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Sun, 23 Jan 2022
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Two former Navy SEALs involved in 'Captain Phillips' Somali pirate mission found dead on Maersk Alabama

© AP
Crew members work aboard the U.S.-flagged Maersk Alabama after the ship docked in the harbor of Mombasa, Kenya,22, 2009.
Police on the island nation of Seychelles say that two former U.S. Navy SEALs found dead aboard the ship Maersk Alabama died of respiratory failure and were suspected to have had heart attacks, possibly from drug use. The police said Monday that a syringe and traces of heroin were found in their cabin. Police said samples are being sent to Mauritius for analysis to establish if the men had consumed "a substance" that could have caused the health failures.

The ship the men worked on, the Maersk Alabama, was the focus of a 2009 hijacking dramatized in the movie "Captain Phillips."

Officials named the two men as Mark Daniel Kennedy, 43, and Jeffrey Keith Reynolds, 44. They worked for the Virginia Beach, Virginia-based maritime security firm The Trident Group.

The U.S. Coast Guard is also investigating the deaths.

Chart Pie

U.S. to relinquish remaining control over the Internet

U.S. officials announced plans Friday to relinquish federal government control over the administration of the Internet, a move likely to please international critics but alarm many business leaders and others who rely on smooth functioning of the Web.

Pressure to let go of the final vestiges of U.S. authority over the system of Web addresses and domain names that organize the Internet has been building for more than a decade and was supercharged by the backlash to revelations about National Security Agency surveillance last year.


Mother jailed for refusing to drug daughter with a highly controversial antipsychotic - Child ends up in a mental institution


Maryanne Godboldo
Maryanne Godboldo endured a mother's worst nightmare when in May 2011 police and social workers burst into her home without a warrant, seized her then 13-year-old daughter, locked the child in a psychiatric hospital and purportedly doped her with dangerous antipsychotic drugs - but the devoted mom refused to allow authorities rip the little girl from her arms without a fight.

Instead, Godboldo, a former dance teacher who had never before had a run-in with the law, fought to defend her daughter, Ariana, in a 10-hour standoff with a Detroit SWAT team. The standoff resulted in eight felony charges, as authorities say Godboldo fired a gun into the ceiling when police broke down her door. A hearing is set for Godboldo Friday, and protesters plan to rally outside the courthouse in support of the mother.

It would have been an inconceivable act to most Americans just a few years ago: Armed police can now show up at family home, forcibly remove a child without a warrant and jail anyone who stands in their way. As WND reported, even the Supreme Court has recently allowed a lower court judgment supporting the use of a violent SWAT attack in a man's home based merely on suspicion of wrongdoing.

In the Detroit case, Gosboldo said police and Child Protective Services lied to her, promising that Ariana would be placed in the custody of Maryanne's sister. She said they also assured her they would not drug Ariana.

"All I wanted to do was protect my daughter," Gosboldo said. "When they forced her to take Risperdal, Haldol, Lithium and several vaccines, without my knowledge or consent, they almost killed her," she said. "It was attempted murder."


Banking services for the working poor - Senator Elizabeth Warren's Post Office proposal

post office
Investigative reporter Greg Palast is usually pretty good at peering behind the rhetoric and seeing what is really going on. But in tearing into Senator Elizabeth Warren's support of postal financial services, he has done a serious disservice to the underdogs - both the underbanked and the US Postal Service itself.

In his February 27 article "Liz Warren Goes Postal," Palast attacked her support of the USPS Inspector General's proposal to add "non-bank" financial services to the US Postal Service, calling it "cruel, stupid and frightening" and equating it with the unethical payday lending practices it seeks to eliminate.

After "several thousand tweets by enraged liberals," he wrote a follow-up article called "Brains Lost in Mail - Postal Bank Bunkum," in which he contends, "the Postal Governors are running a slick, slick campaign" to "use federal property to run illegal loan-sharking shops." He says they would "team up with commercial banks to cash in on payday predation," exempting themselves from Warren's own consumer protection regulations.

His first article concludes:
While the USPS wants to "partner" with big banks, why not, instead, allow community credit unions to use post offices as annexes to provide full, complete, non-usurious neighborhood banking services? This is the type of full-service "postal banking" successful in Switzerland and Japan that is envisioned by Ellen Brown, not the payday predation proposed by the USPS.
I obviously agree with him on the full-service postal banking alternative, but that is not something Congress appears ready to approve. Palast has not looked closely at the white paper from the Inspector General's office relied on by Senator Warren, or at the research on payday lending and the inability of credit unions to service that market. The IG's proposal, rather than fleecing the poor, would save them from being fleeced by offering basic financial services at much reduced rates. And that makes it a very good start.


Satellite data reveal route of missing Malaysia Airlines plane

Malaysia Airlines' missing jet transmitted its location repeatedly to satellites over the course of five hours after it disappeared from radar, people briefed on the matter said, as searchers zeroed in on new target areas hundreds of miles west of the plane's original course.

