Sunday, August 29, 2010

Colombia arrests major cocaine trafficker ...

 Colombia arrests 'major cocaine trafficker'...

Mr Makled says he is just a businessman A Venezuelan businessman suspected of being part of a major drug trafficking ring has been arrested by Colombian authorities.

Walid Makled Garcia, 43, who is wanted by the US on drug charges and Colombia and Venezuela on murder charges, was caught in the border city of Cucuta.

He is accused of trafficking 10 tons of cocaine every month to the US and Europe.

Colombian police have hailed the arrest as a significant success.

Colombian police chief Gen Oscar Naranjo said that Mr Makled is on a US extradition list as "one of the world's most wanted drug traffickers".

Also known by his alias "The Turk", Mr Makled is wanted by a New York court for allegedly being part of a group which regularly smuggles large amounts of cocaine to the US and European markets.


Do you really believe I am a criminal? I'm a businessman.

At a news conference in Bogota on Friday, Gen Naranjo said Mr Makled was a "pseudo-businessman" who used legitimate business as a front for his illegal activities.

He was also said to have links with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) Marxist rebel group, Gen Naranjo said.

But a handcuffed Mr Makled protested, saying: "It's nothing, nothing, just lies, lies... Do you really believe I am a criminal? I'm a businessman."

He accused Venezuela of planting the drugs on him so they could seize his companies.

Venezuelan authorities say they are also preparing an extradition request for Mr Makled, who they believe was responsible for two murders.

One of the victims, newspaper columnist Orel Zambrano, was killed by two gunmen on a motorcycle in January 2009 after writing about drugs cases where the Makled family had been implicated.

In 2008, Venezuelan police arrested Mr Makled's three brothers after finding 300kg of cocaine on a family ranch.

The BBC's Jeremy McDermott says Mr Makled is also believed to have been involved in the murder in Venezuela in 2008 of Wilber Varela - also known as "Soap", one of Colombia's most powerful drugs traffickers.

Earlier this month, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez visited Colombia to mend ties between the two neighbours.

Relations had grown cold after Colombia accused Venezuela of harbouring Farc rebels.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Sir Peter Jackson may direct The Hobbit himself...

Peter Jackson promoting the 2009 film District...Image via Wikipedia

I am – Hercules!!

If you were to make a list of the movies you’d most like to see Peter Jackson direct, what would be on top?

From yesterday’s Dominion Post of New Zealand:

Sir Peter Jackson says he will step into the breach and direct The Hobbit himself if it becomes the only way to ensure the US$150 million (NZ$219m) film is made after the sudden departure of director Guillermo del Toro.

Jackson met studio representatives yesterday to begin the search for a new director but wouldn't rule out directing The Hobbit himself if a suitable person could not be found.

"If that's what I have to do to protect Warner Bros' investment, then obviously that's one angle which I'll explore," he said. But stepping in as director would be difficult as he had signed writer and director contracts with Hollywood studios for two other films, with one likely to begin next year. "The other studios may not let me out of the contracts."

So it kinda sounds like Jackson is willing if he can wriggle free of prior commitments. But those commitments remain a mystery!

Find all of the Post’s story on the matter here:

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Found a new blogsite - Blogstalk...

Pic of the Hutt River in New Zealand looking d...Image via Wikipedia

Found a new blogsite - blogstalk... 

I found a new blogsite recently, still playing around with it - its fairly new!

I'll supply the URL for any reader who is interested -

Have a look yourselves?

You may enjoy it!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

I robot - robot mimics human speech...

I Robot - Robot mimics human speech...

I Robot - Robot mimics human speech and gestures.

Japanese researchers have unveiled a robot that can mimic speech and gestures sent to it by video-phone, replicating a distant caller's presence.

Dubbed the Telenoid R1, the robot will allow "people to feel as if an acquaintance in the distance is next to you", according to its developers, Osaka University and the Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute.

A sensor will transmit the caller's sounds and movements of the head, face and arms to a robot near the recipient, the developers said.

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Muslim spiritual leaders change their mind about proposed project at Ground Zero site...

World Trade Center aerial view March 2001Image via Wikipedia



Soldier with Facebook pictures with bound Palestinians defends pictures (Army Radio)08:37 Central Baghdad suicide bombing kills at least 7 people, wounds 21 (Reuters)

08:16 Police: We still cannot say if document in Galant affair is forged or not (Army Radio)

07:37 IDF arrests eight wanted Palestinians overnight in the West Bank (Ch.10)

07:10 Prime Minister Netanyahu to meet senior Greek officials in Athens (Army Radio)

05:49 Man sentenced in New York to 2.5 years in jail for violating Iran trade embargo (AP)

04:51 Suspected al-Qaida militants kill Yemen intelligence officer (Reuters)

04:01 U.S. Senate majority leader Harry Reid opposes Ground Zero mosque (Reuters)

03:43 Study: New dads secrete hormones that strengthens bond with infants (Haaretz)

03:22 Ground Zero mosque backers vow to press ahead with their plans (Reuters)

02:35 U.S. plans to open diplomatic offices in four more Iraqi cities (Reuters)

01:57 Rightist group threatens boycott of Ben Gurion University over 'anti-Zionist' bias (Haaretz)

01:23 Court grants compensation to residents near Ben Gurion Airport for noise (Haaretz)

00:43 Report: Women's flotilla to depart Lebanon for Gaza this week (Army Radio)


40-year-old man moderately hurt in hit-and-run accident near Ashkelon (Ch. 10)More Breaking News > HomeNewsInternationalPublished 20:32 16.08.10

Latest update 20:32 16.08.10

Muslim leaders to abandon plans for Ground Zero community center

Insiders say Muslim spiritual leaders behind the controversial initiative are considering giving up on the former World Trade Center location, in a gesture of appeasement.

By Shlomo Shamir

Tags: Israel news

After weeks of heated debate over plans for an Islamic community center near Ground Zero - the site of the 9/11 attacks on New York - it seems Muslim leaders will soon back down, agreeing to move to a new site.

The decision follows a high-profile campaign against the project that included advertisements on New York buses showing images of the burning Twin Towers, an iconic landmark razed when al-Qaida terrorists flew packed passenger planes into them in 2001. The New York Republican party is also said to be planning a hostile television campaign.

Sources in New York said on Monday that Muslim religious and business leaders will announce plans to abandon the project in the next few days.

New York Governor David Patterson said last weekend that Muslim leaders had rejected outright his proposal tto swap the site in for another in Manhattan.

But several people familiar with the debate among New York's Islamic activists now claim that the leaders are convinced abandoning the site is preferable to unleashing a wave of bitterness towards Muslims.

They also hope the move will be seen as a show of sensitivity to families of the victims of the 9/11 attacks, and to the American public generally.

Another factor in the apparent climbdown is a lack of funds to pay for construction of the center, estimated to cost a hundred million dollars. Backers hope moving it will lead to a wave of support, accompanied by cash donations.

It is also possible that the decision was also influenced by comments made by U.S. President Barack Obama on Sunday, in which he appeared to reverse an earlier show of support.

Obama said that when he went on record backing the center, he meant only that it was the right of every religious group to establish its own places of worship – but he did not intend to justify building the center specifically at Ground Zero.

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Monday, August 9, 2010

Huge rainbow dwarfs plane...

French RivieraImage via Wikipedia
Huge rainbow dwarfs plane...

The French Riviera is famous for stunning vistas but none more colourful than this spectacle on Thursday.

Photographer Lionel Cironneau snapped these pictures from his balcony in Nice as a storm and the dusk light combined to create an intense rainbow.

"I didn't use any special effects, or try anything especially technical," he said.

"The picture was just there for everybody to see."

Friday, August 6, 2010

She hired a hitman to beat up her boss...

She hired a  hitman  to beat up  her boss..

Broke and desperate, Tania Aziz devised a plan to seriously injure her boss.

With him in hospital, she could take over his kebab shop lease and wipe out her debts.

So she hired a hitman.

The bashing that followed left Brian Johnson at death's door, his brain injured and his pulverised face unrecognisable.

It took 16 hours of surgery to rebuild his face.

In the High Court at Auckland yesterday, Justice Rebecca Ellis sentenced the 28-year-old mother of a 4-year-old boy to seven years in prison for her role in the 2008 assault.

She ordered that Aziz serve a minimum three and a half years.

"I don't consider the normal parole period [two years] sufficient for the harm you have done," Justice Ellis said.

"You have caused him to lose everything."

Mr Johnson, who now lives in Australia, is permanently disfigured, has memory loss caused by his brain injuries and cannot smell or taste.

Unsuccessful surgery to his right eye has affected his sight, and parts of his face are numb.

Speaking from Sydney yesterday, he expressed his disgust at the term.

"She should have been sentenced to go to jail for a long time," he told the Weekend Herald.

"I almost died, and all she gets is seven years. I'm very angry."

Crown prosecutor Deb Bell said theformer takeaway store owner lost everything.

"His physical prowess, his mental normality, his marriage, his business, his friends ... and now he has left the country," she told the court.

Aziz sat in the dock with her head down crying, heavy eye make-up running down her face.

Her mother and brother were her sole supporters in the public gallery, showing no emotion as they sat in the back row.

Justice Ellis said Aziz had wanted her boss hurt, and didn't care how. The judge placed little importance on Aziz's claims of sexual harassment.

"I do not think you cared how that [beating] was achieved or how many people it took, and the reality is without you there, there would have been no attack at all."

According to a court summary, Aziz phoned Mr Johnson at 10.07pm on August 28, 2008, to check he was closing up.

He had taken over the business from its previous owner the previous May, and kept Aziz and her husband on as workers.

Three minutes later, as he turned the key in the lock, two men punched and kicked him to the floor.

Another man then emerged from the liquor store across the road.

This was the hired hitman - paid $3000 by Aziz - who hid at first because he knew Mr Johnson.

Every time Mr Johnson tried to stand, he was knocked back down and punched, kicked and stomped.

While another man acted as a look-out, the trio allegedly attacked Mr Johnson all at once in the kitchen - giving him a beating medical experts were amazed he survived.

A computer hard drive containing in-store security camera images was ripped out, and $300 was taken from Mr Johnson's pocket and $200 from the till.

He was left unconscious, bleeding profusely from the head.

Aziz's lawyer, Louise Freyer, said her client was a changed woman since going to prison in 2008.

"She is somewhat of a broken woman, she is very remorseful, she can't put the clock back," she said.

Aziz had written to Mr Johnson and offered to meet him.

But Justice Ellis wasn't having it.

"In some ways those letters and offer only increase my mystification as to how you came to be the person behind such a vicious and premeditated attack," she said.

Five men face charges in relation to the bashing, and are to appear in court at the end of the year.

Acknowledgements: NZ Herald