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General Discussion / Interesting take on Jamaica. Taken from reggaeboyz..
« on: November 26, 2009, 11:02:34 AM »
We could replace Jamaica with Trinidad now.

Interesting take on Jam.

Unforunately, can't give credit to the writer.

Don't know who wrote it.

How can one place be so many things?

In 2006 Time Magazine boldly asked the question, that indirectly made the suggestion, that Jamaica was the most homophobic place on Earth.
That same year, a BBC report declared, that Jamaica is the murder capital of the world.

I have also read reports indicating that Jamaica has the frightening record, of having one of the highest prostate cancer rates in the world - which is partly why that daggering dance is very scary to me!

Here's another record. I don't think any research or study has been done yet, but I am willing to bet that Jamaicans have the record, for smoking more ganja and 'cussing more badwud', than any other people in the world.

And now we are hearing more exciting news: Jamaica has been rated the third happiest place on earth.

So what do these records suggest?

Are we happy with the madness of murder and cool with the irrationality of homophobia?

Am I jiggy with the prospect of prostate cancer?

Or are we just happy that no matter how life rough, we can still happily burn two spliff, whether in church, jail or hospital?

Maybe we're happy because we're always free to tell people special things 'bout dem modder!

Jamaicans are special.

We're special in many good ways and in several bad ways.

I remember thinking that some months ago, when I read the reports, that a crowd enthusiastically egged on a mentally disturbed man,

who was threatening to jump off a building - then cheered, when the man jumped into harm's way.

I also ponder about our 'exceptionality' when I hear the stories about drug addicted street people,

who allow passers-by to slap them in the face, punch them, or hit them over the back with a big stick - for a small fee.

I find it hard to imagine the level of insane desperation that would force someone, to daily endure pain as a way to get a quick handout.

But I find it even harder, to imagine how sick people have to be, to find entertainment, and release, in these random acts of violence.

But somehow the 'box me for a bills' or 'slap me for a nanny' business, keeps beaters and the beaten temporarily 'happy'.

I'm not surprised that Jamaica has been deemed one of the happiest countries on Earth.

We are the masters of contradiction.

We turn funerals into festivals and wakes into stage shows.

We mix musical vibes with murderous notions, and infuse merriment into 'bury-ment'.

We have the copyright on being 'hungry and feisty'.

We are a country of people who are 'poor and boasy'.

The majority of us are right and quiet, but we surrender our rights to people who are strong and wrong.

In fact, I'm sure Adam and Eve were Jamaican.


Only Jamaicans would be in a garden full of fruits and foods and be idly wasting time talking to a snake.

In fact some other nations would start trading the products in the garden and would have got rich - long time.
Other people would stew dung the snake, inna pot of curry, before him coulda say 'hisss-story', or turn the garden into a tourist attraction - but not we.

We allow the snake to turn don, and then we pay him for protection, and turn the place into the 'Garrison of Eden '.
But everything still criss - cause we happy!

So if yu happy and yu know it buss two blanks.

If yu pocket can afford it, full yu tank.

If yu happy and yu know it and yu really want to show it,

if yu happy and yu know it give God thanks!

Why do some people have all the luck while others are perpetually unlucky? Professor Richard Wiseman of the University of Hertfordshire was determined to get to the scientific bottom of the phenomenon of luck, and what he discovered may surprise you:

    I placed advertisements in national newspapers asking for people who felt consistently lucky or unlucky to contact me.

    Hundreds of extraordinary men and women volunteered for my research and over the years, have been interviewed by me. I have monitored their lives and had them take part in experiments. The results reveal that although these people have almost no insight into the causes of their luck, their thoughts and behaviour are responsible for much of their good and bad fortune. Take the case of seemingly chance opportunities. Lucky people consistently encounter such opportunities, whereas unlucky people do not.

    I carried out a simple experiment to discover whether this was due to differences in their ability to spot such opportunities. I gave both lucky and unlucky people a newspaper, and asked them to look through it and tell me how many photographs were inside. I had secretly placed a large message halfway through the newspaper saying: 'Tell the experimenter you have seen this and win $50'.

    This message took up half of the page and was written in type that was more than two inches high. It was staring everyone straight in the face, but the unlucky people tended to miss it and the lucky people tended to spot it.

    Unlucky people are generally more tense than lucky people, and this anxiety disrupts their ability to notice the unexpected.

General Discussion / The Truth About Diet Soda
« on: December 29, 2008, 04:29:45 PM »
The Truth About Diet Soda
Posted Tue, Dec 23, 2008, 3:33 pm PST
65% of users found this article helpful.
Post a Comment View All 448 Comments We talk a lot about ''watching what we eat,'' but if you never gave a thought to what you ate and instead watched only what you drank, you could probably cut 450 calories a day out of your life. (Yes, nearly a pound of fat loss a week!) That's what a study from the University of North Carolina found. Americans today drink about 192 gallons of liquid a year—or about 2 liters a day. To put it into perspective, this is nearly twice as many calories as we did 30 years ago.

When confronted with the growing tide of calories from sweetened beverages, the first response is, “Why not just drink diet soda?” Well, for a few reasons:

Just because diet soda is low in calories doesn't mean it can't lead to weight gain.

It may have only 5 or fewer calories per serving, but emerging research suggests that consuming sugary-tasting beverages--even if they're artificially sweetened--may lead to a high preference for sweetness overall. That means sweeter (and more caloric) cereal, bread, dessert--everything.

Guzzling these drinks all day long forces out the healthy beverages you need.

Diet soda is 100 percent nutrition-free, and again, it's just as important to actively drink the good stuff as it is to avoid that bad stuff. So one diet soda a day is fine, but if you're downing five or six cans, that means you're limiting your intake of healthful beverages, particularly water and tea.

There remain some concerns over aspartame, the low-calorie chemical used to give diet sodas their flavor.

Aspartame is 180 times sweeter than sugar, and some animal research has linked consumption of high amounts of the sweetener to brain tumors and lymphoma in rodents. The FDA maintains that the sweetener is safe, but reported side effects include dizziness, headaches, diarrhea, memory loss, and mood changes. Bottom line: Diet soda does you no good, and it might just be doing you wrong.

The best way to hydrate is by drinking low-calorie, high-nutrient fluids—and avoiding belt-busting beverages like the 20 Unhealthiest Drinks in America.

Now that you have a hold on your liquid assets, upgrade the rest of your grocery list by avoiding the 13 Worst "Healthy" Foods in the Supermarket. With so many items to choose from, it's easier to fall victim to packaged food lies than you think

Jack of All Trades (DIY) / Hobbyists try genetic engineering at home
« on: December 26, 2008, 06:08:34 PM »
Hobbyists try genetic engineering at home
Critics worry amateurs could unleash an environmental or medical disaster
Image: Meredith L. Patterson conducts an experiment.   
Meredith L. Patterson, a computer programmer by day, conducts an experiment in the dining room of her San Francisco apartment.

By Marcus Wohlsen
updated 12:10 p.m. ET, Fri., Dec. 26, 2008

SAN FRANCISCO - The Apple computer was invented in a garage. Same with the Google search engine. Now, tinkerers are working at home with the basic building blocks of life itself.

Using homemade lab equipment and the wealth of scientific knowledge available online, these hobbyists are trying to create new life forms through genetic engineering — a field long dominated by Ph.D.s toiling in university and corporate laboratories.

In her San Francisco dining room lab, for example, 31-year-old computer programmer Meredith L. Patterson is trying to develop genetically altered yogurt bacteria that will glow green to signal the presence of melamine, the chemical that turned Chinese-made baby formula and pet food deadly.
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"People can really work on projects for the good of humanity while learning about something they want to learn about in the process," she said.

So far, no major gene-splicing discoveries have come out anybody's kitchen or garage.

But critics of the movement worry that these amateurs could one day unleash an environmental or medical disaster. Defenders say the future Bill Gates of biotech could be developing a cure for cancer in the garage.

Many of these amateurs may have studied biology in college but have no advanced degrees and are not earning a living in the biotechnology field. Some proudly call themselves "biohackers" — innovators who push technological boundaries and put the spread of knowledge before profits.

In Cambridge, Mass., a group called DIYbio is setting up a community lab where the public could use chemicals and lab equipment, including a used freezer, scored for free off Craigslist, that drops to 80 degrees below zero, the temperature needed to keep many kinds of bacteria alive.

Co-founder Mackenzie Cowell, a 24-year-old who majored in biology in college, said amateurs will probably pursue serious work such as new vaccines and super-efficient biofuels, but they might also try, for example, to use squid genes to create tattoos that glow.

Cowell said such unfettered creativity could produce important discoveries.

"We should try to make science more sexy and more fun and more like a game," he said.

Patterson, the computer programmer, wants to insert the gene for fluorescence into yogurt bacteria, applying techniques developed in the 1970s.

She learned about genetic engineering by reading scientific papers and getting tips from online forums. She ordered jellyfish DNA for a green fluorescent protein from a biological supply company for less than $100. And she built her own lab equipment, including a gel electrophoresis chamber, or DNA analyzer, which she constructed for less than $25, versus more than $200 for a low-end off-the-shelf model.

Jim Thomas of ETC Group, a biotechnology watchdog organization, warned that synthetic organisms in the hands of amateurs could escape and cause outbreaks of incurable diseases or unpredictable environmental damage.

  "Once you move to people working in their garage or other informal location, there's no safety process in place," he said.

Some also fear that terrorists might attempt do-it-yourself genetic engineering. But Patterson said: "A terrorist doesn't need to go to the DIYbio community. They can just enroll in their local community college."

General Discussion / 3-year-old Hitler can't get name on cake
« on: December 17, 2008, 10:15:38 AM »
3-year-old Hitler can't get name on cake
Family upset at store for denying request, and angry Internet postings

 Heath Campbell, left, and his wife Deborah, were told that a store in Greenwich, N.J. would not inscribe their three-year-old son's full name, Adolf Hitler Campbell, center, on a birthday cake.
 View related photos
Rich Schultz / AP 

updated 1:16 a.m. ET, Wed., Dec. 17, 2008
EASTON, Pa. - The father of 3-year-old Adolf Hitler Campbell, denied a birthday cake with the child's full name on it by one New Jersey supermarket, is asking for a little tolerance. Heath Campbell and his wife, Deborah, are upset not only with the decision made by the Greenwich ShopRite, but with an outpouring of angry Internet postings in response to a local newspaper article over the weekend on their flare-up over frosting.

"I think people need to take their heads out of the cloud they've been in and start focusing on the future and not on the past," Heath Campbell said Tuesday in an interview conducted in Easton, on the other side of the Delaware River from where the family lives in Hunterdon County, N.J.

"There's a new president and he says it's time for a change; well, then it's time for a change," the 35-year-old continued. "They need to accept a name. A name's a name. The kid isn't going to grow up and do what (Hitler) did."

Deborah Campbell, 25, said she phoned in her order last week to the ShopRite. When she told the bakery department she wanted her son's name spelled out, she was told to talk to a supervisor, who denied the request.

Karen Meleta, a spokeswoman for ShopRite, said the Campbells had similar requests denied at the same store the last two years and said Heath Campbell previously had asked for a swastika to be included in the decoration.

"We reserve the right not to print anything on the cake that we deem to be inappropriate," Meleta said. "We considered this inappropriate."

The Campbells ultimately got their cake decorated at a Wal-Mart in Pennsylvania, Deborah Campbell said. About 12 people attended the birthday party on Sunday, including several children who were of mixed race, according to Heath Campbell.

"If we're so racist, then why would I have them come into my home?" he asked.

The Campbells' other two children also have unusual names: JoyceLynn Aryan Nation Campbell turns 2 in a few months and Honszlynn Hinler Jeannie Campbell will be 1 in April.

  Click for related content
Vote: Was store justified in refusing to put Hitler on cake?

Heath Campbell said he named his son after Adolf Hitler because he liked the name and because "no one else in the world would have that name." He sounded surprised by all the controversy the dispute had generated.

Campbell said his ancestors are German and that he has lived his entire life in Hunterdon County. On Tuesday he wore a pair of black boots he said were worn by a German soldier during World War II.

He said he was raised not to avoid people of other races but not to mix with them socially or romantically. But he said he would try to raise his children differently.

"Say he grows up and hangs out with black people. That's fine, I don't really care," he said. "That's his choice."

  More from msnbc.com

General Discussion / Former Nasdaq chairman arrested for fraud
« on: December 11, 2008, 10:38:36 PM »
Former Nasdaq chairman arrested for fraud
Madoff reportedly told employees Ponzi scheme lost billions for customers

updated 8:38 p.m. ET, Thurs., Dec. 11, 2008

NEW YORK - Bernard Madoff, a longtime fixture on Wall Street, was arrested and charged on Thursday with allegedly running a $50 billion Ponzi scheme, U.S. authorities said.

The former chairman of the Nasdaq Stock Market who remains a member of Nasdaq OMX Group Inc’s nominating committee, is best known as the founder of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, the closely-held market-making firm he founded in 1960.

But the alleged fraud involved a hedge fund he ran from a separate floor of the building where his brokerage is based.
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Madoff told senior employees of his firm on Wednesday that “it’s all just one big lie” and that it was “basically, a giant Ponzi scheme,” with estimated investor losses of about $50 billion, according to a criminal complaint against him.

A Ponzi scheme is a pyramid-type swindle in which very high returns are promised to early investors, who are paid off with money put up by later investors.

Prosecutors charged Madoff, 70, with a single count of securities fraud. They said he faces up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $5 million.

“Madoff stated that the business was insolvent, and that it had been for years,” Lev Dassin, acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a statement.

Authorities said that, according to a document filed by Madoff with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on January 7, 2008, Madoff’s investment advisory business served between 11 and 25 clients and had a total of about $17.1 billion in assets under management.

“Bernard Madoff is a longstanding leader in the financial services industry,” his lawyer Dan Horwitz told reporters outside a downtown Manhattan courtroom where he was arraigned. “We will fight to get through this unfortunate set of events.”

A shaken Madoff stared at the ground as reporters peppered him with questions. He was released after posting a $10 million bond secured by his Manhattan apartment.

The SEC filed separate civil charges.

“Our complaint alleges a stunning fraud -- both in terms of scope and duration,” said Scott Friestad, the SEC’s deputy enforcer. “We are moving quickly and decisively to stop the scheme and protect the remaining assets for investors.”

The SEC said it appeared that virtually all of the assets of his hedge fund business were missing.

Madoff had long kept the financial statements for his hedge fund business under “lock and key,” according to prosecutors, and was “cryptic” about the firm.

Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities has more than $700 million in capital, according to its website. It is a market maker for about 350 Nasdaq stocks, including Apple, EBay and Dell, according to the website.

The website also states that Madoff himself has “a personal interest in maintaining the unblemished record of value, fair-dealing, and high ethical standards that has always been the firm’s hallmark.”

Jokes / Christmas Shopping Early
« on: December 11, 2008, 07:03:18 AM »
Christmas Shopping Early

It was coming up to Christmas and the Judge was in a jolly frame of mind.
"Now then, please tell me, what is the charge against you?"

" I was caught doing my Christmas shopping very early." replied the man in the dock.

"That doesn't seem like an offence to me. What do you mean by 'very early?

"Well, your Honour." said the defendant, "It was before the shop was open."

General Discussion / Study Suggests Sugar May Be Addictive as rum
« on: December 11, 2008, 06:20:20 AM »

Well is sugar that is used to make rum?

Study Suggests Sugar May Be Addictive
Finding might yield new insights into eating disorders, experts say
By Amanda Gardner, HealthDay Reporter
Finding might yield new insights into eating disorders, experts say.

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Science is verifying what many overeaters have suspected for a long time: sugar can be addictive.

In fact, the sweetener seems to prompt the same chemical changes in the brain seen in people who abuse drugs such as cocaine and heroin.

The findings were to be presented Wednesday at the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology's annual meeting, in Nashville.

"Our evidence from an animal model suggests that bingeing on sugar can act in the brain in ways very similar to drugs of abuse," lead researcher Bart Hoebel, a professor of psychology at Princeton University, said during a Dec. 4 teleconference.

"Drinking large amounts of sugar water when hungry can cause behavioral changes and even neurochemical changes in the brain which resemble changes that are produced when animals or people take substances of abuse. These animals show signs of withdrawal and even long-lasting effects that might resemble craving," he said.

