[An Nahar] There's nothing boring about Boring, Oregon, especially when it comes to building bridges with the good folks of little Dull, Scotland.
Boring, a rural suburb of Portland named after its early 20th century founding family, is poised to formally declare itself Dull's sister community on June 5 when its community planning organization convenes.
"It's for fun, really, and to attract some attention to both our communities," the organization's chairman, fire equipment dealer Stephen Bates, told Agence La Belle France Presse by telephone Wednesday.
In population terms, it's a bit of a mismatch.
Bates said 7,800 people live "in the general Boring area," where core industries include agriculture, lumbering and a nationally recognized training center for seeing-eye dogs.
By comparison, Dull, northwest of Perth, on the edge of Dull Wood, has just 22 houses and, according to one resident, no shops.
"Neither of us is a city, so officially we cannot be sister cities," Bates said, explaining why the pairing is being defined instead as a friendly match of sister "communities."
The idea got off the ground when a Dull resident happened upon Boring -- which bills itself as "the most exciting place to live" -- during a cycling holiday through the Pacific Northwest.
"It might seem like a joke, but this could have real benefits for Dull," community councilor Marjorie Keddie told Scotland's Perthshire Advertiser newspaper this week.
"It will be interesting to see where this goes," Keddie said, adding: "Everyone has been smiling at the prospect of the very eye-catching road sign this will inevitably require."
Boring, meanwhile, is mulling ways to build on the newfound relationship. "We can probably send them some strawberries," Bates suggested, "and they can send us some good Scotch whisky."
[Iran Press TV] Egypt's election committee has announced the final list of 13 candidates for the country's upcoming presidential election.
The list published on Thursday includes Ahmed Shafiq, the last prime minister to serve under the former Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak. ...The former President-for-Life of Egypt, dumped by popular demand in early 2011... "After listening to Shafiq's appeal, the committee decided to halt the decision to exclude him from the presidential race," Farouk Soltan, the head of the election committee said.
The list also included Mubarak's longtime foreign minister and former Arab League. ...an organization of Arabic-speaking states with 22 member countries and four observers. The League tries to achieve Arab consensus on issues, which usually leaves them doing nothing but a bit of grimacing and mustache cursing... chief Jerry Lewis doppelgänger Amr Moussa ... who was head of the Arab League for approximately two normal lifespans, accomplishing nothing that was obvious to the casual observer ... Mohamed Morsi, head of the Moslem Brüderbund's Freedom and Justice Party, Egypt's most powerful political group, is also among the presidential contenders.
The polls are scheduled to be held in two rounds. The first would be held over two days on May 23 and 24 while a run-off, if necessary, would take place on June 16 and 17. Final results are expected on June 21.
The military council took power in the aftermath of the last February revolution in Egypt that overthrew Mubarak's Western-backed regime.
The SCAF promised to step down after a six-month period and hand over power to a civilian government, a pledge it has so far failed to fulfill.
[VOA News] Former Liberian President Charles Taylor The former President-for-Life of Liberia, of whom the best that could be said was that he wasn't quite as horrible as Prince Johnson, at least not usually. was found guilty Thursday of aiding and abetting grave human rights ...which are usually open to widely divergent definitions... abuses and war crimes in a historic verdict by the Special Court for Sierra Leone. While Taylor was not found guilty of criminal masterminding the atrocities, he became the first former African head of state to be convicted in an international court. In Taylor's native Liberia and in Sierra Leone, where the crimes were committed, interest in the verdict was very high.
Liberians gathered around radios and televisions or watched online, using slow connections at internet cafes, as former President Charles Taylor was convicted of involvement in war crimes and crimes against humanity in Sierra Leone.
From the site of the trial in The Hague, the Special Court for Sierra Leone said Taylor was not guilty of committing the crimes himself. However, alcohol has never solved anybody's problems. But then, neither has milk... he was guilty of aiding and abetting rebels as they terrorized civilians, carved their initials into the bodies of child soldiers and carried out murder, abductions and rape.
The court said prosecutors had not proven beyond reasonable doubt that Taylor was part of the rebel's command structure.
They're like kids in an airplane cockpit. "Hey, let's do this!" "Hey, let's push these buttons!" They have no clue what they're doing, but boy is it fun. Until they crash the plane.
Under pressure from farming advocates in rural communities, and following a report by The Daily Caller, the Obama administration withdrew a proposed rule Thursday that would have applied child labor laws to family farms.
Critics complained that the regulation would have drastically changed the extent to which children could work on farms owned by family members. The U.S. Department of Labor cited public outcry as the reason for withdrawing the rule.
