Friday, August 17, 2012


Ecuador may file int'l criminal appeal if UK refuses Assange safe passage

Published: 17 August, 2012, 17:03
Ecuador may appeal to ICC over Assange unless UK lets him leave country.
Ecuador may appeal to ICC over Assange unless UK lets him leave country.

Ecuador has said it may appeal to the International Criminal Court (ICC) if the UK refuses to grant Julian Assange safe passage out of the country.
Eciadorian presidential staff adviser Alexis Mera said his government would pursue every legal means to bring Assange to Ecuador.
"We are open to discuss with Britain the solution to this problem, and if there is no diplomatic solution, we may resort to the International Court of Justice," Ecuadorian daily EL Commercio quoted Mera as saying.
"It would be terrible and an attack on all international rights" if British police were to enter the Ecuadorian embassy, he said.
On Friday Mera attended a cabinent meeting with President Rafael Correa and other ministers in the Southern city of Liba. 
17 August 2012 - 11H15  

'Tumour' of Israel will soon be destroyed: Ahmadinejad
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (seen in Beijing in June) said Friday that Israel is a "cancerous tumour" that will soon be finished off. The diatribe took place amid heightened tensions between Israel and Iran over Tehran's disputed nuclear programme.
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (seen in Beijing in June) said Friday that Israel is a "cancerous tumour" that will soon be finished off. The diatribe took place amid heightened tensions between Israel and Iran over Tehran's disputed nuclear programme.
AFP - Israel is a "cancerous tumour" that will soon be finished off, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Friday told demonstrators holding an annual protest against the existence of the Jewish state.
"The Zionist regime and the Zionists are a cancerous tumour. Even if one cell of them is left in one inch of (Palestinian) land, in the future this story (of Israel's existence) will repeat," he said in a speech in Tehran marking Iran's Quds Day that was broadcast on state television.
"The nations of the region will soon finish off the usurper Zionists in the Palestinian land.... A new Middle East will definitely be formed. With the grace of God and help of the nations, in the new Middle East there will be no trace of the Americans and Zionists," he said.

Japan to send back Chinese sea activists to avoid row

TOKYO/BEIJING | Fri Aug 17, 2012 2:41am EDT
(Reuters) - Japan is to send home 14 Chinese activists who were detained after some of them landed on an island claimed by both Tokyo and Beijing, but sour notes from Beijing and South Korea showed the latest flare-ups in territorial disputes were far from over.

(Source: ADALBERTO ROQUE/AFP/Getty Images)
(Source: ADALBERTO ROQUE/AFP/Getty Images)

Diana Nyad To Attempt Cuba To Keys Swim – Again

KEY LARGO (CBSMiami/FKNB) – Marathon swimmer Diana Nyad is hoping the fourth time will be the charm.
On Thursday, she tweeted out that she planned to begin another attempt to swim from Cuba to the Florida Keys this Sunday.
Nyad has spent weeks training in Key West and monitoring the weather for a favorable window.
It was a feat she first attempted in 1978, when she was 28 years old. After a more than 30-year lapse she announced in 2010 that she was going to try again. But by the time she had the necessary Cuban government paperwork, her weather window had expired.
In 2011, she tried twice. She was foiled by shoulder pain and a debilitating in-water asthma attack in August during her first attempt. About a month later, multiple severe jellyfish stings ended the second..
Though she stated after the third attempt she would not try again, time changed her mind.

“People often in their lives — I don’t care whether it’s in the middle of their marriages, or their political careers or their athletic careers — they come to a point where they say, ‘That’s it. I can’t do any more. I’ve had it. I’ve tried my hardest.’ And I felt that way last year,” Nyad said. “And then you have time to think about it and you get another few months of living, and hoping again gets rekindled.”
During the 2012 swim, Nyad will be accompanied by kayakers with electronic shark repelling devices instead of swimming in a shark cage as she did in 1978. Her support team will provide liquids and food at regular intervals.
Each night she plans to wear a full-body suit made of modern textiles with a cross-hatched weave to protect against jellyfish stings.
“No neoprene, but it’s got a hood, it’s got a pantyhose face with eyes and a mouth cut out in it, and the little booties, the little gloves,” Nyad said. “I’ll just be darned if the jellyfish are going to stop me from coming across again.”
According to Nyad, lessons learned during her previous attempts have helped her prepare for the crossing she described as “a bear of a swim” fraught with challenges including treacherous currents.
While her goal is to land somewhere in the Florida Keys, the currents and the Gulf Stream will determine the exact spot.
“Frankly, I don’t care where I land,” she said. “When I see land, I’m just going to say, ‘Hallelujah!’ and I’m going to kiss the ground when I get there.”
If she succeeds, Nyad will be the first person to swim across the Florida Straits from Cuba to the Florida Keys without a shark cage. Australian swimmer Susie Maroney accomplished the crossing with a shark cage in 1997.
The Florida Keys News Bureau contributed to this report. 

August 16, 2012

Cuban dissident couple faces 2 years in prison for 'defecating on the mother of Fidel Castro'

Yoandris Gutiérrez Vargas junto a su esposa en Bayamo foto de Hablemos PressGertrudis Ojeda Suárez and Yoandris Naoky Ricardo Mir
The Cuban "justice system" is a farce, just another manipulation the Castro regime uses to target its opponents and to keep its grip on power.
This is clear when you recognize the dictatorship's nasty habit of charging dissidents with "common" crimes, like "assault" or "public disorder," as a way to get them off the streets and to silence their voice. By doing so, the authorities hope to diminish their targets' credibility by branding them as nothing more than criminals.
When targeting the married couple of Gertrudis Ojeda Suárez and Yoandris Naoky Ricardo Mir, the regime is being a little more creative.
At a closed-door hearing in the eastern Cuba town of Banes on Wednesday, prosecutors informed the couple they were being charged with "defecating on the mother of Fidel Castro" at a cemetery, a charge that apparently carries a punishment of two years in prison.
I shit you not.
Other activists say the couple is being targeted because of their opposition to the Castro dictatorship. In recent months, they were subjected to "acts of repudiation" after they hanged anti-Castro banners and posters on the walls of their residence.
Uncommon Sense

Nudity, masks and color: Protests for Pussy Riot

PARIS (AP) — They asked for undies on heads, masks, and as much color as possible on Friday. They got a topless activist hacking down a cross in Ukraine, balaclavas on Soviet-era statues of soldiers in Bulgaria, and signs for "Justice" in Spain.
Organizers of protests in more than three dozen cities around the world are hoping thousands of others will turn out in raucous support of Pussy Riot, the Russian provocateurs who were convicted of hooliganism in Moscow.
The three women in the band, who have been in jail for more than five months because of a guerrilla performance denouncing President Vladimir Putin in Moscow's main cathedral, face a maximum seven years in prison when they are sentenced later Friday.
Protesters in Paris, at Igor Stravinsky square near the Centre Pompidou modern art museum, echoed those outside the Moscow courthouse, chanting "Svoboda! Svoboda!" or "Freedom! Freedom!"
In Ukraine, four feminist activists, one of them topless, used a chainsaw to hack down a wooden cross in Kiev's central square in a show of support.
"A cross is a symbol of the repressive religious prejudice that supports dictatorship. Now people who worship the cross want to jail the innocent," said Anna Gutsol, leader of the group that chopped down the nearly 6-meter (18-foot) tall cross put into place during Ukraine's Orange Revolution.
In Sofia, Bulgaria, supporters of Pussy Riot dressed statues on a Soviet-era monument in colorful balaclavas similar to those worn by demonstrators in Moscow.
Celebrities including Paul McCartney, Madonna and Bjork have called for the band to be freed. Germany's top human rights official, Markus Loening, joined them Friday, saying their detention had already been "fully disproportionate."
The trial on charges of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred has attracted worldwide attention as an emblem of Russia's intolerance of dissent.
Protests are planned outside Russian embassies in Washington and capitals around Europe.
About 150 people demonstrated outside the Russian Embassy in Berlin. One sign showed a photo of German Chancellor Angela Merkel embracing Putin with the message: "He hasn't earned it."
The crowd cheered and blew whistles as a woman on stage, wearing a pink balaclava, shouted her message to Moscow through a megaphone: "The world is watching you and we don't like what we see — we are all Pussy Riot."
In Serbia, while anti-Putin activists plan protests in Belgrade, a Serbian far-right group has taken Putin's side. The group Nasi has launched an online game targeting the Pussy Riot members, and says on its website that the women should be sent to the hospital for psychiatric treatment.
Associated Press reporters Veselin Toshkov in Sofia, Bulgaria, Anna Melnichuk in Kiev, Ukraine, David Rising in Berlin contributed to this report.

