[VIDEO] Are E-Cigs the Market Solution that Can Save a Billion Lives?

“This is a market solution to one of the biggest health crises we’ve ever seen in the history of the world,” says Aaron Biebert, director of A Billion Lives, a documentary that makes the case that regulatory agencies and non-governmental organizations are engaged in a campaign of misinformation against e-cigarettes. “It’s disturbing to me that something that’s working is being demonized.”

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FEEL THE DECAY: As Venezuela Craters, Appeal of Socialism Remains

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It is safe to predict that more countries will refuse to learn from history and give socialism a go.

Marian Tupy writes: Three years ago, a well-known American leftist, David Sirota, wrote the following in a Salon essay titled Hugo Chavez’s economic miracle,

Chavez became the bugaboo of American politics because his full-throated advocacy of socialism and redistributionism at once represented a fundamental critique of neoliberal economics, and also delivered some indisputably positive results… When a country goes socialist and it craters, it is laughed off as a harmless and forgettable cautionary tale about the perils of command economics. When, by contrast, a country goes socialist and its economy does what Venezuela’s did, it is not perceived to be a laughing matter – and it is not so easy to write off or to ignore.

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Last Sunday, Nicholas Casey of The New York Times reported in an article Dying Infants and No Medicine: Inside Venezuela’s Failing Hospitals,

By morning, three newborns were already dead. The day had begun with the usual hazards: chronic shortages of antibiotics, intravenous solutions, even food. Then a blackout swept over the city, shutting down the respirators in the maternity ward. Doctors kept ailing infants alive by pumping air into their lungs by hand for hours. By nightfall, four more newborns had died… The economic crisis in this country has exploded into a public health emergency, claiming the lives of untold numbers of Venezuelans.

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I start with these rather long quotations with a heavy heart. Contrary to Sirota’s glib prediction, I do not intend to laugh off as “harmless and forgettable” Venezuela’s “cautionary tale about the perils of command economics.” I do not find dying children laughable. But then, I did not laugh when I read about starving Ukrainians eating their children during Stalin’s Holodomor.

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I did not laugh when I read of Khmer Rouge soldiers shooting infants off their bayonets in communist Cambodia. And I certainly did not laugh when I saw with my own two eyes children reduced to starvation by the Marxist dictator of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe. In fact, there is nothing laughable about the almost incomprehensible degree of suffering that socialism has heaped upon humanity wherever it’s been tried. Read the rest of this entry »


Putin Enacts Law Banning ‘Undesirable’ NGOs

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Under the law, passed by the Russian parliament this week, authorities can ban foreign NGOs and go after their employees, who risk up to six years in prison or being barred from the country

Russian President Vladimir Putin officially enacted a controversial law banning “undesirable” non-governmental organisations, the Kremlin said Saturday, in a move condemned by human rights groups and the United States.

“We are concerned this new power will further restrict the work of civil society in Russia and is a further example of the Russian government’s growing crackdown on independent voices and intentional steps to isolate the Russian people from the world.”

— State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf

The law allows authorities to bar foreign civil society groups seen as threatening Russia’s “defence capabilities” or “consitutional foundations” and go after local activists working with them, the Kremlin statement said.

Supporters presented the law as a “preventative measure”, necessary after the wave of Western sanctions put in place over the Ukraine conflict.

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Under the law, passed by the Russian parliament this week, authorities can ban foreign NGOs and go after their employees, who risk up to six years in prison or being barred from the country.

It also allows them to block the bank accounts of the organisations until the NGOs “account for their actions” to the Russian authorities.

Lawmakers cited the need to stop “destructive organisations” working in Russia, which could threaten the “value of the Russian state” and stir up “colour revolutions”, the name given to pro-Western movements seen in some former Soviet republics over the last several years.

Critics have said that the vague wording of the law—which gives Russia’s general prosecutor the right to impose the “undesirable” tag without going to court—could allow officials to target foreign businesses working in Russia. Read the rest of this entry »


Iran Wins Seat on United Nations Women’s Rights Commission

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contributor-80x100-fmartelFor Breitbart.com reports: Iran made significant strides in gaining power in the United Nations Economic and Social Council this week, confirming their place on five sub-committees. Most controversial among these is their appointment to the Commission on the Status of Women, which would give the nation influence over global women’s rights.

In a press release announcing a new term for the committees under the Economic and Social Council– whose theme this term will be “the future of humanitarian affairs: towards greater inclusiveness, coordination, interoperability and effectiveness”– the UN announced that Iran will serve on the Commissions on Population and Development, Science and Technology for Development, the Committee for Programme Coordination and on Non-Governmental Organizations, and the Commission on the Status of Women.

The United States has objected to Iran’s election to these positions. UN Ambassador Samantha Power said in a statement: “The unopposed candidacy of Iran, where authorities regularly detain human rights defenders, subjecting many to torture, abuse, and violations of due process, is a particularly troubling outcome of today’s election.”

Iran’s history makes it a clearly unworthy steward of international human rights, though two of those appointments are far more distressing than the others: the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations and the Commission on the Status of Women. Power’s statement preceded a promise to continue supporting NGOs that work to expose human rights violations abroad, many of which have clashed with the Iranian government when attempting to investigate its abuses. Read the rest of this entry »


8 Year Old Yemeni Child Bride Raped to Death on Wedding Night by 40 Year Old Bridegroom

600x450xchild-bride-husband-yemen.jpg.pagespeed.ic.VA2i-FYrYmAn 8-year-old Yemeni girl has become the latest victim of the Religion of Pieces.  Harwan, the little girl, lived in the tribal area of Hardh in northwestern Yemen, near the Saudi border.  Her family married Harwan to a bridegroom approximately five times as old as she was.  He insisted on his marital rights on their wedding night.  These marital rights included tearing Harwan’s genitals so that she bled to death.

The toxic combination of tribal culture and Islam means that child brides are common in Yemen.  According to a 2010 Yemeni government report, more than 25% of Yemeni brides are 15 and under.   Read the rest of this entry »