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Fri, 05 Feb 2016
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Germany joins the war on cash

It was just two days ago that Bloomberg implored officials to "bring on a cashless future" in an Op-Ed that calls notes and coins "dirty, dangerous, unwieldy, and expensive."

You probably never thought of your cash that way, but increasingly, authorities and the powers that be seem determined to lay the groundwork for the abolition of what Bloomberg calls "antiquated" physical money.

We've documented the cash ban calls on a number of occasions including, most recently, those that emanated from DNB, Norway's largest bank where executive Trond Bentestuen said that although "there is approximately 50 billion kroner in circulation, the Norges Bank can only account for 40 percent of its use."

Comment: For more see:


Study finds 80% of firearms deaths in developed world happen in US

© Jonathan Ernst / Reuters
Americans are 10 times more likely to be killed by a gun compared to people living in other developed nations around the world. This is according to a new study highlighting the "US has an enormous firearm problem."

The alarming statistics were published in The American Journal of Medicine, as part of a study carried out by researchers from the University of Nevada-Reno and the Harvard School of Public Health. The report was aiming to put America's relationship with firearms into perspective.

However, one thing was immediately clear: "The United States has an enormous firearm problem compared with other high-income countries. Americans are 10 times more likely to die as a result of a firearm compared with residents of these other high-income countries," the study, under taken by Erin Grinshteyn and David Hemenway, stated.

The researchers took data, collected by the World Health Organization in 2010, to compare the US to equally developed countries around the world, such as the UK, Japan and France. The findings proved to be an eye-opener and showed that the US suffers much higher rates of deadly violence, attributable to the considerably higher rate of gun-related murders.

Heart - Black

Former NYPD officer arrested for moonlighting as a pimp

© Jorge Dan / Reuters
A former NYPD officer, who was fired for smoking pot, has been arrested for running a prostitution ring. Eduardo Cornejo was under surveillance by the FBI and local police after an anonymous tip accused him of moonlighting as a pimp.

The New York Police Department opened the investigation into Cornejo in May, after they received an anonymous tip that the 11-year veteran of the force was using his personal car to sell at least one young women's sexual services after work, Courthouse News Service reported. The NYPD brought in the FBI in November "when they determined the nature and scope of the case, and that it involved interstate transport," Stephen P. Davis, the department's chief spokesman, told the New York Times.

Cornejo, 33, had at least ten prostitutes working for him, according to court documents. He would drive the prostitutes to motels on Long Island and Staten Island, as well as in New Jersey and the Bronx, often immediately after his shift.

"I believe this pattern of travel activity, which includes numerous afternoon and evening visits to hotels and motels, is consistent with transporting women to engage in prostitution," FBI Special Agent Rocky Van Warden wrote in an affidavit.


US cops sent to Scotland to learn how to stop killing people

© skynews
Scottish cops teaching new methods to US police chiefs.
In all of 2011, British police killed 2 people. In 2012, 1 person. In 2013, a total of 3 bullets left the barrels of British police guns, and no one was killed. In the last two years, a total of 4 people have lost their lives because of British cops, bringing the total number of citizens killed in the UK to 7 in the last 5 years.

On average, police in America kill at a rate 70 times that of its Western neighbors. In just the last week of December, American cops killed more people than the entire country of England killed in the last five years. But if we zoom out just a little further, those numbers become even more shocking. Since 1990, police officers in the United Kingdom have killed exactly 58 people.

In the last two weeks of December, police in America killed 60 citizens — It took English cops 25 years to do what American cops did in just the last two weeks of December. On average, British police kill around two citizens a year. American cops kill more than that every day. Of course, all those killed were not innocent, but many were unarmed, shot while running away, and their deaths recorded on video. And all of them deserved due process.

Below is this eye-opening video of American cops learning to be less violent.

Comment: Shoot first, ask questions later. In police confrontations with civilians, pulling the trigger has become an automatic response. Killing someone should be the last resort, not the first.


Tear gas and Molotov cocktails deployed during one of the largest protests in Greece since 2010

© Alkis Konstantinidis / Reuters
Riot police react to petrol bombs thrown by masked youths in Syntagma Square during a 24-hour general strike against planned pension reforms in Athens, Greece, February 4, 2016.
Tear gas and Molotov cocktails have been deployed during a demonstration in Syntagma Square, Athens, where a general strike is taking place.

Around 50,000 Greeks marched on parliament in Central Athens on Thursday.

Groups of youths then broke away from the crowd and began hurling stones and petrol bombs at police. Officers responded with rounds of teargas and stun grenades, witnesses told Reuters.

Black Cat

Latest subway slashing has NYC transit riders terrified

There's been another slashing on a New York City subway, and terrified riders are calling for protection.

This, as Police Commissioner Bill Bratton insists the subways are safe.

As CBS2's Alice Gainer reported, a 30-year-old man is recovering after being slashed with a knife while on a No. 3 train Monday around 12:40 p.m.

Police said a suspect in the case, 37-year-old Stephen Braithwaite, has been arrested and charged. Police said the victim was standing with a friend on the Pennsylvania Avenue platform when he saw Braithwaite walking back and forth.
The victim told police Braithwaite asked him what he was looking at, challenged him to a fight, threw coffee at him and then slashed him on the chin with a pocket knife once they got on the 3 train.

"Every night I see a different slashing," one woman said. "It does concern me because I have to take it every day. So it's kind of scary," another woman said. "We're living in fear of being slashed on the subway; something needs to happen," Kyle Millionmile, of Inwood, told CBS2's Jessica Schneider.


Telling it like it is: Woman shouts 'it's you who created Daesh!' to Kerry at press conference in Italy

© Nicholas Kamm / Reuters
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) speaks next to Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni during a news conference following a ministerial meeting of the so-called "anti-Islamic State coalition" in Rome, Italy, February 2, 2016.
US Secretary of State John Kerry's visit to Italy was disrupted by a cry of protest at his joint press conference with Italian foreign minister Paolo Gentiloni, when a woman in the audience shouted, "it's you who created Daesh!"

The press conference was coming to an end, when the woman stood up from the public, her head covered up by a black veil.

"It's you who created Daesh!" she shouted at the two ministers, using another name for the terror group Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), reported the Italian state-owned television channel RAI.

The woman was dragged away from the conference by the Carabinieri.


College graduates know next to nothing about their student loans

© Mike Segar / Reuters
Seven out of 10 college graduates are leaving school with student loans to pay back, and a new poll shows that these young people have a startlingly low level of knowledge about what debt they owe and what are their payback terms.

In January, loan refinancing information company LendEDU asked 477 undergraduate and graduate students from three Bay Area campuses ran a study that shows that shows that most American students don't know basic facts about the money they owe and how it can be collected from them.

Only 8 percent of those interviewed surveyed know the current interest rates of their loans, and just 6 percent know how long it will take them to repay their debt.

Comment: See also: America's debt serfdom: Spiraling household debt, mortgages, student loans and credit cards


Health officials blasted at congressional hearing over handling of Flint water crisis

Anger ran hot and fingers of blame were pointed every which way at the first congressional hearing about the water disaster in Flint, Michigan. Health officials faced withering criticism, while the committee vowed to "hunt down" missing witnesses.

"This is a failing at every level. The public has a right to be outraged and it must be fixed," thundered the chairman of the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee, Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) in his opening remarks.

"This is the United States of America - this isn't supposed to happen here," Chaffetz said. "We are not some Third World country."

Comment: Unfortunately there are plenty of cities across the US that have been deprived of needs for so long by psychopaths in power that they are more like Third World countries than First World.

Flint's water supply became contaminated by dangerously high levels of lead following the decision to use Flint River as the source, instead of paying nearby Detroit for properly purified water. The switch took place in early 2014. Sorting out who was responsible for the decision, however, proved as contentious as establishing who among the relevant state and federal officials knew about the lead problem, and when.


Court clears way for revival of Dow's Enlist Duo - A worrisome weedkiller

© reuters.com
A federal appellate court decision this week handed a victory to Dow Chemical Co.'s efforts to revive a World War II-era weedkiller and brought the next generation of genetically modified crops closer to America's dinner tables.

In a case that has seen one surprising twist after another, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's request to vacate its own scientists' 2014 approval of the Dow weedkiller known as Enlist Duo. The three-sentence order did not elaborate on the judges' reasoning.

Dow genetically engineered corn and soybeans so they are immune to Enlist Duo — a mix of glyphosate, the nation's most popular weedkiller, and 2,4-D, a 1940s herbicide linked to cancer and other health problems. The new chemical will give farmers a one-two punch to wipe out field-choking weeds that have become impervious to glyphosate, which also has been linked to cancer.

Comment: Senior scientist at the National Resources Defense Council, Sylvia Fallon, has a lot of faith in the EPA. How many times does the EPA have to 'fully evaluate' the effects of Enlist Duo? They already gave it a green light, failing humans and the planet! It's basically a component of the toxic Agent Orange herbicide used during the Vietnam War, which has been linked to numerous health issues including increased risks of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, Parkinson's and immune system problems. Not to mention the EPA intentionally "fudged the numbers" to make poisonous DOW chemical appear safe.

So Fallon believes that the agency is going to get it right?! It would be wise to wake up to the reality that there is and has been surging hubris at the Environmental Protection Agency for decades! And when it comes to 'protecting' anything...it's the chemical industries profits first.