Saturday, December 31, 2011

WORLD_ 2012 Doomsday Predictions Debunked by NASA

2012 Doomsday Predictions Debunked by NASA

Charles Q. Choi, Contributor
January 1, 2012, 11:23 am

2012 Doomsday Predictions Debunked by NASA

On Dec. 21, 2012, many doomsday believers fear the apocalypse — anything from a rogue planet smashing into us to our world spinning end over end. However, the world should expect nothing more next year than the winter solstice, the longest night of the year, NASA says.

Many people point to the end of the Mayan Long Count calendar on Dec. 21, 2012 as evidence of the coming apocalypse, but astronomers have been quick to stress that there is nothing to be concerned about.

According to the ancient Mayan calendar, next year's winter solstice marks the end of a 144,000-day cycle. This cycle, which begins at the mythical Maya creation date, has already been repeated 12 times. The 13th will end in 2012, capping a full 5,200-year Mayan cycle of creation.

This date has long been shrouded in mystery, with many claiming that it will bring destruction to our planet.

Rogue planet Nibiru?

One fear is that a rogue planet that has been dubbed "Nibiru" or "Planet X" is supposedly aimed at Earth. Self-proclaimed Nibiru expert Nancy Lieder, who says she is in contact with the aliens from Zeta Reticuli, first said Nibiru would cause widespread disaster in May 2003, only to change it to Dec. 21, 2012.

There is, however, no evidence that Nibiru is real.

"Nibiru is ridiculous because it doesn't exist — it never existed as anything other than a figment of the imagination by pseudo-scientists who don't seem bothered by a complete lack of evidence," astronomer Don Yeomans, manager of NASA's Near-Earth Object program office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., told

There is no basis for the claim that it might be lurking behind the sun, as it could not have hidden from observation until now, Yeomans said. If such a planet was headed toward Earth by Dec. 21, 2012, it would already be visible to the naked eye.

Cosmic alignments?

There are also concerns that planets or stars might line up in ways that will transform Earth. For instance, some theorists claim that from our point of view, the sun will cross in front of the plane of our galaxy on Dec. 21. However, the sun already does this twice a year, Yeomans said.

In fact, the sun will eventually cross the plane of our galaxy. However, the sun is about 67 light-years from the galactic plane, so it should take several million years to do so, Yeomans said. Even then, when our solar system finally does cross the plane, nothing special will occur, he added.

Some also claim that gravitational effects from planets lining up with each other will somehow affect Earth. However, there is no planetary alignment due on Dec. 21, 2012, "and if there were, it wouldn't cause any problems," Yeomans said.

The only bodies that have any significant gravitational impact on Earth are the moon and the sun, effects we see as the tides. Tidal effects from other bodies in our solar system are negligible at best, and in any case, we have experienced them for millions of years without notice.

Solar storms?

Solar storms — deluges of energetic particles from the sun — do happen, usually waxing and waning in cycles that last roughly 11 years. When these charged particles collide with Earth, they can trigger auroras and damage satellites and power lines, although not really inflicting any lasting harm, Yeomans said.

There are accounts of a solar "super-storm" slamming into Earth in 1859. Although that caused relatively little damage back then, there are concerns that such a storm might cause far more harm now that our world is more dependent on electronics.

Yet, there is no evidence that such a super-storm will happen on Dec. 21 of next year, Yeomans said.

Flip-flopping Earth?

There is some alarm that 2012 could see the flipping of Earth's poles — either the planet's geographical poles, which mark the Earth's axis of rotation, or its magnetic poles, which our compasses point toward.

But, there is no reason to fear such an occurrence, scientists said, because the moon stabilises our planet's spin. The planet's magnetic poles do flip, but over periods of about 500,000 years, and not suddenly, "but over thousands of years," with no evidence of a flip on Dec. 21, 2012, Yeomans said.

Even if the planet's magnetic poles do flip, no real problems would occur, other than the inconvenience of us having to change our compasses from north to south, he added.

Cosmic impacts?

The Earth is always vulnerable to impacts by comets and asteroids, but giant impacts are rare, with the last major collision taking place 65 million years ago, ending the Age of Dinosaurs.

Still, astronomers do monitor the sky for near-Earth objects.

"There are no known near-Earth objects in 2012 that present a credible risk to Earth," Yeomans said. "None, zero, zip, nada."

But despite evidence to the contrary, doomsdays theorists have garnered attention, and similar prophecies will continue to proliferate unless scientists become more involved in bringing truth to these outlandish claims, Yeomans said.

Mounting hysteria regarding these unfounded doomsday predictions "will improve only if scientists get more engaged in debunking pseudoscience," he said.

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New Year's Eve Celebrations_ Sydney welcomes 2012 with a bang

Sydney welcomes 2012 with a bang

By Miles Godfrey, AAP
January 1, 2012, 7:25 am

Sydneysiders and visitors have welcomed the new year with an extravagant pyrotechnic show

A giant four-coloured rainbow beamed from Sydney Harbour Bridge as the city's extravagant fireworks displays kicked off New Year's Eve celebrations across the world.

The symbol of hope and renewal formed the centrepiece of the spectacular $6.5 million show, in which seven tonnes of pyrotechnics rocketed into a perfectly clear night sky.

About 1.5 million people watched from vantage points across the harbour as multicoloured clouds, bow ties, spirals, hearts, smiley faces and rectangles turned the sky into a riot of light and colour.

Police were happy with the behaviour of crowds, although a man aged in his early 20s was taken to hospital after impaling his thigh on a fence he tried to jump at the Botanic Gardens.

NSW Assistant Police Commissioner Mark Murdoch said 57 arrests made, mainly for relatively low-level crimes.

A 27-year-old man was arrested for shining a laser pen at a police helicopter at McMahons Point.

There were about 40 arrests during the same period last year.

An estimated global audience of more than one billion watched on television.

Creative director Marc Newson's theme of Time to Dream - which he said came with a message of hope for a better year ahead - was popular among those in the Botanic Gardens.

"It's absolutely inspiring. It's given me a lump in my throat," Miranda Fiske told AAP.

Connor Burstow, an Irish tourist, added: "It's a great theme really, spectacular, thought provoking and awe inspiring."

One person very much hoping for a better year ahead was homeless man David Saluzinski, who spent the night watching the fireworks on Pyrmont Bridge.

"I got made homeless earlier this year, so I'm absolutely hoping next year is better for me. It can't get much worse," he told AAP.

"The thing is everyone has been very generous to me. Even tonight I've had people coming up to me giving me $5 notes and wishing me happy new year."

The celebrations were set to a soundtrack of all-Australian music, including artists Josh Abrahams and David Carbone.

Other effects included never before seen cloud-shaped fireworks, butterflies and strobing golden waterfalls.

The words Welcome to Sydney were projected on to the Harbour Bridge pylons in 16 languages, said to represent the city's migrant and tourist population.

Chinese immigrant Chi Smith said it was an inclusive move.

"I loved the whole thing from start to finish," she told AAP.

"I know my parents are watching on TV and they'll love the fact Sydney's showing it welcomes foreigners."

Revellers began bagging the best vantage spots around the harbour the previous night, armed with tents, eskys of drinks, enough food to supply a small army and a party spirit that more than made up for the booze ban in force across much of the night.

Earlier, thousands lined Darling Harbour and other precincts for the early fireworks, a traditional curtain raiser and warm-up for the midnight celebrations.

A pyrotechnic waterfall cascaded from the Sydney Harbour Bridge as the family-friendly early display lit the sky above the harbour at 9pm (AEDT).

Hundreds of thousands looked as a 10-minute volley of fireworks was launched from barges, city buildings and the Harbour Bridge.

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Ý Kiến- Phê Bình- Thảo Luận qua bài viết "Syria accused of reneging on Arab League pledge to release 700 prisoners"

Syria accused of reneging on Arab League pledge to release 700 prisoners

Syria's government has gone back on a pledge to release hundreds of political prisoners from its jails, according to a human rights group.

In a renewed show of strength, demonstrators, young and old, protesting against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad march through the streets of Ma'arrat al-Numan, south of Aleppo, on Friday Photo: REUTERS

By Nick Meo, in Beirut
3:59PM GMT 31 Dec 2011

The government had promised to release more than 700 detainees from jails last week as part of a peace plan drawn up by the Arab League.

Under the plan monitors have also been allowed to observe confrontations on Syria's streets between protesters and security forces. More than 5,000 people have died since massive demonstrations against the regime started in March, including large numbers of protesters killed by security forces.

Thousands are also believed to have been detained, and the names of several hundred of them were given to the government with a request to let them out.

But despite agreeing, only 13 have been released, according to Avaaz, an organisation which monitors Syria through a network of campaigners operating outside the clutches of the notorious secret police.

"Our information is that only 13 named prisoners have been released," said spokesman Will Davies.

Related Articles

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_ Syria: regime forces 'fire nail bombs' as protesters flood streets - 30 Dec 2011
_ Arab League monitor: I saw snipers - 31 Dec 2011
_ Syria: opposition prepares mass protests - 30 Dec 2011
_ Syrians stage mass anti-Assad protests - 30 Dec 2011
_ Protester executed by Syrian security forces - 29 Dec 2011

"Making this promise to release more than 700 is another case of regime stalling tactics as the regime plays for time and tries to placate the Arab League."

If the Arab League decides that the Syrian government is not sticking to its agreement, greater international pressure on the regime is likely to follow.

At least six people were killed in attacks on protests on Saturday, including one in Damascus, according to the Local Coordination Committees, an activist group. A day earlier, regime forces A day earlier, at least 27 were killed.

An amateur video released late on Friday showed one Arab League observer telling protesters in the southern city of Daraa, where the uprising began, that he saw snipers with "our own eyes and we call upon (Syrian) authorities to withdraw them."

The observer, wearing an orange jacket and speaking with a north African Arab accent, is heard saying if they snipers are not withdrawn within 24 hours "there will be other measures."

Human Rights Watch has also drawn attention to the plight of prisoners, claiming that the regime has hidden hundreds from monitors in military bases where they cannot go under the terms of their agreement with the government.

The Arab League mission has been criticised by anti-regime activists as toothless, but vast numbers of protesters have turned out on Syria's streets since the monitors started work on Tuesday.

Protesters have said they are determined to use a chance to show their strength of feeling, and many hope that the presence of monitors will protect them from vicious attacks by security forces who routinely gun down dozens of people.

Activists claim that as many as half a million people demonstrated on Friday throughout the country, perhaps the biggest number ever, including 150,000 in Damascus which until now has only seen small demonstrations.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based watchdog group, claimed at least 32 people died on Friday including 25 protesters who were shot dead. They said security forces used "nail bombs" against crowds.

Armed supporters of the demonstrators said on Saturday that they have suspended attacks on security forces while the monitors are in Syria.

On Saturday two of the main opposition groups attempted to show a united front and draw up a transition plan for after President Assad's fall.

The opposition Syrian National Council (SNC) and the National Coordination Body for Democratic Change in Syria (NCB) signed a deal late on Friday.

A statement from the NCB said the deal "sets out the political and democratic rules for the transitional period."

Unlike Libya, whose revolutionaries managed to quickly form a reasonably united and coherent government-in-waiting, opponents of President Assad have been fragmented and lacking in a convincing strategy.


Showing 9 comments

24 minutes ago
butcher Assad`s armed Shabbiha thugs getting help from the Islamist Hizballa by supplying weapons and Hizballa fighters and some Imported Quds force from his friends the Ayatolla of Islamic Iran and those Ayatolla and the head of those gang Khaminii realesed an Islamic Fatwa to support butcher Assad the "secular" ??

_______ canadiansyrian
21 minutes ago
oh , forgot to mention Islamist Hizballa`s fatwa as well coming strait from God through Nasralla the leader of the terorist group Hizballa in Lebanon to,, the " secular" Assad !!??.

Today 06:39 PM
The Syrian Observatory has been described as the London Office of the Muslim Brotherhood. It is not a credible source of independent information. ----------- Certainly Syria has been a one party state with significant repression of those involved in political activity outside the orbit of the Baath party. This however is quite different from the alleged mass murder of unarmed demonstrators. Neither Webster Tarpley nor Thiery Meussen (who have both been in Syria) have found any evidence of this; nor so far have The Arab League monitors. Syria is suffering from an armed insurgency mainly of elements from outside Syria. The question is are agent provocateurs killing innocent civilians. Certainly the suggestion that the government is using suicide bombers to kill its own security forces or that a modern state is using nail bombs is frankly ludicrous. The DT and other UK media appear to be reporting unverified allegations as fact and therefore cannot be believed.

______ hatebigots
Today 06:44 PM
Syrian media (controlled by Assad) fooled you completely, huh?
You parroted EVERYTHING its says...

Today 06:11 PM
Assad prays to Allah for harmony and now uses his power and religion to use Syrian citizens for sniper practice. This man is a graduate from the North Korean and Hugo Chavez luancy College of dictators. Praise Allah! Virgins are awaiting his Victims in Allah's great heaven. Lunacy/Terrorist Activities
Allah! Allah! Assad and North Korea the Nations of Hugo Chavez

Today 05:26 PM
Arab spring has certainly generated enough fresh regugees and immigrants for us here in the UK but thats okay we can afford it and their really a friendly "peaceful" bunch. They can just bypass all other safe states just to come here, I wonder why?

So what if we don't look after our returning squaddies at least we're providing everything for free for all those poor "refugees" and not a terrorist amongst them.

But that's practical but evil and twisted me for you.


Today 04:42 PM
Arab promise is an oxymoron

Today 04:29 PM
Nothing new in here the talk & the lies machine still running.

Today 04:27 PM
Leave the Arabs alone in that wonderful theme park called "Arabland" along with the other called "Muslimland"


What do you think ?

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WORLD NEWS_ Syria must remove snipers: Arab observers

Syria must remove snipers: Arab observers

The Sydney Morning Herald
December 31, 2011 - 7:34PM


Arab League observers who are inspecting hotspots across Syria have called on the government to remove "immediately" snipers from rooftops of buildings, a source close to the delegation says.

"The observers saw the snipers with their own eyes in Douma," the source told news agency DPA, referring to a restive town on the outskirts of the Syrian capital, Damascus.

The Syrian government on Friday positioned snipers on rooftops and deployed forces across the dissident areas after opposition leaders called for mass protests, according to activists.

The observers are in Syria to verify the government's compliance with an Arab League peace plan, which includes removing military hardware from civilian areas and releasing detainees from prisons.

More than 5000 people have been killed in the Syrian government's crackdown on a pro-democracy uprising since it started in mid-March, according to the United Nations.

Activists in Idlib, near the Syrian-Turkish border, said that the Syrian army had hidden tanks as a team of observers was inspecting the province.

"They pulled the tanks from the main streets as the team was passing by the area. They brought them back after the monitors left," Omar Idlibi, a Syrian activist said.

"This regime is manoeuvring to cover up realities on the ground," Idlibi added.

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Friday, December 30, 2011

New Year's celebrations_ Ý Kiến- Phê Bình- Thảo Luận qua bài viết "Countdown to a city spectacular"

Countdown to a city spectacular

Anne Wright From: Herald Sun
December 31, 2011 12:00AM

Expect a fireworks spectacular in Melbourne on New Year's Eve. Source: HWT Image Library

PYROTECHNISTS primed seven tonnes of fireworks while police talked tactics yesterday as the city braced for tonight's spectacular New Year's celebrations.

Melbourne City Council has spent $400,000 to ensure the city skyline erupts at midnight.

More than 10,000 fireworks will shoot from 16 locations, including 11 CBD building rooftops.

But police will be on the lookout for another kind of fireworks.

Extra officers will patrol the streets tonight, and a public order response team will be poised to deal with any unruly behaviour.

