Concern over the possibility of broader war in the Middle East grew Monday in the wake of reported airstrikes on Syrian military installations.
The reported strikes killed 42 Syrian soldiers, the opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Monday, citing medical sources. It said 100 people remained missing.
The Syrian government warned Sunday’s apparent strikes — which followed one last week attributed by Syria to Israel — “opens the door wide for all the possibilities.”
Syrian ally Iran warned of a “crushing response” while Russia called reports of Israeli involvement “very worrying.”
But an Israeli general who commands forces on the Syrian border said “there are no winds of war,” according to the Israel Defense Forces website.
The heightened tensions come amid questions over possible chemical weapon use in Syria and international debate over how to respond to the country’s bloody civil war, in which more than 70,000 people have died in more than two years of fighting.
On Monday, a U.N. official spoke of strong suspicions that rebels, not Syrian government forces, have used chemical weapons.
Rebel Free Syrian Army spokesman Louay Almokdad said rebels don’t even have unconventional weapons, nor do they want any.
“In any case, we don’t have the mechanism to launch these kinds of weapons, which would need missiles that can carry chemical warheads, and we in the FSA do not possess these kind of capabilities,” Almokdad said.
“More importantly, we do not aspire to have (chemical weapons) because we view our battle with the regime as a battle for the establishment of a free democratic state. … We want to build a free democratic state that recognizes and abides by all international accords and agreements — and chemical and biological warfare is something forbidden legally and internationally.”
The parents of a 15-year-old California girl who took her own life after she was sexually abused and an explicit photo of the assault circulated among her classmates want the three boys who have been arrested in the case prosecuted as adults, a lawyer for the family says.
Authorities arrested the three 16-year-olds on suspicion of sexual battery against Audrie Pott, a Saratoga High School sophomore who hanged herself in September. The arrests this week shocked many in this prosperous Silicon Valley suburb of 30,000 as new details of the case emerged.
“We’re talking about, other than murdering someone, the highest degree of a crime you could possibly do, which is to violate them in the worst of ways…and then to effectively rub her face in it afterwards,” Robert Allard, the attorney representing the teenager’s mother, father and step-mother, said Friday.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year: a new WordPress release is available and chock-full of goodies to delight bloggers and developers alike. We’re calling this one “Elvin” in honor of drummer Elvin Jones, who played with John Coltrane in addition to many others.
If you’ve been around WordPress a while, the most dramatic new change you’ll notice is a completely re-imagined flow for uploading photos and creating galleries. Media has long been a friction point and we’ve listened hard and given a lot of thought into crafting this new system. 3.5 includes a new default theme, Twenty Twelve, which has a very clean mobile-first responsive design and works fantastic as a base for a CMS site. Finally we’ve spent a lot of time refreshing the styles of the dashboard, updating everything to be Retina-ready with beautiful high resolution graphics, a new color picker, and streamlining a couple of fewer-used sections of the admin.
Seen in downtown Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island this past summer. …photo here, Cycroft Photoblog: Photo of Kirk of St. James, Charlottetown, PEI.
Twitter acknowledged the problem in a status post, saying that Instagram has changed the way it integrates with the micro-blogging service. Instagram has stopped using Twitter cards, which essentially provide a quick summary of content on the network.
“Users are experiencing issues with viewing Instagram photos on Twitter. Issues include cropped images,” the social network said Wednesday. “This is due to Instagram disabling its Twitter cards integration, and as a result, photos are being displayed using a pre-cards experience. So, when users click on Tweets with an Instagram link, photos appear cropped.”
Photos from Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. More here, Cycroft Photoblog: Photos From Cape Breton
When I was in high school, someone took a photo of me in our school’s production of a Tom Stoppard play. For some reason my character was on her hands and knees in a ballroom-dancing outfit. One of my friends asked me if he could borrow the photo, to prove to another girl, he said, that I was in the school play. I never saw it again. I thought little of it. To me it was a funny photo of me in a pink dress. To the testosterone-charged boys among whom it circulated, it was a photo of cleavage. How do I know this? Years later my husband told me. He saw the photo.
I was lucky. There was just one photo as color copies were too expensive for school-age boys. The damage was pretty much limited to one zipcode. And I was dressed. But today, capturing and preserving a girl’s image is an extremely, globally high-risk proposition. One false step and you’re fed to the Internet trolls.
The British Internet Watch Foundation, which works with local police to investigate complaints of online child sexual abuse, recently combed through its database of sites specifically for images that looked like they were self-portraits or self-made videos. In a mere 47 hours they found more than 12,000 instances of girls who had taken provocative portraits or videos of themselves; when they examined the provenance of these photos, they found 88% of them had been lifted from other websites, including social media. That is, almost nine times out of ten, the self-portraits on the porny or otherwise offensive websites were used without the permission or knowledge of the people in them.
Why do young girls take pictures of themselves semi-naked or in come-hither poses? Theories abound. Some point to the mainstreaming of porn. Others attribute it to an increasingly sexualized society in which girls are saturated with images of women doing their best to inspire lust. There are theories that girls are just trying on various identities, playing at being adult. Some girls are coaxed into it by boyfriends, or lure into it by predators. Some are not thinking past the spur-of-the-moment snapshot on a camera phone. And then, too, there are teens who enjoy being sexual creatures and don’t care who knows.
A Virginia GOP affiliate thought it would be hilarious to post photos of President Obama as a witch doctor, a caveman, and a thug on the official Mecklenburg County GOP Facebook page. When Virginia Republican Party officials asked the chairman of the committee, a dude named Wallace “Wally” Hudson, to remove the images, Wally laughed and refused.
Because racism is always hilarious, and if you don’t think so, you should shut up and quit being so goddamn sensitive, that’s why:
RICHMOND — Virginia Republican Party officials on Tuesday ordered their Mecklenburg County affiliate to remove photos portraying President Obama as a witch doctor, a caveman and a thug from its Facebook page.
R. Wallace “Wally” Hudson, chairman of the committee, was surprised to hear from a reporter that anyone had taken offense.
“If that group is that sensitive, I’m sorry, they’re just not human,” he said, chuckling. “It’s not American. If they’ve got a problem with it, we’re not going to change what we do.”
He didn’t seem any more inclined to take the state party’s feelings into account when told in a subsequent interview what Mullins had said.
“They can do what they want,” he said, chuckling again. “I’m waiting for the phone call.”
Note the classic defense against patently racist behavior—“They’re too sensitive.” Such nonsense is always the first refuge of a racist or an asshole defending racist behavior.
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