Magnificent New Year’s fireworks welcome 2015 across the globe (VIDEOS)

By RT

Sydney offered some of this year’s most incredible fireworks display with over 100,000 pyrotechnic effects. An estimated 1.6 million people turned up to watch more than 10,000 aerial fireworks and 25,000 shooting comets over Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. Over a billion people tuned in throughout the globe to watch Sydney’s New Year’s Eve celebrations, as the city takes pride in being one of the first major cities in the world to welcome each New Year.

In Hong Kong, around 300,000 people crowded the city’s streets to watch fireworks and to see artificial snow effects that lit up the skies over Victoria Harbour in an eight-minute show.

Despite terrible news of a stampede in Shanghai, hundreds of million across China tuned to Beijing where a stunning light show was displayed over Badaling Great Wall.

The landmark skyscraper Taipei 101 was the center of attraction in Taiwan. Celebrations included pop singers and a firework display at midnight.

While in Dubai, spectacular fireworks display welcomed in the New Year from the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa as thousands gathered to watch the display that featured portraits of the United Arab Emirates emirs.

And in the heart of Russia, thousands of Muscovites gathered at the iconic Red Square to start the New Year with a wonderful view of the fireworks over St. Basil’s Cathedral and the Kremlin. Millions also tuned in to watch President Vladimir Putin’s New Year address.

READ MORE ‘Landmark in Russian history’: President Vladimir Putin’s New Year address

Germans too got a dose of wisdom from Chancellor Angela Merkel, but as in the most of the world, the cheerful celebrations turned into a drinking fest.

Even eastern Ukraine, seized the hostilities to welcome the New Year, and for many a new start. Illuminating shells lit up the sky above Donetsk airport, instead of shells that have become a familiar scene for the residents there.

A few hours later hundreds of thousands of people witnessed the best London has to offer over the River Thames as the fireworks display exploded to the midnight bongs of Big Ben.

Rio de Janeiro’s main Copacabana beach is the venue for the country’s biggest New Year party, as it’s practically midsummer at the moment, which is why many partygoers have come to Brazil to kick start their 2015.

The party continues… stay tuned

Via:: RT.com

Magnificent New Year’s fireworks welcome 2015 across the globe (VIDEOS)

By RT

Sydney offered some of this year’s most incredible fireworks display with over 100,000 pyrotechnic effects. An estimated 1.6 million people turned up to watch more than 10,000 aerial fireworks and 25,000 shooting comets over Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. Over a billion people tuned in throughout the globe to watch Sydney’s New Year’s Eve celebrations, as the city takes pride in being one of the first major cities in the world to welcome each New Year.

In Hong Kong, around 300,000 people crowded the city’s streets to watch fireworks and to see artificial snow effects that lit up the skies over Victoria Harbour in an eight-minute show.

Despite terrible news of a stampede in Shanghai, hundreds of million across China tuned to Beijing where a stunning light show was displayed over Badaling Great Wall.

The landmark skyscraper Taipei 101 was the center of attraction in Taiwan. Celebrations included pop singers and a firework display at midnight.

While in Dubai, spectacular fireworks display welcomed in the New Year from the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa as thousands gathered to watch the display that featured portraits of the United Arab Emirates emirs.

And in the heart of Russia, thousands of Muscovites gathered at the iconic Red Square to start the New Year with a wonderful view of the fireworks over St. Basil’s Cathedral and the Kremlin. Millions also tuned in to watch President Vladimir Putin’s New Year address.

READ MORE ‘Landmark in Russian history’: President Vladimir Putin’s New Year address

Germans too got a dose of wisdom from Chancellor Angela Merkel, but as in the most of the world, the cheerful celebrations turned into a drinking fest.

Even eastern Ukraine, seized the hostilities to welcome the New Year, and for many a new start. Illuminating shells lit up the sky above Donetsk airport, instead of shells that have become a familiar scene for the residents there.

A few hours later hundreds of thousands of people witnessed the best London has to offer over the River Thames as the fireworks display exploded to the midnight bongs of Big Ben.

The party continues… stay tuned

Via:: RT.com

Maryland Gov. commutes sentences for state’s final 4 death row inmates

By RT

Gov. O’Malley successfully led the effort to repeal the state’s death penalty law in 2013, but lawmakers did not address the fate of inmates already under death sentences except to allow them to serve life without parole. The four men are Vernon Evans, Anthony Grandison, Jody Lee Miles and Heath William Burch. All four had committed murder, and Evans and Grandison had been on death row for 31 years.

The question at hand is whether any public good is served by allowing these essentially un-executable sentences to stand,” O’Malley told the Baltimore Sun. “In my judgment, leaving these death sentences in place does not serve the public good of the people of Maryland — present or future.

O’Malley said in a statement that he had spoken recently to the survivors of some of the victims of the four men’s crimes. He expressed gratitude toward the family members for sharing their thoughts and said he had concluded that failing to act would “needlessly and callously” subject them to an “endless” appeals process.

Maryland Death-Row Inmates Win New Year’s Reprieve http://t.co/csYLFXY48y

— Lawyerology (@lawyerology) January 1, 2015

One family survivor wasn’t convinced, and she expressed her feelings to NBC News.

“I’m devastated,” said Mary Francis Moore, 71, whose father, Robert Davis, and stepmother, Cleo Davis, were stabbed to death with scissors by Burch in 1996. “I kinda lost a little faith in the judicial system. I don’t know how someone can pick up a pen and change the sentencing of someone.

Before their sentences were commuted, the inmates were in no threat of being executed. There had been a death penalty moratorium in the state since a 2006 Court of Appeals ruling voided the death penalty.

Eliminating capital punishment in the state had been the focus of work by grassroots organizations like Maryland Citizens Against State Executions. The remaining four inmates on death row represented a job that was not yet completed.

For everyone involved, this is the best course of action,” said Jane Henderson, who was executive director of the group.

These cases were going to go through the courts and go back and forth in appeals until some sentence was determined,” she added. “This has been the problem with the death penalty for many, many years. It puts families through a roller-coaster. What the death penalty does to the families of victims is just cruel, and it was always going to be that way.”

Other groups, meanwhile, are hoping that O’Malley’s decision will echo across the country and create momentum in other states.

Hopefully Governor O’Malley’s actions can usher in a new era of leadership on the death penalty in 2015. We need and welcome more policymakers who will stand up and tell the truth about the real cost of capital punishment: It squanders our values, diminishes our humanity, and wastes precious public resources and energies on a policy that is demonstrably unworkable,” said Diann Rust-Tierney, executive director of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.

Via:: RT.com

Maryland Gov. commutes sentences for state’s final 4 death row inmates

By RT

Gov. O’Malley successfully led the effort to repeal the state’s death penalty law in 2013, but lawmakers did not address the fate of inmates already under death sentences except to allow them to serve life without parole. The four men are Vernon Evans, Anthony Grandison, Jody Lee Miles and Heath William Burch. All four had committed murder, and Evans and Grandison had been on death row for 31 years.

The question at hand is whether any public good is served by allowing these essentially un-executable sentences to stand,” O’Malley told the Baltimore Sun. “In my judgment, leaving these death sentences in place does not serve the public good of the people of Maryland — present or future.

O’Malley said in a statement that he had spoken recently to the survivors of some of the victims of the four men’s crimes. He expressed gratitude toward the family members for sharing their thoughts and said he had concluded that failing to act would “needlessly and callously” subject them to an “endless” appeals process.

Maryland Death-Row Inmates Win New Year’s Reprieve http://t.co/csYLFXY48y

— Lawyerology (@lawyerology) January 1, 2015

One family survivor wasn’t convinced, and she expressed her feelings to NBC News.

“I’m devastated,” said Mary Francis Moore, 71, whose father, Robert Davis, and stepmother, Cleo Davis, were stabbed to death with scissors by Burch in 1996. “I kinda lost a little faith in the judicial system. I don’t know how someone can pick up a pen and change the sentencing of someone.

