Saturday, June 30, 2012

Spherical Flying Machine Developed by Japan Ministry of Defense

Clever Japanese. If you saw it flying by, you would swear on a stack of anything it was a UFO.

Push to Add Drama..... Your Daily Dose of Drama

Somewhere in a little town in Belguim.
On a square where nothing happens ( I mean never)
we placed a button.
"Push to Add Drama" and see what happens!

To launch the high quality TV channel TNT in Belgium we placed a big red push button on an average Flemish square of an average Flemish town. A sign with the text "Push to add drama" invited people to use the button. And then we waited...
TNT. We know drama.

Violent Storms Leave Millions Sweltering in Heat Without Power....Washington DC

Some three million people have been left without power after violent storms hit the region around the capital, Washington DC. The storms swept from the Midwest states to the region around Washington, packing winds of up to 80mph (130 km/h).

The power outages left many sweltering without air conditioning amid a record-breaking heatwave. At least 12 deaths have been linked to the storm, officials say. The storm is locally referred to as a "derecho" - a violent, straight-lined windstorm associated with a fast-moving band of severe thunderstorms. It left behind felled trees, streets littered with fallen branches and downed power lines.

Washington's transit authority said most metro lines were back to normal service after the storm disrupted service on all lines during Friday night. But many Metrobus routes were subject to detours or delay due to downed trees and power lines. Amtrak suspended services from Washington to Philadelphia.

The heatwave has seen all-time records smashed with temperatures of 104F (40C) in DC. It was set to continue, said the National Weather Service - and it warned that another round of severe weather was possible. The storms started in the Midwest and moved quickly eastward, hitting the mid-Atlantic states on Friday evening. As well as gusty winds, Twitter users reported spectacular, sustained displays of lightning. There were also reports of hail the size of a quarter ( coin) .

A state of emergency was declared in West Virginia where more than 500,000 were hit by power cuts.Power companies said they were working hard to restore power to customers while some parts had water restrictions imposed after power cuts at two water filtration plants and other facilities.  The Associated Press news agency said the storms had been blamed for six deaths in Virginia, two in New Jersey, two in Maryland, one in Ohio and one in Washington DC.

In suburban Washington, residents were told to call non-emergency phone numbers or go to fire and police stations if they needed help because even 911 emergency call centres were without electricity.
Get used to violent weather folks. Global warming has brought us a whole new climate ball game.

Australia Introduces Controversial Carbon Tax

Vapour rise from a steel mill chimney in the industrial town of Port Kembla, south of Sydney. File photo
Australia is the developed world's worst polluter per head of population
Australia has introduced its highly controversial carbon tax, after years of bitter political wrangling. The law forces the country's 500 worst-polluting firms to pay a ( $24) levy for every tonne of greenhouse gases they produce.

The government says the tax is needed to meet climate-change obligations of Australia - the highest emitter per-head in the developed world.  But the opposition calls it a "toxic tax", which will cost jobs.  The opposition also argues that the tax will raise the cost of living, promising to repeal the legislation if it wins the next election, due in 2013.

Environmentalists have broadly backed the scheme, but there have been large public protests against it. Australia's mining firms, airlines, steel makers and energy firms are among those expected to be hardest hit by the the Clean Energy Act.

Domestic fuel bills are expected to rise as companies pass on the costs to consumers. But the government of Prime Minister Julia Gillard says it is the only realistic way of meeting Australia's climate-change obligations.

It also hopes that the legislation will force innovation in renewable energy supplies, and free the country from its reliance on fossil fuels. Australia currently accounts for 1.5% of the world's emissions, but it is the developed world's highest emitter per head of population thanks to its relatively small population.

The leader of the opposition, Tony Abbott, says the "toxic" tax is expensive and will not affect climate change. Australia's initial price per tonne of carbon is much higher than other similar schemes - such as in the EU where the price is between $8.70 and $12.60 a tonne.


  • 500 companies affected
  • Agriculture, forestry and land are exempt
  • Market-based trading scheme kicks in from 2015
  • Target to cut 159m tonnes of CO2 by 2020

The Orion Arm of the Milky Way Stunning

Simply breath-taking: The Milky Way floats over a serene lake in an image which took two years to get just right
Occasionally an image comes along which is simply breath-taking.
This, we humbly submit, is one of them, an image of the Orion Arm of the Milky Way galaxy, stretching in an immense band across the skies and giving us just the tiniest glimpse of the vastness of our universe around us.
The image was taken by astrophotographer Luc Perrot on the French island of Réunion, to the East of Madagascar, who reports that he waited two years to get the perfect light conditions.
But it was worth it
The image was taken earlier this month at the Piton de l'Eau on Reunion Island.In the foreground, surrounded by bushes and trees, lies a water-filled volcanic crater serenely reflecting starlight.  A careful inspection near the image center will locate Piton des Neiges, the highest peak on the island, situated several kilometers away.

