Monday, December 31, 2007

Kenya death toll rises to 103

NAIROBI, Kenya - Kenyan police battled thousands of opposition supporters enraged over President Mwai Kibaki's allegedly fraudulent re-election, firing tear gas and live ammunition as the death toll from the violence rose to 103, officers and witnesses said.

Several officers said they had orders to shoot to kill, while opposition supporters said they would risk death to protest what they called a stolen election. Demonstrators were beaten back with tear gas and water cannons, and police fired live rounds over their heads in Nairobi's burning slums.

"We have been rigged out, we are not going to accept defeat," said 24-year-old James Onyango, who lives in Nairobi's Kibera slum. "We are ready to die and we're ready for serious killings."

Raila Odinga, the fiery opposition leader who came in second according to the official results, compared Kibaki to a military dictator who "seized power through the barrel of the gun," and called on 1 million people to gather Thursday in Nairobi's Uhuru Park — where protesters gathered to demand multiparty democracy in the early 1990s.

"We are calling for mass action," said Odinga, who had been leading early results and public opinion polls. "We will inform police of the march. We will march wearing black arm bands because we are mourning."

An Associated Press reporter saw a man who had been shot in the head being carried in a blanket. Men around him said he had been shot by police. Police were not immediately available for comment.

Teams of riot police fired shots into the air and tear gas into homes and businesses; in one home, a woman and her four young children ran out, retching.

"We were just hiding from the shots," said Dorothy Nyangasi, frantically pouring water over the eyes of her 6-month-old old son Daniel.

Opposition supporters blocked a road into Nairobi's city center with burning refuse. Police with batons and riot shields hit and detained opposition supporters in Kibera.

There, 14-year-old Selina Angeyo said police had shot her brother and another man in the stomach. Shortly after she spoke to reporters she was arrested and taken away crying in a marked police vehicle.

The violence has killed at least 103 people since Saturday across the country, police and witnesses said, although the tally was likely far higher. Three police officers told The Associated Press independently that they had been ordered to shoot to kill to stop the rioters.

A government spokesman denied such an order was given.

Odinga postponed a rally planned for Uhuru Park Monday after police warned the opposition not to hold it.

The United States said it was concerned over "serious problems" during the counting of votes.

"Those alleging vote tampering may pursue legal remedies and should be able, consistent with respect for freedom of speech, to make their case publicly. We call on the judiciary to play its role expeditiously," the U.S. embassy in Kenya said.

Kibaki, 76, was sworn in almost immediately after the results were announced. Within minutes, the slums exploded into fresh violence.

Suspicions over rigging were fueled by the fact that the opposition took most of the parliamentary seats in Thursday's vote, but Kibaki still won the election.

Kenya is one of the most developed countries in Africa, with a booming tourism industry and one of the continent's highest growth rates. Many observers saw the campaign as the greatest test of this young, multiparty democracy and expressed great disappointment as the process descended into chaos.

Some Kibera residents said that they had not been able to find food since shops closed for elections on Thursday and trouble began over the delayed vote-counting. A woman shouted "hungry! hungry!" at passing journalists.

Kibaki's supporters say he has turned Kenya's economy into an east African powerhouse, with an average annual growth rate of 5 percent. He won by a landslide in 2002, ending 24 years in power by the notoriously corrupt Daniel arap Moi. But Kibaki's anti-graft campaign has largely been seen as a failure, and the country still struggles with tribalism and poverty.

The election violence had a disturbing tribal undertone in the slums, where youths shouted ethnic slurs. Kibaki, from the Kikuyu tribe, has been accused of maintaining the tribal patronage system of the Moi years. Odinga is a Luo, another major tribe.

News Clip Courtesy : KATHARINE HOURELD, Associated Press Writer
Associated Press writers Elizabeth A. Kennedy and Tom Maliti also contributed to this report.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Intel will sell the assets of its media and signaling business to Eicon Networks

Intel will sell the assets of its media and signaling business to Eicon Networks. The acquisition is expected to allow Eicon to become a leading player in the media processing and signaling market segment. The sale will enable Intel to focus its investments on its core communications and embedded businesses, including Intel(R) Architecture and network processors, modular communications platforms and optical modules. The transaction is expected to close in approximately four to six weeks and is subject to regulatory review and normal closing conditions. Financial terms are not being disclosed.

Intel's media and signaling business includes all of the product lines from Intel's Dialogic acquisition, as well as Host Media Processing (HMP) software and HMP-enabled blades. Intel's complete line of SS7, PBX integration and gateway solutions are also included in the sale.

With Eicon's complementary Diva Server line of products, it is anticipated that the acquisition will enable Eicon to provide enhanced enterprise and service provider offerings to current Eicon and Intel customers as well as future customers. Eicon plans to continue to work closely with Intel as an active member of the Intel(R) Communication Alliance.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

'Virtual massage' for phantom limb pain

PARIS (AFP) - An amputee could be "cured" of phantom limb pain by tricking the brain into reacting to the sight of someone else performing soothing, massage-like gestures, a researcher has found.

