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Israeli soldiers fire rubber-coated steel bullets, gas bombs and concussion grenades on peaceful protesters in West Bank village

Kufur Qaddoum protests West Bank Feb 22 2019

Soldiers started firing rubber-coated steel bullets, gas bombs and concussion grenades, causing many to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation.
Israeli soldiers injured, Friday, several Palestinians during the weekly procession in Kufur Qaddoum village, east of the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia.

Morad Eshteiwi, the coordinator of the Popular Committee against the Annexation Wall and Colonies in Kufur Qaddoum, said the Palestinians and international peace activists marched from the local park, and headed to the nearby closed main road.

He added that the soldiers started firing rubber-coated steel bullets, gas bombs and concussion grenades, causing many to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation.

Eshteiwi also stated that the Palestinians in Kufur Qaddoum will continue their protests despite the excessive use of force by the army, and that they insist on their legitimate demand to have the main entrance of their village reopened.

Comment: Israeli soldiers and Jewish settlers act with sadistic barbarism, yet it is those who dare question their brutality who are condemned:

After Israeli anchor calls out brutality of 'occupation', political leaders land hard on her

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Russia's export growth continues to defy US sanctions

power of siberia pipeline russia
© Valery Sharifulin / TASS
Construction of a part of the Power of Siberia pipeline.
Russia is winning its war of attrition against aggressive U.S. sanctions policy. Diplomatically, Russia is winning on all fronts, finding positive solutions through its abundant energy reserves to open gaps in relationships t hat have been frozen in geopolitical amber for two generations.

The latest balance of trade data from Rosstat tells the tale. Russia continues to run a massive trade surplus even though oil prices crashed in the fourth quarter and have only somewhat recovered.

I've covered the surprising stability of the Russian ruble over the past six months given the volatility in oil prices in the past. That stability is key to the future of central Asia as well as eastern Europe.

Putin is positioning Russia and the ruble as the glue which ties central Asia's development together through the Eurasian Economic Union. So, it and Russia's economy defying the best efforts of the U.S. to impede its growth is something to keep watch on.


Yellow Vests protests held across France for 15th week in a row

yellow vest
© Jean-Francois Monier / AFP
"Yellow Vest" protest in front of the Chateau de Chambord.
The Yellow Vest movement staged anti-government protests for the 15th week in a row on Saturday, with thousands participating across France. Some minor clashes were reported during the generally peaceful day of action.

The French Interior Ministry estimates that a total of 41,500 people marched in streets around the country, a dwindling number compared to almost 300,000 at the peak of the movement's strength.

French authorities arrested 13 protesters in Clermont-Ferrand, with the police reporting the seizure of baseball bats, crowbars and other weapons.

A further six people were taken into custody in the capital, Paris, while in Nantes police deployed tear gas against the demonstrators.


Horrifying videos show ramming at Simon Bolivar bridge in Venezuela

Bridge collapse
© Schneyder Mendoza / AFP
Three Venezuelans, who rammed a barrier blocking a border bridge in Venezuela before defecting to Colombia, seem to have paid little care about the well-being of civilians and injured several people.

The incident occurred on Saturday morning amid a larger confrontation there, over the attempts by Venezuela's US-backed opposition to force a delivery of 'humanitarian aid' into the Latin American country - a move that its government denounced as a PR stunt and possibly a cover to smuggle arms.

Footage of the incident released by AFP shows two armored vehicles speeding towards the camera and a crowd of people running away to avoid being hit. The front vehicle then rams into the metal barrier. In the aftermath several people appear to be hurt, including a young woman covered in blood with an injury on her forehead.


Saddam Hussein's granddaughter: "Whole world has seen outcome of US occupation"

hareer hussein kamel
© Instagram/hareer.hussein.kamel
Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's granddaughter Hareer Hussein Kamel lives in Jordan, where she has obtained a Canadian university degree, started her own family, and even authored a book of family memoirs and archives. However, her life hasn't always been tranquil and peaceful, she said in an interview with Sputnik.

Iraqi Memories

The 32-year old has shared with Sputnik the details of a "cold and scary" night in 2003, when she and her family fled war-torn Iraq.

"We were in Mosul. My mother Raghad and Aunt Rana, Saddam's second daughter, took their kids and went to Syria without delay. While we were crossing the border on foot, Syrian border guards opened fire. It was really frightening, but no one, fortunately, was hurt", Hareer recalled, adding that having spent several days in Syria they set out to Jordan, after the Hashemite Kingdom issued an invitation for them to travel there.

She recalled that after the American occupation, the new Iraqi authorities issued a decree prohibiting potential refugees from obtaining foreign passports, with numbers of families left without documents whatsoever.


German cardinal admits church destroyed documents on clergy sexual abuse

Cardinal Reinhard Marx

Cardinal Reinhard Marx
In a remarkable admission, German Cardinal Reinhard Marx said Saturday that documents that could have contained proof of clergy sexual abuse in the Catholic Church were destroyed or never drawn up.

"Files that could have documented the terrible deeds and named those responsible were destroyed or not even created," said Marx, the archbishop of Munich and president of the German Bishops' Conference.

"The stipulated procedures and processes for the prosecution offenses were deliberately not complied with," he added, "but instead canceled and overridden.

"Such standard practices will make it clear that it is not transparency which damages the church, but rather the acts of abuse committed, the lack of transparency, or the ensuing coverup."


Chicago media takes journalistic high road with its careful coverage of Smollett story

Jussie Smollett
The public is provided regular examples of media outlets getting a big story horribly wrong. This has eroded trust in media for many Americans.

