On a serious note, How women wreck relationships

Misery acquaints a man

With strange bedfellows.

— Shakespeare, The Tempest II, 2

AND strange bedfellows create misery for many men after that first acquaintance. Many men end up in bed with miserable women, and have to beat a hasty retreat in order to keep their sanity. Women are always having lively conversations about who gives more trouble in relationships – men or women. Naturally, they all say men are the culprits… you know how women are. To counter this, I say that men get a bad rap in relationships, and that their indiscretions are bandied about and broadcast through the feminine network. I quote the old saying, “Nuff fish bite man in the sea, but is shark alone get the blame”.

A man will do one bad thing and his partner will tell her girlfriend, who in turn will tell her girlfriend, until it escalates into the most heinous crime known to mankind. “All men are bad, and all men have doggish ways”, is what many women say. Men on the other hand, hardly talk about the wrongs that women do. Instead, they hold on to it, keep it inside, or go to the bar to drown their sorrows.

So while it is common knowledge that men philander, have women all over the place, are abusers, neglectful fathers, gamblers, and whoremongers, it is a little advertised fact that women also do bad things to wreck relationships. And even when they do these things, the women justify the actions and say, “It must be something that he did why she did that to him.” The truth shall be revealed, right after these responses to ‘Sexploitation’.


I am very disappointed with the view you seem to espouse so strongly in your column ‘Sexploitation’. It’s unfortunate that so many of us still seem to be unable to address the real problem of sexual exploitation, especially of young girls… without finding a way to blame the girls themselves for the situation, or without introducing ‘red herrings’ such as, “A she put argument to me”, or, “She willingly went to his room”. Don’t we see what a picture we paint of the men in these cases? Sigh.


Hi Tony,

There are many devious women who put the cream at puss mouth to get him to lick it. The pusses in most cases are wealthy and famous men, and these women aim to extort a large payday by claiming rape. They demand money to keep from going to the police and if that doesn’t work, they report to the cops that they were raped, then sue the real victim. That my friend, is the highest form of sexploitation.


Now seriously, who really wrecks relationships most of the time? Most women say that it’s men, and that everybody knows that. “Men are always doing bad things to good women.” But a little known truth is, it’s really women who destroy many relationships, if you’re to believe the research that I dug up recently. Remember, most men don’t talk about what their women did to them to mash up the dolly house, usually out of shame and embarrassment. Very few men will tell their friends that their woman abuses them, beats them, or confess that, “My woman give me bun (had affair) with my cousin and then leave me”. Oh no.

So here are a few hidden gems that show that women mash up relationships many times. For one, they don’t give the man enough props. Instead they constantly berate him, beat him down, tell him he’s no good and worthless, compare him to other men, until he wilts, withers and eventually leaves. “You are no good, why can’t you be like my ex boyfriend, Orville?”

Right on the heels of this is when women ridicule a man’s body. Men may not be as vain as women, who spend hours preening before a mirror, but still, no man wants to be told how fat and paunchy he is. “Ha ha, look at you, your belly so big you can’t even see your you know what.” After months or years of this ridicule, poof, the man is gone, or stays and suffers in silence. Either way, the relationship is wrecked.

Men enjoy attention too, and no man likes it when he’s talking to his woman and she’s constantly distracted, checking her Instagram, e-mails, WhatsApp, texts, or Twitter. No matter how much he speaks, she hardly hears a word that he says, as her head and attention are constantly engrossed in what’s on her mobile phone or computer screen. As he speaks, she logs on to her mobile device, he speaks more, she doesn’t hear a word he says, as she’s tuned in to her cyber world, so he tunes out, signs out of her life, and the relationship crashes.

This segues right into the very next point, that even when the woman does talk, all she talks about is domestic stuff. The man comes home from a hard day’s work. Maybe he’s a banker who has fiscal problems on his mind, or a politician who has constituency crosses. The first thing that greets him at the door is, “You forgot to take out the garbage again, the toilet bowl is running, the bathroom needs painting, the helper used too much bleach, and we need new mops.” She talks about nothing else but domestic matters, which just drives the man away, physically, or emotionally. Another one bites the dust, as she stays home alone and dusts, after he dusts her off and splits.

Some women don’t seem happy to see their men. Maybe they do feel happy inside, but it’s not shown, so the man doesn’t feel the love, doesn’t feel as if she misses him, or is happy in his presence. Men are sensitive creatures. You notice how happy a dog is, every single time, when it sees its master, even after a brief absence? Every dog owner will tell you how gratifying that feels. And yet they call men dogs.

Which just slides right into the age-old problem, that women take their men for granted. I have heard this from many of my male colleagues who complain that, “She just assumes that I cannot leave and that I’ll always be there, always be a good man, thinks that she knows me, takes me for granted.”

Always playing the victim is another way in which women wreck relationships. Men cannot do this, as men aren’t allowed to show weakness or vulnerability. But women have carte blanche on this. First it’s the pouting, then the sob story of a terrible past relationship, followed by copious tears. “Oh poor me, my mother used to beat me, and I had no luck with men.” How can a man counter that, especially in a new relationship? So he splits and she has one more sob story to give to the next man.

Never forgetting anything the man did in the past also wrecks relationships. I have witnessed grown men crying, all because they couldn’t take any more of the constant regurgitating of past deeds from their wives, who never forgot one incident that was done many years ago. “You slept with that damn Jezebel 10 years ago. How could you, have you no shame?” This tirade never stopped, every morning, every day, every evening, every night like clockwork for 10 years, as she never forgave or forgot. As my bredrin told me, “Even prisoners get paroled for good behaviour, but my sentence lasted forever.” He had to escape.

And finally, women wreck relationships by hardly having sex with their men. I have broached this subject many times over the years, how women withhold sex from their men and how it destroys relationships. It is well-documented and felt by men whose women lock shop on them for whatever reason. This destroys relationships, makes men look elsewhere, and then get blamed for straying.

So while men do wreck relationships by doing the clichéd, obvious, doggish things, such as physical abuse, womanising, having outside children, staying out late and such, women also destroy relationships by the subtle, innocuous, little things that wouldn’t stand up in court. “Come now, Mr Brown, nagging is not a crime under the law, neither is criticising your body.”

But those little things still have the same devastating effect as a wrecking ball. More time.

Jamaican COP on Sick Leave Shot by Security Guard While Committing Robbery

A police constable attached to the Kingston Central Police Division is now in hospital under police surveillance after he was shot in a foiled robbery in Black River, the St Elizabeth capital Monday afternoon.

The constable who was on sick leave is a part of Kingston Central’s Operational Support Team.
The off-duty cop reportedly attempted to rob a businessman of a bag containing about $5 million when the security guard for the National Commercial Bank intervened and shot him.
The incident drew large crowds as the security guards awaited the arrival of the police.

Injured would-be robber believed to be a cop

ST ELIZABETH, Jamaica – Reliable sources say police believe that a man who was shot by a security guard while allegedly attempting to rob a bank customer in Black River, St Elizabeth, is a policeman.

Police sources told OBSERVER ONLINE that the injured man is believed to be assigned to a police station in Clarendon.

He is now in hospital under police guard.

Reports are that about 12:20 pm Monday, a customer was approaching the entrance of the National Commercial Bank in Black River, with a large sum of money, when he was accosted by an armed man. A security guard at the bank intervened and the would-be robber was shot in the leg.

Police, on arrival on the scene, found a pistol which had allegedly fallen from the would-be robber’s hand as well as a .38 revolver stuck in his waistband.

Armed police swoop on Seven Dials, Brighton, and road closed off

ARMED police swooped on a city centre address but were quickly stood down after discovering it was a hoax call.

A number of people living in Seven Dials, Brighton, reported seeing scores of police and ambulance crew at about 3.30pm today.
Eyewitness Corin Pearce said police blocked off West Hill Road as the incident unfolded. Further activity around Dyke Road and Compton Road also increased tension in the area as locals quizzed what was happening.

A Sussex Police spokesman told The Argus the incident was a hoax call and armed officers were stood down. He would not go into more detail when asked for more information.

Bangkok bomb: Thai capital reeling after deadliest attack in years.

Thailand’s military rulers are facing up to the deadliest attack in the capital in recent memory after at least 19 people were killed in a bomb blast that the government blamed on forces seeking to destroy its tourist economy.

Body parts and mangled scooters were scattered across a busy intersection in central Bangkok after the improvised device went off at about 7pm local time (noon GMT) at the Erawan Hindu shrine.

Bangkok explosion witness: ‘There was fire, shrapnel and so much smoke’
Read more
There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the deadly assault in which more than 123 people were injured is a major test for the military-run administration, which ousted the elected government in May 2014. The military is fighting a Muslim insurgency in the south but militants rarely launch attacks of this scale on the capital.

“The perpetrators intended to destroy the economy and tourism, because the incident occurred in the heart of the tourism district,” the defence minister, Prawit Wongsuwan, told Reuters.

“We still don’t know for sure who did this and why,” he later told reporters. “We are not sure if it is politically motivated, but they aim to harm our economy and we will hunt them down.”

“It was a pipe bomb,” the national police chief, Somyot Poompanmoung, said, adding that the toll could climb to nearer 30. “It was placed inside the Erawan shrine.” CCTV footage captured a cloud of fire, and showed Thai people and a foreign man running away.

“Those who have planted this bomb are cruel. They aim to kill because everyone knows that at 7pm the shrine is crowded with Thais and foreigners,” Somyot said. “Planting a bomb there means they want to see a lot of dead people.”
Bangkok has been mostly calm since the coup last year but anger from the opposition has intensified after the junta said it may not hold elections until 2017. The last major bombing in Bangkok occurred on New Year’s Eve at the end of 2006, when three people were killed in a series of explosions. Responsibility was never claimed.


Police and the fire brigade cordoned off the entire intersection with tape and human barriers. Four major roads and the above-ground metro rail converge here, and high-rise hotels and malls line the street. Shards of glass lay on the road and a sign from the nearby Alexander McQueen shop had letters missing from the impact of the blast.

Hundreds of onlookers, mostly from the security services but also journalists and some tourists, stood at the edge of the tape. When thunder clapped in the clouds above, everyone jumped.

The UK Foreign Office said people should “monitor media and take extra care” after the explosion. It later released a statement saying: “We are in contact with local authorities and urgently seeking further information following reports of an explosion in Bangkok.”

At the multistorey Grand Hyatt hotel, which is right next to the shrine, locals and tourists waited for the situation to calm down, looking at photos of the wreckage on social media as they sat only metres away.

Thanapon Peng, a 25-year-old who works in marketing, passed the site on a motorbike taxi moments after the blast. “I saw glass. I saw some organs of people on the road. I don’t know how many people there were,” he told the Guardian. “I heard that about 80 people are wounded but we don’t know how many died.”

He was told by hotel staff to wait inside, where a musician continued to play on the mezzanine grand piano and staff tried to help people. Outside, a single empty stretcher lay where taxis drop off guests.

There were suggestions in the aftermath that a second and third bomb had been hidden in the capital. Police with torches looked under bushes and walked the grounds of the nearby police station in an apparent search for other devices.

Tamar Johnson, 20, a British tourist staying in the nearby Lebua hotel, said she and her sister were at the rooftop bar when they heard a huge explosion. “At first we thought it was just thunder because there’s been electrical storms all day so we didn’t think much of it,” she told Caters News Agency.

“Then my mum phoned me from the hotel. She was shouting about a bomb so we sprinted back to our hotel. It was chaos – people were running around and there were police and ambulances everywhere.”

“Now we’re on the 23rd floor and we’re all together waiting for it to calm down. It’s really scary. The hotel staff are looking after us but they’ve closed the doors and told us not to leave until we hear anything else.”
Medics and police formed a line at the large intersection and walked slowly forward, looking for any debris from the blast. A volunteer medic said: “Some people died here, some people died at hospital.”


A full death toll would come later, medics said, as many of the critically wounded had been sent to different hospitals.

The explosion was large enough to throw a metre-wide chunk of metal to a third-floor balcony on the other side of the street, about 50 metres away. Human flesh lay on the road and medics were picking it up two hours after the blast.

The shrine is a major attraction for visitors from Asia and for Thai people. Dedicated to the Hindu god Brahma, it is also popular among Thailand’s Buddhist and Chinese tourists.

Nearby tailors sell suits to tourists and diplomats, and the road straddles the capital’s main metro line.

Several ambulances rushed along the road away from the shrine to hospitals. Most of the wounded were taken to a hospital very close to the blast site and a long line of ambulances waited outside. Empty wheelchairs and stretchers stood at the entrance to the emergency care unit, where people were packed into the reception.

In the lobby, police said foreigners who speak Thai had arrived to volunteer to help translate for wounded tourists. Hospitals were calling for Chinese translators and many had arrived and registered their mobile phone numbers with the police, to be called on later.

Tony Chan, a Chinese physical education teacher, said he was in Bangkok on a three-week trip and came to the hospital to see if he could do something for the wounded. “I heard a very loud sound. I thought it was thunder. Later I saw the news so I came to see if I could provide some help,” he said.

The Nation television channel reported that the government would set up a “war room” to coordinate a response. Some were pointing fingers at Muslim separatists who have waged a long campaign in Thailand’s south, but the country has also seen violent confrontations between political groups in the capital. Two pipe bombs exploded in the same district in February but did not cause significant damage.

The Thai government posted a statement late on Monday evening, attributed to Maj Gen Werachon Sukhondhapatak, saying preliminary investigations had revealed that an IED was used to cause the explosion.

“As for possible motivations as to who may have caused this incident, it is too early to speculate which group may have been responsible for this crime but authorities are following possible leads.”
Recent attacks


February: Two small bombs explode near a popular shopping mall in downtown Bangkok. One man is injured but there are no deaths.


18 January: One protester dies after a bomb attack at an opposition march in Bangkok. Authorities and demonstrators blame each other for the blast, which was apparently caused by a grenade-type device thrown from a nearby building.

19 January: Twin blasts by unknown attackers at an anti-government protest in central Bangkok leave 28 injured.


May: A homemade bomb hidden near rubbish bins in a busy suburban Bangkok shopping area explodes, injuring seven people.


January: Police arrest five men armed with explosives after a tipoff that bomb attacks were planned near the seat of government in Bangkok.

June: Two people are injured in a blast at a political protest by Thailand’s “Yellow Shirt” demonstrators near Government House.

7 December: A makeshift explosive device is found and defused near the government lottery office with authorities saying the perpetrators wanted to “challenge the government”.


April: Five grenade blasts hit Bangkok, targeting hundreds of pro-government supporters in attacks that leave one dead and scores wounded, including foreigners. The grenade blasts come after a failed attempt by authorities to disperse the anti-government “Red Shirts”, sparking clashes that left 25 people dead and more than 800 injured in the worst civil unrest in almost two decades.

July: The government says a bomb that killed one at a bus stop in central Bangkok was designed to create disorder.

September: Bangkok put on high alert after a series of grenade blasts. Thousands of police and soldiers are mobilised for extra security.

October: A blast at an apartment complex kills four, with the government blaming the incident on the Red Shirts who deny any involvement and accuse the authorities of a plot to justify tougher security powers.

November: A grenade is thrown onto a minibus killing one. It was not clear if it was politically motivated.


Three killed and around 40 injured in a volley of eight explosions over the New Year period.

Civilians, soldiers die in east Ukraine fighting as Putin visits Crimea

* Kiev says rebels shelled civilian targets near Mariupol

* Russia’s Lavrov says Kiev is preparing new offensive

* Putin in Crimea to promote tourism -Kremlin (Adds Putin’s comments; paragraphs 5-6, 21-22)

By Richard Balmforth

KIEV, Aug 17 (Reuters) – Fighting flared between Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed rebels in separate parts of eastern Ukraine overnight, killing at least two Ukrainian soldiers and several civilians, Kiev’s military and separatist sources said on Monday.

The clashes, near the port of Mariupol in the southeast and at rebel-held Horlivka, further frayed an increasingly tenuous ceasefire as Ukraine prepared to mark its Independence Day next week.

Kiev accused the separatists of shelling civilians on the outskirts of Mariupol. In Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov blamed Kiev for the violence, giving no detail but saying he suspected Ukraine was preparing a new offensive.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko meanwhile accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of trying to whip up tensions in eastern Ukraine by visiting Crimea, which Russia annexed from Ukraine last year.

The Kremlin said the aim of Putin’s three-day trip was to hold meetings on ways to develop the Black Sea peninsula and promote tourism there.

“I am sure, that despite all the current difficulties, the situation in Ukraine will improve and Ukraine will develop positively,” Putin said.

But the escalation in fighting has drawn expressions of concern from Western governments, which regard the ceasefire and tentative peace agreement worked out in Minsk, Belarus, in February as still the best chance of ending the rebellion in eastern Ukraine.

Ukrainian military spokesman Andriy Lysenko said the rebels had used howitzers with a range of 15-16 km (10 miles) to shell Sartana, on Mariupol’s northern edge.

“The enemy was not shelling Ukrainian positions, but a civilian town,” he told a briefing. “The enemy has now adopted the tactic of firing and then quickly withdrawing. The next time they’ll get a quick response. What has happened in Sartana is a challenge to our forces.”

He said two Ukrainian soldiers had been killed and seven wounded by separatists in the past 24 hours.


Regional police said at least one man and a young woman had been killed in Sartana.

“On one street there were five houses that were really badly damaged by shell fragments. One house had a well-tended garden with vines and a vegetable patch. But the house had been wrecked by shells and I saw an enormous pool of blood,” a local news photographer, Mykola Ryabchenko, told Reuters by telephone.

The separatist website DAN quoted the separatist mayor of Horlivka as saying at least three people had been killed and four wounded as a result of government shelling of the town, a regular hot spot north of the main rebel stronghold of Donetsk.

Lysenko said the rebels had used heavy weapons including Grad rockets in attacks on government forces around Horlivka.

The upsurge in fighting combined with low oil prices on Monday to undermine Russia’s rouble, which touched a six-month low against the dollar.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry last week expressed “grave concern” to Lavrov over a rise in separatist attacks, and urged an immediate halt to shooting.

Germany’s foreign minister said the situation was explosive and urged the parties to prevent a spiral in violence.

More than 6,500 people have been killed in the conflict, which erupted in April 2014 after Russia annexed Crimea in reaction to the fall of a Moscow-backed president in Kiev.

Moscow went on to support the rebels in pressing for greater autonomy but denies sending them soldiers or arms, despite what the West and Kiev say is irrefutable proof.

Poroshenko called Putin’s visit to Crimea “a continuation of the plan to escalate the situation” as Ukraine prepares to mark its Independence Day on Aug. 24.

Putin criticised his Ukrainian counterpart for appointing foreign specialists and advisors to key government posts, such as Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, who became governor of Ukraine’s southern Odessa region in May.

“Stop this shameful practice,” he said. “It is humiliating for the Ukrainian people.”

Diabetics and Obese

Featured Image -- 10453For too often Obesity have taken the blame for other sickness that befalls us.
One of latest accusation is that type 2 Diabetics are cause by obese people.
I for one has been diagnosed as type 2 diabetic, but my weight is no where near obese therefore if what they are claiming is right then whoever that made my diagnostic is ever so wrong about what they claim to have found.
Would it be easier for these people to tell us that most of these sickness that affects us these days is due to the amount of chemicals that we consumed in our daily meal.
Remember because of the population they have to force their crops to grow which in turns affect our health.
Tell us facts and not friction,don’t tell us one thing today and tomorrow you give us another jibe.

After 131 years it turns out the Greenwich Meridian Line is in the WRONG place

After 131 years it turns out the Greenwich Meridian Line is in the WRONG place

Researchers have discovered the world famous stainless steel tourist attraction should not be at its current Royal Observatory location


People have been visiting it for decades but after 131 years it turns out the
Greenwich Meridian Line is in the wrong place.

Researchers have discovered the world famous stainless steel tourist attraction marking Longitude 0 should be in Greenwich Park – and not the Royal Observatory.

It should be 334 feet (or 102 metres) to the east of where the north-south line dividing the eastern and western hemispheres has been since 1884.

This was when countries met in Washington DC to recommend Earth’s prime meridian should pass through the Airy Transit Circle, a telescope for measuring star positions.

Named after Sir George Biddell Airy, the 7th Astronomer Royal, it tracked the movement of ‘clock stars’, stars which never rise or set.

Because these stars are always present in the sky and transit the meridian twice each day their appearance in the telescope cross hairs can be used to set time and longitude.
But modern navigators, mapmakers, surveyors and tourists have now got to get used to zero longitude being somewhere completely different.

Every place on Earth is measured in terms of its distance east or west from the Greenwich Meridian.

The line itself divides the eastern and western hemispheres of the Earth, just as the Equator divides the northern and southern hemispheres.

During the evenings, the position of the Meridian Line is often marked by a green laser in the sky.

Since the late 19th century, the Prime Meridian at Greenwich has served as the reference line for Greenwich Mean Time.

It claimed to be the centre of world time, and was the official starting point for the new Millennium.

But the superb accuracy of GPS receivers which uses satellites to precisely measure grid coordinates at any point on the Earth’s surface have replaced the traditional telescopic observations used to measure the planet’s rotation.

Astronomer Professor Ken Seidelmann, of the University of Virginia, said: “With the advancements in technology, the change in the prime meridian was inevitable.

“Perhaps a new marker should be installed in the Greenwich Park for the new prime meridian.”

Prof Seidelmann and his colleagues from the US Naval Observatory, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and the US company Analytical Graphics Inc have been working to explain the situation.

The research published in the Journal of Geodesy shows the 102-metre mistake is down to the difference between two traditional ways of determining coordinates.

Because the Earth is not perfectly round, and because different locations on Earth have different terrain, these methods to measure longitude have built-in errors based on where they are taken.

A basin of mercury was used to make sure Airy’s telescope was kept exactly vertical so it could align with the clock stars.

But astronomers failed to take into account subtle changes in gravity would affect the telescope alignment and give a wonky reading.

Prof Seidelmann said GPS measures vertical from space in a straight line directly through the centre of the Earth, effectively removing the gravitational effects of mountains and other terrain.

At the 1884 meeting 25 nations awarded Greenwich the prize of Longitude 0 by a vote of 22 in favour to one against (San Domingo), with two abstentions (France and Brazil).

The USA had already chosen Greenwich as the basis for its own national time-zone system.

The decision, essentially, was based on the argument that by naming Greenwich as Longitude 0, it would inconvenience the least number of people.

Therefore, the Prime Meridian at Greenwich became the centre of world time, and the starting point of each new day, year and millennium.

JLP will do more for St Thomas – Holness

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Opposition Leader Andrew Holness says St Thomas is a symbol of the failure of the Government to provide proper infrastructural and human resource development.

In a news release Friday, Holness said the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) is very concerned about the state of overall development in the parish and is particularly concerned about the levels of youth unemployment, lack of water and the state of roads.

Holness said that the JLP has big plans for St Thomas especially in light of recent tours which showed a “tremendous level of neglect of the parish by the Government”.

“The parish of St Thomas continues to be very prominent on the JLP’s agenda”, Holness said.

He added, “the party is eager to return to Government to implement its plans for St Thomas”.

Wannabe brownings try new craze

Featured Image -- 11046Various pictures have been circulating on social media of dark-skinned people using strong chemicals to peel off layers of their skin to reveal significantly lighter skin. However, doctors are warning Jamaicans not to engage in the practice which can cause irreversible damage.
Skin peeling is a beauty treatment in which a chemical solution is applied to the skin, causing it to “blister” and eventually peel off to reveal fresher, newer skin. This treatment is not new and is quite commonly practised in Jamaica by dermatologists and at spas.

However, the pictures circulating on social media show a form of deep skin peel, which dermatologist Arlene Rose does not recommend for Jamaicans with dark skin.

“There are different types of skin peeling and some, such as the phenol and TCA peels, are not to be done on black skin at all because they go too deep and damage the layer that produces melanin (the dark pigment). When this happens, the person can get unsightly dark patches and irreversible skin damage,” she said.

Rose stressed that skin peels are not intended to be a form of skin bleaching and is not to be used for that purpose.

“Skin peeling is a way of refreshing the outer layer of the skin, which normally sheds so you get a fresher, newer look, however, skin peels do not bleach at all – they simply remove the damaged dead cells,” Rose said.

Since the pictures have surfaced on social media, many Jamaicans have strongly criticised the practice of using extra-strength skin peels to attain light skin.

Some Facebook users comments on the pictures are:

Nikeisha Johnson: This real tho omg no sah Jamaican poeple nuh fool so as much as we love tone dem try nuh bring dat here.

Kay Dian: Believe or not.. Dem [Jamaicans] soon start doing it!! That suppose burn to like 10 fire side

Lorraine Smith: What the hell is wrong with we people why we cant satisfy with the damn colours wea God give we? Lord have mercy on some of us.

10 Lessons My Divorce Taught Me About Lasting Love

Featured Image -- 10895I’ve learned a lot of lessons over the last 20 years since my divorce. It dawned on me recently that even though I didn’t have a divorce party (just wasn’t in the mood) it doesn’t mean that I can’t mark the 20th anniversary of my divorce in some way. So here it goes, my list of the 10 most important lessons I’ve learned in the last two decades:

1. Your partner is not going to change. In other words, you can’t change a cat into a dog. Love just isn’t enough to significantly alter a person’s basic nature and upbringing. For instance, if you fall in love with someone who is reserved and you need outward signs of affection to feel secure, you’ll feel chronically dissatisfied. Most likely, these differences will probably erode loving feelings over time and diminish positive interactions in your relationship.

2. Rather than trying to “fix” your partner, focus on improving your own life. Many people stay in dysfunctional relationships with the unconscious desire to change their partner and avoid dealing with their own issues. According to codependency and relationship expert, Ross Rosenberg, this pattern is common and couples often stay in highly dysfunctional relationships to their own detriment. Rosenberg notes, “The inherently dysfunctional “codependency dance” requires two opposite but distinctly balanced partners: the pleaser/fixer (codependent) and the taker/controller (narcissist).” Rather than investing your energy into fixing your partner, make a commitment to improve some of your undesirable traits – we’re all flawed in some way.

3. Opposites attract but usually don’t stay together. Rosenberg describes opposites as “human magnets” who are irresistibly pulled toward each other, not so much by their conscious decisions or intentions, but rather by their opposite “magnetic field.” He writes, “Such partners with complimentary magnetic roles are irresistibly drawn together and locked into a relationship that is nearly impossible to resist or break free of.” He posits that couples who are opposites are immune to breakups due to the amorous nature of their relationship magnetism – unless one partner moves in a healthier direction, and the other one doesn’t follow.

4. Avoid jumping into an intimate relationship too quickly. The idea here is to take it slow, really, really slow. Slowing down the pace of your relationship, regardless of the impulse many people feel to move things along quickly, will give you the opportunity to get to know your partner better. The odds of seeing the truth of the relationship increase when we take time to get to know someone, according to psychologist Kristin M. Davin, PsyD. She advises “many become sexually involved before they’re ready and potentially problematic issues get obscured until much later in the relationship. I see this all the time. Date. Talk. Really get to know each other.” In my case, I knew my ex for less than a year when we became engaged so I was blindsided by many of our differences.

5. Practice forgiveness. Forgiveness isn’t the same as condoning the hurt done to you but it will allow you to move forward with your life. Accept that people usually do the best they can and try to be more understanding. This doesn’t mean that you accept your partner’s hurtful actions. You simply come to a more realistic view and give them less power over you. In the future, if your relationship is basically healthy, develop a mindset of acceptance and forgiveness about daily disappointments. After all, none of us is perfect. Don’t let resentment impact you greatly and try to let go of small annoyances.

6. Sweeping things under the rug usually doesn’t reap good results. Communicate honestly about key issues in your relationship. Be sure to be forthcoming about your concerns. Express thoughts, feelings, and wishes in a respectful way. Resentment can build when couples bury hurt feelings, so be vulnerable and don’t allow upset feelings to fester. Challenge your beliefs and self-defeating thoughts about holding onto hurt feelings. When we listen to our partner’s side of the story and process it briefly with them, we no longer need to hold onto hurt feelings.

7. Take responsibility for your part in the conflict or dispute. One person’s ability to do this can change the dynamic of the relationship. Drs. Julie and John Gottman write: “one person’s response will literally change the brain waves of the other person.” Apologize to your partner when appropriate. This will validate their feelings and promote forgiveness and allow you both to move on. Love is not enough. Saying you’re sorry can heal a wound even when you didn’t hurt your partner’s feelings intentionally. Resentment builds over time if couples aren’t able to talk about hurt feelings that arise from unresolved grievances.

8. Develop a Hurt-Free Zone policy. This term coined by author David Akiva refers to a period when criticism is not allowed. Without it, couples usually feel less defensive thus hurt feelings and rejection dissolve. Akiva writes: “Your prime directive right now is to eliminate the most toxic negative communication and reduce intense negative emotions for 3 to 4 weeks.”

9. Allow yourself to be vulnerable. While self-sufficiency and autonomy can help you weather the storms of life, it can also rob you of true intimacy. For a relationship to be balanced, partners must be able to depend on one another and feel that they are needed and appreciated for the support they give. If you have been let down in the past, the prospect of needing someone can be frightening. Opening up to your partner can make you feel vulnerable and exposed but it is the most important ingredient of a trusting, intimate relationship. If you can’t be vulnerable with your partner, this is a red flag so pay attention!

10. Learn to trust your own judgment. If you find yourself saying things like “I knew things were awful and I should have ended it earlier” you may need to pay attention to your inner voice or intuition. Ending a relationship doesn’t make you a failure. Rather it probably means it just wasn’t the right one for you. According to Kristin M. Davin, PsyD. “we tend to ignore red flags because we want to be in a relationship. She posits “we put on our rose-colored glasses and off we go. Throw the glasses away and trust your gut.”

In sum, I don’t regret a moment of my past — or decision to get a divorce. But I’ll keep this list close at hand as a reminder of lessons learned. I hope it helps you move forward and find the kind of love that allows you to be your best self and embrace all that life has to offer!

What a year of Islamic State terror looks like

The Islamic State has grown beyond its original home in Syria and Iraq, extending its operations into other parts of the Middle East and North Africa by establishing alliances and absorbing other terrorist groups. Data from IHS Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Center reveals how the group has claimed responsibility for carrying out attacks across the region. The map below reflects a year of Islamic State attacks following the capture of Mosul, one of Iraq’s most important cities. Since then, the militant group has carried out many attacks including a suicide bombing in Abha, Saudi Arabia, a beheading in Egypt, and most recently, a blast in Baghdad Thursday that left at least 60 dead.
Attacks linked to the Islamic State, from June 29, 2014, to June 20, 2015

The size of circles corresponds to the number of noncombatant casualties in attacks. Data for attacks by Boko Haram is unavailable.

Injuries and deaths
Injuries, no deaths
No noncombatant injuries or deaths
Wilayat (provinces)
Oct. 11, 2014
Show all
Islamic StateIslamic State
Gharb al-AfriqiyaGharb al-Afriqiya
Note: Attacks in Paris and Garland, Tex., are not shown on the map because they are considered to be inspired by — but not carried out by — the Islamic State.
How the Islamic State’s footprint grew, month by month
The majority of attacks carried out by the Islamic State have occurred in Syria and Iraq, where the group’s campaign began. The militants’ territory there is divided into 20 wilayat, or provinces, which form the core of its operational presence. Groups in other countries frequently pledge allegiance to the Islamic State but are not always accepted. In some cases, the Islamic State leadership formally declares some of these regions as part of its caliphate.

JULY 2014
210 attacks

300 attacks

214 attacks

253 attacks

294 attacks

278 attacks
In November, the Islamic State leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, announced the establishment of eight new wilayat in Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Algeria. It was the first time the Islamic State formally had claimed territory outside Syria and Iraq after the group was formed in February 2014. Of the eight new provinces, only the three in Libya successfully control territory.

285 attacks

229 attacks

265 attacks

285 attacks

290 attacks

184 attacks
In January, the Islamic State formed a new wilayah straddling the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, an area that historically has been the core of al-Qaeda’s operations. This is seen as a further sign that the Islamic State is challenging al-Qaeda after previously declaring a wilayah in Yemen, home to al-Qaeda’s most active wing. In addition, the Islamic State announced a new wilayah in Russia’s North Caucasus region, splintering the territory of an al-Qaeda group that has operated in the region since 2007. Perhaps the most notable inclusion in the caliphate is Boko Haram, which pledged allegiance to the group in March. This gives the Islamic State a chance to maintain a presence across a wide arc of North and West Africa, and increases the chances of groups in the Islamic State’s North African wilayat collaborating with Boko Haram, according to Matthew Henman, manager of IHS Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Center. “There are already reports of Boko Haram militants having fought alongside local Islamic State militants in Derna recently,” he said, referring to the city in Libya.
Notable attacks outside Syria and Iraq
After its separation from al-Qaeda in early 2014, the Islamic State focused on expanding its territory only in Syria and Iraq. The group caught the world’s attention when it took over Mosul, one of Iraq’s largest cities, more than five months after it split with al-Qaeda. In November, the Islamic State started claiming responsibility for attacks outside Syria and Iraq. The first of many high-profile attacks it carried out or claimed to have inspired outside its region came in January 2015, when gunmen attacked tourists in Tunisia. Since then, attacks claimed by the Islamic State have increased rapidly.

AUG. 8, 2015
Abha, Saudi Arabia. 15 killed

A 21-year-old suicide bomber carried out the attack at a mosque. An audio recording from the Islamic State just before the bombing said that Saudi Arabia would not “enjoy peace” due to its involvement with the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq and Syria. Read more.
JUNE 26, 2015
Kuwait City, Kuwait. 27 killed

A suicide bomber from Islamic State affiliate Najd Province killed 27 people and wounded dozens more in the first terrorist attack in Kuwait in more than 20 years. The victims had just finished prayers at a mosque in a residential neighborhood when the bomber entered and detonated his device. Read more.
JUNE 26, 2015
Sousse, Tunisia. 38 killed

A gunman opened fire on beachgoers at a resort frequented by Europeans in what is widely seen as a campaign to devastate Tunisia’s tourism industry. Many of the dead and injured were from Britain. Read more.
JUNE 20, 2015
Sanaa, Yemen. 2 killed

A car bomb at a mosque in Sanaa’s Old City killed two people and wounded at least six. The Islamic State said the bombing at the Qabat al-Mahdi mosque was aimed at Shiite Houthis, who seized control of Sanaa in September 2014. Read more.
JUNE 17, 2015
Sanaa, Yemen. 4 killed

Several suicide car bombings killed four people and injured dozens on the eve of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Read more.
MAY 22, 2015
Qadeeh, Saudi Arabia. 21 killed

The Islamic State’s first acknowledged attack in Saudi Arabia killed at least 21 people and wounded 123 in a suicide bombing at a Shiite mosque in the village of Qadeeh. Worshipers were celebrating the birth of a 7th-century Shiite saint. Read more.
MAY 20, 2015
Sirte, Libya. 23 killed

Islamic State fighters launched a multi-pronged attack on Libyan militias. It was unclear who fared better. The Islamic State said it seized vehicles, weapons and a military base from the militias, but the militias claimed victory and said they killed at least 23 Islamic State fighters. Read more.
MAY 5, 2015
Garland, Tex.. None

Two gunmen, including a man once suspected of seeking to join Islamist militants in Somalia, opened fire on police blocking their way to a cartoon exhibit and contest depicting the prophet Muhammad. U.S. officials suspect that the gunmen were inspired by the Islamic State rather than directed by it; still it is the first U.S. attack claimed by the group. The attack failed and only the gunmen were killed. Read more.
APRIL 18, 2015
Jalalabad, Afghanistan. 34 killed

A suicide bomber detonated an explosive vest outside a bank, where government workers waited in line to pick up their salaries. At least 34 people were killed and 125 injured. If the attack was carried out by the Islamic State, it would represent its farthest civilian target to date outside the Middle East and North Africa. Read more.
APRIL 13, 2015
Tripoli, Libya. 2 killed

The day before a bomb explosion damaged the Moroccan Embassy, two guards were killed in gunfire at the South Korean Embassy. The Islamic State gave no reason for the attacks. Read more.
APRIL 2, 2015
Sinai Peninsula, Egypt. 17 killed

Fifteen soldiers and two civilians died when militants simultaneously attacked five Army checkpoints across the Sinai Peninsula with grenade launchers and assault rifles. Read more.
MARCH 21, 2015
Sanaa, Yemen. 137 killed

Four suicide bombers detonated their explosives at two mosques in Sanaa, killed at least 137 people and wounded more than 300. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has carried out similar attacks in Yemen but denied the mosque bombings. Read more.
MARCH 18, 2015
Tunis. 22 killed

Two Tunisian gunmen stormed Bardo National Museum and killed a security officer and 21 tourists from countries including Italy, Spain, Britain, Japan and Colombia. Dozens more were injured. Police killed the gunmen. This was the first time the Islamic State claimed to have an operation in Tunisia. Read more.
FEB. 15, 2015
Libya. 21 killed

A video released by the Islamic State in Libya appeared to show fighters beheading Egyptian Coptic Christians on a beach in Libya. Twenty of the 21 victims were identified by the Coptic Church as members who had been taken hostage in December and January in the coastal city of Sirte. Read more.
JAN. 29, 2015
Sinai Peninsula, Egypt. 27 killed

Four attacks killed at least 27 people within a few hours in the North Sinai and Suez provinces. Most of the dead were killed in the bombing of a military base and hotel in el-Arish. An Army officer died at one of two attacks at checkpoints, and a police officer was killed by a roadside bomb. Read more.
JAN. 27, 2015
Tripoli, Libya. 10 killed

Five Libyan security guards and five foreigners, including an American contractor, were killed when masked gunmen opened fire in the lobby of the Corinthia Hotel and a car bomb exploded at the gate. The Tripoli branch of the Islamic State claimed responsibility. Read more.
JAN. 7, 2015
Paris. 17 killed

Two brothers attack the offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, killing 10 people inside and two police officers outside. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula claimed responsibility. The next day, a man claiming to act in the name of the Islamic State killed a police officer at a traffic stop, and the day after that he shot four hostages at a kosher supermarket. The three gunmen claimed to be working together; all were killed. Read more.
JAN. 5, 2015
Arar, Saudi Arabia. 3 killed

Four militants, one wearing a suicide vest, killed three guards in an attack at Iraq’s border with Saudi Arabia. It marked the first time the Islamic State directly attacked the Saudi military, and it was the closest it came to breaching the border since it declared a caliphate in June 2014.

The Bail Trap

On the morning of Nov. 20 last year, Tyrone Tomlin sat in the cage of one of the Brooklyn criminal courthouse’s interview rooms, a bare white cinder-block cell about the size of an office cubicle. Hardly visible through the heavy steel screen in front of him was Alison Stocking, the public defender who had just been assigned to his case. Tomlin, exhausted and frustrated, was trying to explain how he came to be arrested the afternoon before. It wasn’t entirely clear to Tomlin himself. Still in his work clothes, his boots encrusted with concrete dust, he recounted what had happened.

