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    29 December 2009

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    06 August 2009

    ALERT| ‘Ferris Bueller’ Director Dies Of Heart Attack

    BreakingNewsJohn Hughes, prolific director of such culturally significant films such as "The Breakfast Club," "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," "Planes," "Trainsand Automobiles" and "Home Alone" has died suddenly of a heart attack while taking a morning walk during a trip to Manhattan to visit family.

    Updated  ABC News reports that John Hughes, director of "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" and producer of "Home Alone" and others, has died aged 59.

    05 August 2009

    Opposition boycotts Ahmadinejad’s swearing-in

    Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been sworn-in for a second term of office as Iranian president. But, former presidents Ali Akhbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Ali Khatami were among the opposition leaders who boycotted the ceremony in Teheran. However, most western embassies sent representatives.

    In his address to the parliament in Tehran, Ahmadinejad said Iran must continue to resist oppressor nations. He also told Western leaders who had not congratulated him on his re-election that “no-one in Iran was waiting for them.”

    Outside the parliament building, riot police were out in force to prevent any opposition protests.
    The trial of about a hundred reformists who led demonstrations in the wake of the contested election is set to resume on Thursday.

    Ahmadinejad now has two weeks to present a cabinet for parliament’s approval. While he has the formal endorsement of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the President may have difficulty getting his team through the divided parliament, where he faces attacks from both the ultra-conservative and reformist flanks.

    William Jefferson, Ex-Congressman, Convicted in Bribery Case

    A federal jury in Alexandria, Va., on Wednesday convicted
    former Representative William Jefferson, a Louisiana
    Democrat, on 11 of 16 counts, including bribery in a case in
    which agents found $90,000 in his freezer.

    He was accused of accepting more than $400,000 in bribes and
    seeking millions more in exchange for brokering business
    deals in Africa. The jury deliberated five days before
    returning the verdict.

    Outrage Over 'Wrong-Way' Crash Revelations

    UpdatedHow could she? That's what families of the victims want to know Wednesday morning as they prepare to meet with the Westchester County District Attorney after toxicology tests showed Diane Schuler was drunk and high as she drove the wrong-way on the Taconic State Parkway, leading to a crash that killed herself, four small children and three men. Toxicology reports released Tuesday painted a disturbing and dark picture of 36-year-old Schuler, a woman once perceived as a devoted mother and victim of a terrible tragedy.

    Clinton, 2 Freed Reporters Return Home

    BreakingNewsTwo U.S. journalists held for 5 months in North Korea returned to the U.S. Wednesday as a plane carrying former President Bill Clinton and them landed in California. Clinton held rare talks with reclusive leader Kim Jong Il, who pardoned the women sentenced to hard labor for entering the country illegally.

    03 August 2009

    ALERT|Missile Strike Near Us Embassy

    Missiles strike near US embassy in Afghan capital Kabul. More soon…
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    01 August 2009



    BULLETIN -- Reports: At least 2 people killed, 8 others injured after gunman opens fire at gay bar in Tel Aviv.

    Saudi TV sex boast man arrested


    A Saudi Arabian man who went on an Arabic television talk show to boast about his sex life has been arrested.

    The man, named as Mazen Abdul Jawad, prompted more than 200 complaints from Saudi viewers.

    He was arrested for "publicising vice", police said, after he spoke about his experiences and displayed sex toys and a sex guide at his home in Jeddah.

    Mr Abdul Jawad had publicly apologised, saying producers at the TV station had tricked him into some of his accounts.

    During the show on Lebanon's LBC, the father-of-four told how he first had sex with a neighbour when he was 14.

    He also described how he used the Bluetooth function on his mobile phone to pick up women in the kingdom.

    A police spokesman in Jeddah said Mr Abdul Jawad's appearance had violated Saudi Arabia's Islamic sharia law code and was against Saudi customs.

    He was detained at his apartment at the Red Sea port city before being fingerprinted and turned over to criminal investigators, according to media reports.

    Passenger 'Acting Crazy' Forced LaGuardia Evac


    A cell phone photo shows travelers outside LaGuardia Airport during an evacuation on Aug. 1, 2009, in New York. 

    UpdatedPeople were being allowed back inside the main terminal at LaGuardia Airport that was evacuated Saturday morning over fears of a possible bomb. While the Central Concourse has been re-opened, Terminal C was still considered a crime scene and was to remain closed for hours after the incident.

    Authorities: Device Found At LaGuardia 'Harmless'


    UpdatedTerminal C in LaGuardia Airport is considered a crime scene and will remain closed for hours Saturday. John Kelly, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, said the airport's central terminal building was evacuated this morning. A man was taken into custody and an NYPD bomb squad searched his bag. They found a device, but deemed it to be harmless. The man was considered to be emotionally disturbed.

    LaGuardia Terminal Evacuated In NYC, 1 In Custody

     Authorities said a main terminal of LaGuardia Airport in New York City was evacuated and a police bomb squad arrested a man and searched his bag. John Kelly, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, said the airport's central terminal building was evacuated Saturday morning. He didn't know how many passengers were there at the time or what airlines are served at the building.