In the background, high above the lake, shines the light of hundreds of stars, most of which are within 100 light years, right in our stellar neighborhood. Far in the distance, arching majestically overhead, is the central band of our home Milky Way Galaxy, shining by the light of millions of stars each located typically thousands of light years away.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Dear Maxy ,

I am a 17-year-old who was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome at age 10 . My AS is mild and allows me to function better than most . However , I have an indivudualized education program and access to the learning / emotional support system in my school .

Since I have a mild type of As , my teachers often tell me they ""can't see any hint of AS." But they don't realize how difficult it is for me to talk to them .. and anyone ... about my condition .

I see a therapist on a regular basis , and she has confirmed my diagnosis . Could you recommend a support group ? This would be extremely helpful to me , especially since I will be leaving for college soon .


Dear Aspie ,

Asperger syndrome is an autism spectrum disorder characterized by some degree of impairment in language and communication skills , as well as repetitive or restrictive patterns of thought and behavior . Treatment includes social skills training , cognitive behavioral therapy , medication , occupational or physical theraphy , specialized speech/language therapy and parent training and support .

You sound very high functioning , which is undoubtedly why your teachers question your diagnosis . The Online Asperger Syndrome Information and Support (OASIS) center has joined with MAAP Services for Autism and Asperger Syndrome to provide online support website at please check it out .



Dear Maxy,

I am an American female , and I recently went abroad to a country where women are not respected nearly as much as they are in the United States . There , women are treated as second class citizens and as though they could never be as talented as men .

In restaurants , I always recieved worse service than men , and I was quick to go up to the waiter directly when he was taking too long with something . But when in a country such as that one , how should a visiting female behave ? Should we conform to the standards of the country or act the way we would in America ?

Culturally Correct

Dear Cultually Correct ,

I can understand your dismay at the way women were treated in the country you visited , but I would caution you about your reaction . Have you ever heard the saying , "When in Rome , do as the Romans do ?" Well that applies here .

It is unrealistic for you to believe that the mores of a country should change to accommodate your lifestyle , needs or beliefs . When you visit another country , you should respect it's basic codes of conduct .

While the waiter may have been slow to respond to you , there's a good chance he may have just been slow . If it is not customary for a woman to complain about poor service , it's likely that the service did not improve after you said something . You have to pick your battles .

Many countries have dress codes that are different from the United States . For example , in Islamic countries , it is usually preferred that women cover their heads and dress modestly .

I would never want you to be harmed or mistreated wherever you are , but when you travel , one of the best ways to figure out how to be in that place is to observe closely . It may not make you feel good that women are not seen in the same light as they are in America , but you cannot change that in one trip . Your travels may help you to have a greater respect for the gains we have made in our country .



Dear Maxy,

I work at a cheese store , and often deliver cheese platters to people who are having specials events . Recently , we delivered a platter to someone who lost a love one . We like to follow up and receive feedback from our clients , however , in this circumstance how de we approach it ?

Treading Gently

Dear Treading Gently ,

You can follow up with a note saying that you hope the platter comforted the family and guests during their bereavement .


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Roman and Celtic Coin Hoard Worth up to £10m (Approx.$20M) Found in Jersey

Cleaning coins

About 50,000 coins dating back to the time of Julius Caesar have been found in a field in Jersey (Channel Islands).  One of Europe's largest hoards of Iron Age coins has been unearthed in Jersey and could be worth up to £10m, according to an expert. The Roman and Celtic coins, which date from the 1st Century BC, were found by two metal detector enthusiasts.

Dr Philip de Jersey, a former Celtic coin expert at Oxford University, said the haul was "extremely exciting and very significant". He said each individual coin was worth between £100 and £200.

Celtic coin
The exact number of coins found has not been established, but archaeologists said the hoard was about three quarters of a tonne and could contain about 50,000 coins. The exact location of the hoard has not been revealed by the authorities but Environment Minister, Deputy Rob Duhamel, said he would do everything he could to protect the site.
"Sites like these do need protection because there is speculation there might even be more," he said.
"It is a very exciting piece of news and perhaps harks back to our cultural heritage in terms of finance. It was found under a hedge so perhaps this is an early example of hedge fund trading."

It was found by Reg Mead and Richard Miles in a field in the east of Jersey. They had been searching for more than 30 years after hearing rumours a farmer had discovered silver coins while working on his land. Mr Mead and Mr Miles worked with experts from Jersey Heritage to slowly unearth the treasure.

A large mound of clay containing the coins has now been taken to a safe location to be studied. It is the first hoard of coins found in the island for more than 60 years. Several hoards of Celtic coins have been found in Jersey before but the largest was in 1935 at La Marquanderie when more than 11,000 were discovered.

