Ever since he swept to power on a Left-wing, "anti-imperialist" ticket, it has been one of the bitterest points of contention between Hugo Chavez and his Norteamericano foes.
Claims that Venezuela has deliberately turned a blind eye to the trafficking of vast quantities of US-bound cocaine have been furiously denied by the country's president, who insists it is just another Washington plot to discredit him.
Now, though, backing for the US version of events has come from an unlikely, if arguably well-informed source - an alleged Venezuelan drug lord who claims that dozens of "top level" figures in the Chavez government, including ministers, generals and judges, were on his payroll.
Walid "The Turk" Makled, a portly Venezuelan of Syrian descent described as "the king of kingpins" by US officials, went on trial in Venezuelan earlier this month, where he faces indictment over a $1.4 billion (£1 billion) drug empire that he claims was built with help from Chavez officials.
A part-owner in a Venezuelan airline, "Aeropostal", Mr Makled, 48, is said to have pioneered the use of passenger airliners to export cocaine out of Latin America, a bigger, faster shipping method than the small private jets and boats traditionally used by smugglers.
Even by the extravagant standards of Greek corruption, the scam uncovered by Stelios Bozikis is so brazen that it is hard to credit.
Nearly 600 people on the Ionian island of Zakynthos - of which Mr Bozikis was recently elected mayor - managed to have themselves falsely declared blind, entitling them to fat monthly cheques from the state.
They included taxi drivers, shopkeepers and restaurant owners, farmers tending the island's patchwork of vineyards and olive groves, and a few amateur hunters, whose purported disability did not stop them from spending their weekends shooting rabbits and birds in the rugged mountains of the interior.
Other "blind" locals have been seen cheerfully playing cards and backgammon in the tavernas and bars of the island. "Out of 650 registered blind people on the island, we estimate that at least 600 are fraudulent claims," the mayor told The Sunday Telegraph in his office overlooking the boats crowding the port of Zakynthos Town, the main settlement.
That represents nearly two per cent of the island's population of 35,000 - nearly 10 times the average rate of blindness in the rest of Europe, according to the World Health Organisation.
just FYI there are multiple definitions of blind and it is not just the 'guy with the white cane' that we often think of. in the US there are two different 'legally blind' definitions.
1) vision that will not correct to better than 20/400
2) a narrowing of the field of vision to 10 degrees.
I am legally blind (group 2) but for years had very good visual acuity in the area where i could see. recently i have acquired via aging the need for corrective lenses in order to read books (arm too short disease) and am able to perform most any task that a 'fully sighted' person could.
of course, if there is a wet floor sign out, odds are that i will never know it till i kick the darn thing and until i completely miss noticing an obstacle and walk into it you would never know anything was amiss if you were to spend time around me.
Posted by: abu do you love ||
Point taken, abu. But collecting benefits on the grounds of blindness strikes me as fraud, if they are still able to earn a living.
[An Nahar] Abdul Rahman Nayef al-Obeidi, a 22-year-old Iraqi farmer, fell in love with two women, but instead of choosing between them, he married both in one night in a small village in central Iraq. Every man's dream, every man's nightmare...
The wedding ceremony for Obeidi and two of his cousins, Intidhar, 17, and Suad, 22, was held on April 6 at his family home in Al-Laqlaq village, north of Tikrit. Rumor has it that Osama bin Laden, after being cooped up in the house with three wives for five years, was the one who actually called in his location to the SEALs...
[Dawn] Having relations with any country is good if they have potential for positive growth, said British High Commissioner Adam Thomson while speaking at a gathering at the Pakistain Institute of International Affairs held on Thursday to mark the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II's ascendancy to the throne. And who has more potential for positive growth than Pakistain?
"Britannia and Pakistain's relations have more length, breadth and depth than any other country. It's not just government to government; the people to people ties are intense, too. Brits just love Paks, and Paks just love Brits. Everybody knows that... Britannia has Pakistain's largest diaspora. As for relations between the two governments, we have relations to counter terrorism, promote trade, education, etc. And we need to go from these excellent relations to relations that are better yet," said the high commissioner. "In Britannia, we need to know that Pakistain is not about terrorism but about people like Haider Ali," he said, referring to Pakistain's world record holding long jumper in the Paralympics, who is being invited to London this year to try and break his own record. Except that it seems a lot easier to find a terrorist in Pakistain than a long jumper...
"And in Pakistain you need to know that Britannia, too, is not all about Dickens," he said. "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..."
"And Gawd bless us, every one!"
"Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery."
"It's a far, far better thing that I do..."
"And that man's name is Heep!"
"Please, sir, I want some more."
"Are there no poor laws? Are the workhouses all full?"
