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Mon, 29 Aug 2016
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Illinois home flattened, owners hospitalized after overnight 'explosion'

© Nexstar Broadcasting
A home in Washington is flattened and the homeowners sent to the hospital after what authorities are calling an overnight "explosion". It happened in the 24,000 Block of Farmdale Road in rural Washington just before 2:00AM Wednesday morning.

Now neighbors are describing what they saw and heard. "We were woken up about a quarter til 2 with just a loud boom and the whole house shook." Next-door-neighbor, Barbara Slagel, said. Tim and Barbara Slagel live next door to the home. "I said 'What's that?' And he said 'Must be thunder.'"

Slagel said. "But then we waited just a little bit thinking this is a pretty nasty storm and it never thundered again for a couple of minutes...looked over there and the entire house was engulfed in flames."

© Nexstar Broadcasting
"We got a call around 2 o'clock this morning for a house that had exploded we arrived to find the house fully involved in fire." Northern Tazewell Fire Chief Rick Ragan, said.

Chief Ragan tells us the homeowners were outside of the home when they got there. Investigators won't tell us how they were able to get out, but neighbors say the blast blew them out. "They were in bed, they were sleeping, and they were blown out of the house." Tim Slagel said.


Washington DC Ward 3 residents file lawsuit over planned homeless shelter

© Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images
A homeless man sits with his belongings on a sidewalk on Aug. 24, 2016, in the District.
The plan to establish a homeless shelter in the parking lot of a police station in Ward 3 in the District has run into a lawsuit by a group of residents.

The D.C. Council approved a 50-bed shelter in the parking lot of the 2nd District Station, on Idaho Avenue, without consulting the Advisory Neighborhood Commission on the location, NBC Washington reports.

David Brown, a lawyer for the neighbors of the proposed shelter site, tells NBC Washington that they want to "go back to the drawing board and give the (Advisory Neighborhood Commission) an opportunity to presents its issues and concerns." The suit adds that such input is required by D.C. law.

The shelter has been proposed under the 2016 Homeless Shelter Replacement Act, which aims to replace the D.C. General Family Shelter with a series of smaller shelters in each ward. In May, NBC Washington reports, the effort changed its goal from establishing shelters on private property to public property.

Mary Cheh, the Council member for Ward 3, tells NBC Washington that the ANC will get its chance to have input when the zoning change for the shelter is formally made.


Officials tightlipped on low-flying Blackhawk helicopters, training drills in Boston, Massachusetts

For several days this week, people in Boston and the surrounding area have heard large helicopters flying around the area.

Many people reached out to FOX25 with concerns that the helicopters were passing very close to buildings.

FOX25 found a video posted on YouTube showing several helicopters flying low above the high rise buildings in Boston.

Boston police sent out a community advisory to alert residents about a planned training exercise in conjunction with the defense department. The advisory said the training is not in response to any world events.

FOX25 reached out to the Boston Police Department and was told "specifics are kept mysterious for good reason."

The Blackhawk helicopters were all lined up on the tarmac at a local airfield Wednesday. The Department of Defense would not comment on the exercise.

The exercise is expected to continue until Friday, and FOX25 is told the Boston Police Department will release more information after it ends.

Che Guevara

Supporters of Celtic football club, fined for waving Palestinian flags, raise over £110k for Palestinian charities

Screenshot from a Lajee Center video thanking Celtic fans. The center is a Palestinian cultural organization in the Aida Refugee Camp.
The defiant display of Palestinian flags in Glasgow last week by Scottish fans of the Celtic soccer team roused over £100,000 (just over $130,000) in donations online, all marked for helping Palestinians.

The news comes as Celtic gear up to play in Israel on Tuesday night against Hapoel Be'er Sheva. Israeli authorities have promised to arrest and prosecute any actions involving Palestine solidarity. And in Scotland, the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) is mulling what consequences Celtic fans should face for showing solidarity with the "illicit" Palestinian emblem. The Green Brigade, the hardcore cadre of Celtic fans who raised the Palestinian flag, responded to the threat of sanctions with a call for donations for Palestinian medical aid and a refugee camp.