Dr de Jersey said it would take months for archaeologists to find out the full value of the haul.
He said: "It is extremely exciting and very significant. It will add a huge amount of new information, not just about the coins themselves but the people who were using them.
"Most archaeologists with an interest in coins spend their lives in libraries writing about coins and looking at pictures of coins.
"To actually go out and excavate one in a field, most of us never get that opportunity. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity."

The ownership of the coins is unclear.  Mr Mead said he had asked the States of Jersey for clarification. Deputy Duhamel said the owners of the site had indicated they would like to see the whole hoard on display at the Jersey Museum or the archive.

What the Romans left behind
  • The Roman army left Britain more than 1,500 years ago
  • They built new roads, baths and sewers
  • New plants and animals, such as parsley, sweet chestnut and chickens were also introduced
  • They brought measurements such as miles, feet and inches
  • The Romans also introduced Christianity to Britain

Giant Tortoise...Lonesome George Dies - Last of His Species

Staff at the Galapagos National Park in Ecuador say Lonesome George, a giant tortoise,the last of its subspecies, has died. Scientists estimate he was about 100 years old.  Park officials said they would carry out a post-mortem to determine the cause of his death.

With no offspring and no known individuals from his subspecies left, Lonesome George became known as the rarest creature in the world.  For decades, environmentalists unsuccessfully tried to get the Pinta Island tortoise to reproduce with females from a similar subspecies on the Galapagos Islands.

Park officials said the tortoise was found dead in his corral by his keeper of 40 years, Fausto Llerena.

Galapagos Giant tortoise
While his exact age was not known, Lonesome George was estimated to be about 100, which made him a young adult as the subspecies can live up to an age of 200.
Lonesome George was first seen by a Hungarian scientist on the Galapagos island of Pinta in 1972. Environmentalists had believed his subspecies (Chelonoidis nigra abingdoni) had become extinct.

Lonesome George became part of the Galapagos National Park breeding programme. After 15 years of living with a female tortoise from the nearby Wolf volcano, Lonesome George did mate, but the eggs were infertile. He also shared his corral with female tortoises from Espanola island, which are genetically closer to him than those from Wolf volcano, but Lonesome George failed to mate with them. He became a symbol of the Galapagos Islands, which attract some 180,000 visitors a year.

Galapagos National Park officials said that with George's death, the Pinta tortoise subspecies has become extinct.  They said his body would probably be embalmed to conserve him for future generations.
Tortoises in trouble:
Tortoises were plentiful on the Galapagos islands until the late 19th century, but were later hunted for their meat by sailors and fishermen to the point of extinction.  Their habitat furthermore suffered when goats were introduced from the mainland.
The differences in appearance between tortoises from different Galapagos islands were among the features which helped the British naturalist Charles Darwin formulate his theory of evolution.
Some 20,000 giant tortoises of other subspecies still live on the Galapagos.

  • Ploughshare tortoises have their shells defaced to make them worthless on the black market. There are only a few hundred left in the wild and they are critically endangered.

  • Vulnerable Galapagos Giant tortoises mate in a way which means that the female is not crushed by the male, who can weigh about 400kg.

  • Poachers known as "the tortoise mafia" and locals who eat tortoise meat threaten Madagascar's rare tortoises, which include the Ploughshare, Spider, Radiated and Flat-tailed species.

  • Radiated tortoises are "one of the world's most beautiful species", according to David Attenborough. They are only found in southern scrublands in Madagascar.

  • Burmese starred tortoises are also listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List. They get their name from the striking yellow and dark brown star pattern on their shells.

  • Kleinmann's tortoise, also known as the Egyptian tortoise, is the smallest of the Mediterranean species.

  • Syria Crisis: Fierce Fighting Erupts Near Damascus

    Fierce fighting has been reported between Syrian troops and rebel forces in the suburbs of the capital Damascus. Witnesses say it is some of the most intense violence in the area since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began more than a year ago. Reports from activists, which cannot be verified, say rebels clashed with Syria's elite Republican Guard.

    The elite Republican Guard, commanded by President Bashar al-Assad's younger brother Maher, is tasked with protecting the capital. State TV confirmed the fighting but said dozens of "terrorists" had been killed and many others taken prisoner, including foreign fighters. It said large numbers of armed rebels had moved into al-Hama and tried to take control of a main road to the west in order to bring in more arms and fighters.

    The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that clashes happened overnight and into Tuesday near Republican Guard positions in Qadsaya and al-Hama, around 8km (5 miles) from the centre of Damascus. Correspondents say it is rare for fighting to take place near Republican Guard bases and suggests a growing confidence among the rebels.

    The Observatory said that 10 people had been killed by shelling in Qadsaya and some 58 people had died in violence across Syria on Tuesday - 24 soldiers, 30 civilians and four rebels. Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP: "This is the first time that the regime has used artillery in fighting so close to the capital.
    "This development is important because it's the heaviest fighting in the area and close to the heart of the capital."