"The decision to withdraw this rule -- including provisions to define the 'parental exemption' -- was made in response to thousands of comments expressing concerns about the effect of the proposed rules on small family-owned farms," the Department said in a press release Thursday evening. "To be clear, this regulation will not be pursued for the duration of the Obama administration." Ah yes. Of course the 'parental exemption' would have made things OK, but since the public is too stupid to figure that out, we're just going to withdraw this enlightened legislation in its entirety, even though society must be having huge problems here. Of course, the Romney administration might follow up with something this stupid. Does all this make sense?
The rule would have dramatically changed what types of chores children under the age of 16 could perform on and around American farms. It would have prohibited them from working with tobacco, operating almost all types of power-driven equipment and being employed to work with raw farm materials.
"Prohibited places of employment would include country grain elevators, grain bins, silos, feed lots, stockyards, livestock exchanges and livestock auctions," read a press release from last August.
"I am pleased to hear the Obama Administration is finally backing away from its absurd 85-page proposal to block youth from participating in family farm activities and ultimately undermine the very fabric of rural America, but I will continue working to ensure this overreaching proposal is completely and permanently put to rest," said Sen. John Thune, Republican from South Dakota. "The Obama DOL's youth farm labor rule is a perfect example of what happens when government gets too big." And has nothing to do but fix imaginary problems. Gotta protect their phoney baloney jobs, you know.
Parents and children who grew up on farms across the country told TheDC that the rule was overprotective and would have prevented kids from learning valuable skills at early ages. But some folks born with a silver spoon in their mouths and who are totally disconnected from reality can't see things this way without help.
"Losing that work ethic -- it's so hard to pick this up later in life," said Cherokee County, Kansas Farm Bureau president Jeff Clark. "There's other ways to learn how to farm, but it's so hard. You can learn so much more working on the farm when you're 12, 13, 14 years old." Oh the horror! Work! Run for your lives!
Rep. Kristi Noem, Republican from South Dakota, also applauded the effort to nuke the idea borne out of stupidity scale back the rule.
"I want to thank every farmer, rancher and young person who joined many of us in Congress to speak out against this proposal, which would have fundamentally changed the way folks have been farming and ranching for generations," she said in a statement. "I continue to agree that safety on farms and ranches is imperative, but telling kids they can't do 4-H or farm-related chores is not the answer."
The Daily Caller's story about the proposed regulations quickly went viral on Wednesday, attracting hundreds of thousands of readers through Facebook, The Drudge Report and other online and social media platforms. Thank God we have someone watching them. But I'm going to guess they won't learn a thing and will slink back to their dens and try to imagine other imaginary problems to solve and also try to figure out how to sneak these wonderful gems past the watchdogs.
Ag advocates have been fighting this since it was a rumor.
It is not a work where idle hands were just playing about and accidentally boo-bood themselves.
It has nothing to do with protecting kids. It has everything to do with shutting down the rural culture.
So the question is, why?
We out here know the answer. The EPA has been dicking around for 3 years with cow farts and dust taxes. Looking like a class b dork in front of troops ringing out God Bless America the very morning after we nearly got boned is infuriating.
THis legislation is about cutting off self-reliance thought at a young age. Its also comes from the blue states looking down on those in the red states and figuring they know more then them. It was reversed because someone pointed out that the law would effect a number of battleground states and those populations were appalled at the stupidity and nerve.
So glad to hear that they've pretty much squelched this ridiculous dictate that would fragment and impose further balkanization (Wull Duh! same-o,same-o) on our tightly-knit, inter-dependent and very hard-working US farm families.
I'm sure that they're already struggling with the choking specter of much higher animal feed and vehicle fuel prices.
In a previous era, in "this here USA", I loved driving my Grandpa's tractor. I'd plow away doing various tasks and then change implements to drag around until dinner.
My Dad then promulgated the evening orders to my sister and I, "Pack your suitcases before you hit the sack tonight; we're heading back to the Philippines tomorrow...But first, go give Grandma and Grandpa a great big kiss and hug. That's how it was growing up. -cz-
A federal judge says an Ohio prison that forces all inmates to adhere to a strict Islamic diet is not an establishment of religion because everyone eats the same food.
A federal judge recently threw out prisoner James Rivers' lawsuit against Ohio Prison director Gary Mohr's decision to ban pork from kitchens in all prisons under control of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. Mohr made the decision to stop serving pork products after a Muslim on death row filed a lawsuit against the prison system.
