Monday, June 18, 2012

Adidas Under Fire For Revealing New Sneakers That Have Built In Shackles

Outrage: Adidas has sparked anger and been accused of 'promoting slavery' by creating a new pair of trainers which have bright orange 'shackles' that fit around the wearer's anklesAdidas has sparked outrage and been accused of 'promoting slavery' by creating a new pair of trainers which have bright orange 'shackles' that fit around the wearer's ankles.

The clothing giant is under fire for its August scheduled release of the JS Roundhouse Mids, which many have compared to the devices worn by black slaves in 19th Century America.

The seemingly innocent promotional material, uploaded to Facebook earlier this month, asks: 'Got a sneaker game so hot you lock your kicks to your ankles?'

But the shoes have sparked angry debate online, with many saying there is a more cynical tone to the advertisement.

More than 2,000 people have labelled the design 'offensive' and 'ignorant' and say the firm has 'sunk to new lows' in its 'slavewear' product.

Dr Boyce Watkins, writing for Your Black World,  said: 'Shackles. The stuff that our ancestors wore for 400 years while experiencing the most horrific atrocities imaginable.

Militants Cross Egypt's Sinai Peninsula Into Israel Opening Fire On Civilians

JERUSALEM (AP) - Militants crossed from Egypt's turbulent Sinai Peninsula into southern Israel on Monday and opened fire on civilians building a border security fence, defense officials said. One of the Israeli workers was killed, and two assailants died in a gunbattle with Israeli troops responding to the attack.

No group claimed responsibility for the attack, which underscored the growing lawlessness in the Sinai desert since longtime Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was toppled by a popular uprising last year.

Military spokeswoman Lt. Col Avital Leibovich said the assailants have not been identified but acknowledged that defense officials suspected Palestinian militants in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, which also borders the Sinai desert in that same area, might have been involved.

Several hours after the attack, an Israeli airstrike killed two men riding a motorcycle in the northern Gaza Strip near the Israeli border. The Islamic Jihad militant group said the men were members on a "reconnaissance" mission and vowed revenge. Military officials said the incident was not connected to the earlier infiltration from Egypt.

Israeli security officials have grown increasingly anxious about the security situation in the Sinai since Mubarak's ouster. Continued political turmoil in Egypt, weak policing in the Sinai and tough terrain have all encouraged Islamic militant activity in the area. 

The mountainous desert now harbors an array of militant groups, including Palestinian extremists and al-Qaida-inspired jihadists, Egyptian and Israeli security officials say. The tumultuous situation surrounding Egyptian elections, in which Islamic groups made a strong showing, has added to Israeli unease.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Army Radio that there has been "a worrisome deterioration of Egyptian control" over the Sinai. Barak said he expected the winner of this week's presidential elections in Egypt to honor the country's international obligations - an apparent reference to Egypt's 1979 peace treaty with Israel. The Muslim Brotherhood has said it would respect the historic peace accord but that it would also seek modifications.

Vice Premier Shaul Mofaz, a former defense minister and military chief, said he hoped Israel could conduct a security dialogue with the Egyptians and demand more forceful policing in the Sinai.

"No doubt Sinai has become a security problem," Mofaz told Army Radio. "Today's incident ratchets it up a notch."

There was no immediate comment from Egypt on the attack.

Congressman Allen West Blasts President Obama's Immigration Plan

Speaking this morning to talk radio host Laura Ingraham, Florida congressman Allen West, a Republican, blasted President Obama's immigration plan to use prosecutorial discretion not to go after young immigrants who came to the United States illegally. Obama announced his new immigration plan on Friday.

"What country did we wake up in on Friday?," West asked. "It just causes people to ask, where are we? You know, the last time we had this was with King George III, and we didn't like it too much.

And I think that you’re seeing the resurrection of an imperial presidency, and the arrogance thereof.

To think that you can come out and basically tell the American people that this is what we're going to do ... and don't question me."

The big hold up for West seems to be Obama's decision to bypass Congress and the law of the land.

"America is not about ruling by verbal edict or just whims; the president has been elected to enforce the laws of this country. And he doesn't get to pick which laws he likes or dislikes. And I find it very perplexing and ironic that when he had control of the House and Senate, this did not seem like a very important issue."
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Google Reports Alarming Rise In Government Censorship Requests

(CNN) -- Western governments, including the United States, appear to be stepping up efforts to censor Internet search results and YouTube videos, according to a "transparency report" released by Google.

"It's alarming not only because free expression is at risk, but because some of these requests come from countries you might not suspect -- Western democracies not typically associated with censorship," Dorothy Chou, a senior policy analyst at Google, wrote in a blog post on Sunday night.

"For example, in the second half of last year, Spanish regulators asked us to remove 270 search results that linked to blogs and articles in newspapers referencing individuals and public figures, including mayors and public prosecutors. In Poland, we received a request from a public institution to remove links to a site that criticized it. We didn't comply with either of these requests."

In the last half of 2011, U.S. agencies asked Google to remove 6,192 individual pieces of content from its search results, blog posts or archives of online videos, according to the report. That's up 718% compared with the 757 such items that U.S. agencies asked Google to remove in the six months prior.

Overall, Google received 187 requests from United States law enforcement agencies and courts to remove content from its Web properties from July to December, up 103% from the 92 requests the 

Mountain View, California, company received in the previous reporting period.

In one incident cited in the report, a U.S. law enforcement agency asked Google to take down a blog that "allegedly defamed a law enforcement official in a personal capacity." The company did not comply with that request.

In another, a separate law enforcement group asked Google to take down 1,400 YouTube videos (Google owns YouTube) because of "alleged harassment."

And in Canada, the passport office asked Google to delete a YouTube video "of a Canadian citizen urinating on his passport and flushing it down the toilet," according to the report.

The tech company did not oblige either of those requests but did comply at least in part with 42% of the removal requests from the United States in the last half of 2011, the report says. That number is down considerably compared to previous reports; In the latter half of 2010, for example, Google said it complied with 87% of U.S. requests to remove content.

The biannual transparency report, which includes data to July 2009, also indicates a rise in world governments' requests to take a look at the data Google collects about its users. And with those requests, Google tended to be much more likely to comply.

In the last half of 2011, Google received 6,321 requests for user data from government agencies in the United States and complied at least in part with 93% of them, according to data released in the report.

Those requests for information about Google users come as part of criminal investigations, Google says, and are not unique to the company.