Swiss authorities conducted an extraordinary early-morning operation here Wednesday to arrest several top soccer officials and extradite them to the United States on federal corruption charges.
As leaders of FIFA, soccer’s global governing body, gathered for their annual meeting, more than a dozen plain-clothed Swiss law enforcement officials arrived unannounced at the Baur au Lac hotel, an elegant five-star property with views of the Alps and Lake Zurich. They went to the front desk to get room numbers and then proceeded upstairs.
The arrests were carried out peacefully. One FIFA official, Eduardo Li of Costa Rica, was led by the authorities from his room to a side-door exit of the hotel. He was allowed to bring his luggage, which was adorned with FIFA logos.
The charges, backed by an F.B.I. investigation, allege widespread corruption in FIFA over the past two decades, involving bids for World Cups as well as marketing and broadcast deals.
And there’s a second investigation:
The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG) has opened criminal proceedings against persons unknown on suspicion of criminal mismanagement and of money laundering in connection with the allocation of the 2018 and 2022 Football World Cups. In the course of said proceedings, electronic data and documents were seized today at FIFA’s head office in Zurich.
When a French journalist posed online as a young woman interested in Isis, she was soon contacted by a fighter in Syria.
“This result left me feeling very sad but as the Archbishop of Dublin [Diarmuid Martin] pointed out, the Church will have to take this reality on board in the sense of a renewed and strengthened evangelisation. I believe that we are talking here not just about a defeat for Christian principles but also about a defeat for humanity,” Cardinal Parolin told reporters on the margins of a Centesimus Annus conference in the Vatican.
An what would you call “institutionalized child rape and associated cover-ups”, Cardinal? Tuesday?
According to the Christian News Network, the US Justice Foundation in Ramona, California and the law offices of William Olsen from Vienna, Virginia filed a legal brief with the Supreme Court describing possible consequences should the Supreme Court decide to force states to accept same-sex marriages.
The lawyers stated that homosexual marriage and behaviour are a “repudiation of God’s created order,” and warned that recognising same-sex marriages would bring God’s judgment.
“Should the court require the states and the people to ‘ritualise’ sodomite behaviour by government issuance of a state marriage license, it could bring God’s judgment on the nation,” the lawyers said.
Yeah, the very same thing that happened to the Netherlands, Spain, Canada, Sweden, Norway…
Speaking with Fox News’s Chris Wallace, presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee announced that if elected president he would not listen to the Supreme Court if they ruled in favor of same-sex marriage because the court is not the “supreme being.”
Huckabee then, with an apparent lapse of memory asked how we would react if the Supreme Court picked the next president:
“We would say, ‘Well, they can’t do that.’ Why can’t they do it? They can’t do it because it’s not in the law,” he opined.
The guy isn’t really running for Prez. He’s not even trying to move the Overton window. He’s just trying to expand his email list to sell more fake cancer cures, and get slightly higher speaking fees at bigot summits.
Apple’s Jony Ive has served as the company’s Senior Vice President of Design for several years now, but Apple has announced today that the executive is being named Chief Design Officer (a newly-created position). Additionally, Ive and will be handing the managerial reins of both the industrial and software design units at Apple over to two new leaders on July 1st.
Next step for Jony: His Royal Highness Grand Emperor of Design, Lord of Edges, Master of Materials, Designator of Textures, Definer of Hues, Defender of Curves.
First of His Name, King of the Andals and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, and Protector of the Realm… Oh wait, wrong fandom.
EU plans to regulate hormone-damaging chemicals found in pesticides have been dropped because of threats from the US that this would adversely affect negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), according to a report in The Guardian. Draft EU regulations would have banned 31 pesticides containing endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) that have been linked to testicular cancer and male infertility.
Just after the official launch of the TTIP negotiations on 13 June 2013, a US business delegation visited EU officials to demand that the proposed regulations governing EDCs should be thrown out in favour of a further “impact study.” Minutes of the meeting on June 26 show Commission officials saying that “although they want the TTIP to be successful, they would not like to be seen as lowering the EU standards.” Nonetheless, the European Commission capitulated shortly afterwards.
That climbdown was despite repeated promises from the European Commission that TTIP would not jeopardise EU health and safety standards. For example, a Commission factsheet on Pesticides in TTIP from February 2015 states: “TTIP will not lower the food safety standards for pesticides.” The Guardian report demonstrates that plans to strengthen regulations governing EDCs were blocked, which is equivalent to a lowering of future standards that would have been introduced had it not been for TTIP.
