Changes in Japanese political
watched Russian News on TV and was pleasently surprised, that the new Japanese Prime-Minister Yukio
Hatoyama is called ET (positive type). There are positive types of catoons of him shown on Japanese
TV.His views are very different from others, his clothes and hair style is against their norm
His wife, whom he loves very much and who
charges him with a lot of energy (he says), was abducted years ago by spaceship and who had spent
some time in Venus. She wrote a book about it. She also seems to be very down to Earth and cheerful
The couple could be the 11th Density Beings,
the volunteers, the ones who are replacing all the old-fashioned politicians. The change in global
political circles is taken place. But for me it's still too slow!
Israeli diplomat expelled by
Foreign Minister Stephen Smith has told parliament Israel was responsible for faking four
Australian passports used in the killing of a senior Hamas official.
'Investigations and advice have left the government in no doubt Israel was responsible for the
abuse and counterfeiting of these passports,' he said on Monday.
Mr Smith has asked that a member of the Israeli Embassy in Canberra be withdrawn from Australia
within the week, as a result of the scandal.
'This is not what we expect from a nation with whom we have had such a close, friendly and
supportive relationship,' he said.
Mr Smith said it was not the first time that Australian passports had been misused by Israeli
'The Dubai passports incident also constitutes a clear and direct breach of confidential
undertakings between Australia and Israel dating back some years,' he said.
Mr Smith said there was no evidence the passport holders were anything but innocent victims.
'The high quality of these counterfeited passports points to the involvement of a state
intelligence service,' he said.
Hamas official Mahmud al-Mabhuh was assassinated in Dubai in January.
The Israeli embassy was not immediately available for comment.
The decision was taken by the government for 'national security interests', Mr Smith said.
The abuse of the passports was inconsistent with the 'friendship and support' provided by
successive Australian governments to Israel.
'Australia's relationship with Israel has always been founded on a basis of mutual respect and
trust, but Israel's actions in this respect have undermined that,' he said.
Mr Smith said Australia's relationship with Israel could continue in a 'productive and beneficial'
'Australia remains a firm friend of Israel, but ... our relationship must be conducted on the basis
of mutual trust and respect.'
Genuine friendship ran both ways, Mr Smith said, stressing that the incident must not be
Mr Smith said the United Kingdom reached similar conclusions after its investigation into the
misuse of British passports in the Dubai incident.
'No government can tolerate the abuse of its passports, especially by a foreign government,' he
'This represents a clear affront to the security of our passport system.'
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) handed a report of its investigation to the government in
The director-general of ASIO visited Israel earlier in May.
The nation's overseas-focused spy agency, the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS), was
also involved in the investigation.
'I received my final advice from agencies last week,' Mr Smith said, adding that he had briefed the
national security committee of the cabinet on Monday morning.
Monday, May 24, 2010 » 01:37pm
Across central Bangkok a huge clean-up was under way
after the scenes of anarchy that saw 36 major buildings go up in flames including the
stock exchange and the nation's biggest mall which now lies in ruins.
Thailand's PM says the divided kingdom faces 'huge challenges', after a deadly crackdown on
anti-government protests triggered mayhem in the capital.
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva declared victory on Friday in a campaign to secure Bangkok,
clamping down on militants in the 'Red Shirt' movement who went on a rampage of arson and looting
after their leaders surrendered on Wednesday.
'This is one of the worst episodes Thailand has ever faced,' Abhisit said in a televised address to
'We will continue to swiftly restore normalcy and we recognise that as we move ahead there are huge
challenges ahead of us, particularly the challenge of overcoming the divisions that have occurred
in this country.'
Abhisit said he regretted the loss of life in the army offensive to shut down six weeks of
anti-government protests, which left 16 dead, including an Italian photographer, but defended the
way it was carried out.
'The operation was within the law and complied with international practice,' he said, adding
however that there would be an independent probe. Concern remains over a shootout at a temple 'safe
zone' where six bodies were found.
Abhisit made no mention of the fresh elections demanded by Red Shirts who condemn his government as
illegitimate, but said the focus should now move to healing the splits that fomented the
'We are living in the same house,' he said. 'I invite all of you to join the reconciliation
'Let me reassure you that the government will meet these challenges through the five-point
reconciliation plan I have announced,' he said, referring to a road-map which failed to produce a
peaceful resolution to the Reds rallies.
During failed negotiations before the crackdown, Abhisit offered to hold a vote in November - a
year ahead of schedule - as long as the rallies dispersed.
Major General Amnuay Nimano of the Bangkok Police said in a televised broadcast later on Friday
that he had told Red Shirt leaders arrested after the protests they faced charges of insulting the
monarchy, as well as terrorism.
Thailand is deeply split between the Reds, mostly urban and rural poor who are demanding the ouster
of a government they condemn as undemocratic, and rival pro-establishment 'Yellow Shirts' who
represent the nation's elites.
The Reds are mostly supporters of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a
2006 coup. The billionaire was accused of gross rights abuses and corruption, but won grass-roots
support with his populist policies.
Thaksin's elected allies were later ejected in a controversial court ruling, paving the way for
Abhisit's administration to be appointed in a 2008 army-backed parliamentary vote.
The violence in Bangkok drew expressions of concern from across the world and on Friday the
Association of South-East Asian Nations said peace and stability in Thailand were crucial to the
It was a rare statement about the internal affairs of one of its members.
