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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

News of Interest 6/19/07

I've been busy with various other projects, so I apologize for the lag in posting this last week.

No regrets from an ex-Algerian rebel immortalized in film
"'This was not just a tactic. It was part of a whole strategy that included mass participation. It was specifically targeted at occupiers, not just anybody,' he said, his small, almost boyish body devoured by a large armchair. 'We killed women, yes, and took fetuses out of their wombs. But ours was for liberation. This was our only means against a cruel enemy.' He also noted, much like a rebel character in the film predicted, that the National Liberation Front botched its rule of Algeria after it took power. The government triggered a post-1992 round of violence when it canceled elections that an Islamic party was favored to win."
Greece: 4 Banks Damaged in Attack
"About 20 masked youths wielding sledgehammers and iron bars damaged four banks and a government car during business hours in central Athens Tuesday, police said. One man suffered light injuries from broken glass. No arrests were made. The youths attacked branches of Citibank and three Greek banks, smashing storefront windows. Police said the attackers scattered leaflets demanding the release of Greek anarchists, charged or convicted for various crimes, from prison."
Playing the blame game on vandalism
"Also early Weds., June 6, five chain businesses -- Talbots, the Gap, Coach, Apple and Starbucks -- and one independent optometrist's office were smashed along Walnut Street, Shadyside's trendy retail corridor. Managers at the chain establishments declined to speak with City Paper. Zone 4 Commander Kathy Degler did not return several calls seeking comment. What, if any, relation the incidents at independent and corporate establishments have to one another is unclear. All bore anti-capitalist messages and coincided with the G-8 summit -- an annual gathering of the world's leading industrial nations, and a perennial cause for anti-corporate activism and protest. None of the incidents included robbery. Eyewitness accounts and surveillance video indicate that all the attacks were carried out by people in dark hoodies and bandanas. But the choice of targets is confounding. The Quiet Storm and the Co-Op, as independent entities, seem to be odd choices for such political vandalism. References to the G8 summit -- often protested for insufficient action against poverty, AIDS, climate change and other ills -- and the timing of the incidents indicates that the vandalism did have a political motive, as does the anti-capitalist sentiment scrawled on the Co-op."
Text messengers to fight crime in Boston
"Boston's police, facing an upsurge in murder and other violent crimes, have set up a system to allow witnesses to tip them off to crime by sending anonymous text messages. Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis said the 'Text a Tip Program,' announced on Friday, appeared to be the first in the nation to combine cell phone text messaging with an anonymous police tip line. He said he hoped it would crack a street culture where gangs often punish people who 'snitch,' making it hard for police to solve crimes at a time when the murder rate is rising."
Supermarkets offering personal scanners
"The scanners are "purely about convenience for customers" and do not replace store employees, who can be deployed elsewhere in the store, Pawelski said. ...William Stewart of Sykesville avoided lines while shopping with his father at the Eldersburg Martin's store. Stewart said he prefers the system over the traditional checkout, except for its occasional problems accepting coupons. 'I do miss the interaction with the cashiers because my dad and I are people persons. But you do beat the line and, once you get used to it, it pretty much works for itself,' Stewart said."
Web cam to eye test-takers
"This fall, Troy University in Alabama will begin rolling out the new camera technology for many of its approximately 11,000 online students, about a third of whom are at U.S. military installations around the world. The device, made by Cambridge, Mass.-based Software Secure, is similar in many respects to other test-taking software. It locks down a computer while the test is being taken, preventing students from searching files or the Internet. The latest version also includes fingerprint authentication, to help ensure the person taking the test isn't a ringer. But the new development is a small Web cam and microphone that is set up where a student takes the exam. The camera points into a reflective ball, which allows it to capture a full 360-degree image. (The first prototype was made with a Christmas ornament.)"
Ex-cop sells pot tips on DVD
"Barry Cooper sells a DVD on how to stash pot in your car without getting caught. This fall he will release a second one on how to keep police from raiding your home for marijuana. Now for the kicker: Cooper is a former narcotics officer once considered among the top cops in Texas, where more marijuana is seized each year than in any other state. The formerly straight-laced lawman has become a shaggy-haired militant for the legalization of weed."

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