Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Spain:100,000 March for Life in Madrid to protest against Abortion policies of Socialist Government

Demonstrations against abortion were held in Madrid and 87 other cities across Spain on Sunday. The countrywide demonstrations were organized by Spain's pro-life associations Derecho a Vivir (Right to Life), Hazte Oír (Make Yourself Heard), Doctors for Life, and ProLife Madrid.It is estimated that 500,000 took part in total. 100,000 people attended the Madrid protest. The Manifesto for Life was read at all rallies


The twelve points mentioned in the Manifesto defend “human life in its initial stage, as an embryo and as a fetus,” and reject “the use of abortion towards economic or ideological lucrative interests.” The document calls for a “correct interpretation of scientific data on human life in all its stages.” The scholars also analyse the social consequences of abortion, which they call “tragic”, adding that “a society that remains indifferent to the slaughter of nearly 120,000 babies each year is a failed and sick society.” Likewise, they reject the possibility that a sixteen-year-old girl can abort without parental consent and claim that “an abortion law without restrictions would make the woman the only one responsible for a violent act against the life of her own son.” Among the signatories there are Professors Nicolás Jouve, Dean of Genetics; César Nombela, Dean of Microbiology; Francisco Abadía Fenoll, retired Dean of Cellular Biology; and Julio Navascués Martínez, Dean of Cellular Biology. The Manifesto, that can be signed only by persons of intellectual authority and excellence, has already gathered more that 300 signatures.

CNA reports

Thousands of Spaniards gathered this week in Madrid for the "March for Life," which had as its theme, "There is no right to kill, there is only the right to live." The march was held in opposition to a plan to liberalize the country’s laws on abortion. Eighty seven simultaneous marches also took place in cities across Spain.
Speakers at the march in Madrid included Paloma de Cendra, member of the Right to Life Committee of Experts, and an expert on post-abortion stress syndrome; Ignacio Arsuaga, president of the watchdog website Hazteoir.org; and Dr. Gador Joya, national spokesman for Right to Life. Dr. Joya read the Manifesto for Life at the event.
Cendra, who for years has been helping women who have aborted, said she has yet to find a "single one who wanted to do it." They did it, she said, out of "fear, loneliness, abandonment, pressure, discrimination, and even threats." "Is this the free choice that some proclaim?" she asked........

Video: Medjugorje Miracles which defy human explanation but illustrate the power of God

Monday, March 30, 2009

Video: Story and footage of sunken U-boat (U-40) found off the coast of Berwickshire UK

The vessel - the U-40 - was recently discovered by divers off the coast of Eyemouth in Berwickshire.
It is thought to have been among the first to have been lured by a decoy trawler and then torpedoed by a British submarine during the First World War.
It is the second such discovery in the waters off the Scottish Borders after a similar U-boat find in January 2008.
The U-40 was discovered by a team of divers from Eyemouth-based Marine Quest about 40 miles off the Berwickshire coast.
It was sunk on 23 June 1915 with the loss of 29 German sailors.....BBC

Colm Burke MEP tackles problem of rogue doctors struck off the medical register in one member state of the EU, but who move elsewhere to practice

The problem of so-called rogue doctors - medical professionals who have been struck off the medical register in one member state of the EU, but who move elsewhere to practice - is being addressed by FG MEP Colm Burke in the European Parliament as co-author of the Cross-Border Healthcare report for the European Parliament's Internal Market Committee. Thankfully an integrated approach to this problem has begun to evolve.

Colm Burke states:
Addressing this crisis has been a high priority of mine since I became a Member of the European Parliament in 2007 and I have sought put an end to this problem by amending the Cross-border Healthcare Directive. This can be achieved by setting up an EU-wide medical registry, to prevent dodgy doctors and quacks from unscrupulously crossing borders to practice illegally. My amendment states in clear terms how this can be achieved, it is through focused legislative action at the EU level that we can tackle this crisis.

My amendment reads "There shall be an EU register of professional medical practitioners who have been struck off the medical register or are subject to restrictions or disciplinary procedures by the relevant authorities of any Member State in the EU." I have secured enough backing in the European Parliament to support this measure. This amendment should be voted through in May, and then we can start compiling an EU register of struck off doctors, so that Irish patients are not put at risk by being treated by these unscrupulous operators from other countries.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Video: The Priests perform Pie Jesu - Live at Armagh Cathedral

The Priests perform "Pie Jesu." This video is from the upcoming DVD release "The Priests Live at Armagh Cathedral." The DVD is available in stores from April 7, 2009.

Visit the Priests

Video:The BBC's Andrew Marr interviews the Russian President Dmitry Medvedev ahead of the G20 summit in London-29/3/09

Only one in eight Russians may believe he is in charge but President Dmitry Medvedev presides over a nuclear arsenal and one of the biggest reserves of natural fuel in the world, and he is increasingly media-savvy as the BBC's Andrew Marr found out.

The crunch of snow underfoot, a brisk cold wind blowing through the birch forests and, at last, a single black official car sweeping up the drive.

President Dmitry Medvedev is reckoned by most Russians polled to be much less important than his mentor Vladimir Putin - the former president and currently prime minister.

But when he arrives, he feels important - the leather-jacketed security men snapping into activity. At this official dacha outside Moscow, the mood is suddenly urgent.

It is a curious situation. I am greeting him at his own official residence, a gothic Germanic castle dating from the 1880s.

Russia says it is working on plans as well for a new European security treaty
Once, the Czar came here.

Now it is in the middle of an area colonised by super-rich Russians - the road junction has a "Luxury Village" sign and adverts on the road here are all for Rolex, Gucci and condos in the US.

But here, Barvikha, is where President Medvedev receives foreign visitors. He has not done extended interviews like this before - we are very privileged.

He bounds out, smiling, and thrusts a buff coloured folder at me. My FSB file?

No - phew! - just the Wikipedia file on another Marr, this one a philologist from the Stalin era, who tried to apply the principles of class struggle to the development of language..........Continue at BBC

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Brazil Video: Free wi-fi provided in Rio de Janeiro favela by state government

Favelas are beset by a multitude of problems: poverty, massive unemployment, hunger, malnutrition, inadequate sewage facilities, high infant mortality, low life expectancy and rampant crime. These are the negative effects of over-urbanization. These slums are at breaking point as more and more people flood in from rural areas. Generally the news is bad. It is nice to see that the Rio state government has introduced this pilot project to provide free wi-fi access for 10,000 residents of Santa Marta. The scheme will be extended in due course.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Oklahoma Video: Deadly Tornado struck the town of Lone Grove on 24/3/09

Video:HSE Decision to postpone Cystic Fibrosis unit at St Vincent's Hospital Dublin must be reversed immediately

Video requires RealPlayer-Download here

The promise by the Health Service Executive that a new building with state of the art accommodation for cystic fibrosis (CF) patients would be provided at Dublin’s St Vincent’s hospital by 2010 will not be fulfilled.
The HSE has confirmed that funding for constructing the building, which would have about 30 single rooms for CF patients, will not be available “until 2011 at the earliest".

According to FG health Spokesman Dr James Reilly TD

"The lack of appropriate cystic fibrosis beds exposes patients to cross-infection and shortens their lives which are already tragically brief. It is absolutely indefensible that we are still forcing these patients into overcrowded wards that place them literally in mortal danger. I am disgusted by the confirmation today that the promised new 30-bed unit at St Vincent's Hospital has been postponed. Not only that but only eight of 14 single rooms promised as an interim solution while this block was being built have not been delivered.

"We heard on the Liveline programme today how some of the CF patients who contributed to that programme last year have passed away in recent times. By its actions the Government is effectively condemning others to the same fate. Ireland has the highest rate of CF in the world and the strongest mutation of the disease so we need isolated single hospital beds for treatment more than anywhere else in the world. Because we don't have these facilities Irish patients die 10 years earlier than their counterparts in Northern Ireland.

This heartless decision shames Ireland and its people. Undoubtedly the country's public finances are in dire straits and Ministers are strapped for cash. However cutbacks can be made in the machinery of government itself and the resultant savings diverted into this project. The number of Ministers for State could be reduced to 12. Many of the Dail committees could be abolished. TDs expenses could be reduced. Sitting TDs should not draw Ministerial Pensions. Funds could be diverted from the national lottery to this project. Higher paid executives at the HSE could take pay cuts.

The postponement is a death sentence for many cystic fibrosis patients. It is unworthy of a so- called civilized country. Minister for Health Mary Harney must intervene immediately and ensure a continuation of the project. Otherwise the judgement of history will be harsh.

Liam Griffin's powerful and emotional tribute at the funeral of Wexford hurling icon Billy Rackard.

Video requires RealPlayer-Download here

Video:Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan attacks Gordon Brown -the devalued Prime Minister of a devalued government

Prime Minister, I see you’ve already mastered the essential craft of this Parliament – that being to say one thing in this chamber, and a very different thing to your home electorate. You’ve spoken here about free trade, and amen to that; who would have guessed, listening to you just now, that you were the author of the phrase ‘British Jobs for British Workers’, and that you have subsidised - where you have not nationalised outright - swathes of our economy, including the car industry and many of the banks.

Perhaps you would have more moral authority in this house if your actions matched your words. Perhaps you would have more legitimacy in the councils of the world if the United Kingdom were not going into this recession in the worst condition of any G20 country.

The truth, Prime Minister, is that you have run out of our money. The country as a whole is now in negative equity. Every British child is born owing around £20,000. Servicing the interest on that debt is going to cost more than educating the child.
Now once again today you tried to spread the blame around, you spoke about an international recession; an international crisis. Well, it is true that we are all sailing together into the squall – but not every vessel in the convoy is in the same dilapidated condition. Other ships used the good years to caulk their hulls and clear up their rigging – in other words, to pay off debt – but you used the good years to raise borrowing yet further. As a consequence, under your captaincy, our hull is pressed deep into the water line, under the accumulated weight of your debt. We are now running a deficit that touches almost 10% of GDP – an unbelievable figure. More than Pakistan, more than Hungary – countries where the IMF has already been called in.

Now, it’s not that you’re not apologising - like everyone else, I’ve long accepted that you’re pathologically incapable of accepting responsibility for these things these things - it’s that you’re carrying on, wilfully worsening the situation, wantonly spending what little we have left. Last year, in the last twelve months, 125,000 private sector jobs have been lost – and yet you’ve created 30,000 public sector jobs. Prime Minister you cannot go on forever squeezing the productive bit of the economy in order to fund an unprecedented engorging of the unproductive bit.

You cannot spend your way out of recession or borrow your way out of debt. And when you repeat, in that wooden and perfunctory way, that our situation is better than others, that we’re well place to weather the storm, I have to tell you, you sound like a Brezhnev-era Apparatchik giving the party line. You know, and we know, and you know that we know that it’s nonsense. Everyone knows that Britain is the worst placed to go into these hard times. The IMF has said so. The European Commission has said so. The markets have said so, which is why our currency has devalued by 30% – and soon the voters, too, will get their chance to say so.

They can see what the markets have already seen: that you are a devalued Prime Minister, of a devalued Government.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Ireland: FG €11bn/100,000 Jobs Stimulus Plan announced by Enda Kenny

FG Plan will Transform Irish Economy for next Thirty Years

Enda Kenny today unveiled his Party's plan (Rebuilding Ireland) to generate an €11bn stimulus plan to kick start the Irish economy and generate 100,000 jobs over the next four years. The plan involves the creation of a new industrial development holding company, NewERA (New Economy and Recovery Authority) that will be responsible for delivering a targeted series of large scale investments in green energy power generation, telecoms and broadband roll-out and an upgrading of all our water distribution and treatment networks. The ambition of the Party is to turn Ireland in to the most competitive and sustainable economy in Europe. The plan was brought to the Fine Gael Front Bench this week by the Party Spokesman on Energy and Communications, Simon Coveney T.D. The FULL TEXT may be downloaded here

This policy document is a worthy contribution to the debate on the future direction of Irish economic policy. It is well researched and is brimful of original and radical proposals, which have the potential to radically transform the Irish economy and drive future economic growth. The FG party and Simon Coveney in particular deserve our gratitude. FG in recent months has published a raft of well-researched policy documents. No opposition party in Irish political history has brought policy development to such levels.

Commenting on the plan today, Enda Kenny said;
"Fine Gael has a plan to get this country back to work. More than that, Fine Gael has a plan for our economy that will help make us the most competitive and sustainable economy in Europe. We have long recognised that the Fianna Fail model of selling property to ourselves was not a viable long term strategy for the Irish economy. That is why we have consistently driven the need to return to the basics that made our economy strong in the first place. That means getting costs down, regaining competitiveness and producing things that international consumers want to buy. This plan today sets out a roadmap that will get 100,000 people back to work in the next four years, but in the process, will position our economy as a world leader in green energy, make us energy self sufficient and a net energy exporter by 2020 and turn us in to a genuine hi-tech base for Irish and overseas investors.

"The creation of the NewERA holding company to drive industrial development in key strategic areas allows that entity to borrow monies from the EIB (European Investment Bank) and issue bonds that do not affect our national debt calculations. That is because, as a commercial semi state, the NewERA investments would be treated as financial investments seeking a commercial rate of return. By moving existing NDP investments and new additional investments "off the balance sheet" in this way our strategy also helps with the parallel objective of cutting exchequer borrowing.