Dr. Louis Aronne, director of the Comprehensive Weight Control Program at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City, added: "The big question has been whether it's just a behavioral thing or is it a metabolic chemical thing, and evidence like this supports the idea that something chemical is going on."

A "sugar addiction" may even act as a "gateway" to later abuse of drugs such as alcohol, Hoebel said.

The stages of addiction, as defined by the American Psychiatric Association, include bingeing, withdrawal and craving.

For the new research, rats were denied food for 12 hours a day, then were given access to food and sugar (25 percent glucose and 10 percent sucrose, similar to a soft drink) for 12 hours a day, for three to four weeks.

The bingeing released a surge of the neurotransmitter dopamine each time in the part of the brain involved in reward, the nucleus accumbens. "It's been known that drugs of abuse release or increase the levels of dopamine in that part of the brain," Hoebel said.

But it wasn't only the sugar that caused this effect, Hoebel explained -- it was the sugar combined with the alternating schedule of deprivation and largesse. After three weeks, the rats showed signs of withdrawal similar to those seen when people stop smoking or drinking alcohol or using morphine.

The scientists next blocked the animals' brain endorphins and found withdrawal symptoms, anxiety, behavioral depression and a drop in dopamine levels. In other words, they confirmed a neurochemical link with the rats' behavior.

But longer periods of abstinence didn't "cure" the rats. Instead, there were long-lasting effects with the animals: They ingested more sugar than before, as if they were craving the substance and, without sugar, they drank more alcohol.

The researchers speculated that some of these brain changes may also occur in people with eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia, although more research needs to be done to confirm the effects in humans.

"Some say it's easy to lose weight -- you just have to shut your mouth, stop eating so much," Aronne said. "I tell them a good way to overcome global warming is if people made less carbon dioxide by breathing less. Obviously, that's absurd. You can't do it because you feel uncomfortable.

"The same thing is true of eating," he added. "Fattening food has an impact on the regulating mechanism that breaks down your sense of fullness, makes you feel an urge to go back and get that blast of sugar and this creates the vicious cycle of weight gain that we're going through."

Visit Overeaters Anonymous for more on food addiction and eating disorders.

Jokes / Aunt Sharon
« on: December 10, 2008, 07:58:27 AM »

The Moral of Auntie Sharon


A teacher gave her class of 11 year olds an assignment: To get their parent to tell them a story with a moral at the end of it.

The next day the kids came back and one by one began to tell their stories.

Ashley said, 'My father's a farmer and we have a lot of egg-laying hens.  One time we were taking our eggs to market in a basket on the front seat of the car when we hit a big bump in the road and all the eggs got broken.'

'What's the morale of that story?' asked the teacher.

'Don't put all your eggs in one basket!'

'Very good,' said the teacher.

Next little Sarah raised her hand and said, 'Our family are farmers too.  But we raise chickens for the meat market. One day we had a dozen eggs, but when they hatched we only got ten live chicks, and the moral to this story is, 'Don't count your chickens before they're hatched'.'


'That was a fine story Sarah.'


Michael, do you have a story to share?'

'Yes. My daddy told me this story about my Aunty Sharon. Aunty Sharon was a flight engineer on a plane in the Gulf War and her plane got hit. 


She had to bail out over enemy territory and all she had was a bottle of whisky, a machine gun and a machete.

She drank the whiskey on the way down so it wouldn't break and then she landed right in the middle of 100 enemy troops.


She killed seventy of them with the machine gun until she
ran out of bullets.

Then she killed twenty more with the machete until the blade broke.


And then she killed the last ten with her bare hands.'


'Good heavens,' said the horrified teacher, 'what kind of moral did your daddy tell you from that horrible story?'


'Stay the f**k away from Aunty Sharon when she's been drinking.'

General Discussion / Nagging wife, sausage
« on: December 09, 2008, 12:34:31 PM »
Nagging wife, sausage help man win lottery
Young New Zealand couple says they've had a 'rough' couple of years
WELLINGTON, New Zealand - A "nagging" wife who pushed her husband to buy a lottery ticket helped scoop the $4.2 million ($7.7 million New Zealand dollar) first prize — with only minutes to spare. The man from New Zealand's biggest city, Auckland, bought his ticket just two minutes before ticket sales closed Saturday night.

"My wife had been nagging me all week to get a ticket, so I when saw the Lotto sign ... I sprinted in to get the ticket before they closed," said the man, who asked not to be identified — normal practice among lottery winners in New Zealand.

"I must have been their last customer of the night," he said, adding that the young married couple had had a "rough" couple of years, reduced to one income after having children.
Story continues below ↓advertisement | your ad here

"I have never been so glad to listen to my wife's nagging," the man said Tuesday.

He discovered their newly won fortune Sunday thanks to his wife's request for a barbecued sausage.

'All I wanted was a sausage'
Out shopping for bargains, the man said he didn't have enough money to buy his wife the sausage she'd asked him for. So he decided to check his Saturday lottery ticket in case he'd won a small prize.

"I could not believe it when they said I was actually the big winner," he said.

When he showed the printout to his wife, she initially thought they had won $4,200.

"When she realized how much it really was, she fell to the floor, and then said: 'but all I wanted was a sausage.'"
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed

A toddler lost in the Virginia woods was back home safe Sunday thanks to two puppies who kept him warm through a harrowing night of freezing temperatures.

Jaylynn Thorpe, 3, wandered away from his baby-sitter at 4 p.m. Friday and was missing for 21 hours as hundreds of friends, family and law enforcement officials searched for him in the thick woods of Halifax County, fearing the worst.

"The only thing we wanted to do was just keep searching until we found him," Halifax County Sheriff Stanley Noblin told reporters.

Jaylynn's frantic family knew time was not on its side.

"We didn't forget the issue that 17 degrees was almost unbearable," said his father, James Thorpe.

"People all over the State of Virginia was down there looking for that child. For a while there, one time, I didn't know whether they would find him or not," said the child's grandmother and guardian, Katherine Elliot.

Officials said the lost little boy and the two family puppies wandered up to a mile in the dark, even across a highway, but it wasn't until Saturday afternoon that members of the search team found him sitting by a tree, the two puppies nestled against him.

The little boy didn't say anything, according to rescue team member Jerry Gentry, but instead "just opened his arms up like, 'I'm ready to go.'"

"When I first saw him, he was like, 'Momma, I got cold. I slept in the woods last night. The puppies kept me warm.' He told me that ... the dogs slept up against him. And I'm sure the body heat kept him warm," said his mother, Sarah Ingram.

Billie Jo Roach, another member of the search party that found the boy, said the puppies refused to leave his side.

As the child was placed in an ambulance to be taken to a local hospital for examination, "The puppies were watching where he went.

"Where he went, they went," Roach said.

As word went out that the child was alive and well, family members cheered and cried for joy.

"Praise the Lord! Welcome home, Jaylynn!" yelled his aunt, Amy Zimmerman.

Close to 300 people from North Carolina and Virginia joined in the search to find Jaylynn.

"I love you! God bless you," Ingram told the rescue teams.

"I think I just said, 'Thank you Lord' ... for us to have another chance!" said the child's father.

The boy spent Saturday night under observation at Halifax Regional Hospital and chowed down on a double cheeseburger, a hot dog, strawberry ice cream and French fries.

Meanwhile, the furry heroes, their tails wagging, were rewarded with food.

"I definitely call this a miracle," said Noblin.
I want all my dam money back mate

General Discussion / 'No-one in our house works'
« on: December 03, 2008, 07:37:57 AM »
'No-one in our house works'

By Paula Dear
BBC News

With redundancies rising and job vacancies shrinking, unemployment is back in the headlines. But for millions it never went away. As part of a series on Britain's jobless, one family explains how and why lack of work has touched their lives.

Elizabeth Malcolm, 43, has never had a job. She lives in a two-bedroom council flat in Glasgow with her three children, one grandchild, two cats and a hamster.

Neither of her two working-age children has a job.

Q&A: Who are the jobless?
Key statistics
The family is what the statistics gatherers call a "workless household" - one of three million in the country. In reality it's not quite so easy to put every jobless person into a neat little box. This is their story.

Elizabeth, known as "Biff" to family and friends, wishes now that she had got into work or college back in 1980, when she left school at 15.

It was hardly a great time to be a jobseeker, especially living in Easterhouse, a part of Glasgow long synonymous with deprivation and unemployment. But she concedes that she doesn't really know why she didn't get a job, and that there was an element of just "not getting round" to it.

She doesn't think school wanted her to stay on because she "wasn't too bright" and used to bunk off a lot.
Without any qualifications she assumed she wasn't able to follow her chosen path and join the Army. She never actually made it to the recruitment office to ask.
 I did try, but nobody took me on 
Elizabeth Malcolm

Send us your comments
After signing on the dole, she was nagged to find a job by her parents - who both worked until redundancy and illness stopped them in their 50s - and says she tried to find something.

"I did try, but nobody took me on," she says.
By 17 she had met the father of her three children and by 22 had their first son William. From then on family, home life and dealing with a failing relationship took over, she says.

While Elizabeth "feels angry" at herself for not getting into work when she was younger, at the same time she believes looking after the kids and the house has been a job in itself. Labour market survey figures for the last quarter showed more than two million women gave the same reason for not working.

Now a lone parent, she shares her bedroom with her son Jon, 13, daughter Danielle, 17, and Danielle's son Rhys, 11 months.

Next generation: More on William, Danielle and Jon

In pictures
William, 21, who served in the Army for three-and-a-half years and went to Iraq and Afghanistan, sleeps in the small second bedroom.

The family survives on a combination of Income Support and Child Tax Credits, claimed by both Elizabeth and Danielle. Both also receive the universal Child Benefit for one child each. It all amounts to about £270 a week for the five of them.

As no-one in the house is actively seeking work, they don't count as "unemployed" and none claims Jobseeker's Allowance.

Things will change for Elizabeth next year, when she will no longer be entitled to Income Support for being a lone parent. She is already being asked to attend interviews at the local job centre.

"They send for you every month to ask you why you're not working and if you've been looking for work. I've told them my situation, that I've been having panic attacks when I go out - which started after my dad died - and they've written it all down.

"They said I'd be better off if I was out working because Jon's at an age now where the money I'm getting will stop soon. I'd need to sign on [for unemployment benefit] again and I don't want that because I think I'm too old to sign on."

Elizabeth says she would most want to work in a caring job, with animals, children or elderly people, because she has looked after people all her life.

Jobcentre staff have told her if anything comes up they'll "send her a letter", she adds.
Having a job would help "keep her mind off things" that have happened, she says.
Although there's always been a degree of struggle to get by, the family recently went into a complete tailspin, says Elizabeth.

A catalogue of events have left her and William suffering from panic attacks, while Jon has "gone off the rails" and started truanting from school.
 I'll just need to get it out of my head and start going places, or else I'm going to be stuck in the house for the rest of my life 

William, 21
Elizabeth lost both her parents in the past four years, with her father's death hitting her and William particularly hard. After his grandfather fell ill William became depressed and left the Army.

"He was his granda's blue-eyed boy," says Elizabeth.
In 2006 the children's father, John Purcell, who was separated from Elizabeth but had been visiting the kids, was stabbed to death. Soon after, William was savagely attacked by local gang members and stabbed several times. After a second attack he stopped straying more than a few feet from the house, and started drinking more and more.

It's left William so afraid to go out, he can't sign on.

"I'll just need to get it out of my head and start going places, or else I'm going to be stuck in the house for the rest of my life," he says. "I can't keep living like this, living off my mum. I'd like to have my own house, and my own wee family... definitely."


For the time being he plays uncle to Danielle's baby, Rhys.
With no father on the scene, Danielle relies on help from the family. She says she hopes to learn to be a hairdresser or beautician.

"All my pals are looking for work as well. But it's not that easy to get a job straight away, you've got to write out your CV and everything and then hand it in to places."
Day-to-day she spends her time going to the shops for her mother, collecting her money, or visiting friends who also have children.

Elizabeth - who is besotted with her cats - would like to work with animals
"Some days I'm just sitting in the house. That's what I do, morning till night, unless I go down to see my auntie or something. It's not really a life."

Elizabeth is aware there are some who would criticise her life. She would agree, she says, with those who say it is "terrible" that taxpayers should be in the position of paying for those without work.
"I'm sorry they have to pay tax money to me. If I could get a job... give me a job then and I'll work, and then they won't have to pay me."

Photographs by Phil Coomes

Jokes / "Where's the bathroom?"
« on: December 02, 2008, 09:13:33 PM »
This guy is sitting in a bar drunk. He asks the bartender, "Where's the bathroom at?" The bartender says, "Go down the hall and make a right."

Well, all of a sudden, everybody at the bar hears this loud scream coming from the bathroom, and they wonder about what's going on in there. A few minutes go by, and again, everybody at the bar hears another loud scream that came out of the bathroom. This time, the bartender decides to investigate, and he goes into the bathroom to see what the drunk is screaming about.

He opens the door and asks the drunk, "What's all the screaming about in here? You are scaring all my customers away."

The drunk whines, "I'm sitting on the toilet and every time I go to flush it, something comes up and squeezes the heck out of my gonads!"

With that, the bartender looks in and says, "No wonder! You're sitting on a mop bucket, you idiot!!"

General Discussion / Chilling reminder!
« on: December 02, 2008, 10:53:53 AM »
click this link for photos


Read this too.

Burlington: Gallery 1
You are in: Wiltshire > Wiltshire's Underground City > Burlington: Gallery 1 > Wiltshire's Secret Underground City

Burlington Nuclear Bunker at Corsham

Wiltshire's Secret Underground City
Burlington: The 35 acre, secret subterranean Cold War City that lies 100 feet beneath Corsham.
Welcome to Wiltshire’s Secret Underground City… the 35 acre subterranean Cold War City that lies 100 feet beneath Corsham.
Built in the late 50s this massive city complex was designed to safely house up to 4,000 central Government personnel in the event of a nuclear strike.
In a former Bath stone quarry the city, code named Burlington, was to be the site of the main Emergency Government War Headquarters - the hub of the Country’s alternative seat of power outside London.

The Telephone Exchange

Over 60 miles of Roads
Over a kilometre in length, and boasting over 60 miles of roads, the underground site was designed not only to accommodate the than Conservative Prime Minister, Harold MacMillan, but the entire Cabinet Office, civil servants and an army of domestic support staff.

The site was so top secret that many of the civil servants, who had been allocated a desk at Burlington, had no knowledge of it.

Blast proof and completely self-sufficient the secret underground site could accommodate up to 4,000 people, in complete isolation from the outside world, for up to three months.
Although never actually used, the New York grid-style city of roads and avenues was equipped with all the facilities needed to survive.  From underground hospitals, canteens, kitchens and laundries to storerooms of supplies, accommodation areas and offices.

An Underground Lake

An underground lake and treatment plant could provide all the drinking water needed whilst 12 huge tanks could store the fuel required to keep the four massive generators, in the underground power station, running for up to three months.  And unlike most urban cities, above ground, the air within the complex could also be kept at a constant humidity and heated to around 20 degrees.

A ward in the hospital

The city was also equipped with the second largest telephone exchange in Britain, a BBC studio from which the PM could address the nation and an internal Lamson Tube system that could relay messages, using compressed air, throughout the complex.

For 30 years Burlington was in operation but at the end of the Cold War, in 1991, the still un-used city complex was finally taken over by the MOD and kept on standby in case of future nuclear threats to the UK.
But last December, with the underground reservoir drained, emptied of fuel and supplies and with a skeleton staff of just four, the site was finally decommissioned…

General Discussion / Marine archaeologists find remains of slave ship
« on: November 25, 2008, 06:09:33 PM »

By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID, AP Science Writer – 1 hr 29 mins ago
AP – This undated handout photo provided by NOAA shows the hull remains of the so-called 'Black Rock Wreck' …
WASHINGTON – Marine archaeologists have found the remains of a slave ship wrecked off the Turks and Caicos Islands in 1841, an accident that set free the ancestors of many current residents of those islands. Some 192 Africans survived the sinking of the Spanish ship Trouvadore off the British-ruled islands, where the slave trade was banned.

Over the years the ship had been forgotten, said researcher Don Keith, so when the discovery connected the ship to current residents the first response "was a kind of shock, a lack of comprehension," he explained in a briefing organized by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

But after word got out "people really got on board with it," he said, and the local museum has assisted the researchers. He said this is the only known wreck of a ship engaged in the illegal slave trade.

Keith and his co-researchers from the Texas-based Ships of Discovery organization came across a letter at the Smithsonian Institution that referred to the sinking and began their search for the ship.

"The people of the Turks and Caicos have a direct line to this dramatic, historic event — it's how so many of them ended up being there. We hope this discovery will encourage the people of the Turks and Caicos to protect and research their local history, especially the history that remains underwater," he said.

"It really is a mystery, it's a detective story," added marine archaeologist Toni Carrell.
"We do all of this because we recognize the importance of history. This is an important part of the Turks and Caicos history," she said.

The team was able to determine that authorities on the islands apprenticed the Africans to trades for a year and then allowed them to settle on the islands, many on Grand Turk. The Spanish crew was arrested and turned over to authorities in Cuba, then a Spanish colony.

An 1878 letter refers to the Trouvadore Africans as making up the pith — meaning an essential part — of the laboring population on the islands.

When the wreck was first discovered in 2004 it was named the Black Rock ship because the researchers were unsure of its identity. They have since become convinced by the timing and design of the vessel that it is the Trouvadore.

"We were not fortunate enough to find a bell with 'Trouvadore' on it," Carrell explained. Useful parts of the ship had been salvaged before winds and currents carried it into deeper water.
"It's rare and exciting to find a wreck of such importance that has been forgotten for so many years," said Frank Cantelas, marine archaeologist for NOAA's Office of Ocean Exploration and Research.

The team also found the remains of the U.S. brig Chippewa, a ship built for the War of 1812 which was engaged in chasing pirates when it was lost in 1816. That vessel was identified by the unique type of cannons, called carronades, it carried.

Indeed, the researchers said the Turks and Caicos now possesses one of the world's best collections of carronades.

NOAA provided about $178,000 to assist the research.

General Discussion / Election spurs 'hundreds' of race threats, crimes
« on: November 15, 2008, 07:40:14 PM »
Election spurs 'hundreds' of race threats, crimes
      Buzz Up Send
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Digg Facebook Newsvine del.icio.us Reddit StumbleUpon Technorati Yahoo! Bookmarks Print By JESSE WASHINGTON, AP National Writer Jesse Washington, Ap National Writer – 53 mins ago \

 AP Cross burnings. Schoolchildren chanting "Assassinate Obama." Black figures hung from nooses. Racial epithets scrawled on homes and cars.

Incidents around the country referring to President-elect Barack Obama are dampening the postelection glow of racial progress and harmony, highlighting the stubborn racism that remains in America.

From California to Maine, police have documented a range of alleged crimes, from vandalism and vague threats to at least one physical attack. Insults and taunts have been delivered by adults, college students and second-graders.

There have been "hundreds" of incidents since the election, many more than usual, said Mark Potok, director of the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate crimes.

One was in Snellville, Ga., where Denene Millner said a boy on the school bus told her 9-year-old daughter the day after the election: "I hope Obama gets assassinated." That night, someone trashed her sister-in-law's front lawn, mangled the Obama lawn signs, and left two pizza boxes filled with human feces outside the front door, Millner said.

She described her emotions as a combination of anger and fear.

"I can't say that every white person in Snellville is evil and anti-Obama and willing to desecrate my property because one or two idiots did it," said Millner, who is black. "But it definitely makes you look a little different at the people who you live with, and makes you wonder what they're capable of and what they're really thinking."

Potok, who is white, said he believes there is "a large subset of white people in this country who feel that they are losing everything they know, that the country their forefathers built has somehow been stolen from them."

Grant Griffin, a 46-year-old white Georgia native, expressed similar sentiments: "I believe our nation is ruined and has been for several decades and the election of Obama is merely the culmination of the change.

"If you had real change it would involve all the members of (Obama's) church being deported," he said.

Change in whatever form does not come easy, and a black president is "the most profound change in the field of race this country has experienced since the Civil War," said William Ferris, senior associate director of the Center for the Study of the American South at the University of North Carolina. "It's shaking the foundations on which the country has existed for centuries."

"Someone once said racism is like cancer," Ferris said. "It's never totally wiped out, it's in remission."

If so, America's remission lasted until the morning of Nov. 5.

The day after the vote hailed as a sign of a nation changed, black high school student Barbara Tyler of Marietta, Ga., said she heard hateful Obama comments from white students, and that teachers cut off discussion about Obama's victory.

Tyler spoke at a press conference by the Georgia chapter of the NAACP calling for a town hall meeting to address complaints from across the state about hostility and resentment. Another student, from a Covington middle school, said he was suspended for wearing an Obama shirt to school Nov. 5 after the principal told students not to wear political paraphernalia.

The student's mother, Eshe Riviears, said the principal told her: "Whether you like it or not, we're in the South, and there are a lot of people who are not happy with this decision."

Other incidents include:

_Four North Carolina State University students admitted writing anti-Obama comments in a tunnel designated for free speech expression, including one that said: "Let's shoot that (N-word) in the head." Obama has received more threats than any other president-elect, authorities say.

_At Standish, Maine, a sign inside the Oak Hill General Store read: "Osama Obama Shotgun Pool." Customers could sign up to bet $1 on a date when Obama would be killed. "Stabbing, shooting, roadside bombs, they all count," the sign said. At the bottom of the marker board was written "Let's hope someone wins."

_Racist graffiti was found in places including New York's Long Island, where two dozen cars were spray-painted; Kilgore, Texas, where the local high school and skate park were defaced; and the Los Angeles area, where swastikas, racial slurs and "Go Back To Africa" were spray painted on sidewalks, houses and cars.

_Second- and third-grade students on a school bus in Rexburg, Idaho, chanted "assassinate Obama," a district official said.

_University of Alabama professor Marsha L. Houston said a poster of the Obama family was ripped off her office door. A replacement poster was defaced with a death threat and a racial slur. "It seems the election brought the racist rats out of the woodwork," Houston said.

_Black figures were hanged by nooses from trees on Mount Desert Island, Maine, the Bangor Daily News reported. The president of Baylor University in Waco, Texas said a rope found hanging from a campus tree was apparently an abandoned swing and not a noose.

_Crosses were burned in yards of Obama supporters in Hardwick, N.J., and Apolacan Township, Pa.

_A black teenager in New York City said he was attacked with a bat on election night by four white men who shouted 'Obama.'

_In the Pittsburgh suburb of Forest Hills, a black man said he found a note with a racial slur on his car windshield, saying "now that you voted for Obama, just watch out for your house."

Emotions are often raw after a hard-fought political campaign, but now those on the losing side have an easy target for their anger.

"The principle is very simple," said BJ Gallagher, a sociologist and co-author of the diversity book "A Peacock in the Land of Penguins." "If I can't hurt the person I'm angry at, then I'll vent my anger on a substitute, i.e., someone of the same race."

"We saw the same thing happen after the 9-11 attacks, as a wave of anti-Muslim violence swept the country. We saw it happen after the Rodney King verdict, when Los Angeles blacks erupted in rage at the injustice perpetrated by 'the white man.'"

"It's as stupid and ineffectual as kicking your dog when you've had a bad day at the office," Gallagher said. "But it happens a lot."


Associated Press writers Errin Haines, Jerry Harkavy, Jay Reeves, Johnny Clark and researcher Rhonda Shafner contributed to this report.

General Discussion / Hillary Clinton emerges as State dept candidate
« on: November 13, 2008, 09:38:12 PM »
Hillary Clinton emerges as State dept candidate\

 … CHICAGO (Reuters) – Sen. Hillary Clinton emerged on Thursday as a candidate to be U.S. secretary of state for Barack Obama, months after he defeated her in an intense contest for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Putting Clinton, wife of former President Bill Clinton, in the position could help heal whatever lingering divisions remain in the Democratic Party after her bitter battle with Obama.

Obama passed over Clinton as his vice presidential running mate in favor of Sen. Joe Biden, a decision that angered her ardent supporters and widened a rift in the party that Obama and Clinton later worked hard to heal.

Her selection as top U.S. diplomat could also mean a more hawkish foreign policy than that advocated by Obama during his presidential campaign. On the campaign trail, Clinton was more reluctant than Obama to commit to a firm timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq.

But both Obama and Clinton were adamant about improving the image of the United States abroad and correcting what they considered the "failed policies" of the outgoing Bush administration.

Clinton was described by her office as having flown to Chicago on Thursday on personal business.

Neither her aides nor aides to President-elect Obama would say whether she was interviewed for the job by Obama, who spent a great part of the day behind closed doors in transition meetings at his Chicago office.

"Any speculation about cabinet or other administration appointments is really for President-elect Obama's transition team to address," said Clinton's senior adviser, Philippe Reines.

NBC News and The Washington Post reported that Clinton was under consideration for the top U.S. diplomatic position.


This would mean Obama was expanding his search beyond other candidates mentioned for the job, such as Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, a Democrat who lost the 2004 presidential election to George W. Bush, and Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel, a Republican who backed Obama over Republican John McCain this year.

CNN reported that on Monday night, while walking into an awards ceremony in New York, Clinton was asked if she would consider taking a post in the Obama administration. It did not sound like she ruled it out.

"I am happy being a senator from New York, I love this state and this city. I am looking at the long list of things I have to catch up on and do. But I want to be a good partner and I want to do everything I can to make sure his agenda is going to be successful," Clinton said.

The former first lady had argued during the Democratic primary campaign that Obama was too inexperienced to be president. But they mended fences and during the Democratic National Convention in Denver, she declared that "Barack Obama is my candidate and he must be our president."

Analyst Paul Light of New York University's John Brademas Center for the Study of Congress said picking Clinton would mean Obama was serious about reaching across the party divide.

On the other hand, he said: "To put her in the competition with several others and pick somebody other than Hillary Clinton after you've floated her name is to have a repeat of the spring and summer division and raise questions about Obama's seriousness about healing the division within the party."

Clinton was at first considered the shoo-in to win the Democratic nomination only to watch the 47-year-old Illinois senator defeat her in a series of decisive battles.

Whether Clinton would want the position was immediately debated on cable television talk shows. After all, she wanted to be president, and why would she settle for anything less?

"I think she has her sights set higher than that," said Stephen Hayes, a columnist for the Weekly Standard Magazine, on


On the other hand, Obama won election over McCain decisively and if he is successful in his first term, he very well could win again in 2012, probably putting the presidency out of reach for Clinton, who is now 61.

As U.S. first lady Clinton devoted a great deal of time to the rights of women around the world, often traveling the globe with her daughter, Chelsea.

As a presidential candidate, she argued for putting greater U.S. emphasis on defeating the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and in ensuring nuclear weapons do not spread.

(Additional reporting by Vicki Allen, Jackie Frank and JoAnne Allen, editing by Jackie Frank)

General Discussion / Doctors say marrow transplant may have cured AIDS
« on: November 13, 2008, 07:45:27 AM »
Doctors say marrow transplant may have cured AIDS
By PATRICK McGROARTY, Associated Press Writer - Thu Nov 13, 1:01 AM PSTProvided by:

 95% of users found this article helpful.
German hematologists Eckhard Thiel, left, and Gero Huetter of Berlin's Charite Medical University attend a news conference about a successful treatment of a HIV infected patient in Berlin, on Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2008. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
 BERLIN - An American man who suffered from AIDS appears to have been cured of the disease 20 months after receiving a targeted bone marrow transplant normally used to fight leukemia, his doctors said.

While researchers — and the doctors themselves — caution that the case might be no more than a fluke, others say it may inspire a greater interest in gene therapy to fight the disease that claims 2 million lives each year. The virus has infected 33 million people worldwide.

Dr. Gero Huetter said Wedneday his 42-year-old patient, an American living in Berlin who was not identified, had been infected with the AIDS virus for more than a decade. But 20 months after undergoing a transplant of genetically selected bone marrow, he no longer shows signs of carrying the virus.

"We waited every day for a bad reading," Huetter said.

It has not come. Researchers at Berlin's Charite hospital and medical school say tests on his bone marrow, blood and other organ tissues have all been clean.

However, Dr. Andrew Badley, director of the HIV and immunology research lab at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., said those tests have probably not been extensive enough.

"A lot more scrutiny from a lot of different biological samples would be required to say it's not present," Badley said.

This isn't the first time marrow transplants have been attempted for treating AIDS or HIV infection. In 1999, an article in the journal Medical Hypotheses reviewed the results of 32 attempts reported between 1982 and 1996. In two cases, HIV was apparently eradicated, the review reported.

Huetter's patient was under treatment at Charite for both AIDS and leukemia, which developed unrelated to HIV.

As Huetter — who is a hematologist, not an HIV specialist — prepared to treat the patient's leukemia with a bone marrow transplant, he recalled that some people carry a genetic mutation that seems to make them resistant to HIV infection. If the mutation, called Delta 32, is inherited from both parents, it prevents HIV from attaching itself to cells by blocking CCR5, a receptor that acts as a kind of gateway.

"I read it in 1996, coincidentally," Huetter told reporters at the medical school. "I remembered it and thought it might work."

Roughly one in 1,000 Europeans and Americans have inherited the mutation from both parents, and Huetter set out to find one such person among donors that matched the patient's marrow type. Out of a pool of 80 suitable donors, the 61st person tested carried the proper mutation.

Before the transplant, the patient endured powerful drugs and radiation to kill off his own infected bone marrow cells and disable his immune system — a treatment fatal to between 20 and 30 percent of recipients.

He was also taken off the potent drugs used to treat his AIDS. Huetter's team feared that the drugs might interfere with the new marrow cells' survival. They risked lowering his defenses in the hopes that the new, mutated cells would reject the virus on their own.

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infections Diseases in the U.S., said the procedure was too costly and too dangerous to employ as a firstline cure. But he said it could inspire researchers to pursue gene therapy as a means to block or suppress HIV.

"It helps prove the concept that if somehow you can block the expression of CCR5, maybe by gene therapy, you might be able to inhibit the ability of the virus to replicate," Fauci said.

David Roth, a professor of epidemiology and international public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said gene therapy as cheap and effective as current drug treatments is in very early stages of development.

"That's a long way down the line because there may be other negative things that go with that mutation that we don't know about."

Even for the patient in Berlin, the lack of a clear understanding of exactly why his AIDS has disappeared means his future is far from certain.

"The virus is wily," Huetter said. "There could always be a resurgence."

(This version CORRECTS spelling of doctor's name to Huetter throughout.)
More Conditions & Diseases News » All Health News »

General Discussion / 2 Dutch men guilty of injecting 14 with HIV
« on: November 13, 2008, 07:01:50 AM »
2 Dutch men guilty of injecting 14 with HIV
All victims tested positive after being drugged, assaulted at a sex party
updated 1:59 p.m. ET, Wed., Nov. 12, 2008
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands - A Dutch court convicted two men Wednesday for attempting to infect 14 victims with HIV in a bizarre sex case.

The Groningen District Court found the two guilty of severe assault for injecting semiconscious men with HIV-infected blood at sex parties between January 2006 and May 2007.

Peter M., 49, who was also convicted of rape, was sentenced to nine years in prison and Hans J., 39, received a five-year sentence. Under Dutch privacy laws, the surnames of convicted criminals are not released.

Story continues below ↓
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Prosecutors said they would appeal for higher sentences.

"By committing these acts, (Peter M.) has shown himself to have a serious lack of respect for the rights of others," the three-judge panel's written ruling said. "While he knew from his own experience what far-reaching consequences are tied to an infection with HIV, he repeatedly attempted to bring this same hurt to others."

Prosecutors had argued that the two men, along with a third who was acquitted of major charges, had drugged the 14 victims and intentionally infected them.

But in Wednesday's ruling, judges said while the victims all had HIV, it could not be proven that they were infected by the injections because they willingly took part in orgies where gay men had unprotected sex.

The judges also said allegations the victims were given GHB, known as a "date rape" drug, were also unproven.

The suspects were not charged with attempted murder since Dutch courts have held that HIV is a chronic illness rather than an inevitably fatal one.

General Discussion / The young soldiers of the Congo
« on: November 13, 2008, 06:56:32 AM »

Congolese children forced to fight  

 By Peter Greste
BBC News, Goma  

"We were on our way back from school when we met the rebels. They made us carry some luggage for them and then told us to go with them," says a 16-year-old caught up in the recent unrest in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Jean Vierre, whose name has been changed for his safety, is now in the care of a foster family in Goma, placed there by UK charity Save the Children.

But his story points to a disturbing new trend.

  When the rebels saw me trying to escape they shot me

Haguma [not his real name], 18

In the last few months, fighting between the Congolese army and rebels has escalated, and more and more children are being kidnapped to bolster numbers amongst the various militia.

Jean Vierre was one of a group of 10 ambushed some two weeks ago.

He, his six classmates and three teachers were abducted in what appears to be a well-planned attempt to find new recruits.

"When we got to the camps, the rebels told to join the military forces. They took us and threw us in a hole. We were given military outfits and told we had to wear them," explains Jean Claude [not his real name].

The two boys managed to escape after two days but not before they saw many other teenage boys in a similar position.


Forced recruitment of child soldiers is nothing new in DR Congo, but Save the Children's Beverley Roberts believes the armed militia groups are now targeting entire schools or groups of students.


"We know that they're being used as porters, that's very clear. We have reports of children having to transport arms right now. That's very disturbing," she says.

"Unfortunately also you'll have the children sexually abused in these groups. Those are clearly some of the worst cases and then yes they are used as fighters, they might be trained as fighters - all sorts of uses. I mean you can only imagine."

We cannot identify the groups involved nor any of the individuals who were taken.

Save the Children does not want any reprisals.

See detailed map of the area
But they do want international condemnation and pressure to stop the practice. And it seems to be surging now, just as the fighting is escalating and the need for new recruits grows fast.

Another unwilling recruit, 18-year-old Haguma [not his real name] tells how he was recruited into the militia.

"I was at home when the rebel militaries came and took me by force and told me that I had to fight the government soldiers," he says.

"I was wounded in the village of Mgunga. The rebel soldiers were beaten. They headed to Rutshuru but I was carrying some heavy luggage so I stayed behind. I was also trying to escape.

"When the rebels saw me trying to escape they shot me. After I was shot the government soldiers took me to Goma."

Long process

Nobody knows the long-term effect of so many traumatised children on a society that Save the Children is doing its best to reintegrate them.

"Once we have identified where that child comes from we start to work with the family to receive that child again and make sure that the family is ready, they understand what the child has gone through," Ms Roberts says.

  I was just waiting for the day I would die so that it would end

John [not his real name], 15

"We make sure the child is ready. It's a long process but a necessary process."

The numbers are huge. Even before this latest surge in fighting, aid agencies estimated that there were 3,000 child soldiers across eastern DR Congo.

Now that number is almost certainly far higher.

It is doubtful that children like 15-year-old John [not his real name] will ever recover from their experience at the hands of the rebels.

"I knew that some day I would be shot or die from a disease because there was no medication or treatment available. I didn't like it at all. There was nothing I could do.

"I was just waiting for the day I would die so that it would end."


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General Discussion / Palin ofered professional wrestling contract. lol
« on: November 12, 2008, 03:30:13 PM »

I saw a nice blues last night...Whose nailin Paylin.

de damn por star look just like we goodly Covernor too!

Football / Live stream of game sunderland v bolton
« on: November 12, 2008, 02:25:32 PM »

General Discussion / Do you believe in me?
« on: November 12, 2008, 07:43:13 AM »

General Discussion / Obama wants Lieberman to say in Dem Caucus.
« on: November 11, 2008, 07:15:54 PM »
Says if he is expelled it would damage his vision of bi-partisanship.

Football / With Obama, America can score World Cup
« on: November 11, 2008, 07:03:10 AM »
With Obama, America can score World Cup

By Martin Rogers, Yahoo! Sports

NEW YORK – As a child, Barack Obama often played soccer on the streets of Indonesia. These days, his affinity for the sport stretches little further than watching his daughter Malia’s junior games and owning a long-distance appreciation for English Premier League team West Ham United.

Yet before he even sets up camp in the Oval Office, signs indicate that the President-elect may already be the best thing soccer in the United States could ever have wished for.

The world game likes to think that it belongs to the people. However, in reality, its cloistered corridors of power are among the most politically intertwined in international sport.

What U.S. Soccer craves is the right to host the 2018 or 2022 World Cup. The election of Obama has made such an outcome far more likely.

“We would all like to believe sports and politics do not conflict, but we must be realistic,” U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati told Yahoo! Sports. “Certainly, there is a connection. When people talked about China hosting the Olympic Games, it was not independent of other concerns.

“Anything that enhances the perceived views of the United States can only be a positive for us.”

There is a clear element of “popularity contest” about the way the members of FIFA, soccer’s worldwide governing body, make their big decisions. While Obama may have garnered 53 percent of the popular vote to become USA’s first African-American president, internationally he has rock-star status. His victory was front-page news in every corner of the globe and the outpouring of delight has been overwhelming.

To believe Obama’s popularity will not have an impact on the World Cup selection would smack of naivety, according to a high-placed FIFA source.

“How can it not make a difference?” said the source, who asked not to be named. “Now when you think of America, you don’t think George W. Bush or war. You think of this man, Obama, who has made history and given hope to millions.

“The men who vote on World Cup hosts are not immune to those same feelings. If the U.S. bid stacks up in terms of infrastructure and organization, then Obama could be a huge factor.”

Obama figures to have a similar influence on the 2016 Olympic Games, which Chicago is vying for alongside Tokyo, Madrid and Rio de Janeiro. Japanese Olympic Committee chief Tsunekazu Takeda has already admitted Tokyo’s chances of success diminished significantly the moment Obama was crowned the election victor, making Chicago the strong favorite.

The respective rival soccer associations looking at bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups are too savvy to give up any psychological ground at this early stage. But America’s main opponents, likely to be England in addition to joint bids from Spain/Portugal and Belgium/Holland/Luxembourg, must be seriously concerned about the boost received by America’s bid, which is yet to be made official but is no secret.

The last and only time the U.S. staged the World Cup was in 1994, when the tournament shattered all-time attendance records that still stand to this day. That month in the world spotlight placed the sport in the consciousness of the American public, after soccer flat-lined following the demise of the North American Soccer League in the 1980s. Following the tournament, Major League Soccer began and has progressed steadily ever since. Participation levels have grown, while television viewing figures, especially the top European leagues, push onwards to decent, if unspectacular, levels.

In terms of its ability to host the World Cup, the U.S. is in a position of strength. The phenomenal success of the National Football League is a key element with its countless giant state-of-the-art stadiums in which to host matches.

Highly respected in FIFA circles, Gulati and his team were growing in confidence even before Obama’s victory.

“We know we have got great infrastructure, stadiums and so on,” Gulati said. “We know we would stage a terrific World Cup and having people view us as a nation in a better way is a positive.

“It was very clear from the reaction around the world just how popular this result has been. This election has given a lot of people a reason to cheer. They are looking forward to changes in policy.

“We are waiting for the rules of the game to be announced regarding 2018 and 2022. We will go after it in an aggressive fashion.”

FIFA president Sepp Blatter is expected to visit Obama at the White House next year, while Obama also is likely to attend the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. The iconic images that would be spawned by a meeting between Obama and Nelson Mandela would cast further positive vibes upon the sport.

Much now hinges on the decision-making progress. At present, it is unclear if nations will be forced to choose which World Cup to bid for, or if they will be allowed to put forward for both 2018 and 2022. Either way, it is impossible to contemplate Europe not getting at least one of the selections. Currently, England is considered to be in the strongest European candidate.

Africa and South America will not be in contention because of how recently they will have staged a World Cup. Brazil will play host in 2014.

CONCACAF president Jack Warner believes the U.S. should step aside for the Europeans on 2018 and instead effectively square off against Australia and China for 2022. But if Gulati and U.S. Soccer had been leaning toward that approach, Obama’s rise to the White House may have shifted the goalposts.

If U.S. Soccer believes it can win in 2018, it will certainly go for it and enjoy the resulting spin-offs four years sooner.

Some say it will take more than the arrival of a single charismatic superstar to transform the game and its status in America, as evidenced by David Beckham’s arrival in MLS and its failure to give soccer the boost that was hoped for. Maybe what was actually needed was a different kind of superstar, one who operates in the political playing field rather than within the white lines.

If that is the case, then U.S. Soccer’s dreams just came true.

Martin Rogers is a soccer writer for Yahoo! Sports.

Entertainment & Culture Discussion / Miriam Makeba .....dead!
« on: November 10, 2008, 06:32:12 AM »
Miriam Makeba was a leading symbol in the struggle against apartheid
South African singing legend Miriam Makeba has died aged 76, after being taken ill in Italy.

She had just taken part in a concert near the southern town of Caserta, the Ansa news agency reported.

The concert was on behalf of Roberto Saviano, the author of an expose of the Camorra mafia whose life has subsequently been threatened.

Ms Makeba appeared on Paul Simon's Graceland tour in 1987 and in 1992 had a leading role in the film Sarafina!

Ansa said she died of a heart attack.

'Mama Africa'

HAVE YOUR SAY The music world has lost a legend. Africa has lost a mother
Trevor, Port Harcourt, Nigeria
Send us your commentsMs Makeba was born in Johannesburg on 4 March 1932 and was a leading symbol in the struggle against apartheid.

Her singing career started in the 1950s as she mixed jazz with traditional South African songs.

She came to international attention in 1959 during a tour of the United States with the South African group the Manhattan Brothers.

She was forced into exile soon after when her passport was revoked after starring in an anti-apartheid documentary and did not return to her native country until Nelson Mandela was released from prison.

Makeba was the first black African woman to win a Grammy Award, which she shared with Harry Belafonte in 1965.

She was African music's first world star, says the BBC's Richard Hamilton, blending different styles long before the phrase "world music" was coined.

After her divorce from fellow South African musician Hugh Masekela she married American civil rights activist Stokely Carmichael.

It was while living in exile in the US that she released her most famous songs, Pata Pata and the Click Song.

"You sing about those things that surround you," she said. "Our surrounding has always been that of suffering from apartheid and the racism that exists in our country. So our music has to be affected by all that."

It was because of this dedication to her home continent that Miriam Makeba became known as Mama Africa.

General Discussion / Could Britain have a black PM?
« on: November 08, 2008, 09:28:44 PM »
Could Britain have a black PM? 


By Tom Geoghegan
BBC News Magazine 

Now the US has elected its first black president, how long until the UK has a black or Asian prime minister?

When Barack Obama claimed that his story could only have happened in America, he might have been looking across the Atlantic for evidence.

The odds of a black or Asian person taking the keys to 10 Downing Street any time soon are slim.

Tony Blair acknowledged as much in 2001, when he suggested the US was ahead of the UK in having people from ethnic minorities occupying some of the top political posts.

Mr Blair was mindful of Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice at the heart of the White House, but probably hadn't even heard of Obama.
In the US they dare to dream the American dream, talking about hope, using that kind of language is something that Americans do naturally

Baroness Amos

The president-elect, who has a white mother and black father, was careful not to invoke race in his campaign, which he won by appealing to many parts of American society. But his success has been seen as a major step forward in a country scarred by slavery and segregation.

So why not a similar story in the UK, which had a Jewish prime minister in the 19th Century and this week celebrated a British black man becoming Formula One world champion?

There have only ever been three non-white Cabinet members in Britain and there are only 15 MPs (2% of the total). And while the US has black mayors and state governors, in Britain there are few black and Asian leaders in local government.

Partly the transatlantic difference is about numbers. In the US, black people make up 13% of the population while in the UK all ethnic minorities make up about 8%. They have also been living in the US far longer, although it is only in the last 40 years that they have been doing so on an equal footing.

But figures only tell part of a wider story, which touches on class, ideology and political power.

Actor Colin McFarlane, who played a black prime minister in a primetime BBC drama four years ago, says don't hold your breath. 
Britain's only black prime minister, in TV land at least - Colin McFarlane

Researching the part and speaking to politicians about it, McFarlane realised how far away fiction was from reality, with the House of Commons dominated by public school-educated, white males.

"We realised that if there was to be a black prime minister, education would be the key. We identified a route not dissimilar to my own - public school in Cambridge then university."

Having spent a lot of time in the US - he appeared in two Batman films - he thinks the UK can learn from the way Americans responded to their racist history.

"Since the civil rights movement of the Sixties they have had to put in laws and rules in place because racism was more overt. It's more subtle in this country but there is a sense there's a glass ceiling across most industries.

"In America it's more acknowledged and they've put in positive discrimination. There was much resistance at the beginning but they have the fruits of that, which is people being forced into certain positions."

Consequently the US has a large and powerful black middle class, he says. While the UK is arguably more integrated, he says, a black prime minister will only be closer when there are more black business leaders and commissioning editors, operating the levers of power and educating society about black and Asian experiences.
 In the US a fresh face like Obama can make it in one electoral cycle. In Britain it's generally a gradual process of service and promotion over many years, and often decades

Adam Afriyie

The British political system counts against a newcomer like Mr Obama bursting on to the scene, says black Conservative MP Adam Afriyie. He doesn't expect to see a black leader of the country in his lifetime.

"You need enough MPs from a variety of backgrounds and political parties that promote on merit.

"In the US a fresh face like Obama can make it in one electoral cycle. In Britain it's generally a gradual process of service and promotion over many years, and often decades, before leading a political party.

"An MP needs to get within electable distance of the leadership of their party and that usually means a successful stint in cabinet or shadow cabinet."

For Baroness Amos, one of only three black people to have sat in cabinet, much is down to the difference in attitudes to aspiration between the US and UK.

"In the US they dare to dream the American dream, talking about hope. Using that kind of language is something Americans do naturally. Here, we are I think culturally much more understated. We tend to be more cynical generally.

"And while I don't think we are anti-aspirational, the aspiration of what we are and who we are comes without the language of America. Americans are proud that they have brought about change no-one thought possible in the time they have.

"The language of Barack Obama and Martin Luther King is very singular to America but we're not able to use that kind of language. So we need to find a way to get out of that cynicism."


There are also systemic problems in political parties and more needs to be done to train, support and mentor emerging talent from ethnic minorities, she says.

"You need to be plugged into networks. Political parties are a bit like families and communities, so you need to know the right people and the right people need to be speaking up on your behalf." 
Rising stars: Prospective parliamentary candidates Helen Grant, Shaun Bailey (both Tory) and Chuka Umunna (Lab)

David Lammy, arguably Britain's most powerful black MP of the moment and a personal friend of Mr Obama, knows all about the label of "Britain's next black prime minister" - it was one pinned on him when he was elected to the Commons at 27.

"Of course a black prime minister is possible," he says. "After all, we elected our first female prime minister nearly 30 years ago, and we have made clear strides since then in showing how diverse Britain is.

"I think that in 10 years the representation will be much healthier but putting pressure on individuals is unhelpful and we need to do much more work within political parties to bring people on, because it's a long route to the top."

But there are grounds for optimism. A report by the Fabian Society estimates there will be 10 new black and Asian MPs at the next election.  IS THE ELECTORATE READY?
Sadiq Khan MP has no doubt it is
"The myth that ethnic minority candidates are vote-losers, or that black voters only vote for black candidates, has once and for all been dispelled."
"The electorate in the UK is very sophisticated and looks beyond skin colour at what candidates stand for."
"I've met and seen so many incredibly talented black and Asian politicians I think it could happen within 10 or 20 years"

And Simon Woolley, director of Operation Black Vote, says the US election marks a watershed that could mean a black prime minister in 10 or 20 years.

"The greatest problem has been the lack of self-belief that you see aspiring to the highest office and in one fell swoop the shackles have been broken. There's a deluge of talent but they may well be eclipsed by a new talent that could suddenly emerge with great dynamism and oratory skills."

The obstacles in the UK are still immense, he says, and all-black shortlists for candidates would help, but the "Barack Obama generation" has been a theme for the past year, driving people to serve in their community.

"We're asking them to come out of the shadows, to become leaders, school governors, magistrates and elected councillors, and they've responded fantastically.

"Obama's candidacy has energised a great number of people and many individuals are now standing for office."

The British Obama could already be among us.

Jokes / Meh meh meh
« on: November 08, 2008, 08:18:38 AM »

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