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Tue, 21 Jan 2020
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US: Quake sensors removed around Virginia nuke plant due to budget cuts

anna nuke plant
© NA
A nuclear power plant that was shut down after an earthquake struck central Virginia Tuesday had seismographs removed in 1990s due to budget cuts.

U.S. nuclear officials said that the North Anna Power Station, which has two nuclear reactors, had lost offsite power and was using diesel generators to maintain cooling operations after an 5.9 earthquake hit the region.

The North Anna plant, which was near the epicenter of Tuesday's quake, is reportedly located on a fault line.

USA

Closing the 'Collapse Gap': the USSR was better prepared for collapse

Image
© Munkee
Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. I am not an expert or a scholar or an activist. I am more of an eye-witness. I watched the Soviet Union collapse, and I have tried to put my observations into a concise message. I will leave it up to you to decide just how urgent a message it is.

My talk tonight is about the lack of collapse-preparedness here in the United States. I will compare it with the situation in the Soviet Union, prior to its collapse. The rhetorical device I am going to use is the "Collapse Gap" - to go along with the Nuclear Gap, and the Space Gap, and various other superpower gaps that were fashionable during the Cold War.

The subject of economic collapse is generally a sad one. But I am an optimistic, cheerful sort of person, and I believe that, with a bit of preparation, such events can be taken in stride. As you can probably surmise, I am actually rather keen on observing economic collapses. Perhaps when I am really old, all collapses will start looking the same to me, but I am not at that point yet.

And this next one certainly has me intrigued. From what I've seen and read, it seems that there is a fair chance that the U.S. economy will collapse sometime within the foreseeable future. It also would seem that we won't be particularly well-prepared for it. As things stand, the U.S. economy is poised to perform something like a disappearing act. And so I am eager to put my observations of the Soviet collapse to good use.

Binoculars

Big Brother UK: 'Smart' CCTV could track rioters

camera screens
© Uknown
The system is able to track suspects across multiple cameras
CCTV that can automatically monitor criminal behaviour and track suspects is being developed by UK scientists

Researchers at Kingston University have created a system that uses artificial intelligence to recognise specific types of behaviour, such as someone holding a gun.

The technology is capable of following a person across multiple cameras.

Privacy campaigners warned that it might be used to target groups such as political protesters.

Stop

Russia: Unidentified hooligan tries to blind pilot at Moscow airport

Image
© RIA Novosti. Dmitriy Petrochenko
The captain of the A320 plane flying from Moscow to Kemerovo said an intense green light was shone into his face at an altitude of 600 meters
Moscow police said they were searching for a person who tried to blind a passenger jet pilot with a powerful pen laser when the aircraft was taking off from Vnukovo International Airport in Moscow.

"The captain of the A320 plane flying from Moscow to Kemerovo said an intense green light was shone into his face at an altitude of 600 meters," a police source said.

The hooligan had allegedly been located in Moscow's Novo-Peredelkino district.

Radar

RFID Implants Won't Rescue the People Kidnapped in Mexico

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© Associated Press/Diario de Nuevo Laredo
Kidnappings in Mexico have worsened in the last 5 years, sky-rocketing by 371%. So too have the demand for those RFID implants that were said to allow authorities to find the victims. Except for one thing: they don't work.

The main problem is that the technology, for a number of reasons, couldn't have worked in the first place. For one, the implants are much too small for a satellite to pick up. And that's without taking into account the barriers the implant's signal would have to overcome - that is, metal, concrete, and the water of the human body. For another, the implants can't be trusted to broadcast a signal without losing its teeny tiny charge.

And even if the police did manage to pick up the signal, there'd be no time to mount a raid to save you. All told, you're probably only about 1% less screwed.

Cow Skull

USA Becomes Food Stamp Nation but is it Sustainable?

Food stamp family
© Reuters/Lucy Nicholson
Thelma Zambrano eats lunch with her husband Jesse Torres and daughter Vida Torres, 2, at their home in Santa Ana, California, December 10, 2009.
Genna Saucedo supervises cashiers at a Wal-Mart in Pico Rivera, California, but her wages aren't enough to feed herself and her 12-year-old son.

