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Ear bitten off in fast food queue (click on link for source)

The attack happened at the KFC on Renfield Street in GlasgowThe attack happened at the KFC on Renfield Street in Glasgow

A man had part of his ear bitten off in a “violent” and “unprovoked” attack by two men in a Glasgow fast food outlet.

Police said the 28-year-old man and his friend were in KFC on Renfield Street when they were confronted by three men and a woman at 23:00 on Friday.

They decided to leave the shop without getting food but were attacked by two of the men as they made their way out.

The victim had the top half of his ear bitten off and was taken to the Royal Infirmary for treatment.

The two men responsible for the attack were last seen in Bath Lane.

One was described as white, about 18, of slim build, with dark hair and wearing a grey tracksuit with yellow writing.

The other was white, about 18 to 20, of slim build and wearing a dark jacket.

He had the name ‘Scott’ tattooed on the right side of his neck.

Det Con Kieron Frost said: “This would appear to a totally unprovoked attack on the 28-year-old man who had only gone into the shop with his friend to purchase something to eat prior to returning home.

“It was a particularly violent attack which resulted in the victim losing the top half of his ear which will now require surgery.”

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U.N. Leaders Consider World Financial Tax to Fund Social Protection, Services

By Susan Roylance

NEW YORK — Outside the United Nations headquarters, hundreds of people were shouting and waving banners Tuesday that read “China and Russia – No Veto.” These people wanted support from the Security Council of the U.N. to oust the President of Syria, Bashar al-Assad.

Inside the U.N., another group of civil society leaders demanded a basic level of social security as they promoted a “social protection floor” at a preparatory forum for the Commission on Social Development, which began Feb. 1.

The focus of the forum was “universal access to basic social protection and social services.”

“No one should live below a certain income level,” stated Milos Koterec, President of the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. “Everyone should be able to access at least basic health services, primary education, housing, water, sanitation and other essential services.”

These services were presented at the forum as basic human rights equal to the rights of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

The money to fund these services may come from a new world tax.

“We will need a modest but long-term way to finance this transformation,” stated Jens Wandel, Deputy Director of the United Nations Development Program. “One idea which we could consider is a minimal financial transaction tax (of .005 percent). This will create $40 billion in revenue.”

“It is absolutely essential to establish controls on capital movements and financial speculation,” said Ambassador Jorge Valero, the current Chairman of the Commission on Social Development. He called for “progressive policies of taxation” that would require “those who earn more to pay more taxes.”

Valero’s speech to the forum focused on capitalism as the source of the world financial problems.

Read the rest here.

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Portugal’s economy is dying a slow death

LISBON, Portugal (AP) – In a six-room Lisbon office where until last year more than a dozen people worked, engineer Joao Paulo Lopes sits alone in silence amid dark computer screens, patiently waiting for a bankruptcy lawyer to shut the company’s doors and send him home.

Small firms with fewer than 50 workers, like the gas and water installation company where Lopes works, make up more than 99 percent of Portuguese businesses. They are the bedrock of the country’s economy. And they’re collapsing at an alarming rate.

“We’re witnessing a daily deluge of small companies going under,” says Raul Gonzalez, president of the national association of bankruptcy owners. His organization logged more than 10,000 company insolvencies last year — a startling 60 percent jump from the previous year.

Portugal’s economy appears locked in a death spiral. The debt-crippled eurozone country is choking amid grinding austerity measures enacted in return for a €78 billion ($102 billion) bailout package last April, a steep recession, an acute shortage of cash, and record unemployment.

That has put Portugal back into the crosshairs of Europe’s two-year-old debt crisis. The country looks as though it will follow Greece in needing another bailout and debt restructuring. And its ordeal could bring another spasm of financial distress for the 17-nation bloc sharing the euro.

The three major international ratings agencies have downgraded Portugal’s credit worthiness to junk status over the past year. Their decisions reflect a lack of market faith in the country’s short-term prospects. In recent days, interest rates on the country’s bonds — a weather vane of investor sentiment — have climbed to highs not seen since the European single currency was introduced.

