Miffed with Centre, Jaya­la­li­th­­aa to Skip CMs Conclave


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Jayalalitha

J. Jayalalitha, Chief Minister, Tamilandu, India.

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Chennai: Chief minister J. Jaya­la­li­th­­aa has decided to skip the conference of chief ministers on internal security being chaired by the Prime Minister at New Delhi on Wednesday, pointing out that the CMs were being gi­ven “very little opportunity” to express their views at such meets that were re­duced to being mere “annual ritualistic exercise”.

In a letter to the PM on Tuesday, copies of which were made available to the media, she acknowledged the invitation from the Union home minister for the present conference, which “no doubt is a very important event since it concerns the primary function of the state, viz, maintenance of public order”.

But then, like all such conferences chaired by the PM, this one too had “a long and weighty agenda of 12 subjects” and even uttering just their titles would take ten minutes, the time being “cavalierly allotted” to ea­ch CM to present his/her views, Jayalalithaa said.

She said the UPA government had reduced even su­ch important conferen­ces “to a routinised ritual rat­her than a consultative pro­cess, with the chief ministers constantly guillotined to cut short their speeches”, despite the fact that they were equal partners in the governance of the country.

The CMs would expect to be able to make meaningful contributions to the discussions and make the Centre aware of the true situation on the ground. “Only this will ena­ble us to formulate policies and allocate resources ba­sed on real need”, she argued.

She said the current conference too appeared aimed at “merely assembling” all the CMs to “rubber stamp” measures pre-decided by the Centre.

Recalling her experience at the National Develop­ment Council meet last De­c­ember when she was fo­r­ced to cut short her speech by the guillotine bell after the allotted ten minutes, the CM said rather than attending a conference wh­e­re CMs would be “railro­aded to finish their speeches within 10 minutes and to merely lay a speech on the table”, she was deputing senior minister K.P. Munu-samy to deliver her speech and it could be taken on record.

“I have given the most earnest consideration of all the agenda items and my speech gives the detailed views of Tamil Nadu on all the subjects listed in the agenda”, Jayalalithaa told the PM in her hard-hitting letter that is bound to trigger a fresh debate on the callous manner in which the Centre has been treating some of the non-Congress states in recent times.

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Re-posted from DECCAN Chronicle

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A letter to Angelina Jolie by an Indian Transman


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By Satya

Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie

Dear Angelina Jolie,

Thank you for coming out. I mean about your mastectomy. You have no idea what this can mean for a transman like me who went through the exact same procedure as yours; well almost!

You didn’t have to come out, but you did. Especially since during your mastectomies you kept it private and carried on with your work. I know how difficult it gets with film producer types. I am a filmmaker in Mumbai and you won’t believe it, but once during an edit session, Mr. Moneybags, finding me alone in the cutting room, asked if we could compare our d*** sizes! He giggled and said he hadn’t ever seen one of someone who has had a sex change operation.

Your piece in the New York Times ‘My Medical Choice’, undoubtedly must have been that  – a medical choice. You spent three months, since this February, on a procedure called ‘Preventive Bilateral Mastectomy; ‘Preventive’ since you are the carrier of the BRCA1 gene that puts you at 87% risk of breast cancer and 50% risk of ovarian cancer. I spent several years trying to convince doctors that I needed a mastectomy for preventive reasons too. Years of forced living in a gender identity that wasn’t my own, began to immobilize me. In a society that understands only two genders and in a medical system that sees abnormality in everything outside of it, going on is eventually impossible. But your risk of celebrity cancer turned out to be higher than my risk of a commoner suicide. Still, I am happy for you. The mere idea that someone can remove their breasts, at 87% risk or no risk, is just good enough for me for now.

And of course you wrote this piece for women! And I am hoping that you meant transwomen too, some of whom I know would kill to have your new breast implants. How atrocious is the idea being peddled that you wrote it to benefit the Pink Lotus Breast Centre, where your procedure was performed, or for the biotech company, Myriad Genetics, which owns a patent on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes giving them exclusive right to develop diagnostic tests for, at a current cost of more than $3000 in the USA. The fact that most breast cancer seems to be sporadic and has nothing to do with a BRCA1 mutation, pales beautifully in front of your sheer courage to talk about your own mastectomy in the media.

It is interesting though that all the media attention has been on your courage in losing your breasts, and not equally on your desire to have them reconstructed. Your doctors could have expected you to simply get back to the business of life without them. After all they were lost to a very high possibility of a most dreaded disease. But they didn’t. If you were non accepting of your loss, they could have put you through that monster of an American psychiatric-diagnostic-manual called ‘DSM-4 ‘ to prove your mental illness and therefore the need to cure you through breast reconstruction. But they didn’t. On the contrary, they became your facilitators. They saw you, as you saw yourself, a woman, one with those very definitive markers of femininity : breasts. Why do cosmetic surgeries for women skip the pathologisation that is mandatory for trans people all over the world? Why is it that medicine cannot facilitate trans people in the same way and grant them the same dignity of self identity?