Jonathan Lippman, chief judge of New York State, speaking at the Court of Appeals in May.About New York: A Life That Frayed as Bail Reform WitheredJUNE 9, 2015
Markeisha Brown, 25, in the home she shares with Dominick Torrence and her two sons in Baltimore. While Mr. Torrence was incarcerated with bail set at $250,000, Ms. Brown had to stop working and drop out of school.When Bail Is Out of Defendant’s Reach, Other Costs MountJUNE 10, 2015
Roby So (left) and Carlos Cervantes in Pomona, Calif.Feature: You Just Got Out of Prison. Now What?JULY 16, 2015
The previous afternoon, he was heading home from a construction job. Tomlin had served two short stints in prison on felony convictions for auto theft and selling drugs in the late ’80s and mid-’90s, but even now, grizzled with white stubble and looking older than his 53 years, he found it hard to land steady work and relied on temporary construction gigs to get by. Around the corner from his home in Crown Heights, the Brooklyn neighborhood where Tomlin has lived his entire life, he ran into some friends near the corner of Schenectady and Lincoln Avenues outside the FM Brothers Discount store, its stock of buckets, mops, backpacks and toilet paper overflowing onto the sidewalk. As he and his friends caught up, two plainclothes officers from the New York Police Department’s Brooklyn North narcotics squad, recognizable by the badges on their belts and their bulletproof vests, paused outside the store. At the time, Tomlin thought nothing of it. ‘‘I’m not doing anything wrong,’’ he remembers thinking. ‘‘We’re just talking.’’

Tomlin broke off to go inside the store and buy a soda. The clerk wrapped it in a paper bag and handed him a straw. Back outside, as the conversation wound down, one of the officers called the men over. He asked one of Tomlin’s friends if he was carrying anything he shouldn’t; he frisked him. Then he turned to Tomlin, who was holding his bagged soda and straw. ‘‘He thought it was a beer,’’ Tomlin guesses. ‘‘He opens the bag up, it was a soda. He says, ‘What you got in the other hand?’ I says, ‘I got a straw that I’m about to use for the soda.’ ’’ The officer asked Tomlin if he had anything on him that he shouldn’t. ‘‘I says, ‘No, you can check me, I don’t have nothing on me.’ He checks me. He’s going all through my socks and everything.’’ The next thing Tomlin knew, he says, he was getting handcuffed. ‘‘I said, ‘Officer, what am I getting locked up for?’ He says, ‘Drug paraphernalia.’ I says, ‘Drug paraphernalia?’ He opens up his hand and shows me the straw.’’
Stocking, an attorney with Brooklyn Defender Services, a public-defense office that represents 45,000 indigent clients a year, had picked up Tomlin’s case file a few minutes before interviewing him. The folder was fat, always a bad sign to a public defender. The documentation submitted by the arresting officer explained that his training and experience told him that plastic straws are ‘‘a commonly used method of packaging heroin residue.’’ The rest of the file contained Tomlin’s criminal history, which included 41 convictions, all of them, save the two decades-old felonies, for low-level nonviolent misdemeanors — crimes of poverty like shoplifting food from the corner store. With a record like that, Stocking told her client, the district attorney’s office would most likely ask the judge to set bail, and there was a good chance that the judge would do it. If Tomlin couldn’t come up with the money, he’d go to jail until his case was resolved.


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Their conversation didn’t last long. On average, a couple of hundred cases pass through Brooklyn’s arraignment courtrooms every day, and the public defenders who handle the overwhelming majority of those cases rarely get to spend more than 10 minutes with each client before the defendant is called into court for arraignment. Before leaving, Stocking relayed what the assistant district attorney told her a few minutes earlier: The prosecution was prepared to offer Tomlin a deal. Plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of criminal possession of a controlled substance, serve 30 days on Rikers and be done with it. Tomlin said he wasn’t interested. A guilty plea would only add to his record and compound the penalties if he were arrested again. ‘‘They’re mistaken,’’ he told Stocking. ‘‘It’s a regular straw!’’ When the straw was tested by the police evidence lab, he assured her, it would show that he was telling the truth. In the meantime, there was no way he was pleading guilty to anything.

When it was Tomlin’s turn in front of the judge, events unfolded as predicted: The assistant district attorney handling the case offered him 30 days for a guilty plea. After he refused, the A.D.A. asked for bail. The judge agreed, setting it at $1,500. Tomlin, living paycheck to paycheck, had nothing like that kind of money. ‘‘If it had been $100, I might have been able to get that,’’ he said afterward. As it was, less than 24 hours after getting off work, Tomlin was on a bus to Rikers Island, New York’s notorious jail complex, where his situation was about to get a lot worse.

‘‘Criminal justice,’’ President Obama said in a speech to the N.A.A.C.P. last month, ‘‘is not as fair as it should be. Mass incarceration makes our country worse off, and we need to do something about it.’’ Two days after the speech, Obama became the first sitting president to visit a federal prison, meeting with convicts in a corrections institution in El Reno, Okla. The setting was dramatic, but mass incarceration isn’t actually a federal problem. Of the 2.2 million people currently locked up in this country, fewer than one in 10 is being held in a federal prison. Far more are serving time in state prisons, and nearly three-quarters of a million aren’t in prison at all but in local city and county jails. Of those in jails, 60 percent haven’t been convicted of anything. They’re innocent in the eyes of the law, awaiting resolution in their cases. Some of these inmates are being held because they’re considered dangerous or unlikely to return to court for their hearings. But many of them simply cannot afford to pay the bail that has been set.

Occasionally, these cases make the news. In June, Sandra Bland was found dead in her cell in Texas after failing to come up with $500 for her release. But often, they go unnoticed. The federal government doesn’t track the number of people locked up because they can’t make bail. What we do know is that at any given time, close to 450,000 people are in pretrial detention in the United States — a figure that includes both those denied bail and those unable to pay the bail that has been set. Even that figure fails to capture the churn of local incarceration: In a given year, city and county jails across the country admit between 11 million and 13 million people. In New York City, where courts use bail far less than in many jurisdictions, roughly 45,000 people are jailed each year simply because they can’t pay their court-assigned bail. And while the city’s courts set bail much lower than the national average, only one in 10 defendants is able to pay it at arraignment. To put a finer point on it: Even when bail is set comparatively low — at $500 or less, as it is in one-third of nonfelony cases — only 15 percent of defendants are able to come up with the money to avoid jail.
Bail hasn’t always been a mechanism for locking people up. When the concept first took shape in England during the Middle Ages, it was emancipatory. Rather than detaining people indefinitely without trial, magistrates were required to let defendants go free before seeing a judge, guaranteeing their return to court with a bond. If the defendant failed to return, he would forfeit the amount of the bond. The bond might be secured — that is, with some or all of the amount of the bond paid in advance and returned at the end of the trial — or it might not. In 1689, the English Bill of Rights outlawed the widespread practice of keeping defendants in jail by setting deliberately unaffordable bail, declaring that ‘‘excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed.’’ The same language was adopted word for word a century later in the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

But as bail has evolved in America, it has become less and less a tool for keeping people out of jail, and more and more a trap door for those who cannot afford to pay it. Unsecured bond has become vanishingly rare, and in most jurisdictions, there are only two ways to make bail: post the entire amount yourself up front — what’s called ‘‘money bail’’ or ‘‘cash bail’’ — or pay a commercial bail bondsman to do so. For relatively low bail amounts — say, below $2,000, the range in which most New York City bails fall — the second option often doesn’t even exist; bondsmen can’t make enough money from such small bails to make it worth their while.

With national attention suddenly focused on the criminal-justice system, bail has been cited as an easy target for reformers. But ensuring that no one is held in jail based on poverty would, in many respects, necessitate a complete reordering of criminal justice. The open secret is that in most jurisdictions, bail is the grease that keeps the gears of the overburdened system turning. Faced with the prospect of going to jail for want of bail, many defendants accept plea deals instead, sometimes at their arraignments. New York City courts processed 365,000 arraignments in 2013; well under 5 percent of those cases went all the way to a trial resolution. If even a small fraction of those defendants asserted their right to a trial, criminal courts would be overwhelmed. By encouraging poor defendants to plead guilty, bail keeps the system afloat.

‘‘What, did they arrest all of Brooklyn today?’’ one court officer asked another on a recent Sunday night in one of the two bustling arraignment courtrooms in Downtown Brooklyn. Defendants, a vast majority of them black, paraded past the judge in quick succession: Unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle. Open container of alcohol in public. Marijuana possession. Riding a bicycle on the sidewalk. Misdemeanors, many of them minor, some aggravated by an outstanding bench warrant for failure to appear in court on another case, failure to complete court-ordered community service or failure to pay a fine. Hundreds of people were awaiting arraignment, first in central booking across the street, then in cells on the ninth floor and finally in a small communal cell called ‘‘the pen’’ behind the arraignment courtrooms on the ground floor. On this night, there were more than a dozen men in the cell waiting to see a lawyer, pacing, sitting on benches, crouching in corners.


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One man called out from the pen, saying that there was dried excrement in there from the day before. ‘‘Nobody comes in here to clean!’’ he exclaimed. ‘‘It’s mad dirty!’’ A guard approached the bars and briefly sprayed a can of air freshener. Around the corner, the pen opened onto a series of booths, where, separated by heavy metal screens, the defendants met with their lawyers. Scott Hechinger, a senior trial attorney with Brooklyn Defender Services, picked up a stack of case files, quickly scanned the charges and rap sheets, stepped down a short hallway behind the courtroom and started calling names through the mesh screen. The first client was charged with criminal mischief after getting in an argument with his girlfriend and breaking some bowls. It was more complicated than that, he told Hechinger. She came home drunk, threw his clothes out the window. It escalated. He left. They arrested him across the street. Hechinger called the girlfriend and left a message. He called the client’s mother, whom the man lived with. If bail was set, how much could she afford? At most $250. Time’s up. Next case.
A young man jumped a subway turnstile. Prosecutors were offering to make it go away and let him out that night if he did two days of community service and avoided being rearrested for the next six months. This one was easy. ‘‘Take the deal,’’ Hechinger said. It was better than paying a $120 fee.

Next up was a homeless teenager, charged with ‘‘obstruction of governmental administration.’’ The paperwork said the police saw him with a knife, and that he resisted arrest. He said there was no knife, that the cops stopped him for no reason and beat him. He showed Hechinger bruises on his arms and a fat lip. It was hard to see much through the screen. Hechinger promised to take a closer look in a few minutes when they were in front of the judge together. The final person was a man arrested for driving with a suspended license, a straightforward case.

After less than half an hour, Hechinger was back in the courtroom. The defendants he interviewed were marched out onto a bench against the left wall. First was the turnstile jumper. The prosecutor laid out the charges and the offer. The defendant took the deal and would have to complete community service. Next was the homeless teenager. The prosecutor asked for bail of $5,000. Hechinger argued that bail was unnecessary. The judge set it at $250. The teenager didn’t have it. He would be sleeping at Rikers. The guy with the suspended license was released on his own recognizance — without any bail — and would be due back in court in a couple of months. Next appeared the man who broke his girlfriend’s bowls. The prosecutor wanted bail set at $2,500. Hechinger argued that there was no reason to believe his client wouldn’t return to court on his own. The judge set it at $1,000. ‘‘Your honor, I called the mother, she said she could afford $250,’’ Hechinger said. ‘‘I’m sorry, counselor, that’s my bail decision,’’ the judge responded.


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Another half-hour had elapsed. Hechinger went back to the case pile and picked up another stack. One of the three other defenders working the courtroom stepped up with her own cases. When court shut down for the night at 1 a.m., defendants were still waiting. They would stay in their cells and be arraigned when court started up again in the morning.

The sheer speed of the arraignment process makes it virtually impossible for the court to make informed decisions. Prosecutors have nothing to go on but a statement from the police and possibly a complaining witness, and defense lawyers know only what they’ve been able to glean from their brief interviews and perhaps a phone call or two. It’s in this hurried moment, at the very outset of a criminal case, before evidence has been weighed or even gathered, that a defendant’s freedom is decided. The stakes are high, and not only for the obvious reason that jail is an unpleasant and often dangerous place to be. A pretrial stretch in jail can unravel the lives of vulnerable defendants in significant ways.

The next hearing in Tyrone Tomlin’s drinking-straw case was scheduled for a week after his arraignment. He left the courthouse, was loaded onto a bus and crossed the narrow causeway that connects Queens to Rikers. Tomlin was assigned to the Anna M. Kross Center, one of 10 correctional facilities on the island.

Incarcerated people rarely have nice things to say about the places where they’re locked up, but an investigation by the United States attorney’s office this year found ‘‘a deep-seated culture of violence’’ among Rikers guards, who reported using force against inmates more than 4,000 times last year. Violence among inmates is also pervasive. A Department of Corrections document obtained by The Daily News reported 108 stabbings and slashings in the last year. ‘‘That place is miserable,’’ Tomlin said. ‘‘It’s dangerous. It’s every man for himself. You could get abused, you could get raped, you could get extorted. That stuff is all around.’’

Housed in a unit with more than 50 other prisoners, Tomlin tried to keep his head down, and he was able to get through a week without incident. Outside, his aunt worried about him. His employer had no idea where he was. On Nov. 25, he was back in court for a discovery hearing, during which prosecutors were supposed to turn over any relevant evidence. None was presented, but prosecutors repeated their offer for Tomlin to plead guilty. He still refused. ‘‘I wasn’t taking nothing, because I didn’t do nothing,’’ he says. His case was adjourned for another two weeks.

Tomlin’s willingness to hold out against the charges was unusual. Across the criminal-justice system, bail acts as a tool of compulsion, forcing people who would not otherwise plead guilty to do so. A 2012 report by the New York City Criminal Justice Agency, based on 10 years’ worth of criminal statistics, bears this out. In nonfelony cases in which defendants were not detained before their trials, either because no bail was set or because they were able to pay it, only half were eventually convicted. When defendants were locked up until their cases were resolved, the conviction rate jumped to 92 percent. This isn’t just anecdotal; a multivariate analysis found that even controlling for other factors, pretrial detention was the single greatest predictor of conviction. ‘‘The data suggest that detention itself creates enough pressure to increase guilty pleas,’’ the report concluded.


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Still awaiting a trial, Tomlin returned to Rikers and quickly got into trouble with a group of younger inmates while on the phone with his aunt. ‘‘A young guy tells me, ‘Yo, pop, you gotta get off the phone,’ ’’ he said. ‘‘I said, ‘I’m in the middle of an important call.’ He wanted me to just hang up.’’ Tomlin quickly realized he’d made a mistake. That evening, in the shower, he was jumped by a group of young men. ‘‘Most of the punches went to the side of my head and my eye,’’ he said. ‘‘I was tussling one and had to worry about the other three, there was blows coming from everywhere.’’ Punched, kicked and stomped, Tomlin received medical attention, his face monstrously misshapen, his left eye swollen shut. ‘‘You’d think I was Frankenstein’s brother or something,’’ he said.
Tomlin’s eye was still swollen shut on Dec. 10, three weeks after his arrest, when he returned to court. At this hearing, prosecutors handed over a report from the police laboratory, which had tested the drinking straw. At the top of the report, in bold, underlined capital letters, were the words ‘‘No Controlled Substance Identified, Notify District Attorney.’’

The report had been faxed to the district attorney on Nov. 25, the same day as Tomlin’s last court hearing and days before his beating. The key to his freedom had been sitting unexamined. Conceding that the case had unraveled, the prosecutor asked that the charges be dismissed. ‘‘The judge says, ‘Mr. Tomlin, this is your lucky day, you’re going home,’ ’’ Tomlin recalls. ‘‘I just left the courtroom, signed some papers and that was it.’’

Tomlin had lost three weeks of income, was subjected to brutal physical violence and missed Thanksgiving dinner with his family. But he resisted the pressure to plead guilty. His previous convictions all came from pleas, most of them made with bail looming over him. He knows the bitter Catch-22 of pleading guilty to get out of jail. ‘‘It feels great to go home,’’ he says. ‘‘Anybody’s happy to go home. But at the same time, it feels bad, because that’s more damage on your record.’’

For defendants who would fight their cases and maintain their innocence if they had the money, a guilty plea involves a ritual of court procedure that verges on the Kafkaesque:

‘‘Your lawyer tells me you want to plead guilty to the charge. Is that correct?’’ the judge will ask. Yes, the defendant must reply.

‘‘You understand that by your plea of guilty you are giving up certain trial rights?’’ Yes.

‘‘The right to remain silent, the right to confront witnesses against you, the right to have the prosecutor prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt?’’ Yes, yes, yes.

And then: ‘‘Are you pleading guilty freely and voluntarily, because you are in fact guilty?’’

Hechinger, the lawyer with Brooklyn Defender Services, hates this part of the process. ‘‘A lot of times, at that last question, you feel the client beside you bristle,’’ he says. ‘‘Everyone in the room knows it’s not ‘freely and voluntarily.’ They’re making a decision coerced by money. In many cases, if they had money, they wouldn’t be pleading. But they put their heads down, and they say, ‘Yes.’ It’s a horrible, deflating feeling.’’


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The long-term damage that bail inflicts on vulnerable defendants extends well beyond incarceration. Disappearing into the machinery of the justice system separates family members, interrupts work and jeopardizes housing. ‘‘Most of our clients are people who have crawled their way up from poverty or are in the throes of poverty,’’ Hechinger says. ‘‘Our clients work in service-level positions where if you’re gone for a day, you lose your job. People in need of caretaking — the elderly, the young — are left without caretakers. People who live in shelters, where if they miss their curfews, they lose their housing. Folks with immigration concerns are quicker to be put on the immigration radar. So when our clients have bail set, they suffer on the inside, they worry about what’s happening on the outside, and when they get out, they come back to a world that’s more difficult than the already difficult situation that they were in before.’’

This spring, a 24-year-old woman named Adriana found herself newly single in New York, trying to make a life for herself and her daughter. Short and round, with oversize glasses that frequently slide off her nose, she has an easy manner and deadpan sense of humor that belie her past as a runaway from an abusive mother. Adriana arrived in New York in the middle of 2014 with her baby daughter, not yet 2, and knew no one but her boyfriend at the time, a controlling figure who lived off her earnings from massages she advertised on Craigslist. (Like many runaways, Adriana had sometimes relied on sex work to survive, though recently she was trying to avoid it.) After separating from her boyfriend, Adriana managed to secure a spot in a Brooklyn shelter for victims of domestic violence. ‘‘I was trying to get a job, trying to get my life together,’’ she says. She was focused on her daughter. ‘‘I just want to be the best mother for her that I can be,’’ she says. ‘‘That’s my priority. That’s my only priority.’’ (Because of safety concerns, Adriana asked not to be identified by her full name.)

On the night of March 18, Adriana realized she was running low on diapers. A friend at the shelter who also had a child agreed to keep an eye on her daughter, and Adriana headed to a nearby Target. This was after curfew, and when a staff member saw Adriana leaving without her daughter, she called the police. ‘‘When I got to Target, I started getting all these texts from my friend,’’ Adriana says. ‘‘She was saying, ‘You’ve got to get back here — there are staff in your room, and they won’t let me in to look after the baby.’ ’’ Adriana rushed home with the diapers. In the shelter’s courtyard, she was met by police officers, who had her daughter.

‘‘Where are you going with my baby?’’ she asked, according to court documents. ‘‘That’s my baby. I just went to the store to buy diapers.’’ It didn’t matter. The police placed her under arrest, charging her with endangering the welfare of a child. She gave one of the officers the diapers she’d just bought, in case her daughter needed to be changed. She was handcuffed and taken to the precinct. The police took her daughter to the station, too, where she was turned over to the city’s Administration for Children’s Services and eventually placed in a foster home.

