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Shoe has position in politics? Never before as it does now. Iraqis divided over jail sentence for shoe thrower

Lebanese University students stage a sit-in

Does Iraqi journalist Muntazer al-Zaidi deserve fifteen years in jail, or "a statue erected in his honor"?

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In a land replete with martyrs and miscreants, Iraqis are divided over which label applies to Muntazer al-Zaidi. The once obscure television journalist who shot to fame for hurling his footwear at then President George W. Bush during a Baghdad press conference late last year was sentenced on Thursday to three years in prison after being found guilty of "assaulting a foreign leader on an official visit." But despite the verdict of Baghdad's Central Criminal Court, many ordinary Iraqis still hail the 30-year-old Shi'ite shoe thrower as a national hero.

On December 14, Muntazer al-Zaidi, a television journalist attending a press conference with President Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, threw both of his shoes at the U.S. President. As he threw the shoes, he shouted, ‘This is a gift from the Iraqis; this is the farewell kiss, you dog!’  read more »

Photo: 3-year-old boy saying goodbye to his father who was being deployed as part of Massachusetts National Guard

3-year-old boy saying goodbye to father who was being deployed

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Picture of three-year-old Morgan Riddick saying goodbye to his father who was being deployed during a ceremony of the 772nd Military Police Company, Massachusetts National Guard on Taunton Green. Taken by John Tlumacki, this photo was the Overall Winner in the annual Boston Press Photographers Association competition, and also won 1st Place in General News.

(unquote)

Photos courtesy of John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

Original Source: Boston Globe

"SOS Amazon": 1st action of Amazon tribes, sending message "Wake Up, World!" at 2009 World Social Forum in Brazil

while world leaders are gathering in Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum, an alternative meeting is taking place in Brazil

(quote)

BELÉM, Brazil, Jan 27 (IPS) - A human banner made up of more than 1,000 people, seen and photographed from the air, sent the message "SOS Amazon" to the world, in the first action taken by indigenous people hours before the opening in northern Brazil on Tuesday of the 2009 World Social Forum (WSF).

gathering in Belém, a city at the mouth of the Amazon, for the six-day World Social Forum (WSF)

The mass message reflects "our concern about global warming, whose impact we will be the first to feel, although we, the peoples of the Amazon, have protected and cared for the forests," Francisco Avelino Batista, an Apurinán Indian from the Purus river valley in the Brazilian Amazon, told IPS.

September 1988, Rondonia State, Brazil: Newly cleared land. Soya farming is one of the primary drivers of deforestation in the Amazon  read more »

Obama takes office with call to remake nation with ideals of the Founding Fathers and "choose our better history"

Barack Obama, joined by his wife Michelle, takes oath of office from Chief Justice John Roberts to become the 44th president of the United States at the US Capitol in Washington

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WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama was inaugurated yesterday as the 44th president of the United States, seizing the historic moment to invoke the "price and the promise of citizenship" and demand the participation of all Americans in restoring the country to greatness. He took the oath of office on Abraham Lincoln's Bible before a sea of more than 1 million people that stretched from the Capitol building to the Lincoln Memorial. He struck a solemn tone in warning of the challenges and sacrifices that lie ahead. Comparing the economic crisis and fight against terrorism to the trials faced by the Founding Fathers, Obama implored his fellow citizens to join him "in the work of remaking America."

President Barack Obama giving his inaugural address to the millions assembled spectators

"On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord," Obama said, his voice reverberating throughout the National Mall. "Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested, we refused to let this journey end - that we did not turn back, nor did we falter."  read more »

I’ll be gone to the battlefield/ Don’t wait for me long...darling/ Just hand me our engagement ring/ Remember me yet you’re free

Soldier’s Engagement Ring, poem from the book ‘Love’s Footsteps ~ dedicated to a Bridge for Wisdom to Walk on’ by LuCxeed, first-time release

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Soldier’s Engagement Ring
by LuCxeed

I’ll be gone to the battlefield
Don’t cry, my darling
Just return to me our engagement ring

I’ll be gone to the battlefield
Don’t wait for me long, my darling
Just hand me our engagement ring

Remember me yet you’re free
I’ll ever hold the pair of rings
To my heart as I’m holding you now, my darling

I’ll be gone to the battlefield
Don’t cry. Don’t cry, my darling
Just return to me our engagement ring

(unquote)

From pages 53 & 54 of the upcoming book: Love’s Footsteps ~ dedicated to a Bridge for Wisdom to Walk on

Market economy: correct itself or rescued by bailout? How many trillions are enough? Who shouldn’t be bailed out?

Hey, Fed, prevent another disaster, bail ME out!

“Bailout” fever runs beyond the US, to affect Europe, to affect Asia… Market economy and private ownership - upon such economy systems democracy stands. The bailout tosses out dumb questions - don’t bailouts challenge the fundamentals of market economy? Impact on the ownership of the very top firms, the key performers in world’s major economies? Should market economy adjust itself or can it be rescued by bailouts? How many trillions would be enough in a global financial crisis? Who should not be bailed out?

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Has anyone bothered to ask: Why $700 billion? Why not $800 billion to bail out the economy? Or a trillion? Jeez, as long as the dam has burst, why not make it a cool $7 trillion?

Okay, $7 trillion it is, and if you think that's an exaggeration, you're wrong. In this year alone, we have committed an amount that is more than half of our entire annual gross national product to assorted bailouts and guarantees. No, that doesn't mean that we have diverted half our GNP for bailouts; it means that we have created half our gross national product virtually out of nothing.

Bank Bailout cartoon by Mark Hurwitt  read more »

Piracy renewed: almost 40 ships seized by Somali pirates & more than $150m(£101m) in ransoms paid so far this year

three British security guards board a helicopter to be transferred to a Royal Navy vessel

Troubled waters & age-old problem renewed: pirates inspired by Johnny Depp’s antics or by oil - the new treasure?

(quote)

Three escape pirate-hijacked tanker

NAIROBI, Kenya (CNN) -- Three British guards jumped overboard and were rescued from the water after battling in vain to prevent pirates hijacking a chemical tanker off the coast of Somalia. The Liberian-flagged Biscaglia came under "sustained and heavy attack" early Friday morning, Nick Davis, Director of Anti-Piracy Maritime Security Solutions (APMSS), said in a statement. The three APMSS-employed security guards -- all former British servicemen -- mounted "sustained non-lethal resistance" but were unable to stop the attackers seizing control of the ship, Davis said.

The trio were airlifted to safety by a German naval helicopter and flown to a French frigate after the vessel summoned assistance from coalition warships. They were later transferred to a British Royal Navy ship. All three were unhurt, Davis said. "I have spoken with my team leader on the phone and he informs me that the level of violence was significant and forced them reluctantly to leave the vessel after every effort was made to ensure the safety of the ships crew," Davis said. Pirates continued to shoot at the three in the water, Davis said. "The hijacked vessel with pirates in control then attempted to run them down."  read more »

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