Friday, December 28, 2012

President Obama Makes a Statement on Averting Tax Hikes for Middle Class Families

The President tells the press that leaders in Congress may be able to reach an agreement that can pass both houses in time.

"Best of the West (Wing Week)"

Welcome to the "Best of the West (Wing Week)!" That's right, folks, West Wing Week took some time over the holidays to reflect on a busy year in video, and to bring you some highlights from the archive. But first, a quick wrap up of the President's week.

Bruce Bartlett and Yves Smith on Overhyping the Fiscal Cliff

Moyers & Company

Air Date: December 14, 2012
Bruce Bartlett and Yves Smith join Bill Moyers in a discussion about why Washington insiders are talking about the deficit crisis instead of the jobs crisis.

Today in History: December 28, 2012

President Woodrow Wilson is born; John C. Calhoun becomes the first vice president of the United States to resign; Alexander Solzhenitsyn's "Gulag Archipelago" is published; Actor Denzel Washington and comic book creator Stan Lee are born. 

Female US. Army Veterans Fight for Support

The U.S. Army now includes more women than ever before. And, like their male counterparts, women veterans face a host of medical and psychological issues when they return home from the front lines  When they do come back, many women say they are finding it difficult to get the help they need in a system still dominated by men. Al Jazeera's Kristen Saloomey reports from New York City.

China Intensifies Cyber Crackdown

Bloggers in China will no longer be allowed to publish anonymously, and their posts may be deleted, and information about them may be sent to the authorities. It is all part of a package of new internet rules which critics say are an attack on freedom of speech. Rob McBride has reports from Hong Kong.

Philippines Clings to Disputed Island in South China Sea

Thitu Island is at the center of one of the biggest territorial disputes in the world. It is part of the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, which are believed to be sitting on billions of dollars' worth of oil and gas reserves. Six countries claim ownership of the tiny archipelago, including the Philippines, which has people living on Thitu Island as a means to strengthen its claim on the Spratlys. Al Jazeera's Jamela Alindogan reports from the Spratlys in the South China Sea.

Indian Teenage Girl Ends Life After Gang Rape

A teenage girl in Indian state of Punjab has committed suicide after police refused to file case against the rapists. She left behind a note criticizing the police and her attackers. Al Jazeera's Caroline Malone reports.

Anti-Maliki Protests Continue in Iraq

Tens of thousands of protesters in Iraq have taken part in fresh rallies against the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Massive demonstrations took place along a major highway near the city of Fallujah on Friday, a day after thousands of protesters continued an almost week-long blockade on a key highway in the western Anbar province.

Nigeria Hit by Mass Unemployment

Unemployment affects more than 20 percent of the workforce in Nigeria - and is particularly bad among young people. Fifty million youths are out of work. That's forcing thousands of women to endure tough working conditions just to survive.

'Put Politics and Partisanship Aside for Public Need and Progress'

Statement from Governor Andrew Cuomo 
on Sandy Aid

As Congress returns to Washington to confront the federal government’s significant fiscal challenges, the members of the House of Representatives cannot and must not ignore the critical needs still facing New Yorkers, and our entire region, in the wake of Sandy. The President has emphatically endorsed our region’s request for aid and the Senate voted to move the package forward with bi-partisan support. A final vote of approval is expected today. It is now up to the House to come together the same way the Senate did and act.

The members of the House will be in Washington this weekend and, while a fiscal cliff deal remains elusive, passing the Sandy aid package should not be a matter impacted, much less stalled, by the same partisan contention or parliamentary process. Our demonstrated need and the House’s past precedent should make this vote a slam dunk. New York's Congressional delegation has done an outstanding job coming together in a bi-partisan fashion to make the case for this aid and I thank them for their efforts.

Twenty-four U.S. states were in some way affected by Sandy. The storm killed at least 131 people in eight states, including at least 60 in New York, at least 35 in New Jersey, and dozens in Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Connecticut, Virginia and North Carolina combined. Hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed in our region, leading to billions in economic disruption and loss. As New Yorkers have bravely confronted the challenge of recovering and rebuilding, the work goes on and they should not have to do it alone.

