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Fri, 24 Jan 2020
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Kentucky miners block train loaded with coal over lack of pay

Kentucky miners block train
© Lexington Herald Leader
Some Kentucky coal miners and their families stood on train tracks Monday to prevent a train loaded with coal from leaving, saying they had worked since Dec. 16 without being paid. The tracks lead from Quest Energy in Pike County.

A CSX crew went to the tracks to get the engine and left the loaded train cars there, CBS affiliate WYMT-TV reported. Miners told the station they expected to be paid Friday, then were told to wait until Monday, when the date was pushed back again.

Miners at the tracks told WYMT about 50 miners are owed for three weeks of work.


Attention

Climate scientists should stop depressing themselves (and us!) with made-up mental disorders

Extinction Rebellion
© Getty Images / Mike Kemp
Extinction Rebellion climate change protester screams helplessly into the London sky
I'm not surprised that some climate scientists claim that they suffer from a new mental health condition called 'ecological grief'. These days the way you draw attention to your cause is by highlighting the emotional pain you suffer.

A label in search of victims

The Guardian reports that researchers are forming ecological-grief support groups online to "share their feelings."

Scientists reporting their sense of environmental loss, self-consciously come across as mental health patients in search of coping strategies.

Professor Steve Simpson, a marine biologist at the University of Exeter, argues that it is essential to find ways of sharing ecological grief and "work together to support each other." Another researcher, Ashlee Consolo, explains that ecological grief is "certainly painful" and "it can be terribly isolating" for "it can be a really horrible experience."

Comment:


Arrow Down

Project Veritas - Bernie campaigner dreams of slaying MSNBC hosts: 'Liberals get the f***ing wall first'

Kyle Jurek
Undercover footage released by Project Veritas on Tuesday shows a field organizer for Sen. Bernie Sanders's (I-VT) 2020 campaign warning that liberals will "get the fucking wall first" in a socialist revolution.

The remark, uttered by an individual identified as Kyle Jurek, was prompted by a Project Veritas journalist, who asked: "Guys like that (liberals), what are we going to do with them?"

"Gulag," Jurek quipped with a laugh, before adding: "Liberals get the fucking wall first."


Bullseye

'So long, Spartacus' - Twitterati give Booker mocking send off to failed presidential campaign

cory booker spartacus
Update: As is his custom, President Trump greeted news of Booker dropping out with a sardonic tweet claiming he will "rest easy tonight" knowing that the 0%-polling Dem is out of the running.



Meanwhile, elsewhere on Twitter, users are joking about the prospect of Booker and Kamala Harris suing the DNC for racism.

Heart - Black

Masked man born before World War II arrested in suspected bank robbery in Greenville, SC

Gilbert Paul Ware
A man born before World War II even began has been arrested after allegedly robbing a bank in South Carolina while wearing a mask.

Police responded to a report of a bank robbery at around 9:30 a.m. on Monday morning at a bank in Greenville, South Carolina.

The suspect, later identified as 86-year-old Gilbert Paul Ware, had allegedly entered the bank while wearing a mask and brandishing a firearm demanding money from the employees.

The bank tellers complied with the request and handed over an undisclosed amount of money to the bank robber. Ware then got into his car and left the premises with the money.

Eye 1

1,200 French doctors RESIGN from supervisory roles in protest over govt funding for public hospitals

Doctor
© GlobalLookPress/West Coast Surfer/moodboard 32
Almost 1,200 hospital doctors in France are resigning from supervisory roles in protest over public hospital funding and the government's handling of employee concerns about staffing levels.

Medical staff have accused the government of failing to engage in negotiations over public hospital services and what they say are serious shortfalls in funding. In an open letter to French Minister of Health Agnès Buzyn, the resigning doctors on Tuesday criticized the budget laid out for public hospitals in 2020 as "too little, too partial, too spread out over time."

"The deterioration of the working conditions of professionals is such that it calls into question the quality of care and threatens the safety of patients," the doctors added.

Thousands of other hospital staff and caregivers have signed a letter of support for the doctors, backing their calls for hiring additional staff and increasing the salaries of young doctors and non-medical staff.

Comment: See also:


Dollars

23andMe is cashing in on drugs it developed with your DNA. Should its customers get a cut?

23 and Me
© Reuters / George Frey
but those rounded edges looked so friendly...
Gene-testing company 23andMe has licensed a drug it synthesized using customers' DNA to Spain's largest pharmaceutical company, raising thorny questions of privacy - and property. Whose genes are they, anyway?