Before her arraignment two days later, Adriana explained to her public defender what happened. Her friend could confirm that she was looking after the baby, she said. The lawyer told Adriana she’d do her best to get her released on her own recognizance. But when Adriana appeared in front of Judge Rosemarie Montalbano, the assistant district attorney asked for bail to be set at $5,000. Adriana had no criminal record and had never failed to make a court appearance, but the prosecutor cited an ‘‘A.C.S. history,’’ meaning that Adriana and her daughter had previous contact with the Administration for Children’s Services. This was true but misleading. The A.C.S. report involving Adriana had found that she wasn’t responsible for any neglect or abuse. What the A.C.S. did find was violence and coercion on the part of her boyfriend; this is how Adriana landed a spot in the domestic-violence shelter.

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Joe 9 hours ago
Articles like this help me better understand the mistrust not just of police but of the entire “criminal justice system.” Perhaps, taking a…
Everyman 11 hours ago
Your article does not discuss that effect that mandatory minimum sentencing has had on this issue. I had a friend who was falsely accused…
Ralph 11 hours ago
Our Constitution provides the “right to a speedy and public trial”. What ever happened to “speedy” in court proceedings? Whether it is…
But arraignments happen quickly. Just as there was no time to track down Adriana’s friend to confirm that her daughter hadn’t been left unsupervised, there was no time to find out what the A.C.S. order actually said. The judge set bail at $1,500. Adriana’s public defender couldn’t believe it. ‘‘Judge, I’m going to ask you to state the reason for setting bail in this case,’’ she said, according to the court transcript. ‘‘Thank you, counsel,’’ was the judge’s only reply.
With no way to come up with $1,500, Adriana spent the next two weeks on Rikers Island. Her bail made it harder for her to fight her case, but it also effectively dismantled the new life she was trying to build for herself and her daughter. She lost her bed at the shelter, and her child was living with strangers. ‘‘It feels like they were kicking me when I was down,’’ she says.

Over subsequent hearings, Adriana’s lawyers tried to get her bail lifted, but they ran into another common problem facing defendants: Once a judge sets bail, other judges are often reluctant to second-guess their colleague’s decision. If they free a defendant who commits a crime while out on bail, the blowback from politicians, police unions and the tabloid press can be substantial. ‘‘I have no idea what motivated Judge Montalbano to set bail,’’ said Judge Andrew Borrok at one of Adriana’s hearings, four days after her arraignment. Still, he said, ‘‘I’m not inclined to change what’s been done.’’

Adriana’s lawyers managed to move her case to a court that specialized in sex-trafficking cases, hoping for a more sympathetic judge and prosecutors. In the trafficking court, however, prosecutors remained reluctant to lift bail, now citing concerns that Adriana’s safety could be at risk if her ex-boyfriend found out she was set free. Ultimately, after two weeks of hearings, prosecutors agreed to remove Adriana’s bail provided she complete weekly ‘‘life-skills coursework’’ administered by a group that serves arrested sex workers. ‘‘Congratulations on being in a place where a lot of people care about you,’’ Adriana remembers the judge telling her as she stood before him in handcuffs, quietly asking a court officer to push her glasses back up her nose. ‘‘There’s a lot of people in this room that want good things to happen to you. The fear is that you’re not ready for all of these great things.’’


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The judge ordered Adriana released. She could begin reassembling her life, finding a new shelter, retrieving whatever remained of her possessions. But her baby was still in foster care, and her case still wasn’t resolved. In June, a judge finally agreed to dismiss her case if she wasn’t arrested for the next six months. As this story went to press, five months after her arrest, she was still fighting in family court to regain custody of her daughter.

Outside the courtroom after the hearing for her release, Scott Hechinger, who helped coordinate Adriana’s defense, was exasperated. ‘‘Remember,’’ he said, ‘‘this is all about some diapers! Bail changes the conversation. If bail hadn’t been set, Adriana wouldn’t have to be negotiating to get out of Rikers. She’d just be released.’

In early 2013, Jonathan Lippman, chief judge of the State of New York, decided that the business-as-usual approach to setting bail could not be tolerated any longer. ‘‘We still have a long way to go before we can claim that we have established a coherent, rational approach to pretrial justice,’’ he said in his annual State of the Judiciary address. ‘‘Incarcerating indigent defendants for no other reason than that they cannot meet even a minimum bail amount strips our justice system of its credibility and distorts its operation.’’ Lipp­man sent a package of proposed legislation to reduce the reliance on cash bail to lawmakers in Albany, and he lobbied for the reforms hard in the press. His efforts went nowhere. ‘‘Zero,’’ Lippman says, shaking his head. ‘‘Nothing.’’ Lawmakers had no appetite for bail reform.

Two years later, that may be changing. This summer, the New York City Council took a tentative step toward reform by earmarking $1.4 million for a citywide fund to bail out low-level offenders. The fund, proposed with much fanfare by Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito in her State of the City address in February, is modeled on a number of smaller bail funds around the city. The oldest of these, the Bronx Freedom Fund, was established in 2007 in association with the Bronx Defenders, a public-defender organization. The founders shut down the fund after only a year and a half, after a judge argued that it was effectively operating as an unlicensed bail-bond business. But before they did, the fund bailed out nearly 200 defendants and generated some illuminating statistics. Ninety-six percent of the fund’s clients made it to every one of their court appearances, a return rate higher even than that of people who posted their own bail. More than half of the Freedom Fund’s clients, now able to fight their cases outside jail, saw their charges completely dismissed. Not a single client went to jail on the charges for which bail had been posted. By comparison, defendants held on bail for the duration of their cases were convicted 92 percent of the time. The numbers showed what everyone familiar with the system already knew anecdotally: Bail makes poor people who would otherwise win their cases plead guilty.


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Armed with these statistics, as well as a 2010 Human Rights Watch report that calculated that New York City was paying $42 million a year to incarcerate nonfelony defendants, the Freedom Fund’s founders managed to persuade state lawmakers to pass legislation explicitly legalizing nonprofit bail funds. In 2013, the Freedom Fund resumed operation. Close behind was the Brooklyn Community Bail Fund, begun by Scott Hechinger and a colleague at Brooklyn Defender Services. It was opened this spring and has already bailed out more than 60 clients.

But even the staunchest supporters of bail funds are quick to say that they are, at best, temporary Band-Aids for a broken system. ‘‘They are a useful form of relief as long as people are being locked up because they’re poor,’’ says Hechinger, who is no longer affiliated with the Brooklyn bail fund. ‘‘They’re an intervention for an urgent need. But they’re not actual bail reform.’’

Earlier this summer, in the wake of the shocking suicide of Kalief Browder, a Bronx teenager arrested on suspicion of stealing a backpack and held on bail for three years in Rikers before his case was dismissed, Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled his own initiative. ‘‘I wish, I deeply wish, we hadn’t lost him — but he did not die in vain,’’ de Blasio said. The centerpiece of de Blasio’s initiative is a $17.8 million citywide initiative based on pilot programs that have been running in Queens and Manhattan, offering something called ‘‘supervised release.’’ Under these programs, a small number of qualifying defendants, who might otherwise be held on bail, are instead set free and required to check in with caseworkers by phone and in person. The pilot programs have shown good results, but they have narrowly tailored eligibility requirements. Tyrone Tomlin, for example, would not have been eligible because he had too many previous convictions. Kalief Browder would not have been eligible, either, because the crime he was accused of, stealing a backpack, was charged as second-degree robbery, a violent felony. ‘‘If Kalief Browder’s death wasn’t in vain,’’ says Peter Goldberg, executive director of the Brooklyn Community Bail Fund, ‘‘it won’t be because of the proposals we’ve seen so far from the city.’’

The only truly meaningful reform, many observers agree, is to take money out of the bail process entirely. Lippman has been championing this idea for several years. ‘‘You have to eliminate cash bail,’’ he says. The ramifications of such a move are far-reaching. Without bail — and the quick guilty pleas that it produces — courts would come under significant strain. ‘‘The system would shut down,’’ Goldberg says. ‘‘A lot of the 250 people who were waiting to be arraigned in Brooklyn last night would all be coming back to court soon to go forward with a trial for a misdemeanor that no one has any interest in pursuing.’’ This crisis, Goldberg believes, would be a good thing. ‘‘You want pressure on the system. You want everyone involved to be reconsidering. Because of how much it could clog the system, you might have people on high telling cops to stop picking people up for an open-container violation, because ‘I don’t want to deal with it in my courtroom.’ ’’


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The idea of eliminating cash bail is hardly unprecedented. When Washington overhauled its bail system in the 1980s and ’90s, it instituted a supervised-release program and other measures designed to reduce the number of people held on bail. But judges continued to set bail until the law was rewritten to effectively forbid the imprisonment of people on financial grounds. The number of people locked up on bail plummeted. ‘‘D.C. had all the tools in place,’’ says Cherise Fanno Burdeen, executive director of the Pretrial Justice Institute. ‘‘They just needed a way to change the court culture.’’ Kentucky, Colorado and, last year, New Jersey have joined Washington in adopting legislation severely curtailing bail’s use.

The more modest reforms being proposed in New York City, Goldberg says, are hardly cause for celebration. ‘‘Robert Kennedy, when he was attorney general, raised exactly the concerns with bail we’re talking about now,’’ he says. ‘‘Fifty years later, we’re still having the conversation. We can’t be satisfied with cosmetic fixes. And the truth is, even meaningful bail reform is just the beginning. The real work is asking why we’re arresting so many people on low-level offenses in the first place, and why so many of them come from poor black and brown communities. Bail is easy.’’

In late June, Tyrone Tomlin sat at a picnic table in St. John’s Park in Crown Heights, trying to cool down after a hot day of work and sipping bodega iced tea through a straw. Beneath his baseball cap, his left eye still looked askew, his gaze unfocused and hard to meet. ‘‘My sight is still a little blurry,’’ he said. ‘‘I still feel the aftereffects. Pains in my eye, in my head.’’ The whole situation could have been worse, he knows. He could have been hurt more seriously at Rikers. He could have been fired from his construction job, after being a no-show for the better part of a month while locked up. But even so, he was still angry about what happened last winter. ‘‘I’m not no prince,’’ he acknowledged. ‘‘But I got a raw deal.’’

The inability to make bail has been a virtual constant in Tomlin’s life. His first encounter with the law came when he was 14 or 15 — he recalls being picked up on a robbery charge and sent to Spofford juvenile detention center in the Bronx because his family couldn’t pay bail. After a few months, he says, he pleaded guilty and received probation. ‘‘They said it’s supposed to teach you a lesson,’’ he said. ‘‘It just got me worse.’’ In two-thirds of the times he has pleaded guilty to misdemeanors in the last 14 years, he did so either at arraignment to avoid being sent to Rikers or after already spending as much as two weeks at Rikers. Not once has he been able to pay bail.

“I’m not Johnny Rich-Kid with a silver spoon,” he says. For Tomlin, the historical evolutions of bail and pretrial jurisprudence are abstractions without meaning in his life. Bail is simply a feature of the landscape, the thing that means he is locked up when someone with more money wouldn’t be. ‘‘Sure, yeah, I’m mad about it,’’ he said grudgingly. ‘‘But that’s the way it is. I’ve got to accept it. It’s not right, but it’s the way it is.’’ He shrugged. ‘‘What are you going to do?’’

Millions of Android phones at risk from software installed by handset makers: Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3189613/Millions-Android-phones-risk-software-installed-handset-makers-Certifi-gate-flaw-let-hackers-listen-conversations-steal-data.

Millions of Android phones could be easily hijacked using software
that was installed on them by their manufacturers, hackers have claimed.
The same ‘remote support’ apps loaded on phones and tablets made by HTC, LG, Samsung, and ZTE and many other manufacturers are vulnerable to the hack.
The apps are given special access to the phone, using digital certificates, which hackers can break into and then use.
Exploiting the privileges could let people ‘steal personal data, track device locations, turn on microphones to record conversations’, according to Check Point, the security firm that found the hack have named it it ‘Certifi-Gate’.
The Check Point mobile threat research team disclosed its findings at a briefing session at Black Hat USA 2015 in Las Vegas, and describe it as ‘a previously unknown vulnerability in the architecture of popular mobile Remote Support Tools (RSTs) used by virtually every Android device manufacturer and network service provider.’
The affected companies have been notified about the hack and are pushing out fixes, according to Check Point.
However, the problem can only be fixed with a security update.
Check Point has made an app that will check whether phones are vulnerable to the hack and whether they have been infected.
‘The issue they’ve detailed pertains to customisations OEMs make to Android devices and they are providing updates which resolve the issue,’ a Google spokesperson told Dailymail.com.
‘Nexus devices are not affected and we haven’t seen attempts to exploit this.’
‘In order for a user to be affected, they’d need to install a potentially harmful application which we continually monitor for with VerifyApps and SafetyNet.
‘We strongly encourage users to install applications from a trusted source, such as Google Play.’
It comes as Google and Samsung said they will release monthly security fixes for Android phones, a growing target for hackers, after the disclosure of a bug designed to attack the world’s most popular mobile operating system.
The change came after security researcher Joshua Drake unveiled what he called Stagefright, hacking software that allows attackers to send a special multimedia message to an Android phone and access sensitive content even if the message is unopened.
‘We’ve realized we need to move faster,’ Android security chief Adrian Ludwig said at this week’s annual Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas.
Previously, Google would develop a patch and distribute it to its own Nexus phones after the discovery of security flaws.
But other manufacturers would wait until they wanted to update the software for different reasons before pushing out a fix, exposing most of the more than 1 billion Android users to potential hacks and scams until the fix.
Ludwig also said Google has made other security changes. In an interview, he told Reuters that earlier this year the team broke out incidence rates of malicious software by language.
The rate of Russian-language Androids with potentially harmful programs had spiked suddenly to about 9 percent in late 2014, he said.
Google made its roughly weekly security scans of Russian phones more frequent and was able to reduce the problems to close to the global norm.
Ludwig said improvements to recent versions of Android would limit an attack’s effectiveness in more than nine out of 10 phones, but Drake said an attacker could keep trying until the gambit worked. Drake said he would release code for the attack by Aug. 24, putting pressure on manufacturers to get their patches out before then.
Nexus phones are being updated with protection this week and the vast majority of major Android handset makers are following suit, Ludwig said.
Samsung Vice President Rick Segal acknowledged that his company could not force the telecommunications carriers that buy its devices in bulk to install the fixes and that some might do so only for higher-end users.
‘If it’s your business customers, you’ll push it,’ Segal said in an interview. Samsung is the largest maker of Android phones.
Ludwig said many Android security scares were overblown. He added that only about one in 200 Android phones Google can peer into have any potentially harmful applications installed at any point.
Drake noted that those figures exclude some products, including Fire products from Amazon, which use Android.
As with Apple’s iPhones, the biggest security risk comes with apps that are not downloaded from the official online stores of the two companies.
Stolen files from Hacking Team, an Italian company selling eavesdropping tools to government agencies around the world, showed that a key avenue was to convince targets to download legitimate-seeming Android and iPhone apps from imposter websites.

5 women accused of witchcraft beaten to death in India

Dozens of villagers in eastern India beat to death five women Saturday, accusing them of practicing witchcraft and blaming them for a series of misfortunes in the village, police said.
Residents of Kinjia village in Jharkhand state dragged the women out of their homes and beat them with sticks and iron rods, said Arun Kumar Singh, a deputy inspector-general of police in Ranchi, Jharkhand’s capital.
The attackers blamed the women for several accidents and misfortunes suffered by villagers, including the death of an infant in Kinjia earlier in the week, Singh said.
Police have arrested around 50 people involved in the attack, Singh said. A large number of police officers have been deployed in the village to prevent any outbreak of violence.
No other details were immediately available.
Superstitious beliefs persist in many parts of India and have been behind similar attacks on women in Jharkhand.
Kinjia is about 40 kilometres west of Ranchi.

Parents encouraged to safeguard children’s welfare

Minister with Responsibility for Sport, Natalie Neita-Headley, is encouraging parents to be more involved in safeguarding their children’s welfare.

This, in order to preserve their growth and development, by preventing them from deviating towards behavioural traits deemed unhealthy.

“We have to guide our children with values that we want (them) to hold on to,” she told participants attending a recent parenting workshop, hosted by the Sligoville Police Youth Club, at the James Mountain Community Centre, in North Central St Catherine.

Neita-Headley, who is Member of Parliament for the constituency, said parental guidance of children’s behaviour involves monitoring their attire to ensure they are appropriately dressed for public engagements, as also the quality of audio, visual, and literary material they are exposed to.

Educational issues

“You have to ensure that you guide your children in the right way. If you don’t then you will have no one to blame, but yourselves, if they should run afoul of the law, consequent on undesirable traits they resort to),” she underscored.

The workshop was organised to explore conflict resolution, the nurturing of children, and educational issues.

Key stakeholder organisations participating, included; the Social Development Commission (SDC); United for Change; Men with a Message; and Peace and Love in Society (PALS), among other groups.

Sligoville Police Youth Club Director, Constable Damein Haye, said the event is among several initiatives that the organisation will be staging as part of interventions to reduce the incidence of crime in the community, while exploring avenues through which persons can be equipped with essential social skills.

Dark Lady on Mars: NASA’s Rover spots mysterious being looking out into space from red planet

A mysterious ‘dark lady’ has been spotted looking out into space from the surface of Mars.

The eerie shape was taken by the NASA’ Curiosity Rover, the robot exploring a crater on the red planet.
UFO Sightings Daily says the shape is proof that there is ‘life out there’.

The website has come up with a description of what the dark shape is, claiming it is definitely a woman because her breasts are visible, apparently.

They wrote: The woman seems to have breasts…indicated by the shadow on its chest.
“We also see two arms that are lighter in color and what looks like a head with long hair.

“Its hard to tell if this is a living being, or a statue of a being from long ago.

“However, a statue that small would be eroded and destroyed easily, so it has a higher chance of being a living being.

“Also it is facing the Mars rover…watching it from a distance

“This being is about 8-10 cm tall.

“This looks real.

“And it should concern every country in the world. There is life out there. ”

The ‘dark lady’ follows in quick succession after the ‘ awesome Martian space crab ‘ was spotted a few days ago.

Jews, Muslims Pray For Palestinian Family Injured In Arson Attack

An arson attack on a Palestinian home on July 31 in Duma that killed 18-month-old Ali Dawabsheh and injured three other family members brought Jewish and Muslim leaders together on Monday to pray for the victims.

Ahmad Dawabsha, Ali’s 4-year-old brother, and his parents, Saad and Reham, are in critical condition with third degree burns and are being treated at Israel’s Sheba Medical Center.

A delegation of Jewish and Muslim leaders, led by former Israeli government minister Rabbi Michael Melchior, Rabbi Rafi Feurstein and Rabbi David Stav gathered outside the hospital’s Pediatric Critical Care Unit to pray for Ahmad. Senior members of the Islamic Movement were also present along with Rabbi Aryeh Stern, Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem.

The group met with Ahmad’s grandfather and reiterated their solidarity with the family. “We represent many rabbis and none of us are willing to stand silent in the face of such a desperate act of evil,” Rabbi Stern told him, according to a press release.

Rabbi David Stav, chairman of the Tzohar Rabbinic Organization and Chief Rabbi of the Israeli town of Shoham, said his message to Ahmad’s grandfather was one of condolence as well as remorse.

“We believe we have the right to live in the land of Israel, but we don’t want to pay the price of killing and burning a child in order to fulfill that vision of living in Israel,” Stav told The Huffington Post.

Stav condemned the attack, saying the perpetrators had damaged the international community’s view of Israel and the legitimacy of the country’s settlements.

“The biggest damage that could be done to the settlements in Judea and Samaria is killing innocent children,” Stav said. “We were so proud that Jews were not the enemy, but that image was destroyed a little bit in this terrible event.”

The Dawabsha family’s brick and cement home was destroyed in Friday’s fire, and a Jewish Star of David was spray-painted on a wall beside the words “revenge” and “long live the Messiah.” Authorities also found the words “price tag” on the walls, referencing a term used by radical Israeli settlers to denote attacks on Palestinians in response to the Israeli government’s attempts to evacuate illegal West Bank outposts.

