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Archive for December 30th, 2011

Greek coppers jail Abbot for embezzlement, money laundering

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If they get hard up for Euros they could always convert to condos

Greek authorities…jailed the abbot of a 1,000-year-old Greek Orthodox monastery pending trial for what officials said was a key role in a land deal with the state that became a major political scandal.

Investigators have said the deal, which was revealed several years ago, was weighted in favor of Vatopedi Monastery in northern Greece and cost taxpayers the equivalent of about $131 million. Two ministers in a previous, conservative government lost their jobs over the deal, which was ultimately canceled, although legal issues have delayed full restitution.

The scandal nonetheless contributed significantly to the conservatives’ 2009 general election defeat.

Abbot Efraim, 55, was led to the Korydallos prison in Athens after spending the night in the capital’s police headquarters. He had traveled 370 miles from the Orthodox monastic sanctuary of Mount Athos, from which women and female animals have been banned since 1046…

Female animals, eh? We know what that’s about.

No trial date has been set, and the abbot’s lawyers are expected to apply for his release. Under Greek law, suspects can be jailed for up to 18 months pending trial.

Greek politicians embroiled in the scandal will not stand trial, as Parliament ruled this year that the statute of limitations had expired.

Vatopedi Monastery has a treasure trove of medieval artifacts and books. It has attracted large numbers of male guests, including Prince Charles of Britain, who is a frequent visitor to Mount Athos.

But, no women guests, no female pets. I guess.

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Written by Ed Campbell

December 30, 2011 at 10:00 pm

“MOVE YOUR DOMAIN DAY” inflexible – GoDaddy wins > losses!

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GoDaddy gained more domains than it lost on Move Your Domain Day, a reaction to the company’s former support for the Stop Online Piracy Act. According to DailyChanges (via TechDirt), the combined domain transfers in and new registrations outstripped transfers out by a large margin. Still, the numbers were big enough for GoDaddy: the company went on record as opposed to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) midway through the day.

The GoDaddy boycott began December 21 on reddit (Ars’ sister site) in the face of GoDaddy’s support for SOPA, an act that has been derided by opponents for its potential to infringe on First Amendment rights. GoDaddy backed off its support of SOPA on December 23, but refused to make any statements actively opposing it. Midday Thursday, the company officially announced its opposition of the act in response to “a spike in domain name transfers,” said Warren Adelman, CEO of GoDaddy.

But the movement appears to have made fewer people think “I need a new domain host” than “that reminds me, I need to make a website”: 43,304 new domains were registered with GoDaddy…in the 24-hour period preceding 1am PST on December 30, while 14,492 were transferred out. 35,907 more domains were deleted, and 27,843 domains were transferred in, for a net gain of 20,748 domains…

Inflexible insurgent political movements end up being viewed as sectarian religions, vainglorious quests, by ordinary folks. That includes geeks.

Much like Greenpeace irrevocably attacking companies which actually lead movements of businesses concerned with environment and organize their peers into bodies which change working and living conditions – the Reddit/Occupy folks who organized Move Your Domain Day missed a chance to [1] claim victory on the spot; and [2] demonstrate gracious acceptance of that victory.

Written by Ed Campbell

December 30, 2011 at 6:00 pm

Honda crushing new cars ruined in Thailand floods

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After floodwaters receded at the Honda factory in Ayutthaya province

In an effort to prove that no flood damaged vehicles will be sold to customers, the Honda factory in Thailand’s Ayutthaya province began destroying over 1,000 cars. The factory was one of the hardest hit by the several months of record flooding, which only receded a few weeks ago. The devastating floods were the worst the country experienced in 50 years and left over 700 people dead. According to AFP, the scrapping process is expected to take one month.

Honda’s production was disrupted from the floods and only recently returned to normal. According to AP, American Honda Executive Vice President John Mendel says it will not be until March that dealers will be fully restocked.

