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Mon, 09 Dec 2019
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Bomb

2 injured after blast rocks downtown Jakarta near presidential palace

Jakarta
© REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan
Indonesian police officers stand guard following a blast at National Monument (Monas) complex in Jakarta, Indonesia, December 3, 2019.
An investigation has been launched into the incident. The explosion hit the area opposite the Ministry of Interior inside Indonesia's National Monument Park at around 7:20am local time on Tuesday morning.

A video has emerged on social media showing a man, his face and clothes covered in blood, lying motionless on the ground before slowly sitting up.

Two people were injured in the blast, local media reported. Both of them were taken to the hospital for treatment.

The site of the explosion, Indonesia's National Park - commonly referred to as Monas park - is located in front of the presidential palace, where military servicemen were reportedly performing an exercise at the time of the blast.

Comment: See also: Indonesian society splinters under conservative draft laws


Arrow Down

California cop caught fondling corpse

Police Body Camera
© Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images
A Los Angeles Police Department officer's body-worn camera caught the incident even though he turned it off, according to the LA Times.
A veteran Los Angeles police officer is under investigation after his body-worn camera captured him allegedly fondling a dead woman's breasts.

The officer, who is assigned to downtown's Central Division, was placed on leave once supervisors reviewed the footage during a random inspection, LAPD officials said.

The incident occurred when the officer and his partner responded to a call about a possible dead woman in a residential unit, sources said. Once the two officers determined the woman was dead, one officer returned to the patrol car to retrieve something. During that time, the accused officer turned off his body-worn camera and allegedly fondled the woman's breasts, LAPD officials said.

Although the officer deactivated the camera, a two-minute buffer on the device captured the incident. The department is also investigating the officer's work history.

"We immediately launched an administrative investigation once we learned about the incident," chief spokesman Josh Rubenstein said, "and we assigned the officer to home." He declined to comment further.

Assistant Chief Robert Arcos called the recording "very disturbing."

The Los Angeles Police Protective League, the union that represents rank-and-file cops, called the allegations troubling.

Camcorder

Smile America! DHS to expand airport face recognition scans to include US citizens

DHS facial recognition
© Getty Images
Homeland Security wants to expand facial recognition checks for travelers arriving to and departing from the U.S. to also include citizens, which had previously been exempt from the mandatory checks.

In a filing, the department has proposed that all travelers, and not just foreign nationals or visitors, will have to complete a facial recognition check before they are allowed to enter the U.S., but also to leave the country.

Facial recognition for departing flights has increased in recent years as part of Homeland Security's efforts to catch visitors and travelers who overstay their visas. The department, whose responsibility is to protect the border and control immigration, has a deadline of 2021 to roll out facial recognition scanners to the largest 20 airports in the United States, despite facing a rash of technical challenges.

But although there may not always be a clear way to opt-out of facial recognition at the airport, U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents — also known as green card holders — have been exempt from these checks, the existing rules say. Now, the proposed rule change to include citizens has drawn ire from one of the largest civil liberties groups in the country.

Comment: Are we sure they aren't doing this already? Don't we find out stuff after the fact? Will our collective 'opportunity to comment' prior to implementation make one pixel of difference?


Chart Bar

Google co-founders Brin, Page step down, Pichai takes over

google's Sergey Brin and Larry Page
Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the Stanford students who founded Google 21 years ago as a research project before transforming it into one of the world's most valuable companies, are stepping back from their day-to-day roles at tech holding company Alphabet, ending what is arguably the most successful management double-act in history. Sundar Pichai, who in 2015 became the CEO of Google, will also become the CEO of Alphabet.

In a public letter announcing the change, Mr Page and Mr Brin did not give specific reasons for stepping away from the company, instead painting it as a natural progression for Alphabet as it becomes a more mature company.
"Today, in 2019, if the company was a person, it would be a young adult of 21 and it would be time to leave the roost. While it has been a tremendous privilege to be deeply involved in the day-to-day management of the company for so long, we believe it's time to assume the role of proud parents — offering advice and love, but not daily nagging!"

Comment: See also:


Attention

Baltimore Mayor warns of body "snatching" white van targeting young girls to sell their organs

white van
Seriously WTF!

We tend to report on how Baltimore City's socio-economic crisis is sending the region into a collapse. Now there's a new report that appears to be literally from a third world country!

Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. "Jack" Young warned in an interview this week with WBAL News' Vanessa Herring that a white van has been running around the city targeting young girls for their organs, reported The Baltimore Sun.
"We're getting reports of somebody in a white van trying to snatch up young girls for human trafficking and for selling body parts, I'm told. So we have to be careful because there's so much evil going on, not just in the city of Baltimore, but around the country," Young said. "It's all over Facebook."

Comment: So, either this is a bit of sensationalist rumor-spreading by Baltimore's new mayor - or there are in fact some horrific cases of human trafficking occurring that local and federal law enforcement do not want to advertise for various reasons.


No Entry

Powder Keg: FDA bowed to industry for decades as alarms were sounded over talc

FDA headquarters
© REUTERS/Jason Reed
The headquarters of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is seen in Silver Spring, Maryland November 4, 2009.
At an invitation-only gathering late last year, U.S. regulators and their guests huddled at a hotel near Washington, D.C., to discuss the best way to detect cancer-causing asbestos in talc powders and cosmetics.

The "Asbestos in Talc Symposium," sponsored by the Food and Drug Administration, was dominated by industry hands: Most of the 21 non-government participants had done work for talc companies, such as testing and serving as expert witnesses and consultants, symposium documents and other records show.

Key sessions were led by witnesses for Johnson & Johnson in lawsuits alleging the company failed to warn customers that its Baby Powder was tainted with cancer-causing asbestos, the records show. Others who sought invitations were turned away, including a physician who had testified against J&J in trials that resulted in billions of dollars in damage awards against the company.

Comment: See also:


2 + 2 = 4

How dumb have we become? Chinese students are 4 grade levels ahead of US students in math

Chinese girl
How in the world is America supposed to remain "the greatest country on Earth" when other nations are absolutely running circles around us when it comes to education? As you will see below, one survey found that 15-year-old students in China are almost four full grade levels ahead of 15-year-old students in the United States in mathematics. This is one of the most damning indictments of our education system that I have ever come across, and it is yet another clear indication that what we are doing is simply not working. Our children are not being given the tools that they need to compete in our modern society, and we have only ourselves to blame.

Perhaps you are thinking that the survey must be flawed somehow.

Well, this wasn't some fluky survey that was only given to a handful of students. Every three years, the Program for International Student Assessment evaluates 15-year-old students all over the world in a variety of subject areas, and in 2018 approximately 32 million students participated...
The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is a survey given to 15-year-old students around the world every three years, which tests the core subjects of reading, mathematics, and science. In 2018, 79 countries and economies participated, representing about 32 million 15-year-olds.

Monkey Wrench

Jeffrey Epstein's private banker at Deutsche & Citi found swinging from a rope; executive 'suicide' just before FBI was to question him

Thomas Bowers

Thomas Bowers
Jeffrey Epstein's private wealth banker, who brokered and signed off on untold multiple millions of dollars in controversial Deutsche Bank and Citibank loans spanning two decades for the convicted pedophile, has died from a reported suicide.

The news of yet another mysterious Epstein-linked death comes shortly after the FBI was seeking to interview the bank executive about loans he approved for Epstein and the indicted child trafficker's labyrinth of US-based and offshore companies.

The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner confirmed Thomas Bowers died by an apparent suicide by hanging at his home before Thanksgiving.

Epstein likewise died from a reported suicide by hanging, according to the New York City Medical Examiner.

Bowers headed the private wealth banking division for Deutsche Bank and signed off on millions in loans to Epstein. Bowers, prior to taking over the private banking arm at Deutsche Bank, served in the same top position at Citibank, as the head of the bank's private wealth arm. Citigroup also made massive loans to Epstein, according to records and banking sources who spoke to True Pundit.

Comment: We're sure that Bowers' suicide has nothing whatsoever to do with all the illegal financial connections Epstein likely had with those in high places.


Piggy Bank

Study: UK's six richest people control as much wealth as poorest 13 million

Six billionaires at the top of the UK wealth league have a combined fortune of £39.4bn
© Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
Six billionaires at the top of the UK wealth league have a combined fortune of £39.4bn
'Extreme inequality is the story of Ferraris and food banks,' says the Equality Trust

The UK's six richest people control as much wealth as the poorest 13 million, according to research into the gaping inequality in British society.

Six billionaires at the top of the UK wealth league have a combined fortune of £39.4bn, which, according to analysis by the Equality Trust, is roughly equal to the assets of 13.2 million Britons.

The richest six are: the Indian brothers Gopichand and Srichand Hinduja, who control a conglomerate of businesses, including cars and banks, and top the table with a £12.8bn fortune; Sir Jim Ratcliffe, the chairman and chief executive of the chemicals company Ineos, with £9.2bn; the hedge fund manager Michael Platt, who has an estimated £6.1bn; and the property developer brothers David and Simon Reuben, whose net worth is estimated at £5.7bn each. The estimates are based on wealth reports produced by Forbes magazine and Credit Suisse.

Comment: More on the vast and growing gap of wealth between the elite few - and the majority of people living in the West:


Ambulance

21 killed, including police officers, near Texas - Mexico border

The City Hall of Villa Union
© AP Photo/Gerardo Sanchez
The City Hall of Villa Union is riddled with bullet holes after a gun battle between Mexican security forces and suspected cartel gunmen, Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019.
At least 21 people were killed, including four police officers, during a gun battle between suspected Mexican drug cartel members and security forces near the U.S-Mexico border, it was reported.

The shootout occurred on Nov. 30 in Villa Union in Coahuila state, about an hour from the Texas border.

"These groups won't be allowed to enter state territory," the government of Coahuila said in a statement, Fox News reported. The death toll was revised up from 14, according to several news reports early on Dec. 1.

Standing outside the Villa Union mayor's bullet-riddled offices, Coahuila Gov. Miguel Angel Riquelme told Reuters that the fighting went on for an hour.

"I don't think that Mexico needs intervention. I think Mexico needs collaboration and cooperation," Riquelme said.

"We're convinced that the state has the power to overcome the criminals," he said, referring to President Donald Trump's recent statement that he would designate Mexican drug cartels as terrorist organizations.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has said he wouldn't accept any foreign intervention in Mexico to deal with the violent drug cartels.