BREAKING: Egyptian president annuls decree expanding powers
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has annulled the controversial constitutional decree he issued in November expanding his powers.
The decision came after a Saturday meeting between Morsi and other political leaders. The decree and a referendum on the draft constitution sparked mass protests throughout Egypt in the past two weeks. The referendum on the draft constitution will continue as planned on December 15. Read more from AFP.Photo: Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi speaks to supporters in front of the presidential palace in Cairo November 23, 2012. (Handout / Reuters)
”Military Spending” by Kip Lyall.
Condom requirement for porn filming in L.A. approved by voters
Los Angeles Times: A measure that would require porn actors to wear condoms while filming in Los Angeles County, California, has been approved by voters.
Under the measure, the cost of the law will be paid for by porn producers, who would have to buy public health permits.
The measure is sponsored by the AIDS Healthcare Coundation, which has been pushing to protect adult-film performers from HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. The foundation’s president says the question now is whether the adult-film industry and county government will cooperate.
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In last night’s Presidential Debates, Mitt Romney said that he wanted to defund subsidies for programs like PBS.
Total government subsidy for PBS? $445 million per year. Cost of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program? $580 million per week.
Get this man to the DNC!
Maria Alekhina, left, Yekaterina Samutsevich, top right, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, right, members of feminist punk group Pussy Riot seen behind bars at a court room in Moscow, Russia, Russia, Monday, July 30, 2012. Three members of the band are facing trial for performing a “punk prayer” against Vladimir Putin from a pulpit of Moscow’s main cathedral before Russia’s presidential election in March, in which he won a third term. AP
In February, four members of a feminist Russian punk-rock band named “Pussy Riot,” protesting against President Vladimir Putin’s government, walked into the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow. They wore bright-colored balaclavas and performed a provocative song called “Punk Prayer,” with lyrics that called on the Virgin Mary to drive Putin away, and condemned the close relationship of the church and the Russian government. Shortly after, three of the women were arrested and detained for months as a 2,800-page indictment was compiled, accusing them of criminal hooliganism and religious hatred. On Friday, the three were convicted and sentenced to two years imprisonment, after a trial widely condemned by outside observers as an attack on free speech.
Gathered here are several images from the trial and the reactions of Pussy Riot supporters around the world.
See more. [Images: Reuters/David Moir, Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin, Reuters/Tatyana Makeyeva, Reuters/Trend Photo Agency]
of The Denver Post reports on a 41% spike in background checks for people wanting to buy guns in Colorado after Friday morning’s shooting at an Aurora movie theater. Training in the use of firearms and interest in concealed-carry permits is also on the rise. “It’s been insane,” Jake Meyers, an employee at Rocky Mountain Guns and Ammo in Parker, told Burnett.
This Is All Kinds Of Wrong of the Day: All Richard O’Dwyer did was start a website that linked to external sources where people could watch U.S. TV and movies online. He didn’t even get rich doing it.
Now the 24-year-old U.K. student is being targeted for extradition by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which has decided to make O’Dwyer its prime target in its battle against digital copyright infringement.
O’Dwyer has been charged with criminal infringement of copyright, and conspiracy to commit criminal infringement of copyright. Each carries a maximum five-year prison sentence.
How is this possible, when O’Dwyer’s site merely functioned as the middle man? The Guardian explains:
To sell a counterfeit CD or DVD of a copyrighted work is an offense, as is deliberately uploading such a work to the Internet.
American customs officials, after campaigning from industry bodies, contended that linking to such items on other sites (as search engines and others automatically do) would also be covered by such laws.
This is a contentious interpretation of the law, even in the U.S., where linking has in some court cases been regarded as protected speech under the first amendment. Part of the reason for the huge backlash against proposed copyright laws, the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect [Intellectual Property] Act, was that this provision would come under attack.
It’s been two years since ICE agents first knocked on O’Dwyer’s door in the U.K. and hauled him in for questioning.
Since he was released on bail, U.S. officials have taken over O’Dwyer’s domain,tvshack.net, and replaced it with a large warning against copyright infringement; seized his computer and paperwork relating to the site; and frozen the site’s PayPal and email accounts.
O’Dwyer’s mom is campaigning online to keep her son from being made a scapegoat, and Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has started an online petition to raise awareness. But so far, they’ve had little luck.
Adding insult to injury, officially challenging the details of the case can only be done in U.S. courts — not in the U.K.
As he waits for his case to progress, O’Dwyer is perplexed at how his life has turned into one big, bad dream.
“There’s literally no reason I can think of why it has to be heard in America… at no point was the site ever in America,” O’Dwyer says. “I think they’re trying to use my website as a sort of guinea pig to try to scare everyone else making linking websites.”
(A complete timeline of the case, in reverse chronology, can be found here.)
When President Obama announced in August 2010 the end of U.S. combat operations in Iraq, he complimented the soldiers who had served there for completing “every mission they were given.” But some of military’s most senior officers, in a little-noticed report this spring, rendered a harsher account of their work that highlights repeated missteps and failures over the past decade, in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
There was a “failure to recognize, acknowledge and accurately define” the environment in which the conflicts occurred, leading to a “mismatch between forces, capabilities, missions, and goals,” says the assessment from the Pentagon’s Joint Staff. The efforts were marked by a “failure to adequately plan and resource strategic and operational” shifts from one phase of the conflicts to the next.
From the outset, U.S. forces were poorly prepared for peacekeeping and had not adequately planned for the unexpected. In the first half of the decade, “strategic leadership repeatedly failed,” and as a result, U.S. military training, policies, doctrine and equipment were ill-suited to the tasks that troops actually faced in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]
The top map shows the geography of abortions by the states in which they occurred, based on data from the Guttmacher Institute. Thirty-seven states are below the national average of 19.1 abortions per 1,000 women. The lowest rates are in the Plains, Sun Belt, and Rocky Mountain states. Fourteen states have rates of less than 10 per 1000: Wyoming, Mississippi, Kentucky, South Dakota, Idaho, Missouri, West Virginia, Utah, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Indiana, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma. Thirteen states plus the District of Columbia, mainly on the East and West Coasts, have rates above the national average. […]
Access to abortion services is stunningly unequal. Nearly nine in 10 (87 percent) of U.S. counties, home to more than one-third of women of reproductive age, lacked any abortion providers, according to a 2011 study. Nearly all non-metropolitan counties (97 percent), and roughly seven in 10 metropolitan counties lacked a provider. There are 26 states where 90 percent of counties lack an abortion provider. Conversely, there are only seven states where abortion providers are available in more than half of all counties. The map below depicts the percent of counties without an abortion provider.
Read more at The Atlantic Cities. [Images: Zara Matheson, Martin Prosperity Institute]