April 1, 2010

Beer drinking model escapes caning in Malaysia

Posted: 08:14 AM ET

A Malaysian model who was sentenced last year to six strokes of a cane for drinking beer in public has had her sentence commuted, her lawyer said Thursday.

Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno will now instead be required to perform three weeks of community service - beginning Friday.

The sentencing drew headlines worldwide at the time and caused an uproar, with many citing it as an example of growing fundamentalism in the multiracial country

An Islamic court in the eastern state of Pahang fined Kartika $1,400 (5,000 Malaysian ringgit) and ordered that she be stroked with a rattan cane for drinking beer at a hotel bar in 2007.

The sentence was to have been carried out Thursday.

However on Wednesday night, the sultan of Pahang sent a letter where he commuted the woman's sentence, said Kartika's lawyer Adham Jamalullail Ibrahim.

(read more)

Filed under: International

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March 31, 2010

'RapeLay' video game goes viral amid outrage

Posted: 02:33 PM ET

By Kyung Lah, CNN

Tokyo, Japan (CNN) - The game begins with a teenage girl on a subway platform. She notices you are looking at her and asks, "Can I help you with something?" 

That is when you, the player, can choose your method of assault.

With the click of your mouse, you can grope her and lift her skirt. Then you can follow her aboard the train, assaulting her sister and her mother.

As you continue to play, "friends" join in and in a series of graphic, interactive scenes, you can corner the women, rape them again and again.

The game allows you to even impregnate a girl and urge her to have an abortion. The reason behind your assault, explains the game, is that the teenage girl has accused you of molesting her on the train. The motive is revenge.

It is little wonder that the game, titled RapeLay, sparked international outrage from women's groups. Taina Bien-Aime helped yank the game off store shelves worldwide.

"This was a game that had absolutely no place on the market," said Taina Bien-Aime of women's rights organization Equality Now which has campaigned for the game to be taken off the shelves.

But the controversy that led to stopping sales of the game instead took it viral.

That was how Lucy Kibble and Jim Gardner in Britain heard about it.

"I think the idea that you can do it by wholesale banning is just never going to work anyway because we downloaded it for free off the Internet," Gardner said.

In the case of RapeLay, he was right. It is still readily available on dozens of Web sites, sometimes for free.

What happened to RapeLay is an example, said Bien-Aime, of why Japan needs to police game makers.

"It's obviously very difficult to curtail activity on the Internet. But the governments do have a role in trying to regulate this sort of extreme pornography of children, both in their countries, and through the Internet ," she said, adding that they were calling for the Japanese government "to ban all games that promote and simulate sexual violence, sexual torture, stalking and rape against women and girls. And there are plenty of games like that. "

Read more…

Filed under: International

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March 29, 2010

Obama headed back to U.S. after surprise visit to Afghanistan

Posted: 08:08 AM ET

President Obama is expected to return to the United States on Monday morning after a surprise visit to Afghanistan, where he met with his Afghan counterpart and reiterated the need to wipe out terror networks.

Obama slipped into Bagram Air Base near Kabul under the cover of darkness on Sunday.

He met with about 2,000 troops at the U.S. base and told them their work is significant to security at home.

"I know it's not easy," he said. "If I thought for a minute that America's vital interests were not served, were not at stake here in Afghanistan, I would order all of you home right away."

The United States has made progress in the fight against al Qaeda and its allies, Obama said.

(Read more)

Filed under: International • President Obama

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March 11, 2010

The Luxurious Secret Life of Kim Jong-il

Posted: 05:12 PM ET

By Malcolm Moore

Kim Jong Ryul, 75, has spent the last 16 years in exile in Austria after fleeing North Korea and still fears for his life. In a new book, At the Dictator's Service, he recounts the luxury in which North Korea's leaders live.

Using the code name Emil, Kim travelled through Europe on a diplomatic passport and with a suitcase full of cash, procuring cars, planes, guns and special food for both Kim Il-sung and his son, Kim Jong-il.

The goods and money would be channelled through Vienna, to take advantage of banking secrecy, lax trade rules and minimal checks on aircraft.

Mr Kim said the North Korean leaders had dozens of villas, some of which were built underground, that were stuffed with chandeliers, silk wallpaper and expensive furniture. He said some of the villas were equipped with special ventilation systems in case of a nuclear attack.

He said Kim Il-sung would "only eat foreign food". He added: "In Vienna, there was a special attache, a friend of mine, who only procured special foreign food for the dictator." Troupes of chefs would be sent from North Korea to Austria to study how to cook.


Filed under: International • North Korea

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March 1, 2010

LKL Blog Exclusive: US & Africa closer than you would think!

Posted: 11:23 AM ET

This is a LKL Blog Exclusive by Frederick Nnoma-Addison, President & CEO of the Washington, DC based Africa Media-Image Project, an African interest news and media production organization working to bridge the information gap between the United States and African countries. He is the Author and publisher of a book that celebrates 50 years of U.S. – Ghana/Africa relations.

With several 10-hour direct flights to many capital cities on the continent, Africa isn’t as far from the U.S. as many Americans perceive it to be. The flight time from Washington, DC to Accra, Ghana is the same as that from Washington, DC to Honolulu, Hawaii. This comparison of physical distances also holds true for the virtual distances between the two regions, thanks in part to free markets and a globalized economy. Today we in America are able to patronize African coffee, jewelry, clothing, chocolates, roses, crude oil and thousands of other products as though they originated from our backyards while those in Africa benefit from U.S. government and private sector investments on a daily basis. As individuals and nations we are more closely linked than stereotypes would have us believe.

U.S. trade with sub-Saharan Africa has more than doubled since the African Growth & Opportunity Act (AGOA) was signed into law in 2000. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce (2008 report), U.S. imports from sub-Saharan Africa alone exceeded $86 billion, more than quadruple the amount in 2001. During the 2009 AGOA Forum in Nairobi, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton acknowledged the interdependence between the United States and Africa with the following words, “America is Africa’s largest trading partner.”

The now outdated concept of a distant, so-called 3rd world (mostly used to describe Africa), is just one example of how people in economically advanced countries like the United States view themselves as being separated from Africa and the rest of the world. Of course skewed news media coverage of the African continent is partly responsible for this mindset. A paragraph from President Barack Obama’s Accra speech, July 11, 2009 accurately highlights the new realities of international relations and the bonds we share as individuals and nations in a much smaller, global community.

(read more)

For more information on the 50 years of U.S. – Ghana/Africa relations, click HERE

Filed under: Africa • International • LKL Web Exclusive

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February 23, 2010

Aruba prosecutor: TV confession in Holloway case 'not true'

Posted: 01:20 PM ET

A Dutch man once considered a suspect in the 2005 disappearance of Alabama teenager Natalee Holloway has told a television station he dumped her body in a swamp, Aruba's chief prosecutor told CNN.

However, Joran van der Sloot's claims to Dutch station RTL-5 are "unbelievable," prosecutor Peter Blanken said.

RTL-5 said Tuesday it had "acquired exclusive material containing a statement by Joran van der Sloot" regarding Holloway's disappearance.

"This material was first offered to us in 2009," Remko van Westerloo, the station's director of programming, said in a statement.

"Obviously, our initial response was skeptical," van Westerloo said. "However, we did feel that this interview required thorough research. We've spoken to a variety of experts and several critics. These findings resulted in a TV special which will air this Sunday. It's up to the viewers to form their own opinions on the matter."

The statement did not divulge the contents of van der Sloot's interview. However, Blanken told CNN on Tuesday that van der Sloot says in the interview that he dumped Holloway's body "in a swamp on the north end of the island."

"He was very unspecific," Blanken said.

(read more)

Filed under: International • Justice

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February 22, 2010

Dalai Lama on LKL tonight EXCLUSIVE!!

Posted: 10:40 AM ET
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February 18, 2010

After killing of top Hamas official, Israel being pushed for answers

Posted: 01:35 PM ET

European officials pressed Israel for answers Thursday over the use of fraudulent passports by suspects in the killing of a top Hamas official, following media speculation that Israeli agents were involved.

It came as Interpol made public the photos and fraudulent names of 11 people it said were involved in the murder in Dubai last month. The "red notices" are not international arrest warrants, but are a way of alerting police forces around the world that the suspects are wanted by authorities in the United Arab Emirates.

British and Irish officials met with their respective Israeli ambassadors, and France demanded that Israel explain the use of one French passport in the plot, the French Foreign Ministry said.

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said Britain was determined to get to the bottom of the passport issue. The Israeli ambassador to London, Ron Prosor, met at the British Foreign Office with Peter Ricketts, the head of Britain's diplomatic service.

"I was unable to add additional information to Sir Peter Ricketts' request," Prosor told reporters.

(read More)

Filed under: International

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Britain releases new UFO files

Posted: 09:08 AM ET

A hovering Toblerone and a silky-white residue join near-misses and strange lights in the British government's latest release of its files on UFO sightings.

Made public Thursday, the files are the fifth collection of records about unidentified flying objects to be released by the Ministry of Defence and The National Archives as part of a project to open the files up to a wider audience.

Thursday's release is the largest so far, totaling more than 6,000 pages of material from 1994 to 2000.

The files include a sighting by a man in Birmingham, England, in March 1997. He said he came home from work at 4 a.m. to see a large blue triangle-shaped craft hovering over his back garden.

It was silent but caused dogs in the neighborhood to bark, the report said. It "shot off and disappeared" after about three minutes, the report said, leaving behind a "silky-white substance" on the treetops, some of which he saved in a jar.

It was not clear what happened to the jar and its contents.

(read more)

Filed under: International • UFO

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February 17, 2010

McQueen left a note and hanged himself, coroner says

Posted: 09:33 AM ET

London, England (CNN) - Fashion designer Alexander McQueen hanged himself in his wardrobe and left a suicide note, a coroner told a London inquest Wednesday.

McQueen, 40, was found dead at his London apartment Thursday. The cause of death was asphyxia and hanging, said coroner's officer Lynda Martindill.

A police officer told the inquest that McQueen's death was "nonsuspicious," according to Martindill.

"The coroner said a note had been found and is being looked at by the police," Martindill said, without offering details about the note.

The coroner adjourned the inquest until April 28 in order to complete the full post-mortem report, she said.

McQueen, who had dressed stars from Sarah Jessica Parker and Nicole Kidman to Rihanna and Sandra Bullock, killed himself nine days after the death of his mother. He expressed his devastation at her death on his Twitter account days before he died.

(Read more)

Filed under: International

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