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Light Sabers

Playing European countries against one another: NATO is to blame for Serbia-Albania brawl on a football pitch

Who would expect that a football match between Serbia and Albania would turn into a battle? Everyone! It's Serbia and Albania; it was bound to happen.

Not until US influence is excised from the Balkans can things ever settle down there, argues analyst Nikola Mirkovic.

Chalkboard

Frustrated parent with engineering degree lashes out at Common Core

© f_a_r_e_w_e_l_l/Flickr
There has been a lot of controversy surrounding the Common Core Standards, and one parent's rant quickly made the Internet rounds after he expressed frustration over his child's math assignments.

Earlier this year, Jeff Severt's son was given a math problem to solve using a number line and strategies, which is the new Common Core approach used in schools, KSDK reports. The assignment instructs kids to help a boy named Jack subtract 316 from 427.

The answer of 111 can be found in seconds using the old fashioned math, but the new way was difficult for the father to figure out.

According to The Blaze, Severt wrote a sarcastic response on the math problem.

"I have a bachelor of science degree in electronics engineering which included extensive study in differential equations and other higher math applications," he wrote. "Even I cannot explain the Common Core mathematics approach, nor get the answer correct. In the real world, simplification is valued over complication," he added, signing the letter as a "frustrated parent."

Comment: See also:

Red Flag

Confronting battered citizen syndrome

State-sponsored terrorism poses a significant challenge to the psychological well-being of the body politic. While evident in many geopolitical locales, this condition arising from such government abuses is especially prevalent in the West. Such a disorder is comparable to the psychological manipulation recognized on a micro-level in some spousal relationships.

Indeed, the 13-year-old "war on terror" has contributed to a grave societal malady that might be deemed "battered citizen syndrome." As the project of a transnational New World Order is laid out, the psychological constitution of the polity must necessarily experience perpetual crises and the threat thereof. Genuinely non-conventional political communication, organization and activism are among the few substantial means of combating battered citizen syndrome and the spiritual and psychological slavery it perpetuates.
Cheeseburger

This is what school lunch looks like in Chickasha, Oklahoma

Lunch
© EAGnews.org

This has to be a joke.

I don't think this is a joke.

Please, someone tell me this is a joke.

From EAGNews:
Eggs Fried

Starvation brings new nightmare to Ebola ravaged countries

© Independent
Sierra Leone's fields are without farmers. Its crops go un-reaped. In the quarantine areas, feeding is patchy - some get food, others don't. People then leave the enforced isolation in search of a meal, so Ebola spreads. In three West African countries where many already live a hand-to-mouth existence, the act of eating is increasingly rare.

Ebola, the virus that has ravaged Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea at an unprecedented rate, continues its devastating spread. The number of dead doubles with each passing month; the bodies unburied. More lives are devastated with each passing day.

And in the absence of a mass-produced vaccine, its treatment - enforced isolation, mass quarantines - now threatens to bring a new crisis: starvation.

Earlier this month, two children who were among the thousands orphaned by the virus, were visited by aid workers in Liberia's capital, Monrovia. At the time, the workers did not have the resources to take the children away. When they returned days later, the children were dead. They died not from Ebola, but starvation.

Yesterday, as the World Health Organisation warned that more than 4,500 people would be dead before the end of the week, a new threat to West Africa's stability emerged: three quarters of a million people may die from malnutrition, as an unprecedented modern famine follows the disease - if urgent action is not taken. While Ebola's direct consequences prompt terror, its indirect results are equally disturbing - food prices spiral, farms are abandoned, meals are scarce and those most in need, the estimated 4,000 orphans of the virus, go hungry.
Bad Guys

Thousands hold funeral for Palestinian teen killed in Israel raid

© Unknown
RIP Bahaa Samir Badir
Thousands of Palestinians have attended the funeral of a 13-year-old teenager who was shot dead by Israeli soldiers in the occupied West Bank on Thursday.

The funeral procession was held in the village of Beit Laqiya after Friday prayers.

Mourners, waving Palestinian flags and holding pictures of the teen, shouted slogans to demand an end to Israel's murder of Palestinian children. Palestinians also said Israel should be held accountable for its ongoing "crimes."

Bahaa Samir Badir was killed after the Israeli forces raided Beit Laqiya village and opened fire on Palestinians on Thursday.

He was critically injured after being hit by a live bullet in the chest from close range. He succumbed to his wound shortly after the incident.

Following his death, clashes erupted between Palestinians and Israeli security forces at the scene.

Comment: IDF soldiers aiming at innocent children are heartless and spineless creatures that should be locked up for life. Israel should indeed be held accountable for its ongoing bloody crimes, unfortunately it remains quiet at the International Court of "Justice" in the Hague.

See also: 'Shot in the heart': Israeli army kills 13yo Palestinian boy

Footprints

The next disease outbreak may start with New York's unbelievably diseased rats

Here's a shocking fact for you: Rats, the cute, cuddly creatures you sometimes see around your city, are actually kind of gross. And to find out just how gross, researchers at New York's Columbia University decided to do some tests, and the answer is clear: They're dangerously gross. The researchers examined the pathogens present in 133 rats in Manhattan and found food-borne illnesses, diseases never-before seen in New York and undiscovered viruses. Peter Daszak, the president of EcoHealth Alliance, told the New York Times it's a "recipe for a public health nightmare."

The background: Scientists set traps in a few Manhattan buildings to catch the pests. "New York rats are a lot wilier than rats in other cities," researcher Cadhla Firth told the New York Times. "We had to bait traps and just leave them open for a week." Once they had their quota, they were able to extract tissue and look for pathogens. Some of the highlights include salmonella, vicious strains of E. coli and Seoul hantavirus, which had never before been found in New York. They even discovered 18 new viruses, including some that seem similar to the virus that causes hepatitis C.

While that may seem scary, scientists are calling it a good thing - now they can figure out how humans might be affected. The takeaway: The big health scares often deal with pathogens in other parts of the world coming here - Ebola comes to mind, along with our old friends SARS and bird flu. That's why politicians get worked into a tizzy tying disease outbreaks to immigration. But one quick look at some rats and it becomes clear that the U.S. is far from some hygienic paradise that can only be spoiled by foreigners. "Everybody's looking [for pathogens] all over the world, in all sorts of exotic places, including us," Columbia professor Ian Lipkin told the New York Times. "But nobody's looking right under our noses."
Passport

U.S. embassies in Ebola-stricken countries are still processing visas for non-US citizens

© Ahmed Jallanzo/EPA/Newscom
A woman looks at an Ebola sensitization mural in Monrovia, Liberia.
Despite the outbreak of Ebola, it is still possible to get a visa from the three West African countries at the heart of the outbreak, and a key congressman is demanding to know why.

Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee, sent a sternly worded letter to Secretary of State John Kerry about the Obama administration's handling of the Ebola epidemic in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Royce said he was "deeply concerned" U.S. embassies in those countries were continuing to process visas for non-U.S. nationals despite the outbreak of the deadly disease.

An estimated 100 people per day are applying for U.S. visas at the three embassies, according to Royce. "Of course," he added, "once these individuals are issued a visa by the embassy, they are free to travel to the United States."

In the letter, Royce urged Kerry to contain the Ebola virus "at its source" in Africa before any additional cases reach the United States.

"I was surprised that the Department of State has not already exercised its authority to suspend consular services, which is standard procedure in countries experiencing a major security disruption," Royce wrote to Kerry. "This would be a prudent measure to mitigate the risk of Ebola exposure and contain its spread - a bedrock principal (sic) of health crisis management."
Light Saber

Yellowstone brucellosis-free bison to be given to Indian tribes instead of zoos

bison
© Reuters/Jim Urquhart
A car is stopped by a herd of bison crossing the highway in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, June 8, 2013.
An Indian reservation in Montana will receive 145 bison from Yellowstone National Park that were quarantined to create a herd free of a disease that threatens ranchers' cattle, according to a government plan approved on Thursday.

The Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission agreed unanimously to give the bison to the Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation to further the conservation of the country's last herd of wild, purebred buffalo.

The tribe was chosen instead of a proposal to distribute the iconic, hump-shouldered creatures to six organizations across five states, including New York's Bronx and Queens zoos.

"It would be a great celebration at Fort Peck to make this happen," said Becky Dockter, chief legal counsel for Montana's wildlife agency.

The bison, now in confinement at a Montana ranch owned by media mogul Ted Turner, were part of a government experiment that quarantined the animals to produce a band free of the cattle disease brucellosis, which is carried by roughly half of Yellowstone's buffalo.
Attention

Ebola panic ramping up as passenger dies after vomiting at JFK airport

JFK airport
© Reuters/Eduardo Munoz
People make their way at the international arrival terminal at JFK airport in New York.
A male passenger who died after vomiting on a trans-Atlantic flight from Nigeria to New York sparked panic he could be carrying the Ebola virus. However, initial tests on the 63-year-old man show that he tested negative to the virus.

The man had boarded a flight at Lagos Airport in Nigeria, which was bound for New York's John F. Kennedy Airport. However, once airborne, the man complained of vomiting during the flight and was sick in his seat. He died sometime before the plane landed at JFK, leaving around 150 passengers worried as to why he had passed away.

Upon the plane's arrival at the terminal at around 6am local time, the door was left open connecting the plane to the airport building, "which a lot of the first responders found alarming," the source added, which was reported by the New York Post. Medical officials at the scene conducted a cursory exam and alleviated fears that the Ebola virus was present, according to a local police source.

Comment: As Ebola panic escalates there continues to be questions regarding the reliability of testing. See:

Ebola questions and answers: transmission, infection and false negative test results
Those tests are not entirely foolproof, though:
One test for Ebola, the indirect fluorescence assay, is known to have a rather low specificity, and therefore a rather high false negative rate. PCR testing has also been known to miss cases of affliction. (source)
In other words, it is possible for an Ebola test to be negative when the person actually does have Ebola.


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