In the no-alcohol zones of St Kilda beach and the city centre, they will be issuing fines for drinking in public.

And police units will be stationed in hot spots such as the CBD, St Kilda, Fitzroy, Port Melbourne and Chapel St.

Assistant Commissioner Steve Fontana said police had also been deployed to popular holiday spots at the Surf Coast, Phillip Island, and larger regional cities, and on the train and tram systems.

"We're not just policing the streets. We're also policing the transport system, we're policing the waterways, and we're also policing the roads," he said.

Howard and Sons, the pyrotechnics company behind the fireworks, has been developing its display for nine months, working with council to design a show suited to Melbourne's skyline.

Director Andrew Howard said all fireworks had been designed electronically and were linked to 16 computers controlling the show.

"All will be revealed at midnight.

"There are a few surprises in there, and we'll just keep them up our sleeves at the moment," he said.

"Even I'm looking forward to the show. There's a lot of stuff I haven't seen before."

The Metropolitan Fire Brigade warned against the use of illegal fireworks in back yards, especially in light of predicted soaring temperatures.

And Metro will be checking the clock at Flinders St Station before the countdown to midnight, after its timekeeping was called into question this week.

A Metro spokesman said the clock had been as far as two hours ahead and regularly behind this week, so staff would be on standby to adjust it if needed.

Free public transport will run all night for party-goers.

But Acting Premier Peter Ryan warned troublemakers to stay away from the city.

"We do have an element of course, unfortunately, who insist upon causing trouble when these occasions arise. And I just say to those people, don't make fools of yourselves and don't spoil the night for others," he said.

Federation Square said it was expecting 100,000 revellers, pushing visits for the year above 9 million.


57 comments on this story

gt of Hoppers Crossing Posted at 12:41 AM Today
Lets hope they dont telecast Sydney's fireworks instead on ch 9 like every year.

Comment 1 of 57

Jason Posted at 12:43 AM Today
I just find it an absolute joke that there are legal and illegal fireworks. As if people are not going to set off rockets etc on News year Eve for the morons that bothered to buy them. It is a bit like saying the authorities can drink but you cant. Either ban them outright or not. I personally think they are a total waste of my taxpayers money. A thrill for what a few minutes

Comment 2 of 57

Bal of Melbourne Posted at 1:22 AM Today
What an absolute waste of tax-payers money

Comment 3 of 57

Gina of Melbourne Posted at 1:56 AM Today
Big deal!! Waste of taxpayers money for 1 night.

Comment 4 of 57

Old Timer of Melbourne Posted at 4:27 AM Today
What a waste of ratepayers money. And the tax payer cops it also, with all the overtime for police who should be catching real criminals, and not drunk morons who will go to watch the fireworks. There are other ways to have a good time without fireworks. If you want fireworks, go to Sydney.

Comment 5 of 57

Jim of Melbourne Posted at 6:12 AM Today
Waste would not miss fereworks.

Comment 6 of 57

Fred Posted at 7:09 AM Today
".....while police talked tactics as the city braced for New Year's celebrations." How sad that we have to 'brace' for celebrations in a purportedly civilised nation. Can't we have fun anymore without alcohol, drugs, assaults and robberies, vomit and rubbish on the streets and stabbings? So very good to see the government and the police getting firm and saying, have fun but if you step out of line you will be arrested. But really, we should be able to celebrate without need for coppers to do any more than help lost people find their way. The behaviour of many of today's younger people really is quite crass when you look at it. Have fun people, but behave and consider others and leave the streets and parks clean.

Comment 7 of 57

Jac of Melbourne Posted at 8:30 AM Today
I love Melbourne and the fire works. Well done City of Melbourne. I will be there tonight

Comment 8 of 57

Safa of the NAVY BLUES Posted at 8:49 AM Today

Comment 9 of 57

Anth Posted at 9:01 AM Today
LIGHTEN UP people! its NEW YEARS EVE! responsibly :)

Comment 10 of 57

Mark of Melb. Posted at 9:17 AM Today
Will probably be asleep by 10pm.

Comment 11 of 57

Angie001 of Keilor Posted at 9:25 AM Today
I'm sure the suburban fireworks bogans will still be letting fireworks off a month from New Year's.

Comment 12 of 57

Zappy of Geelong Posted at 9:26 AM Today
I'm with everyone else. Not only is this a wicked waste of money but a laser light show would be about a bazillion times better. Fireworks are dead boring.

Comment 13 of 57

Greg Posted at 9:39 AM Today
AND of course as usual .... On TV the only place that exists on NYE is bloody Sydney !!!! I have NO interest at all in going into the city at anytime let alone NYE but I'd like to be able to see the fireworks on the box but nooooooooooooo ONLY Sydney has fireworks IF you are stupid enough to believe the Sydneycentric TV stations !!!!!!!!

Comment 14 of 57

eva of melbourne Posted at 9:44 AM Today
So glad that WE CAN AFFORD TO SEND UP IN SMOKE MILLIONS OF DOLLARS GONE IN A FLASH! I hope that none of decision makers need to rely on HOSPITALS let alone on the FRANKSTONE hospital where the sick are dying of joy at such display!!! After all FUN & GAMES take PRIORITY in the minds of the Educated along with the non educated equally it seems!! How did this world of ours ever SURVIVED without BURNING UP ITS FORCEABLY COLLECTED MONEY TO BE USED AS THE WHIM TAKES THE ONES ENTRUSTED WITH IT FOR THE "BENEFIT" OF THE COMMUNITY????????

Comment 15 of 57

Sam S of Melbourne Posted at 9:48 AM Today
Melbourne needs 1 location for a serious fireworks display rather than having it spread out everywhere. We used to have SKYSHOW at Albert Park lake 20 years ago which was synchronised to music and an amazing family event. Bring THAT back for New Years!

Comment 16 of 57

cb of Melbourne Posted at 9:48 AM Today
Total waste of taxpayer money in the face of massive utility rises, and hot weather, and the fact that it frightens people's pets, and did I mention utility rises? What is the point? I never go because I have to stay home to make sure that the local idiot population don't set off fireworks near my horses, and frighten the life out of them. It happened last year.

Comment 17 of 57

rosehappy with free fire works of chelsea Posted at 9:49 AM Today
Lighten up all you sticks in mud, my family and friends went last year it was a great and free night out to have , yes it was hot but there was heaps of shade and heaps of free water for all , lots offree stuff for the kids to do,so pack up your blankets, food ,and family go to the fire works and have agreat , happy and safe night, ohh the trains are free after 6pm tonight ,its not a waste of $$$$ it just a greatfree night out

Comment 18 of 57

Me of Melb. Posted at 9:59 AM Today
It is boring!!! Just old stuff repeats every year...

Comment 19 of 57

Greg of Melbourne Posted at 10:01 AM Today
Has anyone seen the film Land Of The Dead? Zombies, dumb as they are, love to watch fireworks. Melbournian bogans who love their fireworks, the grand prix and new sporting stadiums will be next complaining about a lack of hospital beds and the government wasting money.

Comment 20 of 57

Johno Posted at 10:15 AM Today
the amount of revenue generated by events like these for the city of Melbourne totally eclipses the spend. Those saying waste of money are probably the same who bah humbug Christmas as well. I for one will enjoy the free entertainment put on by my city and for the enjoyment of all.

Comment 21 of 57

joe from the bush Posted at 10:15 AM Today
And tonight is special compared to every other night because ...? it's a number on the roman calender...ho hum,big deal the idea of a laser display is a beauty,flick a switch get a dazzling show for a few kilowatt hours of electricty flick the switch again,done and waste,no fumes,no disgusting smell and best of all no risk of a bush fire at all ...makes sense so obviously it wont happen....

