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.”

2 babies trampled in rush at Passport Office.


KINGSTON, Jamaica – Chaos broke out at the Passport Office at Constant Spring Road this morning as a crowd gathered at the organisation in their continued effort to process passports before the fee hike takes effect next Tuesday.

Reports are that the mad rush resulted in a stampede that left at least two children injured.

“Two babies were trampled this morning about 6:00 am as a large group of customers tried to enter through the gates of the institution,” said Dayon Grey, an alleged eyewitness.

Police and members of the Jamaica Defence Force are now on location trying to maintain order.

The Passport Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) on Sunday said that as of Tuesday, May 26, the cost of a regular adult passport will move from $4,500 to $6,500, while the passport for a minor will move from $2,700 to $4,000.

In addition, replacing lost passports for adults will cost $11,500 (up from $9,500) and $7,000 (up from $5,700) for minors.

Yesterday a strong police detachment was at the office to help control the large crowd that had gathered at the gates of the institution.

People at the PICA office made it clear that they were trying to get their documents before the new fees came into effect.

One dead, 3 hospitalised after ingesting drug pellets


KINGSTON, Jamaica – The police on Wednesday reported that one of four people, who swallowed drug pellets, has died within the past month.

The lawmen have warned against the practice and cautioned that it not only will lead to their arrest but it has serious, sometimes fatal, implications for their health.

They report that a woman died suddenly at home on Sunday, April 26. Post mortem examination later revealed 20 pellets of cocaine as well as an empty plastic casing in her stomach.

Meanwhile, three passengers at the Norman Manley International Airport (NMIA) were detained and later hospitalised for drug ingestion during the period of Thursday, April 30 to Saturday, May 07.

Two of the traffickers had to undergo surgery to remove the drugs due to complications.

On Thursday April 30, 32-year-old Rohan Carr, a welder of Blacksmith Lane, Seafort in St Thomas and another passenger whose name is being withheld to facilitate the investigation, arrived at the NMIA to board an out-going flight to Curacao.

The police report that it was discovered that they had ingested packages of narcotic substance during a routine security screening.

They were interviewed and later arrested by police from the Transnational Crime and Narcotics Division (TCND) and taken to the hospital where they were admitted.

Whilst at the hospital both Carr and the other detainee complained of swelling in the stomach and had to undergo emergency surgery, where 33 and 27 ganja pellets respectively, were removed from their stomachs.

Following the surgery, Carr expelled another 40 ganja pellets taking the total to 77 pellets.

He was subsequently released and taken before the Corporate Area Court on Monday, May 11 where the matter was postponed until Wednesday, May 13. It was again postponed until June 30.

The other detainee developed complication and is currently in the intensive care unit at the hospital.

A similar incident occurred on Saturday, May 07 involving a passenger from an incoming flight.

The passenger, Owen Robinson, 48, farmer of Cave Valley district in Hanover, arrived at the NMIA on a flight from Suriname and was arrested by police from the TCND following security checks.

He was taken to the hospital where he was admitted. Robinson later expelled a total of 143 cocaine pellets weighing 1.86 kg with a street value of J$1.6 million.

He has since been released from the hospital and will appear in the Corporate Area Criminal Court on Wednesday, May 20, 2015.

Meanwhile, on Sunday, April 26 a female of a Kingston 11 address died suddenly at home.

A post mortem examination was conducted on Tuesday, May 12 which revealed 20 pellets of cocaine as well as an empty plastic casing in her stomach.

Debris burn as protest intensifies in St Thomas


ST THOMAS, Jamaica — Debris used to block the Bath main road here on Tuesday was a short while ago relit by residents in protest against Monday’s killing of 63-year-old farmer Alvin Allen by the police.

Residents, angered by the killing, which they claimed is a case of murder, blocked the main road in several sections on Tuesday morning, cutting off the thoroughfare to vehicular traffic. They also lit fire to some of the debris, which consisted of tyres and old refrigerator, among other things.

Police were maintaining a presence in the community, but there was no attempt by them, when OBSERVER ONLINE was on the scene, to remove the debris. A new blockage was mounted Tuesday night as the news team was leaving the area.

Reports are that Allen was shot dead in a section of the community around 10:00 Monday morning in an alleged shoot-out with the police. Ammunition was also reportedly seized after the incident.

However, Allen’s loved ones and residents are claiming that the elderly man was murdered by the police.

Residents told OBSERVER ONLINE that Allen was not a gunman and has never been involved in a conflict in the area. His hand was not fully functional because of an injury, they claim.

“I would like these people who murdered him to go to prison,” sister of the deceased, Dawn Allen, told OBSERVER ONLINE. “Is only sensibility why I don’t say I want them to be killed.”

Allen’s brother Junior Prussia said he wants his sibling’s hands tested as this would show that he wasn’t firing a gun.

Another sister, Shirley Prussia, said: “He’s not a criminal. He’s an old man. He’s a friendly person.”

The family is in the process of reaching out to a human rights group in their quest for justice.

The Independent Commission of Investigations is probing the shooting.

Paul Henry

Massive protest amid astonishing wire-tap scandal


Tens of thousands of anti-government protesters rally in Macedonia
to call for the resignation of the country’s prime minister amid an astonishing scandal over secretly recorded phone conversations.
Crowds gathered in front of Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski’s government office calling for his resignation, something the conservative leader has refused to do.

There are concerns the anger could spill over into confrontation as Gruevski has called for his own rally on Monday. Protesters say they intend to camp out in the streets until the prime minister quits.

The small nation of just two million people has already seen bloody violence – last weekend a gun battle in the country’s north claimed the lives of eight policeman and ten ethnic Albanians, described by the government as “terrorists”.

Wire-tap ‘bombs’
The explosion of public anger has come from the leaking, by Macedonia’s leftist opposition, of a series of secretly recorded telephone conversations involving top government officials in which they allegedly discuss everything from vote-rigging to covering up killings.

Macedonia’s government says the wiretaps are the work of an intelligence organisation of some unnamed country working to topple the government. Russia has also accused the West of trying to foment a “colour revolution”.

Prime Minister Gruevski has not disputed that the voices are genuine but says that he did not order the recordings and that the tapes have been doctored.

Six people, including a former chief of the secret services, have been charged with making the tapes and the opposition leader, Zoran Zaev, who has been leaking the coversations – which the opposition call “bombs” – has been charged with threatening violence against the prime minister.

And yet the anger still rages in Macedonia.

‘Vote-rigging’ and ‘murder’
The Social Democratic Union of Macedonia, the opposition party, says it has snippets of recordings from 670,000 conversations from more than 20,000 telephone numbers.

The conversations appear to show tight government control over journalists, judges and election officials during Prime Minister Gruevski’s nine year rule.

The content of the conversations is reported to include government officials planning how to rig elections and the head of secret police talking about having a political opponent raped in prison.

Mr Zaev also says he has wire-taps concerning a notorious murder case from 2012, when five Macedonian men were shot dead at a lake near Skopje.

Political earthquake
It is the biggest political earthquake to hit Macedonia since the country teetered on the edge of civil war in 2001, when the ethnic Albanian National Liberation Army clashed with government forces.

Macedonia wants to join NATO and the European Union, but progress has been blocked for years by a long-running dispute with neighbouring Greece over the country’s name.

During that time, critics say Gruevski has shifted right, stoking nationalism and monopolising power.

The violence last weekend took place when police raided a northern ethnic Albanian neighbourhood. 18 people, including police and Albanians, died in the ensuing gun battle.

Prime Minister Gruevski has said he thwarted a terrorist plot, but critics have questioned the timing of the incident, suggesting the leader may have been trying to create a diversion.

The UN, Nato and the European Union have called for calm and an investigation into the incident.

RAF jets escort Russian aircraft



RAF Typhoon fighter jets were scrambled after two Russian military aircraft were seen flying towards UK airspace, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has said.
The British jets were launched from RAF Lossiemouth after the Russian planes were spotted north of Scotland.
An MoD spokesman said: “At no time did the Russian military aircraft cross into UK sovereign airspace.”
The Russian bombers were not deemed to be a threat, he added.
The aircraft were identified as Russian “Bear” strategic bombers.
It is the latest of several similar incidents involving Russian military aircraft flying close to UK airspace.
‘Flexing military might’
BBC defence correspondent Jonathan Beale says the RAF is “pretty used to this now” and seems to be intercepting Russian planes “about once a month”.
He said: “There has been a dramatic increase in Russian encroachments – this year there have been three times as many [RAF] intercepts as previous years.
“The worry is when these Russian bombers come, there’s no signal – they don’t have their transponder, they are not ‘squawking’ – so in other words, only military radar pick them up.”
With the Russians investing heavily in their military, he said it was “another example of Russia flexing its military might”.
Warfare exercise
Russian officials have consistently denied any wrongdoing and said their planes have been complying with international rules.
Tensions between Nato countries and Russia have risen in recent months over Moscow’s role in the conflict in Ukraine and its annexation of Crimea.
In the North Sea, off the coast of Norway, Nato has been conducting its largest ever anti-submarine warfare exercise.
It is seen as a response to the growing threat from Russian submarines which have stepped up their own patrols in the area.

Kengate: Prime Minister David Cameron Personally Implicated In Scandal!



David Cameron disappears Kengate Tapes whilst Head of Corporate Communications for Carlton Television during the “Cash for Questions” scandal back in 1994. Will he be above the law as well?
The Metropolitan Police Paedophile Unit confirmed this week to me personally that there was indeed a government and Carlton Television conspiracy over the Kengate Tapes. The police confirmed that Ian Greer along with Carlton Television conspired to cover up the “Cash for Questions” scandal for John Major’s government back in 1994. So the Prime Minster David Cameron covered up a scandal of paedophilia in 1994 as a corporate “sleaze fixer” for Carlton Television, on behalf of John Major’s Conservative Government, through Ian Greer. Now as Prime Minister, David Cameron is preventing the Metropolitan Police from investigating my case against Kenneth Clarke MP, who was involved in the scandal of sexually assaulting me in Ian Greer’s office, which Cameron helped cover up!

Okay, let’s just take a breath…

A number of political scandals in the 1980s and 1990s created the impression of what was described in the British press as “sleaze”: a perception that the then Conservative Government was associated with political corruption and hypocrisy. In particular, the successful entrapment of Graham Riddick and David Tredinnick in the “Cash for Questions” scandal of 1994, the contemporaneous misconduct as ministers by Neil Hamilton, Tim Smith, and the convictions of former Cabinet Member Jonathan Aitken and former party deputy chairman Jeffrey Archer for perjury in two separate cases leading to custodial sentences damaged the Conservatives’ public reputation. Persistent rumours about the activities of the party treasurer Michael Ashcroft furthered this impression. At the same time, a series of revelations about the private lives of various Conservative politicians such as Hague, Portillo, etc, etc., made the headlines. Scallywag Magazine even accused Lord McAlpine of being a paedophile. However the investigation was stopped but McAlpine didn’t sue Scallywag Magazine as they had photographic evidence apparently which then subsequently disappeared. See the pattern? Paedophile rings all operate in the same way.

Kenneth Clarke MP who is above the law according to the Metropolitan Police

Detective Constable Ben Lambskin of the Met Police’s Paedophile Unit told me that Central Television had been bought by Carlton Television in order to shut down the Cook Report and control the now infamous Kengate Tapes. DC Lambskin said, “The possible location for the tapes is that it was taken away by a Carlton Television lawyer who was dealing with the Cook Report and that was the last time it was seen” However I have discovered that the lawyer who took the tapes was indeed operating under the direct orders of our now Prime Minister David Cameron.

Is it possible that in order to protect the Major Government from a scandal of both parliamentary corruption and paedophilia at the heart of government David Cameron, then working at Carlton Television, conspired to mislead the British public, hide evidence that is in the public interest and pervert the course of justice in order to protect paedophiles by disappearing the Kengate Tapes. David Cameron was rewarded by being made Prime Minister nominated at Bilderberg by, now Minister Without Portfolio and Chairman of the Bilderberg Steering Committee – Kenneth Clarke MP. In fact this year Kenneth Clarke MP is taking Prime Minister David Cameron to Bilderberg.

We know that Kenneth Clarke MP was in Ian Greer’s office because of the Kengate Tapes. Clarke joked that he was there so often Greer should put a parliamentary bell in his office, so he’d know when it was time to go and vote.

So now it starts to become clear how far reaching the Kengate scandal goes. It appears that the paedophile ring in Westminster is now also connected to the monarchy by Prince Charles, who had a close and intimate relationship with Jimmy Savile. Of course, if Kenneth Clarke cannot be spoken to by the Police then Prince Charles isn’t going to be spoken to about what exactly his relationship with Savile was. We know now that – “your lovely ladies in Scotland” in a note Prince Charles wrote to Jimmy Savile was actually referring to children.

The Palace is speeding up plans for the Queen to abdicate within the next few months in order to make Charles King to protect him against the Savile scandal. Originally it was planned for the Queen to abdicate before the unveiling of the Ministry of Defence’s release of the World War 2 records of the Royal’s connection to the Nazis. However, the Queen has to allow the Police to question Prince Charles now in order to keep up the pretence of democracy.