"We need to build more trust between the two nations Ummm... What happens if you build lotsa trust between two nations and it turns out that one of the two is run by duplicitous sonsabitches who want to beat you up, burn your house down, rape your cat, and steal your wife? Which is better? Trust? Or clear-eyed assessment of existing conditions?
with each country looking after the well-being of the other partner. So as Britannia wins medals in this year's London Olympics, we will also be cheering for Pakistain during their competitions." Perhaps a certain segment of society will, but those who haven't been dropped on their heads probably won't.
Not just terrorism, there is kidnapping, extra-judicial killings, extortion, corruption, high debt, power out tages, tribal warring, lack of education, poverty, and don't forget about the world-famous Pak ego...did I also mention the first computer virus THE BRAIN came from pakistan...and more
[Dawn] The Pakistain Tehrik-e-Insaaf says it may think of joining hands with the Pakistain Muslin League-Nawaz for putting pressure on the government to honour Supreme Court verdicts only if the latter resigns from assemblies.
"If PML-N representatives quit the parliament and provincial assemblies only then we'll assume that the party is serious in launching a drive against the PPP government and PTI may think of making an alliance with it, even on one-point agenda of ousting the government," PTI information secretary Shafqat Mahmood told Dawn on Friday.
He said resignations were a must to judge seriousness of the PML-N, which had "a track record of backing out of its stances".
PML-N information secretary Mushahidullah Khan had said that his party had decided to contact all parties, even government allies, for a joint front to protect dignity of the judiciary and make the government implement its verdicts.
Replying to a query, Mahmood said they were discussing within the party cadres the option of taking on board other parties in the likely anti-PPP government drive, but so far no formal contact had been established on this particular issue.
[Dawn] District coordination officer Riaz Khan Mehsud has terminated three Levies personnel from service for remaining absent from duty during the polio ...Poliomyelitis is a disease caused by infection with the poliovirus. Between 1840 and the 1950s, polio was a worldwide epidemic. Since the development of polio vaccines the disease has been largely wiped out in the civilized world. However, since the vaccine is known to make Moslem pee-pees shrink and renders females sterile, bookish, and unsubmissive it is not widely used by the turban and automatic weapons set... vaccination campaign and ordered issuing show-cause notices to 30 health department officials and teachers for dereliction of duty.
The three Levies personnel did not turn up for duty to the assigned points on which Mehsud ordered their immediate sacking. In addition, show-cause notices have been issued to a doctor, 17 lady health workers, one lady health visitor, five medical technicians, four area in-charges of polio in health department and three teachers.
[Dawn] Interior Minister Rehman Malik Pak politician, current Interior Minister under the Gilani administration. Malik is a former Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) intelligence officer who rose to head the FIA during Benazir Bhutto's second tenure. He later joined the Pak Peoples Party and was chief security officer to Bhutto. Malik was tossed from his FIA job in 1998 after documenting the breath-taking corruption of the Sharif family. By unhappy coincidence Nawaz Sharif became PM at just that moment and Malik moved to London one step ahead of the button men. on Saturday alleged that PML-N Chief and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif ... served two non-consecutive terms as prime minister, heads the Pakistain Moslem League (Nawaz). Noted for his spectacular corruption, the 1998 Pak nuclear test, border war with India, and for being tossed by General Musharraf... was involved in money laundering.
Addressing a news conference in Islamabad, he said evidence against Nawaz Sharif would be placed before the Supreme Court and National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for alleged corruption of $32 million.
Rehman Malik said a commission may be formed to investigate alleged involvement of Nawaz Sharif in money laundering.
He appealed to the Supreme Court to call him and he would present all evidence. He further alleged that Nawaz Sharif made an NRO with former President Farooq Ahmed Leghari and as a result, Benazir Bhutto ... 11th Prime Minister of Pakistain in two non-consecutive terms from 1988 until 1990 and 1993 until 1996. She was the daughter of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, founder of the Pakistain People's Party, who was murdered at the instigation of General Ayub Khan. She was murdered in her turn by person or persons unknown while campaigning in late 2007. Suspects include, to note just a few, Baitullah Mehsud, General Pervez Musharraf, the ISI, al-Qaeda in Pakistain, and her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, who shows remarkably little curiosity about who done her in... 's elected government was unconstitutionally dismissed in November 1996.
Rehman Malik also alleged that Nawaz Sharif made a second NRO with dictator Pervez Perv Musharraf ... former dictator of Pakistain, who was less dictatorial and corrupt than any Pak civilian government to date ... and went abroad after signing an agreement and violated the Charter of Democracy (COD) he signed with Benazir Bhutto in 2006.