    Heavy shelling was also reported in Homs, where the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) last week tried unsuccessfully to arrange the evacuation of civilians. The ICRC said on Tuesday it was returning to the city for a fresh attempt.

    The violence came as Turkey issued a stark warning to its neighbour Syria over the downing of a jet last week. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke of Turkey's "rage" at Syria's decision to shoot down the F-4 Phantom last Friday and described Syria as a "clear and present threat". He said the Turkish jet had been on a training flight, testing Turkey's radars in the eastern Mediterranean. "Every military element approaching Turkey from the Syrian border and representing a security risk and danger will be assessed as a military threat and will be treated as a military target," he said.

    Syria insists the F-4 Phantom was shot down inside Syrian airspace. Nato, of which Turkey is a member, convened an emergency meeting of its ambassadors on Monday and afterwards expressed "strong solidarity" with Ankara. Relations between Syria and Turkey were already highly strained before the F-4 was shot down. The jet crashed into the eastern Mediterranean and its two pilots are missing.

    The Russian foreign ministry said on its website on Tuesday that the downing of the plane should not be seen "as a provocation or a premeditated action". Russia is a close ally of Syria and, together with China, has blocked UN Security Council resolutions condemning Damascus for the continuing violence.

    The 'Baby Box' Returns to Europe

    Boxes where parents can leave an unwanted baby, common in medieval Europe, have been making a comeback over the last 10 years. Supporters say a heated box, monitored by nurses, is better for babies than abandonment on the street - but the UN says it violates the rights of the child.

    It is an unlikely scene for the most painful of dramas. On the edge of a road in a leafy suburb of Berlin, there is a sign pointing through the trees down a path. It says "Babywiege" - Baby Cradle.

    At the end of that path, there is a stainless steel hatch with a handle. Pull that hatch open, and there are neatly folded blankets for a baby. The warmth is safe and reassuring. There is a letter, too, telling you who to call if you change your mind.

    About twice a year, someone - presumably a woman - treads that path at the secluded rear of Waldfriede Hospital and leaves a baby, perhaps born in secret only a few hours earlier. That person - presumably the mother - then turns and walks away, never to see the baby again. The baby grows, but never gets to know who his or her mother was.

    The word "presumably" is used because the process is secret and anonymous, so nobody knows who the people are who make that walk, carrying a baby to reverse their steps without one.

    So one of the arguments made by those who condemn the system is that it may well be men who are giving the baby away, dumping him or her seems too hard a word. The critics say that baby boxes may be used by unscrupulous fathers or even controllers of prostitutes to put pressure on mothers to dispose of an unwanted baby.

    Psychologist, Dr.Kevin Browne says, "Therefore, the big question is: are these baby boxes upholding women's rights, and has the mother of that child consented to the baby being placed in the baby box?"
    Professor Browne continued: "The baby hatch is so anonymous, and so removed from the availability of counselling, that it creates a damage and a danger to the mother and child."
    According to this argument, by making it so easy to get rid of a baby, mothers are less likely to get the real help they need in their situation of great emotional trauma and even physical risk.

    The people who set up the boxes disagree and believe they are offering desperate mothers a safe way to get rid of their unwanted babies. Those who don't walk the path to the baby box might instead leave the baby in the biting cold of a public place where it could die of exposure or worse.  A court case has just finished in Germany where a mother was prosecuted for killing her baby by throwing it from a fifth-floor balcony.

    Sample of the Letters Placed in the Baby Boxes:
    Letter in baby box

    Dear Mother of a foundling,
    We realize that taking the step of giving away your child wasn't easy for you. Please be assured that we will take loving care of your baby to the best of our ability and as such will give him/her a good start in life. Also, the baby should be given a chance to live! Should you change your mind and want your baby back, you can come back to us with full trust. We will gladly help you and are pleased when mother and child are able to be together. Even if you don't, we will still help you with advice. Rest assured that you don't need to worry about the police looking for you. Call us. We are there for you.
    Remember, one day your child will want to know at the very least the name of his/her mother. If you wish to leave this vital piece of information, we'll be glad to help.

    This kind of case is giving a push to the movement for more baby boxes across Central and Eastern Europe, from the Baltic states, down through Germany, Austria, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, to Romania. The law in some countries encourages their spread - in Hungary, for example, it was changed so that leaving a baby in the official baby box was deemed to be a legal act amounting to consent to adoption, while dumping a child anywhere else remains a crime.

    Professor Brown did much of the unpublished research on which the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child relied in its assessment of the system. It believes that children have a right to know who their parents are and that right is denied to the foundlings left in baby boxes. The proponents don't accept that for a moment. Gabriele Stangl, of Waldfriede Hospital in Berlin, said that baby boxes save lives, and so increase rights.

    At the box in Berlin, she said, there was safety backed by the full facilities of a maternity unit. Once a baby is in the hatch, an alarm rings and medical staff come, even as the mother walks away unseen. The baby is cared for in the hospital and then fostered before going into the legal system for adoption. In the early period, mothers can return and retrieve their child, but later they can't - adoption is final.

