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Sun, 19 May 2019
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Yellow Vest movement marks 6-month anniversary with marches, scuffles with police break out

yellow vest protestor
© AFP / Francois Nascimbeni
A man stands stands near a burning site shack during a Yellow Vest demonstration in Reims, France on May 18, 2019.
Scuffles between police and protesters broke out in France's Reims as the Yellow Vest movement rallied on its 27th weekend in a row. The six-month anniversary demonstrations were peaceful in Paris and other cities.

Some 15,500 demonstrators have rallied across France, according to figures from the Interior Ministry. While the organizers claim the figure is just over 40,000 participants, it's still no match to the numbers the movement attracted when it started in November last year.

In Reims, multiple scuffles between law enforcement and demonstrators were registered. A heavy presence of the so-called 'black bloc' - far-left protesters, covering their faces and sporting similar black attires to make identification harder - might have contributed to the violence on the city's streets.

Comment: See also:


Transgender powerlifting champion stripped of women's division titles for being male while competing

transgender weightlifter mary
© 75marylifts/Instagram
Mary Gregory
A transgender powerlifter who won multiple record-breaking world championships in the women's division while transitioning from male to female has been stripped of her titles after sports authorities ruled she was biologically male while competing.

The RAW Powerlifting Federation announced on May 3 that it had revoked the titles won by Mary Gregory in the women's squat, bench press and deadlift categories, as well as the "Masters total world record" she had earned for her overall weightlifting scores at the 100% Raw Competition on April 27, according to the Daily Mail.

Gregory's landslide victories - which included multiple world records she'd set for her age (she was 43 at the time) and weight categories - prompted automatic drug testing, per Raw Powerlifing Federation's post-competition protocol, said a statement released by the organization. It was then that authorities within the federation learned for the first time that Gregory was transitioning, they claim.

Comment: There are gender divisions in competitive sport for a good reason. Generally speaking, males have an advantage due to their strength, speed and stamina, this is a biological reality. Rejection of reality based on subjective feelings and emotions often leads to catastrophic consequences. And in the context of competitive sport, it is destroying many hard-working women's careers.

Could an able-bodied person compete in the Paralympics because they identify as a disabled person? Could a 25-year-old man identify as a 6-year old and compete in a 6-year-olds running race at school, celebrating his phenomenal win when he crossed the finish line first?

No, this is not acceptable because this would simply not be fair.


Plane crash in Honduras kills five foreigners

TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) - Five foreign tourists, four of them Canadians, died on Saturday after a private plane they were traveling in crashed into the sea shortly after taking off from the island of Roatán, near the Atlantic coast of Honduras, local authorities said.


Portuguese soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo donates $1.5 million to feed Palestinians in besieged Gaza Strip

Cristiano Ronaldo
© Ap / Luca Bruno

Portuguese soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo has donated $1.5 million to feed the fasting people in the besieged Gaza Strip, Palestine, against the backdrop of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The Juventus star striker has never hid the fact that he is pro-Palestine, expressing his support for Palestinians several times in the past.

Portuguese soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo has donated $1.5 million to feed the fasting people in the besieged Gaza Strip, Palestine, against the backdrop of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.


Cash-strapped cities are turning citizens into surveillance-minded traffic and parking ticket vigilantes

spying on neighbors
Washington, D.C. plans to join a growing list of cash-strapped cities that turn citizens into ticket vigilantes.

According to a Fox5 News article, Bill B23-0288 would allow 80 citizens, ten in each of D.C.'s eight wards to print out parking tickets and citations.

These government shills will be tasked with spying on motorists and ticketing them if they park too long or violate parking rules.

Reason.com warns, "these new citizen parking enforcers would be accountable to no one."

If you think you had problems with your neighbor(s) before, just wait until they have the power to ticket anyone.

Apparently, turning your neighbor into spies (See Something, Say Something) is not enough for our government. Because now they want to turn your neighbor into a ticket vigilante, whose sole purpose is to collect money from everyone.


UN chief warns Marshall Islands 'nuclear coffin' is leeching radioactive materials into Pacific ocean - UPDATE

nuclear coffin, concrete dome nuclear waste

A huge concrete dome built over a crater left by one of the 43 nuclear blasts on Runit Island photographed in 1980
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres raised concerns Thursday that a concrete dome built last century to contain waste from atomic bomb tests is leaking radioactive material into the Pacific.

Speaking to students in Fiji, Guterres described the structure on Enewetak atoll in the Marshall Islands as "a kind of coffin" and said it was a legacy of Cold War-era nuclear tests in the Pacific

"The Pacific was victimised in the past as we all know," he said, referring to nuclear explosions carried out by the United States and France in the region.