Aerial images of the submerged cars in the Honda lot provided powerful visuals of the effects of the severe flooding on businesses…The area is home to large production centers for global car and computer industries. According to Bloomberg, Toyota had to suspend local production of its Camry and Prius lines, and Apple faced delays in parts used for Mac computers. Western Digital shares hit a year low in October and is now working to regain their losses, according to Reuters.

Not that anyone in the United States would have to worry about buying a car leftover from a flood, eh?

Written by Ed Campbell

December 30, 2011 at 2:00 pm

The call for a single body to investigate crimes of the Troubles

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Northern Ireland’s first police ombudsman has called for a single unified body to deal with all the unsolved crimes of the Troubles and arrest suspects even in cases that are decades old. Nuala O’Loan, who as ombudsman from 1999 to 2007 exposed the state’s use of informers who killed while in the crown’s pay, said such an inquiry unit should also be granted full powers of prosecution.

Most of the 3,269 murders committed during the conflict since it began in 1969 remain unsolved. More than 30,000 people were injured, many seriously.

In an interview with the Guardian, O’Loan said she was convinced that the police had deliberately destroyed evidence in “a lot” of killings involving the security forces. “That will inhibit the possibility of a full investigation…”

“It is not a truth commission because it would require that all the parties to the conflict tell the truth and I see no evidence that the parties are ready for that yet. And I am not sure that they ever will be.”

The victims were owed something, she said, and that should be a single independent historical investigations unit…

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ed Campbell

December 30, 2011 at 10:00 am

Court rules you can fight the Feds over warrantless wiretaps – but don’t touch the Telcos!

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“The direct number to the CEO of AT&T is in the top righthand drawer of your desk”

A U.S. appeals panel on Thursday upheld the constitutionality of a federal law that grants immunity to telecommunications companies that assist the U.S. government in conducting surveillance of American citizens. However, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals also revived a separate lawsuit against the government over its surveillance activities.

Several lawsuits filed in the wake of revelations about warrantless wiretapping alleged that telecom companies provided authorities with direct access to nearly all communications passing through their domestic facilities. Besides the government itself, defendants included AT&T, Sprint Nextel and Verizon.

In 2008, Congress granted telecoms immunity for cooperating with the government’s intelligence-gathering activities. A district judge in San Francisco upheld the law as constitutional, and dismissed the claims against the companies.

In a ruling on Thursday, a unanimous three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit agreed…

Cindy Cohn, legal director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a leading plaintiff in both cases, said they had not yet decided whether to appeal the telecom ruling…

Cohn said it has been nearly six years since warrantless wiretapping was revealed. “I think the American people deserve a little faster justice than that,” she said.

Some of us – foolish as it has turned out to be – expected that the Obama Administration would come down on the side of Liberty for All and the rest of that good stuff and reverse the crap spying and censorship brought upon this land by the Bush/Cheney cabal.

Wrong.

Written by Ed Campbell

December 30, 2011 at 6:00 am

99-year-old divorcing wife of 77 years — discovered she had an affair in the 1940′s

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An Italian couple are to become the world’s oldest divorcees, after the 99-year-old husband found that his 96-year-old wife had an affair in the 1940s.

The Italian man, identified by lawyers in the case only as Antonio C, was rifling through an old chest of drawers when he made the discovery a few days before Christmas. Notwithstanding the time that had elapsed since the betrayal, he was so upset that he immediately confronted his wife of 77 years, named as Rosa C, and demanded a divorce.

Guilt-stricken, she reportedly confessed everything but was unable to persuade her husband to reconsider his decision.

She wrote the letters to her lover during a secret affair in the 1940s, according to court papers released in Rome this week.

The couple are now preparing to split, despite the ties they forged over nearly eight decades – they have five children, a dozen grandchildren and one great-grand child…

The couple met during the 1930s when Antonio was posted as a young Carabinieri officer to Naples.

Excepting one spat a decade ago, they’ve had decades to learn to live together. One would think so, anyway.

Poisonally, knowing how difficult it can be to find the right person to spend your life with – I think Antonio C. is making a foolish decision.

Written by Ed Campbell

December 30, 2011 at 2:00 am

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