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Tue, 26 Sep 2017
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Stormtrooper

77yo man will likely die in prison for growing marijuana plants because police broke the law

In a case that clearly highlights the manner in which police break the law to target, arrest and convict citizens with impunity, 77-year-old Charles Frederick White has been sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for cultivating marijuana.

The sheriff's office claims they happened upon the growing operation by mistake, while ostensibly claiming to follow up on a call from a woman outside the Baltimore area who said her identity had been stolen and that new credit cards taken out in her name were being sent to a Polk County address.

Curiously, the officers took four months from the time she called to allegedly investigate.

USA

A US veteran asks, 'what's worse, a kneeling millionaire or 300,000 vets neglected to death?'

Naturally, Americans are up in arms because a bunch of folks who get paid millions of dollars to throw around a leather ball decided to kneel during the national anthem. I find this ironic for several reasons.

First off, I'd like to clarify that choosing to not watch football because someone did something you disagree with is entirely your choice and your choice alone. Just like NFL players can make the decision to kneel during the anthem, you can make the decision to change the channel. It's called freedom, it is awesome, and I highly recommend it.

That being said, I'd like to draw attention to two points, one being the idea of a country whose leader shames others and calls for the termination of their employment for practicing their right to disagree with the government, and two, why are people so upset over a bunch of kneeling millionaires?

Heart - Black

Whalers in Japan kill 177 whales to 'study' if commercially hunting them is sustainable

© Glenn Lockitch/AFP
A dead minke whale onboard a ship that was part of a Japanese whaling fleet in Antarctic waters earlier this year.
Japan is a signatory to an international moratorium on hunting whales, but it exploits a loophole that allows whales to be killed for scientific purposes.

Japan said on Tuesday said it killed 177 whales off its northeast coast, in an annual hunt that has been repeatedly condemned by animal rights activists and several governments, AFP reported.

Three ships that left port in June returned with 43 minke whales and 134 sei whales, the country's fisheries agency said.

Although Japan is a signatory to the International Whaling Commission's moratorium on hunting, it exploits a loophole that allows whales to be killed for scientific research. The studies are "necessary to estimate the precise number of (sustainable) catches as we look to restart commercial whaling", AFP quoted agency official Kohei Ito as saying.

In March, another Japanese fleet of five ships returned after killing 333 minke whales.

Smoking

Fascist Wales to ban smoking outside hospitals, schools and playgrounds by 2019

A new plan to reduce the number of smokers in Wales to 16% by 2020 has been launched by the Welsh Government.

Smoking contributes most to the current burden of disease in Wales, causing around 5,450 deaths each year and costing the NHS an estimated £302m annually.

The National Survey for Wales 2016-17 showed that 19% of adults in Wales currently smoke - a significant reduction from 25% in 2005-6.

This exceeded the Welsh Government target of reducing smoking rates to 20% by 2016.

A new three-year Tobacco Control Delivery Plan aims to build on the progress already made following the first 10 years of the smoking ban in Wales.

Comment: It's well past time to put an end to the anti-smoking hysteria. Not only is most of the research on the ill effects of tobacco basically junk science, but many health benefits can be attributed to the practice. Smoking tobacco may actually act as a protective measure against disease-causing agents.


Arrow Up

Upward trend in violent crime in US, murders up 8% ‒ FBI

© Rebecca Cook / Reuters
The Federal Bureau of Investigations has marked an upward trend in violent crime in America in its annual report for 2016, saying that last year saw the largest increase in 25 years.

Violent crimes such as murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault, went up 3.4 percent last year compared to the year before, with homicide rate up by 7.9 percent, according the bureau's 2016 report on crime, released on Monday.

The new numbers show that "the worrying violent crime increase that began in 2015 after many years of decline was not an isolated incident," the FBI said That year saw a 3.3 percent increase in violent crime, including an 11.4 spike in homicides over 2014.

Calling it a "frightening trend," Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Monday that the Department of Justice was "committed to working with our state, local, and tribal partners across the country to deter violent crime, dismantle criminal organizations and gangs, stop the scourge of drug trafficking, and send a strong message to criminals that we will not surrender our communities to lawlessness and violence."

Comment: See also:
St. Louis police make mass arrests in crackdown on protests, ensnaring dozens of innocent bystanders
American police are being trained by human rights abusers par excellence - Israeli security forces


Bullseye

'I was only doing my job': Vatican auditor sacked for probing illegal activity

© AFP Photo/Massimo Sestini
The Vatican's former auditor general who resigned in June told a newspaper there were high ranking figures who were seeking to scupper Pope Francis's financial reform efforts.
The Vatican's former auditor general, who resigned without explanation in June, said Sunday he was forced out after his investigations into possible illegal activity hit too close to home.

