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Mon, 27 May 2019
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Nike withdraws latest shoe after Panama's indigenous Guna protest unauthorized use of traditional 'mola' design

Nike Air Force 1 'Puerto Rico' 2019 - Nike Inc

Nike Air Force 1 'Puerto Rico' 2019 - Nike Inc
US sportswear giant Nike said Tuesday it was withdrawing its latest shoe after Panama's indigenous Guna community accused it of "pirating" a protected traditional design.

Lawyers for the Guna said the special-edition Air Force 1 model shoe sports a traditional "mola" design without their permission, flouting their intellectual property rights.

They had demanded the company pull out of a planned June 6 launch of the $100 shoe.

After being contacted by AFP, a Nike spokesperson said: "We apologize for the inaccurate representation of the design origin for the Nike Air Force 1 'Puerto Rico' 2019. As a result, this product will no longer be available."

Guna lawyer Aresio Valiente told AFP the indigenous people were not just seeking the product's withdrawal, but also damages as the shoe "is part of the spirituality of the Guna people."

Snakes in Suits

Penn State professor accused of kidnapping multiple women while working as Uber driver

Richard Lomotey uber driver kidnapper
A Penn State professor with a side job as a Pittsburgh Uber driver who was arrested this month for allegedly kidnapping two women is now accused of kidnapping a third woman that same night.

The third woman spoke with police on May 16, saying that on May 11, she was outside at a nightclub when she saw a car with an Uber decal and jumped in the front passenger seat, according to a criminal complaint filed on Monday.

She hadn't used the Uber app but gave her address and $10 cash to the driver, later identified as 36-year-old Richard Lomotey, according to the criminal complaint.

As he drove, the woman said Lomotey kept asking about her relationship status. She said she replied that "she was engaged and did not want to participate in any sexual activities with him," but claimed Lomotey held and grabbed her wrist during the ride, according to court documents.

The passenger said every time she unlocked the car doors, Lomotey would lock them, the documents said.


Washington state goes full greentard, allows composting of human remains

Katrina Spade
© AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File
In this April 19, 2019, file photo, Katrina Spade, the founder and CEO of Recompose, a company that hopes to use composting as an alternative to burying or cremating human remains, poses for a photo in a cemetery in Seattle, as she displays a sample of compost material left from the decomposition of a cow using a combination of wood chips, alfalfa and straw. On Tuesday, May 21, 2019, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill into law that allows licensed facilities to offer "natural organic reduction," which turns a body, mixed with substances such as wood chips and straw, into soil in a span of several weeks. Th law makes Washington the first state in the U.S. to approve composting as an alternative to burying or cremating human remains.
Ashes to ashes, guts to dirt.

Gov. Jay Inslee signed legislation Tuesday making Washington the first state to approve composting as an alternative to burying or cremating human remains.

It allows licensed facilities to offer "natural organic reduction," which turns a body, mixed with substances such as wood chips and straw, into about two wheelbarrows' worth of soil in a span of several weeks.

Loved ones are allowed to keep the soil to spread, just as they might spread the ashes of someone who has been cremated - or even use it to plant vegetables or a tree.

Arrow Down

Clueless BBC unveils unbearably cringey 'Tonight With Vladimir Putin' chat show

bbc putin satire show
British taxpayers, shield your eyes now. The BBC has just unveiled its new "semi-scripted comedy chat show format," Tonight With Vladimir Putin, presented by a horrific CGI adaptation of the Russian president.

Early details indicate that not only will the British public be subjected to some truly awful writing and voice acting courtesy of Natt Tapley, of Have I Got News For You fame, but the BBC has also managed to dredge up some top-tier guests such as the Labour Party's former communications chief Alastair Campbell, former MTV host June Sarpong, I'm a celebrity: Extra Camp presenter Joe Swash and presenter of the Guilty Feminist podcast Deborah Frances-White. The less said about that line up, the better.

Comment: Just when you think commercial tv has hit bottom.


Is Soros-linked Avaaz group a credible source on fake news? Mainstream media seems to think so

Avaaz headline
© Avaaz
Mainstream news outlets have eagerly reported on a study by the Avaaz campaign group, claiming far-right disinformation groups have been spreading fake news in the lead up to EU elections - but is the group all that it seems?

The Avaaz network bills itself as social action group bringing "people-powered politics to decision-making everywhere"and it's latest study claims that more than 500 suspicious groups and Facebook pages are operating across major EU countries and spreading election disinformation to boost far-right and anti-EU parties ahead of crucial parliamentary elections.

The disinformation networks, Avaaz claimed, are even more popular than the pages belonging to official right-wing and anti-establishment groups and parties - and that they have been engaged in everything from sharing white supremacist content to Holocaust denial.


