Iran to conduct missile defense exercise


Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Iranian government has announced that the nation will be participating in a missile defense test which could take place as early as tomorrow.

According to the IRNA, Iran’s official news agency, the test is an annual exercise aimed to “maintain and develop” defense capabilities of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.

The exercise is named ‘Great Prophet 4’ and will involve shooting a variety of live missiles at targets. Reports say the drill will be conducted in several unknown locations and will last for several days. The exercise also falls on the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur.

The announcement comes just hours after the Iranian government stated that the nation was building a second nuclear power facility. The announcement was made in a September 21 letter from the Iranian government to the United Nations Security Council that a second nuclear plant was being constructed in the city of Qom.

Civilians testify to Halliburton fraud, coercion


June 28, 2005

The Democratic Party held a public committee, aired on C-SPAN 3, at which former civilian employees based in or administering operations in Iraq, testified to specific instances of waste, fraud, and other abuses and irregularities by Halliburton and its subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR).

Allegations of fraud by Halliburton, specifically with regard to its operations in Iraq, have persisted since before the Iraq War. The associations between U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney and Halliburton, have been the basis for repeated speculation over possible political improprieties and business profiteering from the war.

Among the senators and representatives present at the hearing were Byron Dorgan (presiding), Henry Waxman, Frank Lautenberg, and Mark Dayton.

Among those testifying were Bunny Greenhouse, former Chief Contracting Officer of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Rory Mayberry, former Food Program Manager for Halliburton subsidiary, and Allan Waller, of the Lloyd-Owen International security and operations firm.

Greenhouse, who provided the bulk of testimony, spoke for several minutes about her involvement in the evaluation and crafting of government Army contracts, and how explaining how superiors undermined and dismissed her concerns of illegal business practices. “Ultimately my main concern was the repeated insistence that the Rio contract be awarded to KBR without competitive bidding,” Greenhouse said. She testified to have been given misinformation in answer to her complaints, and being “overtly misled” by KBR managers.

Mayberry, still in Iraq, testified by video from questions prepared by the committee. He said that KBR routinely sold expired food rations to the Army. The interviewer asked, “Are you saying that Halliburton deliberately falsified the number of meals they prepared and then submitted false claims for reimbursement and that they did this to make up for past amounts auditors had disallowed?” Mayberry firmly answered “Yes.” He said that serving expired food ration was “an everyday occurrence, sometimes every meal.” He explained that Halliburton systematically overcharged for the number of meals as well, saying, “they were charging for 20,000 meals and they were only serving 10,000 meals.” Dorgan later commented, “obviously there’s no honor here, by a company that would serve outdated food to our troops in Iraq.”

Mayberry also claimed would-be whistleblowers were threatened “to be sent to Falluja” and other “places under fire” if they talked to media or governmental oversight officials. In 2003 and 2004, Falluja had been well known as dangerous for foreign troops and civilians. “I personally was sent to Falluja for three weeks. The manager told me that I was being sent away until the auditors were gone, because I had talked to the auditors,” Mayberry said.

“The threat of being sent to a camp under fire was their way of keeping us quiet. The employees who talked to auditors were sent to camps under more fire than other camps, and Anaconda.” This report led Dorgan and others to voice considerable outrage that U.S. citizens would be personally threatened with harm for talking to oversight officials or media.

Allan Waller testified to specific examples of how KBR officials had conspired in blocking Lloyd-Owen fuel transports, and using other coercive means against its competitor. The British Lloyd-Owen has a direct contract with the Iraq government to provide fuel to various parts of the country.

In his introductory remarks, Dorgan explained that Senate Republicans had blocked or ignored any requests by Democrats to have a formal bipartisan hearing, resulting in the need for an independent committee.

Canadian Conservatives vow to defend Arctic sovereignty


Friday, December 23, 2005

The Conservative Party of Canada leader Stephen Harper today made bold claims about the Canadian Arctic region at a campaign stop in Winnipeg, “The single most important duty of the federal government is to protect and defend our national sovereignty.” . The prime minister-hopeful stated, “There are new and disturbing reports of American nuclear submarines passing though Canadian waters without obtaining the permission of —or even notifying — the Canadian government.”

