Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Arrests at anti-Islamic protest

Arrests at anti-Islamic protest

Police in Birmingham have arrested 33 people during a demonstration against Islamic fundamentalism and counter-protest by anti-fascists.

The demonstration – by groups calling themselves the English and Welsh Defence League and Casuals United – was made up of football fans, said police.

The counter-protest was organised by campaign group Unite Against Fascism, West Midlands Police said.

Two people were injured in the disturbances in the city centre.

Police said there were “sporadic incidents of disturbance in the city centre” with the majority of the arrests being for disorder.

There was one report of criminal damage to a vehicle, but more were expected. No police officers were hurt.

Advertisements

Gay shooting inflames debate in Israel

Gay shooting inflames debate in Israel

The shooting at the gay youth club Bar-Noar in Tel Aviv, which resulted in the tragic death of 26-year-old Nir Katz and 16-year-old Liz Tarboushi, and the injury of 13 others, is sending political shockwaves across Israel. “This is our Stonewall,” said activists in Israel’s gay community this weekend, referring to the defining moment for the gay community in the US, back in 1969.

While everybody involved in gay events always anticipates violence in the religious and conservative Jerusalem – and particularly in the Jerusalem gay pride parade which has become a centre of controversy in recent years – the gay community sees Tel Aviv as its safe haven. No matter how segregated, old fashioned, grumpy and troubled the rest of Israel gets, Tel Aviv keeps shining as a liberated autonomous jewel, the iconic big city into which anybody can integrate, or at least be tolerated. Its proud gay community, which has turned Tel Aviv into a tourist attraction for many Europeans, is also part of what makes some Israelis hate the “bubble”, as the city is often referred to.

Nobody knows yet the identity of the masked character, dressed in black, who ventured into the bubble and shot the young people at the gay youth club on Saturday night. But as one of the commentators on the subject noted, a hate crime is defined by its victims, not its perpetrators. This much was understood by everybody. Even the community’s most bitter enemies, the orthodox Shas party, ultra-orthodox MK Yaakov Litzman of Yahadut Hatora (United Torah Judaism) party and others were quick to condemn the murder in no uncertain terms. “The Tel Aviv branch of Shas is shocked and pained and it condemns the murderous crime against the gay community,” said Shahar Bakshi, a spokesperson for Shas. Litzman said he strongly condemned the killing and that the murderer should be caught and prosecuted “like any other murderer”. The prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu; the president, Shimon Peres; the leader of the Labour party, Ehud Barak; and the leader of the opposition, Tzipi Livni, all voiced their condemnations and condolences, and spoke of the importance of equality, freedom and tolerance.

Sex Worker Open University

Sex Worker Open University

Sex workers are routinely portrayed in the media as victims.

At London’s first ever Sex Worker Open University, over two hundred sex workers and allies from the UK and abroad took part in workshops, discussions and actions.

This film presents an alternative and empowered image of the sex worker.

Wal-Mart threatens union with injunction over website

Wal-Mart threatens union with injunction over website

Retail giant Wal-Mart Canada has filed for a court injunction against a workers’ rights website over alleged trademark infringement, but the union operating the site says it is simply an attempt to thwart organizing efforts and stifle expression.

“This injunction request is an over the top assault on freedom of speech and on our ability to effectively communicate with Walmart workers,” said a statement from Wayne Hanley, national president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Canada union.

The retail corporation filed the injunction with the Quebec Superior Court earlier this month in regards to the name, designs, slogans and images used on a UFCW website called walmartworkerscanada.ca.

“They recently revamped their site and in doing so we believe they have infringed on the Wal-Mart trademark,” said Andrew Pelletier, director of vice-corporate affairs for Wal-Mart Canada.

Specific complaints include phrases such as “Walmart Workers Canada” and “Union for Walmart Workers,” and photographs of people wearing blue vests – a uniform of Wal-Mart employees.

The injunction also seeks to stop the use of the website’s slogan “Get respect, live better,” which the corporation says plays on their new slogan “Save money, live better.”

Wal-Mart Canada is simply trying to protect its brand, Pelletier said, and denied it is attempting to thwart free speech.

“We are big advocates of free speech and open communications from the way we operate internally to the way we operate externally,” he said.

But the union strongly disagrees and launched a public awareness campaign this week in response to the injunction.

Jubilation as Quakers endorse same-sex marriage

Jubilation as Quakers endorse same-sex marriage

Britain’s Quakers have this morning agreed to carry out same-sex marriages on the same basis as marriages for opposite-sex couples. The decision came after an intense week of debate and reflection at the Quakers’ Yearly Meeting in York.

Emotions ran high in the discussions and several people of various views were visibly in tears. Many participants hugged each other and expressed delight as the decision was reached.

People working for equality and inclusion within other churches and faith groups will be encouraged by the decision.

Quakers are now likely to face a difficult time with the law, which currently offers same-sex couples only civil partnerships, in which no religious element is allowed.

The statement agreed by the Religious Society of Friends, as Quakers are otherwise known, comes 22 years after they began formal consideration of the issue.

The Quakers agreed this morning that they would “treat same-sex committed relationships in the same way as opposite-sex marriages, reaffirming our central insight that marriage is the Lord’s work and we are but witnesses”

They further declared that “the question of legal recognition by the state is secondary”.

