Archive | December, 2013

Volgograd Bombings Rattle Sochi Olympic Enthusiasts

Volgograd Bombing

Twin blasts in the Russian city of Volgograd have left Russians and Sochi Olympic enthusiasts rattled – but not as rattled as the dozens who were injured in the deadly attacks.

The first attack occurred over the weekend when an explosion at Volgograd’s main train station killed 17 people and wounded at least 35. The second blast happened on Monday when at least 14 people were killed and dozens more injured in a bombing on a trolleybus in Volgograd. The second suspected suicide bomb hit the trolleybus near a busy market during the morning rush hour.

A spokesman for the country’s federal investigation agency said the twin explosions were terrorist attacks – and not the kind of terrorists who hate public transportation, but the kind of terrorists who are involved in the Islamist-inspired insurgency against Russian rule in Chechnya and Dagestan (or so it’s speculated…)

“This strike, which was cynically planned for the period of preparations for New Year’s celebrations, is one more attempt by terrorists to open a domestic front, sow panic and chaos, and trigger religious strife and conflicts in Russian society,” said a statement Monday by Russia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry.

The attacks come just weeks before Russia will host the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, about 430 miles away from Volgograd. Despite the recent violence, International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach insisted after Monday’s bombing that they feel “safe and secure” holding the games in Sochi – because, well, what else is he going to say? He also added that the Sochi Olympic Games will not require any extra security measures to be taken because “everything needed has already been done.”

But on the bright side, at least the bombings have temporarily distracted the international community from Russia’s anti-gay laws. Now athletes can concentrate less on being outed and more on not getting blown up.

Via: CNN

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Current Event Cat of the Day: Michael Schumacher

Current Event Cat - Schumacher

Confirming my fear of downhill sports, Formula One racing star Michael Schumacher is in critical condition after a ski accident in the French Alps.

Schumacher was skiing with his teenage son when he fell and hit his head on a rock. Luckily, the 44-year-old German was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident, otherwise he definitely would not have made it to the hospital. Unluckily, the helmet wasn’t sufficient and he suffered a pretty rough head injury anyways.

Following the accident, Schumacher arrived at a hospital in the nearby town of Moutiers, where his neurological condition “deteriorated rapidly”. After being taken to a larger facility in Grenoble, Schumacher was put in a medically induced coma while he fights for his life.

“We had to operate urgently to release some pressure in his head,” said Grenoble University Medical Center chief anesthesiologist Jean-Francois Payen.

Doctors say they are working “hour by hour” and all they can do at this point is wait.

“We cannot predict the future for Michael Schumacher,” the anesthesiologist said.

The case is pretty similar to the accident that killed actress Natasha Richardson five years ago in Mont Tremblant. Richardson, who was not wearing a helmet at the time, fell and hit her head during a ski lesson on a beginner’s slope. After initially refusing treatment, Richardson eventually died from blunt trauma to the head, causing massive internal bleeding in the brain. In a similar vein, Sonny Bono was also killed while skiing after hitting a tree and Michael Kennedy, the son of Robert F. Kennedy, died in a ski accident in Colorado.

So if celebrities have taught us anything, it’s to avoid skiing. Or at the very least, wear a helmet – no matter how much of a dork you look like.

Via: BBC 

Christmas Day Piranha Attack in Argentina!

Piranha Attack

A lot happened over the Christmas break: South Sudan neared the brink of collapse, bombs went off in Beirut, Kim Jong-un continued to be a brat with nukes. But let’s get straight to the important news: piranha attack!

My childhood nightmare came to life on Christmas Day in Rosario, Argentina when a vicious pack of piranhas attacked holiday beach goers at popular beach on the Parana River. The piranha feeding frenzy left 60 people injured, including seven children. One young girl had to have part of her finder amputated after the being severely bitten.Argentina Fish Attack

A medical official on the scene, Gustavo Centurion, said the ferocious fish attack, which began at mid-morning on Christmas Day, was “very aggressive.”

“There were some people that the fish literally had torn bits of flesh from,” he said.

The Argentine region has been hit by a pretty brutal heat wave with temperatures soaring to 38 degrees Celsius. The piranha attack is thought to have been provoked by these abnormally high temperatures. So basically the warm weather prompted the fish to congregate on the river’s surface while at the same time prompted thousands of Argentinians to cool off in the waters of the Parana River, making the perfect recipe for a Christmas Day piranha attack.

Via: AFP

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Uganda Hates Gay People And Miniskirts… And Other News

Uganda Gay

One day after Uganda passed a law banning miniksirts and other sexually suggestive material, parliament approved an anti-homosexuality bill.

