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Sun, 20 Jun 2021
The World for People who Think

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BBC admits receiving millions in grants from EU and councils

EU flags
© Alamy
BBC received nearly £3million in grant money from the European Union over the past four years
The news prompted MPs to raise questions about the BBC's impartiality when its journalists report on events in the EU.

The BBC admitted in a letter to a Tory MP that it has received nearly £3million in grant money from the European Union over the past four years.

Other grants totalling £16million came from local authorities across the UK. The money was spent on "research and development projects".

The broadcaster also disclosed that its commercial arm BBC Worldwide borrowed over £141million from the European Investment Bank since 2003. Of that figure £30million is still due to be repaid by the end of May this year.

These figures are disclosed in the commercial arm's annual report, while the BBC's annual report does not make clear where the grant money comes from.


US 'No-Fly' List of Suspected Terrorists Doubles in 12 Months

Dulles airport, Washington DC
© Jeff Greenberg/Alamy
Dulles airport, Washington DC: the US no-fly list stands at about 21,000.
Classified log of individuals banned from flying into or within America as they are considered a threat stands at 21,000

The size of the US government's secret list of suspected terrorists who are banned from flying to or within the country has more than doubled in the past year.

The no-fly list jumped from about 10,000 known or suspected terrorists one year ago to about 21,000 according to government figures. About 500 are US nationals.

The flood of new names began after the failed Christmas 2009 bombing of a Detroit-bound jetliner when the US government lowered the standard for putting people on the list and scoured its files for anyone who qualified. "We learned a lot about the watch listing process and made strong improvements, which continue to this day," said Timothy Healy, director of the Terrorist Screening Center, which produces the no-fly list.

Among the most significant new standard is that a person doesn't have to be considered only a threat to aviation to be placed on the list.

People considered a broader threat to domestic or international security or who attended a terror training camp are also included, said a US counter-terrorism official who spoke on condition of anonymity. As agencies complete the reviews of their files, the pace of growth is expected to slow, the counter-terrorism official said.

The American Civil Liberties Union has previously sued the US government on behalf of Americans who believe they are on the no-fly list and have not been able to travel by air for work or to see family.


US: New York City Agent Arrested in Latest TSA Theft Allegation

© Stephen Chernin/Getty Images
A Transportation Security Administration agent stole $5,000 in cash from a passenger's jacket as he was going through security at John F. Kennedy International Airport, authorities said Thursday, the latest in a string of thefts that has embarrassed the agency.

Alexandra Schmid took the cash from a Bangladeshi passenger's jacket as it went along an X-ray conveyor belt Wednesday night in Terminal 4, said Al Della Fave, spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey's police force.

Surveillance video showed Schmid taking the money from a jacket pocket, wrapping the cash in a plastic glove and taking it to a bathroom, Della Fave said.

The money hasn't been recovered, he said. Police are investigating whether Schmid gave it to another person in the bathroom.

The 31-year-old Schmid was arrested on a charge of grand larceny and suspended pending an investigation. Her attorney's name wasn't immediately known.


Canada: Ontario Child Porn Bust Snares 60

© The Canadian Press/Pawel Dwulit
A police officer casts a shadow on a map of Ontario after a news conference on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2012, Vaughan, Ont.
Police in Ontario have arrested 60 men - including a daycare worker - and charged them with hundreds of child pornography offences.

The co-ordinated raids by 24 police forces across Ontario picked up the suspects in the days leading up to Thursday's announcement.

"The is one of the largest co-ordinated efforts of its kind in Ontario," said Det.-Sgt. Frank Goldschmidt of the Ontario Provincial Police. "We anticipate there will be several more charged."

Goldschmidt said police from Windsor, London, Niagara, Toronto, Barrie, Sudbury, Ottawa - virtually every major centre in the province - participated in the sweep.

In total 76 search warrants were executed and 60 males arrested - including three people who cannot be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.


Columnist Calls for Internet "Quality Control" to Quash Dissent

© Google
Do you think anthropogenic global warming is a hoax? Are you unconvinced that your ancestors had more in common with Cheetah than with Tarzan? Have you any doubts about the official version of how 9/11 went down? Then you, according to Evgeny Morozov, are part of a "kooky" "fringe movement" whose growth must be checked by forcing you to read "authoritative" content whenever you go looking for information on such topics on the Internet.

Morozov is a visiting scholar at Stanford University, a contributing editor to Foreign Policy magazine, and a former fellow at George Soros' Open Society Institute - in other words, a reliable bellwether of globalist establishment thinking. His musings in Slate - in which he argues that while outright censorship of the web may not be possible, getting browsers and search engines to direct people to establishment-approved opinions would be an excellent idea - offer "proof of how worried the bad guys are about popular disbelief in State pieties, and about sites ... that stoke it," Lew Rockwell averred, citing his own website as an example. The New American undoubtedly would fall under that rubric as well.

The problem, as Morozov sees it, is that people who "deny" global warming or think vaccines may cause autism - opinions that conflict with those proffered by governments, the United Nations, and other globalist organizations - can post anything they want on the Internet with "little or no quality control" over it. As a result, he says, there are "thousands of sites that undermine scientific consensus, overturn well-established facts, and promote conspiracy theories."


