Friday, May 31, 2013

11:23 AM 5/31/2013 - Another Close Shave: Asteroid 1998 QE2 Flyby

Another Close Shave: Asteroid 1998 QE2 Flyby Highlights Need For Aggressive Radar Astronomy

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First radar images of asteroid 1998 QE2 were obtained when the asteroid was about 3.75 million miles from Earth.

Macy's to Open New Puerto Rico Store - MarketWatch (press release)

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Macy's to Open New Puerto Rico Store
MarketWatch (press release)
Macy's, Inc., with corporate offices in Cincinnati and New York, is one of the nation's premier retailers, with fiscal 2012 sales of $27.7 billion. The company operates about 840 department stores in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto ...

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Macy's to Open New Puerto Rico Store - The Herald |

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Macy's to Open New Puerto Rico Store
The Herald |
CINCINNATI — Macy's, Inc. (NYSE:M) today announced that Macy's plans to open a new store in Ponce, PR, in fall 2015. The two-level store of 150,000 square feet will be located in Plaza Del Caribe, the largest mall in southern Puerto Rico, owned by ...

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Chinese Activist Detained After Protesting String of Child Molestation Cases 

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A Chinese activist was beaten up and detained by local authorities in Guangxi province of China a few days after she demonstrated in front of a primary school whose principal allegedly sexually abused six school girls.
Ye Haiyan stood outside the Wanning primary school in Hainan on May 27, 2013 holding a poster that read, ”Principals, spare the school kids, get a hotel room with me instead!” A photo of her demonstration circulated widely on Chinese social media, with many emulating the protest.
Later that week, after returning home in Guangxi from Hainan, local police officers had raided her home and were assaulting her while her daughter was present.
In less than one month, the local media have exposedmore than eight cases of sexual abuse[zh] of school children. As far as the media reported, the molesters are school principals, teachers, and security staffs.
Ye Haiyan protested in front of Wanning primary school in Hainon with a banner stating: "Principal, spare the school kids, open a hotel room with me instead!". Image via @Genderinchina from Sina Weibo
Ye Haiyan protested in front of a Wanning primary school in Hainan with a banner stating: “Principal, spare the school kids, get a hotel room with me instead!”. Image via @Genderinchina from Sina Weibo
The reported cases are just the tip of an iceberg, according to research fromAll-China Women's Federation (ACWF). In the past three years, there weremore than 2,506 cases of sexual abuse of girls within Guangdong province[zh] alone. Half of the victims are children under 14 and 65 percent of the molesters are acquaintance of their victim's family.
The revelation of the sexual abuse allegedly by the Wanning primary school principal once again legally labelled the child victims as “underage prostitutes” in line with the country's “underage prostitution law”, which labels the victims so when the suspects can prove that they offered money or gifts to the children in the process.
Even though the Supreme People's Court has vowed to crack down child sexual abuse, without legal reform such as the abolition of that law, the criminals will not be brought to justice as rapists.
But the women organization ACWF, which is run by the Chinese Communist Party, has not reacted with calls for legal reform. Instead, it responded to the evil crime by publishinga handbook[zh] to teach school children how to say no to molesters.
As Children's Dayon June 1 approaches, Chinese on social media have directed their anger toward authorities, such as the Ministry of Education and the ACWF, for leaving children unprotected and vulnerable to sexual abuse in China.
Many netizens followed Ye's dark-humored protest example on Sina Weibo. Below is acollage of protest photosput together by @genderinchina[zh]:
A collage of protest photos put together by @genderinchina
A collage of protest photos put together by @genderinchina
Weibo user “Speaking genuinely” (@1句實話) wrote that [zh] the current law is protecting the criminals rather than children:
六一儿童节将至,儿童是祖国的花朵,保护儿童,尤其是幼女是国家的责任。1949建国以后,法律尚不健全。但面对强奸幼女的罪犯,国家一律判处死刑。[…] 自从“嫖宿”一词发明后,禽兽开始肆无忌惮,都是谁在保护禽兽?
Children's Day June 1 is coming up. Children are the flowers of the motherland. It is the country's responsibility to protect our children, in particular our girls. Upon the establishment of People Republic of China in 1949, even though at that time our legal system was incomplete, rapists of children would be given death sentence. […] Since the introduction of the term “prostitution”, the beasts have gotten out of control. Who is protecting all these beasts?
Another microblogger, “Exercise Book” (@作業本), also criticized the law as being ridiculous. His post has been republished[zh] 12,041 times and received 4,494 comments on Weibo:
“Child sexual abuse” is referred to as “getting a hotel room with children”, “trick primary school girls into a hotel room to rape them” is referred to as “getting a hotel room with school girls”, “raping an underage girl” is referred to in court as “prostituting an underage girl”… A society that treats everyone as an idiot will proclaim on June 1: Heavenly earth with blue sky, colorful flags with balloons, millions of children around the world are happily celebrating Children's Day on June 1.
Blogger “youyou52011″ wrote [zh] a long post to explain why so many have echoed Ye's action online:
A grassroots movement is speaking out against the negligence of the authorities. There are organizations dealing with women and children's rights in the system, but they are just vases and decoration. The negligence of officials and government organizations has resulted in discrimination and violence against women and children. “Get a hotel room with me instead” signifies the pain shared by all Chinese people, that's why so many netizens relay such action art.
Children's Day on June 1 is approaching. How can we face our children if such incidents of child sexual abuse keep emerging? The school should be a safe place for our kids, how can teachers do such an evil thing to their own students? “Principal, spare the children, get a hotel room with me instead” is dark-humored resistance to the sexual abuse of underage girls. The scandal of the school girls being sexually abused has challenged our moral baseline, what was stated in Ye Haiyan's banner is written in blood and tears.
One hundred years ago, Mr. Lu Xun cried out “Save our Children” against feudalism. Such cries are still echoing in our time [through Ye's action], this time people are demanding that principals stop putting their evil hands on underage girls. “Get a hotel room with me instead” is a desperate cry, dark humor against the sexual abuse of underage girls and a protest against the education system.
“Volunteer Ma Qi” [zh] (@志愿者马奇) spelled out a plan of action to help the situation:
1. Parents want the criminals to be arrested as rapists. 2. The Ministry of Education and the ACWF should comment on the series of incidents. They should put forward a proposal to improve the situation and ACWF should give a public statement. 3. Abolition of the “underage prostitution” law.
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A Conversation With: Author and Filmmaker Vivek Bald - New York Times

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New York Times

A Conversation With: Author and Filmmaker Vivek Bald
New York Times
The filmmaker and author Vivek Bald's book “Bengali Harlem and the Lost Histories of South Asian America” created a buzz within the South Asian-American community when it was released in November. Mr. Bald ... As boarding housekeepers, as wives, as ...

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Brucie - he's our favourite

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... his wife is Lady Wilnelia, the first and, to date, only winner of the Miss World title from the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. "Now, now, now no-oh laughing," he chuckles, "my wife is on the other side of the bed when I begin." I'm glad we've cleared ...

El Gran Combo De Puerto Rico Sin salsa no hay paraiso

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Macy’s plans Ponce store; 2nd in PR

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Macy’s plans Ponce store; 2nd in PR

Macy’s plans to open a new store at Ponce’s Plaza Del Caribe, the largest mall i ...

Asteroid-mining venture also seeking money to build space telescope

SEATTLE — A Washington company that wants to send robots into space to mine prec ...

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What's Going on in Michoacán, Mexico? 

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Michoacán de Ocampo is one of the 32 states that make up the United States of Mexico; it consists of 113 municipalities, and is found in the central-west zone of the country and in recent weeks it has been the object of analysis and various news stories originating from the wave of violence that it has suffered as a result of organized crime, the presence of self-defence groups [1] (or “ community guards” [es]) and in general the lawlessness crisis that prevails in the state.
A week ago, on 20th May 2013, the Armed Forces entered Michoacán by order of President Enrique Peña Nieto, in an attempt to reestablish order. José Gil Olmos [es] commented on this campaign:
La obsesión de Felipe Calderón Hinojosa por acabar con la violencia en Michoacán a paso de botas militares ha quedado plenamente transferida a su sucesor en la Presidencia. En una medida desesperada, Enrique Peña Nieto, reprodujo el arranque de la guerra calderonista: el domingo 20 envió más de 6 mil efectivos militares y cientos de policías a esa entidad. Al caos y al desgobierno que han impuesto los cárteles de la droga, Peña Nieto responde con medidas apresuradas y comete sus primeros errores tácticos.
Felipe Calderón's obsession with ending violence in Michoacán by way of the military has been thoroughly passed on to his successor in the Presidency. In a desperate measure, Enrique Peña Nieto reproduced the start of the Calderón war: on Sunday 20th he sent more than 6 thousand military troops and hundreds of police to that state. To the chaos and lawlessness that the drug cartels have imposed, Peña Nieto responds with hasty measures and commits his first tactical errors.
And the thing is, the Michoacán crisis is not new; since the beginning of the former President Felipe Calderón's administration, it was known that organized crime in the state operates outside control and its activities cost the lives of hundreds of people.
During the previous six-year Presidential term of office, various operations were carried out with the intention to impose order, but many people doubt they have been successful. Among these people is the journalist Joaquín López-Dóriga [es]:
¿Michoacán está hoy mejor que hace seis años? Desde mi punto de vista, que no tiene importancia alguna, no. Pero desde el de cientos de miles de michoacanos, que son los que cuentan, hoy están peor que entonces en lo que, sin duda, ha influido que en menos de seis años hayan tenido tres gobernadores y un olvido que pasó de la atención volcada al abandono de regiones.
Y aunque pueda molestar a algunos, hay que empezar de nuevo para superar el estado, sin duda fallido, en Michoacán, situación que si no se atiende puede convertirlo en un estado perdido.
Is Michoacán better today than six years ago? From my point of view, which isn't important, no. But from the point of view of hundreds of thousands of Michoacán people, who are the ones that count, they are worse off now than before, undoubtedly influenced by the fact that in less than six years they have had three governors and it's an oversight that went from focused attention to the abandonment of regions.
And although it might offend some people, we'll have to start again to win over the undoubtedly failed state of Michoacán, a situation that if not dealt with will turn it into a lost state.
The description of failed state that López-Dóriga labelled Michoacán with adds to the remark made by the leader of the main left political force in Mexico Jesús Zambrano [es], who recently argued that “from 2015, Michoacán could be a narco-State, in which organized crime could occupy the 113 municipal presidencies'.
The Nuklear [es] portal also refers to the chaotic situation Michoacán finds itself in:
En la entidad impera la violencia y la inseguridad debido a las constantes protestas de normalistas, las agresiones de grupos de autodefensa y enfrentamientos del crimen organizado. Michoacán se ha caracterizado por ser blanco de la delincuencia organizada, pero la inseguridad se ha visto acentuada, luego de que el gobernador, Fausto Vallejo, pidiera licencia para ausentarse tres meses del cargo, a fin de atender sus problemas de salud. Y a pesar de que el secretario de Gobierno, Jesús Reyna, funge como gobernador sustituto, en la entidad impera un estado de ingobernabilidad.
Violence and danger reign supreme in the state because of the ongoing student teacher protests, attacks from self-defence groups and organized crime conflicts. Michoacán has become characterized by being the target of organized crime, but the insecurity has been accentuated since the governor, Fausto Vallejo, asked for a licence for three months absence from his job to attend to his health problems. And despite the Government secretary, Jesús Reyna, acting as substitute governor, a situation of lawlessness rules the state.
Another of the problems that the state faces has to do with religious fanaticism, which is present in a community known as “New Jerusalem [es]”. Events like that told by Zayín Dáleth Villavicencio [es], where the followers of the religious group prevent [es] the State from offering basic education, have become common:
Con el argumento de haber recibido un mensaje de la Virgen del Rosario, alrededor de un centenar de personas del grupo religioso de la Nueva Jerusalén del municipio de Turicato, en Michoacán, bloquearon desde la mañana de este lunes el predio en el que se pretenden reconstruir las aulas de preescolar, primaria y telesecundaria que fueron destruídas el pasado 6 de julio.
Con esto, se vuelve a encender la alerta ya que los pobladores que se apoderaron del terreno para impedir el arribo de material de construcción, se oponen a la impartición de la educación laica dentro y en las inmediaciones de su comunidad. Situación que derivó en un conflicto que a casi cinco meses no se ha logrado dirimir.
On the basis of having received a message from the Virgen del Rosario [Our Lady of the Rosary], since this Monday morning about a hundred people from the Turicato municipality's New Jerusalem religious group in Michoacán have blocked the piece of land on which the reconstruction of the preschool, primary and Telesecundaria [a Mexican TV project launched to expand secondary education] classrooms that were destroyed last 6th July were supposed to be rebuilt.
With this, the alert has been reignited, because the inhabitants took charge of the area to prevent the arrival of construction material, they opposed the secular education within and around the community area. It's a situation that has resulted in a conflict that hasn't been resolved in nearly five months.
On Twitter, the Human Rights defender Jesús Robles Maloof (@roblesmaloof [es]) launched the next conundrum upon discovering that the PAN political party (National Action Party) has mentioned that a removal of powers should be declared in the state in question:
@roblesmaloof: El PAN en el Senado pedirá la desaparición de poderes en #Michoacán¿En qué estado inició Felipe Calderón su “guerra contra el crimen”?
@roblesmaloof [es]: In the Senate, PAN will demand the removal of powers in#Michoacán [es] In which state did Felipe Calderón start his “war against crime”?
Juan Carlos Pueblita (@jcpueblita [es]) from Michoacán made the following comment about this “new” strategy to Michoacán's recovery:
@jcpueblita: Las medidas militares de contención en #Michoacán son sólo eso, de contención. La verdadera solución es mejorar su gobierno
@jcpueblita [es]: The military containment measures in #Michoacán [es] are just that, containment. The true solution is to improve the government
And in order to better understand the situation exisiting in “New Jerusalem”, the user elissarima (@tlanemani_tlan [es]) shared the following photograph that showed the restrictions to access the school controlled by the group:
@tlanemani_tlan: Las reglas de la escuela en La nueva Jerusalén, Michoacán –>
@tlanemani_tlan [es]: The rules of the new Jerusalem school, Michoacán –>
Las reglas de la escuela en La nueva Jerusalén, Michoacán. Foto compartida por @tlanemani_tlan en Twitter.
The rules of the new Jerusalem school, Michoacán. Photo shared by @tlanemani_tlan en Twitter. Attention. The entry of women with short skirts or low-cut, sleeveless dresses, wearing trousers, make-up, with painted nails or an uncovered head is prohibited. Also men with long hair or those dressed indecently.
Will order be restored in Michoacán? Will the State guarantee the fundamental rights of the Michoacán people, among them that of education? Is militarizing the zone the best option to reduce violence? Only time will tell. Meanwhile, the families besieged by extortion and executions cannot wait any longer for peace to return to this damaged state.
[1] In the absence of law enforcement directed by the State of Mexico, in various states besieged by organized crime, the civil population has organized itself to take up arms to protect its families and take justice into its own hands. These groups have been given different names such as “self-defence groups”, “police” o “community guard”, etc.. But it is feared that some of these informal groups are sponsored by organized crime itself, or worse still, by guerilla organizations. Guerrero, Chiapas and Michoacán are some of the states in which these groups of people that regularly cover their face to avoid being recognized operate.
Foto de jpazkual en Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
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