Uganda’s new bill makes it a crime punishable by a prison sentence not to report gay people – which is still slightly better than what the bill originally proposed. The initial proposed bill suggested introducing the death sentence for anyone caught engaging in homosexual acts for a second time, as well as for gay sex where one partner is a minor or has HIV. While homosexuality was always illegal in Uganda, the new bill toughens penalties and also criminalises the public promotion of homosexuality. “I am officially illegal,” Ugandan gay activist Frank Mugisha said after the vote. The MP behind the bill, David Bahati, said “This is victory for Uganda. I am glad the parliament has voted against evil.” Others supporters echoed Bahati’s statement, saying the bill is needed to protect traditional family values, which they say are under attack from Western-inspired gay rights groups. BBC News

manila_mayor_AP_360x270Paging airport security: beef up your security. The mayor of a southern Philippines town was among four people killed in a shooting at a Manila airport Friday. Ukol Talumpa was killed together with his wife, an 18-month-old baby and one other person after a gunman opened fire outside of a terminal. The gunmen then escaped on a motocycle and disappeared into heavy Manila traffic. Talumpa had survived at least two earlier assassination attempts but it turns out that three times was the charm. National Post

Jack KingstonNo soup for you! Or any type of food for that matter. Georgia Republican Rep. Jack Kingston plans to teach them that “there’s no such thing as a free lunch.” Complaining that the school lunch program for low-income students is too expensive and also sends the wrong message to society, Kingston asked a local Republican Party group, “Why don’t you have the kids pay a dime, pay a nickel to instill in them that there is, in fact, no such thing as a free lunch? Or maybe sweep the floor of the cafeteria…” Fellow Georgian Newt Gingrich made a similar statement in 2011 during his presidential campaign, when he suggested failing schools in low income neighborhoods “ought to get rid of the unionized janitors, have one master janitor and pay local students to take care of the school.” I guess the Georgia peach doesn’t fall far from the tree. Politico

Mikhail-Khodorkovsky2It only took 10 years of rotting away in a Russian jail but now Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the former chairman of Yukos Oil and once Russia’s richest man, is free. In a surprise move, Russian President Vladimir Putin pardoned the former oil tycoon and his former political arch-nemesis. Khodorkovsky was released from a prison camp on Friday morning and did what any sane person would do and immediately got the hell out of Russia. Now safely in Germany, Khodorkovsky continues to maintain his innocence in a case that many consider a vendetta by Mr. Putin against a rival in business and politics. New York Times

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There’s No Fraud Like EPA Fraud

Beale EPA Fraud

A former high-ranking U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official who pretended to be a CIA agent to avoid work was sentenced to 32 months in prison on Wednesday.

John Beale, 65, began his EPA trickery back in 2000 when he started telling people he needed to take off one workday a week for CIA missions. The former EPA senior policy adviser continued to take enjoy his paid one day vacations until 2008, when he decided he needed a bit more time. So he took off for about six months, telling managers and employees he was working on the research project or working for “Langley,” where the CIA is based.

When asked what he was doing when he claimed he was working for the CIA, Beale said, “I spent time exercising. I spent a lot of time working on my house.” Huh. That sounds like the opposite of exciting, top secret CIA missions.

But taking time off work wasn’t Beale’s only fraud-related activity. He also made the EPA pay for first class plane fare every time he travelled because of a “back injury” – including five trips to Los Angeles for purely personal reasons.  The court documents revealed that one flight to London cost taxpayers $14,000, when a coach ticket would have cost just $1,000.

Beale also received a special handicap parking space at the EPA, worth $8,000 over three years, by claiming he contracted malaria while in the U.S. Army in Vietnam. Note: Beale never served in Vietnam and has never had malaria.

Beale decided to retire in 2011, telling his EPA coworkers that the CIA needed him. However, he kept drawing his large paycheck for another eighteen months. By the time he “officially retired” in April after learning the feds were on to him, Beale was earning a salary and bonuses of $206,000 a year, making him the highest paid official at the EPA. But eventually, after 12 years of “secret CIA missions” and indulgent expense reports, Beale got caught.

In September, Beale pleaded guilty to defrauding the U.S. government out of nearly $900,000 and this week he was ordered to pay back the money and also agreed to forfeit about $507,000 more. In addition, he received a sentence of 32 months in prison for stealing government property.

 “Why did I do this? Greed – simple greed – and I’m ashamed of that greed,” Beale told the court.

Well, at least he’s being honest. Now….

Via: NBC News

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North Korea Threatens South Korea Via Fax

North Korea Fax

North Korea sent a fax to South Korea on Thursday, threatening a “merciless” attack without notice in response to anti-North protests in Seoul this week.

North Korea said the South insulted North Korea’s “highest dignity,” after rallies were held protesting the secretive regime on the second anniversary of the death of Kim Jong Il. The North was so angry that there was nothing left to do except send an angry message via their most advanced secret technology: the fax machine.

The message warned that North Korea would strike if “the provocation against our highest dignity is to be repeated in the downtown of Seoul.”

Threatening messages from Kim Jong-un are nothing new – and apparently neither is North Korea’s technology. If you’re 30 years old and you have to send a threat via a fax, then how much of a threat can you really be? Second of all, doesn’t the fax count as notice? You can’t send a notice saying you’re going to attack without notice!

Anyways, South Korea responded to the North Korean threat by faxing back. When in Rome…

“The reply was sent through wired message and in the fax message, we warned that if North Korea is to carry out provocation, we will firmly retaliate,” said Kim Min-seok, the spokesman for South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense.

Meanwhile, Dennis Rodman is still in the North trying to convince a team of ex-NBA players to join him in a basketball match in honour of Kim Jong-un’s January birthday.

“I’m just telling them, you know, don’t be afraid, man, it’s all love, it’s all love here,” Rodman told the AP after tryouts at the Pyongyang Indoor Gymnasium.

North Korea: decades old technology, tyrannical leaders, washed-up basketball stars, and random executions for half-hearted clapping. What’s not to love?

Via: CNN

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Current Event Cat of the Day: Canada’s Prostitution Laws

Current Event Cat - Prostitution Laws

Hookers are screaming Hallelujah after the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the nation’s prostitution related laws in a unanimous 9-0 ruling Friday.

Looks like the Supreme Court had a not-so-sudden change of heart. 34 years after upholding the very same prostitution laws, they finally agreed that hookers aren’t so bad after all. More specifically, the court decided that the laws, which criminalize operating brothels, street soliciting, and living on the profits of prostitution, create dangerous working environments for sex workers and violate Canada’s charter guaranteeing life, liberty and personal security.

It is not a crime in Canada to sell sex for money,” Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin wrote in Friday’s decision.

“The prohibitions at issue do not merely impose conditions on how prostitutes operate.

“They go a critical step further, by imposing dangerous conditions on prostitution; they prevent people engaged in a risky – but legal – activity from taking steps to protect themselves from the risks.”

But wait – don’t go whoring yourself out just yet. The Canadian parliament has 12 months to rewrite the prostitution legislation and in the meantime the anti-prostitution laws will continue to be enforced.

Via: CBC News

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Billboard Fail: Morgan Freeman Gets Mistaken for Nelson Mandela…. And Other News

Mandela or Morgan Freeman

Oops! A billboard was erected in India as a memorial to Nelson Mandela – except they accidently used a photo of Morgan Freeman.

The billboard was placed on the side of a road in the southern city of Coimbatore. The Mandela memorial showed Morgan Freeman’s giant face smiling down as well as smaller images of human rights icons Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa and Mahatma Gandhi. The Indian owner of a billboard was understandly emabressed, telling AFP “we will replace it with the correct picture of Mandela,” adding that he did not know how the gaffe occurred. The actor and anti-apartheid leader do have a lot in common though (besides appearance). Both served many rough years in prison – Nelson Mandela in Capetown, Morgan Freeman in Shawshank. Huffington Post

Barack Obama, Vladimir PutinPoor Putin. If only he could spy on his citizens like Obama can… Speaking at a news conference Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke about Russia’s favourite transient, Edward Snowden, and his NSA leaking skills. During the conference Putin admitted that he was jealous of President Obama’s freedom to spy.  “I envy him because he can do something like this and get away with it,” Putin said. I’m sure Obama is envious of him too – if only he could lock up and/or poison anyone who criticized him. Sigh… Putin went on to downplay the seriousness of spying saying, “There’s nothing to be happy about and there is nothing to be sad about because espionage is one of the oldest professions in the world, just like some other well-known professions we won’t mention here.” Washington Post

Duck Dynasty GayShocking news: an ultra-Christian redneck duck hunter from rural Louisiana is not a big fan of the gays. Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson made a few comments to GQ that aren’t sitting well with the network honchos. “It seems like, to me, a vagina—as a man—would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical,” the Duck Dynasty patriarch told the magazine, adding that gay behavior leads into bestiality and then “sleeping around.” While A&E promptly suspended Phil Robertson from the reality show, saying they’re “extremely disappointed” in Robertson’s comments that “are based on his own personal beliefs,” Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal came to the defense of the reality TV star saying it was a “messed up situation”. Former US vice-presidential candidate and future reality TV host Sarah Palin also defended Robertson, tweeting: “Free speech is endangered species; those ‘intolerants’ hatin’ & taking on Duck Dynasty patriarch for voicing personal opinion take on us all.” I’m sure she wasn’t tweeting that back when the Dixie Chicks voiced their opinion of George Bush, but whatever – there’s no logic in Palinland, or sin for that matter. Entertainment Weekly

South Sudan FightingThere’s nothing like a little growing pain for Earth’s newest country. Fighting in South Sudan has gone up a notch or two in the last few days after the former VP and his supporters attempted a coup that quickly got shut down. The unrest, which broke out on Sunday, has killed about 500 people so far. The American embassy in South Sudan issued a warning for American citizens to flee and the British government is currently evacuating its citizens from embattled country, which appears on the brink of civil war. Leaders and officials from other countries and the U.N. are working on a peaceful solution, but considering rebels from the second-largest ethnic group, the Nuer, stormed the U.N .base on Thursday, killing three Indian peacekeepers, a peaceful U.N. solution seems like a bit of a reach at this point. BBC News

Target gets hackedTarget gets targeted. The retail store is investigating what could be one of the largest breaches of consumer data involving 40 million customer names, card numbers, expiration dates, and security codes. Investigators say the data was hacked the day after Thanksgiving and may be ongoing. The stolen data from up to 40 million credit and debit cards of shoppers is thought to have been taken using software installed on card swipers at checkout lines. Target has apologized and said it is “working with law enforcement to bring those responsible to justice” but in the meantime Target shoppers should take a second glance at their bank statements. Reuters

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Ugandan Government Passes Law Banning Miniskirts

Miniskirts

Ugandan MPs have passed a controversial bill that will ban miniskirts as well as any other revealing clothing items.

Uganda’s anti-pornography bill, which was first proposed back in April, was passed after a very short debate in parliament.  The bill still needs to be approved by the president before becoming law but given the conservative culture in Uganda, it’ll likely go through. After all, this is the country that supports giving the death penalty for homosexual acts.

The anti-pornography bill covers a range of practices and activities, including sexual material in music videos and anything that shows indecent acts or behaviour intended to corrupt morals – so basically it covers everything. But the controversy seems to have gathered around the issue of miniskirts.

When the bill was first introduced, Simon Lokodo, Uganda’s ethics and integrity minister, said that women who wore “anything above the knee” should be arrested.

“Any attire which exposes intimate parts of the human body, especially areas that are of erotic function, are outlawed. Anything above the knee is outlawed. If a woman wears a miniskirt, we will arrest her,” Lokodo said.

The new law will ban not just miniskirts but any clothing item that shows parts of the body including breasts, thighs and buttocks. But Lokoda, a former Catholic priest, is just doing it for women’s own good. After all, women who dress provocatively are pretty much asking to be raped.

“One can wear what one wants, but please do not be provocative,” he said. “We know people who are indecently dressed: they do it provocatively and sometimes they are attacked. An onlooker is moved to attack her and we want to avoid those areas. He is a criminal but he was also provoked and enticed.”

The anti-pornography bill does not apply to men though.

Men are normally not the object of attraction; they are the ones who are provoked. They can go bare-chested on the beach, but would you allow your daughter to go bare-chested?” Lokodo explained.

The new legislation also means that many films and TV shows will be banned and personal internet use will be closely monitored by Ugandan officials. And Ugandans can forget about Madonna coming to perform! She’s totally banned – try Malawi instead.

Via: BBC News & The Guardian

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Rob Ford’s Christmas Gift Advice: Women Love Money

Rob Ford Dance Gift

Rob Ford is full of Christmas spirit (and possibly some crack)! After performing an awkward city council boogie, the Toronto Mayor shared some of his holiday gift-giving tips.

On Wednesday, the embattled Toronto Mayor was filmed dancing around to a Christmas song and Bob Marley’s “One Love” during a city council session. Warning: this is what the Pillsbury doughboy would look like if he having a seizure while drowning in a pool of his own sweat.

Later, when Ford had fully recuperated from his super sexy dance workout, he made his regular Thursday phone-in chat on a U.S radio show Sports Junkies, to give some Christmas gift advice. When asked about his holiday gift-giving plans for his wife, Renata Ford, the mayor responded:

“Just money. Women love money. Give them a couple of thousand bucks and they’re happy. Get some treats on the side obviously for her,” he said. “At the end of the day, she wants her cash. So I give her a nice cheque and we’re all happy.”

And what will Rob Ford’s wife get him in return? All the p*ssy he can eat.

Via: The National Post

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