September 29, 2012

Romas chased from camp by Marseille residents

Police arrived at the scene to keep the locals and the Roma apart as the Roma left on Thursday evening with their caravans and vehicles, but some of the locals returned later to set fire to any belongings left behind.
The locals, who blamed the Roma for burglaries in the area that had happened since their arrival a few days earlier, had warned authorities that if they were not evicted they would do it themselves.
“It’s no surprise this has happened,” said Caroline Godard of Rencontres Tsiganes, a group set up to help Roma. “There is a climate of tension that is being fanned. We are moving towards a war between the poor.”
The Marseille branch of France’s Human Rights League (LDH) said that although there was no violence and noone was injured in Thursday’s incidents, “one can fear the worst” for the future.

September 28, 2012

Iran Could Have Nukes by Next Summer, Netanyahu Warns U.N.

The world must immediately draw a clear "red line" to prevent Iran from completing a nuclear weapon, which could happen as soon as next summer, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned today in an address before the United Nations.

"To be credible a red line must be drawn first and foremost in one vital part of their program, on Iran's efforts to enrich uranium," said Netanyahu, who considers a nuclear Iran a threat to his country as well as to the entire Mideast region.

The premier said it was already getting "very late" to stop Iran, a regime that he said backs terrorist organizations and attacks around the globe.

Using a magic marker to literally draw a red line on a diagram of a bomb, Netanyahu said Iran was 70 percent of the way towards developing a bomb. He said the international community must stop Iran before it could complete another 20 percent, a process of creating medium enriched uranium.

September 26, 2012

Court Finds 3 Swiss Guilty of Aiding Nuclear Ring

A court in Switzerland found three men guilty Tuesday of helping supply material and know-how to Libya's atomic weapons program almost a decade ago, but approved a plea bargain that cited the defendants' cooperation with the CIA as a mitigating circumstance.

The Swiss Federal Criminal Court sentenced Urs Tinner, 46 and his brother Marco, 43, to prison terms that are shorter than the time they have already spent in investigative custody. Their 74-year-old father, Friedrich, received a suspended sentence. All three had pleaded guilty and were ordered to pay fines and substantial legal costs.


Urs Tinner claimed in a 2009 interview with Swiss television that he had tipped off the CIA about a delivery of centrifuge parts destined for Libya's nuclear weapons program. The shipment was seized at the Italian port of Taranto in October 2003, forcing Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi to admit and eventually renounce his efforts to acquire nuclear weapons technology.

Apple's FoxConn China Plant Damaged As Riots Resume #2

Referring to:

Danish sperm donor passes severe genetic disorder to five children

The man, known only as "donor 7042", fathered 43 children, in breach of rules limiting the number to 25, after giving sperm to Copenhagen's Nordisk Cryobank clinic.

But as well as fertilising the clinic's clients, the donor was also transmitting the tumour-producing nerve disorder known as Neurofibromatosis type I (NF1) or Von Recklinghausen's disease.

Parents are considering legal action after it emerged that the sperm bank was told in June 2009 that one of the children born to the donor had been diagnosed with the genetic illness but failed to act.

September 25, 2012

iRage: Apple's FoxConn China Plant Damaged As Riots Resume

Following the riots at Apple's FoxConn Chengdu plant in June, engadget is reporting that FoxConn's Taiyuan plant - the scene of earlier strikes over salary disputes back in March - has suffered damage as workers riot. Police are on site to control the crowd and while the motive is not clear, it is apparently unrelated to the recent anti-Japan protests. It appears - based on the clip and photos below - that much damage has been done in the process.

September 24, 2012

Loose Nuke Smugglers Caught With Uranium

Seven individuals were reportedly arrested for allegedly trafficking uranium and weapons in a breakaway region of Moldova.
The unnamed group had been detained last week in the separatist enclave of Transnistria, according to Moldova’s interior ministry, Reuters reported.
The group had allegedly been involved in shipments of hand grenades, Kalashnikov assault rifles, rocket propelled grenade launchers, and even containers of uranium-235, which could be used to produce a nuclear bomb. The ministry provided no further details about the uranium shipment or its origin, according to Reuters.