Across central Bangkok a huge clean-up was under way after the scenes of anarchy that saw 36 major
buildings go up in flames including the stock exchange and the nation's biggest mall which now lies
In the hotspots where protesters have battled with security forces over the past week, roads were
being cleared of burned tyres and concrete blocks and stones that had been used as missiles.
Thailand has suffered regular bouts of civil unrest in its turbulent history, but commentators
warned the emotional wounds from unrest that has left 86 dead and 1,900 injured since mid-March
could be hard to heal.
'No one knows how long it will take to close the deep divisions that have been opened within Thai
families and society,' the Bangkok Post said in a front page editorial.
Bangkok and 23 other provinces in the rural north and northeast - the Reds' heartland - have been
put under a curfew until Sunday to try to contain the conflict and prevent it from spreading across
Some 300 angry and emotional Reds who had taken part in the protests were welcomed home as heroes
in the northern city of Chiang Mai Friday, greeted by a cheering and flag-waving crowd at the
'I am waiting for instructions from my leaders. I am not giving up. For now I will go home and back
to my paddy field. With every one Red Shirt killed we believe a million supporters will emerge,'
said 38-year-old Nut Jangakat.
Saturday, May 22, 2010 » 10:53am
Portugal's president passes
Portugal's conservative president said he is reluctantly ratifying a law allowing gay marriage,
making the predominantly Catholic country the sixth in Europe to let same-sex couples wed.
President Anibal Cavaco Silva said on Monday he would not veto the bill because majority liberal
lawmakers would only overturn his decision. The country must focus instead on battling a crippling
economic crisis that has increased unemployment and deepened poverty, he said.
'Given that fact, I feel I should not contribute to a pointless extension of this debate, which
would only serve to deepen the divisions between the Portuguese and divert the attention of
politicians away from the grave problems affecting us,' Cavaco Silva said.
He said he was setting aside his 'personal convictions', though he did not elaborate and did not
take reporters' questions.
The country's parliament passed the Socialist government-backed bill in January, with the support
of all of Portugal's left-of-center parties, who together have a majority.
Right-of-centre parties opposed the measure and demanded a national referendum.
Elsewhere in Europe, gay marriage is permitted in Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and
Norway. As well, five US states and Washington, DC, have legalised same-sex marriage, as have
Canada and South Africa.
Cavaco Silva's announcement came three days after Pope Benedict XVI left Portugal. During his
four-day visit, which attracted hundreds of thousands of people, the pontiff said same-sex marriage
and abortion were some of the most 'insidious and dangerous' threats facing the world.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010 » 05:08pm
Rudd opens Aust embassy to
Sunday, October 17, 2010 » 07:23am
On the eve of the canonisation of our first saint, Australia has further strengthened its ties with
the Vatican with the official opening of the first permanent Chancery of the Australian embassy to
the Holy See.
Australia first established diplomatic relations with the Holy See in 1973, but only installed a
resident ambassador in 2009 when Tim Fischer took up the appointment.
On Saturday Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd declared the new embassy officially open, watched by
Cardinal George Pell, Deputy Opposition Leader Julie Bishop, Mr Fischer, members of the Sisters of
St Joseph, and Vatican dignitaries.
'It's a good day for our relationship with the Holy See. It is a day which we should celebrate,' Mr
'It also represents the completion of some unfinished business.
'The decision to establish this resident embassy and a resident ambassador to the Holy See that we
took in 2008 reflected first and foremost our mark of respect and high regard to the role of the
Catholic Church in Australia.'
Mr Rudd said there are several areas of 'great consequence' to the people of Australia where the
government works with the Holy See.
Since taking up his appointment in January 2009, Mr Fischer has engaged with senior Vatican figures
on issues including human rights, disarmament, ethical economic growth and food security.
'One thing about Tim Fischer, here is a man who doesn't just have a big hat, he has a big heart,'
Mr Rudd said.
'When you see the akubra working its way methodically across the halls of the Vatican, there just
doesn't go a piece of Australian iconography, there goes a living embodiment of the Australian
Mr Rudd said not only was the cost of establishing the embassy justified, it was overdue.
'I think it's entirely justified. Question: how many countries around the world have resident
embassies here in the Holy See? Answer: 77,' he told reporters.
'How many major countries in the world who are members of the G20 have resident embassies to the
Holy See? All of them, except Australia in 2008.
'So let's just put this into a bit of context hey? Fair dinkum ... it's nothing remarkable, it's
nothing unique, in fact we are later by a country mile than most.'
Gay US councilman's plea goes
Saturday, October 16, 2010 » 09:43am
A city councilman in Fort Worth, Texas, has rocketed into cyberspace prominence in a video pleading
with gay teens not to commit suicide and tearfully recounting his own ordeals as a bullied
'Give your self a chance to see how much life will get better,' Councilman Joel Burns says in his
appeal to bullied teens, which he made during a 12-minute speech to the council on Tuesday.
By Friday afternoon, the video had received more than 500,000 hits on YouTube, and Burns was being
lauded on social networking sites.
Burns, who is gay, prefaced his appeal by recounting several of the recent cases in which teens
across the US had killed themselves after being targeted by anti-gay bullying.
The victims included Asher Brown, 13, of Houston, who shot himself with his father's handgun, and
Tyler Clementi, 18, the Rutgers University freshman who jumped off the George Washington Bridge in
New York after his roommate secretly recorded him with another male student, then broadcast the
'This bullying and harassment in our schools must stop,' Burns said, describing it as an
He then recalled his youth in the Fort Worth suburb of Crowley, describing himself as a skinny,
sensitive boy who tried to be friendly to all.
