The film actor and star Gerard Butler, noted for his appearance in such films as 300 (2006) and Law Abiding Citizen (2009),
has attracted favorable media attention in the 2010 period for reasons
other than his film career, namely that of his work with the Global
Poverty Project. In order to launch his participation with the
initiative, Gerard Butler appeared at the premiere, held at NYC’s Museum
of Modern Art, of a movie about the project, entitled 1.4 Billion Reasons. In this project, Gerard Butler has had help from fellow film star Hugh Jackman, of the X-Men films, who together have pledged to devote time and resources to the alleviation of poverty throughout the world.
such, Jackman, as Butler’s partner in the initiative, pledged to
auction off a personal workout session as one of the times offered to
solicit financial contributions for help with the anti-poverty
initiative. Jackman also assisted Gerard Butler with the anti-poverty
effort by acting as host for the 1.4 Billion Reasons benefit,
together with his wife, Deborah-Lee Furness. A month before Gerard
Butler appeared at the October 20 film premiere, Jackman had also spoken
on behalf of the anti-poverty initiative at NYU. Gerard Butler came to
the 1.4 Billion Reasons premiere
after a previous personal appearance, this one at the kick-off for
Michigan State University’s Spartans basketball team. The impetus for
the 1.4 Billion Reasons project,
and for the involvement of celebrities such as Gerard Butler in it,
came from Australian anti-poverty activist Hugh Evans.
and its recent legislative history were cited in a recent report issued
under the aegis of the United Nations. According to Githu Mugai, who
had been specially appointed by the organization to study racial
discrimination throughout the world, much of the most serious
discrimination is lobbied against alien migrants. Mugai cited the
controversial Arizona state legislation of SB 1070 as an example of
governments overstepping the bounds of human rights as should be
extended to citizens and non-citizens alike.
comments were reported as the latest example of the negative outside
attention which has been attached to the legislation. More seriously for
the law’s own chances of being implemented in Arizona, the federal
government has taken an interest, in a largely negative form, in the
legislation. The Justice Department, for example, is responsible for one
of the court cases pending against the SB 1070 Arizona legislation,
while a federal judge has barred some aspects of the law from being
enforced, even while the legislation as a whole has been in effect as of
July 29, 2010.
voiced some of the complaints which have commonly been made about SB
1070 in the U.S., both at the community level within Arizona and
throughout the nation. He charged that the legislation “equips a
policeman…with such immense powers as to compromise in my point of view
the very, very fundamental human rights that ought to be enjoyed in such
an enlightened part of the world as Arizona,” placing the issue in an
area of state Arizona law has enjoyed, or been burdened with, newly
intense scrutiny and comment since the legislation commonly referred to
as SB (State Bill) 1070 was first proposed as an overhaul for the
state’s immigration laws. The new Arizona law, formally referred to as
the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act, was
generally seen, both by opponents and proponents, as one of the
“toughest” laws to be passed against illegal immigration to the U.S. for
a long time. Most worrying to critics of the new Arizona law is the
place it reserves for ethnicity and race in empowering police officers
to act against people they suspect of being in the state illegally.
While supporters of the Arizona law point to this allegation as a
mischaracterization, citing the law’s requirement that this not be the
only criteria for enforcement, Arizona law opponents believe it will
lead to an increased degree of discrimination against the state’s Latino
residents, both legally resident and otherwise.
of the specter of potential human rights abuses, the Arizona law has
also received criticism, and in some cases legal challenges and
opposition, due to the claim that it has usurped the rightful place of
the federal government in enforcing illegal immigration laws. As such,
Arizona law opponents have argued that the federal government has
largely shirked its responsibilities for this matter, and that the
state’s intervention has been made available by the epidemic of violence
on the other side of the border.
On Tuesday, May 3rd of 2011, the United States
Federal Government formally issued a suit against Deutsche Bank, a financial
power based out of Germany. To date, the United States Federal Government has
brought few cases against Wall Street titans in response to the mortgage crisis
that nearly crippled the global financial markets in 2008. The unwillingness to
act on the mortgage crisis, in regards to government intervention; however,
seemingly did a 180, when the Justice Department filed an aggressive lawsuit
against the financial power for several hundreds of millions of dollars.
