The ‘Package Plot’ – From Yemen without Love

San'a View of the City

San'a View of the City

If you’ve followed the story of the bombs sent in packages from Yemen to the United States, you can’t help but wonder about a few things.

David Cameron says according to the BBC:

Home Secretary Theresa May has confirmed that a device sent from Yemen and found on a US-bound cargo plane was a bomb.

Prime Minister David Cameron said he believed the device was designed to explode on board the aircraft.

Obviously, the didn’t explode or were intercepted before they could, but if that is forensically secured knowledge, why then were they addressed to Jewish synagogues in Chicago and why are some still saying the synagogues were the target? As the New York Times does today, for example:

CHICAGO — Even to a block that is arguably one of the safest and most secure in the country, the news that two parcels containing explosives were shipped from Yemen and addressed to synagogues or Jewish community centers in the city gave some residents pause on Saturday.

[..]

Reports that Chicago-area synagogues or Jewish community centers were likely targets of a terrorist attack and the return of President Obama to his hometown this weekend brought attention to the city’s security.

You can’t have it both ways. The bombs either were designed to explode on the planes, or were targeted at the Jewish synagogues they were addressed to, but it can’t be both.

There is more that doesn’t add up – at least not yet. In the Berner Zeitung, a Swiss newspaper, we read today:

A human rights organisation in Yemen doesn’t believe that the young woman detained in relation with the packets containing explosives and addressed to the United States have anything to do with it. He didn’t believe in the official version, according to which the accused had left here mobile number on the packet slips, Abdel Rahmane of the organisation Hood told APF on Sunday.  “We know for sure that al-Qaeda never leaves traces”.

[…]

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Al Jazeera: BP dispersants ‘causing sickness’

This article from Al Jazeera contradicts the ‘everything is contained and well’ official US government version of the state of the Gulf of Mexico. Not that Al Jazeera would be the only news source that points out that which shouldn’t have to be pointed out: Corexit is highly toxic!

Here’s an excerpt of the Al Jazeera piece, which is highly recommended reading:

Two-year-old Gavin Tillman of Pass Christian, Mississippi, has been diagnosed with severe upper respiratory, sinus, and viral infections. His temperature has reached more than 39 degrees since September 15, yet his sicknesses continue to worsen.

His parents, some doctors, and environmental consultants believe the child’s ailments are linked to exposure to chemicals spilt by BP during its Gulf of Mexico oil disaster.

Gavin’s father, mother, and cousin, Shayleigh, are also facing serious health problems. Their symptoms are being experienced by many others living along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.

Widely banned toxic dispersants

Injected with at least 4.9 million barrels of oil during the BP oil disaster of last summer, the Gulf has suffered the largest accidental marine oil spill in history. Compounding the problem, BP has admitted to using at least 1.9 million gallons of widely banned toxic dispersants (one that has been banned in the UK), which according to chemist Bob Naman, create an even more toxic substance when mixed with crude oil. And dispersed, weathered oil continues to flow ashore daily. Continue reading

Belarussian Presidential Elections set for December 19, 2010

Belarus Coat of Arms

Belarus Coat of Arms

The Belarussian parliament back in September had set the date for the presidential elections. As RIA Novosti communicated at the time:

The Parliament of Belarus on Tuesday set the presidential election in the country for December 19, 2010, reports RIA Novosti.

This decision was taken unanimously by parliamentarians.

Incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko had made it clear earlier that he would participate in the election, but this was not officially announced.

Now to participate in this election, potential candidates need to come up with at least 100’000 valid signatures supporting their candidature. Apparently, eleven candidates have achieved this, again as per RIA Novosti:

Eleven potential candiates handed over the required signatures to participate in the presidential elections of Belarus, Nikolai Lozovik, the secretary of the CEC (Central Election Commission) told RIA Novosti on Saturday. A potential candidate must collect at least 100,000 signatures in his support.
“In the first place is the current president, Alexander Lukashenko, who has handed over more than 1.1 million signatures”, said Lozovik.
He said that the second highest number of signatures to be handed over was from opposition author and writer Vladimir Neklayev, who arrived at more than 160 thousand signatures, followed by former Deputy Foreigne Minister of Belarus, Andrei Sannikov and the vice-president of the United Civil Party and well-known liberal economist Yaroslav Romanchuk with more than 150 thousand and 120 thousand signatures, respectively.
“All other candidates have handed over to the committee from 105 to 120 thousand signatures”, informed the secretary of the Belarus CEC.
The last presidential elections in Belarus were held on March 19, 2006 with Alexander Lukashenko getting 82.6% of the vote (source: Wikipedia). According to the OSCE the elections were “severely flawed due to arbitrary use of state power and restriction on basic rights”, as they wrote in a press release:

MINSK, 20 March, 2006 – The Belarusian presidential election on 19 March failed to meet OSCE commitments for democratic elections, despite the fact that voters were offered the potential for a genuine choice between four candidates.

Arbitrary use of state power and widespread detentions showed a disregard for the basic rights of freedom of assembly, association and expression, and raise doubts regarding the authorities’ willingness to tolerate political competition, concludes the OSCE Election Observation Mission in a statement issued today.

Over 500 international observers from 38 countries observed the voting and counting on behalf of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, PA.

“The Belarusian people deserve better. The courageous efforts of the opposition candidates to offer voters a genuine choice for president were obstructed by actions by state authorities,” said OSCE PA president Alcee Hastings, appointed by the OSCE Chairman-in-Office as the Special Co-ordinator for the short-term observers.

Well, let’s see how it goes this time. The Belarussian president, by the way has a 5 year term.

Chilean Miner Patents Message Signalling they were Alive

Estamos bien en el réfugio los 33

Message of the 33 - Source: Wikipedia

Apparently, the message with which the 33 miners in Chile signalled to the world that they are alive was written on a piece of paper and read “Estamos Bien En El Réfugio Los 33” (The 33 are safe in the sanctuary) has been patented. Writes the Argentinian newspaper Los Andes:

The famous phrase “estamos bien en el refugio los 33”, written by one of the miners trapped in the mine San José as a signal of life 17 days after the collapse that trapped them, was entered into the registry of intellectual property of Chile to protect the author’s intellectual rights.

The little paper, written in block-letters with a red pen was exhibited these days by the President Sebastián Piñera, who since then has guarded it like an amulet.

The patent has been entered on the name of the miner who wrote the message, José Ojeda by Chilean writer and sociologist Pablo Huneeus who has done so on request of the former. “My motivation to register the phrase was to see that the president of the Republic not pocket the creation of a worker”, said Huneeus. He further thinks that the president needs to return the paper to the author, since right now he was utilising a stolen property. The president seems to have the view that this creation belongs to all Chileans.

It seems that text and its appearance are now patented. This means no commercialising on T-shirts, mugs, towels or the like without permission of the patent holder.

Canadian Prime Minister visits Switzerland

On Friday, 22.10.2010, Stephan Harper, the Canadian Prime Minister on his way to the Sommet de la francophonie in Montreux stopped over in Bern for an official visit. According to the Swiss government a protocol was signed amending the Double Taxation Agreement between both countries and it was announced that the bilateral aviation agreement would be expanded:

The discussions served as an opportunity to take stock of bilateral relations between the two countries, which have been enhanced in the
economic field following the entry into force in July 2009 of the free trade agreement between Canada and EFTA. The subjects of international
governance and new rules and standards for finance and trade were also raised. Canada currently chairs the G8 and in June hosted the G20 Summit
in Toronto. Both countries work closely with the International Organisation of La Francophonie; the visit took place on the eve of the
opening of its XIII summit at which Canada will hand over the chair to Switzerland. The partners also discussed regional issues and reform of
the United Nations.

The official discussions concluded with the signing of a protocol amending the double taxation agreement by Finance Minister Hans-Rudolf
Merz and Josée Verner, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, President of the Queen’s Privy Council and Minister for La Francophonie. The
amended agreement is expected to come into effect in 2012.

President Doris Leuthard and Prime Minister Stephen Harper also announced the conclusion of negotiations on updating and expanding the
1975 bilateral aviation agreement between Switzerland and Canada. The main effects of the revised agreement will be to liberalise tariffs and
introduce traffic rights for stopovers and destinations via the two countries. The amendments will benefit passengers, airports, airlines
and freight carriers, as well as general economic relations between Switzerland and Canada.

Details about the double taxation agreement can be found here, and the press release of the Canadian government is here.

The 23rd Sommet de la francophonie takes places from Friday, October 22 to Sunday, October 24 in Montreux, which is on lakefront of Lac Léman.

 

Cuban Press picks up on financing of US elections by foreign corporations

From Cubadebate:

According to opensecrets.org there are 130 foreign enterprises who patronise PACs (Political Action Committees) through their branches located in the US and financing the numerous campaigns in the 2010 electoral cycle. Together they have donated more than 12,6 million dollars to political campaigns through numerous PAC.

Yes, maybe Cuba can finance some PACs too, or would that be considered illegal because Cuba is supposedly socialist and does not support the corporatist agenda like the multinational do? In principle, if the American Chamber of Commerce can with Bahraini money support its activities in the US elections, why can’t Cuba support a Socialist agenda by supporting an appropriate PAC? The corporation needed for that can swiftly be founded in Delaware – oh, wait: the sanctions!

IshAvto (IzhAvto) Avoids Bankruptcy Continues Production

As I mentioned last year, the Russian car maker IzhAvto, which in addition to Russian car models also produces KIAs, had filed for bankruptcy.
Now, in May of this year, the company presented a restructuring plan to creditors that foresees the resumption of industrial activity, i.e. car production, as well as cost cutting and sale of property not related to the primary activity of producing cars. The plan was accepted in a creditors’ meeting on May 4, 2010.
The plan, which was developed by an external entity, also foresees the borrowing of 500 million rubles and furthermore assumes that the company will reach break-even after 18 month and be profitable thereafter. (This info is taken from a press release on the IzhAvto website.)

The first cars were indeed shipped in September 2010 and it will be interesting to see the end-of-year balance sheet of the company.