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Thu, 15 Apr 2021
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Nuke

Texas politicians knew agency hid the amount of radiation in drinking water


drinking water
© unknown
Newly-released e-mails from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality show the agency's top commissioners directed staff to continue lowering radiation test results, in defiance of federal EPA rules.

The e-mails and documents, released under order from the Texas Attorney General to KHOU-TV, also show the agency was attempting to help water systems get out of formally violating federal limits for radiation in drinking water. Without a formal violation, the water systems did not have to inform their residents of the increased health risk.

"It's a conspiracy at the TCEQ of the highest order," said Tom Smith, of the government watchdog group Public Citizen. "The documents have indicted the management of this commission in a massive cover-up to convince people that our water is safe to drink when it's not."

Monkey Wrench

"Bin Laden died of disease in 2006" - former CIA agent

Osama bin Laden
Osama Bin Laden cheated the gallows and died five years before US security forces officially announced he was killed, says a former CIA agent, currently living in Turkey.

"I knew Bin Laden's Chechen guards very well," Berkan Yashar, himself an ethnic Chechen, told the Russian TV station, Channel One. "Samy, Ayub and Mahmud were with him right to the end. I remember well this date as there were three sixes in it - June 26, 2006. Those three men, as well as two Muslims from London and two from the US saw Bin Laden dead. He was seriously ill before his death. He faded away to skin and bone. The three Chechens washed his body before burying it."

Eye 1

British royalty dined on human flesh (but don't worry it was 300 years ago)

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Medicinal cannibalism: Both Queen Mary II and her uncle King Charles II both took distilled human skull on their deathbeds in 1698 and 1685 respectively, according to Dr Sugg
They have long been famed for their love of lavish banquets and rich recipes. But what is less well known is that the British royals also had a taste for human flesh.

A new book on medicinal cannibalism has revealed that possibly as recently as the end of the 18th century British royalty swallowed parts of the human body.

The author adds that this was not a practice reserved for monarchs but was widespread among the well-to-do in Europe.

Even as they denounced the barbaric cannibals of the New World, they applied, drank, or wore powdered Egyptian mummy, human fat, flesh, bone, blood, brains and skin.

Moss taken from the skulls of dead soldiers was even used as a cure for nosebleeds, according to Dr Richard Sugg at Durham University.

Dr Sugg said: 'The human body has been widely used as a therapeutic agent with the most popular treatments involving flesh, bone or blood.

'Cannibalism was found not only in the New World, as often believed, but also in Europe.

'One thing we are rarely taught at school yet is evidenced in literary and historic texts of the time is this: James I refused corpse medicine; Charles II made his own corpse medicine; and Charles I was made into corpse medicine.

Gear

Gingrich Reiterates Support For Poll Tests, Suggests 'Young Americans' Be Tested Before Voting

ThinkProgress filed this report from a campaign event in Marshalltown, Iowa

Last week, former GOP House Speaker and current presidential candidate Newt Gingrich suggested that American citizens should have to pass a test in American history before they could earn the right to vote. Despite rampant criticism from both sides of the aisle, Gingrich reiterated his support for poll tests yesterday at a town hall meeting in Marshalltown, Iowa.

Speaking in front of a crowd made up largely of senior citizens, Gingrich reiterated his argument that since immigrants need to pass a test to become American citizens, "young Americans" should be forced to do the same "before they start voting." A majority of the crowd seemed to approve, giving Gingrich resounding applause:

GINGRICH: [Immigrants] need to pass a test of American history. And candidly, it wouldn't be bad to have a test like that for young Americans before they start voting.

Bomb

Perception Management: Pakistan blast strikes US consulate convoy

At least one person has been killed and 10 others wounded after an attack on two US consulate vehicles in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar.

Pakistani police said a roadside bomb struck two vehicles carrying foreigners on Friday, killing a Pakistani passer-by.

The US embassy later confirmed that two of its consulate vehicles had been targeted, and that one of them was badly damaged.

"Two vehicles of the US consulate were on their way to the consulate when they were attacked," US embassy spokesman Alberto Rodriguez said.

"One vehicle was damaged. There is no death among our personnel and there are no serious injuries," he added.

"Only one car was hit. In that car there were US citizen diplomats and a Pakistani driver."

Ijaz Khan, a police superintendent, told the Reuters news agency that two American security guards were slightly wounded, and were being treated at a US medical facility.

Comment: If you were angry with another country, would you murder your fellow citizens and make your primary target your own country?