    31 July 2009

    ‘Fake co.uk Sites’ Trick Consumers

    Trading standards officers say that consumers are being tricked into buying fake goods on the internet by companies pretending to be based in the UK.

    The websites are often based in China, but use "co.uk" as part of their domain name, giving shoppers a false sense of security, they say.

    It is thought that there could be as many as 480,000 websites which carry "co.uk", but which are not UK based.

    The sites sell a range of goods from trainers to hair straighteners.

    Al-Qaeda supporters 'joined MI5'

    imageA senior Tory MP has asked the home secretary whether al-Qaeda sympathisers were mistakenly recruited by MI5.

    Patrick Mercer, chairman of the Home Affairs counter-terror sub-committee, said he was told six recruits were ejected after worries about their past.

    Two allegedly attended al-Qaeda training camps while the others had unexplained gaps in their CVs, Mr Mercer told the Daily Telegraph.

    A Home Office spokeswoman declined to comment on the claims.

    'Took advantage'

    Mr Mercer said he had learned that MI5 had dismissed the six recruits some time between 2005 and 2007.

    The MP said he feared that, in the aftermath of the bombings on London's transport network in July 2005, the security services had rushed to try and take on Muslim recruits, and that had potentially allowed al-Qaeda sympathisers to infiltrate the security service.

    He has written to the Home Secretary Alan Johnson asking for further details.

    Mr Mercer said the Commons Home Affairs committee may investigate the issue next month.

    He told the newspaper that the government should have been prompted to expand the security services following the attacks on New York on 11 September 2001.

    "In fact it took an attack on this country for such measures to be started," he added.

    "But at this point it was an unseemly rush of which our enemies, not unsurprisingly, took advantage."

    29 July 2009

    NBC O&O sites clean up layout, mess up header

    The NBC O&O stations have rolled out a redesign for their sites.


    For the most part, the new design is a significant improvement over the old layout and takes a big step in cleaning up the clutter. Also gone is the annoying iTunes-style showcase area that always seemed to be a bit slow to load and had so many items crammed into it that it become impractical.

    More commentary and a poll after the jump.

    However, the new look uses, quite unexplainedly, a bizzare, geometric font for the header. Not only does the font seem completely out of place among the clean typography found elsewhere, it’s not a very well rendered typeface and seems like something that came from a free font site (we couldn’t identify the font using MyFont’s What the Font? tool).

    That said, the new site has a Facebook-style status line directly under the logo that seems to be fed by a poll on an individual story. For example, this morning it read “New York is furious about letting kids drive trains.” It seems the feature is meant to reflect the overall feeling of the entire city.

    It’s a nice human touch with a social networking flair, but it will be interesting to see how much opinion and attitude finds its way into the feature.

    China Protests to Japan Over Uighur Tour

    China has protested over claims that nearly ten thousand people are missing after ethnic rioting earlier this month.

    It has called in Japan’s ambassador in Beijing to complain about the Tokyo visit of exiled leader of the Uighur community Rebiya Kadeer.

    Violence broke out between native Uighurs
    and Han Chinese on July 5. Rebiya Kadeer is demanding an international team looks into the trouble and claims close to 10,000 people disappeared in one night in the city of Urumqi.

    Beijing has accused Ms Kadeer, who now lives in the US, of inciting the vioelnce, an allegation she denies.

    The trouble began after police tried to break up a protest against fatal attacks on Uighur factory workers in south China. Ethnic tension remains high in Xinjiang province after the violence.

    Shining some light on sunbed risks

    Many of us want to look bronzed and healthy all year round, but the latest warnings should give pause for thought. Experts now believe that the risks of sunbeds may be as high as those of asbestos and smoking. The World Health Organisation has ranked sunbeds at Level Two risk since 1992, but has now raised that to Level One – a danger to human health.

    “UV rays are radiation which penetrate the skin, and can cause lesions within the skin,” said cancer researcher Beatrice Secretan. “These lesions can cause the development of cancer.”

    According to the research, exposure to artificial UV rays by people under the age of 30 raises the risk of melanoma, or skin cancer, by about 75 percent.
    With UV rays being acknowledged as posing a risk, it is perhaps surprising that so many people still want to get brown no matter what.

    “I can’t stop myself!” said one woman. “It is like sweets: you can tell people they are going to get fat, but they keep on eating. For me, it is not sweets, it is getting a tan.”

    Sun-lovers defend artificial tanning by pointing out that the sun itself has been classed as a cause of cancer since 1992.

    “The dangers of the sun are everywhere, on the beach, anywhere where we expose ourselves to the rays without taking precautions like suncreams,” said Dominique Baumier, from the French sunbed association. “Natural sunshine is far more harmful than the rays we find in sunbeds.”

    For the time being there is no question of banning sunbeds. It is more important to find out about the risks, and to train people better in sunbed operation to warn their clients of possible dangers.

