There is a video  that could be loosely translated as "Terrorist Turkish border opening fire on the Syrian side" that pretty accurately sums up what's going on at the ultra-volatile geopolitical hotspot of the moment.The voice over says, "This is the Syria-Turkey border, and this is an operation of the Free Syrian Army [FSA] ... The Gate [that would be the Syrian side of the border, housing the Gate checkpoint] is going to be seized."What this means is that Turkey is sheltering the FSA right on the border, only a few meters - and not kilometers - away from Syrian territory. Way beyond hosting a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) command and control center in Iskenderunfor months now - a fact already reported by Asia Times Online - Turkey has now advanced right to the border, enabling a back-and-forth by heavily weaponized guerrillas/mercenaries to attack a sovereign state.This can be seen as a very peculiar Ankara interpretation of "safe havens" and "humanitarian corridors" as outlined by what can be seen as the prime blueprint for regime change in SyriaSo expect to see this movie generating countless sequels; the FSA attacking a Syrian border checkpoint, killing soldiers and then retreating under a hail of bullets, which will inevitably hit a nearby Syrian refugee camp.
The border escalation graphically illustrates the wider scenario: civil war.
EU countries are keen for a UN monitoring mission to go to Syria as fast as possible amid reports that fighting stopped at dawn on Thursday (12 April).French foreign minister Alain Juppe told press at a meeting of G8 countries in Washington late on Wednesday that: "France wants the [UN] Security Council to adopt a resolution as quickly as possible to send a robust monitoring force on the ground ... to verify the reality of commitments undertaken by all parties [in the conflict]."His remarks were echoed by UK foreign minister William Hague, who said monitors are needed "to make sure [Syria] can't slide back to renewed conflict."The UN has already drafted plans for 250 unarmed monitors to go in, drawing on blue helmets currently deployed in UN missions in Jerusalem and on the Israel-Lebanon and Israel-Syria borders.A "robust" force in Juppe's terms would require monitors to have their own armoured vehicles and bodyguards so that they could move around freely, an independent base with secure communications equipment and access to drone and satellite intelligence.
EU and US leaders have also declared that Assad is no longer the legitimate leader of Syria and should step down immediately.
But one analyst noted that despite its rhetoric, the West is happy for him to stay in power so long as bloodshed ends because it fears the Sunni Muslim opposition is a threat to Israeli and Lebanese security and to the safety of Christians in Syria.
Twelve Christians stood trial Easter Sunday in Iran, where they were called “apostates” in a courtroom and tried on multiple charges, according to sources close to Iran’s Christian community.“It ultimately illustrates that being a Christian is illegal in Iran. No matter how clear or how open a pastor and a church may be, Christians are being brought to trial just for being Christian,” said Jason DeMars, director of the Present Truth Ministries advocacy group who is in daily contact with the Evangelical Christian community in Iran.
Among the 12 are community leader the Rev. Matthias Haghnejad and his wife, Anahita Khadeimi. The others are Mahmoud Khosh-Hal and his wife, Hava Saadetmend, Amir Goldoust, Mina Goldoust, Zhaina Bahremand, Fatemah Modir-Nouri, Mehrdad Habibzade, Milad Radef, Behzad Taalipasand and Amin Pishkar.
They stood trial in a court in Rasht, the same province where Nadarkhani was charged and has been held for more than two years.
Less than a week after the government announced the penny’s impending death, the Mint quietly unveiled its digital currency called MintChip.
Still in the research and development phase, MintChip will ultimately let people pay each other directly using smartphones, USB sticks, computers, tablets and clouds. The digital currency will be anonymous and good for small transactions — just like cash, the Mint says.To make sure its technology meets the gold standard in a world where digital transactions are gaining steam, the Mint is holding a contest for software developers to create applications using the MintChip.
MintChip, a secure microchip, will be able to do this by letting people transfer small amounts of money (for an iTunes song or a newspaper) with no personal information attached to it, he said.
The Mint’s move into the digital market is a reflection the competitive payments industry, Interac spokeswoman Caroline Hubberstey said.
Interac, Mastercard and Visa already have contactless cards that use near field communication (NFC) chips for small payments at gas stations and grocery stores.
PayPal, Google and Visa have introduced digital wallets where consumers control all their cashless payments from one place. Companies Square and Payfirma let people accept credit card payments on their smartphones.
Jorge Fernandez Diaz, the Spanish interior minister announced in Congress on Wednesday that a reform of the penal code was planned to criminalise those involved in organising street protests that "seriously disturb the public peace".Under the laws, a minimum jail term of two years could be imposed on those found guilty of instigating and carrying out violent acts of protest under a new package of measures unveiled on Wednesday.But it has raised fears that the new measures could be used to stem the wave of protests that began last summer with the birth of what has been dubbed the "indignado movement", when tens ouf thousands of peaceful protesters camped out in squares across Spain.
The U.S. tax code is a complete and utter abomination and it needs to be thrown out entirely. Nobody in their right mind would ever read the whole thing - it is over 3 million words long. Each year, Americans spend billions of hours and hundreds of billions of dollars trying to comply with federal tax requirements. Sadly, it is the honest, hard working Americans in the middle class that always get hit the hardest.
When you account for all forms of taxation on the federal, state and local levels there are many Americans that pay out more than half of their incomes in taxes.
We are being taxed into oblivion, and yet most Americans do not even realize that it is happening.
It is kind of like being killed by thousands of tiny cuts.
So what do all of these taxes buy us?