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January 31, 2012

Feminism: When will we finally be equal?

By Suzanne MacNevin.

I had a comment on a different blog (Feminist Truths) a few days ago from a loser claiming that men are the unequal ones.

Ha.

Here is some interesting facts for those people who don't yet realize it just how unequal women still are:

#1. Women Make Less Than Men

It varies by country, but in the United Kingdom (the birthplace of modern feminism) women still make 14.9% less than men. In other countries the pay gap is significantly worse.

The following map shows the pay gap between men and women on a global scale.



Scandinavian countries and Australia apparently lead the way in pay equality, but there is still a long way to go.

#2. Education

According to a new report women in Ireland are more likely to have higher qualifications than men - but work fewer hours and earn less. The report found that women do better at university and college, but have difficulty finding work because of sexism in hiring practices and in the workplace.

#3. Athletics

Women are not allowed to compete in the four-man bobsled race in the Olympics. Why? Is there a rule against having four-women bobsled teams? WTF. If there is an event for men, why isn't there one for women?

There is also no women's ski jumping either. Why? Women can jump off an icy cliff on skis just as easily as a man can.

Women's sports in general are difficult to find, let alone sports which allow women to compete on equal footing. ie. Motorsport allows women and men to compete together. I think its because men will get upset and their egos hurt if women beat them in a fair competition.

Check out the Katherine Legge Story video below.



#4. Societal Expectations

Men are expected to have a career, be financially independent and raise a family. Why shouldn't women be expected to do the same thing?

#5. Politics

Can you name a country where men and women politicians are on equal footing? Even in Sweden men have 53% of the seats in parliament and Sweden is an oddity compared to the rest of the world where women are rare in politics.

#6. Treatment

Women may be equal in some countries in terms of the laws, but we're not equal in terms of how women are treated and viewed. We still have a long way to go before people realize that what is between our legs makes no difference on our abilities to accomplish goals and that we deserve to be treated and judged based on our actions.

January 30, 2012

Why is bread so fattening? + Delicious Cornbread Recipe

HEALTH - Did you know bread is one of the most fattening things you can eat? Its high in carbohydrates, it has sugar in it and corn syrup...

Corn syrup is not part of traditional bread recipes, but you will find it in many brand name bread makers like Wonder Bread. Below is the list of main ingredients found in Wonder Bread:

Whole Wheat Flour
Water
Wheat Gluten
High Fructose Corn Syrup (basically high concentrated sugar)
Honey
Molasses
Yeast

There is also a list of minor additives that make up less than 2% of Wonder Bread.

Now with corn syrup, honey and molasses in it is it any wonder that Wonder Bread is so fattening? Its basically just flour, water and sugar.

Now for those of you who want to lose weight and still want to eat bread regularly here is a recipe for you below. The benefit of cornbread is it tastes great and the recipe provided here is significantly more healthy than store bought bread.

Low Sugar Cornbread

1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 cup sugar (or omit sugar entirely)
1 tsp salt
1 egg (omit egg if you're vegan)
1 cup milk or soy
3 tablespoons melted vegetable shortening
Preheat oven to 375°F.

Combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar and salt until well mixed.

Beat egg well, add milk. Pour milk and egg mixture into the dry ingredients, stirring until mixed. Add melted shortening.

Bake in a well-greased shallow pan in oven or in heated muffin tins. Well seasoned cast iron muffin tins or frying pans work well.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Expect roughly 20-25 minutes for muffins, depending upon size, and about 45 minutes for a frying pan. Baking time varies so use your own good judgment.

January 28, 2012

Homeless female veterans in America

FEMINISM/POLITICS - Many female veterans who fought overseas in Afghanistan and Iraq are now homeless and unable to find work. How did this happen?

When returning from Afghanistan and Iraq many female veterans have physical and psychological issues that make it difficult for them to live in civilian society. They're shell shocked from the constant terror they endured overseas. The physical and psychological torment (and a shortage of government support for veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) often leads to homelessness.

The United States General Accounting Office released a report on January 23rd that shows that the number of homeless female veterans “more than doubled” from 2006 to 2010. These numbers do not include veterans living in homeless shelters so the change could be even worse than we know.

These female veterans who served overseas are clearly not being helped when they return from combat. Many female veterans are not aware of the services available to them, including homeless shelters. For veterans who are also single mothers many shelters do not accept children.

