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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Way To Go China!



The court has tried 21 suspects on a range of charges related to the tainted milk scandal [Reuters]

Chinese milk scam pair face death

Two men have been sentenced to death by a Chinese court after being convicted of playing a key role in a tainted milk scandal that led to six children dying and 300,000 falling ill.

The two men facing execution include Zhang Yujun, who was convicted of making and selling more than 600 tonnes of "protein powder" laced with melamine, the industrial chemical responsible for the health crisis.

He was found guilty of endangering public safety. The second convict was not named by court officials on Thursday.

The former boss of bankrupt dairy giant Sanlu, one of the main firms at the centre of last year's scandal, was jailed for life in a series of verdicts handed down by a court in Shijiazhuang, the capital of the central Hebei province.

Tian Wenhua was convicted of producing and selling fake or substandard products, charges to which she had pleaded guilty.

China's toxic milk scandal

Melamine is a toxic industrial chemical normally used in plastics and fertilisers.

Investigations showed melamine was added in the supply chain to make diluted milk's protein levels appear higher.

Nearly 10 per cent of milk samples from China's top three dairies were found to be tainted with melamine.

The contamination was blamed for the deaths of six infants and for making some 300,000 more ill.

Products from more than 22 Chinese companies were affected, with recalls issued across China and for Chinese-made products around the world.

The convictions follow the trial of 21 suspects accused of involvement in the scandal.

Three other former Sanlu executives were given sentences of between five and 15 years, while another man, Zhang Yanzhang, was given a life sentence, also for endangering public safety.

Tian, 66, pleaded guilty late last month to charges of producing and selling "fake or substandard" products after infant formula was found to be contaminated with the toxic chemical.

She had admitted that she knew of problems with her company's products for months before informing authorities. The scandal was exposed in September.

State media reported that Tian could face the death penalty, but her lawyer Liu Xinwei was quoted earlier this week in the Beijing News as saying that capital punishment was not applicable in the case.

"According to the criminal law, there is no capital punishment for the crime of manufacturing and selling fake or substandard products," Liu said.

"Therefore, the most severe penalty for her would be life imprisonment."

Aside from the four former Sanlu executives, 17 others had faced prosecution, charged with producing, adding or selling melamine-tainted milk to dairy companies, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

24 comments:

Arthur said...

By Sara Yoheved Rigler
How the Jews can win when we can't win.


Had the graphic artist at TIME magazine had as his goal to upset the Jews by his cover for the January 19 issue, he couldn't have done a better job. A blue star of David hiding behind a cinderblock wall topped with barbed wire is so evocative of the Holocaust and the old canard that the Palestinians are the "victims of the victims" that it has stirred up the Jewish world and elicited accusations that TIME is (and has always been) anti-Semitic.

The bold title across the cover, "Why Israel Can't Win" has further riled a Jewish world intent on doing exactly that in Gaza. But the cover article by Tim McGirk, TIME's Jerusalem bureau chief, has more truth in it than those of us who love Israel would care to admit. I'll spare you my list of examples of Mr. McGirk's pro-Arab bias. The essence of the article is the contention that there is no solution to the conflict that will allow Israel to exist as a Democratic Jewish state—or even to exist at all.

The article is peppered with expressions of despair: "...the many interlocking challenges facing Israel, some of which cast dark shadows over the long-term viability of a democratic Jewish state;" "...will require Israel and its defenders to confront excruciating dilemmas: How do you make peace with those who don't seem to want it?" "There's something tragic, too, in Israel's predicament: in any confrontation with its enemies, it is damned if does and doomed if it doesn't."

Mr. McGirk's pessimism is based on a political reality and a demographic one. The political reality is that Israel has no way to get rid of Hamas, the overwhelming democratic choice of the civilians of Gaza, no matter how much it beats Hamas down militarily. In this, TIME is echoing a recent Wall Street Journal article by Max Boot, who contended that the only way Israel could eradicate Hamas is by fighting an all-out war like the U.S. fought against Germany and Japan. Since neither Israel's own moral scruples nor the international community would permit such combat, Israel can temporarily weaken Hamas, but can never defeat it.

The demographic reality is that there are nearly as many Arabs as Jews living in the total area between the Jordan River and the sea (which TIME readers may be surprised to learn is barely a distance of 40 miles). As TIME's handy chart points out, by 2020, the Arabs, due to their higher birthrate, will outnumber Jews at 8.5 million to 6.4 million.

In short, Israel cannot exist with hostile Arab states as close to it as the Bronx is to Manhattan. Nor can it reclaim those thickly Arab-populated territories and administer them without relinquishing its democratic ideals.

In this sense, Israel's victory in Gaza leaves us in a more desperate situation than our 2006 defeat in Lebanon. Then we could say that we lost due to poor performance by our governmental and military leaders. This time, both the government and the military have performed splendidly. Yet real victory -- the permanent cessation of attacks into our borders -- eludes us.

Israel is backed into a corner, with no exit. If I didn't believe in an almighty God who intervenes in history, I would give up all hope. But instead of groping around the floor for a trapdoor that isn't there, I look up and see a ladder. The only way out is up.

JEWISH HISTORY ACCORDING TO TIME MAGAZINE

Here is where TIME magazine is wrong. They fail to take into account what I call "the God factor." Jewish history has always been a long shot. The most dramatic proof of that is that I, a Jew, am sitting here in my home in Jerusalem, 2,595 years after my ancestors were banished from here by the Babylonian Empire, 1,939 years after my ancestors were again banished from here by the mighty Roman Empire, after 1,930 years of my ancestors wandering among hostile and often murderous European hosts, 60 years after five well-armed, well-trained Arab armies attacked the nascent Jewish state, and 41 years after Nassar, backed by superior Soviet weaponry, vowed to "drive the Jews into the sea."

The eternal survival of the Jewish people, which was promised by God through the Biblical prophets, is as unlikely as a cluster of grapes, thrown into an erupting volcano then being swept up into a tornado and pounded by a tsunami, surviving intact -- and returning to its original vineyard.

Just think how TIME magazine would have reported on some of the significant events of Jewish history:

Issue of 1737 B.C.E.:
Why Abraham Can't Win

Abraham ben Terach, the famous revolutionary preacher of the exclusionary divinity, has been promised by his God that his offspring will inherit the land of Canaan. This pledge is politically untenable, as the native Canaanites have no intention of ceding land to this recent immigrant from Ur Kasdim in Mesopotamia. Moreover, the promise is ludicrous, as the 75-year-old Abraham has no children, and, even more to the point, his wife Sarah is 65 years old and suffers from incurable fertility problems.

Issue of 1312 B.C.E.:
Why Moses Can't Win

Our Midian bureau chief has discovered that the former Egyptian prince Moses, for the last 40 years a fugitive in Midian, claims to have had a vision of God. The Divinity reportedly promised that He would rescue the Israelites from slavery in Egypt and would "bring them to... a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Hivvite, and the Jebusite." Egyptology experts agree that the powerful Egyptian Empire, led by Rameses II, would never agree to release their formidable slave population. Nor has any slave ever succeeded in escaping Egypt. Even if such an unfeasible escape were ever to occur, the seven aforementioned nations, well fortified in walled cities such as Jericho, could certainly hold their own against an untrained, ill-equipped army of ex-slaves.

Issue of 701 B.C.E.:
Why Judea Can't Win

The army of Assyria, led by the invincible Sennacherib, has laid siege to Jerusalem. This is the same superpower that vanquished the Northern Kingdom of Israel and exiled its ten tribes 19 years ago. The siege of Jerusalem was preceded by the Assyrian army's total destruction of the Judean city of Lachish. Experts agree that Judea's King Hezekiah, a weak monarch ruling over a tiny kingdom, has no possibility of lifting the siege by the Assyrian forces, who number 180,000 strong. The many interlocking challenges facing Judea, some of which cast dark shadows over the long-term viability of a Jewish state in the region, lead us to predict a crushing defeat for Jerusalem.

{Note: A few days after this issue was published, the Assyrian camp was decimated by a strange plague. The few survivors, led by Sennacherib, fled in panic. Jerusalem was saved.}


* * *

I do not know how or when God will deliver the Jewish People and the Jewish state from our present predicament. But I do know that hordes of Islamic terrorists and their anti-Semitic allies will never succeed in their ambitions to wipe out the Jewish People, because God has guaranteed our eternal survival: "And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you, throughout the generations, an eternal covenant to be your God and the God of your descendants after you." [Gen. 17:7]

And I also know that when God does decide what will happen to us, He will not consult TIME magazine.

Sara Yoheved Rigler is planning a U.S. speaking tour in May. To bring her to your community, please write to srigler@aish.com.

boog said...

From the "Oaf" Tzeloochis Dept:

The "Oaf" in the White House signed an Exec order closing down Gitmo within the year. So much for his call for "shared sacrifice", as if the families of the 9/11 murdered have not sacrificed enough. Their and our outrage and pain is incalcuable. Terrorists out to kill should be spoken to with respect and Be'Ne'iymoos.
Had we done so, Mumbai would never have happened.

This one-term Pres is on a pre-meditated mission with his domestic Marxist economic and Appeasement foreign policies agenda (Talk with Ahmadjinad)to destroy the USA from within.

Wake up America! from your Sleep.

The "Oaf" In Office is a "Sleeper Cell".

The Bim-Bam Identity.

Yossel Shereshevsky said...

http://hamptonroads.com/2009/01/foreclosure-sale-set-1m-home-fraud-suspect

The financial pressure on Joseph Shereshevsky, a Norfolk businessman awaiting trial on federal charges of securities fraud, appears to be building.

Shereshevsky, the part-owner and former chief operating officer of investment company WexTrust Capital, and his family stand to lose their $1 million Norfolk home through foreclosure. The home, in the 700 block of Maury Avenue in Ghent, has been advertised for sale at auction on Jan. 20.

A $650,000 note for the home and a deed of trust were signed by Shereshevsky's wife, Elka, in August 2005. The loan, made by Wachovia Mortgage Corp., currently is held by Residential Funding Co., according to court records. Elka Shereshevsky paid $1.03 million for the house, which the city assessed at $1.05 million in July.

Joseph Shereshevsky, 52, was arrested in August on a federal charge of securities fraud in federal court in Manhattan. In a separate action filed the same day, the Securities and Exchange Commission contended that he, along with WexTrust chairman and majority owner Steven Byers and their company, bilked investors by shifting $100 million to unauthorized uses.

At the SEC's request, the court ordered that the defendants' assets be frozen and appointed a receiver to protect the assets. The freeze was later extended to Elka Shereshevsky's assets after the receiver cited evidence that her husband routinely put WexTrust assets into real estate and bank accounts bearing his wife's name.