On an even more serious note; there is no separation of government and monarch if the Prime Minster is a direct relation to HRH Queen Elizabeth II, which David Cameron is. The fact that the Queen sat in on a cabinet meeting last year was indication enough of the lack of separation. So we’re not living in the democracy we thought, if the Queen can pick up the telephone to the Prime Minister and have her wishes enacted by her relative, the Prime Minister David Cameron.

HRH Prince Charles has questions to answer over the Jimmy Savile scandle

We know that HRH Prince Charles was friends with known paedophile Jimmy Savile. In fact Jimmy Savile was the Prince’s unofficial social secretary. We also know that last year for the Queen’s Jubilee Celebrations the Royals invited a known convicted paedophile onto their Thames Barge. We know that Kenneth Clarke allowed Jimmy Savile access to Broadmoor, by literally giving him a set of keys to enter the maximum security prison, in order for Savile to abuse patients and associate with imprisoned paedophiles and serial killers. Kenneth Clarke and David Cameron are obviously connected to Ian Greer as Ian Greer Associates had Carlton Television, where David Cameron was Head of Communications, as a major client in the 1990s.

So for the circle to be complete how is Prime Minister David Cameron connected to Prince Charles?

Well, it’s very simple if we understand who David Cameron is. David Cameron, is related to the Queen. He is the first Eton-educated Conservative leader since Sir Alec Douglas-Home in the early 1960s. David Cameron, Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince Harry are all members of ‘Whites’ a private members gentlemen’s club in Mayfair – they get a family discount I guess!

David Cameron’s headmaster at Eton was Eric Anderson, who had also been Tony Blair’s housemaster at Fettes Public School, which is dubbed the Scottish Eton. After University Cameron’s first job was in the Conservative Research Department. He progressed quickly through the ranks and was soon briefing ministers such as Kenneth Clarke etc. for their media appearances. He worked with David Davis on the team briefing John Major for Prime Minister’s Questions, and also hooked up with George Osborne, who would go on to be shadow chancellor and his leadership campaign manager.

Cameron spent seven years at Carlton, as Head of Corporate Communications, travelling the world with the firm’s boss Michael Green. But Mr Cameron’s period at Carlton is not remembered so fondly by some of the journalists who had to deal with him. Jeff Randall, writing in The Daily Telegraph where he is a senior executive, said he would not trust Mr Cameron “with my daughter’s pocket money”. “To describe Cameron’s approach to corporate PR as unhelpful and evasive overstates by a widish margin the clarity and plain-speaking that he brought to the job of being Michael Green’s mouthpiece,” wrote the ex-BBC business editor. “In my experience, Cameron never gave a straight answer when dissemblance was a plausible alternative, which probably makes him perfectly suited for the role he now seeks: the next Tony Blair,” Mr Randall wrote. The Sun newspaper’s Business Editor Ian King, recalling the same era, described Mr Cameron as a “poisonous, slippery individual”.

Prime Minster David Cameron needs to answer questions regarding his direct involvement in the Kengate Tapes disappearance, the purchasing of Central Television by Carlton which he oversaw and why is he protecting what appears to be the lead players in an elite paedophile circle.

So all we need to do now is take bets on which “Clarkian” response he will give to these allegations.

A) I have no recollection of those events, what tapes? Etc, etc,.

or

B) It wasn’t me. They made me do it. I’ve signed a confidentiality agreement. It’s not my fault. I’ll have to look in to it. It a case of mistaken identity.

What is clear is that the Kengate scandal, whilst perhaps having a small seemingly insignificant start, is set to rock the very foundations of our society as the breakdown of this corrupt civilisation goes to the heart of government. To say what’s happening is biblical is an understatement!

What will the Police do now? Will they be investigating and talking to Prime Minister David Cameron about his involvement in hiding the truth from the British public which was in their interest to know? What will Parliament do now?

There needs to be a General Election. Prime Minister David Cameron’s position is untenable. He needs to do the honourable thing and resign his post in order for an investigation into his personal involvement with the disappearances of the Kengate tapes and the obvious paedophile ring involving politicians and members of the Royal Family to be investigated.

Paedophile Jimmy Savile

It is clear that Prince Charles, Jimmy Savile, Kenneth Clarke MP and Prime Minister David Cameron are simply the Heads of Department for the paedophile ring and it obviously involves many more people. We now know for a fact that it involves Parliament, the Royal Family, the entertainment industry and the Metropolitan Police who are all involved in protecting paedophiles, procuring children for paedophiles or being paedophiles.

When is enough, enough?

This whole situation can easily be resolved. It’s just about the Kengate tapes and there whereabouts? Find the tapes and this matter will be cleared up once and for all. The very fact that the tapes have been disappeared and the person in Carlton Television who did it just so happens to be now Prime Minister David Cameron who conducted a billion pound corporate takeover of Central Television in order to get hold of the tapes in the first place, speaks for itself.

It appears that David Cameron becoming Prime Minister was a reward by the Bilderberg elite for covering up the paedophile and “Cash for Questions” scandal in the 1990′s.

If once you’ve read this and you still think you live in a democracy…wake up and welcome to the real world.

I’ll leave you with a final word from Detective Constable Ben Lambskin of the Metropolitan Police Paedophile Unit, in attempting to explain the disappearance of the Kengate Tapes, he said “You wouldn’t want that kind of thing out there” .

Obeying the law will no longer be enough to protect you from the police


Obeying the law will no longer be enough to guarantee you are able to live peacefully in the UK without harassment from the state.

David Cameron is set to announce a string of new powers that are seen by many as a challenge to our basic civil liberties.

This sentence from the Tory leader is particularly chilling:

“For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens ‘as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone’.”

Well, in simple terms: obeying the law will no longer be enough to be enough to ensure you escape retribution by the authorities.

Even if you are not suspected of committing any crime, you could be hit by orders preventing you from speaking in public or associating with specific people.

The planned “snooper’s charter” will give the police the right to read your private messages, even if you’re not suspected of any wrongdoing. Now, it seems that if they see anything they don’t like (even if it isn’t criminal) they won’t be obliged to leave you alone.

We know that the Tory government are also planning to scrap the current Human Rights Act and replace it with one that would introduce a “threshold below which Convention [human] rights will not be engaged” – allowing UK courts to strike out certain cases.

This could leave you with no legal recourse to challenge any controls you are subject to.

Why is David Cameron doing this?

He wants to preemptively combat extremism and terrorism. But we already have a number of laws which allow police and counter-terrorism officers to monitor and arrest anybody suspected of being involved in terrorism, or in planning a terrorist attack.

Although these fundamental changes are being brought in under the guise of combating terrorism, this isn’t the limit of their application.

These new changes have the potential to be used against all of us.

The Tories Are Set to Destroy Our Country


The day after the election one BBC commentator perfectly articulated the misleading narrative that has propelled the Conservative party into victory. He suggested that voters now had to ‘make a choice between social justice and economic efficiency’, with economic efficiency apparently being the obvious choice.

The Conservatives have won this election by painting all deviations from their ‘long-term economic plan’ as absurd and dangerous, aided by a Labour Party utterly unable to form a counter narrative, a deliciously hypocritical yet depressingly successful manoeuvre. They have, just as Thatcher did, managed to convince just enough of the electorate that there are ‘no alternatives’ to austerity, privatisation, poverty and inequality to romp home to victory. This clever ploy may have boosted them to a majority in the Commons, but it’ll bring the country to its knees.

Higher levels of state spending may be sneered at by The Sun but thankfully people with actual souls and brains realise that it is both a morally right and economically sound thing to do. To continue to believe that a small state and big business, achieved by austerity, privatisation and deregulation has even the minutest ability to solve our problems is to ignore economic evidence and historical precedent. The best way out of a recession and to get the economy going is for the populace to start spending more: government cuts restrict certain sections of the public from being able to do just that. Cuts look good in the short term but help no one in the long term. The U.S spent their way out the biggest recession in history, why did we assume we couldn’t?

Even the IMF (an organisation that has been forcing austerity upon developing countries for decades) has recently admitted that it had ‘massively underestimated the effects of austerity’ and that much of the research supporting it had been discredited. Nobel Laureate and economics professor Paul Krugman described the ideology as ‘intellectually bankrupt’, deriding Cameron for following an economic approach that has long been abandoned by others. Krugman points out that the little growth the UK has enjoyed over the past parliament only came about post-2012, when the worst of the cuts were already over.

Inequality is also estimated to have kept our economy a good 20% smaller than it would otherwise have been, a problem set only to worsen under a government determined to cut top rates of tax and inheritance tax whilst slashing welfare and worker’s rights. The truth is that state spending, done properly, is an investment that can produce economic returns. Much of the economic evidence is now suggesting that the potential for state spending to fiscally multiply (i.e gain the country money in the long run) has been underestimated, meaning the damage austerity can actually do is much higher. As strange as it sounds, the best way to reduce the deficit can be at times be to spend more in the short term. This also has the minor side effect of improving, rather than ruining, people’s lives too.

The Conservative’s complete failure to grasp this has already left us with a dark legacy. Over a million using food banks per year, at least 1.4 million zero-hours contracts , almost a third of all children are living in poverty, nearly 50,000 people dying simply because they couldn’t heat their home and we have burgeoning private debt. This is on top of tripled tuition fees, cuts to legal aid, massive public sector job losses and arbitrary and unthinking welfare caps (now set to be lower than even the minimum wage).

The future looks equally as bleak. Research by Oxfam suggests that an additional 800,000 British children will live in poverty over the next decade, as well as an extra 1.5 million working age adults, and by 2018, 900,000 public sector workers will have lost their jobs: and this is just based off what the Tories have already done. The very real possibility of even higher tuition fees and student debt, £12 billion of welfare cuts (that we’ve just seen will actually hold back growth as well put many others in misery) and cuts to various government departments look set to plunge us even further into a broken ideological crusade.

Our freedom, that rally call for many on the right, is also in for a hit. The ‘Snoopers’ Charter is back on the agenda, giving the government increased powers to snoop on your calls, texts and emails even if you’re not suspected of any crime. The chilling phrase tucked away in their Bill of British Rights proposal hints of the future of our human rights too: “There will be a threshold below which Convention rights will not be engaged.” What this essentially means is that your human rights will no longer be unequivocal: this government gets to determine what they are and when they apply. Then there’s the flip side of giving more rights to corporations (highlighting the truly backward and depraved morality we must now endure) enshrined in TTIP, allowing corporations to sue governments for any potential loss of profit, effectively destroying the NHS and any chance of environmental regulation crucial to halting climate change.

This is without even getting onto deeper and systemic issues concerning spiralling national and global inequality and the degradation of the planet that continuous growth and consumerism is inflicting upon us, issues the Tories are not just ignoring but actively exacerbating.

A blind reliance on perpetual growth and deregulated business to somehow make things ok sounds dubious theoretically: in practice it has proven to be downright disastrous. The next 5 years will see our treasured public services carved up for the rich, it’ll see increasing divisions and hostility between sections of society, the most vulnerable hit harder again and again, our freedoms eroded and irreparable damage due to climate change draw ever closer.

Many have pointed out that we’ve had an election and the Tories won it (even though they obtained less than 4 in 10 of the votes), so those that don’t like it need to just get over it. This not only fails to grasp just how catastrophic the next 5 years are going to be, but also profoundly misunderstands what democracy is about. Through a media that treats us as consumers, not citizens, and an aloof and archaic political system we have been fed the message that politics is a game played by the elite, watched by us.

A true democracy is where we are constantly engaging in the political conversation: our power does not start and end on election day, we have it all year round. So I will not sit silently as thousands suffer and die and the rich obtain even more power and wealth. I will be protesting, blogging, organising, debating and fighting this government with every inch of my being because that’s what is needed to save lives, and that’s what my democracy not only allows me but implores me to do. I hope that you’ll join me

Personal attack and Politics


During the past few weeks we have seen in British Politics where a number of persons are vying to become Prime Minister.
In doing so I cannot say that there is any concrete evidence of interest untoward the majority of the public.
One thing for sure that I can see is that they are very good at attacking each other personally, but my question is what does one personal affairs got to do with dealing with the Economy of the Country.
Anyway if you are going to give a man’s job to a boy, then whenever the boy fails to produce he will always use dirty tricks against his opponent.
Politics just got stinks.

Concern over palliative care levels


http://www.runcornandwidnesworld.co.uk/resources/images/3662408.jpg?htype=0&display=1&type=mc2

Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups, those aged over 85 and people living in poorer areas are being failed in the quality of palliative care they receive, according to a report.

In all, thousands of patients are not being given sufficient pain relief and respite, the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) said.

Terminally ill patients with illnesses other than cancer are also failing to receive help from specially-trained palliative care staff and less end-of-life care from GPs and district nurses.

Despite more than 70% of deaths being due to other causes than cancer such as respiratory illness, circulatory conditions and dementia, people with non-cancer diagnoses still account for only 20% of all new referrals to specialist palliative care services.

It added that providing palliative care to those that need it could potentially generate net savings of more than £30 million in England, at least £2 million in Wales, more than £1 million in Northern Ireland and £4 million in Scotland due to the reduced need for acute care and fewer hospital deaths.
The report, commissioned by the charity Marie Curie, said some people who would benefit from palliative care do not receive any at all.

