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Thu, 26 Jan 2023
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'Poor training' cited as an excuse for nearly 400 shootings by Philadelphia police

© Reuters/Tom Mihalek

Poor training led Philadelphia police officers to the mistaken belief that fearing for their lives alone justified the use of deadly force, a new Justice Department review has found. That fear resulted in 394 shootings over a seven-year period.

The 'Assessment of Deadly Force in the Philadelphia Police Department,' released Monday, came with 48 findings and 91 recommendations by the Justice Department. It found that 81 percent of the victims of officer-involved shootings were African-American men in their twenties; 59 percent of the shootings were carried out by white officers; and most shootings occurred in majority black neighborhoods. Those neighborhoods in northern Philadelphia were also police districts with the highest patterns of gun violence and homicides.


San Diego sues Monsanto for polluting the bay with banned carcinogenic chemicals

San Diego Bay
© http://www.koreatimes.com/photos/LosAngeles/20141206/sd-top(16).jpg
San Diego Bay, California
Lawsuit says toxins manufactured by agrochemical giant 'have been found in Bay sediments and water and have been identified in tissues of fish, lobsters, and other marine life'

San Diego authorities filed a lawsuit on Monday against the agrochemical giant Monsanto, accusing the corporation of polluting the city's bay with carcinogenic chemicals that are so dangerous to human health they were banned in the U.S. more than 30 years ago.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court by City of San Diego and San Diego Unified Port District and focuses on Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs). "PCBs manufactured by Monsanto have been found in bay sediments and water and have been identified in tissues of fish, lobsters, and other marine life in the Bay," the complaint reads.

"PCB contamination in and around the Bay affects all San Diegans and visitors who enjoy the Bay, who reasonably would be disturbed by the presence of a hazardous, banned substance in the sediment, water, and wildlife," the document continues.

As the San Diego Reader notes, the city's lawsuit charges that "the risks did not deter Monsanto from trying to protect profits and prolong the use of PCB compounds such as Aroclor, as shown in a report from an ad hoc committee that Monsanto formed in 1969."

Comment: PCBs accumulate. PCB levels from Monsanto facilities in adjacent communities reported 940 times the federal level of concern in yard soils, 200 times that level in dust inside people's homes, 2000 times that level in Monsanto's drainage ditches. Fish die of exposure within seconds. There is no safe level. There were several lawsuits filed by schools and even one for PCBs in the chalk used by children. Swedish scientists identified traces of PCBs throughout the food chain, in fish, birds, pine needles, even children's hair. Having moved on, leaving death and destruction behind, Monsanto currently seeks to supply GMOs globally and reaps net sales of $11.8B per year with 404 facilities in 66 countries. We may never know the full extent of the devastation perpetrated on our planet and the life it supports from this company, nor ever, ever see it come to justice. How big a slap will Monsanto receive, if any at all? Untouchable.

See also:
Monsanto Hid Decades of Pollution
Monsanto, a corporate profile (Food and Water Watch PDF--This is mind boggling!)


Pennsylvania cop charged with criminal homicide in shooting of unarmed man

This isn't something you hear very often.
lisa mearkle
© stamfordadvocate
Officer Mearkle
From ABC27 News:
A Hummelstown [PA] police officer has been charged with criminal homicide in the fatal shooting of a South Hanover Township man last month.

Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marsico said following a state police investigation, he concluded 36-year-old Lisa Mearkle was not justified in using deadly force when she shot 59-year-old David Kassick.
This story is quite disturbing. On February 2, Mearkle attempted to stop Kassick for an expired inspection sticker. Instead of stopping, Kassick drove to his sister's home and fled on foot.

Mearkle chased Kassick and shot him with her stun gun, shooting him in the back:

Comment: Let's see if the charges stick.


Ignoring 1.8 million Gazans struggling with 97% water contamination, the world celebrates World Water Day

As the world marks the World Water Day, Gaza's 1.8 million-population is struggling to cope with lack of clean water.The coastal aquifer, Gaza's main water source, is heavily contaminated with various pollutants including high levels of nitrates.

Dumping of untreated sewage into the sea has been a major cause for the pollution. The reason: lack of electricity to operate treatment plants.