The paradoxical sensation of pain in a missing limb is frequently reported by amputees.

Working with US combat veterans, Vilayanur Ramachandran, Director of Center for Brain and Cognition at the University of California, San Diego conducted a series of experiments to better understand why these feelings of pain arise and how they might be eliminated.

Recent studies have shown the critical role of "mirror" brain cells which fire every time someone makes a deliberate gesture, such as shaking hands or giving a thumbs-up sign.

These neurons are also triggered when we see others perform the same gesture, which raises the intriguing question of why we do not feel a corresponding sensation every time someone within view rubs or claps his hands.

Ramachandran speculated that sensory cells in the hand block the message that the mirror neurons are trying to send to the brain, according to the British weekly New Scientist.

But as these sensory cells are absent in the amputee, the signals get through and registers, accounting for the phantom feelings and pain.

To test his theory, Ramachandran and colleagues created a "mirror box" that gave amputees the visual impression of seeing their missing limb.

Two amputee volunteers, watching as their intact hand was touched, both felt as if their missing hand was "being prodded." And when they saw a third person's hand stroked, they too began to feel a similar sensation in their absent limb.

One of the subjects reported that watching someone rub her hands together caused a painful cramping sensation in his phantom limb to stop for up to 15 minutes.

"If you do it often enough perhaps this pain will go away for good," suggests Ramachandran, whose research is detailed in an upcoming book, "The Man with the Phantom Twin: Adventures in the Neuroscience of the Human Brain."

"An amputee experiencing pain in their missing limb could watch a friend or partner rub their hand to get rid of it," he told the New Scientist.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


The great Vincent Cassel is too unpredictable an actor to make a boring film..

Outright bad movies, however, are entirely another matter and this misshapen comedy-horror veers close.

Self-producing young punk collective director Kim Chapiron, Cassel at least secures himself a typically loony tune lead role, as an inbred, leering shepherd with a satanic pact, preying on some visiting teens.

Neither funny nor scary enough it’s a brio-fuelled mess, but as long as crazy Vince is centre stage, never entirely dull.

News Clip Courtesy..

Thursday, October 25, 2007

In Flight Announcement..

Too rarely, airline attendants make an effort to make the in-flight "safety lecture" and announcements a bit more entertaining.

Here is a classic that has been heard and reported...

An airline pilot wrote that on this particular flight he had hammered his ship into the runway really hard.

The airline had a policy which required the first officer to stand at the door while the passengers exited, smile, and give them a "Thanks for flying our airline."

He said that, in light of his bad landing, he had a hard time looking the passengers in the eye, thinking that someone would have a smart comment. Finally everyone had gotten off except for a little old lady walking with a cane.

She said, "Sir, do you mind if I ask you a question?"

Why, no, Ma'am," said the pilot. "What is it?"

The little old lady said, "Did we land, or were we shot down ?"

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

From rags-to-riches...


Maltiben Chaudhary can barely speak English or Hindi, has studied only up to Class IV and belongs to a remote village, Pratapur, in Mehsana district of Gujarat.

But, the money spinners of the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A) were all ears to her rags-to-riches story when she visited the institute.

Maltiben, 62, runs a successful milk business as part of the Mehsana Milk Cooperative, Gujarat, and earns a cool Rs 80,000 a month. The students of IIM-A's flagship postgraduate programme (PGP) and one-year executive course were engrossed in her exemplary lecture on entrepreneurial skills during 'Understanding creativity, innovation knowledge network and entrepreneurship' programme on Wednesday.

"Her entrepreneurship attitude was quite visible and she had an authority in her voice while speaking on the subject. Innovation and knowledge is not only a prerogative of rich and educated, knowledge also lies at the bottom of the pyramid, "said Kumar Rahul Roushan, final year student of PGP.

Maltiben said,"Due to financial constraints in my family, I thought of doing something on my own but at that time I did not have any money to start a business. I stitched clothes for village women and saved a meagre Rs 80. I bought two famished buffaloes from the money way back in 1971 and started a milk business."

I fed the buffaloes nutritious fodder, Maltiben said. And to everbody's surprise, the buffaloes won the first prize during a Doodhsagar dairy rally in Mehsana, giving 29 litres of milk a day.

Then on, Maltiben never looked back. She now supplies 300 litres of milk daily to milk cooperative.

News Clip Courtesy: Kumar Manish

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Taliban suicide blast in Kabul kills 30

News Clip, Afghanistan -

A Taliban suicide bomber wearing an Afghan army uniform set off a huge explosion Saturday while trying to board a military bus in the capital, killing 30 people, most of them soldiers, officials said. Hours later, the Afghan president offered to meet personally with the Taliban leader for peace talks and give the militants a position in government.

Strengthening a call for negotiations he has made with increasing frequency the last several weeks, President Hamid Karzai said he was willing to meet with Taliban leader Mullah Omar and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a former prime minister and factional warlord leader.

