November 23rd, 2011
Cr edit note: Interesting that CNN chooses to leave out the entire reason for this woman's misery. Afghanistan's government recognizes and is based upon Shariah law, in this case, being the Hanafi jurisprudence, which is one of the six branches of Sharia law and the Muslim religion~BLS
By Nick Paton Walsh and Masoud Popalza, CNN
Kabul (CNN) -- The ordeal of Gulnaz did not simply begin and end with the physical attack of her rape. The rape began a years-long nightmare of further pain, culminating in an awful choice she must now make.
Even two years later, Gulnaz remembers the smell and state of her rapist's clothes when he came into the house when her mother left for a brief visit to the hospital.
"He had filthy clothes on as he does metal and construction work. When my mother went out, he came into my house and he closed doors and windows. I started screaming, but he shut me up by putting his hands on my mouth," she said.
The rapist was her cousin's husband.
After the attack, she hid what happened as long as she could. But soon she began vomiting in the mornings and showing signs of pregnancy. It was her attacker's child.
In Afghanistan, this brought her not sympathy, but prosecution. Aged just 19, she was found guilty by the courts of sex outside of marriage -- adultery -- and sentenced to twelve years in jail.
Now inside Kabul's Badam Bagh jail, she and her child are serving her sentence together.
Sitting with the baby in her lap, her face carefully covered, she explains the only choice she has that would end her incarceration.
The only way around the dishonor of rape, or adultery in the eyes of Afghans, is to marry her attacker. This will, in the eyes of some, give her child a family and restore her honor.
Incredibly, this is something that Gulnaz is willing to do.
"I was asked if I wanted to start a new life by getting released, by marrying this man", she told CNN in an exclusive interview. "My answer was that one man dishonored me, and I want to stay with that man."
Tending to her daughter in the jail's cold, she added: "My daughter is a little innocent child. Who knew I would have a child in this way. A lot of people told me that after your daughter's born give it to someone else, but my aunt told me to keep her as proof of my innocence."
Gulnaz's choice is stark. Women in her situation are often killed for the shame their ordeal has brought the community. She is at risk, some say, from her attacker's family.
We found Gulnaz's convicted rapist in a jail across town. While he denied raping her, he agreed that she would likely be killed if she gets out of jail. But he insists that it will be her family, not his, that will kill her, "out of shame."
Whether threatened by his family or hers, for now, jail may be the safest place for her.
Shockingly, Gulnaz's case is common in Afghanistan.
CNN asked a spokesman for the prosecutor to comment on the case. The reply was that there were hundreds such cases and the office would need time to look into it.
But Gulnaz's plight has found international attention because of a dispute between the European Union and a team of documentary makers hired to report on women's rights in Afghanistan.
The documentary makers filmed a lengthy report on Gulnaz and other women, showing her talking openly about her fate. They showed the film to the EU, who were paying for it as part of a project on female rights here. After viewing it, the EU decided to spike the project.
The EU said it was concerned about the safety of the women in the film: they could be identified and might face reprisals. The filmmakers however suspect -- citing an email leaked from the EU delegation -- that the EU might also be motivated by its sensitive relationship with Afghan justice institutions, since he film shows the Afghan justice system in a very unflattering light.
The leaked email says: "The delegation also has to consider its relations with [Afghan] Justice institutions in connection with the other work that it is doing in the sector."
The EU Ambassador to Afghanistan, Vygaudas Usackas, rejected any political motivation in asking for the film not to be shown.
"What I am concerned about is that situation of the women. About the security and well being, that's of paramount importance, the key criteria according to which I, as representative of the European Union will judge," said the ambassdor.
Under Afghan law, Gulnaz has been judged an adulterer. Despite the ongoing dispute over her story, her predicament has not changed. She faces the hideous choice of 12 years in jail or marriage to her rapist and risk death. It's a marriage she says she'll accept, so her child can continue to have a mother.
November 23rd, 2011
A bizarre underwater "icicle of death" has been filmed by a BBC crew.
With timelapse cameras, specialists recorded salt water being excluded from the sea ice and sinking.
The temperature of this sinking brine, which was well below 0C, caused the water to freeze in an icy sheath around it.
Where the so-called "brinicle" met the sea bed, a web of ice formed that froze everything it touched, including sea urchins and starfish.
The unusual phenomenon was filmed for the first time by cameramen Hugh Miller and Doug Anderson for the BBC One series Frozen Planet.
The icy phenomenon is caused by cold, sinking brine, which is more dense than the rest of the sea water. It forms a brinicle as it contacts warmer water below the surface.
Mr Miller set up the rig of timelapse equipment to capture the growing brinicle under the ice at Little Razorback Island, near Antarctica's Ross Archipelago.
