Saturday, September 20, 2008

Iranian President Takes Obama Up On Offer

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad put Barack Obama on the spot offering to debate with both U.S. presidential candidates when he arrives at the United Nations next week for its annual summit. The fiery Iranian leader, who provoked a storm of controversy when he visited last year, said he would debate global issues at a public forum in UN headquarters if the candidates agreed. Obama said early in his campaign that, as president, he would be prepared to meet the leaders of U.S. foes such as Iran and Syria. The statement sparked a sharp rebuke from Republican candidate John McCain, who argued it showed the Illinois senator's inexperience in knowing how to deal with recalcitrant leaders on the world stage. Leading UN powers have been in a standoff with Iran over that country's refusal to roll back its nuclear ambitions, which the United States and its allies believe are aimed at producing a nuclear bomb. Canada has also led criticism at the UN of Iran's human rights record, which two leading monitoring groups said in a report Thursday had reached "new lows" since Ahmadinejad became president in August 2005. "I am ready to have a televised debate over global issues with U.S. presidential nominees at the United Nations," Ahmadinejad told Press TV, Iran's state-run satellite news network. He also dismissed the possibility of Israeli military action against Iran, and said the UN's headquarters should be moved out of the U.S. Ahmadinejad spoke ahead of a meeting Friday of six world powers that have offered Iran incentives to freeze uranium enrichment, which has the potential of producing fuel for nuclear-bomb production.The U.S. and its allies want to impose ever-increasing sanctions. "Those who want to impose sanctions are demonstrating their helplessness," Ahmadinejad said. A spokesman for Obama's campaign did not return a call for comment on whether the democratic presidential candidate would be willing to meet with the Iranian leader. Ahmadinejad's debate challenge comes the same week Hillary Clinton, Obama's former rival for the Democratic nomination, pulled out of a planned New York march Monday against Iran because she heard Sarah Palin, McCain's running mate, would also take part. The new human rights report on Iran says Ahmadinejad's Intelligence Ministry has targeted Iranians who have active professional ties abroad, accusing them of being agents of western efforts to instigate a "velvet revolution" in Iran. Among leaders of the Baha'i faith in Iran who remain jailed without charge since their May arrests is Behrouz Tavakkoli, 57, the father of Ottawa resident Naim Tavakkoli. "Under Ahmadinejad's administration, Iran's human rights record has deteriorated markedly," Human Rights Watch and the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran says. "While the international community's attention has focused on nuclear concerns, Iran has not been held accountable for its serious violations of international human rights law." New York authorities refused Ahmadinejad's request during his visit last year to lay a wreath at the former World Trade Center site. Columbia University, however, went ahead with allowing him to address students at its facility, where he sparked jeers when he said there were no homosexuals in Iran.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Eating Veggies Shrinks The Brain

Scientists have discovered that going veggie could be bad for your brain-with those on a meat-free diet six times more likely to suffer brain shrinkage. Vegans and vegetarians are the most likely to be deficient because the best sources of the vitamin are meat, particularly liver, milk and fish. Vitamin B12 deficiency can also cause anaemia and inflammation of the nervous system. Yeast extracts are one of the few vegetarian foods which provide good levels of the vitamin. The link was discovered by Oxford University scientists who used memory tests, physical checks and brain scans to examine 107 people between the ages of 61 and 87. When the volunteers were retested five years later the medics found those with the lowest levels of vitamin B12 were also the most likely to have brain shrinkage.It confirms earlier research showing a link between brain atrophy and low levels of B12. Brain scans of more than 1,800 people found that people who downed 14 drinks or more a week had 1.6% more brain shrinkage than teetotallers. Women in their seventies were the most at risk. Beer does less damage than wine according to a study in Alcohol and Alcoholism. Researchers found that the hippocampus-the part of the brain that stores memories - was 10% smaller in beer drinkers than those who stuck to wine. And being overweight or obese is linked to brain loss, Swedish researchers discovered. Scans of around 300 women found that those with brain shrink had an average body mass index of 27 And for every one point increase in their BMI the loss rose by 13 to 16%.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Saudi Cleric Says 'Depraved' TV Moguls May Be Killed

A senior Saudi cleric has issued a religious decree saying the owners of television networks broadcasting "depravation and debauchery" may be killed, Al-Arabiya television reported on Friday. "The owners of these channels propagate depravation and debauchery," said Saleh al-Luhaidan, chief justice of the supreme judicial council, the highest judicial authority in the ultra-conservative Saudi kingdom. He made the remarks on radio in response to a caller who asked him to give an opinion on what he said were "immoral" programmes on Arab television during the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, a source at Al-Arabiya said. "It is lawful to kill ... the apostles of depravation... if their evil cannot be easily removed through simple sanctions," Luhaidan said, according to excerpt of the remarks broadcast on the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya. The situation is "serious ... the degradation of morals is a form of perversion on earth," he added.
Saleh al-Luhaidan
During Ramadan, when Muslims must fast from dawn to dusk, Arab satellite televisions broadcast lavish productions, including soap operas and mini-series, some with historical and religious themes, as well as game shows. A popular soap that was broadcast by Al-Arabiya for several weeks preceding Ramadan already stirred passions in Saudi Arabia, where the grand mufti branded it "subversive" and "anti-Islamic." Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh, head of Saudi Arabia's highest religious authority, earlier this year issued a fatwa against "Noor" and decreed that any channel broadcasting the series is "an enemy of God and his Prophet." The Turkish-made soap opera dubbed into Arabic tells the story of Mohannad and his equally stunning wife Noor as they wrestle to reconcile the conflicting pressures of traditional and modern worlds. Al-Arabiya is a news channel based in Dubai and part of the Saudi group MBC.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Two Junior Terrorists In Federal Custody On RNC Charges Denied Bail

Two Texas men, charged with illegally possessing Molotov cocktails ahead of the Republican National Convention, were denied bail Wednesday and remain in federal custody in Minnesota. A federal magistrate judge released 22-year-old David Guy McKay and 23-year-old Bradley Neil Crowder each on $25,000 bond Tuesday, but the decision was instantly appealed and overturned."It's totally unfair what they did. A judge said they could go because he found them as no threat and then government decides to run up a flight of stairs and give another hearing immediately," said McKay's father, Mechel McKay. Jeffrey DeGree, an attorney for McKay, argued Tuesday for his client's release. DeGree says he questions the techniques, including the use of electronic surveillance which investigators used to ultimately arrest and charge his client. McKay and Crowder will remain in federal custody until another trial date has been set.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Ripper 'Claimed Earlier Victims'

Jack the Ripper may have killed his first victim 25 years earlier than previously thought, a retired murder detective has claimed in a new book. It is thought that Jack the Ripper killed and mutilated at least five prostitutes in the East End between August and November 1888. But Trevor Marriott says he may have struck in 1863 and 1872. Mr Marriott will be presenting his findings at the Docklands Museum which is hosting an exhibition on the killer. The body of 28-year-old prostitute Emma Jackson was found in a brothel in St Giles, central London, in April 1863. She had five wounds to the throat and had not been robbed. The case was never solved. Mr Marriott also uncovered a second case he believes may have been committed by the Ripper.Nine years after the Jackson murder, on Christmas Day 1872, Harriet Buswell was found with her throat slit at her lodgings in nearby Great Coram Street, after returning home the previous evening with a male guest. In his book, The Evil Within, Mr Marriott claims that Jack the Ripper did not remove internal organs from two of his victims. Traditionally, the serial killer is alleged to have removed organs from the bodies of his victims, including his second "official" victim Annie Chapman and Catherine Eddowes, his fourth, with a degree of medical precision. But Mr Marriott said: "The organs were not removed by the killer at the crime scenes but by person or persons unknown for medical research at some point between the bodies being removed from the crime scenes and the post mortems taking place some 12 hours later. "In both these cases the bodies had been left alone and unattended outside makeshift mortuaries."