12 months ago
9 Circles Thursday: We’re All Asleep at the Wheel Nine Circles of Hell!
An Israeli raid on a Palestinian refugee camp to arrest a suspected terrorist turned into a violent protest.
Haaretz says the raid on Jenin led to a “demonstration … with some 500 Palestinians hurling stones, firebombs, and burning tires in the streets.”
Haaretz adds this punchline: “Troops left the camp after it emerged that the wanted Palestinian was not home at the time.”
The Iraq war keeps on killing.
Middle East Online finds, “A car bomb in a parking lot used primarily for vehicles transporting Shiite pilgrims to and from Karbala for Arbaeen rituals taking place on Thursday killed at least 15 people, officials said.
“The 5:00 pm (1400 GMT) attack wounded 47 other people in Musayyib, a mostly Shiite town 60 kilometres (35 miles) south of Baghdad, a police officer and a doctor at Musayyib hospital said.
“The attack was the second to target Musayyib in recent days — seven people, including three women and two children, were killed when three houses were blown up on December 31. The victims were apparently targeted because they were Shiites, officials said.
“The attack came as pilgrims were returning from the shrine city of Karbala after the conclusion of Arbaeen mourning rituals, which have been a repeated target for Sunni militants.
“No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks … ”
An Ivory Coast New Year’s Eve fireworks show ended with a stampede that killed 61 people.
Al Jazeera quotes a police officer saying, “After the fireworks we reopened the other streets, but we had not yet removed the tree trunks from the Boulevard de la Republique, in front of the Hotel Tiana near the National Assembly (parliament) building.
“That is where the stampede happened when people flooded in from the other streets.”
One of the survivors, a Zoure Sanate, said from her hospital bed, “Near the Justice Palace we were stopped by some people who put blockades of wood in the street,”
“They told us we must stay in the Plateau area until morning. None of us accepted to stay in Plateau until the morning for a celebration that ended at around 1am.”
“Then came the stampede of people behind us.”
The government is now investigating.
The day before leaders of Sudan and South Sudan are going to talk peace, South Sudan is claiming Sudan is attacking them. Africa Review quotes South Sudan army spokesman Col. Philip Aguer saying, “There was fighting yesterday … the planes were bombing our territories.” South Sudan Information Minister Dr Barnaba Marial Benjamin is cited saying, “That has always been how Khartoum behaves. They speak both the language of peace and language of war. You don’t know which is which.
“That will not stop us. Our president is proceeding to Addis Ababa to meet Bashir.”
Marial called on the African Union and UN to condemn “this attitude of war without provocation,” according to Africa Review.
Anger over abuse of women has spilled over from India into Nepal.
As Agence France Presse has it, “Hundreds of Nepalese campaigners protested Thursday over the alleged rape and robbery of a maid by government officials, echoing widespread anger in neighbouring India over violence against women.
“Sita Rai, an assumed name used by the 21-year-old to protect her identity, says she was robbed by officials and then raped by a policeman as she returned to Kathmandu’s international airport from Saudi Arabia.
“Rai was given $1,700 in compensation by the government — $700 less than the amount she says she lost — angering demonstrators who began picketing the residence of Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai a week ago, demanding punishment of the accused.
“Around 200 human rights activists, journalists and other protesters have been holding up photographs of many other victims of rape, murders and kidnappings, accusing the government of failing to act in each case.”
Israel’s right wing wants to take over the West Bank.
They especially want West Bank settlers to know this in the run-up to coming elections. Agence France Presse explains, “as rightwing parties battle for the settler vote ahead of the January 22 elections, the idea is being discussed increasingly seriously by mainstream parties.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s information minister Yuli Edelstein is quoted saying, “We must begin to talk about it because this question will, I hope, be the order of the day for the next government.
“We have no partners on the Palestinian side with whom to make peace, so we must consider an alternative.”
Deputy Yariv Levin of Netanyahu’s Likud party is cited saying, “Our historic right to this region should be cemented by the application of Israeli law in Judea and Samaria (West Bank).”
Yehuda Glick, a rightwing activist, adds, “No one has talked about it for five years and now it could be a subject of debate in the next parliamentary session.”
Homeowner interest deductions have come out of the ‘fiscal cliff’ negotiations unscathed.
Of course, this win for homeowners and housing industry lobbyists means a $600 billion addition to the US deficit.
Isaac Boltansky, an analyst for Compass Point Research & Trading LLC in Washington, is quoted by Bloomberg saying, “This is a meaningful win for the housing lobby generally and more specifically the mortgage insurance industry. The mortgage finance establishment fared relatively well …
“The industry’s ability to close on this priority demonstrates its clout on Capitol Hill, which will be needed in 2013.”
Bloomberg also has Keith Gumbinger, vice president of HSH.com, a mortgage-data firm in Riverdale, New Jersey, saying, “What it seems to have come down to is trying to do as little damage to the nation’s housing market as they possibly could.”
The government’s not doing that great a job on collecting fines for hazardous, even deadly, workplaces.
The This is Hell! featured Center for Public Integrity reveals, “the largely untold story of what happens after a workplace death has faded from memory and OSHA struggles to hold employers accountable. Though OSHA trumpets announced penalties as evidence of its commitment to forcing companies to follow the law, what actually happens to these penalties is more complicated.
“Even after investigating a death and issuing a penalty, federal OSHA or the state agencies it oversees have failed to collect any of the original fine in one of every 10 cases since 2001, the Center found. In many other cases, regulators have settled for a fraction of the penalty initially imposed.
“Overall, the federal and state agencies have collected at least 40 percent of the monetary penalties initially assessed after workplace inspections, forgoing $1.3 billion in the process, a Center data analysis found.
“Most overdue debts end up at a private collection agency under contract with the Treasury Department. Yet a Center analysis of Treasury Department data found that only about 12 percent of OSHA debts have been collected in recent years. The penalties OSHA is allowed by law to impose are significantly lower than those assessed by many other enforcement agencies, providing little incentive for the government or collection agencies to prioritize them.
“Both OSHA and the Treasury Department can ask the Justice Department to take an employer to court, but data show relatively little money has been collected this way.
“Worker advocates say such failures to collect undermine enforcement.”
One in twenty-four people say they sleep while driving.
The Associated press frightens us with “a little over 4 percent of U.S. adults said they fell asleep while driving at least once in the previous month. Some earlier studies reached a similar conclusion, but the survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was far larger.
“The study found drowsy driving was more common in men and in people ages 25 to 34.”