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Friday, March 11, 2011

Police flood Saudi capital, preventing 'Day of Rage'... UPDATE: Saudi Arabia faces 'Winds of Change' Protests Call for release political prisoners, create more jobs

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Protests hit eastern Saudi Arabia, calm in capital

Protests hit eastern Saudi Arabia but are prevented by police in capital

 
Friday March 11, 2011

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) -- Several hundred people protested in heavily Shiite eastern Saudi Arabia Friday but hundreds of police prevented protests in the capital calling for democratic reforms inspired by the wave of unrest sweeping the Arab world.
Police blocked roads and set up random checkpoints in Riyadh, searching residents and vehicles around a central mosque as large numbers of people gathered for Friday prayers. Witnesses said groups of policemen manned street corners and intersections and a helicopter flew over the city.
By midday, no protesters had showed up in the capital and the police presence significantly decreased.
In the eastern city of Qatif and nearby areas where the country's minority Shiites live, several hundred people staged protests, shouting slogans calling for reforms and equality between Shiites and Sunnis. In Qatif, the protesters were surrounded by armored personnel carriers and dozens of riot police in full gear.
On Thursday, violence broke out at another protest in Qatif, when Saudi police opened fire to disperse demonstrators. At least three protesters and one police officer were wounded. Friday's protest was largely peaceful.
Although protests have so far been confined to small rallies in the east, activists have been emboldened by other uprisings in the region that have toppled longtime rulers of Tunisia and Egypt. The Saudi activists have set up online groups calling for protests in Riyadh on Friday.
Any violence at Friday's planned protests could reverberate through the world's markets because of the importance of Saudi oil exports.
Security officials on Friday said security measures around state-run oil giant Saudi Aramco and its oil facilities in the east were beefed up protectively, in case of any violence. The company is based in Dhahran district on the kingdom's eastern coast.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject, said the new measures were "considered normal under the current circumstances," referring to the online call for protests in the area.
Investors are sensitive to any sign of upheaval in Saudi Arabia because the OPEC leader has been using its spare capacity to make up for output lost amid the violent uprising against Libya's government. When news broke that Saudi Arabian police fired shots to break up the protest Thursday, prices soared $3 in just 12 minutes.
Discord is common between Saudi authorities and the country's Shiites, who make up 10 percent of the kingdom's 23 million citizens. The Shiites have long complained of discrimination, saying they are barred from key positions in the military and government and are not given an equal share of the country's wealth.
The pro-Western monarchy is concerned protests could open footholds for Shiite powerhouse Iran and has accused foreigners of stoking the protests, which are officially forbidden.
In Riyadh, the Interior Ministry organized a tour for a few journalists who were escorted by police around the city Friday. At one point in front of a government building, the journalists encountered a man, Khaled al-Juhni, standing outside a government building, shouting calls for more freedoms.
Police and journalists watched as the man criticized the regime as a "police state" and "a big prison" before he got in his car and left.
Despite the ban on demonstrations and a warning that security forces will act against them, protesters demanding the release of political prisoners took to the streets Thursday for a second day in the eastern city of Qatif. Several hundred protesters, some wearing masks to avoid being identified, marched after dark asking for "Freedom for prisoners."
Police, who were lined up opposite the protesters, fired percussion bombs followed by gunfire, causing the crowd to scatter, a witness said. Other witnesses said the protesters threw Molotov cocktails and stones from rooftops on the security troops.
Mainly Sunni Saudi Arabia has struggled to stay ahead of the unrest that has led to the ouster of the Egyptian and Tunisian leaders in recent weeks.
Last month, the ultraconservative Saudi government announced an unprecedented economic package worth an estimated $36 billion that will give Saudis interest-free home loans, unemployment assistance and debt forgiveness.
At the same time, it reiterated that demonstrations are forbidden in the kingdom because they contradict Islamic laws and society's values and said security forces were authorized to act against anyone violating the ban.
So far the demonstrations have been small, concentrated in the east among Shiites demanding the release of detainees. But activists have been emboldened by other uprisings have set up Facebook groups calling for protests in the capital, Riyadh, on Friday to demand democratic reforms.
One such group garnered more than 30,000 supporters. The group called the "Honein Revolution March 11" has listed a number of mosques in 17 Saudi cities for protesters to rally.
The group says it strives to have elected officials in Saudi Arabia, including the ruler.


