Toronto mosque manages to offend more Canadian Muslims

The Toronto mosque that once warned its members to avoid wishing others “Merry Christmas,” equating it with murder, is once again pitted in controversy.

And now the Muslim Canadian Congress is calling on Ottawa to strip the charitable status of the Somali Islamic Society of Canada, which owns the Khalid Bin Al-Walid mosque in Etobicoke, founded in 1990 and serving more than 10,000 worshippers.

Congress president Farzana Hassan said postings on the mosque’s website are “in contravention of what a moderate Muslim should stand for.”

Asked for specifics, Hassan cited the site’s “statements about women.” For example, she said, “they say female circumcision is honourable and yet they find piercing your ears reprehensible, wearing high heels reprehensible, laughing objectionable. It’s very disconcerting that their priorities are where they are.”

“We have maintained our web site to reach out to Muslims and non-Muslims alike to provide to them the authentic teachings of Islam,” the mosque’s administration says in the statement. “We do not seek to offend or harm anyone with what is written on our web site. There are many different religions in this world and there are naturally many disagreements between scholars of each religion.”

It’s difficult for me to take any religion seriously enough to be extra offended by sectarian baloney. Whether striving for differentiation in a diminishing market – or just trying to rule peoples’ lives on behalf of some superstition – the end result rarely has anything to do with advancing humanity.

Japan dips into recession following G20 mediocrity

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Managing Director IMF
Daylife/Reuters Pictures

World stock markets were rattled Monday as recession spread to Japan, overshadowing a weekend summit in Washington that was aimed at calming the economic crisis.

Leaders from the Group of 20 rich and emerging nations pledged to work together to restore global growth and overhaul the world’s financial system, but stopped short specific measures such as coordinated stimulus spending.

Investors gave a lukewarm response and focused instead on global recession after news that Japan’s economy shrank for two straight quarters — the technical definition of a recession.

Despite the gloomy news, Tokyo’s stock market closed up 0.71 percent on Monday as investors hunted for bargains, dealers said.

Markets showed little enthusiasm for a vague pledge on Saturday from Group of 20 (G20) leaders to join forces to galvanize growth and overhaul the world’s financial architecture.

“The muted response of financial markets to the outcome of the G20 meeting suggests that little was priced in terms of expectations for concrete policy measures,” said Barclays Capital analyst David Woo.

Well – no surprises there, folks. Photo ops have passed.

Faulty grenades injure FBI agents, military personnel

The explosion happened without warning around 4 a.m. in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

FBI agent Donald Bain was sitting in his car in a parking lot with two other agents. He was armed and wore a Kevlar vest. He was also carrying a “flash-bang” grenade, a nonlethal weapon that emits a bright flash and deafening bang that’s used to shock and disorient criminal suspects or the enemy in combat situations…

That’s when, Bain says, the flash-bang grenade in his vest just blew up.

“The car is on fire,” Bain recalled. “I was told later I was on fire. Smoke billowing in the car. It was obviously chaos…”

Bain suffered severe bruising, a concussion and burns to his neck and ears. All three agents said they have experienced hearing loss.

The company that manufactured the flash-bang grenade that Bain used is Pyrotechnic Specialties Inc., also known as PSI, based in Byron, Georgia.

Earlier this year, PSI, its chief operating officer, David Karlson, and three other defendants were indicted for fraud, conspiracy and money laundering. According to the federal indictment, PSI had a $15 million contract to supply flash-bang grenades to the military before it supplied them to the FBI.

The indictment states the company knew its flash bangs were defective and even knew how to fix those flaws, which would have cost PSI $3.72 per unit.

Their lawsuit is being handled by an attorney also suing on behalf of a sergeant who lost a hand from one of these crappy explosive devices.

Anyone ever investigate qualifications of the corporate hogs gorging themselves at the government trough?

Federal report finally admits Gulf War illness is real

An extensive federal report just released concludes that roughly one in four of the 697,000 U.S. veterans of the 1990-91 Gulf War suffer from Gulf War illness.

That illness is a condition now identified as the likely consequence of exposure to toxic chemicals, including pesticides and a drug administered to protect troops against nerve gas.

The 452-page report states that “scientific evidence leaves no question that Gulf War illness is a real condition with real causes and serious consequences for affected veterans.”

