Society's ChildS


Cave-dwelling tradition: Drone films incredible Chinese underground village

Chinese cave homes
© Ruptly
A drone has captured a bird's eye view of a spectacular underground village in the province of Henan, central China.

The footage reveals a subterranean village complex consisting of man-made caves in the city of Sanmenxia, which has the largest collection of such homes - at around 100 clusters.

Two-meter wide wells prevent the cave homes and courtyards from flooding, Channel News Asia reports.

The structures prevent temperatures dropping too low in winter and too high in summer as they protect inhabitants from strong winds and scorching surface temperatures.

Eye 2

Apartheid State: Israel demolishes entire Palestinian community, leaves families without homes, school or work

Israel demolition Palestine Gaza
© I Acknowledge Apartheid Exists / Facebook
Israel has demolished at least 41 structures, including an elementary school, in one of the villages in the West Bank, leaving dozens of people homeless, the UN said. The current destruction trend is one of the highest on record in the West Bank since 2009.

The latest demolition by the Israeli Civil Administration in Khirbet Tana, on the outskirts of Nablus city, "displaced ten families with 36 members, including 11 children, and affected the livelihoods of five additional families," Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) for occupied Palestinian territory said in a statement.

Khirbet Tana, a community of some 250 relying on herding and agriculture for their livelihood, is now left practically with no infrastructure. All in all, the destruction included 11 homes, five common bathrooms, one kitchen and 18 farming structures. Two traditional ovens and one solar system, all used for communal living were also destroyed.

Comment: For Palestinians this is a regular occurrence - along with their children getting abducted and tortured by Israeli forces and their loved ones killed whenever Israel decides to bomb their neighborhoods. Also see:
Everything is known of the everyday indignities of living under the Israeli occupation: the checkpoints, the separation wall, the embargo, the settlers, the IDF raids...

Much has been written about individual acts of violence and inconvenience. The fundamental immobility of the Palestinians is not often underlined. Palestinians in Gaza are cut off from this in the West Bank, who are themselves not allowed into Israel proper. The seminars I attend rely upon Skype to link intellectuals, whose academic freedom is violated systematically by Israel. Gaza is in a spectacular form of isolation. But the West Bank is also caged in.

The list of indignities when listed again and again attain the status of making the occupation eternal. The Palestinian comes across as victim. The Israeli as powerful and the victor. This is the myth of the IDF and Mossad:: that they are invincible and legendary. Each retelling affirms the Israeli project. The Palestinian movement is tossed into purgatory.

The indignity and failure of the Israeli occupation


Dumb and dumber: Government fines homeless man over $110,000 for being homeless

The recent case of a homeless man racking up massive fines has exposed the widespread police practice of fining homeless people for being homeless.

Émilie Guimond-Bélanger, a social worker at the Droits Devant legal clinic in Montreal spoke to the media about a case that she worked on where a homeless man racked up over $110,000 in tickets.

"It was shocking. We've never seen someone with so many tickets," Émilie told CBC.

The man had over 500 tickets, which amounted to over $110,000 in fines. The fines were mostly for things that homeless people can't control, such as sleeping in the subway or asking people for money.

Snakes in Suits

Banks seeking to offload risks of looming London property crash onto taxpayers, pension funds

© Stefan Wermuth / Reuters
Banks and speculators are attempting to offload mortgage default risk onto unsuspecting taxpayers and pension funds amid fears of a looming property crash in London, ethical finance campaigners have warned.

Earlier this week, it emerged that the Greater London Authority (GLA) is seeking to use residential backed mortgage securities (RMBS) to diversify its investments. At present, there is little direct investment in RMBS by council treasurers. However, the GLA's proposal looks set to change this trend.

Speaking at an event in central London earlier this week, GLA chief investment officer Luke Webster said the body will adopt the financial instruments if London Mayor Boris Johnson gives them the go-ahead.

"The GLA is certainly sold on the RMBS investment case. So, subject to the mayor's approval, we will be investing in this asset class," he said.


Red Cross praises Russia's role in bringing humanitarian aid to Syria

© Sputnik/ Ali Abrahim

Comment: Syria is facing a humanitarian disaster that has been created by the U.S. and its allies. Until Russia joined the fight and provided the muscle the Syrian Army needed to combat the jihadi-mercenary offensive in their country, there was no talk in the U.S. of ceasefires, political processes, or ending the conflict in order to end the humanitarian crisis. But after their paid mercenaries began to lose territory and their lives, that changed (same thing happened in the Ukraine civil war - twice). Despite the propaganda, Russia, Iran, Syria, and the Kurds and Hezbollah have been the only parties actively working to end the crisis - not by arming terrorists, but by fighting them; not by killing civilians, but by saving them from 'moderate rebels' and U.S. airstrikes. the ICRC's praise is well-deserved.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) commended Russia's part in the deliveries of humanitarian aid to besieged areas of war-torn Syria, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Friday.

Earlier in the day, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov met with Regional Director for the Middle East at the ICRC Robert Mardini. The sides discussed humanitarian aspects of the situation in the Middle East and North Africa, particularly, in Syria, Libya and Yemen.

