Town Halls should map race and religion to identify ‘tension hotspots’, says Hazel Blears

More than 10 million people are to have their everyday disputes, their politics and their business lives checked by new “tension monitoring” committees.

The committees are to be set up to try to cut the risk of riots or disturbances in the aftermath of terrorist outrages or outbreaks of local racial trouble.

They will ask for and file reports on named troublemakers whose political activities are considered to be raising community tensions.

Reports on the behaviour and attitudes of local residents will be collected by community workers, neighbourhood wardens, local councillors and provided by voluntary organisations, according to a paper published by Communities Secretary Hazel Blears today.


Mrs. Umbridge or Mrs. Stasi ?

It will then be considered by the monitoring committees run by town halls.

A sample “tension monitoring form” for use in checking on the likelihood of local racial or religious trouble asks for details of individuals considered to be making political trouble.

The monitoring committees will ask for information on those identified as troublemakers with includes “age, gender, ethnicity and faith” of those being reported on.

Read moreTown Halls should map race and religion to identify ‘tension hotspots’, says Hazel Blears

Blunt Federal Letters Tell Students They’re Security Threats

WASHINGTON — A German graduate student in oceanography at M.I.T. applied to the Transportation Security Administration for a new ID card allowing him to work around ships and docks.

What the student, Wilken-Jon von Appen, received in return was a letter that not only turned him down but added an ominous warning from John M. Busch, a security administration official: “I have determined that you pose a security threat.”

Similar letters have gone to 5,000 applicants across the country who have at least initially been turned down for a Transportation Worker Identification Credential, an ID card meant to guard against acts of terrorism, agency officials said Monday.

Read moreBlunt Federal Letters Tell Students They’re Security Threats

Scientist team creates first GM human embryo

Scientists have created what is believed to be the first genetically modified (GM) human embryo.

A team from Cornell University in New York produced the GM embryo to study how early cells and diseases develop. It was destroyed after five days.

The British regulator, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), has warned that such controversial experiments cause “large ethical and public interest issues”.

News of the development comes days before MPs are to debate legislation that would allow scientists to use similar techniques in this country.

The effects of changing an embryo would be permanent. Genes added to embryos or reproductive cells, such as sperm, will affect all cells in the body and will be passed on to future generations.

The technology could potentially be used to correct genes which cause diseases such as cystic fibrosis, haemophilia and even cancer. In theory, any gene that has been identified could be added to embryos.

Ethicists warn that genetically modifying embryos could lead to the addition of genes for desirable traits such as height, intelligence and hair colour.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, which will have its second reading this week, will make it legal to create GM embryos in Britain.

Read moreScientist team creates first GM human embryo

Not-So-Safe-Deposit Boxes: States Seize Citizens’ Property to Balance Their Budgets

The 50 U.S. states are holding more than $32 billion worth of unclaimed property that they’re supposed to safeguard for their citizens. But a “Good Morning America” investigation found some states aggressively seize property that isn’t really unclaimed and then use the money — your money — to balance their budgets.

Unclaimed property consists of things like forgotten apartment security deposits, uncashed dividend checks and safe-deposit boxes abandoned when an elderly relative dies.

Banks and other businesses are required to turn that property over to the state for safekeeping. The problem is that the states return less than a quarter of unclaimed property to the rightful owners.

Not-So-Safe-Deposit Boxes

San Francisco resident Carla Ruff’s safe-deposit box was drilled, seized, and turned over to the state of California, marked “owner unknown.”

“I was appalled,” Ruff said. “I felt violated.”

Unknown? Carla’s name was right on documents in the box at the Noe Valley Bank of America location. So was her address — a house about six blocks from the bank. Carla had a checking account at the bank, too — still does — and receives regular statements. Plus, she has receipts showing she’s the kind of person who paid her box rental fee. And yet, she says nobody ever notified her.

“They are zealously uncovering accounts that are not unclaimed,” Ruff said.

To make matters worse, Ruff discovered the loss when she went to her box to retrieve important paperwork she needed because her husband was dying. Those papers had been shredded.

And that’s not all. Her great-grandmother’s precious natural pearls and other jewelry had been auctioned off. They were sold for just $1,800, even though they were appraised for $82,500.

“These things were things that she gave to me,” Ruff said. “I valued them because I loved her.”

Bank of America told ABC News it deeply regrets the situation and appreciates the difficulty of what Mrs. Ruff was going through. The bank has reached a settlement with Ruff and continues to update its unclaimed property procedures as laws change.

California’s Class Action Lawsuit

Ruff is not alone. Attorney Bill Palmer represents her and countless other citizens in a class action lawsuit against the state of California.

Read moreNot-So-Safe-Deposit Boxes: States Seize Citizens’ Property to Balance Their Budgets

Burma: The death toll could rise up to 1.5million following the cyclone

“An estimated 100,000 people have already died in the badly hit Irrawaddy Delta region.