It said an estimated 92,000 people in England, 6,100 people in Wales, 3,000 in Northern Ireland and 10,600 people in Scotland who would benefit from palliative care every year but are not currently receiving it.

While those from black, Asian and minority ethnic groups were actually more likely than those of white ethnicity to receive support, they were less likely to consider overall care in the last three months of life to be ” outstanding” or “excellent”. This was the same for people in less deprived areas.

It also pointed to evidence that pain and other distressing symptoms are under-reported by older people and/or under-identified by healthcare professionals, and there is confusion about the role of geriatricians in providing palliative care.

With the number of people aged over 85 expected to more than double over the next 20 years, Marie Curie said the report was deeply concerning and exposes gaps in services along with poor communication and unclear roles and responsibilities.

Josie Dixon research fellow at LSE’s Personal Social Services Research Unit (PSSRU) and lead author, said: “Part of the problem is that palliative care has traditionally been for people with cancer and there is currently a lack of suitable models of palliative care for people with non-cancer and increasingly complex conditions.

“Palliative care can reduce symptoms and pain and help people die where they want to. It can also save money by preventing unwanted and distressing hospitalisations.

“These statistics show that care homes have a growing role in caring for people who are dying, but they need more support from GPs and specialists than currently exists.”

Marie Curie chief executive Dr Jane Collins said: “Everyone affected by terminal illness should have access to all the care and support they need, regardless of their personal circumstances. This report shows that this is not the case and some groups are getting a worse deal than others. We don’t think this is good enough.

“We hope that this compelling evidence is a catalyst for change and used by policy makers and care providers to improve how all people with a terminal illness are cared for in the UK. It has the potential to improve the lives of millions of people, as dying is the one issue that affects us all.”

NASA predicts alien life could be found by 2025


Mars is a lot more barren these days (Picture: Giphy)Bolstered by a flurry of recent discoveries, NASA scientists believe they could find evidence of alien life in the universe as early 2025.

Much of the excitement has been around the discovery of water in so many unexpected places. Several planets including Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune (and their moons) are believed to possess water in their atmosphere and interiors and the five icy moons of Jupiter and Saturn have shown strong evidence of oceans beneath their surfaces.

“I’m going to say we are going to have strong indications of life beyond earth within a decade and I think we are going to have definitive evidence within 20 to 30 years,” Ellen Stofan, NASA’s chief scientist, said at a lecture Tuesday.

“We know where to look. We know how to look,” she said. “In most cases, we have the technology and we are on the path to implementing it. So, I think we are on the road.”

Jeff Newmark, NASA’s interim director of heliophysics, predicted it was a matter of “when, not if” for the discovery of life beyond Earth.

“The pace of our discovery is amazing,” he said. “We will be visiting Pluto, the last of the planets that we haven’t seen. With Solar Probe Plus, we will be visiting our nearest star in a few years. We’re just continuing to discover what is out there.”

The optimism is also driven by what scientists are finding in distant galaxies.

Thanks to the planet-hunting Kepler telescope, launched in 2009, scientists have discovered more than 1,000 exoplanets. Among those were eight new planets announced in January, including two that scientists believe are similar to Earth.

Those two planets, dubbed Kepler-438b and Kepler-442b, are likely to be rocky, an important clue to their potential similarity to Earth. They are also of a comparable size – just 12 percent and 30 percent larger than Earth, respectively – and they orbit red dwarf stars that are “sun-like,” though smaller and cooler.

And in another positive development, scientists on Wednesday announced they had for the first time found the presence of complex organic molecules, the building blocks of life, in a protoplanetary disc – a rotating circumstellar disk of dense gas – surrounding a young star.

The study described in Nature would hint that the conditions that helped spawn the sun and Earth are not unique to our universe.

Using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array telescope, the researchers found the protoplanetary disc around star MWC 480 contains large amounts of methyl cyanide, a complex carbon-based molecule, as well as hydrogen cyanide. The scientists used what is called rotational spectroscopy, a process that identifies the molecules based on the light patterns they emit.

Cyanides, and most especially methyl cyanide, are important because they contain carbon-nitrogen bonds, which are essential for the formation of amino acids, the foundation of proteins and the building blocks of life. There is enough methyl cyanide around MWC 480 to fill all of Earth’s oceans.

The molecules were found in the cold outer reaches of the star’s newly formed disc, in a region that astronomers believe is similar to the Kuiper Belt, a vast population of small bodies orbiting the sun beyond Neptune.

“Studies of comets and asteroids show that the solar nebula that spawned the sun and planets was rich in water and complex organic compounds,” said Karin Öberg, an astronomer with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and lead author of the new paper.

“We now have even better evidence that this same chemistry exists elsewhere in the Universe, in regions that could form solar systems not unlike our own.”

Öberg said the find suggests that a comet forming around this star would be similar to one that formed in our solar system and, along with asteroids, bombarded a young Earth with volatile organic compounds.

“If we find a planet in a habitable zone that looks like Earth, this study shows there is a likelihood that it’s chemistry would look much like a young Earth,” she said, adding they will now search for other molecules in this newly formed discs to better understand its chemistry and what could be up to 100 other protoplanetary discs in our galaxy “sitting around a star similar to our sun.”

MWC 480 is about twice the mass of the sun and is located 455 light-years away in the Taurus star-forming region. The star is believed to be in the early stages of formation and researchers have not thus far detected any obvious signs of planet formation it.

Astronomers have known for some time that cold, dark interstellar clouds are very efficient factories for complex organic molecules, including a group of molecules known as cyanides. Until now, it has remained unclear, however, if these same complex organic molecules commonly form and survive in a newly forming solar system, where shocks and radiation can easily break chemical bonds.

California Institute of Technology’s Geoffrey Black and University of Michigan’s Edwin Bergin, writing a piece accompanying the study, said the discovery “hints at a vast reservoir of ice and volatile species that can seed the surfaces of young rocky planets or moons.”

“This work along with recent studies, demonstrates that protoplanetary discs are active engines of chemical synthesis and that such environments are vital for building chemical complexity long before a planetary surface is created,” Black and Bergin wrote. “The potentially prebiotic chemistry traced by asteroids and comets n the solar system is therefore replicated, at least in part, in other young planetary systems – suggesting that planets are supplied with these life-bearing elements as they are born.”

Eleven-month-old shot dead


An 11-month-old infant was shot and killed on Easter Monday after a gunman invaded the yard where he had been having a bath.

Dead is Omar Lindo, whose birthday was nearing. The incident reportedly happened about 12:50 p.m. on Charles Street, in the vicinity of Chancery Lane, Central Kingston.

According to the child’s grandmother, the mother of the infant was giving him a bath outside when a man was chased into the yard by another man armed with a gun.

“A man run into the yard and another man open the gate and come in and just started shooting up the place,” the grandmother said.

She further added that during the incident, another child was shot in the leg. He was rushed to hospital. His condition could not be immediately ascertained.

Meanwhile, the police have commenced an investigation into the incident.

It is believed that the incident was gang-related, as feuds have been reported in the area.

Indian city tense after ‘barbaric’ lynching of rape suspect


NEW DELHI, India – Riot police Saturday patrolled a northeastern Indian city after the public lynching of a rape suspect, enforcing a round-the-clock curfew for a second day as the killing was condemned as “barbaric and inhuman”.

The 35-year-old suspect, accused of raping a woman multiple times and arrested in late February, was dragged out of prison in Nagaland state by a mob before being beaten to death and strung up to a clock tower on Thursday.

Hundreds of riot police patrolled the streets of Dimapur district after authorities imposed a curfew, with Nagaland Chief Minister T.R. Zeliang telling AFP that “the situation remained tense but… under control”.

Tensions had been rising in the district since February 24 when police arrested the alleged rapist, Syed Farid Khan, over the assault of a 19-year-old tribal woman.

Thousands of irate tribals on Thursday broke into a high security jail before dragging out the Bengali-speaking man, who was stripped and paraded for several miles, while men armed with sticks thrashed him to death.

Another man was shot dead by police after the mob refused to hand over his body, while 60 people were injured in the clashes, which saw attacks on properties belonging to Bengali-speaking residents.

“The act is barbaric, heinous and inhuman,” Tarun Gogoi, the chief minister of Khan’s home state of Assam, said of the lynching.

The mob as well as Nagaland’s government earlier called him a Bangladeshi migrant.

“The manner in which the youth was dragged out of police custody and killed brutally by a mob on the streets is highly condemnable,” Gogoi said in a statement.

Rights group Amnesty International also condemned the killing as a “serious lapse in the criminal justice system”.

“The Nagaland government must ensure that every person who was part of the mob is brought to justice,” said Shemeer Babu, Amnesty India’s programmes director.

Nagaland’s indigenous tribal groups, especially the largest Naga tribe, have for years accused the growing population of Bengali-speaking Muslims from nearby Assam state and Bangladesh of illegally settling on their land and usurping resources.

Nagas have previously campaigned to evict Bengali-speaking immigrants from their territory, who they claim entice local girls into marriage for getting tribal status.

Most of the India’s north eastern states are mired in decades’ old ethenic and linguistic violent conflicts between different tribes as well as non-tribals.

Scores of Bengali-speaking tea workers were killed in Assam in December by armed militants belonging to Bodo tribe, an indigenous community in northeastern India, which demands exclusive rights over local resources.

Policeman punches 10-Y-O at school


Courtesy: KSLA St Thomas policeman is now at the centre of an investigation being conducted by INDECOM after he allegedly punched a 10-year-old boy repeatedly. Information reaching THE STAR is that the incident, which occurred on February 13, has not gone down well with the child’s mother and other members of their community.

As such, the matter was reported to the Morant Bay Police station, where the officer works, and furthered to INDECOM.

The mother of the child spoke to our news team yesterday, saying, “My son was involved in a fight at school with his classmate over PATH lunch. When school was over, he and his younger sister were on their way to the taxi stand. They were approached by the other child involved in the fight and the policeman who told them to accompany him back over the school.”

Punched twice

THE STAR was told that the policeman took the child into the vice-principal’s office; however, the vice principal was on her way out to deal with another matter.

Our news team understands that while they stood in the office waiting, the officer took the child into an adjoining room, where he was allegedly punched twice in his belly.

“His class teacher was there also, but she said she was going to contact the principal, so she left the room. my son said he punched him two times and ask him if he is a bad man. When him done punch him, he tell him fi go tell his mother cause him nuh fraid a nuh body,” said the child’s grieving mother.

THE STAR was told the child could not eat when he arrived home from school as he was still reeling from the pain.

The mother told our news team that she went to the station, where she saw the policeman.

She said, “When him see me and my son coming, you could see the guilt on his face. so I said to him, ‘why did you punch my son?’ he said to me, ‘Good evening.’ I say, ‘I nah tell yuh no good evening because mi want know why him do that’.”

THE STAR was told that a brief meeting was held at the station with the officer, his superior and the child, following which an official report was made.

Our news team gathered that the cop confessed to punching the child in the presence of his superior, who in turn chastised him for his behaviour.

“Somebody weh fi a protect my son a do my son that?” questioned the child’s mother.

Both INDECOM and the Morant Bay police confirmed the incident and subsequent reports on an investigation.

Sudden cardiac death… Are you at risk?



SUDDEN cardiac death is defined as unexpected mortality from diseases of the heart that occurs shortly after symptoms are experienced (usually within 60 minutes).

This can occur in patients without heart disease and is often devastating due to its sudden and unexpected nature, especially in the young, fit and seemingly healthy individual. However, sudden cardiac death is commonly seen in people with narrowing of the blood vessels that supply the heart by atherosclerotic (fatty) plaques, a condition termed coronary artery disease.

Approximately eight million people worldwide die from sudden cardiac death annually.

DON’T IGNORE WARNING SIGNS

Certain factors are warning signs that may be ignored by the individual or ascribed to less important conditions. These include the heart beating fast (palpitations), chest pain, shortness of breath, fainting, excessive tiredness, and dizziness at rest or with exertion.

While healthy individuals with no prior warning signs can suffer from sudden cardiac death, risk factors include chronic illnesses such as diabetes mellitus also called “sugar”, high blood pressure, smoking, family history of early coronary artery disease, obesity, high cholesterol, excessive alcohol intake, and lack of physical activity. These factors are related to the narrowing of the blood vessels supplying the heart, resulting in heart attacks and heart disease from reduced blood flow (ischemic heart disease).

Other risk factors are patients with enlarged heart, diseases of the valves, abnormal structures, previous heart attacks and abnormal rhythms.

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND SUDDEN

CARDIAC ARREST

Physical activity that causes increase in heart rate and blood pressure such as running, climbing, swimming, and cycling may uncover and precipitate conditions that result in sudden cardiac death.

DIAGNOSING CONDITION

Diagnosing and predicting sudden cardiac death can be difficult. Abnormally elevated heart enzymes, thyroid hormones and electrolytes, use of certain prescription drugs and substances such as cocaine, may be predictive. Studies that may predict the risk of sudden cardiac death include chest X-ray, electrocardiogram (ECG), electrophysiologic testing (testing the electrical activity of the heart), echocardiogram, and coronary angiogram outlining the blood vessels of the heart.

