USA : Two arrested in US school shooting plot in Los Angeles “

US police have arrested two students in the Los Angeles area on suspicion of conspiring to conduct a mass shooting at a high school.
The South Pasadena High School students planned to shoot “as many students as possible” as well as three staff members of the school in a plot thwarted after school administrators called police.
The teenagers did not possess weapons, but they were trying to get them, said Sgt. Brian Solinsky, of the South Pasadena Police Department.
“This is a prime example of school officials recognizing suspicious behavior,” Solinsky said in a statement. “It was this information that helped prevent a horrific tragedy.”
Detectives found sufficient evidence at their students’ homes and made the arrests, officials said.
One of the students was arrested without resistance, but the second resisted arrest which made officers to force entry into his home. He was busted in the home before he could run away from the officers.
They were both ready to begin their senior year in the community of about 25,000 people eight miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles.
The arrests came just a day after a teenager was captured in connection with a shooting threat in the Santa Clarita Valley which turned out to be a prank.
In one of the most fatal school shootings in the US, twenty first-graders were shot and killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14, 2012.
Since the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, 44 more shootings have occurred at US K-12 schools and universities, one every 10 days, killing 28 people, according to report released in February !!

USA : US threatens Russia with military action “

US Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove has threatened Russia with military response should Moscow secretly send forces with or without military uniform into Ukraine.
“If NATO sees foreign forces infiltrating its sovereign territory, and if we can prove it comes from an aggressor nation then that’s Article five,” Gen. Breed love said. “That means a military response to the actions of the aggressor. Therefore, we have to expand the internal national capabilities to identify such a move and to deal with it.”
The top military commander of NATO and commander of US European Command issued the warning in an interview with the German newspaper Die Welt.
He also noted that NATO must take into account Russian actions in Ukraine as it prepares for future threats.
Washington accuses Moscow of arming pro-Russian forces in eastern Ukraine and dispatching Russian military personnel to the country. However, the Kremlin denied the allegation.
Gen. Breed love said NATO must be ready to counter such unconventional tactics.
“The most important thing is that NATO nations are prepared for the so-called little green men,” he said. “We’ve seen this in eastern Ukraine … And there is a danger that it also could happen in other East European states. Therefore, we have to train the police and army there in such a way that they can deal with this kind of challenge.”
On Friday, the US warned Russia over what it calls “extremely dangerous and provocative” efforts to destabilize Ukraine.
The US National Security Council warned of an escalation in the crisis after Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko claimed that his military had destroyed a Russian military convoy that had ventured into Ukraine. Moscow has dismissed the allegation as “fantasies.”
“We reiterate our concern about repeated Russian and Russian-supported incursions into Ukraine,” NSC spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said. “Russia has no right to send vehicles, persons, or cargo of any kind into Ukraine, under any pretext, without the government of Ukraine’s permission !!

WORLD : Afghan teenagers slain by US-led troops “

Two Afghan teenage boys have been shot and killed by US-led foreign forces in Afghanistan’s western province of Herat, reporters .The incident happened outside an airbase in the Shindad district of the province, situated 662 kilometers (412 miles) west of the capital Kabul, on Tuesday as the teenagers were sifting through garbage close to the military site.Neither the local authorities nor the US-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) have commented on the shooting.Also on Tuesday, two people were killed when US-led forces launched an airstrike in Afghanistan’s northeastern province of Kunar.According to local officials, the airborne assault targeted the Taliban and those killed in the raid were members of the militant group.On August 14, at least three Afghan policemen were killed and another injured when foreign forces launched an airstrike in Afghanistan’s northern province of Parwan.The attack took place in the Ghorband district of the province, situated about 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of Kabul.The US-led forces have recently increased their air raids against civilian areas of Afghanistan.
Civilian casualties have long been a source of friction between the Afghan government and US-led forces, and have dramatically increased anti-US sentiments in the country.
The United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror. The offensive removed the Taliban from power, but insecurity continues to rise across the country, despite the presence of thousands of US-led troops.