When Wachovia Corp. froze several WexTrust bank accounts in August, Shereshevsky directed his wife to open an account at BB&T and diverted assets, including assets of WexTrust investment entities, to the new account, the receiver said in a filing.

Other accounts in his wife's name contained more than $825,000 of assets belonging to either Shereshevsky or WexTrust, the receiver said.

Separately, the lead attorney representing Shereshevsky in his civil and criminal cases is seeking court approval to withdraw. John Meringolo of New York City told the court in a Dec. 29 filing that he was taking the action because of "Mr. Shereshevsky's current inability to pay for his defense and his continued failure to follow my instructions."

Meringolo said he notified Shereshevsky of his request. Shereshevsky, who hasn't been able to meet the court's bail requirements, is being held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn.

Martin J. Siegel, another attorney representing Shereshevsky, said Monday that he had asked the court for permission to withdraw from the case "for a lot of reasons" but declined to elaborate. A hearing last week on the attorneys' requests has been carried over to Thursday, Siegel said.

R' Yankel Horowitz said...

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1231167305942&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Why Avrohom Mondrowitz must be extradited

Jan. 8, 2009
YAKOV HOROWITZ , THE JERUSALEM POST

I do not anticipate receiving an invitation to address the judge presiding over the extradition case of Avrohom Mondrowitz on charges of molesting young boys over two decades ago in Brooklyn. However, given the opportunity, here is what I would say:

Your Honor: One of the great Torah sages of the 19th century famously stated that one of the main functions of a rabbi is to advocate for and support the weakest members of his community. I respectfully suggest that our judicial system, as well, has a similar mission - to provide a venue for the downtrodden individuals among us to be heard and fairly represented.

I can think of no group of people who are in need of rabbinic and judicial support more than child-abuse victims. For the vast majority of them were abused or neglected many, many times - first by the monsters who ravaged their innocence and cruelly stole their childhood, later, inadvertently, by the adults in their lives who weren't attuned to their silent cries for help while the abuse was taking place, and finally by those who passively or actively protected the abuser rather than the victim once the abuse became known.

On behalf of the hundreds of abuse victims that I have tried my very best to comfort and support over the years, I beg you to remove the legal barriers that stand between Avrohom Mondrowitz and his long overdue date with justice in America.

MONDROWITZ CRUELLY abused and ruined the lives of many dozens, perhaps hundreds, of vulnerable kids who came to him for counseling and support. I personally have met many of his victims and know of at least one who committed suicide after years of a tortured existence. I met victims of his who became alcoholics, heroin and cocaine addicts, and those who are my age and unmarried - never becoming whole enough to love and be loved. This evil monster robbed them of the joy of holding their own child, while my wife and I became grandparents 18 months ago.

Thankfully, I was never molested as a child. But I often think of how I could very well have been one of the kids who were ruthlessly sodomized by Mondrowitz. I lost my father before my fourth birthday and, due to my restless nature, was a very poor student in school. In short, I was a perfect candidate for a ghoulish predator like Mondrowitz - who was a practicing social worker when I was struggling in school as a teenager. Because I was spared that horrific fate, I feel all the more morally compelled to stand with his nameless, voiceless victims and advocate on their behalf.

I am far from an expert in legal matters. But, one human being to another, I plead with you to do everything in your power to see to it that the people he violated finally gain a modicum of validation and support after all these years - seeing him stand before an American court of law and squarely face his victims. This is where he committed his crimes, and this is where he must face justice.

Two years ago, several months before the attempt was made to extradite Mondrowitz, I wrote a column in The Jewish Press decrying the fact that this fiend was permitted to live a peaceful life in Israel after the atrocious crimes he committed. At that time, the public at large was apathetic, as this case was under the radar of the average person on the street. Thankfully, the tide is turning and there is now a groundswell of support for his extradition. It is difficult to convey to you what a body blow it would be to the fragile emotional health of long-suffering abuse victims to see this high-profile case fall into the win column for this monster and the immoral people who are protecting him.

WORD ON the street is that there are powerful people backing Mondrowitz. Having him successfully avoid extradition will confirm that suspicion in the minds of many. It will also reinforce a horrible message to the public at large and more specifically to abuse victims - unfortunately the one that is prevalent - that the blood of innocent children can be washed away if the molester knows the right people. Additionally, it will be a huge step backward for those of us in the trenches who are begging abuse victims to step forward and assuring them that they will be taken seriously.

At the risk of overstepping my bounds, I appeal to you from the depths of my heart not to be a party to yet another rape of his victims - and of all survivors of abuse and molestation who are watching this case carefully - which offering Mondrowitz shelter from justice would most certainly be.

Thank you for offering me the opportunity to address the court.

The writer is the dean of a yeshiva in the New York area and the director of Project YES, a program that assists at-risk teens and their families across North America. He has authored books on parenting and recently received the 2008 Covenant Award for excellence in Jewish education.

www.rabbihorowitz.com

Moetzes Resign! said...

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/23/business/23thain.html

Thursday, the charmed career of John A. Thain was derailed.

Three weeks after his foundering brokerage firm was sold to Bank of America for $50 billion in stock, Mr. Thain was pushed out by the bank’s chief executive, Kenneth D. Lewis, who is struggling to contain the damage from his bank’s daring gamble on Merrill Lynch.

Gaping losses at the brokerage firm forced Bank of America to seek a second financial lifeline from Washington last week, leaving Mr. Lewis’s bank, the nation’s largest, facing an uncertain future.

Mr. Lewis, who had pressed ahead with the acquisition at the urging of federal regulators, is now fighting to right his troubled empire and safeguard his job.

The tension between the two men had been building since mid-December, when the implications of Merrill’s latest losses — $15.3 billion during the fourth quarter alone — began to sink in.

But despite the mounting losses, Merrill Lynch rushed to pay annual bonuses to its employees before its deal with Bank of America closed on Jan. 1. Those payments are now under investigation by the attorney general of New York, a person briefed on the investigation said Thursday.

For Mr. Thain, the end came on Thursday in his office at Merrill Lynch, which, according to CNBC, he lavishly refurbished last year with an $87,000 rug and a $68,000 credenza. Mr. Lewis had flown to New York from Charlotte, N.C., where Bank of America is based, to deliver the bad news. After a brief conversation, Mr. Thain agreed to depart.

Thain, who is 53, drew criticism from both outside and inside Merrill Lynch for suggesting in October that he be paid a large annual bonus, said by individuals briefed on the matter to be $30 million to $40 million. In December, the individuals said, the figure dwindled to $10 million and in the end, he received no bonus at all. He later denied having asked for one.

When Merrill Lynch alerted Bank of America in mid-December that its losses were ballooning, Mr. Lewis did not hear the news from Mr. Thain, who around that time left for a skiing trip at his second home in Vail, Colo.

Recent reports that Mr. Thain had spent $1.2 million to redecorate his office caused Mr. Lewis to further question Mr. Thain’s judgment, according to a person close to Mr. Lewis.

Another frustration for Mr. Lewis may have been the decision by Mr. Thain to make an earlier-than-usual bonus payout to Merrill employees, just three days before the merger closed, and before Bank of America could do anything to prevent it.

The office of Andrew M. Cuomo, the New York attorney general, is examining the payouts, which a person inside the office characterized on Thursday as “large, secret last-minute bonuses.”

Bank of America named Brian T. Moynihan, its general counsel, to succeed Mr. Thain as head of Bank of America’s wealth management and corporate and investment banking divisions.

Mr. Thain’s departure from Merrill is a turnabout for a man who, not long ago, was hailed as Merrill’s savior. He took the reins of Merrill Lynch in late 2007, after the ouster of E. Stanley O’Neal, who had presided over the firm’s disastrous push into mortgage investments.

But Merrill’s seemingly intractable losses tried even Mr. Thain, who has a reputation for keeping his cool. Last summer, fuming over another grim quarter for the firm, he halted a meeting with his chief financial officer and hurled a chair against the wall, shattering a nearby glass panel, according to people briefed on the meeting.

To purge Merrill of its toxic assets, Mr. Thain ended up selling billions of dollars of soured investments for pennies on the dollar. He initially resisted suggestions from some board members that he sell the crippled brokerage firm, but reached out to Bank of America in September as the collapse of Lehman threatened to engulf Merrill.

But after Merrill appeared to be safely in Bank of America’s arms, Merrill’s traders began buying risky mortgage assets, thinking that the market had bottomed out, according to two people familiar with the firm’s trading. Merrill also began to run up losses on equity derivatives and other instruments, they said.

By the end of 2008, Merrill had lost an additional $5 billion in the markets, marking the first time since Mr. Thain’s arrival that the firm’s losses had moved beyond the mortgage investments that predated his tenure.

Last week, Mr. Thain declined through a spokeswoman to comment on whether he had misrepresented Merrill’s risks at the time of the merger. On Thursday, a spokeswoman said he did not wish to discuss his departure.

Given the losses at Merrill, the government injected an additional $20 billion into Bank of America last week and agreed to backstop losses on about $90 billion of worrisome assets on Merrill’s books. The government will also help cover losses on about $30 billion in assets at Bank of America, which is bracing for more credit card and auto loan defaults.

Colmo the Homo said...

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/23/nyregion/23bronx.html

January 23, 2009
Correction Officers Accused of Letting Inmates Run Rikers Island Jail

By JOHN ELIGON
Guards reputedly sent inmates to intimidate, threaten and silence uncooperative prisoners with brute force. Inmates were ordered to turn over money, and their every move, including when they could use the bathroom, was controlled. If word of an assault got out, the guards would allegedly orchestrate a cover-up.

Those accusations were made on Thursday in State Supreme Court in the Bronx, where three Rikers Island correction officers were charged in connection with the ring, whose crimes, prosecutors said, reached a climax with the beating death of an 18-year-old inmate.

Two of the officers, Michael McKie, 31, and Khalid Nelson, 34, were charged with enterprise corruption and accused of being the masterminds behind the operation, ordering the time, location and manner of some beatings, said Robert T. Johnson, the Bronx district attorney.

Both Officer McKie, 31, of Brooklyn, and Officer Nelson, 34. of Staten Island, pleaded not guilty before Justice Steven Barrett, who ordered each held in $200,000 bail. Each faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.

In court on Thursday, an assistant district attorney, James Goward, told Justice Barrett that the defendants were “not simply the author of a crime or the author of a series of crimes, but the architect of a criminal enterprise.”

“They didn’t simply turn a blind eye to violence,” he added. “They authorized and directed it.”

Mr. Johnson said the officers’ motive was simple: to make their jobs easier by making the inmates maintain order among themselves.

Ner Yisroel Guy Getting Ready To Jump said...

The Jewish Coalition Against Sexual Abuse is calling on a Baltimore rabbi to warn parents that a convicted sex offender who served time in federal prison for possessing child porn is now living in their community and praying at their synagogue.The international coalition, based out of the Awareness Center in Baltimore, is demanding that Rabbi Yaakov Hopfer develop a public safety plan to protect members of his Glenn Avenue Shul from Cantor Stuart Friedman, 54, of 6016 Clover Road, a registered sex offender who regularly prays at the synagogue.Friedman could endanger children unless parents are aware of his 1998 conviction for possessing pornographic images of young boys performing sexual and sadomasochistic acts, the coalition told The Examiner.Hopfer has not complied with the coalition's demands that he notify parents within the Eruv of Baltimore that Friedman is residing in the community or that he create a special minyan without children under the age of 21, so that Friedman can pray "without being tempted," said Vicki Polin, the Awareness Center spokeswoman.

Download CALL FOR ACTION: http://www.theawarenesscenter.org/Friedman_StuartCallAction.pdf

UOJ Chinese Franchise said...

For all the talk of the threat of the Internet to authoritarian regimes, China's Communist Party has capably rebuffed the Web's challenge to its rule.

But a growing trend on the Chinese Internet could make life unpleasant for a handful of government bureaucrats who offend the cyber-citizenry.

For years the Chinese Internet has pulsated with so-called "human flesh search engines," online mobs that track down, name and shame people whose behavior has sparked public outrage. In one prominent case in 2006, a Hangzhou woman who appeared in online photos and video crushing a cat underfoot was located based on details gleaned from the images. She was vilified online and, eventually, lost her job.

These digital tar-and-featherings have been criticized as invasions of privacy and have even sparked lawsuits. Earlier this month Wang Fei, a Beijing man whose wife committed suicide after discovering his infidelity, won a lawsuit against a friend of his wife. The friend had posted Wang's personal details and information from the wife's journal discussing his affair, setting off intense criticism that caused Wang to lose his job.

That hasn't deterred Web vigilantes from turning their attention to officials suspected of corruption or unseemly behavior. In recent months at least three government bureaucrats have been targeted. This week an anonymous blog post accused a high-ranking Beijing official responsible for Web censorship of disparaging the country's top leaders — President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao — and boasting that he alone decided what citizens could and couldn't read online.

The post, titled "What kind of communist is Mr. Chen Hua?," could very well be false; there has been no official response to its allegations. Calls to the Beijing Municipal Government's press office were not answered Friday afternoon.

But the post's rapid spread on the Internet shows how difficult it can be to control freelance online investigations of officials, even by the very officials tasked with controlling the Internet. The post's author claimed to be a reporter from the state-run Xinhua News Service whose daughter twice went to dinner with Chen, the deputy director in the Beijing Internet Propaganda Management office. Xiao Qiang, head of the Berkeley China Internet Project, said that within hours after the anonymous post went up it had migrated to thousands of other sites despite efforts by official censors to block its spread.

Xiao calls this type of online opprobrium for officials "click-to-kill." "It doesn't matter if the allegation is true," says Xiao. "You know [this case] will become a 'click-to-kill' because...many people hate this guy."

The speed with which the post spread suggested that the managers of some Chinese websites, who are required by the state to purge their chat rooms and blogs of material critical of the government, may have been slow to block an attack on an official who oversees their industry. "Mr. Chen was really arrogant," said the post, according to a translation by China Digital Times, a website run by the Berkeley China Internet Project. "When he talked about the websites under his management, it was like he was talking about his own pets. He said: 'The orders from above (about how to manage the Internet) are nothing. Hu Jintao is nothing. Wen Jiabao is worse.

Only I [and his department] am really in charge of managing the Internet.' He said as far as those websites are concerned, 'I am the premier, I am the secretary-general.'"

In recent months at least two other officials have been targeted by similar posses. In November Lin Jiaxiang, an official with the Marine Affairs Bureau, allegedly followed an 11-year-old girl into the bathroom of a restaurant in the southern city of Shenzhen and grabbed her by the neck. In a video recorded by a restaurant security camera, the official acknowledged to the girl's family that he had grabbed her, but said his government position meant there was nothing her family could do about it. The official resigned after a public outcry. Police investigated but declined to file charges.

In December a photograph of an official from the land bureau of Nanjing, the capital of Jiangsu province, came under scrutiny after it began circulating on the Internet. Netizens pointed out that Zhou Jiugeng's imported $25,000 watch and luxury cigarettes were of a quality far exceeding what he could afford on an official's salary. He was later dismissed.

In a country where the media falls under tight government supervision, freelance Web investigations help fill a watchdog role the press usually cannot. Web exposés are "a general phenomenon on the Internet anywhere," says Xiao. "What's new in China is that because of the lack of freedom of information, the lack of free speech for ordinary citizens, 'click-to-kill' is particularly focused on otherwise unaccountable officials. That is unique."

This week, in an apparent attempt to block further online manhunts, the city of Xuzhou in Jiangsu province banned the posting of private information about government officials. But authorities may find this is one Web faction that doesn't so easily follow orders. "This a metaphor for what the Internet is doing in China," says Xiao. "It is precisely the very [Internet] controllers themselves now being harmed."

Even the NY Times can't ignore Boog said...

Front page story

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/23/world/middleeast/23yemen.html?hp

January 23, 2009
Freed by U.S., Saudi Becomes a Qaeda Chief
By ROBERT F. WORTH
BEIRUT, Lebanon — The emergence of a former Guantánamo Bay detainee as the deputy leader of Al Qaeda’s Yemeni branch has underscored the potential complications in carrying out the executive order President Obama signed Thursday that the detention center be shut down within a year.

The militant, Said Ali al-Shihri, is suspected of involvement in a deadly bombing of the United States Embassy in Yemen’s capital, Sana, in September. He was released to Saudi Arabia in 2007 and passed through a Saudi rehabilitation program for former jihadists before resurfacing with Al Qaeda in Yemen.

His status was announced in an Internet statement by the militant group and was confirmed by an American counterterrorism official.

“They’re one and the same guy,” said the official, who insisted on anonymity because he was discussing an intelligence analysis.

Mr. Shihri, 35, trained in urban warfare tactics at a camp north of Kabul, Afghanistan, according to documents released by the Pentagon as part of his Guantánamo dossier.

Mr. Shihri may have been involved in the car bombings outside the American Embassy in Sana last September that killed 16 people, including six attackers.

Mr. Shihri met with a group of “extremists” in Iran and helped them get into Afghanistan. They also say he was accused of trying to arrange the assassination of a writer, in accordance with a fatwa, or religious order, issued by an extremist cleric.

Fressers Freaking out at Chevrah Chazerim said...

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123258843988104803.html

JANUARY 22, 2009

Hotels Trim Amenities Amid Recession

The Courtyard and other Marriott chains recently stopped putting hand lotion in their rooms, leaving guests to ask for it at the front desk. Wyndham Hotels and Resorts are putting fewer towels in rooms.

As vacationers and business travelers reduce the time they spend on the road, hotels are quietly trimming amenities and services to save money. That can mean fewer toiletries in rooms, longer check-in lines and fewer freebies like cookies or 24 hour-a-day coffee in lobbies for guests. The cutbacks come as the weak economy pushes down occupancy levels and forces hotels to drop their overnight rates to attract lodgers.

Some frequent travelers gripe that the small cuts can add up to a big annoyance. Bruce Schobel, an actuary from Princeton, N.J., who traveled about 200 nights last year, says he has noticed longer lines at front desks and less food variety at breakfasts in recent months.

After a series of management meetings on cost cutting in December, Wyndham decided to take sewing kits, mouth wash and shower caps out of rooms. Instead, these products are kept behind the front desk, where guests can request them, says David Martin, senior vice president of operations for Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, a unit of Wyndham Worldwide Corp. He says Wyndham also will reduce the number of bath towels, hand towels and wash cloths by one in every room to save on laundry and purchasing costs.

Cutting Back on Fruit
Marriott International Inc., the country's largest hotel company, recently began telling some chains they can cut back on breakfast offerings. The company's Courtyard, SpringHill Suites and Residence Inn brands are all reducing the variety of fruits they are offering

B'more Girl said...

here's another issue related...lack of confidentiality in the frum community. I gathered up my courage and went to spk to one of the top rabbanim in baltimore abt a personal issue. he assured me that nothing goes past the four walls of his office. about two months later I discovered that he spoke to a few family members about me and what I had spoken to him in complete confidence because he thought he'd better understand the situation with their 'view' of things. no, this was not abt anything that could have caused harm to me or others, and if it was I would've understood why he did it. now tell me, do you honestly think I would EVER confide in a rav/rabbi... again?? this wasn't just 'a rabbi' this is a rav who is prob amongst the 'top 3' in baltimore....

Anonymous said...

I had the exact same thing happen to me about 10 years ago and am traumatized enough that I would not consult with a Rav again. A very respected Rav in the NY area spoke to a relative regarding the issues I discussed with him with no permission whatsoever. They were shidduch related and there was no benefit in discussing it with the relative other than pure gossip. I must say it was very hurtful and did a lot to destroy any Emunas Chachamim I had until then. I realized that a Rav is just a person and anything I wouldn't disclose to a friend I shouldn't disclose to a Rav either.

NIRC Bochur said...

I just wanted to point out slightly off topic that many people had the incorrect notion that the Yeshiva had tried to cover up the story and I wanted to say that almost every public address that was given in Yeshiva that Shabbos (there are 5-10 of them over Shabbos) by rebbeim the Mashgiach the Rosh Yeshiva etc. were all either directly related to the suicide, or had the thematic drive of self-esteem, happiness....

This should be the last.

Divorce Crisis said...

Daas Torah does not mean that every rov has the intuitive sensitivity to know everything about everything. As a matter of fact, some rabbonim have made some personal matters worse for the individuals they counselled, because their advice was absolutely awful (like the rov I know who insisted to an acuaintance of mine,a woman about to get divorced, that she had to continue to go the Mikvah each month and be with her husband that night. She became pregnant, STILL got divorced a few months later, and gave birth to a child that she now had to support on her own, because her ex-husband was incapable and unwilling to make any money for child support). Knowledge of Torah does not necessarily equal knowledge of human nature, in spite of what you may think. Plenty of Rabbonim have been divorced, had terrible marriages that they remained in, had children go off the derech, committed crimes, were emotionally unstable, and so forth. Being a talmid chochum does not automatically confer wisdom in all areas on anyone.

I say this, not to denigrate rabbonim, chas v'sholom, but rather to point out that they are human and make mistakes, and certain areas of life should not necessarily be in their sphere of influence, in my opinion.

A Shabbos Thought said...

Adapted from: It’s Time To Get Mad by Rabbi Yoseph Kahanov

While intolerance and anger are generally not positive emotions, especially when spewed-forth instinctively and uncontrollably, there are times when these types of expression are not only okay but necessary – the only just and humane response to prevailing circumstances and conditions. In situations when such expressions are required the lack thereof is arguably just as bad, or perhaps worse, then exhibiting such emotions unjustifiably.

Notwithstanding the fact that on the surface such tolerance may seem like an expression of kindness on the part of civilization, in reality it is the result of misguidedness and delusion. What often lies behind this so-called compassion might very well be the extreme opposite. It is entirely possible that beneath the altruistic facade of “Live and let live,” lurks a selfish desire for social promiscuity and permissiveness; an environment in which the advocator himself is allowed to live recklessly, without accountability or shame. It is only a person who himself does not wish to tow the line of morality and order, that would rationalize and defend injustice and immorality.

This convoluted form of “tolerance” is clearly a major factor in the current breakdown of civilization and the ensuing madness and suffering.

In this week’s Parsha, Va’eira, when G-d promised to take the Jewish people out of Egypt, He declares: “And I will take you out from under the burdens of Egypt” (Exodus 6:6). The commentators point out that the Hebrew word for “burdens,” Sivlos, can alternatively be translated as “forbearance.” The verse would then read, “And I will take you out from the 'tolerance' of Egypt.”

After years of slavery and drudgery the Israelites found themselves in the deepest troughs of ungodliness. Even worse, they had sunk into a terrible state of “tolerance,” perceiving their situation as acceptable. They had learned to grin and bear the exile and darkness. They had come to terms with a life devoid of spiritual fulfillment and human dignity – unable even to think about the transcendent qualities of higher existence. Before the Children of Israel could be freed from Egyptian bondage, G-d had to first free them of their own inner bondage and slave mentality, which is the more serious and cruel symptom of enslavement.

In our present exile we are, thank Heaven, no longer physically enslaved, but our spiritual senses have been dulled – we have become immune to the pain of exile. We lack, to a large extent, the desire to break free. We are content not to “rock the boat.” As long as we enjoy the comforts offered by contemporary civilization, we do not feel deprived of our true spiritual potential. It is a deprivation to which we have been immunized by the long and dark exile.

We must stop being so patient and accepting of all the evil and madness in the world. The cultural notion that it's not acceptable to be incensed by evil and G-dlessness, or to even to define it as such, has got to be shattered. We can become masters of our own destiny if we want to. But we first must realize that, yes, there are some things worth getting mad about – that getting mad over depravity and evil is as G-dly and virtuous as the love and admiration of goodness and righteousness.

spacedoutBT said...

The authoritarian Chinese government has a problem with the Internet. I was listening again to R. Wachman's message about the Internet.....an AHA! moment

Anonymous said...

The Chinese Communist regime is evil. They have a conviction rate of over 99%, and carry out executions for even minor crimes. It is inappropriate to use this evil regime even for satire.

Boog gets results said...

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/2009/01/23/2009-01-23_former_state_senate_majority_leader_joe_.html

Former state Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno indicted on corruption charges spanning 13 years

Anonymous said...

can anyone please enlighten me on the man from monsey who tried to overdose after getting an ankle bracelet put on him
for a huge case of embezzlement

i am told he is a chushava honeree by rabbi rottenbergs yeshiva

is it true he took money from a lot of people in monsey

Anonymous said...

what's with this yegudkin guy?

Yachatchu Damooi= I Want Boys said...

VIN News has learned that a well-known principal of a Russian Jewish school in Brooklyn has been arrested on accusation of engaging in a relationship with a minor.

Mr. Emanuel Yegutkin, English principal of Elite High School in Bensonhurst and member of Hatzolah of Flatbush, was charged with sexual misconduct against a child in the first degree.


An official Flatbush Hatzolah spokesman has told VIN that it's Hatzolah's strongest policy to immediately dismiss any member alleged to be involved in a criminal matter. He added that Hatzolah was "relieved" that Mr. Yegutkin, apparently knowing of his impending arrest, resigned from Hatzolah shortly before being taken into custody.


VIN News' source also confirmed that the child in question was not a student at Elite.


Calls to Elite high school has gone unanswered. Mr. Yegutkin was released on $50,000 bail.

Anonymous said...

Mondrowitz was a special person who understood adolescent trouble makers.
Leizerowitz was mashgiach ruchni of the most extreme yeshiva in BP and considered a "KODOSH"
Kolko was a rebbe since dor hamabil and was a tzaddik of a yid.
Colmo was a greased out BT who thirsted for torah and organized shabbos lmasmidim sessions pro bono.
Shapiro was a softspoken mechanech in Balti.
Lanner was the best thing to happen to MO since hash browns.
Tendler was the Messiah of BTs in Monsey and the gabbai of Reb M. Feinstein.
Brauner give a shiur TILL TODAY every morning in Shomer Shabbos (not Shomer HaBris)
Winegarten was a rosh yeshiva in 3 countries spanning 3 continents.