Water contamination levels are three times higher than the World Health Organization standards for safe drinking water.

Experts have warned of a humanitarian disaster as the water pollution levels have reached near one hundred percent.
© EWASH 2010
95% contamination: Wastewater flowing through the Rafah regional waste dump.
During the recent Israel war on Gaza Israeli forces targeted the infrastructure of the territory including water and sewage networks.

Israeli restrictions on the entry of equipment and materials have also slowed the completion of water desalination and filtration stations.

The severity of Gaza's water crisis is likely to increase in the coming summer months.

With water pollution levels rising experts blame the problems on the Israeli blockade as well as Israel's stealing of Gaza Strip's underground water for many years.

Comment: Another sign of the ongoing worldwide denial of the misery, suffering, degradation and dehumanization of the Palestinian people.

An open air prison: Israel's decimation of Gaza

Birthday Cake

Case involving Christian bakery refusing to bake gay-themed cake could have far-reaching implications

© Facebook
If an equalities watchdog wins a legal case against a Christian bakery that refused to bake a cake decorated with gay marriage slogans, the decision could force a Muslim printer to publish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, a lawyer claims.

The ruling could also mean a T-shirt company owned by lesbians would be obliged to print shirts with slogans describing gay marriage as an "abomination."

Leading human rights lawyer Aidan O'Neill QC said the implications of the decision concerning Ashers Baking Company would have far-reaching consequences for businesses that refuse custom based on principles.

O'Neill's legal opinion was commissioned by the Christian Institute, which is supporting the bakery's defense in a case due before a court in Belfast later this month.

Ashers, based in Newtownabbey, Northern Ireland, last year canceled an order for a cake from LGBT activist Gareth Lee featuring Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie and the slogan "support gay marriage."


Egypt signs natural gas deal with Gazprom

© Reuters / Desmond Boylan
Russia's Gazprom Global LNG has signed a deal with Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) to supply 35 shipments of liquefied natural gas (LNG) by 2020, according to the company and Egypt's Ministry of Petroleum.

Gazprom Global LNG and EGAS have agreed on LNG sales, the company confirmed on its website Tuesday, adding that both parties were in the final stages of a long term commercial arrangement.

35 LNG shipments will be supplied to Egypt over 5 years, according to Egypt's Ministry of Petroleum. Gazprom will start shipping to EGAS in the second half of 2015, with 7 cargoes arriving each year. EGAS has already signed contracts with Noble Group who will deliver a seven LNG cargoes and Vitol for nine shipments of LNG over two years.

As the West escalates its sanctions rhetoric against Russia, Egypt has shown it wants to align closer with Moscow. Last month Russian President Vladimir Putin paid a two-day visit to Cairo, where he agreed to bring the two economies closer and start working towards using domestic currencies in trade settlements. Both sides then said that they wanted to open up new prospects for trade and investment cooperation and reduce dependence on the trends in the world markets.

Stock Down

U.S. takeover of Ukraine wipes out 25% of country's economy

© RIA Novosti / Vitaliy Ankov
Ukraine's economy has contracted by a quarter due to the conflict in the south east of the country as hundreds of facilities are closed, said Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk.

"We've lost a quarter of the Ukrainian economy. Hundreds of facilities were closed because of war..."Yatsenyuk said on Tuesday in a conference call to regional governors over budget fulfillment.

At the same time the government managed to collect more in taxes than in the previous year, he added.

Talking about Ukraine's fiscal position, Yatsenyuk said the government had managed to accumulate almost $670 million in its single treasury account.

"I had a look at the latest statistics. A year ago, the single treasury account held 108,000 hryvnia ($4,600), this morning there were 15.5 billion hryvnia ($670 million)," he said.


Update: No distress call from pilots of downed German passenger jet, which 'disintegrated' in French Alps after suddenly plunging at 'catastrophic speed'

© Unknown
An aerial photo shows what appears to be wreckage from the crash of a Germanwings plane in the French Alps, between Barcelonnette and Digne.
A rescue helicopter has landed at the site of the Germanwings air disaster in the French Alps to find the plane "disintegrated" and no survivors.

The Airbus A320 with 150 people on board came down in a mountainous region, at an altitude of around 6,500ft, between Barcelonnette and Digne.

After taking off at 9.55am (8.55am UK time), a distress signal was issued for flight 4U 9525 at 10.47am (9.47am UK time) after it found itself in an "abnormal situation" on its route from Barcelona to Dusseldorf.

France's Prime Minister Manuel Valls said a helicopter had managed to land near the crash site but found no survivors.

Gilbert Sauvan, of the local council, told Les Echos newspaper: "The plane is disintegrated. The largest debris is the size of a car."

France's President Francois Hollande said: "It's a tragedy on our soil."

Comment: Between the calm weather, lack of distress call, loud noises reported from people on the ground, and the 'disintegration' of the craft as it plummetted from cruising altitude in a matter of minutes, are we looking at this plane having been hit from the blast wave from an overhead meteor explosion?

2 + 2 = 4

'Comply or die' in the American Police State

"Do exactly what I say, and we'll get along fine. Do not question me or talk back in any way. You do not have the right to object to anything I may say or ask you to do, or ask for clarification if my demands are unclear or contradictory. You must obey me under all circumstances without hesitation, no matter how arbitrary, unreasonable, discriminatory, or blatantly racist my commands may be. Anything other than immediate perfect servile compliance will be labeled as resisting arrest, and expose you to the possibility of a violent reaction from me. That reaction could cause you severe injury or even death. And I will suffer no consequences. It's your choice: Comply, or die."— "'Comply or Die' policing must stop," Daily KOS
Americans as young as 4 years old are being leg shackled, handcuffed, tasered and held at gun point for not being quiet, not being orderly and just being childlike—i.e., not being compliant enough.

Americans as old as 95 are being beaten, shot and killed for questioning an order, hesitating in the face of a directive, and mistaking a policeman crashing through their door for a criminal breaking into their home—i.e., not being submissive enough.

And Americans of every age and skin color are being taught the painful lesson that the only truly compliant, submissive and obedient citizen in a police state is a dead one.

It doesn't matter where you live—big city or small town—it's the same scenario being played out over and over again in which government agents, hyped up on their own authority and the power of their uniform, ride roughshod over the rights of the citizenry. In turn, Americans are being brainwashed into believing that anyone who wears a government uniform—soldier, police officer, prison guard—must be obeyed without question.

Franklin Graham, the heir to Billy Graham's evangelical empire, offered up this "simple" piece of advice for "Blacks, Whites, Latinos, and everybody else" hoping to survive an encounter with the police:
Most police shootings can be avoided. It comes down to respect for authority and obedience. If a police officer tells you to stop, you stop. If a police officer tells you to put your hands in the air, you put your hands in the air. If a police officer tells you to lay down face first with your hands behind your back, you lay down face first with your hands behind your back. It's as simple as that. Even if you think the police officer is wrong—YOU OBEY.
Clearly, Graham's message resonated with a core group of Americans: almost 200,000 individuals "liked" the message on Facebook, with an astounding 83,000 fans sharing his words of advice with their own friends, none of whom seem to recall that Jesus Christ, whom they claim to follow and model their lives after, not only stood up to the police state of his day but was put to death for it.

Comment: The current American Police state bears a striking resemblance and many parallels to the Gestapo of Nazi, Germany. It's all over but the crying and shouting.

The path to tyranny: The Nazi Gestapo and the US police state


An ancient technology is helping India's "water man" save thousands of parched villages

dry land
© Reuters/Amit Dave
Water scarcity has begun early in India.
In 1985, a 28-year-old man from Uttar Pradesh quit his government job, left his family and arrived in the dead of the night at a small village in Rajasthan's Alwar district.

Rajendra Singh, along with four companions from the Tarun Bharat Sangh, a non-profit that traces its origins to the University of Rajasthan, wanted to work in the hinterland. The initial idea was to establish clinics.

"Maybe it was some social chromosomes that fired my imagination to do something useful," Singh said in an interview. "I was a government servant in Jaipur, fed up with just sending statistics to officials."

It look him a few months before finding his life's mission—and it took an ancient innovation, a fast disappearing traditional technology, to help him transform the lives of thousands of villagers in one of India's most arid regions.

On March 20, Singh was awarded the 2015 Stockholm Water Prize, sometimes described as the Nobel prize for water.