Every time there has been a storm or disaster even close to the size and scope of Sandy, regardless of the region of the country, the House has approved billions of dollars in supplemental aid -- $290 billion in total since 1989 as part of 35 separate supplemental appropriations bills. North, South, East and West, the House has always acted and acted quickly. Except now.

I understand this is a lot of money and these are tight fiscal times. But, this was a big storm – the second most damaging storm in our nation’s history – and the needs are great and growing.

Put politics and partisanship aside for public need and progress. Partisan gridlock is the enemy of a functioning democracy and the core of democracy is the people coming together to protect and support each other through their government.

The fact is not only New Yorkers ask the members of the House to support us in times of crisis. The whole nation is now watching to see whether or not they will be able to count on the House, as they have so many times before, when their time of need comes again. This vote is a vote of confidence -- confidence that Americans can count on the House to function when we need it most.

'Tie One On for Safety' Anti-DWI Initiative Launched

Campaign Spearheaded by the Thruway Authority and MADD

New York State Thruway Authority toll collectors will handout 18,000 red ribbons on Friday, December 28, 2012 to mark the annual Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) “Tie One On For Safety” campaign, the Thruway Authority announced today.

The ribbons, which will also be available at the Thruway’s Travel Plazas, will be distributed to motorists upon entry at the following Thruway exits: Exit 15 (Woodbury); Exit 17 (Newburgh); Exit 24 (Albany); Exit B3 (Canaan, Mass Pike); Exit 34A (Syracuse); Exit 36 (Watertown, Binghamton); Exit 39 (Syracuse, I-690); Exit 46 (Rochester, Corning); and Exit 55 (Lackawanna).

“The New York State Thruway is one of America’s safest highways and our participation in this campaign encourages drivers to keep themselves and others safe by not drinking and driving,” said Thruway Authority Executive Director Thomas J. Madison.

“To honor lives lost and those injured as a result of impaired driving, we should do all that we can to save other families from enduring this pain,” said Michele Fonda, MADD spokeswoman. “MADD is pleased to have the continued support of the Thruway Authority and recommends planning ahead for a safe way home – designating a sober driver before drinking begins, hosting parties responsibly, and providing alternate transportation or accommodations for those who have been drinking.”

The foot-long red ribbons, a symbol chosen by MADD in 1986, are meant to be displayed on motorist’ vehicles to raise public awareness of the dangers of impaired driving and encourage all to take the pledge to drive safe, sober, and buckled up.  The “Tie One On For Safety” campaign is MADD’s longest running and most visible public awareness project.  In addition to participating in the ribbon handout, the Thruway Authority will be posting MADD’s reminder to “Drive Safe and Sober” on message boards throughout the Thruway system from December 27, 2012 to January 1, 2013.

MADD was established in 1980 to advocate safe driving. The national organization has more than 600 affiliates nationwide, with 18 chapters throughout New York State. MADD focuses on finding effective solutions to the problems of drunk driving and underage drinking, as well as supporting those who have suffered from the consequences of both.  Nationwide Insurance is the National Presenting Sponsor for MADD’s “Tie One On For Safety” red ribbon campaign.

MADD also expresses support for law enforcement crackdown efforts, particularly during the holiday season when the number of alcohol-related crashes rises.  New York State Police Troop T will be conducting specialized patrols and a fixed checkpoint in undisclosed locations along the Thruway during the holiday period.

For more information about MADD, please see the website

To receive TRANSalert emails with information on Thruway traffic incidents and other timely information, click here.

To see real-time webcam views of the Thruway, click here.

To see an interactive map including Google traffic conditions for the Thruway and other roadways in New York State and beyond, click here.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

'We've Lost an American Original'

Statement by President Obama on the Passing of General Norman Schwarzkopf

With the passing of General Norman Schwarzkopf, we've lost an American original. From his decorated service in Vietnam to the historic liberation of Kuwait and his leadership of United States Central Command, General Schwarzkopf stood tall for the country and Army he loved. Our prayers are with the Schwarzkopf family, who tonight can know that his legacy will endure in a nation that is more secure because of his patriotic service. 

Editor's note: This report has been corrected. In the initial report, From The G-Man was informed that the statement was made by the White House press secretary.