Before their sentences were commuted, the inmates were in no threat of being executed. There had been a death penalty moratorium in the state since a 2006 Court of Appeals ruling voided the death penalty.

Eliminating capital punishment in the state had been the focus of work by grassroots organizations like Maryland Citizens Against State Executions. The remaining four inmates on death row represented a job that was not yet completed.

For everyone involved, this is the best course of action,” said Jane Henderson, who was executive director of the group.

These cases were going to go through the courts and go back and forth in appeals until some sentence was determined,” she added. “This has been the problem with the death penalty for many, many years. It puts families through a roller-coaster. What the death penalty does to the families of victims is just cruel, and it was always going to be that way.”

Other groups, meanwhile, are hoping that O’Malley’s decision will echo across the country and create momentum in other states.

Hopefully Governor O’Malley’s actions can usher in a new era of leadership on the death penalty in 2015. We need and welcome more policymakers who will stand up and tell the truth about the real cost of capital punishment: It squanders our values, diminishes our humanity, and wastes precious public resources and energies on a policy that is demonstrably unworkable,” said Diann Rust-Tierney, executive director of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.

Via:: RT.com

ISIS releases moms’ guidebook to raising ‘jihadi babies’

By RT

Entitled Sister’s Role in Jihad, the latest propaganda move by the extremist organization tries to convince their loyal followers that the “most important” role women can play in Jihad is to raise their kids “not only in spirit”, but also to develop their physical ability and training.

The key to success, IS argues lies in introducing these values in them while they are babies. “Don’t wait until they are seven to start, for it may be too late by then!,” the handbook that recently surfaced online states.

Muslim mentality #IslamicTeachings—–>New released photos of #ISIS “graduating cubs” (#Kids…) pic.twitter.com/d3bcxVMDAF

— Axomiya Jiyori (@SouleFacts) December 8, 2014

It encourages the jihadi mothers to tell bedtime stories about extremist fighters, while completely banning TV, which the guide says results in “mental and physical loss.” The only thing it allows, is the use of multimedia that will strengthen their “jihadi spirit.”

READ MORE: Pancakes for jihadists: ISIS shares new online cooking tips

In order to get children “interested in jihad” and encourage them to “become like Mujahideen” the handbook suggests “getting military books (preferably with pictures) and other similar books, CDs, videos, and by visiting web sites along with your children, and utilizing other internet resources.”

“@AbdullaKhalidJH: The Cubs of the Khilafah! #IS #ISIS #ISIL #Iraq #Syria#Allahpic.twitter.com/ple7VdwdkQ” This child abuse makes me sick

— An Everyday Atheist (@JustAtheism) December 4, 2014

In addition, the handbook advises mothers to make “a makeshift enemy” or a punching bag for building the child’s strength and to “control and direct their anger.”

In terms of physical training, IS encourages mothers to introduce their young ones to “target-shooting”, through toy guns and toy military sets. The Islamic State argues that darts, for instance, develops a good hand-eye coordination. Adding military games, the guidebook says, should increase the toddler’s interest in military matters and will allow practice time of mothers in front of their kids using their toys.

Cubs and kittens of #Khilafah. #IS#ISISpic.twitter.com/Lx54ZLna0h

— A. Ibrahim (@JihadiA4) December 1, 2014

IS also believes that complete child soldiers should also be able to perform martial arts, be capable swimmers, drivers and horse-back riders with refined archery skills. Ability to navigate oneself in an unfamiliar environment is also expected, with camping encouraged.

American Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), says the publication of the guidebook, is done to gain the West’s attention.

“It is important for the West to understand that all these groups want the world to know that this indoctrination is taking place,” Steven Stalinsky, executive director of MEMRI, told the Daily Mail. “As we move into 2015, Al-Qaeda and its affiliates, ISIS, and other jihadi groups worldwide continue to invest a lot of effort in indoctrination of the next generation of fighters.”

Syricide: #Iraq #Syria border. #ISIS “cubs” survey their domain pic.twitter.com/Ct57Vlh5uv

— THE◇YEAH衛門 (@theyeahmon) August 31, 2014

Stalinsky says that no matter how the US offensive against IS plays out in Syria and Iraq, “the next generation” of Muslim youth have already been “brainwashed to hate the West and to strive for jihad and martyrdom.”

“They have been trained on the battlefield and know how to create bombs and suicide belts and to behead and crucify the innocent. This is something we must be prepared for and understand,” Stalinsky says.

The authors of the textbook are unknown, but apparently, their child upbringing ideology is in full swing.

Last month, IS published photos and videos of children firing AK-47s. It also shows kids assembling weapons and standing in formation at the “Cubs of the Caliphate” training camp in Syria.

Meet the ISIS cubs, children brainwashed by ISIS and used as cannon fodder. There are no limits to their evilness ! pic.twitter.com/wuqzdqk4Tm

— Ramchandani G P (@RamchandaniGP) August 18, 2014

According to UN report back in Novermber, entitled “Rule of Terror: Living under ISIS in Syria,” the Islamic State has “instrumentalized and abused children on a systematic scale,” using them for combat, spying, and even as suicide bombers.

The UN believes that “ISIS prioritizes children as a vehicle for ensuring long-term loyalty,” and that by raising them in strict adherence to jihadist believes will ensure “cadre of devoted fighters that will see violence as a way of life.”

Human Rights Watch announced in June that armed groups including IS fighters are “recruiting” kids as young as 13 in Syria, training them with weapons and sending them into battle.

READ MORE: ‘My little one in Syria’: Mom claims her 3yo son taken by ISIS dad

The publication of the new guidebook comes after reports of an Italian mother noticing a picture of her son in an IS propaganda poster that surfaced in the media. Lidia Herrera claims that the boy, who is now three, is being raised by extremists after his father – who kidnapped son and joined militants – died fighting in Syria. Italian police are now investigating the image, and are looking into a group of extremists that are known to recruit for terror groups in northern Italy.

Via:: RT.com

ISIS releases moms’ guidebook to raising ‘jihadi babies’

By RT

Entitled Sister’s Role in Jihad, the latest propaganda move by the extremist organization tries to convince their loyal followers that the “most important” role women can play in Jihad is to raise their kids “not only in spirit”, but also to develop their physical ability and training.

The key to success, IS argues lies in introducing these values in them while they are babies. “Don’t wait until they are seven to start, for it may be too late by then!,” the handbook that recently surfaced online states.

Muslim mentality #IslamicTeachings—–>New released photos of #ISIS “graduating cubs” (#Kids…) pic.twitter.com/d3bcxVMDAF

— Axomiya Jiyori (@SouleFacts) December 8, 2014

It encourages the jihadi mothers to tell bedtime stories about extremist fighters, while completely banning TV, which the guide says results in “mental and physical loss.” The only thing it allows, is the use of multimedia that will strengthen their “jihadi spirit.”

In order to get children “interested in jihad” and encourage them to “become like Mujahideen” the handbook suggests “getting military books (preferably with pictures) and other similar books, CDs, videos, and by visiting web sites along with your children, and utilizing other internet resources.”

“@AbdullaKhalidJH: The Cubs of the Khilafah! #IS #ISIS #ISIL #Iraq #Syria#Allahpic.twitter.com/ple7VdwdkQ” This child abuse makes me sick

— An Everyday Atheist (@JustAtheism) December 4, 2014

In addition, the handbook advises mothers to make “a makeshift enemy” or a punching bag for building the child’s strength and to “control and direct their anger.”

In terms of physical training, IS encourages mothers to introduce their young ones to “target-shooting”, through toy guns and toy military sets. The Islamic State argues that darts, for instance, develops a good hand-eye coordination. Adding military games, the guidebook says, should increase the toddler’s interest in military matters and will allow practice time of mothers in front of their kids using their toys.

Cubs and kittens of #Khilafah. #IS#ISISpic.twitter.com/Lx54ZLna0h

— A. Ibrahim (@JihadiA4) December 1, 2014

IS also believes that complete child soldiers should also be able to perform martial arts, be capable swimmers, drivers and horse-back riders with refined archery skills. Ability to navigate oneself in an unfamiliar environment is also expected, with camping encouraged.

American Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), says the publication of the guidebook, is done to gain the West’s attention.

“It is important for the West to understand that all these groups want the world to know that this indoctrination is taking place,” Steven Stalinsky, executive director of MEMRI, told the Daily Mail. “As we move into 2015, Al-Qaeda and its affiliates, ISIS, and other jihadi groups worldwide continue to invest a lot of effort in indoctrination of the next generation of fighters.”

Syricide: #Iraq #Syria border. #ISIS “cubs” survey their domain pic.twitter.com/Ct57Vlh5uv

— THE◇YEAH衛門 (@theyeahmon) August 31, 2014

Stalinsky says that no matter how the US offensive against IS plays out in Syria and Iraq, “the next generation” of Muslim youth have already been “brainwashed to hate the West and to strive for jihad and martyrdom.”

“They have been trained on the battlefield and know how to create bombs and suicide belts and to behead and crucify the innocent. This is something we must be prepared for and understand,” Stalinsky says.

The authors of the textbook are unknown, but apparently, their child upbringing ideology is in full swing.

Last month, IS published photos and videos of children firing AK-47s. It also shows kids assembling weapons and standing in formation at the “Cubs of the Caliphate” training camp in Syria.

Meet the ISIS cubs, children brainwashed by ISIS and used as cannon fodder. There are no limits to their evilness ! pic.twitter.com/wuqzdqk4Tm

— Ramchandani G P (@RamchandaniGP) August 18, 2014

According to UN report back in Novermber, entitled “Rule of Terror: Living under ISIS in Syria,” the Islamic State has “instrumentalized and abused children on a systematic scale,” using them for combat, spying, and even as suicide bombers.

The UN believes that “ISIS prioritizes children as a vehicle for ensuring long-term loyalty,” and that by raising them in strict adherence to jihadist believes will ensure “cadre of devoted fighters that will see violence as a way of life.”

Human Rights Watch announced in June that armed groups including IS fighters are “recruiting” kids as young as 13 in Syria, training them with weapons and sending them into battle.

READ MORE: ‘My little one in Syria’: Mom claims her 3yo son taken by ISIS dad

The publication of the new guidebook comes after reports of an Italian mother noticing a picture of her son in an IS propaganda poster that surfaced in the media. Lidia Herrera claims that the boy, who is now three, is being raised by extremists after his father – who kidnapped son and joined militants – died fighting in Syria. Italian police are now investigating the image, and are looking into a group of extremists that are known to recruit for terror groups in northern Italy.

Via:: RT.com

​Maryland doctor loses license after 6th assisted suicide in state

By RT

In Maryland specifically, the board claims Dr. Lawrence D. Egbert helped six patients end their lives unethically and illegally, the Baltimore Sun reported. Following a two-year review of his behavior, the board found that Egbert also tried to cover up the assisted suicides, which were conducted through the Final Exit Network – an organization that aims to help those who suffer from “fatal or irreversible physical illness,” among other things, commit suicide.

READ MORE: ‘Harlem Kevorkian’ gets 12 years for assisting suicide

Although the age of Egbert’s patients spanned from 68 to 87 years old, they were not terminally ill. By helping them end their lives, Egbert was found to have participated in unprofessional conduct. His actions were in violation of the ethics outlined by the American Medical Association, as well as the state laws in Maryland.

Assisted suicide has been legalized in three states – Oregon, Washington, and Vermont – but it’s still illegal in Maryland.

While working as a medical director and “exit guide” for the Final Exit Network, Egbert helped six patients kill themselves between 2004 and 2008. Egbert’s apparently screened patients to ensure they were proper candidates for assisted suicide. Once accepted, they were reportedly sent books describing how to commit suicide – patients were directed to place hoods over their heads and fill them with helium.

