:00 EST, 7 December 2013

A former Goldman Sachs trader was sentenced on Friday to nine months in prison for wire fraud by a judge who took sharp aim at both Goldman and the government, questioning why it took them so long to bring the misconduct to light.

Matthew Taylor, 35, had admitted in a guilty plea this year that he concealed an unauthorized $8.3 billion trading position in 2007. He told Goldman within 36 hours but escaped criminal charges until this year.

‘Goldman was silent about Taylor’s lies,’ U.S. District Judge William Pauley said in federal court in Manhattan.

xRogue trader: Former Goldman Sachs trader Matthew Taylor was sentenced to nine months in prison for wire fraud on Friday

Continue reading “Goldman Sachs rogue trader to be jailed seven years AFTER concealing an unauthorized $8.3 billion trading deal / For a whole 9 months”

Since When Are Your Phone Calls Private, Goverment Lawyer Asks


MANHATTAN (CN) – Since Americans expect their phone companies to keep records of their calls, they have no basis to challenge the National Security Agency’s mass collection of that data, a lawyer for the government argued Friday.

Americans have “no reasonable expectation” to privacy when it comes to the telephone calls they make, Assistant Attorney General Stuart Delery said at a packed hearing in federal court.

“People assume that phone companies are recording phone numbers and how long the call lasted,” he said. “We know that because all of us get the bills with those details.”

U.S. District Judge William Pauley III is presiding over the trial stemming from the revelation of a then-classified court order that compelled Verizon to turn over domestic phone records for millions of Americans.

Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked the document in June and has since received asylum from Russia.

Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, told the court that the dragnet spying program is an “abuse of the government’s investigative power.”

Continue reading “Since When Are Your Phone Calls Private, Goverment Lawyer Asks”

Pope Francis corruption fury: Tie them to a rock and throw them in the sea

Impassioned sermon condemned corruption from those who donated to the church but stole from the state

Heather Saul

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Pope Francis delivered an impassioned sermon yesterday, during which he quoted a passage from the bible that said some sinners deserve to be tied to a rock and cast into the sea.

The Argentinian religious leader said Christians who donated money to the church but stole from the state were leading a “double life” and were sinners who should be punished

Quoting from the Gospel of St Luke in the New Testament, he said: “Jesus says ‘It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck and he be thrown into the sea’,” because “where there is deceit, the Spirit of God cannot be”.

Without directly mentioning corruption within the Catholic Church, in his sermon he described those involved in corrupt practices as “whitewashed tombs”, explaining that “they appear beautiful from the outside, but inside they are full of dead bones and putrefaction.” He said: “A life based on corruption is varnished putrefaction.”

His sermon came during his daily morning Mass inside Casa Santa Marta, the guest house he has lived in since being elected pontiff in March.

On Friday, he also condemned corruption, asserting parents who earned through bribes or corrupt practices had “lost their dignity”, and fed their children “unclean bread”.

He said: “Some of you might say: ‘But this man only did what everyone does!’. But no, not everyone! Some company administrators, some public administrators, some government administrators… perhaps there are not even very many. But it’s that attitude of the shortcut, of the most comfortable way to earn a living.

“These poor people who have lost their dignity in the habit of bribes take with them not the money they have earned, but only their lack of dignity!”

He compared receiving bribes as “like a drug” as people become “dependent” on the habit of bribes.

The Pope has made clear his intentions to tackle corruption within the Vatican and held a meeting with the Church’s highest ranking whistleblower in October, after telling the Church in May that it “must go forward… with a heart of poverty, not a heart of investment or of a businessman” reminding it that “St Peter did not have a bank account”.


US loses Unesco voting rights after stopping funds over Palestine decision

Some Americans warn of loss of influence over world culture and education after US misses deadline to pay debt

Associated Press in Paris, Friday 8 November 2013 06.27 EST

Unesco conference
The Palestinian ambassador to Unesco, Elias Sanbar, at the agency’s general conference. Photograph: Jacques Brinon/AP

American influence in culture, science and education around the world took a high-profile blow on Friday after the US automatically lost voting rights at Unesco after missing a crucial deadline to repay its debt to the world’s cultural agency.

The US has not paid its dues to the Paris-based UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation in protest over the decision by world governments to make Palestine a Unesco member in 2011. Israel suspended its dues at the same time and also lost voting rights on Friday.

Under Unesco rules, the US had until Friday morning to resume funding or explain itself, or automatically lose its vote. A Unesco official, who was not authorised to speak publicly about the issue, said nothing was received from either the US or Israel.

The suspension of US contributions, which accounted for $80m a year – 22% of Unesco’s overall budget – brought the agency to the brink of a financial crisis and forced it to cut or scale back US-led initiatives such as Holocaust education and tsunami research.

Many in Washington are worried that the US will become a toothless Unesco member with a weakened voice in international programmes fighting extremism through education and promoting gender equality and press freedoms.

Some fear that a weaker US presence will lead to growing anti-Israeli sentiment within Unesco, where Arab-led criticism of Israel for territorial reasons has long been an issue.

“We won’t be able to have the same clout,” said Phyllis Magrab, the Washington-based US national commissioner for Unesco. “In effect, we [now won’t] have a full tool box. We’re missing our hammer.”

The Unesco tension has prompted fresh criticism of US laws that force an automatic funding cutoff for any UN agency with Palestine as a member. The official list of countries that lose their votes was expected to be read aloud on Saturday before the entire Unesco general conference.

Israel’s ambassador to Unesco, Nimrod Barkan, told the Associated Press that his country supported the US decision “objecting to the politicisation of Unesco, or any international organisation, with the accession of a non-existing country like Palestine”.

Unesco is probably best known for its programme to protect the cultures of the world via its heritage sites, which include the Statue of Liberty and Timbuktu in Mali. But its core mission, as conceived by the US, a co-founder of the agency in 1946, was to be an anti-extremist organisation. It  tackles foreign policy issues such as access to clean water, teaches girls to read, works to eradicate poverty, promotes freedom of expression and gives people creative thinking skills to resist violent extremism.

Among Unesco programmes already slashed because of funding shortages is one in Iraq that was intended to help restore water facilities. Also in danger was a Holocaust and genocide awareness programme in Africa to teach about non-violence, non-discrimination and ethnic tolerance, using the example of the mass killing of Jews during the second world war.

This loss is a particular blow to the US, since Holocaust awareness was one of the areas the country aggressively promoted in the agency’s agenda when it rejoined in 2002 after an 18-year hiatus, during which the US had withdrawn from the organisation over differences in vision.

The Palestinian ambassador to Unesco, Elias Sanbar, said other countries were beginning to make up for the US shortfall.

“Is this in the interest of the US, to be replaced?” he asked.

The Unesco director general, Irina Bokova, lamented the change. “I regret to say that I’m seeing, in these last two years … a declining American influence and American involvement,” Bokova said.

“I can’t imagine how we could disengage with the United States at Unesco. We are so intertwined with our message. What I regret is that this decision became so divisive and triggered this suspension of the funding,” she added.

Bokova said she accepted political reality and would find ways for Unesco to continue its work, despite a 2014 budget that is down by an estimated $150m.

Some worry about more serious consequences if Palestine joins other agencies such as the World Health Organisation.


Hunan introduces party-pooping austerity measures


PUBLISHED : Friday, 01 November, 2013, 3:47pm
UPDATED : Friday, 01 November, 2013, 6:35pm

Olivia Rosenman

  • wedding_banquet_shunde.jpg
Preparations are made for wedding banquet Foshan, Guangdong province Photo: Chinasmack

The southern Chinese province of Hunan has devised a set of party-pooping austerity measures that will restrict the size and scale of weddings, funerals and other celebrations as well as limiting gifts for its 66 million residents, according to a report in the Changsha Evening News.

Personal celebrations, such as birthdays, graduations or promotions must now remain family affairs, and inviting civil servants is strictly forbidden according to new regulations implemented on Friday.

For life’s more monumental moments, the rules are slightly relaxed. Friends and colleagues are permitted to attend weddings and funerals. When it comes to presents, however, they’re off the hook. Only family members and colleagues from the same workplace are allowed to bring gifts.

Local government worker, Mr Li, was in favour of the policy. “I used to spend close to half my annual salary on gifts for friends”, he told the Changsha Evening News.

Extravagant receptions that are commonplace in rural China will become a thing of the past in Hunan. Weddings are now limited to a maximum of 200 people, or 20 tables. When the bride and groom hail from the same place, 300 people are allowed.

Party planners might need to consider location more carefully, for fear of leaving important guests at the mercy of public transport. Processional motorcades are limited to a maximum of eight cars.

The regulations have been designed to address the inevitable waste of lavish celebrations, as well as official corruption, officials say. Expensive gift-giving has long been associated with bribery and embezzlement.

Mr Zhu, former Chair of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, agreed. He told the Changsha Evening News that the new policy would address the fact that giving and receiving gifts had been a way to cultivate guanxi (connections), adding that people would have difficulty adjusting to the new rules.

Many on social media agreed, “Widespread publicity, supervision and transparent reporting channels are absolutely essential. The regulations must be strictly enforced and offenders must be punished”, wrote one Hunan resident on weibo.

But not everyone was so enthusiastic. Local restaurant owners said they were already feeling the effects of the regulations, as the plans were made public before Friday’s implementation.

“About half a month ago, customers began cancelling or decreasing the size of their bookings”, said the owner of a restaurant in the provincial capital Changsha.

The government was less than sympathetic. “The regulations do not ban weddings in restaurants; they simply lay out some controls and limits. In the short term, the regulations will affect Hunan’s restaurateurs, but as soon as they learn to change their tactics and focus more on regular customers, their businesses will become prosperous again” said a spokesperson from Hunan’s Food Industry Association.

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Gunmen kill Libya’s military police force commander / The Benghazi assassinations continue

Source: Reuters – Fri, 18 Oct 2013 12:22 PM

Author: Reuters


BENGHAZI, Libya, Oct 18 (Reuters) – Unidentified gunmen fatally wounded Libya’s military police force commander as he left his house in the eastern city of Benghazi to attend Friday prayers, a security source said.

“Several shots hit Ahmed al-Barghathi. He was brought to hospital but later died there,” the source said.

The attack is the latest blow to a weak Libyan government that is struggling to assert control over militias and radical Islamists two years after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi.

Several army officers have been assassinated in Benghazi, where the U.S. ambassador was killed during an Islamist assault on a U.S. diplomatic mission a year ago. The shooting of Barghathi, who was on vacation in the city, is the highest profile attack there for weeks.

Some former rebel groups now in theory help the government maintain security, but are themselves often a source of violence.

McDonald’s employee arrested for confronting CEO on low wages


Published time: October 10, 2013 00:26


A Chicago woman was arrested late last week after confronting the president of her long-time employer McDonald’s over the low wages she earns as she struggles to raise two young children.

Nancy Salgado, 26, interrupted a speech by McDonald’s Corporation President Jeff Stratton at the Union League Club of Chicago on Friday, saying her wages weren’t enough for her to supply her kids with basic amenities like shoes.

“Do you think this is fair, that I have to be making $8.25 when I’ve worked for McDonald’s for ten years?” Salgado, who claimed to have never received a raise in that time, said at the gathering as Stratton stood at a podium.

“I’ve been there forty years,” Stratton replied, the extent of his response to Salgado.

“The thing is that I need a raise. But you’re not helping your employees. How is this possible?” Salgado continued at Stratton. “To your employees you haven’t done anything.”

