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Sun, 19 Nov 2017
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Red Flag

Facebook to begin flagging 'fake news' reported by users

© Paul Sakuma, Associated Press
Facebook has begun flagging fake news. Or as Facebook calls it: "disputed" news.

A warning label is being slapped on articles that clearly have no basis in fact or reality — at least some of them.

The giant social network first promised to roll out a "disputed" tag in December. Over the weekend, it made its debut in the U.S. Facebook declined to comment.

Among the disputed offenders that people spotted on Facebook: A fictionalized story, "Trump's Android Device Believed To Be Source of Recent White House Leaks," from a fictional publication, "The Seattle Tribune." The story carried a disputed label with links to fact-checking services that explained why it was not true.

Bizarro Earth

Primary schools in Glasgow to introduce unisex bathrooms

© Jonathan Drake / Reuters
Primary schools across Glasgow are introducing unisex toilets to tackle bullying and support children "confused about their gender identity," the local council has announced.

Under new plans, toilets will no longer be labelled 'girls' and 'boys', but will instead be labelled 'unisex' to tackle anti-social behavior and make LGBT students feel more at ease.

A council spokeswoman was cited on STV as saying: "The toilets in the new builds are a row of individual toilets that can be used by all, and research from other local authorities shows that it can help improve behavior and reduce bullying and vandalism."

Hillhead Primary School, in the west end of the city, is the first to have implemented the plans with six blocks of 'floor to ceiling' toilets for both boys and girls.

Heart - Black

Poachers break into zoo, shoot rare white rhino dead and saw off its horn

© REUTERS/Christian Hartmann
White rhinoceros Bruno (R) and Gracie are seen in their enclosure at Thoiry zoo and wildlife park, about 50 km (30 miles) west of Paris, France, March 7, 2017
Poachers broke into a French zoo, shot dead a rare white rhinoceros and sawed off its horn in what is believed to be the first time in Europe that a rhino in captivity has been attacked and killed.

The four-year-old male white rhino called Vince was found dead in his enclosure by his keeper at the Thoiry zoo and wildlife park about 50 km (30 miles) west of Paris on Tuesday morning after an overnight break-in, the zoo said.

Police, who were investigating the crime, said the rhino had been shot three times in the head and one of its horns had been sawn off, probably with a chainsaw.

Global trade in rhino horn is banned by a U.N. convention and its sale is illegal in France.


Overdoses have killed so many people in W. Virginia they ran out of money for funerals

© Mark Rightmire / www.globallookpress.com
West Virginia has paid for so many burials for poor people who died from drug overdoses that funds ran out five months before the end of the fiscal year, according to a funeral directors group. Over 33,000 died from opioid addiction in 2015.

The state's health department set aside about $2 million annually for burial costs for poor people. Funeral homes are offered $1,250 to cover individual burial expenses when the deceased has neither the funds nor anyone able to cover the costs.

"We've got five months with no money available," Frederick Kitchen, president of the West Virginia Funeral Directors Association, told The Intelligencer and Wheeling News Register. "Funeral directors do what they can, but this creates a hardship for a lot of funeral homes."


Ten reasons I am not a Leftist any more

Dr. Danusha V. Goska
How far left was I? So far left my beloved uncle was a card-carrying member of the Communist Party in a Communist country. When I returned to his Slovak village to buy him a mass card, the priest refused to sell me one. So far left that a self-identified terrorist proposed marriage to me. So far left I was a two-time Peace Corps volunteer and I have a degree from UC Berkeley. So far left that my Teamster mother used to tell anyone who would listen that she voted for Gus Hall, Communist Party chairman, for president. I wore a button saying "Eat the Rich." To me it wasn't a metaphor.

I voted Republican in the last presidential election.

Below are the top ten reasons I am no longer a leftist. This is not a rigorous comparison of theories. This list is idiosyncratic, impressionistic, and intuitive. It's an accounting of the milestones on my herky-jerky journey.

Comment: A most prescient article, as the rise of the 'social justice warrior' has shown.


