The U.S. Commerce Department reported that the nation’ gross domestic product (GDP) increased by 1.3 percent between April and June, below economists’ prediction of a 1.8 percent growth rate. But the new numbers were overshadowed by a revision to figures from the first quarter, suggesting the economy is growing at a much slower pace than expected.Read it all here.
According to MarketWatch:The new data on the inflation- and seasonally-adjusted value of all goods and services produced in the United States showed the economy barely grew at all in the January-through-March quarter, rising just 0.4% as opposed to the initially reported 1.9% improvement. At the same time, the government said the recession proved to be deeper than initially projected.
Speaking to MarketWatch, Mark Vitner, a senior economist at Wells Fargo, suggested that Congress may have to refrain from slashing government spending as part of a deal on increasing the debt ceiling. ...
July 29, 2011
Funerals for the victims of Norway's twin terror attacks began Friday as police continue to question Anders Behring Breivik, who confessed to the attacks but has pleaded not guilty because he believes he is in a "state of war."Read it all here.
On Friday a memorial service was held for the 77 victims, eight who were killed in a bomb attack in Oslo’s government district and 69 who were shot down at a political youth camp on the island of Utoya.
"We were victims of an attack on the heart of democracy," said Jens Stoltenberg, Norway's prime minister, at the memorial service Friday. "We want to be one community. Across faith, ethnicity, gender and rank."
On July 22 an explosion rocked Norway’s government headquarters in Oslo when Breivik parked a van with a half-ton bomb just a few feet away from the prime minister’s office in Norway, killing eight. Just hours after the explosion, Breivik, shot at a summer youth Labour Party camp on the Norwegian Island of Utoya near Oslo, leaving 69 people dead. ...
July 25, 2011
The Charisma of CriticismRead it all here.
by H. Aram Veeser
New York: Routledge, 2010. 260 pp. $39.95.
Reviewed by Reut R. Cohen
Los Angeles, Calif.
Middle East Quarterly
In this hagiography of the late Edward Said, Veeser, of the English department at City College of New York, purports to present the man behind the myth, a devotee of Savile Row tailors who, at the same time, allegedly chastised the West and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) with equal gusto.
To his credit, Veeser unmasks several contradictions within the character of his icon, acknowledging, for example, that despite his wish to "preserve a distance" from the PLO, Said eventually supported it. The author sees this somehow as a "political error" in which Said stole "victory from youthful fighters" and, by cooperating with the PLO, mistakenly handed it to "corrupt old men." Never mind that these "youthful fighters" were financially and morally supported in their butchery of Israeli civilians by the "old men"; Said's change of heart was a "tragic irony" that came a "decade too late."
July 22, 2011
Media named a 32-year-old suspect in connection with Friday’s grisly attacks in Norway that left at least 87 dead. The suspect, Anders Behring Breivik, is an ethnic Norwegian.Read it all here.
An explosion rocked Norway’s government headquarters in Oslo and killed at least seven people Friday, according to Norwegian state broadcaster NRK. Police said witnesses saw Breivik loitering around the area where the bombing took place before the bomb went off.
Just hours after the explosion, a gunman, presumably Breivik, shot at a summer youth Labour Party camp on the Norwegian Island of Utoya near Oslo and left at least 80 dead and several more injured, according to police.
"The updated knowledge we are sitting on now is at least 80," said police chief Oystein Maeland at a news conference. "We can’t guarantee that won’t increase somewhat."
Although the media initially speculated the attacks were linked to Islamic terrorism, Norway’s TV2 reported Breivik has ties to right-wing extremists but did not disclose their source information. ...
An explosion rocked Norway’s government headquarters in Oslo and killed at least seven people Friday, according to Norwegian state broadcaster NRK. Just hours after the explosion, a gunman dressed in police clothing shot at a summer youth Labour Party camp on the Norwegian Island of Utoya near Oslo and left at least 10 dead and several more injured, according to Norwegian reports.Read it all here.
Unconfirmed reports suggest the death toll from the shooting may be higher.
Norwegian journalist Ketil B. Stensrud tweeted the following:Eye-witness on Utøya LIVE on NRK just said that he saw 20-30 dead youths floating by the shore. Shocking.
Norway's TV2 showed aerial images of a SWAT team arriving at the island. Images also show youths who swam from the island toward shore.
As reported earlier on Neon Tommy, police believe the bombing and shooting are connected and arrested a suspect following the shooting. ...
A bomb blast rocked Norway’s government headquarters in Oslo and killed at least seven people Friday, according to Norwegian state broadcaster NRK. Just hours after the explosion, a gunman dressed in police clothing shot at a summer youth Labour Party camp on the Norwegian Island of Utoya near Oslo and left at least five people injured.Read it all here.
According to NRK, police believe the bomb blast and shooting are connected. Norwegian police arrested a suspect after the shooting.
