Filmmaker Michael Moore seeks bankers help for Wall Street expose

Controversial filmmaker Michael Moore is calling for current and former Wall Street bankers to help him make a film about the financial crisis, which he describes as the “biggest swindle in American history”.



Mr Moore posted a letter on his website yesterday urging people who work or had worked for banks, brokerages and insurance companies to “step up as an American and do your duty of shedding some light” on the crisis.

The implosion of the banking system has already forced banks globally to write down almost £1 trillion and driven many of the world’s major economies into recession.

The filmmaker, whose documentaries include Farenheit 9/11, which dealt with the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York, is in the middle of shooting the film, according to his Web site. He claims to have heard from a “few good people” already.

“Based on those who have already contacted me, I believe there are a number of you who know ‘the real deal’ about the abuses that have been happening,” Mr Moore said. “You have information that the American people need to hear. I am humbly asking you for a moment of courage, to be a hero.”

Read moreFilmmaker Michael Moore seeks bankers help for Wall Street expose

India to launch cow urine as soft drink

cow '9504' after she was milked on a farm in Stellenbosch
(Sasa Kralj/AP)

Does your Pepsi lack pep? Is your Coke not the real thing? India’s Hindu nationalist movement apparently has the answer: a new soft drink made from cow urine.

The bovine brew is in the final stages of development by the Cow Protection Department of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), India’s biggest and oldest Hindu nationalist group, according to the man who makes it.

Om Prakash, the head of the department, said the drink – called “gau jal”, or “cow water” – in Sanskrit was undergoing laboratory tests and would be launched “very soon, maybe by the end of this year”.

“Don’t worry, it won’t smell like urine and will be tasty too,” he told The Times from his headquarters in Hardwar, one of four holy cities on the River Ganges. “Its USP will be that it’s going to be very healthy. It won’t be like carbonated drinks and would be devoid of any toxins.”

The drink is the latest attempt by the RSS – which was founded in 1925 and now claims eight million members – to cleanse India of foreign influence and promote its ideology of Hindutva, or Hindu-ness.

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Champagne, lobster and caviar: Robert Mugabe plans binge in land of hunger


It is the 85th birthday of President Mugabe this month and the zealots of his Zanu (PF) party are determined that it should be an occasion that their great leader will never forget.

In recent days they have been out soliciting “donations” from corporate Zimbabwe and have drawn up a wish list that is scarcely credible in a land where seven million citizens survive on international food aid, 94 per cent are jobless and cholera rampages through a population debilitated by hunger.

The list includes 2,000 bottles of champagne (Moët & Chandon or ’61 Bollinger preferred); 8,000 lobsters; 100kg of prawns; 4,000 portions of caviar; 8,000 boxes of Ferrero Rocher chocolates; 3,000 ducks; and much else besides. A postscript adds: “No mealie meal” – the ground corn staple on which the vast majority of Zimbabweans survived until the country’s collapse rendered even that a luxury.

Read moreChampagne, lobster and caviar: Robert Mugabe plans binge in land of hunger

Personal bankruptcies hit new record

Firms dealing with Britain’s debt problems warned tonight that one in 60 people were facing insolvency after the latest government figures showed that a collapsing economy led to record personal bankruptcies and a 50% jump in company failures late last year.

Industry specialists said the sharp rise in individual and corporate financial distress reported by the Insolvency Service for the last three months of 2008 was “the tip of the iceberg” and that rising unemployment and the credit crunch would deepen the debt crisis this year.

Official figures released today showed that the steepest economic decline in almost 30 years led to 19,100 people being declared bankrupt – a 22% increase on the fourth quarter of 2007.

Read morePersonal bankruptcies hit new record

City police sued over strip search

Civil suit seeks $210 million

A Baltimore man filed a $210 million civil lawsuit yesterday against the city Police Department, a former commissioner and several officers in connection with a 2006 incident during which he says a band of rogue cops held him at gunpoint in the street, stripped him and searched his rectum in front of about 30 onlookers.

The federal suit is the second filed since March in U.S. District Court in Baltimore alleging “widespread and persistent” civil rights violations by police officers who belonged to an elite “Special Enforcement Team” that worked mainly in the southeastern part of the city.

The SET unit was dismantled and its officers reassigned in 2006 after allegations of misconduct surfaced, leading the city prosecutor’s office to dismiss more than 100 Circuit Court cases the officers had investigated in the previous two years.

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Court rules that private school can expel lesbian students

Relying on the 1998 state Supreme Court ruling which allowed the Boy Scouts of America to deny admittance to gays and atheists, a San Bernardino, California court has ruled that California Lutheran High School does not have to follow anti-discriminatory laws.

California state law forbids anti-gay bias in public schools, but the court determined that California Lutheran is actually a “social organization” and is not subject to such laws.  It was decided, therefore, that the school was within its rights to expel two students for admitting to their sexual orientation.

