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Tsarnaev Trial to Stay in Boston

The First Circuit Court of Appeals has denied Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's request to order his trial moved from Boston due to the inability to seat a fair and impartial jury. The vote was 2 to 1:

In a dissenting opinion, Circuit Judge Juan R. Torruella wrote that media coverage from the date of the bombing through the current pre-trial process has been “unparalleled in American legal history,” and that in the face of such publicity “it is absurd to suggest that Tsarnaev will receive a fair and impartial trial in the Eastern Division of the District of Massachusetts.”

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Pres. Widodo Rejects Clemency, Locals Burn Thief Alive

Indonesia President Joko Widodo has rejected Austrialian Prime Minister Tony Abbott's plea for mercy for Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, which was made by telephone call earlier in the week.

In an interview with daily business newspaper Kontan on Friday, the President reiterated that he would not commute the sentences imposed on drug traffickers as the country was in a state of emergency caused by drug abuse. He insisted that the executions of the convicts would go ahead as scheduled. On Thursday, the government had initially kept silent after Abbott issued his statement.

“Our position is clear: our laws cannot be interfered with,” the newspaper quoted Jokowi as saying.

In West Java (Indonesia's death island and killing fields are in Central Java) the locals have taken to burning car and motorcycle thieves alive (called lynchings), saying prison isn't an acceptable punishment, because when they get out, they'll steal again.[More...]

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Friday Open Thread

Time for a new open thread. All topics welcome.

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Jihadi John's Travel to Syria

I see many news reports saying Mohammed Emwazi, aka "Jihadi John" went to Syria in 2012. CAGE says it was 2013.

In early 2013, Mohammed's father suggested that he should think about changing his name by deed poll, so that perhaps the name that he had been known under thus far, might not cause him further problems as he sought to travel. He complied with his father's suggestion, and before long officially became known as Mohammed al-Ayan.

With one final roll of the dice, Mohammed bought a ticket for Kuwait, and attempted to travel there. Once again, he was frustrated as he was barred from travel, and once again questioned by the security agencies.

p.[More....]

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"Jihadi John" Identified

The black-clad executioner in ISIS beheading videos has been identified by the media as Mohammed Emwazi. He grew up in London, graduated college, and according to CAGE, which corresponded with him, was harassed by British intelligence and prevented from leaving several times. He is originally from Kuwait. The BBC has more. [More...]

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Twitter vs. ISIS

I really wish Twitter would stop deleting ISIS accounts. In the last three hours, 20 accounts I've been following are gone. This has been going on for weeks. I don't like one-sided news. ISIS accounts are a source of information. Following them and reporting about what they write or depict is not support. When I do write about something violent that I've read or watched, I don't provide the link or reproduce the content and insist commenters not post them in comments.

The pro-Kurdish accounts with equally violent graphics (and name-calling) aren't being deleted. There are also a lot of Jabhat al-Nusra twitter accounts being given free reign. Twitter should at least be consistent. If one side gets to stay, they all should. [More...]

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Indonesia: The Coffins Have Arrived, Widodo Holds Firm

Today it was announced ten coffins have arrived on Nusakambangan island, Indonesia's island of death.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo has refused to budge on the imminent executions of drug offenders, which by all accounts will proceed as soon as possible. He has tuned out requests by leaders of Brazil, Nigeria, France, the Philippines, and especially Australia.

What is fueling his stubborn resistance? He says other countries need to butt out and let Indonesia enforce its laws. He says this is about legal sovereignty and Indonesia's dignity. Shorter version: the politics of pride and nationalism. [More...]

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Tuesday Night Open Thread

The Voice is on fire this season. Incredible performers, and I'm glad to see Christina Aguilera back -- it's not really The Voice without her.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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Indonesia President: Religious Tolerance Best Response to Terrorism

Indonesia President Joko Widodo said this month Indonesia's approach to terrorism is one of tolerance, not security.

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo said on Wednesday that Indonesia practiced religious tolerance and was using cultural approaches to eradicate terrorism in the country, rather than adopting a security approach.

“We have shown that tolerance and mutual respect is strong and we always take the middle ground [...]. So there is no immense extremism and that is what other countries see [in us],” said Jokowi on the last day of the sixth Indonesian Muslims Congress (KUII) in Yogyakarta.

Widodo and Indonesia insist on executions of drug mules as a response to the problem of drug trafficking, but for the danger of terrorists, they urge “soft” religious and cultural approaches." Just like Indonesia offers "get of jail free" cards to terrorists.[More...]

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Marijuana Possession Now Legal in Alaska

In November, Alaska voters voted to legalize the personal use and possession of small amounts of marijuana.

The law went into effect today.

Alaska's new law, passed by voters in 2014, means people over age 21 can legally consume small amounts of pot, but individuals are not allowed to sell it or buy it. They are allowed to grow up to six plants and possess up to an ounce of weed. Smoking in public is not allowed.

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DOJ: No Civil Rights Charges Warranted for Zimmerman

The Department of Justice has announced the closure of its civil rights investigation against George Zimmerman. No charges will be filed due to insufficient evidence.

After a thorough and independent investigation into the facts surrounding the shooting, federal investigators determined that there is insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt a violation of these statutes. Accordingly, the investigation into this incident has been closed. This decision is limited strictly to the department’s inability to meet the high legal standard required to prosecute the case under the federal civil rights statutes; it does not reflect an assessment of any other aspect of the shooting.

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Bali Ticket Sales Decline from #BoycottBali Campaign

The social media campaign to boycott Bali as a result of its execution of non-violent drug traffickers is picking up steam. Ticket sales are down.

Within days, Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan of the Bali Nine and 9 other drug traffickers will be flown to Nusakambangan Island, put in isolation cells, and within three days, taken to one of the island's two killing fields, tied to a wooden cross and shot.

Military jets, including a squadron of Sukhoi and a Hercules CN-295 military transport airbus, and hundreds of soldiers will be deployed to transfer Andrew and Myuran. [More...]

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The Oscars

The Oscars are about to begin. Here's a thread to discuss. Neil Patrick Harris is hosting. The red carpet hosts were unwatchable, where do they find these people? Even Robin Roberts is way too over-animated and seems phony.I hope the show is better.

Best Picture:

  • American Sniper
  • Birdman
  • Boyhood
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • The Imitation Game
  • Selma
  • The Theory of Everything
  • Whiplash

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Sunday Open Thread

I've been catching up on my reading this weekend, the snow that began more than 24 hours ago is still coming down.

It's also Oscar night, which means the Red Carpet should be starting soon.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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"El Chapo" Guzman: One Year Later

One year ago today, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman was captured in Mazatlan. He's been held at Altiplano prison in Mexico ever since. He has not been extradited. His assets have not been seized or forfeited. There has been no dent in the drugs produced and trafficked by the associated Sinaloa organizations. (Via google translate):

However, one year of "El Chapo" capture, the Sinaloa cartel continues supplying methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine and marijuana to consumers in Los Angeles, area that has been the one of the main markets for Mexican drug traffickers since the 90's, from the time that "El Chapo" was partnered with the Reynoso brothers.

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