Bishops continue to quit after Irish sex probe

Two Irish bishops have offered their resignation to the Pope, after a government investigation highlighted a cover-up of child sex abuse by priests in Ireland over decades. The announcement on Friday, Christmas Day, increased the number of resignations of church leaders over the probe to four.

Bishops Eamonn Walsh and Raymond Field said that they hoped that their resignation might “bring the peace and reconciliation of Jesus Christ to the victims/survivors of child sexual abuse”.

There was no response from those who have been said to suffer sexual abuse at the hands of those implicated…

More than 170 cases of abuse have been found to have been covered-up by Dublin church leaders. Incidents began to be revealed in 1995 but many records were hidden until 2004.

The cases came to light after Andrew Madden, a former alter boy, made public the abuse he suffered at the hands of priests and the church’s attempts to buy his silence in the mid-1990s.

Isn’t there some kind of deal where Christians say they have to be forgiven?

I mean – outside of whatever lawsuits are filed.

Attempt to bomb Delta flight from Amsterdam to Detroit


Flight 253 on the runway – click photo for video
Note: MSNBC is being slammed – may take a few tries to get through

A Nigerian man claiming ties to al-Qaida tried to light a powder aboard a commercial jetliner before it landed Friday in Detroit in what senior U.S. officials called an attempted act of terrorism.

The man had “some kind of incendiary device he tried to ignite” in a bag strapped to his body, U.S. officials told NBC News. Other officials told NBC station WDIV-TV of Detroit that the device was a mixture of powder and liquid, which failed to ignite when the passenger tried to detonate it during the plane’s descent into Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport.

Two people saw the attempted attack, and a third person jumped on the man and subdued him, an airline official told NBC News. The man was being treated at the burn unit of the University of Michigan Medical Center in Ann Arbor, officials said.

Federal officials identified the man as Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, of Nigeria, who was traveling one way, without a return ticket. Dawn Griffith, who was waiting for her husband on the plane, said she saw the man being carted away on a gurney or bed, with his bandaged hands handcuffed to the railing…

Abdulmutallab told investigators that he wanted to set off a bomb over the United States and claimed to be connected to al-Qaida…

Uh, be careful out there, folks. The loonies are on the loose.

Conscientious janitor leads to 3-year probe of counterfeit ID’s

A Montreal janitor who stumbled on boxes of fake credit cards and ID while hunting down a leaky pipe was the key to a major fraud bust that is one of Canada’s largest national security investigations.

This week police revealed more details about their crackdown on international fraud, which resulted in 30 arrests after investigators raided several locations in Montreal and Ontario, including a handful of daycares.

Operation Pre-Empt is the largest counterfeit document bust in Canadian history, according to police who worked on the probe. And it started with Mark Duke, a janitor who works in an apartment building in downtown Montreal.

Duke said he was called to fix a leaky pipe in December 2006, and while tracking down the source, used his master key to enter a unit in the building. Inside, he found boxes filled with blank credit cards, passports, printers and other equipment that could be used to produce identification.

The 30 people arrested are in custody, awaiting trial in the new year.

The best way for a criminal crew to celebrate Hogmany, eh?

Extended capacity Li-on batteries reach production


Home backup Li-on battery includes smart grid software for your home

Panasonic Corporation has developed more powerful batteries for use in everything from laptops to electric vehicles, the Japanese electronics maker has said.

The new lithium-ion batteries are 20% to 30% more powerful than current batteries, according to Osaka-based Panasonic. They can raise the cruising range of electric vehicles on a single charge from 120 miles to about 170 miles, it said…

Panasonic has a joint venture with Toyota Motor Corporation that supplies batteries for hybrid cars, including the Prius, and plug-in models. But Panasonic said it was in talks with about 10 automakers to supply the new battery, underlining the breakdown of such tie-ups involving batteries for green autos.

Panasonic has also just taken majority control of Japanese rival Sanyo Electric Company, which also boasts new lithium-ion battery technology.

