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Thu, 29 Sep 2016
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'Jailhouse shakedown:' ACLU sues Mississippi town that jails poor in debtor's prison

© Suzanne Plunkett / Reuters
A lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union accuses Biloxi, Mississippi of illegally arresting and jailing poor people without a hearing or representation by legal counsel. The three plaintiffs in the suit were arrested and jailed for failing to pay fines.

"It's essentially a jailhouse shakedown. Cities across the country, like Biloxi, are scrambling to generate revenue, and they're doing it off the backs of poor people," said Nusrat Choudhury, an attorney with the the ACLU's Racial Justice Program, in a press release.

Comment: Preying on the poor to fund budgets is outrageous. Biloxi was even so blantant to plan for it in their budgets in advance!


4-year-old New Mexico girl shot and killed in road rage incident

Lilly Garcia
A 4-year-old girl died Tuesday night after being shot in the head in what police called a road rage incident on I-40 near Unser. The highway was shut down all evening and reopened just before 9 p.m. after being closed for almost six hours.

Police say they are searching for a maroon or dark red Toyota sedan and describe the shooter as a white male, possibly Hispanic, who has short, dark hair and a goatee. Crime Stoppers is offering a $1,000 reward for information and asks people to call (505)-843-7867.

"This should have never happened. This is a complete disrespect of human life, Albuquerque Police Chief Gorden Eden said in an evening news conference. "We're starting to see this throughout our nation, and this is something that should not be happening in Albuquerque, New Mexico - let alone anywhere else in the United States."

"It's 100 percent preventable. It did not have to happen, and we need to rise up as a community and say enough is enough," Eden continued. He urged witnesses to come forward, saying witnesses had thus far given conflicting information. "We are in desperate need of help to find this suspect," he said.

"It's a terrible, tragic loss, and it shouldn't have ever happened," Eden continued. "This is one of those crimes which is unexplainable. There is no way to explain your way out of this." The girl died after being transported to UNM Hospital after the shooting. Sources told KOB the family is from Albuquerque.

Comment: What kind of world do we live in where 4-year-old girls get killed for no reason? Death and gun culture, it's all the rage.

Liars, Gun Control and Money in a Culture of Violence


Sierra Leone - mystery deaths spread fear of Ebola relapses

© Reuters/Stringer
The blood of a survivor of the Ebola virus is extracted as part of a study launched at Liberia's John F. Kennedy Hospital in Monrovia, Liberia, June 17, 2015.
A poster in Sierra Leone's crumbling coastal capital Freetown proclaims a message from an Ebola survivor called Sulliaman: "I feel 100 percent healthy!" Another beaming survivor Juliana says: "I am one of the safest people to be around!"

Throughout the two-year Ebola epidemic, thousands of West African survivors have been shunned by their communities, prompting governments to sponsor messages stressing their complete recovery in a bid to counter fear and paranoia. But the case of Scottish nurse Pauline Cafferkey - the first known Ebola survivor to have an apparently life-threatening relapse - has revived concerns about the health of some 17,000 survivors in Sierra Leone, neighboring Guinea and Liberia.

Doctors and health officials in Sierra Leone told Reuters that a handful of mystery deaths among discharged patients may also be types of Ebola relapses, stirring fear that the deadly virus may last far longer than previously thought in the body, causing other potentially lethal complications. Diagnoses have not been made, partly because of a lack of relevant medical training and insufficient equipment for detecting a virus that can hide in inaccessible corners of the body - such as the spinal fluid or eyeball. In Cafferkey's case, the virus in her brain caused meningitis.


'My life is ruined': Hungarian camerawoman fired for kicking refugees is going to sue Facebook

© Marko Djurica / Reuters
A migrant runs with a child before tripping on TV camerawoman Petra Laszlo (L) and falling as he tries to escape from a collection point in Roszke village, Hungary, September 8, 2015.
A Hungarian camerawoman fired for kicking refugees is going to sue Facebook for bias and helping to fuel hatred against her, a Moscow-based daily reported. She is also considering moving to Russia.

In September, reporters covering the EU refugee and migrant crisis on the Hungarian-Serbian border caught Petra Laszlo tripping a refugee with a child in his hands on camera. The incident blew up into a major international scandal in the days following.

The accused camerawoman, Petra Laszlo, who worked for Hungary's N1TV at the time, has apologized, saying it was a mistake. She explained in earlier statements that she had panicked and wanted to protect herself when hundreds of asylum seekers broke through a police cordon in a field and ran in her direction.

Comment: Read also: Refugee kicked and tripped by Hungarian camerawoman alleged to be member of Al-Nusra Front


Two China diplomats fatally shot, third hospitalized in Philippines

© Associated Press
Police mark the crime scene with a yellow tape where two Chinese diplomats were killed in Cebu, central Philippines, October 21, 2015.
Two Chinese diplomats have been killed and another injured in a shooting attack at a restaurant in Cebu, the second largest city of the Philippines.

According to police, the deadly attack was carried out at about 1:30 p.m. local time (0530 GMT) Wednesday at a popular restaurant in the trading capital of central Philippines.

The restaurant workers said nine people were in a private room to celebrate the birthday of China's consul general to Cebu, Song Ronghua, who was shot in the neck and taken to a hospital. He is said to be in stable conditions.

"The bullet went clear through (his neck)," said regional police chief, Tom Banas, adding, "We're still trying to determine the motive for the shooting."

