Oz coppers take a year to clear Indian doctor in terrorism case

Doctor Haneef and his wife during happier days in Australia

An Indian doctor jailed in Australia last year in a bungled terrorism case has officially been cleared.

The police said there was insufficient evidence to institute proceedings against the doctor, Mohamed Haneef, who was deported after the collapse of the case alleging his involvement in failed terrorist attacks in London and Scotland…

Haneef’s attorney, Rod Hodgson, said his 28-year-old client, who now works in the United Arab Emirates, was “delighted” by the news, but wanted an apology from the government and compensation. He declined to specify how much Haneef was seeking.

Haneef had been working as a well-regarded doctor at a hospital in Queensland state in Australia when he was arrested in Brisbane as he boarded a flight to India in July 2007…

Haneef was held for 12 days under antiterror laws before the police charged him with providing support for a terrorist group by allegedly giving a mobile phone SIM card to Sabeel Ahmed. The charge was dropped two weeks later.

What is it about coppers and prosecutors – in every country – that they would rather screw over an innocent man’s life than admit they were wrong? Idiots!

Libya will get $5 billion compensation from Italy

Reuters/Daylife Photo

Italy has agreed to pay Libya $5 billion as compensation for its 30-year occupation of the country, which ended in 1943. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi of Italy and the Libyan leader, Muammar el-Qaddafi, signed a memorandum pledging a $5 billion compensation package that involves construction projects, student grants and pensions for Libyan soldiers who served with the Italians in World War II.

“It is a material and emotional recognition of the mistakes that our country has done to yours during the colonial era,” Berlusconi said Saturday as he arrived. “This agreement opens the path to further cooperation.”

Rome is also eager to increase its long-consolidated energy ties with Tripoli. Libya is a big supplier of natural gas and oil to Italy. Berlusconi said the agreement helps open the way to more “gas possibilities, possibilities for Libyan oil, which is of the best quality.”

The Italian leader said that part of the package would be for infrastructure projects over the next 25 years, including a coastal highway stretching across the country from Tunisia to Egypt.

Under the thumb of colonial and fascist Italy, thousands of Libyans died. It was only the advance of Allied armies during World War 2 that freed Libya from the domination of the Rome government.

Kind of about time, ain’t it?

Cruises for swingers only!

A new company called YOLO Cruises plans what’s billed as the first swingers cruise on a major ship — a sexually-charged voyage that’s sure to raise eyebrows in the industry.

YOLO Cruises president Marlene Brustle says the idea is to offer swingers — people who embrace non-monogamous sexual experiences — a chance to get away with like minded people in “an open, erotic atmosphere . . . it will feature full nudity at the pools, daytime pool parties and specially planned sexually themed parties in the evening.”

Brustle says there also will be designated playrooms “for the voyeurs and more adventurous on board.”

The themes for evening parties will include such things as “naughty schoolgirl” and “masquerade” — think Tom Cruise’s Eyes Wide Shut, says Brustle.

I wonder if they’ll be violating any federal laws about crossing state lines for immoral purposes?

Mexicans take to the streets in opposition to murderous gangs

I’ve posted several times on the crime and violence in Mexico – and spilling over into the United States. Living in a border state, I hear of local examples, daily. I’m encouraged by Mexican citizens who demonstrate against the gangs – and push and prod their government which alternates between patting itself on the back – and kissing George W’s butt.

Hundreds of thousands of people have marched throughout Mexico to protest against a continuing wave of killings and kidnappings in the country. The rallies were held in all of Mexico’s 32 states, with more than 150,000 people gathering at Zocalo square in the capital, Mexico City. They were mainly dressed in white, and marched in silence, holding candles.

At least 2,700 people have been killed and 300 kidnapped so far this year, mostly in drugs-related violence. Earlier this week, a dozen headless bodies were found in the Yucatan Peninsula.

Many Mexicans say the government is unable to curb the violence. Many carried national flags – a sign that they want a unified country in the fight against crime…

Russian opposition website owner killed in police custody

The owner of an opposition Internet news site in Russia’s troubled Ingushetia region has been shot dead after police detained him.

Magomed Yevloyev, owner of the Ingushetiya.ru Internet site, was a vocal critic of the region’s Kremlin-backed administration which is accused by critics of crushing dissent and free speech.

A posting on Yevloyev’s site — which has been the subject of repeated official attempts to close it down — said he was shot after police detained him when he landed in Ingushetia’s airport…

Ingushetia’s Kremlin-backed leader Murat Zyazikov has been struggling to contain a low-level insurgency led by Islamist militants. His critics accuse him of persecuting opposition activists and reporters, an allegation he denies.

Interfax quoted an unnamed law enforcement source as saying Yevloyev was shot by accident. “While police officers were attempting to transfer M. Yevloyev to an interior ministry office, an incident occurred in which M. Yevloyev received a gunshot wound to the temple area.”

Another complex pile of political compost. The holier-then-thou crowd should find a single thread in this 19th-Century tapestry and give us all the sort of crusading guidance they wish we all needed.

Personally, I’ll wait for emails from friends in the neighborhood. Some of which will be grassroots gossip. All of which will be free of both Russian and American political phrasemongering.

Artist finds HOPE after LOVE

The Maine artist who brought LOVE to the world is doing the same with HOPE.

Robert Indiana decades ago created the pop icon LOVE, known worldwide with its letters stacked two to a line, the letter “o” tilted on its side. Now he has created a similar image with HOPE, with proceeds going to Democrat Barack Obama’s presidential campaign.

A stainless steel sculpture of the image was unveiled this week outside the Pepsi Center at the Democratic National Convention in Denver. The campaign is selling T-shirts, pins, bumper stickers and other items adorned with HOPE.

Indiana’s…best-known work is LOVE, which he designed for a Christmas card for The Museum of Modern Art in 1964. The U.S. Postal Service featured it on a stamp in 1973, selling 333 million of them.

The McCain campaign had no comment on the Obama campaign’s use of the image. No HOPE. No kidding.

Rebuilding after Katrina hampered by an illiterate population

Three years after Katrina, residents of New Orleans are still buried in a blizzard of government paperwork. But for thousands of storm victims seeking federal aid, the challenge is made more difficult by a little-known obstacle: More than 40 percent of the city’s adults lack the literacy skills to comprehend basic government forms. And recovery programs have done little to ease the burden.

“I didn’t get a lot of school when I was a child. I guess they didn’t have enough to go around,” said Marsha Williams, who is learning to read in a YMCA adult-education course.

Rachel B. Nicolosi, program director for the Literacy Alliance of Greater New Orleans, estimates that as many as 100,000 people from New Orleans may have had assistance delayed, or they never applied for help at all, because they could not read the documents.

It’s a paramount issue. The rules are almost indecipherable for everyone,” said Davida Finger, a staff attorney for Loyola University’s New Orleans College of Law. Katrina destroyed 27 adult literacy programs when it came ashore in 2005. Only 13 programs survived, so Nicolosi and others have asked for government rebuilding agencies to write aid forms in a “plain language” format that is already used for some federal health and safety documents.

The government says “NO”.

The cornerstone of neighborhood rebuilding efforts is the $10.3 billion Road Home program, which asks participants to review dozens of documents and sign 18 final legal papers before aid is approved.

Just what serious reformation and rebuilding really needs. Right?

When I worked in the shipyards of Louisiana, the worst result of years of segregation and discrimination I confronted – was how racist school systems kept poor people, especially poor Black people, under their thumb with ignorance and illiteracy.

Catholic diocese pays $1.3 million to settle 4 abuse claims

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence will pay $1.3 million to four men who said they were abused by priests, lawyers announced Friday. The settlements were reached in June and will go to the victims or their estates, said attorney.

“There is no amount of money that is going to make it right,” said Carl DeLuca, one of the plaintiffs’ lawyers. “It is more an issue of validation. And in that sense they feel validated.”

Three men sued the diocese starting in 2003 alleging that priests abused them as children. Murphy said a fourth man contacted church authorities to report that he had been abused; he never filed a lawsuit and died before the settlement was reached.

Bishop Thomas Tobin and the Providence diocese did not admit any wrongdoing as part of the agreement.

In 2002, the diocese reached a $14.25 million settlement with 37 alleged victims of sexual abuse in Rhode Island who filed lawsuits. The cases involved allegations against 11 priests and a nun.

These creeps rarely admit wrongdoing or ask forgiveness of the people whose childhood was distorted and stolen by criminal acts.