That erosion is especially amplified on the right, where 92 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents "say that traditional news outlets knowingly report false or misleading stories at least sometimes," according to a 2018 poll conducted by Axios and Survey Monkey.

That sentiment also extends to independents and even a majority of Democrats, with 79 percent of the former and 53 percent of the latter saying they also believe traditional outlets knowingly report false or misleading stories at least sometimes. Which brings us to the latest fiasco regarding the Jussie Smollett story - a story too Hollywood to be true. Smollett appears to have wanted sympathy, a bigger profile and - most importantly - the perfect example that Trump supporters are violent racists. Here were two pro-Trump guys, Smollett said, ready to attack a gay, black man with bleach and a rope to use as a noose and at 2 a.m. with cameras everywhere during a polar vortex.

National media ran with the story as absolute fact despite the obvious questions. This was evidenced by the word "alleged" curiously missing from dozens of headlines and articles weeks after Smollett first made his claim.

Comment: The good news is there are still mainstream journalists with a sense of responsibility to accurately report news - the bad news is that they are a vanishing breed. See: More on the Smollett hoax:


Napa, CA: Illegal immigrant killed in shootout with police had been previously deported, local cops didn't honor ICE detainer

Javier Hernandez
© Facebook/Napa County Sheriff's Office
Armed suspect Javier Hernandez
Napa County Sheriff's investigators released a stunning body cam video Wednesday of a fatal weekend deputy-involved shooting of an armed suspect on a rural roadway.

On the video from a camera worn by Sheriff's Deputy Riley Jarecki, the suspect can be seen sitting in his car as the deputy approached the vehicle. Jarecki asked the suspect if she can look around to make sure there are no weapons or suspicious items inside.

She told the suspect - Javier Hernandez Morales - not to move. As she walked around the car, Jarecki tapped on the driver's side window and asked Morales to roll it down several times before he appeared to respond.

Jarecki spoke with Hernandez Morales for about five minutes, according to Napa County Undersheriff Jon Crawford.

Hernandez Morales then rolled down the window, quickly pulled out a gun and fired a shot at Jarecki, who returned fire several times. She was not physically injured. Hernandez Morales died at the scene.

*This post contains graphic video content and is not suitable for children.*

Comment: More from CBS5 2/21/2019:
ICE told KPIX 5 that Hernandez-Morales had been deported three times prior to 2011. After 2011, Hernandez-Morales was arrested a number of times for crimes including driving under the influence, battery on a peace officer, and probation violations.

Immigration officials said they issued detainers four separate times for Hernandez-Morales following his arrests but none were honored by local jails.

"ICE is grateful the deputy involved in this shooting was not harmed during this attack," the agency said in a statement. "It's unfortunate that our law enforcement partners and the community are subjected to dangerous consequences because of inflexible state laws that protect criminal aliens."

"This incident may have been prevented if ICE had been notified about any of the multiple times Hernandez-Morales was released from local custody over the last few years. This is an impactful, scary example of how public safety is affected by laws or policies limiting local law enforcement agencies' ability to cooperate with ICE."

ICE said it issued three detainers for Hernandez-Morales to Napa County Jail in 2014, 2015 and 2016; and a detainer to Sonoma County Jail in 2016, none of which were honored.

Late Thursday afternoon, Napa County officials said they were complying with a change in state law in 2017. "We are in compliance with state law. That is the law of the state of California, and the county intends to comply with state law," said Napa County Supervisor Vallea Ramos.

"We have to continue to learn from these unfortunate incidents," said Napa County Sheriff John Robertson. "Once we get all the facts, I think it's going lead us to really understand the facts more, then make a decision if state law does need to be changed."

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The Truth Perspective: Match Made in Heaven: The Surprising Similarities Between Radical Islam and Talmudic Judaism

ISIS video still
What is the only way to demonstrate one's faith in the God's complete power over the fate and destiny of humans? Under what conditions is it permitted to let a non-Jew die, or to kill unarmed civilians in warfare? These are the kinds of questions asked and answered by the theologians and ideologues of the more radical forms of Islam and Judaism. But the reasoning by which the answers are found, and the assumptions about human nature that determine the answers, say more about the individuals doing the reasoning than they do about the ideologies themselves.

Today on the Truth Perspective we continue our look at the work of Shiraz Maher on Salafi-Jihadism, the ideology behind groups like ISIS and al-Nusra, and introduce the work of Israel Shahak, author of Jewish History, Jewish Religion, on how the modern state of Israel has been shaped by the ideology of classical Judaism. While diametrically opposed in some ways, the two religious ideologies share much in common, specifically a peculiar view of human nature and a doctrinaire, legalistic mode of reasoning and enforcement of religious rules.

Running Time: 01:35:25

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Torture claims by Russian Jehovah's Witnesses prompts investigation

Yevgeny Kayryak

Yevgeny Kayryak, one of the Jehovah's Witnesses who said he was tortured by Russian police.
An official of Russia's main criminal investigative body says the organization is looking into allegations that its officers tortured members of the banned Jehovah's Witnesses religious group.

In a February 19 statement, the religious group said seven of its adherents were "subjected to torture - electric shocks, suffocation, and cruel beatings" by Investigative Committee officers in the city of Surgut in northwestern Siberia.

The Investigative Committee initially denied the torture claim. But Interfax on February 22 cited regional committee official Oleg Menshikh as saying it had decided to investigate the claim because of "agitation that has arisen after publication of this information in the media."