Russian punk band found guilty of hooliganism

By Dylan Stableford, Yahoo! News | The Lookout – 
(Pussy Riot/Live Journal)
(Pussy Riot/Live Journal)
Three members of Pussy Riot -- a Russian punk band and feminist collective that mocked Russian president Vladamir Putin during a "punk prayer" in a Moscow cathedral--have been found guilty of  hooliganism driven by religious hatred and offending religious believers a judge ruled.
Sentencing is expected later today.
Judge Marina Syrova announced the verdict from a district court in central Moscow, about two miles from the Christ the Saviour Cathedral where the guerrilla group performed its "flash" stunt.
The band members--Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, Maria Alyokhina, 24, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 30--were arrested on March 3, several weeks after the performance, and charged with "hooliganism." They've been in jail ever since.

Their trial drew enormous international interest, sparking catcalls from international free-speech advocates and spawning dozens of protests--including demonstrations in more than two dozen cities worldwide on Friday before the verdict was announced.
Madonna, Bjork, Paul McCartney and Courtney Love were among a long list of musicians to come out in support of Pussy Riot, calling on the Russian government to set the band members free. Last week in Berlin, more than 400 people joined a protest led by electro-singer Peaches.
"In one of the most extravagant displays," the Associated Press said, "Reykjavik Mayor Jon Gnarr rode through the streets of the Icelandic capital in a Gay Pride parade ... dressed like a band member--wearing a bright pink dress and matching balaclava--while lip-synching to one of Pussy Riot's songs."
What started as "a punk-infused political prank," London's Independent said, "has rapidly snowballed into one of the most notorious court cases in post-Soviet Russian history."
Five members of the group, which formed in 2011, were arrested in January after a video of a Putin-baiting performance in Moscow's Red Square circulated online. They were detained for several hours by police, fined and released, NPR said.

But the 10-member Pussy Riot--inspired by the American "riot grrrl" movement and bands like Bikini Kill--vowed more protest performances.
Pussy Riot's stunt at Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral, a Russian Orthodox church, was a response, they said, to Patriarch Kirill's public support of Putin in the build-up to Russia's presidential election. Putin won a third term as president in March.
"Holy Mother, send Putin packing!" the group sang.
The Guardian called the trial, which began on July 30, "worse than Soviet era."
"By the end of the first week of Pussy Riot's trial," the Guardian's Miriam Elder wrote last week, "everyone in the shabby Moscow courthouse was tired. Guards, armed with submachine guns, grabbed journalists and threw them out of the room at will. The judge, perched in front of a shabby Russian flag, refused to look at the defense. And the police dog--a 100 [pound] black Rottweiler--no longer sat in the corner she had occupied since the start of Russia's trial of the year, but barked and foamed at the mouth as if she were in search of blood."
Lawyers for the women complained during the trial that the trio were being starved and tortured in prison. Two threatened to go on a hunger strike after they were initially jailed.
"Their treatment has caused deep disquiet among many Russians, who feel the women are--to coin a phrase from the 1967 trial of members of the Rolling Stones--butterflies being broken on a wheel," the BBC's Daniel Sandford wrote.
Syrova was subjected to unspecified threats during the trial, Russian authorities announced on Thursday--assigning bodyguards to protect her before and after she announced the verdict.
Several Russian pop stars, though, questioned the outpouring of support for Pussy Riot.
"What is so great about Pussy Riot that all these international stars support them?" Russian singer Valeria wrote on her website, according to Reuters. "They must be saying this because someone ordered them to."
"Art and politics are inseparable for us," the band said in an interview with the online newspaper in February. "We try to make political art. Performances and their rehearsals are our job. Life in Pussy Riot takes a lot of time."