Harper promised a significant increase in military presence in the Canadian region, which has had notable soveriegnty disputes with the United States, Russia, Denmark and Norway. “You don’t defend national sovereignty with flags,” Harper said. “You need forces on the ground, ships in the sea, and proper surveillance.”

Among other promises, Harper stated he would station three armed naval heavy ice breakers in the area of Iqaluit with 500 regular force personnel, recruit 500 more Canadian rangers, and build a new army training center in the area of Cambridge Bay on the Northwest Passage. File:Stephen Harper voa.jpg

“As prime minister, I will make it clear to foreign governments — including the United States — that naval vessels traveling in Canadian territorial waters will require the consent of the government of Canada,” Harper stated.

The Conservative Party Website states this ““Canada First” Northern Strategy will increase surveillance, navy, army and air force presence”.

The Liberal Party of Canada, the Conservatives’ most powerful rival in the election, quickly posted a rebuttal on their website. They claim Stephen Harpers stated defense budget of $5.3(CAD) billion over 5 years is not enough to afford the two polar icebreakers, which the Liberal party claims will cost $3(CAD) billion with the party estimating an upkeep of $150(CAD) million per year. “Where does Mr. Harper plan to find another $1 billion?” the party asked in their rebuttal.

The Arctic may be an important issue in the future for Canadians, as scientists expect the fabled Northwest Passage of the Arctic to open up for year round shipping by 2050 as a result of global warming. According to the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, trade routes from Europe to the Far East could save 4000 km through the passage, as compared to the current routes through the Panama Canal.

Canada last flexed its muscle in the Arctic in 2004 in its most massive Arctic exercise ever, with six hundred personnel from the three services (army, air force, navy) involved in a large exercise in the Baffin Islands.

Canadians are scheduled to go to the polls on January 23, 2006 in an early election as a result of a non-confidence motion in parliament against the former ruling Liberal party.

Keep your eyes peeled for cosmic debris: Andrew Westphal about Stardust@home


Sunday, May 28, 2006

Stardust is a NASA space capsule that collected samples from comet 81P/Wild (also known as “Wild 2) in deep space and landed back on Earth on January 15, 2006. It was decided that a collaborative online review process would be used to “discover” the microscopically small samples the capsule collected. The project is called Stardust@home. Unlike distributed computing projects like SETI@home, Stardust@home relies entirely on human intelligence.

Andrew Westphal is the director of Stardust@home. Wikinews interviewed him for May’s Interview of the Month (IOTM) on May 18, 2006. As always, the interview was conducted on IRC, with multiple people asking questions.

Some may not know exactly what Stardust or Stardust@home is. Can you explain more about it for us?

Stardust is a NASA Discovery mission that was launched in 1999. It is really two missions in one. The primary science goal of the mission was to collect a sample from a known primitive solar-system body, a comet called Wild 2 (pronounced “Vilt-two” — the discoverer was German, I believe). This is the first US “sample return” mission since Apollo, and the first ever from beyond the moon. This gives a little context. By “sample return” of course I mean a mission that brings back extraterrestrial material. I should have said above that this is the first “solid” sample return mission — Genesis brought back a sample from the Sun almost two years ago, but Stardust is also bringing back the first solid samples from the local interstellar medium — basically this is a sample of the Galaxy. This is absolutely unprecedented, and we’re obviously incredibly excited. I should mention parenthetically that there is a fantastic launch video — taken from the POV of the rocket on the JPL Stardust website — highly recommended — best I’ve ever seen — all the way from the launch pad, too. Basically interplanetary trajectory. Absolutely great.

Is the video available to the public?