The arson attack sparked clashes between Palestinians and Israeli troops during which one 17-year-old Palestinian youth, Laith Fadel Khaldi, was shot and killed. Hamas, a Palestinian Islamist movement, was quoted by the AFP as saying the arsonattack “makes the occupier’s soldiers and settlers legitimate targets everywhere.”

Israeli authorities arrested Meir Ettinger, grandson of U.S.-born ultranationalist Rabbi Meir Kahane, on Monday in a crackdown on Jewish extremism in the wake of Friday’s attack. The Shin Bet security agency said the 23-year-old was arrested for “involvement in an extremist Jewish organization” but did not mention whether he was a suspect.

Jewish leaders and commentators around the world have condemned the arson attack, as well as the stabbing that occurred the following day at Jerusalem’s gay pride festival. Both incidents shine a light on the extremist strains that exist in Israel and which many Jews want to distance themselves from.

“How men who consider themselves religious Jews can so grossly violate the core principles of the Jewish religion is beyond me,” wrote Rabbi Jason Miller in a blog on HuffPost following the attacks.

It is both shocking and embarrassing that these extremists cite my Torah as the blueprint for their brutality. If we Jewish people are to call on Muslims to rail against Islamic extremism, then we in the Jewish community must heed our own call.
Stav emphasized that Jews and Muslims must work together to heal the rift between Israelis and Palestinians. The infant’s death may have had one silver lining, he said, by bringing leaders together across religious lines to realize the human costs of the conflict.

“We have to realize we were sent by God to live in this land together and that nobody is going to disappear in this next couple of years,” he said. “We have no choice but to think and sit down together.”

Russian police nab man suspected of killing his 6 children

Russian police have arrested a man suspected of killing and dismembering his six young children along with his wife and mother.

The suspect, Oleg Belov, was wounded by police gunfire while resisting arrest and was in stable condition Wednesday after undergoing surgery, according to local health officials.

The federal Investigative Committee said the dismembered remains of the children, all under the age of 6, were discovered Tuesday in the family’s apartment in the city of Nizhny Novgorod. The body of his pregnant wife also was found in the apartment.

At a separate location, police found the remains of a woman believed to be his mother.

Police arrested the suspect late Tuesday in the Vladimir region, where he was hiding in his mother-in-law’s home. Police suspect he planned to kill her, too.

The Investigative Committee announced late Wednesday that a criminal case had been opened to determine whether police negligence had played a role in the deaths. The committee spokesman, Vladimir Markin, said five police officers were accused of ignoring repeated complaints from Belov’s wife dating back to October that Belov was threatening to kill her and the children.

CXCs needed to sell sex toys

An advert posted by an adult sex toy store in the local media recently has garnered the attention of many as it calls for candidates to fill the vacancies of in-house sales representatives and marketing consultants.

However, several begged to question the prerequisites of five Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) subjects, presumably much to the dismay of a few interested contenders.

While cultural views on sex toys appear to be changing, the sex toy store trend has rapidly been catching on across the island, with several promoting the use of a wide range of the products. On the other side of the spectrum, however, is the less thought of applying for a job in one such organisation.

The necessary requirements as stipulated by the adult toys and lingerie store called for persons who “must be very computer literate”, be “knowledgeable in marketing via social media”, and possess “excellent customer service skills”. Candidates were invited to send an application letter, résumé, a passport-size photo, and a letter from the would-be employee’s previous employer to apply to the company.

Basic knowledge

The proprietor of the establishment explained that the five CXC requirements is merely a formality, but “English language, mathematics and information technology” are preferred.

“Sometimes they might come in for sales rep, they don’t have the subjects, but at least they have the experience in sales,” the proprietor said. “Even though we require that, we need them to have the knowledge. And then, the in-house sales reps, they will be controlling money, and stuff like that, checking off and doing stuff like that, so we want to know that they have the basic knowledge of math. It’s nothing too strict or anything like that. You just want to know say dem at least have the basic knowledge of basic things. You want to know say when you hire persons, you hire persons that not going to bring down your business at the end of the day.”

When quizzed about the necessity for a worthy candidate to possess CXC subjects outside of English language and mathematics, the business operator had this to say:

“I mean, sex toys and adult novelties, these things, you just have to come inna the business and know. But if you have your English, it’s not just coming in there sitting down waiting on somebody to come through and sell them the product. You can at least do some social media stuff. You have to can actually write a blog properly. So at least if I know that you have your 2, 3, or 1 in English, I can say, well then, this person is capable of constructing a proper sentence, so we can draw in our customers to our website or to our blog – things that will interest them that will make them want to buy.”

Attractive person

According to the proprietor, typically, people in her position looking for candidates are desirous of having an attractive person for the job, but her opinion differed greatly.

“I wouldn’t say (we need someone) attractive, it’s not that serious. Yes, sex sells and you want the person who is going to sell the sex toys at least to have a sensual and sexual look, but a nuh that alone do it at the end of the day,” the businesswoman explained. “I’m not really looking for that. An attractive person might come in and don’t do a thing and is not willing to learn. When you come in to sell sex toys, you have to have the knowledge of it.”

Hot tip for a longer life – eating spicy food’s the secret

Curry really could be the spice of life after scientists discovered that eating hot food regularly possibly lowers the risk of dying prematurely.

A study of nearly 500,000 Chinese people over seven years, published in the British Medical Journal, found those who ate spicy food three times a week were 14 per cent less likely to die early than those who did not.

Although Harvard University researchers say they cannot definitively say hot food has a protective effect, they say the find paves the way for more research which could lead to new dietary recommendations.

Fresh and dried chilli peppers were the most commonly used spices in those who reported eating spicy foods each week, and further analysis showed those who consumed fresh chilli tended to have a lower risk of death from cancer, ischaemic heart disease, and diabetes. Fresh chilli is packed full of nutrients, vitamins and capsaicin, which are thought to fight cancer, inflammation and obesity.

But Dr Nita Forouhi, of the University of Cambridge, said it was still too early to tell whether it was the food itself, or other behaviours of those eating it, which was causing the effect.

“Research is needed to establish whether spicy food consumption has the potential to improve health and reduce mortality directly or if it is merely a marker of other dietary and lifestyle factors,” said Dr Forouhi.

Dr Amelia Lake, lecturer in knowledge exchange in public health at Durham University, said a balanced diet was the key to good health.

“The take-home message is to carry on with a balanced, varied diet where spice may have some benefits.”

UK police forensics ‘ignore’ attempted burglaries at odd-numbered houses

A uk police force has been piloting a scheme where break-ins at houses with odd numbers are not fully investigated.
This has been carried out by Leicestershire Police in an attempt to save money.
The East Midlands Special Operations Unit (EMSOU), which provides services to a number of police forces in the region, implemented the scheme in a rethink of how forensic officers are deployed to potential crime scenes.
As part of the scheme being carried out by the Leicestershire Force, it was hoped to establish how effective it was to send forensic officers to potential crime scenes.
EMSOU’s forensic services looked back at 1,172 burglaries in the area where forensic officers had been deployed. It was found that only a few crime scenes had shown any forensic evidence, with only 33 suspects being identified as a result of the visits.
This was followed by the three-month pilot scheme, where only houses with even numbers were investigated, being carried out earlier this year.
Despite the reduction in forensic services, police officers still visited the crime scenes of each of the burglaries reported to them.
It was found that whether or not the forensics team attended a crime scene had little impact on victim satisfaction.
The Leicestershire Police stated the results will be closely examined before making a decision about future policy on forensic officers attending the scene of burglaries.
Speaking about the scheme, Jo Ashworth, Director of Forensic Sciences with EMSOU, said, “At a time when we are operating within reduced budgets, it is even more critical that we make the absolute best use of our crime scene investigators’ time.”

Teachers being trained in trafficking in persons

Some secondary school teachers are being trained through the Ministry of Education, in preparation for the integration of the Trafficking in Persons curriculum into different subject areas for the upcoming school year.

Last year, the Ministry of Justice handed over the curriculum, developed by the National Task Force Against Trafficking in Persons, to the Education Ministry for it to be introduced at the grade seven to nine level in high schools.

The curriculum, to be rolled out in a group of pilot schools this academic year, is to promote greater awareness among students and teachers about human trafficking.

According to Assistant Chief Education Officer in the Core Curriculum Unit, Dr Clover Hamilton-Flowers, the Trafficking in Persons curriculum will be treated as support material in the new National Standards Curriculum.

“So, it means we would be identifying those areas in the National Standards Curriculum that would provide the space to strategically treat that phenomenon,” she explained.

She said the Unit has identified areas in Social Studies, Religious Education, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Physical Education and Sports, as well as in History, in which topics from the curriculum will be integrated during lessons.

“We do the training with our teachers to help them understand the focus of the curriculum, the methodology they are supposed to use and then they will (incorporate it), based on their context,” Dr Hamilton-Flowers said.

Man charged for attempting to extort woman for not wanting him

A man accused of attempting to extort money from a woman was remanded in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate’s Court recently.

Charged with extortion is Ackeema Blackwood, 25, a security guard from Yallahs, St Thomas.

The allegations are that Blackwood and the female met in April and exchanged numbers, where they began texting each other daily.

The court heard that the complainant told the accused that she was not interested in a relationship because she had a boyfriend and Blackwood agreed to a friendship.

The complainant said the friendship soured after she asked Blackwood to take a break in their communication because she believed he was texting her excessively.

It was reported that Blackwood got angry and told the complainant that he would spread rumours about her giving him a sexually transmitted disease. The complainant denied having a sexual relationship with accused man.

It was further heard that on July 10 Blackwood told the complainant he would leave her alone if she had unprotected sex with him and gave him $10,000.

Blackwood sent a text lowering the demand to $5000 while the complainant was making an official report at the Hunts Bay Police Station.

The complainant agreed to meet the accused at Ocean Boulevard on July 15, an operation was conducted by the police and Blackwood was arrested and charged.

The complainant, a University of Technology student, told Senior Resident Magistrate Judith Pusey that she wanted the charges to be dropped because she was uncomfortable with the issue being played out in public.

But RM Pusey told her Blackwood had acted outside of the law. “I am sorry but it is no longer in your hands, men such as this should not be on the road being able to use electronic devices to terrorise women,” said RM Pusey.

The defendant’s lawyer said Blackwood had been joking when he sent the text messages but RM Pusey said an incident like that was no joking matter.

‘Northern Lights’ aurora discovered outside the solar system for the first time

An aurora with a glow resembling the Earth’s Northern Lights has been spotted outside the solar system for the first time.

Astronomers found the aurora light display around a brown dwarf 20 light years away.

Dr Stuart Littlefair, from the University of Sheffield, told the BBC it was the first confirmed sighting of such a phenomenon.
A brown dwarf is known as a ‘failed star’. It is an object too small to become a star but bigger than a planet.

But as the aurora – discovered using radio and optical telescopes – is a similar phenomenon to the Earth’s Northern Lights, the discovery provides further evidence to suggest that brown dwarfs are more similar to planets.

Dr Littlefair said: “Brown dwarfs span the gap between stars and planets and these results are yet more evidence that we need to think of brown dwarfs as beefed-up planets, rather than ‘failed stars’.”

He said it was already known that brown dwarfs had cloudy atmospheres like planets, but the discovery showed they also hosted “powerful auroras”.

The findings are reported in the journal Nature.

The aurora light display – created when charged particles enter the planet’s magnetic field and collide with gas atoms in the atmosphere – is however thousands of times brighter than the Northern Lights and more red than green in colour.

The California Institute of Technology’s Dr Gregg Hallinan, a lead scientist on the project, said: “We’re finding that brown dwarfs are not like small stars in terms of their magnetic activity; they’re like giant planets with hugely powerful auroras.”

The auroras, he said, were, “hundreds of thousands of times more powerful than any detected in our solar system”

Migrant dies as hundreds rush Channel Tunnel

One man has died in a desperate attempt to reach England via the Channel Tunnel as overwhelmed authorities fought off hundreds of migrants, prompting France to beef up its police presence.

British ministers on Wednesday convened for emergency talks on the mounting crisis, as Prime Minister David Cameron acknowledged the situation in the northern French city of Calais was ‘very concerning.’

The man, thought to be in his late 20s and of Sudanese origin, was apparently crushed by a truck as he tried, with hundreds of others, to smuggle himself into Britain, seen as an ‘El Dorado’ for migrants.

Attempts to penetrate the sprawling Eurotunnel site have spiked in recent days, with migrants trying several times a night to outfox hopelessly outnumbered security officials and police.

Another Sudanese man in his 30s who gave his name as Abraham said: ‘I tried three times tonight but it was very difficult with all the patrols. I know it’s dangerous but I’m trying.’

French authorities said there had been around 2300 attempts to sneak into the Eurotunnel premises overnight Tuesday to Wednesday, revising up a previous figure of 1500.

France’s interior ministry said there have been ‘between 1500 and 2000 attempts per night’ in the past two months.

‘The migrants’ strategy is simple,’ said Bruno Noel from police union Alliance.

‘They arrive as soon as night falls. They lie in wait then sneak onto the premises and hide. As soon as a shuttle train takes off, they try and clamber onto it,’ said Noel.

In what appeared to be a new tactic to get to Britain, an Egyptian tried to jump from the roof of a train at Paris’s Gare du Nord train station onto the London-bound Eurostar and was severely electrocuted.

The migrant killed in Calais on Wednesday was the ninth such death since June and the rising toll is creating tensions between French authorities and Eurotunnel, the firm that runs the passenger and freight service under the Channel.

‘The pressure we are now under every night exceeds that which an operator can reasonably handle, and calls for an appropriate reaction from the states’ of France and Britain, the firm stressed in a statement.

Chief Executive Jacques Gounon told French radio that the firm was up against ‘systematic, massive, maybe even organised invasions.’

He said it was more of a bid to gain media attention ‘because, in the end, no one manages to cross the Channel Tunnel.’

Britain’s interior minister Theresa May, however, acknowledged that some migrants had indeed made it to British soil, as a source told AFP that ‘more than 100’ succeeded on Tuesday alone.

‘It was over 100 on a number of trains. It’s an unusually high number, normally it’s a handful or zero,’ the British source told AFP.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve announced he would send an additional 120 police officers to Calais but stressed that the responsibility must also lie with Eurotunnel.

Israeli Convicted of Stabbings at Gay Pride Parade Attacks Again

An ultra-Orthodox Jew who was convicted a decade ago of stabbing people at a gay pride parade here repeated the crime on Thursday, this time wounding six people at the same event, witnesses and officials said.

The man, Yishai Schlissel, had been paroled only three weeks ago after his 12-year sentence for stabbing three other people and was well known in Israel for that, leading immediately to questions about why officials hadn’t been better prepared to prevent it.

The parade began, as it has every year for 13 years, with a cheerful, mellow gathering at Independence Park, across from the U.S. Consulate here, which adorned its outside wall with a banner reading “#Love Wins: The U.S. Consulate General proudly supports your right to love and live with dignity.” Scattered about were circles of drummers, crafts stands offering “pride body painting” and flags with the Star of David imposed upon the multicolored gay pride logo.

Minutes after marchers left the park for King George V street, one of Jerusalem’s principal arteries, Mr. Schlissel emerged from an alleyway and stabbed the six marchers.

A number of passersby subdued Mr. Schlissel during his attack before police arrived and arrested him. The attack left two people in critical condition—a female border police officer who was on duty and a 17-year-old girl. The others received light to moderate injuries and are being treated in two Jerusalem hospitals. After the attack, the march proceeded as planned.

Since his prison release, Mr. Schlissel has used numerous ultra-Orthodox online forums and WhatsApp groups to declare his intent to attack participants at the next gay pride parade.

In an interview after the event, Jerusalem police chief Chico Edry said the police had “no knowledge” of his intentions. He said Mr. Schlissel hadn’t been summoned by the police since his release or warned to keep away from the parade. Police weren’t immediately available to comment further.

Gay community leaders and parade participants accused Mr. Edry of overseeing a failure of intelligence.

Nick Kaufman, the Jerusalem prosecutor who prosecuted Mr. Schlissel in 2005, said on Thursday that “Schlissel argued he was divinely motivated. I was of the opinion that he was impulsively dangerous and the 12-year sentence imposed on him was an insufficient deterrent.”

Politicians of all stripes condemned the attack, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said from a visit in New York that it represented “an attack against a community, against the very special texture of Jerusalem and against the entire state.”

Economy Minister Arye Deri, the leader of the ultra-Orthodox party Shas, told Israel Army Radio, “It is a terrible thing, terrible.” Speaking as the event was still under way and ambulance sirens could be heard in the background, he added, “Nothing justifies violence.”

Asked by a reporter if he stood by his statement about a previous Jerusalem gay pride parade as being a “march of abomination,” Mr. Deri said that “followers of the Torah know the difference between words that condemn something we cannot approve of and an unspeakable act against innocent people.”

Sabi Shajylan, an antiquities dealer who attended a solidarity rally in Tel Aviv, said “this attack is a direct consequence the ongoing incitement in the ultra-Orthodox communities. Its the fruit of that tree.”

Although Israel doesn’t allow gay religious marriages, it recognizes same-sex unions. Major national institutions, including the Israeli army and all universities, don’t discriminate against gays, who enjoy the universal rights.

Hackers force Jeep to crash into ditch

Hackers took control of a car and crashed it into a ditch by remotely breaking into its dashboard computer from 16km away.

In the first such breach of its kind, security experts cut out the engine and applied the brakes on the Jeep Cherokee, sending it into a spin – all while sitting on their sofa.

The US hackers said they used just a laptop and mobile phone to access the Jeep’s on-board systems via a wireless internet connection.

They claim that more than 470,000 cars made by Fiat Chrysler could be at risk of being attacked by similar means.

The breach was revealed by security researchers Charlie Miller, an ex-staffer at the NSA, and Chris Valasek.

They worked with Andy Greenberg, a writer with tech website Wired, who drove the Jeep Cherokee on public roads in St Louis, Missouri.

Greenberg described how the air vents started blasting out cold air and the radio came on full blast when the hack began.

The windscreen wipers turned on with wiper fluid, blurring the glass, and a picture of the two hackers appeared on the car’s digital display to signify they had gained access.

Greenberg said the hackers then slowed the car to a halt just as he was getting on the highway, causing a tailback behind him – though it got a lot worse after that. He wrote: “The most disturbing manoeuvre came when they cut the Jeep’s brakes, leaving me frantically pumping the pedal as the 2-tonne SUV slid uncontrollably into a ditch.

“The researchers say they’re working on perfecting their steering control – for now they can only hijack the wheel when the Jeep is in reverse.

“Their hack enables surveillance too: They can track a targeted Jeep’s GPS co-ordinates, measure its speed, and even drop pins on a map to trace its route.”

The hack was possible thanks to Uconnect, the software that has been built into the dashboard computers of hundreds of thousands of cars made by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles since late 2013.

The feature controls the entertainment system, deals with navigation and allows phone calls. It also allows owners to start the car remotely, flash the headlights using an app, and unlock doors.

But according to Miller and Valasek, the on-board internet connection is a “super nice vulnerability” for hackers. All they have to do is work out the car’s IP address and know how to break into its systems and they can take control.

Independent security expert Graham Cluley said: “Note that the researchers believe that, although they’ve only tested it out on Jeeps, the attacks could be tweaked to work on any Chrysler car with a vulnerable Uconnect head unit.”

The incident is the latest hacking episode which shows just how vulnerable we are to modern technology.

A US hacker also recently took control of a passenger jet he was on, in the first known such incident of its kind, according to the FBI. Chris Roberts is said to have plugged into the plane’s computer systems through the electronics box under his seat – and briefly moved the aircraft sideways.