Sudden cardiac death events may present with cardiac arrest where the individual is unresponsive, not breathing and has no pulse. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is then indicated and can even be performed by lay persons with minimal training. An automated external defibrillator increases the chance of survival. After resuscitation care using drugs, reversing causes, and sometimes surgery, implanting pacemakers and ablating abnormal pathways in the heart are also important as repeat arrest may occur soon after the initial event.

PREVENTION

Preventing sudden cardiac death can sometimes be difficult and may still occur after consulting the physician and getting a clean bill of health. However, regular routine check-ups, eating a balanced diet, avoiding smoking, illicit drugs and excessive alcohol while controlling weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar are some measures that can reduce the risk.

Ex-cop jailed for buggery


Chief-Ross-600x338A former member of the defunct Island Special Constabulary Force was remanded in custody on Thursday after he was found guilty of two counts of buggery in the St Catherine Circuit Court.

The mixed jury retired for 58 minutes and returned a five-to-two verdict on both counts.

He was, however, found not guilty of rape.

High Court Judge Vivene Harris then ordered the former Special Sergeant remanded until March 13, when he is to be sentenced.

A Social Enquiry report is to be done by the Probation Department before sentencing is done.

The court heard that in 2012, the accused met the complainant at a party in the Corporate Area.

He offered her a ride, and during the journey, he reportedly made sexual advances which were spurned.

The accused allegedly held her and sexually assaulted her.

A report was made to the police, and following an investigation, he was arrested and charged with buggery and rape.

He was on bail prior to the guilty verdict.

Slice music to ‘an hour a day’


Persons ought to hear to songs for no much more than a person hour a working day to protect their listening to, the Globe Wellbeing Organization suggests.
It suggests 1.1 billion young adults and younger grown ups are at danger of permanently detrimental their hearing by listening to “too significantly, far too loudly”.

It reported audio players, concert events and bars ended up posing a “serious risk”.

WHO figures present forty three million people aged 12-35 have listening to reduction and the prevalence is increasing.

In that age team, the WHO mentioned, fifty percent of people in abundant and center-revenue nations ended up exposed to unsafe seem concentrations from personalized audio devices.

Meanwhile 40% have been uncovered to harmful stages of sound from golf equipment and bars
The proportion of US youngsters with hearing loss went from three.5% in 1994 to 5.3% in 2006.

WHO v The Who
Dr Etienne Krug, the WHO’s director for damage avoidance, instructed the BBC: “What we’re trying to do is raise consciousness of an issue that is not talked about more than enough, but has the probable to do a ton of damage that can be very easily prevented.”

The total report argued: “While it is crucial to hold the volume down, restricting the use of private audio equipment to a lot less than a person hour a working day would do substantially to minimize noise publicity.”

Dr Krug said that a superior ambition intention: “That’s a rough recommendation, it is not by the minute, to give an thought to those people spending ten hours a working day listening to an mp3-participant.

“But even an hour can be much too considerably if the volume is way too loud.”
Protected listening levels Vuvuzela Retain that vuvuzela absent from me
The louder the sound (calculated in decibels), the more rapidly it damages the ear.

The WHO’s secure listening situations are:

eighty five dB – the stage of sounds inside of a vehicle – eight hrs
90 dB – garden mower – two several hours 30 minutes
95 dB – an ordinary bike – forty seven minutes
100 dB – auto horn or underground train – 15 minutes
a hundred and five dB – mp3 player at maximum volume – 4 minutes
one hundred fifteen dB – loud rock concert – 28 seconds
120 dB – vuvuzela or sirens – nine seconds
line
The Planet Wellness Firm recommends trying to keep the quantity to 60% of the utmost as a fantastic rule of thumb.

For people seeking to drown out the sound of flying or train journeys, it claims noise-cancelling headphones make it possible for audio to be read obviously at a reduce volume.

And the WHO provides that ear plugs should be worn at noisy venues and advises using “listening breaks” and standing much away from speakers at gigs.

But what is the level of a live performance if you are going to stay clear of the tunes?

“We do realise this is a little bit of a struggle, like alcohol intake, so lots of danger factors joined to pleasure are not effortless to alter, but we have to make folks informed,” Dr Krug reported.

But as effectively as contacting for personal duty, the WHO claims governments and companies have a responsibility.

It suggests clubs need to deliver chill-out rooms and give out free ear plugs, headphone producers must set boundaries on the quantity, and governments have to have to undertake stricter regulations.

Paul Breckell, the chief government of the charity Motion on Hearing Reduction, mentioned: ‘When listening to loud new music, for every single three decibel improve in stage, to remain safe and sound you need to halve your listening time.

“For case in point, at 88 dB, safe allowable exposure is lower to four several hours, at ninety one dB, two hours and so on.

“I urge songs fans to take into consideration the lengthy expression hazards of listening to loud audio from their particular new music gamers in excess of the 85dB safe stage, as above exposure can cause tinnitus, and recall that a superior pair of noise cancelling headphones can make all the change.”

Bangladeshis protest after blogger is hacked to death in the street


Students and teachers protested in central Dhaka yesterday, demanding swift action by police after the author and blogger Avijit Roy, an outspoken secularist who frequently criticised Islamist tendencies in his native land, was hacked to death on a city street.

Dr Roy, of Bangladeshi origin but a US citizen, and his wife, Rafida Ahmed Banna, were walking home from a book festival at 8.45pm on Thursday when a mob armed with machetes ambushed them. Photographs posted online showed three youths, who had made no attempt to disguise their appearance, attempting to hack Dr Roy’s head from his body. Others showed him lying lifelessly, his face in a pool of blood, while his wife – her face and clothes streaked with blood – appealed for help. Bystanders stared impassively at the writer’s body.

His wife, Rafida Bhanna, who suffered head injuries and reportedly lost a finger in the attack, remains in hospital in a serious condition.
Bangladeshi Islamists quickly tweeted their jubilation at the fate of a man who had defied their death threats for several years. “Target is Down,” one wrote. Another tweeted: “Lol!! They have switched off the target’s blogsite… No prob. Target is Down & wait for the next… InshaAllah.”
According to The Daily Star, witnesses said there were police in the vicinity, but “no one came forward to resist or catch the attackers even as Banna screamed for help”.

Dr Roy had returned to his native city a week ago to attend the literary festival and was due to go back to the US.

In December, Bangladeshi media reported that Farabi Shafiur Rahman, an outspoken Islamist, had written on Facebook: “Avijit Roy lives in America and so it is not possible to kill him right now. He will be murdered when he comes back.” Subsequently Rahman and other Islamists who had made similar threats were arrested. It was not clear whether they were free at the time of Dr Roy’s murder.

Krishna Pada Roy, the deputy commissioner of detectives with the Dhaka Metropolitan Police, said police were investigating several possible motives for the killing, including extremism. The climate of intolerance against secularists has worsened dramatically in recent years in Bangladesh, a nation that is more than 90 per cent Muslim but founded on the “Four Principles” of nationalism, democracy, secularism and socialism. Exactly two years ago a new group calling itself Ansar-al-Islam (Defenders of Islam) claimed responsibility for the fatal stabbing of a sociology professor, Shafiul Islam, who was one of three Bangladeshi bloggers killed within the space of a few weeks.

Yesterday a group calling itself Ansar Bangla-7 claimed responsibility for Dr Roy’s death. It is not known if it is linked with the earlier group.

Dr Roy was the author of several books in the Bengali language, many of them dealing positively with subjects that are anathema to Islamic fundamentalists including atheism, the theory of evolution, scepticism and rationalism. His two most recent books were Obisshahser Dorhson (“The Philosophy of Disbelief”) and Biswasher Virus (“The Virus of Faith”).

Taslima Nasreen, a Bangladeshi poet and novelist who fled her homeland in the mid-1990s after threats to her life, tweeted from Delhi: “We’re living in Dark Ages.” On her website she wrote that Dr Roy “dedicated his life to enlightening people who live in the darkness of ignorance”, adding: “Bangladesh has become a secret Isis land. Islamic terrorists can do whatever they like. They can kill people with no qualms whatsoever.”

The killing occurred against a background of high political tensions in the country, with strikes and protests by the Bangladesh National Party and allies, including the fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami party, against the government of Sheikh Hasina

German nurse admittedly overdosed 90 patients, killed 30


A court in Germany has sentenced a male nurse to life in prison for killing patients with overdoses of heart medication.

News agency dpa reported that the Oldenburg regional court found the 38-year-old guilty of charges including two counts of murder, and two counts of attempted murder.

Prosecutors had accused the man, identified only as Niels H in line with German privacy rules, of three murders and two attempted murders during his time working at a clinic in the town of Delmenhorst.

But H said during the trial that he intentionally brought about cardiac crises in some 90 patients because he enjoyed the feeling of being able to resuscitate them. He said 30 patients died.

He was previously sentenced to 7½ years in prison for attempted murder in 2008.

Husband of murdered T&T TV host released from hospital, declines to give police statement


Sheldon Henville, a person of interest in the murder of his wife Marcia Henville, declined last night to be interviewed by police investigators, according to his attorney.

Henville was released from hospital on Tuesday where he was treated for burns suffered the night of his wife’s death on January 23.

Henville’s attorney, Fareed Ali, said that Henville has been left in “solitary confinement” in the Maloney Police Station.

Ali said that Henville was not given a sheet or a towel, neither a toothbrush or soap to have a bath.

Ali said the cell was “dirty and the cold concrete he has been made to sleep on without the benefit of a bed was aggravating his injuries”.

Henville is also being monitored at half hour intervals.

Marcia Henville, 51, the host of TV6’s Point Blank talk/reality show was beaten, stabbed, and her throat cut, at her home at Fidelis Heights, St Augustine.

Her body was also set on fire.

Sheldon Henville was also injured in the fire, but the couple’s two children escaped without injury.

A senior investigator of the Homicide Division in Arouca has refuted the attorney’s claims.

The investigator said “Henville is being afforded all the rights and privileges of an arrested person. That includes being allowed to take a bath and brush his teeth. We are interested in human dignity, worth and pride. And we seek to maintain that.”

The senior officer said that the Maloney Police Station where Henville is being kept “is a new station, less than a year old”, and the cells are fitted with bathrooms and toilets can be used without police interference.

Young Canadians head to Syria to join IS


At least six young Canadian men and women from Montreal and its suburbs travelled overseas last month to join the Islamic State group, local media reported Thursday.

Some of them, including two young women, were students at Montreal CEGEP College de Maisonneuve.

They flew to Turkey on January 16 with the aim of crossing its border into Syria, the Montreal daily La Presse said.

It is unclear if they reached their final destination.

The father of one of the young men, fearing his son’s downward spiral since taking up religious and Arabic studies, seized his passport. But his son reported it lost and obtained a replacement from authorities.

The six are aged 18 to 19 and of Mideast and North African descent.

A spokeswoman for Montreal CEGEP College de Maisonneuve confirmed that three of them had attended the high school last semester, but did not know if they knew each other.

Their departure follows the alleged radicalization of a 23-year-old Alberta woman who left her family mid-2014 to join the Islamic State group in Syria.

Western governments are increasingly concerned about a rising number of foreign fighters travelling to Syria through Turkey to join extremist groups.

US intelligence officials warned earlier this month that more than 20,000 volunteers from around the world had gone to Syria to link up with extremists.

Passage of Ganja Bill doesn’t mean free-for-all


MINISTER of National Security Peter Bunting has warned that amendments to the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act, decriminalising the use of ganja, does not create a free-for-all in growing, transporting, dealing in, or exporting the drug.

“The security forces will continue to rigorously enforce Jamaican laws, consistent with our international treaty obligations,” Bunting told the House as it debated the Bill, Tuesday.

He said that the Bill has been drafted to ensure compliance with Jamaica’s international treaty obligations, and signals its strengthened resolve to combat organised crime by increasing the cost for offences involving transnational illegal trafficking in all forms of prohibited drugs.

He said that Jamaican law enforcement agencies have worked hard with its international partners to make significant inroads against narcotics trafficking and transnational crime organisations over the last 15 years, and there will be no relaxation in that regard.

He added that Jamaica recognises that monitoring, reporting and enforcement mechanisms must be implemented to safeguard against the licensed activity being used as pretext for illicit drug trade or to contribute to financing criminal enterprises.

He said that these reforms would be supported by a regulatory framework to be developed and included in the Bill’s regulations.

Responding, Opposition spokesman on health, Dr Kenneth Baugh, said that the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) is on record supporting the decriminalisation of small amounts of ganja and the removal of custodial sentences and records of a crime committed by using the drug.

He said that the JLP agreed and accepted that there is a potential industry in medicinal marijuana. However, he said that legalisation have raised unresolved issues in the party, including geo-politics, as international agreements and obligations have not changed.

“More public education is needed on the benefits and adverse effects of the recreational use of marijuana. There must be a legal framework for the expanded legal use of marijuana,” Dr Baugh suggested.

Opposition Member of Parliament (MP) Delroy Chuck recalled that in 2011 the JLP did propose that there should be a scheduling of the amount of ganja for which persons could be charged and prosecuted in the Resident Magistrate’s Court.

“We did this because we recognised that there was a high level of injustice imposed on so many of our young poor, inner-city young men,” Chuck said.

However, he noted that, after the JLP Administration had done so, a number of foreign diplomats contacted him to express their concern.