Saucedo, who earns $9.70 an hour for about 26 hours a week and lives with her mother, is one of the many Americans who survive because of government handouts in what has rapidly become a food stamp nation.

Altogether, there are now almost 46 million people in the United States on food stamps, roughly 15 percent of the population. That's an increase of 74 percent since 2007, just before the financial crisis and a deep recession led to mass job losses.

At the same time, the cost doubled to reach $68 billion in 2010 -- more than a third of the amount the U.S. government received in corporate income tax last year -- which means the program has started to attract the attention of some Republican lawmakers looking for ways to cut the nation's budget deficit.

Evil Rays

Sri Lanka: Police Officer Killed in 'Grease Devil' Riot

Angry Sri Lankans killed a police officer in the latest outbreak of violence sparked by a fear of nocturnal prowlers known popularly as "grease devils" that has gripped rural areas in the island nation over the past two weeks.

Another officer and five other people were hurt in two separate incidents in the north-western town of Puttalam after residents gave chase to a suspected grease devil, police and witnesses said.

Traditionally, a grease devil was a thief who wore only underwear and covered his body in grease to make himself hard to grab, but the modern iteration has a far more sinister reputation as a prowling attacker of women.

Five people have died in outbreaks of violence related to the grease devil panic so far, including Sunday's incident.

Butterfly

Canada: Tributes Pour in Following the Death of NDP Leader Jack Layton

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© unknown
NDP Leader Jack Layton smiles during an interview with Lisa LaFlamme on budget day 2011. Layton, the beloved NDP leader, died Monday after a battle with cancer.
Jack Layton was remembered Monday as a regular guy and terrific political leader that everyone liked, as friends and political foes alike paid tribute to the New Democrat leader hours after learning that he had succumbed to cancer.

On the quiet side street where Layton lived with his politician wife Olivia Chow, friends and area residents stopped by, some bearing flowers.

"He was someone you could have a beer with," said neighbourhood resident Ted Hawkins, who laid a single red rose on the doorstep "as a little bit of a tribute" to the longtime political presence.

"He was a very down-to-earth person."

Sarah Hastie, a longtime area resident who also delivered a flower to his home, said she had hoped Layton would somehow beat the disease that forced him to step aside last month from his party-leader duties.

"Jack was such a fighter, and I was just always keeping my fingers crossed that this might be a battle that he would win," Hastie said.

"It's a terrible thing for his family but it's an even greater loss for the country."

A family friend emerged briefly from the home to request privacy.

Layton, 61, died early Monday barely three months after an election campaign in which he gamely led his New Democrats to Official Opposition status in the Commons.

Question

UK: Man woke on Deal beach with amnesia

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© Unknown
The man told police he could not remember anything
Police are trying to identify a man who woke up on a beach in Kent apparently suffering from amnesia.

The man, in his late 50s or 60s, walked into the Victoria Hospital, Deal, on 18 August, complaining of head pains but does not have any obvious injuries.

He was moved to hospital in Margate but he has told police he cannot recall any personal details.

The man was wearing black jeans, a white T-shirt and beige walking boots, and had sunglasses and a walking stick.

Not reported missing

A Kent Police spokesman said: "The man says he doesn't have any memory of himself, his family, home or any other personal details.

Sherlock

Atlanta, US: Amateur Sleuth Jessica Maple Saw Clues Police Missed and Confronts Robbers

A 12-year-old amateur sleuth beat police at their own game by cracking the case of who ransacked her late great-grandmother's home last month.


Jessica Maple honed her detective skills at a Junior District Attorney camp in Atlanta this summer, sponsored by the Fulton County DA's office.

Police told Jessica, and her mother Stephanie, that whoever robbed the home would have had to have entered with a key, since such large items were stolen and there were no signs of forced entry, Jessica said.

But the curious 12-year-old knew something wasn't right. Her parents were the only two people who had keys.