You can read the court’s ruling by clicking here.

The case came about as a result of two 11th grade girls who were questioned by the principal about their sexual orientation.  The principal was ‘alerted’ by another student who saw comments written on the girls’ My Space page.

The girls were suspended as a result of the answers given to the principal.

Read moreCourt rules that private school can expel lesbian students

UN nuclear chief boycotts BBC over Gaza appeal


Watch the Gaza aid appeal by the Disasters Emergency Committee rejected by the BBC and Sky

The head of the UN”s nuclear watchdog has cancelled planned interviews with the BBC in protest at the corporation’s decision not to air an emergency appeal for Gaza on behalf of the Disasters Emergency Committee.

In a statement to the Guardian, Mohamed ElBaradei, a Nobel peace prize winner, unleashed a stinging denunciation of the BBC, deepening the damage already caused by the controversy.

[ BBC accused of fakery over Barack Obama inauguration speech (Telegraph) ]

The statement, from his office at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said the BBC decision not to air the aid appeal for victims of the conflict “violates the rules of basic human decency which are there to help vulnerable people, irrespective of who is right or wrong”.

It said the IAEA director had cancelled interviews with BBC World Service television and radio, which had been scheduled to take place at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Saturday.

Read moreUN nuclear chief boycotts BBC over Gaza appeal

Army rabbi gave out hate leaflet to troops


The Israeli army has been urged to sack Rabbi Avi Ronzki over the booklet

The Israeli army’s chief rabbinate gave soldiers preparing to enter the Gaza Strip a booklet implying that all Palestinians are their mortal enemies and advising them that cruelty is sometimes a “good attribute”.

The booklet, entitled Go Fight My Fight: A Daily Study Table for the Soldier and Commander in a Time of War, was published especially for Operation Cast Lead, the devastating three-week campaign launched with the stated aim of ending rocket fire against southern Israel. The publication draws on the teachings of Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, head of the Jewish fundamentalist Ateret Cohanim seminary in Jerusalem.

(“My Fight” can be literally translated into German as “Mein Kampf” (Adolf Hitler).


Related article: UN council urged to look at Israel’s conduct in Gaza (Reuters):
Richard Falk, a special U.N. investigator sent to the Middle East by the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Council, has said there was evidence that Israel committed war crimes in the Gaza Strip and there should be an independent inquiry.

Falk, who is Jewish, has compared the situation in Gaza to that of the Warsaw Ghetto during the World War Two, where the Nazis systematically starved and murdered Jews. Israel denies committing any war crimes during its assault on Gaza.


In one section, Rabbi Aviner compares Palestinians to the Philistines, a people depicted in the Bible as a war-like menace and existential threat to Israel.

In another, the army rabbinate appears to be encouraging soldiers to disregard the international laws of war aimed at protecting civilians, according to Breaking the Silence, the group of Israeli ex-soldiers who disclosed its existence. The booklet cites the renowned medieval Jewish sage Maimonides as saying that “one must not be enticed by the folly of the Gentiles who have mercy for the cruel”.

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We will never work for the BBC again – actors and directors in Gaza protest

ACTORS and directors have warned the BBC they will not work for the corporation again if it does not broadcast the Gaza charity appeal.

In a letter written to Mark Thompson, the BBC’s director-general, the actors Tam Dean Burn and Pauline Goldsmith, and the directors Peter Mullan and Alison Peebles, said they were “appalled” by the refusal to show the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) appeal.

Their ultimatum came as the satellite broadcaster Sky also decided yesterday it would not screen the DEC film. Like the BBC, it said it wanted to protect the impartiality of its news reports.

Related article: Tony Benn to BBC: If you won’t broadcast the Gaza appeal then I will myself

Gaza is in the grip of a humanitarian crisis, with its 1.5 million population urgently needing food, water, medicine and shelter, after Israel’s three-week assault.

The BBC said yesterday it had received about 15,000 complaints about its decision not to screen the appeal for the DEC, which represents several charities.

Read moreWe will never work for the BBC again – actors and directors in Gaza protest

Gerald Celente: The Collapse of 2009; The Greatest Depression

If Nostradamus were alive today, he’d have a hard time keeping up with Gerald Celente.
– New York Post

When CNN wants to know about the Top Trends, we ask Gerald Celente.
– CNN Headline News

There’s not a better trend forecaster than Gerald Celente. The man knows what he’s talking about. – CNBC

Those who take their predictions seriously … consider the Trends Research Institute.
– The Wall Street Journal

A network of 25 experts whose range of specialties would rival many university faculties.
– The Economist

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17. Januar 2009
Source: YouTube

Read moreGerald Celente: The Collapse of 2009; The Greatest Depression