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Wed, 26 Apr 2017
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Utter nonsense: Transgender students 'shouldn't have to declare sex for uni sports teams

© Jonathan Drake / Reuters
Transgender and intersex students should not have to declare their birth gender when applying to university sports teams, the National Union of Students (NUS) is expected to rule.

Students are currently only allowed to join university sports teams based on the sex they were born as rather than what gender they identify with now.

This can act as a "barrier" for trans students, according to a motion due to be debated by the NUS at its annual conference on Tuesday.

Cowboy Hat

Mexican drug lord 'El Chapo' complains about reruns, tap water, poor view at New York prison

© Edgard Garrido / Reuters
Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman.
Notorious Mexican drug lord Joaquín 'El Chapo' Guzmán has been protesting against the conditions of his incarceration that are so stressful defense lawyers claim he is hearing voices.

Since his extradition to the US from his native Mexico, 'El Chapo' has been housed in 10 South, the most secure wing of New York's Metropolitan Correctional Center, dubbed the 'Guantanamo in New York.'

Prisoners in 10 South aren't permitted to go outside, and spend 23 hours a day locked in a cell, constantly monitored by security cameras.

Star of David

IDF fire tear gas & rubber bullets at supporters of Palestinian hunger-striking prisoners

© Issam Rimawi / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images
Beit-el checkpoint in Ramallah, West Bank on April 24, 2017.
At least nine people have been injured in the West Bank after Israeli soldiers reportedly fired rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse protesters who marched in support of the Palestinian prisoners' mass hunger strike.

Clashes broke out between Israeli forces and Palestinian youths on Monday night after the Fatah movement organized a march in the city of Al-Bireh, in the center of the occupied West Bank and 15 kilometers (9.5 mi) north of Jerusalem.

Marching from Yasser Arafat Square in central Ramallah towards the Israeli Beit El checkpoint north of the Al-Bireh city, the activists called on the international community to support the Palestinian hunger strikers in Israeli jails.

Star of David

Netanyahu issues Holocaust Remembrance Day warning

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday threatened to destroy those who call for the destruction of Israel, in a speech to mark the annual Holocaust Remembrance Day.

"Iran and the Islamic state want to destroy us, and a hatred for Jews is being directed towards the Jewish state today," he said at a ceremony in Jerusalem's Yad Vashem memorial. "Those who threaten to destroy us risk being destroyed themselves," Netanyahu warned. "From being defenseless people, we have become a state with a defensive capacity that is among the strongest in the world," he said.

Six Holocaust survivors lit torches in memory of the six million Jews killed by the Nazis during the 1939-1945 World War II.

Israel will also come to a standstill for two minutes at 10 am local time (0700 GMT) on Thursday as sirens wail in remembrance of the Jewish victims of Nazism.

Radio stations and television channels on Sunday were broadcasting programmes about the genocide. More than 213,000 Holocaust survivors live in Israel today, many of them below the poverty line, according to survivors' groups.

Comment: Nothing like threats of retaliatory violence, destruction and annihilation to honor a Remembrance Day for violence, destruction and annihilation. Netanyahu is remarkably adept in keeping hatred alive while bragging at the prowess and resources of Israel's defense (offense) capabilities.

A remembrance day, while a reminder of the past, should evoke some sort of change that makes the world a better place, at least to honor those who were sacrificed. Unfortunately, that is not, and never will be Israel.

Arrow Down

Cartel turf wars: Mexico's unrelenting violence climbs to new highs

© AP / Enric Marti
Onlookers watch as police officers and forensic investigators inspect the site where an unidentified man was shot at the El Coloso neighborhood, in Acapulco, Mexico, May 12, 2016.
In March, Mexico had more than 2,000 homicide cases in a month for the first time since summer 2011, when the country was mired in the throes of a bloody cartel war.

The country also had more killings in the first quarter of 2017 than in the start of any year in at least two decades, according to government data released Friday.

Unlike in 2011, when a bloody cartel fight in Ciudad Juarez pushed the national body count to new heights, the current violence has been spread over a number of states.

In January, 25 of the country's 32 states saw increases in homicides compared to the same month in 2016.

Throughout Mexico, there were 2,020 homicide cases in March, up roughly 11% from February. For January through March, there were 5,775 killings around the country, up 29% from the same period in 2016.

Comment: Conspicuously absent from the discussion is the role the US plays in the highly lucrative drug trade:


Austrian official suspected of selling residence permits to migrants and asylum seekers

© Reuters
Omar, a 27-year-old cook originally from Deraa stands in front of the asylum processing centre in Traiskirchen, Austria, October 13, 2015.
Austrian official, working for the Lower Austrian Foreign Office of the Federal Office for Foreign Affairs and Asylum (BFA), is suspected of having sold residence permits to the migrants and refugees.

According to a report in the Saturday edition of Die Presse, the allegedly corrupted official was in charge of issuing residence permits and is said to have demanded up to 2,500 Euros per issuing a single one. The residence permits were sold to the refugees and migrants from the refugee camp in a town of Traiskirchen, located in the district of Baden in Lower Austria.

The State Prosecutor's Office for Economic Crime and Corruption confirmed the existence of an ongoing investigation. According to spokeswoman Ingrid Maschl-Clausen, the official is suspected to be involved in the acts of bribery and corruption.

The allegedly corrupted official has already been suspended in Autumn 2016. The number of residence permits sold is assumed to be in the "single-digit range". If suspicion of bribery turns out to be legitimate, the asylum seekers involved will have to repeat the whole process of obtaining a residence permit.


Chicago nearing 1,000 gunshot victims this year after another violent weekend

© Abel Uribe / Chicago Tribune
Chicago police investigate a double shooting at 79th Street and Maryland Avenue on April 22, 2017.
The number of people shot in Chicago this year is nearing 1,000 after a violent weekend left seven dead and 31 others wounded, according to data kept by the Tribune.

As of Monday morning, at least 992 people had been shot in Chicago this year. Last year, the city passed the 1,000 mark on April 20 and had reached 1,054 by this time, the Tribune data show.

The pace of homicides is virtually the same as last year. There have been at least 179 homicides so far this year compared with 180 this time last year, according to the data.

The weekend violence included a span of seven hours Sunday when four men were fatally shot and six other people were wounded across the city. Two of those killed were shot within 15 minutes on the city's South and West sides.

Comment: It seems little has changed in Chicago since Trump threatened to send in Federal agents to contend with the problem.


40-60 teenagers swarm San Francisco train, assault and rob riders in 'takeover-style heist'

© Brian Yuen
Passengers aboard an idle BART train.
A recent string of robberies on BART trains took a frightening turn when dozens of juveniles swarmed an Oakland station over the weekend and commandeered a train car, forcing passengers to hand over bags and cell phones and leaving at least two with head injuries, witnesses told the transit agency.

The incident — the first of its kind in recent memory — occurred around 9:30 p.m. Saturday at Coliseum Station.

According to a police officials, witnesses said 40 to 60 juveniles flooded the station, jumped the fare gates and rushed to the second-story train platform. Some of the robbers apparently held open the doors of a Dublin-bound train car while others streamed inside, confronting and robbing and in some cases beating riders.

The juveniles "committed multiple strong-arm robberies of bags and cell phones," said a police summary prepared after the incident. "At least two victims suffered head/facial injuries requiring medical attention."

Stock Up

Stranger danger: 31% of Americans reportedly see Russia as "greatest danger" to US

© Sputnik/ Sergey Pyatakov
Answering an open-ended question, 31 percent of Americans said Russia currently represents the "greatest danger" to the US, according to a new poll. It is the highest percentage of Americans expressing this sentiment in nearly three decades.

The new Pew Research Center survey also found that Russia is by far the number one national threat in the eyes of Democrats, as 39 percent see Russia as the greatest threat to America, while 21 percent cited North Korea, and 13 percent said it was China.

Opinions were divided among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, with 27 percent saying North Korea presently poses the greatest danger to the US; 21 percent cited Russia, and 18 percent - Iran.

Compared with 2013, the last time the same question was asked, larger numbers in both parties cited Russia as posing the greatest danger to the US. Almost twice as many Democrats as Republicans now express a more hostile attitude (39 percent vs. 21 percent).

Comment: How the propaganda machine works. It would probably be wise for Americans to consider this bit of wisdom from Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson:
"Every time you tell yourself a lie and every time you act out a falsehood, you distort the pristine integrity of your nervous system, and the reports it will give you about the nature of the world will be distorted."
And that inevitably leads to bad results.


Police State USA: Georgia cops illegally grope 900 high school students and find nothing

Children feel violated, parents are furious, and a lawsuit is getting filed after the Worth County Sheriff's office conducted an illegal search of 900 students — in the name of the war on drugs. The rights-violating intrusive and aggressive pat-downs and drug dog searches yielded absolutely nothing.

On April 14, when the students of Worth County High School returned from spring break, they arrived at school to find a police state had taken over. The sheriff and his deputies — with no probable cause — detained and illegally searched every single child in the school, all 900 of them.

When kids went home that day to tell their parents what happened, naturally, they were furious as it is a gross violation of the children's 4th Amendment rights.

"It's essentially a fourth amendment violation," said attorney Mark Begnaud. "It's 900 illegal searches, suspicion-less pat downs, suspicion-less searches."

Naturally, Sheriff Jeff Hobby is standing by this rights violation on a massive scale, noting that as long as a school administrator was present, the search of the children was legal.

Comment: See also: The disturbing history of police in schools: More than a few rogue cops