    “Banning sunbeds outright would not work,” said
    Georges Reuter, from the French association of dermatologists. “There are ways of getting around such a thing. It is more important to have proper information and training for sunbed operators, which is not always the case at the moment.”

    Skin experts say ten sunbed sessions a year should be the maximum. But they prefer the use of bronzing lotions, in cream or shower form.
    However, as always, the advice must be: “Everything in moderation!”

    ETA aimed to kill with barracks bomb, says minister

    Seeing the devastation of the Burgos barracks bombing for himself, Spain’s Interior Minister said ETA undoubtedly intended to kill.

    Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba stressed that the car bomb had been left to go off next to family quarters. He told reporters that 120 people had been sleeping in the barracks and 41 children could have died.

    “We, Spanish democrats, know that when we are dealing with ETA, we are faced with a gang of murderers,” said Rubalcaba. “We have always known that. As we have always known that they are murderers and savages. From the beginning. But from today onwards we know that they are crazed murderers and savages, which does not make them stronger but which, nevertheless, makes them more dangerous.”

    Dozens hurt in Spanish barracks bomb blast

    An amateur cameraman captured the moment that a powerful car bomb blamed on ETA exploded outside a paramilitary police force barracks in Spain.

    More than 60 people were hurt, not only Civil Guards but also their partners and children.

    The bomb, 200kg according to reports, miraculously caused only slight injuries, with glass flying from broken windows. And all those needing medical treatment have now been released from hospital.

    There was no warning but for Spanish authorities there is no doubt. Armed Basque separatists ETA were behind the early-morning attack in the historic city of Burgos.

    The Civil Guard is a favourite target of the group which is blamed for killing more than 800 people in a long-running campaign to carve out an independent Basque homeland.

    ETA is seen as under pressure to show it can still strike despite its ranks being decimated by arrests.
    The Burgos bombing comes just ahead of the 50th anniversary of ETA’s creation.

    Indian queen Gayatri Devi dies

    One of the last queens of India, Gayatri Devi, once described as one of the most beautiful women in the world, has died at the age of 90.

    She was hospitalised about 10 days ago with stomach and respiratory problems in Jaipur before dying on Wednesday.

    Born in to a royal family, she became the third wife of Sawai Man Singh, the Maharajah of Jaipur, in 1939.

    The fashion icon broke with tradition by winning election to parliament in 1962. She was re-elected twice.

    Dad, 23, Leaves Baby Unattended In Hot Car

    (HARTFORD,CT |WPIX-TV) A Connecticut man was arrested Tuesday after leaving a baby alone in a car with the engine off and the windows rolled up for almost an hour.

    Clayton Green, 23, was arrested after leaving the baby unattended in a parked car outside an apartment complex in Hartford, police said.

    The air temperature was 88 degrees outside of the vehicle, when Hartford

    Police arrived to the scene. Shortly afterwards the child was removed from the hot car and taken to the hospital.

    Police took Green into custody when he returned to vehicle 30 minutes after the baby was removed. He was charged with risk of injury to a minor and reckless endangerment.

    Police say the baby was taken to Connecticut Children's Medical Center where the child is listed in good condition.

    Reports: North Korea seizes South Korean vessel

    SEOUL (BNO NEWS) -- A South Korean fishing vessel was towed into North Korea on Thursday morning after accidentally crossing the border, a defense official told the Yonhap news agency.

    The incident took place around 6 a.m. local time in the East Sea, the official said. He said four people were on board the ship when it was taken by North Korean authorities.

    YTN-TV broadcasted a similar report but had no additional information.

    Further details were not immediately available.

    Severe T-Storm Warning Issued For Most Of NYC

    The National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm warning for all of New York City except Staten Island, and Hudson and Bergen counties in New Jersey until 7:30 p.m. A Flash Flood Watch continues for portions of northeast New Jersey and southeast New York until 6 a.m. Thursday.

    Flash Flood Warnings Issued In NJ


    Flash flood warnings are in effect for Hunterdon, Mercer, Sussex, and Warren County until 8:00 p.m. This alert signifies a dangerous situation where rapid flooding of small rivers, streams, creaks, or urban areas are imminent or already occurring.

    Poll Shows Obama's Clout on Health Care Is Eroding

    President Obama's ability to shape the debate on health care
    appears to be eroding as opponents aggressively portray the
    effort as a government-takeover that could limit Americans'
    ability to chose their doctor and course of treatment,
    according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

    Americans are concerned that overhauling the health care
    system would reduce the quality of their care, increase their
    out-of-pocket health costs and tax bills and limit their
    options in choosing doctors, treatment and tests, the poll

    Boston police officer used racial slur when referring to Harvard professor

    A Boston police officer has been put on administrative leave after using racist slurs when referring to Harvard professor Henry Gates, who has been at the center of a controversial arrest last week and even drew president Obama to comment on the event.

    The officer is 36-year-old Justin Barrett. He was stripped of his gun and badge on Tuesday afternoon when Boston Police Commissioner Edward David learned that Barrett was the author of an e-mail which included racist remarks towards Henry Gates.

