Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s Open Russia foundation has presented this mini-documentary about the role of Ramzan Kadyrov in modern Chechnya - and in Putin’s Russia. I may have aesthetic and other minor differences with the makers of the film, but I agree with the message.
PAUL MCCARTNEY & DAVE GROHL ‘I SAW HER STANDING THERE’ @ 02 LONDON 2015
Sheldon Adelson, the casino billionaire who has flooded US elections with money in order to protect his interests by banning online gambling, and has long been open about his desire to see an atomic bomb dropped on Iran, will soon be having his day in court.
Unfortunately for him, it will be in the US and not Macau as his defense had hoped.
A judge in Las Vegas has ruled that a lawsuit involving accusations of graft and organized crime ties to casinos owned by the multibillionaire and Republican party funder, Sheldon Adelson, will be heard in the US.
The decision raises the prospect of Adelson facing difficult questions about his business practices following allegations by a former chief executive of his highly profitable casinos in the Chinese enclave of Macau that a well-known triad crime figure was used to bring in high-rolling gamblers and of influence peddling with Chinese officials.
“Triad” refers to Chinese transnational criminal organizations. It seems the allegations relate to a certain Mr. Cheung Chi Tai, considered such a major figure in the Wo Hop To triad that he is barred from entry into the US.
Adelson told the court that “we had no direct relationship with Cheung Chi Tai”. But company documents show Cheung’s name on contracts involving “junket reps” who bring high rolling gamblers to the Macau casinos from China and lend them money to play.
So where do the allegations of graft come in?
Adelson now faces the prospect of a close examination of his relationship with a Macao lawyer and legislator, Leonel Alves. Adelson authorised $700,000 in legal fees to Alves which the company’s inhouse lawyers warned was far in excess of normal rates and could violate US law because Alves could be using his position as a legislator to influence officials in Macau and Beijing.
Steven Jacobs is the former CEO of Adelson’s operations in China suing for wrongful dismissal, claiming his firing was retaliation for his attempts to eliminate links to the triads and scrutinizing the payment to Alves. Adelson contends Jacobs was fired for incompetence and has accused him of “squealing like a pig to the government”.
Having this case heard in Macau would be advantageous to Adelson as that jurisdiction would be likely to limit revelations to protect its highly lucrative casino industry. A more robust hearing in the US could very well threaten his gaming licenses if ties to organized crime can be substantiated.
Adelson’ will almost certainly appeal, but it will be very interesting to observe how this developing situation impacts his involvement with politics. On one hand, The US and the world would be better off without this man’s pernicious influence on the body politic. On the other hand, the $20 million he spent propping up the farcical presidential campaign of Newt Gingrich likely played a role in damaging Mitt Romney, and ultimately getting President Obama easily reelected in 2012.
Michelle Duggar, who lives in Arkansas with her (very) large family, narrated a robocall that went out to Fayetteville households earlier this week, asking residents to protest an anti-discrimination ordinance going before the Fayetteville City Council on Tuesday.
In the call, Duggar claims that an ordinance pertaining to housing, employment, and public accommodation discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender would allow “males with past child predator convictions that claim they are female to have a legal right to enter private areas that are reserved for women and girls.”
According to the Fayetteville Flyer, which first published audio of the call, the ordinance in question is intended to strengthen protections for LGBT and transgender residents of the town, creating a new position on the city staff dedicated to handling discrimination complaints pertaining to housing, employment, and public accommodation.
The Josh Duggar scandal has been covered by multiple media outlets. Most people have been quick to point out the hypocrisy of Duggar, who served as the executive director of an organization that regularly links homosexuality and pedophilia, when he in fact sexually assaulted many underage girls. Unsurprisingly, the Christian news sites are coming to his defense, some even drawing parallels between Duggar and the story from the Bible where Jesus saved a woman accused of committing adultery.
