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Fri, 28 Jul 2017
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Russian ombudsman says excluding women from military conscription is a violation of their rights

© Alexey Danichev / Sputnik
Russia's human rights ombudsman says excluding women from universal military conscription is a violation, and has promised to address the issue in the near future.

"Maybe I will not get support from everyone here, but I think that our girls' right for conscription service as privates is infringed. They cannot get permission for this and this is wrong," Tatyana Moskalkova said as she spoke at the Terra Scientia international educational youth forum.

Moskalkova also said the government should offer more support to military pensioners, and to widows and orphans of deceased servicemen.

Heart - Black

Prison bans in-person visits to inmates and replaces them with video calls

© WPRI / YouTube
A jail in Dartmouth, Massachusetts is ending in-person visits to inmates and replacing them with Skype-like video calls. The move is supposed to crack down on drug smuggling, prison officials said.

Comment: Until prisons start making a real effort to keep guards from importing contraband, there will be no end to drugs being smuggled in to prison.

In the coming weeks, visitors who wish to talk to their loved ones at the Bristol County House of Corrections will be taken to a trailer set up on the prison grounds and outfitted with rows of video conference equipment, according to Boston's WCVB-TV.

"We want to keep visitors out of the secure portion of our jail," Bristol County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Jonathan Darling told WCVB. He said they've had issues with drugs being left in the visitor's room.

Darling told Quartz that it was also about "convenience" for the families, who now won't have to go through security to visit their loved ones. He said the visitors weren't losing any contact with the inmates, because up until now visitors and inmates were separated by glass barriers.

Comment: It's doubtful many families or prisoners will see the "convenience" behind being separated from their loved ones because prison officials are tired of dealing with security.


Bundy Ranch activist convicted and given 68 years in prison for connection to armed militia standoff in Nevada

© Jim Urquhart / Reuters
FILE PHOTO: Protesters gather at the Bureau of Land Management's base camp near Bunkerville, Nevada April 12, 2014
A man has been sentenced to 68 years behind bars in relation to a standoff in Nevada, which came to be led by infamous rancher Cliven Bundy. He is one of two men who has been convicted in the first of many trials related to the armed standoff.

Gregory Burleson, 53, of Phoenix was found guilty of eight felony counts in April, which included charges of obstruction of justice, threatening and assaulting federal officers, interstate travel in aid of extortion, and firearms offenses related to a crime of violence. US District Judge Gloria Navarro presided over the case.

One co-defendant in the case, Todd Engel, was also found guilty by the same jury and is awaiting a September trial. Seventeen defendants in all are implicated in the Bundy ranch standoff, Reuters reported.


Teen arrested after live-streaming fatal car crash

An 18-year-old woman who allegedly caused a crash that killed her younger sister - a tragic incident which was also live-streamed on Instagram - has been arrested by police in California.

Obdulia Sanchez from Stockton, south of Sacramento, was booked into Mercer County Jail on charges of driving under the influence and vehicular manslaughter while under the influence, KFSN reported.

The suspect's 14-year-old sister was killed in the crash while another girl of the same age from Fresno, south of San Jose, was badly injured.

Neither were wearing seatbelts, according to Mercer County Sheriff Vern Warnke.


As Ukraine cuts energy to Donetsk, Germany's press reverts to its dark past

Kiev has left Donetsk totally in the dark with all electricity supplies cut off. The ensuing humanitarian disaster has been not only ignored by the German media, but there are alarming similarities in today's press with how press outlets from Germany and central Europe spoke of the same places in the 1940s.

When one looks at the Western (and in particular the German) interpretation of news from Ukraine and Crimea, the impression is that journalists in modern Germany (and in the West in general) have an even more crooked psyche and conscience than journalists in the Hitler-dominated Nazi Third Reich.

Wednesday's news is a good example. The Ukrainian media triumphantly reported that "on July 26 Ukraine has totally stopped all deliveries of electric energy to the temporarily uncontrolled territory of Donetsk region (ORDO)." Explanation for the Westerners: ORDLO is the abbreviated name which the Ukrainian "revolutionary" authorities gave to those areas in Donetsk region which did not recognize the post-Maidan "revolutionary" government of Ukraine and managed to fend off the Ukrainian army's punitive onslaught during the summer war in 2014.