"The additional €11bn in investments funds that NewERA will manage, on top of the outstanding €7bn worth of NDP projects in the relevant areas, will be funded from a combination of sources. These include the draw down of National Pension Reserve Fund monies, additional forms of borrowing by NewERA and the sale of existing state assets that it is judged no longer serve the strategic goals of the NewERA initiative. These sales will only take place when market conditions are favourable and will have to be approved by Government and the Oireachtas. The funds raised by these asset sell offs can then be used to replenish the NPRF and will, in effect, result in the swapping of old state assets for new state assets in the form of new green energy and broadband infrastructure."

Commenting on the report, its principal author, Simon Coveney said;
"As a people we can begin the fight back against the recession with this stimulus package. At the core of Fine Gael's vision for Rebuilding Ireland and cutting unemployment is our proposal for €11 billion in new investments in the cutting edge technologies and network infrastructures - energy, transport, communications and water - needed to reposition Ireland as the most competitive and sustainable economy in Europe.
"Supported by these investments, Ireland can drag its economy out of recession by:
- Unclogging the key arteries - like energy, transport, broadband and water - that have so damaged our competitiveness in recent years and held back private sector investment in Ireland;
- Becoming a world leader in green energy technologies;
- Giving tens of thousands of homes, businesses and farms a role to play in protecting the environment, and an opportunity to generate extra incomes, by selling their own renewable energy into the electricity grid;
- Starting to power our cars with domestically produced renewable energy, rather than spending billions on foreign fossil fuel imports; and
- Eliminating the "digital divide" and giving every child, home and business the same access to the education, entertainment, health and information services that will be delivered over "next generation" broadband telecoms networks.

"The ownership of a wide range of existing and new state companies involved in energy, transport and communications will be vested in NewERA. Among the existing state companies that will be moved under NewERA will be the ESB, Eirgrid, An Post, Bord Gais, Bord na Mona, Coillte and the Metropolitan Area Networks (MANS). The new commercial state companies will include;
Smart Grid (ESB Networks restructured and split off from the ESB Group) that will invest an additional €3.3 billion (over and above existing investment plans) between 2010 and 2013 to develop a 21st century "smart grid"Broadband 21, to invest an additional €2.5 billion in amalgamating and building out the diverse telecom assets of existing state companies,BioEnergy Ireland will merge together Bord na Mona, Coillte and the National Council for Forest Research and Development (COFORD), to invest €800 million in 2010-13 to become a global leader in the commercialisation of next generation bio-energy technologiesRenewable Energy Ireland which will invest in early stage green energy companies and applied renewable energy research, with a particular focus on technologies that can be licensed.Irish Water will take overall responsibility for providing safe clean drinking water and treating waste water through an expanded water infrastructure investment programme.Greener Home Bank will help tens of thousands of home owners across the country upgrade their homes to challenging new energy and waste water standards.

"The new jobs will be spread evenly between regions and skill levels, and will include thousands of jobs in the following areas:
- Telecoms, civil and structural engineering- Plant maintenance and operation- Scientific researchers- Insulation and home energy appliances- Plumbing, electrical work and other construction crafts- Software programming and support- Forest maintenance and timber processing- Digital content production for health, education and Government services

Deputy Coveney continued;
"By stimulating new investment and job creation in the economy, and by moving some NDP investments out of the exchequer and into "NewERA" commercial state bodies, NewERA investments will also cut the Government borrowing requirement by just over €4 billion by 2013.
"If Fine Gael were in Government tomorrow we would begin preparations straight away so that the NewERA investment and stimulus programme could proceed in 2010.
"Among the actions by Government now needed to make this happen are:
1. New legislation establishing by May the New Economy and Recovery Authority (NewERA) as an independent state company, and allowing the Government to vest ownership of commercial State companies into NewERA;
2. The appointment of a board of directors by June and a management team by September.
3. A further amendment to the National Pension Reserve Fund Act 2000 by May further extending the Government's powers to direct the €9.2 investment by the NPRF Commission into NewERA over the period 2010-13.
4. Government recapitalisation of the EBS by June, making it a state-sponsored mutual building society, with a new board of directors appointed by Government.
5. The establishment of ESB Networks as a stand-alone company, separate from the rest of the ESB Group, and re-branded as "Smart Grid".
6. New legislation by the Autumn establishing Irish Water and transferring the responsibilities for maintaining and upgrading our water infrastructure from local authorities to the new State company.

"Fine Gael has a plan to get our economy back on the right track. We can become a world leader in key industries and create a thriving and, importantly, a sustainable economy. The smart decisions have to be taken now though so that we avert a further slippage down the competitiveness, jobs and IT league tables of the world."

Video: Hilarious Banana Suit Prank

Florida-Funny Video: Chicken Man prankster visits supermarket

A new craze is sweeping through Florida. Children run through supermarket stores in chicken suits, gingerbread man suit or banana suit. They video the pranks and then upload them to Youtube or MySpace .
Lakeland-based Publix seems to be a prankster favorite. So, too, are Wal-Mart, Kmart, McDonald's, Best Buy and Sweetbay supermarkets.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Alaska: Exceptional pictures from Mount Redoubt Volcanic Eruption-23/3/09

Mud marks the high water mark along the banks of the lower Drift river valley.
Picture Date: March 23, 2009
Image Creator: Read, Cyrus

Flood waters cascading through a gorge carved in the Drift Glacier below the summit of Redoubt.
Picture Date: March 23, 2009
Image Creator: McGimsey, Game

View of the west margin of the Drift Glacier and ash deposits covering the adjacent slopes. The ice gorge carved by flood waters is visibe coursing through the center of the glacier (left middle).
Picture Date: March 23, 2009
Image Creator: Read, Cyrus

Image of ashfall, taken from Tordrillo Mountain Lodge on Judd Lake (just north of Beluga Lake, at the head of the Talachulitna River.) Photograph courtesy of Lel Tone.

Ash haze in Cook Inlet with the summit Mount Spurr visible. AVO/USGS

Flooding caused by the melting of Drift Glacier by the eruption. Flood waters reached as high as 25 feet. AVO/USGS

Ashfall on a lodge on Judd Lake. Lel Tone/USGS

Source of images: (Alaska Volcano Observatory )

Alaska: More Video on the Mt. Redoubt eruptions of 22nd and 23rd March 09

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Alaska: Video and footage from helicopter of Mt Redoubt volcanic eruption-23/3/09

Mount Redoubt is an active and currently erupting stratovolcano (composite volcano) in the mainly volcanic Aleutian Range of Alaska. It is located just over 100 miles south-west of Anchorage. Many of Alaska's 40 active volcanoes are located on the Aleutian Islands in the Pacific Ocean. Here the Pacific Plate subducts the North American Plate. This is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire.

More recently the volcano has erupted in 1902, 1966, 1989 and 2009. In 1989 sudden melting of snow and ice at the summit caused lahars, or mudflows, which flowed down the north flank of the mountain. Some of the mudflows reached Cook Inlet, c22 miles from the volcano. The volcanic ash reached a height of 14,000 m (45,000 ft) and covered an area of about 20,000 km² (7,700 sq. miles).
There were minor eruptions on March 15th 2009 with large- scale eruptions commencing on March 22nd 2009. Volcanic ash is estimated to have reached heights of 50,000-60,000 feet. Alaska Airlines has cancelled 45 flights following volcanic eruptions.

Footage of Alaska's Redoubt Volcano taken on Monday, March 23, 2009 from a helicopter.

Footage of Alaska's Redoubt Volcano taken by Kristi Wallace (USGS / AVO) Monday, March 23, 2009 is available. This footage was shot via aerial observations during helicopter supported field work at the volcano (Requires strong internet connection)

A digital file (.wmv, 210 MB) of the footage is available as a download by clicking here:

Details and Credits:
Title: Post-eruption footage of Redoubt Volcano
Shoot Date: March 23, 2009
Release Date: March 24, 2009
Produced by: Kristi Wallace (USGS / AVO)
Run Time: 14 minute 33 seconds

Monday, March 23, 2009

Documentary: 'State of the Planets Oceans' explores ecosystems in dire straits

In a new Documentary:State of the Planets Oceans filmmakers Hal and Marilyn Weiner investigate of the health and sustainability of the worlds oceans and the issues affecting marine preserves, fisheries, and coastal ecosystems in the United States and worldwide.

The United States, Canada, and the members of the European Union have adopted tougher fishing controls and have started to shrink the size of their fishing fleets. In the 1980s and 1990s the Newfoundland government closed down the cod fishing grounds because of over fishing. Cod stocks off the Grand Banks of Newfoundland have still not recovered.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Video: Cause of Canonization of Rebeca Rocamora Nadal-a 20 year old Spanish girl-opened by Bishop of Alicante

The solemn opening of the Process of Canonization of the young Rebeca Rocamora Nadal took place on Saturday March 14 2009 in the Parish Church of San Pedro Apostol de Granja de Rocamora (Alicante, Spain). It was chaired by D. Rafael Palmero Ramos, Bishop of Orihuela-Alicante.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Pro Life Movie - Come What May- released to DVD March 17th

The pro-life movie COME WHAT MAY was made mostly by students from a new Christian film company, Advent Film Group. The movie is about purity, the sanctity of life, and the importance of doing what's right...come what may.
This movie was released to DVD nationwide on March 17th by Provident Films, the same company that distributed FACING THE GIANTS and FIREPROOF.

When Does Life Really Begin?

If college student Caleb Hogan argues what he truly believes, he stands to lose the most important competition of his life—and the support of his mother. If he softens his stance, he might win the coveted title...but lose the heart of his teammate Rachel in the process.Come What May is a vivid reminder that choosing whats right is never easy...but its always worth the cost.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Video: Rugby Union Super 14 Pick of the Week Tries - Round 5

This video features some of the best tries from round 5 of the Southern Hemisphere's Super 14 Rugby Union competition. This is champagne rugby from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

Video Report:Venezuela offer of island for Russian strategic bombers may not be accepted

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez has offered the country's island La Orchida as a temporary base for Russian strategic bombers. "There is such a proposal on the part of the Venezuelan president,” said the chief of the long-range aviation staff Anatoly Zhikharev. “Chavez offered us a whole island with an airfield that we can use for the temporary basing of strategic bombers."

Zhikharev added that, providing there is the relevant political will, the island could be used by the Russian air force. He said that the temporary basing opportunity might be used for air patrol missions. The Russian Navy and two long-range strategic bombers visited Venezuela in November last year to participate in exercises with the country's navy.

‘Strategic bombers will stay inside Russia’

Russia needs strategic bombers inside the country, therefore it is unlikely to accept a Venezuelan offer to use the island of La Orchida as an air base, said political analyst Ruslan Pukhov.(Russia Today)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Video:Skyfest-Spectacular Fireworks Display Waterford March 14th 2009

The National Lottery Skyfest fireworks display, took place on Waterford city’s quays as the centrepiece of the St Patrick’s Festival. 100,000 people gathered on the banks of the River Suir for the event. It took a crew of 26 over 6 days to set up 2.69 tonnes of fireworks with over 4,000 shots -supported by 130 volunteers- to produce a 20 minute explosive show.

Video: World's steepest rollercoaster at Thorpe Park England

This fine video comes from the Times Online which has an excellent article on the world's steepest rollercoaster.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Osama bin Laden condemns Arab leaders in new audio recording-14 Mar 09

Translation of audio tape obtained by Al Jazeera, attributed to Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaeda leader, in which he says Arab leaders "plotted with Israel" in war on Gaza.The authenticity of the tape cannot be verified

Osama bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaeda, has said in an audio tape obtained by Al Jazeera that some Arab leaders were "complicit" with Israel during its offensive in Gaza.

Bin Laden said in the tape aired on Saturday that Arab leaders were "hypocrites", and that "liberating Jerusalem needed honest Arab leadership" to fight and liberate the Arab people.

"It has become clear that some Arab leaders were complicit with the crusade zionist alliance against our people. These are the leaders that America calls moderate," bin Laden said.


He said that "Gaza's holocaust" was a "historic event and a tragedy" adding that the Arab world needed a "devoted committee of scholars from the Islamic world to establish an advisory body" on the future of the region, "not leadership that is formed by hypocrites"...(Continue at Al Jazeera)

Russia working on technology to target satellites in space

Press TV Reports:
A Russian deputy defense minister, General Valentin Popovkin, said while Russia opposes a space arms race, it would not let steps by other countries toward space militarization go unanswered, Russian news agencies reported. "We can't sit back and quietly watch others doing that; such work is being conducted in Russia," said Gen. Popovkin.

Popovkin, who previously served as the chief of Russian military Space Forces, claimed that Russian technicians had already developed some "basic, key elements" of such weapons but did not elaborate on details. His remarks came in response to a question about US and Chinese tests of anti-satellite weapons. In February 2008, the US struck a dying satellite with missiles launched from a Navy cruiser. Earlier in 2007, a Chinese missile destroyed one of its own aging satellites. Russia and the United States are the only two nations to have successfully performed anti-satellite weapons tests.(Continue Reading) ....

Friday, March 13, 2009

Roger Daltrey-Giving it all away (With Lyrics)

I paid all my dues so I picked up my shoes,

I got up and walked away.

Oh, I was just a boy,

I didn't no how to play.