Abdul Awkal, an inmate on death row, argued in his lawsuit that the prison's failure to provide halal meals violated his religious freedoms.
Despite Awkal's claims, Islamic teaching says it is perfectly acceptable to eat non-halal meat if there is no halal food available.
Islam teaches that meat such as pork is considered unclean and not to be eaten. This would include all pork products including sausage and bacon.
Awkal was later joined by a second Muslim who is not on death row. Prison authorities had argued that they provided non-pork and vegetarian options for Muslims. The Muslims said that was not good enough and still insisted that the food they were given meet halal standards.
India successfully launched an indigenous microwave Radar Imaging Satellite, Risat-1, from the spaceport at Sriharikota in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh Thursday.
The satellite, which can provide high resolution pictures and microwave imaging useful for disaster prediction, agriculture forestry and defense, has been termed a "spy satellite" by China's Xinhua news agency. Both could be right...
The satellite, built by the scientists at the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and launched using the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), has a life span of five years.
PSLV- C19, transporting the 1,858 kg Risat-1 to its orbit, roared into the skies at 5:47 am from the launch pad No 1 at Sriharikota, amidst resounding cheers of ISRO scientists. Risat-1 is the heaviest satellite PSLV has launched into an orbit since 1993. The satellite was delivered into the orbit at an altitude of 480 km, after 17 minutes from takeoff.
[Dawn] Taking serious notice of Friday's Bhoja Air plane crash, the Beautiful Downtown Peshawar High Court ordered the federal government on Wednesday to immediately suspend the director general of Civil Aviation Authority and also issued contempt of court notice to him and the federal defence secretary for having failed to comply with its orders about conducting safety audits of all passenger aircraft of PIA and private airlines.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Dost Mohammad Khan and Justice Mian Fasihul Mulk directed the two officials to appear in person on May 30, the next date of hearing, and explain in writing why a final show-cause notice should not be issued to them and why they should not be prosecuted for committing contempt of court.
The court also issued show-cause notices to the Bhoja Air management, including its managing director, and the licensing authority asking why the airline's operations on national and international routes should not be suspended when it was not capable of operating commercial flights.
The bench observed that before passing any final order it would leave it to the government to revisit its decision of permitting Bhoja Air's operation.
The chief justice observed that had the court's order been implemented the Bhoja crash could have been averted and precious lives saved.
Legal representative of the CAA Ubaidur Rehman Abbasi told newsmen that the authority would challenge the high court's order before the Supreme Court.
Advocate Afnan Kareem Kundi, representing the ministry of defence, said it was up to the defence secretary to decide whether or not to file an appeal.
The court was hearing a petition filed by former MNA Marvi Memon and some family members of the passengers who were killed in the July 2010 Airblue plane crash which had left 152 people dead.
The court observed that the minister for defence should consider and evaluate his own responsibility because two big tragedies had taken place during his tenure. When he failed to deliver on this important position it was for him to decide to quit or not, the court said.
The court ordered that the CAA chief should remain under suspension till the inquiry by foreign experts as directed by the court is completed regarding the Airblue plane crash and a similar inquiry carried out and completed in Bhoja Air crash.
[Dawn] Civil society representatives have urged Members of the National Assembly to make effective amendments for removing lacunas in the Anti-Women Practices Act 2011.
During a discussion on the Act and why it had not been effective in curbing practices depriving women of some of their basic rights, the speakers suggested that amendments were needed to remove lacunas in the law. The discussion was organised by Aurat Foundation here on Wednesday.
Farhad Baig, programme officer of Local Action to Combat Gender Injustices, pointed out certain lacunas in the Act. He said that swara was made non-cognizable offence under this Act, which meant that police could not interfere in the jirga proceedings on swara, vani or badle sulah cases -- all related to marrying a girl to someone to settle some dispute.
"In such a situation, by the time police come with warrants the fate of the girl may have been decided in a swara case," said Mr Baig while explaining how the amendment in the law made it weaker as far as cognizance of the swara cases was concerned.
The participants hailing from women rights organizations also pointed out that the new amended Act also lacked definitions and did not clarify whether forced marriages under swara customs would be dissolved or who would decide it when such a case was taken up by a court.
In the Pakistain Penal Code, Act XLV of 1860, the 310-A section has been substituted as, "Whoever gives a female in marriage or otherwise compels her to enter into marriage as badle sulah, vani, or swara or any other custom under any name, in consideration of settling a civil dispute or a criminal liability, shall be punished with imprisonment...."
Mr Baig said that "whoever gives..." only puts the burden of this crime on the parents or elders of the girls whereas the other party has not been held responsible. The minimum
punishment for such a crime has also been set at less than 10 years and as such the accused would easily get bail in such offences, he pointed out.
[Dawn] Pakistain Moslem League -- Nawaz (PML-N) chief 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... Thursday demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani ... Pakistain's erstwhile current prime minister, whose occasional feats of mental gymnastics can be awe-inspiring ... after he was convicted of contempt of court.
"The prime minister should immediately resign. He should step down without causing further crisis," Sharif said speaking to a private television channel.
Sharif, who has twice served as prime minister, also called for fresh elections.
"The court verdict is based on truth and reality. It must have punished the prime minister with a heavy heart, but the prime minister himself is to be blamed," he said.
"The prime minister himself invited this situation," he added.
The Supreme Court convicted Gilani of contempt on Thursday over his refusal to write to authorities in Switzerland ...home of the Helvetians, famous for cheese, watches, yodeling, and William Tell... asking them to reopen corruption investigations into President Asif Ali President Ten Percent Zardari ... sticky-fingered husband of the late Benazir Bhutto ... He was given only a nominal sentence, jugged until the court adjourned, but could still be forced out of office.
[Times of India] Pakistain's Supreme Court on Thursday convicted Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani of contempt but awarded him a symbolic detention "until the rising of the court" for defying its orders to write to the Swiss for the reopening of a graft case against his party co-chairman and President Asif Ali President Ten Percent Zardari. ... sticky-fingered husband of the late Benazir Bhutto ... Gilani's conviction opens the way for proceedings to disqualify him as the prime minister. But the process could drag on for months and would not bring down the government that completes its term in March next year. Gilani's lawyer, Aitzaz Ahsan, claimed the conviction does not automatically disqualify the PM from office and said he would appeal the verdict. The move would further delay Gilani's disqualification.
The court was widely expected to award Gilani the maximum six-month imprisonment, but it said Gilani's likely disqualification was "taken as a mitigating factor in sentencing''.
"...the prime minister is found guilty of contempt for willfully flouting the direction of the Supreme Court," said justice Nasir-ul-Mulk, who headed a seven-member bench that heard the case. He said the PM's offence tended to ridicule the country's judiciary and ordered his confinement until the conclusion of the court proceedings that lasted for a few minutes.
[An Nahar] Saudi ambassador to Leb Ali Awadh Asiri hailed efforts exerted by Lebanese officials to detain two members of an "Arab gang" that kidnapped two Saudi nationals on the outskirts of Beirut, the pan-Arab daily al-Hayat reported.
Asiri confirmed that the two Saudi nationals Tawfiq and Abdullah al-Shaqaqeen were kidnapped and tortured for eight days and are currently receiving medical treatment at the American University of Beirut Medical Center.
"Security services are still tracking down the remaining two members of the gang," the ambassador told the daily.
According to security sources, an Iraqi woman received Tawfiq and Abdullah in Leb on April 16 as one of the two Saudis had met her during a previous visit to Syria a few months ago.
They moved to an apartment in Doha al-Hoss in southern Beirut, which the woman allegedly said she had rented for herself.
Later, three Iraqi men broke into the apartment claiming that they were members of the Internal Security Forces and tried to blackmail the two Saudi men by taking naked pictures for one of them and demanding a large ransom in exchange for their release.
The sources said that the two Saudis gave the gang at the beginning $5,000 and SR16,000 in cash but the head of the mob demanded more money so they transferred SR48,000 from their private bank accounts in addition to $16,000.
However, those who apply themselves too closely to little things often become incapable of great things... the kingpin threatened the two men to become "more violent" if they don't provide him with more money, which made them call a "friend" in Soddy Arabia to urge him to transfer the money.
One of the kidnapped Saudis hinted to his friend in the telephone conversation that they were kidnapped. The friend swiftly contacted Saudi authorities to inform them about the case.
Al-Hayat reported that two members of the gang were set to sit in solemn silence in a dull, dark dock, in a pestilential prison with a life-long lock when they were taken by surprise near Audi Bank in Beirut's Hamra Street, where they went to collect the money.
The two confessed to their crime, while the remaining members of the mob decamped to an unknown location.
According to preliminary reports, the abductors have no political backgrounds and the two Saudi men were lured and tricked by the assailants.
Security forces are tracking down the head of the gang and the woman, al-Hayat said
The ambassador urged on Wednesday all Saudis in Leb to stay "only in well-known hotels and stay away from private apartments," and called on visitors to register with the embassy upon their arrival in Beirut.