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Hong Kong police defuse two home-made bombs containing 10kg of high explosives found on college campus

hong kong police find explosives Wah Yan College
© K.Y. Cheng
Police officers display evidence of the two home-made devices.
Bomb disposal officers in Hong Kong defused two home-made devices containing 10kg (22lb) of high explosives that were found on school grounds and designed to kill large numbers of people, police said late on Monday.

Officers said the bombs were "complete, fully functional and ready to be used" radio-controlled improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, and had one purpose only - to kill and maim.

A school janitor spotted the devices in the grounds of Wah Yan College Hong Kong on Queen's Road East in Wan Chai at about 5.30pm.

Alick McWhirter, senior bomb disposal officer, said the devices contained two types of high explosives: a primary high explosive, which was designed to act as the detonator and booster, and a second one based around ammonium nitrate. They were also designed to fragment and included shrapnel, in the form of nails.


Bizarro Earth

Merriam-Webster has named "they" its word of the year

The US dictionary also recently added a new definition of "they", reflecting its use as a singular personal pronoun for non-binary people.

Searches for "they" on Merriam-Webster's website were 313% higher this year than they were in 2018.

British pop star Sam Smith came out as non-binary in March, and in September confirmed on Instagram that their pronouns were "they/them".

Announcing their pronouns, Smith wrote: "I understand there will be many mistakes and misgendering, but all I ask is you please please try. I hope you can see me like I see myself now."

Comment: Looks like 2016 saw where the future was headed.

Ornament - Red

Hope or Despair — the choice facing Britain on 12 December

corbyn nhs nurses
The issue of class has never more prominent or salient in British politics than now. Clear evidence of this is the paroxysm into which Britain's ruling establishment, Tory in every particular, has been pitched since Jeremy Corbyn first arrived in its midst as the most unlikely leader of the Labour Party imaginable in 2015.

Here he was, this slightly unkempt figure for whom socialism is a creed to live by rather than a pose to assume, having the temerity to be elected leader of Her Majesty's Opposition.

Worse in the eyes of his establishment-supporting detractors was the fact that his abiding commitment to the oppressed and dispossessed at home and abroad was married to an absence of personal vanity and ego — this in an age when both had become coterminous with success in politics, the non-negotiable qualification for political leadership.

Yellow Vest

Tens of thousands march in Paris in ongoing strikes against pension reform

Paris on December 10, 2019.
© Twitter
Paris on December 10, 2019.
Thousands of people have turned out again across France in support of ongoing strikes against proposed pension reforms by President Emmanuel Macron's government.

The Ministry of the Interior estimates some 339,000 people demonstrated throughout France, with 31,000 in the capital. The CGT union claims 885,000 protesters took to the streets on Tuesday around the country, with 180,000 in Paris alone.

While the numbers of protesters were massive, the turnout was almost twice as low compared to the protest held on December 5. Back then, 1.5 million took to the streets nationwide with 250,000 in Paris alone, according to the CGT figures.

Comment: One must bear in mind these protests have, in one form or another, been going on for over a year now and they're still able to bring together over 1.5 million people.

Comment: See also: Also check out SOTT radio's:


Chilean military plane, 38 aboard, disappears en route to Antarctica UPDATES

C-130 Hercules
© Reuters/Rafael Marchante
C-130 Hercules
A Chilean military transport aircraft carrying 38 passengers and crew has gone missing, losing radio contact on its way to a base in Antarctica.

The military lost contact with the plane, a C-130 Hercules transport craft, on Monday evening while it was traveling to the Presidente Eduardo Frei Montalva air base in Antarctica. The whereabouts and condition of those on board - of which 17 were crew members and the rest of them passengers - is not known.
The Chilean Air Force said it had assembled a "multidisciplinary search and rescue team" to locate the missing craft that had departed from Chabunco Air Base in the city of Punta Arenas on a routine support and maintenance mission.

Comment: UPDATE: Aljazeera, 10/12/2019: Plane goes missing
In a statement, the air force said it was yet to find the plane, but concluded it must have crashed, given the number of hours it had been missing. Defence Minister Alberto Espina added that the chance of finding survivors was looking "difficult".