US: FBI Cuts Down Massachusetts Mom's Door in Wrong-Home Raid

A Massachusetts mother says the FBI used a chain saw blade to cut through her door and held her at gunpoint for at least 30 minutes before agents realized they were conducting a raid at the wrong home.

Judy Sanchez, of Fitchburg, says she awoke to heavy footsteps in the stairwell on Jan. 26 and walked into her kitchen in time to see a blade chop through her door.

She says she was held facedown on the floor at gunpoint while her 3-year-old daughter cried in another room.

It turns out agents were after the other tenant on the floor of the multiunit building who is suspected of dealing drugs.

Sanchez says she and her daughter now have trouble sleeping.

The FBI has apologized and is paying for the damage.


US: Bodies Found Bound, Burned in Posh Arizona Town

Two people were tied up and killed, and their bodies burned beyond recognition in a posh Phoenix suburb, shaking residents who were being told to lock their doors and pay attention to their surroundings and a police department that last investigated a homicide in 2004.

Police in Paradise Valley, most known for its scenic mountain trails and upscale resorts, said Wednesday that investigators were not able to positively identify the bodies because they were so badly burned. An autopsy was under way Wednesday to determine the identities and whether the people were killed in the fire or by other means.

"This particular crime is a heinous crime and it can happen anywhere," said Police Chief John Bennett. "People in Paradise Valley hopefully understand it can happen even to them."

He said investigators had no suspects and had not determined a motive, including whether the stylish stucco home had been robbed.

"This has been a very trying two days for us," Bennett said a news conference. "This is going to be a prolonged, complex investigation that's going to take probably quite a lot of time."


The Global Debt Clock

The clock is ticking. Every second, it seems, someone in the world takes on more debt. The idea of a debt clock for an individual nation is familiar to anyone who has been to Times Square in New York, where the American public shortfall is revealed. Our clock shows the global figure for all (or almost all) government debts in dollar terms.

Does it matter? After all, world governments owe the money to their own citizens, not to the Martians. But the rising total is important for two reasons. First, when debt rises faster than economic output (as it has been doing in recent years), higher government debt implies more state interference in the economy and higher taxes in the future. Second, debt must be rolled over at regular intervals. This creates a recurring popularity test for individual governments, rather as reality TV show contestants face a public phone vote every week. Fail that vote, as the Greek government did in early 2010, and the country can be plunged into imminent crisis. So the higher the global government debt total, the greater the risk of fiscal crisis, and the bigger the economic impact such crises will have.

Mr. Potato

Leaked Syria Observers' Report Details Failings of Mission

Some were too old, too ill for their task. Others quarreled over reimbursements for hotel accommodations or refused orders to carry out their mission.

Simply put, many of the 166 Arab observers parachuted into Syria on Dec. 24 to document the widening violence were utterly incapable of enduring the rigors of life in a country roiled by social upheaval and conflict, according to an internal account of their work.

"Regrettably, some observers thought that their visit to Syria was for pleasure," wrote Gen. Mohamed Ahmed Mustafa Al-Dabi, the chief of the Arab League monitoring mission. "In some instances, experts who were nominated were not qualified for the job, did not have prior experience, and were not able to shoulder the responsibility."

On Jan. 18, Arab League Secretary General Nabil Elaraby ordered the suspension of the organization's observer mission, its first major experiment in human rights monitoring. He claimed that the escalation of violence had undercut its ability to do its job.

But a confidential account of the organization's mission, signed by the monitor's controversial chief and obtained by Turtle Bay, shows that the Arab monitors were hobbled from the beginning by a shortage of equipment -- and by what Al-Dabi describes as a ferocious Syrian media disinformation campaign against the monitors and him personally. "The credibility of the mission has been undermined in the minds of Arab and foreign viewers," he wrote.


US: South Dakota Legislature Passes Resolution "Encouraging" Bible Study Courses In Public Schools

© unk
It really does look like Republicans across the country are trying to force Christianity upon every man, woman, and child in America. To date, Missouri, Indiana, New Hampshire, and Oklahoma have each introduced anti-evolution bills that encourage the teaching of creationism. Joining this pageant of unconstitutionality, the Pennsylvania State House passed a resolution two days ago that praises the Bible and encourages the teaching of the scripture. And now the South Dakota legislature has passed a resolution that "encourages" public schools to create Bible study courses of their own.

The Republican dominated South Dakota legislature passed HRC 1004 by a vote of 55-13. The bill permits schools to add an elective Bible study course and explicitly requires that such courses not violate First Amendment rights (which it is guaranteed to do the second it inevitably strays outside of a strictly secular examination of the Bible and teaches Christianity in school). One sponsor of the bill, Representative Steve Hickey, who is also a pastor, insists that such courses will only teach the Bible on an academic level and thinks the Bible would add to the education of students in ways that other books cannot. "I have a concern that we're raising a generation of kids who can't quote anything beyond Sponge Bob," Hickey stated, apparently unaware that a common world history course covers Jesus and the ancient world in which he lived, without the divinity.