“It took a great amount of explanation to say that we were not legalising, we were just ensuring that where a small amount is used, they don’t have to go to court, as they can just pay the fine like a road traffic offence,” he explained.

Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce Anthony Hylton said that while, the cannabis industry has been developing organically, every effort must now be made for it to achieve its full potential.

“This means adopting a strong commercial approach which, based on entrepreneurial practices that are market-driven, is broad-based and results in value-added products for both goods and service,” he explained.

But, Opposition MP Pearnel Charles felt that it was a “sad day” for Jamaicans to have the Bill passed in its current form.

“It is classified as a dangerous drug, and I believe it should not be (passed) after a few hours of discussion one evening in this Parliament,” he reasoned.

Charles suggested that the Bill should have been sent to a joint select committee, which would allow for public scrutiny of the provisions.

Government member from St Elizabeth North Eastern, Raymond Pryce, said that he did not agree with the need for Rastafarians to satisfy the minister of justice that they were members of that faith in order to get exemptions to use the drug as a sacrament, when other religions do not have to.

Pryce said that he is hoping that the stipulation be removed as soon as possible.

Another Government MP, Dr Dayton Campbell, questioned how would the medical and security experts determine what is a safe level for smoking ganja.

Campbell also suggested that some people were mistaking medical use for personal use.

“It must be crystal clear that we are not encouraging persons to just get up and go and smoke marijuana…but how do we work with them to ensure that we prevent them from going down that road?” he asked.

The Bill was passed without any amendment in the House of Representatives. However, there were five minor amendments when it was passed in the Senate on February 6.

T&T police rap media on reports of Dana Seetahal murder investigation


The Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) Monday distanced itself from media reports over the weekend that at least six people would be charged in connection with the murder of prominent attorney Dana Seetahal last year.

The Trinidad Express newspaper reported Sunday that a man in prison custody was now assisting police with details into the murder of Seetahal, who was gunned down on May 4 as she made her way home from a casino.

She was shot at least five times by gunmen as she drove on the outskirts of the capital towards her home.

Despite rewards totalling millions of dollars, no one has been detained or charged with the murder of the former magistrate and president of the Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago. Her family has publicly urged the police to ensure that the perpetrators of the crime are brought to justice.

In a statement, the TTPS said that the reports in the media ‘are inconsistent with the progress of the investigation thus far and manifest obvious distortions with material facts of the case”.

The TTPS said it “considers it extremely irresponsible the naming of any officer/individual from any agency or organisation who may or may not be assisting with the investigation”.

The statement quoted Acting Commissioner of Police, Stephen Williams, of being “mindful”l of the legitimate public interest attending the investigation; and in this regard, urges restraint in any form of media reporting or commentary and calls for an absence of speculation which could possibly hamper the investigation.

“Commissioner Williams wishes to assure members of the public that the investigation into the murder of Ms Seetahal continues to be treated with the ‘highest priority’ by lead investigator, acting Deputy Commissioner of Police, Crime and Support, Glen Hackett.”

The statement quoted him as saying that “upon completion of the investigation the case file will be submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions for review and direction following which a public statement will be made”.

The Express newspaper said that the prison informant had also “assisted police with information on the contract killer regarding his other professions and items which would be prominent to the ongoing enquiry”.

House sits today, ganja law on agenda


KINGSTON, Jamaica — The House of Representatives resumes this afternoon with the ganja law, and proposals from its Standing Orders to revise the format of debates and other exchanges between Government and Opposition, high on the agenda.

Debate on the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act, often referred as the ganja law, is to be piloted in the House starting today, by Minister of National Security, Peter Bunting.

The Bill was passed in the Senate on February sixth, piloted by Minister of Justice, Senator Mark Golding, under intense scrutiny from the Opposition, during a seven-hour debate. It was eventually passed with five amendments, and was tabled in the House of Representatives on February 10.

It seeks to amend the Dangerous Drugs Act to modify penalties for possession of ganja in specified quantities and the smoking of ganja in specific quantities and circumstances, as well as a scheme of licences, permits and other authorisations for medical, therapeutic and scientific purposes.

The House will also debate the report of its Standing Orders Committee on proposed changing to the standing orders; changes to the budget and sectoral debates; and introduction of a new debate in mid-session on constituency issues.

Minister of Finance and Planning Dr Peter Phillips will also seek approval to withdraw additional funds from the Capital Development Fund (CDF), which is financed by the bauxite levy; and Minister of Education, Ronald Thwaites, will make a statement on an education issue.

Admiral Bailey on fraud charges


JAMAICAN deejay Admiral Bailey is scheduled to appear in the Corporate Area Criminal Court on Thursday, March 5 after he was arrested yesterday on fraud-related charges.

According to the police, the deejay, whose real name is Glendon Bailey, went to the Passport Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) about 10:30 am yesterday and attempted to renew a passport in the name Micheal George Sullivan.

“During the renewal process, his true identity was revealed. Subsequently, investigators from PICA detained him,” the police communications unit said in a news release.

The police said he was charged with:

* two counts of uttering forged documents;

* two counts of obtaining passport by false pretence;

* two counts of possession of forged documents;

* one count of attempting to obtain a passport by false pretence; and

* one count of conspiracy to defraud.

NHS in crisis: Urgent action needed to rescue struggling health service from brink of disaster, warns top doctor


THE NHS in Scotland is on its knees, according to one of the country’s top doctors.

Martin McKechnie warned that there there are serious concerns across the board.

He said a major shake-up of services both in and out of hospitals is needed.

McKechnie, who is vice president (Scotland) of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, pinpointed a wide range of problems which have to be addressed. They include:

● A shortage of space which means staff have to carry out consultations with patients in cupboards.

● Traditional winter pressures are now affecting A&E all year round.

● A “brain drain” of disaffected highly-trained staff to other countries means shortages in Scotland.

McKechnie praised hard-pressed staff for performing “heroics every day”. But he said more action is needed to prevent the NHS facing breaking point for a decade to come.

He said: “We are doing the damn best we can. But it is awful for patients and families and awful for staff.”

McKechnie said a lot of attention has been given to problems in A&E units because that’s the first port of call for many people coming to hospital.

He claimed patients get stacked up in casualty units because of shortages elsewhere.

McKechnie said: “It is a hospital and medical service crisis.

“A&E is at the sharp end because everyone is coming to this area.

“Because of a mismatch between demand and capacity, it backs up into our department because we can’t stop people coming.”

McKechnie added: “There is no big magic wand to wave imminently.

“But four things need to be addressed – a better integration of services, safe and sustainable staffing of emergency departments, a better working environment and a better use of the money that already exists in the health service.

“What some of our patients need is improved access to GP and medical, dental or social care.

“But these services are in not-as-easily-accessible supply as they could be, so they come to A & E.

“We reckon between six and 15 per cent of patients coming to emergency departments could be seen by another health care provider like nurse practitioner services and minor injury-type units.

“We need to provide a better core (GP) element. If that’s not available outwith 8-6 Monday to Friday, patients tend to come to emergency for care.

“There needs to be a bit of a debate and discussion between Government and GPs and hospitals and social care.

“Getting rapid change in how these services are provided needs resources.”

Do you think more action is required to save the NHS from the brink of disaster?

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McKechnie said the simple explanation for failing waiting times in hospitals is “exit block” – the inability to move patients on.

He added: “Older people come into hospital and may need ongoing care while they are waiting to go into a ward.

“The flow into a ward and out is what we are aiming for, but that is delayed because of delayed discharge into social care.

“A lot of people are living a lot longer, which is great, but older people tend to have morbidity problems – perhaps heart, kidneys and diabetes. So when they get ill, they get really unwell.

“We have patients backing up and on trolleys along corridors because an old person, who needs ongoing care while we wait for a bed in a ward, is in a cubicle for hours.

“The minor injury stuff, the
walking wounded, we can see quickly if there is a place to see them. I could see 10 patients in an hour in a cubicle, but I can’t because there is a patient waiting in there for a bed.

“We are seeing patients in cupboards and offices. It is appalling.

“The fact we are reaching 89 per cent (of target times) is still pretty amazing in these circumstances. But one per cent of one million is still a lot of patients not receiving care in this time. We could and should be able to deal with these people in good time.”

McKechnie added: “People don’t stop coming. It used to be a winter phenomenon but now it’s all year round. They see a light is on and they need to be seen.”

A problem with brain drain means there is a lack of specialists in emergency medicine.

McKechnie said: “It is difficult to retain people because it is hard work and people do not think it is a sustainable career.

“We need to keep these people but we need to improve the working conditions – and by that I mean the working environment.

“Quite a lot of doctors who are trained by the UK taxpayer after a while go abroad – a lot of them to Australia – and then come back after a few years. But increasing numbers are not coming back.

“We know there are 450 UK and Ireland graduate emergency registrars in the Australian state of Victoria alone. If they were back here working, a lot of our difficulties would lessen.”

McKechnie said conditions have improved – but not enough.

He added: “We were pretty much at death’s door three years ago. But what the SNP Government have done, to their credit, is help us with the number of consultants, which has gone from 120 to 190.

“Our aim is to get 230 so every department in Scotland provides a 24-hour, 365-days-a- year service. People don’t just get ill depending on the time of day.

“That is what we think would be a safe and sizeable resource for the current health care demands.

“Because of the problem in retaining registrar middle-ground doctors, consultants not only do a consultant’s job but a middle-ground job as well.

“But it will take 10-12 years to reinvigorate the levels. We will have to go through two cycles of recruitment to bolster that because it takes six years to train a doctor.”

McKechnie said a set-up where other health workers are based alongside casualty staff would improve working conditions in A&E.

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He added: “Some people come to hospital emergency departments thinking a child has meningitis, but it is actually an ear infection.

“Instead of coming to A&E, they would see a triage nurse and if there is a GP co-location right next door, you could go through a door and be sent one way or another so you would be seen by the right type of doctor or nurse for your condition.

“The Royal College of Emergency Medicine would never blame a patient for coming to A&E when a GP would suffice because they don’t know what is wrong with them. That’s why they come to see us.”

McKechnie said NHS cash should be used more efficiently.

He said: “There is a lot of money in the health service but it just needs to be used a bit better. We don’t have enough substitute training posts but we are spending £80million a year on locums.

“Staffing hasn’t ever in my lifetime been up to what is required.

“But staff need to have acknowledged that they are doing pretty heroic stuff every day.

“I personally believe A&E should have fish tanks and reclining chairs and waiter service.

“Ideally, people will get straight to a ward quickly. But if they have to wait, they shouldn’t have to wait in squalor.

“Everyone I know is working their damnedest. Nurses need support because they are trying their best.

“Yes, sometimes we get it wrong. But given the conditions, it is incredible how often we get it right.”

Investigation renewed in case against Argentina president accused of helping Iran cover up alleged role in terrorist attack


The prosecutor who inherited a high-profile case against Argentine President Cristina Fernandez on Friday reaffirmed the accusations, formally renewing the investigation into whether the president helped Iranian officials cover up their alleged role in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community centre.

Argentine ‘spy novel’ deepens: Officials hunt for agent who helped dead prosecutor investigate president

A prosecutor whose mysterious death has rocked Argentina’s government confided to an opposition congresswoman he believed his case against President Cristina Kirchner was going to cost him his position, the lawmaker said Friday.

Alberto Nisman was found shot dead in his bathroom on Jan. 18. The discovery came the day before he was to appear in Congress to detail his allegations Ms. Kirchner helped Iran cover up the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community centre, in which 85 people were killed. No one has ever been charged in the 20-year-old incident.

The president and Iran deny the accusations.
Prosecutor Gerardo Pollicita’s decision to go forward with the case was significant because it sets the stage for a close examination of the investigation that prosecutor Alberto Nisman was building before he was found dead Jan. 18. The next day, Nisman was scheduled to elaborate his accusations to Congress.

Nisman accused Fernandez, Foreign Minister Hector Timerman and others in her administration of brokering the coverup in exchange for favourable deals on oil and other goods from Iran. Fernandez and Timerman have strongly denied the accusations, and Iran has repeatedly denied involvement in the bombing, which killed 85 people.

In his statement released Friday afternoon, Pollicita recounted Nisman’s accusations without providing analysis of them. He concluded that an investigation is necessary to “achieve a degree of understanding to prove or disprove the factual and dogmatic extremes expressed in the preceding paragraphs.”

Pollicita will present his findings to judge Daniel Rafecas, the federal magistrate assigned to the case who will ultimately decide whether to dismiss it or send it on to trial.

Even before Pollicita’s decision, amid rumours that it was coming, the administration was moving to both reject and minimize it.
Cabinet chief Jorge Capitanich called the move a “judicial coup” during his daily press briefing.

“The Argentine people should know that we’re talking about a vulgar lie, of an enormous media operation, of a strategy of political destabilization and the biggest judicial coup d’etat in the history of Argentina to cover the real perpetrators of the crime,” he said.

Similarly, Presidential spokesman Anibal Fernandez said moving the case forward was a “clear manoeuvre to destabilize democracy” but that ultimately “it has no legal value. It does not matter.”
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The strength of Nisman’s 289-page investigation, presented to a judge a few days after his death, has been hot topic of debate within the legal community.