September 23, 2012

Iran Inaugurates New Currency Trading Center

Iran's state radio is reporting that the country has inaugurated a new hard currency trading center to undercut the black market.
Under the supervision of Iran's central bank, the center will offer U.S. dollars at 2 percent less than the street rate to importers of the country's needs, from the veterinary industry to printing machines, according to the Sunday report.
The U.S. dollar is traded at 24,600 rials in the street market. But the current official rate is 12,260 rials to the dollar, used only for special purposes such as importing food and medicines.
Iranian currency has been heavily hit by Western sanctions over Iran's nuclear program. The West suspects Iran is aiming to build nuclear weapons, a charge Iran denies.

Cancer row over GM foods as study says it did THIS to rats...

VoidSnake: Yummy!

Rats fed a lifelong diet of one of the bestselling strains of genetically modified corn suffered tumours and multiple organ damage, according to a controversial French study published today.

Scientists said the results raised serious questions about the safety of GM foods and the assurances offered by biotech companies and governments.

The first lifetime trials involving rats fed on GM corn found a raised incidence of breast tumours, liver and kidney damage.

Dr Michael Antoniou, a molecular biologist at King’s College, London, and an expert on GM foods, said: ‘It shows an extraordinary number of tumours developing earlier and more aggressively – particularly in female animals. I am shocked by the extreme negative health impacts.’

The research was carried out by Caen University in France, and has been peer reviewed by independent scientists to guarantee the experiments were properly conducted and the results are valid.

September 21, 2012

Berets only! French far-right leader demands ban on Muslim, Jewish headwear

France’s far-right leader and former presidential hopeful Marine Le Pen has called for a ban on wearing Muslim veils and Jewish skullcaps in public, leading to fears of an increase in religious tensions sparked by cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.
In an interview with French daily Le Monde, the former presidential hopeful said she would ban religious headgear “in stores, on public transport and on the streets,” as well as banning Halal and Kosher foods from schools.
She accused the past and present French governments of being far too lax with political and religious fundamental groups, saying that the country should restore law and order around housing projects, to “gain the upper hand.”
President Francois Hollande denounced Le Pen’s comments, saying "Everything that tears people apart, opposes them and divides them is inappropriate and we must apply the rules, the only rules that we know – the rules of the Republic and secularism."
Muslims in France were outraged after satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo put a new print run of the cartoons featuring a naked Mohammed on newsstands.
The drawings have added fuel to the fire over an anti-Islam film made in California that has provoked violent protests in dozens of Muslim countries, including attacks on US and other Western embassies, the killing of the US envoy to Libya and a suicide bombing in Afghanistan.
As a precaution, French embassies, schools and cultural centers in some 20 Muslim countries were closed on Friday, the Muslim day of prayer.
The government has also banned any form of protests by activist groups, and police were on high alert in the capital, Paris.

Polish family claims Russia 'mixed up' remains of Smolensk victims

Anna Walentynowicz, who as the forefront of the Solidarity movement in its struggle against communist rule, died along alongside Lech Kaczynski, the then Polish president, and 94 others when their plane crashed near Smolensk in western Russia in April 2010.
Since the disaster there have been strong suspicions that Russian authorities failed to indentify the bodies correctly.
Walentynowicz's presumed body was exhumed on Monday and her son Janusz has now said that the remains are "not the body of my mother".
"That's my opinion, and the doctors' opinions all the results of the examination will come later," he said. "But I know what I saw in Moscow, I know my own mother, and the person I saw today on the autopsy table was certainly not the person I recognised as my mother."
Piotr Walentynowicz, Anna's grandson, was also adamant.
"I do not recognise that body as my grandmother's body," he said.

