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Mon, 24 Apr 2017
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British banker arrested in grisly double murder in Hong Kong appears in court

© Bobby Yip / Reuters
Rurik Jutting
A British banker accused of murdering two Indonesian women who were found mutilated in his upmarket Hong Kong apartment attended a pretrial hearing on Thursday, ahead of his October trial.

Rurik Jutting, 31, was charged with murder after two women believed to be sex workers were found dead in his home.

The former Bank of America Merrill Lynch employee appeared much thinner than in his previous public appearance last October after he was charged.

Dressed in a button down shirt and accompanied by four police officers, Jutting listened attentively at the pre-trial hearing, which was closed to the public.


Thai resort town rocked by 2 explosions, leaving 1 dead and 11 injured

At least one person has been killed and 11 more injured, including foreigners, as two explosions rocked the tourist hotspot of Hua Hin in Thailand, according to local media reports.

The bombs were hidden in plant pots, some reports suggest, while others claim these were motorbike explosions. A woman selling street food died in the attacks, according to a witness on Twitter.

The blasts took place at night in the resort town, which is located nearly 200km from the capital of Bangkok. Several foreign citizens are believed to be among the injured.

Stock Down

Obamacare premiums set to rise in 2017; program on the verge of collapse

© Unknown
If Obamacare enrollments continue their current trend and insurers continue to hike premiums at alarming rates then Republicans may not have to worry about "repealing and replacing Obamacare" as it might just work itself out "naturally". The 4th open enrollment period for Obamacare begins on November 1, 2016 and industry experts are warning that another year of tepid demand from "young and healthy" Americans could force more insurers out of the exchanges effectively marking the end of Obamacare as we know it. According to a story published by The Hill, 11 million people bought health insurance through the exchanges for 2016 which was drastically below the Congressional Budget Office's initial projection of 21 million.

Well we're shocked! Turns out that whole "adverse selection bias" was a real thing. So you're telling us that young, healthy people don't want to pay for insurance they know they'll never use? We guess America's youth can actually do basic math, after all. Apparently they were able to figure out they would rather take the lower tax associated with Obamacare penalties than the larger tax associated with buying a healthcare policy they'll never use. We guess Millennials are a little less enthusiastic about embracing socialism when the costs are coming out of their pockets.

Comment: Obamacare was a fraud since its very inception.


Enthusiastic fan scales Trump Tower with suction cups

© Jefferson Seigel/NY Daily News
A dim-witted Donald Trump fan used suction cups to scale the mogul's namesake Midtown tower Wednesday in a failed bid to meet the blowhard.

The 19-year-old Virginia man evaded frustrated cops for nearly three hours in the oppressive summer heat as he clung to the side of the Fifth Ave. skyscraper "Mission: Impossible"-style.

He was eventually yanked to safety through a 21st-floor window by NYPD officers.

The daredevil started off slowly climbing the glass tower around 3:30 p.m. using handheld suction cups, ropes and a climbing harness — stunning visitors on the fourth-floor terrace as he began his ascent.


4th Estate goes to auction: First print died, now paywalls are failing to generate cash - people not interested in paying for propaganda?

© AFP Photo/Karen Bleier
The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Financial Times have been relatively successful with paywalls because of their unique content
Paywalls were supposed to help rescue newspapers from the crisis of sinking print circulation as readers shifted to getting their news online.

But with a few exceptions, they have failed to deliver much relief, prompting some news organizations to rethink their digital strategies.

Newspapers in the English-speaking world ended paywalls some 69 times through May 2015, including 41 temporary and 28 permanent drops, according to a study by University of Southern California researchers.

Paywalls "generate only a small fraction of industry revenue," with estimates ranging from one percent in the United States to 10 percent internationally, the study in July's International Journal of Communication said.

"People are far less willing to pay for online news than for print," said USC journalism professor Mike Ananny, an author of the study.

Comment: The state of journalism today is a tragedy. On the one hand, we say good riddance: MSM is the semi-official propaganda arm of the deep state. On the other hand, the world needs real journalists, and there just isn't a system in place for good journalism to exist and thrive. John Oliver highlighted some of this recently:


Brazil police come under fire after taking wrong turn into Rio slum going to Olympic Park

© operacoesrj / YouTube
Three Brazilian police officers tasked with protecting the Rio Olympics were fired upon after they missed a turn and mistakenly entered one of Rio's slums, also known as favelas, where a drug gang thought they had arrived as part of a police raid.

"They were three officers with the National Force who accidently went into the Vila do Joao community. Their car was hit by drug traffickers' [gunfire]," AFP quoted a police officer speaking on condition of anonymity.

The shootout took place on Wednesday evening on the outskirts of Vila do Joao favela in northern Rio's Maré complex near the city's international airport. The officers, who had been sent to Rio for the games and weren't familiar with the city, were heading to the Olympic Park. They tried to access the Yellow Line which leads there, but missed their entrance and instead were forced to take a nearby street, where they were met by gunfire.

Members of a local drug gang apparently took the appearance of a police car for a raid and fired at the officers with rifles before fleeing into the warren of the shantytown, Folha de S.Paulo reports citing witnesses.


Big Brother in the bedroom: Spouses using modern tech to catch each other cheating

© NY Post photo composite
Computer forensics is the latest frontier in catching a cheating spouse, by uncovering deleted incriminating files
The sprawling Manhattan apartment had a gorgeous view of Central Park. But two quarter-size cameras with wide-angle pinhole lenses, discreetly hidden behind crown molding, were not there to photograph foliage. A financial-world heavyweight suspected that his wife was cheating with her office colleague, and he wanted to secure hard evidence.

The $3,000 secret setup "allowed him to monitor the apartment in real time on his phone," Michael Mancuso tells The Post.

Sounding as proud as any Hollywood auteur, Mancuso, the snoop-camera specialist and owner of Searching for the Truth Investigative Services, says, "Three days later, our client had what he needed: footage of his wife walking into their apartment with her boyfriend." Add that to salacious text messages extracted from her iPhone, and the cuckolded husband had reason for divorce.

Gone are the days of looking for lipstick traces or sniffing out perfume. Suspicious spouses have an array of far more advanced techniques at their disposal. Science and technology mean that no philanderers are safe.


Zombie nation gets upgrade with robot reporting reboot

© Christian Tate
Corporate ownership of 90 percent of media outlets in the United States has made the term 'mainstream journalist' quite the oxymoron, but the Washington Post's newest project eliminates 'journalist' from the equation entirely — robots are now writing the outlet's 'news.' Using artificial intelligence technology, the Washington Post is 'employing' software to 'write' hundreds of news briefs highlighting key information about the Olympic Games in Rio in real-time.

"'Heliograf,' which was developed in-house, automatically generates short, multi-sentence updates for readers," the Post proudly announced Friday, as if the news organization couldn't predict the collective American jaw-drop at the notion a computer could simply replace a longstanding tradition of actual journalism.

"Automated storytelling has the potential to transform the Post's coverage," explained Jeremy Gilbert, director of strategic initiatives at the Washington Post, in what could easily be deemed the understatement of the year. "More stories, powered by data and machine learning, will lead to a dramatically more personal and customized news experience.

"The Olympics are the perfect way to prove the potential of this technology. In 2014, the sports staff spent countless hours manually publishing event results. Heliograf will free up Post reporters and editors to add analysis, color from the scene and real insight to stories in ways only they can."

Comment: Journalistic integrity has already become a mockery in the New American Century, and now that robots are 'informing' the masses, it's become downright absurd. Welcome to the next stage in smashing whatever consciousness remains within the American public to smithereens.

Be sure to check out the John Oliver video above for an accurate view of the how media owners view their responsibility of reporting the news. Here's a transcript of an excerpt Oliver's show collected showing media mongrel Sam Zell in an exchange with a photographer:
Zell: "I want to make enough money so that I can afford you. You need to in effect help me by being a journalist that focuses on what our readers want that generates more revenue."

Fajardo: "What readers want are puppy dogs; we also need to inform the community."

Zell: "I'm sorry but you're giving me the classic, what I would call, journalistic arrogance by deciding that puppies don't count. . . . What I'm interested in is how can we generate additional interest in our products and additional revenue so we can make our product better and better and hopefully we get to the point where our revenue is so significant that we can do puppies and Iraq. F**k y**."


The drug hydra: Silk Road bust leads to surge in other online illegal drug sales

© Reuters
Closing the online black market known as the Silk Road was a success for the FBI, but a short-lived one. Three years later, it seems that it did little to deter internet-facilitated drug purchases as new reports found more markets have opened in its place.

Online drug markets are to authorities as the brooms and buckets of water were to Mickey Mouse in Fantasia: stopping one won't prevent more from springing up. Since the closure of the Silk Road in 2013 by the FBI, 50 more online black markets have popped up according to a report from RAND.

The Silk Road was accessible via the dark web, but today's drug sales websites can be found with a simple Google search. These websites are highly profitable, producing monthly revenues in the double-digits of millions of dollars.

For example, marijuana is the most popular drug purchased on these markets and earns roughly $870 million a month, according to the report. Heroin sales bring in an estimated total of $630 million each month as well.

Comment: Traditionally, U.S. authorities haven't cared much about the drug market, as long as those involved have been their allies (or themselves). It only becomes an issue when one of their enemies is involved. Or when the competition is cutting into their profits. As CIA's Latin America operations chief Dewey Clarridge put it during Iran-Contra, the Contras' drug trafficking was simply "not a big deal". His attitude was and is fairly representative. How do you think these guys fund their black ops? The war on drugs is like the war on terror: a farce.

Star of David

Karma: Israeli athletes at Rio Olympics dealing with animosity from members of Muslim nations

© Soutello/AGIF/REX/Shutterstock
Israel's Yarden Gerbi reacts after winning the bronze medal of the women's 63 kg judo competition at the Rio 2016 Olympics Games in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday.
The 2016 Olympic Games have been billed as an opportunity to put politics aside in the spirit of international camaraderie, but that's not necessarily how it's working out for Israeli athletes.

Animosity toward the 47-member delegation has triggered a reprimand from the International Olympic Committee and alarm from Jewish groups such as the Anti-Defamation League, which issued a statement this week decrying anti-Israel "hostility" in Rio de Janeiro.

"Shocking but not surprisingly, the Lebanese and Saudi delegations obviously have the wrong idea about the Olympic Games," said a statement Wednesday by Roz Rothstein, CEO of the pro-Israel group Stand With Us.

"Instead of using the events to forget animosity and promote peace between people, they have brought their brainwashed minds to Rio," she said. "How unfortunate that they could not implement the good, peaceful intentions of the Olympics, and instead have used it as a forum to spread hate and continued rejection of peace."

Comment: How come this Israeli spokesperson isn't calling out US athletes over their anti-Russian behavior and comments at the Olympics? American swimmer Lily King was lauded across the entire Western media (Huffington Post called her an American hero) for immaturely wagging her finger at Russian swimmer Yulia Efimova after one event where King took gold and Efimova silver. King later called Efimova a "drug cheat" talking to reporters after the match, behavior which was backed by American swimmer Michael Phelps. Where is the peace between people here? Where is the sportsmanship? Apparently as long as one is behaving like an idiot towards a Russian athlete, it's okay. Sorry Israelis, you've invaded, occupied and committed war crimes against an entire country. You deserve every bit of condemnation you get, whether it's at the Olympics or not.