AFRICA : Heavy Fighting Breaks Out in South Sudan As Sanctions Loom “

Heavy fighting erupted on Friday between South Sudan army (SPLA) and rebels in Unity state, with the latter accusing pro-government forces of attacking their positions in violation of the ceasefire agreement.

South Sudanese rebel troops loyal to former vice-president Riek Machar stand on guard in Unity state capital Bentiu on 12 January 2014 after recapturing the strategic town from government troops (Photo: Reuters)

The rebel spokesperson, Peter Riek Gew told Sudan Tribune that fighting started at dawn in Guit, Kaljak and Kuergueyni areas of the oil-rich state.

“We surprised this morning when the SPLA attacked three of our position in Unity state. This is a very clear signal that the government was not committed to the peace talks,” Gew said by satellite phone.

“The battle is now around the main capital, Bentiu pushing the SPLA troops away from three attacks on our position this morning to Maan Kuach, 3 km west of Bhar main military barrack in Rubkotna county and Thowmangor, [located] 4 km south of Bentiu town,” he added.

The rebel spokesman accused government troops of mistreating innocent civilians in its controlled areas, an allegation Sudan Tribune could not independently verify.

“We are ready to fight them if this is their plan to attack us. Meanwhile our leaders are currently engaged in peace,” he stressed.

The rebel military spokesperson, Brig. Gen Lul Ruai Koang further claimed the “long awaited” government offensive operations against rebels had started east and south of Bentiu as well as around Ayod in Unity and Jonglei states respectively begun at dawn.

“This is totally unacceptable development and the blame squarely lies at the [president Salva] Kiir’s door steps,” he said in a statement issued Friday.

The two warring parties have repeatedly traded accusations of violating the ceasefire agreement signed on 23 January and re-committed to on 9 May in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

The South Sudanese army spokesperson was not readily available for a comment.

NO MILITARY SOLUTION

On Tuesday, Samantha Power, the United States special envoy to the United Nations said the Security Council was concerned over reports that arms were being brought in to South Sudan, stressing that there was no military solution to the young nation’s conflict.

“The council has made it very clear that it is prepared to impose consequences if there continue to be spoilers, if there continue to be people carrying out gross violations of human rights, United states ambassador to the united nations,” said Samantha.

“We will not tolerate violation of the cessation of hostilities and people who spoils peace agreement. We have delivered that message here and we will deliver it to Riek Machar,” she stressed.

The US secretary of state, John Kerry on Monday accused both sides of failing to commit to the peace process, a day after they failed to meet the 60-days ultimatum to form a transitional government !!!

NIGERIA : Boko Haram ‘Carries Out Mass Abduction “

Suspected Boko Haram Islamists have kidnapped scores of people from remote villages in northeast Nigeria, witnesses say. Several people were also reported to have died in the raids.

Fighters thought to belong to the Islamist militant group Boko Haram have raided fishing communities in Nigeria’s far northeast, abducting some 100 people and killing several others, witnesses who survived the raids said on Friday.

The attacks in the Kukawa Local Government area in Borno state – a Boko Haram stronghold – occurred last Sunday, they said. Many of those abducted are said to have been men and boys aged between 15 and 30.

One witness, Halima Alhaji Adam, said the hostages “were forced into motorboats and taken into Chad.”

A member of the vigilante force that is helping the military to fight Boko Haram, Mohammed Gava, said a number of girls and women were also taken.

Some of those abducted were reportedly later rescued in an operation by the mulitinational force from Nigeria, Chad and Niger that is nominally responsible for security in the area. The military could not be reached for comment.

Deadly project

The remote area has poor mobile phone coverage and the news of Sunday’s attacks was slow to emerge. A few survivors traveled to Borno’s capital, Maiduguri, where they gave an account of the abduction to reporters.

Boko Haram, which says it wants to create an Islamic state in northern Nigeria, is accused of killing more than 10,000 people since 2009.

