Society's Child


Cop who shot 18yo unarmed man fired after indictment on murder charge

© Portsmouth Police Department
Former Portsmouth, Virginia, police Officer Stephen D. Rankin in a booking mug Thursday.
A Portsmouth, Virginia, police officer was fired and was in custody Thursday after he was indicted on a first-degree murder charge in the shooting death of an unarmed 18-year-old man in April, police told NBC News.

Officer Stephen D. Rankin, 36, who is white, was also charged with use of a firearm in the commission of a felony in the shooting of William Chapman II, who was black. Chapman, who was shot in the face and the chest, had no alcohol or drugs in his system, and his pockets had been turned inside out, an autopsy found.

Rankin surrendered late Thursday afternoon and was being processed, Portsmouth police Detective Misty Holley told NBC News.

Police Chief Dennis Mook said later in a statement that Rankin had been "terminated" and extended condolences to Chapman's family.

"I understand that this tragedy does not end today," her said. "A family has lost a loved one, an officer and his family's lives have been turned upside down and our community is hurting."


Egypt billionaire offers to buy island for refugees

© Reuters
Naguib Sawiris
Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris has offered to buy an island off Greece or Italy and develop it to help hundreds of thousands of people fleeing from Syria and other conflicts.

The telecoms tycoon first announced the initiative on Twitter.

"Greece or Italy sell me an island, I'll call its independence and host the migrants and provide jobs for them building their new country," he wrote.

Comment: Interesting idea but would take much time to implement which will not provide any immediate assistance to the dreadful situation.


Hypocrite: Kim Davis, who refuses on biblical grounds to give marriage licenses to gay couples, has committed adultery and had child out of wedlock

The Kentucky county clerk who is stopping gay couples from being marriedbecause of her literal interpretation of the Bible has herself been married four times and conceived twins by having sex outside her marriage, according to court records.

Kim Davis, 49, who has defied the U.S. Supreme Court and continues to refuse to issue marriage licenses to same sex-couples, was married and divorced three times — in 1994, 2006 and 2008, according to U.S. News & World Report.

She gave birth to twins five months after she divorced her first husband. The father of those twins was her third husband, according to the records.

Her second husband adopted the twins, the news magazine said.

She has twice married current husband Ed Davis.

Heart - Black

Flotsam of Humanity: Image of drowned Syrian boy reflective of collective failure to handle migrant crisis


The body of a boy washed ashore in Turkey has been identified as Aylan Kurdi, seen here, left, with his brother Galip, who also drowned
The 3-year-old lies face down, his head to one side with his bottom slightly up -- the way toddlers like to sleep.

But the water is lapping around his face and his body is lifeless.

The boy, in a red T-shirt, blue pants and tiny shoes with Velcro straps, was one of 12 people who drowned off Turkey and washed up on a beach Wednesday.

The body of a drowned baby washes up on Turkish beach 01:00

A photo of him lying alone and being approached by an official has been shared widely around the world, often with the Twitter hashtag #KıyıyaVuranİnsanlık or "Flotsam of Humanity" in Turkish.

Black Cat

Hedge funds buy debts of struggling families in Baltimore, then take their homes when they can't pay

The death of Freddie Gray in police custody in Baltimore and the ensuing protests brought the nation's attention to the economic devastation that continues to grip the city. Now, new datashows powerful hedge funds are profiting off of struggling families in Baltimore by buying up debts as small as $250, charging high interest rates, and taking their homes when they fail to pay. A report just released by the research and advocacy group HedgeClippers documents how the Wall Street hedge fund Fortress Investment Group and the Los Angeles-based Imperial Capital bought up hundreds of these small liens this year — on everything from an unpaid water bills to delinquent property taxes — and could take property worth tens of millions of dollars if the families can't pay.

Once the hedge funds buy up these small debts, they reap an 18 percent interest, according to the Baltimore-based research group The Abell Foundation. More fees pile up after four months, and if the families can't pay, they lose their homes. An analysis of those impacted in 2014 found the families had been living in their homes an average of 21 years. Half were elderly, more than a third were disabled, and the majority were African American.


French probe asserts Reunion Island wreckage is from MH370

© Yannick Pitou / AFP
Police carry a piece of debris from an unidentified aircraft found in the coastal area of Saint-Andre de la Reunion, in the east of the French Indian Ocean island of La Reunion, on July 29, 2015
A French prosecutor has announced that the wing part found on France's Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean has been formally identified as part of missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370.

According to the investigators, they managed to identify one of three numbers found on the flaperon as being the serial number of the MH370 flight after they interviewed a technician from Airbus Defense and Space (ADS-SAU) in Spain, which had made the part for the Boeing 777.

"It is therefore possible to confirm with certainty that the flaperon found on Reunion island on July 29, 2015 corresponds to the one from flight MH370," the Paris prosecutor said in a statement on Thursday.

