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Light Saber

After petition receives 400,000 signatures, Hollande pardons woman who killed her husband after decades of sadistic abuse

© EPA
Jacqueline Sauvage, centre, a French woman convicted of murdering her abusive husband, in Blois, France. French President Francois Hollande pardoned Jacqueline Sauvage after a clemency plea by her children.
Norbert Marot was described as violent alcoholic who raped and beat his wife and their three daughters

A 68-year-old French woman jailed for 10 years for murdering her husband after nearly 50 years of rape and violent abuse is set to be freed, after President Francois Hollande intervened following a public outcry. Jacqueline Sauvage, of Montargis in central France, shot her husband Norbert Marot three times in the back with his own hunting rifle in September 2012, the day after their son hanged himself.

She described Marot as violent alcoholic who raped and beat her and their three daughters and also abused their son. After an appeal against an earlier conviction, Ms Sauvage was found guilty in December and given a 10-year-sentence. But then more than 400,000 people, who signed a petition, politicians on the left and right, and Mr Hollande's former partner, Valérie Trierweiler, all called on the president to use his right to pardon convicted criminals.

The power is seldom used in France, but the president's office said it had been decided to waive the remainder of Ms Sauvage's sentence, stopping short of an actual pardon. "In the face of an exceptional human situation, the president wanted to make it possible for Madame Savage to quickly return to her family while respecting judicial authorities," a presidential spokesperson told the Associated Press.

Comment: A great action for France to take - even more so, the people power behind it.


X

Twitter shuts down 125,000 accounts linked to Daesh Takfiri terrorist group

© sputniknews.com
Twitter accounts purged.
Twitter, an American social networking website, says since 2015 it has deleted 125,000 accounts linked to the Daesh (ISIL) Takfiri group. The California-based company made the announcement on Thursday, adding it has stepped up its fight against violent extremism online. "We condemn the use of Twitter to promote violent terrorism. This type of behavior, or any violent threats, is not permitted on our service," Twitter officials said in a statement.

The service has increased the size of the teams in charge of reviewing reports of terrorist activity, reducing the time required to respond to such reports, it added. This is the first time that the popular micro blogging service has revealed the scale of terrorist activity on its service. Last year, the Brookings Institution said there might be as many as 46,000 Twitter accounts used by Daesh sympathizers.

The new figure suggests that either Daesh has increased its presence on the service since then, or Twitter has gotten more effective in identifying terrorist accounts. "We have already seen results, including an increase in account suspensions and this type of activity shifting off of Twitter," the company added. According to Twitter, the Federal Investigation Bureau (FBI) Director James Foley, in July, praised the company for its help in trying to shut down terrorism related accounts. It is estimated that extremists post about 90,000 Twitter messages a day, according to the Counter Extremism Project, a New York-based nonprofit organization.

Comment: The massive elimination of accounts should put a speed bump in the recruiting of Daesh Takfiri hopefuls. Social media sites have been easy platforms for networking, propaganda and funding solicitation on a global scale. With the crackdown from Twitter, will other SMSs follow suit or will Daesh find yet another source and outlet?


Light Sabers

Saudi-Led forces killed in Yemeni Tochka missile attack

© Unknown
A Yemeni Tochka missile hit the Saudi-led coalition's military base in Ma'rib province, killing tens of coalition servicemen, including 8 senior Saudi and UAE officers.
A Commander of Yemen's Ansarullah Movement confirmed firing of the ballistic missile at the Ma'as military base in Ma'rib in Central Yemen.

He noted that at least 48 Saudi forces were killed in Yemen's Tochka missile attack.

In a relevant development on Wednesday, the Yemeni army and popular forces rained down a barrage of missiles at the Saudi forces' military tower in Al-Dokhan region in Jizan province in Southern Saudi Arabia.

Al-Dokhan tower was reportedly destroyed in the Yemeni missile attacks in Jizan as eyewitnesses said that they had seen smoke rising from it.

Arrow Down

Obama's $10 oil tax proposal would cost consumers

© Getty Images
A woman fills her vehicle with gas at a U-Gas station in Miami, Florida.
Consumers will likely pay the price for President Obama's proposed $10 tax per-barrel of oil, an administration official and a prominent analyst said Thursday.

Energy companies will simply pass along the cost to consumers, Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.com, which tracks gas prices nationwide, said in an interview with USA TODAY.

Obama is set to propose the tax when he reveals his budget next week, as part of an effort to reduce carbon emissions and generate billions of dollars for mass-transit investments and self-driving vehicles. The new tax would be phased in over five years, and would apply to both domestic and imported oil.

Heart - Black

Remorseless and arrogant: Shkreli invokes 5th amendment, treats House panel with contempt at drug price hearing

© Joshua Roberts / Reuters
Martin Shkreli, former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals LLC, prepares to testify before a House Oversight and Government Reform hearing on "Developments in the Prescription Drug Market Oversight" on Capitol Hill in Washington on February 4, 2016
Pharmaceutical CEO Martin Shkreli ‒ the "most hated man in America," who raised the price of an HIV treatment 5,500 percent ‒ remained silent during a congressional hearing on prescription drug prices. He later tweeted that politicians were "imbeciles."

Summoned before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to give testimony on his former company's recent increases in prices of prescription drugs, Shkreli invoked his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent.

To the repeated urging of Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and Representative Trey Gowdy (R-South Carolina), the ex-CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals merely replied he intended "to follow to advice of my counsel, not yours."

Bacon n Eggs

Supermarkets in France banned from throwing away food; obliged to sign donation deal with charities

© Reuters
Carrefour supermarket
Supermarkets in France have been banned from throwing away or spoiling unsold food by law.

The stores are now required to donate unwanted food to charities and food banks. To stop foragers, some supermarkets have poured bleach over the discarded food or storing binned food in locked warehouses.

This law was voted unanimously by the French senate on Wednesday after a petition was launched by Courbevoie councillor Arash Derambarsh. It will apply to any supermarket with a footprint of 400 square metres or larger. If companies flout the law they could incur fines up to 75,000 Euros (£53,000) or two years in prison.

Jacques Bailet from Banques Alimentaires, a network of Food banks, told the Guardian: "Most importantly, because supermarkets will be obliged to sign a donation deal with charities, we'll be able to increase the quality and diversity of food we get and distribute. In terms of nutritional balance, we currently have a deficit of meat and a lack of fruit and vegetables. This will hopefully allow us to push for those products."

"That is very important for food banks because this is a real source of quality products, coming straight from the factory." Mr Derambarsh is now looking to get an EU-wide law banning supermarket food waste.

He said: "The next step is to ask the president, François Hollande, to put pressure on Jean-Claude Juncker and to extend this law to the whole of the EU.

"This battle is only just beginning. We now have to fight food waste in restaurants, bakeries, school canteens and company canteens."

Comment: This measure was also passed unanimously by the French Assembly back in May 2015. Is France preparing for food shortages?


Arrow Down

Golden parachute: Chicago police retire to avoid punishment, keep generous pensions

© Jim Young / Reuters
After coming under internal investigation over involvement in a scandal that resulted in a man's death at hands of police, three Chicago police officers are retiring. Some of them will receive pensions in excess of $100,000 annually.

Six officers of the Chicago Police Department were accused of covering up a 2004 manslaughter incident, in which one of their own punched David Koschman in face. The 21-year-old fell into a coma and died 11 days later.

The officer who punched Koschman, Richard Vanecko, is a nephew of former Chicago mayor Richard M. Daley. He eventually pleaded guilty to charges of involuntary manslaughter in 2014. The six officers said to have helped Vanecko cover up the incident were being investigated at the recommendation of Chicago Inspector General Joseph Ferguson.

The Chicago Police Board has not yet made official any disciplinary charges against the men, but Police Superintendent John Escalante said Friday that he was pursuing punishments that "range from suspension without pay to job termination

Comment: The systemic corruption within the Chicago police and Rahm Emanuel's administration keep the scandals erupting almost daily:


Attention

Criminalizing conscience: Volunteers who save refugees from drowning off Greece could be charged as smugglers

© Giorgos Moutafis / Reuters
The EU solution: arrest the helpers or drown the refugees. Win-win scenario, in their minds!
A petition has been launched calling on EU leaders to scrap plans that would criminalize those who rescue migrants and refugees arriving on the Greek islands as part of a push to secure the border between Turkey and Greece.

London-based civil liberties watchdog Statewatch has released the confidential European Commission report detailing the plan, which was outlined in talks between EU ministers in Amsterdam late last month.

The proposed plans would remove the exemption for charities, volunteer groups and others who provide "humanitarian assistance" to refugees from being considered "smugglers." Under the new rules, which are aimed at reducing human smuggling and trafficking, these groups and individuals would be criminalized.

The EU would instead create a state-run agency that would force would-be volunteers to register with the police and work under tightly controlled EU relief plans.

Comment: This story pretty much speaks for itself, no?


Brick Wall

Smarty paints: Paris resident mulls anti-pee paint to stop the drunks

© Telegraph, UK
Pee on the wall and the wall pees back?!
Stop people peeing on our walls! That is a Paris resident's plea as he asks the city to use anti-urine paint on walls so drunks 'get their own back'.

Xavier Delaporte, 31, says drunks are making the 18th arrondissement a "disgusting" place to live as they urinate on walls and especially the local supermarket.

He told 20 Minutes newspaper they "buy their beers first thing in the morning and then pee it up the walls and the front of the supermarket".

Now he has taken advantage of the capital's public budget consultation to demand that it include funds to cover the walls with anti-urine paint - so any urine would rebound back.

He told the paper the paint had already been tested in Hamburg in Germany and he thought that "rather than a repressive approach it was better to use a deterrent".

Saying the worst-affected walls should be covered with a coat of hydrophobic paint, he added: "Anyone who decided to have a pee would see it bounce back off the walls and on to their trousers."

Quentin Tarantino fans will know the area where he lives, just off Boulevard Ney, as it was shown in the film Inglourious Basterds for a bistrot scene and Mr Delaporte says that "everything is disgusting in the area".

He wants to extend the project to cover several of the worst-hit parts of Paris, especially as it was a public health problem and a terrible example for children. Painting walls in the 18th for a test and extending it to the Canal Saint-Martin would cost €100,000.


Comment: This is already being done on the West coast of the U.S:




Life Preserver

Giant listing cargo ship narrowly avoids crashing into the coast of France

© Marine Nationale
Modern Express
Rescuers are carrying out a final attempt to secure a cargo ship which is drifting towards the south west coast of France.

The 22-strong crew of the Modern Express were evacuated from the 164m ship on January 26 after sending out a distress call as they crossed the Bay of Biscay.

The listing ship has since been drifting towards the French coast and high winds and waves have hampered attempts to tow it.

The maritime prefect for the Atlantic, Vice Admiral Emmanuel De Oliveira, said the impact of the Panama-registered vessel running aground would be limited. It is not thought to be leaking fuel, although 300 tonnes of diesel remains on board, and its cargo consists of 3,600 tonnes of wood and equipment.

If today's rescue bid fails, the ship is expected to run aground south of Arcachon on Tuesday night.

UPDATE:

Tugs have managed to tow the ship into the port at Bilbao where a bid will be made to right the vessel and get her fit for sea again.