    Some mothers do return. One told the BBC how she had been in despair when her child was born. The father was absent, and she was young and in a state of numb shock, so she took the route down the path - and then changed her mind barely a week later.

    She followed the advice in the letter she had found in the hatch and returned. She said that, for the first time, she had realized it was her baby. She noticed his hair and eyes, and realized she couldn't give him away. Today, she returns to the unit with pictures of the child she now brings up. The baby box had given her time for her confusion to clear. At one baby box in Hamburg there have been 42 babies left in the last 10 years. Seventeen of those mothers have then contacted the organizers, and 14 have taken back their child.

    Critics, like the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, are not convinced. They say that baby boxes are a throwback to the past when the medieval church had what were called "foundling wheels" - round windows through which unwanted babies could be passed. Maria Herczog, a child psychologist who is on the committee, said that a better alternative, now as then, was more understanding and help for mothers in difficult circumstances.
    "They send out the mistaken message to pregnant women that they are right to continue hiding their pregnancies, giving birth in uncontrolled circumstances and then abandoning their babies".

    There is no clear right or wrong in this. It is an argument between well-meaning people. The one voice never heard is that of the mother who walks the path with the baby she bore secretly and is so desperate and alone she has no other solution . Isn't that the voice we should be listening to?? Imagine the  heartache  and hopelessness that drove her to make that decision. What do you think??

    Monday, June 25, 2012

    Mohammad Mursi Becomes President of Egypt

    Victory for Mursi

      Egyptian women celebrate but may not get the freedoms they have a right to under Mursi

     A sea of humanity awaiting their destiny in Tahrir Square

     Celebrations in Tahrir Square
    Supporters of Mursi in Cairo's Tahrir Square

    Acceptance Speech by Mursi
    CAIRO: Egypt’s Mohammad Mursi pledged to be a leader “for all Egyptians” and said the revolution will continue, in his first address to the nation after becoming the country’s first Islamist elected president.
    “I will be a president for all Egyptians,” Mursi said just hours after he was declared president following a deeply divisive race against Ahmad Shafiq, ( the old regime candidate) the last premier to serve under ousted president Hosni Mubarak.

    Mursi’s election closed a tumultuous first phase of a democratic transition and opening a new struggle with the still-dominant military rulers who recently stripped the presidency of most of its powers. In Tahrir Square, the birthplace of the uprising that ousted autocratic President Hosni Mubarak, joyous Mursi supporters wept and kneeled on the ground in prayer as soon as they heard the outcome of the election announced live television. They danced, set off fireworks and released doves in the air with Mursi’s picture attached in celebrations not seen in the square since Mubarak was forced out on Feb. 11, 2011. Many are looking now to see whether Mursi will try to take on the military and wrestle back the powers they took from his office just one week ago. Thousands vowed to remain in Tahrir to demand that the ruling generals reverse their decision.

    In his address, Mursi said the revolution would continue, “until all its demands are met.” The Muslim Brotherhood earlier vowed to persist with a sit-in at Cairo’s Tahrir Square to protest a military decree that allows it sweeping powers, Brotherhood official Mohammad al-Beltagui said. Mursi called for unity and said he carries “a message of peace” to the world, paying tribute to nearly 900 protesters killed in last year’s uprising, saying without the “blood of the martyrs,” he would not have made it to the presidency. He said he would preserve international agreements, a reference to the 1979 peace accord with Israel.

    Left on the sidelines of the political drama are the liberal and secular youth groups that drove the uprising against Mubarak, left to wonder whether Egypt has taken a step toward becoming an Islamist state. Some grudgingly supported Mursi in the face of Ahmad Shafiq, Mubarak’s last prime minister, while others boycotted the vote. Mursi will now have to reassure them that he represents the whole country, not just Islamists, and will face enormous challenges after security and the economy badly deteriorated in the transition period.

    The elections left the nation deeply polarized with one side backing Shafiq, who promised to provide stability and prevent Egypt from becoming a theocracy. Because of his military career, many saw him as the military’s preferred candidate. In the other camp are those eager for democratic change and backers of Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood who were persecuted, jailed and banned under Mubarak but now find themselves one of the two most powerful groups in Egypt.

    The other power center is the ruling military council that took power after the uprising and is headed by Mubarak’s defense minister of 20 years. Just one week ago, at the moment polls were closing in the presidential runoff, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) issued constitutional amendments that stripped the president’s office of most of its major powers. The ruling generals made themselves the final arbiters over the most pressing issues still complicating the transition – such as writing the constitution, legislating, passing the state budget – and granted military police broad powers to detain civilians.
    “I am happy the Brotherhood won because now the revolution will continue on the street against both of them, the Brotherhood and the SCAF,” said Lobna Darwish, an activist who has boycotted the elections.

    Also, a few days before that constitutional declaration, a court dissolved the freely elected parliament, which is dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood, leaving the military now in charge of legislating. Brotherhood members and experts said the results were used as a bargaining chip between the generals and the Brotherhood over the parameters of what appears to be a new power-sharing agreement. The country’s new constitution is not written and the authorities of the president are not clear.

    This is the first time modern Egypt will be headed by an Islamist and by a freely elected civilian. The country’s last four presidents over the past six decades have all came from the ranks of the military. The results of the elections were delayed for four days amid accusations of manipulation and foul play by both sides, raising political tensions in Egypt to a fever pitch.

    Mursi, the 60-year old U.S.-trained engineer, narrowly defeated Shafiq with 51.7 percent of the vote versus 48.3, by a margin of only 800,000 votes, the election commission said. Turnout was 51 percent. The small margin of victory for Mursi also sets him up for strong opposition from supporters of Shafiq, viewed as a representative of the old regime.

    Saturday, June 23, 2012

    Syrian Military Says it Downed Turkish Fighter Jet


    The Syrian military statement appeared on the state news agency

    The Syrian military has said that it shot down a Turkish warplane "flying in airspace over Syrian waters". A spokesman said the plane, an F-4 Phantom, was dealt with "according to the laws that govern such situations", the state news agency Sana said.

    The Turkish prime minister said his country would "take the necessary steps" once all the facts were known. The Turkish and Syrian navies are meanwhile engaged in a joint search for the two missing crew members. The F-4 Phantom disappeared over the Mediterranean, south-west of Turkey's Hatay province, near the Syrian border.
    The Turkish military said it lost radio contact with the F-4 at 11:58 (08:58 GMT) while it was flying over Hatay, about 90 minutes after it took off from Erhac airbase in the province of Malatya, to the north-west. A Syrian military statement said that an "unidentified air target" had penetrated Syrian airspace from the west at 11:40 local time (08:40 GMT), travelling at very low altitude and at high speed.

    It said that in line with the laws prevailing in such cases, Syrian air defences engaged the craft, and scored a direct hit about 1km (0.6 miles) from its coastline. It burst into flames, and crashed into the sea at a point 10km (6 miles) from the village of Om al-Tuyour, off the coast of Latakia province, well within Syrian territorial waters, the statement added. Syrian television showed a map charting the aircraft's movements, coming in from over the sea near northern Cyprus.

    Syrian state television graphic showing flight path of downed Turkish jet

    The statement said that after it "became clear the target was a Turkish military plane which had entered our airspace", the naval commands of the two countries were in touch, and a joint operation was going on to find the missing crew members.
     Earlier on Friday evening, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan held a two-hour emergency meeting with his interior, defence and foreign ministers and the Chief of the General Staff, Gen Necdet Ozel.
    "As a result of information obtained from the evaluation of our concerned institutions and from within the joint search and rescue operations with Syria, it is understood that our plane was brought down by Syria," Mr Erdogan's office said in a statement afterwards.
    "Turkey will present its final stance after the incident has been fully brought to light and decisively take the necessary steps."

    A spokesman for the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, said he was following the situation closely. "He hopes this serious incident can be handled with restraint by both sides through diplomatic channels," Martin Nesirky told reporters. "Given the breakdown in relations between the two countries over the Syrian conflict, this incident has the potential to provoke a serious crisis".

    Much will depend on whether or not the Turkish pilots have survived. If not, public anger might push the government into some kind of punitive action against Syria, he adds. Relations between Nato-member Turkey and Syria, once close allies, have deteriorated sharply since the uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad began in March 2011.

    Tens of thousands of Syrian refugees have fled the violence across the border into Turkey. Inside Syria, the violence continued on Thursday with state media reporting that "armed terrorist groups" had abducted and massacred 25 villagers in Aleppo province. Activists said that rebels had shot dead 26 government supporters who were believed to be militiamen. In Aleppo city, activists said a number of people died when security forces opened fire on a demonstration after Friday prayers. Meanwhile, international envoy Kofi Annan has said it is time for the world to exert greater pressure to help bring the violence in Syria to an end.

    Mr Annan called for Iran to be involved in attempts to end the violence, a proposal put forward by Russia but rejected by the US.,In a separate development, it has been learned that UK government officials have decided to prevent the head of the Syrian Olympic Committee, Gen Mowaffak Joumaa, from travelling to London for the Games. The visa ban is believed to be linked to his relationship to President Bashar al-Assad's government.

    Billionaire Larry Ellison Buys Island of Lanai

    Lanai, Hawaii, was once known as the "pineapple capital of the world." Then, the pineapple plantations morphed into four-star resorts. So what's next? That's up to the island's new owner: Larry Ellison. The 'man who would be king' buys his own little country.  Ellison, the billionaire CEO of American computer technology corporation Oracle, isn't shy about making flashy purchases, but his latest carries a price tag approaching $600 million, according to the Maui News.