Czechs Ban Export of Spirits to the EU

The Czech Republic has banned the export to EU countries of spirits with more than 20 percent alcohol content after 23 people who drank bootleg booze tainted with methanol have died in the country.
Health Minister Leos Heger issued the ban Thursday at the request of the European Union.

September 18, 2012

Topless Kate shots published in Italy despite legal threats

More topless pictures of Kate Middleton have been published in Silvio Berlusconi’s Chi tabloid magazine, despite legal action from the Royal family and the court case in France against Closer magazine which was the first to publish the photos.

­The magazine fulfilled its promise to publish an extensive photo report featuring 18 photographs of the Royal couple taken with a telephoto lens while the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were on vacation in the south of France.

Chi’s, Alfonso Signorini seems unconcerned with the Royal family’s threats and wrote on his Tweeter page that "not even a direct call from the Queen" would stop him from publishing the photographs. "If I had had more scandalous photos I would have willingly published them," Signorini told Italy's Corriere della Sera.

The French Closer magazine also owned by Berlusconi's publishing house Mondadori printed 14 pictures of the same series, causing outrage in the Royal Family. According to The Sun newspaper, the paparazzi series contains around 200 photos all in all.

September 16, 2012

European lawmakers ‘meddling in Russia’s internal affairs’ – Foreign Ministry         %

Moscow has responded harshly to a European parliament resolution entitled, ‘On Use of Justice for Political Purposes in Russia,’ saying the document is an example of meddling in the country’s affairs.
­The European Parliament's resolution has been derided by the Russian Foreign Ministry as the latest attempt by European lawmakers to make unfair conclusions on the internal situation in the country.
“We have read through the European Parliament’s latest resolution on Russia and unfortunately we have to say that the MEPs have once again failed to provide a balanced analysis of the situation in our country,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement released Friday. “The resolution seems to be based on unconfirmed and biased reports, which is further compounded by unfair ‘analysis.’” 
The EU resolution mentions several high-profile cases in Russia, including the murders of lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasia Baburova, who were gunned down together in January 2009 in Moscow. Following a thorough investigation, the killer – identified as a Russian nationalist with a grudge against Markelov due to his “anti-fascist work” – was sentenced to life in prison.
The investigation also determined that Baburova had the misfortune of being with Markelov at the time of the attack.
The EU report labels the solved case as slow progress.
As to the complaints concerning Russia’s legal system, Russia’s envoy to the EU Vladimir Chizhov reminded that every country “has its own laws, and legislation even differs inside of the European Union."
Chizhov questioned why the EU parliament never consulted Russia on the developments of the court cases it mentions in the report.
"I understand that this debate was dominated by a speech delivered by EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton,” the Russian envoy said. "The wording of this resolution is regrettable and gives a biased picture of the events. Some of them raise questions even from a factual point of view." 
If Ashton wanted to get Russia's viewpoint, she could have done so, Chizhov added.
The Foreign Ministry also mentioned human rights violations in the EU itself, including the issue of not providing citizenship to Russians living in Latvia and Estonia.
Earlier, President Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov told reporters the EU document was ‘unacceptable’.

French winemakers concerned over 'chateau' change

In France, wine labelled "chateau" is associated with a product entirely made from grapes grown on a "terroir" – a specific patch of land- giving it a unique identity and flavour.

But a new proposal by the European Commission, to be addressed later this month, would allow American wines made with a mixture of grapes purchased from different growers, to use the title as well.

A committee of representatives from the Bordeaux region were among the first to denounce the initiative, which they claim would confuse French consumers, and ruin the tradition of chateau wine production.

Representatives, who base much of their sales on the use of coveted chateau titles in their region, are to meet on Monday in an attempt to push the French government to veto the initiative.

"There is a great danger that the notion of the chateau will disappear in France ... the consumer is going to feel lost," said Laurent Gapenne, president of an organisation that guarantees wine labels represent their geographic origin and quality in the Gironde region, which includes Bordeaux.