Marques Haynes, whose dazzling ball-handling skills, exhibited for more than 40 years as a member of the Harlem Globetrotters and other barnstorming black basketball teams, earned him a place in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame and an international reputation as the world’s greatest dribbler, died on Friday in Plano, Tex. He was 89.
You know, sometimes a headline tells you all you need to know. But if you’re swimming in free time and want to see it anyway, go ahead.
Yet an obscure government document put out by that very same office makes Warren’s case for her. The office puts out an annual report on “foreign trade barriers” around the world, going country by country to list complaints the U.S. government has about their laws with respect to commerce. If you read the 2015 report, you’ll quickly see that many of the complaints are about laws designed to promote environment, labor, and anti-monopolistic practices – and relate only vaguely to the larger issue of trade and tariffs. The complaints seem more focused around opposing regulations that restrict the rights of multi-national corporations and their investors.
Hejun was also absent from the company’s annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday. The company has yet to make any statements about the implosion of its stock.
Making cannabis coffee is now as simple as inserting a pod and pushing a button.
In Seattle, Uncle Ike’s Pot Shop sells pods of Catapult “premium infused coffee” for $10 each. The pods work in standard, single-serve coffee makers and contain 10 mg of THC, a quantity of marijuana’s active ingredient that’s becoming something of a standard serving for marijuana edibles.
“I liken it to a Red Bull and vodka,” Uncle Ike’s sales manager Jennifer Lanzador said. “I had more energy, but I still had the relaxation you get from cannabis.”
Uncle Ike’s began its foray into the pot coffee business by selling loose grounds sourced from a local manufacturer, but pods are quickly becoming big sellers, she said.
James Hull, whose Vancouver, Wash.-based Fairwinds Manufacturing, makes the infused coffee sold at Uncle Ike’s, said pods now account for about 60% of his company’s coffee sales.
Bill Gothard, a Christian writer and minister, founded the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP) in 1961, as a way to help families resolve issues by using Biblical principles. Among the services offered at IBLP are ministry seminars, community outreach, counseling for troubled Christians, and mentoring Christian youth.
In an interview, Harold Walker, a former leader at the Little Rock location said he recalled Josh Duggar being brought in, but couldn’t recall the reasons why.
“I really don’t remember the circumstances on why Josh came to our center,” Walker said, “He came down … they used to work at the center, the entire family did.”
In a police report filed after Jim Bob Duggar took his son to a local police officer to discuss what happened, police noted that the Duggars said they placed Josh in a “treatment facility” upon the advice of church elders.
Michelle Duggar later admitted that their son had also been farmed out to a friend who did home remodeling, where Josh did manual labor as part of his rehabilitation.
Gothard, and IBLP, has a colorful history with his Gothard’s brother Steve being forced out after having affairs with a few of the institute’s secretaries.
Gothard himself left under a cloud in 2014, amid accusations that he had sexually harassed multiple women and failed to report allegations of child abuse at IBLP.IBLP issued an internal report stating Gothrad acted “inappropriately — which was in turn disputed by former members of the ministry who called it “deceptive” — however the 80-year-old chose to leave the ministry he founded.
In 2010, Michelle Duggar received a “Mother of the Year ” award from the head of a ministry who also resigned after admitting to adultery.
The longer the story is in the news, the more muck is discovered…
Calling the attacks on the World Trade Center “a missed opportunity for al-Qaeda,” 9/11 truther and militant jihadist Fahad al-Mouqrin reportedly expressed his deep disappointment Thursday that the September 11 attacks were in fact not carried out by the terror organization. “It would have been perfect if al-Qaeda did deliver such a devastating blow to the American infidels, but unfortunately, it was all planned and executed by the Bush administration to justify the Iraq War,” said the militant Islamic fundamentalist and conspiracy theorist, noting that it “really kills [him]” to think of the widespread carnage and chaos at Ground Zero, knowing deep down that it was not truly the work of his fellow mujahideen. “I wish we had destroyed those two buildings in the name of Allah, instead of the controlled demolitions at the base of the World Trade Center that actually caused both towers to collapse. But the whole thing was an inside job by the U.S. government and then covered up by the mainstream American media. Unfortunately.” Al-Mouqrin added that he is at least relieved al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is still alive and currently planning imminent attacks on several major U.S. cities.