In ninth grade, he said, older boys roughed him up, 'said I was a faggot and I should die and go to
hell where I belonged.
'Ashamed, humiliated and confused, I went home,' Burns said. 'There must be something very wrong
with me, I thought.'
After struggling to maintain his composure, Burns, now 40, then addressed himself directly to any
gay teens who might see the video.
'You will get out of the household that doesn't accept you. You will get out of that high school,
and you don't ever have to deal with those jerks again,' he said.
'Things will get easier.... Please stick around to make those happy memories for yourself.'
When he finished the speech, most of those in the council chamber rose to applaud.
'If the now-viral video ... does not move you to tears, you surely have a tough, leathery little
peanut for a heart. I can't watch it without crying,' wrote Dallas Morning News columnist
Queen cancels staff Christmas
The Queen has called off this year's Christmas party at Buckingham Palace to show restraint as
Britain braces for a wave of austerity cutbacks.
The biennial December party for about 600 royal staff, paid for out of the Queen's private money,
costs about STG50,000 ($A80,400), The Sun newspaper said.
'Given the current economic climate, it was thought that it was appropriate for the household to
show restraint,' a palace spokesman told AFP on Thursday.
'The Queen is acutely aware of the difficult economic circumstances facing the country.'
The British government is to announce its spending review on October 20 and is expected to slash
departmental funding in a bid to rein in the country's record deficit.
'We're all devastated as it's a great night when everyone lets their hair down,' The Sun quoted one
worker as saying.
'The royals mix freely with servants - it's normal to see the Queen dancing with a footman or
Prince Philip waltzing with a maid.
'The champagne flows like water and you feel your hard work has been appreciated. This won't go
This year the royals have had to accept the freezing of the 'civil list', covering the expenses of
the Queen and Prince Philip.
The amount was set in 1990 at STG7.9 million ($A12.7 million) a year and has not gone up since.
It is paid in return for the profits from the Crown Estate, the sovereign's property portfolio.
The surplus was STG210.7 million ($A338.83 million) for the year ended March 2010.
Friday, October 15, 2010 » 05:56am
US congress to end gay ban in
US President Barack Obama's administration has reached a deal with top lawmakers in Congress
designed to end a US ban on gays serving openly in the military.
Obama has vowed to repeal the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy, which forces gays and lesbians to
hide their orientation or face expulsion from the military, and has come under intense pressure
from gay rights groups for swift action.
The White House and senior lawmakers said the compromise, which was reached on Monday, would be
brought up in the House of Representatives, possibly as early as this week, but the law would not
change until after the military completed an implementation review.
US Defence Secretary Robert Gates and the chairman of the US Joints Chiefs of Staff, Admiral
Michael Mullen, had backed the idea of ending the rule.
They said in April, however, that they opposed any change to the prohibition in the short term
because the military needed to assess how the move would impact the armed forces.
But Peter Orszag, the head of Obama's Office of Management and Budget, said in a letter to key
lawmakers on Monday that a compromise to allow the review to be completed before the law was
changed would permit movement on the legislation.
The review is not due to be completed until December 1.
The compromise was contained in an amendment drafted by Senator Joseph Lieberman, an independent
who votes with Democrats and is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
The amendment provides for a review of the impact on changing the law on readiness, military
effectiveness and unit cohesion, and provides that the law will not become law until the review is
complete and remedies carried out.
The review will seek the views of troops and military families on the issue, as well as take into
account the experience of NATO allies and other armies that permit gays to serve openly.
More than 13,500 service members have been dismissed under the law since it was adopted.
The 1993 law replaced an outright prohibition against homosexuals in the military. Former president
Bill Clinton agreed to the compromise policy after meeting stiff resistance from commanders and
lawmakers when he proposed allowing gays to serve openly.
The move was warmly welcomed by groups which have campaigned for years for the repeal of 'Don't
Ask, Don't Tell.'
'The White House announcement is a dramatic breakthrough,' said Aubrey Sarvis, director of
Servicemembers Legal Defence Network.
'President Obama's support and Secretary Gates' buy-in should insure a winning vote, but we are not
there yet. The votes still need to be worked and counted.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010 » 12:10pm
From Pornography to Parliament
An award-winning British
porn director has been selected as a Liberal Democrat candidate.
Anna Arrowsmith, who has twice been named adult entertainment
director of the year, is standing for election in Gravesham, Kent.
Party leader Nick Clegg said her work was 'not exactly my cup of
tea' but praised her for not being a 'cardboard cut-out Westminster politician'.
He told GMTV it was important that people like her, who care
about their local area, get involved in politics.
When news of her selection was confirmed, Mrs Arrowsmith wrote
on her Twitter page: 'From porn to Parliament, here I come!'
Using the pseudonym Anna Span, she has shot more than 250
explicit scenes for stations such as Television X.
She was named best director
at the 2008 and 2009 UK Adult Film and Television Awards and now runs adult entertainment
company Easy on the Eye productions.
Mrs Arrowsmith, who has an MA in philosophy, said she wants to
make porn more female-friendly.
She decided to stand as a reaction to the expenses scandal and
the lack of women in Parliament.
'If people don't know what I do for a living then they would
never know. The local party and the local people who I have so far met have seen that I'm very
driven,' she said.
'I'm not campaigning on behalf of my old industry. I'm
campaigning on behalf of the people in the Gravesham area.