“Oxfam has warned the final figure could be as high as 1.5 million unless aid is given free access to the worst hit areas.”
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Aid should be dropped into Burma from the skies if access to Burma does not improve dramatically within the next day, Tory leader David Cameron urged today.

Amid increasing concern at the limited supplies getting through to those in need, he said: “The sands of time are running out.”

International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander said nothing was being ruled out, although access had improved recently.
Devastation: Cyclone Nargis tore through Burma leaving destruction in its path.

Their comments came as charities warned Burma was on the cusp of a second wave of disaster due to the inadequate relief being allowed into the country.

Mr Cameron said he hoped direct drops would not be necessary but if Burma did not allow aid in that would constitute a “crime against humanity”.

He told BBC Radio 4’s The World At One: “What we need to do is say if the situation hasn’t radically improved by Tuesday then we need to consider the further steps of direct aid being dropped to help people in Burma.

Read moreBurma: The death toll could rise up to 1.5million following the cyclone

Man Walking Bicycle Gets Jail Time for DUI

I’ve posted in the past about the insanity of extending the reach of drunk driving laws in MADD’s attempted return to the glory days of Prohibition. See, for example, Felony Bicycle DUI, DUI on a Scooter, DUI on a Foot-High Toy Bike, DUI in a Wheelchair? and DUI on a Horse?.

Where are we going with all of this? Take a look at a fascinating semi-documentary on YouTube created by a gentleman who was arrested for drunk driving in Columbus, Ohio…for walking his bicycle.

That’s right. Jeff Brown was walking his bicycle — across his own front yard — when he was stopped by a police officer. The cop began to cite him for not having a headlight on the bike, then said, “I smell the presence of alcohol on your breath”. Jeff was stunned — and refused to take a breath test. Result: convicted of drunk driving — with four days in jail, a 6-month driver’s license suspension and a criminal record.

So Jeff decided to appeal…and started looking into why the Ohio Legislature in 2004 had changed the drunk driving laws from driving motor vehicles to include operating such “vehicles” as golf carts, lawn mowers, farm tractors and bicycles – and from driving on public roads to include driving on your own private property. He found the reasons for the new laws were based on supposed fatality figures from MADD and the federal government….figures which are, to say the least, deceptive. Jeff’s film does an exceptional job of analyzing the fraudulent manipulation of these “statistics”.

For further information concerning the continued use of fraudulent statistics to justify the unfair DUI laws, Draconian penalties and constitutional violations, see my earlier posts: A Closer Look at DUI Fatality Statistics, Are DUI Roadblocks Effective? and Lies, Damned Lies and MADD Statistics.

Lawrence Taylor
DUI Blog
May 10, 2008

Source: Infowars

Soldiers need loans to eat, report reveals

A highly sensitive internal report into the state of the British Army has revealed that many soldiers are living in poverty. Some are so poor that they are unable to eat and are forced to rely on emergency food voucher schemes set up by the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

Some of Britain’s most senior military figures reacted angrily yesterday to the revelations in the report, criticising the Government’s treatment of its fighting forces.

The disturbing findings outlined in the briefing team report written for Sir Richard Dannatt, the Chief of the General Staff, include an admission that many junior officers are being forced to leave the Army because they simply cannot afford to stay on.

Pressure from an undermanned army is “having a serious impact on retention in infantry battalions”, with nearly half of all soldiers unable to take all their annual leave as they try to cover the gaps.

The analysis, described by General Dannatt as “a comprehensive and accurate portrayal of the views and concerns of the Army at large”, states: “More and more single-income soldiers in the UK are now close to the UK government definition of poverty.” It reveals that “a number of soldiers were not eating properly because they had run out of money by the end of the month”. Commanders are attempting to tackle the problem through “Hungry Soldier” schemes, under which destitute soldiers are given loans to enable them to eat.

The scheme symbolises a change from the tradition of soldiers getting three square meals a day for free. Now hard-up soldiers have to fill out a form which entitles them to a voucher. The cost is deducted from their future wages, adding to the problems of soldiers on low pay.

Read moreSoldiers need loans to eat, report reveals

Burma exports rice as cyclone victims starve


Children standing amid the debris of their village, which was destroyed by the cyclone, near the township of Kunyangon, Burma. Photograph: Adam Dean/EPA

Burma is still exporting rice even as it tries to curb the influx of international donations of food bound for the starving survivors of the cyclone that killed up to 116,000 people.

Sacks of rice destined for Bangladesh were being loaded on to a ship at the Thilawa container port at the mouth of the Yangon River at the end of last week, even though Burma’s ‘rice bowl’ region was devastated by the deadly storm a week ago.

The Burmese regime, which has a monopoly on the country’s rice exports, said it planned to meet all its contractual commitments.

Read moreBurma exports rice as cyclone victims starve