Oslo’s mayor, Fabian Stang, told CNN that the "the situation is under control, but it's been a terrible day."
Norway’s NATO membership and participation in Afghanistan and Libyan conflicts make the nation a target for terror organizations. In July Muammar Gaddafi threatened attacks on Europe if NATO continues their campaign in Libya.
July 15, 2011
Japanese crane manufacturer Tadano has announced that it has ended business with the Iranian regime following reports that its cranes have been used to stage public executions in Iran.Read it all here.
Tadano’s announcement comes just days after the president of United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), Mark Wallace, wrote in a Los Angeles Times op-ed that the company exports cranes to Iran which have been misused in what he called the regime's "execution binge."
UANI praised Tadano’s decision to cut ties with Iran.
"Tadano is a responsible corporation and its decision is another example of an international company taking the right action in the wake of UANI’s Cranes Campaign,” said Wallace in a statement. “UANI hopes that even more crane companies will end their business in Iran as the bright light of world attention is cast on Iran’s barbaric execution binge."
United Against Nuclear Iran first brought the issue to the attention of the crane manufacturer in May. In a press release, UANI named Japanese company Tadano and another company, Furukawa UNIC, as providers of hydraulic cranes to Iran. According to the release, photographic evidence shows that Iranian citizens have been executed using cranes from both Japanese companies. ...
July 8, 2011
The acquittal of Casey Anthony, who was accused of murdering her 2-year-old daughter Caylee, has prompted a push for a new law that would criminalize failure to report a missing or dead child. The proposal, called "Caylee’s Law," originated through an online petition started by Michelle Crowder of Durant, Okla.Read it all here.
The petition for a federal law has collected more than half-million signatures and aims to “prevent another case like this from happening.”
According to local reports, proposals for "Caylee's Law" have been filed in Kentucky, New Jersey, North Carolina, and other states.
Legislators in Florida, Oklahoma, New York and West Virginia have announced that they will propose their versions of "Caylee’s Law."
Oklahoma Rep. Paul Wesselhoft told ABC that several of his constituents emailed him about Crowder’s petition and that he plans to propose a law at the legislative session in his state in 2012.
"Yesterday, I got a lot of emails from my constituents who are very outraged by the trial and the verdict," Wesselhoft said. "We're all outraged that Caylee did not receive justice. There's no question about that."
Wesselhoft (R-Okla.) said he would propose a law which would explicitely criminalize failure to notify authorities within 24 hours of a child dying. The Oklahoma lawmaker also wants to propose legislation that would require parents to alert authorities about runaways under age 12 within an appropriate timeframe, but agreed that setting a time is difficult in such situations "because you don't know when the clock starts."
The Casey Anthony trial riveted the nation for weeks. ...
July 1, 2011
California Gov. Jerry Brown approved a bill stipulating that online retailers, such as Amazon.com, collect sales taxes on purchases made by California residents starting Friday. But Amazon.com and Overstock.com are defying the new law.Read it all here.
In a statement sent to the New York Times, Amazon called the legislation “counterproductive” and said the company would not charge sales tax for the state.
Amazon terminated their Affiliates Program in California as of Wednesday in response to the new legislation. The law considers Amazon’s advertisements on affiliate sites as a selling presence and hoped to force sellers to collect taxes.
By ending the program, Amazon, which sells products nationwide, may have exempted their company from California’s new law.
Other web-based companies based in California worry that the new law could make it even harder for their small businesses to compete with big-box chains. ...
The outspoken daughter of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi said her father would not be stepping down and called him “a symbol, a guide” for Libyans in an interview with France 2.
Aisha Gaddafi, 34, said there are direct and indirect talks between Libyan authorities and rebels, although the Benghazi-based opposition is not in contact with Tripoli, according to Reuters.
The interview featuring Gaddafi’s daughter comes 100 days since NATO’s campaign to forcibly remove Gaddafi and his government began.
“I've already lost one of my children and my brother in the bombings,” she said through an interpreter. “Every day there are members of my people who die. Civilians. Anyone who has a heart can understand what I feel."
Aisha Gaddafi, who studied in France, decried France's participation in the effort to bring an end to her father’s 42-year rule.
“Never would I imagine this country would one day kill my brother and my family," she said through an interpreter. “I want to send a message to the wives of the French pilots who bomb us. Your husbands are not working to defend civilians in Libya,” she said.
The United Nations Security Council approved the use airstrikes in March to achieve the ouster of Gaddafi but the Libyan leader has shown no signs of giving up. In May the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Muammar Gaddafi and his son, Saif al-Islam, for crimes against humanity.
Aisha Gaddafi, a lawyer and activist, was appointed as a UN Goodwill Ambassador for her charitable work. However, she has also spoken out in favor of the IRA, Iraqi insurgents and joined the defense team for Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.