[Dawn] Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani ... Pakistain's erstwhile current prime minister, whose occasional feats of mental gymnastics can be awe-inspiring ... on Saturday said that Pakistain People's Party's success in Multan's by-elections was proof that Pakistain Mohammedan League-Nawaz (PML-N) was losing its popularity, DawnNews reported.
Speaking to a lawyers' delegation at Governor House Punjab, the prime minister said Nawaz Sharif ... served two non-consecutive terms as prime minister, heads the Pakistain Moslem League (Nawaz). Noted for his spectacular corruption, the 1998 Pak nuclear test, border war with India, and for being tossed by General Musharraf... was disappointed with his party's lost popularity.
The prime minister said rhetorically: "We have restored the constitution, how can we violate it...we will always comply with the constitution".
Gilani said he did not write to Swiss authorities because the constitution granted immunity to the president.
[Dawn] LAHORE: Chief of the Pakistain Moslem League -- Quaid (PML-Q) Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain on Saturday said that Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani ... Pakistain's erstwhile current prime minister, whose occasional feats of mental gymnastics can be awe-inspiring ... could not be labelled as a convicted person until a decision on his appeal, DawnNews reported.
Speaking to media representatives in Lahore, he said the Supreme Court's verdict did not disqualify the prime minister.
Hussain moreover said that it did not matter whether Nawaz Sharif ... served two non-consecutive terms as prime minister, heads the Pakistain Moslem League (Nawaz). Noted for his spectacular corruption, the 1998 Pak nuclear test, border war with India, and for being tossed by General Musharraf... , chief of the Pakistain Moslem League -- Nawaz (PML-N), accepted Yousuf Raza Gilani as the country's prime minister.
The PML-Q chief said that "the Sharif brothers have themselves committed contempt of court".
On the subject of the general elections, Hussain said the polls would take place on time and once the government completed its mandated term.
Replying to a question as to whether he would stand by a convicted prime minister, Hussain said he would respond to the issue once the detailed verdict is out.
(Ma'an) -- Hamas' military wing said one of its fighters was accidentally killed late Friday while members of the group tried to disperse a clash between two clans in the Tal al-Hawa neighborhood in Gaza City.
The group said in a statement that 24-year-old Mumin Shamlakh was killed by a gunshot to the head during a clan clash. Police detained a suspect and opened an investigation, according to the statement.
Medical spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said a man in his 20s was pronounced dead at Dar al-Shifa Hospital.
According to investigations conducted by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), at approximately 11:00 on Friday, 27 April 2012, a dispute erupted between the families of 'Abdul Jawad and al-Burno in Sheikh 'Ejlin neighborhood. Members of the Shamallakh family intervened and were able to stop the dispute. However, at approximately 13:30, a member of the Abdul Jawad family reinitiated the dispute and opened fire indiscriminately. As a result, Mo'men Mureed Shamallakh, who intervened to stop the dispute, was killed. The Palestinian police arrived at the scene, opened an investigation and arrested 6 members of the 'Abdul Jawad family, including the shooter.
"The Muslim Brotherhood is part of the revolution .... We [the Muslim Brotherhood] are not alienating ourselves. Actually, we are going through a course of change here in Egypt." - Nader Omran of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party
"The Muslim Brotherhood hasn't been participating in the revolution. They have been the last to show up and the first to leave every time. We've seen them running after seats in the parliament and now the presidential elections and only coming back out onto the streets when they don't get what they want as far as political gains. We haven't seen them advocating any of the actual demands of the revolution." - Sherif Gaber, Egyptian activist
It was not so long ago that it seemed that the Muslim Brotherhood would be the main beneficiary of last year's revolution in Egypt. Indeed, the parliamentary elections saw the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party installed as the most dominant force in the chamber, and the party's voice was growing in influence across the country. But in the months following the elections, the party has been accused of an inconsistent and indecisive political strategy - one that has put it at odds with both the ruling military and the other parties behind the country's revolution.
Nader Omran of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party
LOLz - I actually first read that as "Freedom and Juice Party". Now THAT would be fun explaining....
Posted by: Frank G ||
In the vernacular of the fire investigator, the
Mooslim bruderbund is an accelerant..... of the decline of Egypt.
Posted by: Alaska Paul ||
The Ikhwan is floundering the way the Bolsheviks floundered after 1917. The way Khomeinists floundered after 1979. The way Mao Zedong floundered after 1949. Other people will pay the price. It's good to be king...
A multi-volume chronology and reference guide set detailing three years of the Mexican Drug War between 2010 and 2012.
Rantburg.com and borderlandbeat.com correspondent and author Chris Covert presents his first non-fiction work detailing
the drug and gang related violence in Mexico.
Chris gives us Mexican press dispatches of drug and gang war violence
over three years, presented in a multi volume set intended to chronicle the death, violence and mayhem which has
dominated Mexico for six years.