Just like many of my trans brothers, sisters and lovers, I become complicit. I agreed to pathologize my gender identity. I agreed to let the psychiatrist issue me a certificate for Gender Identity Dysphoria [GID]. If I was to lose my breasts, I needed those gatekeepers to let me in. You had the BRCA1 to open the big wide doors of reconstructive surgery for you. And I had my GID certificate. I let them say, I am mentally ill. I let them say it on paper. I signed on an affidavit stating this was my consent and that I was totally responsible for whatever the surgeries would result in.

In a world with greater understanding, removing my breasts should have been seen as my ‘aesthetic choice’ ; a choice exercised in the severely limited societal understanding of gender, as being either only male or only female. But you’d agree that medicine being organized on the central idea of disease or, as you now have made so public, the possibility of it, is ill equipped at the moment, for such fine abstractions as mine. I knew success when I saw my psychiatrist scribble on his over qualified letterhead: “Diagnosis: G.I.D.’ Just like you, I too finally, made a ‘medical choice’. That I was as smart in 1997, as you are in 2013, makes me feel rather pleased with myself! Perhaps, this is a sign? Perhaps I will be a celebrity soon! Perhaps I will meet you at the next Cannes film festival and we can rule the world together?! Two Celebrity Bilateral Mastectomy Survivors, with reconstructed breasts on one, is better than none?! No?!

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Re-posted from THE TIMES OF INDIA

The author Satya is the founder & facilitator of the Indian Trans Group, Sampoorna.

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The Amazing Randi: Self-proclaimed “Charlatan” and “Honest Liar”


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. Myself By T.V. Antony Raj .

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The Amazing Randi .

In the world of modern magic for every magician who uses his powers of conjuring for entertainment, there are countless fortune-tellers, psychics, cardsharps, faith healers, scam-artists, con men, and what not that use those same powers for thievery and evil gains.

However, among those magicians making a living in the realm of the supernatural are gentlemen like James Randi: a small, aging, merry magician with wizard white hair and sporting a Santa Claus beard.

James “The Amazing” Randi, the Canadian-American stage magician, and scientific skeptic best known for his challenges to paranormal claims and pseudoscience, and self-proclaimed: “charlatan” has traveled the world as a magician, escape artist, author, lecturer.

James "The Amazing" Randi

Young James “The Amazing” Randi

Randall James Hamilton Zwinge was born in Toronto, Ontario, on August 7, 1928. He took up magic after seeing Harry Blackstone, Sr., and reading several books on magic while spending 13 months in a body cast following a bicycle accident. As a student Randi often skipped classes, and after dropping out of high school at 17 he joined a traveling carnival. He practiced as a mentalist (a psychic entertainer) at Toronto’s Canadian National Exhibition and wrote for Montreal’s tabloid press.

In his twenties, he posed as a psychic to prove that the so-called psychics actually hoodwinked the public doing simple tricks. For a short period he wrote an astrological column in the Canadian tabloid Midnight under the name “Zoran,” simply by collecting astrology columns from other newspapers and pasting them randomly into a column of his own.

In his thirties, Randi worked in Philippine night clubs and in various cities in Japan.

He saw many tricks presented as supernatural. One of those was the “one-ahead” technique or “Billet reading” used by an evangelist to convince churchgoers of his so-called ‘divine powers.’

In 1946, Randi began his career as a professional stage magician under his real name, Randall Zwinge which he later dropped in favour of “The Amazing Randi”. Early in his career, he performed many escape acts from jail cells and safes. On February 7, 1956, he appeared live on The Today Show, where he remained for 104 minutes in a sealed metal coffin submerged in a hotel swimming pool and broke Houdini’s record of 93 minutes.

Years later, he became an international celebrity with his astounding feats of magic, escape stunts, sleight of hand, acts of Mentalism, and other paranormal feats.

According to the dictum “it takes a thief to catch a thief,” Randi dedicated his life to expose frauds and cheats who prey on people’s beliefs in the supernatural and psychic abilities. Even now at 84, he continues his mission with boundless energy and wit of a vaudevillian. He has indeed a cult following him around the globe.

Randi is the founder of the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF) that sponsors “The One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge” offering a prize of US $1,000,000 to eligible applicants who can show evidence of any paranormal, supernatural or occult power or event under test conditions agreed to by both parties.

Randi got the idea for the challenge during a radio panel discussion when a parapsychologist challenged him to “put [his] money where [his] mouth is.” In 1964, Randi started offering $1,000 as prizes, and after sometime he raised the prize amount to $10,000. Later, Lexington Broadcasting wanted Randi to do a show called the $100,000 Psychic Prize, so they added $90,000 to the original $10,000 offered by Randi. Eventually, in 1996, one of his friends, Internet pioneer Rick Adams donated US $1,000,000 for the prize. So far, about a thousand people have taken the challenge. However, not even one has been successful.

Uri Geller

Uri Geller

Uri Geller (born December 20, 1946) is a magician, television personality, and self-proclaimed psychic known for his trademark television performances of spoon bending and other supposed psychic effects. Geller’s career as an entertainer has spanned almost four decades, with television shows and appearances in many countries. Throughout his career, critics have accused Geller of using simple conjuring tricks to simulate the effects of psychokinesis and telepathy. Geller used to call his abilities “psychic” but now prefers to refer to himself as a “mystifier” and entertainer.

Geller has claimed his feats are the result of paranormal powers given to him by extraterrestrials.

As expected James Randi is one of Geller’s most prominent critic and has accused Geller repeatedly of trying to pass off magic tricks as paranormal displays. Randi often duplicated Geller’s performances using stage magic techniques. He and other critics such as Richard Feynman and Martin Gardner have accused him of using his techniques fraudulently outside the entertainment business.

Richard Feynman, winner of Nobel Prize for physics was once an amateur magician. In 1985, he wrote in his book Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! that Geller was not able to bend a key for him and his son.

Geller is well-known for making predictions on sporting events. Randi and the British tabloid newspaper The Sun demonstrated the teams and players Geller chose to win most often lost. A follower of Randi called it “The Curse of Uri Geller.”

Peter Popoff (born July 2, 1946), a German American televangelist, and self-proclaimed prophet and faith healer conducts revival meetings. He has a national television program. He rose to prominence in the 1980s. During his appearances at religious conventions Popoff routinely and accurately stated the home addresses and specific illnesses of the members in his audience, a feat many believed as divine revelation and “God-given ability.”

Peter Popoff

Peter Popoff

In 1986 when members of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP) reported that he was using a radio to receive messages, Popoff denied the allegation and said the messages came from God. Undaunted the skeptic groups across the United States printed and handed out pamphlets explaining how Popoff’s executed his feats. Popoff retorted telling tell his audience that the pamphlets were “tools of the devil”.

James Randi and his assistant Steve Shaw researched Popoff by attending revival meetings across the country for months. Randi asked investigator and crime scene analyst Alexander Jason for technical assistance. Jason used a high-tech (at the time) computerized scanner during a Popoff appearance in San Francisco. Jason identified and intercepted the radio transmissions sent by Peter’s wife Elizabeth Popoff who was backstage reading information which she and her aides had gathered from earlier conversations with members of the audience. Popoff listened to these promptings with an in-ear receiver and repeated what he heard to the crowd.

Randi then planted impostors in the audience, including a man dressed as a woman pretending to have uterine cancer, of which “she” was “cured.”

Alexander Jason produced video segments showing several Popoff “healings.” These shown on Johnny Carson’s The Tonight Show precipitated the decline of Popoff’s popularity and viewing audiences. In September 1987, sixteen months after the Carson airing, Popoff declared bankruptcy, with more than 790 creditors having claims against him.

According to Fred M. Frohock, “the case of Peter Popoff is one of many egregious instances of fake healing.” In the following video Randi demonstrates how ‘psychic’ Uri Geller bends spoons and other magic tricks; funny moments of Uri squirming in The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson; fake healing by Peter Popoff etc.

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Sylvia Browne

Sylvia Browne

Sylvia Browne (born on October 19, 1936), an American author who describes herself as a psychic and spiritual medium has made several appearances on Larry King Live. She also hosts her own hour-long show on Hay House Radio, discussing paranormal issues and giving callers advice in her role as a psychic.

In 1992, Browne convicted of investment fraud and grand theft caused many controversies with her predictions and claims. Reports of her failed predictions appeared in several newspapers.

She has had a long running feud, with many of her critics including Randi. On March 6, 2001, when Larry King asked Sylvia Browne if she would take the one million challenge she agreed. On September 3, 2001, Randi appeared with Sylvia Browne on Larry King Live and Browne again accepted the challenge. However, she refused the testing phase. So, Randi kept a clock on his website recording the weeks that had passed since Sylvia accepted the challenge without following through. Eventually, Randi replaced the clock with text stating “over 5 years.”

Rosemary Altea

Rosemary Altea

Rosemary Altea (born in England in 1946) a self-proclaimed psychic medium has appeared on many televisions shows: Larry King Live, The Oprah Winfrey Show “20/20,” “Unsolved mysteries”, “Prime Time, with Diane Sawyer,” “Politically Incorrect,” “Leeza,” “The View,” and “Fox and friends”. She also appeared in the first episode of Penn & Teller’s show Bullshit!, where Mark Edward exposed her.

