Iran claims it has captured a U.S. drone aircraft. Although no journalists or other outsiders have seen the drone, the Iranian government did provide the above authentic, unretouched photograph. The U.S. Navy says none of its unmanned aerial vehicles is missing – like they would admit it if one was.
Police in the United Arab Emirates arrested an Indian national in a females-only park, saying the man was dressed as a woman. The man was charged with violating “principles of public decency and societal customs and authentic Arab Islamic traditions,” although he got a few points for not having shaved his mustache as part of his disguise. However those points were taken back when it was discovered he had shaved elsewhere.
The Greek Parliament voted to implement austerity spending cuts in an attempt to stem the country’s spiral into economic disaster. As the government voted on the measure thousands of unhappy Greeks rioted in the streets of Athens, mainly just to have something to do since unemployment there is running at around 99%.
Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz was shot by members of his country’s military Sunday in what is being termed a “friendly fire” incident. Abdel Aziz is being treated for his wounds at a French military hospital.
Here is a story about the latest Freedom House Freedom On The Net report, and here is a link to the full PDF report. China is reported to be the most repressive nation, tightly controlling Internet access and bloggers. Russia and Saudi Arabia are also high on the Internet repression list, along with countries like Iran and Egypt.
The U.S. is called a “free” nation in regards to Internet access and rights of users, although the political battles over SOPA and PIPA are termed a potential “threat” and “would have suppressed legitimate, unquestionably legal speech”. The primary problems with access in the U.S. are due to infrastructure:
Although the United States is one of the most connected countries in the world, it has fallen behind many other developed countries in terms of internet speed, cost, and broadband availability. In 2011, approximately 78 percent of all Americans had access to the internet, but only 66 percent of adults used high-speed broadband connections. While the broadband penetration rate is considered high by global standards, it puts the United States significantly behind countries such as Japan, South Korea, Norway, and Sweden.
France’s new law making same-sex marriage legal will entail the removal of the words “mother” and “father” from all official documents – which is really no big deal since in France these words are speculative at best.
Anders Behring Breivik was declared sane and sentenced to 21 years in prison for the politically-motivated murders of 77 people, most of them under the age of 18. Breivik is a self-described “ultranationalist” who targeted a Norwegian Labour party youth group to somehow fight multiculturalism and the “Islamification” of Norway.
So apparently in Norway they have a strange definition of “sanity”.
A Russian woman has been charged with strangling her neighbor with her bra when he refused to give her money to buy alcohol.
That’s it – I don’t think I need to make anything up here.
Members of an American missionary group who had been taken hostage in Egypt three days ago have been released by their captor. “They are at security headquarters with us now, in good condition. The negotiations succeeded, but we did not give in to the kidnappers’ demands,” said Gen. Ahmed Bakr, head of security in northern Sinai. “Now if you will excuse me, I have to go buy 500 goats and a camel.”
A massive solar flare will strike the Earth tonight, and either cause some disruption to communications, or kill all life on the planet. We’ll let you know which tomorrow.
Spanish miners clashed with riot police Wednesday in protests against the government’s austerity measures aimed at controlling the country’s debt crisis.
UPDATE: Gay men are still banned from donating blood in the United States, and have been since the 1980s, although there is a movement in Congress to end this ban.
Germany, the country that brought you industrial genocide and nightmarish medical experiments, has proven that it’s now completely hip and liberal by banning circumcision of children without their consent. The court ruled: “The fundamental right of the child to bodily integrity outweighs the fundamental rights of the parents. The child’s body is permanently and irreparably changed by the circumcision. This change runs counter to the interests of the child, who can decide his religious affiliation himself later in life.”
The ruling only affects the Cologne region.
The court did not ban circumcision when the child gives consent, a loophole religious groups will probably use to continue the practice with or without actual consent. Both Jewish and Muslim groups have called the ruling an intrusion into religious freedom – the same excuse used by American Mormons when prosecuted for child rape.
Former Egyptian strongman Hosni Mubarak has reportedly been declared clinically dead at a hospital in Cairo after suffering a massive heart attack. However, sources in the Egyptian military dispute this claim, saying Mubarak is alive but in critical condition, kind of like Egypt.
Google has released a “transparency report” that reveals it is working hand-in-glove with international governmental agencies to censor its search results and to rat-out its users. The report shows that in the last half of 2011, the United States alone requested 6,192 individual pieces of content be removed from Google’s search results, blog posts or archives of online videos. That’s a 718% increase from the first half of 2011, and Google complied with 42% of those requests.
It’s difficult to know which is worse: the idea that U.S. attempts to censor the Internet increased by 718% in just six months, or that Google caved-in on almost half of them.