Sunday, January 23, 2011

Green Party Quits Irish Government

Ireland's junior coalition party withdrew from Prime Minister Brian Cowen's government on Sunday, signaling the end of a crisis-riddled administration and hastening an election due on March 11.
The Greens said, however, they would support legislation underpinning the 2011 budget, as agreed under an 85 billion euros EU/IMF bailout, to ensure a swift election, possibly in February.
The Green Party's move highlighted continuing political uncertainty over efforts to cope with financial crisis rooted in a collapse in the property market and a malaise of the banking system.
"It conjures this picture of a country where there is deep political crisis as well as economic crisis," said Austin Hughes, chief economist at KBC. "It will hurt sentiment."
All of Ireland's mainstream parties want the finance bill, which legislates for tax changes already implemented in the budget, passed before the poll.
The two main opposition parties, the center-right Fine Gael and center-left Labour, have issued an ultimatum to Cowen to get the bill passed by Friday or they will pursue motions of no-confidence in him and his government this week.
"I don't want another weekend of this kind of uncertainty where we're the subject of jokes and puns internationally," said Labour MP Pat Rabbitte.
Over the past week, eight ministers have resigned, an ill-judged cabinet reshuffle backfired and Cowen stood down as leader of the Fianna Fail party.
Without the support of the Greens, Cowen would certainly lose any confidence vote and have to call an immediate election, shelving the finance bill but not damaging Ireland's fiscal goals given that the tax measures in the 2011 budget have already taken effect.
The premier, attending a Gaelic football match in the central Irish town of Portlaois while his government was imploding in Dublin, said such a timetable was too tight.
"It's not possible to get it done in a week," Cowen said, adding that Finance Minister Brian Lenihan would meet with counterparts from all opposition parties on Monday to discuss how to fasttrack the finance bill.
The Greens have been itching to end their partnership with Cowen's Fianna Fail party since November when the government was forced to apply for an 85 billion euros bailout from the EU and the IMF to save the banking sector from collapse.
Their three and a half year tenure in government saw Ireland transformed from economic star to euro zone basket case on the back of a disastrous property bubble.
With the administration lurching from crisis to crisis, Greens' leader John Gormley recently likened being in government to being in an asylum.
Relations between the two parties broke down completely last week when Cowen, fresh from winning a vote of confidence within his party, tried to reshuffle the cabinet in an apparent bid to boost the election chances of his colleagues.
Cowen's subsequent decision to resign as leader of the Fianna Fail party amid mounting internal criticism but remain as premier prompted the Greens to finally end the partnership.
"Our patience has reached an end," Gormley said in the same five-star Dublin hotel where Cowen had on Saturday announced the end of his leadership of Fianna Fail.
But on the streets of Dublin there was little praise for the Greens, who like Fianna Fail, are fighting for their survival in the forthcoming poll.
"They have been halfway out the door for weeks now. It's a joke. They should have pulled the plug months ago," said Geraldine Feeney, 42, a part-time sales assistant.
The Greens' withdrawal leaves Cowen with just seven ministers, the constitutional minimum, to fill 15 ministries. He said he would reassign the two Green ministerial portfolios to an already overburdened cabinet.
Opinion polls indicate that Fine Gael and Labour will form the next coalition government.
His Fianna Fail party will elect a new leader on Wednesday with bookmakers expecting former foreign minister Micheal Martin to beat three other challengers, including Finance Minister Brian Lenihan, in the contest.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Raid on Nabil Gabol’s house in Karachi

Police have raided the house of Nabil Gabol, leader of Pakistan People’s Party and former state minister of Karachi Ports and Shipping, Geo News reported Wednesday.
Talking to Geo News, Nabil Gabol said the police raided my house in a fashion similar to that of a commando action. “Raids are being conducted in a bid to take me into custody,” he added.
However, CCPO Karachi Fayyaz Leghari denied Nabil Gabol’s claim of a police raid on the latter’s house, saying no such raid was conducted.
Nabil Gabol said police had taken into custody his 12 security guards along with their weapons during the raid at his house located at Khayaban-e-Ittehad in Defence area.
Nabil Gabol had earlier today resigned from the post of state minister for Ports and Shipping.
He said he was present in Karachi but he could not come out in the open.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Sarah Palin breaks silence on Arizona tragedy and criticises media's 'blood libel'

