Morning News and Stuff

Feb 13, 2012 at 10:48 am
click to enlarge Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Laden

The wife of an Israeli diplomat in India and her driver were injured Monday when the car they were traveling in was bombed, while another bomb was defused outside an Israeli embassy in Tblisi, Georgia. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed Iran, which he called “the greatest exporter of terror in the world.”—-

Readers should remember, however, that several Iranian scientists have been assassinated in recent years, with Professor Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan and his driver killed in a bomb blast in north Tehran just last month. U.S. officials last week confirmed that Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency had been funding and training Iranian dissidents to assassinate nuclear scientists involved in Iran's nuclear program. What comes around goes around. 

Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden told his children "not to follow him down the road to jihad" before his death, according to an interview his brother-in-law gave to Britain’s The Sunday Times. "He told his own children and grandchildren, 'Go to Europe and America and get a good education'," said Zakaria al-Sadah. I suppose this can be viewed two ways: Either Osama was offering sage paternal advice so his children wouldn’t make the same mistakes he did, or the terrorist thought only the wealthy deserved a good life while the poor and uneducated served as cannon fodder for his political aims.

Malaysia has deported a young Saudi journalist who is wanted in his native country for Twitter posts about the Prophet Mohammad that led to calls for his execution, Al Jazeera reports. Hamza Kashgari, 23, is on his way back to Saudi Arabia, which is a U.S. ally. "We all agree that what he has done is absolutely wrong. He did tweet certain doubts about the prophet, which is blasphemous," said Abdullah al-Alami, a Saudi activist. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch had urged Malaysia not to send Kashgari back, to no avail.

Victories in Republican primaries in Michigan (Feb. 28) and Ohio (March 6) are crucial to Rick Santorum staying in the race for the GOP presidential nomination, Santorum’s strategists told Politico. “The privately held hope in the Santorum camp is that beating Romney in his native state of Michigan or in the ultimate general election battleground of Ohio would discredit, on a grand scale, the on-and-off Republican frontrunner and make the other candidates in the race irrelevant in the remaining contests,” it reports.

Want to see “vulture capitalism” in action? After singer Whitney Houston’s death on Saturday in Beverly Hills, iTunes increased the prices on her albums. For example, the price of Houston’s 2007 Ultimate Collection jumped from $4.70 to $12.60 within 30 minutes of the news about her passing, causing critics to blast Apple and Sony Music for their crassness.

Locally, some vacant and dilapidated homes might be demolished thanks to last week’s national mortgage settlement between several state attorneys general and five major banks. Ohio will get $75 million from the deal, and several area mayors are urging that some of the money be used to raze the eyesores.

Republicans on the Hamilton County Board of Elections this morning voted to appeal a federal judge's decision from last week that ordered the board to count 286 additional votes in the juvenile court race between Democrat Tracie Hunter and Republican John Williams from 2010. That means the case will go to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Although it appears the Republican-dominated Hamilton County Commission plans to block a public vote on a property tax levy for the Museum Center, a Democratic challenger said he would let it proceed, if elected in November. Greg Harris, the Democrat running against incumbent Republican Greg Hartmann, said “I will support allowing arts and cultural institutions to put their full requests to voters in the form of levies, and campaign in full to support them.”