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Tue, 25 Oct 2016
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Civilians in East Aleppo Call on UN to Make 'Rebels' Let Them Flee

The civilians of Aleppo need you, Staffan. Where are you now that Nusra refused your offer to escort them out of Aleppo?
A large number of people in militant-held districts in Aleppo city in Northern Syrian called on the UN Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, to force Jeish al-Fatah's leaders to stop blocking civilians' exit from the Eastern districts of the city, local sources said Saturday.

"Civilians in the Eastern districts of Aleppo city have been calling their relative and friends in government-held neighborhoods of the city to urge UN officials, mainly de Mistura, to help them leave Aleppo via six government-established corridors," the sources said.

"They have reported in their phone calls with friends and relatives that the terrorist groups open fire at anyone who trying to escape Aleppo," the local sources said.

Comment: See also: Nusra Rejects Ceasefire, Renewed Jihadi Attack On Aleppo in the Works

Bizarro Earth

San Francisco's 58-story Millennium Tower is upscale, but literally sinking fast

© Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times
A pedestrian walks past the luxury Millennium Tower, a 58-story high rise in San Francisco.
Looking back, Pamela Buttery can recall an early clue that something could be amiss at the luxury high-rise where she's lived for the past six years.

A golfer, she sometimes practiced her putting indoors, tapping the ball toward a portable cup on the hardwood floor in her living room.

If Buttery missed, the ball would carom off the wall and strangely change course, swerving right and gaining momentum as it rolled toward the northwest corner of her condo. At which point, she said, her cat Maximus would "go racing after the ball."

It became a game between them, but it also presaged what in the past several months has become a sobering reality for the retired real estate developer and other residents of the 58-story Millennium Tower:


Powerful gas explosion rips through apartment building in central Russia, killing 3, injuring 13

© admrzn.ru
At least three people died and 13 were injured after a powerful gas explosion ripped through a block of flats in the Russian city of Ryazan. The blast ripped through several floors, practically destroying flats and raining concrete blocks on cars parked below.

"A total of 16 people were injured, three of whom died, while 13 needed medical care. Four were hospitalized, and outpatient care was provided to nine others," TASS news agency was told by the local branch of Russia's Emergencies and Disaster Response service.

Earlier reports suggested 16 people were injured and three had died.

Photos and videos of the devastated apartment block in Ryazan, a city some 200 kilometers southeast of Moscow, emerged early Sunday, with the incident taking place late at night.


Caracas: Colombia Airline resumes flights after Venezuelan air force scare

© Yahoo
Colombia's flagship airline briefly grounded all flights to Caracas after a Venezuela air force plane flew close to a passenger jet, but the company said Saturday it was resuming service following clarifications from the two governments. An Avianca Boeing 787 on a flight from Madrid to Bogota with some 200 passengers aboard was cruising at high altitude near Venezuela's western border with Colombia Friday evening when a Venezuelan military plane was spotted on radar flying a short distance away, the Colombian Defense Ministry said in a statement.

The Avianca pilot immediately notified Colombian aviation authorities and sharply diverted from the flight path. Four minutes later, the military aircraft split away and the jetliner resumed its course, the ministry said. More than 90 minutes after the flight landed safely in Bogota, Venezuela's air defense authorities told their Colombian counterparts that the military aircraft was on a routine patrol.

Avianca said it was halting flights to Venezuela and would reroute several flights to Europe to avoid Venezuelan air space. But on Saturday, the airline issued a statement saying it would resume flights to Venezuela on Sunday "following clarifications between the governments of Colombia and Venezuela."

Comment: While this incident turned out well, underlying tensions between the two countries continue to be problematic -- exacerbated by oil price manipulations, economic instability and increase of Western leverage on targeted countries around the globe.


Central Russia: Police kill 2 suspected terrorists in car containing explosives

© True-news.info
Police shot two suspected terrorists at a residential complex in Nizhny Novgorod in central Russia after they refused to stop their vehicle on request, according to law enforcement sources. The men were reportedly preparing a terrorist attack. "[Officers] shot two suspected terrorists driving a Daewoo Nexia," a law enforcement source told RIA Novosti news agency. A third suspect has been detained, Interfax news agency reported, citing its own police source. The area had reportedly been put on lockdown for several hours during the operation.

"Earlier today, three men who were driving a white Daewoo Nexia gave armed resistance [to law enforcement] in the Tsvety residential complex. As a result, two were eliminated and one was arrested," the source said. Officers reportedly opened fire on the suspects after they threw a grenade at them, TASS reported, citing another source close to the operation. "Police chased the Daewoo Nexia, which, according to our information, was being driven by members of illegal armed groups. When they noticed that they were being pursued, one of the suspects threw a grenade towards the police car. After this, the officers opened fire at the Daewoo Nexia," the source said.