The basis of his case are wiretaps of administration officials allegedly talking about a secret deal around the time of a 2013 “Memorandum of Understanding” that Argentina reached with Iran. The agreement, which is being challenged in Argentine courts, on its face sets the conditions for the two countries to investigate the bombing.

Juan Jose Avila, a criminal lawyer, said arguing that Nisman’s case wasn’t strong enough misses the point because at this stage, no investigation is ready to be tried in court.

“No accusation, when it’s first made, is proven,” he said.

St Thomas man missing


Forty-year-old Otis Bonner, otherwise called ‘Ducks’, of Prospect district in St Thomas, has been missing since Sunday, February 1.

He is of dark complexion, stout build and is about 183 centimetres (6 feet) tall.

Reports from the Morant Bay police are that about 12:30 p.m. Bonner was last seen leaving for Yallahs in the parish wearing a red merino, red shorts and black slippers. He has not been heard from since.

Anyone knowing the whereabouts of Otis Bonner is being asked to contact the Morant Bay police at 982-2233, police 119 emergency number or the nearest police station.

Thirty-two arrested in multistate cash-for-gold scheme


Courtesy: KSLThirty-two people from the United States and Mexico are accused of running a multistate gold-for-cash scheme that laundered more than $100 million in US profits for Mexico’s powerful Sinaloa drug cartel, a complaint unsealed this week in federal court in Chicago said.

The cartel associates used cash from narcotics sales to purchase scrap and fine gold – including from Chicago-area jewellers – then send it to metal refineries in Florida and California; plants sometimes transfer payments for the gold directly to Mexico, the complaint said.

The 311-page complaint describes intense pressure lower-level schemers felt from higher-up cartel figures. One defendant, Carlos Parra-Pedroza, was allegedly captured on wiretap recordings telling an informant that cartel brass are uneducated but ruthless, as well as sticklers for precision.

“If I tell them we always pay them on Tuesday (but that this time) it’s not going to be until Wednesday, they’ll kill me,” Parra-Pedroza says, according to the complaint. “These guys (who) don’t even know the word ‘school,’ only know how to shoot.” He also warns enforcers cut off the fingers of those who betray the cartel.

The US Attorney’s office in Chicago has had success convicting high-level Sinaloa traffickers in recent years. Agency heads have also spoken about the need to disrupt channels through which Mexican syndicates repatriate their ill-gotten gains.

In some excerpts from wiretaps cited in the new complaint, money launderers complain about increasingly tough laundering laws adopted in Mexico, saying the legislation forced cartels to be more sophisticated about washing dirty money.

US, Cuba to have big cultural exchange


Featured Image -- 9864The Minnesota Orchestra announced yesterday that it will play two concerts in Cuba in May, in what is believed to be the first major cultural exchange between the two countries since their leaders announced a move toward warmer relations.

Orchestra CEO Kevin Smith said the Cuban ministry of culture invited it to play at Havana’s International Cubadisco Festival on May 15 and 16.

It will be the first visit by a major US orchestra to Cuba since the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra played in Cuba in December 1999.

“This initiative will demonstrate the power of music to offer extraordinary opportunities for cultural exchange,” said Marilyn Nelson, a life director on the orchestra board, who is helping finance the trip. “We are thrilled that our orchestra will have the opportunity to make this connection in Cuba.”

There was no immediate response to the announcement from the Cuban government. The opportunity is partly a result of the moves toward normalised relations announced on December 17, last year, by US President Barack Obama and Cuban President, Raul Castro.

The Minnesota Orchestra last played in Havana in 1929 and 1930.

“Eighty-five years ago, the Minnesota Orchestra, then called the Minneapolis Symphony, performed Beethoven’s music for Cuban audiences, said the group’s Finnish music director Osmo Vanska. “It is a thrill and privilege for us to do the same so many decades later.

The last major US orchestra performance in Cuba, by the Milwaukee ensemble 16 years ago, came out of moves by President Bill Clinton’s administration to increase people-to-people exchanges aimed at strengthening civil society in Cuba.

Efforts for such better US-Cuba relations were abandoned under President George W Bush, but were revived by Obama.

Even so, plans for two concerts by the New York Philharmonic in October 2009 were dropped because the US government barred a group of patrons from going along. Without their contributions, the philharmonic said the trip was unaffordable.

In this December 19, 2014, file photo, Cuba’s President Raul Castro smiles during a twice-annual legislative session at the National Assembly in Havana, Cuba, days after Barack Obama announced a thaw in US-Cuba relations.

Coastal communities dumping 8m tonnes of plastic in oceans every year


Coastal populations put about 8m tonnes of plastic rubbish into the oceans in 2010, an annual figure that could double over the next decade without major improvements in waste management efforts, scientists warn.

The mountain of plastic litter, including bags, food packaging and toys, was equivalent to five full shopping bags of debris for every foot of coastline bordering nearly 200 countries the team studied.

Though researchers have known about plastic waste in the oceans for 40 years, the latest report, published in the journal Science, is the first to attempt a detailed estimate of how much plastic made on the planet finds its way into the oceans.

The figures suggest that about 10 to 30 times more plastic debris ends up in the oceans than surveys have found floating about on the surface. In one recent survey, an international team reported more than 5 trillion pieces of plastic are floating in the world’s oceans, collectively weighing nearly 269,000 tonnes.

In the latest study, researchers at the University of Georgia and the Sea Education Association in Massachusetts calculated the amount of waste plastic generated in 192 countries with coastlines on the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans, and the Mediterranean and Black seas. From data on regional manufacturing and waste management practices, they worked out that 4.8m to 12.7m tonnes of plastic rubbish wound up as ocean debris in 2010.

“This input of plastic waste to the oceans is several orders of magnitude more than we can see, which means there’s a lot of plastic out there that we are not finding,” said Jenna Jambeck, the first author of the study at the University of Georgia.

Some countries still dump plastic litter into watercourses that carry the material out to sea. But much of the plastic made on land becomes marine debris because it is not properly disposed of in landfills or at recycling plants. Left in piles in coastal areas, the waste can easily blow into waterways or be carried out to sea by flood water.

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Once plastic reaches the oceans it forms floating waste, washes up on coastlines, and accumulates on sea floors. Larger items like bags, wrapping and fishing gear can entangle dolphins, turtles and even whales. Small pieces are eaten by fish, turtles and seabirds. Over time, the material weathers down into tiny particles that can be ingested even by small marine animals. The pollution is extremely difficult to remove from the environment or trace back to its source.

In the study, Jambeck and her colleagues ranked the 20 countries responsible for the most waste plastic ending up in the oceans. The greatest sources were not only the major plastic producers, but generally those nations with the worst waste management practices.

China topped the table with 1.32 to 3.53m tonnes of plastic reaching the oceans in 2010. Indonesia followed, where 83% of waste was mismanaged, added 0.48 to 1.29m tonnes of marine plastic to the seas that year. The US ranked 20th, where only 2% of waste was badly handled, and 0.04 to 0.11m tonnes of plastic found its way to the ocean. Sixteen of the top 20 polluters are middle income countries where fast economic growth is not accompanied by major improvements in waste handling.

A man walks beside the scattered plastic trash brought in by strong waves at Kuta Beach on January 17, 2014 in Kuta, Indonesia. The sight of trash washed up on Kuta beach has become an annual phenomenon as piles of debris are carried to the beach by strong currents during the winter months. Kuta Beach is one of Bali’s top tourist destinations, however during the winter months waste materials are swept up onto the beaches in Java, Bali, and Nusa Tenggara. Facebook Twitter Pinterest
Kuta beach, Indonesia, strewn with plastic litter. Up to 83% of waste is mismanaged in the country. Photograph: Agung Parameswara/Getty Images
According to the report, the cumulative amount of plastic in the seas will soar tenfold by 2025 if nothing is done to slash waste generation or manage it more effectively. The current annual rate of 8m tonnes put into the oceans could also double by 2025 without action.

If changes are made, they could have a huge impact, the scientists claim. Reducing mismanaged plastic waste by 50% in the top 20 ranked countries would cut the pile of plastic likely to end up in the oceans by 41% in 2025. More stringent caps on plastic in waste streams, and better disposal in the top ten-ranked countries could reduce the amount of new marine plastic to 2.4 to 6.4m tonnes annually by 2025.

Though the greatest gains would come from better waste processing in regions where waste management is the poorest, Jambeck stressed that substantial improvements were possible even in countries with effective waste disposal. “It’s not just about improving the infrastructure in other countries.” she said. “There are things we can do in our daily lives to reduce the amount of waste plastic we all produce.”

In December, a team led by Lucy Woodall at the Natural History Museum in London, found “microplastic” debris had accumulated in deep sea sediments, with some as deep as 3000m.

“Marine litter appears to be a much more serious phenomenon than previously thought with studies from the last six months suggesting this pollutant is all pervasive in our oceans and is present in much larger quantities than previously thought,” Woodall said.

Microplastic deposits found deep in world’s oceans and seas
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“The world’s oceans cover such a large surface area and by nature are remote from much of human habitation, therefore it is unsurprising that every new study adds to our understanding how serious this issue is. This environmental challenge is one entirely of human making, but we can all help by starting to value, reduce, recycle and reuse plastic products.”

Miliband claims victory after Fink drops threat to sue over tax avoidance claim


Ed Miliband claimed a partial victory in the battle over Britain’s wealthy tax avoiders after former Conservative party treasurer Lord Fink abandoned his threat to sue if Miliband repeated a claim that he avoided tax.

Lord Fink, who had demanded an apology on Wednesday when Miliband first made the allegation in the Commons, admitted yesterday he had been involved in “vanilla” tax avoidance measures including transferring shares he held into family trusts in Switzerland.

Fink added “everybody does tax avoidance”, telling the Evening Standard: “The expression tax avoidance is so wide that everyone does tax avoidance at some level. I didn’t object to his use of the word ‘tax avoidance’. Because you are right: tax avoidance, everyone does it.”

Fink added that he rejected expert advice that he could save a fortune in tax by adopting more “aggressive” measures. “What I did was at the vanilla, bland, end of the spectrum.”

He said he “used the opportunity … to set up some simple family trusts” while on a four-year posting to Switzerland and had transferred some shares to his children and his wife. “My family and I paid tax on all the dividends, both in Switzerland and the UK. They were done because my children were under 18 and I wanted them to have something to help them make their way in the wider world.”

Fink’s morning retreat allowed an emboldened Miliband, speaking about education at Haverstock School in north London on Thursday, to say: “Yesterday a Conservative donor challenged me to stand by what I said in the House of Commons. I do.”

Miliband said: “I think that this is a defining moment in David Cameron’s leadership of the Conservatives because it is now revealed that he appointed a treasurer for his party that boasts about engaging in tax avoidance and thinks it is something that everyone does.

“I don’t think that is the view of most people, and of the country. I think it does say something about the Conservative party so the question for today is does David Cameron agree with Lord Fink and does he sanction his attitude?”

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After Miliband spoke, and in a sign that the Tories wanted to cool the controversy, Fink made no further threat to sue Miliband. Instead he said, in a statement released on his behalf by the Conservative party, that it had been the Labour leader who had backed down by denying he had ever intended to imply he was a dodgy donor, a phrase used by Miliband under privilege in the Commons.

In the statement, Fink said: “Yesterday I challenged Ed Miliband to repeat the accusations he made in the Commons that I used an HSBC bank account to avoid tax and that I was a ‘dodgy’ donor. He did not.

“This is a major climbdown by a man who is willing to smear without getting his facts straight.”

But in Fink’s original letter on Wednesday, in which he demanded an apology from Miliband, the peer made no objection to the phrase ‘dodgy donor’, providing some cover for claims made by Labour aides that he had not retreated.

Miliband said he had not been referring to Fink as a dodgy donor, adding: “The thing he, Fink, objected to – until his extraordinary U-turn 24 hours later – was me saying that he was engaged in tax-avoiding activities.”

He said that he had made “a general comment about dodgy donors in the Conservative party and I totally stand by that comment”.

The Labour leader was also forced to defend his own tax arrangements after it emerged he had used a deed of variation, a tax efficient arrangement that allowed him and his brother, David, to take a share of their family home in Primrose Hill, north London after his father’s death in 1994.

He said: “This is something my mother did 20 years ago – a decision she made. I paid tax as a result on that transaction and I have avoided no tax. No doubt the Conservative party wants to smear mud but frankly it is not going to work. The story has been written before and I paid tax on that money.”

On a day that probably went better for Miliband than had at first seemed likely, the Conservatives tried to hit back by claiming a Labour aide had likened the battle over HSBC to the “Milly Dowler moment,” a phrase first mentioned by BBC political editor Nick Robinson in a blog.

However, later Robinson said that had been his phrase, not that of a Labour aide. A Labour official said the aide had argued that phone hacking and the treatment of Milly Dowler had been a moment that had crystallised people’s attitude to some newspaper reporting, and the HSBC scandal was having the same effect on tax avoidance.

Evan Harris, associate editor of Hacked Off, said: “There is nothing to criticise about politicians, their aides or journalists comparing a scandal of endemic tax avoidance – that they and the country feel strongly about – with the historic break that all party leaders claimed to have made from inappropriate and corrupting relationships with powerful newspaper editors and owners after the Milly Dowler hacking came to light.”

