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Workers in over 300 U.S. cities marching for a living wage

$15 wage protests
© UPI/Barcroft MediaNew York is where the Fight for $15 started, and New York is now the site of a monumental victory that now extends beyond fast-food cooks and cashiers.’
Billboards in Times Square shone bright on Thursday morning as hundreds of workers huddled in front of a nearby McDonald's. The early hour of 6am was not enough to dim the joyous feel of this gathering, taking place just weeks after California and New York became the first states to raise their minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022.

The fight, however, is far from over, say workers whose goal is to secure a $15 minimum wage for all Americans. On Thursday, workers in more than 300 cities across the US were expected to protest to demand a rise in the minimum wage and the right to unionize, which they hope will lead to better working conditions.

The protest is being billed by organizers as the largest one to date, yet the crowd that gathered in Times Square was about half as large as last year's day of action in Brooklyn.

One of the workers joining the crowd in Times Square was Naquasia LeGrand, who works as a manager at a McDonald's in North Carolina. When she started working, she was paid $7.25 an hour. She was recently promoted to a manager and saw her pay go up to $8 an hour, then to $8.15 an hour. Yet still, she says, "it's not enough to make ends meet. I am still $400 short at the end of the month."

Comment: The idea that humans deserve to be treated equitably and with respect, and that excessive wealth inequality ultimately leads to the destruction of nations does not seem to concern America's oligarchy who are incapable of empathy. If they had any shred of compassion, we would not be witnessing this situation where so many people are living on the edge of despair.

Heart - Black

Rising malnutrition & death linked to low wages, welfare cuts in Britain

child starving
© Stefano Rellandini / Reuters
Foodbank use has risen to record highs in the UK, with over a million three-day emergency food supplies being handed out by the Trussell Trust charity last year. Government figures also indicate a shocking rise in deaths linked to malnutrition.

The charity's latest figures point to delays and changes to benefits as the biggest causes of foodbank use by those relying on its 424 centers across the UK.

Low incomes, insecure work, high living costs and problems accessing in-work benefits are all leading to a rise in working people being referred to food charities, according to the Trussell Trust's latest data.

Care professionals such as doctors, teachers and social workers identify people in crisis and issue them with foodbank vouchers for non-perishable food, which is donated to centers across the country by members of the public.

David McAuley, Chief Executive of the Trussell Trust, insisted the situation "must not become the new normal."

Comment: See also: Cameron must go: Wayne Madsen reports at least £2 million, not £30,000 in Cameron's offshore account


The dark side of religious exemption: Christian daycare workers allowed to beat children with impunity

christian abuse
Religion enjoys many exceptions from the rules and regulations of government. Ministerial institutions have always been free from the burden of federal taxes, and don't have to abide by laws such as the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

Even the war on drugs does not wholly apply, as certified religious entities can use "controlled substances" such as hallucinogens during ceremony.

However, the Center for Investigative Reporting revealed a dark side to the practice of religious exemption. Disturbing patterns of child abuse were found in states that apply this favoritism to day care centers.

Comment: It's not just Christian daycare facilities doling out beatings. Secular schools engage in the same behavior.


1 dead, 9 missing as unknown explosion collapses 4-story apartment block in Tenerife, Spain

Tenerife builiding collapse
© Via twitter@TontaDelDiaOnlookers in front of the collapsed building.
The collapse, which may have been caused by a gas leak, occurred at 9.30am this morning.

The body of a woman aged around 70 was pulled from the rubble by emergency services. A military emergency response unit sent sniffer dogs to the scene as the search effort began. Emergency services are searching the rubble for nine of the 28 people who lived in the building after the four-story block collapsed in Los Cristianos, in the south of the Canary Island.

Confirming the death of the woman in her 70s, a police spokesman said: "We don't know her nationality yet. She appears to be around 75." The nationality of the woman is unknown.

A source said: "We believe a number of foreigners may have been inside the building because it's such a tourist area but we don't have any confirmation at the moment that anyone else is unaccounted for. Nearby buildings were evacuated as a precaution and 50 troops from the island's Military Emergency Unit were deployed along with search dogs.
Tenerife building collapse
© Reuters
It's believed the suspected gas leak caused an explosion moments before the building collapsed. One witness told a local radio station: "We heard a creaking noise and this huge cloud of smoke appeared from nowhere."

Stock Down

Three of the classic signs of recession are flashing red

Those who were hoping for an "economic renaissance" in the United States got some more bad news this week. It turns out that the U.S. economy is in significantly worse shape than the experts were projecting. Retail sales unexpectedly declined in March, total business sales have fallen again, and the inventory-to-sales ratio has hit the highest level since the last financial crisis. When you add these three classic recession signals to the 19 troubling numbers about the U.S. economy that I wrote about last week, it paints a very disturbing picture. Virtually all of the signs that we would expect to pop up during the early chapters of a major economic crisis have now appeared, and yet most Americans still appear to be clueless about what is happening.

Even I was surprised when the government reported that retail sales had actually fallen in March. Consumer spending is a very large part of our economy, and so if consumer spending is slowing down already that certainly does not bode well for the rest of 2016. The following comes from highly respected author Jim Quinn...

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Charles Manson cult follower Leslie Van Houten, recommended for parole

Charles Manson
© CDCR / ReutersCharles Manson
A California review board has recommended parole for a former Charles Manson cult member after over 40 years behind bars. Leslie Van Houten was convicted of a notorious killing, part of a murder spree by members of the "Manson family" in the late 1960s.

"Your behavior in prison speaks for itself. Forty - six years and not a single rule violation," Commissioner Ali Zarrinnam told Van Houten on Thursday at the close of her parole hearing, according to the Associated Press.

Van Houten, 66, was said to be "numb" after the announcement, her attorney Rich Pfeiffer said.

"She's been ready for this for a long time," Pfeiffer stated outside the prison. "It really should have happened a long time ago."

Comment: See also: From Monterey Pop to Altamont: Operation Chaos, the CIA's War against the Sixties Counter-Culture

Stock Up

World Bank: Rebuilding Syria as high as $180B

2 kids ruins
© Abdalrhman Ismail / ReutersBarricaded rubble that was once Aleppo, the playground for children left over from the war.
Rebuilding war-ravaged Syria may be as much as $180 billion, according to World Bank President Jim Yong Kim. "Once hostilities end, many Syrian refugees will unlikely return unless schools and health clinics are rebuilt," said Kim at a news conference at the start of the International Monetary Fund-World Bank spring meetings, Thursday.

Due to the plunge in oil prices, Kim expressed concern about who would fund the rebuilding of the basic Syrian infrastructure. "I am worried that there will not be the kind of grant-based aid that we might have seen at the time of $100 a barrel oil," said the president.

The usual strong supporters of the region, the oil producing countries, are facing fiscal deficits, said Kim.

Last month, Syrian President Bashar Assad put the estimated economic loss to the country from the five-year war at $200 billion. Assad said he expects many Western countries to try to get profitable contracts to rebuild the country, but Damascus plans to lean to its proven allies Russia, China and Iran.

The conflict in Syria began in March 2011 and has taken the lives of more than 220,000 people and according to the UN has left millions displaced.

Comment: Guesses as to acceptable primary funding sources would be BRICS, but the bill should really be passed to the imperial instigators and aggressors who destroyed this country. The World Bank? Take a pass.

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Cops break into North Carolina home without warrant, assault residents because they thought they smelled marijuana

durham nc police
A chaotic scene was captured on video last week as officers broke into a home without a warrant after they smelled marijuana and assaulted the occupants.

By the way the police handled the situation, one would think that they were dealing with a cult of murderers or child snatchers. However, they were merely seeking out a plant that is legal in some form in over half of the United States.