September 15, 2012

Chinese-made laptops’ latest feature: Pre-installed viruses

By the time you switch on your fresh-out-of-the-box laptop for the first time, it may already be infected with dangerous malware that can either harm you or turn your computer into a pawn in a criminal cyberwar.

­This accidental discovery was made by Microsoft’s digital crimes unit during an investigation into Chinese computer manufacturers, many of whom are illegally installing its Windows operating system onto their hardware.

"The cybercriminals are really changing the ways they try to attack you," Richard Boscovich, a former federal prosecutor and a senior attorney in Microsoft's digital crimes unit wrote in the company’s blog.

After Microsoft engineers purchased and tested local laptops, they discovered that 20 percent of them had become infected with viruses or malware at some point between leaving the assembly line and the date of purchase.

"We found malware capable of remotely turning on an infected computer's microphone and video camera, potentially giving a cybercriminal eyes and ears into a victim's home or business," Boscovich said. "Additionally, we found malware that records a person's every keystroke, allowing cybercriminals to steal a victim's personal information."

Czech Bans Spirit Sales Amid Wave of Poisonings

 The Czech Republic has taken an unprecedented emergency measure and banned the sale of spirits with more than 20 percent alcohol content as it battles a wave of methanol poisonings that has already killed 19 people.

Health Minister Leos Heger said Friday the ban was effective immediately and applies nationwide. It covers all possible sales locations, including restaurants, hotels, stores and the Internet.

Kiosks and markets had earlier been banned from selling spirits with more than 30 percent alcohol content, but Heger said the measure has not been effective enough because "an absolute majority" of people who have been poisoned bought the toxic alcohol in restaurants, bars and stores.

Heger said the ban could possibly take weeks. It is estimated that up to 20 percent of all the liquor in restaurants across the country is likely made on the black market

September 14, 2012

American killed in Libya was on State Department intelligence operation

One of the four Americans killed in Libya earlier this week when an American diplomatic mission was stormed on September 11 had been deployed by the US State Department on an intelligence gathering operation to find and destroy dangerous weapons.
Glen Doherty, a 42-year-old former Navy SEAL, told ABC News only one month before his death that he had been contracted by the State Department to travel overseas in an effort to locate and eliminate MANPADS shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles. The US government had feared that as many as thousands of the high-powered warheads had fallen into the hands of both rebels and regime fighters after former leader Muammar Gaddafi was executed earlier this year amid months of chaos in region.
In Libya, Doherty said, he had been contracted to travel through the region and search for MANPADs, then destroy them by bashing them with a hammer or running them over in his vehicle, ABC reports. He detailed his mission with the network in August while still located in the United States.
Doherty was killed along with three others, including US ambassador Christopher Stevens, on the anniversary of the terrorist attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center in New York eleven years earlier.
“I never thought he’d be another victim of 9/11,” his sister Katie Quigley tells The Boston Globe. At the time of his death, Quigley adds she believes her brother "was protecting the ambassador and also helping the wounded.”
The State Department did not offer any comment in regards to Doherty’s involvement in efforts to dismantle the MANPADS, but directed the media to an earlier statement from State Assistant Secretary for Political-Military Affairs Andrew Shapiro that read the US was looking at "every possible tool to mitigate the threat."
"He died serving with men he respected, protecting the freedoms we enjoy as Americans and doing something he loved," former SEAL and friend Brandon Webb tells NBC.
In the three days since Doherty’s death, mobs have swarmed diplomatic establishments held by the US overseas, including facilities in Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen. American authorities are investigating a man thought to be responsible for the film "Innocence of Muslims,” an American-made movie deemed disrespectful to Islam and considered the catalyst in the rash of attacks.

Heathrow flight death man 'possibly Angolan'

A man thought to have fallen from the undercarriage of a plane near Heathrow is believed to be Angolan, it has been revealed.

Police were called to Portman Avenue in Mortlake at about 07:55 BST on Sunday after the discovery of the body.