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Al-Ahly players escaped from the field as fans of Al-Masry rushed to the pitch [AFP]

At least 73 people have been killed in clashes after a football game in the Egyptian city of Port Said, medics say.

About 1,000 others were injured in Wednesday’s violence, including police. At least two players suffered light injuries.

Fans of the winning al-Masry team flooded the field seconds after the match with al-Ahly, Egypt’s top team, was over.

A security official said the fans chased the players and cornered their supporters on the field and around the stadium,
throwing stones and bottles at them.

Thousands of supporters covered the field, as seen in a video posted online.

“This is unfortunate and deeply saddening. It is the biggest disaster in Egypt’s soccer history,” Hesham Sheiha, deputy health minister, said.

He said most of the injuries were caused by concussion and deep cuts.

Al-Ahly football players were trapped in the changing room along with supporters. Riot police were sent in to drive the rival crowds of fans back.

‘War, not football’

Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, the head of the country’s ruling military council, sent army helicopters to transfer al-Ahly football players and injured fans from Port Said.

Private cars helped to shuttle the injured across the city to hospitals.

“This is not football. This is a war and people are dying in front of us. There is no movement and no security and no
ambulances,” al-Ahly player Abo Treika told the team’s television channel. “This is a horrible situation and today can never be forgotten.”

The Muslim Brotherhood, the country’s largest political force,  accused supporters of ousted President Hosni Mubarak of instigating the violence.State television announced that parliament will hold an emergency session over the violence. State prosecutors  ordered an investigation into the pitch invasion and the violence that ensued.

“The events in Port Said are planned and are a message from the remnants of the former regime,” parliamentarian Essam al-Erian said in a statement on the group’s Freedom and Justice Party website.

Al-Ahly’s supporter club, Ultras, said on their website that they would head to Port Said later in the evening.

Al-Masry team won a rare 3-1 against Al-Ahly.

The two teams have a long history of bad blood, and clashes have erupted in recent years between their fans.

Al Jazeera’s Rawya Rageh, reporting from Cairo, said several football games after the revolution have witnessed violence due to the absence of police forces.

“In the security vacuum that has lasted since the revolution, the police force has basically disappeared from the street after their notorious performance during the revolution.”

A match in Cairo on Wednesday evening was interrupted following the news of the deaths in Port Said. Television  footage showed a big fire behind the supporter stand at the Cairo stadium.

The Premier League, which the games were part of, was suspended indefinitely.

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NATO report: Pakistan is the worst friend money doesn’t buy

Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) — Pakistan continues to support the Taliban in Afghanistan, a secret NATO report says, according to a journalist who has read it, despite years of Pakistani denials and American pressure to stop backing the insurgency

The Taliban depend on Pakistan for support, even though they do not necessarily welcome it, Times of London reporter Jerome Starkey said Wednesday, citing the report.

The leaked NATO document revives the longstanding accusation that elements in Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence agency are aiding the insurgency in Afghanistan.

It says the ISI knows the whereabouts of all senior Taliban commanders, Starkey said.

“It is a marriage of convenience,” he said. The Taliban see Pakistan as manipulative, but they see no alternative to accepting its support, he said.

The Taliban are absolutely confident of victory, he said the report found, based on 27,000 interviews with more than 4,000 detainees ranging from senior Taliban commanders to Afghan civilians.

They also include mid- and low-level Taliban, al Qaeda, and foreign fighters, he said.

Progress in Afghan peace talks NATO downplayed the importance of the report Wednesday, after it was leaked, while Pakistan rejected key conclusions entirely.

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Chinese Manufacturing Rises Despite Lower Exports to Europe

“There are signs that the global economy, the global manufacturing cycle, is finding its feet,” said Nick Kounis, head of macro research atABN Amro in Amsterdam. “Things are no longer deteriorating. On the other hand, we’re not seeing signs of a sharp rebound. We’re not out of the woods yet in terms of the European economy at least.”

Full article

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