The satellites also received speed and altitude information about the plane from its intermittent "pings," the people said. The final ping was sent from over water, at what one of these people called a normal cruising altitude. They added that it was unclear why the pings stopped. One of the people, an industry official, said it was possible that the system sending them had been disabled by someone on board.

The people, who included a military official, the industry official and others, declined to say what specific path the transmissions revealed. But the U.S. planned to move surveillance planes into an area of the Indian Ocean 1,000 miles or more west of the Malay peninsula where the plane took off, said Cmdr. William Marks, the spokesman for the U.S. Seventh Fleet.


Actor Josh Brolin interview: 'I tried heroin. Most of the guys I grew up with are dead now'

josh brolin
© Larry Busacca/Getty Images
Josh Brolin: 'I learned from doing a lot of really, really bad acting.'
Labor Day spins the story of Frank, an escaped convict who gatecrashes suburbia and proceeds to cook a peach cobbler to die for. "Let's put a roof on this house," says Frank, up to his muscled forearms in flour, as he prepares to add the pastry to the filling. Labor Day, it should be noted, is not a film to skimp on its metaphors. The peach cobbler represents the tumbledown family home, sad and broken and in need of repair. No doubt it also represents Frank, whose crusty exterior contains a warm, gooey centre. Perhaps it even says something about the actor who plays him too.

If you're looking for the classic outsider on the inside, a study in friction, then Josh Brolin's your man. He is the child of privilege who trails a rough and tumble history; the self-critical nerd in the body of a jock; a 21st-century movie star who is out of joint with his time. When I walk in the room, he is slouched on the couch, leafing through a magazine spread of pictures from the sets of the original Star Wars films. Brolin marvels at antique black-and-white shots of members of the cast and crew; he can barely tear himself free. "Ah, there they are," he says. "All drunk and coked up."

Stock Down

Royal Bank of Scotland nears junk bond status‏

© Lefteris Pitarakis/AP
New RBS chief executive Ross McEwan has outlined a plan to restore profitability which Moody’s said carries ‘significant execution risk’.
Royal Bank of Scotland has edged closer to junk bond status after a leading credit ratings agency downgraded the state-controlled bank's debt following record losses and fears of regulatory punishment.

Moody's also warned of further downgrades as it expressed concern about the bank's plan to revive its fortunes in the wake of a £8.24bn loss in 2013 - its sixth successive year of losses.

Andrea Usai, a senior credit officer at Moody's, said: "Over a longer-term horizon, RBS's restructuring plan should be beneficial for creditors if executed according to plan.

Stock Down

China warns investors to prepare for wave of bankruptcies

© Feng Li/Getty Images
China's Premier, Li Keqiang, was speaking after the annual session of the national people's congress.
China is braced for a wave of industrial bankruptcies as its slowing economy forces companies with sky-high debts to the wall, the country's premier has said.

Premier Li Keqiang told lenders to China's private sector factories they should expect debt defaults as the world's second largest economy encounters "serious challenges" in the year ahead.

Speaking after the annual session of the national people's congress, Li Keqiang said: "We are going to confront serious challenges this year and some challenges may be even more complex." He told lenders to China's private sector factories they should expect debt defaults.


Plane disappearances - a brief history

© Mak Remissa/EPA
A man writes a message for passengers of Malaysian Airline flight MH370 on a banner at Kuala Lumpur International airport.
Since 1948, 100 aircraft have gone missing in flight and never been recovered.

Should the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 never be found, its disappearance would be by far the biggest such unexplained disaster in aviation. Yet such disappearances are not that uncommon: according to records assembled by the Aviation Safety Network, 100 aircraft have gone missing in flight and never been recovered since 1948. Some of the most notable include:


'Operation Smear Nigel Farage' - politics of the lowest form

© Matt Cardy/Getty Images
Ukip leader Nigel Farage gives a press conference at the party's 2014 spring conference.
There are still 382 days before the Queen dissolves parliament, but Operation Get Farage is revving into action. Splashing allegations that he had a "mistress" across the Daily Mail and BBC news bulletins are being justified in the public interest, of course. The former Ukip MEP Nikki Sinclaire exploited the European parliament's immunity from libel law to throw the revelations to a slavering media pack. Farage was fuelling unemployment, she cheekily suggested, by employing both his wife and "former mistress Annabelle Fuller", a suggestion passionately contested by Farage and Fuller.

You don't have to be a fan of Nigel Farage to object to this style of politics. It's personal, lowest common denominator, play-the-man-not-the-ball nonsense, beloved by the likes of Tory spin doctor Lynton Crosby. By all means attack the hypocrisy of a party that rails against the "EU gravy train" while milking its expenses: in 2012, for example, Ukip MEPs claimed nearly £800,000 EU expenses and allowances. Opponents of the state often have the least scruples about taking from it, and given generous donations to the party from Ukip MEPs, it could be justifiably claimed that this virulently Eurosceptic-party is partly EU-funded. But let's not pretend this is anything other than an excuse to discredit Farage via his private life, accompanied with nudge-nudge wink-wink stories about his "womanising" from former colleagues.