Cameron’s hope that the wider HSBC scandal will dissipate were also dealt another blow when the Treasury select committee said they would be calling both HMRC and HSBC officials to give evidence.

The next Greek tragedy


GREECE’S unsustainable debt of over 171 per cent of GDP is a self-inflicted crisis caused by the absence of fiscal probity and fiscal management.

The debt situation was contributed to by careless risk lending and investing. aggravated by the fallout from the global financial crisis and further compounded by the austerity policies which were used to bring the debt and fiscal deficit under control.

None of this was helped by the attitude of the political leadership in Greece which was unwilling to meet the conditions of repayment agreed to, albeit under duress.

By early 2010 managing the sovereign debt crisis of Greece was an urgent item of interest for the European Union because a default by Greece could trigger a financial crisis that would seriously impair the banking system throughout Europe, leading to the collapse of the euro.

This prompted the European Central Bank, with the support of the International Monetary Fund and solvent European countries, to collaborate in designing and financing a rescue package. In May 2010, this troika launched a ¤110-billion loan to bail out Greece from impending default on sovereign debt and assist in meeting its anticipated financial needs until June 2013.

The accompanying austerity measures caused social unrest and political upheaval, leading to the demise of a government that was doing its best to honour the conditions imposed by its creditors.

An unsustainable debt situation inevitably means that borrowing is no longer possible and substantial fiscal cutbacks including reduction in government social services, increased taxation, termination of subsidies, sale of government assets and privatisation have to be implemented. The result is sudden and sharp deflation of the economy.

The ultimate solution to debt and deflation is economic growth, but the fundamental dilemma is that austerity cannot produce economic growth, so the pain and social sacrifice are in vain. If this goes on long enough it mutates to social and political turmoil.

There has never been political revolution in which the economic hardship of the masses was not a decisive factor; therefore, the inevitable austerity must be well-timed and socially feasible. If not it leads to political chaos and then political extremism.

In his The Economic Consequences of The Peace published in 1919, Maynard Keynes predicted that the excessive debt payments imposed on Germany by the victors in World War I would lead to austerity and depression, not economic recovery. The economic hardships caused by the reparations was instrumental in causing what the Reich called the “the mass psychology of fascism” which was receptive to the emergence of Hitler and Nazism in Germany.

It is amazing that Germany, after such a bitter experience, should now be insisting on austerity measures in Greece, rather than supporting a restructured package to alleviate the stifling debt.

The victors in World War II did not repeat their mistake of World War I. Germany never had to pay even a small part of the imposed war reparations. These debts were cancelled and instead the United States mounted the Marshall Plan to ensure its economic recovery.

The US did it for self-interest to prevent the takeover of Western Europe by communism. Germany needs to realise that it is in its self-interest to support, by financial means if necessary, the economic recovery of Greece.

Putin’s ‘little green men’ aiding Ukrainian separatists, says Biden


Russia is using “little green men without patches” to help separatists destabilize Ukraine and President Vladimir Putin redraw the map of eastern Europe, Vice President Joe Biden said Friday, as the leaders of France and Germany headed to Moscow to make a last-ditch bid for peace in the troubled region.

Biden spoke in Brussels, where he met with European Union officials as part of a flurry of diplomatic efforts to stem Russia’s incursion into Ukraine. Some 5,300 people have been killed in fighting that began in April, mostly in the eastern portion of the country that borders Russia. Although Putin has insisted he has not sent troops to help pro-Russian separatists fight Kiev’s forces, Biden said the Russian leader has been aiding the independence movement since annexing Crimea in March, 2014.

“Ukraine is fighting for their very survival right now,” Biden said. “Russia continues to escalate the conflict by sending mercenaries and tanks we euphemistically [call] “little green men without patches,” in who are very sophisticated special operations soldiers,” Biden said.

Russian forces are suspected by the west of helping separatists down a Malaysian Airlines commercial plane carrying 298 people over Ukraine near the Russian border last July in what may have been a mistake. Kiev released intercepted phone conversations, purportedly between separatists and Russian military officials, and the missile that downed the plane was Russian-made. Ukraine has alleged that Russian troops became emboldened following the incident, sending non-uniformed troops across the border to aid in fighting in rebel strongholds such as Donetsk.

Although German Chancelor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande were to meet with Putin in Moscow to press him for peace, suspicions were growing in Europe that the powerful Russian leader has designs on more than just Ukraine.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen told Britain’s Daily Telegraph Thursday that Putin’s goal was to reassert Russian dominance of Eastern Europe by testing, and ultimately fracturing the West’s bedrock Cold War alliance.

“There is a high probability that he will intervene in the Baltics to test NATO’s Article 5,” Rasmussen said, referring to the section of NATO’s charter mandating that other member states come to the defense of a fellow member under armed attack. “Putin knows that if he crosses the red line and attacks a NATO ally, he will be defeated. Let us be quite clear about that. But he is a specialist in hybrid warfare.”

All three of the so-called Baltic republics — Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania — were part of the Soviet Union until its dissolution in 1991. All three joined NATO in 2004. All three also have sizable minority populations of ethnic Russians, as does eastern Ukraine, where Putin is accused of whipping up secession sentiment. Rasmussen says his fear is that Moscow will generate a conflict that gives him a pretext to destabilize those nations. It is not clear what would happen if a NATO member claimed Article 5 protection, but was turned down by the NATO council.

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Biden offered little hope that Putin could be taken at his word, and said the U.S. and Europe must stand together to support cash-strapped Ukraine.

“President Putin continues to call for new peace plans as his troops roll through the Ukrainian countryside and he absolutely ignores every agreement that his country has signed in the past and he has signed recently,” Biden said. “We, the United States, and Europe as a whole, have to stand with Ukraine at this moment. Ukraine needs our financial assistance and support as it pursues reforms and even in the face, in the face of this military onslaught.”

Meanwhile, in eastern Ukraine, the rebels reached an agreement Friday with government forces on a humanitarian corridor to evacuate civilians from the epicenter of fighting on Friday. Rebel leaders said the agreement would allow the evacuation of civilians from Debaltseve, a key railway hub that has become the focus of fighting in recent weeks because of its strategic location. It wasn’t immediately clear where the evacuees would go.

The cease-fire around Debaltseve held Friday as a convoy of several dozen buses drove from nearby Vuhelhirsk toward Debaltsevo, where a shrinking population has been trapped in cross-fire and left without power, heating and running water for almost two weeks. Halfway to Debaltsevo, the convoy’s movement was stopped by concrete blocks, apparently intended to block military vehicles from using the road.

Merkel and Hollande are set to hold talks with Putin in the Kremlin a day after discussing their proposals with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. In a sign of the importance of the initiative, this will be Merkel’s first trip to Moscow since Ukraine’s conflict broke out last year.

The fighting in eastern Ukraine between Russia-backed separatist rebels and Ukrainian forces has intensified sharply over the past two weeks. Russia vehemently denies that it is backing the insurgency with troops and weapons, but U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry rejected that denial on Thursday’s visit to Kiev.

British tribunal rules intelligence-sharing with US was unlawful


The regime that governs the sharing between Britain and the US of electronic communications intercepted in bulk was unlawful until last year, a secretive UK tribunal has ruled.
Aspects of intelligence-sharing between security agencies in Britain and the United States were unlawful until December 2014, a secretive UK tribunal ruled today.
The Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) declared regulations covering access by Britain’s GCHQ to emails and phone records intercepted by the US National Security Agency (NSA) breached human rights law.

Advocacy groups said the decision raised questions about the legality of intelligence-sharing operations between the UK and the US. The ruling appears to suggest that aspects of the operations were illegal for at least seven years – between 2007, when the Prism intercept programme was introduced, and 2014.
The critical judgment marks the first time since the IPT was established in 2000 that it has upheld a complaint relating to any of the UK’s intelligence agencies. It said that the government’s regulations were illegal because the public were unaware of safeguards that were in place. Details of those safeguards were only revealed during the legal challenge at the IPT.
An “order” posted on the IPT’s website early on Friday declared: “The regime governing the soliciting, receiving, storing and transmitting by UK authorities of private communications of individuals located in the UK, which have been obtained by US authorities … contravened Articles 8 or 10” of the European convention on human rights.
Article 8 relates to the right to private and family life; article 10 refers to freedom of expression.
The decision, in effect, refines an earlier judgment issued by the tribunal in December, when it ruled that Britain’s current legal regime governing data collection through the internet by intelligence agencies – which has been recently updated to ensure compliance – did not violate the human rights of people in the UK.

The challenges were brought by Liberty, Privacy International and other civil liberties groups who claimed that GCHQ’s receipt of private communications intercepted by the NSA through its “mass surveillance” programmes Prism and Upstream was illegal.
The existence of Prism and Upstream was revealed by the Guardian from documents provided by the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. The case brought by Liberty and Privacy International was the first in the UK to challenge GCHQ’s participation in these programmes. Lawyers argued that receiving information about people in Britain from the NSA sidestepped protections provided by the UK legal system.
Eric King, deputy director of Privacy International, said: “For far too long, intelligence agencies like GCHQ and NSA have acted like they are above the law. Today’s decision confirms to the public what many have said all along – over the past decade, GCHQ and the NSA have been engaged in an illegal mass surveillance sharing programme that has affected millions of people around the world.
“We must not allow agencies to continue justifying mass surveillance programmes using secret interpretations of secret laws. The world owes Edward Snowden a great debt for blowing the whistle, and today’s decision is a vindication of his actions.
“But more work needs to be done. The only reason why the NSA-GCHQ sharing relationship is still legal today is because of a last-minute clean-up effort by the government to release previously secret ‘arrangements’.
“That is plainly not enough to fix what remains a massive loophole in the law, and we hope that the European court decides to rule in favour of privacy rather than unchecked state power.”
James Welch, legal director for Liberty, said: “We now know that, by keeping the public in the dark about their secret dealings with the NSA, GCHQ acted unlawfully and violated our rights. That their activities are now deemed lawful is thanks only to the degree of disclosure Liberty and the other claimants were able to force from our secrecy-obsessed government.
“But the intelligence services retain a largely unfettered power to rifle through millions of people’s private communications – and the tribunal believes the limited safeguards revealed during last year’s legal proceedings are an adequate protection of our privacy. We disagree, and will be taking our fight to the European court of human rights.”
However, a GCHQ spokesperson contested the significance of the latest ruling, saying: “We are pleased that the court has once again ruled that the UK’s bulk interception regime is fully lawful. It follows the court’s clear rejection of accusations of ‘mass surveillance’ in their December judgment.”
The agencies make a distinction between intrusive “mass surveillance”, which they insist they do not undertake, and “bulk interception” of electronic communications, which they say is necessary in order to carry out targeted searches of data in pursuit of terrorist or criminal activity.
The GCHQ statement continued: “Today’s IPT ruling reaffirms that the processes and safeguards within the intelligence-sharing regime were fully adequate at all times – it is simply about the amount of detail about those processes and safeguards that needed to be in the public domain. We welcome the important role the IPT has played in ensuring that the public regime is sufficiently detailed.
GCHQ’s work must remain secret
“By its nature, much of GCHQ’s work must remain secret. But we are working with the rest of government to improve public understanding about what we do and the strong legal and policy framework that underpins all our work. We continue to do what we can to place information safely into the public domain that can help to achieve this.”
The UK government issued a robust defence of GCHQ on Friday and said the judgment would not alter in any way the work of the monitoring agency. The prime minister’s spokeswoman said: “Overall, the judgment this morning is that the UK’s interception regime is fully lawful. That follows on from the courts clear rejection of accusations of mass surveillance in their December judgment and we welcome that.
“Because of the nature of their work, we are unable to express gratitude to them [the security services] and we should make sure they continue to have the powers they need to keep us safe.
“What they [the tribunal] said was that there should be more about the rules [governing surveillance] that should be disclosed publicly … They are not questioning in this judgment that the safeguarding of privacy was in any way jeopardised and the judgment will not require GCHQ to change in anyway what it does,” she said.
During hearings at the IPT last year, Matthew Ryder QC, for Liberty, had alleged that the intelligence services were constructing vast databases out of accumulated interceptions of emails.
Ben Jaffey, for Privacy International, had claimed that the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa) was no longer providing the significant safeguards it once guaranteed against interception of communications without an individual warrant.
The legal challenge was the first of dozens of GCHQ-related claims to be examined in detail by the IPT, which hears complaints against British intelligence agencies and government bodies that carry out surveillance under Ripa. Some of the most sensitive evidence about interceptions was heard in private sessions from which the rights groups were excluded.
In defence documents that were released, the government’s most senior security official, Charles Farr, explained how searches on Google, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, as well as emails to or from non-British citizens abroad, could be monitored legally by the security services without obtaining an individual warrant because they were deemed to be external communications.
Farr said he could neither confirm nor deny the existence of Tempora, another interception programme revealed by the Guardian from the Snowden documents, although he did acknowledge that Prism exists “because it has been expressly avowed by the executive branch of the US government”.
Much of the tribunal’s deliberations therefore proceeded on the basis of agreed hypothetical facts, such as the assumption that Tempora exists. Lawyers for the government refused again, during a short hearing after the judgment, to say whether Tempora exists.