He was found with Angolan currency and he was not a member of the crew or a passenger, a police spokesman said.

A post-mortem examination has been held at Kingston Hospital but the results are not yet known.

The man, whose death is being treated as unexplained, was wearing jeans, a grey hooded top and white trainers.

He is described as an African male aged between 20 and 30.

Poland joins European Space Agency

Poland on Thursday becomes the 20th member of the European Space Agency, the country's economy ministry announced.

Polish Economy Minster Waldemar Pawlak and ESA head Jean-Jacques Dordain were to sign an entry deal in Warsaw later Thursday, the ministry said in a statement on its website.

Poland, which has been cooperating with the ESA since 2007, is the third country from behind the former Iron Curtain to join the agency after the Czech Republic and Romania.

September 12, 2012

UK installs CCTV in school bathrooms, changing rooms

Over 200 UK state schools have installed cameras in bathrooms and changing rooms to monitor students, a recent surveillance survey reported. British parents will likely be shocked by the study’s findings.
­The survey is based on a freedom of information request conducted by Big Brother Watch, an anti-surveillance activist group. The group said they were shaken by the results, which was much higher and more extensive than expected.
The report "will come as a shock to many parents", Nick Pickles, Director of Big Brother Watch said. "Schools need to come clean about why they are using these cameras and what is happening to the footage”.

Controversial British plan to ‘divide and rule’ Afghanistan

VoidSnake: I hope everyone is having a fantastic week.

A Tory MP proposes hacking up Afghanistan into separate “kingdoms”, each ruled by a foreign power, and to include members of the Taliban.

The plan is the brainchild of conservative MP and Foreign Office aide Tobias Ellwood, a former army captain in the Royal Green Jackets, and is already under discussion in London and Washington, according to a report which was seen by the British newspaper The Independent on Sunday.

The report puts forward a regionalized state under a powerful new prime minster and would attempt to deal with weak government, corruption and tribal disputes, which have plagued Afghanistan.

The blueprint – which has been labeled Plan C – is to split Afghanistan up into eight zones based around the economic hubs of Kabul, Kandahar, Herat, Mazar-i-Sharif, Kunduz, Jalalabad, Khost and Bayman.

The areas would then be governed by a council representing different ethnic groups and overseen by one or more foreign countries; in the same way that Berlin was run after the Second World War.

Other options being considered include Plan A, to turn Afghanistan into a smoothly functioning democracy and Plan B, to hand the war over to the Afghan security forces, which would be overseen by American military advisors.

Ellwood warned that Afghanistan faces a bleak future once the International Security Force (ISAF) withdraws at the end of 2014. He also said that “The Taliban will not enter into a meaningful dialogue if there is no feasible political strategy within which they can participate.”

September 11, 2012

US 'hushed up Katyn massacre'

The files released by the US National Archive appear to confirm long-standing suspicions that the Americans knew that Stalin bore responsibility for the massacre of some 22,000 Poles in and around the Katyn Forest in 1940 despite Soviet claims that German forces had killed the Poles.


In one case dating from 1943, the files revealed how American POWs managed to send a coded message reporting how they had seen corpses in an advanced state of decay in the Katyn Forest. Apparent evidence that the victims had died long before Hitler's armies rolled across the Soviet Union during their 1941 invasion.

Although reaching Washington the POWs evidence disappeared, indicating that Roosevelt had them buried to ensure anger over the massacre would not upset a relationship with the Soviet Union that the Western allies put above all else, and well before the interests of fellow ally Poland.

Even after the war the Katyn evidence was kept under wraps in order not to exacerbate tensions between the US and the Soviet Union. The reports failed to appear during a 1951-52 Congressional hearing into the massacre, as did a report by Britain's ambassador to Poland's government exile, Owen O'Malley, which spoke of "serious doubts" over Soviet claims of innocence.

