Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Russian Federation set to have world's most welcoming and progressive immigration systems

By Nikolaus von Twickel

The latest migration policy changes are supposed to give the country one of the world's most welcoming immigration systems, but not all are convinced that the new rules will work smoothly when they come into force July 1.

Companies hiring foreign specialists to work in Russia will no longer have to obtain quotas for work permits and visas or corporate permits to hire foreigners, nor will they have to submit diplomas proving candidates' qualifications, according to a law that President Dmitry Medvedev signed last week.

The new rules apply only if the employer is Russian or the local branch of a foreign company, and the employee's annual earnings must be at least 2 million rubles ($64,000). Work permits and visas will be valid up to three-years, up from the maximum of one year now. The work permits can be prolonged for another three years withing the empolyee's individual contract's validity.

The reform also introduces minor simplifications to the registration system, which is often cited as one of the biggest bureaucratic nuisances for foreigners.

The law abolished the requirement to deregister when a foreigner travels within the country. But the traveler must still reregister at the destination, and deregistration remains mandatory when leaving the country for at least three working days.

Auditing firm Ernst & Young, which assisted in the development of the changes, said they were seminal.

Once in place, "it is fair to say that Russia will go from having one of the least welcoming to one of the most positive immigration systems in the world for top talent," the company said in a research note published earlier this month.

Foreign business representatives also welcomed the reform. "This is something we have been pushing for years," Andrew Somers, the president of the American Chamber of Commerce, said Monday.

AmCham held a closed-door briefing Friday with Oleg Artamonov, the head of the Federal Migration Service's international and public affairs department.

But experts cautioned that questions remain and much depends on how the new rules will be applied.

"The idea is principally very good, but it is not clear how many procedures will work," said Alexei Filipenkov, head of the Visa Delight agency, who attended Friday's meeting.

As an example, he pointed to the practice of paying foreigners from more than one source, not necessarily in the country. "How will split payrolls be handled?" he asked.

The Ernst & Young report said "structures used to employ expatriates in Russia will need to be revisited, especially those using split payrolls or dual employment, since the implication is that the minimum earnings will need to be delivered via a Russian payroll."

Somers said easier rules for hiring foreign employees were urgently needed to modernize the economy. "This is consistent with recent government policy," he said.

While difficulties have arisen before with the application of new rules, especially in the regions, Somers said authorities were confident that that would not be the case with the new migration guidelines.

"If little wrinkles pop up, we will be happy to call the migration service and solve them," he told The Moscow Times on Monday.

Source: The Moscow Times


Monday, May 24, 2010

Russian State-Owned MosFilm Opens its Movies to the World

By Yuri Pushkin

Mosfilm, the leading state-owned film studio, has launched an online service that will eventually offer 2,500 old and new movies. Thirty films with English subtitles will go up on the site in the next few weeks as the movie studio hopes to attract an international audience.

“We never sold out film rights to anyone, and now we can offer all our movies in a new media to new generations,” said Mosfilm’s international affairs and projects coordinator, Sergei Simagin.

“War and Peace,” “Walking in the Streets of Moscow,” “Incredible Adventures of Italians in Russia” and “Ivan Vasilyevich Changes Occupation” are among the classic films that will go up with English subtitles.

The service is accessible at www.cinema.mosfilm.ru, with the current catalogue featuring 142 movies ready to be viewed and downloaded. Another 150 films will be available by July with the rest to follow.

Created in 1920 through the nationalization of two private film studios, Mosfilm is the oldest film company in Europe. It played host to some of the biggest Russian and Soviet-era film directors such as Andrei Tarkovsky. His internationally acclaimed “Ivan’s Childhood” is already available for download.

Movies available on the studio’s web site can be accessed for free on a daily timetable, similar to that at a movie theater, or can be watched online at one’s discretion for 25 rubles (90 cents). Users can also download movies to keep forever for 65 rubles ($2.20) apiece.

Mosfilm say they are trying to stay ahead of the pirates by keeping prices “lower than those of street vendors with the quality much better.” (Pushkin's news story continues here.)

Related stories: "Мосфильм" on-line (izvestia.ru)


The Libertarian Wasteland: Rand Paul runs from Rand Paul

Photo: American Tea Party political darlings, Republican Sarah Palin, and Libertarian Rand Paul, Libertarian

By Michael Green

Maybe we can finally have a serious discussion in this country about the lunacies of libertarianism.

I doubt it. This is, after all, America. I doubt we’d know an intelligent political discourse if it whacked us upside the haid.

But now we have Rand Paul, son of Ron, marching toward the United States Senate, with a mission to “take back our government”. Oh boy.

I might be able to get a little bit excited about that if it really was his goal. The truth is that the American government exists almost entirely to serve the interests of the American plutocracy. If libertarians want to break that evil connection, well, then, definitely give me a shout. I’ll be glad to pitch in.

But, of course, you pretty much never hear them talk about that part as they rant about the evils of government.

What do libertarians actually want, Herr Doktor? It’s not entirely clear to me that they know themselves. They’re pretty good with the shibboleths, but always seem to have trouble beyond that. That’s because it is precisely on the other side of the sappy slogans where the contradictions of libertarianism come glaringly into focus. This is the place where naive but kindly people would say “Wot, I signed up for that?”, and that’s exactly why libertarians don’t want to go there.

Such avoidance of reality is not only rarely a problem in American political discourse, it’s nearly a national religion. In this sense, the discussion Rand Paul had with Rachel Maddow the other night was doubly instructive. First, because Paul – the national savior on horseback du jour – was reduced to repeated instances of the most basic, and base, political maneuvering in order to come to grips with the implications of his own ideology.