    "Commissioner Edward Davis has placed Officer Justin Barrett on administrative leave pending outcome of a termination hearing," said Elaine Driscoll, who is a spokeswoman for the Boston Police Department. "Commissioner Davis was made aware that this officer admitted to being the author of correspondence which included racist remarks," she added. Driscoll did not know how many people received the e-mail or at what date it was sent.

    According to BNO News sources with direct knowledge to the contents of the e-mail, Barrett called Gates, among other racists remarks, a "jungle monkey." The e-mail was described as a "mass e-mail."

    Boston Mayor Tom Menino called Barrett a "cancer in the department" and said he should be fired immediately, his office said.

    Barrett was assigned to Boston's Mattapan district and has been on the job for about two years and has no prior history. An investigation has been launched.

    Severe T-Storm Warning Issued For N.J. Counties

    Source: CBS

    The National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm warning for Middlesex and Monmouth counties in New Jersey until 8:30 p.m. A flash flood watch continues for portions of northeast New Jersey and southeast New York until 6 a.m. Thursday.

    FOX Pundit : Obama Is A Racist

    alg_obama-glenn Fox News Channel commentator Glenn Beck said he believes President Barack Obama is a racist.

    Beck made the statement during a guest appearance Tuesday on the "Fox & Friends" morning show. He said Obama has exposed himself as a person with "a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture."

    Youtube Channel Asnycnow15 | 28 July

    His remarks came during a discussion of Obama's reaction to the arrest of Harvard University scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. Gates is black and was arrested for disorderly conduct by a white policeman over a misunderstanding about a break-in at Gates' home.

    An Obama spokesman, William Burton, said the White House had no comment on Beck.

    Beck's statement was challenged on the air by Fox host Brian Kilmeade, who noted that most of the people who work for the nation's first black president are white.

    "I'm not saying he doesn't like white people," Beck said. "He has a problem. This guy is, I believe, a racist."

    Beck wondered, during the discussion, what other president would immediately jump on the police for their actions in the case. Obama said in a news conference that he believed the police acted stupidly in the case, but later backtracked from the statement and invited Gates and the police officer, Sgt. James Crowley, to the White House for a conciliatory meeting later this week.

    Bill Shine, Fox News senior vice president of programming, told the TVNewswer Web site that Beck had "expressed a personal opinion which represented his own views, not those of the Fox News Channel. And as with all commentators in the cable news arena, he is given the freedom to express his opinions."

    Racial controversies are hardly new to presidents. In 2005, entertainer Kanye West said during a telethon after Hurricane Katrina that President George W. Bush "doesn't care about black people."

    Beck, also a radio host and best-selling author, was an immediate hit with Fox News Channel viewers, starting in January when he made the jump from HLN (formerly CNN Headline News).

    Beck didn't speak about the racial comments on his own Tuesday Fox show

    Microsoft, Yahoo Agree On Long-Sought Search Deal

    Combo pictures show the Microsoft office in Herndon, Virginia, December 27, 2005 and Yahoo headquarters in Sunnyvale, California. 

    Microsoft has reached a deal with Yahoo for an Internet search partnership, ending years of back and forth negotiations. The agreement announced Wednesday gives Microsoft access to the Internet's second-largest search engine audience. It adds a potentially potent weapon to Microsoft's Internet arsenal as the software maker girds for an online assault against Google.

    24 July 2009

    ALERT|Bush Administration Debated Using Military in Terrorism Arrests

    Top Bush administration officials in 2002 debated testing the
    Constitution by sending American troops into the suburbs of
    Buffalo to arrest a group of men suspected of plotting with
    Al Qaeda, according to former administration officials.

    Some of the advisers to President George W. Bush, including
    Vice President Dick Cheney, argued that a president had the
    power to use the military on domestic soil to sweep up the
    terrorism suspects, who came to be known as the Lackawanna
    Six, and declare them enemy combatants. Mr. Bush ultimately
    decided against the proposal to use military force.

    Jersey City Mayor 'Official 4' In Corruption Case

    Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy issued a statement acknowledging that he, too, is a target of the investigation that saw 44 people, including three other New Jersey mayors, arrested by federal agents in a decade-long corruption investigation. Healy said he was identified in official court documents as "Official 4," a public official also being targeted by feds.

    E. Lynn Harris Died At Age 54

    E. Lynn Harris, a pioneer of gay black fiction and a literary entrepreneur who rose from self-publishing to best-selling status, has died, his publicist said Friday. He was 54.

    Publicist Laura Gilmore said Harris died Thursday night after being stricken at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills, and a cause of death had not been determined. She said Harris, who lived in Atlanta, fell ill on a train to Los Angeles a few days ago and blacked out for a few minutes, but seemed fine after that.

    Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter said only that a man matching Harris' name and date of birth had died Thursday night at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, which was confirmed by hospital spokeswoman Simi Singer. Gilmore said an autopsy would be performed Monday or Tuesday.