Right now, the same people who conflate equal marriage with bestiality are jumping to Duggar’s defense, calling what he did a “mistake” and commending him for asking for forgiveness and getting “help.” One blogger went as far as to suggest that most teenagers commit sexual assaults against children. In response to a tweet saying “I don’t know what world you’re living in but ‘most teenagers’ don’t molest little girls,” Steven Crowder at Western Journalism said,
The thing is, you guys, they do. By 17-years-old, 48% of teenagers have had sex. One out of every three teenage girls gets pregnant before the age of 20. And it doesn’t count as consent just because you’re both under 18. Twenty-six and a half percent of 15-19-year-old girls are giving birth to kids - and those are just the ones that aren’t having abortions. And 17% of those births are to unwed mothers who already have at least one other child!
The US military has a problem with sexual violence. That’s the conclusion of the Universal Periodic Review Panel, a UN panel that aims to address the human rights records of the 193 UN member states. This is the second time that the panel has scrutinized the United States; the first was in 2010, when the list of concerns included detention in Guantanamo Bay, torture, the death penalty, and access to health care. Its latest report came out Monday morning, and there was a surprising addition to the predictable laundry list of US human rights violations.
In one of 12 final recommendations, the UN Council urged the US military “to prevent sexual violence in the military and ensure effective prosecution of offenders and redress for victims.” Other recommendations included stopping the militarization of police forces, closing Guantanamo Bay, ending the death penalty, and stopping NSA surveillance of citizens.
For years US lawmakers and activists have complained about sexual assault in the military, but this is the first time the United Nations has addressed the issue.
PAJU, South Korea, May 24 (Reuters) - A group of international women activists crossed the heavily-fortified Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea on Sunday in what they said was a symbolic act for peace.
North and South Korea are still technically at war after the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce, not a peace treaty. Despite its name the DMZ is one of the most heavily militarized and fortified borders in the world.
“We feel very celebratory and positive that we have created a voyage across the DMZ in peace and reconciliation,” said U.S. activist and feminist Gloria Steinem, honorary co-chair of the WomanCrossDMZ group, which is calling for a permanent peace treaty to replace the armistice which ended the conflict.
To spoil the final paragraph:
Ultimately, I occupy a weird little spot in between so many of the more clearly defined designations for gender, sexuality, etc. The funny thing is, I’ve grown to like it here. In an odd way, being hard to categorize has made me feel a little bit more special. It forces people to have to examine me a little closer if they want to ever understand me. Plus it makes close-minded people’s heads explode like f***ing Scanners, and that never gets old.
I’m always glad people who do that last part exist.
The Black Death struck Europe in 1347, killing 30-50% of the European population in six violent years. It wasn’t a one-off epidemic: it signalled the start of the second plague pandemic in Europe that lasted for hundreds of years and only slowly disappeared from the continent after the Great Plague of London in 1665-1666.
These outbreaks were traditionally thought to be caused by rodent reservoirs of infected rats lurking in Europe’s cities, or potentially by rodent reservoirs in the wilderness. But our research, published in the journal PNAS, suggests otherwise.
If the “reservoir” thesis were correct, we would expect plague outbreaks to be associated with local climate fluctuations, through changes in agricultural yields and primary productions in forests, affecting the number of urban and wildlife rodents, resulting in more plague. We found that Europe’s plague outbreaks were indeed associated with climate fluctuations - but in Asia.
One moment links 8 minds in disparate parts of the world, putting 8 strangers in each other’s lives, each other’s secrets, and in terrible danger.
All 12 episodes of the global dramatic thriller will launch Friday, June 5 only on Netflix.
From the unparalleled creative minds of The Wachowskis (“The Matrix” trilogy, “Cloud Atlas”) and J. Michael Straczynski (Clint Eastwood’s “Changeling,” “World War Z”), as well as Grant Hill (“The Matrix” trilogy, “Cloud Atlas”).
The international cast includes: Brian J. Smith, Tuppence Middleton, Jamie Clayton, Miguel Angel Silvestre, Tina Desai, Doona Bae, Aml Ameen and Max Riemelt. Also, Daryl Hannah, Naveen Andrews, Terrence Mann, Freema Agyeman, Alfonso Herrera, Erendira Ibarra, Adam Shapiro, Ness Bautista and Joe Pantoliano.
Unlike anything seen on television before, Sense8 pushes the boundaries in style, scope and story. For more information about #Sense8, follow the series on Twitter.
Sign up now for a Netflix 30-day free trial.