Society's Child


Pope Francis: Sometimes divorce can be a 'moral necessity'

© Reuters / Pope Francis
Pope Francis
Pope Francis may go down in history as the Catholic leader most actively supporting divorce, after saying the practice was "morally necessary." However, the pontiff's position could face obstacles at an upcoming bishops' meeting.

The Catholic Church is known worldwide for being staunchly anti-divorce, but according to Francis there are certain moral imperatives, which make divorce a lesser evil. He was talking about the humiliation a wife could suffer at the hands of an abusive spouse. Also, if there are children, their safety must be considered.

The Pope's remarks come ahead of an important bishops' conference set to mull over many issues Catholics consider crucial, including whether remarried divorcees can take communion.

"There are cases in which separation is inevitable," Francis told an audience gathered on St. Peters Square.
"Sometimes, it can even be morally necessary, when it's about shielding the weaker spouse or young children from the more serious wounds caused by intimidation and violence, humiliation and exploitation.".


Dylann Roof and the Charleston massacre media coverage: Recognizing the crime, downplaying the causes

When a white male kills people in a mass shooting in the US, the corporate media follow an algorithm not unlike the Kübler-Ross model of the five stages of grief.

First, media deny that the attack constitutes terrorism. In their view, acts of political violence carried out against civilians are indisputably terrorism when they are committed by a Muslim, but this is not necessarily the case when they are committed by a white person.

This is the stage in which most media coverage of shootings by white Americans remains stuck. When Elliot Rodger massacred six people and injured 14 more in May 2014, he was not classified as a terrorist—even though he explicitly stated that his attack was motivated by an intense hatred of women, and that he sought to "punish" women, collectively, for "rejecting" him in the past.

Yet because of mounting pressure and criticism from independent media, activists and social media, in the wake of mass shooting after mass shooting carried out disproportionately by white men, corporate media are no longer able to remain in a state of such denial.

Comment: Another possibility, aside from Dylann Roof being influenced by far-right racist groups to demonize blacks and ultimately shoot and kill them, is that Dylann Roof was not so in control of himself as most think he was. Is it possible that he was a mind-controlled shooter?


Judge blasts government for seizing $176,000 from man pulled over for driving slow, orders money returned

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A federal judge accused the U.S. government of a "lack of candor" and ordered it to return $167,000 that was seized from a man who was stopped for a minor traffic violation.

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, a Nevada state trooper stopped Straughn Gorman's motor home on Interstate 80 in January 2013 for allegedly driving too slow.

After Gorman declined to let the trooper search his vehicle, the trooper let him go without a citation. But the trooper radioed ahead for a Elko County sheriff's deputy to perform a second stop with a drug-sniffing dog.

The dog alerted the deputy to something suspicious in the motor home, and $167,000 was found hidden throughout the vehicle. Gorman's money was turned over to federal authorities to initiate civil forfeiture proceedings, but he was never charged with a crime.

Star of David

Karma: Israel sees foreign investment plummet by 50% since Gaza massacre

Foreign investment in Israel plummeted almost 50 percent in 2014, a fact attributed to last summer's assault on Gaza and the growing impact of boycotts.

This week the UN's trade and development agency UNCTAD released its annual World Investment Report on foreign direct investment (FDI) - a measure of money that investors from overseas put into a country to invest in businesses, build factories or start other economic projects.

According to the report, FDI into Israel in 2014 plummeted to just $6.4 billion from almost $12 billion in 2013.

The 2014 figure appears to be the lowest in more than a decade. Foreign direct investment into Israel averaged around $9 billion per year from 2005 to 2012.

"We believe that what led to the drop in investment in Israel are Operation Protective Edge and the boycotts Israel is facing," Roni Manos, an Israeli economist who co-authored the report, told Israel's Ynet.


15 most outrageous responses by police after killing unarmed people

Police kill a lot of unarmed people. So far in 2015, as many as 100 unarmed people have been killed by police.

There have been around 400 fatal police shootings; one in six of those killings, 16 percent, were of unarmed people, 49 had no weapon at all and 13 had toy guns, according to the Washington Post. Of the police killings this year less than 1 percent have resulted in the officer being charged with a crime. The Guardian did a study which included killings by Tasers and found 102 people killed by police so far in 2015 were unarmed and that unarmed black people are twice as likely to be killed by police as whites.

Here are 15 of the most outrageous reasons given by police to justify killing unarmed people in the last 12 months.

Comment: It's been starkly clear to police officers that they will not be punished for what is essentially murder. The system is set up to protect the authorities and the police exist to protect the rich and powerful. The rest of us can be murdered with impunity. Welcome to 21st century freedom in the good ole USA.


Fire in predominantly black church ruled arson by fire officials

Jeanette Dudley, associate pastor at God's Power Church of Christ
A fire inside a church with a primarily African-American congregation in Macon, Georgia has been ruled as arson by fire officials, reported the Telegraph.

Macon-Bibb County fire Sergeant Ben Glea­ton told the newspaper that while the investigation into Tuesday's fire at the God's Power Church of Christ continues, enough evidence had been discovered to rule the blaze had been deliberately set.

The arson ruling came a day after North Carolina authorities said a predominantly black church in Charlotte was purposefully burned, and roughly a week after a white gunman opened fire in an African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina, killing nine people.


Americans are twice as likely to be killed by right-wing terrorists than Muslim jihadists

© Reuters/Darren Hauck
Family members of those killed in a mass shooting at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin attend a candlelight vigil in in Oak Creek, Wisconsin on the one-year anniversary, August 5, 2013
Nearly twice as many Americans have been killed by right-wing extremists since 9/11 as have died at the hands of radical Muslims on US soil, a new report found. There have also been nearly three times as many deadly right-wing attacks as jihadist ones.

In almost a decade-and-a-half, 48 Americans have died in the US in 19 attacks by white supremacists, so-called "sovereign citizens" and other non-Muslim extremists, while 26 have died in seven jihadist attacks on US soil during that same time period, research center New America found as it compiled a new database on deadly attacks in the US since 9/11.

"Since 9/11, our country has been fixated on the threat of jihadi terrorism," said Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, according to the Kansas City Star. "But the horrific tragedy at the Emanuel AME reminds us that the threat of homegrown domestic terrorism is very real."

Last Wednesday, nine African-Americans were shot and killed at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Dylann Storm Roof, who later confessed to the massacre, made racist statements as he killed his victims, survivors told police. A website believed to belong to Roof contained a white supremacist manifesto, as well as photos of him posing with a gun, carrying the Confederate flag and burning an American flag. The Charleston shooting has not been officially labeled as terrorism, however, and Roof has not been charged with any crimes more heinous than murder.


The 'devious defecator' case is a landmark for US genetic-privacy law

Genetic testing, a closer look at the law.
Nature explores the impact of the first US court decision over how employers use genetic information.

A US company is the first to face penalties under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), a law that protects the privacy of genetic information. On 22 June, a federal court jury in Georgia awarded US$2.25 million to two men whose employer tested their DNA, seeking to identify who had repeatedly left faeces in one of its warehouses.

The firm, Atlas Logistics Group Retail Services, a grocery distributor in Atlanta, Georgia, asked employees Jack Lowe and Dennis Reynolds to give cheek swabs in 2012. Atlas sent their DNA to a lab for genetic comparison with the offending faecal matter. The tests showed that Lowe and Reynolds' DNA was not a match.

In 2013, the workers sued Atlas. The case, nicknamed the 'mystery of the devious defecator' by US district court judge Amy Totenberg, is the first brought under GINA to go to trial. Here, Nature explains why the ruling matters.

Comment: The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act bans US employers from using genetic information in hiring, firing, promotion and compensation decisions, and from collecting genetic information from employees. Similarly, the bill prevents health plans and insurers from denying coverage or boosting premium prices based on a person's genetic information, such as whether they have gene variants known to increase disease risk. It also forbids them from requesting or requiring people to take genetic tests. Other countries, including France and Austria, also ban the use of genetic information in such decisions.


At least 27 killed as gunmen attack beach outside 2 tourist hotels in Tunisia

© Screenshot from Google Maps
A beach outside two hotels in central Tunisia have been attacked, with at least 27 dead and panic being reported at the scene. Two gunmen armed with Kalashnikov rifles reportedly penetrated a private area and opened fire.

One of the hotels is the five-star Imperial Marhaba. The Interior Ministry at least 27 people are dead, foreigners among them.

Comment: Absolutely dreadful!


Emirates A380 makes emergency landing in Colombo after smoke in cockpit

© YouTube
Colombo: An Emirates Airbus A380 plane carrying over 500 people from Sydney to Dubai made an emergency landing in the Sri Lankan capital on Friday after pilots detected smoke in the cockpit.

The plane, which landed safely in Colombo, was 320 nautical miles east of Colombo's Bandaranaike International airport when pilots made a distress call, airport's chief air navigation services officer Crishanthi Tissera said.

"The pilots said May Day, May Day and we activated all our emergency services and brought the aircraft to a safe landing," Tissera told reporters.

She said the pilots reported smoke in the cockpit but later the "full emergency" was downgraded to an "urgency".

There was no fire seen as the plane landed 39 minutes after the first distress call. All 471 passengers, including six children and the 30-member crew disembarked safely.

"Emirates flight EK413 from Sydney to Dubai...was diverted to Colombo due to a technical fault," the airline said in a statement without giving details about the nature of the problem.

Comment: Yet another incident of 'smoke in the cockpit'! Other recent reports include: "burning electrical or smoke", "odor of fumes" in cabins and smoke filled cockpits - forcing emergency landings. What is going on 'up in the air'?

See also: Sott Exclusive: Mayhem and Maydays in May skies: Aircraft crashes,accidents, glitches, mishaps and near misses