She and six other protesters were arrested and given tickets for trespassing.

The group was part of dozens of McDonald’s workers, supported by members of the Workers Organizing Committee of Chicago, that attended the Union League Club event as part of the “Fight for 15,” a campaign that seeks a $15-an-hour wage for fast-food workers.

Salgado, single mother of children ages 2 and 7, is a cashier at a McDonald’s working thirty to forty hours a week, she told The Real News. She has worked at her current McDonald’s position for ten months.

“[Stratton] needs to know we are what all the employees at McDonald’s are going through,” she said Wednesday. “We’re struggling day-to-day to provide our needs in our houses, things for our kids. And it’s just–it gets harder and harder with just the poverty wage.”

Salgado said she was quickly approached by authorities at the event and told she would be arrested.

“I remember just telling them … because I have to speak out my mind and I had to tell the president the poverty wage I’m living in, that’s just against the law?” she told The Real News.

She said she expects her employer to take some kind of retaliatory action against her soon.

“There’s nothing going around [yet] that I know of. Would there be? I had some hours cut off,” she said. “Do I feel they’re going to do something against me? I do. You know. They haven’t done anything yet.”

A fair wage to Salgado would be around $15 an hour, she said.

“I love my job. I love interacting with customers. I love talking with them, even though, like, it means I’m harder, I’m broken, you know, because sometimes I can’t provide a gallon of milk in the fridge,” she said.

“It’s like the CEOs make billions and billions a year. Then why can’t they provide enough for their employees?”


French carbon tax to yield 4 bln euros in 2016 – PM

Source: Reuters – Sat, 21 Sep 2013 03:53 PM

* French PM says carbon tax to be ramped up after 2014 start

* Ayrault says zero impact on households from fuel in 2014

* PM also flags nuclear power levy to help energy transition

PARIS, Sept 21 (Reuters) – A carbon tax to be introduced in France next year will generate 4 billion euros ($5.4 billion) in receipts by 2016 to help fund sweeping energy-effiency goals, Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said on Saturday.

The measure, to be levied on all fossils fuels in proportion to the emissions they generate, would yield 2.5 billion euros in 2015, Ayrault said, outlining the impact of the tax announced by President Francois Hollande on Friday.

He did not give a figure for 2014, but said there would be no impact on households next year from road and heating fuel, in keeping with a pledge not to raise further the tax burden.

The Socialist government is attempting a delicate balancing act in satisfying demands for tougher environmental targets from its Green Party allies and resentment among households and businesses over rising taxes.

In addition to the carbon tax, the government will impose a levy on profits from France’s large nuclear power network, Ayrault said, without detailing its value.

“Fossil and nuclear energy will thus be mobilised to allow us to meet our energy transition objectives,” Ayrault told a conference in Paris.

The carbon tax would let France invest an extra 1 billion euros in its so-called energy transition from 2016, on top of nearly 4 billion euros already spent annually on renewable energies and 1 billion on household renovation, he said.

On Friday, President Hollande said France should aim for a 30 percent cut in fossil fuel use by 2030, setting out plans for the carbon tax from 2014 and a tax break on home insulation.

The incentives for households to carry out thermal renovation, supported by a reduced 5 percent rate of value-added tax  for such work, would be worth 1.5 billion euros next year, Ayrault said in a speech closing the two-day conference on environment and energy policy.

The impact on households from the carbon tax as levied on road and heating fuel would be nil next year, Ayrault said.

For businesses, transport companies would still be exempted while industrial firms covered by carbon quotas would remain so, Ayrault said.

The carbon tax has already been earmarked to finance 3 billion euros for a tax credit already planned to improve the competitiveness of French companies, government officials added.

Elected last year pledging ambitious energy reforms, Hollande said on Friday the cut in fossil fuel use was needed to meet the country’s goal of halving overall energy use by 2050.


Supporters demand billionaire activist’s release following ‘black Friday’ of multiple arrests

    Saturday, 14 September, 2013, 1:05pm

  • wanggongquan.jpg
Wang Gongquan was detained on Friday. Photo: screenshot via Weibo

In a statement published on early Saturday morning, hundreds supporters of China’s New Citizen Movement called on the Chinese government to release prominent venture capitalist Wang Gongquan, following his detention on Friday they described as “barbaric” and “cruel.”

The 52-year-old businessman was detained by police on Friday at his home in Beijing on suspicion of “gathering a crowd to disturb order in public places”, a charge identical to the one that led to the arrest of Xu Zhiyong, the founder of the New Citizen Movement. Xu had been in police custody since mid-July.

The statement by Wang ‘s supporters said the accusation was  “ridiculous”, since Wang “could not possibly have disturbed order in any public places.”

“Mr. Wang is an adamant supporter of  New Citizen Movement, ” it said, “this means he endorses the use of peaceful and legal methods to fight for Chinese citizens’ rights promised by the constitution, the development of China’s citizen society, and ultimately to realise the peaceful transition of Chinese society.”

The statement also described Wang as a “sincere Buddhist” and “thorough humanitarian” who has nothing but “goodwill” towards the world and other people.

On the same day Wang was taken away by police,  the wife of Chen Baocheng, a journalist who was detained in August in Shandong Province,  was notified by police of his official arrest. Chen was detained along with seven other villagers for protesting against the forced demolition of their homes in Shandong.

Chinese media also confirmed on Friday that  Dong Liangjie,  an outspoken blogger and environmental activist, was detained this week in Beijing on suspicion of “spreading online rumours.” 

Micobrologgers who closely followed  the news of activists’ arrests that broke on Friday, commented on Weibo that it was indeed a very “black Friday.”

He Weifang, a liberal Peking University law professor, spoke out on his Weibo on Saturday regarding the recent arrests, criticising the Chinese government for “establishing its rule on the basis of people’s fears.”

“Threatening others only proves your weakness- just like those who try to fool people will eventually be fooled by themselves,” he wrote. “Handling critics by sending them  to jail is nothing but suicide.”


Poor English saved Japanese bankers during 2008 crisis: Aso

Politics Jun. 29, 2013 – 03:00PM JST


Japan’s banks emerged from the 2008 global credit crisis largely unscathed because senior employees did not speak English well enough to have got them into trouble, Finance Minister Taro Aso says.

Aso, who also serves as deputy prime minister, said bankers in Japan had not been able to understand the complex financial instruments that were the undoing of major global players, so had not bought them.

“Many people fell prey to the dubious products, or so-called subprime loans. Japanese banks were not so much attracted to these products, compared with European banks,” Aso told a seminar in Tokyo on Friday.

“There was an American who said Japanese banks are healthy, but that’s not true at all. Managers of Japanese banks hardly understood English, that’s why they didn’t buy,” he said.

Aso’s comments are the latest in a line of pronouncements that have raised eyebrows.

The one-time prime minister said in January the elderly should be allowed to “hurry up and die” instead of costing the government money with expensive end-of-life medical care.

In 2007, he had to apologize for a quip about patients with Alzheimer’s disease and for making light of flood damage in central Japan.

But the deputy prime minister, who is known as a dapper dresser and often seen sporting a jauntily-angled hat, on Friday boasted he had managed to keep his foot out of his mouth since Shinzo Abe came to power as premier in December.

However, the boast was somewhat undermined when he initially got the name of the prime minister wrong.

“I have made no gaffes in the past half year even as newspapers said the Aso administration’s… No, the Abe administration’s biggest problem is Taro Aso’s gaffes,” he said.

© 2013 AFP


Orphans of the EU meltdown: The shocking picture that shows how middle class parents in Greece are dumping their children in orphanages so they won’t starve

By  Ian Birrell

PUBLISHED: 17:27 EST, 22  June 2013 |  UPDATED: 20:04 EST, 22 June 2013

Laughing children play in a pine-scented  courtyard on a warm summer’s evening.

Excitement rises to fever pitch as a creamy  chocolate gateau is sliced. It appears a timeless, idyllic scene – but in  reality it is a very modern Greek tragedy.

For this cloistered red-brick building in a  wealthy suburb of Athens is a children’s home. Yet many of those youngsters are  not orphans or the products of dysfunctional families.

Alexandros and Olga Eleftheriadou visiting their children Nicholas and Victoria at the Zanneio Child Care InstitutionDesperate: Alexandros and Olga Eleftheriadou visiting  their children Nicholas and Victoria at the Zanneio Child Care  Institution

Instead, they are forgotten victims of the  Eurozone crisis, handed over by parents who can no longer afford to feed  them.

The financial meltdown in Greece has caused  pain and suffering throughout the country. But in a nation where the idea of  family is central to everyday life, its youngest citizens are bearing some of  the heaviest burdens of the crisis.

Scores of children have been put in  orphanages and care homes for economic reasons; one charity said 80 of the 100  children in its residential centres were there because their families can no  longer provide for them.

Ten per cent of Greek children are said to be  at risk of hunger. Teachers talk of cancelling PE lessons because children are  underfed and of seeing pupils pick through bins for food.

At the Zanneio Child Care Institution, I was  proffered a piece of cake by nine-year-old Nicolas Eleftheriadou. When I asked  him how he was, he replied with a shy grin: ‘I’m as tough as a walnut.’

His parents, Olga and Alexandros, had arrived  to take their three oldest children home for the weekend; the children attend  the unit from Monday to Friday. The friendly couple both lost jobs in catering  two years ago; he delivered pizzas, she worked in a sandwich shop.

Alexandros and Olga Eleftheriadou can no longer afford to feed their children after the Eurozone crisisTough decisions: Alexandros and Olga Eleftheriadou can  no longer afford to feed their children after the Eurozone crisis

With five children, they struggled to  survive on social security of £400 a month, boosted by odd jobs in the black  economy. They want proper work, but there are few jobs.

Olga’s widowed mother tried to protect the  family, providing food and funds from her own meagre benefits as a cancer  patient. Sadly, it was not enough – and so for more than a year Nicolas, his  eight-year-old brother and seven-year-old sister have been sent to Zanneio, an  hour from their home on the other side of Athens.

The couple admitted it was incredibly  painful. ‘It was so hard, incredibly hard, especially at the start,’ Olga says.  ‘I could hardly bear it. The children have got used to it. The one consolation  is they seem happier now and their teachers are very kind and  caring.’

The Eleftheriadous’ story highlights the  harshness of life in modern Greece, where the economy is in freefall – it is  still shrinking at five per cent a year – and the unemployment rate is the  highest in Europe.

Almost a third of adults are jobless, along  with two-thirds of under-25s. But even those in work struggle. Private sector  wages have fallen by 30 per cent in four years and painful new taxes have been  imposed as the country is crucified by its adherence to the euro.

In the few days I was in Athens, Greece was  demoted by the financial markets from ‘developed nation’ to ‘emerging market’  status, a human rights group condemned the appalling scapegoating of migrants  and the state broadcaster ERT was switched off by the government to cut costs.

The closure of ERT shocked Greeks and  reminded outsiders of the scale  of the country’s crisis. The move   shattered the fragile three-party governing coalition with the smallest   pulling out – and could force the third general election in just over a  year.

Olga Eleftheriadou holding two of her five children, who live at the home from Monday to FridayStrain: Olga Eleftheriadou holding two of her five  children, who live at the home from Monday to Friday

Under the EU-imposed austerity programme,  Greece must lose 150,000 of its 800,000 public sector jobs, many the product of  political patronage and a key cause – alongside rampant tax evasion – of the  huge debts dragging down this nation of 11 million.

Such is the scale of the crisis that Greece’s  economic contraction is already twice as deep as Britain’s during the Great  Depression of the 1930s.

Little wonder staff at Zanneio – which sits  amid the beautiful villas of film stars, financiers and even a former prime  minister – have seen so many heartbreaking cases.

One family was forced to put four children  aged between six and 14 in the home after the father’s restaurant went bust with  such big debts he was jailed under hardline new laws and their mother was unable  to cope.

An angelic-looking 11-year-old girl told me  how much she looked forward to seeing her mother each Friday. Her father was  dead, her mother unemployed and unable to afford her upkeep; she had been there  two years already. Such cases upset those involved in childcare. ‘It is not in  the Greek culture for families to split up,’ said Menelaos Tsaoussis, 45, the  foundation’s former director. ‘These  situations are so traumatic for the families.’

Another charity last year reported four  children, including a newborn baby, dumped on its doorstep. One toddler was  found holding a note saying: ‘I will not be coming to pick up Anna today because  I cannot afford to look after her. Please take good care of her.  Sorry.’

The Child’s Smile, a Greek charity for  families in crisis, said it helped 10,927 children last year with emergency  supplies of food, clothes, shoes, school books and psychological support. The  previous year, the number was 4,465.

‘We used to have people only from the lowest  economic level but now we are seeing people from upper middle levels when they  lose their jobs and have nowhere to go,’ said Tania Schiza, a social worker with  the group.

Often these ‘new poor’ are reluctant to seek  support, worsening their plight.

Nine-year-old Nicholas with the other children running to the backyard of the orphanageStaying cheerful: Nine-year-old Nicholas with the other  children running to the backyard of the orphanage

‘We have some cases where families who used  to donate money have become victims of the crisis. ‘Now  they come to us for help,’ said Schiza.

‘All of these families are deeply  disappointed. They feel whatever they do, nothing can be done to change their  circumstances in the crisis.’

Other charities told similar stories. SOS  Children’s Villages helped 47 families five years ago; today it is helping 900  and opening new centres across Greece to stave off family breakdown amid soaring  poverty.

Many turning to them are from formerly  prosperous middle-class families; among the restaurant owners, shopkeepers and  businessmen was one senior executive with a major company who had lost his  job.

Like all such groups, it strives to keep  families together. Despite this, with financial pressures growing more intense  by the day as savings dwindle and firms collapse, a handful of children in its  homes have been given up by impoverished parents.

Eight-year-old Vallia Georgitsi's mother Metaxia is struggling to cope
Threat: Eight-year-old Vallia Georgitsi’s mother Metaxia  is struggling to cope

‘This is a major shift in Greek society over  the past three years,’ said Pavlos Salihos, a teacher and trained psychologist  at the children’s village in Vari. ‘We never had cases like this before; it was  just social problems such as drug abuse.’

Another official with SOS Children’s Villages  said some youngsters were in such bad shape they could barely talk. One school  said one in six of its students suffered malnutrition. In others teachers have  started handing out fruit, sandwiches and milk. A public health body believes  food security levels in Greece have fallen to those of some African countries.  Social workers said they look out for children who simply give up on school  work, the first sign of mental trauma caused by the crisis.

Suicide rates and mental health problems  across all ages have risen sharply over the past three years; on my previous  visit, I came across a woman who had lost her job and was threatening to jump  from her office. One newspaper has said Greece was a ‘society on the verge of a  nervous breakdown’.

Ironically, the image has grown of Greeks as  feckless and lazy, although studies have found more entrepreneurs per head and  longer working hours than elsewhere in Europe.

But to make matters worse, as demand soars  from desperate parents, the maelstrom that has engulfed Greece is making it  harder for cash-strapped charities to keep such centres open.

On Friday, the day I visited, the foundation  that runs Zanneio was marking its closure and merger with another group; the  buildings have been bought by the church for training priests.

Although its 19th Century founders endowed it  with dozens of properties, the foundation’s rental income fell in the financial  crisis from £1.3 million to £850,000, while new taxes imposed by a government  scrabbling around for funds took an extra £300,000 a year.

The centre has been taken over by Hatzikonsta  – the oldest children’s welfare organisation in Greece, founded by a family of  wealthy traders 160 years ago. Hatzikonsta has already seen the number of  children it is supporting rise more than four-fold since the crisis began – and  four-fifths of children in its residential care are there for economic  reasons.

Yet it, too, is struggling to survive. It is  owed more than £850,000 from property rentals; already its 72 staff have taken  substantial salary cuts. ‘I feel I must have been Genghis Khan in a previous  life for such punishment,’ joked Leonidas Dragoumanos, the director trying to  juggle the finances.

Metaxia Georgitsi, 40, a single mother of  three, put her oldest child – a 14-year-old boy – in full-time care after seeing  her income from cleaning work fall by nearly two-thirds, then losing her job and  trying to survive on benefits of £300 a month.

‘We both cried every day to begin with,’ she  said. ‘I tried to visit him every day, which made it a bit better, but it was  hard.

‘Without a husband, what else could I do – we  had no option.

‘It was very difficult – I had loans to pay  and did not have enough money for food. But at least they helped him with his  homework there and he ate properly.’

After one year, the family was reunited last  autumn when the boy came home. But now her unemployment benefits are due to stop  after a year without work and she may have to rent out her home, which she  retains only because her elderly parents pay the mortgage.

Ian Birrell went to Athens where he heard middle-class families' concerns that they could not look after themselvesSpecial report: Ian Birrell went to Athens where he  heard middle-class families’ concerns that they could not look after  themselves

‘I just don’t know what I can do in the  future,’ said Metaxia, who believes single-parent families have been hit  especially hard. ‘The crisis has undone us. I fear I may have to put my boy back  in the orphanage, send my girls to live with my mother and I will stay with a  friend. Then the family will be completely split up. It’s the worst possible  scenario.’

Amid the soup kitchens, shut-down shops and  scavengers on the streets, there is one sliver of good to emerge from this Greek  catastrophe: the rediscovery of self-help and communal values as the welfare  state is gutted and people pull together.

In Marousi, a suburb of Athens that has had a  70 per cent cut in state funding, mayor Giorgos Patoulis has led a drive to open  a health centre treating 6,000 uninsured patients, food kitchens, clothing banks  and even a pharmacy staffed by volunteers and stocked with  donations.

‘The mentality had to change and there are  signs of a new solidarity,’ he said. ‘But if this crisis extends much further,  how will we be able to take care of all our people?’

It is a question many more Greeks are asking,  especially those thousands of parents teetering on the edge of the abyss. Most  would echo the words of Amalia Ntougia, 46, a widowed mother of three from  Marousi whose shop closed in the crisis. Although living off handouts and crumbs  from her disabled father’s small pension, when asked if she would give up her  children to a care home, she replied indignantly: ‘No, I am a Greek  mother.’

Tragically, for many Greek parents, even such  intense family pride is no longer enough.

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10 million sign petition for rescue of abductees from N Korea

National Apr. 27, 2013 – 07:10AM JST ( 10 )


An association started by the family of Megumi Yokota who was abducted by North Korea, is preparing to present a petition calling for the rescue of her and other abductees to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The association said Friday it had received from Saitama Gov Kiyoshi Ueda a petition containing 356,192 signatures, taking the total number of signatures to over 10 million. The association is planning to hand the petition to Abe at a public gathering on Saturday.

Yokota’s parents are still campaigning for her return, despite persistent claims that she committed suicide as the result of depression after being abducted and taken to North Korea in 1977. However, her death was later disputed by a North Korean defector in 2011. Yokota was one of at least 17 Japanese citizens kidnapped by North Korea in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

The North Korean government admitted to kidnapping Yokota 20 years after her initial disappearance. Yokota’s parents and others in Japan refuse to believe reports of her death and a controversial DNA test on her cremated remains was inconclusive. Her parents believe their daughter, who would now be 49 years old, is still alive in North Korea and and they and relatives of other abductees have been collecting signatures as part of a public campaign seeking their return to Japan.

Japan Today


Now officials claim Boston bombing suspect was NOT armed in boat showdown – despite police account of firefight and him ‘shooting himself’


  • Officials  now claim that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was unarmed as he hid in boat in  Watertown
  • Contradicts  Boston Police Commissioner’s account of hour-long firefight with  Tsarnaev
  • New York  Times said M4 rifle had been found on boat
  • Police  sources suggested Tsarnaev shot himself onboard

By  Associated Press and Daily Mail Reporter

PUBLISHED: 20:53 EST, 24  April 2013 |  UPDATED: 22:48 EST, 24 April 2013


Two unnamed U.S. officials have told the  Associated Press that the surviving suspect in the Boston bombings was unarmed  when police captured him hiding inside a boat in a neighborhood back  yard.

The report contradicts the Boston police  department’s own account of Dzhokar Tsarnaev’s capture on Friday – after  commissioner Ed Davies described a firefight between him and officers before the  terror suspect was captured.

The New York Times also said an M4 rifle had  been found on the boat – another claim contradicted by the latest  revelations.

Officers had originally said they had  exchanged gunfire with Tsarnaev for more than one hour Friday evening before  they were able to subdue him.

But on Wednesday, the law enforcement  officials told the AP that no gun was found aboard the vessel.

Hidden: Authorities located bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev using infrared light, which lit up his body hiding under a tarp


Hidden: Authorities say that Boston Marathon bombing  suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was not armed as he hid in this boat in a Watertown,  Massachusetts backyard

Hideout: Dzhokhar was found hiding in this boat in Watertown on Friday following a massive manhunt

Hideout: Dzhokhar was found hiding in this boat in  Watertown on Friday following a massive manhunt


Apprehended: Dzhokhar is searched and given medical attention after he is found hiding on Friday evening


Apprehended: Dzhokhar is searched and given medical  attention after he is found hiding on Friday evening

It also contradicts many media accounts of  Tsarnaev’s final moments of freedom.

The New York  Times reported that an M-4 carbine  rifle – similar to the weapon  used by American troops fighting in Afghanistan –  was found aboard the  boat and that officials had recovered two handguns and a  bb gun used by the two brothers.

The throat wound sustained by Tsaernev was  also said by numerous law enforcement sources to be self inflicted.

Sources told Newsday that Tsarnaev’s bullet wound looked to be self-inflicted, due to the location of  Tsarnaev’s wound and the trajectory of the bullet.


And Reuters reported that the suspect was  shot through the mouth by a round that exited through his neck.

Dozens of bullet holes were seen on the  exterior of the boat in photos taken shortly after the final standoff in the  Watertown backyard.

The officials told the AP that say  investigators only recovered a 9 mm handgun believed to have been used by  Tsarnaev’s brother, Tamerlan, from the site of a gun battle Thursday night,  which injured a Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority officer.

Trawl: On Monday, a police forensics team examines the boat where he was found in Watertown


Trawl: On Monday, a police forensics team examined the  boat where Dzhokhar was found hiding

Scene: He was found cowering in the boat after its owner realized its straps had moved on Friday evening


Scene: He was found cowering in the boat after its owner  realized its straps had moved on Friday evening

Dzhokhar was believed to have been shot  before he escaped.

The officials tell The Associated Press that  no gun was found in the boat.

Investigators have said the brothers appeared  to have been radicalized through jihadist materials on the Internet and have  found no evidence tying them to a terrorist group.

Dzhokhar told the FBI that they were angry  about the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the killing of Muslims there,  officials said.

How much of those conversations will end up  in court is unclear.

Rip: An FBI officer stands in front of the boat where Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings, was hiding inside


Rip: An FBI officer stands in front of the boat  where  Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon  bombings, was  hiding inside

The FBI normally tells suspects they have the  right to remain silent before questioning them so all their statements can be  used against them.

Under pressure from Congress, however, the  Department of Justice has said investigators may wait until they have gathered  intelligence about other threats before reading those rights in terrorism  cases.

The American Civil Liberties Union has  expressed concern about that.

Regardless, investigators have found pieces  of remote-control equipment among the debris and were analyzing them, officials  said.

One official described the detonator as  ‘close-controlled,’ meaning it had to be triggered within several blocks of the  bombs.

Read more:–despite-police-account-firefight-shooting-himself.html#ixzz2RSXOAtug Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Caught just in time: ‘Bombers were about to plant MORE devices but plot was spoiled by release of CCTV photos’

EEV: There is no doubt extreme and conflicting reports on the Boston event. We expect it should be very easy to track where all these alleged weapons came from. In addition, police footage from the car camera’s should be able to easily validate the story.

  • The Boston  bombers were reportedly planning more attacks across the city
  • However, the  released of the photographs of the suspects ‘forced them out of their  hideout’
  • Footage released  on Saturday shows Dzhokhar Tsranaev  laying flat under a tarp in a boat. Police used a robot  to pull the tarp off the boat
  • Police  tracked him with thermal imaging cameras and engaged him in a furious exchange  of gun-fire that began shortly after 7pm
  • Stand-off  continued until 8:45pm when Tsarnaev surrendered
  • Dzhokhar has been  hospitalized at the Beth  Israel Deaconess Medical Center. He is ‘intubated and sedated’ and cannot yet  speak
  • Tamerlan Tsarnaev  had injuries from head to toe and all limbs intact when he arrived at the  hospital. He died early on Friday

By  Snejana Farberov, Daily Mail Reporter and James Nye

PUBLISHED: 22:16 EST, 20  April 2013 |  UPDATED: 13:12 EST, 21 April 2013

The Boston bombers were planning more attacks  across the city and were already building the bombs to do this says the city’s  police commissioner Ed Davis.

Davis says it’s his belief that 19-year-old  Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his 26-year-old brother Tamerlan ‘were going to attack  other individuals’ — and Davis says that’s based on the evidence at the scene  and the cache of weapons the brothers had at their disposal.

However, Davis claims releasing photos of the  two Boston Marathon bombing suspects ‘forced them out of their hideout’ and  spurred them into Thursday and Friday’s deadly night time car chaos and gun  battle with law enforcement.

‘It forced them out of their hideout and they  decided to commit further violent acts. But it’s my belief that they were  already manufacturing explosive devices. Further violent acts were inevitable,’  Davis told The Boston  Globe.

The suspects ‘were not making those  explosives for nothing,’ Davis told The Globe. ‘There was a plan there, and I  believe that tragically Sean Collier lost his life, but he was truly protecting  the citizens of the city’

Handguns, a rifle and at least six bombs,  three of which detonated were found at the scene on Friday after officers had  their first showdown with the Boston bombing brothers in Watertown,  Massachusetts.

And it is believed that federal prosecutors  are putting the final touches together on charges against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev,  despite his throat wound leaving him unable to speak.

The most serious charge available to federal  prosecutors would be the use of a weapon of mass destruction to kill people,  which carries a possible death sentence. Massachusetts does not have the death  penalty.

CBS  News‘ John Miller has claimed  investigators believe the wound to the back of his neck is evidence that  Dzhokhar attempted to end his own life at the culmination of Friday’s dramatic  standoff.

‘They say it appears from the wound that he  might have stuck a gun in his mouth, and fired and actually just went out the  back of his neck without killing him.’

Scroll down  for video.

This photo released by the FBI early Friday April 19, 2013, shows what the FBI is calling suspect number 2 behind
This photo released by the FBI early Friday April 19, 2013, shows what the FBI is calling the suspects together, walking through the crowd in Boston on Monday

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his  26-year-old  brother Tamerlan ‘were going to attack other individuals’ —says  Boston police commissioner Davis and  says that opinion is based on the evidence  at the scene and the cache of weapons  the brothers had at their  disposal.

Planning further atrocities?: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his 26-year-old brother Tamerlan were believed to be about to unleash further terror attacks on Boston according to the city's police commissioner Planning further atrocities?: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his  26-year-old brother Tamerlan were believed to be about to unleash further terror  attacks on Boston according to the city’s police commissioner

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, is seen in this undated still image taken from surveillance video on Friday
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, is seen in this undated still image taken from surveillance video on Friday (left) as he is seen climbing into that same day morning after a police gun battle. He was later found in the boat and captured

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, is seen in this undated still image  taken from surveillance video on Friday (left) as he is seen  climbing into that  same day morning after a police gun battle. He was  later found in the boat and  captured

Handguns, a rifle and at least six bombs,  three of which detonated were discovered at the scene on early friday after  officers first came face-to-face with the Tsarnaev brothers on a residential  street in Watertown, Massachusetts.

Police chief Edward Deveau revealed that a  lone officer was the first to encounter Tamerlan and Dzhokar Tsarnaev and that  before he could call for back-up, the two brothers exited the Honda and BMW’s  they were driving and began firing.

‘They jump out of the car and unload on our  police officer,’ said Deveau.

‘They both came out shooting — shooting  guns, handguns. He’s under direct fire, very close by. He has to jam it in  reverse and try to get himself a little distance.’

Eventually, five other officers, including  two off-duty cops arrived and there began a close quartered gun-fight in a ‘very  tight area’ in the middle of suburban Watertown.

‘We estimate there was over 200 shots fired  in a five- to 10-minute period,’ said Deveau.

He also revealed that the two brothers  detonated a pressure cooker bomb – lending credence to the theory that the  brothers were planning further terrorist strikes across the city.

‘We find the pressure cooker embedded in the  car down the street, so there’s a major explosion during this gunfight (with) my  officers — six of my officers that I’m extremely proud of,’ Deveau  said.

The pair also threw two other ‘rough’ and  crude explosives at the officers, by lighting them.

And then at the culmination of the gun fight,  Tamerlan Tsarnaev begins to advance on the pinned down officers.

Concealed: The suspect appears to be laying flat in the boat in the final moments before his captureStill: The suspect appears to be laying flat in the boat  in the final moments before his capture

He all of a sudden comes out from under cover  and just starts walking down the street, shooting at our police officers, trying  to get closer,” Deveau said. “Now, my closest officer is five to 10 feet away,  and they’re exchanging gunfire between them. And he runs out of ammunition —  the bad guy — and so one of my police officers comes off the side and tackles  him in the street.

‘We’re trying to get him handcuffed. There’s  two or three police officers handcuffing him in the street — the older brother.  At the same time, at the last minute — they obviously have tunnel vision, it’s  a very, very stressful situation — one of them yells out, ‘Look out!’ and here  comes the black SUV, the carjacked car, directly at them,’ said  Deveau.

‘They dive out of the way, and he (the  younger brother) drives over his brother and drags him a short distance down the  street.’

Tamerlan was pronounced dead later on at  hospital and Dzhokar drove off in the Mercedes SUV about two blocks and then  exited the car and ran off into Watertown.

This comes as previously unseen video of the  dramatic capture of the Boston bomber shows a police robot  ripping apart the  tarp concealing the suspect and numerous flash bang  grenades being thrown into  the boat where he lay.

In the final moments before his capture on  Friday night, Dzhokhar Tsranaev appeared to lay still inside a boat in a  backyard in Watertown, Mass. on Friday before he was taken into custody.

Doctors also revealed grizzly details on how  his brother, Tamerlan, had wounds from head to toe, ‘every region of his body had injuries [though] his legs and arms were  intact,’ they  said about his condition when he was hospitalized on  Friday morning shortly  before he died.

Watertown police chief Edward Deveau  has  also given the most detailed yet account of events on Friday. Boston had been on  edge after two  bombs ripped through the crowd near the finish line of the  Boston  Marathon on Monday. The city was  gripped with fear as the suspects were being hunted down, after the FBI  released photos of the men behind the attacks on Thursday night.

Violence broke out in the early morning hours  Friday when police received reports  of a robbery of a convenience store in  Kendall Square near MIT and a Sean Collier, an MIT police officer, was shot multiple  times.

In hiding: The dramatic footage released by police shows where the teenager lay hiding in a boat in the quiet suburban neighbourhood of Watertown In hiding: The dramatic footage released by police shows  where the teenager lay hiding in a boat in the quiet suburban neighbourhood of  Watertown
BlastBlast: Video appears to show a flash grenade being  thrown into the boat where the suspect hid
Show of forceShow of force: The Massachusetts State Police has  released this video showing an explosion resulting from a grenade thrown into  the boat where the suspect lay

 VIDEO  RAW: Thermal imaging camera shows Dzhokhar Tsranaev’s  final moments before arrest

CaughtCaught: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev lies on the ground of the  property of 67 Franklin Street in Watertown after authorities apprehended him.  He had to have medical assistance to breathe

Speaking to CNN following Dzhokhar’s  capture, Deveau said that a single officer was the first to encounter  the two  cars that Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were driving, just  before 1am Friday.

One of the vehicles was a Mercedes SUV the  brothers had carjacked earlier that night.

Before the officer could call for backup, the  two cars came to a stop and the brothers got out.

‘They jump out of the car and unload on our  police officer,’ Deveau said.

‘They both came out shooting — shooting  guns, handguns. He’s under  direct fire, very close by. He has to jam it in  reverse and try to get  himself a little distance.’

Five others officers arrived on the scene in  the middle of an intense  shootout during which Deveau says over 200 rounds were  fired in 5-10  minutes.

The chief  said that one of the suspected  bombers lobbed an explosive at the  officers, which later turned out to be a  pressure cooker bomb like the  ones used in the marathon attack Monday.

The brothers also allegedly threw  other  explosives at police, which Deveau described as ‘very rough  devices.’

Two of the bombs detonated and two did not.

The pressure-cooker bomb exploded, and the  lid was found embedded in a nearby car, Deveau said.

At one point, the older brother came directly  toward police, firing a gun  at officers as he inched closer toward him, but  Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s luck ran out along with his ammunition, allowing one of the  officers to  tackle him.

The older of the two Chechen brothers  suspected of bombing the Boston Marathon was wounded but alive following a  police gun battle when his younger brother ran him over with a car,  possibly  causing his death.

In hiding: Dzhokhar was discovered by Massachusetts resident David Henneberry hiding in his boat. Police used thermal imaging to monitor his movementsIn hiding: Dzhokhar was discovered by Massachusetts  resident David Henneberry hiding in his boat. Police used thermal imaging to  monitor his movements
Revealed: How heat sensors found the Boston terror suspect - the cameras showed how the man moved around the boatRevealed: How heat sensors found the Boston terror  suspect – the cameras showed how the man moved around the boat

‘He all of a sudden comes out from under  cover and just starts walking down the street, shooting at our police officers,  trying to get closer,’ Police Chief  Edward  Deveau, of Watertown, Massachusetts, said.

‘Now, my closest officer is five to 10  feet  away, and they’re exchanging gunfire between them. And he runs out  of  ammunition — the bad guy — and so one of my police officers comes  off the  side and tackles him in the street.’

He was in the process of being  handcuffed by  two or three officers when his younger brother,  19-year-old Dzhokhar, jumped  behind the wheel of a black SUV the two  hand allegedly carjacked earlier and  barreled toward the group.

The older of the two Chechen brothers  suspected of bombing the Boston Marathon was wounded but alive following a  police gun battle when his younger brother ran him over with a car,  possibly  causing his death.

Officers who were restraining  Tamerlan  Tsarnaev got out of the way of the speeding vehicle, which  ended up driving  over the wounded suspect, the police chief told CNN.

According to Deveau, the 19-year-old suspect  dragged his sibling’s body a short distance down the street and drove off.

He later ditched the SUV and escaped on  foot.

‘I am extremely lucky that I’m not at a  funeral this morning for one of my officers,’ Deveau said in an interview on  MSNBC.

‘They were heroic, very talented, and had the  guts and glory to defend our town, our community, in a very tight  situation.’

Suspects: Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, left, was reportedly run over by his accomplice and younger brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19Suspects: Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, left, was reportedly  run over by his accomplice and younger brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19

Tamerlan Tsarnaev was pronounced dead at a  hospital a short time later.

An alleged autopsy photograph of Tamerlan  that was leaked Friday shows  multiple gunshot wounds and a massive open gash  that spans from the  center of his chest to his back.

Another smaller gash is located right below  the larger wound. His right shoulder and his face show signs of hemorrhaging.

A doctor involved in treating the Boston  Marathon bombing suspect who  died in a gunbattle with police told the  Associated Press that Tamerlan Tsarnaev  had injuries from head to toe and all  limbs intact when he arrived at the hospital.

Dr David Schoenfeld said 26-year-old  Tamerlan Tsarnaev was unconscious and had so many penetrating wounds  when he  arrived at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center early Friday  that it isn’t  clear which ones killed him, and a medical examiner will  have to determine the  cause of death.

The older  Tsarnaev’s clothes had been cut  off by emergency responders at the  scene, so if he had been wearing a vest with  explosives, he wasn’t by  the time he arrived at the hospital, the doctor  said.

‘From head to toe, every region of his body  had injuries,’ he said.

‘His legs and arms were intact – he  wasn’t  blown into a million pieces’ – but he lost a pulse and was in  cardiac arrest,  meaning his heart and circulation had stopped, so CPR,  or cardio-pulmonary  resuscitation, was started.

SiteSite: Investigators work around the boat where Dzhokhar  Tsarnaev was found hiding after a massive manhunt that left the Boston area  paralyzed in fear

Schoenfeld did not address the police assertion that Tsarnaev was run over by a car driven by his brother as  he fled  the gunfire.

The doctor said he couldn’t discuss specific  treatments in the case except  to say what is usually done in such  circumstances, including putting a  needle in the chest to relieve pressure that  can damage blood vessels,  and cutting open the chest and using rib-spreaders to  let doctors drain  blood in the sac around the heart that can put pressure on  the heart and keep it from beating.

‘Once you’ve done all of those things … if  they don’t respond there’s  really nothing you can do. You’ve exhausted the  playbook,’ he said.

After 15 minutes of unsuccessful treatment,  doctors pronounced him dead at  1:35am.

His body was turned over to law enforcement  for examination to  determine the source of his injuries.

‘We did everything we could’ to try to save  his life, Schoenfeld said.

‘There was some discussion in the emergency  room about who it was. That discussion ended pretty quickly,’ Schoenfeld said.

‘It really doesn’t matter who the person is.  We’re going to treat them as best we can.’

EvidenceEvidence: Investigators gather evidence on Saturday,  near the location in Watertown, Mass., where Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, was  captured
ReviewReview: Investigators remained at the home in Watertown,  Mass. where the surviving suspect was located

After the early morning violence, officials  frantically searched for the suspect who remained on the loose.

The city issued a ‘shelter-in-place’ request,  telling residents of the greater Boston area while the streets were overun with  an estimated 1,000 law enforcement officers who scoured the are for the  fugitive.

Shortly before 6pm, officials announced that  though they hadn’t located the alleged  bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, they were  lifting the lockdown and urged residents to exercise extreme caution and be  vigilant.

One Watertown, Mass. resident took that  advice to heart.

After 6pm, David  Henneberry walked out to his backyard and noticed something odd about his  boat, that is stored behind his home.

‘He looked and noticed something was off  about his boat, so he got his  ladder, and he put his ladder up on the side of  the boat and climbed up, and then he saw blood on it, and he thought he saw what  was a body  laying in the boat,’ Henneberry’s neighbor, George Pizzuto told ABC  News.

‘So he got out of the boat fast and  called  police.’

How the drama in Watertwon unfolded in the early hours of Friday

Authorities then used a helicopter  equipped  with a thermal imaging device to confirm that there was a body  in the tarp  covered boat and that the person was alive.

Hovering over the area, the helicopter  spotted the heat signature of a person, confirming Henneberry’s  suspicions.

‘Our helicopter had actually detected  the  subject in the boat,’ Col. Timothy Alben of the Massachusetts State  Police told  NBC News. ‘We have what’s called a FLIR — a forward-looking  infrared device —  on that helicopter.

The chopper  monitored the body in the boat  for more than an hour before police moved in.

ATF, SWAT and  K-9 units had descended upon  67 Franklin Street and engaged Tsarnaev in a vicious gun battle – over 40 shots  rang out in the quiet suburban  neighborhood.

‘There was an exchange of gunfire,’ confirmed  Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis at a news conference.

‘We used a robot to pull the tarp off the  boat,’ David Procopio of the  Massachusetts State Police said to CNN.

Unconfirmed reports suggest that  Tsarnaev  was shot twice by law enforcement in the gun battle which raged until his  capture at approximately 8:45pm.

Law enforcement sources have suggested that  Tsarnaev gave himself up  voluntarily after realizing continuing resistance was  fruitless.

Search Search: A light beam from a helicopter, top right, aims in the direction of  Watertown, where officials searched for a suspect on Friday

Endgame: An ambulance carries Boston Marathon Dzhokhar Tsarnaev from the scene after he was apprehended in Watertown, Massachusetts, USA on Friday
Endgame: An ambulance carries Boston Marathon Dzhokhar  Tsarnaev from the scene after he was apprehended in Watertown, Massachusetts,  USA on Friday

He was found bleeding heavily from gunshot  wounds to his neck and foot  from the shoot-out on Friday morning, which he  escaped on foot before taking up his hiding place in a Watertown backyard boat.

The blood loss  would have taken place over  more than 20 hours by the time he was found and there were reports,  which could  not be confirmed, that he may have been shot a further two  times last  night.

‘He had lost a lot of blood. He was so weak  that we were able to just go in and scoop him up,’ state police spokesman David  Procopio told the  Boston Herald adding that the suspect was in ‘serious if not  critical  condition’.

He was rushed from the scene by ambulance  and images showed apparatus being used to help him breathe.

As the suspect receives treatment at the Beth  Israel Deaconess Medical  Center in Boston, law enforcement officials have  revealed that he  injured his throat in the standoff with police and may not be  able to  speak, a law enforcement official toward CNN.

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick said on  Friday : ‘[I] hope he survives, because we have a million questions.’

Tsarnaev was captured last night in  the  culmination of a dramatic week-long police hunt and a completely  unprecedented  $333 million shutdown of Boston and its suburbs.

SceneScene: Aerial views of 67 Franklin Street, where  Dzhokhar was taken into custody
WoundedWounded: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is seen being transported in  an ambulance after he was captured on Friday. Officials say he suffered an  injury to his throat and cannot speak

The medical facility where he is a  patient  is under heavy armed guard and federal prosecutors are standing  by at the  center for when the teenager is able to speak.

Victims who were injured in the  deadly blast  at the marathon on Monday are also among those being  treated at the medical  center, which has some families angry about the  close proximity to the alleged  mastermind.

Tsarnaev is being treated in a room  yards  from where 11 injured marathon victims are still in recovery while a specially  drawn up High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group wait  anxiously to question  him.

One Boston mother, Liz Norden’s two  sons,  Paul and J.P., were in the crowd at the race on Monday and have  both lost a leg  in the aftermath of the tragic event. Her younger son, Paul, is being  treated at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

She told NBC News that she is shocked and  angry that the suspect is so near.

‘I can’t even tell you how devastating it’s  been,’ Liz Norden told NBC News. ‘Those two [the bombers] shattered my  world.’

Harrowing scene: Bomb disposal robots searched the suspects' vehicle, with an eye witness saying a water bottle was removedHarrowing scene: Bomb disposal robots searched the  suspects’ vehicle early on Friday, with an eye witness saying a water bottle was  removed
Green accord

Violent moments: The scene of the shootout, in  which  Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed, involving the Boston bomber suspects in Watertown,  Massachusetts

Tense night: Police with guns drawn search for a suspect in the bombing after a shootout and carjacking Tense night: Police with guns drawn search for a suspect  in the bombing after a shootout and carjacking
Foolhardy: At one point, police say Tamerlan marched down the street toward police while firing a gun at them Nothing to lose: At one point, police say Tamerlan  marched down the street toward police while firing a gun at them
Explosive: Police say the suspects opened fire on officers and lobbed makeshift bombs devices at them Explosive: Police say the suspects opened fire on  officers and lobbed makeshift bombs devices at them
Fire power: About 200 rounds were fired during the shootout in a matter of five-ten minutes Fire power: About 200 rounds were fired during the  shootout in a matter of five-ten minutes
Chaos in the streets: Gunfire erupted in a quiet suburban neighborhood, setting off a massive manhunt Chaos in the streets: Gunfire erupted in a quiet  suburban neighborhood, setting off a massive manhunt

The showdown in Watertown broke out after the  violence began in Cambridge, Mass.

Violence erupted in the early morning hours  Friday when police received reports of a robbery of a convenience store in  Kendall Square near MIT and a police officer was shot and  ended up with a gun  fight in a small suburban street as residents slept.

Sean Collier, an MIT police officer, was shot  multiple times while in his  cruiser at Main and Vassar streets, near the Stata  Center on the MIT  campus.

Officials told the Washington Post that  footage from a security camera shows the two suspects approaching the car and  speaking to the officer.

All of a sudden, one of the suspects pulled a  gun and shot Collier multiple times, including one shot to the head.

Hero: MIT Police Officer Sean Collier was shot and killed in an armed confrontation with the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombingHero: MIT Police Officer Sean Collier was shot and  killed in an armed confrontation with the suspects in the Boston Marathon  bombing

Some police have suggested that the shooting  was meant to spark a full scale confrontation with police.

‘They were looking to start something,’ one  official told the Washington Post.

The 26-year-old Collier was pronounced dead  at Massachusetts General Hospital.

A short time later, the two men carjacked a  Mercedes SUV at gunpoint.

The  hostage was then driven around for half an hour as the pair decided what their  next move would be.

As police moved in on the vehicle following  reports of a carjacking, the pair decided to dump the driver at a gas station on  Memorial Drive in Cambridge.

The search for the vehicle led to a chase  that ended in Watertown, where authorities said the suspects threw explosive  devices from the car and exchanged gunfire with police.

Richard H. Donahue, 33, a transit police  officer was seriously injured during the chase.

In Watertown, witnesses reported hearing  multiple gunshots and explosions at about 1am on Friday, when the frightening  scene occurred.

On Saturday, Boston police paid tribute to  the MIT officer who died in the line of duty.

Mr Collier’s body was transported from the  Boston medical examiner’s office to the deceased man’s hometown of  Wilmington.

Officers and local residents lined the street  to remember the slain officer as his body left the office.

His family had asked that the hearse, with a  police escort, pass through the center of hometown before  heading to a funeral  home in Stoneham.

A vigil was held in his hometown of  Wilmington on Saturday night, as residents flocked to the streets in remembrance  of the hero, who was shot multiple times  by the suspects.

The Collier family said that the 26-year-old  had always wanted to be a police officer.

‘We are heartbroken by the loss of our  wonderful and caring son and brother, Sean Collier. Our only solace is that Sean  died bravely doing what he committed his life to – serving others,’ his family  said in a statement.

Mr Obama similarly offered his condolences to  the Collier family on Friday night, after the surviving suspect was captured.

‘He died bravely in the line of duty  doing  what he committed his life to doing, serving and protecting  others,’ the  president said.

Boston StrongBoston Strong: Fans hold an American flag during  ceremonies in tribute of victims and first responders to the Boston Marathon  bombings before a baseball game between the Boston Red Sox and the Kansas City  Royals

The Red Sox paid an emotional tribute to the  people of Boston on Saturday afternoon in a moving pregame ceremony at  Fenway  Park, the first time since last Monday’s deadly terrorist attacks that killed  three and left more than 180 wounded.

Designated hitter David Ortiz exclaimed ‘this  is our f***ing city’ to rapturous  cheers, and some tears, after a moving video,  encapsulating the horror  and heroism of the past few days, played on the big  screen.

Proud Bostonians could be seen watching the  game, many of them clutching  American flags.

The city used the significant sporting event  to honor  the victims and offer gratitude to the police, firefighters and  medical  personnel as well as strangers who risked their lives to save others  after the senseless attacks.

‘All right, Boston,’ said Ortiz. ‘This jersey  that we wear today, it doesn’t say Red Sox. It says Boston.

He continued: ‘We want to thank you, Mayor  Menino, Governor Patrick, the  whole police department for the great job they  did this past week. This  is our f***ing city, and nobody is going to dictate  our freedom. Stay  strong.’

The Boston team,  rather than wearing their  traditional ‘Red Sox’ embroidered across the  chest, wore crisp white uniforms  that simply read ‘Boston,’ with a ‘B  Strong’ logo.

The team said their uniforms would be  autographed and  auctioned to raise money for the charity established to help  the  victims, called One Fund Boston.

RemembranceRemembrance: Lisa Marriott and her son, Joseph, hold a  sign and candles during a vigil for slain MIT police officer Sean Collier at the  Town Common in Wilmington, Massachusetts on Saturday

During the video, the crowd applauded when  images of the brave Carlos Arredondo appeared on the screens and  it increased  when pictures and quotations from President Obama, Governor Patrick and Mayor  Menino were shown.

It was accompanied by Jeff Buckley’s  rendition of ‘Hallelujah.’

When the footage moved to the manhunt for  19-year-old Dzhokar A Tsarnev in Watertown, the fans were on their feet  cheering.

At that point, law enforcement and first  responders walked onto the field and formed a line in front of the Red Sox  dugout.

Moments of silence were then held for  Marathon victims, eight-year-old Martin  Richard, Krystle Campbell and Lu Lingzi  and MIT police officer Sean  Collier, who was killed Thursday night in a  shootout between the  Tsarnaevs.

The emotional tribute came after  baseball stadiums around the U.S. erupted  into cheers last night as news that  police had captured the second Boston  bombings suspect was plastered  across the big screens.

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U.S. Penalizes Russians for Human Rights Violations: Freezes Assets, including Ramzan A. Kadyrov, the president of Chechnya

EEV: For those that follow the Magnitsky list, draw your own hypothesis. April 12th 2013

By  and
Published: April 12, 2013

WASHINGTON — The United States imposed new sanctions Friday on about two dozen Russians accused of human rights violations, and Moscow vowed to retaliate as a fractious dispute between the two countries escalated further into a cold war-style, tit-for-tat clash.

Follow @nytimesworld for international breaking news and headlines.


The Obama administration barred 18 Russians from traveling to the United States and froze any assets they may have here under a new law intended to punish human rights violations. A handful of other more highly placed officials, including the head of the Russian region of Chechnya, were put on a list not publicly revealed. Russian officials promised to ban a like number of Americans.

The back and forth was reminiscent of the days when the two powers expelled equivalent numbers of diplomats to disrupt spy rings or signal displeasure, underscoring the depth of discontent just four years after President Obama resolved to reset the relationship. The dispute has already resulted in Moscow shutting down American adoptions of Russian orphans. The new sanctions came just days before Mr. Obama’s national security adviser, Tom Donilon, travels to Moscow to try to smooth over the tension.

The public sanctions targeted largely midlevel officials but the classified list included Ramzan A. Kadyrov, the president of Chechnya, a Kremlin ally known as a ruthless ruler, according to people briefed on the list. Others on the secret list were figures of such prominence in Russia that the administration feared identifying them might invite retaliation by President Vladimir V. Putin against similarly situated American officials like members of Congress.

While critics were disappointed the scope was not more expansive, some called it a powerful statement of values and a first step in a broader effort to hold human rights abusers accountable.

“We’ve just crossed the threshold,” said William F. Browder, once a prominent foreign investor in Russia who lobbied Congress to pass the law requiring sanctions after his lawyer died in a Moscow jail. “This is the end of impunity. This is a historic moment and the United States has made a very strong statement about human rights abuses.”

Russia has assembled its own list of Americans to ban, dubbed by some the “Guantánamo list,” in reaction to Friday’s move. “We will respond to it, and the American side knows it,” said Sergey V. Lavrov, the foreign minister. “The timing is bad.”

The move could undercut any good will engendered by an Obama administration decision to scale back missile defense in Europe. But there were signs the two sides hoped to keep the issue from escalating further. Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, said the administration was “very frank and candid” with Moscow about human rights but “we will engage with the Russians” on other important matters.

Moscow evidently expected the American action to be tougher. The newspaper Kommersant reported that the government had identified 104 Americans to ban if necessary. Aleksei K. Pushkov, the hawkish head of a parliamentary international affairs committee, told the Interfax news agency that the Obama administration was “taking the minimalist path” to avoid a deeper political crisis before Mr. Donilon’s visit.

Administration officials recognized that release of the list, required by Saturday under the law, would complicate Mr. Donilon’s visit. But they decided to proceed with the trip anyway because Mr. Obama is to meet with Mr. Putin on the sidelines of an economic summit meeting in Northern Ireland in June and then travel to Russia in September.

Of the 18 Russians identified on the unclassified list, all but two are tied to the death of Sergei L. Magnitsky, the lawyer for Mr. Browder who was investigating official corruption only to be arrested and die in custody in 2009. His death became a cause célèbre for Russia critics, and the American sanctions law was named for him.

Among those targeted Friday were investigators, tax officials, judges and prison supervisors connected to Mr. Magnitsky’s case. The other two were Chechens implicated in prominent murders: Lecha Bogatirov, accused of gunning down Umar S. Israilov, a Chechen dissident, on the streets of Vienna in 2009, and Kazbek Dukuzov, accused of murdering the American journalist Paul Klebnikov in Moscow in 2004.

Many of those penalized were already barred from obtaining visas and it is not clear whether any of them have assets in the United States. Even so, Russians complained that the blacklist makes those on it pariahs and will make it hard for them to travel or invest in Europe.

“What is important for the Russian authorities is the fact that this list exists at all,” said Aleksei Makarkin, an analyst at Moscow’s Center for Political Technologies. “For the first time, there is officially some number of Russian officials considered guilty of violating human rights.”

Elena A. Panfilova, director of Transparency International in Russia, said that the officials had plenty of time to transfer any vulnerable property, but that: “It’s all about sending a message. If you restrict somebody’s rights, expect someone to restrict yours.”

American officials said the list was only the beginning. “This is not a one-time-only act,” said a senior administration official who briefed reporters on the condition of anonymity. “The law makes clear that additional names should be added as additional information becomes available.”

Even so, the list disappointed lawmakers and rights activists in Washington. Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, called the announcement “so damaging” because the list was not robust enough. He vowed new legislation to go after abusers.

Representative Jim McGovern, a Massachusetts Democrat, had sent the administration a list of 280 Russians compiled by Mr. Magnitsky’s family for possible sanctions, including senior officials like Yuri Y. Chaika, the country’s general prosecutor.

Lawmakers like Mr. McGovern wanted the administration to apply the sanctions to anyone about whom there was “credible information” on rights violations. But the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control required a higher degree of evidence normally used with economic sanctions, because if challenged in court, it will have to justify depriving people of assets.

“While the list is timid and features more significant omissions than names, I was assured by administration officials today that the investigation is ongoing,” Mr. McGovern said.

David J. Kramer, president of Freedom House, an advocacy group, said he wished the list were longer but was encouraged that it went beyond the Magnitsky case. “The key now is to keep this as an ongoing process by which more names can be added,” he said.

Cyrpus : Friday saw a run on the country’s cooperative banks – Trust in the system may not return

Cypriot presidency in calm call

Открытие банков Кипр банк Кризис

© Photo: Peter Nicou for the Voice of Russia

The Cypriot authorities including the Central Bank and the presidency have called on the people to ignore financial panic mongers and stay calm.

 Friday saw a run on the country’s cooperative banks after persons unknown started circulating SMS messages with warnings that the deposits held in these institutions will be subject to what came to be known as ‘haircutting’.

 The authorities say the rumour is false.

 Voice of Russia


Egypt’s fundamentalist rulers crush lives, hopes of women: Age of marriage to be lowered from 18 to 13 maybe 9

The good old days?: An Egyptian woman holds a poster of ousted President Hosni Mubarak during a demonstration outside the Supreme Administrative Court in Cairo on Monday.  The court says it does not have jurisdiction to rule on a case launched by supporters of Mubarak who challenged the legality of his removal from power two years ago.
The good old days?: An Egyptian woman holds a poster of ousted President Hosni Mubarak during a demonstration outside the Supreme Administrative Court in Cairo on Monday.  The court says it does not have jurisdiction to rule on a case launched by supporters of Mubarak who challenged the legality of his removal from power two years ago. | AP

Women of all classes alienated in wake of Arab Spring protests

by Tracy Mcveigh

The Observer

  • Online: Apr 03, 2013
  • Print: Apr 03, 2013
  • Last Modfied: Apr 03, 2013
CAIRO – The ambush came from the left, from a side street which led up the hill to Mokattam Mosque. A rush of hundreds of men running down on the march of antigovernment protesters, bringing a sudden clatter of rocks landing all around, the crack of shots fired and the whizz of tear gas canisters. Sticks, stones and metal bars flew through the smoke in both directions, and screaming women and men ran back the way they came.Dozens of manned police vans remained parked about a kilometer away. The only sirens came from ambulances that drove through the crowds and past burning vehicles to take some 40 injured people to a hospital.One angry woman with a bleeding mouth, eyes streaming from the tear gas, pulled off her headscarf and stood yelling at the other side, the supporters of the ruling Muslim Brotherhood. “You are not Islam! You are not Egypt! Where is my freedom?”

So go most Fridays in Cairo over the past few weeks as liberal Egyptians have shown their virulent opposition to President Mohammed Morsi as he has awarded himself new powers and pushed through a deeply contentious new constitution. Several buildings of the Muslim Brotherhood, the group behind Morsi, have been burned. In post-Arab Spring Egypt, the revolution continues. But it’s women of all classes who have found themselves most alienated — written out of the jostling for power and subjected to a skyrocketing number of sex assaults, rapes and harassment.

Women who stood shoulder to shoulder with men during the 2011 Tahrir Square protests that brought down President Hosni Mubarak found their position in society undermined almost immediately. The parliamentary quota for women was removed without debate and a promised female vice president failed to materialize, amid what political commentator Moushira Khattab called “a radical antifeminist sentiment.” Morsi threatened but stopped short of decriminalizing Egypt’s practice of female genital mutilation, carried out on almost three-quarters of Egyptian girls, making it clear he would not tackle an issue he called “a family matter.”

The new constitution has swept away recognition of women’s rights and left the door open to the legalization of perhaps Egypt’s most crippling social issue — underage marriage. Draft legislation that will allow the legal age of marriage to be lowered from 18 to 13 has been drawn up while clerics within the Muslim Brotherhood have indicated that marriage at the age of 9 for girls is acceptable.

“They see women as, No. 1, objects of sex and, No. 2, to clean their floors. This is what the Egyptian ‘brotherhood’ is all about,” said Fatma, 24, an engineering graduate. The women keep close together, arms linked and eyes alert for the men flying down the side of the demonstration on motorcycles grabbing and screaming at females. “They want to marry us at 9 years old. Are these really the kind of men we want to run our country? Pedophiles?”

Political progress has been slow, with parliamentary elections scheduled for April now postponed with no new date. Frustrations have built.

“They are like a pack of dogs, tearing out the weakest first, raping and harassing the women and the girls, getting rid of them, and then fighting among themselves to be pack leader,” said Aya Kadry, 62.

Hundreds of tower blocks are being built around Cairo, extending the Arab world’s largest city leg by leg into the desert. This is where the vast majority of Egypt’s women are already living the constrained lives that the educated and middle-classes fear will be imposed by a radical government. Child marriage is common, the norm among the poor. Doctors are bribed to sign documents asserting a 14-year-old is 18 but most people don’t have the money so marriages go ahead without registration. Underage girls then have children who, essentially illegal, cannot have their births registered. Without papers those children cannot attend school, encasing a whole new generation in poverty.

In the poor district of Ezbet Khairallah 10 women are sitting around a metal cash box, holding the weekly meeting of their savings and loans group. Set up by the charity Plan Egypt, it encourages women to squirrel away a few coins when they can and to discuss problems.

“We do not really have time to talk to our neighbors, there is a great burden of things to do in the home and for some of us our husbands do not like us to go out of doors, although we have convinced them we should meet for this social fund because it will help all the family,” said Seham Ahmed, 38, who is taking the opportunity to show the group how to make a basic liquid soap.

“I was married at 14,” she said, thumping a stick round a battered bucket and most of the women around her nod. “Pulled out of school one day and married that night. I hope my daughters can wait a little while but it’s quite difficult for girls who are not married at an early age to find a good man later and there is a lot of pressure. And fathers want girls gone because it is one mouth less to feed.”

Asmaa Mohamed Fawzy is 21. She was engaged but her family allowed her to break it off when her best friend died in childbirth aged 16. “I liked having the ring but I was only 15 and didn’t know any better. When Aya died it was a miserable tragedy and I’m very lucky that my mum agreed with me I should not get married. I get teased and bullied. They shout I am not pretty enough, why am I the ugly one, but I do not want to die or to have children who cannot go to school. It is probably too late for me now and I’m sad I won’t have children.”

Her mother, Naghzaky Abdalla, 47, also endures being shunned by her neighbors. “When her friend died I, too, made up my mind. We only have one so we can afford to protect her. A neighbor had died at 15 of bleeding: the doctors wouldn’t treat her because she was married illegally and they don’t want to get involved. The girls’ bodies are not ready for childbirth and they are not ready for sexual relations, which makes their husbands impatient with them,” she said. “Three girls in our street stay indoors now for ever because their husbands divorced them. If they cannot prove they were married and they are not virgins then they cannot get married again so they are shunned.”

Gihan, 45, a community activist with strong views, is fervently for the lowering the age of marriage to 13 in law. “We must do this,” she said. “Because all the unregistered children who cannot go to school need to be helped. These girls are denied health care, their children are denied a future. They have already decreased the legal age of work from 14 to 12 and I think this age too should be lowered. When Mubarak listened to international pressure and raised the age to 18 it changed nothing here. If you decree a legal age then you simply criminalize and marginalize. Men leave their wives before they turn 18 and their children are seen as being born into prostitution. We will raise awareness and stop child marriage this way.”

The stench of human waste coming from the river in another poor Cairo district, Manial Sheiha, is overpowering.

Nawal Rashid opens her door but remains on one side of the deep concrete threshold that she cannot cross — or allow visitors to cross — without her 70-year-old husband’s permission. He is at work. Her 3-year-old son plays behind her and she insists she married at 18 — which makes her 21 now — but her neighbors all say she was 14. “I accepted the older man to help my family as there were four other children and my parents are very poor. I am quite content and happy to have sacrificed myself for my family.”

Next door is Etab, 19. She has two children and has returned to stay with her despairing mother Nearnat, 42, her aging father and her three siblings.

“We thought by marrying her we would get her a better life,” said Nearnat. “Now she is divorced because he was a bad man. She refuses to get married again because then her ex-husband would take the children and now her younger sister is begging me not to go ahead with her marriage. I regret that my daughter was married young because now if she leaves the house her reputation will be ruined. The community all tease me.”

Outside in the street a group of young men explain why they want to marry young brides. “Children need to have their rights but also you want to marry a girl who is much younger so she will stay young and beautiful when you are old. Also, you can control her better and make sure she is not one of these girls who goes around wanting to be harassed,” said Abdel Rahman, 17.

His friend, Youssef, 20, agrees. “There are many girls who just want to be harassed, walking around in the streets with their eyes uncovered,” Youssef said.

Their views are not a surprise to Mona Hussein Wasef, 26, who works for Plan Egypt in Cairo.

“For 18 days we were in Tahrir Square, side by side, men and women, educated and uneducated, rich and poor. Never have I felt so much solidarity. I was Egypt, we were all Egypt, fighting for freedom, shoulder to shoulder,” she said.

“Now we have never been so far apart, men and women. In such a short time, such a gulf,” she said. “Now we are fighting just for the right to walk down the street without being assaulted. It is so hard, so shocking. To see the rights we had being ripped away and lost in the power struggle. To see us go backwards.”

Cyprus allows capital controls, creates “solidarity fund”

Photo: EPA

Cyprus MPs approved a bill Friday night, granting the government the right to restrict withdrawals from bank accounts in exceptional cases.

 The parliament in Cyprus also approved a “national solidarity fund” to help the state raise the necessary funds for an EU and IMF bailout.

 The “solidarity fund” bill presupposes nationalization of part of the assets of pension funds. MPs also imposed capital controls to prevent a run on the island’s troubled banks by temporary freezing accounts.

 Thus, Cyprus hopes to raise the requisite 5.8bn euros to qualify for a 10bn-euro bailout by the EU and IMF.

 Voice of Russia, RIA


Oil plunges as dollar gains on Cyprus news

March 18, 2013, 1:15 a.m. EDT

By Michael Kitchen, MarketWatch

LOS ANGELES (MarketWatch) — Crude-oil futures tumbled in electronic trading Monday, slapped lower by a surge in the dollar as worries spiked over a Cyprus bank levy and its implications for Europe.

Crude oil for April delivery (NMN:CLJ3)  plunged $1.04, or 1.1%, to $92.41 a barrel during East Asian trading hours, more than erasing its 42-cent gain Friday on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Similarly, London-traded rival benchmark Brent crude saw its May contract (IET:UK:LCOK3)  retreat $1.27, or 1.2%, to $108.55 a barrel, burying its 86-cent advance on Friday.


The moves followed a surprise announcement Saturday by the government of Cyprus that a levy will be imposed on private bank deposits at the nation’s lenders as part of the country’s bailout program.

The move — and its possible implications for other financially strapped euro-zone nations — sent global financial markets into a frenzy, with Asian stocks and U.S. index futures dropping sharply while the dollar surged.

By midday in East Asia, the ICE dollar index (NYE:DXY)  — a measure of the greenback against six rival units — had risen to 82.791, up significantly from 82.277 in North American trade on Friday.

A rising dollar tends to depress crude-oil prices, which are denominated in the U.S. currency, as it makes the commodity more expensive for holders of euros, yen and other units.

While some analysts had tied oil’s moves earlier in the year to the performance of equity markets, particularly in the U.S., Citi Futures analysts said in note late Friday that action for the dollar had now become a bigger factor for crude.

Why natural gas is an investing ‘sleeping giant’

The winter season is coming to an end, and the energy market readies for a slowdown in the need for heating fuels, but natural gas prices are up by 9%. MarketWatch’s Jim Jelter discusses why demand will likely increase. (Photo: Getty Images)

“In terms of the oil market’s habitual correlations, the recent price action — both on the way down and in Friday’s recovery — was the inverse relationship with the U.S. dollar rather than the leadership of the S&P 500.” they wrote.

Other energy futures mostly tracked the selloff in crude, as April gasoline (NMN:RBJ3)  gave up 4 cents for a 1.2% drop to $3.13 a gallon, while April heating oil (NMN:HOJ3)  saw a 3-cent retreat, about 1%, to $2.91 a gallon.

April natural gas (NMN:NGJ13)  went the other way, however, rallying 5 cents, or 1.2%, to $3.92 per million British thermal units. The gain extended a 6.7% advance the previous week, helped by a larger-than-expected drop in U.S. natural-gas inventories for the week ended March 8.

Citi Futures analysts said the nat-gas contract was picking up support from current North American weather patterns, particularly “what has proven to be a stable pattern of cooler-than-normal temperatures.”

“Based on the cold, our model now suggests that storage [of natural gas] could fall below the five-year average benchmark for the first time since September 2011 by the end of March,” Citi Futures said, though adding that the comparison levels were skewed by high storage levels in recent years.


Asian markets fall amid fears over Cyprus bailout deal


Asian markets fall amid fears over Cyprus bailout deal

Asian markets have dipped after Cyprus bailout plans triggered fears of an escalation of the eurozone debt crisis.

The EU and IMF want all bank customers to pay a levy in return for a bailout worth 10bn euros ($13bn; £8.6bn).

The plan is yet to be finalised, but the news of the deal caused a rush to the cash machines as people tried to withdraw money.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index fell 1.8%, Australia’s ASX 200 dipped 1.3% and South Korea’s Kospi was down 0.4%.

Analysts said that investors were sceptical about how the developments in Cyprus may affect other bigger eurozone economies which may also need bailout funds in the future.

The big fear being that, if approved, the plan may set a precedence for those countries.

“There will certainly be confusion in Cyprus and investors looking just at headlines may fret about its case becoming a model,” said Yuji Saito, director of foreign exchange at Credit Agricole in Tokyo.

‘Risk aversion’

The developments in Cyprus also had an impact on the currency markets.

The euro fell nearly 3% against the the Japanese yen. It was trading as low as 121.58 yen to the euro in Asian trade on Monday, down from 124.93 yen on Friday in New York.

The single currency also dipped to a three-week low against the US dollar. It was trading at $1.2895, down from late Friday’s level of around $1.30.

Meanwhile, the Japanese currency, considered by many as a safe haven asset in times of uncertainty, also gained against the US dollar.

It rose as high as 93.45 yen against the US dollar on Monday, from 96.11 yen on Friday.

Analysts said the fresh concerns over eurozone debt crisis, triggered by the developments in Cyprus, had resulted in investors looking to ditch relatively riskier assets.

“The week has started with a clear rise in risk aversion, following the surprise weekend decision in Brussels to slug all depositors in Cypriot banks with a levy in order to approve euro 10bn bailout funds,” said Sean Callow, a senior currency strategist at Westpac.

Incomes suffer biggest drop in TWENTY years, alarming new figures show

  • Part of decline was after 2.6 percent surge  in December as  businesses rushed to pay dividends and bonuses before the new  year
  • Consumer spending rose 0.2 percent linked to  utilities but decline in goods
  • Savings were the smallest since December of  2007
  • Economists expect a significant decrease in  real consumer spending in first half of year

By  Daily Mail Reporter

PUBLISHED: 11:34 EST, 1  March 2013 |  UPDATED: 13:07 EST, 1 March 2013


U.S. incomes tumbled by 3.6 percent in  January marking its biggest drop in the last 20 years while consumer spending  rose behind an increase in utility spending linked to a recent cold spell.

In the Commerce Department’s report on Friday  consumer spending increased 0.2 percent after a revised 0.1 percent rise the  prior month. Spending had previously been estimated to have increased 0.2  percent in December.

Consumer spending accounts for about 70  percent of U.S. economic activity and when adjusted for inflation, it  gained  0.1 percent after a similar increase in December.

Spending: Behind January's reported increase in consumer spending are reasons of a cold snap that raised utility spending, the streets of central Columbia, Missouri seen, though a decline in goods 

Spending: Behind January’s reported increase in consumer  spending are reasons of a cold snap that raised utility spending, the streets of  central Columbia, Missouri seen, though a decline in goods

January’s increase was in line with  economists’ expectations.

Though spending rose in January, it was  supported by a rise in services, probably related to utilities consumption after  a cold snap during the month.

Spending on goods fell, however, suggesting  some hard hit from the expiration at the end of 2012 of a 2 percent payroll tax  cut.

Tax rates for wealthy Americans also  increased.

Part of the income decline was payback for a  2.6 percent surge in December as businesses, anxious about those higher taxes,  rushed to pay dividends and bonuses before the new year.

Income cut: Spending on goods fell suggesting some hit from the expiration at the end of 2012 of a 2 percent payroll tax cut 

Income cut: Spending on goods fell suggesting some hit  from the expiration at the end of 2012 of a 2 percent payroll tax cut

With income dropping sharply and spending  rising, the saving rate – the percentage of disposable income households are  socking away – fell to 2.4 percent, the lowest level since November 2007. The  rate had jumped to 6.4 percent in December.

Savings were also the smallest since December  of 2007.

The impact is expected to be larger in  February’s spending data and possibly extend through the first half of the year  as households adjust to smaller paychecks, which are also being strained by  rising gasoline prices.

‘We expect a significant decrease in real  consumer spending in the first half of the year,’ said Yelena Shulyatyeva, U.S.  economist at BNP Paribas, New York.

‘We are looking for a very subdued Q1  reading, and that’s the effect from the fiscal tightening. That will weigh  significantly on first-quarter GDP, which we expect at 1.2 percent.

GDP advanced at a 0.1 percent rate in the  last three months of 2012, with consumer spending rising at a healthy 2.1  percent annual pace.

Tightening: Savings were also the smallest since 2007 with consumers seeing their smaller paychecks additionally strained by rising gasoline prices 

Tightening: Savings were also the smallest since 2007  with consumers seeing their smaller paychecks additionally strained by rising  gasoline prices

Taking into account the higher taxes that  went into effect at the start of the year, the squeeze on households was even  greater.

The income at the disposal of households  after inflation and taxes plunged a 4.0 percent in January after advancing 2.7  percent in December.

Excluding the unwinding of the dividend and  bonus boost, disposable income increased 0.3 percent in January.

Inflation was largely contained, even though  gasoline prices pushed higher. A price index for consumer spending was flat for  a second straight month.

That left its increase over the past 12  months at 1.2 percent, the smallest since October 2009. It increased 1.4 percent  in December.

So-called core prices, which strip out food  and energy costs, edged up 0.1 percent after being flat the prior month. The  year-on-year gain was 1.3 percent, the smallest since April 2011 and well below  the Federal Reserve’s 2 percent target.

The U.S. central bank last year embarked on  an open-ended bond buying program and said it would keep it up until it saw a  substantial improvement in the outlook for the labor market. It hopes the  purchases will drive down borrowing costs.

Weak growth and benign inflation could compel  the Fed to maintain it’s very easy monetary policy stance.

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Pa. kindergartner suspended for bubble gun remark: School District officials labeled the girl a “terrorist threat”

MOUNT CARMEL, Pa. (AP) — A 5-year-old Pennsylvania girl who told another girl she was going to shoot her with a pink toy gun that blows soapy bubbles has been suspended from kindergarten.

Her family has hired an attorney to fight the punishment, which initially was 10 days but was reduced to two.

Attorney Robin Ficker says Mount Carmel Area School District officials labeled the girl a “terrorist threat” for the bubble gun remark, made Jan. 10 as both girls waited for a school bus.

Ficker says the girl didn’t even have the bubble gun with her and has never fired a real gun. He says she’s “the least terroristic person in Pennsylvania.”

School district solicitor Edward Greco tells ( ) officials are looking into the case. He said Friday school officials aren’t at liberty to discuss disciplinary actions.


Information from: The Patriot-News,

Egypt: thousands protest in Tahrir Sq to call for Sharia law

Salafis want it to be basis of Constitution

09 November, 16:24

(ANSAmed) – CAIRO – Thousands of protesters gathered Friday in Cairo’s Tahrir Square calling for the introduction of Sharia law in Egypt.       Groups of Salafis asked for it to be the principle source of legislation in the country’s constitution.

Protesters, including many men with long beards and women in veils, are collecting signatures for a petition in which they ask for the Sharia to become ”the basis of all laws”.
”Those who accept a constitution that renounces the Sharia will be considered a traitor of God and the prophet,” said a preacher from a stage set up in the large square, a symbol of the revolution that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak.     ”Liberals and seculars are plotting against Islam to delete the Islamic identity of the country. They are only merchants of power, we can compare them to Satan and we must resist them and the Western plots”, said Mohamed el Sagher.       ”Islam is not a chocolate bar with a sell-by date. It should always be applied and we will return to the principles of our forefathers,” he added. (ANSAmed).

Chase Bank workers recovering after odd deposit at Modesto branch: (Unknown) BioHazard Event

By Erin Tracy

Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012Sunday, Oct. 21, 2012

By Erin Tracy      The Modesto Bee

MODESTO — An investigation continued Saturday into the intent of a man who deposited money at a Chase Bank that is believed to have sickened six employees there.

A man carried a large amount of money wrapped in a paper towel into the Chase Bank branch at Tully Road and Standiford Avenue on Friday afternoon.

He left after having the money deposited into his account and a short time later the teller who assisted him broke out in hives and felt short of breath. She had contact with two other employees, who soon exhibited similar symptoms.

Modesto police detectives have talked to the 37-year-old Modesto man who brought the money to the bank, said officer Scott Nelson.

He said the man was being cooperative and had not been arrested, so Nelson would not release his name. Nelson would not discuss what the man told detectives about what might have been on the money and why he carried it in a paper towel.

He would not say how much money the man deposited or what the denominations were.

On Friday night, the county’s hazardous materials unit donned what looked like spacesuits to test the money for contaminants. It tested positive for a chemical but determining its composition will require more tests at a lab, which could take two to three weeks, Nelson said.

A total of six employees were taken to hospitals after being hosed down Friday afternoon in a temporary decontamination area set up in a parking lot outside the bank.

Nelson said all have since been released from hospitals and are recovering.

A friend of one employee said she was still itchy Saturday but otherwise doing well. The bank employee declined an interview.

The Chase Bank on Tully remained closed Saturday while a security guard stood out front and a cleaning crew spent about eight hours decontaminating the interior.

The bank’s windows were covered with paper and a note on the door apologized to customers for the inconvenience. It suggested nearby Chase branches that customers could go to, but did not indicate when that branch might reopen.

Attempts on Saturday to reach a Chase Bank representative were unsuccessful

Facebook blocks Swiss newspaper for publishing nude photo

By Agence France-Presse Friday, October 19, 2012 15:16 EDT


The Swiss daily Tribune de Geneve said Friday it had its Facebook account blocked by the social networking giant after publishing an explicit image of a woman’s genitals.

In a bid to illustrate an article on cosmetic surgery, the newspaper ran an image taken from Gustave Courbet’s 1886 oil painting “The Origin Of The World”, which shows a reclining nude.

The newspaper, which described the article as “very serious”, said that the image was deleted by Facebook only hours after it was published, and that the Californian firm had carried out online checks of the daily’s IT administrators.

Military rape victims sue Leon Panetta claiming Department of Defense ‘failed to punish dozens of sexual assaults’

  • 20 men and women  claimed they were harassed, raped, or assaulted
  • Further  allege they suffered retaliation when they reported alleged  crimes

By Associated Press

PUBLISHED:22:42 EST, 28  September 2012| UPDATED:00:56 EST, 29 September 201

A lawsuit was filed Friday in federal court  in San Francisco alleging current and former members of the U.S. military were  sexually assaulted while serving.

The 20 women and men filing the lawsuit  against Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and other top officials claim they  were harassed, raped or assaulted and suffered retaliation when they reported  the incidents.

The lawsuit accuses the leadership of the  U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force of failing to prosecute and properly investigate  claims of sexual assault.

Daniele Hoffman, who was a victim of sexual abuse while serving in the military, speaks at a press conference in San Francisco 

Daniele Hoffman, who was a victim of sexual abuse while  serving in the military, speaks at a press conference in San Francisco


A lawsuit was filed Friday in San Francisco federal court on behalf of a group of military veterans who allege they were sexually assaulted during their serviceKole Welsh

Hoffman and Kole Welsh spoke at the conference; a  lawsuit was filed Friday in San Francisco federal court on behalf of a group of  military veterans who allege they were assaulted during their  service

Susan Burke, the lead lawyer representing the  plaintiffs, has filed four other lawsuits alleging assaults in military  branches.

A federal judge in Virginia in December  tossed out a similar suit. Although the judge called the allegations troubling,  he said the military disciplinary system should handle the cases.

Cynthia Smith, a Department of Defense  spokeswoman, declined to discuss the latest lawsuit.

In March, after several service members filed  a suit against the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Navy, funding was increased for  investigators and judge advocates to receive training in sexual assault cases.

Kole Welsh, who was a victim of sexual abuse while serving in the military, speaks at the conference 

Kole Welsh, who was a victim of sexual abuse while  serving in the military, speaks at the conference


In addition, a two-star general was appointed  to direct a sexual assault response and prevention office.

The Pentagon is assembling a data system to  track reports of sexual assault and is reviewing how commanding officers are  trained in preventing and responding to rape cases.

Smith said Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta  has ordered the department to take additional steps, including the creation of a  special victims unit.

he order was made the same week the Army  charged Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair with sexual misconduct while serving in  Afghanistan.

It was not clear if Sinclair had an attorney,  and a phone listing found for him was disconnected.

Nonetheless, the lawsuit filed Friday said  not enough was being done about the issue.

‘The U.S. Army and Air Force leadership has a  pattern and practice of ignoring and failing to prosecute rapes and sexual  assaults,’ the lawsuit states

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