UAE ready to suspend Blackberry service

More than a million BlackBerry users may have key services in Saudi Arabia and the UAE cut off after authorities stepped up demands on smartphone maker Research In Motion for access to encrypted messages sent over the device.

BlackBerry’s Messenger application has spread rapidly in the Gulf Arab region but because the data is encrypted and sent to offshore servers, it cannot be tracked locally.

Certain BlackBerry services allow users to act without any legal accountability, causing judicial, social and national security concerns,” the United Arab Emirates’ Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) said in a statement.

The UAE said it would suspend BlackBerry Messenger, email and Web browser services from October 11 until a fix was found, while industry sources said Saudi Arabia had ordered local telecom companies to freeze Messenger this month…

India raised similar security concerns last week, and Bahrain in April warned against using BlackBerry Messenger to distribute local news. As far back as 2007, France cautioned officials about using the services…

Users of the device said that could mean disruptions for companies and individuals who rely on the services, including almost 700,000 in Saudi Arabia and some 500,000 in the UAE.

Frankly, it sounds as much a problem of government officials distrusting RIM – as much as simple censorship.

‘Pukemon’gets 30 to 90 days in the slammer

Matthew Clemmens couldn’t barf up a sincere-enough apology to satisfy a judge yesterday.

Family Court Administrative Judge Kevin Dougherty slammed the chubby 21-year-old from Cherry Hill, now nicknamed “Pukemon,” out of the courtroom “ballpark” with a harsh sentence that shocked courtroom observers.

He sentenced Clemmens to 30 to 90 days behind bars for deliberately vomiting on Michael Vangelo, an off-duty Easton police captain, and the officer’s 11-year-old daughter at a Phillies game in April, and for throwing right hooks at the dad’s head, making his left ear bleed.

Pukemon will also have to clean bathrooms and chuck out the trash at Citizens Bank Park, if the Phillies organization agrees. The judge ordered him to do so as part of 50 hours of community service during two years’ probation. And he is to pay Vangelo $315 in restitution for game tickets and parking.

Vangelo told the judge that on April 14, Clemmens and three friends – a man and two women – were sitting behind him, his daughters and their friend at the ballpark. Clemmens and his friends were drinking alcohol and using the F word, Vangelo said.

Clemmens’ male buddy spit, and was ejected by security. Clemmens and his two female friends then left, but Clemmens returned solo and put two fingers down his throat and projectile-vomited on Vangelo and the 11-year-old. Vangelo shoved Clemmens away, and Clemmens slugged Vangelo four to five times in the head. While the cop restrained himself, not punching back, four other fans jumped on Clemmens and held him as he vomited on their shoes, Vangelo said.

The defendant’s parents, Gary and Sandra Clemmens, said their son’s unruliness was out of character. The father turned to Vangelo, apologizing, and said his son is not a “monster.”

“I don’t know whether you thought you were hitting a home run with your friends, but you struck out,” the judge said, ordering that Clemmens be taken into custody immediately, as Clemmens’ girlfriend sobbed.

This moron should be ordered to clean all the toilets at the stadium – with nothing more one box of Kleenex.

For two years.

OK – let’s get the wedding photos out of the way!

The interfaith ceremony was conducted by Rabbi James Ponet and the Rev. William Shillady. Ms. Clinton is Methodist, and Mr. Mezvinsky is Jewish.

It included elements from both traditions: friends and family read the Seven Blessings, which are typically recited at traditional Jewish weddings following the vows and exchange of rings.

Rhinebeck is a town my family knows well. Across the river is a pretty similar town named Red Hook – the biggest town near my grandparents’ farm. Which is where my sister and I spent our summers when we were kids.

Rhinebeck? Well, they had a half-mile dirt track on the outskirts of town while Red Hook only had a quarter-mile track.

What happens when you merge with conservatives?


Joined at the hip?
Daylife/Getty Images used by permission

Support for Liberal Democrats has plunged to just 12 per cent – half the level the party secured in the General Election – according to a poll.

The YouGov survey for the Sunday Times also recorded a steep nosedive in the popularity of the party’s leader Nick Clegg since he became Deputy Prime Minister by taking the Lib Dems into coalition Government with the Conservatives.

