27 Aug 2015

Deadly caste riots rock India

After two days of caste-related riots that left eight people dead in the Indian state of Gujarat, calm is slowly returning. However, a curfew remains in place and the Internet has been blocked in some areas. And many residents are furious.

Protests began in Ahmedabad, with members of the Patel caste [the caste system is a system of social stratification and impacts people’s occupations] demanding quotas in public universities and in government jobs. The influential Patels, a caste that also own a lot of the region’s land and diamond businesses, are not among the Indian castes considered as being disadvantaged, which benefit from quotas (also known in India as “reservations”.)

A Patel rally held on Tuesday evening quickly degenerated into clashes with the police after the protest movement’s leader Hardik Patel was arrested. Rioting quickly spread to other towns in the state, and dozens of police stations and vehicles were set ablaze. Hardik Patel was freed later in the night, but clashes continued into Wednesday, when government forces were brought in and a curfew installed. Parts of Ahmedabad still have limited Internet access, in an effort the authorities say is meant to stop incendiary messages from spreading via social media.

Much more at france24.com

24 Aug 2015

I put a Spell on You

Samantha Fish Band - Samantha Fish on guitar and vocals; Scot Sutherland on bass guitar and Go-Go Ray on drums.

Thailand indicts rights worker over labour abuse report

A Bangkok court has indicted a British human rights worker for criminal defamation after he exposed alleged labour abuses in Thailand’s tinned fruit industry. Andy Hall, 35, could face up to seven years in prison if found guilty of criminal defamation by publication and offences under the country’s Computer Crimes Act.

Andy Hall in Thai Prison

The case is one of four criminal and civil cases brought by the Natural Fruit Company following Hall’s research into the firm. The civil cases carry fines of up to $12.5m. Hall’s interviews with migrant workers from neighbouring Myanmar found evidence of labour trafficking, child labour, violence against workers, and other abuses at its plant in the central province of Prachuap Khiri Khan.
The research was carried out on behalf of the Finnish NGO Finnwatch. Its executive director Sonja Vartiala said the charges against Hall were unfounded and called on Thailand to abolish its criminal defamation laws, "as they infringe on freedom of expression". "At this point, the prospects for Andy Hall to receive a fair trial are looking grim," she added.

The Bangkok South Criminal Court ordered Hall to enter a plea on October 19, when he faces detention but can request bail.
Hall is backed by international human rights groups, trade unions, and the Thai seafood industry, which has itself come under fire for alleged human rights abuses. "They are all against it. These people [Natural Fruit] are just stubborn," Hall told Al Jazeera. "I respect the decision of the court, but I will fight the case and hopefully win it."

More at Al Jazeera English


The Orb featuring Lee Scratch Perry

21 Aug 2015

Tribute (The Best Song In The World)

Tenacious D

Guns Of Brixton

The Clash

Christian pastor lashes out at ‘false reverend’ John Oliver for mocking predatory televangelists

Comedian and host of HBO’s Last Week Tonight John Oliver slammed televangelists on Sunday for their greed and extortion as they enjoy mass wealth as a result. To mock the government’s absence of regulation, Oliver started his own church, called “Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption,” naming himself “megapastor” and CEO.

Looks like Oliver struck a nerve. On Wednesday, Christian minister Jennifer LeClaire said Oliver shouldn’t “mock what you don’t understand,” calling him a “false reverend.” LeClaire, who operates the Awakening House of Prayer, admitted there are abusive churches. But she does believe in the concept of “seed faith” — the idea that giving money to a church will result in returns for the giver. “[W]e have to be careful not to paint everyone who believes for an airplane or sows a seed to get out of debt as a heretic,” she writes.

Oliver’s segment hilariously skewered preachers whose fantastic displays of wealth come at a large cost to parishioners who they compel to donate what little money they have. They tend to believe in the conveniently self-serving idea of prosperity as a sign of God’s favor.

More at Rawstory.com

Typhoid Outbreak Latest Catastrophe for Palestinians in Besieged Yarmouk Refugee Camp

A typhoid outbreak is just the latest catastrophe to be inflicted on Palestinian refugees in the Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria. They've endured a bombing campaign and siege by the government of Bashar al-Assad, and more recently an invasion by Islamic State militants. December 2012 fighting has driven out the vast majority of some 200,000 refugees that had made Yarmouk their home. The UN has been denied access to Yarmouk since late March. More than 90 percent of more than half a million Palestinian refugees in Syria rely on UN assistance for survival.

More at The Real News


dismaland 01

Inside the walls of a derelict seaside swimming resort in Weston-super-Mare, UK, mysterious construction over the last month—including a dingy looking Disney-like castle and a gargantuan rainbow-colored pinwheel tangled in plastic—suggested something big was afoot. Suspicion and anticipation surrounding the unusual activity attributed to fabled artist and provocateur Banksy has reached a Willy Wonka-esque fervor. Well, if Banksy’s your bag, continue fervoring. If not, there’s more than a few reasons to continue reading.

The spectacle has since been revealed to be a pop-up art exhibition in the form of an apocalyptic theme park titled Dismaland (“The UK’s most disappointing new visitor attraction”) that will be open to the public for five weeks.

Dismaland.co.uk - More at Mashable

19 Aug 2015

Political Incorrectness

Bill Maher and John Cleese discuss the comedic value of human stupidity, political incorrectness and religious fundamentalism in this clip

16 Aug 2015

Chelsea Manning Faces Solitary Confinement for Having Vanity Fair's Caitlyn Jenner Issue in Her Cell

U.S. Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning could face punishment of indefinite solitary confinement for having an expired tube of toothpaste, an issue of Vanity Fair in which transgender celebrity Caitlyn Jenner describes her new life living openly as a woman, the U.S. Senate report on torture and other "prohibited property" in her cell at the military prison at Fort Leavenworth. Manning is serving a 35-year sentence for leaking U.S. government cables to WikiLeaks. On Thursday, an Army spokesperson said it is committed to "a fair and equitable process" in Manning’s case, which is now pending before a disciplinary board.

Democracy Now!

14 Aug 2015

It's the Second Dirtiest Thing in the World—And You’re Wearing It

“The clothing industry is the second largest polluter in the world...second only to oil,” the recipient of an environmental award told a stunned Manhattan audience earlier this year. “It’s a really nasty business...it’s a mess.” While you’d never hear an oil tycoon malign his bonanza in such a way, the woman who stood at the podium, Eileen Fisher, is a clothing industry magnate.


When we think of pollution, we envision coal powerplants, strip-mined mountaintops and raw sewage piped into our waterways. We don’t often think of the shirts on our backs. But the overall impact the apparel industry has on our planet is quite grim.


Fashion is a complicated business involving long and varied supply chains of production, raw material, textile manufacture, clothing construction, shipping, retail, use and ultimately disposal of the garment. While Fisher’s assessment that fashion is the second largest polluter is likely impossible to know, what is certain is that the fashion carbon footprint is tremendous. Determining that footprint is an overwhelming challenge due to the immense variety from one garment to the next. A general assessment must take into account not only obvious pollutants — the pesticides used in cotton farming, the toxic dyes used in manufacturing and the great amount of waste discarded clothing creates — but also the extravagant amount of natural resources used in extraction, farming, harvesting, processing, manufacturing and shipping.

More at Alternet

13 Aug 2015

Trump Calls Jesus 'A Loser'

Donald Trump said Tuesday that Jesus Christ was a ‘socialist loser’ because he used to feed the poor and heal the sick. Then Trump – the Republican presidential contender who has captured the hearts and minds of at least 20% of the nation’s Republicans – vowed: “Believe me, Trump would never help the poor.”


“I would never give away medicine for free. Jesus was weak. Let me tell you something, Jesus is not god. He’s god because he was crucified. I like gods that weren’t crucified. Perhaps he’s god, but right now, Jesus hasn’t done anything in 2000 years,” Trump added. “Jesus gets up there and starts bleeding out on the cross. Trump wouldn’t do that. He has blood coming out of his sides, his eyes, his feet, blood coming out of his wherever. Just disgusting.”


The real estate tycoon also said he didn’t like Jesus after he found out that he used to give away free healthcare to the poor. “I never liked Jesus after that, because I don’t like socialist losers,” Trump said. “He’s as weak as Bernie Sanders.”

More by God at his website

The Lie We Live


12 Aug 2015

Activist Who Helped Search For Mexico's Missing Students, Shot And Killed

At least fifteen people were killed during the weekend in the southwestern state of Guerrero, including an activist who helped lead efforts to find 43 students who disappeared and were presumed murdered last year, according to Mexican officials. Ten of the murders took place in the resort city of Acapulco, which is packed with tourists due to summer vacations, local police said.

Mexico Violence

Miguel Angel Jimenez, a leader of a community police organization, was found shot to death inside the taxi he drove on Saturday night in the rural outskirts of Acapulco, according to local police. Jimenez led a group that searched for approximately 300 people who have disappeared in the state, helping uncover mass graves found around the city of Iguala where 43 Mexican students went missing last year.

Miguel Angel Jimenez

The government has said the students were abducted by police and handed over to drug traffickers who allegedly killed the students and burnt their bodies. Guerrero, which has one of the highest murder rates in the nation, saw 1,514 homicides in 2014 and 943 people who have been killed so far this year through June, according to federal statistics.

More at huffingtonpost.com