Richard Stallman: How the Swedish Pirate Party Platform Backfires on Free Software

Richard Stallman: How the Swedish Pirate Party Platform Backfires on Free Software

The bullying of the copyright industry in Sweden inspired the launch of the first political party whose platform is to reduce copyright restrictions: the Pirate Party. Its platform includes the prohibition of Digital Restrictions Management, legalization of noncommercial sharing of published works, and shortening of copyright for commercial use to a five-year period. Five years after publication, any published work would go into the public domain.

I support these changes, in general; but the specific combination chosen by the Swedish Pirate Party backfires ironically in the special case of free software. I’m sure that they did not intend to hurt free software, but that’s what would happen.

The GNU General Public License and other copyleft licenses use copyright law to defend freedom for every user. The GPL permits everyone to publish modified works, but only under the same license. Redistribution of the unmodified work must also preserve the license. And all redistributors must give users access to the software’s source code.

How would the Swedish Pirate Party’s platform affect copylefted free software? After five years, its source code would go into the public domain, and proprietary software developers would be able to include it in their programs. But what about the reverse case?

Proprietary software is restricted by EULAs, not just by copyright, and the users don’t have the source code. Even if copyright permits noncommercial sharing, the EULA may forbid it. In addition, the users, not having the source code, do not control what the program does when they run it. To run such a program is to surrender your freedom and give the developer control over you.

The Hippy, Hippy Shakedown: Big Green Gathering cancelled by police

Schnews reports:

The Big Green Gathering, a fixture in the alternative calendar, was due to return after two years this week. 15–20,000 people were expected to turn up on Wednesday (29th) to the site near Cheddar, Somerset, for Europe’s largest green event – a five-day festival promoting sustainability and renewable energy, with everything from allotments to alternative media. Hundreds of staff and volunteers are already on site, and its cancellation comes just days before gates were due to open. Organisers, most of whom work for nothing, are gutted. One told SchNEWS “We are so disappointed not to be having this year’s gathering – it means so much to so many people”.

A last-minute injunction by Mendip District Council, supported by Avon and Somerset Police, put the ki-bosh on the entire event – citing the potential for ‘crime and disorder’ and safety concerns. This was despite the fact that the festival had actually been granted a licence on the 30th of June. According to Avon and Somerset police’s website “[We] went above and beyond the call of duty to ensure this event took place.” This is of course utter bollocks.

The injunction was due to be heard in the High Court in London on Monday (27th). However, before that could happen the BGG organisers surrendered the festival licence on Sunday morning. As soon as this was done a police commander at the meeting was overheard saying into his radio “Operation Fortress is go”. Police have already set up roadblocks and promised to turn festival-goers back. Chief Inspector Paul Richards, festival liaison, later confirmed to one of the festival organisers that “This is political”, adding that the decision had been made over his head at county level. One of SchNEWS’ sources on site said that the police were frank about the fact that the closure had been planned for two weeks. “This was a blatant act of political sabotage – the Big Green Gathering is now completely bankrupt, they knew that we were going to be closed down and yet they carried on allowing us to spend money hand over fist on infrastructure”.

Kent Police report into Kingsnorth protest policing

Kent Police have published a report into the policing of the climate camp last year near Kingsnorth power station.

The full report can be found here, with more bizarre acronyms than one could shake a stick at (should you want to; young people get up to the strangest things nowadays.) The report essentially can be summed up as “EON kept running and we didn’t wallop too many people. Go us!”

The report does, however, concede that the use of stop and search powers during the camp was “both disproportionate and counter-productive.”

It has also made me feel some form of empathy with the police, labouring as they do under a burden of jargon that would make the typical Daily Mail reader spontaneously implode. Such as the following:

From the outset this operation was resourced bottom up from an established resource baseline defined by a judgement made in the planning unit not based upon CMM identified threat and risk defining the tactical challenges for mitigation (top down.)

No wonder they’re angry all the time.

Woman ‘held for filming officers’

Woman ‘held for filming officers’

A woman is seeking a judicial review after she was allegedly detained and handcuffed by police who tried to get her mobile phone after she filmed them.

Gemma Atkinson said police stopped her boyfriend Fred Grace at Aldgate East station on suspicion of carrying drugs.

As she filmed the incident in March in east London an officer asked her to stop, citing anti-terror laws. Officers tried to take the phone, she claims.

The Metropolitan Police said it had received a complaint.

Ms Atkinson, 27, said police found no drugs on her boyfriend during the search on 25 March, but then turned their attention to her.

Ms Atkinson said: “I was still filming when a man [a plainclothes officer] came to me and told me that it was illegal under the Terrorism Act to film police officers.

“I put the phone in my pocket so he couldn’t get to it, he was asking for me to hand it over which I refused to do.

“So then he got other officers to come and hold both my arms then come at me to try and get my phone out of my pocket.

“I was pushed into this alcove in the station and I was yanked up and down for quite a while before I was handcuffed,” she said.

Scientology at Sea: Cult Cruise Ship Waste Endangers Tropical Isle

Scientology at Sea: Cult Cruise Ship Waste Endangers Tropical Isle

Our last film on the Freewind was 2 years ago May 2007. After the Freewinds being in the spotlight concerning asbestos pollution, here they are again docking on our island of Bonaire.

Understand, we have nothing against the Scientology but they promised us not to dock at our island and dump their wastewater on our land.

Bonaire has its own problems and has no means of receiving wastewater from the outside.

This film will show you that their waste is toxic and is polluting our nature and killing our reefs, polluting our groundwater and killing our island.