On the outrage mobs and witch hunts nurtured by Google's HR

google hate speech
© Google
Google has become a company where outrage mobs and witch hunts dominate its culture. These outrage mobs and witch hunts have become an existential threat not only to Google's culture internally, but to Google's trust and credibility externally.

Google has long claimed to be a nonpartisan company, yet like many other tech companies, they also maintain many policies against "hate speech". How do we reconcile these two apparently conflicting goals? While this statement came from a spokesperson for Facebook, it could just as easily apply to Google, Twitter, and many other tech companies.
We've always banned individuals or organizations that promote or engage in violence and hate, regardless of ideology.
An astute reader will notice that this response does not actually answer the question; it merely shifts it from one point to another. Instead of asking, "Is Google a nonpartisan company?" we instead ask, "Does Google apply a nonpartisan definition of hate speech?"1

(As for Facebook, we now know that they have a list of "hate agents" that includes Candace Owens.)


Venezuelan opposition extremist, a US military vet and 'aid volunteer,' caught sending death threats to embassy defenders

death threat venezuelan embassy protectors  Luis Medina

Luis Medina previously served as a machine gunner for the US Marine Corps, and was in the US military reserves until this March.
Far-right Venezuelan opposition activist Luis Medina, a former US Marine and volunteer for Juan Guaido's aid stunt, told CODEPINK embassy defenders "we are coming to get you with plenty of ammunition."

A far-right Venezuelan opposition activist emailed a death threat to human rights activists from the peace group CODEPINK. The threat was delivered when CODEPINK was helping to protect the Venezuelan government's embassy in Washington, DC from an illegal takeover by Juan Guaidó's US-backed coup administration.

This rabid opposition activist, a staunch supporter of Donald Trump, previously served as a machine gunner for the US Marine Corps, and was in the US military reserves until this March. He also was on the Colombia-Venezuela border with violent opposition activists, working with an ostensible "aid group" run by coup leader Juan Guaidó, during a failed US-backed putsch in February.

Comment: Luis Medina is a minor loose canon and an embarrassment to the Marine corps no doubt. Still, sunlight is the best disinfectent. Note the large number of posts he's deleted. But the internet is forever. The Grayzone has captured the most egregious entries in Medina's various social media accounts. Perhaps knowing he is being watched will discourage him and other ideologically possessed types from actually doing something stupid.


Professor Richard Wolff: Attack on Huawei tells world to avoid doing business with unstable US

© Reuters / Carlos Barria
The US has underestimated the consequences of the attack on Chinese telecom giant Huawei as it sends a strong signal for the rest of the world to avoid dealing with such an unstable partner, professor Richard Wolff believes.

The trade war with China has already evolved into a technological one as Washington barred American companies from supplying Huawei with components or technology. The move will eventually deprive the Chinese corporation of access to Google's apps and services as well as Intel and Qualcomm chips when the measure fully comes into force.

"This is going to hurt the American economy for years to come in countless ways, it will leave an economic scar on the American economy and there is... a stunning example of stupid economics," professor emeritus of economics at the University of Massachusetts, Richard Wolff, stressed in an interview to RT.

Light Sabers

6 dead, 200 injured in riots as incumbent leader re-elected in Indonesia

© Reuters / Antara Foto / Muhammad Adimaja
Jakarta has descended into violent chaos with angry mobs torching cars and firing missiles and Molotov cocktails at police in post-election skirmishes. So far, six people have been confirmed dead and a further 200 injured.

A reportedly 50,000-strong security force used tear gas and water cannon to quell torrents of rocks, Molotov cocktails and other burning projectiles thrown by violent protesters who decried the re-election of incumbent President Joko Widodo, who won a second term with 55.5 percent of the vote.

His rival Prabowo Subianto, an ex-special forces commander, refused to accept the election result, claiming widespread election fraud, but without providing any evidence to support such allegations.

Footage from social media shows the extent of the overnight unrest and the sheer ferocity of the violence in some areas.

Comment: By 2050 Indonesia is expected to be the fourth largest economy in the world, after China, India and the US, according to one forecast.

With its economic growth rate at 5% per year, and China its number 1 foreign investor, Indonesia is going to become one of the poles in the multi-polar world.


Facebook shuts down, then reinstates, popular low-carb support group

graphic social media representation
Social media channels and low-carb networks were abuzz this week with cries of censorship, malicious targeting, and even anti-low-carb conspiracy theories, when Facebook suddenly shut down a huge South African low-carb support group with 1.65 million followers.

After a global hue and cry, Facebook reinstated the platform some 48 hours later.

The large support group, Banting 7-day Meal Plans, was started a few years ago by Cape Town low-carb advocate Rita Venter. On her twitter feed, Venter notes "I started the group to share what helped me lose weight & get healthy."

Comment: It's not enough that people with the wrong political opinion are getting banned, now scientifically backed nutrition advice is on the chopping block. Next thing you know basic biology will be outlawed on social media, too.

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