"Let me be clear: I did not voluntarily resign. I was threatened with arrest," Libero Milone said in an interview conducted with four media outlets including Italy's Corriere della Sera daily.

The auditing whizz, who spent much of his career with the audit firm Deloitte & Touche and was hired to much fanfare in 2015, said high-ranking figures in the Vatican wanted to scupper Pope Francis's financial reform efforts.

"I fear very sorry for the pope. I had a splendid, indescribable relationship with him, but over the last 18 months they stopped me seeing him. Obviously they didn't want me telling him about some of the things I'd seen," he said.

Magnify

UN medics claim 'widespread evidence' of sexual violence against Rohingya refugees fleeing Myanmar military

© Cathal McNaughton / Reuters
Doctors treating Rohingya refugees fleeing the Myanmar military offensive are reporting widespread evidence of weaponized sexual violence against refugees that corroborates allegations made repeatedly over the past year.

Medics at the Leda refugee camp, run by The UN's International Organization for Migration (IOM) say they have treated hundreds of survivors of sexual violence over the past year, adding that the number of such attacks has decreased during the recent military offensive but have become "more aggressive."

"We found skin marks, it showed a very forceful attack, an inhuman attack," said IOM medical officer Dr Tasnuba Nourin, as cited by Reuters.

Rose

8 y.o. boy killed trying to protect his little sister from mom's pedophile ex-boyfriend


Deandre Chaney Jr., 23, allegedly attacked Dante Daniels, 8, in South Sacremento, California
The grandmother of an 8-year-old boy who police said was beaten to death by this mother's ex-boyfriend told Fox 40 that the boy died protecting his sister from his mother's child-molester ex-boyfriend.

Deandre Chaney Jr., 23, attacked Dante Daniels with a hammer and lighter fluid, Fox 40 reported, citing a criminal complaint. Chaney, a reported violent two-strike felon and sex offender, beat Dante in the early morning hours of Sept. 1, while performing a lewd act on his 7-year-old sister, authorities said. The boy died six days later.

Authorities said Chaney, at one point, turned the hammer and knife on the girl and the mother, who was reportedly out at the time of the incident. Brown told Fox 40 that the 7-year-old girl is fine, but will likely never see out of her left eye again.

Clipboard

U.S. ranks near the bottom in public trust of the news media, says new study

© Jane M. Sawyer
According to the most extensive study ever done of the public's usages of, and trust in, the newsmedia in their country - a study that (in late January early February) scientically sampled thousands of people in each one of 36 different industrialized countries - the United States scored #28, which was in the bottom 22% of all 36 nations, regarding the public's trust of the newsmedia.

However, the average American had a 53% level of trust in the news-sources he or she is relying on. The country with the highest level of trust in the newsmedia generally was Finland, where 61% of the population trust the nation's news media. Two countries were tied for the last place in trusting the media among the 36 nations surveyed, both scoring a 23% level of trust: Greece, and Korea. All of the countries that scored below the U.S. (in order increasingly less-trusting than America, down to the very bottom) were: Czech Republic, Hungary, Taiwan, France, Malaysia, Slovakia, and then, Greece and Korea tied at the bottom.

Those figures appear on page 21 of the 136-page study, "Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2017".

The surveys also asked respondents to rate themselves between far-left and far-right. The degree of political polarization in the United States, is shown on page 38, and turns out to be, by far - actually enormously - the highest polarization of all 36 countries. Whereas, in the other 35 countries, the residents reasonably constitute a nation where there is widespread political agreement (a coherent nation), the residents in the U.S. are more like a nation in ideological civil war. (Perhaps Ukraine, which wasn't surveyed, is even worse, and maybe that's why it split apart right after the 2014 U.S. coup there.)

People

Travelers stranded at Puerto Rico airport after Hurricane Maria

© Alvin Baez / Reuters
Hundreds of frustrated travelers remain stranded at the San Juan airport in Puerto Rico, as they wait for flights off the island battered by Hurricane Maria. With no power and no air conditioning, some are starting to feel desperate.

On Monday, as commercial flights started back up following the hurricane, many anxious travelers voiced their concerns over the poor quality of service and conditions at the Luis Munoz Marin International Airport (SJU). With limited flights available, hundreds of people remain stranded at the airport.

Many are blaming airline companies such as Delta for poor service at SJU during the crisis, while others have expressed general dissatisfaction with the conditions in the airport in general.

"When we had nowhere to go you shoved 100s of us into a hot dark hole and limited our access to food and our surroundings like prisoners," passenger Claritza Brown said in a Facebook post that has since been deleted. "You dragged all of us through torment."