- guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 21st December 2011.
By AOL Travel, December 21st, 2011.
This picture may resemble something from a bushtucker trial, but we are reliably informed that it’s actually a delicious melt-in the mouth dessert – and it’s taking Scotland by storm.
Created by chefs at the Fiddlers Elbow in Edinburgh, deep fried butter balls, aka “heart attacks on a plate” is a dish to rival the famous deep fried Mars bar, created to cheer up locals and tourists in this time of doom and gloom.
With an added twist, the butter balls are soaked in Irn Bru batter and served with ice cream, while those wanting to go to greater extremes can order their Braveheart Butter Bombs fried in whisky batter.
The dish was devised by Simon Robertson, head chef (pictured below right), and Paul Fitchie, a former chef with Harvey Nichols.
While fried butter is already a popular dish in the US, it’s believed that this is the first time that deep fried butter has been offered on a Scottish menu.
Want to try them at home? Simple. Make a handfull of butter balls, freeze them, the dip them in batter soaked with Irn Bru. Cook in hot oil until they brown, et voila! Cue the coronary…
On October 5, Sarkis Soghanalian, once the world’s largest private arms dealer, died at 82. He had sold weapons to scores of dictators including Saddam Hussein, and he took many secrets with him to his grave. But one secret he did not take involves Newt Gingrich when he was Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. DCBureau has learned that Gingrich was at the center of a U.S. Justice Department criminal investigation in the late 1990s for a scheme to shake down the arms dealer for a $10 million bribe in exchange for Gingrich using his influence as Speaker to get the Iraq arms embargo lifted so Soghanalian could collect $54 million from Saddam Hussein’s regime for weapons he had delivered during the Iran-Iraq War. Soghanalian was an FBI informant and was responsible for launching one of the most sensitive and secret investigations in FBI history involving the former Speaker and his second wife. According to Marianne Gingrich, it took the direct intervention of then FBI Director Louis J. Freeh to “get the investigation called off.”
By Randall Sullivan 20th April 2009. Find Article Here:-
The strangest monument in America looms over a barren knoll in northeastern Georgia. Five massive slabs of polished granite rise out of the earth in a star pattern. The rocks are each 16 feet tall, with four of them weighing more than 20 tons apiece. Together they support a 25,000-pound capstone. Approaching the edifice, it’s hard not to think immediately of England’s Stonehenge or possibly the ominous monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Built in 1980, these pale gray rocks are quietly awaiting the end of the world as we know it.
Called the Georgia Guidestones, the monument is a mystery—nobody knows exactly who commissioned it or why. The only clues to its origin are on a nearby plaque on the ground—which gives the dimensions and explains a series of intricate notches and holes that correspond to the movements of the sun and stars—and the “guides” themselves, directives carved into the rocks. These instructions appear in eight languages ranging from English to Swahili and reflect a peculiar New Age ideology. Some are vaguely eugenic (guide reproduction wisely—improving fitness and diversity); others prescribe standard-issue hippie mysticism (prize truth—beauty—love—seeking harmony with the infinite).
What’s most widely agreed upon—based on the evidence available—is that the Guidestones are meant to instruct the dazed survivors of some impending apocalypse as they attempt to reconstitute civilization. Not everyone is comfortable with this notion. A few days before I visited, the stones had been splattered with polyurethane and spray-painted with graffiti, including slogans like “Death to the new world order.” This defacement was the first serious act of vandalism in the Guidestones’ history, but it was hardly the first objection to their existence. In fact, for more than three decades this uncanny structure in the heart of the Bible Belt has been generating responses that range from enchantment to horror. Supporters (notable among them Yoko Ono) have praised the messages as a stirring call to rational thinking, akin to Thomas Paine’s The Age of Reason. Opponents have attacked them as the Ten Commandments of the Antichrist.
Whoever the anonymous architects of the Guidestones were, they knew what they were doing: The monument is a highly engineered structure that flawlessly tracks the sun. It also manages to engender endless fascination, thanks to a carefully orchestrated aura of mystery. And the stones have attracted plenty of devotees to defend against folks who would like them destroyed. Clearly, whoever had the monument placed here understood one thing very well: People prize what they don’t understand at least as much as what they do.
The story of the Georgia Guidestones began on a Friday afternoon in June 1979, when an elegant gray-haired gentleman showed up in Elbert County, made his way to the offices of Elberton Granite Finishing, and introduced himself as Robert C. Christian. He claimed to represent “a small group of loyal Americans” who had been planning the installation of an unusually large and complex stone monument. Christian had come to Elberton—the county seat and the granite capital of the world—because he believed its quarries produced the finest stone on the planet.
Joe Fendley, Elberton Granite’s president, nodded absently, distracted by the rush to complete his weekly payroll. But when Christian began to describe the monument he had in mind, Fendley stopped what he was doing. Not only was the man asking for stones larger than any that had been quarried in the county, he also wanted them cut, finished, and assembled into some kind of enormous astronomical instrument.
What in the world would it be for? Fendley asked. Christian explained that the structure he had in mind would serve as a compass, calendar, and clock. It would also need to be engraved with a set of guides written in eight of the world’s major languages. And it had to be capable of withstanding the most catastrophic events, so that the shattered remnants of humanity would be able to use those guides to reestablish a better civilization than the one that was about to destroy itself.
Built to survive the apocalypse, the Georgia Guidestones are not merely instructions for the future—the massive granite slabs also function as a clock, calendar, and compass.
|The monument sits at the highest point in Elbert County and is oriented to track the sun’s east-west migration year-round.||On an equinox or solstice, visitors who stand at the west side of the “mail slot” are positioned to see the sun rise on the horizon.||An eye-level hole drilled into the center support stone allows stargazers on the south side to locate Polaris, the North Star.||A 7/8-inch hole drilled through the capstone focuses a sunbeam on the center column and at noon pinpoints the day of the year.|
Text: Erik Malinowski; illustration: Steve Sanford
20th December 2011 Find Article Here:-
The use of firearms could be justified given the ”immediacy of the risk and the gravity of the consequences”, legal advice published in the review said.
Plastic bullets and water cannon could also be used by officers facing riots similar to those seen this summer, the review by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) added.
Police need to be better prepared, trained and ready to protect the public if they are to improve their response to similar scenes of violence and looting in the future, the review found.
It called for clear rules of engagement to establish ”an agreed envelope of available tactics and associated use of force, that are likely to maintain public support”.
These rules could include making clear that armed police could use firearms with live ammunition during ”arson attacks on commercial buildings with linkage to residential dwellings”.
The review added that plastic bullets could also be considered when barricades and missiles were used by protesters, during violent attacks on the public in the presence of police, and when other emergency services are threatened.
They could also be used when petrol bombs are thrown or during arson attacks.
All of these scenes were experienced by officers this summer.
The review added that water cannon were an ”effective means of dispersal and incur fewer injuries to the public” in static and slow-moving scenarios.
They are a ”good option to protect vulnerable areas and premises”, but it conceded there were none on mainland UK, cost more than £1 million each and need to be deployed in twos to be effective.
Water cannon also have to be protected by officers and need access to water as they can empty in ”a matter of minutes” if used continuously.
It comes in sharp contrast to a report by the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee yesterday which said it would have been ”inappropriate as well as dangerous to have employed water cannon and baton rounds”.
Their use ”could have escalated and inflamed the situation further”, the MPs said.
The report said that while current guidance already allowed the use of force, commanders were prevented from using some of the more forceful tactics due to a lack of training and resources.
Some forces ran out of shields, not all forces train to use plastic bullets in public order situations, and protective equipment was not always available.
Police also need to outnumber rioters by between three and five to one if they are to effectively move forward, make arrests and disperse groups, the review said.
It found that police training, tactics, equipment and organisation was developed largely to deal with set-piece single- site confrontations, and were not prepared for the widespread, fast-moving and opportunistic criminal attacks seen in August.
But the review also said it would be difficult to justify bringing in soldiers to help tackle riots on the streets.
