Dissident Will Start Website For Imprisoned Nobel Laureate

Chinese dissident Yu Jie declared on Wednesday that he will start a special website for his imprisoned friend, Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo. The Chinese author who was recently granted asylum in the United States wants to determine as many people as possible to support Liu’s case, Reuters reports.

After many failed attempts, Yu Jie finally managed to settle on the territory of the United States. He was granted asylum last week, so the Chinese dissident and author plans to continue his battle against authoritarian regimes. His first move will be to start a website dedicated to the imprisoned Chinese Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo who was detained in 2009 for encouraging people to take action against the single-party regime and to contribute to the instauration of democracy.

Yu Jie was recently awarded the Civil Courage Prize by the Train Foundation for the atrocities he, himself, had suffered. He arrived in New York in January, but last year he was arrested on numerous occasions and beaten until he lost his consciousness. Despite this, he continued his fight against the communist party by criticizing the premier in his book “China’s Best Actor: Wen Jiabao”. He, later on, set up the Independent PEN Center in China to support freedom of expression. Now that he has the right to live in the United States, Jie plans to settle in Virginia and make Liu’s voice heard with the help of the Internet.

Yu told reporters that he wants as many people as possible to know what Liu has been through, so far. He is confident that once people will get to read Xiaobo’s works on the website he will become even more popular than Nelson Mandela or Suu Kyi given the large country he comes from.

Liu Xiaobo is currently serving an 11-year sentence in prison after being arrested in 2009 for trying to enact democratic reforms. In 2010, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, but was not allowed to claim his award.  

Luxembourg Gets Festive For Royal Wedding

Luxembourg has never made headlines before because the country was too small and tranquil to draw the media’s interest. During the following period, however, all eyes will be on Luxembourg as the country gets festive for the royal wedding, according to the Associated Press.

30-year-old Prince Guillaume will exchange vows with 28-year-old Belgian Countess Stephanie de Lannoy this weekend and the entire population is excited about the royal event. The wedding will last two days, so the couple will say “I do” during the civil wedding on Friday afternoon and the religious ceremony on Saturday morning. The special moment will be celebrated with lots of fireworks, concerts and a gala dinner.

The arrangements that have been made for the royal wedding have captured everyone’s attention. The fact that royalties from all over the world have been invited to attend the ceremony has given the press many more reasons to keep a close eye on Luxembourg. Thus, kings, queens, princes and princesses from countries like Belgium, Norway, Sweden, Lichtenstein, Denmark, the Netherlands, Romania and Britain, as well as Morocco, Jordan and Japan are expected to arrive in Luxembourg within the following days.

Although her work tasks have doubled in the past days, Nadine Chenet, a 46-year-old street cleaner is happier than ever that her small country gets all the attention. She told reporters that the royal wedding is very benefic for Luxembourg’s image as many people will come and visit the country. Besides these material advantages, Chenet stated that everyone loves the royal family because they make efforts to give a good impression of the country.

Prince Guillaume and the duchess-to-be Stephanie de Lannoy have won everyone’s admiration due to their prestigious education and good reputation. The Prince knows four languages, is a graduate of international politics and lieutenant colonel in the Luxembourg army. Stephanie, too, majored in the study of German and Russian romanticism, plays piano and violin and is a fluent speaker of French and German, two of the three official languages in Luxembourg. The countess has also started studying Luxembourgish, a spoken language that is widely spread among the population.

21 Men Are Charged In The Zumba Prostitution Scandal

Maine police announced 21 men face charges in the Zumba prostitution scandal in Kennebunk, New England. The 21 names are just a part of 150 men suspected of paying a Zumba instructor for sex.

Zumba instructor Alexis Wright was charged with 106 counts, most of them of prostitution and invasion of privacy. The 29-year-old is accused of videotaping her clients while having sex in her dance studio in Kennebunk, New England. Police released 21 names, the first out of a total of 150 men that are said to have been the instructor’s clients.

Both 29-year-old Zumba instructor and her 57-year-old business partner have pleaded not guilty. However authorities have the records Alexis Wright kept over 18 months, during which she made $150,000 out of performing sex acts.

“I think it’s fair to say that she wished the names didn’t come out” said Sarah Churchill, Alexis Wright’s attorney. “It’s been tough. There’s been a lot of scrutiny on her. Getting through the day in any sort of normal way has been sort of difficult” she added.

However, the instructor’s business partner’s lawyer welcomes the release. “I think the courts in Maine have been quite transparent in these kinds of cases, and it’s usually disclosed to the public. I don’t think it should be held back in this case” said Dan Lilley.

Friday, a lawyer representing two of the names on the list released today, argued that the disclosure will ruin lives. Stephen Schwartz said the list of names would be a “harm to their personal reputations as private citizens, their professional reputations, and their professional relationships”.

