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Tragic accident: Two-year old fatally shoots his mother in an Idaho Walmart

© Dystopos
A two-year-old boy in an Idaho Walmart accidentally shot and killed his Mother on Tuesday, authorities said.

The woman, 29, was shopping in the Hayden, Idaho store with the boy and three other children when he reached into her purse and discharged the concealed weapon, the Associated Press reports. They were in the northern Idaho town to visit relatives. The store was closed following the shooting.

Yoda

Czech veteran returns NATO medals - cites 'shame' for having served 'criminals'

© wikipedia.org
The NATO ISAF medal
A former military doctor who participated in missions in Kosovo and Afghanistan has asked the Czech Defense Ministry to take back his NATO medals, calling the North Atlantic alliance a "criminal organization" with "atrocious interests."

Lieutenant Colonel Marek Obrtel, former chief of the 11th Czech military hospital in Afghanistan, who also served in Kosovo and Bosnia-Herzegovina, wrote to the Czech Defense Ministry and government in an open letter.

Obrtel said he was giving back four NATO medals he received for his role in international peacekeeping missions as he was "deeply ashamed" of having served in the organization, "led by the US with its monstrous interests around the world."

Comment: The lieutenant colonel has made a brave public gesture. It's frightening to speak the truth from the belly of the beast. More power to him.


Eye 1

Psychopathic Algorithm: Facebook apologizes for 'Year in Review'

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If you've logged into Facebook at all in recent weeks, you may have been met with a prompt to "see what your year looked like" through an auto-generated timeline of photos you've shared on the social network in 2014.

This annual feature, called "Year in Review," is meant to highlight your "most significant moments" over the past 12 months based on which of your posts were engaged with (read: liked, shared, commented upon) the most.

For those who've enjoyed a good year, these customized social scrapbooks can serve as a pleasant reminder of everything celebrated and accomplished in 2014.

Heart

Buenos Aires: Orangutan, ruled a non-human person, will be freed from zoo

© AP
Do I not bleed? ... Sandra ponders life inside her enclosure at Buenos Aires' Zoo. She has lived her entire life in captivity.
An orangutan held in the Buenos Aires zoo can be freed and transferred to a sanctuary after a court recognized the ape as a "non-human person" unlawfully deprived of its freedom, local media reported.

Animal rights campaigners filed a habeas corpus petition - a document more typically used to challenge the legality of a person's detention or imprisonment - in November on behalf of Sandra, a 29-year-old Sumatran orangutan at the zoo.

In a landmark ruling that could pave the way for more lawsuits, the Association of Officials and Lawyers for Animal Rights (AFADA) argued the ape had sufficient cognitive functions and should not be treated as an object.

The court agreed Sandra, born into captivity in Germany before being transferred to Argentina two decades ago, deserved the basic rights of a "non-human person."

Comment: Zoos are little more than animal prisons. Hopefully, Sandra can live out the rest of her days in relative peace.


Airplane

Philadelphia-Manchester flight is forced to make emergency landing after flames appear under the plane

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A flight to Manchester was returned to Philadelphia yesterday after a suspected maintenance issue led to flames shooting out from under the plane and a series of loud banging noises
A passenger on a flight to Manchester that was returned to Philadelphia after an engine problem has told how he feared for his life after seeing flames shoot out from under the plane.

John Vien was on his way back to New Hampshire to visit his family for New Year's yesterday when the emergency happened.

Mr Vien, who was one of 75 passengers on the plane, said the mood inside the cabin quickly went from panic to hysteria. From his window seat he filmed the flames.


Stock Down

2014 in review: A look behind central economic control

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Twelve short months ago, the immediate future looked like a lock. Overvalued equities had to fall, ridiculously-low interest rates had to rise, and beaten-down precious metals had to resume their bull market.

The evidence was overwhelming. Debt in the developed world had risen to $157 trillion, or 376% of GDP, by far the highest level on record and clearly unsustainable. Long-term US Treasury rates had been falling for literally three decades and despite a recent uptick were so low that the only way forward seemed to be up.

Europe and Japan were drifting into recessions that could easily morph into capital-D Depressions. The eurozone would fragment, Japanese bonds and probably stocks would crater, one or more major currencies would implode. No way to know which event would come first and in what order the other dominoes would fall, but without doubt something had to give.

Comment: The edge on which central economic control is walking is getting thinner and thinner - leading to an instability in which the house of cards collapses due to a (formerly) minor event. Much of the above is discussed in more detail in the following interview between Gordon T Long and John Rubino:




Airplane

UK EasyJet flight makes emergency landing after pilot declares medical emergency

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The easyJet flight from Geneva to Manchester was forced to land at Stansted due to passenger emergency
A plane travelling from Geneva to Manchester was diverted to Stansted due to an on-board medical emergency.

The Airbus landed at Stansted Airport shortly before 10.30pm last night, just under two hours after it set off from the Swiss airport.

The budget airline flight had been due to land at Manchester Airport at 11.45pm. The alarm was sounded as the plane flew over the English Channel and the pilot was forced into a rapid descent.

Airplane

Thai Airways flight to London dumps fuel and returns to Bangkok due to 'hydraulic leak'

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Passenger Matt Babai tweeted a photo of the plane dumping fuel before returning to an airport in Bangkok
A Thai Airways flight from Bangkok to London was forced to turn around and make an unscheduled landing after the plane experienced an apparent hydraulic leak.

The captain decided to abort the 12-hour journey and returned to Suvarnabhumi Airport in the Thai capital due to a fault that occurred shortly after take-off.

Passenger Matt Babai tweeted a photo of the plane dumping fuel as it circled over Thailand in a holding pattern, calling it an 'eerie few days for the aviation industry'.

Snowflake Cold

As temperatures plummet well below freezing, 5 homeless men die in France

One 29-year-old man was found dead in the northern city of Douai on Saturday and two others died on Sunday, one 50-year-old man in Paris and a Belgian 46-year-old in south-eastern France.

All three apparently died of hypothermia, according to authorities.

After an unusually warm spell of weather, France has been gripped by a sudden freeze in the past few days, with the mercury dropping to minus 14C (7F) and as low as minus 22 in the mountains.

French authorities said they had offered the 29-year-old man emergency accommodation but he had "systematically declined the offer".

The 50-year-old Parisian had also been approached by authorities. He was found in a state of hypothermia and died when receiving first aid.

Comment: A tragic consequence of high unemployment and dire weather conditions:

15,000 vehicles trapped by snow and ice in Savoy, France

France unemployment total at new record high


People

Dozens injured as Nicaraguans protest canal construction, removal from their lands

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© Esteban Felix / AP
A protest march in San Jorge against the construction of the planned interoceanic canal.
Scores of Nicaraguan protesters have been arrested and dozens injured as Nicaraguan police broke up road blocks set up by demonstrators protesting this week against possible eviction from their lands due to the construction of an interoceanic canal in the country.

Protesters in Rivas blocked the Pan-American Highway shortly after the official ceremony marking the beginning of construction work. Another road block on the Managua-San Carlos Highway was set up by protesters from the community of El Tule and the municipality of Nueva Guinea, which are also on the proposed canal route.

Although in a recent press conference, Chinese businessman Wang Jing, the president of HKND Group, the company building the canal, promised to pay "compensation according to market principles in a fair, open and transparent way", many peasants complained of a lack of information when workers turned up to measure their land accompanied by police officers and soldiers. This has generated uncertainty among the campesino farmers affected and some have even said they won't give up without a fight.

Comment: Nicaragua's President, Daniel Ortega, created a socialist bank to help free the country from debt servitude to the US. This canal is another step in the same direction of freeing Nicaragua from the US' grip.

Protests have broken out over a concern for ancestral lands and possible environmental concerns. If the US' NGOs are responsible, provoking people with fears of "Chinese takeovers," then this would be no surprise.
  • Building alliances - Putin makes unplanned stopover in Nicaragua
    The mega-development - if it really happens, which many still doubt (there still aren't any serious earth-moving machines in the country two weeks before ground-breaking, and Nicaragua has a perfect 0 for 7 record when it comes to converting mega-projects) - would be the biggest engineering feat in the history of Latin America, and the biggest single Chinese investment in the hemisphere.

    "This will be like the new Great Wall of China for the Western Hemisphere," said Nicaraguan political analyst and former ambassador Arturo Cruz.

    As Chinese push into Latin America Nicaraguans try to hold the line