Teenager with stomach ache dies of accidental paracetamol overdose

A teenage girl accidentally killed herself with an overdose of paracetamol tablets after complaining she was ill with stomach ache, an inquest heard.
Georgia Littlewood, 17, had called in sick to the hairdressers where she worked part time as office clerk at the weekends, but was feared to have taken a quantity of pills up to three times the recommended dose.
Unaware of the dose’s deadly consequences, Georgia went to stay with her boyfriend – but her condition suddenly deteriorated and she was rushed into hospital with severe liver damage.
She died the following day, with tests showing she had 65 microgrammes of the medication in her blood. The recommended level for a dose is 20mcg. The cause of death was acute liver failure due to paracetamol toxicity.
At an inquest, Miss Littlewood’s family, of Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, condemned the ease with which she was able to buy paracetamol after a coroner said it was a “readily available medication across the counter, which can be extremely dangerous”.
In a statement, they said: “You can buy paracetamol at 19p a packet in supermarkets – yet you should only be able to buy it from a pharmacist who tells you of the dangers. You should not be able to go into the shop with no one giving any advice.”

Earlier, the hearing was told how Miss Littlewood had undertaken a beauty course before taking an administration apprenticeship in September. But she had been complaining of headaches after long hours sat in front of a computer.
Her mother, Joanne Littlewood, told the Huddersfield hearing: “Georgia really seemed to enjoy her job. She was always using a computer and had to use glasses after tests were done, only if she was using the computer. She did wear them at first, but she was not happy with how they looked so she didn’t wear them.
“She complained of having headaches on and off. There was no real pattern to them. She did not have any other health issues and did not suffer from a traumatic injury. Ages ago, Georgia complained of headaches, so I gave her liquid Ibuprofen capsules.”
Tragedy struck on March 28 when Miss Littlewood woke up at 6.30am complaining of a stomach ache. She called in sick before going back to bed. But Mrs Littlewood received a text message from her daughter later that day saying she was going to stay over with her boyfriend, Tom Keen.
The couple watched television and went out to get a milkshake and pizza. Although Miss Littlewood said she was feeling better, she was heard being sick in the bathroom at 2am. Mr Keen took her back to her parent’s house, where they rang an ambulance and tried to get her to drink water and she was taken to Huddersfield Royal Infirmary.
• How a few extra tablets can cause cumulative paracetamol overdose
• Paracetamol kills mother who took a ‘few extra’ pills a day
She told doctors she had taken paracetamol tablets, but had not done so with any intention of causing herself harm. She was transferred to St James’ Hospital in Leeds and was earmarked for a liver transplant, but she sadly deteriorated with doctors unable to provide a treatment to reverse the damage. She passed away at 9pm on March 30 in the intensive care unit.
Mrs Littlewood said: “On the day she was taken into hospital she was mumbling and didn’t know who I was. I knew something was wrong straight away. I believe the overdose was a complete accident. She was a very happy girl making plans to go on holiday in July.
“I don’t think she would have known the correct doses for taking paracetamol and would have taken them for a headache. She would not have known the effect it would have had on her.”
It is not known how many tablets Miss Littlewood took, but the maximum dose to be taken over a 24-hour period is eight tablets.
• Talented student, 18, dies from overdose of pills bought online
• Paracetamol ‘should be prescription-only’; tragic woman’s family
Assistant coroner Mary Burke recorded a conclusion of accidental death and said: “It seems likely to me that Georgia was not fully aware of the apparent toxic effect of paracetamol which can develop over a relatively short period of time. I do not believe it was an intentional act on Georgia’s part to harm herself and conclude a result of accident.
“It is important to use these circumstances to highlight to members of the public the risk that are present. I hope you will agree to me highlighting in order to avoid any one else having to go through the distress and upset you as a family have had to cope with in the circumstances.
“Paracetamol is a readily available medication across the counter but can be extremely dangerous. There are doses as identified in place for a reason. If everyone does not comply with that there can be tragic circumstances evident in this case. If you take more than the recommended dose the body cannot cope with that.”

Searching for ET

Renowned physicist Stephen Hawking has joined a Russian billionaire to launch a major new effort to listen for aliens in the search for extraterrestrial life.

Hawking has offered his support to tech entrepreneur Yuri Milner’s Breakthrough Initiatives project — a $100 million quest to see if extraterrestrial intelligence exists. Milner, who made a fortune through investments in companies like Facebook, said the power and innovation of Silicon Valley could be harnessed to search the entire Milky Way and 100 nearby galaxies.

“There is no bigger question,” Hawking said. “It is time to commit to finding the answer to search for life beyond Earth.”

As well as using some of the world’s most powerful telescopes, the Breakthrough Listen project will support SETI@home, a University of California, Berkeley computing platform. The project will harness computer power, having 9 million volunteers working in tandem by donating spare computing power to a worldwide network, scanning the skies and looking for life — creating one of the biggest supercomputers in the world.

The researchers say they will be able to collect as much data in one day that which was collected in a year.

“The scope of our search will be unprecedented — a million nearby stars, the galactic center the entire plane of the Milky Way and 100 nearby galaxies,” Milner said.

Hawking said it is time for questions to be answered.

“Somewhere in the cosmos, perhaps, intelligent life may be watching these lights of ours aware of what they mean,” Hawking said. “Or do our lights wander a lifeless cosmos, unseen beacons announcing that here on our rock, the universe discovered its existence?’

Brighton could become the first British beach to ban smoking, under new council proposals

Worthing Beach in West Sussex England.
Hurricane Britten

Brighton beach could become a smoke-free zone under plans being considered by the council.

Brighton and Hove City Council is meeting tomorrow to decide whether a public consultation into a proposed ban on smoking on beaches and in parks should take place. If agreed, the consultation would run on Wednesday for 12 weeks.

Smoking has been illegal in workplaces and enclosed public areas since 2006 in Scotland. England, Northern Ireland and Wales followed suit with similar bans in 2007.
Deborah Arnott, chief executive of health charity Ash (Action on Smoking and Health) welcomed the idea. She said: “A growing number of local authorities and other organisations are exploring ways of providing more smoke-free public places in response to public demand.

“Smoke-free beaches could provide a safe and pleasant environment, particularly for children, but also for adults who want to avoid exposure to second-hand smoke, as well as reducing the amount of cigarette butt litter on beaches which doesn’t degrade quickly and is harmful to wildlife.”

Brighton beach is one of the most famous in the UK.

Around 400,000 tourists visit Brighton for at least one overnight stay every year, making it the most popular UK seaside destination for overseas visitors.

The Couch You Let Your Friend Sleep On Is The Grossest Place Ever

A couch is a beautiful thing.

It’s where we veg out. It’s where we watch TV. It’s where we let our drunken friends crash when they’ve downed too many shots at the bar.

It’s where we munch on our favorite snacks and enjoy a much-needed afternoon nap. It’s our main place to entertain guests, and it’s our go-to spot after a long day at the office.

Our couch follows us from apartment to apartment, from relationship to relationship, from lifestyle change to lifestyle change. It’s our constant companion.

As The New York Times puts it, “There are those who would argue that a great piece of seating lasts a lifetime.”

We don’t want to let our good old couch go. Once it’s broken in, it becomes an old friend, one who always welcomes you and is there for you. You’ve had some of your best and worst times on it (respectively: Netflix; breakdowns).

But we constantly overlook how f*cking gross our couches actually are.

I began to think about this just the other day. Bae and I have sex on our couch regularly. We eat our meals on the couch after we’ve cuddled and boned on it.

We also rent our place out to horny Airbnbers all the time. Like us, they probably have sex and eat food on our couch, too. And we’ve never cleaned it. I mean, it’s not a bed.

You don’t wash your couch in the same way that you toss your soiled sheets in the washing machine.

How often do you even clean a couch?

A survey from Hygiene Counsel found that “61% of the population has either never gotten their sofas sanitized or professionally cleaned, or have done so only once or twice in the years that they’ve owned them.”

So people’s couches get sanitized a few times during their entire residence. Or never. Cool.

THAT IS GROSS. We wash OURSELVES every single day. We wash our dishes every single day. We wash EVERYTHING every single day. Except the damn couch.

Why is the couch different? I don’t know. But we don’t wash it! I’ve had my couch for four solid years, and I have NEVER cleaned it.

I bet you’re freaking out a little bit, right? Me too, guys. That’s why we’re learning about this together.

Eating on your couch is nasty, by the way.

Eating on your couch means a few spilled crumbs. No one is a perfectly #cleaneater. But where do those crumbs go? Nowhere! They stay on the couch!

According to The Huffington Post, “Bugs will appear when there are crumbs left around. The most common creepy crawlers to show up? Ants and cockroaches.”

That’s right, everyone. Your home is full of ants and cockroaches just because you think it’s really cute to eat on your sofa like a dirty mongrel.

Your home is a vile, festering cesspool of vermin, and it’s all because of your gross couch and your gross habits.

“Honey, there’s semen all over the couch!”

Sex on the couch. Who hasn’t had sex on the couch? It’s a soft, cozy spot. It’s perfect for an impromptu sex session.

You’re snuggling with Bae and watching Conan. Suddenly, you’re naked and humping each other’s bodies. We’ve all been there. It happens.

Elite Daily surveyed 45 Millennials, and 97% of the participants confirmed that they’ve had couch sex.

Have you ever successfully had sex without getting cum somewhere (other than inside or on your partner)? Yeah, neither have we.

After all of these couch quickies, your couch is going to be covered in semen and vaginal juices. Doesn’t that sound appetizing?

So. Much. Bacteria.

You know what else is all over your couch? A whole lot of bacteria!

Time to freak the f*ck out even more, ladies and gentlemen! A new study from Express found that the average family couch has more bacteria than a toilet seat.

Let me put it this way: Where you POOP has fewer bacteria than the couch. (You know, the one where you take your glorious, refreshing, weekend naps.)

People, the place where you drop a dump is cleaner than where you and your boyfriend/girlfriend engage in coitus.


The bacteria live, grow and crawl all over while you’re watching TV on your couch.

Dr. Laura Jana, a pediatrician, told the Housekeeping Channel:

Bacteria can be found just about everywhere around the home – on both hard and soft surfaces alike… While many families take aim at bacteria on hard surfaces such as kitchen and bathroom countertops, soft surfaces tend to fly under the radar during cleaning routines.”

While you may have thought your couch was a lovely place to hang, it’s about the most unsanitary resting spot you could choose.

Soft surfaces are the grossest places EVER.

Disease-causing bacteria can survive on soft surfaces for 24 hours. Even listeria, the flu-causing bacteria, can live on your plushy, inviting couch.

Your couch is making you sick, which is cause for alarm. We all need to be washing our couches regularly.

Here is a step-by-step guide to disinfecting your couch. Please don’t get sick and die. You can even clean the couch by yourself… because we all know we’re too poor to have that sh*t done professionally.

The Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality.

Rev. Roger LaRade, of the Eucharistic Catholic Church in Canada, blesses a gay couple as they lean in to kiss each other in Havana, Cuba, Saturday, May 9, 2015. The blessing ceremony for gay couples was part of official ceremonies leading up to the Global Day against Homophobia on May 17. (AP Photo/Desmond Boylan)The word “homosexuality” didn’t even show up in English translations of the Bible until 1946, so why do we say the Bible condemns it?

Billy Graham’s son is terrified that President Obama and a whole host of us have chucked out our Bibles in order to support marriage equality. This week he was at it again on Facebook, railing against “the assault on biblical marriage,” referencing California lawmakers who want to amend federal law by striking gendered language pertaining to two partners in a legal marriage. Franklin, son of Billy, even goes on to make the Biblically inaccurate comment that “The One who created marriage defined it as between a man and a woman.” I wish he would read my post on this and then re-read the Bible.

Brother Franklin, even thinks that President Obama should invest in more lightning rods in case God strikes the White House in fiery wrath.

This is laughable if it weren’t so powerfully sad. Here’s the thing, Franklin: You need to read your Bible better. The sooner you do, the more and better work you can do in Africa and elsewhere with Samaritan’s Purse. We need your time focused not only on poverty but in addressing America’s original sin of racism. We need all you got for those fights. It’s time to end the culture wars and fully focus on the war against poverty, racism and injustice in our world.

Jim Wallis, founder of Sojourners, a mentor in the faith, talks about the early days of gathering his new community, coming out as Evangelicals during the Vietnam crisis, going back to the Bible for help and guidance.

One of our first activities was finding every verse of scripture about the poor, wealth and poverty, and social justice. We found more than 2,000 texts that we then cut out of an old Bible. We were left with a “Bible full of holes,” which I used to take out with me to preach.

Over 2000 Bible verses on poverty. On money. On the rich and poor.

And those 2000-plus verses give us some basic instructions for life on earth, that could be summed up in the ancient wisdom of a prophet 700 years before Jesus of Nazareth:

He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? – Micah 6:8

And yet, all anyone wants to talk about these days are six Bible verses that “condemn homosexuality.” Here’s the thing  –  they don’t.

And we need to accept that so we can get back to the more important things.

Six Bullets in the Chamber?

There are six Bible verses used to defend a “traditional” view on homosexuality. However well intentioned, these verses are known as the “trouble verses” that condemn same-sex behavior. Some call them clobber verses. I like how my friend Steve Chalke in the UK describes them as “the six bullets in the gun.”

What do we do with these Bible verses? We must read them in context. And take the bullets out of the chamber. It’s time for a cease-fire.

Genesis 19:5

And they called to Lot, ‘Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, so that we may know them.’

This is the fabled Sodom & Gomorrah passage. Sodom and Gomorrah were sister cities. It’s pretty clear in Genesis 13:13 that “… the people of Sodom were wicked, great sinners against the Lord.”

What was their sin? They were ruthless in their acquisition of wealth, power and territory – and they oppressed the poor and took advantage of the weak and were terrible at hospitality.

That’s clear in the Bible, too.

The ancient Jewish Prophet Ezekiel remembered the sin of Sodom as such:

This was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. They were haughty, and did abominable things before me; therefore I removed them when I saw it.  –  Ezekiel 16:49,50

The sins of Sodom, Gomorrah and their sister cities was so bad, they were frequently used as examples of people not to emulate.

One of Ezekiel’s colleagues, the Prophet Jeremiah, simply put it:

As when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring cities, declares the Lord, so no man shall dwell there, and no son of man shall sojourn in her. – Jeremiah 50:40

When Jesus would run into conflict in cities he was ministering in, unfolding his work and vision amongst the poor, he even used Sodom as an example when he would declare “it shall be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you.” (Matthew 11:24)

Here’s the deal: the so-called “Sodomites” in Genesis are beating down the door of a man named Lot who was entertaining two messengers of God (we often hear them described as “angels” in the Scriptures.) The men of Sodom want to have sexual intercourse with them. Fair enough, you might say. But in the end, Lot offers up his two virgin daughters for the so-called Sodomites to gang rape. It’s brutal, horrendous stuff. And it has nothing to do with homosexuality. So why do we continue to think it does?

Leviticus 18:22 & 20:13

You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.

If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death; their blood is upon them.

The “Levitical laws” are important, foundational commandments for a people looking to survive. For a people on the move. For a people looking to make a way out of no way.

They’re literally on the run  –  an exodus  —  out of Egypt. And these passages have nothing to do with homosexuality either.

Jeff Chu, in his incredible book Does Jesus Really Love Me?: A Gay Christian’s Pilgrimage in Search of God in America, shares a series of Twitter and email exchanges with a fellow traveller on the way, a man named Gideon Eads. In one email Gideon shares about talking with a counselor who tried to convince him of the sins of homosexuality. Gideon writes:

We moved on to the verses in Leviticus that state “lying with a man as with a woman is an abomination” (Leviticus 18: 22- 24 and Leviticus 20: 13). He began to talk about how holy and perfect the union between one man and one woman was. I agreed, but said, “This is not a verse about homosexual love, or being gay. This command is there with all kinds of connotations of adultery, promiscuity, and idol worship from the surrounding nations.”

Yep, that’ll preach.

And if we want to get all Levitical about it, the same laws dictate that shellfish cannot be eaten (there goes Boston clam chowder and Willapa Bay oysters), mixed fabric garments cannot be worn (I guess I need to burn my Portland Timbers jersey), and sex with animals is strictly forbidden (yep, I totally agree).

Romans 1:26-27

So, go ahead, throw out the Old Testament passages, some Christians might say (fool heartily  –  this was Jesus’ Bible after all). What about the New Testament? Enter St. Paul’s magnum opus, the Roman Epistle, and his “clear teaching” on same-sex behavior.

For this reason God gave them up to degrading passions. Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural, and in the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error.

Steve Chalke makes the argument that “Idolatry, promiscuity and shrine prostitution are what Paul is addressing [here] in Romans 1  —  not same-sex relationships between faithful and committed partners.”

Steve is right. This passage is clearly not about same-sex behavior carte blanche. It’s about gross misuse of power, Roman elitist overindulgence, and misguided over-sexualized spirituality.

If you are looking to get really Biblical about this passage and all of these verses, go no further than James Brownson’s tremendous Bible, Gender, Sexuality: Reframing the Church’s Debate on Same-Sex Relationships.

Jim is a New Testament scholar in Michigan who takes the Bible incredibly seriously. He thinks this passage is about excessive lust: the central problem with lust in Romans 1 is that it is an expression of idolatry in a specific sense: lust involves serving one’s own self-seeking desires rather than worshiping the one true God.

But more so than just excessive lust and how the early Christian communities should reject it, Brownson argues that this lust was being exhibited at a colossal scale by members of the Roman imperial court.

Emperors Gaius and Caligula conjure up all sorts of sexual indulgence. Brownson says this, echoing the work of Neil Elliot:

Neil Elliott has called attention to the striking similarities between Paul’s language and the incredible greed, violence, and sexual excesses of Gaius Caligula, an emperor who reigned in a period not too long before Paul wrote Romans. First of all, Gaius is closely linked to the practice of idolatry. The Roman writer Suetonius reports how Gaius “set up a special temple to his own godhead, with priests and with victims of the choicest kind.” Another Roman writer, Dio Cassius, comments negatively on how Gaius was the only emperor to claim to be divine and to be the recipient of worship during his own lifetime. Gaius also tried at one point to erect a statue of himself in the Temple in Jerusalem; he was dissuaded only by a delegation from Herod Agrippa. Hence the link between Gaius and idolatry would have been well-known indeed, particularly in Jewish circles. But Gaius also serves as “Exhibit A” for out-of-control lust. Suetonius reports how Gaius “lived in perpetual incest with all his sisters, and at a large banquet he placed each of them in turn below him, while his wife reclined above.” He records gruesome examples of Gaius’s arbitrary violence, vindictiveness, and cruelty. Later, Suetonius chronicles Gaius’s sexual liaisons with the wives of dinner guests, raping them in an adjoining room and then returning to the banquet to comment on their performance. Various same-sex sexual encounters between Gaius and other men are similarly recounted. Finally, a military officer whom he had sexually humiliated joined a conspiracy to murder him, which they did less than four years into his reign. Suetonius records that Gaius was stabbed through the genitals when he was murdered. One wonders whether we can hear an echo of this gruesome story in Paul’s comments in Romans 1: 27: “Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own person the due penalty for their error.” Gaius Caligula graphically illustrates the reality of which Paul speaks in Romans 1: the movement from idolatry to insatiable lust to every form of depravity, and the violent murderous reprisal that such behavior engenders.
This is not the stuff of friends, loved ones, neighbors and colleagues who happen to be gay and celebrate marriage equality. So why do pastors continue to preach this?

1 Corinthians 6:9-11

Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! Fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, sodomites, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, robbers  –  none of these will inherit the kingdom of God. And this is what some of you used to be. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

This is one of the most damning, hurtful and misused passages that Christians have often used to LGBTQ people to convince them of their sin. In essence, many Christians will shoot this Biblical bullet in the heart of others to condemn people straight to hell.

This needs to stop. If not yesterday, today.