Worked hard and failed

now all I can say is

I threw it all away.

Oh, I was just a boy

giving it all away...

sail away, sail away,

ooh, I know better now, I know better now

giving it all away

ooh, I know better now, I know better now

I've given it all away...

Went out in the world too much for my nerves

only myself to blame.

oh, I was just a boy

nobody else to blame...

I've done all I can, now it's out of my hands

stand on my head and say

oh, I was just a boy

giving it all away...

sail away, sail away,

ooh, I know better now, I know better now

giving it all away

ooh, I know better now, I know better now

given it all away...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Video: Coumshingaun Corrie Lake Comeragh Mountains, Co. Waterford, Ireland

Coumshingaun is the best example of a Corrie lake in Europe and is situated in the Comeragh Mountains in Co. Waterford, Ireland. It is a magical spot and this video shows a rescue helicopter circling around looking for an injured person.

Obama plans to trample on the Freedom of Conscience of Doctors and Nurses who refuse to participate in abortions

On January 20th 2009 The Bush administration introduced a federal rule that allows doctors and nurses to decline to perform abortions for moral or religious reasons. Doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other healthcare workers can refuse to participate in any procedure they find morally objectionable. Without the policy, doctors, nurses and others could be forced to participate in abortions or to dispense the abortifacient morning after pill, even if to do so would violate their core beliefs. This was a major step forward in the fight to protect the life of the unborn.
Unfortunately Barack Obama-who is a pro abortion extremist-has decided to rescind a policy that protects the conscience and rights of American health care workers. On February 27th 2009 the proposal to rescind the Bush rule was quietly put forward by the Health and Human Services (HHS) Department.
The following appears in the Susan B Anthony List and emphasizes the gravity of the situation:
I recently received an e-mail from Mary, health care worker and SBA List member, in Virginia, who told me,
“I can assure you that my colleagues and myself will leave the profession rather than be forced to participate in such activities...I will not go against the beliefs I have lived my entire life following. Our country already has a critical shortage of nurses, doctors, and technicians to care for the growing population who require experienced, dedicated workers to provide the extremely difficult and highly technical procedures available. We have to take an oath to 'do no harm' before we receive our license to work. I honor my promises, no matter the cost to me personally."

A petition against Obama's proposals may be signed here. Obama is prepared to trample on the rights of the unborn and healthcare workers to fulfil his culture of death agenda. Has the man no regard to the Fifth Commandment?

UK State schools are being forced to prioritise "social misfits" at the expense of the majority of pupils

Increasingly Western societies have begun to pander to the wrong doer. Criminals are frequently excused on the basis of social background. The overemphasis by liberals on individual rights has weakened the glue that cements societies together. We live in an era of political correctness gone mad. The rights of society are increasingly subjugated to the rights of the individual. The obligations of the individual are rarely emphasized. No wonder western society is crumbling.
This pernicious over emphasis on the rights of the individual has found its way into the education system throughout the western world. The Telegraph carries an excellent article on the British education system titled:

Bright schoolchildren take back seat to 'social misfits', says head teacher

Here is an excerpt:
The most disruptive children are being plied with "indulgence and sentimentality" instead of firm discipline, it was claimed.
Steve Patriarca blamed Gordon Brown's decision to create a new "Orwellian" Government department with duel responsibility for schools and social services.
It meant education for the most able often came second best to the needs of problem pupils, he said.
The comments will come as a huge embarrassment to the Government.

Mr Patriarca led fee-paying William Hulme's Grammar School in Manchester when it was tempted out of the private sector by Labour in 2007.
In a high-profile move, it axed parental fees and academic selection to become one of the Government's flagship city academies - semi-independent state schools sponsored and run by the private sector. A total of five independent schools have now converted.

Mr Patriarca, who retired last summer, said the school agreed to the move because academies offered the chance of "effective denationalisation" of state schools by taking education out of the hands of "overpaid, ill informed, over comfortable" civil servants.

But talking openly about the move for the first time, he said the school struggled "to retain educational values" in the face of pressure from the Government.
"The Department for Children, Schools and Families lives up to its Orwellian title," he said.
"There are direct tensions between its responsibilities for social work, children and families and its commitment – if that is the word – to education. It seems to me to be a cumbersome hybrid which fulfils none of its roles very well.

"It is politicised in a way which seems to find achievement embarrassing. It is preoccupied with the less able and the social misfit – which would be fine if it actually achieved anything in dealing with such children. It doesn't ....

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Video: Democrats target Rush Limbaugh as the Ultimate Straw Man in attempt to paint Republican Party as extremist

The Straw Man strategy: Finding someone really well known and really unpopular in your opposing party to make him/her the poster child for your foes. This approach has been used by both Republicans and Democrats. Straw Men include Rush Limbaugh, Michael Moore, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and Newt Gingrich.
Recently Rush Limbaugh has become the new whipping boy for the Democrats. The Dems have talked up Newt as the leader of the GOP. The Democrats are attempting to paint Limbaugh as an eccentric and extreme right-winger and by extension the whole Republican Party.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Video:Violence and Death return to Northern Ireland as British soldiers and policeman murdered by Real IRA

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The killing of two British soldiers in Antrim on Saturday may have been captured on CCTV.
PSNI Chief Superintendent Derek Williamson confirmed this afternoon that 'some of the events' at the Massereene base had been filmed.
Detectives are currently examining footage from various cameras located around the entrance to the base.
Patrick Azimkar, 21, from Wood Green in London, and Mark Quinsey, 23, from Birmingham were shot dead as they collected pizzas at the gates of the Massereene base late on Saturday night.
Four people, including two pizza delivery men, were also injured in the attack.
As the investigation continues, army bomb disposal experts are examining a car, believed to be the getaway vehicle, which was left abandoned on a nearby country road.
An attempt to set the car on fire was unsuccessful (RTE)..

A PSNI officer has been shot and killed in the Craigavon area tonight.
The incident is understood to have happened near Lismore High School at Brownlow.
Police came under attack while investigating suspicious activity near the school.(RTE).

Sadly violence and murder have returned to Northern Ireland. It appears that the Real IRA is responsible for the shooting of the policeman and two British soldiers. The Real IRA is a Republican splinter group and has miniscule support. If the Provisional IRA with much greater backing failed to secure a united Ireland, common sense ordains that any Real IRA campaign is doomed to failure. The overwhelming majority of Northern Ireland Catholics have bought into the peace process. The power sharing government of The DUP,Ulster Unionists,SDLP and Sinn Fein must hold its nerve and continue to govern. It must not dissolve. The response of The North's First Minister Peter Robinson on Monday was measured and mature. The democratic parties must work together and hold their nerve.

The murder of soldiers and policemen breaks the Fifth Commandment. Would it be too much to ask members of the Real IRA to listen to the word of God?