As the video begins, there is screaming on both sides. One young man walks by limping, claiming that officers beat him with a club. Another man is heard claiming that an officer struck him with a gun. As officers trample throughout the house in their asinine and tyrannical search for a plant, tensions rise once again.

Within seconds, the woman filming, Vera McGriff was thrown to the ground, tasered and police were drawn down on all the occupants. The sound of tasers can be heard multiple times.

"We all sat in handcuffs for 4-5 hours while they waited for the search warrant ...Everybody was tased, one officer hit my son in the face with his Glock 9, we were choked, kicked, thrown down on the floor," McGriff wrote in a Facebook note accompanying the video.


Toxic PCB contamination effectively sterilizing marine animals, populations at risk of extinction

stranded whale
It has been highly reported that biotechnology company Monsanto made attempts to hide the true impact thattoxic polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) have on the environment, which has led numerous cities to file lawsuits against the company. Now, new research has surfaced on the true effects behind Monsanto's PCBs and their impact on wildlife.

The PCBs have been putting European killer whales and bottlenose striped dolphins at risk.

A recently-released study says that the PCB-contamination of the dolphin and whale's habitats have caused entire populations to suffer. The exposure to PCBs is causing them to become reproductively-stagnate. In other words, the chemicals are causing reproductive impairment. Some scientists warn that some of these animals could experience serious damage if something isn't done. A pod of killer whales off the coast of the UK has dwindled to just 8 individuals and has reportedly not given birth to a calf since 1992.

Comment: See also: Whales and dolphins in danger of highly toxic waste still lingering in UK waters


Innocent woman repeatedly raped and sodomized by doctors, nurses, and police in search of pot

© CopBlock
Kimberlee Carbone was kidnapped and sexually assaulted multiple times in the span of five hours, because a cop claimed he had reason to believe she might have marijuana on her. After she had been probed again and again by law enforcement and healthcare workers multiple times in addition to being subjected to a CT scan, no drugs were found.

The incident occurred on November 3rd, 2013, when Officer David Maiella stopped Carbone, telling her it was because "she did not apply her turn signal at least 100 feet before the intersection." The police chief and DA arrived shortly after and began to interrogate the woman, asking her if she had any drugs on her. She informed them she did not. Maeilla then claimed he detected an odor of marijuana and arrested Carbone for DUI, in spite of the fact that he conducted no field sobriety test. He patted her down and found no drugs. He obtained a warrant to search her vehicle - again, no drugs.

Kimberlee was then taken to the Lawrence County Correctional Center, where she was instructed by corrections officers to strip naked, bend over, spread her buttocks, and cough. Again, after no drugs were found, she was forced to "prod her personal areas by inserting her fingers into her vagina." With Carbone crying hysterically at this point, the officers again instructed her to bend over, spread her buttocks, and cough. Still, nothing. Horrifyingly, the woman's torture did not end here.

She was then taken to Jameson Hospital for an extensive body cavity search, where it was decided by Dr. Bernard Geiser that Carbone was in need of treatment "for a possible overdose, rectal packing and/or oral intake of a controlled substance." Carbone, knowing she was certainly not at risk of an overdose, declined treatment, and as a result, was bound by her hands and feet, strapped to a table, and involuntarily subjected to the first of what would be three "internal inspections," of her vagina and rectum. When no drugs or foreign objects of any kind were found upon the first probing, a CT scan was ordered, during which the DA allegedly told her it would all be over if she would just provide some information, then threatened her, asking her "if she knew what prison felt like." Nothing was found during the CT scan.

Carbone was then subjected to two more cavity searches of her vagina and rectum before she was told she was free to go - five hours after initially being detained by officer Maiella. Five hours of every woman's worst nightmare. She was kidnapped, stripped, tied to a bed, and sexually assaulted over and over again - by the people we are told to trust the most. Police, doctors, and nurses brutalized this woman repeatedly without so much as blinking an eye.

According to the FBI, the summary definition of Rape is: "Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim." There is no doubt that what this woman experienced was rape, over and over again — all of it, so cops could look for a plant.