This is one of those passages that, I would argue, has a direct corollary to the rise in gay Christian suicides in the past generation.

My friend Matthew Vines shares:

I am far from the only gay Christian who has heard the claim that gay people will not inherit the kingdom of God. That message is plastered on protest signs at gay-pride parades. It’s shouted by roaming street preachers at busy intersections and on college campuses. The result is that, for many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, all that they’ve heard about the kingdom of God is that they won’t be in it.
The problem is, people have horrifically misunderstood two simple words in this ancient letter that St. Paul wrote to an early Christian community in the trade city of Corinth.
The words are: malakoi and arsenkoitai.
Matthew goes on to define malakoi as “effeminate.” It’s a Greek word that literally means “soft” and is used to describe fine clothing elsewhere in the New Testament. In a moral context, this word is actually more about “lack of self-control, weakness, laziness, or cowardice.” My friend David, a pastor who got kicked out of his church for false accusations, told me over nachos recently that this word is actually about people who were “spineless.” Soft to the point that they wouldn’t stand up for injustice or what truly matters. Irony of ironies, huh?

There were sexual connotations for “malakoi” as well, but again, it always points backs to uncontrolled acts of lust or misused sexuality  —  no matter the gender or act. The word was not understood to reference same-sex behavior in the church until after the 20th century, when Bible translations adopted a new slant.

Arsenkoitai is more bizarre and hard to grasp. Many believe that St. Paul actually invented the word, as it is extremely rare in ancient Greek literature.

The word literally is a combination of two other words in Greek: arsen (male) and koites (bed). So, arsenkoitai could be translated literally as “male-bedders.” And this word was understood by Bible translators before the 20th century to mean male-male sexual intercourse.

But when the word is used elsewhere in ancient Greek literature, it references the abuse of the poor (as in the Sibylline Oracles) or “economic exploitation and power abuses (as in a 2nd century text called the Acts of John).” The Acts of John lists arsenkoitai amongst a list of sins separate from a catalog of other sexual sins. Many believe (as Vines so cogently breaks down) that arsenkoitai is about economic abuses and exploitation.

Which is why the ancient act of “pederasty” is often brought up in relation to passages like this — the practice of Greek elite elder men who would adopt young men to use as sexual objects. Again, having nothing to do with LGBTQ loved ones, friends and colleagues who are looking to live as good neighbors.

1 Timothy 1:9-10

This means understanding that the law is laid down not for the innocent but for the lawless and disobedient, for the godless and sinful, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their father or mother, for murderers, fornicators, sodomites, slave-traders, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to the sound teaching…

The word asrenkoitai is used again, in this passage. Justin Lee, founder of the Gay Christian Network, describes growing up gay in the Southern Baptist Church in his book Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gay-vs-Christian Debates.

Searches through several reference books taught me that “homosexual offenders” was a translation of the Greek word arsenokoitai. To my surprise, one reference book listed the same word as appearing in another passage, 1 Timothy 1: 10. I turned to 1 Timothy 1: 10 in my New International Version Bible, and, there, saw that the word was translated simply as “perverts.” There’s quite a difference between “homosexual offenders” and “perverts.”

Justin points out what many of us have long-since discovered: the Bible is a complicated library of books with antiquated, complicated Greek terminology and social contexts. Modern day translators are bound to mess it up from time to time or even insert their own biases. To quote my seminary professor Klyne Snodgrass “the translator is always a traitor.”

So, now what?

I’ve spent the last year  —  and especially so the last month  —  hearing from LGBTQ parishioners, neighbors and friends their struggles growing up in the church. Horrible stories of anguish. Losing jobs, losing schools, losing friends and family. An unnecessary wreckage of human life in the name of faith.

It’s time to bring an end to this  —  and not just because the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Marriage Equality. It’s time to bring an end to this, for those of us trying to take the Bible seriously, because the Bible seriously doesn’t talk about homosexuality as we know it.

If you’re looking for resources to go deeper, spend a few days over at Togetherinthis.net, a tremendous online resource set up by EastLake Church outside Seattle.

I also cannot recommend the following enough:

– Vicky Beeching  –  Anything she does! Follow her on Twitter.
– James Brownson  —  Bible, Gender, Sexuality: Reframing the Church’s Debate on Same-Sex Relationships
– Steve Chalke  –  A Matter of Integrity (watch his intro video here)
– Jeff Chu — Does Jesus Really Love Me?: A Gay Christian’s Pilgrimage in Search of God in America
– Candace Czubernat  –  Her blog!
– Broderick Greer  —  Twitter! Also his posts on Everyone Is Gay
– Justin Lee — Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate
– Colby Martin  —  Follow his exciting project “Unclobber!”
– Stan Mitchell  —  Check out his incredible sermon from GracePointe, TN
– Brandan Robertson  –  An incredible organizer, visit his website
– Matthew Vines — God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships
– Ken Wilson — A Letter to My Congregation (a must read for pastors!)

Julie Rodgers, a self-proclaimed celibate gay Christian, is incredibly courageous. She just resigned this week from her chaplaincy position at Wheaton College because she believes this: some LGBTQ people are called to celibacy and some are called to marriage.

Echoing St. Paul, the truth we find ourselves in, is that some folks are called to celibacy and some are called to marriage  –  no matter if they are gay or straight or wherever on the sexuality spectrum.

Julie closes her ground breaking post with this:

My goal now is the same as it’s always been: to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with the God who’s been my first love all along. When it comes to this conversation, my goal has been to help Christians create the kinds of communities that make LGBT people feel wanted  –  where we can worship God, use our gifts, serve our neighbors, and find a family to share in the joys and sorrows of living in a world where so many people are so lonely. That looks a little different to me now that I’ve seen so much fruit in affirming communities, but it’s a widening of my circle  –  not a move in a different direction.
If it turns out that I’m wrong, I trust God will be faithful to catch me. For now, though, I hope those of you who disagree will continue to welcome my friendship and serve alongside me. It’s not too late to call it quits on all the fighting. We could choose instead to focus on all we share in common and seek to mend what’s been broken in this fragile world.
It’s time for us to get back to the basics of the Bible and truly read it so that we might faithfully live it.
Do yourself a favor and head on over to Julie’s blog, and if you are the praying kind, pray for her and pray for all of us as we move out of this unnecessary, harmful and unbiblical mess so we can move forward to what truly matters.

Franklin, will you consider this?

Woman ‘ate herself to death’ aged just 23 due to rare condition that left her constantly hungry

A woman with a rare genetic disorder which left her with a constantly high appetite died after ‘eating herself to death’ aged just 23.

Tragic Kirsty Derry was unable to stop eating even though she understood she was harming herself, an inquest heard.

She suffered from Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS) – an inherited disorder which can lead to excessive eating and life-threatening obesity in adulthood.

Kirsty was found dead in her flat at Victoria Mews, a supported living accommodation in Stone, Staffs., on July 20, 2013.

She had a Body Mass Index at the time of 42.1, a court heard.

A healthy BMI for an adult is 19-25.

Kirsty’s mother Julie Fallows told a coroner that social workers did not understand her daughter’s condition and did not do enough to help.

She told an inquest this week: “When she went there I expected one-to-one support between 8am to 10pm.

“When she first arrived, there were alarms fitted to the cupboards and fridge. But at some point that technology was removed without our knowledge.

“Often we couldn’t find any staff when we visited.

“I became aware Kirsty had no idea of portion sizes but I thought her cooking was regulated. But in 2013 her changes in weight were obvious. Her legs were swollen, she could hardly walk or get shoes on her feet. I expressed my concerns.

“I felt Kirsty should have been removed from Victoria Mews immediately. But nothing was done right up until her death.”

A social worker told the court alarms had been removed because they were annoying Kirsty.

Another said Kirsty did not believe she was unwell and refused to go to hospital.

But Julie maintained staff should have done more.

She told the court: “Kirsty was deemed mentally capable of making her own choices but how can that be if she could eat herself to death?

“Social workers handed her a death sentence by suggesting Kirsty go to Victoria Mews.”

Before her death, Kirsty had written of her frustrations at dealing with PWS, which affects just on in 15,000 people in the UK, on Facebook.

In one post she said: “My life is so miserable. Fed up of people in my face all the time when I don’t need this amount of care.

“I am quite capable, staff just need to understand me and listen to me and get to know me a little better.

“I cannot cooperate when I am in a mood, they need to understand to let me calm down.

“I just want to move to a different place, I don’t feel it’s right for me, just feel like I want to come home.”

Kirsty’s cause of death was given as a pulmonary oedema, meaning fluid had gathered in her lungs, the Stoke Sentinel reports.

Staffordshire County Council has implemented a review of PWS following the case so that lessons can be learned, the court heard.

Dog walker who brushed against toxic hogweed hospitalised for days with blisters the size of her fist

A dog walker who brushed against a toxic hogweed was hospitalised for four days with blisters the size of her fist on her leg.

Ann Quinlan said her limb looked like something from an ‘apocalyptic horror film’ after she swept past the plant on a dog walk in north London.

But the poisonous plant was only diagnosed by a junior doctor who Googled her symptoms.

The 56-year-old was left with fist-sized blisters that have turned into weeping sores doctors warn could take months to heal.

Still housebound over a week later Ann described her ordeal at home in Enfield, north London.

The dog lover had taken her rhodesian ridgeback and two chihuahuas for walkies through parkland at Forty Hall, where she has walked her pets for 18 years.

She said: “I’m quite into my gory films, this was just like when everyone catches a deadly virus. When I look back at the photos I’m just shocked.

“It was a nice day so I had my shorts on and I decided to take the route through a wooded area.

“This time of year it’s quite overgrown, I did brush up against a few plants, but I had no idea I was supposed to be looking out for anything.”

That evening she noticed her legs and hand begin to tingle and burn, but put it down to a bit of sunburn.

She went to bed at around 9pm after trying slathering her leg in Sudocrem and yoghurt to ease the heat.

She continued: “I couldn’t understand and by about 4am I was in agony, it was very red, the redness was spreading from the top of my thigh down my right leg. Then I noticed the little blisters starting to appear.”

By 5am Ann’s concern was so great she decided to go to hospital and was driven to North Middlesex Hospital by her partner.

She faced a worrying two-hour wait in A&E before being given a bed in the acute ward, although staff were puzzled by her symptoms. Her terror grew as the redness, blistering and discomfort increased.

Her burns were originally diagnosed as cellulitis, an infection of the skin.

It wasn’t until midday that hog weed was identified as a culprit – by a student doctor in her early 20s who put her symptoms into Google.
Ann was “plonked” on a monitoring ward with eight other patients and prescribed antibiotics, steroids and codeine to deal with the pain.

“It was so painful, like bad toothache but in your leg. A pulsating, throbbing pain that was enough to make me feel nauseous,” she said.

Throughout the start of the week the pustules continued to grow.

“It was worst when I had to go to the toilet, they were so big they dragged and pulled on my skin.”

She had also suffered some burns to her left leg and right hand, that left it too painful to move her fingers.

Ann has been left needing regular hospital checkups, takes 14 tablets a day and endures the pain of dressing changes on the raw wound left on her leg.

Doctors warned it may take months to heal and could be weeks before she can return to work.

Ann said she contacted Enfield Borough Council to alert them to the weed’s presence when she was discharged last Thursday.

“It’s the summer and kids want to go outside, but no-one wants to have to cover up,” she said. “We need to be aware of the plants, maybe signs showing which are dangerous would be useful.”

Have we passively contributed to Ja’s demise?

“IF we should spend our time finding fault with others our lifespan would not allow us enough time to correct our discovered flaws. We should look twice in the mirror before we condemn others.”

But when people trust you with their lives, and you willingly accept such responsibility, you are no longer exempt from criticism and accountability. If you discover you are unable to carry out such functions, it is your duty to abdicate from such responsibility.

The political landscape is pregnant with blunders and barren of ideas as to how to steer us in the right direction. Our country has been hovering on the brink of economic ruin, uncontrollable murders, corruption, lawlessness, and an inept Government who may even surrender the reins of power to an Opposition who displays impotent behaviour in carrying out their duties, leaving the ever-diminishing electorate with little choice.

We hope, since there is still some time before the next election, the contestants will do some serious retrospection as to their readiness to serve, as they might be facing a complex electorate, more disenchanted and sophisticated, and is hell-bent on using the “no vote” weapon .

One thing is sure, a delayed election beyond nine months will create avenues of advantages for one party and considerable disadvantages to the other, but then the rising voter apathy may make predicting the results more difficult than predicting the exact order of a Supreme Ventures Pick 4 draw. We have to stem the leadership erosion in our country and ensure accountability is not compromised.

We must take some blame for what has happened, as our vigilance regarding our political leaders has been comatose.


As a catalyst for improvement and redemption, we need to put to sleep our in-born political divisiveness and give birth to a dawn of unity in the best interest of Jamaica. Whose fault is it really?

By our own nonchalant attitudes, being afraid to speak up, and baked in the furnace of polarised politics, we have become steeped in a pool of corruption. Having accepted political handouts as an entitlement, we have resigned ourselves to mediocre political representation. We pass all the ills of the country on to politicians, yet many of us are beneficiaries of corrupt practices and will not raise a finger or voice to expose it. We are stewed in our own false sense of being victim, so if we buck our toes we blame the politicians.

Let’s self-examine to see where we, as people, register on the guilt barometer.

* Would you make any sacrifice, including loss of earnings, to enter representational politics?

* Have you ever conspired to evade taxes?

* Do you overcharge your customers, giving less than what the customer should get, or charge prices that include GCT, yet you are not registered under the GCT Act?

* Are you actively guided by the oath of your profession?

* Have you ever been approached by a politician offering bribe to vote for his or her party; what was your reaction; had it dawned on you to set up a sting operation to entrap the politician or did you gladly accept the bribe; have you ever thought that you were sanctioning corruption and have fertilised the breeding ground for political corruption?

* Have you made substantial contribution to political party in exchange for favours?

* You will agree the country has retrogressed over the years. We have been added to the list of scamming countries, highest murder rate per capita, highest debt-to-GDP. We ranked among the fastest-depreciating currencies in the world, and now we are ranked on a world barometer study having the greatest disparity between the haves and the have-nots. Do you believe if we the citizens demanded more accountability from our Government we would be in this situation?

* Which party do you blame more for the country’s debacle?

* Do you think your party is best for governing at all times, as such the other party is a waste of time, because you will never vote for them?

* What advice would you give to the JLP and the Government regarding improving the welfare of the citizens, and is the JLP ready for Governance and is the PNP the better of the two evils?

* Will you continue to vote for your party despite the fact they have proven to be inefficient at governance and ineffective as opposition?

* Do you think your MP should live in the constituency they represent?

* You are a public servant soon to retire, are you in agreement that the prime ministers and members of Parliament should not enjoy a pension, in the case of prime ministers, equivalent to their last salary, take into consideration your pension is not realistically based on the contribution you make, but a percentage of your last salary?

* You operate a business that employ a fair amount of employees, do you feel justified that they are paid fair wages?

* Do you sexually harass your employees, pay them equally for same work?

* Have you voted more than once during any election, abstain from voting most times, do you think voting is a responsibility that you should regard as a duty?

* What would be your reaction if twice weekly cruise ships with same-sex tourists were allowed to vacation in Jamaica, with a potential earning of US$1billon per year with an employment possibility of over 5,000 people, including your relatives and friends?

* Were you approached to boycott all Independence Day celebrations hosted by the Government to send a clear message to the country’s legislature that we are not satisfied with their performance, and would you insist that they use the money for the most vulnerable in the society, and that they should spend the entire day with their constituents with no media coverage?

* Do you think that if the PNP shows remorse and apologises to the Jamaican people for the indiscretions they have committed during their tenure in office the public will accept it and reward them with an extended term in office?

* Who do you believe was the worst and best prime ministers?

* When was the last time you help someone who requested your help?

As a professional in essential services, would you go on sick-out for wage increase considering your actions could cost lives?

As a media practitioner do you at all times disseminate all information, excluding threat to national security, without bias? Does your political allegiance affect judgement to share the facts with the public?

Are you an advocate for “eat a food syndrome”?

If our moral compasses were reset, do you believe it would have positive effect on the direction in which the country would move?

Ask yourself, what can I do to help this blessed country to wrest it from slipping further into the abyss?

Out of the closet: Sexual starvation in Christian marriages

Many know of its rampancy among Christian couples but have chosen to hide or downplay it — the deliberate withholding of sexual intercourse and even romantic intimacy from one’s spouse. Women mostly, but some men as well, are guilty of this behaviour.

This troubling issue first surfaced as a matter of concern some 20 years ago during a postgraduate class I was teaching. Those who were vocal knew that I would not muzzle them, so they spoke very frankly and freely, informing me that they knew personally several couples in their churches that were involved in this behaviour. The faces of those who elected not to speak betrayed guilty knowledge suppressed by cowardice or personal pain.

Though it was not a psychology class, and thus tangential to the subject at hand, I raised questions about the possible reasons behind a spouse’s refusal to share sexually and more to the subject area in the class — the biblical perspectives on such refusal. Some of the responses were as blunt as they were insightful.

I recall one female psychology major suggesting that women refuse to share sexually when they know or suspect that their husbands have committed adultery. A male theology major could hardly wait for her to finish before urging the point: “Yes, we all know that adultery is a sin, but women forget that ‘sexual fraud’, as Paul calls it in 1 Corinthians 7, is also a sin, but who talks about that?”

He had scarcely finished his point when a very young-looking lady quickly and innocently asked: “My brother, I don’t know the Bible very well, so where exactly in 1 Corinthians 7 does Paul speak about sexual fraud, because I didn’t know such things were in the Bible?”

I still recall the mischievous glee on the brother’s face as he stood, pulled out his Bible, and proudly said: “Let me read for you all, 1 Corinthians 7: 1 – 5, not from the tame King James Version, but from the more precise and modern Contemporary English Version. Listen up. Quote.

‘Now I will answer the questions that you asked in your letter. You asked, Is it best for people not to marry?

2 Well, having your own husband or wife should keep you from doing something immoral.

3 Husbands and wives should be fair with each other about having sex.

4 A wife belongs to her husband, instead of to herself, and a husband belongs to his wife, instead of to himself.

5 So don’t refuse sex to each other, unless you agree not to have sex for a little while, in order to spend time in prayer. Then Satan won’t be able to tempt you because of your lack of self-control.’ End quote.”

The young lady who opened the door for this revelation just as quickly asked someone to read the text from the King James Version. A mature woman obliged by pulling out her electronic reader and read. “Beginning,

‘Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.

2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.

3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.

4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.

5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.’ That’s it.”

Audible laughter came from some students, and smiles broke across every other face when the young student turned to me for help saying: “Sir, you are a Greek scholar. Is the contemporary version faithful to the original Greek?”

I had wanted to let them dialogue further, but now I was put on the spot. It became worse because before I had a chance to explain, a student requested permission to share right after me what he described as an unorthodox view he had had for years. Knowing his usual reluctance to talk in class I told him “most certainly”. I almost regretted that I had said that as I’ll explain presently.

I told the class that Paul indeed spoke of sexual fraud in the text in question, and that the main verb ‘defraud’ in the King James Version’s “defraud ye not one the other” (v 5) is a translation of a Greek verb apostereite (sound= aposterayte, with short ‘e’ as in ‘met’ both times) which suggests depriving someone of what is due to and deserved by the person, with a possible hint of deception in the process; it is ‘cooking the books sexually’.

Then I indulged my innate provocative nature by adding, “Paul, in Jamaican parlance, is here encouraging married couples to tear off each other’s garments regularly, and to break the habit only by mutual consent for a short period to give themselves to [protracted] prayer.”

By the time I was through saying this I could hear lots of “Sir, Sir…” as hands shot up across the room. The student who had sought permission to speak after me stood up and said, “Sir, I have the floor by your permission. Brethren, please brace yourselves for what I am about to say.”

