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Sat, 25 Jan 2020
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2 dead after massive explosion at factory rocks Houston, destroys homes - Gas leak suspected

explosion houston jan 2020
Buildings damaged after an explosion in Houston, Jan. 24, 2020. A large explosion left rubble scattered in the area, damaged nearby homes and was felt for miles away.
A massive explosion at a Houston manufacturing plant Friday morning killed at least two people, shook the entire region and destroyed multiple homes.

The blast occurred around 4:15 a.m. at Watson Grinding and Manufacturing in northwest Houston, fire and police officials said.

According to officials, two employees seen running from the plant said they smelled gas just before the explosion occurred.

At least one homeowner was hospitalized, officials said.

Comment: Is there more to this story than just a gas tank exploding? That's one heckuva powerful explosion.

A video of the scene of the explosion from ABC News; footage begins at ~ 1 minute mark:

This comes just two months after another major incident at a refinery in Port Neches, Texas.

Star of David

One disabled, one in a coma, yet large Palestinian family faces Israeli eviction from East Jerusalem home

israel evicts palestinians jearusalem
© Twitter
In recent decades, Israeli settler organizations, with the support of the Israeli authorities, have taken control of properties within Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem.
An Israeli court on Sunday ruled in favor of an extremist Jewish organization, that has been trying to evict a Palestinian family from their home in East Jerusalem, alleging that the land upon which the house was built previously belonged to Jews.

The legal ground for the ruling is based on an Israeli law,which gives Jews the right to claim properties that allegedly belonged to them in East Jerusalem while denying Palestinians the same right.

Comment: More information from Quds News Network:
Wadi Hilweh Information Center said that the court ruled on Sunday to empty a residential building owned by Naser Rajabi family in the neighborhood of Batn El Hawa and grant it for the settlement organization "Ateret Cohanim", claiming that the land, where the building was built back in 1948, is owned by Jews.

The center and the committee of Batn El Hawa said in a joint statement on Sunday that the judge of the Magistrate's Court rejected an appeal by Rajabi family, who challenged injunctions by the settlement organization issued in 2016. They started ever since a court battle to prove the family's ownership of the land and building.

The statement also added that "Ateret Cohanim" was authorized to administrate the properties, which are claimed to be owned by Jews in 2001. It started issuing injunctions in 2015, ordering 84 Palestinian families to evacuate the neighborhood.

The Rajabi building is one of several other buildings that are targeted by the settlement organization, which plans to grab the property of nearly 2 acres in Batn El Hawa, as the organization claims that they were owned by Yemeni Jews back in 1881.

"Ateret Cohanim" claims that the Israeli supreme court recognized the ownership of Yemeni Jews to the land.

The statement added that the targeted land has 35 residential buildings built on it and all of its residents have been living in the neighborhood for decades after buying the lands from their former owners. They also have the documents, which prove that.

Haaretz reported that the residents were given until July 1 to empty the building.
Rule of law means nothing if it impedes the Occupation's advancement. Emptying Jerusalem of it Palestinian inhabitants has always been one of Israel's principle goals. With Trump's endorsing Jerusalem as Israel's capitol, the effort has ramped up.

Eiffel Tower

'I'm closed': Eiffel Tower shuts down amid sweeping strike by unions in France

Eiffel Tower
© REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
Delivering a heavy blow to holidaymakers, Paris' most iconic landmark has closed, due to massive protests against a divisive retirement reforms bill. Other sites like Versailles and the Louvre also warned of possible disruptions.

"Due to a national strike, I'm closed today. Access to my esplanade remains open and free of charge," the Eiffel Tower's Twitter account warned on Friday.

SETE, the organization running the famous tower, said the number of staff present on-site "does not allow visitors to be accommodated in optimal security and reception conditions," as quoted by Le Parisien newspaper.

Stock Down

Boeing faces Max hurdle as pilot confidence crumbles

Ethiopian Airlines flight ET 302
Pieces of the wreckage of Ethiopian Airlines flight ET 302
Pilots' unions say that their members' trust in the safety culture at Boeing is at rock bottom following a string of revelations about the grounded 737 Max, presenting another big hurdle for the manufacturer as its seeks to return the jet to service.

The plane maker's crisis deepened late on Tuesday after it admitted that the 737 Max will stay parked until the middle of this year, driving the company's shares down almost 4 per cent. Restoring confidence among captains, on whom it is counting to repair the trust of the flying public, will be critical to Boeing's ambitions.

Trust is "unequivocally" at a nadir, said Jon Horne, president of the 40,000-strong European Cockpit Association, following the publication earlier this month of damaging internal messages in which employees mocked regulators and discouraged airlines from pursuing the most expensive pilot training options.