"If I find their address, there is no need for them to come to me, I'll personally go there and get in touch with them," Karzai said. "Esteemed Mullah, sir, and esteemed Hekmatyar, sir, why are you destroying the country?"

Karzai said he has contacts with Taliban militants through tribal elders but that there are no direct and open government communication channels with the fighters.

"If a group of Taliban or a number of Taliban come to me and say, 'President, we want a department in this or in that ministry or we want a position as deputy minister ... and we don't want to fight anymore... If there will be a demand and a request like that to me, I will accept it because I want conflicts and fighting to end in Afghanistan," Karzai said.

"I wish there would be a demand as easy as this. I wish that they would want a position in the government. I will give them a position," he said.

Four employees with the International Committee of the Red Cross, kidnapped earlier this week while negotiating the release of a German hostage, were freed in good health Saturday, said Mohabullah, the police director of criminal investigations of the Sayad Abad district where the four were taken. He had no news about the German.

The number of kidnappings in Afghanistan has spiked in recent months after the Taliban secured the release of five insurgent prisoners in exchange for a captive Italian journalist in March — a heavily criticized swap that many feared would encourage abductions.

The Taliban kidnapped 23 South Koreans in July, a hostage crisis that scored the militants face-to-face talks with South Korean government delegates. Two of the Koreans were killed; 21 were eventually released.

Karzai earlier this month renewed a call for talks with the Taliban, and a spokesman for the militant group initially said the fighters might be open to negotiations. But spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi later said foreign troops must first leave the country — a demand Karzai said Saturday he would not meet.

"It should be very clear until all our roads are paved, until we have good electricity and good water, and also until we have a better Afghan national army and national police, I don't want any foreigners to leave Afghanistan," he said.

He said he still wanted negotiations with Taliban militants of Afghan origin "for peace and security." He ruled out talks with al-Qaida and other foreign fighters.

NATO and the United Nations have said an increasing number of Taliban fighters are interested in laying down their arms. NATO's ambassador to Afghanistan, Daan Everts, said this month that NATO would look into the possibility of talks.

More than 4,500 fighters have taken part in a two-year reconciliation process, but the Taliban have launched more than 100 suicide attacks this year, a record pace.

Saturday's explosion ripped off the roof of the bus and tore out its sides, leaving a charred hull of burnt metal. It was reminiscent of the deadliest insurgent attack in Afghanistan since the U.S.-led invasion in 2001 — when a bomber boarded a police academy bus at Kabul's busiest transportation hub in June and killed 35 people.

Dozens of civilians and police officers searched for bodies. Police and soldiers climbed trees to retrieve some body parts. Nearby businesses also were damaged.

"For 10 or 15 seconds, it was like an atom bomb — fire, smoke and dust everywhere," said Mohammad Azim, a police officer who witnessed the explosion.

Karzai said 30 people were killed — 28 soldiers and two civilians. The Health Ministry said another 30 were wounded.

"It was a terrible tragedy, no doubt an act of extreme cowardice," Karzai said. "Whoever did this was against people, against humanity, definitely against Islam. A man who calls himself Muslim will not blow up innocent people in the middle of Ramadan," the Muslim holy month.

A purported Taliban spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid, claimed the militant group was responsible for the blast in a text message to The Associated Press. Mujahid said the bomber was a Kabul resident named Azizullah.

The bus had stopped in front of a movie theater to pick up soldiers when a bomber wearing a military uniform tried to board around 6:45 a.m. local time, army spokesman Gen. Mohammad Zahir Azimi said.

"Typically there are people checking the IDs of soldiers who want to board the bus," Azimi said. "While they were checking the IDs the bomber tried to get on the bus and blew himself up there."

News Clip Courtesy : Associated Press reporters Rahim Faiez, Amir Shah and Alisa Tang.

In Pawar land, cricketers get preference over farmers

News Clip, New Delhi:

While money is pouring in for our cricketers, it's quite the opposite for the farmers in Maharashtra'a Kohlapur district. In union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar's home state, farmers were attacked and beaten up by local goons on Friday.

The reason – the farmers had asked for their dues from a local sugarcane cooperative. The farmers allege that the cooperative refused to pay them the second installment for their produce.

The goons were allegedly hired by the sugarcane cooperative factory who beat up farmers in the presence of the police. Farmers say no FIR was registered despite protests.

One of the farmer's unions - Shetkari Sanghatana has now organised protests all over the district and has demanded severe action be taken against the attackers. Reportedly, Congress MLA Prakash Avade was also present at the site.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Indian news broadcasters form new association

Major news broadcasters in India have formed the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) to address problems of radio and television news broadcasters. The broadcasters who have formed the association include TV Today Network, NDTV Limited, Times Global Broadcasting Company, TV18 Group, Star News, India TV and Zee News.

The President of the Association, G Krishnan, said the Association has been set up to address issues that are specific to news broadcasters in radio and television who work in a 24×7 environment and cannot necessarily be addressed by the Indian Broadcasting Foundation.

The Indian government's recent draft proposal for a Content Code has been strongly opposed by the broadcasters.

News Clip Source: Commonwealth Broadcasting Association

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Funds available for business writers from developing world

The Reuters Foundation is offering full bursaries for journalists from developing countries to attend training on business writing. The course is scheduled for November 5 to 16 in London.

Application deadline: September 10.

The bursaries include travel costs, lodging and a modest living allowance. Partially funded bursaries are also available for journalists at organizations with little or no resources for training.

The course provides training on international standards of reporting and writing about business news and issues. Applicants must be working journalists with at least two years of professional experience and good spoken and written English.

Application details and online form:

For more information, contact: foundation@reuters. com


Monday, August 6, 2007

Plastic Surgery Miracles

Three Texas plastic surgeons were playing golf together and discussing surgeries they had performed.

One of them said, "I'm the best plastic surgeon in Texas. A concert pianist lost 7 fingers in an accident, I reattached them, and 8 months later he performed a private concert for the Queen of England."

One of the others said. "That's nothing. A young man lost both arms and legs in an accident, I reattached them, and 2 years later he won a gold medal in 5 field events in the Olympics."

The third surgeon said, "You guys are amateurs. Several years ago a cowboy who was high on cocaine and alcohol rode a horse head-on into a train traveling 80 miles an hour. All I had left to work with was the horse's ass and a cowboy hat.

Now he's President of the United States."

Friday, July 20, 2007

Shoppers nightmare

How does it feel when visiting a store and trying to reach something, and the whole lot cames tumbling down all over the floor.

Obviously, everybody stares, and you better come up with a "melon anyone" or something even better...... until someone laughs....after which the situation calms down.....

It would have been even more hilarious....... if you were embarrassed.

So the best solution.....

If no one was near and the staff are not suspicious to find who the culprit was......just feign ignorance and leave quickly...


Thursday, July 12, 2007

Need some answers.......

Had a couple of thoughts that I would need some answers for.....

Do illiterate people get the full effect of alphabet soup?
How does Santaclaus get into a house that doesn't have a chimney?
If you get cheated by the better business bureau, whom do you complain to?
If you're in hell, and you are mad at someone, where do you tell them to go?
What would Geronimo say if he jumped out of an airplane?
What would Cheese say if they got their picture taken?
Why are turds pinched off at the end? [sorry]
You can be overwhelmed and underwhelmed, but can you just be just whelmed?
If you take an oriental person and spin him around, does he become disoriented?
How come overtones and undertones are the same thing?
What would you use to dilute water?
What should one call a male ladybird?
How can military troops be deployed if they have never been ployed to begin with?
If you lived in Siberia and you wronged the government, where would they send you?
Before they invented drawing boards, what did they go back to?
Can atheists get insurance for acts of God?
Can you get arrested for running into a Fire House yelling "Movie" "Movie" ?
Did you ever notice when you blow in a dog's face he gets mad at you?
But when you take him in a car, he sticks his head out the window!

And finally, why is it called an asteroid when its outside, but called a hemorrhoid when its in your ass?

Any thoughts on these would be appreciated......

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Nokia ties up with Malayala Manorama to launch news portal on mobile

Nokia ties up with Malayala Manorama to launch news portal on mobileexchange4media

Nokia has announced the launch of the industry's first vernacular newsportal with Malayala Manorama.

With this offering, all Nokia GPRS enabled handsets users in Kerala will be able to get national and international news in Malayalam across various categories of news likesports, travel, music, astrology and movies, among others.

Speaking at the launch of this service, Devinder Kishore, Director-Marketing, Nokia India, said, "Ease of use is a key Nokia proposition. As the leader, we are continuously working towards providing featuresand services that simplify the lives of our users. We have once againlaunched a path breaking application -- vernacular news portal -- amobile newspaper in the palm, that enables users to view news updatesin there native languages at their convenience. "Kishore added, "Currently, the Internet penetration is still very low,especially in smaller cities and rural areas.

Services such as themobile newspaper will ride on the larger penetration of mobile phonesand bring the Internet revolution to the masses. With the launch ofthis service, we are transcending the language barriers and extendingthe benefits of the Data services over mobiles to the people who arenot conversant with English."Mariam Mammen Mathew, COO, Manorama Online, said "As the industryl eader in this category, we are pleased to partner with Nokia for thisinitiative.

We are committed to provide our readers newer and innovative way to consume news, and this will help us to further our bond with our consumers. True to the Manorama tradition, we will strive to reach out to all Malayalis, wherever they are -- inside or outside India, on a desktop or on the move.

Additionally with the launch of this mobile newspaper' Nokia bringsthe benefits of all value-added services for the first time in 10 vernacular languages. These include Hindi, Punjabi, Bengali, Oriya,Assamese, Marathi, Gujarati, Tamil, Telugu and Kannada, in association with leading media houses across India.

