Indian Muslim leaders slam national government

Photo from Daylife/Reuters Pictures

Hundreds of Islamic leaders in India have demanded that the government protect their community from persecution, saying Muslims were being unfairly targeted in a police crackdown after bombings across the country…

“Today, with the injustice and harassment, Islam and Muslims in this country are under threat,” said Maulana Syed Ahmed Bukhari, influential leader of the Jama Masjid mosque, the largest in north India. “We have been quiet for a long time, but we cannot take this anymore. We too have rights.”

Bukhari said neither the ruling Congress nor the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were a suitable option for the minority Muslims, who make up 13 percent of India’s 1.1 billion-plus population.

I’m sorry; but, I admit I don’t know enough about the details of contemporary Indian politics to offer anything more than what’s inside this Reuters article. I’ll keep looking, though. There will be more thorough pieces available as the elections dates near.

The sad truth is that decades of division resulting from the Brits acquiescing to the partition of the Indian nation at the time of sovereignty has achieved what imperial policies always wish for. A divided nation, weakened by internecine strife.

Oldest flying insect fossil impression – found behind a strip mall

Scientists have uncovered what they are calling the oldest full-body impression of a flying insect, possibly an ancient mayfly.

“[The fossil] captures a moment in time over 300 million years ago when a flying insect just happened to land on a damp, muddy surface leaving almost a perfect impression of its body behind,” said researcher Jake Benner.

Benner and Tufts geologist Richard Knecht discovered the insect imprint in a shale and sandstone outcropping hidden in a wooded field behind a strip mall in North Attleboro, Mass. Knecht had learned of the site while reading a master’s thesis written in 1929…

“Once we pin down what type of insect it is, we can begin to think about the conditions, the climate and life that must have existed in the environment to support its life,” Knecht said. “One focus is the insect itself. Another is the broader big picture of the world it lived in.”

Stunning – and delightful. Maybe my daily walks should include a hammer as well as camera.

Florida man jailed for brown lawn freed

There is a large sign outside Joe Prudente’s home in Hudson. It reads, “Free At Last.” He put it up Sunday after spending the weekend in jail.

Prudente lives in the Beacon Woods subdivision. The community has deed restrictions requiring lawns be kept green. Prudente says his sprinkler system broke, and then his mortgage payments shot up by $600 a month.

He says he was confronted with a dilemma: keep a roof over his head, or spend the money to keep his lawn green. Prudente let the grass die. That prompted the Beacon Woods Homeowners’ Association to go to court. The association won a court order demanding Prudente green up his grass. After a long legal fight, Prudente gave up. He turned himself in at the Pasco County jail Friday…

When people in the community heard about Prudente’s plight, volunteers got two companies to donate sod. They then went over and replaced his grass themselves. Even Pasco County Commissioner Jack Mariano chipped in to help.

I’m lucky. The community association I belong to is run by human beings.

Windows 7 gets a name: Windows 7

Windows 7 is all about simplicity and that’s why Windows 7 will simply be called Windows, Microsoft announced today.

Mike Nash, corporate vice president for Windows product management at Microsoft, had the honor of announcing the official name. Nash noted that he is “very excited about the opportunity to tell [people] more about Windows 7 in the coming weeks.” But clearly there is not much excitement in the name of the new Windows.

According to Nash, the name “Windows 7” is simple: The company decided against a date in the name (such as “Windows 2008”) since the company does not ship a new Windows every year and it decided against an “aspirational” name (such as “XP” or “Vista”) since it is not really an entirely new release, but just an enhancement over Vista. “Simply put, this is the seventh release of Windows, so therefore “Windows 7” just makes sense,” Nash said.

“Boring” is too exciting for this topic.

iPhone 3G coming to a Walmart near you?

Back in June we broke the news that Apple would be mixing things up a bit by moving away from its prior iPhone distribution model and getting a couple of nation-wide retailers in on the action. A little more than two months later, Best Buy indeed began carrying the iPhone 3G as we reported.

The other retailer we mentioned however, Radio Shack, did not. We’re not sure if the Apple and the Shack hit a wall during negotiations or if we still may see the iPhone 3G pop up there but in the meantime, it looks like another major retailer has swooped down and stolen Radio Shack’s thunder.

One of our ninjas has it on good authority that Wal-Mart will begin selling the iPhone 3G next month – on November 15th to be exact. If Wal-Mart is indeed getting the iPhone 3G, the timing makes sense with Black Friday coming just under two weeks later.

Bringing the iPhone 3G to Walton’s wonder would definitely help ease the congestion a bit for those heading out to snag an iPhone 3G as a gift. Then again, considering you can’t leave a store without activating the handset first, we doubt the iPhone 3G will sell anywhere near as well as the iPhone did under the previous activation model here in the US. Well, that and the little problem we seem to be having with the economy…

Can you imagine trying to activate an iPhone 3G in your friendly neighborhood Wal-Mart? Phew.

Nebraska politicians uptight over 2nd out-of-state dump-off

A mother has driven for 12 hours across the US to abandon her teenage son in Nebraska, under a law allowing adults to leave children at state hospitals. The state’s safe-haven law prevents prosecution for abandonment.

But the head of Nebraska’s health and human services division said dumping children was not an appropriate way for families to deal with parenting issues.

The abandoned boy from Michigan, 13, is the 18th youth to be left since the law took effect in July. He is the second teenager from outside the state to be abandoned there. The first, a 14-year-old girl from Iowa, was returned home after being left by her grandparents.

The law is unique in that it allows any adult, not just parents, to drop off children of any age at any state-licenced hospital.

“I certainly recognise and can commiserate and empathise with families across our state and across the country who are obviously struggling with parenting issues, but this is not the appropriate way of dealing with them,” said Todd Landry, from the state’s Department of Health and Human Services.

The average political hack probably wastes more state funds reading the racing form on the clock – than the cost of dealing with a kid dumped in Nebraska by a strung-out mom.

The important questions are more like [1] why couldn’t she get some help back in Michigan? [2] what are the economic circumstances prompting this destitute flight? [3] why is our society turning full-circle back to “solutions” more appropriate to a Dickens’ novel than 21st Century America?

Beckham housekeepers arrested over theft

David and Victoria Beckham’s housekeepers have been arrested after allegedly stealing items from the couple’s home to sell on eBay. A third person, thought to be the housekeepers’ son, has also been detained in connection with the case…

Reports said Victoria Beckham’s parents, Tony and Jackie Adams, became suspicious about items that seemed to tally with things missing from the house being sold online as “Posh and Becks” memorabilia.

Football boots printed with the names of the couple’s three sons – Brooklyn, Cruz and Romeo – as well as designer dresses and shirts were among some of the items seen on eBay.

The Adams enlisted the help of friends to bid for some items in an attempt to discover the identity of the seller, who claimed to be a relative of a member of staff at Beckham’s football academy.

An eBay spokeswoman said the website was co-operating with police and attemptiong to work out which items were involved in the alleged theft.

She said the site would be able to trace a clear paper trail back to the seller, adding: “Anyone stupid enough to try to sell anything that is not 100% legitimate makes a big mistake when they try to do it on our site.”

If you believe that eBay is especially diligent or successful at preventing the sale of stolen items – I have some oceanfront property in New Mexico to sell you.

NATO will allow attacks on Afghan drug networks

Signaling a major shift in strategy for the trans-Atlantic alliance, NATO defense ministers agreed Friday to allow direct attacks on Afghanistan’s drug networks.

The accord means that troops will be able to attack drug operations provided they obtain authorization from their own governments. NATO officials stressed that only drug producers aiding the insurgency would be targeted. [What? – our drug dealers are OK?] The alliance actions will not be open-ended, lasting only until the Afghan security forces are able to take on the task themselves.

“NATO can act in concert with the Afghans against facilities and facilitators supporting the insurgency, subject to the authorization of respective nations,” an alliance spokesman, James Appathurai, said.

President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan has repeatedly asked NATO to take on more responsibility for dealing with the drug lords. It is unclear, however, if the alliance will need a new UN Security Council resolution. The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF, operates under a UN mandate.

I’ve railed about destroying common sense with Western religious morality, forever.

Even if enough brains can’t be brought to bear on legalizing drugs and taking the criminal networks out of the loop – Afghan farmers probably don’t make a grand or two a year from their poppy crops while poppy farmers in New Zealand have a guaranteed sale to drugs manufacturers.

The Kiwis bring in $40-50K a year in US dollars.