On January 26, 2007 Altea appeared on Larry King Live with skeptic James Randi. Randi challenged her to take the one million challenge. She then refused to answer whether she would take the test.

On June 5, 2001, Randi and Altea met again Larry King Live, however, Altea refused to take the challenge, calling it “a trick”. Instead Altea, in part, replied “I agree with what he says, that there are many, many people who claim to be spiritual mediums, they claim to talk to the dead. There are many, people, we all know this. There are cheats and charlatans everywhere.” .

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Click on this line for “Rosemary Altea and James Randi on Larry King Live 1/26/07 Part 2

Click on this line for “Rosemary Altea and James Randi on Larry King Live 1/26/07 Part 3 

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In the December 2003 issue of The Linking Ring, the monthly publication of The International Brotherhood of Magicians, in Points to Ponder: Another Matter of Ethics, p. 97, states, “Perhaps Randi’s ethics are what make him Amazing” and “The Amazing Randi not only talks the talk, he walks the walk.

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News: Oscar Pistorius Granted Bail


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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Pretoria, South Africa
Friday, February 22, 2013

Chief Magistrate Desmond Nair granted bail to Oscar Pistorius ahead of his trial for the alleged murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. The judge cited a number of problems with the police investigation into the death of the model. “I come to the conclusion that the accused has made a case to be released on bail,” he said.• He did not think Pistorius was a flight risk.

After the announcement, Pistorius remained quiet and reserved. Though his family hugged him quietly he did not seem to celebrate.

These are Judge Desmond Nair’s main reasons for granting bail:

• He did not think Pistorius was a flight risk.

•  He did not think the prosecution had shown that Pistorius had a propensity for violence.

• He did not think the prosecution had shown there would be public outrage if released on bail.

• He did not think the prosecution’s case was so strong that Pistorius’ only reasonable reaction were he released would be to flee.

Judge Nair said the former lead investigator in the case, Hilton Botha had made “several errors and concessions” during his testimony during the bail hearing. However, the judge also pointed out the holes in the story narrated by Pistorius: However, the judge also pointed out the holes in the story narrated by Pistorius:

• Why did Pistorius not find out Reeva’s whereabouts?

• Why did Pistorius not verify who was in the toilet?

• Why did Reeva not scream back from the toilet?

• Why did the deceased (Reeva) and the accused (Pistorius) not escape through the bedroom door but venture into the toilet?

• Why would the accused (Pistorius) venture into danger knowing the intruder was in the toilet, leaving himself open to attack? He (Pistorius) returned to the dangerous area. What if the intruder was waiting for him (Pistorius)?

The judge also said he had difficulty in understanding with the version provided by the defense of why the accused (Pistorius) slept on the other side of the bed from usual that night.

Judge Desmond Nair set the bail at 1m Rand (US$111,370; £73,000; €84330) and ordered to release the Olympian after posting bail by March 1, and 10% of it is due immediately. He ordered Pistorius not to go back to the Silver Woods estate, where the shooting took place; give up his passport; refrain from going near an airport; and report to a police station on Mondays and Fridays.

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News: South Africa Police Drop Lead Detective in Oscar Pistorius Attempted Murder Case


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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South Africa's National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega

South Africa’s National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega

In a fascinating new twist to the Oscar Pistorius murder case, South Africa’s National Commissioner Riah Phiyega has appointed Lt. Gen. Vinesh Moonoo, Pretoria’s top detective as the new lead investigator in lieu of Hilton Botha. This announcement comes ahead of a judge’s decision on whether to release Pistorius on bail. This comes as one more blow to the prosecution’s case against the Olympian.

Police made this sensational announcement as Pistorius arrived for a third day of the bail hearing over the Valentine’s Day shooting of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, which prosecutors say was a premeditated killing while the defendants argue that it was an accident.

Hilton Botha

Lead investigator Hilton Botha

The decision to replace Hilton Botha with police Lt. Gen. Vinesh Moonoo in command came a day after he offered testimony damaging to the prosecution. Furthermore, word emerged that Hilton Botha, the first chief investigator himself is currently facing attempted murder charges in a 2011 shooting incident, when he and two other police officers allegedly fired shots at a minibus. Seven counts of attempted murder have been reinstated against them.

Bulewa Makeke, the spokeswoman for South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority, said the charge against Botha was initially dropped “because there was not enough evidence at the time.” However, after Botha testified in Pistorius’ bail hearing on Wednesday, the police reinstated attempted murder charges against Botha and two other police officers because of more gathered evidence.

National Commissioner Riah Phiyega says the Pistorius case “shall receive attention at the national level” and Vinesh Moonoo will “gather a team of highly skilled experienced detectives.”