Having lost all the economic and public-interest arguments, TPP proponents have resorted to one last-ditch argument. “If we don’t write the rules, China will write the rules,” President Obama warns, only to be parroted by any number of “patriotic” pundits and politicians.
The key word here, of course, is “we.” Does “we” refer to the corporate and industry association representatives that are 90 percent of the official trade advisers with access to the negotiated text of the TPP? If so, it’s not so clear that we the people should be so worried about China. Should we the people care if China expands its influence in Asia, which is pretty much inevitable because its economy is already bigger than that of the U.S., is growing several times faster, and happens to be located in that part of the world? Are we the people going to be worse off if Chinese companies increase their access to cheap labor in Vietnam or Bangladesh faster than U.S. corporations do?
Another smell test: Why is it that the Obama administration is expected to give up on the TPP if it can’t get what it needs from Congress before the presidential race heats up? Because many and perhaps most Americans have probably never heard of the TPP, but many will if it becomes an issue in the presidential race. This admission that public awareness is deadly to the TPP is not very flattering to the proposed agreement — which, by the way, we aren’t even allowed to see.
Unfortunately there is one thing that hasn’t gotten better since Bill Clinton’s fight for NAFTA 20 years ago: vote-buying in Congress. In 1993 this took the form of not only campaign contributions but also billions of federal dollars the Clinton administration steered to the districts of members of Congress whose votes they needed. Today, the Senate has already been bought; now we will see whether the grassroots lobbying of public interest groups and ordinary citizens can win in the Congress what it has won in the public debate.
I can tell you that Elizabeth Warren is right about her criticism of the trade deal. We should be very concerned about what’s hidden in this trade deal—and particularly how the Obama administration is keeping information secret even from those of us who are supposed to provide advice.
So-called “cleared advisors” like me are prohibited from sharing publicly the criticisms we’ve lodged about specific proposals and approaches. The government has created a perfect Catch 22: The law prohibits us from talking about the specifics of what we’ve seen, allowing the president to criticize us for not being specific. Instead of simply admitting that he disagrees with me—and with many other cleared advisors—about the merits of the TPP, the president instead pretends that our specific, pointed criticisms don’t exist.
What I can tell you is that the administration is being unfair to those who are raising proper questions about the harms the TPP would do. To the administration, everyone who questions their approach is branded as a protectionist—or worse—dishonest. They broadly criticize organized labor, despite the fact that unions have been the primary force in America pushing for strong rules to promote opportunity and jobs. And they dismiss individuals like me who believe that, first and foremost, a trade agreement should promote the interests of domestic producers and their employees.
Ireland looks set to become the first country in the world to welcome in same-sex marriage through popular vote, as preliminary results of the referendum point to a landslide victory for the Yes camp.
Upon a road in County Cork,
One fair, delightful day –
The folks of Ireland reached a fork,
And chose a finer way –
Through Dublin, Louth, and Carlow Town –
Upon the Galway quay –
Through Mayo, Meath, around and down,
And up the Irish Sea –
They gathered by the polling post,
And looked ahead, above –
And made a choice, from coast to coast,
To vote, as one, for love.
More than 250 tech companies have signed a letter demanding greater transparency from Congress and decrying the broad regulatory language in leaked parts of the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership trade bill.
The TPP would create an environment hostile to journalists and whistleblowers, said policy directors for the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Fight for the Future, co-authors of the letter. “TPP’s trade secrets provisions could make it a crime for people to reveal corporate wrongdoing ‘through a computer system’,” says the letter. “The language is dangerously vague, and enables signatory countries to enact rules that would ban reporting on timely, critical issues affecting the public.”
Among the signatories are activist, sci-fi author and Guardian tech columnist Cory Doctorow. “Democracies make their laws in public, not in smoke-filled rooms,” Doctorow wrote. “If TPP’s backers truly believed that they were doing the people’s work, they’d have invited the people into the room. The fact that they went to extreme, unprecedented measures to stop anyone from finding out what was going on – even going so far as to threaten Congress with jail if they spoke about it – tells you that this is something being done *to* Americans, not *for* Americans.”
In a rare joint action with attorneys general for each of the 50 states, the Federal Trade Commission says four cancer charities run by extended members of the same family conned donors out of $187 million from 2008 through 2012 and spent almost nothing to help actual cancer patients.
Each of the charities charged were the subject of extensive reporting by CNN in 2013. And in each instance, none of the four charities would comment. We were ordered out of the building at the Cancer Fund of America in Knoxville, Tennessee, and were the object of an obscene gesture by the CEO of The Breast Cancer Society in Mesa, Arizona.
