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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

News of Interest 5/1/07

Police subdue some marchers as day of protests ends
"Around 6 p.m., after police tried to disperse a group of demonstrators who had moved off the sidewalk into Alvarado Street, some of the few thousand participants still in the park started throwing plastic bottles and rocks at officers. Then, several dozen riot police, clad in helmets and carrying batons, started clearing the park, firing a few dozen volleys of rubber bullets into the crowd. No one appeared to be hit. A reporter saw at least three people struck by police batons."
Around globe, walls spring up to divide neighbors
What do Tijuana, Baghdad and Jerusalem have in common? They all have walls that divide neighbors, cause controversy and form part of an array of physical barriers around the world that dwarf the late, unlamented Iron Curtain. There are walls, fences, trenches and berms. Some are reinforced by motion detectors, heat-sensing cameras, X-ray systems, night-vision equipment, helicopters, drones and blimps. Some are still under construction, some in the planning stage.
Pentagon to Merge Next-Gen Binoculars With Soldiers' Brains
"U.S. Special Forces may soon have a strange and powerful new weapon in their arsenal: a pair of high-tech binoculars 10 times more powerful than anything available today, augmented by an alerting system that literally taps the wearer's prefrontal cortex to warn of furtive threats detected by the soldier's subconscious. In a new effort dubbed "Luke's Binoculars" -- after the high-tech binoculars Luke Skywalker uses in Star Wars -- the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is setting out to create its own version of this science-fiction hardware. And while the Pentagon's R&D arm often focuses on technologies 20 years out, this new effort is dramatically different -- Darpa says it expects to have prototypes in the hands of soldiers in three years."
In Somalia, Those Who Feed Off Anarchy Fuel It
'“Even if we turned Mogadishu into Houston, there would still be people resisting us,” said Abdirizak Adam Hassan, chief of staff for Somalia’s transitional president, Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed. “I’m talking about the guys bringing in expired medicine, selling arms, harboring terrorists. They don’t have a clan name. They’re a congregation of people whose best interests are served by no government.”'
Sleepwalking into a surveillance state
"Of course, there are surveillance states and there are surveillance states, and there are almost always ways to get around them. Both Geist and Oscapella say that as bad as the risks are now, they are nowhere near as invasive or far-reaching as government firewalls in places like China and Iran. Built with the assistance of big Western companies like Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft and Cisco, totalitarian regime firewalls have become targets of interest to people like Oxblood Ruffin, a Munich-based human rights hacker."
Wal-Mart recruits intelligence officers
'Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has been recruiting former military and government intelligence officers for a branch of its global security office aimed at identifying threats to the world's largest retailer, including from "suspect individuals and groups".'
Spain cracks open dictatorial past
"Vicente Muñiz was 4 years old when his parents were taken away. As Members of the Marxist Worker's Unification Party (POUM), they were arrested in the closing days of the Spanish Civil War for being political enemies of Francisco Franco's victorious Nationalists. In 1941, they were found guilty, executed for their "crimes," and buried in a mass grave. Once the dictatorship ended in 1975, Muñiz tried to clear his parents' names. He convinced the Supreme Court to review their case, but the court ruled it could do nothing, because Muñiz's parents were fairly convicted by the law then in effect."



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