According to TASS news agency, security service officers also defused a suspicious object, presumably an explosive device, which was in the suspects' car. "An anti-mine robot destroyed a suspicious object that was in the car," a source told the agency, without specifying the nature of the object, adding that police had tried to stop the car for a check, but the driver refused to stop and attempted to flee.

Evil Rays

Controlling what you see and think: AT&T to buy Time Warner for $85.4bn upon regulator approval

© Shannon Stapleton / Reuters
Telecommunications giant AT&T announced Saturday it has sealed a deal to acquire the Time Warner media conglomerate in a stock-and-cash merger deal after it was unanimously approved by the boards of the two companies.

Time Warner boasts a large portfolio of cable networks, including CNN, HBO, which airs the Game of Thrones television series, as well as Warner Brothers, producer of such landmark film franchisers and TV series as Harry Potter and the Big Bang Theory.

"This is a perfect match of two companies with complementary strengths who can bring a fresh approach to how the media and communications industry works for customers, content creators, distributors and advertisers," AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said in a company statement.

Comment: The information sources available to us continue to be concentrated into fewer and fewer hands, giving a handful of people the power to dictate almost everything we see and hear:


A global craze? Creepy clowns & clownish creeps

We live in a country where the Hamburglar can freely walk down the street, but Ronald McDonald can't."
Twitter post by 'BH', Oct 12, 2016.

They were always perfect as a foil to the criminal and dysfunctional outsider, with smile grotesque, garish mask, and nose obscenely red. The clown, in history, has often proved to be a fairly revolting creature, acting as both channel and code.

Through history, a vicious clown is an external manifestation of broader ill, a figure whose smile is discomforting rather than reassuring. Fun, in short, had nothing to do with it. What mattered was cultural necessity and illumination. Some Native American tribes, by way of example, adapted the dreaded "white fool" ever in opposition to the venerable Big Chief, a cultural contrast to elevate a necessarily superior position.

In its European context, few come close to the manifestation of modern darkness than Ruggero Leoncavallo's Pagliacci, which does its best to inscribe the vengeful clown into broader cultural consciousness. "La commedia è finita!" remains one of the more known lines in any opera, an ironic reflection that the modern clown entertainer should appreciate. This outburst on the part of the clown Canio takes place after he butchers his wife Nedda and lover Silvio, giving the performance its zesty finality.

Comment: Psy-op? People everywhere are needlessly shaking in their boots over the creepy clown phenomenon


(GRAPHIC VIDEO) Dashcam catches cop kicking suspect in the head during arrest

Police dashcam footage of a Pennsylvania officer kicking a robbery suspect in the head during an arrest last year has been released as part of a criminal case being taken against the cop and the city of Allentown.TrendsViral

Hector Medina-Pena, 33, filed the lawsuit alleging that police officer Joseph Iannetta used excessive force during his arrest on May 30, 2015.


The suit also claims the incident was part of a wider pattern of police violence over the past decade that has not being appropriately addressed by the city of Allentown, according to The Morning Call.


WikiLeaks director and Assange's mentor Gavin MacFadyen dies

© tcij.org
WikiLeaks director and founder of the Centre for Investigative Journalism Gavin MacFadyen has died at age 76. The cause of death is yet unknown. His 'fellows in arms' have flocked online to post their farewells, including WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange.

"We are extremely sad to announce the death of Gavin MacFadyen, CIJ's Founder, Director and its leading light," the Centre for Investigative Journalism team wrote on its Twitter.

MacFadyen was a pioneering investigative journalist and filmmaker, who back in 2003 founded the Centre for Investigative Journalism (CIJ), an organization that helped break several major stories and has trained a number of prominent journalists.


Retired Japanese soldier commits suicide in violent blast, injures 3 people

© JIJI Press / AFP
Parking lot after an explosion in Utsunomiya
At least two nearly simultaneous blasts rocked the Japanese city of Utsunomiy north of Tokyo on Sunday. One was caused by an elderly man who blew himself up in an apparent suicide, injuring three people in a park where a festival was underway in the process.

A camera at NHK broadcaster's Utsunomiya station recorded the sound of several explosions taking place one after another at around 11:30am local time. An aerial shot from an NHK helicopter shows two burned cars parked next to each other in the parking lot, one of which belonged to the 72-year-old retired soldier. Police say they discovered a suicide note written by the man.

Kyodo news agency said his burned body was found in Utsunomiya Joshi Park after police received a call reporting that a person had been engulfed in flames following the sound of a blast.

A note found in the badly burned victim's clothing included the name of the former Self Defense Forces officer, NHK said, adding that his house, had burned to the ground earlier on Sunday.