Bush Administration changes official position on legitimacy of Qur’an desecration allegations
Bush Administration changes official position on legitimacy of Qur’an desecration allegations

Saturday, June 4, 2005

After an investigation of allegations that Islam’s holy book the Qu’ran was mishandled in front of inmates at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the Bush administration has acknowledged the credibility of some of these reports. According to Robert Burns of the Associated Press, U.S. military officials acknowledged that, “a Muslim holy book was splashed with urine,” and “a detainee’s Quran was deliberately kicked and another’s was stepped on.” The US government first denied a specific report that the Qu’ran had been flushed down a toilet at the prison facility, but on Friday agreed that similar allegations were indeed true.

On May 16, Newsweek magazine apologized to the victims of deadly riots that ensued due to a Newsweek article stating that U.S. officials defiled the Qur’an. White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan criticized Newsweek’s initial response to the incident, saying it was “puzzling.” Later that day, Newsweek retracted the story, which the White House said was a “good first step”.

On May 20, the International Red Cross (IRC) revealed in a rare public announcement that it had documented and reported to the United States credible information concerning desecration of the Qur’an by Guantanamo Bay personnel. Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman, acknowledged that allegations were made on “rare occasions” but were uncorroborated. Simon Schorno, a Red Cross spokesman, disputed the Pentagon’s denial saying, “All information we received were corroborated allegations.” He added that, “We certainly corroborated mentions of the events by detainees themselves,” and that “the ICRC considers such reports “very seriously, and very carefully, and [we] document everything.”

Scott McClellan explained in a press conference that the White House is not trying to tell Newsweek what to print. McClellan said, “Look, this report caused serious damage to the image of the United States abroad. And Newsweek has said that they got it wrong. I think Newsweek recognizes the responsibility they have. We appreciate the step that they took by retracting the story. Now we would encourage them to move forward and do all that they can to help repair the damage that has been done by this report. And that’s all I’m saying. But, no, you’re absolutely right, it’s not my position to get into telling people what they can and cannot report.”

On May 25, Amnesty International called for the shutdown on Guantanamo Bay due to numerous human rights violations, saying “The ‘war on terror’ appeared more effective in eroding international human rights principles than in countering international ‘terrorism’.” Amnesty International’s view was shared by both the International Red Cross (IRC) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The IRC has said it reported to the U.S. government detainee’s reports of desecration of the Qur’an. In the foreword of the report, written by Amnesty International Secretary General Irene Khan, Guantanamo was compared to a Soviet-era gulag in that it is “entrenching the practice of arbitrary and indefinite detention in violation of international law”.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan responded saying the report’s allegations were “ridiculous and unsupported by the facts. The United States is leading the way when it comes to protecting human rights and promoting human dignity. We have liberated 50 million people in Iraq and Afghanistan. We have worked to advance freedom and democracy in the world so that people are governed under a rule of law and that there are… protections in place for minority rights, that women’s rights are advanced so that women can fully participate in societies where now they cannot”, as well as supporting the fight against AIDS in Africa.

About the allegations of abuse at Guantanamo, which McClellan has previously called isolated incidents, he said, “We hold people accountable when there is abuse. We take steps to prevent it from happening again, and we do so in a very public way for the world to see that we lead by example, and that we do have values that we hold very dearly and believe in.”

On May 31, U.S. President George W. Bush dismissed the human rights report as “absurd” for its harsh criticism of U.S. treatment of terrorist suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, saying the allegations were made by prisoners “who hate America.” “It’s an absurd allegation. The United States is a country that promotes freedom around the world,” Bush said of the Amnesty International report.

William F. Schulz, executive director of Amnesty International USA, defended the report, saying, “What is ‘absurd’ is President Bush’s attempt to deny the deliberate policies of his administration.” and “What is ‘absurd’ and indeed outrageous is the Bush administration’s failure to undertake a full independent investigation”. Irene Khan also responded saying, “The administration’s response has been that our report is absurd, that our allegations have no basis, and our answer is very simple: if that is so, open up these detention centres, allow us and others to visit them.”

And, on Friday, the U.S. military released the results of their investigation and confirmed that in 5 separate incidents, American guards at the Guantánamo Bay prison “mishandled” the Islamic holy book. However, they stress that guards were usually “respectful” of the Qur’an. One incident involved splashing a Koran with urine by urinating near an air vent while others involved kicking, stepping on and writing in Qur’ans.

Brigadier-General Jay Hood, the commander of the jail, looked into the allegations, published and then retracted by Newsweek, that American personnel flushed a Qur’an down a toilet. He said that the inquiry did not find any evidence supporting this particular allegation. “The inquiry found no credible evidence that a member of the Joint Task Force at Guantanamo Bay ever flushed a Qur’an down a toilet. This matter is considered closed.”

Mutual Fund Sip: The Benefits

byAlma Abell

Mutual Fund Investments include investment in Systematic Investment Plan except in cases of Liquid funds, cash funds and floating rate debt funds. All types of Equity Funds, Debt Funds and Equity balanced funds offer SIP schemes for the benefit of their customers. Mutual Fund SIP schemes are also the most popular among employees who plan their post retirement long term investment schemes. The bank requires an account and KYC to start an online SIP account for the investor. Online SIP is now a very commonly used process of Mutual fund investment but one must always be careful while choosing such a plan and providing the confidential information online to either the investment banks or the companies.

Mutual Fund SIP is recommended for all the investors who want to take active part in the share market without much risk or knowledge of the same. SIP helps in a less risky and steady return based investment policy for every individual, firm or company. Systematic Investment Plans also helps in decreasing the average cost per unit of investment, through Rupee Cost Averaging method.

SIP has the facility for the investor to predefine the duration for which he wants to invest, that is, if the scheme will be a long run, short run or very short run investment after which the scheme will be forfeited by the investment bank and the net amount will be handed over to the investor. Some investors until the investor decides to stop his investment by issuing a notice before that time. Apart from tax benefits on capital gain, SIP involves less risk and steady returns policies that attract the customers to invest in it. SIP is thus the most popular and in demand Mutual Fund scheme of the country now, and all major investment banks provide attractive SIP schemes to their customers.

Microsoft bids $44 billion for Yahoo!
Microsoft bids $44 billion for Yahoo!

Friday, February 1, 2008

United States software giant Microsoft has launched an unsolicited bid to buy Internet search giant Yahoo! for US$44 billion or approximately US$31 per share.

The deal, which is half in cash and half in stock, if accepted by Yahoo!’s shareholders, could create a major competitor to Google, the search giant which currently dominates the Internet search market.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia CEO apologies for financial planning scandal
Commonwealth Bank of Australia CEO apologies for financial planning scandal

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Ian Narev, the CEO of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, this morning “unreservedly” apologised to clients who lost money in a scandal involving the bank’s financial planning services arm.

Last week, a Senate enquiry found financial advisers from the Commonwealth Bank had made high-risk investments of clients’ money without the clients’ permission, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars lost. The Senate enquiry called for a Royal Commission into the bank, and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

Mr Narev stated the bank’s performance in providing financial advice was “unacceptable”, and the bank was launching a scheme to compensate clients who lost money due to the planners’ actions.

In a statement Mr Narev said, “Poor advice provided by some of our advisers between 2003 and 2012 caused financial loss and distress and I am truly sorry for that. […] There have been changes in management, structure and culture. We have also invested in new systems, implemented new processes, enhanced adviser supervision and improved training.”

An investigation by Fairfax Media instigated the Senate inquiry into the Commonwealth Bank’s financial planning division and ASIC.

Whistleblower Jeff Morris, who reported the misconduct of the bank to ASIC six years ago, said in an article for The Sydney Morning Herald that neither the bank nor ASIC should be in control of the compensation program.

Japan raises severity level of crisis; efforts to cool damaged nuclear power plant continue
Japan raises severity level of crisis; efforts to cool damaged nuclear power plant continue

Friday, March 18, 2011

As the nuclear crisis in Japan’s crippled Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant appears to worsen, Japan’s nuclear safety agency raised their assessment of its severity from 4 to 5 on the 7-level International Nuclear Event Scale, the same rating given the 1979 Three Mile Island crisis. Japan’s Prime Minister, Naoto Kan, said bluntly that the situation at the nuclear power plant was “very grave”. Weather forecasts indicate changing winds may begin moving radiation closer to Tokyo by March 30.

Efforts thus far to cool nuclear fuel in the reactors and the spent-fuel pools has produced little if any success, contends United States government officials.

Engineers are working frantically to connect electrical power to two reactors in the plant, as well as to restart the cooling systems and prevent overheating of fuel rods. Tokyo Electric Power Co. stated that it hopes to reconnect a power line needed to restart water pumps to the No. 1 and No. 2 reactors by Saturday morning. However, a TEPCO official cautioned that if the water pumps were damaged by the tsunami, they could fail to restart.

The extent of the damage to the plant’s reactors is still unclear. Japanese officials have concentrated on cooling spent fuel rods in Reactor No. 3’s storage pool. On Friday, however, steam was seen rising from Reactor No. 2., where an explosion occurred on Tuesday. Additionally, engineers said on Thursday that the steel lining of the storage pool at Reactor No. 4 and its concrete base seemed damaged, as attempts to refill the pool with water became increasingly difficult.

In a briefing on Friday, Philippe Jamet, a commissioner at France’s nuclear regulator Autorite de Surete Nucleaire, said, “We must avoid being overly optimistic. This will likely take human intervention like going into control rooms to reconnect valves.”

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Can You Make A Living Trading Options

By Jason Ng

Can you make a living trading options? In fact, has anyone ever made a living just trading options?

This is a question that a lot of beginners who has yet to start learning about options asked me. In fact, for some of them, it seems like being able to make a living out of solely trading options is the only motivation for them to learn it in the first place.

Well, having traded options for more than fifteen years, I regard myself a professional options trader and I would say the possibility exist for making a living out of only trading options if you are really good at it. However, as a responsible financial adviser, the golden adage still goes, Never Put All Your Eggs In One Basket.

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The right way to financial stability, security and freedom is to make sure you have multiple streams of income. Nobody should depend solely on their job income for their livelihood as the risk of retrenchment always exists. Nobody should depend solely on real estate rental income for their livelihood as the risk of default on payment and non-rental exists. Likewise, nobody should depend solely on options trading for their livelihood as the risk of the market making an unexpected move that wipes out short term gains exists. There are no perfect ways of making money and that is why we DIVERSIFY!

While it is possible to make your main income through options trading when you get really good at it, you will still need to augment your income with other residual sources such as real estate rental or even your job income in order to hedge against risk. Yes, financial stability is a science and an art which requires effort and time to get right. There is no shortcut and no quick fix. There isn’t a single method of making money which could allow you to rest on your laurels for the rest of your life. That is why the super rich still spend so much time making money and investing their money.

Personally, while I make my main income from options trading, I actually have about thirteen other streams of residual income to help me through the tough times such as the 2008 market crash which caught me somewhat by surprise and I wasn’t able to react fast enough on my options trades to avoid initial losses. If I had not my other sources of residual income, I would have gone without food and would have defaulted on my mortgages during those few tough months when I didn’t make an income from my options trading at all.

Yes, all means of making money have their ups and downs. There are no perfect investments. As such, even though it is possible to make a living from options trading, my advise is that you should treat options trading as another weapon in your arsenal to financial freedom and security. Every mean of money making that you learn gives you that edge and allows you to survive under more market and economic conditions.

To learn more about how you can profit with options trading under all market conditions, visit our Options Trading website at Optiontradingpedia.com .

About the Author: Jason Ng is the Founder and Chief Option Strategist of Masters ‘O’ Equity Asset Management and author of Optiontradingpedia.com and Futurestradingpedia.com. Learn more about

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Greenpeace protest disrupts Tony Blair CBI speech
Greenpeace protest disrupts Tony Blair CBI speech

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Two Greenpeace protestors entered the CBI conference at the Business Design Centre in Islington, London and delayed a speech being made by the Prime Minister Tony Blair, in which he was expected to announce the consideration of further nuclear power stations to offset the increasing gas prices being experienced by industry in the UK. The protestors, wearing yellow safety jackets over business suits, climbed up into the ceiling rafters and held banners saying “NUCLEAR: WRONG ANSWER”, and dropped ‘radioactive confetti’ onto the delegates down below.

Greenpeace threatened to make noise and throw missiles at the Prime Minister should he make his speech. They requested a ten minute speech before Tony Blair’s speech, but this was turned down by the conference organisers and the speech was delayed whilst delegates moved into an alternative room in the building so that the speech could continue without disruption.

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2012 Report on Gender Equality and Development looks at women’s issues in India
2012 Report on Gender Equality and Development looks at women’s issues in India

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Yesterday, World Bank released its 2012 World Development Report on Gender Equality and Development. India was mentioned over 300 times in the report, many more times than more developed countries like Spain which was mentioned 48 times, New Zealand which was mentioned 15 times, and Canada which was mentioned 22 times.

The report mentions the importance of gender equality for national development as it ties into improve productivity, improved outcomes for the next generation, and more representative decision making. Across the board for India, improved gender equality on the local level led to improvements in sanitation, water supplies, irrigation, and schools.

Nationally, the report found that a woman’s income correlated positively with the number of years her children spent in school. There is no gender gap in male/female school attendance for the richest 20% of Indian families, but males outnumber females by a ratio of 5 to 1 for the poorest 20% of Indian families. Girls in the bottom 20% on average only finish Grade 1 while males finish Grade 6. By age 15, according to Young Lives, Indian parents from Andhra Pradesh prioritize family outcomes for their male children over their female ones.

Indian women earn $0.64 for every $1 earned by their male counterparts. They fare better proportionally than their female German counterparts who earn $0.62 and Georgia who earn $0.60. In the developing world, they lag behind Malawi where women earn $0.90 for every $1 earned by men, Egypt where women earn $0.82, and Benin and Mexico at $0.80. A fifth of married Indian women, including those with their own income, do not make decisions on household spending. The 18% average puts Indian female control of their earnings equal to their counterparts in Mozambique. India is between Nigeria at 14%, and Zambia and Rwanda at 20%.

Indian women are having fewer children. The report found that while it took 100 years for the average woman in the United States to go from having six children to having three, it took India only 35 years. Women still have high maternal mortality rates, especially when compared to neighboring Sri Lanka. India’s rate is six times as high. Very young females still die at very high rates in India, especially in North India, because of gender preferences for male children. While according to the report this trend is spreading nationally, the overall number of excess females deaths dropped by 8,000 from 265,000 in 1990 to 257,000 in 2008. In China, the total excess female deaths grew by 202,000. The report cites improved access to ultra-sound and similar technologies as a cause for the very high rates in both India and China because it allows parents to select the sex of their child.

In a national exception, the height of North Indian women increased more slowly and they had worse anthropometric outcomes proportional to their male counterparts.

Estimates by the World Bank report writers based on Demographic and Health Surveys suggest 15% of Indian women think it is acceptable for a husband to beat his wife if she refuses to have sex with him, 20% if she burns food and 30% if she argues with him.

Economic well being plays a role in the number of children a woman has. The richest 20% of women average around 1.5 total children. The poorest 20% average about 4 children. India’s poorest 20% is comparable to Colombia and the Dominican Republic. The number is much lower than many Afrian countries including Niger, Mali, Zambia, Malawi, Liberia, Nigeria, Tanzania and Kenya where the poorest 20% average over 7 children.

The Indian gains highlighted include several local ones. This includes using women’s self-help groups focused on taking best practices from research and applying them in farming in the state of Orissa. The Self Employed Women’s Association has assisted women in Gujarat by providing childcare. Quotas for women elected in local governments led to changes in underlying beliefs about the effectiveness of women in government. The creation of an all-women’s police force in Tamil Nadu led to increased reporting of crimes against women and general comfort in going to the police to report a problem.

The report offers several pieces of advice for Indian policy makers, including trying to change current role models to include more women who do not follow social norms. It advises laws be created and enforced to prevent sex selection of children. The report also encourages strengthening ownership and land rights, which should also address the agricultural productivity gender-gap.

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Five tourists die in car crash in South African park
Five tourists die in car crash in South African park

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Five tourists including a child, have been killed in a car accident in Kruger National Park in South Africa. Four of the tourists were from Austria and one was from Germany. The driver survived the crash with minor injuries.

On Thursday November 29, the tourists were traveling in a Mercedes-Benz 4×4, near a gate to the park when the driver “miscalculated” the turn onto a bridge crossing the Letaba river, causing the car to plunge over the edge, flip over and fall into the river below with the roof in the river’s water.

No names have been released as authorities are attempting to contact the family members of those killed. It is not known if the driver will be charged.

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Australian teacher drops ‘gay’ from kookaburra folk song
Australian teacher drops ‘gay’ from kookaburra folk song

Friday, September 3, 2010

A school in Melbourne, Australia has experienced a backlash from the public for changing the last line of Marion Sinclair’s iconic Australian folk song Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree from “Laugh, kookaburra, laugh, kookaburra, gay your life must be” to “fun your life must be”.

Gary Martin, principal of Le Page Primary School in Melbourne, claims that he changed the lyrics as he thought that “the kids will roll around the floor in fits of laughter” upon hearing the original lyrics. Martin wanted to reduce classroom disruption by omitting the word “gay”, here used to mean “happy”, as it was also commonly used as a playground insult. “For example, if a boy is not particularly good at sport, they will refer to that child as gay,” he continued.

Martin told the Nine Network, “I wasn’t trying to incite or insult gay people, [..] it was just a decision at the time that I thought would minimise a disruptive atmosphere with grades one and two”.

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