Welcome to Sott.net
Mon, 25 Jan 2021
The World for People who Think

Society's Child

Bizarro Earth

Surprise! Pepper-Spraying Campus Police Won't Face Charges

pepper spray, police
© Louise Macabitas
The University of California, Davis police officers who doused students and alumni with pepper spray during a campus protest last November won't face criminal charges, prosecutors said Wednesday.

The chemical crackdown prompted widespread condemnation, campus protests and calls for the resignation of Chancellor Linda Katehi after videos shot by witnesses were widely played online. Images of an officer casually spraying orange pepper-spray in the faces of nonviolent protesters became a rallying point for the Occupy Wall Street movement.

But the Yolo County District Attorney's office said in a statement that there was insufficient evidence to prove the use of force was illegal.

A task force appointed by the university concluded in April that the Nov. 18 pepper-spraying was "objectively unreasonable" and could have been prevented.


Iran Cleric Pummeled by 'Badly Covered' Woman After Warning

© Hamed Saber
An Iranian cleric said he was beaten by a woman in the northern province of Semnan after giving her a warning for being "badly covered," the state-run Mehr news agency reported.

Hojatoleslam Ali Beheshti said he encountered the woman in the street while on his way to the mosque in the town of Shahmirzad, and asked her to cover herself up, to which she replied "you, cover your eyes," according to Mehr. The cleric repeated his warning, which he said prompted her to insult and push him.

"I fell on my back on the floor," Beheshti said in the report. "I don't know what happened after that, all I could feel was the kicks of this woman who was insulting me and attacking me."


British Soldier Who Did Not Know She Was Pregnant, Gives Birth on the Frontline

  • army medics
    © Getty Images
    Unexpected task: The soldier, who has not been named, was taken to Camp Bastion's £10million field hospital where Army medics delivered her baby
    Royal Artillery gunner who was deployed with the 12th Mechanised Brigade gives birth to baby five weeks premature
  • Fijian soldier had passed her pre-deployment training, including an eight-mile march and five-mile run, without realising she was pregnant
  • British Army handbook editor says top brass will need to 'start thinking very, very carefully' about how female soldiers are tested before deployment
A British soldier who did not know she was pregnant has given birth on the frontline.

The woman had a son in Camp Bastion on Tuesday - just days after the Taliban launched a deadly attack on the UK's main base in Helmand.

The baby was born five weeks premature. Last night both mother and child were said to be doing well.

A paediatric team from the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford will travel to Afghanistan in the next few days to provide care for the soldier and her son on their RAF flight home.

The birth has stunned military chiefs and led to calls for extra medical checks on women who are sent to the warzone.

Almost 200 troops have discovered they were pregnant at war since 2003 - forcing commanders to send them straight back to Britain. But this is the first time a UK soldier has given birth to a baby in Afghanistan.


American Airlines Expects About 4,400 Job Cuts, Warns 11,000

American Airlines aircraft
© The Associated Press/Tony Gutierrez
Dallas - American Airlines is sending layoff warning notices to more than 11,000 employees although a spokesman says the company expects job losses to be closer to 4,400.

The notices went out to mechanics and ground workers whose jobs will be affected as American goes through a bankruptcy restructuring.

American Airlines spokesman Bruce Hicks said Tuesday that fewer than 40 percent of those getting notices will lose their jobs. Hicks said federal law requires the company to notify anyone whose position could change, including those who could get "bumped" by more-senior employees whose jobs are eliminated or outsourced.

American said in February that it planned to cut 14,000 jobs, including 13,000 held by union workers. But if Hicks is right, the final job losses will be about a third of that.

Over the summer American accepted slightly smaller cost-cutting measures as it negotiated new labor contracts, and it agreed to give bonuses to flight attendants and ground workers who quit. So far 1,800 flight attendants and 800 ground workers have applied to take the money and leave.

Layoff notices went to nearly 3,000 workers in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, where a maintenance facility will close, and nearly 3,000 more at a base in Tulsa, Okla. Also receiving notices were about 1,200 workers in Miami, 1,100 in New York and Newark, N.J., 900 in Chicago, and smaller numbers elsewhere.

Eye 1

'They deserved to die': Vigilante who gunned down two registered sex offenders is unrepentant as judge sentences him to life in prison

Unrepentant: Patrick Drum, 34, told a judge that his victims, both registered sex offenders, deserved to die
A vigilante who gunned down two registered sex offenders in Washington state was unrepentant as he was sentenced to life in prison on Tuesday.

Patrick Drum, 34, told a judge that his victims deserved to die.

Drum, who is himself a convicted felon, admitted to stalking Gary Lee Blanton, 28, and Jerry Wayne Ray, 57, and shooting them multiple times in their homes near Port Angeles, Washington.

Blanton was convicted in 2001 of third-degree rape of a 17-year-old girl. Ray was convicted in 2002 of raping two children, age 4 and 7.