Wikileaks coincidence? Microsoft products suffer major outage

© Mike Segar / Reuters
An outage is affecting Microsoft products, from Outlook to Xbox, around the globe, according to social media and news reports. Those attempting to access Outlook have received an error notice, first reported around 7am ET.

Authentication issues for Microsoft products - including Skype, OneDrive and others - have spiked worldwide, according to social media. Down Detector, a website independent of Microsoft that measures such issues, received more than 3,600 reports regarding Outlook beginning just before 7am ET. Log-in issues account for nearly half of reported Outlook issues, while receiving messages was also a highly-reported problem.

"Something went wrong :( The server can't sign you in right now. Please try again later," the Outlook error message reads.

Comment: Must be just a coincidence after the major Wikileaks release: Your whole life is hacked: Wikileaks reveal on CIA surveillance shows no area of your life is private anymore

Red Flag

Study finds African-Americans are more likely to be wrongfully convicted than whites

© Stephen Lam / Reuters
African-Americans are more likely to be wrongfully convicted of crimes including murder, sexual assault, and illegal drug activities than whites, according to a new study. The research blamed a number of factors, including racial bias and official misconduct.

The study from the National Registry of Exonerations examined cases from 1989 to October 2016, finding that 47 percent of the 1,900 defendants convicted of crimes and later exonerated were African-Americans - a figure which is three times their representation in the population.

The research also found that African-Americans were about seven times more likely to be wrongfully convicted of murder than whites. "African Americans imprisoned for murder are more likely to be innocent if they were convicted of killing white victims," the study noted.


Federal judge denies tribe request to block final phase of DAPL

© Terray Sylvester / Reuters
A federal judge has denied the Cheyenne River Sioux tribe's request to block the final phase of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline. The tribe had argued that the presence of the pipeline desecrated its sacred land and water.

The final leg of the pipeline is set to be built under Lake Oahe in North Dakota. The Cheyenne River Sioux sought a preliminary injunction against the construction because they use the lake for sacred ceremonies. They argued that the project would interfere with their religious practices.

US District Judge James Boasberg dismissed the tribe's arguments on Tuesday.

"Cheyenne River's religious-exercise claim ... involves a government action — granting an easement to Dakota Access to build and operate a pipeline — regarding the use of federal land —the land under Lake Oahe — that has an incidental, if serious, impact on a tribe's ability to practice its religion because of spiritual desecration of a sacred site," he wrote in his 38-page decision.


New study finds men are increasing their aggressiveness in negotiations with women since Trump election

© Mike Sega / Reuters
The election of President Donald Trump may be partly responsible for men taking a hardball approach to negotiating with women. A new study finds that the art of the deal is growing increasingly aggressive from the man's side of the equation.

It's been six weeks since Trump's presidency began, and the cultural shifts are already taking root it seems. The University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business examined the way men bargain with women and found that prior to Trump's victory in November, men tended to work things out gently.

But the election may have killed any chivalry, as men were more likely to engage in tough talk, according to the study, which also found that men were less effective for it.

Assistant professor Corinne Low and Wharton doctoral student Jennie Huang were studying how communication styles differ across genders, but accidentally discovered that the election may have caused a major shift in negotiation.


Cop allowed to resign and avoid accountability after video shows him body slam a small girl

A Roseville police officer, who was being investigated after he was seen on video slamming a small teen girl to the ground, has quietly resigned amid the investigation. As the Free Thought Project has previously reported, officers are all too often allowed to resign during investigations as a means of avoiding any form of accountability. It appears that is what's happening here.

In January, Officer Ruben De Los Santos was captured on a high school student's cell phone video slamming down a small teen half his size, Jasmin Darwin. According to witnesses and Darwin, she was trying to break up a fight between her sister and another student when Santos came up from behind her and smashed her into the ground.

In the brief but graphic video, Santos is seen grabbing Darwin from behind and picking her high up in the air before slamming her down on the hard floor. For a moment, Darwin appeared to be unconscious.