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Saudi police open fire at protest

By SARAH EL DEEB
The Associated Press
Thursday, March 10, 2011


CAIRO -- Saudi police opened fire Thursday to disperse a protest in the mainly Shiite east, leaving at least one man injured, as the government struggled to prevent a wave of unrest sweeping the Arab world from reaching the kingdom.
The rare violence raised concern about a crackdown ahead of more planned protests after Friday prayers in different cities throughout the oil-rich kingdom. The pro-Western monarchy is concerned protests could open footholds for Shiite powerhouse Iran and has accused foreigners of stoking the protests, which are officially forbidden.
Despite the ban and a warning that security forces will act against them, protesters demanding the release of political prisoners took to the streets for a second day in the eastern city of Qatif. Several hundred protesters, some wearing face masks to avoid being identified, marched after dark asking for "Freedom for prisoners."
Police, who were lined up opposite the protesters, fired percussion bombs, followed by gunfire, causing the crowd to scatter, a witness said, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of government retaliation.
The witness said at least one protester was injured and lifted by others to a car for treatment. It was not clear how the protester was injured.
Scores of protesters in Qatif had also marched in the city streets Wednesday night.
Mainly Sunni Saudi Arabia has struggled to stay ahead of the unrest that has led to the ouster of the Egyptian and Tunisian leaders in recent months.
Last month, the ultra-conservative government announced an unprecedented economic package worth an estimated $36 billion that will give Saudis interest-free home loans, unemployment assistance and debt forgiveness. It also has reiterated that demonstrations are forbidden in the kingdom because they contradict Islamic laws and society's values and said security forces were authorized to act against anyone violating the ban.
So far the demonstrations have been small and concentrated in the east among Shiites demanding the release of detainees. But activists have been emboldened by other uprisings have set up Facebook groups calling for protests in the capital, Riyadh, on Friday to demand democratic reforms. One such group garnered more than 30,000 supporters.
The spread of calls for protests, particularly outside the generally tense eastern Saudi Arabia, home to the country's Shiite minority, has prompted government officials to issue strong warnings that it will act against activists taking to the streets.
Amnesty International called on Saudi authorities to reverse the ban on peaceful protests in the kingdom.
Philip Luther, a spokesman for the international rights group, said authorities should address the need for major human rights reforms and heed the growing calls for change instead of trying to intimidate protesters.
"Reports that the Saudi authorities plan to deploy troops to police upcoming demonstrations are very worrying," he said.
The Interior Ministry has banned demonstrations, saying they contradict Islamic laws and society's values and adding that some people have tried to go around the law to "achieve illegitimate aims."
 READ MORE

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Multisource political news, world news, and entertainment news analysis by Newsy.com
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Will Saudi Arabia Follow Egypt and Tunisia?

March 6, 2011

Minority Shiite Muslims are demanding the release of political prisoners.

BY BRANDON TWICHELL
Anchor: Megan Murphy

You're watching multisource world news analysis from Newsy

It appears no Middle Eastern country is safe from protests.

Minority Shiite Muslims in oil-rich eastern Saudi Arabia are protesting the government, calling for it to release political prisoners and to create more jobs. (Video: Press TV)

The Saudi government says the protests go against Islamic law - and are therefore forbidden, but Link TV translates for an analyst on Iran’s Al Alam TV - who says, these protests in the Kingdom were bound to happen.

“It is clear that the winds of change flowing through a number of Arab countries will not continue to blow without reaching a country that has resisted political and social changes, such as Saudi Arabia. This was reflected by the Saudi authorities dealing with protesters in the area of al-Qatif and the eastern cities, dominated by aspirations for freedom of expression and legal rights.”

A reporter for CBC News witnessed the protests and says they are unlike protests in other Middle Eastern countries like Tunisia and Egypt, with only a few hundred demonstrators -- but the government seems wary.