Yes [see below]. OK, I digress. The first challenge that we have before can do any kind of analysis of these interstellar dust particles is simply to find them. This is a big challenge because they are very small (order of micron in size) and are somewhere (we don’t know where) on a HUGE collector— at least on the scale of the particle size — about a tenth of a square meter. So

We’re right now using an automated microscope that we developed several years ago for nuclear astrophysics work to scan the collector in the Cosmic Dust Lab in Building 31 at Johnson Space Center. This is the ARES group that handles returned samples (Moon Rocks, Genesis chips, Meteorites, and Interplanetary Dust Particles collected by U2 in the stratosphere). The microscope collects stacks of digital images of the aerogel collectors in the array. These images are sent to us — we compress them and convert them into a format appropriate for Stardust@home.

Stardust@home is a highly distributed project using a “Virtual Microscope” that is written in html and javascript and runs on most browsers — no downloads are required. Using the Virtual Microscope volunteers can search over the collector for the tracks of the interstellar dust particles.

How many samples do you anticipate being found during the course of the project?

Great question. The short answer is that we don’t know. The long answer is a bit more complicated. Here’s what we know. The Galileo and Ulysses spacecraft carried dust detectors onboard that Eberhard Gruen and his colleagues used to first detect and them measure the flux of interstellar dust particles streaming into the solar system. (This is a kind of “wind” of interstellar dust, caused by the fact that our solar system is moving with respect to the local interstellar medium.) Markus Landgraf has estimated the number of interstellar dust particles that should have been captured by Stardust during two periods of the “cruise” phase of the interplanetary orbit in which the spacecraft was moving with this wind. He estimated that there should be around 45 particles, but this number is very uncertain — I wouldn’t be surprised if it is quite different from that. That was the long answer! One thing that I should say…is that like all research, the outcome of what we are doing is highly uncertain. There is a wonderful quote attributed to Einstein — “If we knew what we were doing, it wouldn’t be called “research”, would it?”

How big would the samples be?

We expect that the particles will be of order a micron in size. (A millionth of a meter.) When people are searching using the virtual microscope, they will be looking not for the particles, but for the tracks that the particles make, which are much larger — several microns in diameter. Just yesterday we switched over to a new site which has a demo of the VM (virtual microscope) I invite you to check it out. The tracks in the demo are from submicron carbonyl iron particles that were shot into aerogel using a particle accelerator modified to accelerate dust particles to very high speeds, to simulate the interstellar dust impacts that we’re looking for.

And that’s on the main Stardust@home website [see below]?

Yes.

How long will the project take to complete?

Partly the answer depends on what you mean by “the project”. The search will take several months. The bottleneck, we expect (but don’t really know yet) is in the scanning — we can only scan about one tile per day and there are 130 tiles in the collector…. These particles will be quite diverse, so we’re hoping that we’ll continue to have lots of volunteers collaborating with us on this after the initial discoveries. It may be that the 50th particle that we find will be the real Rosetta stone that turns out to be critical to our understanding of interstellar dust. So we really want to find them all! Enlarging the idea of the project a little, beyond the search, though is to actually analyze these particles. That’s the whole point, obviously!

And this is the huge advantage with this kind of a mission — a “sample return” mission.

Most missions rather do things quite differently… you have to build an instrument to make a measurement and that instrument design gets locked in several years before launch practically guaranteeing that it will be obsolete by the time you launch. Here exactly the opposite is true. Several of the instruments that are now being used to analyze the cometary dust did not exist when the mission was launched. Further, some instruments (e.g., synchrotrons) are the size of shopping malls — you don’t have a hope of flying these in space. So we can and will study these samples for many years. AND we have to preserve some of these dust particles for our grandchildren to analyze with their hyper-quark-gluon plasma microscopes (or whatever)!

When do you anticipate the project to start?

We’re really frustrated with the delays that we’ve been having. Some of it has to do with learning how to deal with the aerogel collectors, which are rougher and more fractured than we expected. The good news is that they are pretty clean — there is very little of the dust that you see on our training images — these were deliberately left out in the lab to collect dust so that we could give people experience with the worst case we could think of. In learning how to do the scanning of the actual flight aerogel, we uncovered a couple of bugs in our scanning software — which forced us to go back and rescan. Part of the other reason for the delay was that we had to learn how to handle the collector — it would cost $200M to replace it if something happened to it, so we had to develop procedures to deal with it, and add several new safety features to the Cosmic Dust Lab. This all took time. Finally, we’re distracted because we also have many responsibilities for the cometary analysis, which has a deadline of August 15 for finishing analysis. The IS project has no such deadline, so at times we had to delay the IS (interstellar, sorry) in order to focus on the cometary work. We are very grateful to everyone for their patience on this — I mean that very sincerely.

And rest assured that we’re just as frustrated!

I know there will be a “test” that participants will have to take before they can examine the “real thing”. What will that test consist of?

The test will look very similar to the training images that you can look at now. But.. there will of course be no annotation to tell you where the tracks are!

Why did NASA decide to take the route of distributed computing? Will they do this again?

I wouldn’t say that NASA decided to do this — the idea for Stardust@home originated here at U. C. Berkeley. Part of the idea of course came…

If I understand correctly it isn’t distributed computing, but distributed eyeballing?

…from the SETI@home people who are just down the hall from us. But as Brian just pointed out. this is not really distributed computing like SETI@home the computers are just platforms for the VM and it is human eyes and brains who are doing the real work which makes it fun (IMHO).

That said… There have been quite a few people who have expressed interested in developing automated algorithms for searching. Just because WE don’t know how to write such an algorithm doesn’t mean nobody does. We’re delighted at this and are happy to help make it happen

Isn’t there a catch 22 that the data you’re going to collect would be a prerequisite to automating the process?

That was the conclusion that we came to early on — that we would need some sort of training set to be able to train an algorithm. Of course you have to train people too, but we’re hoping (we’ll see!) that people are more flexible in recognizing things that they’ve never seen before and pointing them out. Our experience is that people who have never seen a track in aerogel can learn to recognize them very quickly, even against a big background of cracks, dust and other sources of confusion… Coming back to the original question — although NASA didn’t originate the idea, they are very generously supporting this project. It wouldn’t have happened without NASA’s financial support (and of course access to the Stardust collector). Did that answer the question?

Will a project like this be done again?

I don’t know… There are only a few projects for which this approach makes sense… In fact, I frankly haven’t run across another at least in Space Science. But I am totally open to the idea of it. I am not in favor of just doing it as “make-work” — that is just artificially taking this approach when another approach would make more sense.

How did the idea come up to do this kind of project?

Really desperation. When we first thought about this we assumed that we would use some sort of automated image recognition technique. We asked some experts around here in CS and the conclusion was that the problem was somewhere between trivial and impossible, and we wouldn’t know until we had some real examples to work with. So we talked with Dan Wertheimer and Dave Anderson (literally down the hall from us) about the idea of a distributed project, and they were quite encouraging. Dave proposed the VM machinery, and Josh Von Korff, a physics grad student, implemented it. (Beautifully, I think. I take no credit!)

I got to meet one of the stardust directors in March during the Texas Aerospace Scholars program at JSC. She talked about searching for meteors in Antarctica, one that were unblemished by Earth conditions. Is that our best chance of finding new information on comets and asteroids? Or will more Stardust programs be our best solution?

That’s a really good question. Much will depend on what we learn during this official “Preliminary Examination” period for the cometary analysis. Aerogel capture is pretty darn good, but it’s not perfect and things are altered during capture in ways that we’re still understanding. I think that much also depends on what question you’re asking. For example, some of the most important science is done by measuring the relative abundances of isotopes in samples, and these are not affected (at least not much) by capture into aerogel.

Also, she talked about how some of the agencies that they gave samples to had lost or destroyed 2-3 samples while trying to analyze them. That one, in fact, had been statically charged, and stuck to the side of the microscope lens and they spent over an hour looking for it. Is that really our biggest danger? Giving out samples as a show of good faith, and not letting NASA example all samples collected?