The group rose to even greater notoriety after it abducted more than 200 schoolgirls from the town of Chibok in southern Borno on April 14. The kidnapping drew international attention to the conflict along with offers of help from major Western powers.

Despite this, 2014 so far seems to be the deadliest year in the conflict, though it is difficult to ascertain any exact death toll !!!

LIFESTYLE : A Good Samaritan to donate 50 wheelchairs for his 50th birthday In Southafrica “

donate 50 wheelchairs for his 50th birthday

A good Samaritan is turning 50 on Friday, 15th August 2014. Instead of spending lots of money for his birthday, this philanthropist wants to give back to his country.

He wants to make a difference to the lives of 50 people. Inspired by SA leaders, this gentleman, who wishes to remain anonymous, wants to donate 50 wheelchairs to organisations in need !!!

WORLD : Soldiers of expression: Hate speech, censorship & ethics “

After going home for Christmas to visit with friends and family, I found myself confronting my second semester of journalism school. This semester, we were expected to participate in a blogging assignment. Two posts a week on a specific topic. I was excited that I finally had a chance to stop pretending to be objective and start writing what was really on my mind.

The big problem was deciding on a topic, as I preferred to write about whatever made me angry on any given day. One of my friends came to me with a great solution to this dilemma: write about the trials and tribulations of being a student with right-of-centre political views in a predominantly left-wing university.

My first post was on the war in Gaza and the problems I had with students and pundits who claimed that Israel was using a disproportionate amount of force. “If Israel sent in missiles without aiming, would that be proportional? If Israel deliberately fired upon civilian, rather than military targets, would that be proportional? Because that is exactly how Hamas has been terrorizing the innocent people living in Southern Israel.… Of course, I would not expect information such as how Israeli hospitals are treating injured Palestinians, while Palestinian hospitals are allowing Hamas agents to shoot injured prisoners in their hospital beds, to be disseminated in a lefty institution like a Canadian university,” I wrote.

Before I was able to publish the piece, I was pulled into my professor’s office and told that my writing was unacceptable; that I was unqualified to write on the war in Gaza because I am not a international relations expert and I’ve never served with the Israeli army. He also said that the piece was too opinionated and that I would have to provide proof of everything I said, including my assertion that Hamas is a terrorist organization, even though it is listed as such by both the American and Canadian governments.

I initially gave my professor the benefit of the doubt and switched my topic. After receiving feedback on my next post, I asked for examples of best practises and was sent to a blog post written by one of my classmates. She also wrote about the war in Gaza, but she was on the opposite side of the issue, claiming that Israel was using disproportionate force and that the Canadian government was wrong not to condemn it. It quickly became apparent to me that my previous post had been censored, not for any of the reasons I was given, but because my political opinions conflicted with those of my professor.

Having ones work censored by a professor is just one of the ways free speech can be curtailed. Harvard University professor Lawrence Lessig outlines four ways in which freedom can be restricted. These include laws, norms, the market, and the architecture of the physical world. There are numerous ways in which these four modalities can limit our freedom of expression.

For example, when a guy at a bar told my mother a racist joke, she lectured him on why racism is wrong. Likewise, when left-wing journalist Heather Mallick wrote a column saying it was “embarrassing to be Canadian” because of the Conservative government’s environmental policies, Charles Adler ridiculed her on his nationally syndicated talk radio show, even offering her money to emigrate to a nice communist country like Cuba or North Korea. These are examples of how norms can be used to put pressure on people to watch what they say.

The market puts another constraint on free speech. When President Bush gave a talk in Calgary, tickets reportedly sold for $400 per person, ensuring that many people could not afford to hear what he had to say. Likewise, if I write a column for my blog, less people will read it than if I was being paid to write it by a national newspaper. Similarly, aspects of the physical world can prevent us from being heard. For example, my blog post would receive a much smaller audience if I walked out of the house and started reading it, rather than posting it on the Internet. I might also be prevented from hearing someone speak, if they were 1,000 kilometres away, rather than right down the street. These are examples of how architecture can limit our ability to be heard !!!