Bad Guys

Routine harassment, torture and humiliation of Palestinian civilians: Former Israeli soldiers break the silence on military violations

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© Ali Ali/EPA
Campaign group Breaking the Silence has met with a hostile response from Israel, especially after it published testimony by soldiers who took part in the war on Gaza in 2008-09.
Transgressions by the Israeli army in the occupied Palestinian territories will be disclosed by a group of former soldiers in an internet campaign aimed at raising public awareness of military violations.

Video testimonies by around two dozen ex-soldiers - some of whom are identifying themselves for the first time - will be posted on YouTube. The campaign by Breaking the Silence, an organisation of former soldiers committed to speaking out on military practices, launches with English subtitles on Monday.


Comment: Additional testimonies can be found here.

Like this one, for example, about a commander who came up with all sorts of "games" to play to "enliven the atmosphere" at the checkpoint.




House

US: Foreclosure flood may not have crested yet

More than 4 million seriously delinquent borrowers are at risk

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© Unknown
If the national foreclosure crisis were a baseball game, we would be in about the top of the sixth. And we may have to go to extra innings.

Since the housing market peaked in 2006, some 6.5 million homes have been lost to foreclosure. There are likely another 4.3 million more homeowners who are "seriously delinquent," meaning they are more than three months behind in their payments, according to data released by the Mortgage Bankers Association this week. Many of those homeowners will soon enter the foreclosure pipeline.

Though the pace of new foreclosures has fallen recently, that is largely the result of lenders choking on the torrent of paperwork created by the millions of foreclosures already in progress.

After lenders tried to speed the process and cut corners by "robo-signing" documents, bank regulators last month ordered them to clean up their act - saying those practices had jeopardized the "safety and soundness" of the banking system. Some 14 of the biggest mortgage lenders were ordered to come up with a plan to fix the problem within 60 days. When they do, analysts expect the pace of foreclosures to pick up again.

Dollar

US: FEMA seeking money back from Enterprise tornado victims

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© Unknown
Kimmy Jordan has spent the last four years recovering from the tornado that claimed his home and battling a kidney condition that has left him on a list of patients in need of a transplant.

Now, the same federal agency that helped Jordan and his family members get back on their feet is asking for its money back.

According to the Associated Press, Jordan is one of more than 5,000 Americans who have been sent letters by the Federal Emergency Management Agency requiring repayment of financial assistance offered them during disasters dating back as far as 2005.

"I thought they were there to help people, not hurt them," said Jordan, who shared a home with his wife and five children at the time of the tornado in March 2007. "We stayed homeless for a year and a half (after the tornado). I had to work and save to get us a new home. We used FEMA money and what little was left over from insurance, and it took about all of it for debris removal. We're stuck now with a high mortgage payment. We're barely getting by, and now they're asking for money we can't pay back."

Bad Guys

Strauss-Kahn simply had to be eliminated - The Amerikan Police State Strides Forward

The International Monetary Fund's director, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, was arrested last Sunday in New York City on the allegation of an immigrant hotel maid that he attempted to rape her in his hotel room. A New York judge has denied Strauss-Kahn bail on the grounds that he might flee to France.

President Bill Clinton survived his sexual escapades, because he was a servant to the system, not a threat. But Strauss-Kahn, like former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, was a threat to the system, and, like Eliot Spitzer, Strass-Kahn has been deleted from the power ranks.

Strauss-Kahn was the first IMF director in my lifetime, if memory serves, who disavowed the traditional IMF policy of imposing on the poor and ordinary people the cost of bailing out Wall Street and the Western banks. Strauss-Kahn said that regulation had to be reimposed on the greed-driven, fraud-prone financial sector, which, unregulated, destroyed the lives of ordinary people. Strauss-Kahn listened to Nobel economist Joseph Stiglitz, one of a handful of economists who has a social conscience.

Arrow Down

French Soldier Killed, Four injured in Afghan blast

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© AFP/File, Joel Saget
A French soldier has been killed and four others injured in an "accidental explosion" in eastern Afghanistan
A French soldier was killed and four others were injured in an "accidental explosion" in eastern Afghanistan, French Defence Minister Gerard Longuet said Thursday.

The blast occurred in the south of Kapisa province, Longuet said in a statement.

The victim was the 58th French soldier to die since Paris deployed troops to join the NATO international force in Afghanistan in 2001.

Injuries to the four other soldiers were not life-threatening, the statement added.

The statement said that on Wednesday "an accidental explosion of a munition mortally wounded one soldier and injured four others of the same regiment who were getting ready to board an armoured vehicle in the south of Kapisa."

The injured were treated in a military hospital in Kabul, it added.

Around 4,000 French soldiers are deployed to Afghanistan mainly in the district of Surobi and Kapisa province in the east of the country.