"The chances are difficult but I think it would be profoundly wrong to lose heart at this moment when we are doing everything humanly possible and with all our energy and determination," Espina told reporters. "The air force has provided a thorough investigation to clarify the facts with complete transparency."

The C-130 Hercules took off at 4:55pm local time (19:55 GMT) from the city of Punta Arenas on Monday to the President Eduardo Frei Antarctic Base, it lost contact at 6:13pm (21:13 GMT), the air force said in a statement.

President Sebastian Pinera said in a tweet that he would fly to Punta Arenas along with Interior Minister Gonzalo Blumel. Once there, they would meet Espina to monitor the search and rescue mission.

"My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the 38 crew members and passengers of the FACh [air force] C-130 plane," Pinera wrote on Twitter, where he said his Brazilian counterpart, Jair Bolsonaro, had offered support. Argentina's government also said it had offered air and naval assistance for the search and rescue, Pinera said.

Drake's Passage, where the plane went missing, is known for severe weather conditions, including freezing temperatures and ferocious storms. But the air force said late on Monday that the weather was good when the plane began its flight, or the mission would not have been carried out.

Mosqueira said the aircraft would have been about halfway to the Antarctic base when it lost contact. No emergency signals had been activated, he said. He said the plane, whose pilot had extensive experience, had been scheduled to return on Monday night.

Those on board the plane were to perform logistical support tasks for the maintenance of Chilean facilities at the Antarctic base, the air force said.

UPDATE: US News 10/12/2019: Chile combs Antarctic
Gen. Eduardo Mosqueira of the Fourth Air Brigade told local media that a search was underway and a ship was in the general area where the plane should have been when contact was lost. "Antarctica is different. It's hard to fly because of changing conditions," said Mosqueira, who added that he had personally flown to the continent with one of the missing pilots.

On Tuesday crews encountered low visibility waves up to 6 meters (20 feet) high. Holding out hope of survivors, officials said the plane has four rafts that could carry up to 20 passengers each if it went down at sea.

Chile maintains a scientific base on Antarctica, conducting research on climate change and medicine. Military planes provide the only travel possibilities, frequently transporting civilians.

Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil said they were sending crews to assist in the search. Several airplanes scoured the area with infrared devices.

UPDATE: RT, 10/12/2019: Chilean military transport plane declared 'crashed'
The aircraft is considered to have "crashed" because it would have run out of fuel by now and could not fly any longer, the Director of Operations of the Chilean Air Force, Brigadier General Francisco Torres told reporters. But there is "always a possibility" that it has managed to land somewhere, he said, adding that the plane did not send any distress calls.


Shooting at Czech hospital leaves at least 6 killed, suspect takes own life while being chased by police

University Hospital Ostrava
© Czech police
The University Hospital Ostrava.
Six people have been killed in a hospital shooting in Ostrava, Czech Republic. The police are on the hunt for the suspected perpetrator and have ramped up security in other places.

The shooting happened on Tuesday morning at University Hospital Ostrava in the northeastern part of the country. The Czech police initially said four people were killed and two others were seriously injured. Those two succumbed to their wounds, Prime Minister Andrej Babis confirmed.

The shooting reportedly happened in the traumatology ward of the hospital.

Ostrava Technical University, which hosts the hospital, said the perpetrator was wearing a red jacket. The police released a photo of the suspected gunman on Twitter, requesting public assistance in finding him, and warning that he poses a threat. The university campus was put on lockdown.

Interior Minister Jan Hamacek said the rapid response unit and police helicopters have been deployed in response to the emergency.

Comment: Czech police say they discovered the body of the 42-year-old shooter; he had shot himself in the head:
They had earlier released two photos of the suspect. One photo appeared to have come from a document, while another was taken from CCTV footage of the suspect walking down the hospital hall. The police have not released the man's name.

Czech media, meanwhile, have identified the suspect as Ctirad V. and described him as construction worker. The man's employer, who had recognized Ctirad V. from the police photo, told reporters the suspect had claimed he had become ill and complained that "no one wanted to treat him."

