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0 Italian mayor bans dying over lack of space in local cemetery

The mayor of small town in Italy’s south has surprised residents with an order that seems impossible to obey: don't die, as the local cemetery is short of space.

The 4,000 residents of Falciano del Massico, a town some 50 kilometers north of Naples, have been challenged with a recent order by mayor Giulio Cesare Fava. The document reads that “it is forbidden for residents … to go beyond the boundaries of earthly life, and to go into to the afterlife.” A dispute broke out between del Massico and the neighboring town of Carinola, from which it gained autonomy in 1964. Carinola has owned the cemetery since.

“The problem arose when they subdivided the land, because when they divided the territory, the administrators did not think about the fact that the town of Falciano would not have its own cemetery,” the mayor explained.
Those who died in both the towns were buried in the old cemetery, until finally there was no free space left for new graves. An expansion was being planned, but the communities of the two towns could not come to a solution that would satisfy both sides, and Falciano came up with a project to build a new cemetery.
“There are no more niches available and the citizens protested, so I issued a challenging ordinance in which I said: 'Citizens, while we await the construction of the new cemetery, I order you not to die, so we don’t have any problems,'”Fava told the Associated Press.
Most of those living in the town find it absurd not having a cemetery of their own – burying their family members away from the place their relatives live is wrong, they believe, but of course they could hardly take the town’s head order seriously. There have already been two residents to break Fava’s order by their deaths after March 5, according to Italian daily La Stampa.

0 Israel, Vanunu and the Bomb (BBC 2007 FULL 1 HOUR DOCUMENTRY)

Seemed a really poignant time to Re-upload this....
If you know nothing about this episode in history, this is a great, surprisingly honest, documentary to start with.

Vanunu and the Bomb

"This is the first man to tell the world nuclear weapons have arrived in the most troubled region on the Earth, the Middle East. In doing so he's exposed the West's opposition to nuclear proliferation as little more than a sham. 

Vanunu is banned from talking to foreign media, based on eyewitness testimony, this film is his story."
—Sean Pertwee's opening narration
February 1977 Nuclear Technician Mordechai Vanunu is assigned to work at the top secret Dimona facility.

 In 1986 he reveals to journalists Oscar Guerrero and Peter Hounam the presence of an underground plutonium plant there. 
Former Israeli Prime Minister Ben Gurion had commissioned construction of the plant in 1958. Vanunu had made the discovery after 7-years at the plant and had photos to prove his story. Hounam takes Vanunu to The Sunday Times in London, where Nuclear Physicist Frank Barnaby confirms the data, but Mossad is tailing them.
Guerrero arrives in London and tries to sell the story to rival paper The Sunday Mirror. France, Britain and the U.S. had been complicit in the construction under a secret agreement between U.S. President Richard Nixon and Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir. 

The lonely Vanunu befriends intern Wendy Robbins but she insists that they remain just friends. The discredited story in the Mirror causes the Times to delay their publication. 
Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Perez forbids Mossad from kidnapping Vanunu on British soil so they spring a honey trap to lure him to Rome.
In Italy Vanunu is abducted and shipped back to Israel but the Times decides to publish in the hopes of protecting his life. 

The Western powers that had professed a stance of non-nuclear proliferation while collaborating in the construction of Dimona were exposed as hypocrites and yet the press in those countries remained curiously silent on the subject. The Israelis confirm that they have Vanunu in detention but refuses to explain how. Convicted of treason Vanunu was sentenced to 18-years in prison. 

0 Anonymous’ new timeline of FBI infiltration suggests Antisec may have been an FBI creation

Today, the @YourAnonNews Twitter account theorized that Antisec, which was created just before LulzSec began retreating into Anonymous, was in fact the creation of the FBI.
At the time of Antisec’s inception, there was some chatter within the hacking community that LulzSec created Antisec in order to stage some misdirection—to get authorities looking elsewhere. Almost simultaneously, if memory serves, some observers were even suggesting that government authorities, whether in the US or UK and elsewhere, were bearing down on LulzSec.
YourAnonNews has created a document laying out the timelines of the FBI’s activity with Sabu and the rise of Antisec, and it’s a very enlightening read.
For instance, the first mention of Antisec occurs on June 4, 2011, when The Lulz Boat Twitter feed tweets, “So gather round, this is a new cyber world and we’re starting it together. There will be bigger targets, there will be more ownage. #ANTISEC.” On June 7th, as we know, the FBI paid a visit to Sabu and got him singing arias.
On June 19th, Sabu returns from an extended break and tweets, “Operation Anti-Security: - The biggest, unified operation amongst hackers in history. All factions welcome. We are one.” The same day Operation Antisec is announced via Pastebin.
In that statement, we find this paragraph:
Welcome to Operation Anti-Security (#AntiSec) – we encourage any vessel, large or small, to open fire on any government or agency that crosses their path. We fully endorse the flaunting of the word “AntiSec” on any government website defacement or physical graffiti art. We encourage you to spread the word of AntiSec far and wide, for it will be remembered. To increase efforts, we are now teaming up with the Anonymous collective and all affiliated battleships.
If the FBI is ventriloquizing Sabu (which they were) at this time, then it would seem that the words contained in the Antisec press release are, in fact, evidence of entrapment. That is, the FBI was encouraging hackers and Anonymous supporters to “fire on,” or attack, “any government or agency.”
No, folks. Trust your government to do the right thing.
Read the entire timeline over at Scribd.

2 Canada’s murky legal world of surrogate-consultants and human-egg buyers

Struggling to make ends meet as a university English major, Elizabeth could not help but notice the online classified ad, offering healthy young women the potential to earn $5,000.
She jumped at the opportunity, even after discovering the work involved donating eggs for use in fertility treatment. The 22-year-old was told the money was to reimburse her for expenses and lost time at work or school, as stipulated by criminal law that bans paying egg or sperm donors commercial fees.
As it turns out, Elizabeth said she had no expenses to speak of and took off no time from school, yet the money came like clockwork — the first $1,000 after she underwent various tests, the last $4,000 when the eggs were “retrieved.”
“I was a broke student and the $5,000 price tag was very desirable,” said the Vancouver Island resident, who asked that her last name be withheld. “[But] I felt like one part on the production line to eventually create this child, which this family is paying thousands of dollars to essentially produce by artificial means.”
The ad was placed by one of a handful of unusual brokers that recruit surrogate mothers and egg donors for the growing ranks of people longing to be parents, but unable themselves to give birth.
A rare RCMP investigation of the Ontario agency Elizabeth worked with — Canadian Fertility Consultants — have put the spotlight on the surrogate-consultant market, commercial enterprises at the heart of a process that, officially at least, is not supposed to treat the ingredients of human reproduction as commodities.
The work can mean bringing together clients and wombs-for-loan located continents apart; the demand for surrogates is so strong, agencies offer gift certificates and cash incentives to those who recruit new mothers.
Some reportedly handle as many as 50 pregnant surrogates at a time.
Brokers charge thousands for the service, yet Canadian law prohibits payment – beyond reimbursing expenses – for the “carriers” and donors themselves, part of the legal grey zone that envelops the industry.
In fact, the Assisted Human Reproduction Act also says it is also illegal to “accept consideration for arranging for the services of a surrogate mother” or to offer or advertise to make such an arrangement.
And yet that is exactly the kind of service that some consultants’ web sites seem to openly promote, said Juliet Guichon, a bio-ethicist at the University of Calgary who complains that the eight-year-old Act has gone all but unenforced.
‘The law is confusing and vague’
“The premise of the surrogacy industry is you have willing sellers and willing buyers and the law of commerce should apply,” said Prof. Guichon. When children are involved, however, society should and does apply different rules, which is why, after years of debate, Parliament banned “commodification” of assisted-reproduction, she said.
Yet what remains of that legislation – most of which was struck down by the Supreme Court last year – is anything but crystal clear, leading to constant debate over what kind of expense payments are legal, among other issues, said Cindy Wasser, a Toronto fertility lawyer.
“The law is confusing and vague,” she said Friday. “Everyone in the business – the medical clinics, the fertility consultants, lawyers, the surrogates, donors and intended parents – is unclear about where the lines are actually drawn.”
Consultants, surrogates and parents, meanwhile, suggest the brokers play a crucial and humanitarian role, helping connect couples desperate for children with women willing to get pregnant on their behalf, often for surprisingly altruistic motives.
And the agencies probably make less money than others in the business, including fertility physicians, lawyers and pharmaceutical companies, supporters argue.
“I remember how desperate I was when doctors in Vancouver refused to help me. I was heartbroken. I could not see moms pushing strollers on the street – I would start crying,” said Kate, a computer scientist who contracted CFC to find a surrogate for her after repeated miscarriages. The agency “is helping people to complete their family.”
Now, though, it has been all but closed down after Mounties raided the agency’s premises in Brighton, Ont., last month. Supporters have started a legal defence fund for Leia Picard, CFC’s owner, based at the web site, saying Ms. Picard is “the last person you’d expect to be the subject of an RCMP investigation.”
Police have not laid charges and will not say why she was targeted.
Another consultant, though, cautions against any move to outlaw such businesses, which she said act as responsible intermediaries in arrangements that would otherwise just take place on the black market.
“I think you will see more disasters and tragedies in surrogacy if you don’t have people who do some preliminary screening, people who are educating and providing support,” said Sally Rhoads-Heinrich of Surrogacy in Canada.
The service is certainly in high demand, with the number of interested couples – many from Europe – increasing by 20% in each of the last five years, she said.
Kate, 39, said she first contacted CFC two years ago after learning she could not give birth herself.
Another Ontario agency said it would take 18 months to find a surrogate, so she turned to Ms. Picard. Within three months, Kate was matched with an Ontario gestational carrier – a surrogate implanted with an embryo using someone else’s eggs. CFC charged $3,000 for its services, and was “very scrupulous” throughout, said the Vancouver woman.
Other consultants levy fees ranging from $2,200 to as much as $8,500. When the price of in-vitro fertilization treatments, expenses for surrogates and donors and other costs are added in, the final bill for the “intended parents” can reach $100,000, sources say.
The linkages sometimes span the globe, with an agency in Canada connecting, for instance, intended parents in Australia and a surrogate in the United States, said Ms. Wasser.
With demand from prospective parents – be they infertile heterosexual couples, same-sex partners or single men and women – far outstripping the world supply, agencies are constantly on the lookout for new surrogates. Ms. Rhoads-Heinrich said she does no direct recruitment, but Ms. Picard would offer Toys-R-Us gift certificates to anyone who tried enrolling at least three women, said one gestational carrier working with CFC, who asked not to be named.
Amanda, another surrogate, said her agency pays $200 for a successful recruitment.
Elizabeth said she was even mildly pitched by the psychological counsellor who talked to her about the egg-donation process. “He said if you’re interested in surrogacy, it pays quite well … about $50,000.”
Surrogate expenses – the only money they are supposed to receive – typically total about $15,000, industry sources say.
Agencies also advertise quietly for egg donors. Another donor for CFC, now on her third egg extraction, said she found a notice on the Kijiji classified site.
Like Elizabeth, she said she was paid $5,000 each time. She said she did incur travel and child care expenses, and noted the process involves several clinic appointments and hormone shots, but there was lots of money left over.
“We had had a really bad financial year the year before,” said the married 32-year-old from Brantford, Ont., who asked not to be named. “We thought this would kind of get us caught up, get some money in the bank. It’s helped out a lot.”
Fees are paid, as well, for referring clients from one business to another. Amanda said she recalls being at a Toronto fertility clinic when a nurse handed her broker an envelope containing “wads and wads” of cash.
Once the surrogacy process begins, though, the agencies can be a godsend to the pregnant women, arranging doctor’s appointments, transportation and communication with the intended parents, said Amanda.
She believes the consultants – often former surrogates themselves – rarely get rich off the business, while some fare very well. Even the parents’ lawyer in her first arrangement made more in fees than she did in expenses for undergoing in-vitro – and actually carrying the baby for nine months, said Amanda.
She said she loves the process, however, and does it to help would-be parents, even though she has six children of her own.
Elizabeth said she liked some aspects of the egg-donor work she did, too, such as encountering the intended parents, and even agreed to meet the child when he or she reaches 18. But she is left with nagging doubts about the whole experience, which she said was “really hard” on her body.
“The reason [the industry] is so successful is because they’re providing children for people who otherwise would not be able to,” said Elizabeth. “And the means of achieving children are probably young women like me, who are low income and educated, but maybe not educated enough to really understand the implications of donating eggs.”

0 Censorship by intimidation, armed sergeant sent to home of reporter

Berkeley police union 'gravely concerned' with chief's move to alter story

The Berkeley police chief's decision to order a sergeant to a reporter's home insisting on changes to a story continued to draw heavy criticism Sunday, with the city's police union saying they are "gravely concerned" about his actions and the impact on officers' ability to maintain community trust.
Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan sent an armed police sergeant to Bay Area News Group reporter Doug Oakley's home at 12:45 a.m. Friday because he wanted a story that he perceived to contain inaccuracies changed online.
First Amendment experts on Friday said Meehan's action was "an attempt at censorship by intimidation and an abuse of power."

Meehan apologized Friday calling his actions an "overzealous attempt to make sure that accurate information is put out."
The chief was not available for comment
Sunday. In a statement, Meehan said he is planning an independent review of the department's policies and practices on timely releases of information, which will be sent to the City Council and community.
Mayor Tom Bates could not be reached for comment late Sunday.
Oakley, 45, covers Berkeley for this newspaper chain and had reported on a meeting Thursday in which Meehan tried to explain to about 150 angry residents his department's failure to provide information in the days after the Feb. 18 beating death of Peter Cukor, 67, outside his Berkeley hills home. Cukor allegedly was attacked by a 23-year-old Alameda man, who has been charged with murder but will undergo competency tests to determine if he can stand trial.
That night, Cukor had called the department's nonemergency line during a period when police were ordered to respond only to 911 calls due to a potentially volatile Occupy march.
Oakley's story posted online at 11:20 p.m. Thursday reported that Meehan apologized to the community for the slow response. Meehan though, said he apologized only for not informing the public right away. Meehan called and emailed Oakley about the story, but Oakley was asleep. After the rap at the door, Oakley changed two paragraphs in his story.
Jim Ewert, general counsel of the California Newspaper Publisher's Association, said it wasn't out of line that Meehan wanted the article altered, but that he ordered the sergeant to Oakley's home for the changes.
"If the police chief believed the tone was improper or even if the facts were subject to interpretation, the appropriate response is to call the editor. Or write a letter to the editor or an (opinion piece),'' Ewert said.


0 ‘Secret society’ conspires to hike water rates, seize power, district claims

Has Water World skulduggery reached new and alarming lows?
San Diego officials are accusing their brethren in Orange andLos Angeles counties of forming a “Secret Society” and running a “shadow government” that aims to hike water rates ever higher and control machinations of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California – the largest and most powerful water supplier in America.
Brandishing a bulging binder with hundreds of pages of internal emails between water officials and their pricey consultants, theSan Diego County Water Authority pointed the finger at theMunicipal Water District of Orange County as a ringleader of this Secret Society, and said that the cities of Anaheim andSanta Ana are among the puppet masters pulling MWD’s strings.
That binder, filled with documents obtained under the California Public Records Act,  has “revealed that those agencies joined together in a secret shadow government to control water rates and other decisions at California’s largest public water agency and to discriminate against the San Diego County Water Authority and its ratepayers,” said an emailed statement that quickly piqued our interest here at The Watchdog.

0 Tank firing randomly into Syrian town 13/03/12

This tank is driving around in a street in Ma'arrat al Nouman, Idlib province, an it appears to be firing randomly into the city. This was reportedly taken today:

 Ma'arrat al Nouman, Idlib province 

0 As Israel-Gaza truce takes hold, propaganda war continues online

After four days of cross-border violence between Gaza and Israel, claiming the lives of 23 Palestinians, a reported truce mediated by Egypt has brought a “shaky calm” to the region, The Post’s Karin Brulliard reports.

Masked Palestinian militants ride on a truck after a news conference in Gaza City on Tuesday. Israel halted its airstrikes against Gaza Strip militants early that day. (Adel Hana - AP)

But online, a propaganda war of sorts continues. Since the fighting began Friday, both Palestinians and Israelis have shared old photos and videos purporting to be from the current fighting, social media news site Storyful reports. And both have taken pride at uncovering the other side’s alleged deception.

On Monday, for example, Palestinians activists began circulating an image allegedly showing a father carrying his daughter to her grave this week in Gaza. You can see the very graphic image here.
Israelis online soon pointed to a link for a Reuters photo correction as evidence that the photo was actually from 2006. According to the correction, the girl had died in a swing accident, not an attack.
One Palestinian activist apologized for sharing the old photo:
A second photo was shared by Palestinians online Saturday, beginning with Palestinian activist Maissam Nablussi on his Facebook page. Nablussi called the photo “one of the strongest explosions” in Gaza Saturday:


But after Israeli activists pointed out the photo showed an Israeli airstrike on Gaza as part of Operation Cast Lead in January 2009, Nablussi quickly removed the photo from her Facebook wall.
Some of the most pointed criticism of Palestinian activists for their sharing of old photos came from the Israeli Defense Forces blog.
Only hours after the blog detailed why the photos were false, however, Israeli defense spokeswoman Avital Leibovich was discovered circulating an old video too:
Leibovich said the video of a Palestinian rocket launcher was taken this week; according to YouTube, the video was actually uploaded in October of last year.
The same day, the Israeli prime minister’s spokesperson Ofir Gendelman posted a photo to Twitter that was discovered to be taken in 2009. While Gendelman had a defense ready, Palestinian activists weren’t appeased:
The spreading of false information has been a problem since the Israeli-Palestinian conflict began, but the ease of sharing on social media has presented new challenges for both sides.