Madrid chosen as location for 'EuroVegas'

The Spanish capital was revealed as the casino giant's preferred location over its arch-rival city, Barcelona, after a lengthily bidding battle for the project.

"The regional government of Madrid has been a strong advocate for this potential development, and we are appreciative of the energy they have brought to this process," said Sheldon Adelson, chairman and CEO.

"Barcelona is an outstanding tourism destination, and choosing Madrid over Barcelona was not an easy selection."

The plans for a Las-Vegas-style casino strip on the outskirts of the Spanish capital has been welcomed by city officials.

Ana Isabel Marino, Madrid's counsellor for planning and environment, said that the regional government received the news "with contained satisfaction, given that this is the first step".

As Europe's biggest gambling centre, but still half the size of the famous Las Vegas strip, Mr Adelson's four-mile stretch is set to include six casinos, 12 hotels featuring 36,000 rooms, a convention centre, three golf courses, bars, restaurants and shopping centres.

September 10, 2012

Supervision of Kosovo ends, but what does it mean?

 Monday marked an important milestone for tiny Kosovo, as a 25-nation group formally ends supervision of the young country it has guided since the former Serbian province declared independence after a bloody war. It is a sign of confidence that the new country has matured enough since 2008 to take its destiny into its own hands.
But, in reality, very little will be different for the Balkan nation after the parliamentary ceremony celebrating the change. NATO-led peacekeepers will stay in charge of security and an EU mission will still have a final say in legal matters. Tensions with Serbia and ethnic Serbs living in the tense north will persist and so will the hardship of Kosovo's army of jobless people who are still waiting to see the bright future they were promised.

OktoberfESM 2012

Too early for Oktoberfest, but just in time for the ESM verdict.

If they rule that the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) is compliant with the German constitution, then the final hurdle will be overcome in establishing a €700 billion bail-out fund, intended for use to prop up struggling eurozone economies.

If they rule that the ESM breaches the German constitution by handing over too much liability to Brussels, then the fund will be blocked for months or even years. Greece, Spain, and possibly even Italy could plunge into the abyss and depart, dragging with them any remaining hopes of eurozone survival.

Russia won’t fund EU political influence in Eastern Europe

The ongoing economic crisis in the eurozone has political roots, as the EU took on too many obligations with new members. Now Brussels wants Russia to share the burden, said President Vladimir Putin at the final APEC press conference in Vladivostok.
­Putin explained that modern Russia will not take on any additional obligations towards the economies of Eastern Europe.
He noted that “the very political system, the high level of social guarantees, the inability to ensure growing consumption – all this is a crippling burden that lies on the shoulders of the European economy.”
“The matter is that all those [Eastern European] countries were accepted to the EU and the Union committed to subsidize their economies,” Putin said.
The economic plight of the EU is the direct reason for the antitrust investigation initiated by the EU against Russian state corporation Gazprom, Putin observed.
The European Union is probing Gazprom over alleged unfair competition and price-fixing in the natural gas markets of Central and Eastern Europe. The EU claims Gazprom was hindering the free flow of gas across its member countries, preventing supply diversification and limiting customer choice of delivery points. Brussels also suspects Gazprom of imposing unfair prices on its customers by linking the price of gas to oil prices. The company does not admit any wrongdoing.
“It seems now that someone in the European Commission has decided that we (Russia) are going to share this subsidizing burden [of Eastern Europe]. That means the united Europe wants to keep political influence while we would be paying for this a little bit. This is a non-constructive approach,” Putin noted, also saying that given the crisis times a desire to shift part of the financial activities on somebody else is understandable, but counterproductive.
Putin recalled that in the times of the USSR and the ‘Eastern Bloc’ the Soviet Union was transiting hydrocarbons to its allies for a special price.
“In our times we have shifted to market relations with these countries and market formation of prices. Let’s stay on the ground of today realities,” the president urged.

Jewish Groups Upset by Estonian Mock Ad

Jewish organizations have denounced an Estonian newspaper for publishing a mock ad for weight-loss pills depicting emaciated prisoners at a Nazi concentration camp.