“It is difficult at present to conceive of a purely public order situation in which the level of force for which the military are currently trained in and equipped to use would be justified,” the report said.
But the military could be used “to take over logistical roles to free police officers for public order duties”.
The HMIC review also called for a “central information ‘all source’ hub”, drawing together all information, including that from direct contact with the public and social networking sites, to be developed.
Richard’s Blog – December 19th 2011 Find Article Here:-
Visited Portugal, as one of the Global Drug Commissioners, to congratulate them on the success of their drug policies over the last 10 years.
Ten years ago the Portuguese Government responded to widespread public concern over drugs by rejecting a “war on drugs” approach and instead decriminalized drug possession and use. It further rebuffed convention by placing the responsibility for decreasing drug demand as well as managing dependency under the Ministry of Health rather than the Ministry of Justice. With this, the official response towards drug-dependent persons shifted from viewing them as criminals to treating them as patients.
Now with a decade of experience Portugal provides a valuable case study of how decriminalization coupled with evidence-based strategies can reduce drug consumption, dependence, recidivism and HIV infection and create safer communities for all.
I will set out clearly what I learned from my visit to Portugal and would urge other countries to study this:
In 2001 Portugal became the first European country to officially abolish all criminal penalties for personal possession of drugs, including marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamines.
Jail time was replaced with offer of therapy. (The argument was that the fear of prison drives addicts underground and that incarceration is much more expensive than treatment).
Under Portugal’s new regime, people found guilty of possessing small amounts of drugs are sent to a panel consisting of a psychologist, social worker, and legal adviser for appropriate treatment (which may be refused without criminal punishment), instead of jail.
Critics in the poor, socially conservative and largely Catholic nation said decriminalizing drug possession would open the country to “drug tourists” and exacerbate Portugal’s drug problem; the country has some of the highest levels of hard-drug use in Europe. The recently realised results of a report commissioned by the Cato Institute, suggest otherwise.
The paper, published by Cato in April 2011, found that in the five years after personal possession was decriminalized, illegal drug use among teens in Portugal declined and rates of new HIV infections caused by sharing of dirty needles dropped, while the number of people seeking treatment for drug addiction more than doubled.
It has enabled the Portuguese government to manage and control the problem far better than virtually every other Western country does.
Compared to the European Union and the US, Portugal drug use numbers are impressive.
Following decriminalization, Portugal has the lowest rate of lifetime marijuana use in people over 15 in the EU: 10%. The most comparable figure in America is in people over 12: 39.8%, Proportionally, more Americans have used cocaine than Portuguese have used marijuana.
The Cato paper reports that between 2001 and 2006 in Portugal, rates of lifetime use of any illegal drug among seventh through ninth graders fell from 14.1% to 10.6%. Drug use in older teens also declined. Life time heroin use among 16-18 year olds fell from 2.5% to 1.8%.
New HIV infections in drug users fell by 17% between 1999 and 2003.
Death related to heroin and similar drugs were cut by more than half.
The number of people on methadone and buprenorphine treatment for drug addiction rose to 14,877 from 6,040, after decriminalization, and the considerable money saved on enforcement allowed for increase funding of drug – free treatment as well.
Property theft has dropped dramatically (50% – 80% of all property theft worldwide is caused by drug users).
America has the highest rates of cocaine and marijuana use in the world, and while most of the EU (including Holland) has more liberal drug laws than the US, it also has less drug use.
Current policy debate is that it’s based on “speculation and fear mongering”, rather than empirical evidence on the effect of more lenient drug policies. In Portugal, the effect was to neutralize what had become the country’s number one public health problem.
Decriminalization does not result in increased drug use.
Portugal’s 10 year experiment shows clearly that enough is enough. It is time to end the war on drugs worldwide. We must stop criminalising drug users. Health and treatment should be offered to drug users – not prison. Bad drugs policies affect literally hundreds of thousands of individuals and communities across the world. We need to provide medical help to those that have problematic use – not criminal retribution.
By Richard Branson. Founder of Virgin Group