"In response to this petty and politically partisan act by European football's governing body, we are determined to make a positive contribution to the game and today launch a campaign to #matchthefineforpalestine. We aim to raise £75,000 which will be split equally between Medical Aid Palestine (MAP) and the Lajee Centre, a Palestinian cultural centre in Aida Refugee Camp on the outskirts of Bethlehem. From our members' experiences as volunteers in Palestine we know the huge importance of both organisations' work and have developed close contacts with them," the group writes on its GoFundMe page, MatchTheFineforPalestine. The total the group is seeking to receive has since been raised to £110,000.

Comment: Lots of people shared this video of supporters of Scottish premier league football club Celtic waving Palestinian flags before a match with an Israeli team. The supporters were asked not to show support for Palestine, and took that as a good reason to do so, along with the obvious reasons to do so.

But what a lot of people perhaps don't understand is that Celtic football club was founded by and for Irish immigrants in Scotland and has always had strong links with the Irish struggle for independence, especially over the last 40 years in Northern Ireland.

The natural affinity between those who have struggled for Irish independence and those who struggle for Palestinian independence is obvious. To illustrate the division, we need only look at both Celtic's 'enemy' in Scotland - Rangers football club - and the enemies of the struggle for Irish independence - the Pro-British Protestant ascendancy in Northern Ireland, both of whom are wont to raise the Israeli flag (as bizarre as that may seem) when caught up in a fit of imperial right-wing fervor.

Historically, the alliances between Irish nationalists and Palestinian resistance on the one hand, and die-hard supporters of British imperial injustice and Israel on the other, are the product of the decision by British governments in the early 20th century to promise, in perpetuo, Palestinian land to Jews and Irish catholic land to Protestant settlers.

Heart - Black

France's absurd, misogynist burkini ban is an Islamophobic assault on feminist values

© Abdul Azim/Twitter
One of several viral photos showing a woman removing her tunic while surrounded by police on a beach in Nice.
French police on Tuesday forced a woman to take off her clothes on a beach in Nice because she was wearing a "burkini," a bathing suit recently criminalized in 15 French cities.

In nearby Cannes, meanwhile, another woman was lying on the beach when approached by police for wearing the same swimsuit. The crowd around her cheered as the police forced her to pull off her clothes. Her daughter, who was swimming, was left crying and humiliated.

You read that right: these women were targeted by police for wearing a swimsuit, a swimsuit that French authorities have decided to ban because they consider it to be associated with "radical Islam." Both women were charged with wearing an "outfit not respecting good morals and secularism."

A French court will decide on Friday whether the burkini bans are legal, after a challenge by human rights and anti-Islamophobia groups. But the French Prime Minister has come out in support of the bans, and the ban has already stirred a wave of Islamophobia (including a riot targeting a majority-North African public housing complex in Corsica).

Arrow Up

Officer who fatally shot Philando Castile put back on administrative leave due to protests

© Adam Bettcher / Reuters
Attendees and the funeral procession for Philando Castile travel from the St Paul Cathedral in St Paul, Minnesota, U.S. July 14, 2016.
After briefly returning to work following the deadly shooting of Philando Castile, St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez is back on administrative leave. The city made the decision to once again remove him from duty, partly due to protests.

Officer Yanez was back on the force in a limited capacity for just one week when the city of St. Anthony reversed its decision Wednesday.

The city's statement read: "The City of St. Anthony has changed Officer Jeronimo Yanez's status with the city's police department. He will now return to administrative leave. The decision to change Officer Yanez's status was made after reviewing concerns and other feedback from the community. Out of respect to the sensitive nature of the tragic incident and the concerns from the community, the Mayor, City Council and City Manager have decided to make this change. Officer Yanez's status with the department will be reviewed when the investigation process related to the incident is complete."

Comment: See also: Disgraceful — Cop who gunned down in cold blood innocent Philando Castile is back on the job


Survivor of 2007 Minneapolis bridge collapse faces IS terrorist charge

© kstp.com
Mohamed Amlin Ali Roble
A survivor of the 2007 Minneapolis bridge collapse that killed 13 people now faces terror charges after authorities say he traveled to Syria to join the Islamic State group, departing the U.S. just a few weeks after collecting more than $91,000 in settlement money for his injuries. Mohamed Amiin Ali Roble, 20, was charged Wednesday with providing and conspiring to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization.

