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Sun, 28 Aug 2016
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5yo girl becomes youngest fatality of Philippines government's war on drugs

© Romeo Ranoco / Reuters
A five-year-old girl has become the latest victim of the Philippines' controversial "war on drugs." The campaign, which has left more than 1,900 people dead in just seven weeks, has been slammed by the UN and human rights groups.

Danica May was killed by a gunshot to the head as she sat down to eat lunch with her family on Tuesday in the city of Dagupan, located north of Manila, the Inquirer reported.

It all began when the five-year-old's grandfather, Maximo Garcia, was told last week that he was on a list of alleged drug suspects that someone had passed to police.

His wife Gemma said she was shocked to hear the news, as he was a tricycle driver who had suffered a stroke and never been involved in drugs, the Inquirer newspaper reported.

When the village chief told Garcia to surrender to police, he followed orders rather than risk being shot. Garcia was questioned by authorities and eventually allowed to return to his home.

Comment: The question is, do the killers have anything at all to do with the government?


"Hey ISIS, you suck!" Muslim billboard ad campaign underway

© awziyahya / Instagram
Billboards have popped up in Chicago and Phoenix with the blunt message, "Hey ISIS, you suck!" as part of the beginning of what might be a national advertising campaign to combat both Islamophobia and radical Islam. The billboard, which intimates a blackboard shows the chalk-written statement, "Hey ISIS, you suck," signed by "#ActualMuslims."

ISIS is an acronym used to refer to Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL). The sign references a line of verse in the Quran, which states if a person kills another, it's "as if he had slain mankind entirely." The billboards have appeared so far in a parking lot near Interstate-10 in Phoenix, Arizona and on a highway leading toward Chicago, Illinois' O'Hare International Airport.

The Chicago-based Sound Vision Foundation, an Islamic public relations organization and non-profit, is the innovator of the campaign. "Our neighbors don't realize that Muslims are absolutely opposed to ISIS," Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid, Chicagotold CBS News. "ISIS actually kills more Muslims than anyone else."

Imam Mujahid said the attacks in Europe and the US caused his Chicago group to get more pro-active. Young people came up with the blunt slogan, because they wanted to keep the language simple. The billboard has started to catch attention with Muslim groups in 15 other cities, who are reportedly requesting a sign be installed in their area.

"ISIS and Islamophobia are the two sides of the same coin which is hurting Islam, as well as humanity," Imam Mujahid told CBS News. "They are increasing fear, hate, anger which is dividing a beautiful nation.""The KKK was defeated by good Christians, ISIS needs to be defeated by good Muslims," he added.

"Behind this billboard are the common people," Sound Vision Executive Director Mohammad Siddiqi told KPHO. "This is our declaration of independence against ISIS. It's as simple as that."

Comment: A sign of the times.


Over 800 bodies of illegal immigrants still unidentified Arizona morgue

The bodies of as many as 850 illegal alien men, women and children who died trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border unlawfully now lie frozen and unidentified in a morgue in Tucson, Ariz., according to an Arizona medical examiner.

CBP explained in a press release published this week:
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released a testimonial video of [Dr. Gregory Hess Pima], a forensic expert in charge of identifying hundreds of anonymous migrant's human remains found in the Arizona desert near the United States/Mexico border.

"Our focus at the Medical Examiner's Office is identifying remains of people that we have found. We still have about 800 to 850 that are unidentified," says the doctor who analyzes bodies and remains in varying stages of decomposition.

Comment: If these immigrants are lucky enough to make it past the border they face even more hurdles to a decent life: slavery in private prisons and disease and over-crowding in Customs and Border detention centers.


Belgrade police arrest man in connection to Block 45 shooting

The police in Belgrade have arrested a man in connection with a shooting incident that took place on Thursday evening in New Belgrade's Block 45.

The police continued on Friday morning to look for the man who the previous evening hid in an apartment building after the shooting incident.

They eventually had the suspect under arrest, after an operation that lasted 18 hours.

He was apprehended close to the building that was under police blockade the whole night and morning.

As the plainclothes inspectors were arresting him, he shouted, "Call the police!"

B92 has learned unofficially that the suspect was caught as he was trying to run away after jumping from a first floor window.

Earlier, B92 learned that police dogs had found the armed suspect, who was hiding at the time "above the sixth floor." The dogs were following the scent from his car.

The police are yet to announce the identity of the suspect, and whether or not he was the owner of a BMW he was driving as the New Belgrade drama started to unfold last night.

Evil Rays

Hysteria: 10 people injured after shoppers confuse popping balloons with gunshots at Orlando mall

© Erich Jacome / YouTube
Ten people were injured at a mall in Orlando, Florida, after shoppers mistook the sound of popping balloons for gunshots.

Unsuspecting shoppers were startled to hear the sound of six large balloons being popped at Florida Mall on Thursday, fearing a gunman had opened fire.

However, the burst balloons were actually part of an industry standard test required for the inspection of a new hot dog kiosk called Fat Ones. The food stand is owned by former *NSYNC singer Joey Fatone.

"The test consisted of six large balloons popping consecutively, followed by a fire alarm," Deputy Rose Silva, a spokeswoman for the Orange County Sheriff's Office, said in a statement. "This caused people to go into panic mode and run."


Mogadishu: Car bomb kills 9 in Al-Qaeda linked terror attack

© ibtimes.co.uk
Al-Shabaab fighter
Militants from Al-Shabaab, an Al-Qaeda affiliate on Thursday attacked a restaurant in the Somali capital, Mogadishu. A car bomb went off near the establishment before a gunfight broke out, according to police.

At least nine people have been confirmed dead, including five civilians, two security forces officers and two attackers, while another two people were said to be injured, according to local media.

Witnesses said that the noise of gunshots and explosions have died down at the Banadir Beach Club.

"A car bomb exploded at Banadir beach restaurant at Lido beach and there is an exchange of gunfire. We have no other details so far," Major Ahmed Ibrahim, a police officer, told Reuters.

The attackers reportedly made their way inside the establishment, where gunfire continued, local journalist Ahmed Abdihadi reported.


Deaf man killed by cops was afraid of police

© Kyle / YouTube
Sam Harris talks to reporters on August 22, 2016 after a vigil for his brother Daniel.
The North Carolina man killed by a state trooper last week was "afraid" of police because of previous misunderstandings due to his deafness, his brother said.

Daniel Harris was shot and killed outside his home in Charlotte, North Carolina last week. State Trooper Jermaine Saunders said he chased Harris for 10 miles after attempting to pull him over for speeding on Interstate 485. Harris, who was deaf, could not hear the siren - or the trooper's commands - and was attempting to communicate in sign language when Saunders shot him.

"[My brother] had times where, because of inaccessibility, there were misunderstandings that led to him being afraid of the police," Sam Harris said Wednesday, speaking to reporters outside his family home through a sign language interpreter.


'So senseless': Nuns 'with hearts of gold' found murdered in rural Mississippi

© WWLP-22News / YouTube
Sister Paula Merrill (left) and Sister Margaret Held were found stabbed to death in Durant, Mississippi.
Two Catholic nuns who worked as nurses helping the poor in rural Mississippi were stabbed to death in their home. While authorities suspect robbery, the community is devastated by the loss.

Sister Margaret Held and Sister Paula Merrill, of the Kentucky-based Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, did not show up to work at the Lexington Medical Clinic in Durant, Mississippi on Thursday. Concerned co-workers alerted the police, who found the two women dead.

There were signs of a break-in at the home and the nuns' car was stolen, Maureen Smith, a spokeswoman for the Catholic Diocese of Jackson, told AP. The blue Toyota Corolla was found later in the day, undamaged, about a mile away from the house. It was towed to the state crime lab in Jackson, about 64 miles away, according to Mississippi Department of Public Safety spokesman Warren Strain.


One illustration targets the hypocrisy of burqini bans

France recently banned "burkinis," which can be seen on women who are wearing headscarves and bodysuits and are primarily spotted on Muslim women. France has been a large perpetrator of Islamophobia, likely because of repeated attacks in their country, that have caused them to first ban scarves that cover women's faces and now ban burkinis.

Now, when French police in certain cities encounter a woman wearing a burkini, they are allowed to force them to remove extra covering and give them a ticket with a hefty fine.

What's terrible about this situation is that photos have revealed how this is shockingly similar to the way women's bodies were policed decades ago. Photos placed side-by-side have been taken at the beach in different centuries to show how things have not changed. Back then, women were not allowed to show too much skin, and now they are essentially not allowed to cover up too much.

Comment: Further reading:

War Whore

Arkansas 'Hot Check Division' court jails cancer patient for 3 months over bounced checks totaling $41

© Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
Lee Robertson
Bank fees alone are often enough to discourage people from writing checks they can't cash, but some municipal courts find it to be an offense worth jailing citizens over - including one person undergoing cancer treatment.

A class action lawsuit in Pulaski County, Arkansas, is shedding light on practices that many believe have led to a "modern-day debtors' prison."

Lee Robertson became familiar with the practice after his pancreatic cancer treatment left him unemployed, but still responsible for bills.

To get by, he wrote a series of checks for a maximum of $41. When the checks bounced, he owed a few stores $200, according to the Huffington Post. However, after the "Hot Check Division" of Sherwood got hold of him, that numbered turned into $3,054.51 - and it was owed to the court.

The overzealous prosecution of the Arkansas Hot Check law has many concerned about the implications of financially penalizing residents who can't afford to cash a check.

"Through a labyrinthine - and lucrative - a single check for $15 returned for insufficient funds can be leveraged into many thousands of dollars in court costs, fines, and fees owed to Sherwood and Pulaski County," the lawsuit reads.

That is how Robertson ended up going from owing $200 to owing $3,000. Over the course of six years, he was arrested seven times for his debt. In cities with punitive check laws like Sherwood, bouncing a check can land citizens on the hook for $400 in fines and fees, on top of the amount due for the original check.

Comment: UPDATE
Via Huffington Post

Aug. 25 ― All of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit are no longer incarcerated, with Charles Dade and Nikki Petree being released from jail on Thursday, according to Rebecca Sturtevant, a spokeswoman for the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

A reporter with the Arkansas Times visited the "hot check" court on Thursday and spoke with a number of defendants, some of whom broke down in tears talking about their ordeals. One man claimed to have spent 405 days in the Pulaski County Jail over the years after passing a $58 hot check back in 1998. Richard Green Sr. said he now pays $200 every month and has to show up at court every three months.

"I have lost everything because of this," Green told the Times. "It's just a revolving cycle I'm on. You never know when you're going to get it paid off. It'll seem like you're going to get it paid off, but you don't get it paid off. You think it's going down, but then it's going back up on you. You never get through paying."

None of the defendants spent more than 45 seconds in front of Judge Hale, according to the report. Hale issued a statement to KATV, claiming he does not "run a so called 'debtor's prison' in Sherwood. If a defendant pleads guilty, or is found guilty, of writing a hot check we set up a payment plan. It is only after the third or fourth time that they fail to comply with a court order that we incarcerate."

Hale's statement makes no mention of his constitutional duty to make an inquiry into a person's ability to pay before sentencing them to incarceration for failing to make a payment.