  • Palin: 'Acts of monstrous criminality stand on their own'
  • School friend: Loughner 'was NOT politically motivated'
Sarah Palin today her silence over the Arizona shootings and accused pundits and journalists of a 'blood libel' over attempts to link overheated political rhetoric to the massacre.
The former Republican vice presidential candidate has been criticised for an online campaign map that targeted the district of shot congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords with the cross hairs of a gun sight.
In the video Mrs Palin said vigorous debates are a cherished tradition. But she said after the election, both sides find common ground, even though they disagree.
She was also blamed for creating a poisonous political atmosphere that drove 22-year-old loner Jared Loughner to go on the rampage, shooting congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in the head.
But after four days of silence Palin hit back with a video posted on her website called 'America's Enduring Strength.'
'Acts of monstrous criminality stand on their own,' she said.
'They begin and end with the criminals who commit them, not collectively with all the citizens of the state, not with those who listen to talk radio, not with maps of swing districts used by both sides of the aisle, not with law-abiding citizens who respectably exercise their First Amendment rights at campaign rallies, not with those who proudly voted in the last election.
Palin said she had 'listened at first puzzled, then with concern and now with sadness to the irresponsible statements from people attempting to apportion blame for this terrible event.'

Sunday, January 9, 2011

U.S Kittiwake is finally underwater

AUSTIN: The former US navy submarine rescue ship is now an artificial reef sitting on the ocean floor 60 feet below the surface.
The Kittiwake is at the northern end of Seven Mile Beach, just off of the Sand Chute Dive site. The bottom is flat and sandy and only 15 feet from the surface, making it convenient for divers and snorkellers.

The navy submarine rescue vessel was in service from 1946 to 1994 and her title was officially transferred in November 2008 for an undisclosed amount of money to the Cayman Islands government. The Kittiwake will form a new dive attraction for both visitors and locals to enjoy.

Friday, December 31, 2010

A New Beginning With 1/1/11

With the new year comes a fresh start - and this new year starts with a unique date.  In shorthand, January 1, 2011, is 1/1/11.  Our correspondent spoke to a numerologist about whether this once-in-a-century date holds any significance.
I couldn't help but think 1/1/11 seemed to be a novel way to start a new year - a sign of a fresh start.
So I spoke to numerologist Patricia Kirkman, the author of The Complete Idiot's Guide Numerology Workbook. "When we take a look at the number 'one' in itself, if you will, it's all about self, new beginnings, changes, the individual," she said.
But, Kirkman said, the number "one" - even this repetition of the number "one" - gives just a glimpse of the bigger picture.
"When we add that to what's going on around us, 2011, it's the 'two' first.  'Two' is about partnerships, emotional, the peacemaker, or hidden secrets," she said.
Numerology itself is about revealing what is hidden.  From ancient times to modern day, people have studied numbers, such as the figures in a year or a birthdate, to arrive at their supposed influence on people's lives.  Some cultures put great stock in it; others dismiss it entirely.  
Kirkman, who is based in the southwestern U.S. state of Arizona, has practiced numerology for 37 years.  She explained that, according to the numbers, 2011 will be about making things orderly because 2011 is a "four" universal year.  She arrived at that by adding the year's digits - 2 + 0 + 1 + 1, which equals four.
According to numerology, that "four" will affect everyone all year. "Now we're going into a period of putting things in order," said Kirkman. "Four is square.  Four is the box.  Four wants everything done right.  And so we are now going into a universal year that says, 'I don't care what you did last year. It doesn't matter anymore.  Now we've got to take a look at building a stronger foundation.'" 
So, before you make or break or skip that new year's resolution, January 1, 2011, marks a new beginning and a chance to make things right - at least according to tradition. . . and the numbers.