Comment 22 of 57

Mark of LAX Posted at 10:18 AM Today
Im in LA this year an will miss it, booooo. Looks like a good one for Melbourne this year. Funny note, you know how we all complain in Melbourne that the Sydney fireworks get all the attention. Well guess what they play over here on TV, yep the Sydney fireworks!!! Cant escape them, but still makes you proud that an Aussie city is being beamed out across the world on new year. Happy new yea Melbourne

Comment 23 of 57

Jay of Narre Warren South Posted at 10:30 AM Today
Those people complaining about fireworks, GET A LIFE it's only one night a year to celebrate the new year. Those people who have pets maybe have them looked after or in a cage until fireworks have finished. It's great that over 500,000 people come into city. Well done city of Melbourne

Comment 24 of 57

Nappy of Nanny state Posted at 10:35 AM Today
Can the police/council/government please make statements telling us how to behave! ? Having too much fun could of course have terrible consequences plus I'm a simpleton and need to be told how to s ranch myself!

Comment 25 of 57

millie of Melbourne Posted at 10:40 AM Today
Albeit a short version, but the Melbourne fireworks are also shown on TV.

Comment 26 of 57

jen from southbank of southbank Posted at 10:49 AM Today
Melbourne, I love you. You embrace the spirit. I am proud to be a melbournian and wouldn't miss the fireworks for the world. As for Sydney, who? where? Melbourne is the world's most livable city!! Happy 2012 Australia.

Comment 27 of 57

gran of melb suburbs unfortunately for us. Posted at 10:52 AM Today
Stupid stupid stupid, terrifying the dogs, cats,bats, possums, birds and for what? an excuse for alcoholic idiots to congregate and beat each other up. Taxpayers money down the drain, what an equation. Doyle you are not leading by rational example, banning a handful of decent protestors a month or so back and now ENCOURAGING thousands of louts to gather ??????????? beyond belief.

Comment 28 of 57

Barry of Mont Albert Posted at 10:58 AM Today
The profits are made only by the bars and takeaway franchises lining the fireworks area. The City of Melbourne spends millions, and the cost of police, extra hospital admission, the inevitable messy clean-up and (any?) extra transport is born largely by the taxpayers, whether we like it or not. The fireworks are not "free".

Comment 29 of 57

Dingo Simon of Outback Qld Posted at 11:00 AM Today
All the comments here have failed to pick up on what I think is most important. Has anyone realised of the absolute fear and terror that fills all the animals, pets and wildlife when their night sky explodes into a visual and audio nightmare? 100's of dogs scramble in frantic panic trying to escape their homes. Native wildlife and birds crash into each other in the air as they fly around in total panic not understanding that once again man has decided his right to destroy the environment over rules the sanctity and safety of out precious wildlife. And all this for what ? Wasted money gone up in smoke, wasted resources spent on Police and security just to have a light show that last for a few minutes? Millions $$$$ will have been wasted this night for no viable return, when the money should be put to Hospitals.

Comment 30 of 57

kevin Posted at 11:24 AM Today
Are all the fire works subject to the carbon tax?

Comment 31 of 57

Louise of Ballarat Posted at 11:27 AM Today
$400,0000 would do more good spent in hospitals and education,

Comment 32 of 57

Caroline of Victoria Posted at 11:39 AM Today
Living in a seaside area tonight is the most dreaded night of the year. We will have drunks in the street all night, fireworks going off from before dark onwards, the children/babies won't sleep, the dogs will be terrified not to mention dangerous drivers on normally quiet streets. We are a long way from being a civilised society and making our world heaven on earth.

Comment 33 of 57

Maria of Oak Sth Posted at 11:49 AM Today
Thunder and lighting is just as frightning for animals and wildlife. NYE only happens once a year....everyone needs to lighten up, stop being so political and dramatic and enjoy the evening and the entertainment provided for us...I will be!

Comment 34 of 57

Lance of Melbourne Posted at 11:53 AM Today
Colour and Movement. That's all it needs to keep them all happy. That and a non stop party culture. It's a terrible reflection on life today.

Comment 35 of 57

Malcolm of Kings Park Posted at 11:57 AM Today
Hope everyone has happy and safe new year I am at home sick, was attacked december 15th 1999 I raised two kids alone working but it's all catching up with me now. The headaches and sore neck are worse all the time. Hopefully start of new year and try fresh beginning again. have to be more positive to get through it all :)

Comment 36 of 57

Shaun of Melbourne Posted at 11:59 AM Today
wow, the kill joys with no life are out in force today going by the comments. I think its a fantastic event. I pay taxes too and I think this great for the life blood of Melbourne.

Comment 37 of 57

Mr Concerned Posted at 12:08 PM Today
"while police talked tactics yesterday as the city braced for tonight's spectacular New Year's celebrations." - I was going to go to the fireworks with my family but this headline makes it sound like we'll be heading into a riot situation. I'm thinking now we should stay at home and comfort our 15 pets from the noise. What year is it anyway I forgot how to think for myself ages ago?

Comment 38 of 57

Nick K of Broadmeadows Victoria Posted at 12:11 PM Today
Happy Knew year everyone and the Heraldsun team wishing a peace around the world and healtyness Malcome im sorry to here that i was the same i was attacked broud daylight for money to many crime happpening no were safe anymore

Comment 39 of 57

BLOOP Posted at 12:27 PM Today
to be fair, they waste tax payers money every day.

Comment 40 of 57

leave me out Posted at 12:28 PM Today
Disgraceful waste of money. A few years ago, Melbourne didn't do this cracker night then it became a case of "monkey see, monkey do," copying other cities. People who support it shouldn't whinge about not being able to get a hospital bed because this is the funding priority. Some lucky company gets millions for one night. Pity all the animals, including those in the zoo. They suffer for human stupidity.

Comment 41 of 57

Trevor of G-Town Posted at 12:40 PM Today
Yawn! Bogans have been letting them off for over a week now in my neighborhood!

Comment 42 of 57

big al of victoria Posted at 1:05 PM Today
Doyle is nothing but a show pony, from sending money up in smoke with a bang to financing moronic street artists with their 'art'.

Comment 43 of 57

Cara Posted at 1:46 PM Today
The affect that this has on Melbourne's wildlife and domestic animals is appaling. The lack of responsibility shown by those letting off íllegal'fireworks in the suburbs is deplorable. Speaking personally, my dog gets so frightened that he, along with many other dogs, get given medication at events like these in an atempt to reduce the physical stress caused by his anxiety. The thing is though, that it has to be given one hour prior to the fireworks starting to have an affect. If locals let off firecrackers prior to this, I cannot give my dog the meds he needs to help keep him calm. Given after the anxiety kicks in will not have the desired affect. Please don't let off fire crackers tonight, and if you belive this is wrong like so many people seem to, for whatever reason then speak up and have this stopped alltogether. Happy and Safe New Year.

Comment 44 of 57

Sabra Posted at 2:07 PM Today
I just don't understand the celebration of a new year on the Julian calender? What's there to celebrate? It's just like any other night. The Julian calender is a traditional myth used to record time-lines and history. It's not like man evolved with the Julian Calender as a law of nature. Why waste money on pyrotechnics when we have serious education and healthcare funding shortages?

Comment 45 of 57

nev Posted at 2:13 PM Today
What a waste..and as for celebrating no this city a bashing, stabbing, or robbery are the risks you take.

Comment 46 of 57

Centurion of Mexico Posted at 2:39 PM Today
Why do we have these fireworks??? I thought we were supposed to be worried about pollution? I'll believe all the guff about carbon pollution when discretionary things like fireworks displays and night sport (under lights) are banned by governments because they cause unnecessary pollution. Until then the Labor Carbon Tax is just a sneaky tax and has nothing to do with pollution.

Comment 47 of 57

eai melbourne Posted at 2:39 PM Today
Spare a thought for all the stressed and frightened animals tonight, NYE is just another night so why all the expensive fuss. I don't mean to be a stick in the mud, but seriously.....

Comment 48 of 57

Andrew of Mt Evelyn Posted at 2:44 PM Today
At least Richard Wilkens has his one gig for the year. Shame that Sydney is stuck for ideas and will have to use that old bridge again!!

Comment 49 of 57

Charlie of Melbourne Posted at 2:54 PM Today
$400,000, what a waste of money and yet there are people that can't even get meal for the night, and on top of that they scare the living daylights of dogs and cat's, my poor cat is so scared of the noise that i have to hold him next to me and fold his ears down so he can't hear as much, and clamp my hand over his eyes.

Comment 50 of 57

Jill of Melbourne Posted at 3:05 PM Today
Who was the bright spark who invented fire works?

Comment 51 of 57

Keely mitchell of melbourne Posted at 3:30 PM Today
If they going to waste money like this they could at least show melbourne un like last year

Comment 52 of 57

Shaun of Sunbury Posted at 3:50 PM Today
Why go to the CBD to watch fireworks? I'm going to my brother-in-laws in Taylors Hill.Every year we sit in the spa/pool & watch the fireworks their while having a drink & staying cool & they usually keep going to 2am LOL.And yes I do have a dog(hope he's home when I get there).

Comment 53 of 57

benny of melbourne Posted at 4:00 PM Today
Would love to go out to the beach like we used to, but unfortunately all my friends have gone their separate ways, so it's a NYE at home on the couch for me tonight :(

Comment 54 of 57

Ed. of Melbourne of Melbourne Posted at 4:01 PM Today
gt of Hoppers Crossing and everyone else that is interested CHANNEL 7 is showing the Melbourne Fireworks from 11.30 unlike Channel Sydney opps I mean channel 9. Had to laugh when I saw on Sunrise this morning people in Sydney sleeping out over night to get a good spot, but you can expect that to happen when they only have a bridge for fire them from. But here in Melbourne you can turn up after 6.00 pm and still get a good spot as we can fire them of from several places.

Comment 55 of 57

Nathalie of East Melbourne Posted at 4:07 PM Today
More wasting of money by the Liberals. Shocking.

Comment 56 of 57

Peter of Central Vic Posted at 5:18 PM Today
So hundreds of thousands will be out having a wonderful time watching fireworks tonight at a cost of about two dollars for each in attendance. It concentrates the celebrations where it can be better supervised by police, to an extent where even kids can join in the early celebrations. What a great way to spend tax payers money. If this wasn't happening then people would be scattered making their own drunken fun, and we all know what that leads too. And you kill joys would all then be complaining again, because that is what kill joys do. I do sympathise with those that will have stressed pets, however.

Comment 57 of 57


What do you think ?

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MIDDLE EAST_ Civilians in Syria face fight for supplies

Civilians in Syria face fight for supplies

By Fred Pleitgen and Peter Wilkinson, CNN
December 30, 2011 -- Updated 1440 GMT (2240 HKT)

'Assad is killing our children'

(CNN) -- In Homs, Syria's third-largest city and a focus of resistance to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, snipers pose a direct threat to civilians. But the risk of being shot is just one problem they face -- their daily challenge is finding food, fuel and medical care.

One foreign journalist and film-maker who was recently in Homs said trash was piling up in the streets and fighting has led to a shutdown of basic services. CNN has agreed not to name the journalist for his own security.

While people are not yet starving, he said food was becoming harder to find. The journalist filmed a long line of people queueing for bread in the district of al Khalediyah. One man described his struggle to eat: "I have not eaten bread for 10 days. With all these checkpoints and the constant shooting it is almost impossible to move around."

Hi-res photo gallery: Defiance, death in Homs (Part 1)

The search for fuel is also a necessity amid the harsh Syrian winter in which night-time temperatures regularly drop to freezing point. Some petrol and oil is sold on the black market, but that is insufficient for most local people who are forced to cut down city trees for firewood to stay warm.

These shortages have only increased hatred for the regime, the journalist said. One woman told him: "We only have rice to eat and not even every day. Bashar al-Assad is killing our children. What kind of government is that supposed to be."

Amid the destruction in these neighborhoods, there is little medical care for the victims of snipers or indiscriminate shelling. People who could be saved with the right treatment are dying of their injuries.

The journalist visited a makeshift hospital in a secret location at which a doctor, who did not want to be recognized, was treating two casualties: one with a head injury, the other with shrapnel wounds.

Hi-res photo gallery: Defiance and death in Homs (Part 2)

"We can only treat the wounded in our own homes," the doctor said. "And we can just do basic first aid here. The government hospitals are infiltrated by Assad militias who would kidnap, harm and even kill the patients."

While this makeshift clinic is fairly well stocked, the set-up is rudimentary. There is no X-ray machine, no life-support machines -- and the blood bank? It's in a refrigerator next to groceries.

Those trying to save lives say they would be at great risk if they fell into the hands of the regime. "It is a big danger for me and my family," the doctor said. "We are at risk of getting kidnapped, shot and killed."

Those who can't be saved don't even receive a dignified burial. At a funeral procession in al Khalidiyah, instead of a family laying their loved one to rest, only four people are allowed to take the coffin to the cemetery. Otherwise, they say, the funeral would come under fire.


_ Daily challenge for civilians in Syrian city of Homs is finding food, fuel and medical care
_ One foreign journalist and film-maker who was recently in Homs describes life there
_ While people are not yet starving, he said food was becoming harder to find
_ Search for fuel is also necessity as average night-time temperatures hover around zero

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WORLD_ Protester executed by Syrian security forces

Protester executed by Syrian security forces

A video has been posted online purportedly showing Syrian security forces in Damascus pushing a man into the back of a police van before shots are heard- activists in the city say the man's body was found minutes later.

The Telegraph
9:21PM GMT 29 Dec 2011

Damascus has seen increased violence over the past few days despite the presence of monitors from the Arab League who are in the country on a mission to curtail President Bashar al-Assad's violent crackdown on protest.

At least 11 people were killed in the city today as Syrian security forces try to put down anti-government protests.

Elesewhere in the city regime troops opened fire on a crowd of more than 20,000 people as they awaited the arrival of peace monitors outside a mosque in the suburb of Douma.

Omar al-Khani, an activist in Damascus told the Telegraph that the man who is pushed into the police van in the video was found dead minutes later.

The citizens of Syria have begun to criticise the Arab League monitors saying they are hard to reach even when they do come to the neighbourhoods which are suffering most.


Syrian security forces fire on demonstrators

Kareem Fahim, New York Times
Thursday, December 29, 2011

- / Getty
An image grab from a video uploaded on You Tube shows Syria security forces arresting a man in Duma, a protest hub just north of the capital Damascus, on December 29, 2011. Regime forces fired on protesters in Duma and killed at least 21 civilians nationwide, as peace monitors spread out to areas hit by unrelenting violence, activists said. AFP PHOTO/YOU TUBE

Beirut -- Syrian security forces opened fire on demonstrators in a Damascus suburb Thursday morning, activists said, killing several people and dashing hopes that Arab League observers might help stem the bloodshed.

One activist in the Damascus suburb of Douma said protesters gathered early in the morning to greet what they thought was a delegation of the observers arriving on several buses. Instead, members of the security forces disembarked.

"We lost six people, the price of seeing this cursed mission," said the activist, who did not want to be quoted by name. "Their presence has raised the killing, in fact."

Deaths were reported in several cities that the observers were supposed to visit, including Idlib and Hama. Government loyalists and troops also clashed with protesters in the Damascus neighborhood of Midan, residents said, and the Syrian government reported that opposition gunmen killed two soldiers.

The observers are supposed to monitor promises by the government of President Bashar Assad to withdraw its forces from populated areas and release political prisoners.

A surge of violence in recent days has almost completely eclipsed the observers' work. Instead, activists have complained that attacks by the government have accelerated.

By Thursday afternoon, there was still no sign of the observers in the southern Syrian city of Daraa, the scene of the uprising's earliest and biggest demonstrations.

This article appeared on page A - 4 of the San Francisco Chronicle

Read more:

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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Happy New Year 2012_ Chúc Mừng Năm Mới 2012

Happy New Year 2012_ Chúc Mừng Năm Mới 2012

Kính Chúc Quý Anh Chị Một Năm Mới Tây 2012 An Lành Mạnh Khỏe

Vui Xuân ở xứ người ta
Không quên cộng phỉ đã bán nước ta cho tàu..

