WASHINGTON (Reuters) The two Swedish women who accuse WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange of sexual misconduct were at first not seeking to bring charges against him. They just wanted to track him down and persuade him to be tested for sexually transmitted diseases, according to several people in contact with his entourage at the time.
(C) Summary: Behind the facade of Wahabi conservatism in the streets, the underground nightlife for Jeddah’s elite youth is thriving and throbbing. The full range of worldly temptations and vices are available — alcohol, drugs, sex — but strictly behind closed doors. This freedom to indulge carnal pursuits is possible merely because the religious police keep their distance when parties include the presence or patronage of a Saudi royal and his circle of loyal attendants, such as a Halloween event attended by ConGenOffs on. [DETAIL REMOVED] Over the past few years, the increased conservatism of Saudi Arabia’s external society has pushed the nightlife and party scene in Jeddah even further underground. End summary.
Well, I’ve noticed large amounts of suspicious packages from China…
Researchers have found a drug that’s unexpectedly effective at reducing one’s chances of dying from many common forms of cancer, in some cases lessening fatalities up to 60%. It’s a small, long term daily dose of aspirin.
In a new report, stemming from eight long term studies including some 25,000 patients, British researchers found that a small, 75 milligram dose of aspirin taken daily for at least five years reduces risk of dying from common cancers roughly 10 to 60 percent. Here are some of the findings, published today on the website of medical journal The Lancet:
• After 5 years of daily aspirin, death due to gastrointestinal cancers decreased by 54%.
• After 20 years, death due to prostate cancer decreased by 10%
• After 20 years, death due to lung cancer decreased by 30% (among those with adenocarcinomas, typically seen in nonsmokers)
• After 20 years, death due to colorectal cancer decreased by 40%
• After 20 years, death due to esophageal cancer decreased by 60%
A 10 page Powerpoint presentation (pdf) that I recently obtained through a Freedom of Information Act Request to the Department of Justice, reveals that law enforcement agencies routinely seek and obtain real-time surveillance of credit card transaction. The government’s guidelines reveal that this surveillance often occurs with a simple subpoena, thus sidestepping any Fourth Amendment protections.
PayPal today admitted it suspended payments to WikiLeaks after an intervention from the US State Department.
The site’s vice-president of platform, Osama Bedier, told an internetconference the site had decided to freeze WikiLeaks’s account on 4 December after government representatives said it was engaged in illegal activity.
“State Dept told us these were illegal activities. It was straightforward,” he told the LeWeb conference in Paris, adding: “We … comply with regulations around the world, making sure that we protect our brand.”
PayPal is the first major corporation to admit that its decision to suspend dealings with WikiLeaks was a result of US government pressure.
It will intensify criticism from supporters of WikiLeaks that the site is being targeted for political reasons. Visa, Amazon, the Swiss bank PostFinance and others have also announced in recent days that they will cease trading with the whistleblowing site.
Classified document publishing website Wikileaks has now been kicked off of Amazon, Paypal, its DNS server and its Swiss bank account – but it lives on, including across hundreds of mirrored sites and is the subject for widespread discussion onFacebook and Twitter.
ReadWriteWeb’s question, by email: “Does Facebook have a statement on the Wikileaks account there? Will it be allowed to continue publishing, despite government calls to stop doing business with the organization? Is Facebook considering shutting down the account?”Facebook’s response, from Andrew Noyes, the company’s D.C. based Manager of Public Policy Communications: “The Wikileaks Facebook Page does not violate our content standards nor have we encountered any material posted on the page that violates our policies.”
That’s notably different from what Twitter told us today. Twitter passed around a press statement this morning stating that it is not censoring Wikileaks from its “trending topics” section, but when we asked point blank about whether it will permit the Wikileaks account to remain online or whether it will be shut down, Twitter’s Matt Graves told ReadWriteWeb, “We’ve got no additional comment beyond the statement.”
As waistlines grow in America, so do they in our European counterparts. In fact, 50.1 percent of Europeans can be defined as overweight or obese, a number which has doubled in the last twenty years. In terms of obesity, the EU still falls behind the U.S., although there are some countries that are nipping at our heels.
Recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) show that 26.7 percent of Americans are considered obese (BMI of 30 or above), although some research points to a percentage of 30 or higher. The average in the European Union is 15.5%, with five countries — United Kingdom, Ireland, Malta, Luxembourg, and Lithuania—having rates at 20 percent or higher. The U.K. weighed in with the highest obesity rate of 24.5%.
Dick Cheney is officially a wanted man.
The former vice president was indicted Tuesday by Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crime Commission along with eight other current and former company executives in a bribery and conspiracy scheme related to the construction of a liquefied natural gas facility in the country that took place while Cheney was chief executive of Halliburton.
Halliburton and its one-time subsidiary, Kellogg, Brown & Root (KBR), were also charged. KBR, which also has handled lucrative US government support contracts for US troops in Iraq and elsewhere, was spun off from Halliburton in 2007 into a separate company.
"It includes Dick Cheney," said Nigerian prosecutor Godwin Obla, about the 16-count charge filed in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital. "There are conspiracy charges and giving gratification to public officers. There is also a charge for obstruction of justice…It is important to stress that the filing of this charge today is just one out of many steps that would be taken by the prosecution."
Well, a simple sex charge takes only a few days until arrest, so Cheney’s probably already on his way to Abuja, right?
For Pashtuns in the South of Afghanistan, there is no shame in having a little boy lover; on the contrary, it is a matter of pride. Those who can afford the most attractive boy are the players in their world, the OG’s of places like Kandahar and Khost. On the Frontline video, ridiculously macho warrior guys brag about their young boyfriends utterly without shame.
So perhaps in the evil world of Realpolitik, in which there is apparently no moral compass US private contractors won’t smash to smithereens, it made sense for DynCorp to drug up some Pashtun police recruits and turn them loose on a bunch of little boys. But according to the leaked document, Atmar, the Afghani interior minister, was terrified this story would catch a reporter’s ear.
He urged the US State Department to shut down a reporter he heard was snooping around, and was horrified that a rumored videotape of the party might surface. He predicted that any story about the party would "endanger lives." He said that his government had arrested two Afghan police and nine Afghan civilians on charges of "purchasing a service from a child" in connection with the party, but that he was worried about the image of their "foreign mentors," by which he apparently meant DynCorp. American diplomats told him to chill.
In his latest effort to find common ground with Republicans in Congress, President Barack Obama said today that he was willing to agree that he is a Muslim.
Differences over his religious orientation have been a sore point between the president and his Republican foes for the past two years, but in agreeing that he is a Muslim, Mr. Obama is sending a clear signal that he is trying to find consensus.
"The American people do not want to see us fighting in Washington," Mr. Obama told reporters at the White House. "They want to see us working together to improve their lives, and Allah willing, we will."
Bank of America will pay $137.3 million to settle allegations that it defrauded schools, hospitals and dozens of other state and local government organizations, federal officials said Tuesday. The settlement stems from a long-running investigation into misconduct in the municipal bond business that raises money for localities to pay for public services.
And the actual victims? They can go fuck themselves.