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Anti-immigrant violence sweeps Greece

Fears of far-right rise in crisis-hit Greece - CTV News
ATHENS, Greece — They descended by the hundreds -- black-shirted, bat-wielding youths chasing down dark-skinned immigrants through the streets of Athens and beating them senseless in an unprecedented show of force by Greece's far-right extremists. In Greece, alarm is rising that the twin crises of financial meltdown and soaring illegal immigration are creating the conditions for a right-wing rise -- and the Norway massacre on Monday drove authorities to beef up security. The move comes amid spiraling social unrest that has unleashed waves of rioting and vigilante thuggery on the streets of Athens. The U.N.'s refugee agency warns that some Athens neighborhoods have become zones where "fascist groups have established an odd lawless regime." Greek police on Monday said they have increased security checks at Muslim prayer houses and other immigrant sites in response to the Norway shooting rampage that claimed 77 lives. "There has been an increase in monitoring at these sites since the events occurred in Norway," said police spokesman Thanassis Kokkalakis. . . .

The Incredible Magdeburg Water Bridge

The Incredible Magdeburg Water Bridge in Germany | Amusing Planet

Awkward Facebook Break-Ups

If you need to distract yourself from how terribly Teabaggers and spineless Dems have messed up our economy and our country, here are Facebook conversations of people doing an awesome job of messing up their own lives. The Most Awkwardly Public Break-Ups In Facebook History | Happy Place

August 01, 2011

Follow-Up: the AirBnB Burglary

As we shared last week, a woman who rented her home in San Francisco via AirBnB returned to find her home absolutely ransacked. AirBnB has been making bold claims to everyone that they are helping her, but the victim says the claims are just hot air. She also says that AirBnB are pressuring her to make her story go away, because it might impact their funding. Which is to say that if people knew how easy it was to burglarize folks via AirBnB, maybe no one would use AirBnB? Burglary N Breakfast of the Day [UPDATED] - The Daily What
Background: A blogger named “EJ” returned home from a week-long business trip to find her apartment had been “ransacked” by a paying house guest with whom she had connected through the online rental agency Airbnb. After EJ recounted the ordeal on her blog, she allegedly received a call from one of the company’s co-founders who asked her to “shut down the blog altogether or limit its access” out of concern for Airbnb’s growth and funding. Despite Airbnb’s claim that they have been “in close contact with [EJ]” since the incident, she says the extent of the contact since her customer service “liaison” suddenly stopped communicating with her three days after the crime was reported amounted to occasional messages from the same co-founder “directed primarily at my blog post and its activity on Twitter.” EJ also challenged several other statements put out by the company, including the claim that a suspect was in custody (“I have received no confirmation…that any culprit is in custody for my case”) and the assertion that she had been offered “financial support” to aid her recovery (she says she has not been compensated). “Obviously, the financial damages have been significant, but it has come down to a matter of principle and how I feel they disregarded me and my situation,” EJ told USA Today. “I still hurt, and I don’t know how you make that right.” . . .

July 30, 2011

New York wants people to stop foraging in its parks

New York Moves to Stop Foraging in City’s Parks - NYTimes.com
Maybe it is the spiraling cost of food in a tough economy or the logical next step in the movement to eat locally. Whatever the reason, New Yorkers are increasingly fanning out across the city’s parks to hunt and gather edible wild plants, like mushrooms, American ginger and elderberries. Now parks officials want them to stop. New York’s public lands are not a communal pantry, they say. In recent months, the city has stepped up training of park rangers and enforcement-patrol officers, directing them to keep an eye out for foragers and chase them off. “If people decide that they want to make their salads out of our plants, then we’re not going to have any chipmunks,” said Maria Hernandez, director of horticulture for the Central Park Conservancy, the nonprofit group that manages Central Park. Plants are not the only things people are taking. In Prospect Park in Brooklyn last week, park rangers issued four summonses to two people for illegal fishing. Although officials say such poaching is not widespread, park advocates say taking fish and turtles for food is not uncommon, and some have reported evidence of traps designed to snare wildfowl. Foraging used to be a quirky niche, filled most notably by “Wildman” Steve Brill, who for years has led foraging tours in the Northeast, including in Central Park. (He now sells a foraging app, too.) But foragers today are an eclectic bunch, including downtown hipsters, recent immigrants, vegans and people who do not believe in paying for food. . . .