The shooting occurred in the hospital's trauma ward at around 7am local time. Four people were killed on the spot, while two later succumbed to their wounds. Three more people were wounded in the hospital's waiting room. The attacker had reportedly shot his victims at close range, aiming for the head and neck.

Prime Minister Andrej Babis has cancelled his trip to Estonia and is heading to Ostrava. He called the shooting "an insane tragedy" and offered condolences to the victims and their families.

The hospital attack is the second-deadliest mass shooting in the Czech Republic. In 2015, a gunman killed eight people at a restaurant in the town of Uhersky Brod before taking his own life.


Sanity prevails: Supreme Court denies inmate's appeal for sex reassignment surgery

supreme court
The Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear a convicted murderer's appeal to receive gender reassignment surgery, leaving in place a lower court's ruling in favor of the Texas prison officials who refused the inmate the procedure.

The court rejected the appeal of a Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling by transgender inmate Vanessa Lynn Gibson, formerly known as Scott Gibson, who claimed the prison's refusal to grant the surgery violates the Constitution's Eighth Amendment, which bans cruel and unusual punishment.


School resource cop-in-training films himself raping a 12-year-old girl

school cop
Last year, TFTP reported that another Texas school cop had been arrested and charged with rape. Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District police officer Jorge Luis Bastida, 22, was arrested and charged with aggravated sexual assault on a 12-year-old girl he stalked online. This week, unlike so many cops who get away with similar crimes, Bastida was sentenced to 10 years in prison. "He swore an oath to protect children," Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said this week. "He promised to protect and serve one of our most vulnerable populations and instead, he exploited and violated a young girl. He stole her childhood."

Prosecutors said Bastida met the young girl on a smartphone app called "Meet Me" where she reportedly sent the police officer nude photos. After a few days of online flirting, the police officer sent an Uber to pick up the girl on Monday night before he brought her to a nearby hotel where the girl says the officer raped her.

The girl says Bastida held her down and raped her despite her pleas for the police officer to stop. She says she told him she was only 12 but he continued. The two spent the night in the Guest House Hotel and checked out on a Tuesday morning.

The Fairmont Junior High School student was reported missing by her family Monday night. Lt. Chris Brown of the Deer Park Police Department described the missing persons investigation:

Bad Guys

Saudi Arabia condemned for outrageous mistreatment of jailed human rights lawyer

Waleed Abu al-Khair
Amnesty International condemned as "outrageous" the continued detention of prominent Saudi human rights lawyer Waleed Abu al-Khair and his ill-treatment, as a crackdown led by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman against Muslim preachers, members of the press and intellectuals widens in the conservative oil-rich kingdom.

The London-based organization said in a statement that it had received credible reports that authorities at Dhahban Central Prison near the Red Sea port city of Jeddah had in late November arbitrarily placed Abu al-Khair in solitary confinement under tightened security, PressTV reported. He has been on hunger strike since November 29 in a show of protest against his ill-treatment.

Comment: It's helpful to remember that the United States isn't just looking the other way when it comes to Saudi Arabia's savage policies, it actively aids them in such pursuits.


Man sentenced to life for St. Petersburg subway bombing, 10 others receive prison terms

st petersburg suspects

Lawyers of the convicted defendants said they would appeal the verdicts.
A military court in St. Petersburg has sentenced a man to life in prison for financing a deadly 2017 subway blast, while 10 other defendants in the case received prison terms of between 19 and 28 years.

The court in Russia's second-largest city sentenced Abror Azimov to life in prison on December 10 after finding him guilty of financing the attack, which killed 15 people and injured 67 others.

The only woman among the defendants, Shokhista Karimova, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison, broke down after the Judge Andrei Morozov announced her punishment.

Lawyers of the convicted defendants said they would appeal the verdicts.

All had denied the charges, and some of them claimed they were tortured while in detention, including Kyrgyz-born Abror Azimov and his brother, Akram, who was also among those convicted in the case.

Investigators have said that on April 3, 2017, 22-year-old suicide bomber Akbarjon Jalilov, an ethnic-Uzbek Russian citizen born in Kyrgyzstan, detonated a bomb in a subway carriage while it was between two stations.

A second explosive was left at a station platform, but it was found and safely defused.

Comment: Se also: