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Fri, 22 Mar 2019
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Sherlock

FBI joins criminal probe into Boeing 737 Max certification

engine  Boeing 737 MAX 8 crash
© Reuters / Tiksa Negeri
Aircraft engine parts scattered at the scene of the Boeing 737 MAX 8 crash near Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. March 11, 2019.
The FBI has joined the widening criminal probe into how Boeing's 737 Max 8 jets were deemed as safe in the months before two of them crashed in Indonesia and Ethiopia, leading to a worldwide grounding of the vaunted planes amid scrutiny of U.S. certification standards.

A person familiar with the inquiry told USA TODAY on Wednesday that the FBI is assisting federal transportation authorities in their investigation into the jet's certification process, which has come under criticism for possible cozy relationships between Boeing and FAA inspectors.

The two crashes killed more than 300 people since October. Transportation Department officials are leading the investigation into the Federal Aviation Administration approval of the passenger jet, while the FBI is providing needed resources, said the person, who is not authorized to comment publicly.

Comment: New details have also surfaced that the captain of the doomed Ethiopian airliner had ZERO hours of 737 MAX 8 simulator training:
The Ethiopian carrier set up a MAX 8 flight simulator in January, two months before the crash, but the captain of the doomed aircraft never used it, the New York Times wrote on Wednesday, citing people close to the airline.

According to the report, the pilot's last simulator training took place in September and October, when the company still didn't have the necessary equipment to teach its staff to fly Boeing's newest aircraft. The next training course wasn't scheduled until after March 10 when the disaster happened.



Cross

Church of England calls out Home Office for denying refugees asylum over 'violence' in Christianity

preacher park UK christianity
© Reuters/Stefan Wermuth
A Christian speaker holds a copy of the Bible at Speakers' Corner in Hyde Park, London
The UK Home Office has refused asylum to an Iranian convert, saying that Christianity is not as 'peaceful' as he claims. It even cited Bible verses to support its position. Now the Church of England is stepping in.

The letter from the Home Office now making the rounds on social media uses out of context Bible verses from books like Revelations to disprove the Iranian national's claim in his 2016 asylum request that he abandoned Islam and converted based on the peaceful nature of Christianity.

Comment: Part of the problem of immigrants vs natives in a country is the clash of values. Yet here was a refugee professing the values as the country applied to (Christian), and yet was turned down. What is really going on here?


Pirates

'Miss Hitler' used in effort to recruit members in neo-Nazi group, court hears

Alice Cutter
© youtube
Alice Cutter 22, leaves Birmingham Crown Court where she is on trial with three others, accused of being members of the banned Neo-Nazi group National Action
A NEO-Nazi terror suspect took part in a "Miss Hitler" beauty contest organised to attract new members for a far-right extremist group, a court heard.

Alice Cutter, 22, went on to win the competition organised by National Action after taking on the nickname Buchenwald Princess in a nod to the Nazi death camp.

The competition has since been branded a 'publicity stunt' to gain new members and to raise the group's profile.

Cutter is standing trial at Birmingham Crown Court with her partner Mark Jones, who is accused of posing for a photograph while giving a Nazi salute in Buchenwald's execution room.

Comment: People are told 'white extremism' like this is on the rise and infiltrating all of society. Let's not lose perspective. A grand total of four people are being charged with membership in this group.


Red Flag

Clueless scholar makes 'moral case' for letting people decide their own age

birthday cake
© NSC Photography / Shutterstock.com
Says recognition of 'trans-ageism' would prevent 'severe discrimination'

A recent article published in The Journal of Medical Ethics by a Finnish bioethicist made a moral case for the legal change of a person's age to correspond with that person's "experienced age."

The piece, by Joona Räsänen of the University of Oslo in Norway, titled "A Moral Case for Legal Age Change," concludes that there are three scenarios when a change to one's legal age should be allowed: When "the person genuinely feels his age differs significantly from his chronological age," when "the person's biological age is recognized to be significantly different from his chronological age," and when "age change would likely prevent, stop or reduce ageism, discrimination due to age, he would otherwise face."

Räsänen differentiates between "chronological" age, or how long the person has actually lived; "biological age," or the state of one's body; and "emotional" age, the age as which one identifies.

Vader

UN human rights chief decries US choking of Venezuela as Trump mulls imposing 'toughest' sanctions

hands off venezuela
© Reuters / Joshua Roberts
US economic pressure only contributes to Venezuela's woes and will likely further affect the people's "basic rights," the UN human rights chief, Michelle Bachelet, has warned, as the US threatens even tougher sanctions.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has stepped up her criticism of the US policies against crisis-ridden Venezuela, saying that Washington's approach only makes the situation there worse. Bachelet in particular expressed her concern over the sanctions targeting Venezuela's oil trade, as these "may contribute to aggravating the economic crisis" and have "repercussions on people's basic rights and wellbeing."

It is not the first time the UN human rights chief has scolded Washington over its pressure against the Latin American country, which suffers from hyperinflation and other economic problems. On March 6, Bachelet said that the sanctions had fueled the crisis, which had reached an "alarming" state.

Dollars

Google slapped with another EU antitrust fine; grand total now over $9.3B

Google bldg
© palinchakjr/iStock/alexxx1981
This morning, the European Union slapped Google with a €1.5 billion fine, which comes to a little over $1.7 billion. This latest fine was over its antitrust practices with its advertising business.

Essentially, for years Google didn't allow its AdSense customers to feature rival search engines on their sites. Over the years, the company eased up on these rules, but European officials still decided the practice amounted to illegal behavior. This may be an especially tough blow for Google, since AdSense's contribution to the company's overall revenue has been steadily decreasing over the last six-plus years, according to Bloomberg.

This is the latest of many European fines Google has been hit with over its advertising practices. The EU levied both a €4.3 billion and €2.4 billion fine, over its mobile advertising business and e-commerce search results. This latest decision brings the bill to €8.2 billion, or a little over $9.3 billion. Google has been appealing both previous rulings.

Comment: See also:


Attention

Birmingham, UK: Four mosques attacked with sledgehammers

Birmingham Mosques attack
© Twitter/Cllr Majid Mahmood
Mosques have been targeted in overnight attacks in Birmingham, police have confirmed. Counter-terrorism officers are investigating the incidents, but no motive has been attributed.

An initial attack was reported at a mosque on Birchfield Road 2.32am local time and, as officers were responding, additional reports were received of a man smashing windows at another mosque on Slade Road at approximately 3.14am local time.


Red Flag

Social services threaten to take autistic boy into care after his parents refuse to let doctors give him powerful sex-change drugs

sitting alone
The parents of an autistic teenage boy were warned he would be taken into care after they objected to him being given powerful hormone drugs to help him change sex.

Doctors at an NHS clinic had recommended he be given puberty-blockers - which delay adolescence - after the youngster declared he believed he was female.

But his mother and father, fearing the potential side-effects of the drugs, stopped him going to the clinic. And they suspected his abrupt decision to change sex was a result of his autism.

After the boy told the school he had been barred from treatment, a teacher told his parents that they should find alternative accommodation for their son or else he would be put into temporary foster care. And the school reported the couple to children's services for being 'emotionally abusive' to their son by not supporting his wish to change gender.

Attention

Rape case sparks violent protests and anti-migrant fury in Siberian city

yakutsk crowd
© Facebook / Aysen Nikolayev
Governor Aysen Nikolayev addresses a crowd in Yakutsk, Russia, after a migrant was accused of raping a local woman.
Angry residents held sporadic rallies and trashed migrant-operated shops in Siberia after a man from Central Asia allegedly raped a local woman. The high-profile case prompted authorities to vow crack down on illegal immigration.

Over the past few days, residents of Yakutsk in eastern Russia attacked and harassed migrants from Central Asia. They also targeted migrant-owned businesses.

Young men barged into food booths and demanded that foreigners leave, police said.

"They came here and threatened us with a gun. They said: 'Shut everything down and go home. You won't live here anymore,'" one man told RT.

There were rumors of some people being hospitalized and even killed but the police denied that such incidents happened. Officers were also deployed to safeguard a mosque after a fired-up crowd held a protest outside its entrance.

The wave of anti-migrant anger was sparked by a recent case of a local woman abducted and raped. Though a suspect was quickly caught and pleaded guilty, locals became outraged after the media learned that he was a migrant from Kyrgyzstan. This was later confirmed by the governor.

Comment: That such sentiments appear even in Russia - a relatively successful multiethnic state, if there ever was one - should perhaps be taken as an indication that sound immigration policies are a must and multiculturalism isn't the panacea that progressives tout it to be. To ignore those who have problems with illegal immigration and dismiss them as simply 'racist' will only cause more division and discontent. At the very least, it's impractical.


Network

Building bridges: Last steel beam linking Russia-China railway bridge connected

bridge
© pexels.com
The first cross-border railway bridge between China and Russia over the Amur River has been connected from both sides. The bridge, which will be operational this year, is expected to take bilateral trade to new highs.

The 2,209-meter-long (1.4 miles) structure links Russia's Far East with China's northernmost Heilongjiang province. The full completion of the cross-border bridge (railway and highway parts) is scheduled for July.

"On the morning of March 20, the last steel beam was built in, with Russia completing construction works from its part. This means the first railway bridge between the two countries is generally successfully connected," Heilongjiang province's administration said in a statement.

The completion of the bridge will end the history when the Chinese and Russian borders did not have a cross-river railway bridge, said Li Huachao, a chief engineer of China Railway Major Bridge Engineering Group.