In Memoriam....Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf

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Persian Gulf War Commander Dies at 78 After a Prolonged Illness

The NBC News video provides a look back at the crucial role Schwarzkopf played during the war and his no-nonsense style of command.

From The G-Man would like to take this opportunity to honor Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf  his love of country, and his service with the following video tribute. May he forever rest in peace.

Video uploaded to YouTube by moderatepopulist

Consumer Confidence Falls, Housing Starts Rise

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Why Are You Still Gangbanging in 2012?

A Hardcore, Raw and Uncensored Warning About the 
Dangers of Being in Gangs

Editor's note: This video features explicit and graphic language. That said, From The G-Man is posting it because the vital message contained in the video is far more important than the format in which the message is presented. Too many young people of color are getting caught up in "the game", dying, or going to prison. Too many infants and children are dying on the street from gunfire between rival gangs. It....must...stop! From The G-Man is respectfully requesting that you try to disregard the language....and embrace the message. 

The video was uploaded to YouTube on November 12, 2012 by Jeron Sidnal.

Lisa Jackson, EPA Chief, to Bounce in Early 2013

Statement by President Obama on Environmental Protection Agency Leader's Departure

Over the last four years, Lisa Jackson has shown an unwavering commitment to the health of our families and our children. Under her leadership, the EPA has taken sensible and important steps to protect the air we breathe and the water we drink, including implementing the first national standard for harmful mercury pollution, taking important action to combat climate change under the Clean Air Act, and playing a key role in establishing historic fuel economy standards that will save the average American family thousands of dollars at the pump, while also slashing carbon pollution. Lisa has been an important part of my team, and I want to thank her for her service in my Administration and her tireless efforts to benefit the American people. I wish her all the best wherever her future takes her.

Details on Jackson's accomplishments and life are available here

Todd: 'Total Political Paralysis' in Fiscal Talks

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Fiscal Cliff Negotiations and Congressional Agenda

Air date: December 27, 2012

Merideth Shiner spoke by phone about developments in negotiations over the “fiscal cliff” tax increases and budget cuts set to take place in January 2013 if Congress failed to reach a budget agreement.

2013 Housing Market

Air date: December 27, 2012

Lawrence Yun gave his predictions for the housing market in the year 2013. He also responded to telephone calls and electronic communications. Topics included the home mortgage deduction, the possible impact of “fiscal cliff” tax increases and sequestration. and federal refinancing programs. 

Today in History: December 27th

The Soviet Union invades Afghanistan; Charles Darwin sets out on a round-the-world voyage; Radio City Music Hall opens in New York; James Barrie's play "Peter Pan: The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up" opens in London. 

Sniper Targets Al Jazeera Reporters in Syria

A team of Al Jazeera journalists reporting from Syria's western province of Hama came under sniper fire killing a local guide. Abu Yezen al-Hamoui, a Syrian national who have been working with Al Jazeera correspondents, was killed in the attack. Al Jazeera Mubasher's Amr al-Munairy reports from Hama.

Children 'Killed' in Syria Army Tank Attack

Syrian opposition groups report shelling across the country, with fierce fighting in Idlib, Homs and Deir Azzour. In central Syria, activists report that at least 20 people have been killed, including 8 children. Al Jazeera's Mohamed Vall reports.

Rebels Advance in Central African Republic

Embattled Central African Republic president Francois Bozize, urged the United States and France to help push back rebel forces who have advanced towards the capital Bangui. The rebel coalition - known as Seleka - accuse the government of not compensating them according to the terms of a 2007 peace deal. Al Jazeera's Gerald Tan reports.

Philippines Shores up Spratly Islands' Defense

Japan is in a territorial tussle with China over disputed islands in the East China Sea. There is also conflict surrounding islands in the South China Sea. The Spratly islands are claimed by China and five other countries, including the Philippines. Al Jazeera's Jamela Alindogan reports.

Japan's Shinzo Abe Gets Second Chance as PM

Japan's parliament has formally appointed Shinzo Abe as the new prime minister. He had previously served in the same job from 2006 to 2007. His administration will have to win over a public weary of revolving door politics and will need to convince his people that the best of times are still ahead. Al Jazeera's Gerald Tan reports.