The United States Justice Department alleged that the
financial giant unjustly stuck taxpayers with enormous tabs for toxic home
loans it previously issued. The complaint, which was filed in the Federal
District Court in New York, formally accused Deutsche Bank of failing to
properly scrutinize potential borrowers, then subsequently lying to government
officials concerning administrative negligence.
According to U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, “Deutsche Bank
ignored every type of red flag and breached every duty of due diligence before
underwriting thousands of federally insured mortgages. While the homes the
defendants issued loans for may have been built on solid ground, the lending
practices were built on quicksand. Ultimately, prudence was trumped by profit,
and good faith took a back seat to good fees.”
The complaint states that MotgageIT, a powerful arm of
Deutsche Bank, issued roughly 39,000 toxic loans amassing over $5 billion,
between 1999 and 2009. As a result of the lenient mortgage laws and the fact
that such loans won government backing, the bank was then able to flip these
loans to investors. In order to legally re-package these loans, however, the
financial giant had to obtain certification from the FHA to affirm the lending
practice met the HUD’s standards.
The suit filed against Deutsche Bank revolves around this
certification process; federal prosecutors allege that when the bank applied
for certification, it “repeatedly lied to H.U.D. to obtain and maintain legal
certification.” The foundation of these claims centers on the accusation that
the bank did not properly monitor the default rate of these risky loans, even
though it definitively claimed to do so.
Although Deutsche Bank claimed these charges to be
“unreasonable and unfair” the extent to which this suit establishes whether
such neglectful lending practices are criminal will yield far-reaching
ramifications for the prominent players in the controversial mortgage market.
The sons of recently slain international terrorist Osama Bin
Laden have threatened to sue United States President Barack Obama over what
they see as a savage and disgraceful treatment of their father’s dead body.
Osama Bin Laden’s son, Omar, recently issued a statement to
an Internet site on behalf of his brothers, saying that Obama is responsible
for his father’s death and for what they see as the deplorable acts, which
followed the Navy SEAL operation to kill their father.
Omar stated that throwing his father’s dead body in the sea
is not only “unacceptable,” but “humiliating” to the Bin Laden family.
Omar went onto to say in his statement, “From a human point
of view it is impermissible to treat the body of a person in that manner, which
as a matter of fact hurts the feelings of hundreds of millions of Muslims
around the world.”
The burial Omar is referring is in response to the United
States’ efforts to give Bin Laden a proper Muslim burial by placing his corpse
in the sea. As it turns out, however, Muslim custom states that only people who
have died at sea can be buried in the sea.
Omar bin Laden and a number of his brothers have stated that
the family is determined to resolve what they see as a desecration by any means
of the American and international justice system.
On May 10th, 2011, the Microsoft company
purchased Skype for an estimated $8.5 billion; Skype – a video communication
system allowing users to converse via virtual ‘face to face’ interaction – is
utilized by almost 700 million people worldwide. As a result, what happens when
one of the biggest computer software companies purchases one of the biggest and
most upcoming telecommunications company – and what does it mean for you?
First off – if you’re a PC user – you may still be able to
hold out on crossing over to Apple; although Microsoft offers a smart phone
option in the new Windows phone, but it has not reached the acclaim and
popularity of the iPhone – the smart phone offered by the Apple Company.
However, with the integrated technology from Skype – in addition to its massive
user base – both Microsoft’s network, as well as its communications technology
is expected to bring a multitude of surprises to consumers later in 2011.
Secondly, video game enthusiasts may see their individual
gaming experiences propelled into a realm of technology never thought possible;
Xbox – Microsoft’s video gaming system boasting hundreds of millions of users –
allows gamers to connect with fellow gamers through audio chat, which is called
‘Xbox Live’. However, the purchase of Skype may allow for video gamers residing
all over the globe to ‘video chat’ with each other during game play – this
would be an industry first.