100 Caravaggio Artworks Found
Italian art historians claim to have stumbled upon 100 previously undiscovered early sketches by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. The artworks, hidden in a castle in Milan, would be worth an estimated 700 million euros if proven to be authentic!
Find out more about artist Caravaggio.
Weighing in on targeted drone strikes, journalist Jeremy Scahill did not mince his words. From the video:
If you go to the village of Al-Majalah in Yemen, where I was, and you see the unexploded clusterbombs and you have the list and photographic evidence, as I do - the women and children that represented the vast majority of the deaths in this first strike that Obama authorized on Yemen -those people were murdered by President Obama, on his orders, because there was believed to be someone from Al Qaeda in that area. There’s only one person that’s been identified that had any connection to Al Qaeda there. And 21 women and 14 children were killed in that strike and the U.S. tried to cover it up, and say it was a Yemeni strike, and we know from the Wikileaks cables that David Petraeus conspired with the president of Yemen to lie to the world about who did that bombing. It’s murder - it’s mass murder—when you say, ‘We are going to bomb this area’ because we believe a terrorist is there, and you know that women and children are in the area. The United States has an obligation to not bomb that area if they believe that women and children are there. I’m sorry, that’s murder.
Later on Scahill faced massively negative responses from Obama-supporters on which Roqayah Chamseddine of Frustrated Arab accurately commented:
The response to Scahill has been overwhelmingly negative, from both political camps – Democrats and Republicans; though reactions stemming from Obama supporters are the most venomous, as they unashamedly mirror Bush-era idolatry, going as far as to consider Scahill’s undaunted commentary a sort of political sacrilege.
It’s depressing how true this is.
In nearly all countries, there is considerable opposition to a major component of the Obama administration’s anti-terrorism policy: drone strikes. In 17 of 20 countries, more than half disapprove of U.S. drone attacks targeting extremist leaders and groups in nations such as Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.
Americans are the clear outliers on this issue – 62% approve of the drone campaign, including most Republicans (74%), independents (60%) and Democrats (58%).
24 Feb 2012 | Israel is claiming that Iran is thisclose to developing a missile that can hit American soil. But missile and intelligence experts say Tehran has a long, technically complex road to travel before it can threaten Manhattan.
From getting all the rocket thrusters to work properly to developing heat shields that can withstand the stresses of rapid atmospheric reentry, Iran is probably many years away from getting an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). The American spy apparatus, which once hyped the Iranian missile threat, has quietly stopping saying when Iran can hit the east coast. And the irony is that it’s taking Iran so long precisely because its missile efforts really are sophisticated.
“The bottom line,” says Paul Pillar, a veteran CIA Mideast analyst, “is that the intelligence community does not believe [the Iranians] are anywhere close to having an ICBM.”
That, however, isn’t the message out of
JerusalemIsrael. Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz told CNBC on Wednesday Iran was “two to three years” away from slamming a missile into New York, Boston or Washington. Its strategic-affairs minister, Moshe “Bogie” Yaalon, issued that same warning earlier this month, but declined to say when Iran’s mega-missile would be ready.
Chances are, the Israelis are hyping the Iranian missile threat so their American friends will consider the Iranian threat more acute. They’re not happy with Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, for saying on Sunday that an Israeli attack on Iran was “not prudent.” But few missile or intelligence experts believe the new claim of an imminent Iranian ICBM is going to change Dempsey’s mind, or anyone else’s, because it’s far-fetched.
It’s true that Tehran has a robust missile program. Its stockpiles of Shahab-3 ballistic missiles, which top out at 800 miles, strike fear into the hearts of Arab Gulf states. Israel has real reason to fear the development of its Sejjil medium-range ballistic missile, a more sophisticated weapon, that could maybe reach Israel in a few years. And unlike rogue-state missile flameouts like North Korea, Iran is able to launch satellites into space, which is a key ICBM step (since any intercontinental missile is going to have to fly through space in order to attack a foe so far away).
But none of that adds up to Iran getting a missile that can travel the 6,000 miles necessary for striking America any time soon …
Read More: Wired
Syrian forces have laid mines near the borders of Lebanon and Turkey along routes used to escape the conflict in Syria, advocacy group Human Rights Watch said on Tuesday.
Its report documented multiple accounts from witnesses in Turkey, Lebanon and inside Syria who had either seen Syrian troops laying mines or been injured by mines.
Opposition activists who have waged a year-long revolt against President Bashar al-Assad’s rule use Lebanon and Turkey to bring food, medicine and weapons into Syria. Thousands of Syrians have also fled the violence into Turkey and Lebanon.
“Any use of anti-personnel landmines is unconscionable,” Steve Goose, Arms Division director at HRW, said. “There is absolutely no justification for the use of these indiscriminate weapons by any country, anywhere, for any purpose.”
Syria last used anti-personnel mines during the 1982 conflict with Israel in Lebanon, the report said. Syria’s stockpile is believed to consist mainly of Soviet/Russian-manufactured mines, it added.
The report quoted a 15-year-old boy from Tal Kalakh in Syria who lost a leg in a landmine explosion in February while trying to transport a wounded person to Lebanon for medical treatment.
Opposition activists in Syria say they fear arrest, torture and death at the hands of Syrian security forces if they seek treatment in Syrian state hospitals when they are wounded in protests or clashes with police and security forces.
Turkey acceded to the international Mine Ban Treaty on September 25, 2003. Syria and Lebanon have refused to sign the treaty, which would require all landmines in their countries to be cleared.
Nadim Houry, HRW’s researcher for Syria and Lebanon, told Reuters that is was very hard to get the exact figure for the number of wounded by Syrian-placed landmines because most casualties occur on the Syrian side of the border.
The Syrian government has repeatedly denied access into the country to rights groups and journalists.
The United Nations says more than 7,500 people have been killed in unrest against Assad’s government. Syria said in December that “terrorists” had killed more than 2,000 soldiers and police.
This x That:
- Dow Jones finishes the day above 13,000 for the first time since the 2008 financial crisis.
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- UN says death toll in Syria “well past 7,500”; Syrians sacrifice their lives to smuggle out foreign journalists.
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He told NBC he believed Israel had not yet decided how to deal with the issue, amid reports that Israel may strike Iran as early as spring.
Mr Obama said the aim was to resolve the crisis diplomatically, but added that no option was off the table.
The US and Israel suspect that Iran is building a nuclear bomb. Iran says its programmes are for peaceful purposes.
Last November, the UN nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, said it had information suggesting Iran had carried out tests “relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device”.
Since then, the US and the EU have imposed a series of sanctions against Iran, including measures targeting the country’s lucrative oil industry.
“I’ve been very clear - we’re going to do everything we can to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon and creating a nuclear arms race in a volatile region,” Mr Obama told NBC in a live interview on Sunday.
He said Washington was working “in lockstep” with Israel, which was right to be very concerned about Iran’s controversial activities.
Asked if he believed the Jewish state could launch a pre-emptive strike against Iran, Mr Obama said: “I don’t think Israel has made a decision on what they need to do.”
He declined to answer directly a question whether Washington would be consulted first, saying only that the US and Israel “have closer military and intelligence consultation… than we’ve ever had”.
Mr Obama also said there was no evidence that the Iranians had “intentions or capabilities” to strike US targets in retaliation.
The US leader was eager to play down tensions between the US and Israel over suggestions that Israel is preparing a military strike against Iran, the BBC’s Jane Little in Washington reports.
But she says that behind the scenes Washington is deeply alarmed by reports that Israel may strike Iran as early as April - in a move that would drive up tensions in the Middle East as well as oil prices, which would threaten the global economy and Mr Obama’s re-election chances.
Reacting to the Russian and Chinese veto to a United Nations Security Council resolution to stop the killings of civilians by Syrian security sources, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said Turkey’s doors were “open to all Syrians who want to flee from oppression.”
“We are ready to host them in our homes if necessary,” Davutoğlu added as part of a new stage to step up pressure on the Bashar al-Assad regime.
The move is interesting since Turkey has announced that there could be only two conditions for Turkish involvement in military action in the Syrian situation; a U.N. Security Council decision based on humanitarian reasoning or a massive flood of refugees into Turkey.
Yet the Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a written statement yesterday categorically denying media reports that Turkey and the United States had agreed on a military action plan on Syria in Feb. 4’s meeting in Munich between Davutoğlu and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Davutoğlu made no comment on U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman’s statement after he said that his country might consider providing weapons to a Free Syrian Army consisting of defectors from Syrian army and forming the military wing of the Istanbul-based Syrian National Council.
With this move of welcoming Syrian regime opponents in need, Turkey wants to trigger a new balance, as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has planned a visit to Damascus to convince al-Assad to stop the violence against his own people. “We don’t want to lose our hopes and we don’t want to let the Syrian people down,” Davutoğlu said, “But Lavrov should have done this months ago.”
The Turkish top diplomat explains the latest move as follows: “Syrian people should not be victimized by a power game between the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council. The U.N. resolution, which was proposed by the Arab League and Turkey who are affected by the Syrian crisis, were vetoed by those who are not directly related with it; it’s an ethical and legalistic weakness regarding international politics. But [even] if the international community prefers to remain silent before this human tragedy, Turkey continues to do whatever is necessary.”
“The real Mona Lisa? Prado museum finds Leonardo da Vinci pupil’s take Prado says pupil painted remarkable portrait alongside Leonardo da Vinci, affording insight into how Mona Lisa actually looked …
A gallery spokeswoman confirmed it had what is the earliest copy and that its true origins were only recently discovered. “The work has been in restoration for several months in preparation for an exhibition at the Louvre [entitled Leonardo’s Last Masterpiece: The Sainte Anne]. The conservation process has not been finished. We are going to present the finished painting at the Prado in about three weeks.”
At a press conference in Madrid on Wednesday Gabriele Finaldi, the Prado’s deputy director collections, said: “It is as if we were in the same studio, standing at the next easel. You can imagine that this is what the Mona Lisa looked like back in the 16th century.”“
Source: The Guardian
AFP - Rights group Amnesty International Thursday urged the release of a South Korean activist accused of helping the “enemy” by re-tweeting messages from North Korea’s official Twitter account.
Park Jeong-Geun, a Socialist Party activist, was arrested last month for re-tweeting messages such as “Long Live General Kim Jong-Il”.
The 24-year-old says his re-tweets were meant to ridicule North Korea’s leaders rather than support them.
He has been in custody since January 11 and could face up to seven years in jail under the strict National Security Law (NSL).
“This is not a national security case, it’s a sad case of the South Korean authorities’ complete failure to understand sarcasm,” Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific director, said in a statement.
“Imprisoning anyone for peaceful expression of their opinions violates international law but in this case, the charges against Park Jeong-Geun are simply ludicrous and should be dropped immediately,” he said.
Amnesty said the party to which Park belongs has frequently criticised North Korea for exploiting its labour force and opposes its father-to-son succession.
Park has told journalists that his intention was to lampoon North Korea’s leaders and its rigid Stalinist system.
Zarifi said the NSL has a “chilling effect” on freedom of expression.
“It is used not to address threats to national security, but instead to intimidate people and limit their rights to free speech. It should be reformed in line with human rights law, and if the government cannot do this, it must be abolished,” he said.
Amnesty International said that despite the end of military rule in South Korea decades ago, “authorities have increasingly used the NSL to harass critics of the government’s North Korea policies since 2008”.