China Launches World's Longest High-Speed Rail

China has launched the world's longest high-speed rail line, which runs 2,298 kms from the Beijing in the north to Guangzhou, an economic hub in the Pearl River delta in southern China. But the high prices for fares have been criticised. The cheapest tickets are priced at 138 USD one way and the most expensive seats are at 437 USD. Al Jazeera's Gerald Tan takes a closer look at China's latest showpiece.

Russian Ban of U.S. Adoptions Awaits Putin's Signature

There have been more demonstrations in the Russian capital over a proposed law to restrict Americans from adopting Russian orphans. There are claims it's simply tit-for-tat legislation following growing efforts in the US to stop what it claims are human rights violations inside Russia. More than 60,000 children have been adopted by US parents, including 1,600 orphans in 2011. Al Jazeera's Richard Martin reports.

Drones Could Save Rhinos from Extinction

Animal conservationists in Kenya think drones could well be the answer to bringing back the Northern White Rhino from near extinction. There are only seven of these rhinos left in the world. Four of them live in a Kenyan conservancy, but the rhinos are under constant threat from poachers. Al Jazeera's Nazanine Moshiri reports from Ol Pejeta in Central Kenya.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

George H.W. Bush in 'Guarded Condition'

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

In Intensive Care, Battling Elevated Fever, Spokesman Says

Kwanzaa Message from the White House

Statement from the President and the First Lady

Michelle and I extend our warm thoughts and best wishes to all those celebrating Kwanzaa this holiday season. Today marks the first day of the week-long celebration of African-American history and culture through the seven principles of Kwanzaa: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith.

To many, Kwanzaa serves as a time of reflection--taking lessons learned from our past and looking forward to a more promising tomorrow. It reminds us that though there is much to be thankful for we must recommit ourselves to building a country where all Americans have the opportunity to achieve their dreams.

As families across America light the Kinara today in the spirit of unity, our family extends our prayers and well wishes during this season.

Image courtesy of

People and Power: 'The Organ Traders'

Air date: December 20, 2012

An investigation into illegal human organ trading in Kosovo, Turkey and Israel, and the challenges facing law enforcers.

'EOC' Activated as Winter Storm Hits New York

Utility Companies Will Be Held Accountable for Performances During the Storm 

Governor Cuomo today announced that he will activate the State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) at 6:00 PM today to monitor the storm and any emergency needs.

Representatives from state agencies are present to coordinate storm response efforts, including the State Police, Department of Transportation, Thruway Authority, Office of Fire Prevention and Control, Division of Military and Naval Affairs, Department of Environmental Conservation, and the Department of Health. 

Beginning Wednesday afternoon and lasting through Thursday afternoon, a winter storm will bring moderate to heavy snow and some ice to parts of the state.

New Yorkers should monitor weather conditions; stay tuned to local radio and television stations or to NOAA weather radio for the latest information; plan their activities accordingly; and be particularly cautious while driving.

"Winter weather has arrived for many parts of the state, so as a precaution we have opened the emergency operation center to coordinate response efforts using all state and local resources," Governor Cuomo said.

"I also urge New Yorkers to closely watch local news reports for weather updates and adjust their travel plans accordingly. All non-essential travel should be avoided during and directly after the storm since roads will be icy with blizzard conditions in some places.” 

Secretary to the Governor Larry Schwartz this morning sent a letter to the CEOs of the utilities that operate in New York State saying that they will be held accountable for their performance during and after this storm if they do not meet their obligations to New Yorkers. 

Visit for more information on winter storm safety and preparedness. 

'If We're Not Careful, the Conflicts Could Get Out of Hand'

Regional Expert Says North Korea's a Concern, But Warns the U.S. Could Be Drawn into a War Between China and Japan



Charles Armstrong, PhD., is a member of the steering committee for the National Committee on North Korea (http:/ One of the leading observers and scholars in the country on matters concerning the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), he has authored several books on Korea, most notably “The North Korean Revolution: 1945-1950", which was published by Cornell University Press in 2003. 