They got $187 million. Gave 3% or $5.61 million to actual cancer patients. And they were fined $130 million. That leaves about $51 million. What the fuck happened to that? Should I start my own fake cancer charity so I can become a millionaire? Who gives a shit if I have to give back $130m if I get to keep about $50m?
But wait, there’s more,
Under a proposed final order, the judgment against Reynolds Jr. will be suspended when he pays $75,000. The judgments against Children’s Cancer Fund of America will be partly met upon liquidation of its assets, and the judgment against Perkins will be suspended due to her inability to pay.
Wow! It seems the only reason to not be a criminal is if you fail at it. If you manage to get rich, you’re home-free!
Until 2 p.m. on Monday, the ‘Our Church Staff’ section of St. John’s Lutheran Church and School’s website described Reverend Matthew Makela as an associate pastor who enjoys, “family, music, home improvement, gardening and landscaping, and sports.”Screenshots obtained by Queerty from a source who asked that his name be withheld shed light on some of the Reverend’s other favorite past times — namely nude make out sessions and sex with other men.
Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has signed into law a prohibition on cities and towns imposing local ordinances preventing fracking and other potentially environmentally harmful oil and natural gas activities.The much-watched measure sailed through the GOP-controlled Legislature after voters in Denton, a university town near Dallas, banned hydraulic fracturing locally in November.The new law limits not only the Denton ban but other actions communities could take limiting energy industry activities. It was backed by oil and gas concerns.
Government so small it can be stepped on by big business.
When Australia’s federal government legislated a carbon tax, some electricity companies tweaked their bills so that customers could see it as a line item.The motivation was purely political: companies that did so were owned by States of Australia whose governments were of a different political hue to the Federal government of the day. Adding the carbon tax to the bill was a political act calculated to make sure punters could see just how far into their pockets the feds were reaching.The tactic certainly helped to make the tax a stinker and therefore contributed to the last Federal government’s electoral demise.It’s now time to bring the tactic back, to make the cost and impact of of metadata retention plain for all to see. Last week’s budget revealed that Australia’s carriers of voice and/or data will be offered $131m to implement their mandatory metadata retention infrastructure. Most feel that’s not going to cover their implementation costs.
In a sit-down interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network on Saturday, potential GOP presidential nominee Jeb Bush explained that a “tolerant country” should make room for “people of faith” to discriminate against others.
Is he trying for President or his own comedy show? At this point, he’s doing Colbert better than Colbert
The UK government has quietly passed new legislation that exempts GCHQ, police, and other intelligence officers from prosecution for hacking into computers and mobile phones.
While major or controversial legislative changes usually go through normal parliamentary process (i.e. democratic debate) before being passed into law, in this case an amendment to the Computer Misuse Act was snuck in under the radar as secondary legislation. According to Privacy International, “It appears no regulators, commissioners responsible for overseeing the intelligence agencies, the Information Commissioner’s Office, industry, NGOs or the public were notified or consulted about the proposed legislative changes… There was no public debate.”
“His vision for Apple was a company that turned powerful technology into tools that were easy to use, tools that would help people realize their dreams and change the world for the better,” Cook said of Jobs, Apple’s co-founder who died in 2011.“Our products do amazing things, and just as Steve envisioned, they empower people all over the world,” Cook continued. “People who are blind and need information read to them because they can’t see the screen. People for whom technology is a lifeline because they are isolated by distance or disability.“People who witness injustice and want to expose it. And now they can, because they have a camera in their pocket all the time.”
“It is the strangest of bureaucratic rituals,” write two New York Times reporters. “Every week or so, more than 100 members of the government’s sprawling national security apparatus gather, by secure video teleconference, to pore over terrorist suspects’ biographies and recommend to the president who should be the next to die.” In Washington, this weekly meeting has been labeled “Terror Tuesday.” Once established, the list of nominees is sent to the White House, where the president orally gives his approval to each name. With the “kill list” validated, the drones do the rest.
The criteria that go into making these lists of people condemned to death without trial remain unknown. The administration refuses to provide any information on this subject. Harold Koh, the State Department’s legal adviser, nevertheless tried to be reassuring: “Our procedures and practices for identifying lawful targets are extremely robust, and advanced technologies have helped to make our targeting even more precise.” In short: Trust us, even blindfolded.
So there you have it – the Obama Death Panels we were warned about!
(seriously, though – a long but good read!)