"When we were exploring around that island we came across an area where there had been three or four [brinicles] previously and there was one actually happening," Mr Miller told BBC Nature.
The diving specialists noted the temperature and returned to the area as soon as the same conditions were repeated.
"It was a bit of a race against time because no-one really knew how fast they formed," said Mr Miller.
"The one we'd seen a week before was getting longer in front of our eyes... the whole thing only took five, six hours."
Against the odds
The location - beneath the ice off the foothills of the volcano Mount Erebus, in water as cold as -2C - was not easy to access.
"That particular patch was difficult to get to. It was a long way from the hole and it was quite narrow at times between the sea bed and the ice," explained Mr Miller.
"I do remember it being a struggle... All the kit is very heavy because it has to sit on the sea bed and not move for long periods of time."
As well as the practicalities of setting up the equipment, the filmmakers had to contend with interference from the local wildlife.
The large weddell seals in the area had no problems barging past and breaking off brinicles as well as the filming equipment.
"The first time I did a timelapse at the spot a seal knocked it over," said Mr Miller.
But the team's efforts were eventually rewarded with the first ever footage of a brinicle forming.
Frozen Planet is on at 21:00 GMT on Wednesday, 23 November on BBC One.
November 22nd, 2011
Based On A Letter From The NAACP
Ben Jealous: Friend, Imagine if everyone in Manhattan, Detroit and Chicago suddenly lost their ability to vote.
Far Right Wing nut: Hell yeah! Wouldn't that be great! Are we talking a general election or just local? I mean, just think, we could probably put a Conservative in charge and actually get those people back to work and into living meaningful lives in just a few months.
Ben Jealous: No, that's the number of people -- 5 million and counting -- affected by passed and pending changes to voting laws in states around the country. When all is said and done, millions more could be disenfranchised.
Far Right Wing Nut: Disenfranchised? Did they all, like, buy into KFC franchises that got cancelled or something due to Michelle Obama's dietary mandates? Or maybe what you mean is, they are either dead or are not actually citizens of the Country and, therefore, cannot vote, or they simply do not exist, or they are perhaps buying someone's elses vote. Might that be the quandary that you're alluding to, Benjamin?
Ben Jealous: The people passing these laws lie. They say that it's about voter fraud. What it's really about is systematically suppressing voters of color, students and the elderly.
Far Right Wing-nut: Why? Are these people all of a sudden going to be bereft of an ID card that has their photo on it, Ben? I agree, getting a photo ID, in these prehistoric times can, indeed, be tough. I mean, just the other day, Sam's Club made me stand in line for about five minutes just to snap my photo from their computer imager; that's a difficult amount of time to stand in line. But they did immediately produce the ID card before I could even shift the position that I was standing in. It was all quite distressing, I can assure you. I mean, it was a windy day, and my hair is getting a bit long...so I can understand your angst in this regard. I even had to turn sideways to let this nice lady by.
Ben Jealous: While the NAACP is nonpartisan, the people pushing these laws are not. They know that the number of people, five million, whose votes would be suppressed by these laws is three times greater than the combined margin of victory in Florida, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia during the 2008 presidential election.
Far Right Wing Nut: NAACP is non-partisan? Holy smoke! Who knew? I always thought that you guys were Liberals borderlining as White-hating Socialists. So the "National Association of All Colored Persons" (who are Liberal) gave a good deal of money to the Republican National Committee this year? Ben? You there, Ben?
Ben Jealous: Let's call these new voter requirement laws out for what they are: Extreme attempts by the far right-wing to legislate voter suppression.
Far Right Wing Nut: Yeah! Making people prove whom they are is just downright mean! Especially when they get documents notarized, drive a car, buy cigarettes and beer, cash a check, even when they ride on a jet. But voting for their local and national appointees, well, now that's different. I suppose all of the card carrying NAACP members should just burn their cards and do away with ID altogether, as well. Bet ya' get on that Monday, Ben.
Ben Jealous: We can fight back. Knowledge is power. Will you take these quick and easy steps to learn the facts about these new voter requirements?
Far Right Wing Nut: Well Ben, I would, but I actually have to go practice changing flourescent light bulbs; you know, tricky thing these days.
Ben Jealous: If we are going to push back against these new laws, we need to separate the truths from the myths -- and the facts do not lie:
- You have a better chance of being struck by lightning than you do of being impersonated at the polls. (Unless it's a clear day.)
- 11% of eligible voters would not have the proper, up-to-date, state-issued ID required to vote. (Unless they get the proper ID prior to voting; they have over 12 months and counting.)
- African American, Latino, young, elderly and disabled voters are far more likely to lack the required identification to vote. (Yeah, especially when they are buried six feet under mud)
Your support in the coming months is more important than ever. Take these quick and easy steps to start fighting back today.
Benjamin Todd Jealous
President and CEO
November 22nd, 2011
Cr Edit Stinky update:
President Barack Obama's personal aide, gatekeeper and basketball sparring partner Reggie Love says that one of the coolest jobs in the world sometimes has its downside – no air conditioning.
Mr Love, who is Mr Obama's 'body man', a cross between a personal valet and constant companion, is due to step down later this year to attend business school.
In an interview due to be broadcast on ABC television, the 30-year-old said: "The thing that used to kill me is that the guy loves to ride around with the AC off in the summertime.
"And I get hot. I start sweating. And I'm like, it's 80 degrees in this car. I'm going to pass out."
Mr Obama, who is known to keep his Oval Office at temperatures reminiscent of his native Hawaii, was a senator when he first brought the towering six-foot-four former college basketball star into his orbit in 2006.
Mr Love is always with Mr Obama, in the White House, on his Marine One helicopter, as the president shakes hands on a ropeline at campaign events, or criss-crosses the globe aboard his Air Force One official aeroplane. He is often asked for a pen so the president can sign T-shirts and acts as his partner on the basketball court.
The two have flown 880,780 miles together since Mr Obama launched his historic 2008 run for the White House, according to researchers at ABC television.
US presidents are known to carry little if anything in their pockets, so Mr Love carries a bag with travel essentials: collar stays, stain remover, and dental products that Obama does not hesitate to use in front of him.
"If he had it his way, I think he'd floss in private," Mr Love said. "I think the fact that he was comfortable with me is probably a product of, you know, he's beaten down. I've been around for so long."
Last year, before he got his iPad, Mr Obama was asked by a New York Times reporter whether he had one of the wildly popular Apple devices and quipped: "I have an iReggie, who has my books, my newspapers, my music all in one place."
Mr Obama has been to 31 countries – a few more than once – and 40 of the 50 US states since his January 2009 inauguration, according to statistics kept by CBS News, with Mr Love a fixture at his side.
Mr Love said he was grateful to be a "very long passenger on an amazing ride" and that he will miss quiet moments with the president, including an evening ritual when Mr Obama checks in to say what the next day holds in store.
"I know definitely I'm going to miss that," Mr Love said. "He's been like big brother to me, a mentor. I've learned so much about life from him."
More From The Telegraph
November 22nd, 2011
Cr edit note: You just don't screw around with women who are on the sacred mission of shopping...this could get very ugly indeed....
By: Cadie Thompson
Some demonstrators are planning to occupy retailers on Black Friday to protest "the business that are in the pockets of Wall Street."
Organizers are encouraging consumers to either occupy or boycott retailers that are publicly traded, according to the Stop Black Friday website.
The goal of the movement is to impact the profits of major corporations this holiday season.
"The idea is simple, hit the corporations that corrupt and control American politics where it hurts, their profits, " states the Occupy Black Friday Facebook page.
A few of the retailers the protesters plan on targeting include Neiman Marcus, Amazon and Wal-Mart.
Their website states the following:
"Keep in mind that we are not occupying small businesses or hardworking people—we must make a distinction between the businesses that are in the pockets of Wall Street and the businesses that serve our local communities.
We are NOT anti-capitalist. Just anti-crapitalist.
Below is a shortlist for publicly traded large businesses to Occupy or to boycott on Black Friday. Luckily, most of them don't have good presents anyway. If you want to see the top 100 retail businesses for 2010 to boycott, click here.
On Black Friday, Occupy or boycott:
- Abercrombie & Fitch [ANF 45.85 -0.62 (-1.33%) ]
- Amazon.com (yes, we have to stay away from Amazon, too!) [AMZN 192.34 3.09 (+1.63%) ]
- AT&T Wireless [ATT 27.04 0.15 (+0.56%) ]
- Burlington Coat Factory
- Dick's Sporting Goods (I was surprised, too!) [DSG-FF 28.935 0.055 (+0.19%) ]
- Dollar Tree [DLTR 77.09 1.40 (+1.85%) ]
- The Home Depot [HD 37.10 0.04 (+0.11%) ]
- Neiman Marcus
- OfficeMax [OMX 4.49 0.09 (+2.05%) ]
- Toys R'Us [JPM 29.41 -0.50 (-1.67%) ]
- Verizon Wireless [VZN 94.30 -0.40 (-0.42%) ]
- Wal-Mart [WMT 56.85 0.19 (+0.34%) ]
This is not the first time the demonstrators have taken action against corporations by using their money as weapon for change.
On Nov. 5th many demonstrators participated in "Bank Transfer Day" and moved their money from banks to credit unions.