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Mon, 10 May 2021
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Psychopathy alert: Russian teen charged with cemetery murder

© RIA Novosti. Vadim Gernov
Russian Teen Charged with Cemetery Murder
An 18-year-old student was charged on Wednesday with murdering a man in a cemetery near Moscow and cutting a swastika into his forehead, police said.

Investigators said they believe the student and a 21-year-old suspected accomplice came across a sleeping man in the cemetery, woke him up and attacked him with "homemade Nunchakus," (martial arts weapons) causing "multiple head injuries."

Their victim died at the scene, police said, after which the youths are said to have "carved a swastika on his forehead, in order, according to them, to show that the murder had been committed by skinheads" in order to throw the police off the scent.


Chavez death could be US plot - Russian communist leader

© RIA Novosti. Aleksei Kudenko
Chavez Death Could Be US Plot – Russian Communist Leader
The death of Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez from cancer may have been part of a plot by the United States to infect its enemies in Latin America with the disease, the leader of Russia's Communist party, Gennady Zyuganov, speculated on Wednesday.

"How did it happen that six leaders of Latin American countries which had criticized US policies and tried to create an influential alliance in order to be independent and sovereign states, fell ill simultaneously with the same disease?" Zyuganov said in comments carried by Russian state television.

"In my view, this was far from a coincidence," said Zyuganov, the head of Russia's second-largest political party. He urged an investigation under "international control" into Chavez's death.

Zyuganov's claim echoed accusations by Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro, who alleged last week that Chavez had fallen victim to an "imperialist" plot.

Heart - Black

Bolshoi dancer confesses to acid attack on ballet's director

© Reuters
Pavel Dmitrichenko told police he planned the attack in which sulphuric acid was thrown at Sergei Filin in January.
Pavel Dmitrichenko tells Russian police he was behind attack with two men that nearly blinded company's director Sergei Filin

A dancer at the Bolshoi ballet has confessed to ordering an attack on the company's director, Russian police said, in a scandal that has exposed the treacherous dramas unfolding behind the theatre's famed stage.

"Yes, I organised this attack, but not to the extent that it occurred," Pavel Dmitrichenko, looking tired and unkempt, said in a video aired on television.

He said he had confessed his motives to police but declined to detail them on video. Channel One, a state-run television station, said Dmitrichenko's girlfriend, ballerina Angelina Vorontsova, had clashed professionally with the ballet's director, Sergei Filin.

Dmitrichenko, 28, was arrested on Tuesday by police investigating the January attack on Filin, when sulphuric acid was thrown at his face, leaving him fighting for his eyesight.

Dmitrichenko's two accomplices - the attacker and a getaway driver - also confessed, police said on Wednesday.


Group building a 500-foot Noah's Ark in Hialeah

A group in Hialeah is going Biblical.

The Hidden Ark group began building a 500-foot wooden Noah's Ark on the outskirts of Hialeah that will be both a zoo and a way to raise awareness about the current environmental changes.

"It's a religious thing because it's Noah and God teaches us to protect animals," said Carolina Peralta who is part of the group, hiddenark.com. "You're using Noah's Ark to make a statement about helping animals and conserving our planet."

The building of the ark is still in its beginning stages, but the blue prints posted on the group's website show an area dedicated to the ark that will include a veterinarian laboratory, a petting area, stables, shops and a dining area.

Che Guevara

The King is Dead, Long Live the King! Hugo Chávez's 14 years as leader of the Venezuelan people

One of the most charismatic and conscientious leaders in the world, Hugo Chavez, Venezuelan president of the people, died last night, 5th March 2013. This video is a collection of some of his most memorable speeches during his reign, from his great humor mocking one-time psychopath-in-chief of the Empire, George 'Dubya' Bush, to his support for Iran's global peace agenda.

Comment: He will be sorely missed, but the revolution of the mind goes on... Hasta la Victoria Siempre!


Austerity America: the government gamble

sequestration credit downgrade
Increasingly partisan infighting on Capitol Hill has seen the deadline to avert $85bn in automatic budget cuts pass without accord

The munificence of Uncle Sam may suddenly be diminished as of late tomorrow night when a slew of painful and indiscriminate government spending cuts are due to come into effect. America, land of the free-spenders, is about to get its first taste of European-style austerity.

A product of the failure of Democrats and Republicans to agree on a prescription to cure the country's deficit disease, the cuts - $85bn by the end of this year and $1.2trn over 10 years - are due officially to come into effect at midnight tomorrow. No one wants them; no one seems to know how to avert them. A nation has been left to stumble blindly into unknown fiscal territory.

For its part, the International Monetary Fund warns that, if fully implemented, the reductions will trim about half a percentage point off the country's economic growth rate in 2013. All across the US, interest groups and industries are warning of particular areas of calamity. Farmers, for instance, are predicting the "first widespread shortage" of meat, poultry and eggs in decades because of cuts to food inspection teams.

The impact will not become clear all at once but, without a political truce soon, it may quickly become unmistakable. Exempt are welfare programmes for the poor and vulnerable and military salaries. But everywhere else, government will be forced to pare back on budgets. First to feel the brunt may be federal workers who will be asked to take furloughs - periods at home without pay - starting 30 days from today.

But the list of potential victims is much longer, particularly in the defence sector, because half of the cuts will fall on the Pentagon. The industry warns that the reductions - known as the "sequester" - will end up costing 2 million jobs. Among others are airports where security screeners and air traffic controllers could be culled, the medical research community where funding is likely to dwindle and national parks where money for rangers will be slashed. Glacier National Park in Montana says snow ploughing to clear its famous Going-to-the-Sun Road may not happen this summer.

"It will be like watching a multiple-car pile-up on the highway that's going in slow motion," Emily Holubowich, a healthcare lobbyist who has being trying to steer Congress away from the brink on behalf of 3,000 clients, told USA Today. "It's like that old saying, 'You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone'."

Arrow Down

Thinner wallets: Americans see biggest monthly income drop in 20 years

empty purse income drop
Feeling poorer?

Americans saw their income drop so dramatically in January that it marked the deepest one-month decline in 20 years.

Personal income decreased by $505.5 billion in January, or 3.6%, compared to December (on a seasonally adjusted and annualized basis). That's the most dramatic decline since January 1993, according to the Commerce Department.

It's something of a combination of one-time events, though.

Monthly income was unusually high in December because companies paid out early dividends to avoid upcoming tax hikes. Companies like Wal-Mart, Oracle, and Costco Wholesale Corp paid special dividends to their shareholders at the end of 2012, instead of waiting until 2013.

In doing so, they helped their high-income shareholders (individuals earning at least $400,000 a year, or married couples earning $450,000) avoid paying higher taxes on their gains. In their last-minute fiscal cliff deal, lawmakers decided to raise dividend tax rates for high-income households from 15% to 20%.

The payroll tax cut's expiration also played a role in January's drop, because most workers have to pay 2 percentage points more in taxes this year. The Commerce Department's "personal income" calculation subtracts out individuals' contributions to government social insurance programs like Social Security, which are funded by the payroll tax.

Excluding those special factors, the Commerce Department estimates that after-tax income actually increased 0.3% in January.

Meanwhile, economists are closely watching consumer spending, which accounts for about two-thirds of the U.S. economy.

They're waiting to see how the payroll tax hike will affect the broader recovery.

Comment: The Consumer "Confidence" Index is, like all other government statistics, nothing but smoke and mirrors, just like the "employment" rate. Just reverse everything the government say, and you are far more likely to be near the truth.

Black Magic

Insanity: Japan to restart six nuclear reactors

© AFP Photo / Jiji Press
This picture taken on April 12, 2012 shows the third and fourth reactor building of the Ohi nuclear power plant of the Kansai Electric Power Co at Ohi town in Fukui prefecture, western Japan.
Japan's major supplier of nuclear power generating equipment, France's Areva group, has announced Tokyo's plans to restart six reactors by the end of 2013. The other reactors will be restarted later - except the Fukushima-type made in the US.

In addition to two reactors already put back into operation in Japan "there could be half a dozen reactors that will restart by the end of the year," the Chief Executive Officer of the French state-owned nuclear group announced at a press conference.

"I think two-thirds of reactors will restart" within several years, specified future plans Areva's CEO Luc Oursel.

Oursel noted though that it will take years to get the green light for all Japan's nuclear reactors and some of them, like the notorious reactors at devastated Fukushima power plant, produced in the US by General Electric Company, would remain closed forever.

While Japan's foreign partners remain optimistic about resurrection of nuclear power industry in the country, Japanese Kyodo press agency believes country's nuclear power generation facilities will remain frozen through 2013.

Japan shut down all of its nuclear power generation facilities after the disastrous catastrophe at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in 2011, caused by a powerful earthquake followed by a devastating tsunami. The cooling systems of two reactors at the station went out of order and nuclear fuel melted down, flowing out of reactors' active zones and contaminating the territory irreparably.

As a result, Tokyo declared complete outage of nuclear facilities in the country.

Comment: The people of Japan may not be happy about this latest resurgence of the nuclear program:
People Power! Thousands March in Japan Against Nuclear Power as Final Reactor Switches Off
Nuclear Titanics: The Perils of Technological Hubris
Japan's nuclear disaster caps decades of accidents and fake reports
Is Japan's Elite Hiding a Weapons Program Inside Nuclear Plants?


Police brutality: Allegations of police excessive force at Mardi Gras

A still from the video.

A still from the video.
New South Wales police will conduct an investigation after being accused of using excessive force during last weekend's Mardi Gras.

A video apparently shot at this weekend's Mardi Gras shows an unidentified reveller in handcuffs being thrown to the ground by a policeman, who then stands on the man's back.

The footage does not show clearly what happened immediately before the man is thrown to the ground.

Police said an 18-year-old man had been issued with a field court notice for the offences of assaulting police, resisting arrest and using offensive language following an incident at the intersection of Riley Street and Oxford Street in Surry Hills on Mardi Gras night.

"Following vision of the event being made available to police, an internal investigation will be launched to determine the full circumstances leading up to and surrounding the incident," a police spokesman said.

The 18-year-old man is due to appear in Downing Centre Local Court on April 1.

Another man has claimed that police handled him roughly during Mardi Gras celebrations. Leaders in the gay community have expressed concern.

"I'll be calling for an investigation," said the state MP for Sydney, Alex Greenwich. "From what we can see it does appear to be heavy handed and extremely concerning."

The video was uploaded by an account called SydneyMardiGras2013 which claims the footage was shot near Oxford Street about 11:30 pm on Saturday.


FAA investigating report of drone spotted near NYC

© Todd Plitt/USA TODAY
Was that a drone flying over metro New York Monday?

That's what a pilot for Italian carrier Alitalia reported seeing from the cockpit of a flight landing at New York's JFK Airport. The pilot informed the air traffic control tower, and now his spotting has drawn the attention of both Federal Aviation Administration and counter-terrorism officials.

"The FAA is investigating a report... he saw a small, unmanned or remote-controlled aircraft while on final approach to Runway 31 Right," FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown says in a statement quoted by CNN. "The sighting was approximately four to five miles (from) the airport at an altitude of approximately 1,500 feet."

New York's Joint Terror Task Force also is investigating, according to both ABC News and the New York Post report. Both cite unnamed sources.

"He was very clear as to what he saw," a source tells the Post about the pilot's account of "a black drone."

Other than the pilot's sighting, the Alitalia flight landed at JFK without incident.