(Ngậm ngùi ngắm cuộc bể dâu
Chào Xuân đất khách giấu sầu Quê Cha ..)

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MIDDLE EAST_ Arab Monitors Deploy Across Syria as Credibility Questioned

December 28, 2011
Arab Monitors Deploy Across Syria as Credibility Questioned

VOA News

This image from amateur video purports to shows Syrian protesters running from gunfire in Hama, Syria, December 28, 2011.

Arab League monitors Thursday are expected to visit the Syrian cities of Daraa, Hama and Idlib, where anti-government protests have been violently repressed, as questions mount about the observers' credibility.

In the two days since the Arab monitors arrived, activists and rights groups said troops have killed at least 39 people, including six shot in the central city of Hama on Wednesday.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said violence also erupted in several other parts of Syria, including the ambush killings of four soldiers by a group of military defectors.

The continued bloodshed has fueled concerns by the Syrian opposition that the Arab monitors are neither properly qualified nor independent.

Residents of the hard-hit Homs district of Baba Amr refused to allow observers in because they insisted on having army officers with them. The standoff ended when the officers withdrew.

Also Wednesday, Syrian state media said the government released 755 prisoners arrested during the protests. Human Rights Watch said the move was a positive step, but expressed concern that other detainees were being transferred in advance of planned inspections by monitors.

The rights group has accused Syria of moving prisoners to military facilities to hide them from the observers.

The Arab League mission got off to a controversial start when its leader, Sudanese General Mohammed Dabi, said monitors did not see "anything frightening" during its initial visit to Homs. He said the city was "quiet" and there were no clashes.

Dabi later said his team will need more time to properly assess the city, which was pounded by heavy government firepower in the days before the visit.

The observers are monitoring government pledges to halt a violent crackdown and release political detainees.

Middle East analyst Jonathan Adelman of the University of Denver told VOA the Arab League is hoping to push Syrian President Bashar al-Assad away from fighting and into negotiations, but that the size of the observer mission is too small.

"It's also simply not backed up by what really would get Bashar Assad to do something, which is the threat of foreign military intervention which we saw in Libya for example. But without that I think he's going to play with them as long as he can."

Syrian authorities agreed to the Arab League observers under international pressure and threats of Arab sanctions. The plan requires Syrian authorities to give the monitors freedom of movement except for sensitive military sites.

The United Nations estimates 5,000 people have been killed since March in violence linked to Syria's unrest. Syria says armed terrorists are driving the revolt. It accuses them of killing 2,000 security personnel since March.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

Related Articles

Arab Observers Visit Syria's Flashpoint City of Homs

Activists say 70,000 people took to streets to welcome observers; witnesses report that sporadic shooting, shelling continued

.US Urges Expanded Monitoring Mission in Syria.

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WORLD NEWS_ Syria: human rights groups challenge leadership of Arab League mission

Syria: human rights groups challenge leadership of Arab League mission

Doubts raised after Sudanese general says situation in Homs is 'reassuring' despite footage of monitors witnessing casualties,
Wednesday 28 December 2011 19.08 GMT
Article history

A Syrian tank moves through Homs where the Arab League observer mission began on Tuesday. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

The judgment of an Arab League observer mission in Syria has been called into question after its leader, the Sudanese general Mustafa al-Dabi, described the situation in the opposition stronghold of Homs as "reassuring", despite video footage showing his monitors witnessing heavy gunfire and being shown civilian casualties.

Syrian opposition groups reported more deaths on Wednesday in Hama, where security forces allegedly used live ammunition against protesters attempting to stage a sit-in in the city centre before a scheduled Arab League mission on Thursday. Estimates of casualties range from seven wounded to six killed.

Al-Jazeera television footage from Hama showed gunfire, rising black smoke and men marching through the streets chanting "Where are the Arab monitors?" One man appeared to be bleeding from the neck.

The appointment of Dabi as the head of the observer mission was criticised on Wednesday by international human rights groups, who point to his past as a military intelligence chief and long-serving loyalist of the Sudanese president, Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the international criminal court for genocide and crimes against humanity in the Darfur region.

Dabi was a military commander in Darfur in 1999, when Arab Janjaweed militias, later accused of killing many of the local population, were co-opted by the army in a counterinsurgency against rebel groups. Nearly 3 million were forced to flee their homes in Darfur and the UN says about 300,000 have died, mostly from disease.

Amnesty International said Sudan's military intelligence under Dabi's command "was responsible for the arbitrary arrest and detention, enforced disappearance, and torture or other ill-treatment of numerous people in Sudan".

It added: "The Arab League's decision to appoint as the head of the observer mission a Sudanese general on whose watch severe human rights violations were committed in Sudan risks undermining the league's efforts so far and it seriously calls into question the mission's credibility."

The Arab League has defended its choice of Dabi to lead a monitoring team to assess Syria's implementation of a peace plan agreed with the organisation last week.

The mission, currently 60-strong but eventually intended to comprise 150 observers, began its work on Tuesday in Homs, a city of 1 million people and stronghold of the rebel Free Syrian Army, where the government reportedly used tanks and armoured cars on Monday against the restive district of Baba Amr.

"Some places looked a bit of a mess but there was nothing frightening," Dabi told Reuters on Wednesday/by telephone from Damascus. "The situation seemed reassuring so far … Yesterday was quiet and there were no clashes. We did not see tanks but we did see some armoured vehicles. But remember this was only the first day and it will need investigation. We have 20 people who will be there for a long time."

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claimed security forces killed 15 people across the country on Tuesday, six of them in Homs. It said 34 were killed the day before.

A video distributed by activists in Homs showed Arab League monitors in a battle-scarred area of the city on Wednesday/, taking cover when heavy fire rang out. Another showed the body of a little boy, purportedly killed in this week's fighting in Homs, being laid on the bonnet of an Arab League monitors' vehicle.

"I felt they didn't really acknowledge what they'd seen – maybe they had orders not to show sympathy. But they didn't seem enthusiastic about hearing people tell their stories," Omar, a Baba Amr resident and activist, told Reuters.

"We felt like we were shouting into a void. We placed our hopes in the entire Arab League. But these monitors don't seem to understand how the regime works, they don't seem interested in the suffering and death people have faced."

The Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad said it was fighting a terrorist insurgency, which has killed 2,000 soldiers and police. The regime claimed to have freed 755 detainees "whose hands were not stained with Syrian blood", but according to Amnesty International 15,000 Syrians remain in detention.

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AUSTRALIA_ $6m of stolen booty found in storage unit

$6m of stolen booty found in storage unit

Updated December 29, 2011, 6:37 pm

.Bounty of treasure
A series of burglaries have been linked to a storage locker filled with $6.5 million in money and valuables.

Police in Sydney have seized more than $6.5 million in cash and property they believe was stolen in the city's north and in Melbourne.

Detectives raided a storage unit in the inner-Sydney suburb of Waterloo just before 5:30pm (AEDT) yesterday.

They found $2 million cash plus foreign currency and 120 kilograms of silver bullion.

Gold and silver jewellery, precious stones, antiques, heirlooms, fake identification and five guns were also discovered in the unit.

Police say they believe the items were stolen in a string on burglaries of homes on Sydney's north shore and during a break-in at a storage facility in the Melbourne suburb of Ivanhoe.

Acting Assistant NSW Police Commissioner Mal Lanyon says there have been scores of similar robberies in Victoria.

"There certainly is a level of sophistication," he said.

"We believe there may be a number of owners both of commercial and residential premises who are unaware that their safes have been tampered with and entered, and certainly unaware that their property may have been taken.

"We would ask people to actually have a look, ensure that there has been no break and enter at their premises or certainly within the safe.

"If they do locate one, report it to your local police so that we can follow it up."

He says police are in the process of tracking down as many owners as they possibly can.

"The 120 kilograms of silver bullion we believe may be as a result of melting down silver jewellery that has been stolen in some of these offences," he said.

"Hence the recovery of some of that property will be very difficult to get back to the owners but that is why we are appealing to members of the public who may have been subject to an offence to come forward."

Yesterday's search came after officers from Strike Force Better arrested two men, aged 33 and 56, at a Randwick boarding house on December 19.

The pair were then extradited to Victoria where they were wanted on outstanding warrants.

Police say inquiries in relation to offences committed in New South Wales are ongoing.

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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Vài suy nghĩ khi đọc bài viết "Syria frees 755 prisoners as Arab League observers visit"

Syria frees 755 prisoners as Arab League observers visit

Syria’s Assad regime has ordered the release of hundreds of political prisoners in an attempt to keep a troubled Arab League monitoring mission to the country from collapsing.

Protesters demonstrate in Homs Photo: AFP/GETTY

By Richard Spencer, Middle East Correspondent
2:57PM GMT 28 Dec 2011

The mission, which on Wednesday returned to Homs, the scene of bitter fighting between regime troops and the opposition, was initially barred from the flashpoint district of Baba Amr because it was accompanied by a regime lieutenant colonel.

It was only allowed in after the officer agreed to step aside, but the delegates were still criticised by opposition for allowing themselves to be hoodwinked by a regime that was hiding the extent of its military build-up.

Activists had also attacked the mission for not taking the protesters’ claims of atrocities seriously enough on Tuesday. After the first day, Lt Gen Mohammed Ahmed Mustapha al-Dabi, its head, said the situation seemed “reassuring”.

State television said 755 prisoners who had been involved in anti-regime protests but who “who did not have Syrian blood on their hands” had been released. The release of political prisoners was one of the terms of the peace deal agreed between Syria and the Arab League whose implementation the monitoring mission is supposed to be overseeing.

However, activists and human rights groups say tens of thousands of people – estimates range from 15,000 to over 30,000 – remain behind bars having been detained since the start of the uprising.

Related Articles

_ Syria: Arab League angers residents of rebel city - 28 Dec 2011
_ Syria: thousands demand Arab League action - 27 Dec 2011
_ Arab League mission could face Assad with telling dilemma - 27 Dec 2011
_ Syrians plead with Arab League monitors - 27 Dec 2011
_ Syria: Arab League delegation arrives in Homs - 27 Dec 2011

Other terms of the deal included the withdrawal of the army from the streets and negotiations with the opposition. Since neither of these have happened, many opposition leaders have called the mission’s visit pointless at best and at worst a means for President Bashir al-Assad to play for time while continuing his military assault on rebellious districts of the country.

Bab al-Amr was subjected to a four-day attack by troops and tanks, some of it captured on video posted online, which lasted until Monday, the eve of the mission’s visit to the city.

On Tuesday, tens of thousands of protesters attending a funeral attempted to reach the city centre to meet the mission, but were turned back by troops with tear gas, and some live fire. Instead, individual protesters attempted to make their points to the mission’s delegates.

There was angry reaction to footage of one delegate appearing to turn away and light a cigarette as a man urged him to report the presence of snipers.

But Lt Gen Dabi said merely that “some places looked a bit of a mess”.

“There was nothing frightening,” he added. “Yesterday was quiet and there were no clashes. We did not see tanks but we did see some armoured vehicles. But remember this was only the first day and it will need investigation. We have 20 people who will be there for a long time.”

Activists estimate that around a third of the 5,000 protesters, civilians and opposition forces who have died in the uprising were killed in Homs.

Meanwhile, in Hama, another restive city which the mission was due to visit on Thursday, the army opened fire on protesters, killing at least six, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Radwan Ziadeh, a Syrian academic in exile and member of the Syrian National Council, said the Arab League mission did not have the “capacity or experience” to stop what was going on.

“What’s needed is international intervention,” he said. “We need a buffer zone along the Turkish borders where the situation is still escalating.

Maybe the UN has to declare some ’safe cities.’”


What do you think ?

Các anh chị nghĩ thế nào, có ý kiến phê bình gì qua bài viết "Syria frees 755 prisoners as Arab League observers visit" ?

Và dân tộc VN đã và đang BỊ MẤT NƯỚC vào tay bè lũ phản quốc CƯỚP NƯỚC DIỆT CHỦNG BÁN NƯỚC đảng Việt gian cộng sản VN HỌC thêm BÀI HỌC KINH NGHIỆM gì nữa qua tình hình hiện tại ở Syria, trong Công Cuộc tranh đấu GIÀNH LẠI Quyền Làm Chủ đất nước từ tay bè lũ độc tài chó đẻ BÁN NƯỚC DIỆT CHỦNG cộng sản VN ???

Bè lũ súc sinh GIẾT DÂN DIỆT CHỦNG kiểu mới cộng sản VN luôn chối leo lẻo rằng "ở VN không có tù chính trị", nhưng sự thật rành rành trước mắt thế giới, bất cứ người dân nào lên tiếng với hình thức nào, thậm chí chỉ bày tỏ lòng yêu nước, cũng đều bị lũ súc sinh BÁN NƯỚC cộng sản VN GIẾT, TÙ ĐÀY, TRÙ DẬP với tất cả những thủ đọan tàn ác tinh vi nhất thế giới.

Thử hỏi, đến ngày hôm nay sau 37 năm CƯỚP NƯỚC, bè lũ súc sinh cộng sản VN đã GIẾT, đã cầm tù, đã BÁN ra nước ngoài làm nô lệ bao nhiêu người dân VN, ai có thể biết được ???

Thế nhưng bọn tay sai cò mồi hải ngọai chủ trương hòa giải hòa hợp với lũ chó đẻ cộng sản VN mở miệng ra là bao che tội BÁN NƯỚC, TỘI GIẾT DÂN, lo rửa mặt, chùi chân, bưng bô cho csVN để chờ ngày chia quyền chia tước trên MÁU XƯƠNG của đại khối dân Việt khốn cùng cũng là để làm tay sai ngọai bang cho cái gọi là "hòa bình thế giới", "dân chủ hóa tòan cầu" nghe qua thì rất có "lý lẽ", đầy nhân bảng và tình người nhưng ngẫm lại thực chất thì lại mang tính phi nhân, vô sỉ, bỉ ổi và tởm lợm.

Hãy nhìn kỹ những tên độc tài ở Bắc Phi và Trung Đông đã được "nuôi dưỡng" để bốc lột, chà đạp dân như thế nào, đã bị dân Bắc Phi và Trung Đông LẬT ĐỔ và trị tội như thế nào, dân Syria cũng đã và đang làm và vì sao dân Syria đã chết, đã BỊ GIẾT nhiều vậy mà chưa thành công, để ý thức QUYỀN LÀM NGƯỜI, TỰ DO DÂN CHỦ phải được ĐỔI bằng MÁU, chứ không phải ngồi chờ kẻ khác bố thí .

Dân tộc VN nếu không muốn tiếp tục sống NHỤC như những con vật, không muốn tiếp tục làm nô lệ cho bè lũ súc sinh vô lọai cộng sản VN, không muốn làm nô lệ cho tàu, không muốn làm nô lệ cho ngọai bang, gái VN không muốn tiếp tục bị BÁN ra nước ngoài, phải làm đĩ khắp thế giới thì không còn con đường nào khác, dân cả nước PHẢI ĐỨNG LÊN LẬT ĐỔ bè lũ phản quốc GIẾT DÂN BÁN NƯỚC rước kẻ thù truyền kiếp tàu ô về thờ là đảng Việt gian cộng sản VN, GIÀNH LẠI ĐẤT NƯỚC, GIÀNH LẠI QUYỀN LÀM NGƯỜI, GIÀNH LẠI TẤT CẢ NHỮNG GÌ đã bị lũ chó đẻ cộng sản VN tước đọat, GIÀNH LẠI TẤT CẢ từ tay bè lũ chó đẻ cộng sản VN GIẾT DÂN BÁN NƯỚC, không ai có thể làm chuyện đó, chỉ có dân VN mới cứu dân VN mà thôi, bài học mấy ngàn năm lịch sử đã chứng minh điều đó.

Chân thành cám ơn Quý Anh Chị ghé thăm "conbenho Nguyễn Hoài Trang Blog"
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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

WORLD_ Funeral for North Korean leader starts

Funeral for North Korean leader starts
David Chance and Jack Kim, Reuters
Updated December 28, 2011, 4:31 pm

•Mass farewell begins
North Koreans have taken to the streets in snowy Pyongyang to mourn the death of leader Kim Jong-Il.

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea's military staged a huge funeral procession on Wednesday in the snowy streets of the capital Pyongyang for its deceased "dear leader," Kim Jong-il, readying a transition to his son, Kim Jong-un.

Pictures from state television showed a funeral cortege led by a limousine carrying a huge picture of the 69-year old, who died on December 17, passing serried ranks of olive green-clad soldiers whose heads were bowed.

A hearse carrying the coffin was led by a weeping Kim Jong-un, accompanied Jang Song-thaek, his uncle and a key power-broker in the transition, and Ri Yong-ho, the army chief of staff.

Kim Jong-un will become the third member of the family to run the isolated and unpredictable Asian country.

The coming year was supposed to mark North Korea's self-proclaimed transformation into a "strong and prosperous" nation, but it faces a dangerous transition to a young, untested leader at a time when dictatorships across the world have tumbled.

It would seem however that little is set to change in a country that has staged what many analysts have dubbed a "Great March Backwards" over the last 20 years.

Strong it may be - North Korea is backed by neighboring China, has conducted two nuclear tests and has ambitions to become a nuclear power and boasts a 1.2 million-strong armed forces - but prosperous it is not.

On average, North Koreans die three-and-a-half years earlier than they did when "Eternal President" Kim Il-sung died, according to U.N. data.

The North is one of the most closed and poorest societies on earth, ranking 194 out of 227 countries in terms of per capita wealth, according to the CIA World Factbook.

The United Nations, in a country program for 2011-15, says North Korea's main challenge is to "restore the economy to the level attained before 1990" and to alleviate food shortages for a third of its 25 million-strong population.

Indications from the transition since Kim Jong-il's death on December 17 suggest the father's hardline "military first" policy will continue, leading to further hardship in a country that endured mass starvation in the 1990s.

Leverage from outside, with the exception of China, is limited so all the United States, South Korea and Japan can do is hope that the regime does not collapse, nor flex its military muscle as it did in 2010, when it shelled a South Korean island.

"So far, there is little reason to expect policy changes given that the leadership hierarchy is basically the same with the exception that Kim Jong-un is replacing Kim Jong-il," said Scott Snyder, a senior fellow for Korea Studies at Council on Foreign Relations, a U.S. thinktank.


North Korea was established in 1948 and under its founding father, Kim Il-sung, went to war to try to conquer the South. It failed and in 1953 a dividing line that would become the world's most militarized frontier was drawn across the peninsula.

GALLERY: Kim Jong-Il farewelled in Pyongyang

While Kim Il-sung was revered by his people for fighting Japanese colonial rule, the halo surrounding his successors has steadily dimmed to such an extent that his grandson, the new ruler, will have to rely on people such as his uncle, Jang Song-thaek, to hold on to power, at least in the short term.

"The outlook for stability is not good, because Kim Jong-un's succession is very different from Kim Jong-il's," said Jia Qingguo, a professor of international relations at Peking University.

"Kim Il-sung was the country's founding father with an extraordinary career and a great deal of personal authority, so when he transferred power to his son, his son assumed quite a lot of authority."

Official media in the North have built Kim Jong-un, a jowly and rotund man in his late 20s, into a leader worthy of inheriting the crown, naming him "respected general", "great successor", "outstanding leader" and "supreme commander".

This year, dissident groups based in South Korea, citing North Korean refugees and businessmen working in China, linked the youngest Kim to a crackdown on business activities and a tougher policy on people seeking to flee from North Korea.

Those reports could not be independently verified, but would again suggest that further repression is more likely than an economic opening under the new man.

It also gives little hope for the 200,000 North Koreans who human rights group Amnesty international says are enslaved in labor camps over some infringement, subjected to torture and hunger or execution.

"There is likely to be a politically motivated purge and imprisonment, and it could go on for a considerable period of time," said Pak Sang-hak, who heads a group in Seoul working to support defectors, and is himself a defector.

"That is especially because of the relative instability of Kim Jong-un's leadership. There might also be persecution as a way of intimidation and discipline."

(Addtional reporting by Jack Kim in SEOUL and Chris Buckley in BEIJING; Editing by Robert Birsel and Jonathan Hopfner)


What do you think ?

Các anh chị nghĩ thế nào, có ý kiến phê bình gì qua bài viết "Funeral for North Korean leader starts" của David Chance and Jack Kim, Reuters ?

Cũng trong bài viết này có hình từ Video, "cậu ủn ỉn" cười rất tươi tắn nhưng không lấy được hình "dán" vào đây cho các anh chị cùng đọc cho vui .

Chân thành cám ơn Quý Anh Chị ghé thăm "conbenho Nguyễn Hoài Trang Blog"
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WORLD_ Syria: Arab League mission to Homs could face Assad with telling dilemma

Syria: Arab League mission to Homs could face Assad with telling dilemma

There have been many remarkable moments in the year of the Arab Spring, but the grainy videos of Syrian protesters in serried ranks pleading for help from the former security boss of another pariah regime must be among them.

Many critics, and most of the opposition, spurned the Arab League's efforts, predicting that it was likely to spend a long time coming up with unclear conclusions Photo: REUTERS

By Richard Spencer, Middle East Correspondent
7:36PM GMT 27 Dec 2011

The tens of thousands of people who came out of the shadows and the rubble of their city to make their voices heard knew that for once it was safe to do so.

In their desperation, they called on the outside world to intervene and save them from the Syrian army. But it was Lt Gen Mohammed al-Dabi, head of the Arab League monitoring mission and a former intelligence adviser to President Omar Bashir of Sudan, wanted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court, who was their real target.

He uttered the bland words common to all such men on all such missions. His visit to Homs had been a "good one". He would return for more meetings, more visits, more information.

But now perhaps none of that matters, for the facts must already have been clear long in advance. The only question is what the various sides of this complex and violent argument will do next.

Will the protesters stay on the streets? If not, President Bashar al-Assad will have won a significant victory, but if they do, they will confirm his worst fears that the Arab League delegation was a Trojan Horse which would only encourage the opposition to his authority.

Related Articles

Syria: thousands demand Arab League action - 27 Dec 2011
Syria: Arab League delegation arrives in Homs - 27 Dec 2011
Syrians plead with Arab League monitors - 27 Dec 2011
Syria on course for showdown with Arab League - 26 Dec 2011
Carnage in Homs as tanks prowl - 27 Dec 2011

He would then be forced to confront his own dilemma – whether to redouble the force he has already employed to drive them back into their alleyways, or to allow their movement to grow and be copied around the country, until the true strength of feeling against him is made clear.

Either spells disaster: the use of violence now would destroy whatever credibility he retains in the Arab League. More importantly, now it would put pressure on Russia, on whose support he relies in the United Nations but which is already showing signs of weakening, to allow some form of international action against him. Talk of a "buffer zone" to allow "humanitarian aid" into cities such as Homs is already growing apace.

The conflict in Syria has spread slowly. It would be hard to find in it a turning point equivalent to the fall of Benghazi to the rebels in Libya, or the withdrawal of support from Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak by the Obama administration. Today's encounter in Homs could prove to be the moment for which the world has been waiting.

Many critics, and most of the opposition, spurned the Arab League's efforts, predicting that it was likely to spend a long time coming up with unclear conclusions. They were probably right. But this uprising has developed its own momentum, and by the time the mission makes its report, what it has to say may have already become irrelevant.

Chân thành cám ơn Quý Anh Chị ghé thăm "conbenho Nguyễn Hoài Trang Blog"
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