Though the reasons for the catastrophe are still unknown, the attribution of the debris has made a large contribution to the investigation of the incident.

Former US National Transportation Safety Board investigators Greg Feith told Bloomberg last month that as the piece has maintained its integrity one "can deduce it was either a low-energy crash or a low-energy intentional ditching."

Last month Malaysian premier Najib Razak said that the international team of experts had conclusively confirmed that the aircraft debris found was from MH370. The statement was made before the results of the examination by the French investigators.

Comment: The French prosecutor should produce the number, the ADS technician, and the documentation proving the link between MH370 and this flaperon. Until then, this looks like more damage control. See also: Alleged MH370 wing story just keeps getting weirder

Evil Rays

Study reveals fracking wastewater is a highly toxic form of radioactive waste

The EPA openly acknowledges that fracking fluid contains "thousands of chemicals," but nowhere is there mention of radioactivity in its risk assessments. Now, a new study reveals the "natural gas" industry may be hiding a secret as dark and deadly as the one the nuclear industry has been trying to conceal for decades.

With recent news that California's fracking industry will be "repurposing" its toxic wastewater to meet the needs of an agricultural industry driven desperate by the drought, a timely new study published in Environmental Health Perspectives reveals fracking wastewater is not just a source of dangerous petrochemicals but also a highly toxic form of radioactive waste.

Comment: The evidence that fracking poses dangerous risks to health and the environment keeps building, yet the Environmental Protection Agency consistently protects business and industry.

Arrow Down

Syria's water network in danger of collapse

© Reuters/Abdalrhman Ismail
Residents fill containers with water in Aleppo's eastern district of Tariq al-Bab, Syria, August 1, 2015.
Syria's water network, heavily damaged by bombs and shelling, is at risk of collapse as its civil war drags on, increasing the threat of deadly typhoid or cholera outbreaks, the International Committee of the Red Cross said on Wednesday.

Millions of people in Aleppo and Damascus are cut off from water supplies for days at a time, a tactic used by all warring sides to exert control in divided cities, the ICRC said.

ICRC aid workers have helped water boards and engineers to maintain and repair aging pumping stations throughout Syria since the conflict began in March 2011.

Comment: This despicable destruction imposed on the people of Syria can be directly attributed to the U.S., who has trained and funded ISIS for the purpose of ousting the Assad government. Despite the continuous lies and propaganda spewed by the Western media, Assad appears to be a reasonable and conscious human being who is very popular with the Syrian people. This is not a man who would deliberately target his own country's infrastructure - for that we can thank the U.S., Israel and ISIS.

Heart - Black

Family of desperate asylum seekers protest on rail tracks removed by Hungarian police

© Laszlo Balogh / Reuters
Hungarian policemen detain migrants on the tracks as they wanted to run away at the railway station in the town of Bicske, Hungary, September 3, 2015.
A dramatic video shows a crying Syrian mother with a child in her hands being pushed back by her husband on the rail tracks in protest of police stopping the train with desperate asylum seekers trying to reach Western Europe via Hungary.

The heart breaking scene was caught on video as a train full of asylum seekers bound for the Austrian border was stopped by authorities in the Hungarian town of Bicske on Thursday.

The migrants reportedly started to bang on the train windows, shouting "No camp, no camp," protesting their dispatch to a migrant reception center.

The video from the scene shows a Syrian refugee woman holding her child while standing by a train car.

She is crying and pleading to police trying to explain that she cannot return home because of the conflict in her country.

Her husband, apparently overwhelmed with emotions, suddenly grabs her and the child pushing the two down on the rail tracks. He hugs her and starts shouting as police wrestle them apart, handcuffing the man.

The protesting refugees were arrested, while dozens of asylum seekers from the train have fled, according to Reuters.

Comment: Much of Europe has long closed the doors to humanity to include its own. This is the way of the West. It is only now that the natural results of its behavior have become so overwhelming that it can no longer be ignored.


German football team, Bayern Munich to provide refugee children with aid and lessons

© Michaela Rehle / Reuters
As Europe's refugee crisis escalates, Germany's biggest football club is reaching out to help. Bayern Munich will host training camps for kids, providing them with food, German lessons and football equipment.

It will also donate $1.1 million toward refugee projects.

"We at FC Bayern consider it our socio-political responsibility to help displaced and needy children, women and men, supporting and assisting them in Germany," Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said in a statement on the club's website.

In addition to hosting a football camp for refugee children and youths, Bayern Munich players will enter the arena at their next home game holding the hands of one German child and one refugee child. That match will take place on September 12, against FC Augsberg.

The club has also vowed to donate €1 million (US$1.1 million) from a friendly game to refugee projects.

Other German teams have also reached out to help amid the worsening crisis.

Comment: It's great to see a football team behaving like decent human beings and reaching out to those in need. The world needs more of this!