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Monday, June 6, 2011

World News Is All Up In UR Internetz!

  • One-upping Iceland, the Puyehue-Cordon-Caulle volcano range - running about 500 miles south of Santiago - erupted over the weekend. 
  • A US judge has allowed lawsuits brought against Chiquita by at least 4000 Colombians to go forward.  The plaintiffs allege that they or their relatives were tortured and/or killed by paramilitary organizations paid by Chiquita.  The fruit company - which pretty much gave us the phrase "banana republic" - has already admitted to and been fined $25,000,000 for paying terrorist organizations, but claims it was done to protect its employees rather than to support terrorism[1] or intimidate its work force in the nation[2].
  • According to sociologist Antoine Buéno, the Smurfs are racist, sexist, Communist Nazis[3].  "The Smurfs do not have private property; their leader is Papa Smurf who shows very authoritarian and paternalistic characteristics," writes Buéno in Le Petit Livre Bleu.
  • More than 60,000 Greeks turned out in Athens to protest the austerity measures planned by the Greek government to qualify the nation for another round of EU and IMF bailout loans.  The crowd rallied outside the Athens parliament building chanting "thieves - hustlers  bankers", "take back your measures" and "Greece is not for sale".
  • "Anonymous iz in ur internetz haxx0rzn ur mailz" news:  The internet vigilante group Anonymous published over 10,000 e-mails from the Iranian government, along with usernames and passwords, on the file-sharing website The Pirate Bay.  Their stated reason is to show support for Iranians struggling against the current Iranian government.
South Africa
  • Multicellular life - roundworms, to be specific - have been found living in 118 degree water in mines 1.3 km beneath the surface of the earth.  Until this discovery, scientists believed only single-celled organisms lived that deep.
United Kingdom
  • "MI6 iz alzo in ur internetz haxx0rzn ur servers" news:  MI6 has hacked an al-Quaeda online magazine and replaced the article "Make a bomb in the Kitchen of your Mom" with cupcake recipes.  This should make news about militants attacking checkpoints in Iraq a little more... interesting.
United States
  • Wondering why gas prices are so high?  Well, according to Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour (appearing on Face the Nation yesterday), it's part of a deliberate plot by the Obama administration to, well, your guess is as good as mine.  Cripple the American economy, I guess.
  • This sounds like something from The Onion:  Two homeowners and their foreclosure attorney foreclosed on a Florida Bank of America office.  After BofA spent more than 5 months failing to pay legal fees as part of a judgment for wrongfully foreclosing on the couple's home[4], the attorney got brought a moving van and Sheriff's deputies to the office and foreclosed.  After about an hour of being locked out of the bank, watching the movers load furniture, computer equipment, and cash into the van, the bank manager managed to produce a check for the required fees.
  • Got a teenager getting ready to graduate from high school?  Peter Thiel, one of the co-founders of PayPal, may be willing to pay him or her $100,000 to skip college and go to work.  It's actually a grant from the 20 Under 20 Thiel Fellowship to mentor budding entrepreneurs, so it's not a free ride by any means, but it is an interesting alternative option to the traditional undergraduate education.
  • Are you cheerful?  Happy?  Optimistic?  Congratulations!  New research from the University of California, Riverside indicates that you will have a shorter life on average than cranky cusses like me.
  • "Lulzsec is alzo in ur internetz jumpin' ur Marioz" news:  Lulzsec, the same group that claimed responsibility for the attacks on Sony Pictures Entertainment and the embarrassing hack of PBS[3], took responsibility for an attack on Nintendo over the weekend that resulted in the theft of one file.  Nintendo states that no consumer information was compromised.
  • When asked on Sunday if Marines that do not agree with the end of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy would be allowed to resign, Defense Secretary Gates said "No."
  • 287 square miles of the state of Arizona is currently on fire.  On the up side, that's only 0.23% of the state's total land area.  On the down side, it is still the third largest fire in the state's history.
  • President Ali Abdullah Saleh left Yemen for Sadi Arabia over the weekend, seeking medical treatment.  Vice-President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi is currently serving as acting president, and the rebel forces in the nation indicate that they "support the complete transfer of power to the vice-president".  Officially, this is a temporary measure and President Saleh will be back in a matter of days, but many parties remain skeptical.
[1]  And really, it's not like Chiquita stands to benefit from international terrorism.
[2]  On the other hand, Chiquita has a history of benefiting from the brutal repression of the local work force through the use of mercenaries....
[3]  "But didn't' Stalin hate Hitler, with a hate that burns with the heat of a million suns?" you ask.  Yes.  Yes he did.
[4]  The couple was not actually behind on their payments.  Largely because they paid cash for the house, and owed nothing at the time Bank of America foreclosed on them.
[5]  The one that caused a PBS news program to report that Tupac Shakur is still alive.

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