The dead staff members are identified as Sun Shan, the deputy consul general, and Hui Li, a finance officer.

Following the shooting attack, police arrested two other Chinese who had been present at the lunch, as well as a consular officer and her husband, on suspicion of involvement in the assault, Banas said, adding that the couple has not cooperated with police, claiming that they are not able to speak English.

A semi-automatic 45 Colt pistol and three bullet shells have been found at the scene of the crime.

China's embassy in the capital, Manila, has refrained from commenting on the incident with a spokeswoman saying that the mission "is still verifying the facts."


New report finds: TTIP already 'Rewriting the rule book' for European Union food standards

© greensefa/flickr/cc
More than 3 million people across Europe have signed a petition calling on the European Commission to scrap the agreement.
The pending Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) will likely spark a "race to the bottom" for national policies that regulate everything from the air we breath to the food we eat and, according to a new report, the controversial pact is already pushing European governments to loosen key food safety standards.

Put forth by the UK-based social justice organization Global Justice now, the report (pdf), published Sunday, highlights a component of the pact known as "regulatory cooperation" or "regulatory coherence," which seeks to establish common standards between the United States and the European Union.

Under the provision, notes the group, multinational corporations are granted the opportunity to influence any new regulation—amounting to a "blueprint for corporate domination."

Comment: People Power! Europeans protest secret US-EU trade deal - TTIP


Cattle rustling makes a comeback: Meth and heroin addicts stealing livestock to feed their habits

Cattle rustling, a crime associated with the Wild West, is on the rebound in the heart of the U.S. cattle industry, driven largely by ranch hands stealing livestock to get money to feed their drug habits.

The crime has evolved from rustlers on horseback driving their plunder across the range, often portrayed in the early 1960s U.S. TV program Rawhide, to modern-day cowboys using pickup trucks and trailers to make off with cattle.

The recent rise in rustling is driven by the spread of heroin and methamphetamines to rural areas, an issue that has dogged states across the nation. In Oklahoma and neighboring Texas, lonesome cattle grazing on thousand-acre ranches that can fetch about $1,000 to $3,000 at market are proving to be easy targets for rustlers on the down and out.

Among Oklahoma cattle thieves, about 75 percent are doing so to feed addictions, most often to meth amphetamines, according to Jerry Flowers, a retired Oklahoma City police detective and the state's top "cattle cop."

"Some city meth head is going to be kicking your door in and taking your TV. An outlaw here in the country is going to be cutting your fence and taking your cattle," said Flowers.


F-18 fighter jet crashes in UK, killing U.S. pilot, with eyewitness reports of "explosion in the air" and "massive fireball"

© HO / Reuters
A U.S. FA-18 Hornet fighter-bomber
An F-18 fighter jet has reportedly crashed shortly after take-off from RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk. Local police confirmed the pilot died at the scene. The jet was one of six returning from combat operations in the Middle East and reportedly failed to rendezvous with a fuel tanker before the crash occurred.

A US Air Force official confirmed the crash. However, US Navy officials have reportedly claimed they had no planes in the air when the fighter jet crashed near the British base.

A United States Air Force (USAF) offical has arrived at the scene together with an explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) truck and a bomb squad vehicle to examine the crash site.

Cambridgeshire police have confirmed the pilot was the only crew member to die in the crash.

Heart - Black

Sexual abuse complaints at Rikers Island suppressed by prison officials

© Brendan McDermid / Reuters
Most reports of sexual abuse at New York City's Rikers Island prison were never passed on to the police, the city's public advocate says. The prison reported only two incidents out of the 116 complaints, and none of the 28 accusations of rape.

The city's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), which oversees health care at Rikers, registered 116 reports of sexual abuse in 2014, including 28 separate allegations of rape. They were passed on to the Department of Corrections (DOC), but only two misdemeanor assaults were reported to the NY Police Department, according to court documents filed Monday by the New York City Public Advocate Letitia James.

"Our affidavit proves the disturbing prevalence of sexual harassment and abuse allegations on Rikers Island," James said in a statement following her filing. "I have petitioned the Board of Correction to begin formal rule-making to better protect inmates from sexual violence, and they must start tackling this problem with the urgency it deserves."


Jerusalem chaos is a warning of things to come

© Intifada
Among Palestinians and Israelis, the recent upsurge in violence has been variously described as the children's, lone-wolf, Jerusalem and smartphone intifadas. Each describes a distinguishing feature of this round of clashes.

The steady erosion of Fatah and Hamas' authority during the post-Oslo years, as the Palestinian factions proved incapable of protecting their people from the structural violence of the occupation, has driven Palestine's orphaned children to the streets, armed with stones.

The growing hopelessness and sense of abandonment have led a few so-called "lone wolves" to vent their fury on Israelis with improvised weapons such as knives, screwdrivers and cars. These attacks have attracted the most publicity, becoming the equivalent of the second intifada's suicide bomber. But they serve chiefly as a barometer of Palestinian despair.

Jerusalem is the centre of events, with the Palestinians' only unifying symbol, Al Aqsa mosque, at its heart. For Palestinians, the incremental takeover of the compound - and the West's indifference - is like watching the mass dispossession of 1948 play out again in slow motion.

In addition, Jerusalem is the main fault line. Israel's illegal annexation of the city has left Palestinians there in an extreme form of isolation - indefinitely stateless and supremely vulnerable.