"In this context, the ICRC appreciated the role of Russia, including that in the framework of coordination with other members of the International Syria Support Group and the Syrian Government, to promote international efforts for the delivery of humanitarian aid to the besieged population centers in Syria in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions 2254 and 2268, " the ministry said in a statement.

Arrow Up

National hero: Putin's popularity among Syrians reaches all-time high

syrians love putin
Russia's president is enjoying popularity in Syria like never before. The reason for this might be the anti-terror mission of Russian forces. These forces were invited by Syria's president Assad and have lasted since September 30th of last year. Above all, Russia supports Syria by providing humanitarian aid so that Syria can reestablish itself.

The Russia news agency Sputnik cites an article from Spanish magazine El Pais, stating that the popularity of President Putin has reached all time highs in Syria. Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has gained additional sympathy as well.

Now plans are being made that the Russian language should be the first foreign language to be taught in Syrian schools. Another indicator for President Putin's popularity are the Putin fan items that are offered and sold in the bazaar located near the central Umayyaden mosque.

Comment: Putin's impeccable character, his successful regeneration of Russia, coupled with his commitment to bringing humanitarian aid to those in need and his successful routing of terrorists in Syria have inspired admiration throughout the world.


Knife found on O.J. Simpson's old property; LAPD to test it

O.J. Simpson
© Sam Mircovich / ReutersFile photo of O.J. Simpson
The OJ Simpson saga is not over, apparently, as Los Angeles police are testing a knife that was found on the former football star's old property and kept by a former police officer for 18 years. Simpson's ex-wife was murdered on that property in 1994.

The infamous case captivated America and ultimately resulted in Simpson being declared not guilty in the stabbing deaths of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman in 1995. No murder weapon was ever found. Despite the acquittal, many people continued to believe Simpson was guilty.

In this latest twist, the small buck knife in question was given to a retired Los Angeles Police Department officer by a construction worker 12 years ago, the Los Angeles Times reported. The knife was found at the perimeter of Simpson's former California property, where his mansion was demolished in 1998, according to NBC News.

Comment: OJ Simpson 'goes on hunger strike in prison to die‏' - pity ploy?

Arrow Up

Small victory: Shell Oil may be forced to compensate Nigeria for decades of catastrophic pollution

oil pollution niger delta
© Reuters A fisherman shows oil slick on his palm, by the shore of the Niger Delta region in Brass December 2, 2013.
British oil giant Shell could be forced to pay out millions in compensation to rural Nigerian communities hit by repeated oil spills in the Niger Delta region.

Two separate legal actions are being brought against Shell by British law firm Leigh Day over the oil company's practices in Nigeria.

The human rights law firm previously represented the Bodo community against Shell, forcing the oil giant to pay £55 million to 15,600 Nigerian fishermen whose livelihoods had been destroyed by oil pollution.

Although the landmark legal victory signaled hope for Bodo residents, hundreds of Niger Delta communities continue to be exposed to catastrophic pollution from Shell pipelines.

Comment: Shell Oil has left a trail of environmental devastation and human rights abuses, in its wake - its way past time to hold this corporate monster accountable.

Red Flag

U.N. Peacekeepers go on rape spree in 21 countries, no prosecutions are made

UN death monger
A recent report published by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has indicated that UN peacekeepers are accused of widespread sexual abuse in various different parts of the world. According to the report, there were 99 different sexual assault allegations last year against UN Peacekeepers in 21 countries.

"It has been a terrible year for the principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter. From barrel bombs to beheadings, from the deliberate starvation of civilians to the assault on hospitals, UN shelters and aid convoys, human rights and the rule of law are under attack," Ki-moon said.

The allegations come from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Morocco, South Africa, Cameroon, Congo, Tanzania, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Gabon, Niger, Nigeria and Togo, Rwanda, Ghana, Madagascar and Senegal.

Comment: Wherever there is chaos and upheaval predators are aways in the background picking out the weak. One wonders if these "peacekeepers" joined up solely for the easy access to vulnerable and suffering children.

Eye 1

Tagging Banksy: Criminology technique allegedly unmasks unconventional, daredevil graffiti artist

© Reuters
Reclusive street artist Banksy has been playing hide-and-seek with British authorities for years, in an effort to conceal his identity. A new study claims to have identified him, using a technique developed in criminology to track down serial offenders.

A group of scientists at Queen Mary University of London explained in their study (in the Journal of Spatial Science), they had used the so-called "Dirichlet process mixture (DPM) model of geographic profiling." This is a mathematical technique developed by criminologists. Researchers analyzed the spatial patterns of Banksy's artworks in Bristol and London and matched them up to places where a short list of suspects lived and worked. All the locations, a pub, playing fields and several residential addresses among them, led to a man called Robin Gunningham. The researchers concluded, with a fair degree of certainty, that Mr. Gunningham is Banksy.

Comment: Banksy obviously ruffles feathers with his 'political' graffiti. Interesting how his work is considered minor terrorism-related acts!