Friday, March 6, 2009

Video shows simulated animation of Asteroid 2009 DD45- closest pass at 63,500 km on 2nd March 2009

This video prepared at 12.15 noon on 2nd March 09 shows simulated animation of Asteroid 2009 DD45 -closest pass at 63,500 km at 19:14 p.m. IST (13.44 UTC) on 2nd March, 2009. This is about a fifth of the distance between Earth and the moon. NASA estimates it had a diameter of between 21 and 47 metres. It was closest to Earth when it passed over the Pacific Ocean near Tahiti. It is similar in size to the one that struck Siberia in 1908 and levelled 800 square miles of forest.

Apophis is a giant asteroid (700 - 1000 feet in diameter). This is due to pass close to the Earth on Friday the 13th 2029. Until then scientists will be unable to determine if it will come back and slam into us in 2036. FU162 missed the Earth by just 4,000 miles on March 31, 2004.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Turkey: CCTV Cameras show man hit by train and lorry survives

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In the dramatic footage, a train slammed into a flatbed lorry as it was crossing train tracks in the Mediterranean port city of Mersin on Feb 25.

Propelled sideways, the lorry then swept over Cem Tokac, who was standing beside the tracks.

But while the footage, released on Wednesday by Dogan news agency, showed Mr Tokac after the accident, lying motionless on the ground, incredibly the 32-year-old suffered only minor injuries.

"I can't remember anything about the accident," Mr Tokac said. "I thought I was asleep. But when I woke up, I was not in my bed. I was on the ground."

Mr Tokac, who plans to marry in April, said Feb 25 is his new birthday.

"Life is really beautiful," he said. (Telegraph)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Afghanistan:Preventable diseases such as pneumonia and respiratory infections kill thousands of children annually

The high mortality rates among Afghani children are a shocking indictment of the international community. This story is scarcely if ever ventilated by the international media. Most of the emphasis is on the war and the status of Afghani women. This issue must be addressed if the Taliban is to be defeated. Taliban related violence is partly responsible for the high infant mortality rate. However difficult mountain terrain and pollution are other causative factors. A resolution of this problem would undermine support for the terrorists. It is time for the US and Western powers to divert greater financial and logistical resources towards health. Of course it will be argued that the Taliban must be defeated first. This strategy is doomed to failure unless the living conditions of Afghani civilians are improved

The following report appears in IRIN.

As many as 3,000 people seek treatment for cold-related respiratory diseases in Afghanistan every day, and of these, 2-4 die because of lack of access to decent healthcare, the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) has said.Every winter we see a marked increase in respiratory diseases,” Abdullah Fahim, an MoPH spokesman, told IRIN in Kabul.
Pneumonia, asthma and other breathing problems peak among vulnerable people, particularly children, in sub-zero winter temperatures. The situation is aggravated by high levels of pollution in the main cities. About nine million of the country’s estimated 27 million people are food insecure, making them prone to seasonal and contagious diseases, health specialists say. Over 230,000 people are also living in wretched conditions as internally displaced persons (IDPs) in tents, mud huts and dilapidated buildings; they generally lack access to heating, clothing and health services. Afghanistan has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world, with pneumonia and respiratory infections killing thousands of children every year, according to health workers.

Mobile health teams

In October 2008 the MoPH reported the establishment of 129 mobile health teams tasked with assisting needy communities during winter when snow often blocks access to local health centres. The teams have helped prevent a major outbreak of winter diseases so far this year, but they are hampered by snow and transport difficulties, MoPH’s Fahim said. Because many roads in rural areas are rough and become impassable in winter, mobile health workers also use animals or trek to villages on foot to deliver life-saving health services. “We’re facing access problems in some mountainous and rugged regions in Paktika, Nooristan, Daykundi, Badghis and Badakhshan provinces,” Fahim said.

In the volatile south and east health workers’ access to tens of thousands of people has been impeded by insurgency-related violence and deliberate attacks on aid workers, MoPH officials said. The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has said that because immunisation coverage is still very low in Afghanistan, preventable diseases kill thousands of children annually, with respiratory infections being among the leading causes of childhood deaths.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Obama Budget a huge threat to US industrial investment in Ireland

Some of Barack Obama's budget proposals have major implications for US companies operating in Ireland if enacted in their raw state. Not alone are they likely to be injurious to US investment in Ireland but they may damage the profitability of individual companies. Multinational corporations can defer paying U.S. taxes on their overseas profits until they return them to the USA. Such transfers may not happen for some years. Efforts to tackle tax evasion are laudable however proposals to reform U.S. corporations' ability to defer foreign earnings may backfire.

The combined federal/state corporate rate in the US is nearly 40 percent. The Obama administration must reduce this to boost employment.

The following is an excerpt from U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner's Written Testimony to the House Ways And Means Committee Hearing - As Prepared for Delivery, March 3, 2009

...The Budget also seeks to close the "tax gap" by tackling tax shelters and other efforts to abuse our tax laws, including international tax evasion efforts.
The Budget addresses the use of offshore structures and accounts by U.S. corporations and individuals to avoid and evade U.S. taxes. Over the next several months, the President will propose a series of legislative and enforcement measures to reduce such U.S. tax evasion and avoidance.
Some proposals will focus on the rules in our tax code that put those who invest and create jobs in the United States at a disadvantage. We will propose rules to both reform U.S. corporations' ability to defer foreign earnings and deter high income individuals and corporations from using tax havens to avoid taxation. ..Mondovisione

Monday, March 2, 2009

1500 Women A Day die in childbirth especially in Africa and South Asia-Why?

Women are dying in childbirth in the same numbers as they were decades ago. The slow progress is an outrage, argues Chris Brazier in the New Internationalist

Habibu is lying on matting on the mud floor of her hut. The contractions are coming thick and fast now. The pain is intense, but she draws comfort from the memory that, the previous three times, this agony gave way to the peaceful, exhausted bliss of holding her baby in her arms.

Her husband’s mother is on hand to help – she has, after all, given birth many times herself and seen many more children born. Water has been brought from the pump and sits in two large bowls ready to be used – one to wash the baby and the other to wash everything and everyone else; pieces of old cloth have been gathered over the months before so as to soak up any blood and bodily fluid. A kerosene lamp has been borrowed from a neighbour to cast any light needed on this dark West African night.

The delivery itself seems to go well: a girl, Mama says, now to be heard crying. Habibu lies back and gives herself up to the pleasure of there no longer being any sharp pain, only exhaustion and discomfort, and to the satisfaction of having brought another life into the world.