And, second, because Maddow gave us a partial reminder of what good journalism would actually look like in America. She didn’t actually get quite all the way to where she should have gone, but her polite, thoughtful and semi-relentless questioning of her guest was as foreign to what passes for journalism in this country today as would be six-headed fourteen-dimensional gaseous creatures from a distant galaxy. Maddow is fast becoming a national treasure, which says a lot about her, but, regrettably, a lot more about her colleagues in the ‘news’ business.

There are several key explanations for the rise of the insane right over the last three decades, but surely one of them has been the compliance of the mainstream media. Politicians have been able to make the most absurdly ridiculous and hypocritical statements without fear of being called on them. And if they ever were, they need only repeat the same line in some slightly different variation, and that’s the end of the affair – media lapdogs are well trained to cease and desist. One of Maddow’s great virtues – which ought to be a sine qua non for anyone calling themselves a journalist – is her doggedness.

To see what I mean, check out this paraphrased approximation (not too far from verbatim, actually) of her conversation with Rand Paul the other night:

MADDOW: Congratulations on your big victory last night. Do you believe that private business people should be able to not serve black people or gays or any other minority group?

PAUL: I don’t believe in racism. I don’t think there should be any governmental or institutional racism. Now I’m going to go into a long diversionary soliloquy about William Lloyd Garrison, an early nineteenth century abolitionist, and also about when ‘desegregation’ [actually anti-discrimination] legislation was passed into law in Boston...

MADDOW: Yes, okay, that was pretty weird. But what about private businesses who might want to not serve blacks or gays? Should they have the legal right to do so?

PAUL: We had incredible problems with racism in the 1950s concerning voting, schools and public housing. This is what civil rights addressed and what I largely agree with.

MADDOW: But what about private businesses? I don’t want to be badgering you on this, but I do want an answer.

PAUL: I’m not in favor of any discrimination of any form, I would never belong to any club that excluded anybody for race. What’s important here is to not get into any sort of “gotcha” on the question of race, but to ask the question, “What about freedom of speech?” Should we limit speech from people we find abhorrent?

MADDOW: The Civil Rights Act was created to take away the right of individual business owners to discriminate, taking away their right to make that decision. Which side of that debate are you on?

PAUL: In the totality of it, I’m in favor of the federal government being involved in civil rights, which is mostly what the Civil Rights Act was about. I’m opposed to any form of governmental racism or discrimination or segregation.

MADDOW: The reason that this is something I’m not letting go of this is because it effects real people’s lives. This question involves the matter of private discrimination in public accommodations. Should that be allowed?

PAUL: The debate involves a lot of court cases with regard to the commerce clause. Many states are now saying that they have a right to force restaurant owners to allow people to enter with guns even if the owners don’t want them to. So you see how this issue can cut both ways, against liberals too.

MADDOW: What if the owner of a restaurant or a swimming pool or a bowling alley wanted to segregate their facility? Should they be allowed to do so under your world view?

PAUL: We did some very important things in the 1960s that I’m all in favor of. That was desegregating schools, public transportation, water fountains.

MADDOW: How about lunch counters?

PAUL: Well, if you do that, then can the owner of the restaurant keep out guns? Does the owner of a restaurant own his restaurant or does the government own his restaurant?

MADDOW: Should Woolworths lunch counters have been left to be segregated? Sir, just yes or no?

PAUL: I don’t believe in any discrimination. If you believe in regulating private ownership, you have to decide on whether you also want to force guns in restaurants when the owner doesn’t want them. This is a red herring being used by my political opponents. It’s an abstract, obscure conversation from 1964 that you want to bring up. Every fiber of my being doesn’t believe in discrimination, doesn’t believe that we should have that in our society, and to imply otherwise is just dishonest.

MADDOW: I couldn’t disagree with you more on this issue, but I thank you for coming on the show and having this civilized discussion about it...

So, by my count, Maddow asks Paul the core question here no fewer than eight times in a row. This is precisely what she should have been doing, and in doing so she provides a huge service to American society. If I were to fault her anywhere, it would be only for not identifying Paul’s diversionary tactics for what they were, calling them out, and thereby pushing them off the table. I would have liked to have seen her say, “With respect, sir, we’re not talking about that. Or that, or that, or that. We’re talking about this.”

And she would have needed to do that several times over, because Paul’s game here is to shift the discussion to domains where he is more comfortable, and where the problems with his ideology don’t show up so readily. Maddow says let’s talk about discrimination in privately-held public accommodations, and he says let’s talk about my lack of prejudice. She tries again and he wants to discuss governmental discrimination. She repeats the question and he says let’s talk about nineteenth century history. She asks once more and he starts talking about censorship and the First Amendment. She tries yet again and he changes the topic to guns, which involves legislating behavior, rather than race, which concerns who you are. She asks still another time and he cries foul, claiming that this is some obscure red herring being used by his opponents for purposes of political assassination.

All of these are diversionary lies, meant to avoid the unpleasant realities of what libertarianism would actually look like in action. But the last lie is the most egregious. The entire reason for Rand Paul’s existence right now – which is also almost literally true, given that he has the unfortunate burden of being named for Ayn Rand, a twisted soul if ever there was – is his premise of reclaiming American government in the name of liberty for the American people. That’s who he is. That’s what he represents himself to be. That’s his political shtick, his raison d'être. What the Maddow interview reveals, however, is that he’s really just another politician trying to win office, not a crusader at all. And what it also reveals is just how bankrupt are those libertarian notions if you look at them at all closely.

The ideology has some nice bumper-sticker like appeal, especially for the more simplistic among us. I mean, who, after all, could be against more freedom? And, indeed, when it comes to social issues, the libertarians have it exactly right. The government shouldn’t be in the business of controlling women’s bodies, or telling people what substances they can imbibe, or who they can sleep with or marry, or whether they can end their own lives should they choose to. But you don’t need to be a libertarian to get to those places. These are also progressive ideas as well.

Where libertarianism breaks down is in assuming that we can all just do what we want and it will work out great. And in assuming that all private actors are essentially well intentioned. Neither of these is true, and a libertarian society would leave each of us at the mercy of these twin fallacies. And that’s an ugly place to be, let me tell you.

Suppose you bought a house and had a fat mortgage outstanding on it. Now the guy who owns the plot next door decides to build an abattoir on his land. You can’t live in your house anymore because of the nauseating, permeating, stink. You also can’t sell it, because no one else wants to live there either. And you’re still stuck paying the mortgage, probably plunging you into bankruptcy since you’re now also paying rent to live somewhere else. Why did all this happen? Because you voted for that libertarian city council, and they threw out all the zoning laws on the books, preferring maximum freedom for use of private property instead. Aren’t you thrilled about how that worked out?

So you pack all your belongings in your car and decide to drive away. But you turn around after going just a couple of miles, because everybody drives on any side of the road they want to, whenever they want to, and it’s scary dangerous out there. Why? Because the libertarian state government you elected – true to its principles – eliminated all such driving laws as the restrictions on personal freedom they truly are.

So maybe you’ll fly instead, eh? Oops. Sorry. That’s just as frightening. The new libertarian federal government eliminated the FAA and all its restrictions on private carriers as an invasion of their corporate liberties. No red tape here anymore! No onerous regulations! Now each carrier can hire whomever it wants, at whatever salary, to do whatever amount of safety inspection it deems appropriate. Or none at all. No reason to worry, though. I’m sure a corporation would never cut corners in order to maximize profits, right?

Well, actually, never mind – the flying off to a better place idea is moot anyhow. You see, there’s no airport in your town. No private actors had either the resources or the motivation to build one. And since government is evil, they never did the job either. Which is also why you’re about to lose you job, as well. With no ports, trains, highways, internet or other mass infrastructure, the US is about to become an economic actor more or less on the scale of Togo. Congratulations on that bright move, my libertarian friend! How does the freedom of chronic unemployment taste? Yummy, eh?

But, really, what do you care, anyhow? Your water is polluted because anyone can dump anything into it they want. Ditto with your filthy air. And global warming is about to take out all the living things on the planet, anyhow. We will be quite free to die, thanks to libertarianism.

Well, all is not lost. At least you can walk down to your local dining establishment and have a nice meal without having to fear the presence of darkies or queers in the same room with you. That pretty much makes it all worth it, no?

We could go on and on from here, but why bother? The point is made. The problem with libertarianism is that it is a child’s candy store fantasy. Lots of sugar, no nutritional value. It’s the Mel Gibson (“Freeeee-dom!!”) of political ideologies. The ugly truth is that we hominids are social animals, not atomistic asteroids, each flying through space in our own little orbit. At the end of the day, the simultaneous great delight and awful curse of our humanness is, ultimately, each other.

That is not to say that individual liberty is not important. It is, and I no more favor libertarianism’s opposite number, totalitarianism, than I do the lunacy of Ayn Rand, who spent her life (vastly over-)reacting to the Stalinism of her youth. I don’t want to live in either of those worlds. It’s just that it’s naive and juvenile to believe that what is required here is anything other than some sort of difficult balance between the needs of the individual and those of society. That’s the only solution that works.

One would think we might have learned this lesson of late. We’ve just come through an era of wholesale foolish deregulation in the name of setting free Americans and their productive capacities. The whole of our ethos of political economy these last three decades could easily be boiled down to a single bumper-sticker: “Government Bad, Industry Good”. So now we might wanna ask ourselves, as Sarah Palin would put it (assuming she had a brain larger than a centipede’s), “How’s that whole deregulatey depressiony thing working out for you?”

Sorry, Mr. Paul. Just when we’ve seen precisely what happens when greedy individuals with all the morality of mafia hit men are allowed to do whatever they want by a government that is completely coopted by them on a good day, and utterly AWOL the rest of the time, you come talking to me about more ‘freedom’ from government intrusion?!?! Are you joking?

Government, as imperfect and downright lethal as it can be when in the hands of those who use it for the wrong purposes, is the instrument and expression of the public will. It is the tool through which society conveys its values and seeks to achieve our mutual goals. And it is meant to be triumphant over private actors because societal needs (which, by the way, can, should and often do include government protecting individual liberties – see, for example, “Rights, Bill of”) are broadly more important than those of the individual.

It would be a mark of our (return to) political maturity if we could acknowledge that.

If that’s too much to ask, though, I wonder if my libertarian friends would at least be willing to take ownership of the real implications of their own ideology.

I mean, if you guys are just going to practice deceit and hypocrisy, why bother taking over the Republican Party?

Those guys are already experts.

Source: regressiveantidote.net


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Dimanasus Prophecy movie project coordinator and art director to visit New York City, June through September 2010

(FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - May 17, 2010, Minsk, Belarus) - Ms. Eugenia Mazulevskaya, Coordinator and Art Director for the Dimanasus Prophecy movie project crew, will be visiting New York City from June 4th through September 4th, according Dzmitry Vasilyeu, the project's Director.

Ms. Mazulevskaya will be available to meet interested producers, investors or partners, interested in the Dimanasus Prophecy movie project.

Dimanasus Prophecy is a movie project by a native Belarusian citizen - Dzmitry Alyaksandrovich Vasilyeu - who intends to show the world the effects of the hideous human trafficking sex slave industry on the young people in Belarus, Ukraine and Russia, through an interesting fictionalized story that you're sure to love. It is a drama, action, detective, love story, that will cause you to think deeply about our human connections with each other, and about the true meaning of love.

Mr. Vasilyeu is looking for "angel" investors, promoters or individuals who would be interested in helping him produce his movie. Interested parties are asked to try, if at all possible, to contact him or his partner in the USA, Madison Reed, before Ms. Mazulevskaya's departure, to arrange a meeting schedule that will work out well.

Story from DimanasusProphecy.com


Friday, May 21, 2010

Shock and Lies as Gutierrez Cites Political Risk Excuse for Omitting LGBT from Immigration Reform Bill

By Melanie Nathan, LezGetReal.com

An Article titled : Rep. Gutierrez wants path to citizenship for foreign-partners in same-sex relationships appeared in the Chicago tribune today and it is a shocker -

Illinois Congressman Luis Gutierrez on Thursday endorsed the Schumer/Reid Framework that would allow the foreign-born partners of gay and lesbian Americans to follow the same path to citizenship as heterosexual spouses, adding, what Rex Huppke, of the Chicago Tribune, a staff reporter calls “a new element to the howling national debate over immigration reform.”

Why might I ask is this a new element. The only thing new here is the Congressman’s great BIG flip flop; and it has made me mad!

About six months ago, when Gutierrez first laid out plans for a House immigration reform bill, the inclusion of same-sex partner rights seemed too politically risky. But now, in an exclusive interview with the Tribune, the congressman said he believes the coalition in favor of reform is strong enough to make the bill, in his words, “truly inclusive.” To add insult to injury the Tribune is citing this “new” element as a praise to the Illinois Congressman.

This is such a slap in the face by Luis Gutierrez, who caused untold rancor, panic and stress amongst the LGBT binational community, those suffering day by day by day the reality and cost, at the hands of what is clearly one of the most cruel forms of discrimination made legal by the Congress of the USA when it passed the Defense of Marriage Act.(DOMA)

Now Gutierrez makes this flagrant admission ‘politically risky?’ At the time Gutierrez steered clear of the truth about his decision to exclude same sex binational couples. Are we supposed to hail this statement? How do we trust representatives who assure us of their support of our basic rights and then in the next breath snub us, without explanation, because it is politically risky.

Everything Mr. Gutierrez is politically risky; being in Congress is politically risky. Your cowardice caused many sleepless nights for many LGBT community members.

“The underlying part of any comprehensive immigration bill is family unity,” Gutierrez said. “We need to speak more clearly and more articulately and more frequently that the (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community, and same-sex couples and their bi-national relationships, are part of families.” What a disingenuous piece of nonsense.

Gutierrez EXCLUDED US! Surely such exclusion was politically risky to us – but that side of the political risk scale meant nothing. I can only assume that Gutierrez was pandering to some greater cause – perhaps the cause that may seem greater than one of flagrant inequality.

The staff writer of Tribune naively states –“What Gutierrez is proposing would give the foreign partners of American gays and lesbians the same right to apply for U.S. citizenship as the spouse of an American heterosexual. “

What a false statement! He is not proposing that at all – he had the chance to put it in his BILL and he did not. The Tribune reporter acts as if this is coming from Gutierrez. IT IS NOT. It came from Jerold Nadler , New York Democratic Congressman when he introduced UAFA, The Uniting American Families Act into Congress in February of 2009.

Gutierrez misled the gay community into thinking he would include UAFA in his House BILL- But he left it out. He purposefully did not include and is now citing political risk and the Tribune has the audacity to give him this credit.

The Chicago Tribune way under states the crisis, when it states “At this point, same-sex bi-national couples who want to remain together in the United States have to rely on work or student visas, or seek other legal loopholes.” What about exile? How many Americans have had to leave the USA to be with their foreign born partners and spouses.

At least the Tribune makes an attempt to highlight some actual case examples. For that I say thanks for bringing this to mainstream attention: “This has a terrible impact on couples,” said Eric Berndt, supervising attorney for the National Asylum Partnership on Sexual Minorities at the National Immigrant Justice Center in Chicago. “It can tear apart their lives, it can tear apart their relationships and it can force them to choose between their countries and the person they love.”

So yes you are correct Mr. Huppke – “Immigration rights for same-sex partners have been sought in a bill separate from Gutierrez’s – the Uniting American Families Act, which has more than 100 sponsors in the U.S. House and more than 20 in the Senate.” This Bill was there and available for inclusion when Gutierrez to include. He was afraid.

The cowardly congressman is now proposing that the language of that act be woven into the comprehensive immigration reform bill. Why now Luis? Why not then? What is the truth about this flip flop – suddenly we are no longer a political risk. What changes Congressman – your assessment of political risk – is that what changed.

The Tribune interview reports further with this statement -”We need to build bridges between the LGBT community and the larger immigrant community,” Gutierrez said. “In the end, the bigger the tent we build, the more successful we’ll be in passing comprehensive immigration reform.”

You lost your chance you were part of the divide when excluding us from the House Bill. Do you have any idea how that felt? We felt hopeless. You owe us an apology, yes you do!

So this leads me to one simple comment and one more remark to Gutierrez and others who may succumb to political risk even against their own principles and at the expense of a victim group: I am sick of being marginalized by being considered a political risk. Can someone show some courage and leadership.

Picture Shirley and Jay – Mercado-Tan Twins with Lady Liberty© Melanie Nathan/Lezgetreal

Melanie's original May 21, 2010 story at LezGetReal:
Shock Revelation as Gutierrez Cites Political Risk Excuse for Omitting LGBT from Immigration Reform Bill

Original Chicago Tribune article:
Rep. Gutierrez wants path to citizenship for foreign-partners in same-sex relationships

Brief Personal Stories about Bi-National Couples: Our Stories


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Aliens 'hijack' Nasa's Voyager 2 spacecraft, claims expert

Aliens have hijacked a Nasa spacecraft and are using it to try to contact earth, a UFO expert has claimed

Hartwig Hausdorf, a German academic, believes that the reason Voyager 2, an unmanned probe that has been in space since 1977, is sending strange messages that are confusing scientists, is because it has been taken over by extraterrestrial life.

Since its launch, Voyager 2 has been sending streams of data back to Earth for study by scientists, but on April 22, 2010, that stream of information suddenly changed.

Nasa claimed that a software problem with the flight data system was the cause but Mr Hausdorf believes it could be the work of aliens.

This is because all other parts of the spacecraft appear to be functioning fine.

He told the German newspaper Bild: "It seems almost as if someone has reprogrammed or hijacked the probe – thus perhaps we do not yet know the whole truth.”

Voyager 2 carries a disk with greetings in 55 languages on it in case the craft encounters other life forms.

Dr Edward Stone, a scientist on the project, said the desk, called the Golden Record, is "a kind of time capsule, intended to communicate a story of our world to extraterrestrials.

"The Voyager message is carried by a phonograph record-a 12-inch gold-plated copper disk containing sounds and images selected to portray the diversity of life and culture on Earth."

Story from telegraph.co.uk


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Malawian law body calls for immediate release of gay couple

Blantyre, Malawi– The Malawi Law Society (MLS), a constitutionally-recognised body that represents the interests of lawyers and the legal profession in Malawi, has called for the immediate release on bail of Malawi's incarcerated first openly gay couple, saying the society does not pose a danger to them and vice versa.

In a statement published in the local media, MLS Secretary Jabber Alide was quoted as saying the two - like all accused persons in Malawi - should be presumed innocent until proved otherwise by the court of law.

“We feel that the reasons for being denied bail were not meritable,” he said.

Steven Monjeza, 26, and his 20-year-old partner, Tiwonge Chimbalanga, were arrested on 27 December after their Christmas Box public engagement ceremony ahead of their planned wedding in the new year.

They have since been charged with puggery or unnatural acts among males and gross indecency, both felonies that can see them jailed for up to 14 years on conviction.

They both deny the charges but both the Blantyre Chief Resident Magistrates Court and the High Court denied them bail for what the two courts said was for “their own safety”.

But Alide wondered what could happen if the two are eventually acquitted. “Are they going to go back to their respective homes?” he wondered.

The arrest of the couple re-ignited a fervent debate about homosexuality in this highly-conservative homophobic society. Malawi laws criminalise same-sex liaisons and religious leaders equate homosexual acts to Satanism.

But gradually more and more people are coming out to profess their homosexuality. A research by Centre for the Development of people (CEDEP), a civil society group that looks after the interests of minority groups, including gays, lesbians and prostitutes, indicates wide-spread homosexual acts in Malawi, especially in prisons.

CEDEP's Executive Director Gift Trapence said it was high time the rights of homosexuals were recognised so that they are integrated in the fight against HIV/AIDS, saying HIV prevalence rates among homosexuals are way above the national 14 per cent.

Western donor countries and agencies, who bankroll up to 40 per cent of Malawi's development budget, have also joined the fray, saying donors may be forced to review their aid packages to Malawi if minority groups like homosexuals continue to be discriminated against, persecuted or marginalised.

But Malawian authorities, backed by religious leaders, remain steadfast on the issue with President Bingu wa Mutharika openly expressing his disquiet on the issue, calling it “unMalawian”.

Meanwhile, Blantyre Chief Resident Magistrate Nyakwawa Usiwa-Usiwa is set to deliver his much-anticipated ruling on the issue on 18 May.

Source: (afriquejet.com)

Related news: We have been beaten in jail say first openly gay couple in Malawi


Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks object of attack by Muslims

Photo: Lars Vilks and his dog, Muhammad

The Swedish cartoonist whose depiction of the prophet Mohammed as a dog has elicited death threats was the object of an attempted attack Tuesday at Sweden's Uppsala University, police said.

The cartoonist, Lars Vilks, was not hurt, though a police officer was, said Jonas Eronen, commissioner with the Uppsala police.

Two people were arrested, he said.

When Vilks entered a classroom where he was to deliver a lecture to about 250 people -- all of whom had passed through a security checkpoint to gain admission -- about five people started protesting loudly, Eronen said.

After Uppsala uniformed and non-uniformed police calmed the protesters, the lecture got under way at about 5:15 p.m. (11:15 a.m. ET), Eronen said.... (Story continued here.)

More related information: Video of attack on YouTube


Cuba joins int'l campaign against homophobia

Cuba launched a program of scientific and cultural activities Tuesday to join the international campaign against homophobia.

The activities call on Cuban citizens to be more tolerant, as male chauvinism and prejudice against homosexuality and transsexualism are rampant in Cuban society.

Mariela Castro Espin, director of the National Center for Sex Education (CENESEX), said the main objective of this program is to call for reflection and dialogue to eliminate discriminatory statements against people because of their sexual orientation.

The scientific and cultural activities will be held from May 11 to 18 under the auspices of CENESEX. The main activity will be held on May 17, the International Day Against Homophobia, in the city of Santa Clara, about 270 km east of Havana.

The activities, to be attended by a panel on sexual diversity with university students, will include educational campaigns such as "HIV and homophobia" and "Homosexuality is not a threat, homophobia is."

This is the third consecutive year that Cuba is observing the International Day Against Homophobia. This date was chosen because on May 17, 1990, the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders.

From english.news.cn


Saturday, May 8, 2010

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev criticises USSR over human rights

Dmitry Medvedev has launched a wide-ranging attack on the Soviet Union as a totalitarian state that crushed individual liberties in the most outspoken comments on the USSR by a Russian leader in recent years.

Mr Medvedev's comments, which also included stinging criticism on the historical role of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, will be interpreted by many as an attempt to distance himself from Vladimir Putin, the prime minister, who has adopted a more ambiguous stance on Russia's often tragic history.

In an interview Mr Medvedev declared that nothing could justify Stalin's crimes against his own people.

"Despite the fact that he worked a lot, and despite the fact that under his leadership the country recorded many successes, what was done to his own people cannot be forgiven."

He also spoke out strongly against any attempts to rehabilitate Stalin and sought to distance the Kremlin from a series of recent moves to rekindle his memory.

"This is not happening and it will not happen," he said. "It is absolutely out of the question. It is not right to talk about Stalinism returning to our everyday lives." But it is his comments on the USSR itself which are likely to rankle the most with many older Russians.

Mr Putin has called the collapse of the USSR the "greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century" but Mr Medvedev gave the impression he had few regrets about its demise.

"The Soviet Union was a very complicated state and if we speak honestly the regime cannot be called anything other than totalitarian," he said. "Unfortunately this was a regime where elementary rights and freedoms were suppressed."

Story thanks to telegraph.co.uk


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Russian President asked to investigate ET abduction of regional Caspian republic president

Richard Galpin
BBC News, Moscow

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, leader of the Kalmykia region
Mr Ilyumzhinov made the claims in a TV interview

A Russian MP has asked President Dmitry Medvedev to investigate claims by a regional president that he has met aliens on board a spaceship.

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, the leader of the southern region of Kalmykia, made his claim in a television interview.

MP Andre Lebedev is not just asking whether Mr Ilyumzhinov is fit to govern.

He is also concerned that, if he was abducted, he may have revealed details about his job and state secrets.

The MP has written a letter to Mr Medvedev raising a list of his concerns.

In his letter he says that - assuming the whole thing was not just a bad joke - it was an historic event and should have been reported to the Kremlin.

He also asks if there are official guidelines for what government officials should do if contacted by aliens, especially if those officials have access to state secrets.

Mr Ilyumzhinov said in an interview on primetime television that he had been taken on board an alien spaceship which had come to planet Earth to take samples - and claims to have several witnesses.

He has been president of Kalmykia, a small Buddhist region of Russia which lies on the shores of the Caspian Sea, for 17 years....(Story continues here).

Related stories:

Russian president Medvedev faces same issues as 2010 Denver ET vote: how to prepare for ET contact? (exopolitics.com)


Monday, May 3, 2010

Human looking ET's claimed to be in US

(This article originally appeared on the Joint Recon Study Group site.)

According to accounts released Saturday, April 24, 2010, by the coordinator of an e-mail news and information service, officials of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) and other U.S. government agencies have been involved in security activities involving human-appearing extraterrestrial beings in the U.S.

Victor Martinez, the e-mail information coordinator, is a former federal employee with an interest in space, defense and current affairs. Recipients of his e-mail news items include a wide variety of people interested in emerging and leading-edge scientific and other developments.

In his April 24 information release, Martinez quoted one of his alleged established contacts, one of a handful of current or former officials of the DIA, regarding any new or updated information on extraterrestrial encounters that would be of interest to the public.

The DIA contact reportedly provided information about the monitoring and intervention by U.S. officials regarding a particular extraterrestrial being posing as a human within the U.S., Martinez wrote in his e-mail report.

The contact also noted the more general issue of extraterrestrials visiting Earth who may blend in with the human population, for various reasons.

According to Martinez, his contact stated, "In reference to your repeated requests to present some new information never before disclosed to the public ... I went outside of our agency to close intelligence contacts of mine and secured the following ... I just received information on a highly sensitive operation code-named 'Operation TANGO-SIERRA' that occurred in early 1980. It involved U.S. intelligence capturing an alien being living among us."


The contact also allegedly told Martinez, "Here is the story. Personally, I've never heard of this particular operation before in all of my years in intelligence circles and employment. This information extracted about the alien is still highly classified and extremely difficult to obtain."

"From what I've learned, except for former presidents Carter, Reagan and Bush I, most presidents since then have not been briefed on this specific operation."

Martinez went on to report that an apparently new source, established via his long-time contacts, provided additional details on this alleged operation.

The new source reportedly wrote, "I am an intelligence colleague of the man whom you have come know as 'Anonymous' who has asked me to brief you on a very special USG operation."

"I was directly involved with 'Operation TANGO-SIERRA.' It involved the finding, tracking and eventual capture of an extraterrestrial entity."

"The original operation began in early 1980 when an Earth female was identified by U.S. intelligence as being a so-called 'alien abductee.' She had been abducted by a male non-human in 1977 which was her first abduction," the source allegedly told Martinez.

"This woman was single, 23-years-old and a trusted, well-respected U.S. government employee."

"The male non-human showed the Earth woman abductee projections of alien life on another planet. The projection was from a small, triangle device. The woman viewed this projection which she described as images displayed in a 3-dimensional 'holographic' view."

The information source also claimed, "The male non-human never harmed the Earth woman abductee. During the three years of her ongoing abduction, the Earth woman was taken by the male non-human through a 'veil of light' to another place. The Earth woman described this place as being 'a light bubble.' She would sit inside the bubble and view these holographic projections with the male non-human."

"On one occasion, the male non-human introduced the Earth woman to another male, whom the Earth woman described in debriefing details as not being human, i.e., not being an Earth male abductee. The Earth woman called this other being a "creature.'"

"This creature performed a medical examination on the Earth woman. The woman did not fully consent to the alien's examination as she was temporarily paralyzed. After the examination, the woman was taken back to her residence."


According to Martinez' source or sources, this federal employee's experience triggered an investigation. The source reportedly stated, "When the Earth woman brought up her abduction by a male alien to the attention of a co-worker, the co-worker contacted an office security official, who then contacted U.S. intelligence officials."

"U.S. intelligence spent hours and hours vetting the woman's story, conducting thorough background investigations, performing surveillance, and administering several polygraph examinations."

"The Earth woman's story was eventually deemed to be factually true and correct. U.S. intelligence then mounted a very special, highly classified operation to capture this alien being, who lived near Landover, Maryland."

The source(s) also claimed, "In early 1980, the 7602 Air Intelligence Wing, Section III, began a detailed, intense investigation involving the presence of extraterrestrial creatures having infiltrated the highest levels of the United States government."

"This information originated from several abductees, who underwent extensive screening to determine their credibility."

"With the assistance of the 4th District, the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, a highly classified operation was launched, code named: 'Operation TANGO-SIERRA' to find, detain and debrief that 'human' and determine whether or not he was an actual extraterrestrial creature/non-human and an imminent or potential threat to our national security."

"The entire operation lasted five months and involved approximately 60 intelligence officers. Every intelligence gathering capability was utilized at the time: Ground, aerial surveillance, telephone wiretaps,photographic evidence and other undisclosed clandestine operations were all conducted and some simultaneously in concert with one another."

The source also stated, "The non-human entity was quickly identified, carefully watched, photographed and eventually captured near a shopping mall (southeast of Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland) after it walked up an embankment. It was quickly determined that this male alien had no special powers nor abilities."

"The male non-human voluntarily complied with the U.S. intelligence AFOSI special agents and went quietly and without incident. The male non-human was then remanded to custody and placed in captivity at Ft. Belvoir Army Post, Virginia."


Martinez' source(s) also allegedly reported, "The male non-human was interrogated by teams of AFOSI special agents over several weeks and in total was questioned and intensely interrogated for many months by other agencies."

"It was during this time that the male non-human disclosed its race, its resident planet and the reason it came to Earth. The male alien basically cooperated and provided details of its life on his alien home world."

"The non-human entity was released on the direct orders of then President Carter in late 1980, and subsequently left Earth and returned to its home planet."

"The male non-human originated from the star system Delta Pavonis, 20 light-years from Earth where it was the 4th planet from their sun. It is roughly the same size as our Earth."

"We called the captured alien Septeloids. That was the identifying alien species name given to them by the astrobiologists on our team. I have no idea how they picked that name as well as some of the other odd-sounding alien species names ending with the suffix of 'loid.'"

"The travel time to Earth was 18 Earth months using a very complex propulsion system and time-space displacement travel mode. Back then in 1980, we could not understand the alien propulsion system and we never saw his spacecraft."

"When President Carter let the male non-human leave, he just vanished. I was never in the intelligence loop as to how he left or how he departed Earth," Martinez' source reportedly stated.

"These aliens from Delta Pavonis have been visiting Earth for 100 Earth years. Apparently, they could assume the human shape and form and easily live among us."

"I'm not sure how they learned English so well nor other languages. You've got to remember that this was extreme compartmentalization. I knew just what I was suppose to know. There is much more to the alien debriefing that I do not know."

"From what I've learned over the years, this race of alien beings originally came to Earth as explorers about a century ago."

"With respect to the male non-human's employment, he worked as a records keeper for the U.S. Dept. of Commerce in Washington D.C. He was able to manufacture his own identification documents by assuming the name/ID of a deceased Earth human."

"He was in a career that did not require a high-level security clearance thereby enabling him to escape the much greater scrutiny given to 'Secret' clearance level background checks and above."


Martinez quotes his source as stating, "Although they possessed the human shape, form and basic anatomy, they were not human beings like you and me. Their actual, normal, 'real' appearance was that of a hideous-looking creature that would most certainly scare, frighten and terrify a normal Earth human."

"Above all, they did not have any extra powers nor abilities. They had no weapons and never tried to harm Earth humans. Their sole intent and stated mission was that they just wanted to study Earth humans and obtain the basic structure of the human body, anatomy and social interplay."

"I don't know how many others of this specific type of aliens were among us as I was not authorized that specific highly classified information," the source reportedly told Martinez.

"However, I am positive that there were more similar-type operations than just this one. 'Operation TANGO-SIERRA' was just one operation that lasted nine months from start to finish in the D.C area."

"U.S. intelligence had more such operations around the U.S., with one in the southwest and another in the northwest, but I don't know for sure on the location details."

In apparent response to a question Martinez posed, the source reportedly responded, "As for other visiting alien races, we knew of nine of them."

"The Ebens were the nicest while the Trantaloids were the ugliest, meanest sons-a-bitches and most dangerous."

"I only know that the very inner circle of our government knows. That is about all I can tell you. I never spoke with the male non-human in 'Operation TANGO-SIERRA,' but I was actively involved in this operation. Most of the older fellows who knew all of this are dead now. Former CIA Director Richard M. Helms was our boss for this operation. He died some years ago."

Martinez noted in his report that Navy Adm. Stansfield Turner was CIA director at the time.

"The CIA/DIA/NSA were all involved as well as one or two FBI special agents, but they were never fully briefed."

"The lead agency was the 7602nd that operated out of Ft. Belvoir. Those guys were the best of the best. I was the lead case officer for the surveillance part of the operation. I was very good at that. I was trained by the best and worked inside the old Soviet Union for many, many years."

"I could follow the devil around and he would never know it. Most of the UFO operations – clandestine, that is – were performed by the 7602nd."

"In fact, the CIA came to them for their specialized training. The 7602nd Air Intelligence Wing remained secret for many years. Although it was a U.S. Air Force unit, the unit contained all branches of the armed forces except the Marines ... we never could train those guys!"

Martinez' alleged new contact also reportedly advised him, "Your Anonymous source is probably someone I know since we have a very close-knit intel group who meets about once a month where we discuss items of mutual interest. We all live in the [REDACTED] and [REDACTED]. We have many intel contacts in Texas, especially Austin."

"We used to have a much larger group, but over the years, time has taken its share of our beloved, cherished friends ... "

"I hope all of this works out for you. Good luck, Mr. Martinez."


One of Martinez sources also commented on other longstanding reports within the leading-edge community researching allegations of extraterrestrial visitation to Earth.

"The 'Yellow Book' is quite an extraordinary piece of alien technology. It was given to us by the Ebens. It tells the entire history of their race, planet and most of the history of the universe as well as our own. As far as I know, no one has ever viewed the 'Yellow Book' to its very end. As you stated in one of your releases, it would take an entire lifetime to read it and yet another to understand it."

Martinez indicates he posed a question to the source about the alleged operation that has been referred to as "Project SERPO," a mission reportedly begun in the early 1960s that sent a 12-person team of specially-trained U.S. military personnel on a planned ten-year exchange program to the Ebens' home planet.

"I was briefed into this very special project many years ago, but only as a trainer. I was not sure of the exact nature of this project until I read all about it on the Serpo.org Web site."

"Like all other operations and special projects, SERPO was highly compartmentalized. I have now read the entire SERPO story, which I never knew was even posted on the Internet until I was placed in contact with you. I learned much from it and it looks like you pretty much have the entire story."

"I congratulate and commend you for getting this very important piece of America's 'hidden' history out. I really enjoyed reading this information. I just shared it with many of my old intel friends – and they knew about it! It's truly an amazing story ... "

"I guess there still is a controversy on whether two women went or not. At least one went for sure. I knew six of them while in training as their instructor. Two were nurses, one was a linguist and I'm not sure about the others with the passage of time."

Martinez claims his source also explained, "There was a 'Group-6' that was involved in the Roswell Incident cover up. 'Group-6' controlled the administrative side of all UFO investigations at the time. It was centered in New Mexico."

"It primarily involved the 1121 Special Activities Squadron of the USAF. It also thoroughly investigated the famous Lonnie Zamora contact incident of Friday, April 24, 1964, in Socorro, NM; I remember it well because I was stationed in NM then."

"There was in fact an MJ-12 group which stood for 'Majority Group-12.' It was comprised of 12 USG officials who controlled, managed and directed every aspect of the UFO phenomenon. Most of the officials were governmental types, but some were not. That 'MJ-12' name was changed some years ago which I understand you know."

The source also reportedly stated to Martinez that the home world of the alleged hostile alien species, the Trantaloids, "is the third planet out from the star Epsilon Eridani in the constellation Eridanus at 10.5 light-years away. Although somewhat cooler and fainter than our sun, it is very similar."

Martinez' source also advised him that " ... since this information originated outside of our agency, this is all I can provide you with at the moment."

ET Sketch: By Richard Sigismund,.Copyright, Linda Moulton Howe


Obama lawyers want MORE secrecy at White House

Say court precedents over FOIA application to visitor logs 'decided wrong'

By Bob Unruh
© 2010 WorldNetDaily

The federal government is arguing that previous court rulings applying the Freedom of Information Act to records such as the visitor logs at the White House are incorrect, and President Obama's administration should be allowed to withhold from the public the information it chooses.

A new government brief filed in a court dispute over the records argues, instead, that people with questions about who visits the White House should go to the White House website and ask for the information, and if the president agrees, it could be released.

The April 21 brief filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia insisted the court should hold that "visitor records are presidential records, particularly given the fact that the White House is voluntarily disclosing the records to the public."

Further, the records assembled and used by the United States Secret Service are not even in the "custody" of the federal agency, since they are transferred periodically onto computer disk and given to the White House, the filing said.

"The Obama administration would undermine a key transparency law in order to keep White House visitor logs secret," said Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, which has been fighting for more than a decade over visitor logs.

"Only the Obama administration could offer to release pre-scrubbed White House visitor logs while withholding tens of thousands of other records and call it transparency," he said.

"President Obama has violated his campaign promises of openness and transparency. We hope the court will do what is had done on previous occasions and uphold FOIA law," he said.

Story continues here.