So is this what modern America has come to? A country where veterans live on the streets, homeless, jobless and with children?

Life on the streets is a vicious cycle of psychological and physical abuse, worsening the victim’s psychological state and resulting in a high suicide rate and drug addiction.

This is not an acceptable situation for America’s female veterans.

Female veterans are twice as likely as civilian women to be unemployed, and almost three times as likely to commit suicide. 1 in 5 have suffered sexual assault.

Two government agencies, the Veteran’s Administration and Housing and Urban Development, which are supposed to coordinate housing and services for veterans, need to step up their game and support female veterans.

Shame on America!

January 24, 2012

Affiliate Programs = Scams

TECHNOLOGY - There are a lot of websites outside such as Amazon, CafePress, personals websites and more who offer an affiliate program to internet publishers.

The problem with these affiliate programs is they almost NEVER pay the internet publishers doing the hard work of advertising their product. You see the way affiliate programs work is that they're set up to pay the publisher based on every sale that came directly from the publisher's website.

The problem is that once people click on the advertisement they are taken to a website where they are basically given three choices:

1. Explore the website and then maybe choose to join after exploring. (Zero commission for the publisher.)

2. Sign up or buy something immediately. (Very rarely happens since most people choose to explore first.)

3. Leave the website because it doesn't interest them after all.

Next the publisher is trusting that the company running the affiliate program is going to be honest and share a percentage of their profits. The publisher is really taking them on their word for it. You are just a number to them, a number which can be taken advantage of.

The thing about advertising is that it is always a risk for the business paying for the advertising. With affiliate programs there is no risk for the business, the people posting the advertising are the ones taking the risk (and worse, wasting their time because they will never get paid).

The best route is to only accept two kinds of advertising:

1. PPC advertising via a major company such as Google, MSN or Yahoo! because they are guaranteed to pay you.

2. Cash in advance for annual advertising.

If they're offering an affiliate commission then its pretty much guaranteed they are running a scam in an effort to get free advertising and you will never see a dime.

Even the brand name affiliates like Amazon and CafePress never pay because you have to earn over $100 before they send you a cheque... and to earn that much you need to sell over $1000 worth of product via customers who go to their website via your ad and buy immediately without browsing.

The end result is that unless you have a super popular website then affiliate advertising just isn't worth it. And if you had a super popular website you'd be getting offers for cash in advance advertising and making oodles off Google / MSN / Yahoo! advertising anyway.

5 Tips for Spotting Scammers

1. They say "100% Guarantee" on their website. Why would they bother to say that unless they're trying to trick you?

2. They contact you directly and when you respond they launch into pressuring you and "promise" that people make lots of money advertising for them.

3. You've never heard of their company before.

4. They can't spell properly.

5. They're offering to send you a cheque from Nigeria.

January 21, 2012

ANIMA: A film about doing what you want

ENTERTAINMENT/RELIGION - "Anima" is a documentary with a goal of making you think about you really want to do in life and encouraging you to go after that goal. The film stresses the importance of human creativity, understanding and courage.

Watch it here (this is not a trailer, this is the whole film):



"Anima" is from Dominoes Falling Productions and is a feature length documentary using a collaboration of various material from multiple directors and then mashed together in a common goal of provoking thought and creativity. If you watch the film and feel inspired to get off the couch and do something, then the film is doing its job.

The film examines our relationships with ourselves, others and the environment around us. It talks about the power of individual creativity and how many individuals expressing their creativity can make great changes in the world around us.

an·i·ma – The Latin translation of the Greek word psyche.

1. The inner self of an individual (soul); a relationship with that which is greater than self.

2. Expressions of the unconscious or true inner self of an individual (Carl Jung’s school of analytical psychology).

January 18, 2012

Escorts: The Underground Sex Industry

By Suzanne MacNevin - January 2012.

In the world of feminism there is nothing more controversial than sex workers (aka escorts, prostitutes, hookers, whores, hoes, whatever word you choose to use). Abortion is a close 2nd.

Why is prostitution so controversial?

Well, because its underground and highly unregulated. Its difficult to say how many "sex workers" there are in the world or in a particular country, but its safe to assume that the conservative estimates are highly inaccurate.

Many feminists argue prostitution should be kept illegal, but policing it doesn't solve the problem. Regulating helps, but the only true cure is education and a strong economy. (And even a strong economy has a downside, as you will see below.)

