3 busted trying to buy military weapons for Mexican drug cartel

Do you really wish to scare the bejabbers out of your local coppers?

Three people have been charged with trying to buy a Stinger missile and other military weapons for a Mexican drug cartel, according to an indictment unsealed last week in Phoenix. The government says the plot was foiled because the people the alleged conspirators were dealing with were federal undercover agents and a government informant.

The object of the conspiracy was to obtain and possess military-grade weaponry, and to then export and transfer that weaponry to the Republic of Mexico, and supply that weaponry to a Mexican drug trafficking organization,” says the indictment filed in U.S. District Court in Phoenix.

The three defendants named in the indictment are David Diaz-Sosa, Jorge De Jesus-Castenada and Emilia Palomina-Robles. The charges against them include conspiracy to acquire and export an anti-aircraft missile, conspiracy to possess unregistered firearms and transfer firearms for use in a drug trafficking crime.

Court documents say the alleged conspirators’ shopping list included: a Stinger surface-to-air-missile at a negotiated price of $200,000; a Dragon fire anti-tank weapon for a cost of $100,000; a Law Rocket anti-tank weapon for $20,000; and two AT-4 recoilless anti-tank guns for $20,000. The indictment says the defendants were to pay with some cash and also with illegal drugs.

Enough hardware to attack a small country.

Pet tortoise blamed for fire

Mohamed’s sister, Hagar, carries Giovani

A large pet tortoise that managed to escape from its tank and tip it over caused a fire that gutted a New York family’s apartment, fire investigators said.

Giovani, an African spurred sulcata tortoise, was rescued from the fire, the New York Post reported. Another turtle owned by Mohamed Salem, an 18-year-old art student, was not so lucky and died in its tank.

Salem and the rest of the family were out Sunday when the fire started in their apartment in the Bay Ridge neighborhood of Brooklyn. Investigators say when Giovani knocked over the tank the heat lamp fell on a pile of clothes and art supplies, including flammable liquids such as paint thinner.

Three police officers who were in the neighborhood and entered the building to make sure no one was trapped in the apartment suffered smoke inhalation along with one firefighter. Giovani, the size of a basketball, was rescued.

Ibrahim Salem, Mohamed’s father, told the Post he does not see how the tortoise could have started the fire. He said firefighters told him the fire was an electrical one.

Go ahead – blame the tortoise. He can’t defend himself.

Probably some neighbor’s rabbit started the fire.

Israeli president gets 7-year sentence for rape

Daylife/Getty Images used by permission

Former Israeli president Moshe Katsav has been sentenced to seven years in prison for rape and other sexual offences following a year-long trial which ended with his conviction in December.

Katsav, president from 2000 to 2007, said he was innocent and was being persecuted by the courts and Israeli society at large. He is expected to appeal.

Katsav was convicted of two counts of rape of an employee at the tourism ministry, where he was minister from 1996-1999. He was also convicted of the indecent assault and sexual harassment of two other employees at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem during his presidency.

The president was given the chance of a plea bargain in which he could admit lesser charges but chose to fight all charges in a trial which, although conducted in private, was accompanied by leaks from both sides in the media.

The judges told the court: “The crime of rape damages and destroys a person’s soul … Due to the severity of the crime, the punishment must be clear and precise. The defendant committed the crime and like every other person, he must bear the consequences. No man is above the law…”

The former president was also ordered to pay 100,000 shekels ($28,000) to the rape victim and 25,000 shekels to each of the other victims.

He isn’t the first president – nor will he be the last – to end up in prison. There is an endless supply of politicians seeking the highest office in their land – who think they are above the law.

Tories know it’s ‘crystal clear’ that creationism is not science

If he was entering a Republican Party conference he’d be carrying bible action figures
Daylife/Getty Images used by permission

The Department of Education responded to a letter of concern from the British Centre for Science Education (BCSE), which is worried by applications from Christian groups to run free schools. It fears that schools might be exploited by groups seeking to promote a literal interpretation of the Bible at the expense of science classes.

However, the Department of Education confirmed that Mr Gove is “crystal clear that teaching creationism is at odds with scientific fact”…

The BCSE expressed in writing its “extreme concern” about groups such as Christian School Trust who have made up to five applications to run free schools…

The Everyday Champions Church, in Newark, Nottinghamshire, submitted its proposal for a 652-place school in January. It claims that the parents of more than 660 children have signed up to attend the school.

The Church’s leader Gareth Morgan told the BBC: “Creationism will be embodied as a belief at Everyday Champions Academy, but will not be taught in the sciences. Similarly, evolution will be taught as a theory. We believe children should have a broad knowledge of all theories in order that they can make informed choice.”

In July last year Mr Gove acknowledged there were concerns about “inappropriate faith groups using this legislation to push their own agenda.” He told MPs on the cross-party Commons education committee that his department was working to ensure there were no “extremist groups taking over schools”.

A clear distinction between conservative politicians in the UK and US. The former resemble what traditional American conservatism used to embody – including disdain for populist pandering to religious nutters. That used to be left up to the Democrats in the United States.

Apparently when Nixon instituted the Southern Strategy to acquire the racist and bigot vote in America, they inherted the nutballs along with the whole package.

Lost samples from origin of life researcher shed new light

Stanley Miller gained fame with his 1953 experiment showing the synthesis of organic compounds thought to be important in setting the origin of life in motion. Five years later, he produced samples from a similar experiment, shelved them and, as far as friends and colleagues know, never returned to them in his lifetime.

50 years later, Jeffrey Bada, Miller’s former student and a current Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego professor of marine chemistry, discovered the samples in Miller’s laboratory material and made a discovery that represents a potential breakthrough in the search for the processes that created Earth’s first life forms…

“Much to our surprise the yield of amino acids is a lot richer than any experiment (Miller) had ever conducted,” said Bada.

The new findings support the case that volcanoes – a major source of atmospheric hydrogen sulfide today – accompanied by lightning converted simple gases into a wide array of amino acids, which are were in turn available for assembly into early proteins…

Unbeknownst to him, he’d already done it in 1958,” said Bada.

The Bada lab is gearing up to repeat Miller’s classic experiments later this year. With modern equipment including a miniaturized microwave spark apparatus, experiments that took the elder researcher weeks to carry out could be completed in a day, Bada said.

Delightful find, research that panicked True Believers hits the news once again.

Not that this will appear on the front page of your newspaper, tomorrow. Or TV news. But, it did in 1953.