The class fell silent as all eyes turned toward him. He continued: “I have pondered this business of adultery in churches for a long time, and I know many of you will write me off, but if a man — sorry ladies, we are the usual sufferers — is being sexually starved at home he must feed somewhere else.” The mixed mumblings were almost drowning him out when he raised his voice above the din and upped the ante by adding: “Here is another shocker to think about: Not all cases of adultery arise from sexual greed. Some are prompted by acute sexual need.”

He sat down to a mixture of mild clapping and boos with a worried look on his face. So I asked him if he thought sexual need made adultery excusable. He stood again, as if to underline his reply to me, and calmly said: “No, Sir, but sexual need surely makes adultery perfectly understandable for me at least.”

The amens he got were only slightly muted, and even some of those who booed him earlier nodded in agreement, slowly, as if doing so reluctantly.

I raise this very delicate and possibly explosive subject because, over the years, the issue has resurfaced time and again in small male group discussion, but it deserves wider and more public treatment.

If you know this to be a current concern in your church circles, please e-mail me, because I want to take up the matter more clinically with a few of my friends in psychology. But I need evidence that it is not just happening ‘in a corner’, or resident only in ‘the odd closet or two’.

Racism thrives because black nations fail

Racism is a global growth industry, and in America white police kill black men and the courts exonerate them as, despite the rhetoric, blacks do not count. Why should they when they can’t prosper one of the dozens of nations they rule?

Blacks are 13 per cent of the US population and account for 32 per cent of police shootings in 2012 — Trayvon Martin, Walter Scott two notches on a six-gun. The effect on black men in 2015 is as it was in 1715 — then a rope, now a gun.

Racism exists wherever there are black people. Why? In Jos, Nigeria, blacks just killed 42 blacks and we do not blink, yet we’re rabid when police kill one black youth in the USA. Recall 300 virgins taken a year ago? Silence! Is it that we expect savagery of blacks but not whites? You racist!

It was a liberal dream that, with education, laws, and cultural exchange racism would die. But it did not. They love our jazz, ladies, entertainers, athletes, tennis aces, yet racism is as in days of Jim Crow or Enoch Powell’s “river of blood” speech. Mixed marriages, integrated schools, black MPs, black president, did racism die? No way!

So, let’s go back to first principles. Is racism normal? Are species wired to prefer their own? Are blacks fighting a losing battle? So let’s deconstruct racism.

Old theories of racism and solutions don’t work, nor do set asides and quotas; what next? What fuels racism? Some say slavery caused racism. But it is dead, and despite multi-hued slaves only black racism grows. Most ethnic groups are racist to blacks, and we equally so! Racist Africa expelled Asians (UK took them) as Dom Rep does Haitians today. Our racists target Indian, Chinese using derogatory names and belittle their success as “yuh see ‘ow all a dem pack up inna on ‘ouse, an a calaloo and rice dem eat an dem av money; mi haffi eat meat!” Many envy success, live a hedonist party life, and avoid hard graft. Blacks love talk of descending from African kings and love titles, but how does living in the past help today? Quite a racist conundrum. So, what really is racism?

Racism is about power not race. Black power was good, but misguided. One black man’s success is no use as racism is not about personal power. Racism is about nation power. The day one black nation has top military, space and nuclear capability, racism goes into immediate remission. We can then dump goody-goody projects, empowerment seminars and basket weaving. Blacks will have power and get respect!

No black nation colonised a white one or other — not ever! They had no power. Many black nations exist, but none prospers. That slavery is the root of racism or the cause of black poverty is a cleverly crafted subterfuge by lazy-brained blacks; rip-off reparations and back-to-Africa scams. Racism against “Gooks” died with Japan’s prosperity; the Chinese blew it away with cash and WMDs. India (remember we dissed Coolie man?) is gone clear with technology, space and nuclear arms. African is the only major population to be universally disrespected, even here; why? They have no prosperous, potential menacing nation. Others ask: Can they make the grade? Maybe, but with no proof of concept, let’s stick it to blacks!

Racism is rife in black nations. Small Jamaica is up front with big Nigeria as having great potential but mired in ennui, corruption and racism. China, USA, Russia, Europe call the shots and back it with cash or nukes! Racism in America will wane when we stop our minstrel show and build Jamaica. Global racism will fade when rich Nigeria goes nuclear and is seated at the top table. We may change hearts, but the ability to say “or else” is the power the world respects. Black nations fail and this feeds global racism. We are our worst enemies.

Did capitalism cause racism? Marcus Garvey was on track with economic and military plans. The best capitalists were colour blind African, Arab and later European men who founded offshore slavery; and I am open to reparations from all of them. But I would like to put a lick on ‘Cudjoe’ in West Africa for selling my grandfather of the fifth power to white people. I do not forgive Africa.

Racism is not of slavery and rich blacks can’t stanch racism as it’s not personal it’s national. Whites are powerful for eons; other races got there later. Blacks are powerless victims and purveyors of racism. Black power was good but misguided. To riot in white man’s country can’t help us as it is still his land; riot in your own and build it fool! Only a prosperous black country with the fearsome trappings of WMDs can halt racism. When China was communist — known for laundries and food; and it was dissed — it built economic success, WMDs and got respect. Other races ordered their folks, scientists invented, stole or borrowed technology and got to a point where they could destroy the world — welcome to the head table! Every black nation is a satrapy. Ours, with the best brand, shames the new world negro; rich, big Nigeria shames itself and black people everywhere! Blacks can end racism but we will not apply ourselves!

Black nations produce few goods, mainly services — wrong move! They live off nature’s bounty — tourism, beach, jungle, wild animals; to sing, dance, run, preen on a stage is what we do. Blacks do not produce basics — sanitary napkin, car, gun, ship, toilet paper — yet use them with impunity. Blacks do not pull their weight globally, even in farming, and lag on all metrics — innovation, hard work, sacrifice, production, prosperity. They suffer for their performance deficits and use it to blackmail white people for aid. Prosperity and an equal capability for terror by one black nation anywhere will sound the death knell of racism everywhere. Over to you, black chiefs, kings and politicians — do it! Stay conscious, my friend!

Russia claims to have super weapon that disables western satellites and long range arms

Russia is boasting a major advance in electronic warfare technology enabling Vladimir Putin’s armed forces to zap foreign military satellites, and “switch off” enemy weapons.

The new system will muzzle the guidance systems of Western cruise missiles and other high-precision arms, it is claimed.

Its Russian makers say it is a “fundamentally new electronic warfare system” which can be mounted on ground-based as well as air- and sea-borne carriers.

Russia’s Radio-Electronic Technologies Group (KRET) deputy chief Yuri Mayevsky said: “The system will target the enemy’s deck-based, tactical, long-range and strategic aircraft, electronic means and suppress foreign military satellites’ radio-electronic equipment.”

BarcroftRussia’s deputy defense minister Tatyana Shevtsova, Russia’s president Vladimir Putin and Russia’s defense minister Sergei Shoigu
“It will not be based on satellites as this is prohibited by international rules and we comply with this rule.”

The Russian hailing of its new super weapon comes as relations with the West are at their lowest ebb since the collapse of the Soviet Union, with fears of a new Cold War.

President Vladimir Putin has invested heavily in rebuilding his country’s military might, which has lagged behind the West since the end of the Soviet era.

The new technology “will fully suppress communications, navigation and target location, and the use of high-precision weapons”, said Mikheyev, who did not give further details of the claimed military breakthrough.

BarcroftAnton Gubankov, head of the culture department at Russia’s defense ministry, Russia’s president Vladimir Putin and Russia’s defense minister Sergei Shoigu
“The system will be used against cruise missiles and will suppress satellite-based radio location systems.

“It will actually switch off enemy weapons.”

The system is due to be fully tested in the near future.

“Ground tests are now going on in workshops,” he said.

“At the end of the year, the system’s component will leave the factory gates for trials at testing ranges.”

Scientists believe universe will end with a ‘Big Rip’

The End is Nigh – but not for another 22 billion years. Scientists believe as the universe continues to expand at an increasing rate, it will eventually disintegrate, tearing itself apart in the form of a ‘Big Rip’, rather than a ‘Big Bang’.

Planets and particles will be shredded in the final seconds before all of known space and time disappears.

Experts studied distant exploding stars to examine whether the ‘Big Rip’ theory was true.

The further away they are the redder they appear, because the light has been stretched out as it travels through space to reach us.

“The idea of the Big Rip is that eventually even the constituents of matter would start separating from each other. You’d be seeing all the atoms being ripped apart. It’s fair to say that it’s a dramatic scenario” said Dr Marcelo Disconzi from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.

“Mathematically we know what this means. But what it actually means in physical terms is hard to fathom,” he said.

Scientists believe ‘dark energy’, which is believed to make up about 70 percent of the universe, is dragging it towards eventual oblivion.

“You have this competition between dark energy, that tries to expand the universe, and gravity, that tends to make it collapse again. The question is who wins?” said Dr Disconzi.

If gravity wins, we face the ‘Big Crunch’, which sees the expansion slowing down until there is a reverse of the ‘Big Bang’, the episode which is believed to have kick-started the cosmos almost 14 billion years ago.

Other ideas have included the ‘Big Freeze’, where the universe slowly expands until it eventually becomes too cold to sustain life.

Dr Disconzi added, “What is known from current observational data is that a Big Rip scenario is possible, although the available data is far from conclusive.”

News ISPA in Britain Picks Home Secretary Theresa May for Web’s Number 1 Villain Award – See more at: http://www.biztekmojo.com/00899/ispa-britain-picks-home-secretary-theresa-may-webs-number-1-villain-award.

The Internet Service Providers’ Association (ISPA) in the UK has awarded home secretary Theresa May with “Web’s No. 1 Villain” title.

ISPA is a lobbying group, which represents Microsoft, Google, AOL and Internet-service providers in Britain. The group selected May for this not-so-famous award for her support to the “Snooper’s Charter” and not consulting the civil society and industry on this issue.

Tech and telecom companies in Britain are worried with May’s plans of revising the British laws to give more powers to security agencies to track terrorist and criminals. Snooper’s Charter is an investigatory powers bill that has been revised a number of times in the past. Earlier versions of this bill had provisions of asking tech companies and carriers to store more user data, including users’ browsing history as well as their social media usage data.

“With an investigatory powers bill due before parliament in the coming months, it is essential that ISPs are consulted.” the ISPA states.

The association thinks May is “forging ahead with communications data legislation that would significantly increase capabilities without adequate consultation with industry and civil society.”

May’s office has refused to comment on the ISPA’s award.

According to Andrew Kernahan, ISPA’s public affairs manager, the industry wants a debate on this issue and is interested in knowing what the government actually wants.

Kernahan thinks the Home Office doesn’t seem to be interested in that debate and has “proceeded in a pretty backroom way.”

Earlier this year, May had argued that a Snooper’s Charter is “necessary” for safety and security of the people.

“It is not possible to debate the balance between privacy and security, including the rights and wrongs of intrusive powers, without also understanding the threats.” May said last month.

Privacy advocates, however, argue that a bill like Snooper’s Charter goes too far.

Every society needs some hero too, and therefore MPs David Davis and Tom Watson were adjudged the joint winner of internet “hero” award for this year. They were considered “hero” for their legal actions against the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act.

A statement from ISPA read: “Surveillance has dominated both the hero and villain shortlists for number of years, and it was felt Davis and Watson were some of the best informed politicians on the subject.”

John Souter, chief executive of Linx, the London Internet Exchange, received a special 20th anniversary award for his long service to the UK internet industry.

Human Rights Act Proposal Prompts Queen To Give David Cameron ‘Evil’ During Queen’s Speech

The Queen is meant to be strictly neutral and her annual Queen’s Speech is written by ministers – she has no say in its contents.

But it looked like she couldn’t help but make her feelings known when she read the part about how her government will explore abolishing the Human Rights Act and replace a British Bill of Rights.

The speech was expected to include a commitment to do that but it was pulled at the last minute, to the outrage of the right-wing press, which has fought for the change, and to the presumed delight of a raft of celebrities who voiced their support for the Act.

The proposal to scrap that act is intended to reduce the influence of the European courts’ decisions on British judges but has been criticised for being vague and misguided.

In the speech, the Queen said: “My government will bring forward proposals for a British Bill of Rights.”

She then looked up, and appeared to fix her eyes on Cameron, before sighing.

Tweeters who oppose the abolition of the Act were delighted with the apparent gesture.

They variously described the brief moment as the Queen doing “a huff and an evil”, “looking horrified” and rolling her eyes.
The fact the speech only mentions “exploring” axing the Act was taken to be a significant climbdown by the government.

The Times’ headline today was “Cameron blinks first in Human Rights row”.
Former shadow home secretary David Davis told HuffPost UK: “I’m glad that they appear to have listening about the folly of abolishing the Human Rights Act in the 800th year of the Magna Carta.

“I hope that this indicates that they are thinking very carefully about the enormous constitutional ramifications of what they are planning.”

His comment reflects unease among some Conservative backbenchers about their party’s plans to axe the Act.

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Civil liberties campaigners have also opposed the plan.

Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, said: “It is heartening that a Conservative Government committed to scrapping the Human Rights Act has at least paused for thought in its first Queen’s Speech. There is a long struggle ahead but time is the friend of freedom.

“The more this new Parliament understands the value of the Act for all of us in this United Kingdom and our reputation in the world, the more it is likely to understand how dangerous it would be to replace human rights with mere citizens’ privileges.”

Labour leadership candidate Andy Burnham defended the Act, suggesting it could have helped the families of Hillsborough, for whom he has campaigned as an MP.

Writing in today’s Daily Mirror, he said: “Of course, there have been occasions when the Act has been misused – and these have been widely reported. But there are many other examples where it has helped vulnerable people stand up for themselves against government agencies, public bodies and large corporations.

“For instance, if the Human Rights Act had been in force at the time of the Hillsborough disaster, it might have given the families more ability to fight the appalling abuse of power they have suffered for 26 years.”

Keeping Truth Legal: It Is Our Right to Film Police

Without the video from the cases of Freddie Gray, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, and Walter Scott, these cases and many others would have gone uninvestigated and unnoticed; with many holding staunchly to the belief that whatever is written in a police report is fact. Still, even with these cases, large public outcry, and overwhelming evidence, there is still mistrust and demonization of the people decrying their treatment by law enforcement. The bias is so bad, in fact, that as opposed to doing further investigation into the claims of misconduct on a larger, more comprehensive scale, such as those seen in our video above, local law makers and states have attempted to curtail the filming of law enforcement that bolsters the claims.

That’s right. Instead of admitting that the state of policing in this country is hugely problematic and working with communities to fully uncover depths of the problem, many are systematically working to cover up any trace that a problem exists. Some of the more notable attempts as of late:

Just this March, Texas State Rep. Jason Villalba(R) tried to pass a law in Texas that would make it a class B misdemeanor to film police within 100 feet if they have their handgun out.

In Missouri, State Senator Doug Libla opposed a bill that required police to wear body cameras. Instead, he proposed his own bill, that not only didn’t require body cameras, but would have exempted all footage of police encounters from state open records laws.

Twelve states have adopted what is known as a two party consent eavesdropping law that police have successfully used to confiscate and arrest anyone filming them on duty. These laws simply mean that if someone, including police, has “a reasonable expectation of privacy” when they are filmed, they have to give their consent to be recorded.

The problem, of course, is that public servants, such as police, should NOT have a reasonable expectation of privacy while performing their public duties, in public spaces, amongst the public. It IS punishable to interfere with an arrest or their work, as it should be. But if all protocol is being followed, filming should not be considered interference.

Opposition party planning country-wide protests in Guyana

GEORGETOWN, Guyana (CMC) – The main Opposition People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) maintaining that the May 11 regional and general elections had been flawed, says it plans to embark on country-wide protest action.

In a statement, the party is also claiming that the international observers, who all agreed that the elections were free and fair, were in fact duped, without elaborating.

“The Central Committee remains convinced that based on feedback received from its Polling Agents and Statements of Poll received, it won the majority of the votes in both national and regional elections,” the party said in a statement.

Last weekend, the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) said the opposition coalition alliance had won the elections.

According to GECOM, the coalition comprising A Partnership for National Unity and the Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) received 207,200 votes as compared to 202,694 for the PPP/C.

But the PPP/C said that the results declared by GECOM failed to reflect the true will of the Guyanese people and the party also reiterated its call for GECOM’s Chairman, Dr Steve Surujbally to resign.

“Protest actions are also planned at all GECOM offices throughout the country to demand a total recount of all votes cast and the resignation of GECOM Chairman,” the PPP/C added.

The party said that it s presently compiling evidence to file an election petition with representation from local and international lawyers.

“Central Committee deliberated on ways to strengthen and rebrand the Party in order to be better positioned to defend the masses against the undemocratic imposition of the APNU- AFC coalition to the seat of Government,” the party said.

The Central Committee also recognised that the observers were duped into believing that the elections were free and fair, the statement said.

“The main aspect of the electoral process which was to observe the counting of ballots and the verification of statement of poll was left entirely in the hands of the GECOM officials many of who are activists and supporters of the APNU-AFC.”

Witness confirms ISIS destruction of ancient temple in Syria

Originally posted on Global News:

BEIRUT — A resident in the Syrian city of Palmyra says Islamic State militants have demolished the ancient temple of Baalshamin after laying explosives around it for over a month, confirming earlier reports.

The U.N. cultural watchdog UNESCO called the destruction of the temple a “war crime” and an “immense loss for the Syrian people and for humanity.”

The witness, who goes by the name Nasser al-Thaer, said Monday the bombing took place a day earlier. He said he feared for the other ancient sites in Palmyra but that no explosives have been placed around them.

An IS operative told The Associated Press over Skype that a statement would be issued soon. He spoke on condition of anonymity because members of the group are not allowed to speak to media.

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PUERTO RICA: ‘ Human rights activist asks authorities to investigate murder of three gay men ‘

Originally posted on Ace News Services:

#AceNewsReport – PUERTO RICA:Aug.23: Human rights activist Pedro Julio Serrano asked Puerto Rican authorities on Saturday to investigate the murders of three openly gay young men over the past month on the Caribbean island, and not to dismiss the possible “hate angle” sparked by their sexual orientation.


Ace Worldwide News

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Government must give five days’ notice on sick leave deal, judge says

Originally posted on National Post:

An Ontario Superior Court judge ordered the Conservative government to give five days’ notice if it plans to impose a new sick leave deal on Canada’s public servants.

Justice Robert Beaudoin set Oct. 29 to hear a motion brought by federal unions for an injunction to stop the government from invoking new legislative powers that would allow it to force a deal.

The Conservatives’ legislation leaves the timing for a deal wide open but Treasury Board President Tony Clement has said he wants a deal before the Oct. 19 election.

In his order, Beaudoin said if the government intends to go ahead, it should provide five working days’ notice of its plans. The court will then decide whether the Oct. 29 hearing should be rescheduled.

Thirteen of the 17 federal unions recently filed a motion seeking an injunction to stop the government from invoking the new powers it gave itself…

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Flying displays over land by vintage jet aircraft will be ‘significantly restricted’ following the Shoreham disaster, CAA says – @PA

Originally posted on Washington Star Journal:

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Mel Gibson Shoves & Spits On Female Photographer In Australia — Report

Originally posted on Hollywood Life:

Mel Gibson is in HOT water. The actor has been accused of shoving and spitting in a female photographer’s face, but he’s vehemently denying her allegations. Read his statement here.

A photographer for the Daily Telegraph has made some shocking claims about her recent encounter with Mel Gibson. Kristi Miller alleges that the actor got physical with her when she was photographing him in Australia, and says that he was also verbally abusive. The 59-year-old is denying Kristi’s recount of the alleged altercation.

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