'When people get to see me, they will realise that I'm used to
project managing and that I'm driven to achieve change rather than just promising
The married 38-year-old lives in Groombridge, near Tunbridge
Saturday, March 13, 2010 »
Naked Obama Aide 'berated
It's a terrifying image transfixing Washington: President Barack Obama's enforcer Rahm Emanuel,
naked, in a communal shower, berating a congressman.
The legend of Emanuel, revered as a master of the US capital's dark arts by allies and foes alike,
is being further embroidered by a tour-de-force of score settling by resigning Democratic lawmaker
Massa, a former navy commander and cancer survivor, has given a series of evolving reasons for his
departure, and resigned suddenly this week facing harassment allegations from a former male
Washington is notorious as a town of naked partisanship, but Massa raised eyebrows several notches
with his account of Emanuel's conduct.
In his most colourful parting shot, on a radio show on Sunday, he accused the White House chief of
staff of cornering him at the locker room of the House of Representatives gym and hammering him for
failing to back Obama's budget.
'Rahm Emanuel is the son of the devil's spawn,' Massa said. 'He is an individual who would sell his
mother to get a vote.'
Massa, who is considered a liberal, said he had been standing in the gym 'showering, naked as a
jaybird, and here comes Rahm Emanuel ... poking his finger in my chest, yelling at me.
'Do you know how awkward it is to have a political argument with a naked man?'
Massa, who formally resigned on Monday, also alleged that he had been pushed out of Congress
because he opposed Obama's signature health care bill, which is struggling to make its way off
The White House on Tuesday dismissed the claims by Massa, a one-term congressman from New York, as
'I think this whole story is ridiculous. I think the latest excuse is silly and ridiculous,' White
House spokesman Robert Gibbs told ABC, and accused Massa of giving a string of contradictory
reasons for his departure.
Steny Hoyer, the leader of House Democrats, also dismissed Massa's claim that he was ousted for
opposing Obama's health care reform as 'absurd' and 'absolutely ridiculous'.
Massa's comments have already been highlighted by conservative commentators accusing the Obama
administration and Democrats in Congress of mounting a bare-knuckle political operation to ram
health care through.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010 » 11:24am
97 die in Polish president's plane
An ageing jet carrying
Poland's President Lech Kaczynski and much of the state elite has crashed in thick fog in Russia,
killing all 97 people on board and plunging a nation into grief.
The Soviet-era Tupolev Tu-154 hit tree tops in fog as it
approached the runway at Smolensk airport in western Russia on Saturday and broke up in flames,
regional governor Sergei Antufiev said.
The plane was taking Kaczynski and his wife, the military chief
of staff and other top officers, the central bank governor, the deputy foreign minister, members of
parliament and other senior officials to a memorial ceremony for thousands of Polish troops
massacred by Russian forces in World War II.
'It clipped the tops of the trees, crashed down and broke into
pieces,' Antufiev told Russia-24 television news network.
Lieutenant General Alexander Alyoshin, deputy head of Russia's
air force, said the pilots repeatedly ignored instructions from air traffic
Wreckage, including the engines and a large chunk of mud-caked
tailfin, was scattered across a forest and parts of it burned for more than an hour. The two black
box flight recorders were quickly found, news agencies reported.
As well as killing the 60-year-old head of state, the crash
devastated Poland's military leadership.
The 88 passengers included General Franciszek Gagor, chief of
Poland's armed forces, and the heads of all the main armed forces, central bank governor Slawomir
Skrzypek, deputy foreign minister Andrzej Kremer, deputy defence minister Stanislaw Jerzy
Komorowski, Kaczynski's wife Maria, and scores of MPs, historians and other
'This kind of dramatic tragedy is unheard of in the modern
world,' Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said after an emergency cabinet meeting. He later headed
to the crash site.
Former Polish president Lech Walesa, who headed the Solidarity
movement, called the disaster 'inconceivable'.
'The Soviets killed Polish elites in Katyn 70 years ago. Today,
the Polish elite died there while getting ready to pay homage to the Poles killed there,' a shaken
Walesa told AFP.
Bronislaw Komorowski, head of Poland's lower house, took over as
interim head-of-state. He ordered a week of official mourning, declaring: 'We are united -- there
is no left or right -- we are united in national mourning.'
There was no immediate word from the president's identical twin
brother, Jaroslaw, who previously served as prime minister. But thousands descended on the
presidential palace in Warsaw to lay a sea of red and white flowers. Many people hung national
flags from their windows.
The Polish delegation was to attend a memorial service in the
Katyn Forest, near the crash scene, for the 22,000 top Polish officers and troops killed by Soviet
troops 70 years ago. The event had been intended to help reconciliation between Poland and
The jet was repaired and refurbished in December, Alexei Gusev,
director of the Aviakor maker said.
Russian officials pointed at pilot error.
About 1.5km from the airport, air traffic controllers noticed
the jet was below the scheduled gliding path, the air force deputy chief said.
'The head of the group ordered the crew to return to horizontal
flight, and when the crew did not fulfil the instruction, ordered them several times to land at
another airport,' Alyoshin said.
'Nonetheless the crew continued to descend. Unfortunately this
ended tragically,' he added.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev appointed Prime Minister
Vladimir Putin to head an inquiry commission and sent Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu
to the site. Putin later arrived to inspect the crash site as well.
Kaczynski and his twin brother formed a formidable dual
leadership of Poland's nationalist right wing, stubbornly taking on other European leaders at EU
summits to defend his country's cause.
He faced an election later this year but was to fight for a new
The crash occurred three days after Putin and Tusk attended a
joint memorial for the Katyn victims. The event was seen as a huge symbolic advance in Russia's
often thorny relations with Poland.
Putin called Tusk to express condolences over the 'tragic'
crash, the Russian leader's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
Medvedev ordered a day of national mourning in Russia on
World leaders expressed shock at the disaster.
US President Barack Obama hailed the late president as 'a
distinguished statesman who played a key role in the Solidarity movement, and he was widely admired
in the United States as a leader dedicated to advancing freedom and human
French President Nicholas Sarkozy paid homage to his Polish
counterpart as a man 'driven by ardent patriotism, who dedicated his life to his
'He will be mourned across the world and remembered as a
passionate patriot and democrat,' said British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
Sunday, April 11, 2010 » 07:15am
NBN Co CEO grilled in Senate
hearing (Just look at the stupidity of their talks,
A Senate hearing involving the company responsible for rolling out the National Broadband Network
(NBN) has kicked off with a heated exchange over the availability of its CEO.
Coalition senators spent the opening 20 minutes of the budget estimates hearing in Canberra on
Tuesday complaining about the time available to them to question NBN Co chief, Mike Quigley.
South Australian Liberal Senator Mary Jo Fisher asked Mr Quigley numerous questions about when he
was asked to attend and why he was only available for four hours from 9am.
'Would you consider changing your arrangements for today?' Senator Fisher said.
Mr Quigley said he could not change his schedule, adding that based on previous hearings, he had
expected he would only be required for two hours at the most.
'That's what I anticipated,' he said.
Senator Fisher said it was her understanding that the committee had expected Mr Quigley to be
available until 4pm.
'Your anticipation whilst well intentioned may well have been misinformed,' she said.
Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said Senator Fisher was simply wasting the committee's
'Let's get something very clear ... Mr Quigley treats this committee and all of the committees of
the parliament with due respect and it's about time you started treating Mr Quigley with due
respect as well,' Senator Conroy said.
'He is available for the next four hours. If you want to waste half an hour arguing about how long
he's available for, it's your time, you're wasting it.'
Tuesday, May 25, 2010 » 12:04pm
Pentagon locks down after shooting
(I think it was staged,
they just needed an excuse to secure Pentagon even more, LM).
A gunman coolly drew a weapon from his pocket and opened fire at the teeming subway entrance to the
Pentagon complex on Thursday evening, wounding two police officers before being shot and critically
wounded, officials said.
Authorities said all three were taken to a hospital.
Richard Keevill, chief of Pentagon police, said the two officers suffered grazing wounds that were
The suspect, believed to be a US citizen, walked up to a security checkpoint at the Pentagon in an
apparent attempt to get inside the Defence Department headquarters, at about 6.40pm (1040 AEDT on
'He just reached in his pocket, pulled out a gun and started shooting,' Keevill said. 'He walked up
very cool. He had no real emotion on his face.'(Probably a Clone, LM).
The Pentagon officers returned fire with semiautomatic weapons.
'His (the suspect's) injury is pretty critical,' Keevill said.
The rush-hour assault happened outside a massively fortified building that nevertheless is near
busy crowds of transit riders.
The subway station is immediately adjacent to the Pentagon building.
Since a redesign following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the Pentagon, riders can no
longer disembark directly into the building.
Riders take a long escalator ride to the surface from the underground station, then pass through a
security check outside the doors of the building, where further security awaits.
In the immediate aftermath, all Pentagon entrances were secured, then all were reopened except one
from the subway, said Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman.
A Pentagon official working late in the building said people inside first heard of the shooting on
television. They were later told the building was locked down and to stay in place. The huge
five-sided building is crisscrossed by 10 main corridors.
Then at around 7.30pm (1140 AEDT), they heard an announcement on the public address system that
they could leave through Corridor 3 - one widely used to get access to one of the parking lots.
'We really don't know anything, just that we can leave now through that corridor,' one official
said on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorised to speak about the incident.
Friday, March 05, 2010 » 01:46pm
Wives 'secret weapon' in UK election
With the popularity of politicians at a low ebb in Britain, the main party leaders have pushed
their wives to the fore in the general election campaign.
Once happy to keep a low profile, Prime Minister Gordon Brown's wife Sarah and Samantha Cameron,
the glamorous 38-year-old spouse of the main opposition leader David Cameron, have hit the campaign
trail with a vengeance.
With four weeks to go to the May 6 election, voters are already seeing both on an almost daily
Although Brown and Cameron emerged from last year's politicians' expenses scandal relatively
unscathed, they clearly hope the presence of their wives at their sides will provide a welcome
contrast to an unpopular political class.
While Sarah Brown has played an increasingly prominent role in her husband's career ever since she
introduced his crucial speech at the 2008 Labour party conference, Samantha Cameron had until now
stayed out of the limelight.
But now the aristocratic creative director for British luxury goods brand Smythson has been
persuaded to help her husband's bid to unseat Labour and return the Conservatives to power after a
Adding to the interest, the Camerons announced last month that Samantha was pregnant with the
couple's fourth child.
They had been trying for another baby following the sudden death last year of their disabled
six-year-old son Ivan.
While only a cynic would suggest that the pregnancy was timed to coincide with the campaign,
Samantha - or 'Sam Cam' as the press have dubbed her - admitted that 'the bump' gets a lot of media
'She doesn't need any tips, she's a natural, she's eclipsing me completely,' David Cameron said in
the couple's appearance on a Conservative Party video released at the start of the campaign.
'I think the bump is, rather than me,' Samantha replied.
Samantha has been gradually introduced, first being interviewed for a television documentary about
her husband last month, while on Thursday she made her first solo campaigning trip to a homeless
charity in Leeds, northern England.
Cameron has described Samantha as his 'secret weapon' and style editors have complimented her on
her 'effortless' and 'skilful' mixture of high-street clothes and designer garments.
If 'Sam Cam' helps to modernise her other half, then Sarah softens the sometimes dour Brown's
The 46-year-old former public relations executive was immediately visible after her husband called
the election on Tuesday, joining him for his first campaign visit to a supermarket in a marginal
seat in southeast England.
As Brown weaved in and out of startled shoppers at the checkout, shaking hands and making
conversation, Sarah guided him along, her hand on his back.
Two years ago, with her beleaguered husband under attack from younger rivals, she surprised
everyone by introducing Brown's address to his party conference with a glowing introduction saying
how 'proud' she was of him.
She certainly seems to have struck a chord with the British public. Despite featuring often anodyne
messages, her Twitter feed attracts more than a million followers.
In his typically understated style, Brown, when pressed about the influence of his wife, said
Thursday: 'I really enjoy the fact that she's with me.'
Far less prominent on the campaign trail is Miriam Gonzalez Durantez, the Spanish lawyer wife of
Nick Clegg, the leader of the third-largest party, the Liberal Democrats.
The day the election was called, she went to work as normal, although she made a brief appearance
with Clegg on Saturday, insisting she would support him 'when I am not working and I don't have the
But in an apparent jibe at Cameron's description of his wife, Clegg added: 'I don't think Miriam
regards herself as a secret weapon and I don't either.'
The involvement of political wives is a relatively new development in British politics and the
extent of campaigning by Samantha Cameron and Sarah Brown is unprecedented, meaning their ability
to sway voters is hard to gauge.
Tony Travers, a politics expert at the London School of Economics, was sceptical of their impact:
'It is new, but it probably won't have a big effect,' he said.
Sunday, April 11, 2010 » 12:48pm
Van Rompuy and Baroness Ashton given top EU jobs
President of Eurounion Van Pompuy
and Baroness Ashton
20 Nov 2009
A little-known Belgian
federalist and a Labour peer who has never held elected office were on Thursday night chosen as the
European Union's new president and foreign minister.
EU leaders meeting in
Brussels on Thursday night appointed Herman Van Rompuy, the Belgian prime minister, as the first
President of the European Council. Baroness Ashton, Britain's European Commissioner, will be the
union's High Representative for Foreign Affairs.
The two jobs were created by the EU's Lisbon Treaty, which will
take force next month. EU leaders made the appointments over a dinner of wild mushrooms and sea
bass in Brussels last night.
The surprise combination emerged after Gordon Brown ended Tony
Blair's hopes of becoming president, abandoning his support for his predecessor and proposing Lady
Ashton for the foreign job instead.
The Prime Minister's switch surprised European leaders, not least
because of Lady Ashton's lack of diplomatic experience.
A former health authority chairman made a peer in 1999, she held
a string of low-key ministerial posts until last year, when she was sent to Brussels as an interim
replacement for Lord Mandelson on his return to the Cabinet.
Mr Van Rompuy is a poetry-writing economist almost entirely
unknown outside Belgium until he emerged as EU leaders' choice for a president who could not
possibly overshadow national leaders.
A staunch advocate of European integration, he has backed
policies including an EU tax on financial transactions. Mr Brown lauded him as "a diplomat and a
statesman." The choice of two low-key candidates for the new posts reflects European leaders'
reluctance to transfer too much power to Brussels-based officials. Originally, the two jobs created
by the Lisbon Treaty were intended to give the EU strong and unified voice in global
But Lady Ashton's lack of experience on the diplomatic stage was
criticised on Thursday night. One French official said: "She has little experience and is a bizarre
choice." Lorraine Mullally of the Open Europe think-tank, said: "Most people in Europe have never
even heard of Herman Van Rompuy or Catherine Ashton, yet here they are to represent us in the
global arena. Surely Europe can do better than this?"
Lady Ashton only emerged as the foreign policy chief after
European socialist leaders told Mr Brown they would back a British candidate for the
Before she was chosen, Lord Mandelson and Geoff Hoon, the former
defence secretary, were also discussed as candidates.
The peer herself only discovered she was being nominated for the
post at 5pm on Thursday. On her appointment, she admitted: "It is perhaps a measure of my slight
surprise that I do not have a speech written." At a press conference, Mr Brown told British voters
to welcome Lady Ashton's appointment. "I think people should be pleased," he said.
The Prime Minister insisted the new foreign policy chief was a
significant figure, but appeared to undermine his argument by getting her name wrong, at one point
calling her "Cathy Ashdown" before correcting himself.
One British source said that by proposing her for the job, Mr
Brown was ensuring that the high representative could not be considered Europe's foreign minister.
The source said: "This means the job is not a foreign minister job, it's a job of co-ordinating
policies among 27 members." The Conservatives strongly opposed Mr Blair's candidacy for the
presidency, threatening a "five year war" with the rest of the EU if he got the job and arguing
that the president should be a "chairmanic" figure.
William Hague, the shadow foreign secretary, congratulated Mr Van
Rompuy and Lady Ashton and promised to work with them "in the national interest." He said: "I am
very pleased that those of us across Europe who said that the President should be a chairman, not a
chief, have won the argument." The UK Independence Party called Mr Van Rompuy and Lady Ashton
"political pygmies who have the power to remove the last vestiges of democracy from the UK." Mr
Brown had been publicly campaigning for Mr Blair to take the presidency, but switched positions
after European socialist leaders made clear they would not support the former
The demise of Mr Blair's candidacy threatened to unleash some of
the bitterness that marked his relationship with Mr Brown when the two men were in Government
Anthony Seldon, Mr Blair's biographer, said that Mr Blair is
"disappointed" at what he sees as a lack of support for his candidacy in Britain.
But one British Government source expressed irritation that Mr
Blair persistently refused to declare himself a candidate for the post, insisting that he would not
seek the job but would accept it if it was offered to him."
Herman Van Rompuy chosen as EU president
by Indo Asian News Service on November 20,
Brussels, Nov 20 (DPA) European Union
leaders agreed to appoint Herman Van Rompuy, prime minister of Belgium, as the bloc’s first-ever
full-time president, diplomatic sources said. The post was created by the Lisbon Treaty, which
comes into force Dec 1. The president, appointed Thursday, is meant to give the EU a higher profile
abroad and to help make its foreign policy more coherent.
Some recent related articles Belgian PM
Herman Van Rompuy appointed first EU President
London, Nov. 20 (ANI): Belgian Prime
Minister Herman Van Rompuy has been elected as the first President of the European Union, while
Britain's European Trade Commissioner, Baroness Ashton, is the new foreign minister of the council.
Poet-economist Van... EU leaders pick Belgian premier as their president
Brussels, Nov 20 (DPA) European Union
leaders agreed to appoint Herman Van Rompuy, a relatively inexperienced prime minister from
Belgium, as their first-ever full-time president. Heads of state and government attending an
extraordinary summit in Brussels..."
Mugabe (perhaps non-human of Reptilian origin with contact lenses),
30 years of dictatorship in Zimbabwe and South Africa
Berlusconi Wants to 'Strangle' Writers
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi
says he would like to 'strangle' people who write books or made films about the
'If I find out who is the maker of the nine
seasons of The Octopus and who has written books on the mafia, which give such a bad image to Italy
across the world, I swear that I will strangle them,' he said.
The Octopus - in Italian, La Piovra - was a
mafia-themed television series aired on RAI public television from 1984 through
He went on to dismiss as unfounded and
defamatory news reports suggesting he might have been implicated in bomb attacks carried out by the
Italian underworld in 1992 and 1993, several Italian news media reported.
Berlusconi was speaking in Sardinia as a
prosecutor in Florence denied a newspaper claim that the prime minister has been put under
investigation for suspected association with the mafia in relation to the
Sunday, November 29, 2009 »
Berlusconi confused about leadership
A political ally of
Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi has said the billionaire 'confuses leadership with absolute monarchy,'
La Repubblica reported.
The comments by Gianfranco Fini were picked up by a video camera
during a meeting in Pescara last month and published on the internet.
Silvio Berlusconi 'confuses the popular consensus, which he
naturally has and gives him legitimacy to govern, with a sort of immunity from all authorities of
guarantee and control: the judiciary, the Court of Auditors, the Court of Cassation, the head of
state, parliament,' said Fini, who founded the People of Freedom Party with the Italian
'I told him that he confuses leadership with absolute monarchy
... I told him 'remember they were beheaded',' Fini added, referring to the execution of the
aristocracy during the French revolution.
Pescara prosecutor Nicola Trifuoggi, who was with Fini at the
meeting, said that Silvio Berlusconi 'was born several centuries too late, he would like to be a
Attempts to reach Fini's office seeking comment were
unsuccessful, while Trifuoggi declined to comment when contacted by the ANSA news
Wednesday, December 02, 2009 » 12:33pm
Protester punches Silvio Berlusconi (price for inflated ego, LM)
A man has attacked Italian Prime
Minister Silvio Berlusconi after a raucous political rally, leaving him with a bloodied
Aides bundled the 73-year-old media tycoon into a car on Sunday
and rushed him to hospital in Milan where he will stay for 24 hours, media reports
'I'm fine, I'm fine,' Berlusconi was quoted as saying by ANSA
news agency as he left the emergency room.
Police immediately arrested a man who was taken to the local
headquarters. ANSA said the suspect had a 10-year history of mental health problems and that his
psychotherapist was summoned to the police station.
Defence Minister Ignazio La Russa, who was near Berlusconi at
the time of the attack, said the prime minister was bleeding from the mouth and nose. ANSA quoted
medical officials as saying Berlusconi lost two teeth.
Berlusconi's spokesman, Paolo Bonaiuti, told the Sky TG-24 news
channel that the prime minister's doctor would not give a bulletin until Monday.
About 10 people jeered Berlusconi at the political rally,
calling him a 'clown' while he shouted 'shame on you' back at them and the sound system was turned
up to drown them out.
Police intervened after scuffles between the hecklers and
security staff, but it was not immediately known whether there was a link between the incidents and
Berlusconi was the victim of a similar attack several years ago
in Rome when a young man hit him with a camera tripod, cutting his head.
He has come under increasing pressure in recent months over his
private life and business affairs. On Friday, he dismissed accusations of mafia ties made by a
turncoat criminal at an Italian court this month as 'a farce'.
Berlusconi, who began his third stint as prime minister in May
last year, said he would not bow to pressure to go to the polls early.
A series of allegations about his private life this year led to
his wife, Veronica Lario, filing for divorce.
Lario, 53, is seeking 43 million euros ($A69.1 million) a year
in a divorce settlement, the Corriere della Sera newspaper said.
Already upset over her husband's reported dalliances with
younger women, Lario felt the last straw came in April when he attended the 18th birthday party of
aspiring model Noemi Letizia, whose relationship with the prime minister has been the subject of
months of intrigue.
His penchant for controversial public statements has added to
the political pressure.
Tens of thousands of people demonstrated in the centre of Rome
against Berlusconi on December 5, responding to an Internet call for a 'No Berlusconi
Italy's top court in October quashed an amnesty law that would
have benefited the three-time prime minister who faces a series of corruption
On Friday in Milan, one corruption trial in which Berlusconi is
accused was adjourned until January 15.
The prime minister faces allegations that he paid his British
former tax lawyer David Mills $US600,000 ($A654,450) to give false evidence in two trials in the
Mills, who was tried separately, was sentenced to
four-and-a-half years in jail over the case in February.
Monday, December 14, 2009 » 11:48am
Berlusconi set for release from
Italian Prime Minister
Silvio Berlusconi is expected to leave hospital on Wednesday but doctors have told him to forgo
public duties for two weeks.
Berlusconi, 73, was due to be discharged early on Wednesday
afternoon while still recovering from the attack that left him with a broken nose and other facial
injuries by a man with a reported history of mental illness.
He thanked well-wishers from his hospital bed on Tuesday, in his
first public statement since the assailant struck him in the face with a souvenir replica of
Milan's cathedral after a political rally in the northern city.
'Thanks to all of the many who sent me messages of support and
affection. I say to all of you, stay calm and happy. Love always triumphs over hate and envy,'
The billionaire leader, who has already cancelled plans to
attend the UN climate summit in Copenhagen, must 'abstain from all activities that would expose him
to public situations, to stress', said his doctor, Alberto Zangrillo.
These include his traditional end-of-year news conference and
Christmas Eve visit to L'Aquila, the central Italian city where nearly 300 people died in an
earthquake in April.
Berlusconi's assailant faces charges of aggravated assault and
up to five years in prison if convicted.
The man, 42-year-old Massimo Tartiglia, sent a letter to
Berlusconi apologising for what he called a 'superficial, cowardly and inconsiderate
New messages of sympathy poured in on Tuesday, including from
Berlusconi's Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, who praised him in a telephone conversation for
his 'manly behaviour' following the attack, a spokesman said.
Italy's political left and right traded barbs over tensions seen
as contributing to the attack.
'The hand of the person who assaulted Berlusconi was armed by a
merciless hate campaign,' said Fabrizio Cicchitto, a member of Berlusconi's centre-right People of
Cicchitto accused the left-leaning Espresso weekly and daily La
Repubblica, anti-corruption politician Antonio Di Pietro and some television programs of 'almost
wanting to transform (political) confrontation into a civil war'.
Di Pietro, who heads the small Italy of Values party, shot back:
'We are not an opposition out of hatred towards Berlusconi but out of love for our
In La Repubblica, Di Pietro accused Berlusconi of encouraging a
climate of 'violence' through verbal attacks on a variety of perceived enemies.
The media tycoon has recently targeted prosecutors seeking his
conviction on corruption charges, as well the Constitutional Court, which threw out an immunity law
that protected him from prosecution while in office.
Last month after a Mafia turncoat alleged he had links with
organised crime in the early 1990s, Berlusconi threatened to 'strangle the authors of fiction about
The government moved to close down internet sites encouraging
further violence against Berlusconi, prompting centrist politician Pierferdinando Casini to raise
Pages on the social networking site Facebook both for and
against Berlusconi's attacker were removed on Tuesday.
The head of a parliamentary security watchdog sought to allay
concerns over Berlusconi's security detail, describing the attack as an 'isolated event that is not
linked to any political wish or figure'.
Francesco Rutelli, whose panel oversees Italy's secret services,
added: 'There were so many bodyguards around Silvio Berlusconi that you could look at it as a fluke
that he was hit full in the face by the object that was thrown.'
The attack came as Berlusconi, now in his third term as prime
minister, fights mounting domestic troubles.
Allegations about dalliances with a young woman led his wife
Veronica Lario to file for divorce
Wednesday, December 16, 2009 » 11:49am
Chavez brands Obama a
Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has branded US President Barack Obama a warmonger at the UN
'I don't think Obama is here yet,' the firebrand leftwing leader said in a speech in Copenhagen on
'He got the Nobel Peace Prize almost the same day as he sent 30,000 soldiers to kill innocent
people in Afghanistan, and now he's coming here with the Nobel Peace Prize, the president of the
United States,' he said.
Chavez, paraphrasing Karl Marx, said 'a ghost is stalking the streets of Copenhagen... it's
capitalism, capitalism is that ghost.'
'The destructive model of capitalism is the eradication of life,' he said.
Recalling how rich nations last year swiftly pumped hundreds of billions of dollars into their
faltering banking systems, he added: 'If the climate was a bank, they would have already saved
Obama is expected to arrive in Copenhagen on Friday for the climax of the 12-day world conference
on climate change, according to the US delegation.
Thursday, December 17, 2009 » 02:24pm