The report, compiled by a panel of scientific experts and veterans serving on the congressionally mandated Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses, fails to identify any cure for the malady.

It also notes that few veterans afflicted with Gulf War illness have recovered over time.

Just like Agent Orange, our government cares more about potential liability for government and corporations – before care for our military personnel becomes an issue.

These creeps will lie for years while our veterans live in agony and illness.

Burlington, Vermont is the healthiest city in United States

Vermont’s largest city is tops among U.S. metropolitan areas by having the largest proportion of people — 92 percent — who say they are in good or great health.

It’s also among the best in exercise and among the lowest in obesity, diabetes and other measures of ill health, according to a recent report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This New England city of 40,000, on the shores of Lake Champlain, is in some ways similar to the unhealthiest city — Huntington, West Virginia. Both are out-of-the-way college towns with populations that are overwhelmingly white people of English, German or Irish ancestry.

But there the similarities end:

The cultures are significantly different, too. Bicycling, hiking, skiing and other exercises are common in Burlington. Neighborhood groups commonly focus on improving parks, working in community gardens and repairing and improving sidewalks.

And though college staples like pizza are common, healthier foods are also popular. Grass-fed beef is offered in finer restaurants, vegan options are plentiful, and the lone downtown supermarket is run by a co-op successful in selling bulk rice and other healthy choices to low-income residents.

Burlington is helped by the presence of IBM and other employers offering more generous health benefits and corporate wellness programs.

Independent left-wing politics ain’t bad either.

Sudan: protest censorship – get arrested! Consistency, anyway.


Police in Sudan have arrested more than 60 journalists during a protest against media censorship, witnesses say. Riot police armed with canes and shields rounded up the journalists outside parliament and took them to a police station.

Demonstrators said they had been protesting against a press crackdown under way despite guarantees of media freedom in a 2005 peace deal.

Murtada el-Ghali, editor in chief of the Ajras al-Hurriya newspaper, told AFP news agency that police had taken mobile phones and money from some of those arrested.

There have been weeks of protests against media censorship in Sudan led by Ajras al-Hurriya and two other papers.

Editors say that newspapers are now subject to nightly checks by the security forces who routinely remove articles they do not approve of.

Do they have a Patriot Act?

I guess they don’t waste time on such sophistry. Old-fashioned fascism.

China TV bans footballer, team, well – the whole league!

Fans of Wuhan’s Guanggu FC demonstrate with blackened ball
Daylife/AFP/Getty Images

China’s main TV station has stopped broadcasting matches from the country’s top football league, accusing players of lacking “professional ethics”.

China Central TV (CCTV) has temporarily pulled the plug on a league that seems constantly beset with problems.

A scuffle broke out between players of two top teams last week, while another team has been ejected from the league. The head of CCTV’s sports channel says the league must improve before it is allowed back on air.

Mr Jiang said the ban was only a temporary measure and did not mean CCTV would completely abandon the Chinese Super League.

Among fans of proper football, we call this the Italian model.

A puzzling decline in women pursuing computer studies

Ellen Spertus, a graduate student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, wondered why the computer camp she attended as a girl had a boy-girl ratio of six to one. And why were only 20 percent of computer science undergraduates at MIT female? She published a 124-page paper that catalogued cultural biases that discouraged girls and women from pursuing a career in the field. The year was 1991.

Computer science has changed considerably since then. Now, there are even fewer women entering the field.

What is particularly puzzling is that the explanations that were assembled back in 1991 applied to all technical fields. Yet women have achieved broad parity with men in almost every other technical field.

When one looks at computer science in particular, however, the proportion of women has been falling…Many computer science departments report that women now make up fewer than 10 percent of the newest undergraduates.

Jonathan Kane, a professor of mathematics and computer science at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, recalls the mid-1980s, when women made up 40 percent of the students who majored in management computer systems. But soon after, the number of students majoring in the program had fallen about 75 percent, reflecting a nationwide trend, and the number of women fell even more.

Justine Cassell identified another explanation for the drop in interest, which was linked to the pejorative figure of the “nerd” or “geek.” She said that this school of thought said: “Girls and young women don’t want to be that person.”

Don’t young women enjoy living in their parents’ basement and subsisting on coffee, sugar and pizza while playing WOW 25 hours a day?

Hottest new cellphone in the world!

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