The Nine Circles! Friday: Drones, Protests, Child Soldiers, Legal Rape and More!
US drone protests have broken out in Yemen following an attack that allegedly killed innocents.
Reuters explains, “Dozens of armed tribesmen took to the streets in southern Yemen on Friday to protest against drone strikes that they say have killed innocent civilians and increased anger against the United States.
“A drone killed at least three suspected al Qaeda militants including a local commander in the town of Redaa on Thursday, the fifth strike by a pilotless plane in the area in 10 days.
“One tribesman participating in a sit-in in front of the government administration building in Redaa told Reuters by telephone that at least seven innocent civilians were killed in the recent raids.”
The tribesman is quoted saying, “If the authorities don’t stop the American attacks then we will occupy the government institutions in the town.”
Another said, “The government has opened up the country to the Americans so that they can kill Muslims.”
Last night, ABC World News Tonight correspondent Martha Raddatz celebrated the US drone strike which reportedly took out a Taliban led.
Raddatz, nor any US national TV network news outlet will report on the Yemeni drone strike or protest.
Bet on it … if you can.
Hundreds of thousands of Fatah supporters marched in Hamas-controlled Gaza for the first time in years today.
Reuters quotes President Mahmoud Abbas, head of Fatah, saying from the West Bank, “Soon we will regain our unity.”
Reuters reminds us, “The demonstration marked 48 years since the secular Fatah’s founding as the spearhead of the Palestinians’ fight against Israel. Its longtime leader Yasser Arafat signed an interim 1993 peace accord that won Palestinians a measure of self-rule.”
Reuters also cites Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri saying, “The success of the rally is a success for Fatah, and for Hamas too. The positive atmosphere is a step on the way to regain national unity.”
Iraqis have not heeded the warnings of Iraqi premier Nuri al-Maliki. Instead, hundreds of thousands have taken to the streets in anti-government rallies across the country.
Al Jazeera reports, “Protests have been going on for days. The rallies were sparked by the arrest on December 20 of bodyguards of Iraq’s finance minister, a Sunni, and have spurred allegations that the government was using anti-terror legislation to target the Sunni minority.
“Iraqi authorities had called for an end to what a senior official said were illegal and illegitimate protest rallies in Sunni-majority provinces including Salaheddin, Nineveh and Anbar.
“Protesters are demanding an end to what they see as the marginalisation of Iraq’s Sunni minority, which dominated the country until the US-led invasion of 2003 that toppled Saddam Hussein.”
The UN is worried about a growing number of child soldiers in the Central African Republic as that nation’s war with rebels gets closer and closer to the capital.
UNICEF told The Associated Press that they have received “credible reports that rebel groups and pro-government militias are increasingly recruiting and involving children in armed conflict.”
The AP reports, “UNICEF estimates that even before the latest crisis here some 2,500 children were part of armed groups in the country long plagued by rebellions. Rebels have seized 10 towns in a month’s time.”
A million survivors of Typhoon Bopha need food.
AlertNet tells us, “A month after Typhoon Bopha hit the southern Philippines, up to 1 million people need food assistance and thousands of others could be displaced for a second time, the United Nations says.
“The most intense storm to hit disaster-prone Philippines in 2012 struck Mindanao island in the early hours of Dec. 4, killing more than 1,000 people, flooding farming and mining towns and burying many people in mudslides. More than 800 people remain missing.”
Dipayan Bhattacharyya, head of food security with the World Food Programme (WFP) in the Philippines, is quoted saying, “Overall the need (for food assistance) is for about 800,000 to a million people across several regions.
“For the international humanitarian community, we’re primarily focusing on 481,000 people in 4 or 5 provinces which are the worst affected – such as Davao Oriental, Compostela Valley, Agusan del Sur and Surigao del Sur.”
The government review of Canada’s controversial pipeline project will not be open to the public.
CBC News reveals, “Ordinary citizens will get their first chance to address the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project Joint Review Panel, but the public will not be allowed into the room to witness the presentations.
“The oral presentations begin in Victoria today and will continue in Vancouver during the second half of the month. About 280 people have signed up to speak to the joint panel during its seven days of hearings in Victoria.
“But the federal review panel has decided to bar observers from the hearing room itself in both of those cities.
“Instead, the public will have to watch the proceedings on a video monitor in another hotel several kilometres away, according to spokesperson Annie Roy.”
Roy said, “Considering the history of protests around the project in Victoria and Vancouver, the panel took a pro-active approach … The panel decided that that would be the best format in order to avoid disruptions in the hearing room.”
CBC News adds, “Previous protests have targeted MLA’s offices and the legislature in Victoria, but the panel did cancel hearings in Bella Bella after they were met by protesters at the airport in April.”
Argentina and Britain are engaged in a pissing war in the press over the Falklands.
According to CNN, the British newspaper The Sun has printed a letter in the Buenos Aires Herald in response to “an open letter published in the British press Thursday in which Argentinian President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner called on the UK to hand back the islands, known in Argentina as Las Malvinas.
“Her open letter, addressed to British Prime Minister David Cameron and copied to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, accused Britain of blatant colonialism.”
they quote President Kirchner writing, “The Argentines on the Islands were expelled by the Royal Navy and the United Kingdom subsequently began a population implantation process similar to that applied to other territories under colonial rule.
“Since then, Britain, the colonial power, has refused to return the territories to the Argentine Republic, thus preventing it from restoring its territorial integrity.”
Then CNN has The Sun’s letter reading, “Claims that 180 years ago Argentina was stripped of the Falkland Islands are unfounded.
“No Argentinian civilian population was ever expelled. It was an Argentine garrison which had been sent to the islands to try to impose Argentine sovereignty over British sovereign territory.
“British sovereignty over the Falkland Islands dates back to 1765 — before the Republica of Argentina even existed.”
Americans think obesity is a problem, but they’re split over whether the government should do anything about it.
The Associated Press reports on a poll they did with the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
It found, “A third of people say the government should be deeply involved in finding ways to curb obesity, while a similar proportion want it to play little or no role. The rest are somewhere in the middle.”
The AP says, “Indeed, while three-quarters of Americans consider obesity a serious health problem for the nation, most of those surveyed say dealing with it is up to individuals. Just a third consider obesity a community problem that governments, schools, health care providers and the food industry should be involved in. Twelve percent said it will take work from both individuals and the community.
“That finding highlights the dilemma facing public health experts: Societal changes over recent decades have helped spur growing waistlines, and now a third of U.S. children and teens and two-thirds of adults are either overweight or obese. Today, restaurants dot more street corners and malls, regular-sized portions are larger, and a fast-food meal can be cheaper than healthier fare. Not to mention electronic distractions that slightly more people surveyed blamed for obesity than fast food.
“In the current environment, it’s difficult to exercise that personal responsibility, said Jeff Levi of the nonprofit Trust for America’s Health, which has closely tracked the rise in obesity.”
Levi is quoted saying, “We need to create environments where the healthy choice becomes the easy choice, where it’s possible for people to bear that responsibility.”
It’s legal in California to sneak into an unmarried woman’s bedroom, pretend you’re her boyfriend and have sex with her while she’s asleep.
In Cali, that’s totally cool.
ABC News reveals, “A California appeals court overturned the rape conviction of a man accused of pretending to be a woman’s boyfriend when he snuck into her bedroom and had sex with her, concluding that the law doesn’t protect unmarried women in such cases.
“Citing an obscure state law from 1872, the panel ruled that an impersonator who tricks someone into having sex with him can only be found guilty of rape if he is pretending to be a married woman’s husband.
According to ABC, Judge Thomas L. Willhite Jr. wrote in the court’s decision, “Has the man committed rape? Because of historical anomalies in the law and the statutory definition of rape, the answer is no, even though, if the woman had been married and the man had impersonated her husband, the answer would be yes.”
ABC adds, “The court found that the woman consented, even though she was tricked. Had she been married the law defines such a deception as rape, but as an unmarried woman it does not.
“The court ruled unanimously, if reluctantly, and sent the case back for retrial.”
Judge Willhite wrote, “We reluctantly hold that a person who accomplishes sexual intercourse by impersonating someone other than a married victim’s spouse is not guilty of the crime of rape of an unconscious person.”