Superior Court Justice Thomas Warren denied Stephen Schwartz’s request. The released list of the 21 men charged in the Zumba prostitution scandal does not contain the addresses for those with their very own sex tapes.

“The principle that court proceedings are public is essential to public conference” said Thomas D. Warren. “If persons charged with crimes could withhold their identities, the public would not be able to monitor proceedings to observe whether justice has been done and to observe whether certain defendants may have received favored treatment” the Superior Court Justice added.

Paul Ryan Did The Dirty Dishes At Soup Kitchen Visit

VP candidate Paul Ryan has an unusual way of raising support. In a recent soup kitchen visit Paul Ryan did the dirty dishes. The photo of Ryan doing the dishes has sparked controversies.

Over the weekend, Paul Ryan paid a visit to an Ohio soup kitchen and tried to get more popular by washing the dirty dishes. But the so-called good deed only sparked controversies. Charity president Brain J. Antal blasted Paul Ryan for publishing a photo of him doing the dishes at St. Vincent De Paul dining hall in Ohio.

When the photo of Paul Ryan washing dishes first went online, a debate sparked whether the VP candidate was actually doing the dirty dishes. Monday afternoon, charity president Brain J. Antal, said he wasn’t happy about the photo. He dismissed the whole thing saying the photo wasn’t accurate.

After declaring the charity is a “faith-based organization”, “apolitical” and funding “from private donations”, Antal explained Paul Ryan and his family simply showed up at the soup kitchen without permission. “They got one of the volunteers to open up the doors” he added.

“The photo-op they did wasn’t even accurate. He did nothing. He just came in here to get this picture taken at the dining hall” Antal told NBC News in a phone interview. Antal added he isn’t blaming his volunteers but said that Paul Ryan should have gone “through the proper channels”.

Tuesday morning, Antal updated his previous statement, explaining a second volunteer confirmed Paul Ryan was actually doing dirty dishes. Youngstown’s The Vindicator writes that Paul Ryan’s staff asked the volunteers “to leave some pots and pans unwashed so the VP nominee and his family could do something when he arrived”.

Soup kitchen coordinator Juanita Sherba told The Vindicator the staff had to wait for Paul Ryan to arrive. “We would have gone home by the time he arrived. We didn’t need him to do the dishes. It was getting late, and I said that we are closing in five minutes. I waited longer than that, and he finally arrived” Sherba added.

Chris Maloney, communications director for the Mitt Romney campaign, said Paul Ryan’s visit to the soup kitchen was indeed in the schedule. “Our campaign and Congressman Ryan were pleased to bring attention to the meaningful charitable contributions the St. Vincent De Paul Society makes to people in need”.

Amateurs Find A Planet With Four Suns

Day by day, discoveries of new planets in the universe seem more and more similar to Sci-Fi books. Amateur astronomers found a planet with four suns and have thus discovered a new, unique, solar system.

Amateur astronomers with the Planet Hunters project discovered a giant plant in a solar system with two suns and two similar stars orbiting it. Planet Hunters named their four-suns planet PH1, after the project’s name.

Located some 5,000 light-years away from Earth, PH1 is a giant gas planet, just a bit bigger than our solar system’s Neptune. The uniqueness of the discovery is that this planet is alone in a solar system with four suns. The idea of a quadruple sunset does sound appealing, but the planet is too hot for life to exist. The planet’s temperature ranges from 484 degrees Fahrenheit to 644 degrees Fahrenheit.

A year on PH1 is 138 days, as the planet makes a single orbit around its two parent suns, one 1.5 and the other 0.41 the size of our sun. The other two sun-like stars in the system orbit PH1, at about 1,000 astronomical units away from the parent suns.

The four-suns planet was found using the transit method by two US amateur astronomers in the Planet Hunters project. Kian Jek and Robert Gagliano kept track of faint dips in the light, that occurred every time PH1’s orbit journey passed in front of the parent stars.

Both Planet Hunters and NASA scientists are excited about the discovery of the four-suns solar system. “I celebrate this discovery as a milestone for the Planet Hunters team: discovering their first exoplanet lurking in the Kepler data” said NASA scientists Natalie Batalha. “I celebrate this discovery for the wow-factor of a planet in a four-star system” she added.

While scientists saw their share of two-sun solar systems, the four-sun kind is the first ever discovered. “You don’t have to go back too far before you would have got really good odds against one of these systems existing” Dr. Chris Lintott of Oxford told BBC News. “There are six other well-established planets around double stars, and they’re all pretty close to those stars” he added.

In appearance, a solar system with four suns would make for “a very complicated environment”. “Yet there it sits in an apparently stable orbit. That’s really confusing, which is one of the things which makes this discovery so fun. It’s absolutely not what we would have expected” Dr. Lintott concluded of the Planet Hunter’s unique discovery.

Pizza Hut Moves The Free Pizza Presidential Debate Stunt Online

The promise of 30 years’ worth of pizza had a lot of people prepared to pop the question: “pepperoni or sausage?” during the presidential debate. Pizza Hut decided to move the free pizza presidential debate stunt online over fears the stunt might disrupt the event.

After the first presidential debate failed to draw the right amount of attention, Pizza Hut decided to make the next one a bit more interesting. Last week, Pizza hut released a presidential debate dare, promising a lifetime supply of free pizza for whoever asks the candidates how they take their pizza. The promotional campaign sparked controversy and Pizza Hut decided to move it online.

A spokesman for Pizza Hut explained the decision to rethink the presidential debate stunt was prompted by the high number of people looking forward to pop that question this Tuesday night. The statement read that moving the dare online was “a natural progression of the campaign” since so many people “wished they could get in on it”.

To take part in the lifetime pizza supply you have to go online and enter your email address and zip code. Pizza Hut will choose the winner randomly but according to CMO Kurt Kane the person that pops the question will still be rewarded.

A lifetime supply of free Pizza Hut pies had a lot of people building courage to ask Mr. Obama or Mr. Romney if they like sausage or pepperoni pizza. Whereas Pizza Hut says the reason to move the campaign online was the high number of people excited by the idea, the past few years the company received a lot of criticism.

“Some of the attention we received was not positive” said CMO Kurt Kane. “So, we decided the question was better served online than in the debate itself” Kane added.

Bloggers, reporters and social network users have criticized Pizza Hut for the free pizza presidential debate dare, saying it’s going to disrupt the event. “What a stupid idea” said Peter Madden of AgileCat. “It just seems like a thoughtless grab for a little bit of attention” he added.

“Want Free Pizza Hut Pizza for Life? Just Make a Mockery of the American Democratic System on Live TV” wrote Gawker. All it takes for contestants is to “embarrass themselves on live television before the president of the United States and millions of their fellow Americans”.

CIA Arranges Marriage For Terrorist To Locate And Kill Him

A recent report in Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten reveals that CIA arranged the marriage of the American-born terrorist, Anwar al Awlaki, with the intentions to locate and kill him. The marriage was plotted with the help of the CIA double agent, Morten Storm, a Danish convert to Islam, according to ABC News.

Anwar al Awlaki was one of the most sought-after terrorists after the death of Osama bin Laden. He was linked to many terrorist plots including the failed attempt to blow up a US jetliner over Detroit. CIA tried various tactics to locate the American-born terrorist, but the only solution they could find was to arrange a marriage for al Awlaki.

Danish CIA agent, Marten Storm, provided the media with all the videos and text messages that were exchanged between al Awlaki and his new wife in order to prove his story was true. He told reporters that Anwar asked him to help find a European Muslim to be his third wife. Storm found Aminah, a 32-year-old woman who lived in Croatia and was a big admirer of al Awlaki, according to the declarations she made in her e-mail texts.  

Aminah and al Awlaki chose a location for their first meeting, but CIA’s plan failed as the terrorist told the Croatian woman to abandon her suitcase in Yemen because it contained tracking devices. If things went according to the plan, both al Awlaki and Aminah would have been killed in an American drone strike, Storm explained. Americans lost track of Aminah, so they had to wait for another occasion to find the terrorist.

CIA’s mission ended in September 2011 when al Awlaki was killed during a drone strike. Even though the initial plan had failed, Storm declared that the marriage turned out to be a success. The double agent told the press that Aminah wrote many e-mails to him promising to revenge her husband’s death. She was in fact determined to go on a suicide mission, but al Qaeda leaders did not allow her to. Aminah is now working at al Qaeda’s online magazine “Inspire”. 

U.S. Sends Troops To Jordan-Syria Border

The Associated Press reports the United States has sent troops to the Jordan-Syria border to monitor the chemical and biological weapon sites on Syria’s territory. The decision of the U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta suggests that the recent shelling between Turkey and Syria could escalate into a regional conflict.

U.S. Defense Secretary announced on Wednesday that 150 U.S. troops, largely Army special operations forces, were sent to a military center near Amman to take actions in case the conflict between Jordan and Syria gets bigger. According to Panetta, the troops will help Jordan deal with the numerous refugees crossing over the Syrian border and ensure that Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal is not moved to a different location.

The United States have been continuously cooperating with Jordan to prevent the expansion of the conflict in the region. The troops residing at the military center in Amman moved back and forth to the Syrian border performing activities such as joint planning and intelligence gathering. Analysts fear that America’s involvement in the Syrian conflict has grown bigger even though Obama rejects any suggestion of a direct intervention in the region.

The fact that Turkey and Syria bombarded each other in the past weeks, gives analysts many more reasons to believe that the conflict could expand to the neighboring states. Panetta, however, explained that the U.S. troops were sent to Jordan to prevent similar clashes to occur between Jordan and Syria.

Mitt Romney has criticized Barack Obama’s foreign policy claiming the latter is a weak leader. Romney further added that he would have sent troops to Jordan in order to prevent Syria from spreading its chemical weapons. Obama, on the other hand, warned that the movement or the use of the chemical weapons could have “enormous consequences”; therefore, he ignored Romney’s suggestions.

Panetta stated that the intelligence found some of the chemical weapons have been moved by the Assad regime in order to protect them. The United States is wrong to believe that the weapons are secure because the regime said they would use them for external threats.

 

Walmart Employees Want To Strike On Black Friday

Black Friday is a great day both for buyers and for retailers, but what about the employees? Some 200 Walmart employees are threatening to strike on Black Friday, the most prolific day of the year.

Walmart might be the largest private employer but given the recent labor protests, it looks like it’s more of a hassle than a pride. And then there’s the threat of strike on Black Friday. Leaving Walmart’s revenues apart, a Black Friday strike is just making life harder for buyers.

Wednesday in Bentonville’s Walmart headquarters, 200 protesters showed up to boycott the company’s meeting with investors and analysts over the introduction of same-day delivery. It was just the last drop to stir angry employees who are now threatening to strike on the most prolific day of the year. Leaders of labor groups announced they will join Walmart workers protesting outside stores on Black Friday.

“We feel like if they refuse to listen to our proposition we will make sure that on Black Friday we will take action inside and outside of stores” said Colby Harris, Walmart employee and OUR Walmart member. “We’ll make it known that Walmart’s deadline is Black Friday” the 22-year-old employee said.

But Walmart says the strike threat is just “an attempt by the unions to further their own political and financial agendas”. David Tovar, Walmart VP of communications, told the Huffington Post that the company’s 1.4 million employees are content with their wages, hours and management.

“More than half of Walmart’s one million hourly store associates have an hourly wage at least $10.00 or higher” David Tovar told The Huffington Post. “In fact, in many metropolitan areas in which we operate, our entry level start rates regularly exceeds that of new hires for comparable positions under the UFCW contracts” he added.

Whereas David Tovar says the company’s employees are happy, worker Evelin Cruz has a different take. “People were really tired that any time they would speak out against the pay, hours, how much they would work, that management would cut their hours or not give them a schedule” said the department manager at Walmart Pico Rivera and member of the United Food and Commercial Workers organization.

David Tovar didn’t address the Black Friday strike threat and it’s likely Walmart will avoid it as much as possible. And with employees striking in front of stores, it looks like this year’s Black Friday is going to get even crazier than last year’s.

Mom Glues Daughter’s Hands; Faces Life In Prison

Elizabeth Escalona, the mother who glued her 2-year-old daughter’s hands to an apartment wall is now facing a wide range of sentences from probation to life in prison. Ofelia Escalona, the culprit’s mother, ask leniency for her daughter claiming the latter needs help to overcome her childhood abuses, the Associated Press reports.

Elizabeth Escalona was arrested over a year ago after beating her 2-year-old daughter, Jocelyn Cedillo, and gluing her hands to an apartment wall over potty training problems. The child was taken to the hospital where she remained for four days because she needed medical care. Judges have mixed feelings when it comes to sentencing the violent mom; they are taking into consideration any possibility from probation to life in prison, whereas prosecutors are asking for a 45-year sentence.

Defense attorney Angie N’Duka thinks her client deserves a second chance. N’Duka asked Escalona what she thought of her past deeds. After carefully analyzing the pictures illustrating her daughter’s injuries, the woman stated that only a monster would act the way she did. She further added that her behavior has changed a lot in the past year, so she is no longer the monster she used to be. Elizabeth reassured prosecutors that she loves her children and would never do anything to hurt them.

During the past year, prosecutors have brought evidence to portray Escalona as a violent and dangerous woman who is unfit to be a mother. They told the judges that she was a problematic child because she threatened to kill her mother when she was a teenager and became a gang member when she was very young. Doctors’ reports show that Jocelyn suffered bleeding in her brain, rib fractures, multiple bruises and bite marks while she was beaten by her mother. The photos showed that the skin on her hands was torn off while paramedics unglued her hands.

In spite of her past misbehavior, Elizabeth’s mother, Ofelia, asked the judges for leniency claiming that the woman was abused as a child and she needs specialized help to overcome her problems. Her declaration was confirmed by Margaret, who told lawyers that her sister loves her children very much.


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