In the Marshalls, numerous islanders were forcibly evacuated from ancestral lands and resettled, while thousands more were exposed to radioactive fallout.

The island nation was ground zero for 67 American nuclear weapons tests from 1946-58 at Bikini and Enewetak atolls, when it was under US administration.

Comment: UPDATE May 18: Since the recent revelations of the leakage of the dome, residents of the islands and those previously involved in the original cleanup operations have come forward, saying the US had failed to take precautions to prevent the dome from leaking. Even though the government declared the area safe for residents to return, the dome began leaking almost immediately after the engineers left. Islanders have also struggled with numerous health issues from cancers to weakened immune systems, and other noncommunicable diseases as well. Many of the roughly 8,000 people involved in the decontamination process have since died.
"There was never any lining put in that dome," Ernest Davis, an Enewetak Atoll cleanup veteran, told RT, noting that the US government apparently had never planned to replace the temporary dome with a permanent containment structure that would be properly sealed from radiation leaks. "Nobody said anything about going back in and removing it or making it permanent. We were told that it was permanent."

"I don't think it was ever [the US government's] intention to further clean up the island. It was too costly," Brooke Takala Abraham, who lives in the Marshall Islands, told RT.

The United States detonated 43 atomic bombs around the Marshall Islands in the 1940s and 50s. The highly contaminated debris left over from the weapons tests was then dumped into a 100-meter-wide bomb crater on Enewetak Atoll. US servicemen sealed it up with a concrete cap to create a structure called the Runit Dome. The work, however, was allegedly carried out without any proper safety consideration for the cleanup crew.

"Those people who were involved in the cleanup... did not receive proper protection from radioactive elements," Abraham said.

Furthermore, the government has never even bothered to study the long-term health issues of those exposed to radiation waste.
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When the media tries to change your language to manipulate you

big brother 1984 movie  orwell
Yesterday on Twitter, Julia Carrie Wong, The Guardian's senior technology editor announced that they would be making some changes to their style guide. "Climate change" will become "climate emergency, crisis or breakdown." "Global warming" will become "global heating." "Climate skeptic" will become "climate science denier."

In the mid 2000's, according to Elizabeth Kolbert's extensive New Yorker series on climate change, the idea was that, before the climate got warmer, it would get colder. The concept was that the Gulf Stream would break down, forcing cold air to sweep across North America and the U.K. Part of the fluctuation in the language surrounding climate change is that the scientific consensus on exactly how it all could play out keeps changing. This is when global warming became climate change, because the fear was that if the earth didn't actually warm, people would stop believing in the catastrophe.

Comment: No to Christchurch Call: Put aside your hate of Trump for a day - he may have just saved free speech
The Christchurch Call did not come after any of the dozens of Muslim bombings that happened in the West, or at the peak of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) propaganda efforts, when polished beheading videos made it online every week and were shared by millions, and freely "amplified" by the media.

The unequivocal far-right atrocity serves merely as a cynical hook for countering years of mainstream party anxiety about losing control of the narrative online, which turned into an ongoing breakdown with Hillary Clinton's loss in 2016.

While reactive, the Christchurch Call isn't some brainstorm knocked up in eight weeks. This is the establishment's unifying achievement - a non-binding agreement that will nonetheless serve as a blueprint for future international regulation. If adopted, for most living in the West, there would be no escape.

It is very possible that these new tools will be used cautiously - filtering out only the guns and splatter. But with definitions of hate speech and what is considered extremist being systematically broadened, over time - years? months? - there will be appeals to use these technologies to suppress more and more voices.

And judging by the previous record of the social networks involved, the losers will be the "Islamophobes" and the "transphobes" and the "Russian trolls" - real or imagined - and not the radical feminists calling for all men to be castrated, nor Antifa protesters in balaclavas filming themselves disrupting a campus speech.

While the document talks about the need for "transparency" and "an efficient complaints and appeals process" for any censorship, it leaves both the decisions and the implementation to the tech companies themselves. "Enforcing community standards or terms of service" will still be king - so if a Twitter mod wants to close your account it will be his call and enshrined right.


Art detective reveals how terrorists, mafia profit from 'blood antiquities', claims 'one third of art market is fake'

ancient carvings
© Reuters / Ceerwan Aziz
Some of the artefacts found after disappearing from the National Museum of Iraq.
As the 'Indiana Jones of Lost Art', Arthur Brand often finds himself at the crossroads of the illicit art trade and a shadowy criminal underground. The art detective joined RT's SophieCo to reveal the secrets of his trade.

From the posh galleries of the European art scene to the farthest reaches of the Afghan Hindu Kush, Brand is on the hunt for stolen treasures. His work can sound much like a spy thriller, a world of clandestine meetings and forged documents.

