Welcome to Sott.net
Sat, 22 Oct 2016
The World for People who Think

Society's Child


French nuclear watchdog calling for shutdown of five reactors over safety risks

© Sebastien Nogier / Reuters
A general view shows the French nuclear Tricastin site in southeastern France
The French nuclear watchdog has called for the shutdown and inspection of five more nuclear reactors for safety checks. The reactors have a high level of carbon which could lead to various failures.

The Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) has asked nuclear power utility EDF to carry out additional inspections at Fessenheim 1,Tricastin 2 and 4, Gravelines 4 and Civaux 1 reactors, according to a press release. All these reactors are located across the whole France, close to towns and communes.

"The performance of these inspections will require shutdown of the reactors concerned," ASN added. The watchdog wants to check "certain channel heads of the steam generators on five of its reactors, in which the steel is affected by a high carbon concentration."

Eye 1

Warrantless surveillance: Police stingrays unfairly target low-income, minority neighborhoods

© Daniel Becerril / Reuters
The use of Stingray devices has been controversial. The surveillance tool can be used to locate cell phones by mimicking phone towers, but their practical use shows severe racial disparities in multiple cities across the country, according to a new report.

Police departments in Milwaukee, Baltimore and Tallahassee have all been found to use Stingray tracking devices without warrants and particularly in low-income, minority neighborhoods, according to City Labs. The Stingray devices are often used in theft and robberies, while logistical issues surrounding these tools have some civil rights activists concerned.

The issues presented are twofold. First, a recent study of Stingray use found three large cities across the country used the devices to target areas in low-income neighborhoods with high minority populations. The other problem is that Stingrays are not used to find one single phone. While they may be used with the intention of finding a specific person, they collect location information from many phones within the area they're used.

Comment: StingRay - the cellphone tracking tech police won't talk about

Snakes in Suits

Treatment Industrial complex: Mental health and rehab the new gravy train for private prison corporations

Private prison companies have had a rough couple of months.

First, the Department of Justice announced it would phase out its private contracts for management of Bureau of Prisons facilities. Then, the Department of Homeland Security said it would re-examine the use of for-profit immigrant detention facilities. Stock prices for publicly traded Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and GEO Group both plummeted and last week CCA laid off 12 percent of its workforce.

This may well be the beginning of the end of for-profit prisons in America. But it may not. Like the Walking Dead TV zombies, you just can't count these bloodsuckers out until its over. And a disturbing new trend suggests it is not.

We call it the Treatment Industrial Complex, or TIC. Through a combination of acquisitions and mergers and an aggressive marketing campaign, for-profit prison companies are moving to preserve their profits by seeking contracts to provide in-prison medical and mental health care; manage mental hospitals and civil commitment centers; and deliver "community corrections" programs, including prisoner reentry services and "alternatives to incarceration" like electronic monitoring.


Mom has been making two lunches so son's classmate can have a meal

© Mike Blake / Reuters
A New Mexico mother gave the internet a true lesson in kindness when reports surfaced that she had been packing lunches for two after her son asked for food for a boy in need. Her story went viral, and she is now urging others to help schools out.

Josette Duran, a volleyball coach from Albuquerque, never thought of making the news, but a wave of unexpected support took her story to the headlines.

It all started with a picture that Duran shared with her friends on Facebook back in September, telling them how proud she was of her 14-year-old son Dylan.

Duran has been packing two lunches instead just one, after Dylan asked her to help a boy at his school.

Comment: Kudos to this woman and her son! Too many children are going hungry because they have no money in their accounts, while the school system ignores their plight.


Vile: Madonna offers fellatio to everyone who votes for Clinton

© Eduardo Munoz/Reuters
Never shy of controversy, the pop star Madonna has offered fellatio to anyone who votes for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. The offer was made at a comedy special in New York City.

[You can read what Madonna said here, but warning: it contains graphic language from a vile media whore.]

Comment: That above tweet is just shallow, ignorant and hypocritical. What a revolting media spectacle. It sure did bring attention to Hillary, though - Bread and Circuses galore!


Syria's Reconciliation Program Working in Many Cities, including West Ghouta, Aleppo

West Ghouta

As reported here at Syrper last weekend, negotiations were underway in Mu'adhdhamiyya to liberate this important city, west of Daarayyaa. Today, 620 terrorists and about the same number of family members left this city toward Idlib. Tomorrow, another batch will leave. By Friday, this important city will be terrorist free.
Further south, another reconciliation is under way at Al-Tayyiba and Zaakiya, a bit south of the recently liberated Al-Dayrkhabiyya. Zaakiya is a large city, about the same size as Khaan Al-Shaykh. Once negotiations are finished and the cities liberated, the terrorists inside Khaan Al-Shaykh will be completely isolated and surrounded and will have no choice but to surrender to the Syrian Arab Army. That will be the last pocket of terrorists in West Ghouta. The impact of this huge diplomatic success will be felt in all southern Syrian provinces and inside East Ghouta.

Comment: See also: U.S. "Pounds" Mosul, Russia Halts Airstrikes on Aleppo

Update (Oct. 20): Sputnik reports that 1,710 people left Moadamiyeh, including 800 militants, 395 women, and 315 children.


US Air Force base poisons Colorado Creek with cancer-causing chemicals

Colorado Springs Air Force Academy
A US Air Force base in Colorado has admitted to accidentally releasing 150,000 gallons of water containing toxic chemicals into the sewer system of nearby Colorado Springs.

Peterson Air Force base said on October 18 that the water contained perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), chemicals used on bases to put out fires and which have been linked to several kinds of cancer, low birthweight in babies and other health issues. The Air Force statement has not clarified how high the levels were.


'Silent and lifeless': Apocalyptic 360 video of a Syrian city in ruins

© RT
RT has visited the Syrian city of Homs, which used to be home to over 600,000 people, but was turned into apocalyptic wasteland by years of fighting between the government, rebels and terrorist groups.

The ancient city is now "lifeless as far as the eye can see," RT's Murad Gadziev said as he walked through the ruins of Homs. "People have gone and they're not coming back any time, as there's not a lot to comeback to," he said.

Homs, in western Syria, was liberated from the militants in December 2015 after three years of heavy fighting.

"The battle for Homs was especially brutal" with tanks, artillery and bombs planted by terrorists in tunnels dug under buildings, Gadziev said. "They fought for every street, for every house, in some cases, for every room."

"I've looked around here for hours and hours, I haven't seen a single house that escaped the fighting... The most awful part about this is the total silence," he said.

Comment: And to think this was completely unnecessary!


Jihadi rehab: Four Swedish cities consider warm welcomes and perk packages to returning fighters

© Center for Security Policy
"...and we have a 'to-die-for' fast-track customized benefits package tailored for all Jihadi needs and services...just think about it..."
A Swedish city is considering giving jihadists returning from Syria and Iraq free housing, a driver's license, and tax benefits to ease their reintegration, but social media users have slammed the proposal, saying it ignores the terrorists' victims.

The support for extremists was proposed by Anna Sjöstrand, a municipal coordinator against violent extremism in the city of Lund in southern Sweden. "There may be criticism, but [I think] that you should get the same help as others who seek help from us. We can't say that because you made a wrong choice, you have no rights to come back and live in our society," Sjöstrand said on Swedish Sveriges Radio.

Sjöstrand's proposal was based on a report written by author and criminologist Christoffer Carlsson, who says that it is difficult for people to abandon extremism and reintegrate into society without support. "It's a straight social, economic and material question. You need to be able to reintegrate into the job market, you may need to have a driving license, debt settlement and shelter," he said.

Comment: Terrorists with benefits...wow. National "make nice" program run amok? Peruse below:

Sweden Report
Following the example of the U.S. State Department's Jobs for Jihadis idea, let's see how Stockholm intends to handle terrorist-trained and combat-hardened terrorists. Here are a few translated highlights to capture the gist of things:
When a person wishes to leave a violent extremist grouping or coming home from combat overseas, it is crucial to provide customized inclusion efforts. Even then, it is important to have a local cooperation between various actors. Voluntary organizations can provide targeted support and advice. Even faith communities working with advice, but also psychosocial support.

When it comes to people who participated in combat there is likely to be great need of health efforts. Therefore, it is important to establish cooperation between social services, social psychiatry and drug units, as well as health centers and psychiatric services (trauma, PTSD, etc.)

When it comes to security, it is important that cooperation between social services, income support, employment and other efforts by the Labour Department, as well as assistance with job placement.

Finally, the accommodation issue is a prerequisite that must work. Therefore, cooperative housing companies needs to be included in the post-perspective."

To summarize: The city of Stockholm will make it a priority to provide the returning ISIS fighters with housing, free health care (physical and mental) and full financial support, until they have received earmarked jobs. All this of course fast-tracked past the line of law-abiding immigrants and indigenous Swedes.


Indonesia: Woman flogged for standing too close to her boyfriend

© Chaideer Mahyuddin / AFP
Islamic justice: A Muslim woman gets caned 23 strokes after being caught in close proximity with her boyfriend.
Images have emerged of a young woman crying out in pain while she is caned 23 times in front of a cheering crowd in the Indonesian province of Aceh. She was accused of standing too close to her boyfriend. A total of 13 people, including seven men and six women between the ages of 21 and 30, were caned outside a mosque in the provincial capital Banda Aceh, according to AFP.

Six couples faced the punishment for being intimate while unmarried in the province, which operates under strict Islamic codes. One man who remains unnamed, was flogged for reportedly spending time with a woman in a secret location which, according to the laws, could lead to adultery. Another young woman was granted temporary respite because she is pregnant, however, Zainal Arifin, the deputy mayor of Aceh, reassured the public that "the punishment will be handed down after she gives birth."

Arifin also said he hoped the public punishment would set a clear example and act as a deterrent. "We hope there are no more people in Banda Aceh who break the law in future," he added.

More women are being flogged in Aceh than ever before, according to AFP. The northern province, which is located on the island of Sumatra, began enforcing Sharia law after the area was granted special autonomy in 2001. The consumption and sale of alcohol is illegal in the province.

Indonesia is the most populous Muslim-majority country in the world and recognizes only five other faiths - Protestantism, Roman Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism.