Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Mid-Week Post

Tomorrow is the official deadline of letting those damn highway robbers steal your money filing one's tax returns.

Kim Jong-Un had fifteen senior officials executed:

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ordered the execution of 15 senior officials this year as punishment for challenging his authority, South Korea's spy agency told a closed-door parliament meeting on Wednesday.

A vice minister for forestry was one of the officials executed for complaining about a state policy, a member of parliament's intelligence committee, Shin Kyung-min, quoted an unnamed National Intelligence Service official as saying.

"Excuses or reasoning doesn't work for Kim Jong Un, and his style of rule is to push through everything, and if there's any objection, he takes that as a challenge to authority and comes back with execution as a showcase," Shin said. ...
South Korea's spy agency also expected Kim to travel to Moscow this month to attend an event marking the end of World War Two in Europe, although there was no independent confirmation of the plan, Shin said after the spy agency briefing. 

North Korea has not booked a hotel in Moscow for Kim's stay, but the country's embassy was equipped to accommodate its leader, Shin said, quoting the spy agency official. 

The visit would be Kim's first overseas trip since he took power in 2011 after the death of his father.
Russia has said Kim would attend the May 9 event marking the 70th anniversary of the war's end in Europe, although officials in Seoul have cautioned that there was no official confirmation from the North.

One wonders if there is a slow-burn plan to eliminate the younger Kim.


Women also suffer the worst cruelties in North Korea’s prison camps. A woman named Kim Hye-sook told the U.N. Commission that “the women who worked in the mines of Political Prison Camp No. 18 feared assignment to the nightshift, because guards and prisoners preyed on them on their way to and from work and rape them.” Another witness “reported that the guards of Camp No. 18 were especially targeting teenage girls.” A former guard told of “how the camp authorities made female inmates available for sexual abuse to a very senior official who regularly visited the camp,” and that “[a]fter the official raped the women, the victims were killed.” A former guard at Camp 16 told Amnesty International that “several women inmates disappeared after they had been raped by officials,” and concluded “that they had been executed secretly.” Indeed, the Commission found violence against women to be pervasive in North Korean society ...
A must-read.

The Nigerian army has rescued nearly three hundred girls and women:

More than 200 schoolgirls abducted from their school dormitories by Boko Haram militants last year are not among the nearly 300 girls and women rescued in an army operation on Tuesday, an army spokesman said.

Nigeria's army said it had rescued 200 girls and 93 women on Tuesday during a military operation to wrest back the Sambisa Forest in the northeast from the militant group.

"The troops rescued 200 abducted girls and 93 women," Colonel Sani Usman told Reuters in a text message. They were not, however, from Chibok, the village from which more than 200 girls were abducted in April 2014, he said. 

"So far, they (the army) have destroyed and cleared Sassa, Tokumbere and two other camps in the general area of Alafa, all within the Sambisa forest." 

Boko Haram's action in Chibok caused an international outcry, and the group's six-year insurgency has seen thousands killed and many more abducted.

Diplomats and intelligence officials said they believed at least some of the Chibok girls were being held in the forest about 100 km (60 miles) from Chibok, although U.S. reconnaissance drones failed to find them. 

The rescued girls and women will be screened on Wednesday to determine whether they had been abducted or if they were married to the militants, one intelligence source told Reuters.

A miracle in Nepal:

Twenty-two hours after the massive earthquake that demolished buildings and killed more than 5,000 people in Nepal, a 4-month-old boy was rescued from the rubble. 
The boy, named Sonit Awal, was buried under the rubble of his family’s house in Bhaktapur, near Kathmandu, when it collapsed during Saturday’s earthquake. According to a story in local newspaper Kathmandu Today, translated by the Guardian, rescuers tried until midnight to extract the baby from bricks and other debris that had fallen on him during the quake, but were unsuccessful. The next morning, after the child’s father said he heard the baby crying throughout the night, the rescue team returned, and by 10 a.m. Sunday, it finally pulled the child to safety.

Sonit Awal was alive and, the paper reported, found free of injuries after a visit to Bhaktapur hospital. Bhaktapur was one of the areas hardest hit by the earthquake that, as of Wednesday, had killed more than 5,000 people in Nepal. Several rescue teams have been deployed to the densely-packed residential community — where mostly brick-and-wood houses and apartment buildings collapsed under the pressure — and they continue to pull survivors like Sonit from the wreckage.
Embarrassed that someone has actually read the sex education program partially developed by a convicted child pornographer, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne offers up a weak compromise she hopes will bury the issue faster than one can say "deleted e-mails":

The premier of Ontario says parents opposed to the province's updated sex-ed curriculum will "have to agree to disagree" with her government on the new document, which some critics argue is not age appropriate.

Oh, dear. How embarrassing:

Hillary Clinton’s presidential run is prompting new scrutiny of the Clintons’ financial and charitable affairs—something that’s already proved problematic for the Democratic frontrunner, given how closely these two worlds overlap. Last week, the New York Times examined Bill Clinton’s relationship with a Canadian mining financier, Frank Giustra, who has donated millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation and sits on its board. Clinton, the story suggests, helped Giustra’s company secure a lucrative uranium-mining deal in Kazakhstan and in return received “a flow of cash” to the Clinton Foundation, including previously undisclosed donations from the company’s chairman totaling $2.35 million. ...

The reason this is a politically explosive revelation is because the Clinton Foundation promised to disclose its donors as a condition of Hillary Clinton becoming secretary of state. Shortly after Barack Obama was elected president in 2008, the Clinton Foundation signed a “memorandum of understanding” with the Obama White House agreeing to reveal its contributors every year. The agreement stipulates that the “Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative” (as the charity was then known) is part of the Clinton Foundation and must follow “the same protocols.” 

It hasn’t.

Giustra says that’s because Canada’s federal privacy law forbids CGEP, a Canadian-registered charity, from revealing its donors. A memo he provided explaining the legal rationale cites CGEP’s “fiduciary obligations” to its contributors and Canada’s Personal Information Privacy and Electronic Disclosure Act. “We are not allowed to disclose even to the Clinton Foundation the names of our donors,” he says. 

On Saturday, responding to the Times story, Maura Pally, the acting CEO of the Clinton Foundation, issued a statement echoing this assertion: “This is hardly an effort on our part to avoid transparency–unlike in the U.S., under Canadian law, all charities are prohibited from disclosing individual donors without prior permission from each donor.” 

(Sidebar: ah, yes, it's always Canada's fault. But wait...)

Canadian tax and privacy law experts were dubious of this claim. Len Farber, former director of tax policy at Canada's Department of Finance, said he wasn't aware of any tax laws that would prevent the charity from releasing its donors' names. "There's nothing that would preclude them from releasing the names of donors," he said. "It's entirely up to them."
Just in time for Mothers' Day:

A woman who was caught on video smacking her teenage son around after he threw objects at Baltimore police said she was just trying to protect him.

The video showing Toya Graham slapping her 16-year-old son went viral on social media and won her widespread acclaim, including from the city's police commissioner.

She was dubbed "mum of the year" by many on Twitter.

"I'm a no-tolerant mother. Everybody that knows me," Ms Graham told CBS News.

"He gave me eye contact. And at that point, you know, not even thinking about cameras or anything like that," the single mother of six said.

Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Bill Withers.

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