Mr Clegg’s personal satisfaction rating was eight points, compared to the spectacular 72 points he achieved in the wake of the first televised leaders’ debate during the election campaign.

The Lib Dems rating was half the 24 per cent the party won in the election and the lowest since October 2007, when Sir Menzies Campbell was forced out as leader…

The poll came after Mr Clegg admitted in a TV documentary that he changed his mind about the need for spending cuts before the election without making his shift public, and after questions were raised over whether he misled Mr Cameron about the offers Labour had made him on electoral reform.

Signs of unrest have also emerged within his party over the coalition’s position on issues like immigration, schools and university tuition fees.

Merge your policies with crap policies – it sticks.

Cluster bomb ban starts today


Removing Israeli cluster bomblets in Lebanon

A global treaty banning cluster munitions has gone into force.

The Convention on Cluster Munitions, which became binding international law today, prohibits the use, production and stockpiling of the weapon, which is blamed for killing and maiming tens of thousands of civilians…

The treaty requires signatories to destroy stockpiled cluster munitions within eight years, clear contaminated areas within 10 years and help affected communities and survivors…

Cluster bombs are dropped from planes or fired by mortars before the canisters open mid-air, releasing bomblets that scatter over a wide area. Most explode immediately, but those that fail to detonate on impact can claim victims many years after the end of the conflict…

More than two dozen countries have been affected by cluster bombs and activists say three out of five casualties occur during day-to-day activities.

Most of the victims are children and some are killed when they mistake the bomblets for toys.

The United Nations estimates almost half of all casualties are from Laos, where people are still at risk of being injured from unexploded bomblets.

Between 1964 and 1973, at the height of Vietnam War, the US military dropped more than 2 million tons of explosive ordnance, including an estimated 260 million cluster munitions, mainly to disrupt enemy supply lines that passed through Laos.

It is thought that around 30 per cent of bomblets failed to explode on impact, and over two-thirds of the country is still contaminated. Experts say they kill or injure about 300 people a year.

Thank you – to the nations with stockpiles of these weapons – who nevertheless signed the treaty, will eliminate these anti-civilian weapons and respect the ban: UK, France, Germany and Japan.

The United States, the world’s largest producer with the biggest stockpile of 800 million submunitions, has refused to sign the treaty…

China, Russia and Israel have not signed on either. I hope you’re all happy in bed together.

Patients at serious risk after hospitals overdose CT scans

When Alain Reyes’s hair suddenly fell out in a freakish band circling his head, he was not the only one worried about his health. His co-workers at a shipping company avoided him, and his boss sent him home, fearing he had a contagious disease.

Only later would Mr. Reyes learn what had caused him so much physical and emotional grief: he had received a radiation overdose during a test for a stroke at a hospital in Glendale, Calif.

Other patients getting the procedure, called a CT brain perfusion scan, were being overdosed, too — 37 of them just up the freeway at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, 269 more at the renowned Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles and dozens more at a hospital in Huntsville, Ala.

The overdoses, which began to emerge late last summer, set off an investigation by the Food and Drug Administration into why patients tested with this complex yet lightly regulated technology were bombarded with excessive radiation. After 10 months, the agency has yet to provide a final report on what it found.

But an examination by The New York Times has found that radiation overdoses were larger and more widespread than previously known, that patients have reported symptoms considerably more serious than losing their hair, and that experts say they may face long-term risks of cancer and brain damage.

The review also offers insight into the way many of the overdoses occurred. While in some cases technicians did not know how to properly administer the test, interviews with hospital officials and a review of public records raise new questions about the role of manufacturers, including how well they design their software and equipment and train those who use them…

Officials there said they intentionally used high levels of radiation to get clearer images, according to an inquiry by the company that supplied the scanners, GE Healthcare.

Experts say that is unjustified and potentially dangerous

RTFA. The scary bits persist. The incompetence of hospital administrators and staff in charge of procedures is matched by the carelessness of technology firms who apparently figured that folks would RTFM. And that would be good enough.

It ain’t.