Disclaimer – I own stock in Sanyo. Mostly because they make the “Toasty” – my favorite toaster-oven – and Eneloop, the best rechargeable AA batteries in the world. 🙂

None of this growth is unexpected – if you ignore pundits who base their analysis of tech industries on Silicon Valley or Detroit of 20 years ago.

Auschwitz sign stolen to fund Swedish Nazi terror attacks

The Nazi gang that ordered the theft of the infamous ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’ sign from the gates of Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland planned to sell it to fund violent attacks against the Swedish Prime Minister and Parliament, it was claimed today.

A spokesman for the Swedish security police confirmed that the authorities were taking seriously a threat by a militant Nazi group to disrupt national elections next year.

“We are aware of the information about the alleged attack plans,” said Patrik Peter, the security police spokesman. “We have taken actions. We view this seriously…”

Allegations concerning who ordered the theft, and why, have surfaced today in Swedish newspaper reports after the former leader of a Swedish Nazi group claimed that it had been stolen to order for a collector in England, France or the United States…

The Nazi source said that the money would pay for an attack on the home of Fredrik Reinfeldt, the Swedish Prime Minister who has held the rotating presidency of the European Union for the last six months, and on the Swedish Foreign Ministry, the paper reported.

A third attack allegedly involved plans to bombard Swedish MPs from the public seats of the parliament…

The source allegedly said that five men were to be paid for carrying out the theft. He reportedly insisted that he personally was not guilty of any crime as the deal had not been completed.

I admit I’m surprised. Not about the theft being engineered for sale to a collector. There is no shortage of people with too much money who drape their pitiful egos with art and history.

I wasn’t aware that revanchist Nazis had advanced plans for terror in Western Europe to the stage of attacks upon the institutions of democracy. Quasi-criminal groups like this exist on the fringes of racist and bigoted sects. Both sides of the Atlantic.

At least security services in Sweden appear to keep a broad view – undiminished by the conventional Conservative vision of Middle Eastern terror hiding under every bed.

OTOH – these klowns may just be the Swedish cousins of Michelle Bachman seeking backers for a run at fuehrer.

Mercedes + Schumacher + Brawn together in F1


Click on photo for video
Daylife/Getty Images used by permission

Seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher is to return to Formula One next season to drive for Mercedes.

The 40-year-old German, who retired in 2006, has agreed a three-year contract with the possibility for a further extension according to his agent Sabine Kehm and will be on the grid for the curtain-opening Bahrain Grand Prix on March 14.

Schumacher, who was unveiled at the team’s factory in Brackley, will join compatriot Nico Rosberg at the former Brawn GP team, who were taken over by Mercedes at the end of last season having won the constructors’ and drivers world championships.

“After a three-year break, I have all the energy again that I was lacking,” Schumacher told reporters via a teleconference call.

Schumacher, who won five of his world titles with Ferrari, attempted to make a comeback for the Italian team last year in place of the injured Felipe Massa, but a neck injury sustained in a motorcycle race thwarted his return…

“Over the summer it was too soon after the accident. Now everything has healed,” said Schumacher, who will have his first practice session with his new team on February 1.

I have decided to return to Formula One. Mercedes GP and I agreed on teaming up for the coming seasons. And to be honest, I’m already super excited by the prospect to be back in a F1 cockpit,” he added on his official Web site.

“I don’t want to deny at all that the idea of a German F1 team extremely tempts me. I guess every German driver would feel this way. And of course it plays a major role that I again can work together with Ross at Mercedes GP. Above all, however, my old hunger for racing is back — I realized that my old passion was returning. Suddenly I was on fire again,” he added.

Though I always seemed to be supporting someone else – like Mika Hakkinen – a certain level of insanity is required to deny that Schumi is the greatest driver of recent generations.

To see him driving for the Silver Arrows of Mercedes – back together with Ross Brawn as team principal – is an amazing opportunity. He is one of those consummate skills who just may be capable of beating everyone else in the world, the oldest driver in every race.