© www.finding dulcinea.com
2007 Minneapolis bridge collapse
He was weeks shy of his 11th birthday when the school bus he was riding in plummeted about 30 feet as the bridge collapsed. Roble, one of 145 people who were hurt, received the settlement funds on his 18th birthday.

Roble's name first surfaced in May during the federal trial of three Minnesota men who were convicted of conspiring to join the Islamic State group. The bridge collapse wasn't mentioned at trial, but The Associated Press made the connection using public records. Working phone numbers and current addresses for Roble's family members were not available and they could not be reached for comment.

Comment: Mr. Roble may be on another 'bridge over troubled water' about to collapse.

Heart - Black

Teen who murdered 9 in Munich worshipped Hitler, shared same birthday

Ali David Sonboly and idol Adolph Hitler
Munich gunman Ali David Sonboly worshipped Adolf Hitler and saw it as an 'honour' that he shared the same birthday as the Nazi leader, it has been revealed. Sonboly, 18, shot nine people dead at a shopping centre in the southern German city on Friday [July 22] before turning his handgun on himself.

The German-Iranian considered himself 'Aryan' and had built up resentment against Arabs and Turks, who, it is claimed, bullied him at school. It has now emerged that the teenager took the fact that he was born on the same day of the year as Hitler - April 20 - as an 'honour'.

The Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper said he was a racist who held extreme right wing views about foreigners and minorities.Sonboly [had] Iranian parents and held an Iranian as well as German passport. Many of his victims in the bloodbath were of foreign origin and there are investigations into whether he deliberately targeted them. A video emerged of the killer on the roof of a car park after the shootings in which he was insulted by a local from his balcony as being an immigrant, prompting him to shout back: 'I am German! I was born here!'

Police say the teenager was obsessed with mass killings - including Norwegian rightwing fanatic Anders Behring Breivik's 2011 massacre - and spent a year preparing for the shooting spree. At least 35 people were also wounded during Sonboly's attack, which began at a McDonald's restaurant and ended with him turning his 9mm Glock pistol on himself.

Investigators have ruled out any link with ISIS jihadists, although he appeared to have planned the assault with chilling precision for a year.

Comment: See also:

Arrow Up

Canada's Muslim Mounties have permission to wear hijabs on duty

© lovingfutbol.com
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police have given official permission to female officers to wear hijabs along with their famous British-style red uniforms in hopes that the stunning measure will boost recruitment of Muslim women and promote diversity.

"The commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) recently approved this addition to the uniform," Scott Bardsley, a spokesman for Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, told AFP on Tuesday. "This is intended to better reflect the diversity in our communities and encourage more Muslim women to consider the Royal Canadian Mounted Police as a career option," he added.

Police in Britain, Sweden, and Norway, as well as some US states, have adopted similar uniform policies, Bardsley said.

Comment: France could learn something from this approach.

Arrow Up

Germany: Anti-immigrant AfD, an upcoming force with young, unemployed males

© Hannibal Hanschke / Reuters
Supporters of right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD)
Despite being only three years old, the anti-Islamization, anti-EU and anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) is entrenching its popularity with voters, and should make it into the Bundestag next year, a large new study has shown. The German Institute for Economic Research and Humboldt University examined interviews with over 40,000 people, opinion polls and qualitative surveys, to establish whether the controversial party, which breaks numerous taboos of mainstream German politics, is a flash in the pan, or has a long-term future. The answer appears to be the latter.

The party is currently polling at about 10 percent around the country, vying for third place with the Greens, behind the two main centrist parties. It has already been elected to three regional assemblies, including scoring a spectacular 24 percent in the former East German province of Saxony-Anhalt. In Germany's proportional representation system, it only needs to pass the 5 percent threshold to be elected to the Bundestag, with a vote likely to be called for autumn 2017.

It has done this by undergoing a rapid transformation. Its initial manifesto was endorsed by a group of academics and journalists, and was squarely focused on Europe, and the mismanagement of the common currency.

But AfD has rapidly expanded its appeal, by striking a chord with disaffected and disadvantaged voters, helped by ongoing financial struggles in the Eurozone, and the influx of over 1 million migrants in the past two years.

Comment: See also: