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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Getting inside the White House uninvited

Imagine what could be one of the most secure locations in the world ? The White House would be one of these locations, one would think of locations such as those housing huge sums of money, those housing the secret of Coke's formula, and also those housing nuclear weapons; but there should not be any comparison with the White House. The White Houses the most powerful man in the world, who commands a huge army and holds the key to the economic well being of the world. And in such a secure place, the thought that people could gate-crash and get inside may seem incredible, but it is the truth.
This has left the Secret Service totally red-faced, after all, they are responsible for the security of the American President, and the fact that somebody was able to get inside even though they were not invited is a horrible security breach (link to article):

A White House photograph taken Tuesday evening shows Michaele Salahi, wearing a gold-accented red sari, clasping her hands around Obama's right hand as her smiling husband, Tareq, looks on. The dinner was held for visiting Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is smiling next to the president in the photo. An investigation into Tareq and Michaele Salahi has found that Secret Service agents did not follow protocol at a security checkpoint, the Secret Service said.
The Secret Service's statement says that although the Salahis went through magnetometers and other levels of screening, "they should have been prohibited from entering the event entirely." "That failing is ours," the statement said.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Weird laws in England / Great Britain (part 2)

It is illegal to die in the Houses of Parliament
Eating mince pies on Christmas Day is banned
In the UK, a pregnant woman can legally relieve herself anywhere she wants
Picking up abandoned baggage is an act of terrorism.
It is still an offence to beat or shake any carpet rug or mat in any street in the Metropolitan Police District, although you are allowed to shake a doormat before 8am.
Londoners are not allowed to keep a pigsty in the front of their homes.
The Library Offences Act of 1898 makes it illegal to gamble in a library.
The Metropolitan Police Act of 1839 states that no one, “except persons acting in obedience to lawful authority, may discharge any cannon or other firearm of greater calibre than a common fowling-piece, within 300 yards of any dwelling house, to the annoyance of any inhabitant thereof”.
One may not drive a cow while drunk.
In Scotland it is illegal to be a drunk in possession of a cow.
Ban on firing a cannon close to a dwelling house (Met Police Act 1839)
Ban on the use of any slide upon ice or snow (Town Police Clauses Act 1847)
Prohibition of driving cattle through the streets of London (Metropolitan Streets Act 1867)
In London, it is illegal for a person with the Plague to flag down a taxi. No cab may carry corpses or rabid dogs.
It is illegal to sell most goods on a Sunday. It is however legal to sell a carrot. It is also legal to sell it at any price, and to give free gifts with it, such as anything else one might want to buy on a Sunday.

The following are legal though:
- a male may urinate in public, so long as it is on the rear wheel of his motor vehicle, and his right hand is on the vehicle.
- all English males over the age of 14 are to carry out approximately two hours of longbow practice a week, supervised by the local clergy.

Weird laws in England / Great Britain (part 1)

In Hereford, you may not shoot a Welsh person on Sunday with a longbow in the Cathedral Close.
However, in Chester you can only shoot a Welsh person with a bow and arrow inside the city walls and after midnight.
Also in York, excluding Sundays, it is apparently legal to shoot a Scotsman with a bow and arrow.
In Liverpool, it is illegal for a woman to be topless in public unless they are a clerk in a tropical fish store.
It is illegal for a Member of Parliament to enter the House of Commons wearing a full coat of armour.
Sleeping with a consort of the queen is classified as treason, and as such carries a maximum penalty of death (this was debated by the newspapers when there was the controversy about Lady Diana's lovers).
It is unlawful to impersonate an Chelsea pensioner.
The head of any dead whale found on the British coast automatically becomes the property of the King, and the tail of the Queen
It is illegal not to tell the tax man anything you do not want him to know, but legal not to tell him information you do not mind him knowing
It is illegal to enter the Houses of Parliament wearing a suit of armour
No cows may be driven down the roadway between 10 AM and 7 PM unless there is prior approval from the Commissioner of Police.
Those wishing to purchase a television must also buy a license.
All English males over the age 14 are to carry out 2 or so hours of longbow practice a week supervised by the local clergy.
It is illegal for two adult men to have sex in the same house as a third person.
Any person found breaking a boiled egg at the sharp end will be sentenced to 24 hours in the village stocks (enacted by Edward VI).
It is illegal for a lady to eat chocolates on a public conveyance.
It could be regarded an act of treason to place a postage stamp bearing the British king or queen's image upside-down

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

90 year charged for Nazi crimes

What do you do when you get a 90 year who has committed horrendous crimes many many years ago ? These people have not been found till now, and only now is the criminal located, and the person is 90 years old. However, the crimes committed by the Nazis were at all levels, with people indulging in mass killings, others doing smaller number of killings, and yet others involved in facilitating the crimes (and being equally guilty). These killings have been ruled to be genocide in the past, and have always been prosecuted to the fullest extent possible. And even among the murderers, the SS was the one who were the most guilty, and who deserved the maximum punishment (link to article):

A 90-year-old man from northern Germany has been charged with 58 counts of murder for the killings of Jewish forced laborers in the final days of World War Two. The man, who was not named, was a member of the feared SS serving in what is now Austria when he allegedly carried out the crimes, the state court in Duisburg, western Germany, said Tuesday. A state office responsible for the prosecution of Nazi war crimes filed the charges.
That day or the next, the court said, the man made other Jewish forced laborers who were "exhausted and no longer able to walk" to march near the town of Jabing, which was then in Germany and is now part of modern-day Austria. He then "insidiously" shot them from the back, it added.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Corruption even for babies in maternity ward

If there was such a thing such as the height of corruption, then it is in the case where parents get their baby soon after birth. However, in some hospitals, it seems like the staff will not leave even the newborn baby alone, and need money for allowing parents to get a glimpse of the baby, for getting its clothes changed, and so on (link to article):

HYDERABAD: Babies born at government maternity hospitals in city are being delivered to parents with a price tag, threats extra: You can get a glimpse of your baby boy/girl only if you cough up Rs 500/Rs 400 respectively; at some hospitals it costs even more.
According to patients, bargaining only prolongs the agony because these offenders rarely offer a discount. And there’s never an off-season for harassment. “My wife delivered a baby boy today. The hospital attendants and aaya refused to give me my child unless I paid. They refused Rs 200 that I offered and, in the end, I was forced to shell out Rs 500,” said G Srinivas while he waited outside the post-operative ward at Petlaburj.

British company charging tax for toilet breaks

You would have read all about those jokes where companies charge individuals for using the toilet as a part of cost cutting; probably you would have laughed thinking that such a thing is impossible in the real world. Well, guess what, nothing is impossible. Here is a company that has actually implemented such a policy (link to article), and obviously employees are unhappy:

A company in UK has come up with an "outrageous" plan to save expenses – workers are charged on the amount of time they spend in the restroom and their salary is deducted accordingly. Although, Dunbia, the meat supplying company says the scheme was implemented due to health and safety issues and an allowance was being given to cover the "toilet tax, the employees are disappointed that it is costing them £30 a week to answer the nature's call."
"Dunbia is making money every time a worker visits the loo and that money is coming out of the workers' wage packets. It's outrageous that in 2009 workers have to endure the indignity of clocking out for toilet breaks," Cathy Rudderforth, regional officer for the Unite union, said.

Monk, successful as a band rocker, quits blaming the devil

What a story. A monk goes to see a Metallica concert (not a classical musical concert), and gets impressed by the 'music'. He remains a monk (including wearing a habit), but also becomes a member of a heavy metal band, being the lead singer, is not retiring. Given the curiosity value of a monk becoming the lead singer of a heavy metal band, he became famous. He is not retiring because of any disputes, but because it looks like the head-banging affected him, and is claiming that he is retiring because of the devil. The devil apparently made him famous to break him away from his friends, and from his band members, and hence the retirement (link to article):

The white-bearded Cesare Bonizzi, a Capuchin who recorded CDs for a punk label and was the lead singer for the band Fratello Metallo (Metal Brother), said the devil was up to his usual mischief.
"The devil has separated me from my managers, risked making me break up with my band colleagues and also risked making me break up with my fellow monks. He lifted me up to the point where I become a celebrity and now I want to kill him," the monk said in his farewell video.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Being lashed for drinking alcohol

A lot of you would have seen revelries and festivals in many countries. Along with the carnival type of atmosphere, alcohol consumption is an intrinsic part of such celebrations. However, such is not the case everywhere. Alcohol is considered illegal and against religion in many Islamic countries, and people indulging in alcohol can be punished. This happened earlier in Malaysia, and now in the African country of Sudan, a Nigerian footballer was convicted of driving while drunk, and got a double sentence - one for driving drunk, and the other for drinking alcohol (link to article):

The 20-year-old forward, who joined the northern Sudan outfit in October 2008, was found guilty of drinking alcohol and driving under the influence by an east Khartoum court. Alcohol is illegal in the Muslim north of Sudan according to Article 78 of the penal code, although it is not in the semi-autonomous and largely non-Muslim south.
The forward's lawyer has appealed against the punishment for the player who had previously admitted in interviews that he had struggled to adapt to the different culture and religious life in Sudan.

Being lashed for drinking alcohol seems pretty weird, although being punished for driving while drunk is common and should be enforced.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Setting up a pro-rape group on Facebook

Rape is one of the instruments related to subjugation of women, and is viewed by society as an abomination. Rape is supposed to be such an insult to a woman that in most countries, the name of the rape victim is not reported, and the perpetrator is sentenced to long terms in prison. In such a situation, one would expect educated (and from premiere institutions) young men to be very careful, and yet you have a case where these young men created a pro-rape and anti-consent group on Facebook and it was only when it got controversial that this group was closed (link):

Members of an elite Australian college linked to Sydney University provoked outrage on Tuesday after it was revealed they had set up a “pro-rape” group on social networking site Facebook. The page, set up by mostly past and present students at the all-male residential college St Paul’s, called itself “Define Statutory” and described itself as “pro-rape, anti-consent”, local media reports said. It has since been taken down.
Sydney University vice-chancellor Michael Spence said he was “appalled by the reported behaviour and apparent attitudes of some students”. “There can be no excuses for sexual assault,” he said in a statement. “The university and the residential colleges have been working hard to bring about a change in attitudes and behaviour. Obviously we still have much to do.”

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