Below: The legal status of prostitution globally.



In Canada for example prostitution is legal (but solicitation and pimping is not). When economic times are tough we see a rise in prostitution (and suicide rates), proof that its necessity which drives the underground sex industry and not any actual desire. When economic times are good prostitution slows to a crawl.

Thus when young women have job opportunities and career options open to them they see becoming an "escort" as lower down on the list of options.

But that doesn't stop the supply and demand of prostitution. In countries with strong economies (Canada, the USA, Germany, etc.) the demand is high, but the supply is low so the people running the operations (pimps, brothels, etc) rely on foreign labour to help meet the demand.

Thus even though domestic prostitution rates may be lower thanks to a strong economy, the criminal elements bring in foreign sex workers to fill the demand.

Giving visas or Green Cards to sex workers / escorts isn't exactly on each governments' list of priorities however. Thus many escorts are imported illegally using human trafficking and often remain inside the country undocumented because they've been schooled in how to avoid the law and detection.

Then there is also the problems like drug addiction, underage prostitution, pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, other sexual diseases and of course suicide rates. There is really no positive benefits from the sex industry. Its all bad.

For the people supplying the demand (the 'Johns') they might be married or in a relationship and if the wife/girlfriend finds out they could end up with a broken home. If there is children involved it could be a messy divorce.

20% of American men have paid for a prostitute.

The reverse could be equally true. The wife working as an escort in secret. It won't be glamourous either, its all about the money. If they're in an abusive relationship with their boyfriend / pimp will be extorting her earnings and often spending it on drugs.

At the end of all of this is the government and eventually government regulators. There is a strong movement globally now to regulate and control the sex industry. They've realized they can't fight it through policing so now they want to try regulating and taxing it via government regulated brothels.

But even that is not a perfect solution. Many escorts (and their pimps) prefer to operate independently so they don't have to pay taxes. They don't see any benefits to the added protection and better pay / treatment they would receive working for a regulated brothel.

The sex industry is becoming very sophisticated these days with websites like Escort Service Berlin, smart phones, GPS tracking... its a bit like operating a bicycle courier delivery service.

Escort Berlin and other websites have literally dozens (sometimes hundreds) of escorts working for them. Many of whom you will note were not born in Germany but imported.

Germany is one of the top 10 destination countries for sex trafficking in the world and 75% of escorts in Germany are foreigners.

Many of the women are brought into Germany from Thailand and other locations through marriage, false documentation and human trafficking.

Germany deports between 1,000 to 2,000 escorts annually who are discovered to be there illegally.

In Berlin alone it was estimated in 2000 there was 7,000 prostitutes, most of them brought in from eastern European countries from the former Soviet Union.

Sex tourism outside of Germany is also very common. In 1997 it was estimated that 200,000 German men travel abroad annually as sex tourists, many of whom visit Thailand looking to have sex with girls under the age of 14.

The sad fact is that there is very little government can do about the sex industry. Its so underground its virtually unreachable.

The only things we can do is try to help and save the people we can.

References
Street Prostitution in Canada

Prostitution in Germany

Tackling Prostitution in Britain

Sex Trafficking in the USA

January 17, 2012

Five Dirty Cops on trial, Biggest Police Corruption trial in Toronto history

CANADA - It is largest and one of the longest awaited police corruption trials in Toronto history. Five former police officers from the drug squad, collectively charged with assault, threatening, theft, extortion, corruption, conspiracy and obstruction of justice, amongst other charges.

Nebojsa (Ned) Maodus and 4 other cops are on trial. Backing them up are the creamiest defense lawyers they can find. Against them is a team of crown attorneys tasked with bringing the 5 of them to justice.

The trial is 14 years in coming.

The corruption investigation began 11 years ago. Its difficult to get the ball rolling. They only got formally charged 8 years ago. 4 years ago they had the preliminary hearing. The charges were stayed after "glacial delays", but the decision to stay the charges was overturned by the Ontario Court of Appeal and a new trial was ordered.

Yesterday the opening statements began, giving a broad outline of the case, five different complainants, five separate episodes of alleged police larceny and lying dating back to 1997 and 1998.

The first complainant took the stand, accompanied by photographs of the severe beating he had received while in police custody. The footage is raw and shows purple bruising across his ribs and waist, lacerations over the forehead, abrasions around the eye, redness around the lips, a deep bloodied gash on the elbow.

Former detective Maodus and his colleagues at 53 Division, in the common room on the station's 3rd floor, on the afternoon of April 30th, 1998 were looking for drugs and money.

One of the officers was John Schertzer, head of Team 3, Central Field Command Drug Squad, the one they called “the boss.”

Schertzer, Maodus, Steven Correia, Joseph Miched, Raymond Pollard were once part of an elite team. Now all face a slew of assault, extortion, attempt to obstruct justice, conspiracy and perjury charges. The photographic evidence and missing drugs / money removed from evidence betrays a group of cops who became addicted to the very substances they were supposed to be fighting.

In one incident $31,000 went missing. No pocket change on a detective's salary.

“They engaged in unjustified acts of physical violence against people in their custody,” says Crown Attorney John Pearson of the defendants, drawing a vivid picture not just of rogue cops, but a gang of punks with badges and guns who went after cash and drugs for their own illicit purposes. They helped themselves to whatever they could get.

Then they tried to cover their tracks by falsifying notes, disguising illegal searches, withholding vital information from both prosecutors and defence lawyers, and fabricating tales in court. Conspiracy, obstruction of justice, tampering.

In one incident a complainant was sitting in a car with a friend when the friend handed him a bag containing a pair of sunglasses. Suddenly the car was swarmed by men, 6 of them wearing civilian clothes. “I didn’t even realize they were officers. They were screaming and yelling at me — get out of the car!” says the complainant.

One of the cops grabbed the bag, looked inside and said: “They’re eff-ing sunglasses!”

The police arrested them anyway, not even showing their badges or bothering to identify themselves as police. They searched the car and found nothing. They took them to the station.

The complainant was not permitted to call a lawyer. “We’ll get to that later,” one of the officers told him. They hounded him with questions of drugs and money. They threatened to tear apart his apartment and break all his belongings. They knew he was in the jewelry business and wanted his cash.

Then the beating began.

He was taken into an interrogation room. They threatened to search his mother's home and break all her belongings too. He was moved again to an interview room at the back.

Then the testifying stopped for the day, but the crown had already revealed the order of events in their opening statement. Schertzer “watched” as two drug squad officers delivered a “serious beating” to the complainant.

Two search warrants were obtained. They searched the complainant's home and his mother's. They found a single bag of marijuana at the complainant's apartment, an amount so tiny the officers became frustrated.

Under threats the mother of the complainant revealed she had a safety deposit box where her son's savings were kept from his jewelry business. Feeling intimidated, she gave the officers the key to it. The complainant meanwhile was given over to regular police officers who sent him to the hospital due to the severe beating he had been given.

The complainant was charged with assaulting police. The officers lied on documents claiming he had fought with them and the beating had been necessary to subdue him.

The following morning Schertzer and Correia went to the bank, where there had been $54,000 in the safety deposit box. Schertzer only documented $22,850. $31,150 went missing, presumably into the pockets of the officers.

The trial continues today.

What is truly despicable is how the 5 dirty cops behave in court. They swagger and sneer. They don't even seem to be taking the charges seriously, confident in their highly paid lawyers. Their faces are smug satisfaction, like a bunch of cats who ran loose in a canary store and have been caught the next morning with fat bellies and feathers still stuck to them. Smug, defiant, even though they are obviously guilty.

The conviction rate for dirty cops is below 50% in Canada.

When cops go bad, they go really bad.

Websites to protest Anti-Piracy Laws that are too broad

POLITICS/TECHNOLOGY - Wikipedia, Google, Yahoo!, eBay, Facebook and numerous other websites are planning to protest two new anti-piracy laws that would make it very difficult for them to do business. Reddit.com and Boing Boing are also protesting the new laws.

Wikipedia will black out its English-language site for 24 hours to protest the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA).

Instead the site will urge Wikipedia readers to contact their local congressman to vote against the bills. Wikipedia's English site receives 25 million daily visitors.

The problem is the new laws are too broad and the proposed new laws would block access to websites believed to be distributing pirated goods... sites like eBay, auction websites, Facebook and Wikipedia would be effected easily because its so easy for people to upload and distribute pirated content onto those websites.

Google has repeatedly said the new laws goes too far and will hurt investment. Major newspapers will also be hurt and are urging lawmakers to rethink their approach.

The White House said it was concerned about SOPA, saying they believe it could make businesses on the Internet vulnerable to litigation and harm legal activity and free speech. (Not to mention creating a huge backlog in the courts, both in the USA and globally.)

News of the White House’s comments prompted a prominent supporter of the bill, News Corp. chief executive Rupert Murdoch, to slam the Obama administration.

Our thoughts? The cat is out of the bag and the genie is out of the bottle, good luck trying to catch them both. Now imagine trying to catch 2.1 billion internet users globally (including 245 million in the USA).

January 13, 2012

How to Avoid Advertising Scams

TECHNOLOGY - In this age of internet advertising companies will frequently approach popular blogs and websites offering to pay for any number of advertising schemes.

The problem is that is exactly what they are: schemes.

Yes, there is legitimate brand name companies out there like Google, MSN and Yahoo! which offer internet advertising to online publishers. They all pay reasonably well.

But then there is the fly-by-night advertising companies... the rogues of the industry. They're headed by get-rich-quick schemers who offer website owners lots of money to post their advertising, but then never actually pay their tab.

Here at Lilith News we've been fortunate. We only deal with brand name companies and accept advertising from individual companies that is pre-paid links for a year. Why because the pre-paid advertising and brand name companies can guarantee their payments. The fly-by-nighters have no guarantee.

Oh sure, they can have a logo on their website saying 100% Guarantee! But why do they need that logo there unless they're completely full of BS?

Sorry, but that is just their word that it is a guarantee. And their word isn't worth the pixels on the screen.

Let me put it this way... whom do you feel safer buying a car from? The Toyota dealership? Or some guy building cars in his garage and selling them on craigslist?

The answer is Toyota, because its a brand name and you can guarantee the car will work. The guy selling cars over the internet has no guarantee that he will actually deliver a car that works properly.

We have no problem dealing with Google, MSN or Yahoo because they're brand names. But other advertising companies that we've never heard of need to pay in advance because their word cannot be trusted.

Indeed that concept can protect you from many other scams. Cheque scams from Nigeria, Green card scams from Europe and the USA. Once you realize there is no guarantee that these people will fulfill their promises you will say: "Hey, why didn't I work with a brand name company instead?"

With any kind of advertising there is a risk. If you put a $50 ad in the newspaper to sell antiques you are taking the risk that you won't sell any antiques. The newspaper isn't taking the risk, they demand payment in advance.

So why should internet website publishers be asked to take the risk when it comes to advertisers? Its the advertiser's responsibility to burden the risk. Not the publisher's.

For more advertising advice see:
SEO Advice

January 12, 2012

Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition on the Horizon

ENTERTAINMENT - On January 9th Wizards of the Coast, the publishers of Dungeons & Dragons, announced they had begun development of a 5th Edition of the game.

This could be potentially good or bad. If you know anything about Dungeons & Dragons you might know that the 4th Edition of D&D was heavily boycotted by fans upset over excessive rules changes and slow repetitive combat rules.

First published in 1974, the fantasy role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons pits heroic wizards, knights, rogues and priests against zombies, ogres, orcs, dragons and a wide variety of other baddies... using just dice, paper and interactive storytelling.

Each player plays a character (ie. an elf archer or a dwarf barbarian), gives them a name, a description, a list of weapons / equipment / spells they can use and everything is written down on a piece of paper called a Character Sheet.

The players then act a team to overcome obstacles usually laid out on the table using miniatures, maps and then roll dice to determine random results when fighting orcs, climbing cliffs, charming the barmaid, etc. The baddies and Non-Player Characters are all controlled by a storyteller known as the "Dungeon Master" (an honourific title if ever there was one). Because its a game where imagination and roleplaying of the characters are encouraged its a highly enjoyable game and very popular amongst creative types and nerds.

However the problem is the rules which govern gameplay. The publisher Wizards of the Coast keeps changing the rules in an obvious effort to both correct poorly conceived rules which players argue about and also to SELL MORE RULEBOOKS (and make a tonne of money in the process).

When 3rd Edition D&D came out in 2000 they sold a lot of rulebooks and made huge profits. However some of the players were unhappy with some of the rules so in 2003 they came out with version 3.5 to make some of the whiners and "rules lawyers" happy. (And sold even more books, made more profits.) To make it even more interesting they developed the "d20 System" which was then used for other D&D-esque games such as "d20 Modern" and "d20 Star Wars", allowing players to effectively play any kind of game they wanted to.

But when 4th Edition came out in 2008 there was a backlash.

Players revolted. Some of them formed boycotts of the new edition. Most decided to stick with 3rd Edition or 3.5. Players did try the new 4th Edition rules, but most of them didn't like the rules, complaining it made combat too slow, made the game system too much like the strategy game 'Warhammer' or the card game 'Magic the Gathering' or even too much like online MMORPGs like 'World of Warcraft'... and these new rules were distracting from the roleplaying and fast combat system players had come to know and love. According to players the new combat system was tossed out and "apparently replaced with a new system created by a game designer who plays too much Warhammer and Magic the Gathering."

Wizards of the Coast, which also publishes the card game 'Magic the Gathering', was apparently attempting to encourage more collectible card gamers and Warhammer players to try D&D. The attempt was flawed because it left D&D players (some of whom have been playing the game since the 1970s) upset that their game was being defiled by a bunch of greedy capitalists.

Some players even went back to playing 1st and 2nd Edition D&D because they enjoyed the retro feel of the game and simplicity of the rules.

Hasbro, which now owns Wizards of the Coast, however took notice of this boycott... and they also took note of an essay circulating the internet about whether all the D&D players are playing "the same game" (regardless of what edition it is) and how many rules can we change before it stops being the same game?

Thus the new 5th Edition development has an interesting goal, so says the new developers. In rewriting the rules of D&D they are revisiting all the older rules to try and create an “universal rule set” which unifies all players under one single system.

“We’re focusing on what gets people excited about D&D, and making sure we have a game that encompasses all different styles,” says Mike Mearls, group manager for the D&D research and development team.

Their goal is to make a system that will make everyone happy, regardless of whether they are playing 1st Edition, 2nd, 3rd or 3.5. (And hopefully they will toss out any ideas of 4th Edition as a bad idea that never should have happened.)

Their end goal, obviously, is to sell more rulebooks to all D&D players, but to do such a good job of designing the new edition that everyone will want the new rulebooks and be happy about buying them.

The game designers are looking back at each edition of the game going back to 1974, and identifying core rules that make the game work best. They’re soliciting suggestions from players via weekly columns on their web site, and through community discussion threads. During the coming year they’re planning several rounds of playtesting, allowing fans to try out new rules before they’re finalized, and identify what does and doesn’t work.

When completed they hope to craft an universal rule set that all players will enjoy... in the process they're thinking of including a lot of modular "optional rules" which allows players to customize the game as they see fit.

Wizards staff are acutely aware that 4th Edition was a flop and upset many long-time players. This time around, Wizards doesn’t want to make the same mistake and wants to avoid railroading (gamer term meaning "forcing") the new edition into something players won't like.

"I’m not a fan of fourth edition. I find the combat slow, the powers limiting, and the rules inhospitable to the kind of creative world-building, story-telling and problem-solving that make D&D great," says David M. Ewalt, Forbes staff reporter, one of a team of journalists who were invited in December to test out an early draft of 5th Edition D&D.

According to Ewalt the 5th Edition rules "show promise. They’re simple without being stupid, and efficient without being shallow. Combat was quick and satisfying; we got through most of an adventure in just a few hours."

So 5th Edition is a step in the right direction, however...

Dungeons & Dragons should belong to the players, not the publisher. Its the players who make up the game. The publisher may own the rights to publish whatever crappy rulebooks they want, but the players are the game. If they don't like the rulebooks they will use other / older rulebooks that they do like. Wizards of the Coast has a responsibility to get it right this time and then NEVER make another edition ever again. If they want to keep publishing books, fine, but the "universal rule set" when its finally made should be just that: Universal.

See Also
Dungeons & Dragons Online

Iranian nuclear scientist assassinated, CIA likely culprit

POLITICS - An Iranian university professor working at Iran's largest nuclear facility was killed by a car bomb in Tehran yesterday (Wednesday January 11th). He is the third Iranian scientist assassinated in a string of deaths designed to undermine Iran’s nuclear program. CIA operatives are the most likely culprits.

The operatives were two men on a motorcycle who attached a magnetic bomb to Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan’s car outside the campus of Allameh Tabatabai University. The bomb later killed him and his driver. A passerby was also wounded and remains in hospital.

Roshan, 32, a chemistry expert and the director of the Natanz uranium enrichment facility in the Isfahan province worked for Iran’s nuclear agency. Since January 2010 there has been a handful of attacks against Iran's scientific community, suggesting a CIA or possibly NATO operation to halt Iran’s atomic program.

The United States, Britain and Israel are pressuring Iran to suspend uranium enrichment and have been sending increasing number of operatives to Iran to undermine its government and Iran's nuclear weapons program.

Low levels of uranium enrichment can be used as nuclear fuel, at higher levels it can be used as material for a nuclear warhead. All it takes then is an accurate missile and a "critical mass" of fissionable material.

All the pressure and assassinations has forced Iran to move its operations underground. Iranian officials said earlier this week that they are expanding some operations to an underground site south of Tehran where they are enriching high grade uranium usable for weapons.

Iran claims its program is intended for energy and medical research, specifically the production of medical radioisotopes to treat cancer patients. But this would not explain their need for enriching high grade fissionable material.

After yesterday's attack Iran’s parliament shouted “Death to Israel” and “Death to America”.

“Iran’s enemies should know they cannot prevent Iran’s progress by carrying out such terrorist acts,” said First Vice-President Mohammad Reza Rahimi. He and other Iranian politicians are accusing the USA of operating a terrorist organization inside Iran.

The CIA, MI6 and Mossad (Israel Intelligence Agency) have denied (or declined to comment on) the accusations of assassinations and terrorism.

On Tuesday Israeli military chief Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz hinted that this year would be a “critical year” for Iran, saying “things which take place in an unnatural manner.”

“Many bad things have been happening to Iran in the recent period,” said Mickey Segal, the former director of Mossad’s Iranian intelligence department. “Iran is in a situation where pressure on it is mounting, and the latest assassination joins the pressure that the Iranian regime is facing.”

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the CIA “had absolutely nothing to do” with Roshan’s death and denied any American involvement in the killing.

A similar bomb to Wednesday’s exploded on January 12th, 2010 killing Tehran University physics professor Masoud Ali Mohammadi. He was killed just as he was about to leave for work.

In November 2010, twin bomb attacks in different parts of Tehran killed nuclear scientist Majid Shahriari and wounded scientist Fereidoun Abbasi.

In July 2011, motorcycle-riding gunmen killed university student Darioush Rezaeinejad, who is alleged to have been working in a team to make nuclear weapons.

In November 2011, 17 people, including Major General Hasan Moghaddam, a very prominent figure in Iran’s nuclear program, died in an explosion at an ammunition dump near Tehran.

January 5, 2012

North Korea's future uncertain as Kim Jong-Il is mourned

POLITICS - With Kim Jong-Il dead the future of North Korea has become very uncertain.

If you haven't heard already, Kimg Jong-Il, the supreme leader of the isolated "Hermit Kingdom" North Korea has died, leaving his 3rd son as the new leader. He died of a heart attack on December 17th 2011, age 69.

The new young leader, Kim Jong-Un walked alongside the black hearse carrying the dead body of his father during the televised funeral procession, flanked by his uncle and various military advisers. The people around the hearse was veritable who's who of North Korea's military and political elites.

In the wake of Kim Jong-Il's death millions of North Koreans mourned in front of the cameras... some to the point of hysterics. Off camera North Korean soldiers watched, pale faced, tearless and carrying AK-47 assault rifles, sparking rumours internationally of North Korean civilians being interrogated or shot for "not mourning enough". (During WWII Germans who didn't cheer long and hard for Hitler were routinely rounded up and questioned.)

Kim Jong-Un meanwhile is now centre stage... a young inexperienced leader of a mere 27 years old, chosen because his two older brothers were considered too friendly towards the west. The military elites of North Korea wanted a leader who was a zealot who would not be afraid to push towards nuclear war.

In the past North Korea has tested multiple nuclear weapons and long range missiles. Several years ago they became capable of launching from mainland North Korea a long range missile carrying a nuclear payload that can hit Hawaii or Alaska.

From a airplane, submarine or a ship they could hit mainland USA.

North Korea, ever America's enemy since the Korean War, has a standing army of 1.2 million and mandatory military training for every adult male. Many North Korean females also receive military training.

So you have to ask yourself...

When push comes to shove, would you trust nuclear missiles to a 27 year old man who has been raised to hate the USA?

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