The Google-backed genetics firm licensed an antibody it identified and synthesized to treat psoriasis and other inflammatory diseases to Spanish drug maker Almirall SA after identifying the compound and shepherding it through animal testing itself, 23andMe announced last week. Almirall will conduct human testing and "commercialize the antibody for worldwide use." The deal's financial terms were not made public, but Almirall boasts annual revenues of nearly $1 billion and the 'biologic' drugs used to treat psoriasis are some of the most expensive medications in existence, costing patients up to $38,000 per year. It's safe to say 23andMe has cashed in handsomely on its customers' genetic material. Does it owe them anything?

The Almirall deal is the first time 23andMe has directly sold a product created from the genetic data of the 10 million-plus users who have submitted their DNA over the company's history. While the company claims 80 percent of its users have expressly consented to having their genetic material used for "drug discovery," its 'Therapeutics' division, which shares anonymized customer data with at least six biotech and pharmaceutical firms, has only existed since 2015, and it was only in 2018 that 23andMe inked the $300 million partnership with GlaxoSmithKline that gave one of the biggest entities in Big Pharma exclusive rights to paw through 23andMe customers' DNA for possible drug targets. Early adopters likely had no clue their genetic material would lead to such large sums of money changing hands.

X

'Culture of clickbait': Harvard law professor sues NYT for defamation over 'false statements' in Epstein donations story

New York Times headquarters

New York Times headquarters
A Harvard law professor has filed a defamation suit against the New York Times, alleging the influential newspaper soiled his reputation by distorting his publicly-held views on convicted sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.

The case was filed with the US District Court in Massachusetts on Monday by Lawrence Lessig - a policy activist and founder of the Creative Commons project - who says the Times used a "clickbait" headline to misinform readers in an article published in September, which led him to be unfairly "associated with the notoriety surrounding the Epstein scandal."

The paper's actions "are part of a growing journalistic culture of clickbaiting: the use of a shocking headline... to entice readers to click on a particular article, irrespective of the truth of the headline," Lessig's lawsuit reads.

"[The Times is] fully aware that many, if not most, readers never read past the clickbait and that their takeaway concerning the target of the headline is limited to what they read in the headline."

Comment: Mass media lives by the mantra "repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truth". It comes as no surprise the Times will "defend vigorously" his claim against them. See also:


Green Light

Iran-Iraq-Syria plan to move ahead on historic transnational 'land-bridge' railroad, aims to link up with China's BRI

land bridge iraq
© Adapted from map by Franc Milburn in Strategic Assessment (Israel)
The northern (red) and southern (green) routes of the land bridge. The southern route has upper and lower branches that pass, respectively, through al-Qaim/Albu Kamal and al-Tanf.
In November 2018, Iran, Iraq, and Syria reached a provisional agreement to build a "land-bridge" railroad and highway corridor extending from the Persian Gulf in Iran through Iraq to the Mediterranean port of Latakia in Syria, a distance of 1,570 km (975 miles). In combination with the Belt and Road Initiative, it could transform the intervening three nations. The construction of the first phase of the project is soon to begin.

The first phase is to build a 32 km railroad between Shalamcheh in southwestern Iran on the Iraq border, and Basra, Iraq. This involves building a few sections of rail line that are needed, and a bridge that would arch over the Arvand Rud/Shatt Al-Arab, a marsh-influenced waterway below the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers.

The second, longer phase of the transport corridor would build the railroad, and some sections of highway, from Basra, 1,545 km to the Syrian port of Latakia on the Mediterranean.

Comment: Sowing chaos in the region does appear to serve a great many agendas:


Yellow Vest

French lawyers throw off their robes to back ongoing strike against pension reform

lawyers strike
© Reuters / Eric Gaillard
Striking lawyers' robes on a courthouse fence in Nice
Lawyers across France are discarding their robes in a dramatic show of solidarity, signaling they will not give up on what has become a two-month strike against unpopular pension reforms - even if it disrupts high-profile trials.

Bar associations in cities all over France have staged theatrical demonstrations to draw the public's attention to the longest general strike in decades, which has been underway since December 5. Videos posted on social media show the lawyers tossing off their robes, carrying a "coffin of justice," spelling out "SOS" with law books, and singing protest songs as they demand a retraction of the new pension system Macron's government recently unveiled.

The strike has disrupted some major trials, including that of former priest Bernard Preynat - the worst clergy abuse case to reach French courts so far. Preynat is accused of sexually abusing 75 Boy Scouts; while he admitted to the abuse in the 1990s, he was only defrocked in July after his superiors covered up for him. He faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted, but the case is on hold due to the strike.

Comment: See also: Police crack down as striking workers and Yellow Vest protesters converge on streets across France