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Wed, 04 May 2016
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Cop shoots cat; tells neighbor to clean up the mess

© Facebook/ Justice for Sugar
A Pennsylvania cop who chose to shoot a man's beloved pet cat, rather than bring it to a veterinarian for a health check, will not be charged with animal cruelty — despite the rather murky circumstances of the animal's killing.

Tom Newhart and his wife rescued 'Sugar' at birth six years ago, but just over a week ago, the cat managed to slip out of their home.

"I found the cat sitting right here," said neighbor Mike Lienert, according to local 69 News, who also noted the cat appeared to be injured. Lienert then called North Catasauqua Police to help.

Top Secret

Greenpeace leaks secret TTIP files and attacks "transfer of power from people to big business"

© Ferdinand Ostrop/AP
People read documents in a 'TTIP reading room' set up by Greenpeace in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany.
Greenpeace charged today that a massive US-EU trade deal would place corporate interests above the environment and consumer safety, as it released classified documents from the negotiations.

The campaign group published 248 pages online to "shine a light" on the closed-door talks to forge a so-called Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which would be the world's largest bilateral trade and investment agreement.

"This treaty is threatening to have far reaching implications for the environment and the lives of more than 800 million citizens in the EU and US," said Greenpeace as it presented the documents in Berlin.

Both Washington and Brussels want the mega-deal completed this year before US President Barack Obama leaves office, but the agreement in the making has faced mounting opposition on both sides of the Atlantic.

In Europe there is deep suspicion that TTIP will erode social, ecological and consumer protections to the advantage of big business, while the US has also seen rising protectionist sentiment.

Greenpeace said the papers show, for example, that the US wants to be able to scrap existing EU rules in areas such as food labelling or approval of dangerous chemicals if it they spell barriers to free trade.

"TTIP is about a huge transfer of power from people to big business," the group argued, having also projected an image of a classified text passage onto the facade of Berlin's parliament building.

'Public scrutiny'

Irish MEP Luke 'Ming' Flanagan, who has been vocal in criticising what he calls the lack of transparency around the proposed deal, wrote on his Facebook today that the leaked documents showed "exactly why the negotiations need to be out in the open".


Protecting tourists: Chinese police mobilize to patrol Italian cities

© AP Photo/ Jin Yu/Xinhua via AP
The four Chinese lawmen handpicked for this assignment were trained by Italian instructors in Beijing and will be wearing their usual uniforms while patrolling the streets of the Italian cities they're assigned to.

Italian Minister of the Interior Angelino Alfano said that the experiment which was announced on Monday and will be conducted until May 13 is aimed at helping Chinese tourists feel safe and will hopefully strengthen the bond between China and Italy, La Repubblica reports.

"It is an experimental project, unprecedented for Italy and the first of its kind for Europe. Today we once again demonstrate that Italy can efficiently cooperate with agencies from other countries," Alfano said.


Off-duty cop caught on video screaming and threatening tow truck driver

Deputy Tracy Weiss
An off-duty Florida sheriff's deputy was caught on video by a tow truck driver she berated as he removed her illegally parked vehicle.

Tracy Weiss, an Orange County sheriff's deputy, became enraged after the driver towed her pickup truck, which was blocking a sidewalk, reported WFTV-TV.

A resident of the Starlight Ranch Retirement Community reported that the deputy's personal vehicle was partially blocking a sidewalk, which is used by senior citizens in wheelchairs.

Weiss ran outside to confront the driver — who recorded the incident on his cell phone. "I'm a cop — get my truck," she said. The driver asked her to put away her gun, which he spotted in the pocket of her shorts.

"You're going to f*cking jail for stealing my car," she said.


Colorado considering replacing Obamacare with universal public health care

In an unprecedented move, Colorado may become the first state to replace Obama Care with a single-payer health insurance plan that would guarantee coverage for all of the state's residents.

This November, voters in Colorado will decide whether to keep the Affordable Health Care Act or give it the boot and usher in a single-payer, state-wide health coverage plan. The $38 billion-a-year measure proposed by the organization ColoradoCare would largely be funded by tax increases.

A 10 percent hike on payroll tax would break down into 6.7 percent for employers and 3.3 percent for workers. An additional 10 percent would be levied on self-employed workers. The 10 percent tax hike would also apply to investment income and small business income.

If passed, ColoradoCare would cover all state residents and allow them to choose doctors and specialists without distinguishing between "in network" and "out of network." The plan also would eliminate deductibles.

Insurance groups and the Colorado Chamber of Commerce along with members of the medical and business fields are rallying against the plan. Opponents argue the plan's details are too vague and its cost threatens to cripple the state economy.


Towering Inferno: 28-story high rise engulfed in flames in Nanjing, China

© BREAKING / YouTube
No one was injured in the blaze.
A 28-story building in eastern China became a towering inferno after a fire broke out Tuesday.

Like a scene from a Hollywood movie, flames were captured engulfing the high-rise in downtown Nanjing, which is identified as the Longsheng Building by several media outlets.

Miraculously, there were no casualties.

Firefighters were eventually able to bring it under control, according to local news, but the cause is not yet known.


7,827 drug cases called into question after police lab tech caught faking test results

© Unknown
A lab technician for the New Jersey State Police's Office of Forensic Science has 'retired' early after being caughtfalsely identifying a substance as marijuana without conducting the proper tests. On Monday, Deputy Public Defender Judy Fallon issued a memo to Public Defender Joseph Krakora explaining Kamalkant Shah's falsified report:
"Laboratory Technician II Kamalkant Shah of the New Jersey State Police Laboratory (in Little Falls) has been found to have 'dry labbed' suspected CDS specimens. Basically, he was observed writing 'test results' for suspected marijuana that was never tested."
According to NJ Advance Media, "Ellie Honig, director of the Division of Criminal Justice of the Attorney general's office, said in [a] Feb. 22 letter to county prosecutor's offices that Shah 'failed to appropriately conduct laboratory analyses in a drug case.'"

The letter, released from the Attorney General to the news outlet on Wednesday, disclosed that "Mr. Shah was observed in one case spending insufficient time analyzing a substance to determine if it was marijuana and recording an anticipated result without properly conducting the analysis."

"The letter advised prosecutors to disclose this information to defense counsel," NJ Advance Media reported.

The former technician's indiscretion in that singular marijuana case has now called into question thousands of drug cases he conducted tests for, as the one in question was only the first observed instance of his dishonesty.

As Fallon noted, "Mr. Shah was employed with the lab from 2005 to 2015; obviously all his 'results' have been called into question."

"In Passaic County alone, the universe of cases possibly implicated in this conduct is 2,100. The Prosecutor's Office is still in the process of identifying them. Their plan is to submit for retesting specimens from open cases," she said.

Shah's fraudulent testing, overall, may have affected 7,827 drug cases on which he worked. Fallon also indicated the Little Falls crime lab provides testing for other law enforcement agencies across the state, not just the State Police.

Fallon wrote that the Prosecutor's Office for Passaic County has not yet formulated a strategy to deal with the fallout of the falsified reports. She indicated the difficulty of identifying all the potential cases whose outcomes were influenced by the inaccurate, or downright absence, of testing:

"The larger, and unanswered, question is how this impacts already resolved cases, especially those where the specimens may have been destroyed."

Alarm Clock

Carp-agedden: Australia to spend over $11mn to eradicate carps by releasing herpes virus into rivers

© David W Cerny / Reuters
Australia will spend more than US$11 million in a bid to exterminate European carp by releasing a virulent strain of herpes into the country's largest waterway.

As much as 15 million Australian dollars will be spent on funding the clearing of the Murray-Darling Basin from the country's worst freshwater feral pest. This will be included into Tuesday's federal budget, Australian authorities said on Sunday.

Interestingly enough, the war on fish is to be waged by an unusual means - the water will be contaminated with a special type of herpes, known as koi herpes.

Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) scientists have been carrying out various tests for nearly a decade on other animals including chickens, mice, frogs, turtles and water dragons "to determine the safety and suitability" of the virus in dealing with an excessive carp population.

The virus was proven to be harmless to humans and animals, but it causes kidney failure in carps, attacks their skin and kills the fish after sitting tight in its system for about seven days.

Comment: Nothing to worry about! Nothing unforeseeable could possibly happen with such a plan.

Snakes in Suits

U.S. government denying claims to cancer-stricken employees of California nuclear site to cover-up radiation dangers

© Wikipedia
Aerial photograph of Area IV (4) of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory, in the Simi Hills, Ventura County, Southern California.
Cancer-struck workers at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory in California have been denied state compensation in order to keep the danger posed by the nuclear site to nearby residential areas out of the public eye, a former employee told RT.

Hundreds of workers at the nuclear and aeronautical facility in Simi Valley, which was instrumental in the US space program from 1949 to 2006, have died or fallen ill due to exposure to radiation.

However, when those people applied for compensation in accordance with a US government program, their claims were denied, McClatchy DC reported.

The Department of Energy (DOE) explained the refusal by saying that the sick employees were unable to prove that they had worked in 'Area IV' at Santa Susana.

Only staff from this section are eligible for compensations as 'Area IV' was the location of nuclear reactor experimentations and development, according to the Department of Labor, which is responsible for making payments.

Comment: Nuclear power kills! Nuclear Regulatory Commission cancelled its nuclear site cancer study


Bad neighbor: New report reveals damage to human health and extensive environmental contamination from U.S. air base in Okinawa

An unknown substance claimed to be sea dye leaks from a tank on Kadena Air Base in an undated photo. No records exist for the spill suggesting it was unreported even within the military.
Located in the center of Okinawa Island, Kadena Air Base is the largest United States Air Force installation in Asia.

Equipped with two 3.7 kilometer runways and thousands of hangars, homes and workshops, the base and its adjoining arsenal at Chibana sprawl across 46 square kilometers of Okinawa's main island. Approximately 20,000 American service members, contractors and their families live or work here alongside 3,000 Japanese employees. More than 16,000 Okinawans own the land upon which the installation sits.1

Kadena Air Base hosts the biggest combat wing in the USAF - the 18th Wing - and, during the past seven decades, the installation has served as an important launch pad for wars in Korea, Vietnam and Iraq. Given the long history of Kadena Air Base and its city-sized scale, it is easy to understand why the USAF calls it "The Keystone of the Pacific."

But until now, no one has realized the damage the base has inflicted on the environment and those who live in its vicinity. Documents obtained under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act reveal how years of accidents and neglect have polluted local land and water with hazardous chemicals including arsenic, lead, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), asbestos and dioxin. Military authorities have often hidden this contamination, putting at risk the health of U.S. service members, Okinawan base employees, and the 184,000 Okinawan civilians living in neighboring communities.

Comment: It's no wonder the Japanese have been furiously protesting against the U.S. military presence for years: