Belarus election

In the last eastern block stronghold of near dictatorship, around 20 thousand demonstrators descended on Minsk ignoring the threat of the death penalty from the Belarus KGB (security service).

On wednesday, eight Scandinavian unofficial election observers we’re ordered to leave the country, the co-ordinator of the group said “This is a repressive dictatorship that will win the elections, as the president says ‘elegantly’ – meaning opposition will be crushed” . With other observers also being removed or denied access pre-election, the chances of a fabricated result seem increasingly likely.

Today the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), who on Friday condemned intimidation and harassment of opposition candidates & supporters, are expected to give their report on the election at a press conference at 14:00 today from Minsk.

Reminds me of the scenes we witness in the neighbouring country Ukraine, after their election was stolen in late 2004. There are some pictures regarding the rally of people protesting against the election results taken & posted by Elena Filatova best known for her chilling tour of the Chernobyl nuclear plant and surrounding area.

UPDATE

The result of the report from the OSCE was given today. As guessed the report deems that election was flawed and despite over 500 obversers being in place ( both short and long term ) their were numberous occurances of State control applying pressure via detentions and censorship.

Sonar

The reasons behind whales beaching themselves has always been a mystery, with modern Sonar devices being questioned as a possible cause. So you have to wonder whats going on when 93 whales tried to beach themselves in Indonesia.

They managed to release some back into the sea but at they say they may have beached themselves elsewhere, if sonar and underwater vibrations from oil rigs and military testing have such a possible impact on the cetaceans that inhabit that area why does it still continue you wonder.

This document has more information on LFA Sonar effects in cetaceans, also details the plans to increase the usage of the system to replace the current hydrophone system that has been used over 15 years.

This US Navy site states “The Surveillance Towed Array Sensor System (SURTASS) Low Frequency Active (LFA) is a new sonar the U.S. Navy needs for national security” , fantastic eh?

In other news The Independent on Sunday features an article about the Royal Navy testing the new system out for Nato and apprently killing 4 whales.

When all the statements regarding this new system all along the lines of that from the MOD saying “(sonar) has the potential to cause problems for the marine environment”, how much marine wildlife are we going to have left if they bring the new system online?

sources :
http://hisz.rsoe.hu/alertmap/
http://www.thejakartapost.com

Bush and the Tax Cuts

The Bush administration has proposed a one-year, $7 billion patch by exempting households earning less than $58,000.
Sounds good, finally the common folk can get something back.

But wait that’s too simple, beware the Alternative Minimum Tax.

The AMT was instituted in the late 1970s, when top tax rates hit 90 percent and numerous tax shelters offered huge write-offs for the wealthy. The aim of the AMT was to ensure that wealthy people actually paid tax, regardless of how cleverly they sheltered their income.
Today the AMT hits roughly 1 percent of all taxpayers with income between $50,000 and $100,000 and 4.5 percent of those earning between $100,000 and $200,000.

It’s expected to affect nine million Americans by 2009.

Another one to add to my “why not to move to the US” list.