He has also written numerous articles and chapters on the DPRK, US-Korean relations, and contemporary Korean affairs. 

While working and living in the Republic of Korea (ROK), Dr. Armstrong worked closely with organizations and international leaders to resolve DPRK and North-South Korean issues. 

In addition to this post, he is the Korea Foundation Professor of Korean Studies and Director of the Center for Korean Research at Columbia University.

Dr. Armstrong has served as a commentator for global news media outlets, including the New York Times, Newsweek, CNN and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). 

In this installment of "The G-Man Interviews", he joins us to discuss some major developments regarding the Asian region and the affect they could have on the United States and its allies.

The interview, which was conducted via Skype, was conceived, directed, edited and written by Gary Glennell Toms. 

Deadly Storm Spreads Snow, Twister Risk to Atlantic Coast

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Obama Cuts Vacation Short to Tackle Fiscal Cliff

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Bill Moyers Essay: Washington’s Revolving Door

Moyers & Company

Air Date: December 14, 2012
Bill takes you through the revolving door between Washington leaders and lobbyists to see how you lose and they win.

Political Events in 2012

Air date: December 25, 2012

Juan Williams talked about significant political events for 2012, including the debate between the White House and the House over spending, President Obama’s re-election and the 2012 campaign, what Washington did to strengthen the U.S. economy, and renewed discussions on gun control.

James Taylor on His Involvement with Politics

Air date: December 7, 2012

James Taylor talked about his background and political views, as well as election laws and reforms, such as a national holiday for voting, voter fraud and identification laws, and the Supreme Court’s Citizen’s United v. Federal Election Commission decision. Other topics included the George W. Bush administration’s involvement in Iraq, and his work for President Obama’s campaign. In between remarks, he played guitar and sang several songs including “Carolina in My Mind” and “Something in the Way She Moves.”

Today in History: December 26th

A tsunami kills more than 200-thousand people is Southeast Asia; Six-year-old beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey is found beaten to death; Winston Churchill addresses joint session of Congress; Presidents Truman and Ford die.

Safety Concerns Persist for Bangladesh Garment Workers

Labor activists in Bangladesh are accusing big-name brands of not taking fire safety seriously. There have been more than a dozen factory fires in the past month - killing more than a hundred people. Despite these incidents, large companies continue to produce from Bangladesh. Nicolas Haque reports.

Mexico City Offers Exchange of Cash for Guns

Mexico City is offering people in one neighborhood the chance to exchange their firearms for cash and electronic goods. The move is the latest attempt by authorities to rid the streets of gun crime and gangs. The violence has claimed more than 60,000 lives across Mexico in the past six years. Al Jazeera's Hyder Abbasi reports.

Chavez 'Walking' After Cancer Surgery

Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela's vice president, says President Hugo Chavez is walking and even exercising, as he recuperates in Cuba after cancer surgery. The announcement comes as the main opposition leader is backtracking on his initial call for new elections if Chavez doesn't make it to his swearing-in ceremony on January 10. Henrique Capriles now says a new election will not be immediately required. Al Jazeera's Lucia Newman reports From Caracas.

Israel's Netanyahu Launches Election Campaign

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has officially launched his campaign for next month's general election. It is a joint election campaign alongside former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. Netanyahu told supporters that radical Islam poses huge challenges to Israel. He also, once again, criticised Iran and its nuclear programme. Al Jazeera's Dominic Kane reports.

Elevating Acidity Threatens Corals

One of the biggest impacts of climate change is on the oceans. They absorb up to 30 percent of all the carbon dioxide pumped into the atmosphere. This is making sea water more corrosive in such a fast pace that scientists fear marine life will not be able to adapt. Al Jazeera's Nicole Johnston reports from Eilat in Israel.

South Africa Compensates Apartheid Victims

The Natives Land Act is a Apartheid-era legislation that meant Blacks could not live in areas designated for white homes and businesses. South Africa's government has agreed to compensate more than 700 people who were pushed from their land during this time. Al Jazeera's Haru Mutasa reports from Germiston in South Africa.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Storm System Moves to Northeast, Causes Flight Cancellations

Air date: December 24, 2012 
Travel trouble looms across the U.S. as a storm system that hit the West coast over the weekend travels east, and threatens to cause problems throughout the holiday week. Anna Werner reports.

Guns, Fiscal Cliff at the Forefront of Debate

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Citizens Hold Gun Company’s Owner Accountable

Moyers & Company

The video was posted on the Moyers website on December 23, 2012.
In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook tragedy, concerned New Yorkers held a vigil to bring attention to gun control and corporate responsibility.

Fiscal Cliff Options

Air date: December 23, 2012

Stan Collender and Joshua Gordon talked about “fiscal cliff” negotiations and gauge what Congress can get done before the end of the year. They discussed the policy options on the table and what they could mean for 2013. Topics included what Congress can do with the remainder of 2012, Democratic and Republican strategies for dealing with the “fiscal cliff” tax increases and budget cuts set to take place in January 2013, and federal spending and revenues in 2013.

Today in History: December 24th

Apollo Eight astronauts orbit the moon; Ku Klux Klan is founded; Human voice first transmitted via radio; Suez Canal opened.

NRA Defends Response to Newtown Massacre

The powerful pro-gun lobby group in the United States has began a full media offensive. The National Rifle Association is defending its response to the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut that left 26 people dead - including 20 children. Al Jazeera's John Terrett reports from Washington DC.

Journalist Shot Dead in Northeastern India

In India, five policeman have been suspended in the northeastern state of Manipur after a journalist was shot dead. Protesters took to the streets in the state capital, Imphal, on Sunday, over an alleged attack on a local actress. They were demanding the man accused of the assault be arrested. Police say they accidentally shot the man while trying to disperse the protesters. Chitra Ahanthem is Associate Editor of the Imphal Free Press and joined Al Jazeera via Skype.

Analysis: Russia-India Arms Deal

Russia has agreed a deal to sell India military helicopters and jet parts worth almost $3 billion. It's the first of a number of multi-billion dollar deals the two countries are considering during Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to New Delhi. Ajai Shukla is the editor of the Strategic Affairs Business Standard and joined Al Jazeera from New Delhi via Skype.

Pakistani Sportswoman Overcomes Hurdles

Pakistan's top female squash player, Maria Toorpakai Wazir has gone to extraordinary lengths to keep playing the game she loves. The 22-year-old moved to Canada from a deeply conservative area of Pakistan where women are denied the right to play. Her family has received threats from militant opposition groups, but she pursues her goals elsewhere. Al Jazeera's Daniel Lak reports from Toronto, Canada.

Hardship in Hong Kong for China's Migrants

A new study shows poverty affects more than a third of families that move from mainland China to Hong Kong. The situation is even worse for single parents without any family or support. Al Jazeera's Stephanie Scawen reports.

Banquet Ban for Chinese Military 'A Small Step'

China has banned senior military officers from holding alcohol-fueled banquets or from staying in luxury hotels when on work trips. Gordon Chang, author of The Coming Collapse of China, joins Al Jazeera from Hong Kong to explain the new rule.

Scientists Resume Drilling Mission in Antarctic

A team of British scientists is trying to restart a drilling mission through the Antarctic Ice Shelf to reach a prehistoric lake. It is hoped that it will reveal evidence of life that could be found elsewhere in the solar system. Drilling down deep into the earth through a lake, they are faced with small time windows before the borehole refreezes to an unusable size, ultimately sealing the lake off again. Al Jazeera's Dominic Kane reports.

Mario Monti Considers Return as Italian PM

Italy's outgoing prime minister Mario Monti says he is willing to lead the country again after the next election. But he is not actually taking part. Al Jazeera's Claudio Lavanga explains.

South Africa Youth Skateboarding Out of Trouble

In South Africa, kids from poor neighborhoods are often exposed to crime at an early age. But a group of children are taking up a new sport to keep themselves off the streets and out of trouble. Al Jazeera's Haru Mutasa reports.

Ben Ali's Riches Go to Auction

He ruled Tunisia for a quarter of a century, but was the first leader to be ousted in the Arab Spring, almost two years ago. Now Former President Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali's ill-gotten gains are going under the hammer. Al Jazeera's Dominic Kane reports.