    It's not every day the governor of Hawaii sends out a personalized welcome note to a new landowner, but it's not every day someone purchases 98 percent of a major Hawaiian island. So, Wednesday evening, Governor Neil Abercrombie rolled out the welcome mat.
    "We look forward to welcoming Mr. Ellison in the near future," he said. "It is my understanding that Mr. Ellison has had a longstanding interest in Lanai. His passion for nature, particularly the ocean, is well known, specifically in the realm of America's Cup sailing. He is also a businessman whose record of community involvement in medical research and education causes is equally notable."

     Ellison -- the world's sixth-richest man with a net worth of $36 billion, according to Forbes -- will assume ownership of the island from fellow American billionaire David Murdock, who will maintain his residence on the island and retain rights to develop a controversial wind energy farm, according to a statement released Wednesday. James Dole, president of Hawaiian Pineapple Company (which was later renamed Dole Food Company), bought the island in the early 1920s and blanketed it in pineapple plantations. At one time, tiny Lanai produced some 75 percent of the world's pineapples, or so local historians say. When Hawaii became the 50th U.S. state in August 1959, Lanai became a part of Maui County, and the state gained control of 2 percent of the island.
    Murdock took control of the other 98 percent in 1985 when he bought out Castle & Cooke Hawaii Inc. Twelve years ago, he bought out Castle & Cooke shareholders for nearly $700 million and made the company private. He then closed down the island's pineapple operations and opened up two luxury resorts, both managed by the Four Seasons hotel chain.

    Aside from the two resorts, Hawaii's sixth-largest publicly-accessible island boasts a string of golf courses and clubhouses, a 600-acre residential development and a coterie of luxury homes, according to a document filed with the Public Utilities Commission. Pineapple Island has no stoplights and mostly dirt roads which, like the school, library, hospital, airport and harbors, are all publicly funded by the government.

    The 141-square-mile slice of paradise gained fame back in the mid-1990s as the location of Bill and Melinda Gates' wedding. The couple booked every available hotel room on the island for the occasion.
    It remains a popular tourist destination, and it attracted some 26,000 visitors in the first quarter of 2012, according to state figures. Some nine miles west of the island of Maui, "Pineapple Island" is accessible by helicopter and small planes.

    The sale of Lanai generates "an extraordinary opportunity for the people and Island of Lanai to bring in new investment to the island that should result in the creation of new jobs, provide local economic stimulus and reinvigorate the local tourism industry," the application stated. Ellison is expected to invest in Lanai's tourism sector and find ways to make the island profitable again. According to Hawaii state senator J. Kalani English, the island "has been losing tens of millions of dollars a year in operating costs."

    "We need somebody with very deep pockets that understands this upfront that can continue these type of losses -- at least for the first few years, until we can find something to make the island valuable again," English told local station KHON.
    Castle & Cook's website boasts of employing nearly half of the island's residents, which numbered around 3,500 on the last census. The hope is that Ellison will invest in both tourism and other sectors to diversify the island's economy and get Lanai's residents back to work.

    Karla Homolka - Child Killer - Alive and Well and Living in Guadeloupe

    Tanned, slimmer but still wary of strangers, Karla Homolka now has three children and lives in Guadeloupe under the name Leanne Bordelais, says a new book by journalist Paula Todd, who met the notorious former convict and murderer at her new home.
    The book is the first confirmation of previous, sketchier news reports that Ms. Homolka married her lawyer’s brother, gave birth and moved to the French Caribbean island to escape public scrutiny. She had lived in Quebec following her 2005 release from a 12-year sentence for her role in the lurid sex killings of two Ontario schoolgirls and the drug-induced death of her sister Tammy.

    Ms. Todd wrote that she found Ms. Homolka in a small apartment with her new spouse, Thierry Bordelais, and their three small children, a girl and two boys.
    “Does the woman who killed three children now have three of her own? The irony comes crashing in,” Ms. Todd wrote in the book, Finding Karla: How I Tracked Down an Elusive Serial Child Killer and Discovered a Mother of Three, which is to be released in electronic format Thursday afternoon.

    The encounter took place this spring, the day after Ms. Homolka turned 42, meaning on May 5. After exploring a remote Guadeloupe area where she believed Ms. Homolka had relocated, Ms. Todd wrote that she found herself on a gravel sideroad, staring at a mailbox that said “Leanne Bordelais.” Beyond the mailbox was a fenced apartment building. On the second floor, “I look through it into a tiny, tidy kitchen. There, bent over the sink, is a petite woman with light hair. She turns her face sideways to see who’s arriving. Then she freezes ...
    “I have found Karla Homolka, and I’m not sure which of us is more shocked.”

    Mr. Bordelais wanted Ms. Todd to leave but Ms. Homolka, though distrustful, was not outright dismissive and took her visitor to another room and quizzed her. Ms. Todd explained that, as a journalist and lawyer, she wanted to research her life after prison.
    “Why should I trust you? I have everything to lose,” Ms. Homolka replied.
    When Ms. Todd tried to make small talk, saying that her host seemed to be a good mother, Ms. Homolka snapped back, “That’s funny that you think you can judge that after seeing me this short time.”
    Despite Ms. Homolka’s caginess, she kept her visitor for an hour. “I’d say she was lonely and slightly bored,” Ms. Todd said.

    Mr. Bordelais reappeared, however, holding a phone with their lawyer on the line, ending the conversation before Ms. Homolka had made any substantive remark. The book said that Ms. Homolka at that point made a slip that confirmed previous speculations that Mr. Bordelais is the brother of her long-time prison lawyer, Sylvie Bordelais. Ms. Homolka ended the meeting, refusing to comment further. “Nobody cares, and everything I’ve said is off the record,” she told Ms. Todd.

    Formerly married to the sex predator Paul Bernardo, Ms. Homolka was released from prison after serving her sentence in the deaths of Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy in the 1990s. She settled in Quebec, hoping that she was less known among francophones. She changed her name to Karla Leanne Teale but reporters twice retraced her, at a suburban hardware store where she worked, then near an apartment in east-end Montreal. By 2007, the TVA television network reported that she had left for the Caribbean.

    Do we really want to keep giving this woman more time in the spotlight? She should be serving a life sentence  in a maximum security facility. She voluntarily assisted in the rape, torture and murder of two young girls and drugged her own sister so her husband could rape the girl. The sister died during this violation. Homolka was released after ten years plus time served  because she testified against her husband. Let her vanish into the obscurity from which she came. She does not need to be resurrected every few years and brought before the public for what she did. For some, it lends her fame and a certain dark glamor and I am sure she has capitalized on that.

    Thursday, June 21, 2012

    Dear Maxy,
    Should I tell my best friend that I caused her breakup more than five years ago ? One drunken night , I accidentally told her ex of her trifling , cheating ways . She always wondered why he broke up with her all of a sudden , but he swore he would never tell . And he didn't . Now they are dating again .

    Every time I look at him , I think about what I did . The guilt is swirling around my head . I can't stop thinking about it .

    Help me weigh the pros and cons of telling my friend of seven years this deep dark secret . Should I just bury this secret and act as if I didn't do anything ?

    Feeling Guilty

    Dear Feeling Guilty ,
    I have a question for you : Why do you want to confess to your friend ? If the reason is that you feel guilty , I say get over it .

    If you tell her about your indiscretion now , after she and her ex have found their their way back to each other , your disclosure will be about you . But this relationship is not about you . It's about your friend .

    If her ex has come back to her after learning about her previous suspect behavior , let them be . What you can learn from this situation is to remember to stay out of people's business . If you stay in your lane , you will be able to sleep better at night .


    Dear Maxy ,
     I feel like I'm addicted to the Internet . I do everything on the computer ... surf the Web , watch TV and movies , listen to music , even interact with my friends through Facebook , Skype and instant messaging . I don't want to become a couch potato , but the Internet is so important to my life and the lives of most of my friends that it is almost as if I don't have a choice but to use the computer a lot .
    How can I limit my computer usage without falling behind socially ?

    Plugged In

    Dear Plugged In,
     I have a revolutionary idea : Use the Internet to invite your friends to meet you in a place where you can physically be in one another's company . Make the activity appealing so that your friends will be intrigued enough to show up . Once the event is successful , it will be easier to get people to come out for another activity .

    Essentially , you will be reminding people how rewarding shared face to face experiences can be .

    Additionally , I recommand that you ration your time on the Internet . Decide that you will step away from the computer for social encounters , for rest , for chores and for your-time independant of it . I believe your social contacts will be curious about why you aren't as plugged ia as before and seek you out . You may win bigger than you can even imagine .


    Dear Maxy ,
     I am a high school senior , and I plan to attend a four-year university in the fall . I am supposed to be designating my preferred housing option now , including whether I want a roommate . At my school , if one requests a single room , he or she will probably get it .

    I am tempted to ask for a single because I would appreciate the space and privacy. However , nearly all freshmen live in doubles ot triples , and I am afraid I will be missing out on the quint-essential first-year experience if I don't have a roommate . Is it worth sacrificing the convenience of a single ?

    Future Freshman

    Dear Future Freshman ,
     The good news is that you probably don't have to have a roommate all four years , since as a freshman you are being given the option of a single room . (Many colleges require freshman to have at least one roommate).

    Since you are intrgued by the social experience of welcoming a roommate , I say , go for it . Be aware that you may have a broad range of experiences ... from fun and excitement to frustrating and boring . Savor them all . Then , when your sophomore year comes , you can decide if you want to share again or go solo .