It is a while before Mama realizes that blood is still pumping out of Habibu, forming a widening crimson pool on the mat and the floor. She uses the rags to try to staunch the flow; to no avail. There is no sign of the placenta being delivered, as would normally happen within minutes of birth. Mama waits in hope for further precious minutes before realizing that the blood flow is not going to stop and that there is serious danger. Alarmed now, she summons her son, who sets out on his bicycle to try to contact the nurse at the government clinic 12 kilometres away.
By the time the nurse arrives, two hours have passed and it is too late for Habibu, whose life has drained away with her blood. There is nothing the nurse can do for the woman. Instead she tends to the newborn baby, while cursing under her breath the fees she has to charge for attending a birth at the clinic – fees that mean so many women opt to go it alone. She knows she could easily have saved her – an injection of oxytocin, perhaps, or a manual delivery of the placenta – but knows just as clearly that this desperate experience will be repeated on many other nights and days over the months and years to come.

The specifics of this story are fictional, though I name its victim Habibu in honour of a woman I knew in a Burkina Faso village who died in childbirth. She had just remarried after years of hardship raising children as a widow and had been looking forward to cementing her new marriage with a baby. She could and should have attended the nearest health centre for antenatal checks and for her delivery – the last time I visited it, the maternity unit at that health centre had yet to lose a mother during childbirth. But she opted not to do so – in part because her previous children had been safely delivered at home, but also because such supervision costs money, and even the smallest sums are hard to find in a subsistence farming family.

Just one story – but one that is repeated an average of 1,500 times every day around the world, and with particular terrible regularity in Africa and South Asia. In other cases, the complication might be not postpartum haemorrhage but an obstructed labour that demands, but does not receive, a caesarean section. In many such instances the baby will die along with the mother; in others, the mother will survive but will have lost her child. And for every one woman that dies, another 20 suffer injury, infection or disability that can even leave them shunned by their family and community.

In the vast majority of these cases, the deaths are eminently preventable. While the number of child deaths worldwide has consistently fallen – from around 13 million in 1990 to 9.7 million in 2006 – the maternal mortality toll has remained stubbornly similar. For decades, the international estimate of the number of maternal deaths each year has hovered just over the half-million mark.

You might assume from this that maternal deaths are somehow mysterious, untouchable by medical science or development interventions. Yet nothing could be farther from the truth. Not only could the number of maternal deaths be radically reduced, but it could also be done within a few years if only there were sufficient will.
This was one reason why, when the Millennium Development Goals were set in 2000, arguably the most ambitious of all the targets set was in relation to maternal mortality. Whereas the target was to cut poverty in half and to cut child mortality by two-thirds, the aspiration was to slash the maternal mortality ratio by three-quarters. The chart overleaf shows just how far the world is falling short.
This is where the gulf between rich and poor worlds is at its widest and most obscene. The lifetime risk of maternal death is just 1 in 8,000 in the Global North compared with 1 in 76 in the Global South. At the national extremes, an Irish woman has a 1 in 47,600 chance of dying from a pregnancy-related cause compared with a staggering 1 in 7 chance of death for a woman in Niger.

Click to enlarge

No matter how good the supervision or the medical facilities, some deaths in childbirth will always occur. But the statistics indicate clearly how much less hazardous it is for a woman in the West now to have a baby than it was for previous generations. There is no point in pretending that Ireland’s remarkable safety record could be replicated overnight all over the world. But the Millennium Development Goal could certainly still be achieved – even now, with only 6 years of the 25 left to run, when such pathetic progress has been made to date. And, were we to do so, 400,000 women every year would be saved from unnecessary death – and their husbands, children and families from unimaginable grief.

Given this, there are just two big questions to ask. How might these lives be saved? And, if we know how to save them, why isn’t it happening?

The ‘how’ is surprisingly straightforward. The best way to reduce maternal mortality (as well as the deaths of newborn babies) is to ensure that all births are attended by skilled health workers – trained midwives, nurses or doctors. At the moment only 59 per cent of births in the developing world are attended. The lowest rates of skilled attendance are in South Asia (41 per cent) and sub-Saharan Africa (43 per cent) and it is no coincidence that these are also the regions with the highest incidence of both maternal and neonatal mortality. If you live in the countryside in one of those regions, moreover, you’re about half as likely to have your birth attended as if you live in a city.

Ensuring that skilled workers are there during the delivery will cut out many of the unnecessary deaths. To save even more lives, a suitably equipped maternity centre needs to be within reasonable striking distance (less than two hours’ journey away) if some major obstetric complication arises.

In the simplest terms, if every birth were attended by a skilled health worker the numbers of maternal deaths would tumble
Of course there are all kinds of other factors involved that would further reduce maternal mortality – among them better nutrition for pregnant women, better access to contraception, antenatal and postnatal visits, teaching each pregnant woman and her family about the danger signs. But, in the simplest terms, if every birth were attended by a skilled health worker the numbers of maternal deaths would tumble.

If it is that simple, that attainable, why is it not happening? Is this not something the whole world could agree on as an uncontentious objective? Isn’t motherhood, like apple pie, supposed to be an unchallengeable good?

Actually, the stubborn lack of progress on maternal mortality suggests that the root cause lies in women’s disadvantaged position in most countries and cultures. In countries with similar levels of economic development, maternal mortality tends to be inversely proportional to women’s status – in other words, the worse women are treated in society in general, the more likely they are to die in childbirth.1

Against this background of discrimination, often handed down from generation to generation by cultural tradition, initiatives to enhance maternal health need to go hand in hand with measures to promote women’s rights and to protect girls and women from violence, exploitation and abuse. Getting girls into school is a fast track to improving maternal health (and the health of their children) later; it also helps to protect them from child marriage, with its inevitable consequences of premature pregnancy and motherhood. The evidence is clear that educated adolescents are more likely to wait until they are out of their teenage years, when pregnancy risks are highest, to begin a family, and are more likely to have healthy babies. Pregnancy and childbirth-related deaths are the leading cause of mortality for girls aged 15-19 worldwide, killing 70,000 every year. Girls who give birth at even younger ages than 15 are even more at risk due to their physical immaturity, being five times more likely to die in childbirth than women in their twenties.2

Because there is such a close link between women’s oppression and maternal mortality, we need to treat maternal health as a fundamental human right – especially if we are to reach the poorest and most socially excluded women. The Convention to Eliminate Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which has been ratified by 185 countries, requires that governments ‘ensure to women appropriate services in connection with pregnancy, confinement and the post-natal period, granting free services where necessary, as well as adequate nutrition during pregnancy and lactation’. Very few developing countries are currently delivering on this commitment.

So women’s oppression is part of the background. But don’t go away thinking that this means there’s little that can be done about maternal mortality. The scandal is that mothers are dying unnecessarily because the world is unprepared to stump up the relatively meagre resources required to protect them.