Human trafficking in the Philippines: Its root causes and present day tragedies

In this two part series on the US/Philippines human trafficking epidemic, Abby Martin recalls the history of the colonization of the Philippines and how it has led to a dramatic rise in human trafficking of Philippine workers. She interviews the executive director of Damayan, the 8,000 member strong New York City based organization created and led by Filipino women domestic workers that provides legal assistance to migrant workers and human trafficking victims, as well as other victims of human trafficking who have experienced the dark side of migrant employment.

Part One: Buying a Slave - The Hidden World of US/Philippines Trafficking


Obesity has become a global epidemic, US leads the way as world's fattest nation

Life threatening obesity has become a worldwide epidemic, with 711 million overweight around the globe led by French fry loving Americans.

A detailed report in the latest New England Journal of Medicine is winning alarmed attention in Washington because it finds that American children and adults are leading the obesity parade.

"The highest level of age-standardized childhood obesity was observed in the United States, 12.7 percent," said the report.

"The United States and China had the highest numbers of obese adults," added the authoritative study.

Obesity is no secret in the U.S., but the continued domestic epidemic, especially after the former Obama administration declared war on it, is alarming officials.

Comment: Helpful information:

Heart - Black

Cruel: Video of shark tied to boat and dragged to its death angers public and leads to investigation by Fish and Wildlife Commission

Video of a shark, tied to a boat, and dragged-to-death, is angering tens of thousands of people on social media and has caught the attention of state investigators.

The video appears to show a shark, tied by its tail, dragged by a speeding boat. The image then moves to show three men on that boat, laughing as they look back at the shark.

"When I first saw it I almost, like, threw up. It was so horrifying," said the South Florida shark hunter known as Mark The Shark. He claims a social media admirer sent him the video looking for praise.

"They said 'Oh, this is pretty cool, look what we did to the shark' and I go 'Are you kidding me man?' and that's when I instantly reposted it and that's when all the feedback started coming out. All the people started going crazy and it went viral."

Comment: Investigators have since identified the individuals involved. It remains to be seen if any of them will face charges for their disturbingly cruel behavior.


7 injured 1 killed, after Ohio State Fair ride malfunctions (GRAPHIC VIDEO)

© AyPayTV / YouTube
An 18-year-old man has died and at least seven other people aged 13 to 41 are injured, some critically, following a disaster aboard the Fire Ball "thrill ride" at the Ohio State Fair.

As many as five of the injured are in critical condition, according to local media. Columbus Fire Battalion Chief Steve Martin confirmed that the deceased victim was thrown from the ride, Fox News reported. He was 18 years old and died on impact 50 feet from the ride after being thrown into the air at about 7:20pm Eastern on Wednesday, according to the Columbus Dispatch. The fire department confirmed that an 18-year-old was killed, WTTE reported.

The Ohio State Fair opened Wednesday and is set to last until August 6, but other rides were shut down Wednesday.


'International criminal mastermind' who ran Bitcoin exchange charged with laundering $4 billion

© Alexandros Avramidis / Reuters
Alexander Vinnik, a 38 year old Russian man (2nd L) suspected of running a money laundering operation, is escorted by plain-clothes police officers to a court in Thessaloniki, Greece July 26, 2017.
Cryptocurrency exchange platform BTC-E has gone on "maintenance" after the arrest of alleged Bitcoin "crime mastermind" Aleksandr Vinnik in Greece. Vinnik has been indicted by a grand jury in California, reportedly on charges of laundering $4 billion.

"An internationally sought 'mastermind' of a crime organization has been arrested," said a statement from Greek law enforcement officials.

"Since 2011, the 38-year-old [Vinnik] has been running a criminal organization which administers one of the most important websites of electronic crime in the world," the statement said, adding that "at least" $4 billion is believed to have been laundered.