Hunt for Russian sub may have caused spate of whale and dolphin deaths


The secretive hunt for a suspected Russian submarine of the Scottish coast may have led to a spate of whale and dolphin deaths, conservationists have alleged.
Dozens of whales and dolphins have been washed up dead on the coasts of Scotland and Ireland in the past two months, and their deaths may be linked to military sonar used in the search, a protection group has said.
Warships, patrol planes and submarines are all believed to have joined the search, which continued into January.
Fifteen Cuvier’s beaked whales, which dive deeply and are known to be affected by sonar, are among the mammals washed up over the same period. Common dolphins, a minke whale, a sperm whale, pilot whales, a fin whale, and harbour porpoises have also washed up.
Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC), said the mass stranding “could be linked to a reported search by British navy warships for a suspected Russian submarine.”
It said: “Investigations following Britain’s largest mass dolphin stranding in 2008 concluded that the only realistic cause was military exercises taking place in the area at the time.”
However one Naval source said the link was “pretty tenuous” because the search had not involved active sonar.
He said: “We have not been pumping sound out into the ocean. This was a much broader game of cat and mouse using sonars that just listen.”

Two Royal Navy warships towing sonar sensors were joined by four maritime patrol planes from America, France and Canada.
Dr Andrew Brownlow, head of the Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme, said WDC had asked the MoD for details of it operations to try to work out if there is a link.
He said: “They want to know what military activity was taking place in the area at the time. It is possible that these standings are linked to certain military activity. It is something we are looking at. But the animals were so badly decomposed we shall probably never know the answer,” he said.

Peter Evans, a whale expert at from the SeaWatch Foundation, said active sonar had been shown to affect whales and change their diving patterns, but it was very difficult to get evidence for individual cases.
He said: “Although people do tend to point the finger at sonar, and sometimes they might be right, you can’t be certain of what it is.”
Cuvier’s beaked whales have been found down the west coast between Scotland and Ireland including two on Mull, South Uist, Benbecula, Tiree and Kintyre.
Conor Ryan, of the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust said in a typical year the trust would expect to see one or two of the whales stranded.
He said the numbers this year were “very unusual”, but there was no evidence the Navy was involved. The carcasses had been too badly decomposed for tests to be carried out.
A Royal Navy spokesman said: “The Royal Navy works very closely with organisations such as the Cetacean Stranding Information Programme on all matters of this nature.
“We have not been approached on this particular circumstance but we are ready to contribute fully to any investigation if required.”

In The Dock: 11 people who have appeared in court from Brighton


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Maya Magallon, 22, of Compton Road, Brighton, pleaded guilty to stealing an acoustic guitar, Apple Mac computer, two Apple laptops, two guitar effects pedals and amp, guitar case and Microsoft Xbox 360, worth about £6,000 in total, from a house in Baker Street, Brighton on November 3. Ordered to have drug dependency treatment for six months and pay £60 compensation.

Charlie Raymond Finch, 19, of North Road, Brighton, pleaded guilty to possessing cannabis in Brighton on September 12. Fined £50 and ordered to pay a £20 victim surcharge and £50 costs.
Charlotte Madeleine Jordan, 20, of Preston Road, Brighton, pleaded guilty to drink-driving. Fined £160 plus a £20 victim surcharge and £85 costs. Banned from driving for 18 months, to be reduced by 18 weeks if she completes an approved driving course.

Keiran Anthony Warren-Fitzgerald, 33, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to failing to comply with an order from a community support officer not to consume a can of Scrumpy Jack in Upper North Street, Brighton; and failing to answer bail. Fined £90 plus a £20 victim surcharge.

Jason Ronaldson, 39, of Grand Parade, Brighton, pleaded guilty to stealing seven Herbafarmacy face creams to the value of £121.23 from Infinity Foods in North Road, Brighton, on November 16. He has to comply with a 12-month supervision order and was ordered to pay a £60 victim surcharge.
Riley Waller, 26, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to nine counts of stealing meat from Co-op in Brighton, worth £143, £40.91, £46, £27 and value unknown; three counts of stealing meat from Sainsbury’s in Brighton, worth £43, £50.98 and value unknown; stealing perfume worth £65 from Superdrug; failing to answer bail. Jailed for 12 weeks suspended for 18 months; ordered to pay £80 compensation.

William Robertson Morrow, 42, of Grand Parade, Brighton, pleaded guilty to stealing cheese worth £68 from Sainsbury’s. Jailed for six weeks. Magistrates said he had numerous previous convictions and had only recently been released from custody having served a sentence for a similar kind of offence.

Ibrahim Ahmadi, 21, of Terminus Road, Brighton, was convicted in his absence of driving a Honda Civic without due care and attention on Edward Street, Brighton on April 21. Fined £400 and ordered to pay a £40 victim surcharge and £160 costs.

Maceij Angrys, 23, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to stealing a tube of Pringles, a packet of M&Ms, a torch and two pairs of socks on November 15, to the value of £7.46 from the Brighton branch of Poundstretcher. He was fined £28, ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £20 and costs of £85.

Roger Samuel Cooper, 38, of Ditchling Road, Brighton, pleaded guilty to stealing 16 DVDs, worth £170.84, from Superdrug in London Road, Brighton. Fined £73 plus a victim surcharge of £20 and £85 costs.

Simon Michael Markworth, 42, of Highway Close, Brighton, pleaded guilty to drink-driving. Fined £110 plus a £20 victim surcharge and £85 costs. Banned from driving for 12 months, reduced by three months if he completes an approved driving course.

Doctor charged with sexually assaulting 16-year-old patient


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A doctor will appear before the court charged with sexually assaulting a 16-year-old patient.

Jayaram Pai, 45, of The Spinney, Battle, a doctor at Conquest Hospital, Hastings, has been charged with three offences of sexual assault on Febuary 28 2013 on a girl then aged 16 who was an out-patient at the hospital.

Dr Pai is a consultant paediatrician employed by the East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust.

He is due to appear on bail at Hastings Magistrates Court on Wednesday 11 February.

The charges, authorised in January 2015 by the Crown Prosecution Service, follow an investigation by East Sussex child protection detectives.

Asteroid 2004 BL86 zips past Earth today


An asteroid bigger than the world’s most massive cruise ships will fly past the Earth today, and will be visible from Canada with strong binoculars or a small telescope.
Based on its brightness, asteroid 2004 BL86 is estimated to be about 500 metres across. If it were sitting on the Earth, it would be as tall as Toronto’s CN Tower.

At its closest approach at 11:19 ET, the huge space rock will be about 1.2 million kilometres (745,000 miles) from the Earth or about three times further away than the moon.
That’s a safe distance, but closer than any other asteroid this big will come until 2027 – the year when we can expect a visit from another chunky rock called 1999 AN 10.

Slooh, a U.S.-based organization that streams celestial events online, will provide live images of the asteroid from telescopes in Australia starting 11 a.m. ET. It will also provide expert commentary from astronomers, including Paul Chodas, manager of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Near-Earth Object Program Office, and invites questions via the Twitter hashtag #SloohBL86.
You may be able to see the asteroid this evening using strong binoculars or a small telescope, NASA says.

It will probably be easiest to find around 11 p.m. ET when it will be to the right of the planet Jupiter, between the constellations Leo and Gemini.

It will look like a slow moving star, said Randy Attwood, executive director of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, in an email.

NASA will also be watching the asteroid, capturing images and data, using its Deep Space Network antenna at Goldstone, Calif. And the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico will also be following the close approach.

“At present, we know almost nothing about the asteroid, so there are bound to be surprises,” said Lance Benner, principal investigator for Goldstone Solar System Radar, in a statemen

Several cops arrested


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SERVER ONLINE understands that a number of cops have been arrested by Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Task Force (MOCA) during operations in Police Area One (Westmoreland, Hanover, St James, and Trelawny) on Friday.

Some of those arrested are said to be stationed in the St James Police Division and the others are assigned to the Westmoreland Police Division.

The arrested cops were whisked away to the Falmouth Police Station to be questioned by their colleagues, OBSERVER ONLINE was told by a reliable source.

Cannabis licensing authority to be established in Ja


Featured Image -- 9039A cannabis licensing authority is to be established to regulate the proposed hemp and medicinal ganja industry in Jamaica.

This is one of the provisions of the Dangerous Drugs (Amendment) Act, 2015, which is expected to be tabled in the Senate today.

The bill seeks to decriminalise ganja for medicinal, religious, and private/personal use.

Making the disclosure while addressing a Jamaica House media briefing on Wednesday, Minister of Justice Senator Mark Golding said the Authority will be responsible for establishing a lawful, regulated hemp and medicinal ganja industry.

“The cannabis licensing authority will, with the approval of the justice minister, make regulations treating with procedures and criteria for applying for and retention of licences, permits and other authorisations for cultivation, processing, distribution, sale and other handling of ganja for medicinal, scientific and therapeutic purposes,” he said.

The proposed changes to the act will facilitate ganja being used for therapeutic purposes, as prescribed by a registered practitioner, or for scientific research conducted by an accredited tertiary institution – or otherwise approved by the Scientific Research Council.

The changes will also enable the use of ganja in religious engagements by stakeholders such as Rastafarians.

Additionally, the amendments will make the possession of small quantities of ganja, amounting to two ounces or less, a non-arrestable but ticketable infraction, attracting a fine payable outside of the court, but not resulting in the possessor attaining a criminal record.

The Meaning of Existence


Originally posted on Teacher as Transformer:

I think this was a theme for the past week. What is existence? It is just being in the world and experiencing it in the most direct and pre-reflective way possible.

Les Murray writes about the impact that language has on how humans experience the world. Existentially, there is a difference between saying how we experience and saying how to experience. The former is just being and the latter is like a how-to manual.

When I just am, that is often the most rewarding moments I experience without realizing it and there is no way to intentionally recapture the moment. To just be is its own reward. When I try to express the feeling in words, it is indescribable. I use metaphoric, mythic, and poetic language to point at it, but always I fall short.

Everything except language
knows the meaning of existence.
Trees, planets, rivers, time
know nothing else…

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Northborough Police Looking For Suspicious Man Who Approached Kids


Originally posted on CBS Boston:

NORTHBOROUGH (CBS) – Police are searching for a suspicious man who allegedly approached a group of kids playing basketball and asked them if they wanted a ride on Saturday night.

The incident occurred about 7:30 p.m. near the Proctor Elementary School on Jefferson Road.

The man, described as possibly of Middle Eastern or Indian descent, lingered for a few minutes and then drove away, police say.

His vehicle was described as a tan or gold minivan with Massachusetts license plates.

No additional information was immediately available.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Northborough Police Department at (508) 393-1515.

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Happy Memorial Day


Originally posted on Friendly Fairy Tales:

Pink Tulips and White Azalea blooms

This is a day to remember the fallen.
And to celebrate the magic of being alive.
Happy Memorial Day!

Warmly, Brenda

Note: Monday is a Federal holiday. Originally it honored the many casualties of the US Civil War, which outnumbered all other US wars combined until Vietnam. Americans are notorious for independence, pride and an amalgam of culture and traditions. In my family, we grill outdoors, play sports and picnic. We might kick around a soccer ball in the park or ride bicycles tomorrow. What does your family do? Does your country have a Memorial Day to honor those who fell in war?

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DrHashtTag Offers To Mediate Matter With Cyber Bully Opinionated Man


Originally posted on Andy Kaufman's Kavalkade Krew Featuring The Wandering Poet:

WordPress blogger DrHashTag has kindly offered to mediate the matter between Opinionated Man and myself.

Convo 1

However I find that offer a day late and a dollar short as I sought a mutual friend, Vic Briggs, to mediate the dispute between Conrad of The Wine Wankers and myself, and Opinionated Man simply tried to bully me out of writing about The Wine Wankers.

I am simply documenting Opinionated Man’s cyberbullying and harassment in a matter that did not concern him and was not about him.

Capture

Capture

Somehow Opinionated Man thinks a blog about The Wine Wankers is about himself.

Capture44

I appreciate her kind offer, however recommend she read the full blog series on Opinionated Man and The Wine Wankers before reaching a decision.

Capture2

http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://aopinionatedman.com/2014/08/03/kaufmans-kavalkade-troll/

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Reblog

Since news media was also questioning the veracity of The Wine Wankers blogging, Opinionated Man’s threats and bullying are actually impeding newsworthy content.

The Wine…

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Australian Politics – A Newspaper Which Abuses Prime Minister Tony Abbott So Violently Is Neither Compassionate Nor Reasonable


Originally posted on PA Pundits - International:

Bolt New 01By Andrew Bolt ~

The Age cheered Labor’s scrapping of the border laws – a disastrous act of “compassion” that cost 1200 lives and $10 billion, and brought over 50,000 people we did not choose and struggle to assimilate.

AbbottPM01 Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

Yet it has the hide to now abuse Abbott for maintaining the policies which ended the deaths, cut the costs and reserved refugee places for people who were truly fleeing violence:

The Prime Minister’s wall of negativity says much about this nation’s failures but far more about his government’s appalling lack of compassion and its globally embarrassing hypocrisy and moral bankruptcy … Mr Abbott will never be a community father figure, nor a statesman who garners respect. He practises policies that are devoid of empathy.

That is sheer abuse and simply untrue. It is also demanding Abbott do a Rudd – show “compassion” rather than achieve…

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