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News: Affidavit of Oscar Pistorius to Court (in Full)


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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Pistorius must rot in Jail

Tuesday, February 19, 2013: A women’s group protest outside the court in Pretoria, South Africa, where Olympian athlete Oscar Pistorius was attending his bail hearing. (Photo: Reuters / Mike Hutchings)

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On Tuesday, February 19, 2013, the Paralympic Olympian “Blade Runner” Oscar Pistorius charged with premeditated murder over the February 14 shooting death of his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp appeared in the Pretoria courtroom for his bail hearing.

Oscar Pistorius

A distraught Oscar Pistorius in court

As Pistorius was too distraught to read out the statement himself his senior defense lawyer Barry Roux read the affidavit to the judge.

The affidavit of Oscar Pistorius reads as follows:

I, the undersigned, Oscar Leonard Carl Pistorius, do hereby make oath and state:

I am an adult male and a South African citizen with identity number [identity number redacted].

I am the Applicant in this application in which I seek relief from this Honourable Court to be released on bail. I respectfully submit, as I will demonstrate herein, that the interests of justice permit my release on bail. In any event, the dictates of fairness and justice in view of the peculiar facts herein warrant that I should not be deprived of my liberty and that I should be released on bail.

I make this affidavit of my own free will and have not in any way been unduly influenced to depose thereto.

The facts herein contained, save where expressly indicated to the contrary, are within my personal knowledge and belief, and are both true and correct.

The purpose of this affidavit is to provide the above Honourable Court with my personal circumstances and to address the allegations levelled against me (in so far as they are known to me), as well as to address the factors to be considered by the above Honourable Court as contained in Sections 60(4) to 60(9) of the Act.

I have been advised and I understand that I bear the burden to show that the interests of justice permit my release and that I am obliged to initiate this application. I fail to understand how I could be charged with murder, let alone premeditated murder, as I had no intention to kill my girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp (“Reeva”). However, I will put factors before the Honourable Court to show that it is in the interests of justice to permit my release on bail.

I state that the State will not be able to present any objective facts that I committed a planned or premeditated murder. For this reason I will hereunder deal with the events which occurred that evening. The objective facts will not refute my version as it is the truth.

I am a professional athlete and reside at [address redacted].

I was born on 22 November 1986, at Johannesburg. I have resided in the Republic of South Africa (“the RSA”) all my life, and although I frequently travel abroad to participate in international sporting events, I regard South Africa as my permanent place of abode. I have no intention to relocate to any other country as I love my country.

I own immovable assets in South Africa, which consist of the following:

The immovable property in which I currently reside, at [address redacted] (“the residential premises”). This property is valued at approximately R5 million and is encumbered by a mortgage bond in the amount of approximately R2 million.

Two further immovable properties located within Weeping Willow Estates, Pretoria East, which properties have a combined value of approximately R1,6 million. Both properties are bonded to an aggregate value of approximately R1 million.

A vacant stand in Langebaan, Western Cape, which has a value of approximately R1,7 million. This property is not bonded.

I own movable assets comprised of household furniture and effects, motor vehicles and jewellery, which are valued in excess of R500 000,00.

My friends and family reside in the RSA, although I also have friends abroad.

My professional occupation currently provides me with an income of approximately R5,6 million per annum.

I have cash investments in excess of R1 million at various banks within the RSA.

I have never been convicted of any criminal offences either in the RSA or elsewhere. There are no outstanding cases, other than the present, being investigated against me by the South African Police Services (“SAPS”).

My legal representatives have explained the provisions of Section 60(11) of the Act to me. I respectfully make the following submissions in this regard:

I have been informed that I am accused of having committed the offence of murder. I deny the aforesaid allegation in the strongest terms.

I am advised that I do not have to deal with the merits of the case for purposes of the bail application. However, I believe that it is appropriate to deal with the merits in this application, particularly in view of the State’s contention that I planned to murder Reeva. Nothing can be further from the truth and I have no doubt that it is not possible for the State to present objective facts to substantiate such an allegation, as there is no substance in the allegation. I do not know on what different facts the allegation of a premeditated murder could be premised and I respectfully request the State to furnish me with such alleged facts in order to allow me to refute such allegations.

On the 13th of February 2013 Reeva would have gone out with her friends and I with my friends. Reeva then called me and asked that we rather spend the evening at home. I agreed and we were content to have a quiet dinner together at home. By about 22h00 on 13 February 2013 we were in our bedroom. She was doing her yoga exercises and I was in bed watching television. My prosthetic legs were off. We were deeply in love and I could not be happier. I know she felt the same way. She had given me a present for Valentine’s Day but asked me only to open it the next day.

After Reeva finished her yoga exercises she got into bed and we both fell asleep.

I am acutely aware of violent crime being committed by intruders entering homes with a view to commit crime, including violent crime. I have received death threats before. I have also been a victim of violence and of burglaries before. For that reason I kept my firearm, a 9 mm Parabellum, underneath my bed when I went to bed at night.

During the early morning hours of 14 February 2013, I woke up, went onto the balcony to bring the fan in and closed the sliding doors, the blinds and the curtains. I heard a noise in the bathroom and realised that someone was in the bathroom.

I felt a sense of terror rushing over me. There are no burglar bars across the bathroom window and I knew that contractors who worked at my house had left the ladders outside. Although I did not have my prosthetic legs on I have mobility on my stumps.

I believed that someone had entered my house. I was too scared to switch a light on.

I grabbed my 9mm pistol from underneath my bed. On my way to the bathroom I screamed words to the effect for him/them to get out of my house and for Reeva to phone the police. It was pitch dark in the bedroom and I thought Reeva was in bed.

I noticed that the bathroom window was open. I realised that the intruder/s was/were in the toilet because the toilet door was closed and I did not see anyone in the bathroom. I heard movement inside the toilet. The toilet is inside the bathroom and has a separate door.

It filled me with horror and fear of an intruder or intruders being inside the toilet. I thought he or they must have entered through the unprotected window. As I did not have my prosthetic legs on and felt extremely vulnerable, I knew I had to protect Reeva and myself. I believed that when the intruder/s came out of the toilet we would be in grave danger. I felt trapped as my bedroom door was locked and I have limited mobility on my stumps.

I fired shots at the toilet door and shouted to Reeva to phone the police. She did not respond and I moved backwards out of the bathroom, keeping my eyes on the bathroom entrance. Everything was pitch dark in the bedroom and I was still too scared to switch on a light. Reeva was not responding.

When I reached the bed, I realised that Reeva was not in bed. That is when it dawned on me that it could have been Reeva who was in the toilet. I returned to the bathroom calling her name. I tried to open the toilet door but it was locked. I rushed back into the bedroom and opened the sliding door exiting onto the balcony and screamed for help.

I put on my prosthetic legs, ran back to the bathroom and tried to kick the toilet door open. I think I must then have turned on the lights. I went back into the bedroom and grabbed my cricket bat to bash open the toilet door. A panel or panels broke off and I found the key on the floor and unlocked and opened the door. Reeva was slumped over but alive.

I battled to get her out of the toilet and pulled her into the bathroom. I phoned Johan Stander (“Stander”) who was involved in the administration of the estate and asked him to phone the ambulance. I phoned Netcare and asked for help. I went downstairs to open the front door.

I returned to the bathroom and picked Reeva up as I had been told not to wait for the paramedics, but to take her to hospital. I carried her downstairs in order to take her to the hospital. On my way down Stander arrived. A doctor who lives in the complex also arrived. Downstairs, I tried to render the assistance to Reeva that I could, but she died in my arms.

I am absolutely mortified by the events and the devastating loss of my beloved Reeva. With the benefit of hindsight I believe that Reeva went to the toilet when I went out on the balcony to bring the fan in. I cannot bear to think of the suffering I have caused her and her family, knowing how much she was loved. I also know that the events of that tragic night were as I have described them and that in due course I have no doubt the police and expert investigators will bear this out.

I will stand my trial should it proceed against me. I am a well-known international athlete and there is no possibility that I will even think of not standing my trial should there be one. I trust the South African legal system and that the facts will show that I did not murder Reeva.

In order to persuade the above Honourable Court that I should be released on bail, I provide the following additional facts and information in terms of Section 60 of the Act.

I do not know the identity of any witness upon whom the State will rely in order to attempt to prove a case against me. In any event, I have no intention to interfere with any witnesses as I have no cause to do so and I undertake not to do so.

I maintain good relationships with people and I bear no grudges against anyone.

As previously stated, I have no previous convictions and I have not been released on bail pending any charges.

I am not disposed to violence.

I respectfully submit that the facts set out above support my contention that I do not constitute a flight risk.

I have two South African passports, the one is full. I need my passport to compete overseas but I am willing to surrender the passports to the investigating officer should it be a condition of bail. I am not in possession of any other travel documents and undertake not to apply for such documentation pending the finalisation of these proceedings.

After the shooting I did not attempt to flee. Rather, I accepted Stander would contact the police, and I remained at the scene.

I will be able to raise an appropriate amount to post as bail.

I have no knowledge of any evidentiary material which may exist with regard to the allegations levelled against me. In any event, I believe that whatever such evidence may be, it is in the possession of the police; it is safely secured and I do not have access thereto. I undertake not to interfere with any further investigations.

I am not sure which witnesses the State will rely upon in order to attempt to prove its case against me. Nonetheless, I undertake not to communicate with any witness, whoever he or she may be, and any other persons whose names may appear on a list of “State witnesses”, to be provided by the State.

My continued incarceration can only prejudice me and creates no benefit to the State.

I respectfully submit that should I be released on bail, my release shall not disturb the public order or undermine the proper functioning of the criminal justice system.
I will comply with such conditions as the above Honourable Court may wish to impose.

I accordingly submit that the interests of justice, considerations of prejudice and the balancing of respective interests favour my release on bail.

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Oscar Pistorius and the Bloodied Cricket Bat in His Bedroom


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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'Blade runner' Pistorius charged with murder - 06

Revva Steenkamp and Oscar Pistorius

The South African national icon “Blade Runner” Oscar Pistorius won the admiration of the people around the world for being the first double amputee to compete against able-bodied athletes in the 2012 Olympic Games. In a case that has gripped the world, the police arrested Pistorius Friday, February 15, charging him with the murder of his model girlfriend 29-year-old Reeva Steenkamp shot dead at his luxury Pretoria home. He spent the weekend in a police cell.

According to a local newspaper, after the Valentine’s Day murder the police found a bloodied cricket bat at the home of Pistorius.

Police sources close to the investigation told City Press the second-most quoted newspaper in South Africa that Steenkamp’s skull had been “crushed.” Another source said: “There was lots of blood on the bat.”

Police are investigating whether Reeva Steenkamp, shot four times in the early hours of Thursday, used the cricket bat to defend herself or whether Pistorius used it  to hurt her. “The suspicion is that the first shot, in the bedroom, hit her in the hip. She then ran and hid herself in the toilet … He fired three more shots,” a police source told the City Press.

Inside-oscar Pistorius home - Pic 1

Picture #1
Oscar allegedly fires a 9mm pistol at Reeva.
Reeva is hit in the hip.
Reeva’s iPad is found on the floor.
A cricket bat with blood on it was found in the bedroom.
Crumpled sheets indicate that the bed had been slept in.
Holster for 9mm pistol is on the bedside table.

Inside-oscar Pistorius home - Pic 2

Picture #2
Reeva flees into the adjoining toilet, closing and hiding behind the door.
Oscar allegedly fires another few rounds at the bathroom door. Reeva is hit in the head, arm and hand.

Inside-oscar Pistorius home - Pic 3

Picture #3
Oscar carries the heavily wounded Reeva downstairs into the foyer.

Police have dismissed the first suggestions that Pistorius could have mistaken Reeva for an intruder. City Press reported she was wearing a nightie at the time of the killing.

The local media reported there had been a fight between Pistorius and Reeva that had spilled over from Wednesday night. The neighbors on hearing a loud argument inside Pistorius’ house called the Police to Pistorius’ home just past midnight. Two hours later, around 3:00 a.m., the neighbors called the Police again after the shooting.

According to the City Press, Pistorius consumed large doses of steroids that could have triggered his aggressive behavior. The paper described the case against him as “rock solid.”

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‘Blade Runner’ Oscar Pistorius Charged with Murder of His Girlfriend


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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File photo of South Africa's Oscar Pistorius starting his men's 400m round 1 heats at the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium

South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius starts his men’s 400m round 1 heats at the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in this August 4, 2012. (Photo: REUTERS/Dylan Martinez)

On Friday, 15th February, South African prosecutors formally charged “Blade Runner” Oscar Pistorius, a double amputee and one of the world’s most admired South African Olympians with shooting and killing his girlfriend, fashion model Reeva Steenkamp, in the early hours of Valentine’s Day.

This gruesome incident has shocked the world, and it has cast a shadow over the sportsman fondly known as the “Blade Runner” for his achievements using prosthetic limbs. On Thursday, Nike removed an advertisement from its website featuring Pistorius taking off for a run with the slogan “I am the bullet in the chamber.” The company issued a statement expressing sympathy and condolences to the families concerned and added that it would not comment further, noting that the situation is a police matter.

Oscar Pistorius and his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp pose for a picture in Johannesburg

Oscar Pistorius and his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp pose for a picture in Johannesburg, February 7, 2013. (Photo: REUTERS/Thembani Makhubele)

The Afrikaans newspaper Die Beeldt reported that Pistorius shot Reeva four times through a bathroom door in the hand, the pelvis, the chest and the head.

At Pretoria Magistrates Court, prosecutors told chief magistrate Desmond Nair that they would argue that Oscar Pistorius committed “premeditated murder” on February 14 at his upscale home at the Silver Woods secure housing estate in Pretoria.

When formally charged with one count of murder, Pistorius buried his head in his hands and cried silently. His defense lawyer said that Pistorius was in an “extremely traumatized state of mind.”

South African "Blade Runner" Oscar Pistorius is escorted by police at a Pretoria police station

“Blade Runner” Oscar Pistorius escorted by police at a Pretoria police station February 14, 2013. (REUTERS/Stringer)

Magistrate Nair postponed the application by the defense for bail until Tuesday and placed Pistorius in police custody.

Initial media reports said that Pistorius shot his girlfriend accidentally, thinking she was an intruder; however, on Thursday, a police spokeswoman discounted the media reports, and added that officers were investigating “previous allegations of a domestic nature.”

The police said when the shooting took place early Thursday in Pistorius’ home only the two of them were there. According to local media, the neighbors hearing a loud argument called the Police to Pistorius’ home just past midnight. Two hours later, around 3:00 a.m., the neighbors called the Police again after the shooting.

On Friday, Pistorius’ family and his management released a statement from London: “The alleged murder is disputed in the strongest terms,” and added that Pistorius “would like to send his deepest sympathies to the family of Reeva.”

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Pope Benedict XVI Steps Down Leaving the Catholic Church in Crisis


. Myself By T.V. Antony Raj .

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“I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April, 2005″  – Pope Benedict XVI

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Pope Benedict XVI ..

On Monday February 11, 2013, during a routine morning meeting of Cardinals in the Vatican Pope Benedict XVI dropped a bombshell by announcing his resignation in Latin thus becoming the first pontiff to step down after 600 years. Even his close associates had no advance knowledge about his decision to resign.

Pope Benedict XVI, formerly German cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the Vatican’s chief orthodoxy watchdog had plans to retire and spend his final years in his native Bavaria.

In recent years, the Pope has visibly slowed down. He reduced foreign travel and placed a limit on his audiences. Now, a moving platform carries him to and from the altar in St. Peter’s Basilica, and on some occasions, he uses a cane.

As early as 2010, the Pope began to look tired and worn out. He lost weight and did not seem fully engaged when visiting bishops briefed him on their dioceses. He then had made it clear that he would step down if he became too old or infirm to do the job. However, the Cardinals were surprised and remained shocked when the Pope said that he could not carry on as “both strength of mind and body are necessary – strengths which in the last few months, have deteriorated in me.” He added that he would resign effective 8 p.m. local time on February 28, 2013.

The Vatican declared that no particular medical problem prompted the Pope to make the decision and stressed that he remains fully lucid and made the decision himself.

On April 19, 2005, at age 78, he was the oldest Pope elected in nearly 300 years. It was a time when anger at clerical child-sex-abuse shook the faith of many Catholics in Europe, North America, and many other countries of the world. In 2008, he expressed the abuse as “shame” and met the victims. Nevertheless, he endured criticism for not recognizing the extent of the issue during his 24-year vocation as the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith – the primary doctrinal body of the Catholic Church.

The Catholic Church with its 1.2 billion followers is now scurrying to replace its leader by Easter.

The next Pope, whoever it be, will take the reins of a church in turmoil because Pope Benedict steps down from the supreme office leaving behind a Church struggling to find its place in an increasingly secular world where many believe that they do not need a God in their lives. The child sex abuse scandals involving priests have prompted thousands of Catholics to forsake the church. Rival Protestant churches, particularly the evangelical Pentecostal groups pose new competition to the Catholic Church in the developing nations. Confrontation from radical anti-Christian groups has surfaced in many Islamic countries. Though Pope Benedict distanced himself from the intrigues of the Curia, in 2012 it caught up with him in the form of “Vatileaks” scandal in which his once loyal butler Paolo Gabriele leaked to the press hundreds of confidential papal memos that revealed tensions prevailing in the Vatican.

Sources in the Vatican said that Pope Benedict would live in an uncharted territory inside the Vatican, but free to go in and out.

After the election of the new Pope how would one address the present Holy Father? Would it be “Pope Emeritus”?

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Benedict XVI (2005-present, Episcopal form of ....

The letter of resignation of Pope Benedict xvi

Dear Brothers,

I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.

Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.

From the Vatican, 10 February 2013

BENEDICTUS PP XVI

Lightning strikes St Peter’s Basilica as Pope resigns

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Add this anywhere

Six-Year-Old Breanna ‘Marries’ J.J. Watt, Her Favorite Football Player


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj
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On Jan 12, 2013, Lindsey Bartay published on YouTube a video of Breanna, a six-year-old girl crying because she is too young to marry Houston Texans football player J.J. This video immediately became a sensation.

When Watt saw the video, he wanted to find Breanna. On Monday, 28th January, he tweeted: “Does anyone happen to know this cute little girl? We have to find her and turn those tears into a smile.”

Watt found Breanna.

Watt proposing to Breanna - 2

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On Wednesday, 30th January, he tweeted photos of himself “proposing” to Breanna with a Ring Pop and flowers. He wrote that the little girl had agreed to be his “pretend wife for the day.”

The following day Watt told Yahoo Sports Radio that he gave Breanna a white jersey to wear as a wedding dress, and joked about registering at Toys ‘R Us.

“It was awesome and it was great, and we had our first dance to her favorite artist, Justin Bieber. It was really, really cool,” Watt said. “It was fun. It was priceless.”