Efraim Zuroff of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem on Sunday called the mock ad in the Eesti Ekspress weekly a "perverted attempt at humor at the expense of the Nazis' millions of victims."

Alla Jakobson, spokeswoman for Estonia's Jewish community, said in newspaper Postimees that the incident shows Estonian society is experiencing "major problems with moral and ethical values."

Sulev Vedler, deputy editor of Eesti Ekspress, says the mock ad, which ran in the paper's humor section, was poking fun at an Estonian gas company that recently used an image of Auschwitz to promote its services.

Vedler says the ad "was not targeted against Jewish people."

John Terry to miss England's World Cup qualifier against Ukraine

John Terry has been ruled out of England's World Cup qualifier with Ukraine at Wembley on Tuesday due to his ankle injury, the Football Association has confirmed.
Terry suffered the setback during Friday night's 5-0 win in Moldova and England finished the game with 10 men after the Chelsea defender limped off in the closing stages.
He continued to have treatment on Saturday after returning to England but it has been decided, an FA spokesman said, that Terry will not recover sufficiently in time to face the Ukrainians.

September 9, 2012

Sudden stop: Canada cuts ties with Iran, closes embassy, orders diplomats home

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird delivered a diplomatic bolt from the blue Friday, abruptly and unexpectedly severing ties with Iran, shuttering Canada's embassy there and giving Iranian diplomats in Ottawa five days to get out of the country.

Baird rattled off a litany of long-standing grievances with Iran during a news conference in the Russian city of Vladivostok, where he and Prime Minister Stephen Harper are participating in this weekend's meeting of Asia Pacific Co-operation leaders.

"The Iranian regime has shown blatant disregard for the Vienna Convention and its guarantee of protection for diplomatic personnel," said Baird, adding that the government on Friday formally listed Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism.

"Under the circumstances, Canada can no longer maintain a diplomatic presence in Iran. Our diplomats serve Canada as civilians, and their safety is our No. 1 priority."

Chinese Mother Shaves Numbers Into Son's Heads to Help Identify Them

What to do when you can't tell your kids apart? Easy: Number them. In order to identify her quadruplets, a Chinese mother shaved the numbers one through four into their heads. According to Tan Chaoyun, she chose the number system because she was afraid that teachers would not be able to differentiate between the 6-year-old boys. So, she did the teachers a favor and her sons a disservice.

Chaoyun admitted that she and the boys' father struggle to tell which one of their sons is which. At times, their father has disciplined the wrong child out of confusion. The numerical haircuts are a bad look for the boys even as kids, so what are their parents going to do when they grow up? Nobody is trying to start high school with their hair shaved into the #1. Well, unless they just are.

September 8, 2012

Sugar Coated Terrorism

Hello all, I am a new contributor I also appreciate feedback on how I can improve my drawings. Here is my first post I hope you like it.

Chocolatiers in Switzerland are infuriated by US inspections on their universally-loved confectionary for bioterrorism or radioactive threats. Factories have no choice but allow checks; otherwise will they be banned from the profitable US market.

­At least 21 Swiss chocolate factories and 18 dairies are obliged to allow inspections of their work until September 20, German business journal Handelszeitung reports.

“The fact that a foreign authority is involved in our Swiss businesses is unseemly,” Daniel Bloch, of Chocolates Camille Bloch told the journal.

Fake porn fines hit thousands of Swedes

The police suspect people in Sweden, Switzerland and Lichtenstein are responsible for the fraud, reported Swedish national television SVT.

To one of the accounts that the police have traced, at least 1,500 and perhaps as many as 3,000 Swedes have paid the fake fines, thereby earning the suspects millions of kronor.

“Heaps of these fines have been sent out and a lot of people have been paying them,” said the Stockholm police force’s fraud expert Jan Olsson to SVT.

