Showing posts from February 17, 2014

Kuwaiti defends naming son after George Bush

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[You really can't make this stuff up. *RON*]
Staff writer, Al Arabiya News, Monday, 17 February 2014

A Kuwaiti man, who named his son after former U.S. President George H.W. Bush - in a show of gratitude for the American leader’s efforts to liberate Kuwait after the Iraqi invasion in 1990 - has defended his decision against social media criticism.

Drones and Law Enforcement in America: The Unmanned Police Surveillance State

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[Two important social themes are converging: a) the militarization of police forces, and b) the enthusiastic participation of police forces with the rapid emergence of the surveillance state. *RON*]
By Greg Guma, Global Research, February 18, 2014
Maverick Media and Global Research 12 April 2013

The US is at the dawn of “a new era in police surveillance,” the Associated Press revealed casually last week. In a Chicago-based story about the growing use of drones and other sophisticated, unmanned aircraft for aerial surveillance, it noted that the Congressional Research Service considers their future use “bound only by human ingenuity.”The story focused on one Illinois legislator who has proposed a limit on how far law enforcement agencies can go.

Dispute Over the Future of Basic Research in Canada

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[Environmental scientists have their budgets slashed, while industry lapdogs won't know what to do with all the money available to them now. *RON*]


CHARLOTTETOWN, Prince Edward Island — Canada’s National Research Council is the country’s premier scientific institution, helping to produce such inventions as the pacemaker and the robotic arm used on the American space shuttle. But last year, its mission changed.

The Canadian government announced a transformation of the 98-year-old agency, formerly focused largely on basic research, into a one-stop “concierge service” to bolster technological innovation by industry — historically weak — and generate high-quality jobs.

This has set off a dispute over the future of Canada’s capacity to carry out fundamental research, with university scientists and academic organizations uncharacteristically vocal about the governme…

NEB rejects appeals for extension on Kinder Morgan hearings deadline

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[EPA has repeatedly fined Kinder Morgan for violations in the US. The Burrard Inlet project is expect to have environmental impacts in Washington State. The NEB didn't even make a press release for its application process, it simply posted it without any further announcement (even on its own website), over the Christmas holidays, with a February 12th deadline. *RON*]

Jenny Uechi, Posted: Feb 17th, 2014

The National Energy Board has rejected a request by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to extend the deadline to apply as a participant in public hearings over Kinder Morgan Inc.’s proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

The EPA told the NEB earlier this month that it wasn't aware of the February 12 deadline to apply to participate in the hearings over the project, which would bring close to 900,000 barrels of oil per day from Edmonton to Burnaby. Although over 2,000 participants applied in time for the hearings -- including Lummi, Suquamis…

Do We Care About People If They Live in Bahrain?

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[Good question: so far the answer is "no." *RON*]

By David Swanson(about the author)

I had a heck of a time making sense of the U.S. Navy's new motto "A Global Force for Good" until I realized that it meant "We are a global force, and wherever we go we're never leaving."

For three years now people in the little island nation of Bahrain have been nonviolently protesting and demanding democratic reforms.

For three years now the king of Bahrain and his royal thugs have been shooting, kidnapping, torturing, imprisoning, and terrorizing nonviolent opponents. An opponent includes anyone speaking up for human rights or even "insulting" the king or his flag, which carries a sentence of 7 years in prison and a hefty fine.

Pakistani polio strain threatens global campaign

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[The price of willful ignorance. *RON*]

BY KATHY GANNON, Associated Press, February 17, 2014 - 2:35 AM

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — Just a few weeks ago, 11-month-old Shaista was pulling herself up, giggling as she took her first wobbly steps with the helping hand of her teenage mother.

Then the polio virus struck and Shaista was no longer able to stand, her legs buckling beneath her weight. Today, her mother cries a lot and wonders what will become of her daughter in Pakistan's male-dominated society, where a woman's value is often measured by the quality of her husband.

"It is not a hardship just for the child, but for the whole family," said the child's 18-year-old mother, Samia Gul. "It is very difficult for a poor family like us. She will be dependent on us for the rest of her life."

Why There's an Even Larger Racial Disparity in Private Prisons Than in Public Ones

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[They write it into their contracts that they don't have to take older, sicker prisoners, so they wind up with younger people of colour imprisoned under the War on Drugs. *RON*]

—By Katie Rose Quandt, Mon Feb. 17, 2014 3:00 AM GMT

It's well known that people of color are vastly overrepresented in US prisons. African Americans and Latinos constitute 30 percent of the US population and 60 percent of its prisoners. But a new study by University of California-Berkeley researcher Christopher Petrella addresses a fact of equal concern. Once sentenced, people of color are more likely than their white counterparts to serve time in private prisons, which have higher levels of violence and recidivism (PDF) and provide less sufficient health care and educational programming than equivalent public facilities.

The Formation of Love

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[Love, Facebook style. *RON*]
by Carlos Diuk, Facebook Data Science, February 14, 2014 at 11:59am

This week, Facebook Data Science is shipping love in the form of a series of blog posts. This is installment 5 of 6; see the entire series here! This research has been conducted on anonymized, aggregated data.

Love is in the air! Or rather, it's written on your Facebook timeline. Couples are formed, and the news is shared with the world on Facebook by changing statuses from "Single" to "In a relationship". We explored interactions between couples before and after the relationship begins.

When no news is not good news: What the B.C. throne speech means for British Columbians

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[You know the Throne Speech is not covered in glory when it's released mid-Olympics on the same day as the Federal budget announcement. Yet "'unwavering consistency' -- how Clark described the throne speech -- is not very useful when the strategy isn't working.... the economic recovery slowed to below 1.5 per cent in 2013 and is projected to be weaker than the Canadian average for a second consecutive year. B.C. actually lost jobs in 2013 and was one of only three provinces to do so. The only reason the unemployment rate fell is that many people gave up looking for work." *RON*]

Last week's B.C. throne speech received little media coverage, partly because it fell in the middle of the Olympics and on the same day as the Canadian federal budget, but also because it was rather uneventful, repeating familiar themes and commitments.