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'Prayers answered' after synagogue hostages rescued, suspect dead in Colleyville, Texas

synagogue hostage texas

A man took hostages at Beth Israel Synagogue in Colleyville, Texas on Jan. 15, 2022.
Hostages at a Texas synagogue were safely rescued, and the hostage-taker was dead Saturday night, after holding a rabbi and his congregants for nearly half a day with demands that US authorities release a convicted terrorist known as "Lady al-Qaeda."

"Prayers answered," Texas Gov. Greg Abbot tweeted at 9:30 p.m. to deliver the fortunate update, minutes after an elite FBI hostage rescue team that was flown in from Virginia entered the Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, FBI Special Agent Matt DeSarno said in a press conference.

It was unclear how the unidentified suspect — who claimed to have a bomb — died, but flashbangs and gunshots were heard as the SWAT team stormed the house of worship, more than 10 hours after the suspect took control of the house of worship.

Comment: More from RT:
The US military questioned the woman [Aafia Siddiqui] a day after she was arrested by Afghan authorities on July 17, 2008. The FBI claimed that Afghan forces discovered a number of handwritten notes on her that cited a "mass casualty attack" and mentioned an array of important locations around the US, including the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, Wall Street, as well as the Brooklyn Bridge. The FBI alleged that Siddiqui managed to grab a US officer's rifle while she was being held "unsecured, behind a curtain" in a room at an Afghan police compound as her interview was about to start. Siddiqui then allegedly fired at a US Army officer and several other servicemen before she was restrained. Siddiqui ended up being shot in the stomach by a soldier, while nobody else was hurt in the incident, which ultimately paved the way for her extradition to the US.

Siddiqui is also believed to have been married to Ammar Al-Baluchi, the nephew of accused 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. The US government alleged she had disappeared after he was brought into custody in 2003, prompting them to place her on the FBI's 'Most Wanted' list.

There has been an ongoing public campaign in Pakistan for the woman's return. In October, a crowd of protesters gathered outside the Pakistan Consulate in New York to demand her release, while calling her a "political prisoner" and an innocent victim of the US' War on Terror. Activists have also claimed Siddiqui is being mistreated in prison, having been attacked in July, resulting in burns and solitary confinement.

The Pakistani Senate passed a resolution calling her 'Daughter of the Nation' in 2018, while Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed support for her release and even reportedly discussed the issue with former US President Donald Trump.
Also from RT:
All four people who were held hostage at a synagogue in Colleyville, Texas on Saturday are "alive" and "safe," the authorities said as media reported gunfire and sounds resembling that of an explosion at the scene.

Though one male hostage had been released unharmed earlier on Saturday, the three remaining hostages were not able to leave until an FBI rescue team which had flown in from Quantico, Virginia stormed the building following a 12-hour standoff with the suspect.

Shortly after CNN reported that "a loud bang, followed by a short blast of rapid gunfire" came from the synagogue, Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced that all of the hostages were now "out alive and safe."

Colleyville Chief of Police Michael Miller confirmed that the suspect was "deceased" at a press conference late on Saturday. Noting that the man did not harm hostages "in any way," Miller refused to identify him.

"We have identified the subject but we are not prepared to release his identity or confirm his identity at this time," he added.

The suspect at one point had reportedly threatened to kill the hostages if anyone entered the building and said he had planted bombs in several locations. However, he also reportedly said he did not want to hurt anyone, and subsequently let one of the hostages escape unscathed.



Passport

Russia makes vaccine passports policy change

russian vaccine passport
© RIA / Alexander Kryazhev
Officials say the proposed legislation is not suited to the current coronavirus situation.

Russian lawmakers have postponed consideration of a bill that would introduce a nationwide system of QR-code vaccine passes, saying that the law needs to be adapted to deal with the new Omicron variant of Covid-19.

Tatyana Golikova, the deputy prime minister for social policy, labor, health and pension provision, told journalists on Friday that government officials, together with leaders of ruling party United Russia, had decided the proposed legislation would need to be adjusted before it could be considered further. Originally, the law aimed to consolidate policies across different local governments, many of which require proof of vaccination to enter restaurants, bars, clubs, and mass events.

Comment: See also:


Syringe

Thousands in Vienna protest over Europe's first mandatory vaccine plan

vienna vaccine protest
© Ruptly
Protesters take to the streets of Vienna to demonstrate against mandatory Covid-19 vaccination.
The Austrian government's plan to make vaccination against Covid-19 mandatory has sparked mass protests.

Thousands of Austrians took to the streets of Vienna to protest against an upcoming parliamentary vote to make Covid-19 vaccines mandatory, with demonstrators calling for the government to be replaced.

Protesters carried Austrian flags through the streets on Saturday as police in riot gear could be seen standing in a line nearby. "Face your guilt and turn back!" one banner read, while others accused Austria's right-wing ruling party - the Austrian People's Party (OVP) - of splitting the nation with its coronavirus policies.

Comment: See also:


Hearts

Three players drop out of Australian Open with chest issues while Djokovic awaits his fate

Novak Djokovic
The stakes are high for the organizers who have been keeping tennis star Novak Djokovic as a prisoner according to his parents. The player has won the tournament nine times, including the past three years and is currently tied with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for most major victories of all time, namely 20.

Djokovic has been confined to a small room in a Melbourne hotel since the Australian authorities denied him entrance to the country, overriding his medical exemption. Australia has been living up to its history as a penitentiary with its farcical zero-Covid policy and skyrocketing number of infections.

Djokovic's visa was cancelled on arrival and 34-year-old Serb is now languishing in a Melbourne immigration detention facility in a bid to prevent his deportation.

Comment: More on Novak Djokovic from The Guardian:
Novak Djokovic's Australian visa has again been cancelled days before the start of the Australian Open on the basis his presence could "excite anti-vaccination sentiment".


So it's not a health issue. It's because the locals might get dangerous ideas.


On Friday, the Australian immigration minister, Alex Hawke, exercised a personal power to cancel Djokovic's visa, likely to result in the world No 1's deportation and putting him out of contention for the grand slam tournament barring an against-the-odds court victory. Djokovic is due to have an appeal heard in the federal court on Sunday.

The decision means that Djokovic could be effectively barred from re-entering Australia for three years unless he can show in future bids that compelling circumstances exist, such as compassionate or Australian national interest grounds.

In a statement, Hawke said he cancelled the visa "on health and good order grounds, [and] on the basis that it was in the public interest to do so".

At an urgent court directions hearing on Friday evening, Djokovic's counsel, Nicholas Wood, expressed concern at his safety and a potential "media circus" when he is taken into detention after an 8am Saturday interview with immigration officials.

Wood proposed a hearing to consider overturning the cancellation on Sunday, arguing that every minute before the start of the Australian Open was "precious" to his client.

Wood revealed that the basis for Hawke's decision was the potential for Djokovic to "excite anti-vax sentiment", based on his previous statements about vaccines.

He noted this was "radically different" from the reason for the first cancellation and arguing there was was "no rational basis" for the conclusion, in part because Hawke failed to consider the effect of Djokovic's removal.



TV

NBC report on transgender athletes deliberately misleads through omission

lia thomas transgender swimmer race
© gozips.com
Transgender swimmer Lia Thomas is seen beating her female competitors by more than 40 seconds at a meet in December 2021
NBC News made headlines this week for a segment in which a reporter suggested there is "'little scientific evidence" biological males have an advantage in women's sports

On the streaming program Hallie Jackson NOW, the network's senior Washington correspondent welcomed a fellow NBC reporter to shed light on the controversy surrounding Lia Thomas, a biological male who has found success on the University of Pennsylvania women's swim team.

"Critics are furious, saying she shouldn't even be allowed to compete," claimed Jackson, before claiming that "ten states have recently passed some kind of bill banning trans athletes from participating in youth sports."

Comment:


Evil Rays

American diplomats in Geneva, Paris fall victim to 'Havana Syndrome'

US embassy
© immigration-residency.eu
US embassy Paris, France
More cases of 'Havana Syndrome' have just been reported at American embassies in Geneva and Paris, WSJ reports. Officials employed at both facilities have been afflicted by the neurological attacks, and at least one victim was evacuated back to the US for treatment.

Like most prior reports on Havana Syndrome attacks, this one comes with a significant delay: the attacks were first reported internally last summer, and quickly made their way to the State Department back in Washington. At least three cases of the syndrome were reported in Geneva, and there was at least one in Paris, Wall Street Journal said, bringing the total number of Havana Syndrome victims to close to 200.

While the Biden Administration's State Department insists on calling the attacks "anomalous health incidents," the CIA doesn't mince words. The "attacks" continue to befuddle America's best analysts. Nobody has a clear idea of what's causing them, or who might be behind it. Scientists have blamed crickets in Havana, and - as we mentioned above - those dastardly Russians. Yet, five years after the attacks started, the US appears no closer to the truth.

Comment: See also:


Handcuffs

40 migrants from 'special interest' countries arrested in West Texas border sector

Migrant arrest
© US Border Patrol/Del Rio Sector
Migrant arrest
Del Rio Sector Border Patrol agents arrested a large number of migrants from "special interest" nations so far this month. The group included migrants from nations known to have terrorist activities.

Del Rio Sector Chief Patrol Agent Jason D. Owens tweeted a report indicating the arrest of 40 migrants classified as "Other than Mexican." The group included migrants from countries designated as "special interest" nations including Syria, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan.
"Knowing who or what crosses our borders is essential to border security," Chief Owens tweeted.

Footprints

Two of Nazarbaev's sons-in-law pushed out of key energy posts in wake of Kazakh unrest

Sharipbaev
© KazTransOil
Kairat Sharipbaev out as chief executive of the state oil pipeline firm KazTransOil
Two sons-in-law of former Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev have been pushed out of top jobs at two major state companies, Kazakh officials said.

The announcement, made on January 15 by the country's sovereign wealth fund, comes in the wake of last week's unprecedented political turmoil and was the latest indication that the current government of President Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev was moving to purge or squeeze members of Nazarbaev's extended family.

In a statement, the sovereign wealth fund, Samruk-Kazyna, said that Kairat Sharipbaev had resigned as chief executive of natural-gas pipeline operator QazaqGaz. Dimash Dosanov, meanwhile, left his position as CEO of state oil pipeline firm KazTransOil.

Samruk-Kazyna gave no reasons for their resignations. Both companies play a key role in the country's oil and gas industry, an industry that fueled Kazakhstan's economic growth for decades.

Evil Rays

3 stabbed near University of Tokyo ahead of entrance exam, student, 17, arrested

tokyo stabbing
© REUTERS
Emergency personnel at the site of a stabbing near an entrance gate to Tokyo University on Saturday morning
Two high school students and a man were wounded in a knife attack on Saturday just outside the University of Tokyo ahead of nationwide entrance exams. A teenager who was apparently frustrated with his academic performance has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, police said.

A 72-year-old man from Tokyo was seriously injured after he and the two other victims — a male and a female student, ages 17 and 18 respectively — were slashed in the back around 8:30 a.m. outside one of the gates to the university's main campus in the capital's Bunkyo Ward.

The two high school students, both from Chiba Prefecture, did not sustain life-threatening injuries, the police said, with the police quoting the 17-year-old suspect as saying he was not acquainted with the three.

The suspect, a student at a private high school in Nagoya, was not taking the exam. He was arrested at the scene on suspicion of attempted murder. He has admitted to the attack.

Comment: It seems that knife attacks are on the rise just about everywhere:


SOTT Logo Radio

MindMatters: Books for the New Year, and Responding to a Reader Comment

mmbooks
Today on MindMatters we give a preview of what's to come in 2022, including some of the books we've been reading: Richard Spence's Wall Street and the Russian Revolution and Iain McGilchrist's The Matter with Things. We also respond to a reader comment. Are we ignoring the dangers of rightwing authoritarianism and overplaying the dangers on the left?


Running Time: 01:06:01

Download: MP3 — 90.7 MB