"There are no violent clashes, though police eventually forced the demonstrators to leave, pushing them down the street... In the last two days, large numbers of police have been seen in the cities where protests have been held, and checkpoints have been erected on the roads.”

The Los Angeles Times explains one of the reasons why Shittes are protesting against a ruling Sunni monarchy.

“Shiites in Saudi Arabia regularly complain about discrimination and say they still face restrictions in getting some jobs, although their situation has improved somewhat under King Abdullah and the reforms he has implemented. The government denies charges of such discrimination.”

Protesters are also organizing through Facebook’s “Day of Rage” on March 11. London’s The Independent reports if Saudi Arabia decides to use violence against protesters, it could cause a major headache for the United States.

“In Egypt, [President Obama] only supported the demonstrators after the police used unrestrained firepower against protesters. But in Saudi Arabia – supposedly a ‘key ally’ of the US and one of the world's principal oil producers – he will be loath to protect the innocent.”

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FACEBOOK SECURITY ALERT: New Facebook wall post scam advertised as "RIP Charlie Sheen found Dead at his House"


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IT_Security_Header

Exchange Security Alert

 


Facebook Security Alert:  There is a new Facebook wall post scam advertised as "RIP Charlie Sheen found Dead at his House". This scam involves a wall post link within Facebook. If you click on the wall post link, you will open a FbVideo page that is designed to look like a YouTube channel. If you click anywhere on the screen, your Facebook account will be "click-jacked" and you will be spreading the spam message via your Facebook news feed. Clicking to play the video will open a security check screen asking you to please complete a 30 second survey to verify that you are human. The screen will also have the following wording "Customize Your Facebook With a Theme". Clicking on this page in any way will post the same message you clicked on to your Facebook wall and download/install malware on your system.

What to do if you have clicked on the wall post: If you did make the mistake of clicking on the scam message and completing the survey scam, you will need to check your news feed and ensure you are not spamming the message to your friends. If you are, you need to remove the item from your wall by clicking the small "x" in the top right hand corner of the post.

If you downloaded any software at all from the scam site, you need to update and/or install anti-virus software on your computer and run a complete scan. There is a good possibility that your system is now infected with a virus, Trojan, or some other malware.

If you have your Facebook feeds going to your cell phone and you clicked on the wall post link from there, then you should contact your carrier immediately to keep any charges from happening.




IT - D l IT - G l IT - I l IT - O


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Helmetcam urban downhill bike race, Valparaiso Cerro Abajo, Chile, riding over ramps stairs jumps 2011 VIDEO GREAT

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Valparaiso is one of Chile's most important seaports and has long been a cultural center point for Latin America.
In similar fashion of the city's historical firsts --the continent's first volunteer fire department, Chile's first public library, the oldest Spanish language newspaper-- it shouldn't be surprising that the city recently opened up its streets, sidewalks and cobblestone alleyways to create this insanely-impressive urban downhill mountain bike race course.
Weaving and dropping through "The Jewel of the Pacific," riders charged full-speed down the steep, urban hillside while a massive crowd watched in awe.


The Valparaiso Cerro Abajo 2011 is a downhill bike race in urban Valparaiso, Chile.

It takes a special kind of person to navigate the tight course, riding over ramps and stairs, along walls, avoiding potholes and pedestrians.  Rider must stay between the green and red taped marked course.

A bicyclist competing in the race strapped a helmetcam to his head to provide viewers with a first-person experience of the hair-raising event.
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Coal Train Derailment Causes 17 Missed Loading Opportunities For Union Pacific in February 2011 UPDATE: Coal Train Derails East of Jefferson City, Near Morrison, Missouri - diverts Amtrak service

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Coal Traffic   3/9/2011

UP's PRB coal train loadings lagged in February

www.progressiverailroading.com

Last month, Union Pacific Railroad loaded 925 coal trains in the Southern Powder River Basin (SPRB) compared with 943 trains in February 2010.

For the month, the Class I logged 147 missed SPRB loading opportunities, 61 of which were attributable to UP issues, 47 to slow unloading at utility plants and 39 to mines. UP missed 28 loading opportunities because of severe winter weather conditions that struck much of the Midwest Feb. 3, and another 17 opportunities because of a coal train derailment near Gasconade, Mo., in the Jefferson City Subdivision Feb. 5. However, missed loadings were partially offset by 64 extra loadings, UP officials said in a weekly coal loading performance report.

The Colorado/Utah Region's February coal train loadings totaled 203, down 15 percent compared with February 2010’s 239 loadings

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Coal train derails, diverts Amtrak service


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Railroad crews have been working since Saturday afternoon to open up train tracks that have blocked by the derailment of a coal train east of Jefferson City.
According to Union Pacific Spokesman Mark Davis the accident occurred at 2:30 p.m. Saturday
The train was going from Wyoming to Kentucky with 136 fully loaded cars.
Forty of the cars derailed near the Gasconade River.
No injuries were reported and none of the coal or train cars went into the river.
By 7 a.m. Sunday, all the cars were cleared from the tracks.
Davis said they believe it will take until about noon to get the coal cleared from the tracks. Then, crews will work to replace around 400 feet of rail on one track and 1500 feet of rail on the other track which was torn up from the derailment .
He said one track should be replaced by around 4 p.m. but crews were not sure when the second line would be open.
The cause of the derailment is still under investigation.
Davis said any of their rail traffic that needed to go across the state was detoured to other lines.
MoDOT reported that the Amtrak rail passenger service was cut off because of the derailment so those passengers were being taken to their destinations by bus until the tracks could be cleared and repaired.
Click Here to Read More.

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Gas Up 67 Percent Since Obama Became President 26 months Ago

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Hope and Change: Gas Prices Have Gone Up 67 Percent Since Obama Became President

That's compared to a 7 percent increase under Bush in his first 26 months. 

Mar 9, 2011 

By MARK HEMINGWAY


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Ah, January of 2009. Hope was in the air, but more importantly, gas was under two dollars a gallon. Since then gas prices, have gone up 67 percent and it's an ominously upward trend. Interestingly enough, the Heritage Foundation also took a look at the first 26 months of Bush's presidency -- gas only rose 7 percent during that time frame.

Now obviously turmoil in the Middle East has something to do with our current astronomical gas prices, but keep in mind that by this point in the Bush presidency 9/11 had happened and we were on the verge of invading Iraq. So while the president can't be entirely responsible for global commodity prices, it's still worth asking what Obama's doing to make things worse.
After all, this is the President who told us "We can’t drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times … and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK.”
This is the President that appointed a Secretary of the Interior that famously said he didn't mind if gas hit $10 a gallon.
This is the President whose administration secretly urged him to bypass needed Congressional approval to create as many at 17 national monuments throughout the west, effectively closing off all that land to energy exploration forever.
This is the President who has illegally tried to illegally enforce an offshore drilling ban.
How much higher is gas going to go before the Administration takes a long hard look at what its doing to send gas prices through the roof?

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Not So Gay Brawl San Diego Hillcrest La Fuente Restaurant Taco Bar Wigged Out VIDEO

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Video: Tranny Brawl Erupts At Taco Joint

Fists, feet, wigs flew last week at San Diego Mexican restaurant

www.thesmokinggun.com


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In the most bizarre restaurant melee of the month, a large group of transvestites brawled last week in a San Diego taco joint.
As seen below, the dustup was, of course, filmed by a fellow patron and quickly uploaded to YouTube.
It is unclear what prompted the fisticuffs at the La Fuente restaurant in San Diego’s Hillcrest neighborhood. Combatants, some in sequined dresses and high heels, can be seen kicking and punching one another. Additionally, at least two wigs were dislodged during the incident early Wednesday morning.
A San Diego Police Department report shows that a 911 caller reported that the brawl started at Rich’s Nightclub, a gay dance club. The fighters, police noted, were “HMA’s Dressed Like Women.” HMA is short for an adult Hispanic male.
The confrontation (during which no weapons were spotted) involved “20 people fighting,” a second 911 caller reported. According to the police report, the “crowd move [eastbound] to taco shop.” The altercation had ended when officers arrived, and the participants “dispersed upon police arrival.”
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