CrisisWatch No. 33

From the monthly report from International Crisis Group:

Thirteen conflict situations around the world deteriorated in April 2006, according to the new issue of CrisisWatch,* released today. Tensions mounted over Iran’s nuclear program as Tehran defied the UN Security Council’s 28 April deadline to stop enriching uranium. An increasingly bitter rivalry between Hamas and Fatah cast a shadow over the Occupied Territories, while violence between Israelis and Palestinians increased. In Afghanistan, a Taliban “spring offensive” saw increased suicide attacks and bombings in the south and east. A series of bomb attacks in the Sinai peninsula rocked Egypt, which was also shaken by sectarian clashes in Alexandria. In Chad, rebels launched a major attack on the capital, N’Djamena, as the effects of the conflict in Darfur continued to spill over Sudan’s borders. A dramatic upsurge in violence in Sri Lanka prompted fears of a return to full-scale civil war. And a wave of separatist attacks in Kashmir marked the first major violence there since November 2005. The situation also deteriorated in Guinea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar/Burma, Pakistan, the Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste.
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The Coast is Clear, Dumbshit

From AP via WFMU’s Beware of the Blog:

House Speaker Dennis Hastert of Ill., center, gets out of a Hydrogen Alternative Fueled automobile, left, as he prepares to board his SUV, which uses gasoline, after holding a news conference at a local gas station in Washington, Thursday, April 27, 2006 to discuss the recent rise in gas prices. Hastert and other members of Congress drove off in the Hydrogen-Fueled cars only to switch to their official cars to drive the few blocks back to the U.S. Capitol.

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In Iraqi Town, Trainees Are Also Suspects

From the Washington Post:

After midnight on a bare stretch of highway near this ramshackle town last week, Staff Sgt. Jason Hoover saw what looked like a fishing line strung across the road and ordered his Humvee to a screeching halt.

The cord was connected to an old, Russian artillery shell half-buried in the earthen shoulder and rigged to activate with a firm tug. Hoover traced its path nearly a half-mile though a plowed field, over another highway, and across a canal, where he found four Iraqi infrastructure policemen who were supposed to be guarding an oil pipeline. They said they had no idea what the cord was doing there.

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H2O update: full length in the works, South American tour

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Leaders' gun battle threatens Chechen stability

From the Mail & Guardian:

The Moskovski Komsomolets newspaper reported that Alkhanov had banned Kadyrov from bringing more than two of his private army with him into meetings. It reported that Chechen Prime Minister Ramzan Kadyrov had rung President Alu Alkhanov and given him 30 minutes to flee the presidential administration as his men wanted to storm it. Both sides called for reinforcements and there was further shooting before the situation was defused. Kadyrov later rang Alkhanov to apologise, the paper said.

An aide to Kadyrov played down the clash, saying Kadyrov had attended the meeting. “It was simply a fight between two young sporty guys who don’t know how to use their energy and so had a fight,” he said.

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SportsShooter Annual Contest Winners

From SportsShooter:

The lively debate between Villa’s photograph of a goose attacking a high school cross country runner as she nears the finish line and Miralle’s black and while image of a sumo wrestler standing on a up side of an escalator as a gawking woman passes on the down side had Brown and Hanashiro voting for the action photo with Rickman and Skalij opting strongly for the feature.

Skalij: “The escalator (photo) is such an immediate read, you laugh right away. With the goose (photo) you had to read the caption to actually see what’s happening.”

Brown: “I didn’t have to read the caption! That animal’s (obviously) gone wild! I knew immediately that a goose was slapping her. I didn’t have to read the caption!”
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Furilla

From Furilla:

Pink is the new Black. Or is Black the new Pink? No matter what, this Fluffy Pink Friend is always in fashion.

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Extremist web sites come under scrutiny

From The Moscow Times:

It reads like a grade-school math problem: “If there’s five of you, you can jump two people. If there’s seven of you, then you can jump three.”

What follows, though, is not long division but advice on pummeling a “darky” or “slant-eyed monkey” into “porridge” in less than a minute:

“As a rule, one of them will inevitably run away. Typically, the main portion of Russian hate is reserved for only one savage out of several.”

The advice, for skinheads hunting dark-skinned people from Africa, Asia and the Caucasus, can be found in the “Manual of Street Terror,” a sort of “Dummy’s Guide to Hate Crimes” that has been bouncing around dozens of neo-Nazi web sites.

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N2 terror as boulders fly

From the Cape Argus:

Huge rocks were also hurled from a nearby bridge, narrowly missing cars and landing in the middle of the freeway, according to a police source at the scene.

The latest attack follows a similar incident on the N2 yesterday morning, when strikers set a burning barricade to try to halt motorists who were then stoned.

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When Preachers Cuss, video

From WFMU’s Beware of the Blog:
the late, great Dr. Gene Scott. Here’s the good doctor on the attack, throwing out every rule in the televangelist / NPR fundraising handbook, frothing at the mouth and insulting his viewers, one of whom Scott challenges to a duel.

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Manowar

Just noticed that Manowar has an RSS feed (in their news section). Bought Into Glory Ride in 1983 at the Record Exchange, Walnut Creek, California. The same day Jef bought Metallica’s Kill ‘Em All but it was too fast so he sold it to me for $5. Then around that time, bought Mercyful Fate’s Melissa. Set it on fire in my backyard with a couple kids from church.
From the loudest band in the world, Manowar:

“The whole purpose of playing live is to blow people’s heads off,” says Manowar bassist Joey DeMaio . “That’s what we do; that’s the energy of this band. We’re out there to kick ass. We’re out there to turn our gear on and blast. We’re out there to kill. That’s what metal is. Anybody who says otherwise is not playing heavy metal. We will melt your face!”
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This Board is Fast and Danger

So many great things over the years, this is one of the best. Can’t believe I’m just now mentioning Ill Mitch, my favorite Russian-American rapper.

From Ill Mitch:

To person who throw me a fruit to my helmet on street. I know color year and styles of saturn car you drive and I tell my probations officer what you look. If I catch you on the drive by my front I do you a serious danger and I can tell you “one thing” you don’t drive thats “for sure”. You crazy fan.

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Docteur Gecko and the Bus Shelters

From Wooster Collective:

This is by far one of our favorite culture jam projects we’ve seen to date: Three years ago, Docteur Gecko found a new way for ‘hacking’ advertising that you find in bus shelters around the world. What’s unique about what Gecko does is that his modifications can only be seen during the night when the city lights the shelters. However, during daytime the ad modified seems to be untouched.

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First at Chernobyl, Burning Still

From the New York Times, photographer James Hill’s photo essay:

“What they described in newspapers and magazines — it was all rubbish,” said Anatoly Rasskazov, the station photographer who was there that day.

“The ruins that I photographed from the ground and the upper part were retouched so it couldn’t be seen that there was a ray coming from there, that everything was glowing,” he said. “Just a ruin. So as not to get the public up in arms.”

Here. Make sure you check out the multimedia gallery.

Eric Elms / Studio

From Supertouch:

Designer/painter/California dreamer Eric Elms has re-launched his eyecandy-coated site

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Eugene Richards' first essay on VII

Photo Essay on VII from new member Eugene Richards: A Procession of Them: The Plight of the Mentally Disabled, Paraguay:

Few human beings are subject to as much misunderstanding, cruelty, and neglect as the mentally ill and mentally retarded. People with mental disabilities are often abandoned or hidden away in public institutions, which are grossly overcrowded and unsanitary, and which offer little in the way of medical care or training. The developmentally disabled are mixed with the mentally ill, young with the old, unhealthy with the healthy. Deprived of medical and dental care, proper nutrition, education, and counseling, the mentally disabled have little chance of living productively and safely within these institutions, and little opportunity of ever leaving.

Working as a volunteer for a human rights organization I traveled to Asuncion, Paraguay, with the intention of gaining entry into the Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, the country’s single public psychiatric facility. This frighteningly substandard institution warehouses 460 patients, a great many of them ‘abandonados,’ people placed there because they have absolutely nowhere else to go. I photographed patients living out their lives in filthy dormitories, sleeping on bare mattresses, utilizing open, dirty toilets, bathing in ice-cold water. Among the patients being supervised by what can only be called a sub-custodial level of staff were two teenaged boys who’d been held for six years in tiny, unlit, cage-like cells. This 12-image selection, part of a personal, long-term project, received first place in the Issue Reporting Picture Story category at this year’s POYi.

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New Mark Ryden Merch

From Supertouch:

Mark Ryden devotees should be ready to move on two new items about to drop any minute at his personal website.

On sale May 1st, 2006, a limited edition, signed and numbered lithograph poster of “Rosie’s Tea Party.”?No pre-orders or fax orders will be taken for this item. More information will be posted as it becomes available.
Edition Size: 500?Price $200
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Zhirinovsky gives Britain a birthday bashing

From The Moscow Times:

Vladimir Zhirinovsky has called for nuking Japan, dumping radioactive waste in Germany and reoccupying Alaska.

On Tuesday, the ultranationalist leader of the Liberal Democratic Party came up with yet another zinger: Great Britain, he declared, is now Public Enemy No. 1.

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Three-Sided Barricades

From The Moscow Times, Yulia Natynina:

On Oct. 13 there was an uprising in Nalchik, the capital. Men had been dragged out of a mosque as they were praying, and crosses had been shaved on their heads. They couldn’t take it anymore and went on a rampage to kill police.

After the uprising, 2,000 people went through the police meat-grinder, and the rest fled. The bodies of the Muslims have still not been released. One of the widows told me: “I asked my 16-year-old son if he was prepared to die for Allah. He said, ‘I don’t know, Mama, I’d like to live a bit first.'” Now he’s on the run. So that he won’t be killed.

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Andrew D. Bernstein at the Sports Shooter Academy (video)

From SportsShooter:

This is video from NBA senior photographer Andrew D. Bernstein’s presentation at the Sports Shooter Academy 2, held April, 2006 in Southern California. Bernstein has been shooting the NBA since 1981 and has photographed every NBA Finals and NBA All Star game since 1983. His company, Bernstein Associates, Inc., has served as the official photographer for most of Los Angeles’ professional sports teams, including the Lakers, Dodgers, Clippers and Kings. In addition, Bernstein holds the position of Director of Photography for STAPLES Center, the sports and entertainment complex in Los Angeles.

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