This application also supports'search' and 'mobile advertising' , while making the Internet and the'search' facility available to the non-English literates for the first time in the country.

News Clip

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Arrested journalist sent to jail in Jhalakati

News Clip

The Daily Star [Bangladesh] reported that a court here yesterday sent a journalist arrested by joint forces for extortion.

Hasan Mahmud Talukder alias Ripon, district correspondent of Bangla Vision, daily Khabarpatra and Karotoa was caught red handed on Sunday evening while he was taking Tk 5,000 as toll from Kirtipasha UP chairman Abdus Shukur Mollah at Polash Hotel in the town.

Mollah said Ripon threatened to report against him if he fails to pay him Tk 50,000. Later, he agreed to pay Tk 5,000 and informed the joint forces, Mollah added.

He filed an extortion case against Ripon. Police said Ripon will be tried in the Speedy Trial Tribunal court.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Ash's ABC Interview.... Pas nous aimons les médias

Media hype at its best...

But then everyone is entitled to an opinion, be it assh or an asshole. Either way it's the hole that gets that extry attention..

Is that the reason why they say holey sh*t ?

Bottomline...... If you want to hear from an ass, it's better you fart !

Por favor !

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Aerosol Arabic Mohammed is back

News Clip By Tess Langley

OK, so you’ve got graffiti, and then you’ve got Islamic art... What happens when you mix the two?

I caught up with Mohammed Ali, an Islamic graffiti artist who does just that. The 28 year old Brummie has been into graffiti since a young age and now incorporates his faith into his work.

"Art was my passion," he said, "when I found religion I changed direction and combined the two together." For Mohammed, the fusion between Islamic art and graffiti was more than just experimenting with different styles...

For more details... CLICK HERE

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Premonition...born again !

Please, this image has to be taken in light humor and it has no intention to hurt anyone's feelings..

If at all it gives credit only, no pun intended !

Saturday, May 12, 2007

CCS..... A Better Future For People With Disabilities

Just a short note on CCS......

CCS is New Zealand’s leading provider of support and services to people with physical disabilities. We are also a leading advocate for the rights of disabled people.

Founded to help New Zealand children following two polio epidemics early last century, CCS now works in partnership with over 5000 children and adults with physical or multiple disabilities and their families and whanau.

Services are provided nationally through 16 integrated branches around the country. CCS employs more than 500 staff and is assisted by over 2000 regular volunteers.

Their Vision is to make disabled people valued participants in society...

CCS enable disabled people to make informed choices in their lives thereby generating an increased levels of inclusiveness of disabled people in the society . They allow each person the dignity to express themselves, to experiment, to reach, and to learn thereby celebrating a diversity with difference...

CCS works mainly in partnership with disabled people, their families and Whanau to ensure equality of opportunity, quality of life and an environment that enhances full community integration and participation.

CCS exists to make a difference for disabled people, their families and Whanau by removing barriers to inclusion and by offering support to disabled people to access all ordinary opportunities in their communities.

Their community is made up of disabled people and their families and whanau, who live in Aotearoa New Zealand. They include all people who face barriers to inclusion on the basis of disability and who want to access the disability support services they provide.

Reflecting the commitment in the New Zealand Disability Strategy – Making A World of Difference Whakanui Oranga [Minister for Disability Issues April 2001], a key expectation of CCS work is the New Zealand community will grow its capacity to ensure that disabled people have the same rights, choices, opportunities and safeguards as other citizens.

CCS operates with a National Office and regional management structure, providing services nationally from 16 incorporated societies. They deliver regular services to over 6,000 people with disabilities making us one of the largest disability support service providers in New Zealand.

CCS also works closely with other disability agencies to ensure we make best use of shared knowledge and resources, helping us to adopt best practice across the sector.

Click here for the 2005/06 CCS Annual Report

CCS..... A Better Future For People With Disabilities

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Save The Whale

Couldn't have put it more better !

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Subliminal Advertising

Go through it carefully... before making a comment

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Eenie, meenie, minie ... lawsuit

"Eenie, meenie, minie, moe; pick a seat, we gotta go," says a Southwest Airlines flight attendant. This speech may violate the law, rules a federal judge. Hard to believe in a nation with the First Amendment — but welcome to the wild world of hostile-environment law.

Two African-American passengers are suing Southwest, claiming the "eenie, meenie" line violated antidiscrimination law. The original child’s rhyme, it turns out, ended with "catch a nigger by his toe," though for decades it’s been rendered "catch a tiger by the toe" — that’s how I heard it in the 1970s, and how the flight attendant says she learned it.

"Because of [this] history," Judge Kathryn Vratil said that "the phrase ‘eenie, meenie, minie, moe" could reasonably be viewed as objectively racist and offensive." It’s thus up to the jury to "decide whether [the flight attendant’s] remark was racist, or simply a benign and innocent attempt at humor."

Of course, if this ruling is upheld, things can’t stop there. Presumably I’ll be able to sue about references to "a pound of flesh" because they remind me of the anti-Semitism of "The Merchant of Venice" Chinese Americans could sue over "chink in the armor" because "chink" in other contexts, is a racial slur. "Niggardly" which is sometimes confused for a slur, would likewise be punished — not just by public opinion, but by government coercion through threat of massive damages verdicts.

Southwest might escape liability if the jury decides the flight attendant had no racist motive. But how much consolation is that? Would you feel free to say things that might lead to a lawsuit, on the hopes that you could — tens of thousands of dollars in attorney fees later — persuade a jury that your intentions were "benign and innocent" ?

This wave of speech suppression began in the 1980s with hostile-work-environment harassment law, which punishes speech that creates a "hostile … or offensive work environment" for employees based on race, religion, sex and so on. This vague standard has been found to potentially cover jokes, political statements, art, religious proselytizing and more.

Now, campus speech codes are being analogously justified as a means of preventing "offensive educational environments"; and the government is punishing speech in bars, airplanes and other places on an "offensive public-accommodations environment" theory. Remember that the next time you say "eenie, meenie" in a restaurant where a waiter or another patron may be offended.

A few weeks ago, The New York Sun attacked free speech from the right, by suggesting that antiwar advocacy be suppressed because it may help our enemies. Now, a federal court attacks free speech from the left, by holding that speech may be punished if it reminds people of bigoted expressions. The notion that a free people must deal even with offensive speech, and that the public deserves to hear all viewpoints, is again under assault from both sides. And if this assault isn’t constantly fought, the censorship will spread — as it has in the strange career of hostile-environment law.


Volokh is professor of law and runs the Volokh Conspiracy Web log

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Media contribution to the dehydration of a nation

Saturday, March 31, will mark the two-year anniversary of Terri Schiavo's death by dehydration.

As hideous as it was, the truth is, long before Terri's case made headlines, the removal of basic care – food and water – was becoming commonplace. It continues to happen every day across our country oftentimes in cases, like Terri's, where the patient does not suffer from any life-threatening condition.

Much of the problem that exists stems from a blind acceptance of misinformation that has moved us from a firm belief in the sanctity of life to a "quality of life" mindset, which says that some lives are not worth living.

The fact that people have started making decisions in place of God, although many religions have chose to remain silent despite their teachings and the fact that God alone is the arbiter of life and death.

The sad fact is we have become a nation that spends money trying to find the perfect body, while ignoring the condition of our collective soul; where altruism seems to be a thing of the past, and moral relativism has become a bona fide religion.

Combined with a popular media selling the notion that killing people in certain conditions is an act of compassion, one can understand why people with disabilities are in danger.

Terri's case is a perfect example.

In fact, most Americans had never heard of Terri Schindler Schiavo when the controversy over her court-ordered death exploded upon the scene in March 2005.

For more than twelve years she had languished, her body slowly deteriorating in the absence of rehabilitative therapy, while the value of her life was litigated in the courts and weighed by legislators. Although she was neither dying nor dependent on machines for her life, many felt the brain-injured woman who relied on a feeding tube for nourishment should die. Because she had no living will, others insisted ending her life amounted to murder. As the debate raged on the airwaves, its significance was not lost on the pro-life, right-to-die, pro-euthanasia, and disabled-rights advocates who all adopted Terri Schiavo as a poster child for their causes.

Look how the popular media presented Terri's story, abandoning any attempt at objective or ethical reporting in their rush to justify her death. In an effort to dehumanize Terri, they repeatedly reported she was in a coma, brain dead, a "vegetable" and that the autopsy proved she was in a persistent vegetative state, all of which are patently false.

All one has to do is watch the videos of Terri to see how alive she was, and if that's not enough, more than 40 medical affidavits stated Terri wasn't in PVS and/or could have been helped with new medical technology.

The media chose to ignore all of this, instead reporting what Terri wasn't able to do and referencing a doctor who took pride in the moniker, "Dr. Humane Death."

They painted a story of a husband's unconditional love as he carried out his wife's "wish" to die, completely ignoring the fact that there was no evidence of this and that Michael essentially abandoned Terri as soon as he began living with his new wife-to-be.

Completely unaware of their own hypocrisy, they commended Christopher Reeve's wife, Dana, and rightly so, for her dedication in caring for her husband, while vilifying my parents for wanting to do the same thing for their daughter.

And, finally, the media paid more respect to and had more compassion for a racehorse than they did to Terri.

To this day, every story in which a person emerges from a condition similar to Terri's, or an advance is found to help the severely brain-injured, is an opportunity for the media to remind us that, of course, "this is nothing like the case of Terri Schiavo."

It's funny that this is the same propaganda used by the medical community in Nazi Germany immediately prior to the Holocaust when hospitals were used to kill at least 200,000 handicapped, mentally ill and others who were deemed physically or mentally inferior.

Unfortunately, I don't know if people realize how the mainstream media influences their everyday lives, or the scope of what is happening in our hospitals. Perhaps, more accurately, they just don't care.

With tens of thousand in conditions similar to and even worse than Terri's, we should be alarmed. While many would prefer not to educate themselves on this issue, the cold reality is that one day this "quality of life" approach could very well impact their families, as it did ours.

Terri and others like her should be a constant reminder to the media, how the popular media presented Terri's story, abandoning any attempt at objective or ethical reporting in their rush to justify her death. In an effort to dehumanize Terri, they repeatedly reported she was in a coma, brain dead, a "vegetable" and that the autopsy proved she was in a persistent vegetative state, all of which are patently false.

This is exactly the opposite of what media principles stand for..

This artcle was written and posted by the brother of Terri, Bobby Schindler.. More details can be obtained by clicking here

Bobby Schindler now works for the Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation, Center for Health Care Ethics in St. Petersburg, Fla., an organization dedicated to promoting the Culture of Life, embracing the true meaning of compassion by opposing the practice of euthanasia.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Islamic artists were 500 years ahead of Western scientists

News Clip Courtesy : Steve Connor, Science Editor.... published on 23 February 2007..

Islamic artists were exploiting a mathematical principle to decorate buildings with complicated patterns of tiles more than 500 years before its discovery in the West.

The decorative tilework that adorns some medieval Islamic buildings has been found to use basic geometric shapes that form a complex and highly intricate tiling pattern which does not repeat itself.

In modern mathematics the principle of non-repeating patterns on a flat surface is known as quasicrystal geometry, and the most famous example is known as Penrose tiling, after the Oxford mathematician Roger Penrose, who was thought to have discovered it 30 years ago.

For more details, CLICK HERE

Monday, March 12, 2007

Comedian Jeni dies in apparent suicide

News Clip, Calif. -

Richard Jeni, a standup comedian who played to sold-out crowds, was a regular on the "Tonight Show" and appeared in movies, died of a gunshot wound in an apparent suicide, police said Sunday.

Police found the 45-year-old comedian alive but gravely injured in a West Hollywood home when they responded to a call Saturday morning from Jeni's girlfriend, Los Angeles Police Officer Norma Eisenman said.

Eisenman said the caller told police: "My boyfriend shot himself in the face."

Jeni died at a nearby hospital.

Eisenman said suicide had not been officially confirmed and the investigation was continuing.

Jeni regularly toured the country with a standup act and had starred in several HBO comedy specials, most recently "A Big Steaming Pile of Me" during the 2005-06 season.

Jeni's movie credits included "The Mask," in which he played Jim Carrey's best friend, "The Aristocrats," "National Lampoon's Dad's Week Off," and "An Alan Smithee Film: Burn, Hollywood, Burn."

He also had guest appearances in the TV shows "Everybody Hates Chris," "Married: With Children," and updated versions of the game shows "Hollywood Squares" and "Match Game."

The Brooklyn-born comic first received national attention in 1990 with the Showtime special "Richard Jeni: Boy From New York City." Two years later, his "Crazy From the Heat" special attracted the highest ratings in Showtime's history

He also wrote comic material for the 2005 Academy Awards, which was hosted by his friend Chris Rock.

News Clip Courtesy : By ANA BEATRIZ CHOLO, Associated Press Writer

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Swiss Company Touts Watches Made From "Titanic-DNA"

Swiss watch maker Romain Jerome has announced the worldwide launch of a watch which it claims is made from authentic parts of the Titanic, the ocean liner which became infamous for its collision with an iceberg, and for its dramatic sinking on April 14, 1912. The watch is a part of the company's new "DNA of Famous Legends" collection.

According to the watchmaker, the steel that makes the body of the watch has been created by a fusion of authentic steel from the shipwreck and that of the future Titanic II at the Harland and Wolff shipyards in Belfast.

"This is how the DNA is captured; a myth is reborn," the company said, according to

The minute and hour hands of the watch are shaped like the anchor of the Titanic and the company describes the deep black dial as taking its color from the "coal collected in the legendary shipwreck."

The company has produced only 2,012 pieces of the watch to represent the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Titanic and the launch date of the Titanic II in Belfast in 2012.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Jury Awards $310,000 For Spilled Starbucks Coffee

A lawyer has won a lawsuit against coffee chain, Starbucks, after a hot cup of decaf was spilled on her foot.

Alice Griffin, a 42 year old Manhattan attorney, says she was at a Starbucks on Seventh Avenue when the clerk failed to put an insulating sleeve on the cup, then slid the cup across the counter, where it fell on her foot.

A jury awarded Griffin $310,000 from Starbucks in a ruling upheld by State Supreme Court Justice Emily Jane Goodman.

According to CBS, Starbucks says it regrets her pain, but it says the company will appeal the jury verdict if a better settlement can't be reached.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Author of `Das Boot' dies at age 89

News Clip By MELISSA EDDY, Associated Press Writer

Lothar-Guenther Buchheim, the German author and art collector best known for his autobiographical novel, "Das Boot," has died at the age of 89, his museum and the office of the governor of Bavaria said.

Buchheim died late Thursday from heart failure.

Bavarian Gov. Edmund Stoiber praised Buchheim for his contribution to the southern German state, including the museum that houses his collection of art from the Bruecke group of expressionists, including works by Emil Nolde, Max Pechstein and Otto Mueller

According to German naval records, the boat was a rarity among the submarine fleet because it suffered no casualties during its 11 wartime patrols.

Buchheim is survived by his wife, Diethild, and two grown children, Yves-Bruno and Nina. A private burial was planned, but no date was given.
Article Courtesy : Yahoo News - Entertainment, AP

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Saturday, February 24, 2007

Moyle Interconnector Set To Pass On Scottish Electricity

A cross-border power-sharing deal of the non-political kind has been signed in order to keep the lights on in the Republic, it was disclosed today.

EirGrid, the company which manages the grid in the Republic, has secured extra electricity capacity of 100 megawatts from NI Energy Holdings.

The power will be supplied from Britain via the Moyle interconnector, which runs under the sea from Scotland to Northern Ireland.

From there it will be transmitted by means of the north-south interconnector to the Republic, where it will help to bolster supplies to ESB.

In recent weeks, there has been increasing concern in the Republic about a shortage of electricity, particularly at peak times.

As the economy grows, demand has been outstripping supply and already the Republic relies on supplies from Coolkeeragh power station near Londonderry.

Although the mild weather has helped to suppress demand this winter, economic development agency IDA Ireland has warned of the danger of power cuts.

The commercial agreement for extra power - the value of which has not been disclosed - also involves SONI, the system operator in Northern Ireland.

Alan Rainey, executive director of NI Energy Holdings, said the deal underlined the value of interconnection in terms of making electricity supply north and south more reliable.

He said: "This is a win-win for the energy consumer and shows that the Moyle interconnector is not there just for trading energy across systems.

"It is an ever-present source of support and stability for networks and systems operators in Northern Ireland and the Republic."

Mr Rainey said that the agreement would help meet the needs of ESB customers in the Republic and also provide a commercial benefit which would be passed through to consumers in Northern Ireland.

Dermot Byrne, the chief executive of EirGrid, said the deal showed the benefit of electricity links between Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic.

He said: "Increased electricity interconnection is a growing trend in the European Union. It provides concrete benefits including increased security of supply and also facilitates the development of competitive markets for power.

"Consumers should see even greater benefit in the future as the Tyrone to Cavan and Ireland to Wales interconnectors are constructed

News Clip Courtesy : Robin Morton, Belfast Telegraph

Friday, February 23, 2007

V.P.-Turned- Environmentalist Al Gore Creates Frenzy At U. Of T.

News blog ;

He's a former Vice-President of the United States.

His movie, "An Inconvenient Truth", is up for an Oscar.

And he's the poster boy for the environment - printed on recycled paper of course.

All of which is making Al Gore a hot ticket in Toronto.

The American politician turned environmentalist came to the University of Toronto, Wednesday night for a long awaited speech, and there were throngs of fans to greet him.

So were ticket scalpers, who are seeing a different type of green. Reports indicate more than 20,000 people were trying to get their hands on a ducat for the event. But there's only room for 1,500 of them inside.

What tickets there were originally cost $20. They sold out almost immediately.

"We had about 23,000 hits on our website, which of course collapsed the website because we couldn't sustain it," muses the University of Toronto's Ingrid Stefanovic. "So there's been a huge enthusiasm for the event."

And not just huge but expensive. The demand was so high that on the Internet auction site Craig's List, people were offering up to $500 for a single pass.

And that was too much for one man to resist. "I was going to give it to my colleague for 20 bucks, and I told him, hey, I'm a student," the unnamed audience member relates. "Someone else is giving me $200. He says 'okay, go ahead and sell it for $200.'"

"It's like a boy band or something coming to town because people just are clamouring to see Al Gore," laughs Catherine Febria. "It's kind of funny."

Cameras weren't allowed inside, but those who paid to listern to him speak were impressed.

"He was powerful," said one fan. "It was from the heart. It was unbelievable."

Gore sees the Great White North as a key cog in the environmental solution, but he's not happy with the Conservatives' plan to quash the Kyoto protocols.

"Canada, in the past, has always been known for its leadership," he assesses shortly after arriving at the campus. "And I think now is a time when some people put a question mark after Canada on this."

Gore can only wish U.S. voters were as intense and interested in him during the 2000 U.S. election, which he lost to George W. Bush. That put an end to his political career and launched him on a new environmental path.

And judging by Wednesday's response, many are apparently eager to follow him wherever it leads.

To see unedited video of Gore... CLICK HERE