These will be the first measurements, probably, that we’ll make on the interstellar dust There is always a risk of loss. Fortunately for the cometary samples there is quite a lot there, so it’s not a disaster. NASA has some analytical capabilities, particularly at JSC, but the vast majority of the analytical capability in the community is not at NASA but is at universities, government labs and other institutions all over the world. I should also point out that practically every analytical technique is destructive at some level. (There are a few exceptions, but not many.) The problem with meteorites is that except in a very few cases, we don’t know where they specifically came from. So having a sample that we know for sure is from the comet is golden!

I am currently working on my Bachelor’s in computer science, with a minor in astronomy. Do you see successes of programs like Stardust to open up more private space exploration positions for people such as myself. Even though I’m not in the typical “space” fields of education?

Can you elaborate on your question a little — I’m not sure that I understand…

Well, while at JSC I learned that they mostly want Engineers, and a few science grads, and I worry that my computer science degree with not be very valuable, as the NASA rep told me only 1% of the applicants for their work study program are CS majors. I’m just curious as to your thoughts on if CS majors will be more in demand now that projects like Stardust and the Mars missions have been great successes? Have you seen a trend towards more private businesses moving in that direction, especially with President Bush’s statement of Man on the Moon in 2015?

That’s a good question. I am personally not very optimistic about the direction that NASA is going. Despite recent successes, including but not limited to Stardust, science at NASA is being decimated.

I made a joke with some people at the TAS event that one day SpaceShipOne will be sent up to save stranded ISS astronauts. It makes me wonder what kind of private redundancy the US government is taking for future missions.

I guess one thing to be a little cautious about is that despite SpaceShipOne’s success, we haven’t had an orbital project that has been successful in that style of private enterprise It would be nice to see that happen. I know that there’s a lot of interest…!

Now I know the answer to this question… but a lot do not… When samples are found, How will they be analyzed? Who gets the credit for finding the samples?

The first person who identifies an interstellar dust particle will be acknowledged on the website (and probably will be much in demand for interviews from the media!), will have the privilege of naming the particle, and will be a co-author on any papers that WE (at UCB) publish on the analysis of the particle. Also, although we are precluded from paying for travel expenses, we will invite those who discover particles AND the top performers to our lab for a hands-on tour.

We have some fun things, including micromachines.

How many people/participants do you expect to have?

About 113,000 have preregistered on our website. Frankly, I don’t have a clue how many will actually volunteer and do a substantial amount of searching. We’ve never done this before, after all!

One last thing I want to say … well, two. First, we are going to special efforts not to do any searching ourselves before we go “live”. It would not be fair to all the volunteers for us to get a jumpstart on the search. All we are doing is looking at a few random views to make sure that the focus and illumination are good. (And we haven’t seen anything — no surprise at all!) Also, the attitude for this should be “Have Fun”. If you’re not having fun doing it, stop and do something else! A good maxim for life in general!

Wang Guangyi Biography And His Art Work}


Wang Guangyi Biography and his Art work

by

Saatchi-Gallery

Wang Guangyi was born on 1957 Born in Harbin, China. He lives and works in Beijing, China. The paintings of Wang Guangyi belong to the category of Chinese contemporary art termed Political Pop: work that appropriates the visual tropes of the propaganda of the Cultural Revolution, reworking them in the flat, colorful style of American Pop.

To understand the works of artists engaged in this practice, it is important to recognize the significance and specificity of the images they are using to fashion their work. Without this knowledge, the work of artists like Wang Guangyi may be reduced to a mere aestheticization of the experiences of the Cultural Revolution, a view which threatens to limit the discussion of these works to their formal elements, foreclosing more important ideological and historical questions that must be raised.

It is perhaps equally essential, particularly for Western audiences, to keep in mind the dominance that the Maoist regime held over visual culture and artistic production in China from 1949 to 1976, a control that reached a near totality between 1966 and 1972, during the Gang of Four’s reign [i].

YouTube Preview Image

Wang Guangyi’s paintings combine the ideological power of communist propaganda with the seductive allure of advertising. Juxtaposing revolutionary images with consumer logos, Wang’s canvases provocate with their duplicitous message, highlighting the conflict between China’s political past and commercialised present. Stylistically merging the government enforced aesthetic of agitprop with the kitsch sensibility of American pop, Wang’s work adopts the cold-war language of the 60s to ironically examine the contemporary polemics of globalisation.

Through his critique, Wang’s paintings weave intricate narratives, implicating the role of the artist as an active participant (both as subjugator and subservient) in economic and social policy. Wang treads a very delicate line between moral dictum and capitalist endorsement; the interpretation of his paintings alternates with the subjectivity of context. Amalgamating, confusing, and blurring opposing ideological beliefs, Wang’s billboard sized canvases readily sell out national valour, while simultaneously devaluing status symbol luxury for the proletariat cause.

Certainly, the vast legacy of propaganda that resulted from this period will continue to impact artists interested in critically examining China’s recent visual history. After all, these images were more than simply popular; for a time, they were the only ones allowed.

Conclusions:

Wang Guangyi had already established his own style and the impact of the work had won him a strong reputation in Chinese art circles.

What to Do Next…

If you want any information about Wang Guangyi or looking for his paintings please visit us on http://www.saatchi-gallery.co.uk/artists/wang_guangyi.htm

View Wang Guangyi paintings, biography, solo exhibitions, group exhibitions and resource of Wang Guangyi. View art online at The Saatchi Gallery – London contemporary art gallery.

Wang Guangyi

Article Source:

eArticlesOnline.com

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Pakistan arrests 35 people suspected in US soldiers’ death


Thursday, February 4, 2010

According to Pakistani officials, thirty-five suspects have been arrested as part of their investigation into the bombing in north-west Pakistan that killed three American soldiers and four Pakistanis on Wednesday. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the bomb and threatened more attacks.

According to a senior official in the North-West Frontier Province, the police made thirty arrests. Five were made by the paramilitary Frontier Corps. Naeem Khan, a police official, said that a suicide car bombing is more plausible than a remote-detonating device. He said, “We are questioning them in an effort to trace those who orchestrated the suicide attack.”

“We have recovered the engine of the car we suspect was used in the bombing. We have also found some limbs which we suspect are of the bomber. We have sent these limbs for DNA tests,” he added.

District police officer Mumtaz Zareen stated that militants had exploded the bomb as the soldiers’ convoy passed the school in the Lower Dir district near Swat Valley, a well-known former stronghold of the Taliban.

A statement from the U.S. embassy in Islamabad said the American military personnel were part of an ongoing training program with paramilitary troops in the north-west.

Taco Bell mascot Gidget dies from stroke at 15


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Gidget, the chihuahua featured in the Taco Bell adverts in the United States has died from a stroke. The dog died at the age of 15 on Tuesday night. Sue Chipperton, the owner and trainer of Gidget commented saying, “She made so many people happy.” She passed at Chipperton’s home in Santa Clarita, California.

The dog was featured in the 1990s adverts that ran from 1997 to 2000. Gidget was portrayed as a male dog and is remembered for the dubbed saying “Yo quiero Taco Bell” which is Spanish for “I want Taco Bell.” The advert was meant to be shown only once but was turned into a campaign.

Gidget was also featured in Legally Blonde 2 and adverts for the board game Trivial Pursuit.

Evangelist Kent Hovind’s tax trial begins


Saturday, October 21, 2006

Evangelist Kent Hovind and his wife, Jo, are trying to convince a federal jury that their money from video and amusement park admission sales belong to God and cannot be taxed. The trial began at United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida on Tuesday October 18, 2006 after twelve jury members and two alternates were selected to decide on the 58 federal courts against Hovind and his wife. The trial was expected to take at least two weeks to complete with the prosecution hoping to rest its case Tuesday, but a defense attorney became ill and the Judge delayed the trial until October 30th.

Hovind is a Young Earth creationist who does many speaking engagements and debates. He also sells videos giving a pro-creationism perspective, which he receives income for. Hovind, who calls himself “Dr. Dino”, received a Ph.D in “Christian education” from the unaccredited correspondence school Patriot Bible University in 1991.

Contents

  • 1 Charges
  • 2 Government witnesses
  • 3 Hovind’s employees
  • 4 Pensacola Christian College
  • 5 IRS and ‘beating the system’
  • 6 Related news
  • 7 Sources

Prosecutor Michelle Heldmeyer said from 1999 to March 2004, the Hovinds took in more than $5 million. Heldmeyer charged Hovind on 12 counts for failing to pay about $470,000 in federal income, Social Security and Medicare taxes for his ministry employees between March 31, 2001, and Jan. 31, 2004. Counts 13 through 57 include Hovind’s wife for making 45 transactions in a little more than a year, sometimes taking out as much as $9,500 at a time. Banks are required to report cash withdrawals that exceed $10,000.

In count 58 against Kent includes filing a frivolous lawsuit against the IRS, demanding damages for criminal trespass, filing an injunction against an IRS agent, making threats against investigators and those cooperating with the investigation, and filing false complaints against the IRS for false arrest, excessive use of force and theft.

In July with his attorney, Public Defender Kafahni Nkrumah, Hovind stated that he did not recognize the government’s right to try him on tax-fraud charges.

This is not the first time Hovind has found himself in legal trouble. In 2002 he refused to get a $50.00 building permit for his Dinosaur Adventure Land, and after three years of legal battles the court ruled that he get a permit or the building would be razed. The park, which depicts dinosaurs as coexisting with humans in the last 6-4,000 years with the more recent “dinosaurs” being the Loch Ness monster, is reportedly open after Hovind paid for the permit and fines totaling $10,402.64.

More directly, M.C. Powe, an IRS officer who investigates people who have unpaid tax returns or unpaid tax liabilities, testified at Hovind’s current trial on October, 19, 2006 that she first attempted to collect taxes from the Hovinds in 1996. She noted Hovind tried several “bullying tactics” that included suing her at least three times. These resulted in each case being thrown out.

Wikisource has original text related to this article:

Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Beard handled Hovind’s bankruptcy in 1996 testified on Wednesday that in 1996 after Hovind’s vehicles were seized by the IRS, he filed under the Chapter 13 “wage-earner plan,” available only to those who have a regular source of income. However, Hovind wrote that he had no form of income, that he rejected his Social Security number and that his employer was God, Beard testified.

In a 2005 affidavit, the Hovinds argue that Social Security is essentially a “Ponzi scheme.” The Hovinds referred to the United States Government as “the ‘bankrupt’ corporate government” and said they were renouncing their United States citizenship and Social Security numbers to become “a natural citizen of ‘America’ and a natural sojourner.”

Wikisource has original text related to this article:

On Thursday an employee of AmSouth Bank explained that the Currency Transaction Reports requires the bank to report any time a cash amount of $10,000 or more is withdrawn or deposited. This employee noted that various records demonstreated Jo Hovind had made transactions up to $15,000 at a time.

Also on Thursday Hovind’s former neighbor testified regarding Hovind’s purchasing of her Palafox Street home. On the stand she said Hovind paid her $30,000 in cash as part of the $155,000 sale.

In this week’s trial two of Hovind’s workers testified in federal court that they didn’t consider where they worked to be a church. In court Hovind maintains he does not have to pay the taxes because his employees were “volunteers,” “missionaries” or “ministers” and his business was a ministry.

However, Brian Popp, Hovind’s employee for at least eight years, said he considered himself a minister at the time of his employment, but said Hovind’s ministry isn’t a church. Popp also testified that Hovind knew about the bank’s requirement to report transactions over $10,000 and said it was “not safe to carry large sums of cash.”

Further, Popp said Hovind told his workers not to accept mail addressed to “KENT HOVIND” because Hovind told the workers the government created a corporation in his “all-caps name” and if the mail was accepted, Hovind claimed, it would be accepting the responsibilities associated with that corporation.

Diane P. Cooksey, served as a sales representative for the ministry from January 2003 to June 2005, and said Hovind expected to pay her own taxes. Cooksey said, “He explained what his belief was, right up front in the interview, that I would pay my own taxes.” As told’s worker, she received $10 an hour in a weekly paycheck, punched a time clock, was given 10 paid vacation days a year, and considered herself an employee, not a missionary as a few others called themselves.

The IRS raided Hovind’s Dinosaur Adventure Land in April 2004, after which Hovind required his employees to sign nondisclosure agreements. “I was uncomfortable signing it, I guess, because of not having a full understanding,” Cooksey said.

Rebekah Horton, vice president of the unaccredited Pensacola Christian College, took the stand on the second day of the trial and testified that “We know the Scriptures do not promote (tax evasion)”. “It’s against Scripture teaching.”

Horton was given a videotape in the mid 1990s from a woman who worked for Hovind. The video contained “another evangelist advocating tax evasion,” Horton explained. The woman who gave the tape to Horton claimed Hovind’s philosophy as “You were giving a gift with your work, and they were giving a gift back to you.”

Pensacola Christian College decided to disallow its students from working with Hovind’s Creation Science Evangelism and reported Hovind’s scheme to the IRS.

On Friday, attorney David Charles Gibbs testified that Hovind claimed he had no obligation to pay employee income taxes and explained with “a great deal of bravado” how he had “beat the tax system.” Gibbs is an attorney with the Gibbs Law Firm, also is affiliated with the Christian Law Association, a nonprofit organization founded by his father that offers free legal help to churches nationwide in a suburb of St. Petersburg, Florida. Gibbs attended the Marcus Pointe Baptist Church when Hovind was a guest speaker at the church on October 17, 2004. Hovind invited Gibbs and others to Hovind’s home for pizza and soda.

Gibbs testified they talked for many hours, and Hovind “tried to stress to me that he was like the pope and this was like the Vatican.” Also Gibbs explained Hovind also told him he preferred to deal in cash because “dealing with cash there is no way to trace it, so it wasn’t taxable.”

Wikisource has original text related to this article:

Later on Friday, Special IRS Agent Scott Schneider took up the remainder of the day and is expected to resume Monday. Schneider told the jury his investigation revealed that Hovind “hadn’t filed tax returns ever, to my knowledge.”

Hovind tried suing the IRS and Schneider several times to avoid providing information required by the IRS. Each filing was thrown out by the judges.

Schneider’s discussed documents seized during the 2004 raid of Hovind’s property. These documents, Schneider explained, indicated Hovind ran his ministry as a business with “meticulous” payroll documents and a time clock employees had to punch in and out.

In the raid cash was found “all over the place.” Ultimately, $42,000 in cash was seized along with half-dozen guns (including a SKS semiautomatic) at the Hovinds’ home.

The Pensacola News Journal noted that “in one memo, Jo Hovind informed her daughter, who works at the park, that her pay would be docked $10 for talking too long on the telephone when she should have been working.”

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Fuzlullah named Pakistan’s new Taliban leader


Friday, November 8, 2013

Pakistan’s Taliban announced Thursday they had chosen Mullah Fazlullah as their new leader. A US drone attack last week killed their previous leader, Hakimullah Mehsud.

Fazlullah, who takes credit for ordering the attack on schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai in 2012, is known for his rejection of peace talks.

The Pakistani government has suggested the United States’ fatal missile strike on Mehsud had already ruined peace talk efforts with the Taliban. The drone strike which killed Mehsud coincided with government preparations to meet the terrorist group with the view of opening peace talks. Pakistani Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan called the killing of Mehsud “not just the killing of person, it’s the death of all peace efforts”.

Fuzlullah led the Pakistani Taliban in Pakistan’s Swat Valley between roughly 2007 and 2009.

Pakistani authorities believe Fuzlullah is presently living in the Afghan province of Kunar.