Ukrainian jet crash victim ran company suspected by UN of violating Libyan arms embargo

Elena Malakhova SkyAviaTrans Iran plane crash

Elena Malakhova, a director of SkyAviaTrans, was killed when Iran mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian airliner in January 2020.
One of the passengers on the Ukrainian jet downed by Iranian missiles earlier this month was a businesswoman who was the boss of two companies cited in a UN report for links to the shadowy arms trade supplying the protracted civil war in Libya.

Olena Malakhova, 38, had been allocated a place in the second row of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 from Tehran to Kiev, according to a seating plan of the aircraft seen by CNN.

She was one of only two Ukrainian passengers on the plane, which crashed shortly after takeoff from the Iranian capital on January 8, killing everyone on board. Iran says it shot down the plane by mistake.

Comment: Ukraine, with a nod and a wink from the West, became a veritable black market arms bazaar as it descended into economic chaos. Why is CNN, a quintessential establishment mouth piece, highlighting the death of a player who was advancing Deep State interests by allegedly smuggling arms to Libya?


'Foreign national' arrested in Barcelona linked with two murders, arson and stabbing attack

Swede arrested Barcelona attacks
© AP Photo / Emilio Morenatti
Barcelona police have found links between a series of attacks across the city, and have connected one suspect to two murders, a stabbing and an arson attempt in a single afternoon.

Barcelona police have arrested a suspect after a series of seemingly unconnected incidents that occurred throughout the city, according to El Pais. The suspect was described as being from a 'foreign nationality' and about 30 years of age, but he has yet to be named.

The report says that at 3 p.m. on Monday, an apartment fire occurred near the city's Ciutadella Park; and investigation revealed a dead body and signs that there had been a struggle and that someone had attempted to burn the flat to cover his tracks.

Later a video emerged on the internet showing a man descending from the building as smoke is seen billowing from the window.

Comment: The man arrested is Swedish; the information has been confirmed by the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


'Marry-your-rapist' bill to be introduced by lawmakers in Turkey

turkish parliament
A law which would allow men accused of having sex with girls who are under 18 to avoid punishment if they marry their victims is set to be introduced to parliament in Turkey.

The controversial so-called "marry-your-rapist" bill, which lawmakers are planning to introduce to Turkish parliament at the end of January, has sparked fury among women's rights campaigners in the country.

Critics argue the legislation, which the opposition Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) is urging the government to axe, not only legitimises child marriage and statutory rape but also paves the way for child abuse and sexual exploitation.

Comment: See also:


Plan to pay UK students £9/hr to snoop on each other's 'microaggressions' is proof universities are vanguard of totalitarianism

students watching students
© Getty Images / Westend61
The normalization of Orwellian practices at higher education establishments continues apace, with the UK's University of Sheffield hiring a team of student eavesdroppers who will catch and stop others from being racist.

The prestigious northern university will train and pay roughly 20 students £9.34 ($12.20) per hour to "moderate" conversations on campus as a means of making such discussions "healthier."

The recruits are to be called "Race Equality Champions," and their ultimate aim is to challenge the ways people think about racism.

Comment: See also:

Bizarro Earth

'We simply can't get in': Assange lawyer decries lack of access to WikiLeaks founder

© REUTERS/Simon Dawson
Supporters of WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange outside Westminster Magistrates Court in London, file photo.
A lawyer representing Julian Assange has told a London court that the WikiLeaks founder's legal team is being restricted from meeting him and it is hampering preparation for his trial on extradition to the United States.

Queen's Counsel Edward Fitzgerald told Westminster Magistrates' Court on Thursday that he has had great difficulty gaining access to Assange in Belmarsh prison to discuss evidence and take instructions from the Australian.

The 48-year-old is wanted in the US for allegedly conspiring with army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to expose military secrets.

"We simply can't get in as we require to see Mr Assange and take instructions ... we need time to deal with that," Fitzgerald said.

Comment: The case of Assange and Wikileaks exposes the insidious corruption that permeates the highest echelons of the UK and US:

Light Sabers

South Front's Syrian war report: Dozens of troops and civilians killed & injured in Idlib as Syrian army battles terrorists

Syrian troops
© Sputnik/Iliya Pitalev
Syrian Forces
46 Syrian service members have been killed and 77 were wounded in recent clashes with radical militants in Greater Idlib in the period from January 16 to January 19, the Russian Reconciliation Center reported. According to the report, 57 civilians were killed and 116 others were injured as a result of attacks and shelling by militants.

On January 19, the Syrian Army repelled a large attack by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) and its allies on the town of Abu Dafn. According to pro-government sources, the army lost several armoured vehicles. The Turkish-backed National Front for Liberation (NFL), a key ally of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, militants damaged a battle tank and an infantry fighting vehicle, and destroyed an artillery piece belonging to the army. The NFL also claimed that dozens army troops were killed and injured. Earlier, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham recaptured the areas of Tell Khatrah, Mustayf Hill and Abu Jurayf from government forces and foiled army attempts to take them back.

Comment: See also: U.S. Didn't 'Withdraw' From Syria - It Redeployed, And Now Controls 75% of The Country's Oil