And our innocent children are so screwed up they can make up these gruesome stories. Get this right, IF MULTIPLE CHILDREN HAVE SIMILAR ACCUSATIONS AGAINST ONE MAN AND DON'T KNOW OF THE OTHERS STORY, you can bet your life these accusations are true. You can know these animal intimately, but so long as you werent a redident fly on the wall following him around for 24/7 all these years you can vouch for a suspected pervert like you can vouch potatoes grow from trees!

boog said...

"Boo-Boo" Bruno Bye-Bye.

When is Shelly ("I don't Go to Cop Funerals")getting his?

BTW, somebody call an eye-doc to check on the Guv Dave ( I Be Da Bungler) Patterson's "good-eye" after he totally screwed up picking Hillary's replacement.

Makes you wonder how he ever was able to 'see' and successfully navigate himself over to that Motel on 96th Broadway to be with his Koochy-Koochy without tripping over his dingle.

NY'ers have Mazal: First it was Elliot (I keep My Socks On) Spitz-er and now this Behaimeh.

BTW, now that the Bim-Bam is closing down Gitmo where does he put Osama when he catches him?

Yes we can.

Change you can believe in.

"I won the election".

"THE MURDER OF ZVI DOVID "FIFI" ZAHLER" said...

I am disgusted with all the Internet and media coverage of Zahler's "suicide". Let me tell you something... I KNEW ZVI. He was not "bipolar" or anything. He was 100% normal. I have a second cousin who has manic depression, so I know the situation in detail and I know what signs to look for.

Let me just tell you the apparent FACTS. Shortly before his "suicide," Zvi seemingly found an Internet article claiming that his Ner Israel Rabbinical College (NIRC) is/was involved in some grave crimes. From what I was able to figure out, that was "DEATH ON THE NIRC" by Semangelaf (http://jewishsurvivors.blogspot.com/2007/08/is-this-reality-or-fantasy-or-little.html). Fifi was staggered.

I believe that he went to the NIRC leadership to try to clarify the situation and that he also (unsuccessfully) tried to confront rabbi Moshe Eisemann. That's precisely why the "Baltimore Jewish Times" wrote that NIRC president rabbi Sheftel Neuberger refused to discuss the Zahler case with them! The Ner Israel administration saw "the writing on the wall." They just chose to apply its message to Zvi Dovid instead of themselves...

NOW JUST THINK ABOUT IT: on the last day of the merry Chanukah holiday, a really (yes, really!) happy married young (and 100% normal!) man in his first year of marriage who was going to become a joyful father in just a couple of months for the first time in his 24-year life, a man whose father was a thriving international developer in Canada (ruling out Fifi's financial problems), lied (AND HE NEVER LIED!) to his poor pregnant wife that he was going out "to pray" (Fifi got out of his house at around 6 a.m. - one and a half hour (!) before sunrise in Baltimore - way too early for any local prayer service), got into his Honda and drove for almost one hour (!) to the Millard E. Tydings Memorial Bridge to jump into the Susquehanna River!

Zvi Zahler, an excellent swimmer, apparently also expected to instantly die hitting the water surface, as he didn't tie anything heavy to his body to help him drown - if so, he certainly had no need to drive so far: he could just jump off any tall building in his neighborhood, even the high-school building at NIRC campus which is being renovated right now!

Listen to this, folks: Zvi Dovid, who always stretched his hand to help everyone around, who was so much meticulous not to offend ANYBODY - this very man DID NOT EVEN THINK about his poor pregnant wife, his unborn baby, his parents, his in-laws, and his many caring relatives and friends on that last day of Chanukah as he was driving to his death for almost ONE HOUR!

GIVE ME A BREAK! Only a totally selfish and crazy ANIMAL wouldn't turn around his car at the end of his trip and drive back home, not Fifi! WAKE UP! Nothing to do with depression! THIS IS ALL ONE BIG COVER-UP!

So this is what really happened: THERE WERE TWO CARS! Fifi was drugged and plummeted off the bridge! Do not forget that that weekend was a "Shabbos-off" at NIRC, so they knew that there would be fewer witnesses, as many kollel couples were still on their way back to Baltimore. (Btw, Zahler's funeral at the Sol Levinson & Bros. funeral home (which is anyhow right next to the NIRC campus) was not because of his "suicide" but because Ner Israel allows only their rabbis to be eulogized in that holy study hall - "bittul Torah" (taking away from the Torah study) for anybody else as the NIRC administration typically "explains.")

And plus do not forget the initial shady conflicting reports coming even from the Maryland State Police and the "Baltimore Sun": car accident (couldn't they see an undamaged car?), murder (by a policeman!), and... at last - SUICIDE! That's because NIRC thugs were working overtime!

Open your eyes! THAT WAS NOT A SUICIDE - THAT WAS A MURDER! They are just trying to cover it up! Nowadays they will kill anyone and still get away saying that "the guy was just mentally sick." Go ahead, try to prove to the world that you were NORMAL! And we can't do anything about it: if you can't shut up your mouth in Baltimore, the "authorities" will get you! I would like to say something but I have my wife and kids - and I am TOO SCARED to jeopardize them! I'll just skip town in the very near future. MAY HASHEM AVENGE YOUR PURE INNOCENT BLOOD, ZVI DOVID BEN MOSHE ZAHLER!