“Dr. Egbert reviewed their applications and medical records and recommended accepting them as members,” said the board’s order, as quoted by the New York Times. “Dr. Egbert attended their suicide rehearsals. He held each member’s hand and talked to him or her.”

According to the state, Egbert’s patients died from asphyxiation. One 85-year-old woman wanted to take her life in order to leave trust money for her son, while others suffered from Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis, among other diseases.

Once the patient suicides were over, the board stated that exit guides removed the material involved in order “to prevent the cause of death from being determined … and to hinder police investigations into the circumstances of the death.”

READ MORE: Young Oregonian to end life under death-with-dignity law, calls for more end-of-life rights

For his part, Egbert said that while the group recommended patients read the books, the group did not send them over. Egbert added that family members sometimes removed the suicide materials, and that the process was meant to safeguard privacy, not keep law enforcement at bay.

He also defended himself to the Times and said he would appeal the board’s decision.

“What we’re doing should be available to any patient with an incurable, horrible disease that they’ve tried everything on, and it doesn’t seem to work,” he told the newspaper.

Others, such as Stephen Drake of the group Not Dead Yet, which lobbies on behalf of those with disabilities and the elderly, welcomed the ruling.

“Revocation of his medical license is a good thing and long overdue,” he told the Sun.

Via:: RT.com

​Maryland doctor loses license after 6th assisted suicide in state

By RT

In Maryland specifically, the board claims Dr. Lawrence D. Egbert helped six patients end their lives unethically and illegally, the Baltimore Sun reported. Following a two-year review of his behavior, the board found that Egbert also tried to cover up the assisted suicides, which were conducted through the Final Exit Network – an organization that aims to help those who suffer from “fatal or irreversible physical illness,” among other things, commit suicide.

READ MORE: ‘Harlem Kevorkian’ gets 12 years for assisting suicide

Although the age of Egbert’s patients spanned from 68 to 87 years old, they were not terminally ill. By helping them end their lives, Egbert was found to have participated in unprofessional conduct. His actions were in violation of the ethics outlined by the American Medical Association, as well as the state laws in Maryland.

Assisted suicide has been legalized in three states – Oregon, Washington, and Vermont – but it’s still illegal in Maryland.

While working as a medical director and “exit guide” for the Final Exit Network, Egbert helped six patients kill themselves between 2004 and 2008. Egbert’s apparently screened patients to ensure they were proper candidates for assisted suicide. Once accepted, they were reportedly sent books describing how to commit suicide – patients were directed to place hoods over their heads and fill them with helium.

“Dr. Egbert reviewed their applications and medical records and recommended accepting them as members,” said the board’s order, as quoted by the New York Times. “Dr. Egbert attended their suicide rehearsals. He held each member’s hand and talked to him or her.”

According to the state, Egbert’s patients died from asphyxiation. One 85-year-old woman wanted to take her life in order to leave trust money for her son, while others suffered from Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis, among other diseases.

Once the patient suicides were over, the board stated that exit guides removed the material involved in order “to prevent the cause of death from being determined … and to hinder police investigations into the circumstances of the death.”

READ MORE: Young Oregonian to end life under death-with-dignity law, calls for more end-of-life rights

For his part, Egbert said that while the group recommended patients read the books, the group did not send them over. Egbert added that family members sometimes removed the suicide materials, and that the process was meant to safeguard privacy, not keep law enforcement at bay.

He also defended himself to the Times and said he would appeal the board’s decision.

“What we’re doing should be available to any patient with an incurable, horrible disease that they’ve tried everything on, and it doesn’t seem to work,” he told the newspaper.

Others, such as Stephen Drake of the group Not Dead Yet, which lobbies on behalf of those with disabilities and the elderly, welcomed the ruling.

“Revocation of his medical license is a good thing and long overdue,” he told the Sun.

Via:: RT.com