“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Archive for October 2006

AVG Step Up

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Grisoft antivirus software: AVG has been upgraded to V7.5 and along with it Grisoft have released an anti-spyware tool.

AVG is a good antivirus scanner, fast and as far as we can tell, complete.

The anti-spyware tool seems comprehensive and takes the form of scanner, although it is considerably slower than spybot, it seems very useful.

Written by modernityblog

29/10/2006 at 18:21

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Pinochet’s Gold?

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The Torygraph indicated that the dictator Pinochet may have stashed away some £98 million in gold:

” HSBC has launched an investigation into allegations that the former Chilean strongman Augusto Pinochet held a secret stash of gold worth £98m at a branch in Hong Kong.

The inquiry follows explosive claims in the Chilean press that investigators had uncovered an HSBC account holding 315,000 ounces of gold that could be tracked to the general.”

However, the BBC reports that:

Papers linking Chile’s former military ruler, Augusto Pinochet, to alleged gold deposits worth $160m (£85.5m) in Hong Kong are fake, the HSBC bank says.

The London-based bank said in a statement it would continue to co-operate with Chilean investigators.

Chilean officials said it was now up to the justice system to decide if the allegations were based on false papers.

Lawyers for the general – who ruled between 1973 and 1990 – have denied the accusations as insulting and baseless.

The Chilean courts have stripped Gen Pinochet, 90, of the legal immunity he enjoyed as a former president in several cases, but he has yet to face trial.

He is facing charges for tax evasion in connection with his family’s undisclosed foreign bank accounts, and also faces possible charges in connection with human rights abuses committed during his time in power.”

Whilst the BBC article is a fine example of “neutrality”, my bet is that Pinochet has a lot of stolen or drug money stashed away, even if it can not be proven at the moment.

Written by modernityblog

28/10/2006 at 13:53

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Hezbollah and the Bombing in Buenos Aires

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Prosecutors in Buenos Aires have formally charged that Hezbollah committed the 1994 bombing in Argentina which killed some 85 people and injured another 300, according to reports:

“BUENOS AIRES: Prosecutors formally charged Iran and the Shiite militia Hezbollah Wednesday in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish charities office in Argentina, which killed 85 people and injured 300.

“We deem it proven that the decision to carry out an attack July 18, 1994 on the AMIA (Argentine Jewish Mutual Association, a Jewish charities association headquarters in Buenos Aires) was made by the highest authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran which directed Hezbollah to carry out the attack,” Argentine chief prosecutor Alberto Nisman said.

Prosecutors called for the arrest of top Iranian authorities at the time, including then-president Ali Rafsanjani.

No one has been tried for the crime in more than a decade since Argentina’s worst-ever terror attack.”

I wonder how the “we are all Hezbollah nowcrowd in the Pro-War coalition will react??

Written by modernityblog

25/10/2006 at 19:08

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Firefox 2.0

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Firefox 2.0 has been released.

I have been using the beta and RC version for some time and it is very good, just check that your favourite extensions and plugins work with 2.0.

Written by modernityblog

25/10/2006 at 12:55

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Modern German Nazis March

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As if it were needed, Berlin witnessed yet another sign of the revival of National Socialism in Germany today has some 750 neo-Nazis openly marched, Reuters describes it as:

“BERLIN (Reuters) – A group of 750 neo-Nazi sympathisers demonstrated outside a Berlin jail on Saturday against the detention of the singer of an outlawed rock group.

German police said several hundred anti-fascists chanting “Nazis raus” (Nazis go away) were separated from the rally by police. There were no incidents of violence.

The far-rightists were protesting the detention of an obscure singer, Michael Regener. He also goes by the name “Lunikoff”.

He was sentenced in December 2003 to three years and four months in jail after a court ruled his band “Landser” was a criminal organisation that spread racial hatred. He began his sentence in April 2005 after losing legal appeals.

Some protesters carried posters reading “Freedom for Lunikoff” as they marched near the Tegel prison in northwestern Berlin.

Israel’s ambassador to Germany, Shimon Stein, said in an interview published on Saturday in the Neue Osnabruecker Zeitung newspaper he was concerned that Jews were not feeling safe in Germany. “They are no longer able to pursue their Jewish way of life here freely,” Stein said.”

Let’s not forget the recent election wins and the growth of NPD:

“This now makes the economically depressed state the fourth regional legislature where an extreme right party is represented:; The NPD also sits in Saxony’s parliament while the German People’s Union (DVU) is represented in the state legislatures of Brandenburg and Bremen. Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, which is on the Baltic coast bordering Poland, is one of Germany’s poorest regions with an unemployment rate of 18.2 percent, nearly double the national average.

The former communist states have never caught up to the West economically since German reunification in 1990, strengthening the appeal of the NPD party, which has been able to capitalize on the disaffection among jobless youth with its crude anti-immigrant, racist platform.”

In the post WW2, much was made of modern Germany’s abhorrence with National Socialism, the death and destruction that it brought and how these lessons were learnt by young Germans.

Clearly, the German political establishment, civil society and police are not doing enough, I suggest they make an example of the next 750+ neo-Nazis that demonstrate and incarcerated the lot of them.

It should be made clear to neo-Nazis that if they march they will be incarcerated, no ifs no buts.

Written by modernityblog

21/10/2006 at 23:24

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Cluster Bombs and Ball Bearings

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Hezbollah’s use of cluster bombs and ballbearings in the recent conflict with Israel Lebanon has been well documented.

Amnesty International wrote:

“(Washington, DC) — Amnesty International (AI) today charged in a new report that Hizbullah committed serious violations of international humanitarian law, amounting to war crimes, in its deliberate targeting of Israeli civilians during the recent conflict.

During the month-long conflict, Hizbullah fired nearly 4,000 rockets into northern Israel, killing 43 civilians, seriously injuring 33 others and forcing hundreds of thousands of civilians to take refuge in shelters or flee. Around a quarter of all rockets were fired directly into urban areas, including rockets packed with thousands of metal ball bearings. An estimated ten percent of the rockets carried war heads, packed with thousands of ball bearings. Once these indiscriminate rockets struck, the ball bearings sprayed out, inflicting death and injury for 300 meters or more.

“Actions speak louder than words,” said Larry Cox, Amnesty International USA’s Executive Director. “Though Hizbullah denies any policy of endangering and targeting Israeli civilians, it used Katyusha rockets packed with thousands of metal ball bearings to maximize harm to innocent civilians. Targeting civilians is a war crime — there’s no gray area.”

In meetings with Amnesty International, Hizbullah argued that its rocket attacks on northern Israel were a reprisal for Israeli attacks on civilians in Lebanon and were aimed at stopping such attacks.

Amnesty International’s briefing includes evidence of:

  • Hizbullah’s firing of some 900 inherently inaccurate Katyusha rockets into urban areas in northern Israel in clear violation of the principle of distinction between civilian and military targets under international law;
  • Hizbullah’s use of modified Katyusha rockets packed with metal ball bearings, designed to inflict maximum death and injury, with one such rocket killing eight railway workers;
  • Statements from Hasan Nasrallah and other senior Hizbullah leaders that the group intended to target civilians as a form of reprisal, violating the prohibition on direct attacks on civilians as well as the prohibition on reprisals against the civilian population;
  • The flight of civilians from northern Israel and the existence of shelters preventing a higher death toll than the 43 civilian fatalities recorded.

These findings show that Hizbullah clearly committed war crimes and the perpetuators must be brought to justice,” said Marty Rosenbluth, Amnesty International USA’s Country Specialist for Israel and the Occupied Territories.”

Human Rights Watch wrote:

“On Monday, Human Rights Watch researchers inspected a three-story apartment building in Haifa’s Bat Galim neighborhood after it was struck by a rocket around 3:00 p.m., causing extensive damage to the top two floors and wounding six residents, one of them seriously. They collected metal ball bearings that had pierced the walls of the apartment building across the street and car windshields up to one block away.”

So it seemed strange that some people are still denying that Hezbollah was guilty of war crimes by deliberately targeting civilians, as it did by indiscriminately firing rockets into Israeli civilian towns.

Written by modernityblog

21/10/2006 at 14:44

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Site of the Week/Month 19

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Damn those 0870 numbers, as reported by the Times:

“AT AN outlandish 9p per minute for telephone calls that are usually answered by a computer, 0870 might be best described as the international dialling code for rip-off Britain.

But a computer expert has found a way to circumvent that national-rate number and is sharing his secrets with 10,000 people every day. The website lists 5,000 firms that publicise expensive numbers that often cost three times the cost of a call to a landline number. Callers enter a company name and the website reveals a local geographical number and sometimes even details of a free phone line for a business.

A search by The Times immediately found that TicketMaster’s information and booking line 0870 4000700 can be reached on 0161-385 3500. Similarly Barclaycard’s card protection service on 0870 0100578 can be reached on 023-92652222 and even by freephone on 0800 603060.

British Airways advertises its general helpdesk on 0870 8509850. But it can be reached more cheaply on 0191-490 7901. Its executive club has a freephone number: 0800 123111.

The site was founded by a publicity-shy government computer expert who wants to be known only as Daniel from Lancashire. He set it up five years ago after being incensed at how big companies ripped off their customers.”

So site of the week is:

Written by modernityblog

19/10/2006 at 23:52

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