That maternal deaths could be reduced by making sure all deliveries were attended has been known for decades – certainly ever since the international conference at Alma Ata in 1978 that propounded the notion of Primary Healthcare. The Alma Ata vision was of relatively low-cost outreach workers in communities, building on the model of ‘barefoot doctors’ pioneered in Maoist China. But those health workers and midwives at work out in the community were always supposed to be backed up by clinics – and beyond them hospitals to which they could refer patients.

The scandal is that mothers are dying unnecessarily because the world is unprepared to stump up the relatively meagre resources required to protect them
This eminently sensible model of an integrated healthcare system that could have transformed the lives of people right across the Majority World was abandoned almost entirely because those pulling the purse-strings of ‘development’ considered this to be too expensive.

It was replaced in the 1980s by the disastrous idea that the funding gap in health should be met by getting the ‘consumers’ themselves to pay user fees. The legacy of that approach is still killing women all over Africa and South Asia, where the poor inevitably take their chances rather than pay for care, just as Habibu did.

A great deal of time and many millions of lives have been lost in the intervening decades since the vision of the Alma Ata Declaration was articulated, but we have returned to the same point. An integrated health system that would allow the MDGs to be met, and would transform maternal, neonatal and child health worldwide, is still achievable – provided the necessary resources are invested.

We could not get overnight to the point where all births are attended and have access to emergency obstetric care when needed – especially given the drain of doctors and nurses away from the countryside and even from Majority to Minority Worlds. There is at present a shortage of 2.3 million doctors, nurses and midwives spread across 57 countries.3 But ultimately it is still a question of resources: if we spent the money required to create health systems that functioned properly, we could still solve this problem in time to meet the MDG target.4

Back in 2003, global development assistance to maternal and neonatal health stood at $663 million a year. It was estimated then that an extra $6.1 billion would be required each year by 2015 to increase coverage to desired levels.5 To put this in perspective, the economic impact of maternal and newborn deaths has been estimated at $15 billion per year in lost productivity, while global military spending passes the $6-billion mark every one-and-a-half days.6

As global recession takes hold and the economic meltdown continues, it will be argued that such resources cannot easily be found. Yet with what ease are hundreds of billions of dollars found to bail out banks, to insure the financial system against its bad debts! Why could we not, over the last two decades, have found the much smaller sums necessary to bail out poor countries by investing in the kind of health services they so badly needed? Why could we not, long ago, have spent the sums necessary to insure young women and their families the world over against death and disability?

This article began by telling the story of Habibu, before sweeping off into the realms of statistics and health policies to make its case. But it is all too easy in discussing the global situation to forget that every single one of the 536,000 mothers who die in childbirth each year has her own story just like Habibu’s. Like her, they approached their labour full of expectation and hope for the new life that they were about to bring into the world, only to die for want of the care that should have been their right – and that mothers in the rich world routinely expect. We should hold stories like theirs in the forefront of our minds as we consider in the months and years ahead exactly what kind of world economy we are now to remake.

1 The Lancet 2006: 368: 1535-41.
2 Giving Girls Today and Tomorrow: Breaking the Cycle of Adolescent Pregnancy, UNFPA 2007, citing various sources.
3 World Health Report 2006.
4 For more detail on how the MDG target could still be met, see UNICEF’s two flagship publications Progress for Children No 7, September 2008 and The State of the World’s Children 2009, both accessible via www.unicef.org
5 From T Powell-Jackson et al, ‘A countdown to 2015: tracking donor assistance to maternal, newborn and child health’, cited in The Lancet 2006: 368: 1535-41.
6 Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, executive director of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), speech to the UN General Assembly, reported in Thalif Deen, ‘UN Poverty Goals Face New Threats’, Terra Viva UN Journal, 3 April 2008, Vol 16, No 57.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Burmese comedian Zarganar is just one of the many human rights activists and monks jailed in recent months in huge crackdown

The Burmese comedian Zarganar (seen on left) has long been a critic of the military junta. His use of biting satire antagonized the Generals. For this he has paid a heavy price. During the 1988 student uprising, he was jailed for seven months. In 1990, he was sentenced to five years in jail for making political speeches.

In September 2006, Zarganar was banned indefinitely from performing publicly or participating in any kind of entertainment related work because of his support of the Buddhist monks. In September 2007- when the junta cracked down on an uprising by monks- he was detained for one month.

In 2008 he was arrested for carrying out a private campaign to help the victims of Cyclone Nargis and for speaking out about the poor response by the authorities. In November 2008, he was sentenced to 59 years in prison, convicted of "public order offenses". In February 2009 following an appeal, Yangon Divisional Court reduced the prison sentence by "up to 24 years", bringing the sentence down to 35 years. Since December 2008, Zarganar has been in Myitkyina Prison in Kachin State in the country's far north.

The jailing of Zarganar is part of a coordinated campaign by the Butchers of Rangoon to stamp out all opposition. In recent months, hundreds of anti government activists, Buddhist monks and nuns, journalists, labour activists, bloggers and hip-hop artists have been sentenced to long jail terms. Some are facing between 100 and 150 years back in prison, many for their third or fourth times. Even lawyers are not safe. Some of those who have criticized miscarriages of justice have been jailed.

There is widespread religious persecution. Recently a number of evangelical Christian churches have been closed. Thousands of Rohingyas, a Muslim minority from Rakhine State, western Myanmar (formerly Burma), have been persecuted by the regime and have fled in recent months on boats sailing for Thailand and Malaysia.

The Benenson Society, Human Rights First and Amnesty International have been to the forefront in the campaign to secure the release of activists.

India,China and Russia are strong defenders of the Burmese junta. These three countries must be pressurised to use their political leverage to ensure a release of all activists.

Video:RTEs David Davin Power analyses Brian Cowens speech at Fianna Fail Ard Fheis

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Democrats and the Liberal Media attack Jindal in bid to cripple his Presidential Ambitions for 2012

The Democrats and their supporters in the liberal media have already begun a campaign to ensure the re-election of Barack Obama in 2012. Nothing is being left to chance. Likely Republican challengers for the presidency have been targeted. Bobby Jindal has come in for special treatment in recent weeks. The New York Times as usual has joined the fray with several unflattering articles. The Los Angeles Times also focussed on the negative when analysing his follow up speech to Barack Obama.

In a clip from liberal talk host Mike Malloy's nationally-syndicated radio show (25 February 2009)- viewable here Malloy laughs as his wife / producer openly mocks Bobby Jindal using a bigoted, mocking voice. This has a racist tone.

Here New York Sen. Chuck Schumer is highly critical of Bobby Jindal on MSNBC prior to Jindal's response to Obama

The Democrats and their friends in the liberal media appear to have launched a pre-emptive strike to damage Jindal before his campaign gets off the ground. Similarly the attacks on Sarah Palin and her family were designed to cripple her prospects for 2012.