    An improbable and inspirational success story, Harris worked for a decade as an IBM executive before taking up writing, selling the novel "Invisible Life" from his car as he visited salons and beauty parlors around Atlanta. He had unprecedented success for an openly gay black author and his strength as a romance writer led some to call him the "male Terry McMillan."

    He went on to mainstream success with works such as the novel "Love of My Own" and the memoir "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted."

    His writing fell into several genres, including gay and lesbian fiction, African American fiction and urban fiction. But he found success in showing readers a new side of African American life: the secret world of professional, bisexual black men living as heterosexuals.

    "He was a pioneering voice within the black LGBT community but also resonated with mainstream communities, regardless of race and sexual orientation," said Herndon Davis, a gay advocate and a diversity media consultant in Los Angeles. "Harris painted with eloquent prose and revealing accuracy the lives of African American men and the many complicated struggles they faced reconciling their sexuality and spirituality while rising above societal taboos within the black community."

    Harris published 11 novels, 10 of which were on The New York Times best-seller list. There are over 4 million copies of his books in print, according to his publisher, Doubleday.


    "We at Doubleday are deeply shocked and saddened to learn of E. Lynn Harris' death at too young an age," said Doubleday spokeswoman Alison Rich, his longtime publicist. "His pioneering novels and powerful memoir about the black gay experience touched and inspired millions of lives, and he was a gifted storyteller whose books brought delight and encouragement to readers everywhere."

    In an interview last year, Harris recalled the first time he realized he was poor, when as a young boy his family was invited to the housewarming of a well-to-do family in his hometown of Fayetteville, Ark. Fresh from an afternoon of playing outside, he tried desperately to tuck his bare, dusty feet underneath the sofa after another guest remarked on his appearance.

    "I didn't grow up in the kind of environment that my characters grew up in, or the kind of environment that I live in now," he said. "It was one of the things that I always aspired to."

    His 1994 debut, "Invisible Life," was a coming-of-age story that dealt with the then-taboo topic.

    "If you were African American and you were gay, you kept your mouth shut and you went on and did what everybody else did," he said. "You had girlfriends, you lived a life that your parents had dreamed for you."

    Harris was not living as an openly gay man when "Invisible Life" was published, and could not acknowledge the parallels between himself and the book.

    "People would often ask, 'Is this book about you?' I didn't want to talk about that," he said. "I wasn't comfortable talking about it. I would say that this is a work of fiction."

    Harris said that the courage readers got from the book empowered him to be honest about himself. He continued to tell stories dealing with similar issues, to tell black middle class readers about people they knew, but who were living secret lives.

    For years, he was alone in exposing the "down low," but the phenomenon exploded into mainstream culture in 2004, a decade after "Invisible Life." That year, J.L. King's "On the Down Low: A Journey Into the Lives of 'Straight' Black Men Who Sleep With Men" hit bookstores and the author appeared on Oprah Winfrey's TV show.

    His 10th novel, "Just Too Good to Be True," focused for the first time on a straight relationship, telling the story of a 21-year-old football star, his mother, and his cheerleader love interest. Harris taught writing classes at his alma mater, the University of Arkansas, and leaned on his students there to gather material for the book.

    The last book Harris published, "Basketball Jones," focused on a hidden relationship between a successful business professional in New Orleans and an NBA star.

    Janis F. Kearney met Harris when the two were among a handful of black journalism students at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. The two became fast friends and their relationship deepened as they both evolved into authors. Kearney, who now lives in Little Rock, Ark., recalled Harris' huge heart.

    "I've seen him help so many people," Kearney said. "He was very open, very giving, very caring, someone you felt so fortunate to have in your life. He's just one of those people I'll never stop missing."

    N Korea 'tests weapons on children'

    Analysts believe North Korea has one of the most aggressive biochemical weapons programmes

    [By Steve Chao in Seoul, South Korea]

    When Im Chun-yong made his daring escape from North Korea, with a handful of his special forces men, there were many reasons why the North Korean government was intent on stopping them.

    They were, after all, part of Kim Jong-il's elite commandos - privy to a wealth of military secrets and insights into the workings of the reclusive regime.

    In video

    Interview: North Korea weapons threat

    But among the accounts they carried with them is one of the most shocking yet to emerge – namely the use of humans, specifically mentally or physically handicapped children, to test North Korea's biological and chemical weapons.

    "If you are born mentally or physically deficient, says Im, the government says your best contribution to society… is as a guinea pig for biological and chemical weapons testing."

    Even after settling into the relative safety of South Korea, for 10 years Im held on to this secret, saying it was too horrific to recount.

    But with Kim's health reportedly failing, and the country appearing increasingly unpredictable, Im felt it was time he spoke out.

    Daughter given up

    The former military captain says it was in the early 1990s, that he watched his then commander wrestle with giving up his 12-year-old daughter who was mentally ill.

    The commander, he says, initially resisted, but after mounting pressure from his military superiors, he gave in.

    Im watched as the girl was taken away. She was never seen again.

    One of Im's own men later gave him an eyewitness account of human-testing.

    Asked to guard a secret facility on an island off North Korea's west coast, Im says the soldier saw a number of people forced into a glass chamber.

    "Poisonous gas was injected in," Im says. "He watched doctors time how long it took for them to die."

    Other North Korean defectors have long alleged that the secretive nation has been using political prisoners as experimental test subjects.

    Some have detailed how inmates were shipped from various concentration camps to so-called chemical "factories".

    'Widespread practice'

    But Im's is the first account of mentally-ill or physically challenged children being used.

    Kim Sang-hun believes there are at least three to five experimental weapons sites

    Security analysts believe Kim oversees one of the most aggressive and robust biochemical weapons programmes in the world.

    A member of the special forces' Brigade No.19, Im says he was trained on how to use biochemical weapons against the "enemy" – including how to fire them from short-range "bazooka-style" weapons.

    He says such training was normal practice for all elite units.

    Today it is estimated the country has accumulated a stockpile of more than 5,000 tonnes of biochemical weaponry; from mustard gas, to nerve agents such as sarin, to anthrax and cholera.

    The extent of the stockpile is a concern to Kim Sang-hun, a retired UN official who has spent years investigating the North's chemical and biological weapons programme.

    He believes over the past 20 years, the programme has advanced at a startling pace, specifically because the country’s rulers approve and support the use of human test subjects.

    [In Their Own Words]

    "If you are born mentally or physically deficient, the government says your best contribution to society… is as a guinea pig for biological and chemical weapons testing"

    [Im Chun-Yong, former North Korean commando]

    "Human experimentation is a widespread practice," Kim says.

    "I hoped I was wrong, but it is the reality and it is taking place in North Korea and it is taking place at a number of locations."

    There are some who question claims that the North conducts human trials. But Kim says he has interviewed hundred of defectors who, more times than not, volunteer personal vivid accounts.

    "The programme is now a commonly known fact in the North Korean public," he says.

    As a former member of the elite special forces, Im agrees.

    While the government may be secretive about a lot of things, he says "when it comes to human experimentation, most know it happens".

    Investigating what he says are serious UN violations regarding the rights of children and prisoners, Kim Sang-hun has amassed a vast amount of evidence.

    Compiled in folders at his home in Seoul are reams of testimonies and documents.

    Some bear what appear to be official government stamps approving the transfer of prisoners from camps to chemical "factories".

    He says he believes these are, in reality, experimental weapons sites.

    He has pinpointed at least three to five labs that he believes are situated in different parts of the country, including one just a few kilometres north of the capital, Pyongyang.

    Security analysts suspect there are as many as 20 such plants across the country.

    Biochemical threat

    As the world's attention focuses on the North's nuclear programme, Im is worried the international community will miss what he believes is the more imminent threat posed by the country's biochemical arsenal.

    Defectors have told of prisoners being shipped to chemical 'factories'

    Arms experts say at least 30 per cent of North Korea's missile and artillery systems are capable of delivering such weapons. With each successive test, they warn the North's accuracy improves, and so too its range.

    The UN Security Council now says it believes three of the seven missiles tested by the North on July 4 were Scud-ER missiles, which are known to be more accurate and have a range of 1,000km.

    Tokyo is roughly 1,160km from the base on North Korea's east coast from where the missiles were fired, while other parts of Japan are closer.

    Im believes the government would not hesitate to use such arms, saying he has seen the "ruthlessness" of the country’s leaders.

    During his escape from North Korea in December 1999, Im says he and his men battled their way out, chased by dozens of members of other commando units.

    "I myself killed three men," he says. "Then after swimming across the half frozen Tumen river into China, we sold our guns, and left that life behind."

    Im now devotes his time to gathering intelligence about the North's military capabilities.

    Even a decade after his escape, the threat he still poses to the North Korean government means that he now lives under the constant protection of South Korea's National Intelligence Service.

    Videos By Aljazeera English
    101 East looks at the future of North Korea
    A rare look at life inside North Korea
    Hans Blix on North Korea's nuclear fallout
    Double standards on nuclear weapons
    South Korea's nuclear fears
    China's troublesome ally
    N Korea test sparks alarm
    UN 'should expel N Korea'
    N Korea's 'nuclear gamble'

    In depth

    N Korea 'tests series of missiles'
    North Korea's nervous neighbours
    N Korea's nuclear trump card
    Timeline: N Korea's bomb
    Timeline: Missile launches

    Written By Steve Chao For  Aljazeera English

    This Article is Property of Aljazeera English

    Protesters shot dead in Yemen

    yemeni protest

    Up to 12 people have been killed in clashes between government security forces and opposition groups in southern Yemen.

    Witnesses said hundreds of security forces opened fire on about 7,000 protesters in the city of Zinjibar in Abyan province on Thursday in an effort to disperse them.

    Yemen's north and south were separate countries until they united in 1990, only to dissolve into civil war four years later when the south tried unsuccessfully to secede.

    Secessionist sentiment has since been on the rise in the south and regular demonstrations by former army members demanding political reforms have heightened tensions between the two sides.

    A doctor at al-Razi government hospital in Zinjibar said ambulances rushed to the scene and brought back 10 dead civilians and at least 12 injured police.

    Another doctor at Aden's May 28th hospital said he received eight critically injured civilians, two of whom later died.


    Ali Dehmes, an opposition member in the south, said that government forces "fired live bullets" and "have committed a massacre against unarmed civilians".

    But Ahmed al-Maysari, the governor of Abyan province, denied that security forces had fired on the protesters and said that only eight civilians were killed when the demonstrators started shooting.

    The Yemeni government issued a statement expressing regret about "the killing, sabotaging, and hostilities perpetrated by outlawed" individuals in Abyan.

    Witnesses said armed men from two cities to the north and east of Zinjibar clashed with security forces who prevented them from participating in Thursday's protest by cutting off roads heading to the provincial capital.

    Some people participating the demonstration in Zinjibar called for a revolution in the south, while others complained about deteriorating services, including scarce water and frequent power outages.

    One witness said that plainclothes security agents used batons to beat up protesters and drag them across the ground into waiting police trucks.

    Soldiers killed

    At least seven Yemeni soldiers were killed and several wounded in attacks launched by Shia rebels in northern Yemen over the past two days, a military source said on Friday.

    "Clashes broke out after Huthi rebels attacked army bases in the Saada province, during which seven soldiers were killed, while a number of others were wounded or captured," the source told the AFP news agency on Friday.

    Thousands of people have died since 2004 in clashes between government forces and rebels led by Abdel Malek al-Huthi.

    They reject the current government and want the Zaidi clerical regime overthrown in a military coup in 1962 restored.

    Hoboken Mayor Proclaims Innocence, Won't Step Down

    Hoboken, N.J., Mayor Peter Cammarano was among many public officials and others arrested by federal agents involved in a corruption  investigation, July 23, 2009. Hoboken Mayor Peter Cammarano III is proclaiming his innocence and says he will not step down from office despite being one of the 44 suspects arrested in a major federal corruption investigation on Thursday. "The charges that are leveled against me in a federal court are completely baseless, and I deny any wrongdoing in connection with the allegations that are contained in that complaint," he said Friday.

    ALERT| Obama Says He Regrets His Language on Gates Arrest

    President Obama said Friday that he "could have calibrated"
    his words more carefully in the racially-charged controversy
    over the arrest of a Harvard professor, making a surprise
    appearance at the daily White House briefing to try and cool
    the tensions surrounding the case.

    Mr. Obama said he had talked to the arresting officer and
    hoped the case could become "a teachable moment" to be used
    to improve relations between minorities and police officers.

    Karzai 'to review foreign forces'

    asnycnow15Newslogo3 (14) Afghan president Hamid Karzai has said that he will review agreements with foreign forces operating in Afghanistan if he is re-elected.

    He said he would make international forces sign an agreement governing how they operate, in an effort to limit civilian casualties.

    President Karzai is seeking re-election in next month's presidential poll.

    The Afghan government has long been concerned about the civilian death toll as foreign troops battle insurgents.

    New lizard species found in India

    asnycnow15Newslogo3 (14) Scientists have discovered a new species of lizard in the lush Western Ghats mountain range in the Indian state of Maharashtra.

    The small reptile is a form of gecko and was found by taxonomist Varad Giri in the Kolhapur district. It has been named Cnemasspis kolhapurensis.

    Mr Giri and his co-workers published their findings in this month's edition of the Zootaxa journal.

    It is the third new species of lizard recently discovered in the area.

    NY Senate, Bloomberg Reach Deal On Mayoral Control

    Mayor Michael Bloomberg. (File) State Senate Democrats say there's a deal to resolve how New York City schools are governed, reauthorizing Mayor Michael Bloomberg's authority over the school system, the Associated Press reports. Three Senate officials familiar with negotiations, including a Democratic senator, say the deal Bloomberg's camp helped negotiate will create a $1.7 million training center for parents to give them support and a method for participating in the school system.

    Hoboken Mayor Proclaims Innocence, Won't Step Down

    Hoboken, N.J., Mayor Peter Cammarano was among many public officials and others arrested by federal agents involved in a corruption  investigation, July 23, 2009.

    Hoboken Mayor Peter Cammarano III is proclaiming his innocence and says he will not step down from office despite being one of the 44 suspects arrested in a major federal corruption investigation on Thursday. "The charges that are leveled against me in a federal court are completely baseless, and I deny any wrongdoing in connection with the allegations taht are contained in that complaint," he said Friday.

    21 July 2009

    Judge Blocks Appointment Of Ravitch As Lt. Gov.

    A judge has issued a restraining order blocking Richard Ravitch from serving as New York Gov. David Paterson's lieutenant governor. State Supreme Court Justice William LaMarca in Nassau County issued his ruling late Tuesday afternoon. Paterson appointed Ravitch, a former head of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, earlier this month as a way of breaking a monthlong leadership deadlock in the state Senate.

    Swine flu worsens; schools may close

    The latest swine flu figures show the virus increasing its march around the world, with the global number of deaths almost doubling in a fortnight. The World Health Organisation says more than 700 people have now died, up from 429 two weeks ago. But the WHO said it is still up to national health authorities to decide their own ways of slowing the spread of H1N1. That may include keeping schools closed when the new term starts in September.

    The flu was branded a pandemic on June 11th, and is now the fastest-moving virus ever recorded, rendering pointless attempts to count every case.
    Even so, more than 125,000 sufferers have been confirmed worldwide, although the true figure may be many times higher. Work continues on a vaccine, and it’s hoped supplies may be available by the autumn, with healthcare workers givene priority, so they can treat everyone else.

    NYC Prosecutors Say Chase Employee Looted $110K

    identitytheft Law enforcement officials say a Chase bank financial planner looted $110,000 from a Manhattan client's private account to pay off personal bills. Twenty-five-year-old Robin Katz has been charged with grand larceny and identity theft. Her attorney did not return a call seeking comment on Tuesday. Katz has been accused of creating a second ATM card for a customer's account, then slowly siphoning off money from June 2008 through June 2009, when the client discovered the missing funds.

    Jersey City Police Officer Taken Off Life Support


    [By WCBS-TV]

    A Jersey City police officer wounded while storming an apartment in an intense gun battle with two armed suspects has died, CBS 2 HD has learned. Mayor Jerramiah Healy says Officer Marc DiNardo, who had been on life support, was pronounced dead around 9:35 a.m. Tuesday. The 37-year-old was shot in the face with a shotgun blast as he and other officers tried to storm an apartment during a shootout with two robbery suspects July 16.

    20 July 2009

    ALERT| Jersey City Cop's 'Demise Is Imminent'

    [By WCBS-TV]

    The Jersey City police officer who was shot in the face during a shootout with two armed suspects Thursday morning has succumbed to his wounds, CBS 2 has learned. Officials announced during a Monday afternoon news conference that Ofc. Marc DiNardo will not survive after spending the last four days in critical condition at the Jersey City Medical Center.

    ALERT|1 Woman Dead In Newark Quadruple Shooting

    [By WCBS-TV New York]

    Police say a quadruple shooting in Newark has left one woman dead and another in grave condition. Two women and two men were shot shortly after 1:30 Monday afternoon in the 400 block of Elizabeth Avenue. The condition of the male victims is unknown.

    Local NYC Weather| July 20th

    > NYC Weather Key :

    AM: Morning H: Highs
    PM: Afternoon,Evening L : Lows

    >7 Day Forecast | Week Of July 20th

    7/20 7/21 7/22 7/23 7/24 7/25 7/26
    Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
    Partly sunny More humid with periods of rain Humid with clouds breaking for some sun; a shower or thunderstorm in spots in the afternoon Episodes of sunshine with a shower or thunderstorm possible; humid Times of clouds and sun with a shower or thunderstorm possible; humid Times of clouds and sun with a thunderstorm; warm and humid Partly sunny and humid
    80°F 72°F 82°F 84°F 82°F 86°F 85°F H
    66°F 65°F 70°F 70°F 70°F 70°F



    >NYC Weather Agenda | July 20th-24th



    Partly sunny. Highs around 80. Northeast winds around 5 mph...becoming southeast with gusts up to 20 mph this afternoon.


    Mostly cloudy with a 50 percent chance of rain. Patchy fog after midnight. Lows in the mid 60s. Southeast winds around 10 mph...becoming northeast after midnight.



    A chance of thunderstorms. Rain. Patchy fog. Rain may be heavy at times. Highs in the mid 70s. East winds 10 to 15 mph with gusts up to 25 mph. Chance of rain 80 percent.


    Cloudy. Rain likely with a chance of thunderstorms in the evening...then a chance of showers after midnight. Patchy fog. Rain may be heavy at times in the evening. Lows in the upper 60s. Southeast winds around 10 mph with gusts up to 20 mph... Becoming south after midnight. Chance of rain 70 percent.



    Mostly cloudy in the morning...then becoming mostly sunny. Patchy fog in the morning. A slight chance of showers in the morning...then a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon. Highs in the lower 80s. South winds 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 20 percent.


    Mostly cloudy. Lows in the upper 60s.



    Partly sunny. A chance of showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon. Highs in the mid 80s. Chance of rain 30 percent.


    Mostly cloudy with a chance of showers and thunderstorms. Lows in the upper 60s. Chance of rain 40 percent.



    Mostly cloudy with a chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the lower 80s. Chance of rain 40 percent.


    Mostly cloudy with a chance of showers and thunderstorms. Lows in the upper 60s. Chance of rain 30 percent.



    Mostly cloudy with a chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the mid 80s. Chance of rain 40 percent.


    Mostly cloudy with a chance of showers and thunderstorms. Lows around 70. Chance of rain 40 percent.



    Mostly cloudy with a chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the mid 80s. Chance of rain 40 percent.

    Weather Information Compiled At 10:07 Am On July 20th,2009 And is Subject to Change throughout the Day
    The Information Was provided By Weatherbug And New York City Station WABC-TV

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