The letters that were sent out to thousands of Swedes at the end of summer stated that the recipient had downloaded pornography and that the action had been traced. In order to avoid charges being pressed, the fake letters stated, the person would have to pay a sum, between a few hundred kronor (100 kronor = $15) and several thousand kronor.

According to the police, few police reports have been filed, and the hidden cases are believed to be numerous.

September 7, 2012

China's thirst for wine boosts European producers

China's thirst for fine wines is buoying European producers as domestic consumption dries up.

As the eurozone debt crisis squeezes household spending, Europeans have less to splurge on life's little pleasures, and wine producers have felt the pinch. Exporters are now looking to new markets like China -- home to 1.3 billion people -- to boost sales.

Richard Halstead, co-founder of Wine Intelligence, a consultancy on wine branding, says that China is a huge growth market for producers and there is a scramble for quality European brands.

"China represents effectively the biggest growth prospect that the wine industry has had probably for a generation," said Halstead.

September 6, 2012

Plan for crematorium next to Nazi concentration camp in Poland provoke outrage

Jewish groups and Holocaust survivors had reacted with fury to the proposal by a funeral company to build a crematorium next to Majdanek, which claimed perhaps as many as 300,000 lives, with many of the victims’ remains incinerated in seven ovens.

Abraham Foxman, national director of the New-York based Jewish organisation the Anti-Defamation League, and Holocaust survivor, described the plans by the company Styks as “reprehensible” and “outrageously insensitive”, and urged local authorities to halt the development.

Majorca tragedy: British father and son drown

Louis Selby died along with his father, 27, as his mother and brothers watched on from the shore.

Mr Selby reportedly went into the water after the young boy was caught by a wave as he was standing on steps cut into the rocks overlooking a small deserted cove called Cala Antena.

The boy's mother alerted lifeguards from a nearby hotel but they were unable to save them.

According to reports, Mr Selby had been taking photographs of his son by the rocks shortly before he was swept away at around 11am yesterday.

Coastguards had put out a red flag to warn visitors not to enter the sea at the time.

September 2, 2012

Grenade Blast Wounds 37 Watching Philippine Circus

Police say a grenade attack on an army outpost in the southern Philippines has wounded at least 37 people who were watching a nearby circus performance.

Police Senior Inspector Romeo Abler says a man hurled the grenade toward the outpost but it hit a protective net and bounced toward dozens of villagers watching a nearby circus late Saturday in Paquibato district in Davao city's rural outskirts.

Abler told The Associated Press by telephone on Sunday that 37 villagers were wounded by the powerful blast and a stampede that followed. At least three were in serious condition in a hospital.

September 1, 2012

Germany slams France over fuel tax cut

France’s Socialist government has come under a broadside of criticism in Germany for artificially lowering the cost of petrol and diesel at the pump.

French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici announced Tuesday that the government and oil firms had agreed to split the burden of a six-euro-cent cut per litre for petrol and diesel over the next three months.

Paris insists that this temporary measure has been put in place to give the government time to work out a long-term strategy to keep the cost of fuel down.

And despite polls showing 78% of Germans favour a similar intervention, the German government and the press wholeheartedly rejected copying the French initiative.

“We do not believe that cutting taxes will have a lasting effect on reducing the price of fuel,” government spokesman Steffen Seibert said on Wednesday, adding that any positive impact on the French economy from the measure would be “very short term”.

“Lowering the cost of fuel is not the government’s job,” Seibert said.

Coca-Cola denies 'cracking' North Korea

In video clips posted recently on YouTube, foreign tourists dining at a new pizza restaurant set up in Pyongyang by Corital, a joint venture between North Korea and Italy, filmed their meal and being served Coca-Cola.

Diners at the company's chain of three restaurants in the city, however, are being told that the drink poured from the unmistakable red-and-white cans is not actually from the United States, which is still regarded as the arch-enemy and usually described in state media as "sabre-rattling imperialists."

Instead, they are told, it is "Italian Coke."