Working with criminals, of course, has its risks.

"Sometimes you get threats," he said, "I have to be cautious."

Eye 2

Neo-Nazi pedophile who plotted to kill Labour MP with machete sentenced to life imprisonment

Jack Renshaw Rosie Cooper
© Greater Manchester Police ; parliament.co.uk
(L) Jack Renshaw (R) Labour MP Rosie Cooper
A convicted pedophile and former member of the neo-Nazi terrorist group National Action, who plotted to stab to death a UK Labour politician with a machete, has been sentenced to life in prison.

Jack Renshaw, 23, from Skelmersdale in Lancashire was handed a minimum sentence of 20 years at the Old Bailey in London on Friday for planning the murder of Labour MP for West Lancashire, Rosie Cooper.

In a victim impact statement, Rosie Cooper MP said: "To be informed that a stranger wished to decapitate you...is something out of a horror movie, not life as I know it."

Comment: Whistleblower Robbie Mullen has paid a high price for saving Ms. Cooper's life. From an interview published April 21:
The whistleblower who exposed a neo-Nazi plot to kill an MP has been warned repeatedly by police that he is at risk of being murdered by far-right terrorists.

Robbie Mullen has received five "Osman notices" (named after a high-profile 1998 case), credible warnings of a high risk of murder that are issued by police to the possible victim, after testifying against the proscribed terror organisation National Action.

"The police have offered me witness protection after each death threat but each time I've turned it down because I want the option to go back home," Mullen, 25, from Warrington, told the Observer. "They would have made me start again, changed my name."

Mullen, a former senior member of National Action who became revolted by its ideology, divulged the plot to murder Cooper to anti-fascist charity Hope Not Hate, details of which are revealed in a book published this week. Since then the threats have come regularly, with the first Osman warning given weeks after Mullen left the organisation and the latest "credible death threat" coming in February.

When Mullen has returned to the north-west, he has been quickly reminded of the risks. "I've seen a few faces in the street. I assume it's because they've been on their own that they haven't attacked me. People are cowards on their own. They just seem shocked to see me," said Mullen, a former warehouse worker.

But he knows the capabilities of his ex-colleagues in a group that celebrated the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox by a far-right terrorist. And life on the run from them is tough.

Mullen, who joined the group after feeling socially and politically isolated, has been effectively blacklisted because of his past association and cannot secure a job because he is unable to get a clean bill of legal health from the reference agency. Similarly, he was forced to say goodbye to his former life almost immediately after he texted Matthew Collins, Hope Not Hate's head of intelligence, at 10.40pm on Saturday 1 July 2017 to first reveal the plot.

"I didn't want to move or leave my job but had to drop everything and everyone I knew. It has totally ruined my life," said Mullen.

Before texting Collins, Mullen had spent several hours at a National Action meeting in the Friar Penketh, a Wetherspoon's pub in Warrington, listening to Renshaw's plan to kill Cooper with a 19-inch gladius machete.

Speaking in a London pub last week, the softly spoken teetotaller said: "There were five of us sat at a full table, and I wasn't going to be the person to object to it.

"Renshaw told his plot over two to three hours. It wasn't just a quick outline. He kept on explaining, saying he's got the machete, that it's designed for cutting through pig. And the pig is the closest thing to human flesh. There was an aura around the room. It was as if this is what they had been waiting for; everybody sort of had a smile on their face."

Mullen left the pub and contacted Collins, who arranged a getaway vehicle and a secret hideaway in London. Hope Not Hate refused to hand Mullen over to the police until he had been promised immunity.

Collins, who handles a network of informants who have infiltrated a number of far-right groups, knows what Mullen is going through. Once an activist with the far-right terror group Combat 18, Collins became an informer and fled to Australia, returning 10 years later as a wanted man. "You spend the rest of your life looking over your shoulder. Everybody wants to be a hero."


'Slave master' recounts horrifying details of relationship with NXIVM leader

Lauren Salzman
© R.UmarAbbasi
Lauren Salzman, a defendant in the NEXIVM case, leaves the Brooklyn federal court.
A top Nxivm "slave master" recounted on Friday her 17-year relationship with leader Keith Raniere - and how he manipulated her with sex and empty promises of having children together.

Lauren Salzman said she was fully devoted to Raniere after their relationship began in 2001, even though he openly slept with other "slaves" who were also part of Nxivm's secret sorority DOS.

"For me, it was a monogamous relationship," Salzman testified in Brooklyn federal court, where her ex is on trial for sex-trafficking charges.

She said they stopped being intimate around 2008 or 2009 - when the alleged sex cult was in full swing.

Comment: See also: