Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Israeli jets have carried out air strikes in the Gaza Strip, injuring at least two Palestinian militants, doctors say.
Israel says its latest air strikes targeted tunnels, a Hamas training centre and a weapons factory in Gaza.
It follows a strike on Saturday which killed five militants.
This was the deadliest attack since Operation Cast Lead - Israel's major offensive in Gaza almost two years ago.
BBC Gaza correspondent, Jon Donnison, says there has been a recent rise in tension along the Gaza-Israel border in recent weeks.
The 6.5-magnitude quake struck 30 villages populated by no more than 4,000 people, state radio reported. Rescue efforts are hampered by downed phone lines and landslides that have blocked access to certain villages, official media cited officials as saying.
Almost exactly seven years ago in the same region, an earthquake measuring 6.6 struck the nearby city of Bam, killing more than 25,000 people and destroying a magnificent medieval castle that was one of Iran's most treasured archeological sites.
Controversial new rules affecting the running of the internet are expected to be approved by US regulators today.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will vote on a principle known as net neutrality; a tenet that ensures all web traffic is treated equally.
The rules have been criticised for setting different standards for fixed line broadband and mobile operators.
Officials said the regulations are "the first time the Commission has adopted enforceable rules" to govern the web.
Tuesday's vote is the culmination of five years of fighting over how best to ensure the free flow of information in all its forms over the internet.
The proposal also comes at a time when consumers are increasingly accessing the web via smart phones and turning to the internet to watch TV shows.
'Rules of the road'
The Commission's ability to regulate the internet was thrown into doubt following an appeals court decision earlier this year that said the agency lacked the authority to stop cable firm ComCast from blocking bandwidth-hogging applications.
The FCC's agenda said the vote will address "basic rules of the road to preserve the open internet as a platform for innovation, investment, competition and free expression".
That is a view backed by chairman Julius Genachowski.
"We're adopting a framework that will increase certainty for businesses, investors and entrepreneurs," Mr Genachowski said in remarks prepared for the meeting.
"We're taking an approach that will help foster a cycle of massive investment, innovation and consumer demand both at the edge and in the core of our broadband networks."
Congressman Ron Paul
Dec 20, 2010
George Orwell warned us about the use of “meaningless words” in politics, words that are endlessly repeated by sloganeering politicians until they have no meaning at all. Meaningless words certainly were on display during last week’s congressional debate over the latest tax bill.
Over and over again we heard trite, empty phrases like “tax cuts for the wealthiest 2%,” “tax giveaways,” “tax earmarks,” and “borrowing money to give to millionaires.” Time and time again the same falsehoods were presented as fact, and reported as such by a credulous media.
But all of these clichés about taxes are based on the presumption that government has a right to all of your income, and so government “gives” you something when it allows you to keep a portion of that income. To this mindset, tax cuts represent a “cost” to government. After all, they argue, money that really ought to go to the most noble of purposes– wealth redistribution via taxation–is being kept by greedy people and corporations who just don’t want to pay their fair share.
Far too many Americans truly believe that tax cuts represent a government giveaway, indistinguishable from an outright subsidy or entitlement payment. To combat this mindset, we need to be clear with our language.
A subsidy, properly understood, occurs when government takes tax dollars and gives them to favored individuals, companies, or industries. A tax cut, by contrast, simply means government takes less from an individual, company, or industry. When government takes less from you, it has not given you anything; it merely has harmed you less. This is the critical distinction that has been lost in the endless, tired debate about tax policy.
Of course the bill passed last week did contain some actual spending, mostly in the form of an extension of unemployment benefits for another 13 months. The total spending in the bill amounted to about $60 billion. But the tax savings in the bill, meaning the amount of money that will remain in the hands of taxpayers rather than being sent to Washington, is approximately $850 billion. So while a clean tax bill certainly would have been preferable, the tax relief it contains is significant. It means $850 billion will be spent, saved, or invested by American citizens rather than being sent into the black hole known as the federal treasury.
The media, however, dutifully reported that opposition to the bill came from concerned members of Congress who felt the $850 billion “cost” of the bill was too high, and would add too much to the deficit. As always, they could not distinguish between government giving and government taking away. The American people already pay plenty in federal taxes; the deficit is the result of a spending problem, not a revenue problem.
Had the bill not passed, millions of Americans would have seen their paychecks shrink in January due to increased tax withholding. That is the plain and simple truth, and that is why I voted for the bill.
By DANIEL BATES
Last updated at 9:16 PM on 19th December 2010
It was an act of selfless charity that should have earned them a medal. But instead of being praised, a pair of Good Samaritans have been hit with a $90 fine each for saving a pregnant deer from an icy death.
Jim Hart and Khalil Abusakran sprang into action when the stricken animal got itself stuck on semi-frozen river.
The pair had reportedly grown exasperated watching a fire crew and a policeman stand next to the icy water and discuss among themselves what to do.
While the emergency services looked on they jumped into their own boat and rowed to the middle of the river where they hacked away at the 10ft thick ice with their oars and freed the deer.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1340046/Drowning-deer-rescuers-fined-wearing-lifejackets.html#ixzz18kNFBh00
A failed asylum-seeker who left a 12-year-old girl dying under the wheels of his car while banned from driving will be allowed to remain in the UK, judges have ruled.Skip related content
RELATED PHOTOS / VIDEOS
Aso Mohammed Ibrahim, 33, an Iraqi Kurd, was already banned from driving when he ran off, leaving Amy Houston trapped under his Rover car.
Her father, Paul Houston, 41, from Darwen, Lancashire, begged judges at a recent deportation hearing to bring "my seven years of hell to an end" by sending Ibrahim back to Iraq.
Mr Houston was left to make the decision to turn off Amy's life support machine hours after the crash in Blackburn, Lancs, in November 2003. He has since campaigned to get Ibrahim deported in a tortuous legal battle spanning seven years.
Last month he handed in a letter to judges, containing an impassioned plea asking for Ibrahim to be deported.
The Upper Tribunal of the Immigration and Asylum Chamber sitting in Manchester also heard Ibrahim, given leave to remain in the UK, had a string of criminal convictions.