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Sun, 14 Feb 2016
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Top official openly admits the 'internet of things' will be used to spy on the public

You can't say you weren't warned. The writing on the wall that "smart devices" would prove to be manna from heaven for spy agencies and hackers around the word has been obvious for a very long time.

A year ago, I published two articles on this topic. The first highlighted the revelation that Samsung's Smart TV can and will listen to your conversations, and will share the details with a third party. The second had to do with the release of a high-tech Barbie that will listen to your child, record its words, send them over the internet for processing. If you missed these posts the first time around, I suggest you get up to speed:

A Very Slippery Slope - Yes, Your Samsung Smart TV Can Listen to Your Private Conversations

Big Barbie is Watching You - Meet the WiFi Connected Barbie Doll that Talks to Your Children and Records Them

Red Flag

Modern day slavery: Government investigation confirms children are trafficked in the U.S.

The trafficking of children and sexual slavery world-wide is a global epidemic. Most of the public's image of such horrific examples of modern-day slavery evoke images of poorer countries where this problem is well-documented.

However, a new government investigation confirms that the problem of trafficking children and modern-day child slavery is a very real problem right here within our own borders.

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) recently published a six-month investigation looking at 125,000 unaccompanied minors who have crossed the U.S. borders into the United States since 2011, reportedly fleeing violence and unrest in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

Comment: SOTT Radio - The Truth Perspective Tammi Stefano - The Truth About Child Protective Services
On the second part of the show, the Truth Perspective interviewed Tammi Stefano, Executive Director of The National Safe Child Coalition (NSCC). Tammi has spent over two decades on frontlines fighting for child safety and serves on numerous committees aimed at protecting children from their abusers, who are often those who should be protecting them in the first place. We discussed the darker side of child protective services, the deep problems of corruption when it comes to children at risk, and what can be done.


One in a million chance: Manchester mom gives birth to black and white twins

© Hannah Yarker
A British woman has given birth to twin girls with different skin tones, an occurrence with odds of one in a million.

Hanna Yarker, from Sale, Greater Manchester, started noticing the difference between the sisters some time after they were born.

It dawned on her that while Anaya had taken after Yarker's fair skin and light eyes, Myla's complexion resembled her darker-skinned father Kyle Armstrong, who is mixed-race.


Sickening: Syrian opposition group reportedly claims missile attack on Assad's mother's funeral

Syrian president survived alleged assassination attempt, but 4 of his convoy members were killed in the attack, when Grad missiles launched by the opposition faction hit the convoy.

Ahrar al-Sham, a central opposition group in Syria, has claimed responsibility for launching missiles against the convoy of Syrian President Bashar Assad during the funeral for his mother in al-Qardaha on Monday, Syrian media reported on Wednesday.

Assad survived the alleged assassination attempt, but four of his convoy members were killed in the Grad missile attack.

Comment: Nothing to see here, folks. Just some moderate rebels moderately trying to assassinate Syria's president (who was on his way to mourn the death of his mother), and moderately killing four random people in his convoy in the process.


Train derailment in Egypt injures at least 69

© Youtube/Real Today (screen capture)
At least 69 people were injured when a train derailed and two of its cars overturned as it was travelling north toward Cairo on Thursday, an Egyptian Health Ministry official said.

Gamal el-Gohari was quoted by Egypt's state-run news agency as saying that the accident took place early Thursday morning near the southern city of Beni Suef. MENA quoted an unidentified security official as saying that the train hit a cement wall while trying to avoid a second one heading in the opposite direction, causing two of its compartments to overturn.

The agency also said that the train conductor was arrested.

Railroad accidents due to negligence are common in Egypt. Egyptians have long complained that the government has failed to deal with the country's chronic transport problems.

Egypt's worst railway disaster was in February 2002 when a train heading to southern Egypt caught fire, killing 363 people.

Source: Associated Press


How the Chinese handle corruption: Jiantao culture and the Flint water crisis

Yu Yingzeng wife of, Peter Humphrey, confesses on Chinese TV to the couple profiting from personal information about Chinese citizens obtained illegally.
Jiantao is a public punishment primarily inflicted on high-ranking Chinese government officials. Corrupt politicians who have taken bribes, engaged in graft, or otherwise put their self-interest above the Chinese people, get on national Chinese television and apologize for their misdeeds in exchange for a lighter prison sentence or fine.

According to the Wall Street Journal's Andrew Browne, individuals convicted of serious crimes in China are currently giving televised confessions in exchange for leniency. Browne's column describes how individuals like British corporate investigator Peter Humphrey and the owners of fast-food meat supplier OSI have been subjected to harsh, humiliating treatment by the Chinese government. Browne's February 2 column decries this revival of Chinese communist "Jiantao Culture" by President Xi Jinping as totalitarian, and traces its origins to the practices of Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong.

Browne's column contains some obvious hypocrisy. While Browne sees televised confessions as extremely cruel, US society is filled with vengeful correctional procedures that are much worse by any objective measure. The United States has the world's highest prison population by numbers and percentage. Human Rights Watch has released a recent report documenting routine human rights violations across the country.

When one compares the human rights violations of the United States with the "Jiantao Culture" Browne describes in China, an obvious difference is very apparent.


Flint Michigan issues boil water advisory over bacteria fears

© Rebecca Cook / Reuters
The city of Flint, Michigan advised many residents to boil their water, after a water main break stoked fears of bacterial contamination. The city is struggling with a long-running crisis of lead pollution in the municipal water supply.

After a drop in the city's water supply, Flint authorities released an advisory Tuesday, warning residents that "bacterial contamination may have occurred." Corrective measures are currently underway, the city of Flint said in a statement.

While bacteria are common in water supplies and are generally not harmful, city officials are warning residents with water filters to boil tap water for one minute and then let it cool before use. Residents not using filters are asked to flush the water for seven minutes before collecting any to boil, to make sure there is no loose sediment trapped in the water.


Indian Point tritium leak 80% worse than originally reported

© John Mottern / AFP
Indian Point Nuclear power plant located on the Hudson River in Buchanan, New York
New measurements at the Indian Point nuclear power plant in upstate New York show levels of radioactive tritium 80 percent higher than reported last week. Plant operator insists the spill is not dangerous, as state officials call for a safety probe.

Entergy, which operates the facility 25 miles (40 km) north of New York City, says the increased levels of tritium represent "fluctuations that can be expected as the material migrates."


You kidding me? Israeli paliament panel summons foreign media over 'biased' coverage

The CBS News headline, later changed, on the story of the stabbing last week of border policewoman Hadar Cohen.

Angry journalists, who initially boycotted the session, describe subcommittee's claims to be part of a 'witch hunt,' and slam Israel's 'authoritarian' efforts to clamp down on the media.

A subcommittee of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee called in members of the Foreign Press Association on Tuesday to discuss their reporting of terrorism and the occupation in Israel. Along with the invitation to the session, FPA members received a questionnaire relating to the "biased coverage" of some of the media outlets.

Angered by the request to discuss the content of their reports, the organization initially decided to boycott the meeting. However, FPA head Luke Baker eventually relented after a conversation with MK Tzipi Livni (Zionist Camp), the head of the Subcommittee for Foreign Policy, Public Relations, and the Political Struggle.

In a conversation with Haaretz in advance of the session, Baker, Reuters' bureau chief, said: "We agreed to come and hear what they had to say, although on the face of it, this looks like an attempt at a witch hunt."

Comment: With the extreme levels of aggression that Israel has been inflicting on Palestinians for so long, it has become ever clearer to many that the situation is untenable and Israel is largely to blame. The labeling of 'anti-semite' and the long reach of AIPAC, Mossad, and the purchasing of newspapers in the West by Israel-firsters, will still only get them so far these days as the tide of world opinion is rapidly changing. So, they are now trying a another tactic: the parliamentary witch hunt, complete with its oh-so-thin veneer of legitimacy and respectability. They're sure getting desperate!


FBI surrounds 4 remaining Oregon occupiers with armored vehicles - reports

© Getty Images
The occupied wildlife refuge in Oregon.
The FBI has surrounded the four remaining protesters occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, local media reported.

According to the Oregonian, the FBI has placed armored vehicles around the area where the occupiers are located.

"At this time, the FBI has moved to contain the remaining occupiers by placing agents at barricades both immediately in front of and behind the area where the occupiers are camping."

"Negotiations between the occupiers and the FBI continue. No shots have been fired," the FBI said in the statement.

The FBI stated that the situation began when one of the remaining protesters had ridden an ATV beyond the barricades set up by the occupiers. The individual was spotted by the FBI, but as agents tried to approach the driver, he turned around and sped back to the refuge.

Those remaining at the refuge have been identified as David Fry, Jeff Banta, and Sean and Sandy Anderson, who are husband and wife.