Anonymous hackers target Zimbabwe government over WikiLeaks

Cyber attacks follow Grace Mugabe's decision to sue newspaper for publishing allegations contained in US embassy cables.
Zimbabwe's president, Robert Mugabe, has become the latest victim of online attacks by supporters of WikiLeaks, it was claimed today.
Cyber activists said they had brought down government websites after Mugabe's wife sued a newspaper for publishing a WikiLeaks cable that linked her with the alleged trade in illicit diamonds .
The Zimbabwean government website was unavailable today, while the finance ministry website displayed a message saying it was under maintenance.
Anonymous, a loose-knit group that has vowed to paralyse sites that act against WikiLeaks, said on its website: "We are targeting Mugabe and his regime in the Zanu-PF who have outlawed the free press and threaten to sue anyone publishing WikiLeaks."
Grace Mugabe has launched a defamation suit against Zimbabwe's Standard newspaper for $15m (£9.5m) for publishing details released by WikiLeaks suggesting that she had gained "tremendous profits" from the trade in illicit diamonds.
The offending article quotes from a US embassy cable that alleged she was among a group of elite Zimbabweans making "several hundred thousand dollars a month" from the sale of illegal stones mined in the politically sensitive Marange district. Grace Mugabe denies the allegations.
Zimbabwe's attorney general has formed a commission to investigate the WikiLeaks cables with a view to bring charges of treason against anyone found to be colluding with "aggressive" foreign governments. This has been seen as a thinly veiled attempt to target the country's prime minister, Morgan Tsvangirai.
Anonymous, a 1,000-strong group of activists, rallied on behalf of WikiLeaks after Amazon and other companies terminated business services with the website. It launched Operation Payback to give firms deemed hostile to WikiLeaks a "black eye".
The websites of Visa, MasterCard, PayPal and the company that hosted WikiLeaks were all brought down after severing ties with the whistleblowing site.
The Swedish prosecution office's website was also attacked after it pressed for the extradition of the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, from the UK to face trial over alleged sexual offences.
Anonymous's so-called "distributed denial of service" (DDoS) attacks, which bring down sites by overpowering them with repeated requests to load, are illegal in the UK.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Crossbow cannibal: Stephen Griffiths is branded a coward by ex-girlfriend Kathy Hancock

THE EX-GIRLFRIEND of “crossbow cannibal” Stephen Griffiths has branded the murderer a “coward”, and predicted he will suffer in prison.
Kathy Hancock, 37, who worked for some time as a prison officer at Full Sutton prison near York, was at Leeds Crown Court last week when Griffiths was sentenced to life imprisonment for the brutal murders of three women.
She told a Sunday tabloid newspaper yesterday: “I sat there in court hoping he’d look me or the victims’ families in the eye, but he couldn’t do it. He’s a coward.”
Ms Hancock, who is understood to have lived for some time with her parents in Stamford Bridge before they left the area, was in a relationship with Griffiths for a year after they met in 2000.
She said Griffiths came across as very shy and they started dating, but during the course of their relationship he hit her so hard her lip split, and broke her nose for talking to another man in a club.
Criminology student Griffiths confessed to murdering Suzanne Blamires, Shelley Armitage and Susan Rushworth, who all worked in the red-light district near his home in Bradford, West Yorkshire.
The court was told how he used power tools to dismember his victims in his flat, and would cook and eat their flesh.
Ms Hancock said: “I just sat there and thought how pathetic he was. I felt angry at myself for being intimidated by him.
“He’s a weak man who targeted very vulnerable people. He’ll suffer in prison because he hates any kind of confrontation with strong people.”
Meanhile, police investigating the disappearance of York chef Claudia Lawrence are to speak to colleagues in West Yorkshire to probe any link with Griffiths.
A spokeswoman for North Yorkshire Police said there was no indication of a link to the disappearance of University of York employee Claudia.
But the spokeswoman said: “Consultation will take place with our colleagues in West Yorkshire Police to ensure that any factors that are common to both cases are identified and investigated promptly.”