THE WEEKEND SCOOP JULY 28th, 2012

   

Happy birthday for you and that makes 34 for us. On Friday we celibrate the birthday of our child April and Saturday will mark 34 years of marrige for Jane and I, maybe we’ll stop long enough to eat cake and give thanks.

  Damascus:  A showdown between government troops and opposition forces in Syria’s largest city, Aleppo, is imminent, the U.N.’s human rights office said Friday, as the Red Cross reported it is pulling some of its foreign staff from Damascus out of concern for the safety of its workers.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said unconfirmed reports are coming out of the capital, Damascus, of extra-judicial killings and shootings of civilians during fighting in the city’s suburbs.

Wounded in Saudi:  Spokesmen for the Saudi Interior Ministry said several people were burning tires during the protesting and that several arrests were made. Several demonstrators have been wounded in Saudi Arabia’s eastern district of Qatif after security forces opened fire on protesters. Officers fired live rounds at demonstrators, who carried posters of detained protesters who were injured and arrested earlier this month.

Reuters/Jean-Paul Pelissier EYES IN THE SKY

The European Commission had released a proposal to deploy drones across the Mediterranean Sea to catch illegal immigrants. The surveillance effort is part of a $410 million package to bolster EU border security. Dubbed EUROSUR, the project proposes the use of drones, high-resolution cameras, satellites and spy planes to detect migrant vessels at sea.

MORE: The FAA has authorized the use of remote-controlled Predator drones in the airspace above nearly 10,000 acres in North Dakota. As of this fall, unmanned military aircraft will use lasers to aim at ground targets from nearly 2 miles above the earth.

 

­CYBER WARS: General Keith B. Alexander said the US saw a 17-fold increase in computer attacks on its power grids, water utilities and other key facilities between 2009 and 2011. He said criminal gangs, hackers and foreign nations were responsible for the attacks. General Keith said on Thursday at the Aspen Security Forum at the Aspen Institute, a major cyber-security event held for the 20th time this year.

  Photo dated January 1983 shows NASA astronaut Sally Ride at Johnson Space Center in Houston. Ride, the first US woman to fly in space, died on July 23, 2012 after a 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer, her foundation announced. She was 61. Ride first launched into space in 1983, on the seventh US space shuttle mission.

USA, USA, U.S.A. Police have arrested a man only 24 miles from Washington, D.C. who allegedly had been plotting to carry out a mass shooting at his workplace. Neil Prescott, 28, was arrested by police in Crofton, Maryland on Thursday night after he allegedly phoned in a threat to employer Pitney Bowes, a software and mailroom supplier, warning them that he would “shoot the place up.” The investigation was led by the Ann Arundel, Maryland Police Department in conjunction with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Economic growth has stalled once more in the States, with statistics released on Friday from the Commerce Department coming up too shy to suggest that the country isn’t close to recovery three years after the recession was officially put to rest. The latest numbers out of Washington confirm that the country is experiencing economic growth at a grueling pace that is simply too sluggish to trigger a turn around by the year’s end: from April through June, the US economy grew at an annual rate of a mere 1.5 percent, down from the first quarter’s rate of 2 percent. 

More on this conflict: Turkey has warned that it may take action against Kurdish rebels operating in the north of Syria. Middle East expert Franklin Lamb believes this could finally lead to Turkish and NATO intervention in the country. Almost a half of all Russians are against foreign intervention into the Syrian crisis. However, the majority of the population support neither side of the conflict, polls have revealed.

  Back Home – Purfume on a pig,  Mississippi:

“Jackson, Miss., where crime, blight and dysfunction await.” This is hardly the welcome mat city leaders want on their stoop – but say that is exactly how Mississippi’s capital is perceived around the United States.

The city has hired a local ad firm, Fahrenheit Creative Group, for $45,000 to boost the city’s image to combat the negativity. The cynic might say Jackson earned its image. Crime is a serious concern in many areas like law enforcement the local court house etc… Boarded-up homes can be found in even the city’s wealthier neighborhoods as the city’s politics at times have more in common with the states self serving circus than governance of a major city

Recognizing the importance of perception, Hinds County unveiled its own branding effort in July 2011.This campaign features the county’s smaller communities, like Clinton and Raymond. The Hinds consultants held five community meetings around the county to get frank input from elected officials, business leaders and civic groups. Many didn’t hold back about why they think Hinds County gets a bad name – and some singled out Jackson’s image as part of the problem.

A WORD FROM THE TOP:

“Because of the negative perceptions of Hinds County – whether it’s crime or lack of leadership – we have really worked hard to differentiate ourselves and to stand above it,”. “We’re being branded by Madison County in a very, very negative way,”At one Hinds County meeting, former Jackson City Councilman said Hinds and Jackson are unjustly associated with crime.

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