Blanton's family claims he was put on the sex offender registry after he was caught having sex with his high school girlfriend when he was a senior and she was a freshman.


Russian Government Shows USAID the Door

© AFP Photo/Sergent Andres Alcaraz
Relief supply from US Agency for International Development
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has announced it will close its offices in Russia.

After 20 years of working in Russia, USAID officials said they were informed by the Russian government that their services were no longer required.

According to the Foreign Ministry, USAID was attempting to manipulate the election processes in the country.

"The character of the agency's work...did not always comply with the declared aims of cooperation in bilateral humanitarian cooperation," the Foreign Ministry said on its website. "We are talking about issuing grants in an attempt to affect the course of the political processes in the country, including elections at different levels and institutions in civil society."

Russian civil society has become fully mature, the Foreign Ministry said, and did not need any "external direction." Moscow is read to work with USAID in third-party countries, it said.

Chart Pie

Rich Keep Raking it in While the 99.9% Struggle: Net Worth of America's 400 Richest Grows to $1.7 trillion

The United States may be in crisis, but the rich keep getting richer. The net worth of the Forbes 400 richest Americans grew by 13 per cent in the past year to $1.7 trillion, as the gap between rich and poor continues to widen at a staggering rate.

The average net worth of the 400 wealthiest Americans shot up by $400 million to a record $4.2 billion, Forbes said, serving to underscore glaring wealth inequality in America.

Bill Gates, the chairman of Microsoft Corp, is one year shy of topping the list for two decades straight with $66 billion, a massive $7 billion hike from the previous year.

Warren Buffet, the American investor who likely became infamous amidst the uber-rich for proposing a tax hike on the wealthy, somewhat ironically trailed Gates with $46 billion. Larry Ellison, the cofounder and CEO of Oracle, clinched third with $41 billion - up $8 billion from last year. Charles and David Koch, the energy and chemical magnates notorious for bankrolling scores of right-wing advocacy groups, came in fourth and fifth respectively with $31 billion each.

The top five remain unchanged from last year, though collectively they are much richer: all five men are worth $34 billion more than in 2011.

Bizarro Earth

1 shot, 11 injured in California Prison Riot

A riot Wednesday at a California prison holding many of the state's most hardened criminals left 11 inmates hospitalized, including one who was shot by correctional officers.

The disturbance inside a yard at the California State Prison, Sacramento in Folsom involved an unknown number of inmates after it broke out shortly after 11 a.m., said Terry Thornton, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

In addition to the inmate who was shot, at least 10 were either stabbed or slashed during the riot, Thornton said. Their conditions have not been released and no other injuries have been reported.

Prison officials still don't know how many inmates were involved nor a possible motive, Thornton added.

It is at least the second known incident within a year at the 2,800-inmate maximum-security facility that opened in 1986 commonly known as New Folsom, due to its proximity to the more well-known Folsom State Prison, located 20 miles east of Sacramento.


Aurora Movie Massacre: Ten New Charges Sought Against James Holmes

Batman-Schütze James Holmes
Denver - Prosecutors have filed a motion to add 10 new charges against accused Colorado gunman James Holmes, arrested following the July movie theater shootings that killed 12 people, and have asked to amend 17 others, the Denver Post reported on Wednesday.

The judge in the case has ordered nearly all court filings be sealed, and it was not clear what the additional charges were from a register of court actions, the Denver Post reported.

The newspaper did note that a separate motion was filed to amend 16 counts of attempted murder and one count of crime-of-violence sentence enhancement against Holmes, although it did not reveal how they would be amended.

Holmes, a former neuroscience graduate student, is accused of opening fire on July 20 at a midnight screening of the Batman movie The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, a Denver suburb. Twelve people were killed and 58 were wounded in the attack.

Reporting by Keith Coffman


Police Brutality: Police Officer Shoots and Kills Non-Threatening Chocolate Lab

I am really getting sick and tired of hearing these kinds of stories. What makes this one worse is that it happened in my backyard of Cobb County, Georgia. A Cobb County police officer shot and killed a chocolate lab when responding to a call about a burglary. The problems with this are so numerous it is hard to know where to begin.

First off, there was no burglary. The owner of the home was nervous and in a rush to get to the hospital to see his first grand-kid being born. He was on the phone with the alarm company, but couldn't remember his password to turn it off so he decided to wait for police to arrive. When police did arrive, one officer went around to the back door (apparently proper procedure for a burglary call) and met the "aggressive" chocolate lab named Luke. Luke, based on personal experience with labs, was very excited to see the new person! He barked loudly in excitement and rushed to the officer to play. Instead of playing, he was shot dead.

Second off, the police report contains falsified material! Apparently, the police questioned the sister of Luke's owner who told the police a story about how a chihuahua had bitten her in the past, and explained that Luke would never bite someone under any circumstances. The police report though, states that she said that Luke had bitten her recently, which is absolutely false, yet it helped close the case file as a justifiable shooting.