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Fri, 22 Oct 2021
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Fire

Taiwan fire: At least 46 killed and dozens injured as blaze engulfs apartment building

Flames engulf the residential tower in Kaohsiung, in southern Taiwan.
© AP
Flames engulf the residential tower in Kaohsiung, in southern Taiwan.
At least 46 people have been killed and dozens injured after a fire broke out in a 13-storey residential building in southern Taiwan.

The "extremely fierce" blaze erupted at around 3am and destroyed several floors of the tower in the city of Kaohsiung.

The fire was extinguished around dawn and firefighters were still going through the building, Kaohsiung fire chief Lee Ching-hsiu said, adding that the number of dead could rise.


Pistol

Oh great, they're putting guns on robodogs now

SPUR robot
© Instagram/swordinternational
The Special Purpose Unmanned Rifle, or SPUR, is seen at the annual convention for the Association of the US Army in Washington, DC.
So, hey, they've started mounting sniper rifles on robodogs, which is great news for anyone who was hoping they'd start mounting sniper rifles on robodogs.

At an exhibit booth in the Association of the United States Army's annual meeting and exhibition, Ghost Robotics (the military-friendly competitor to the better-known Boston Dynamics) proudly showed off a weapon that is designed to attach to its quadruped bots made by a company called SWORD Defense Systems.

Comment: Machines with license to kill have no accountability. The public is at the mercy of the programmers.


X

Suicide killed more than twice as many US soldiers in three months than COVID has since the pandemic began

Marine ptsd
© VA Wikimedia Commons
Battling PTSD
More soldiers in the U.S. military's active-duty, National Guard, and reserve forces died from suicide in the second quarter of this year than soldiers in the entire U.S. military died from the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic, a new Pentagon report shows.

Titled "The Department of Defense (DoD) Quarterly Suicide Report (QSR)," the document reveals that from April 1 to June 30, a total of 139 troops took their lives, with 99 classified as "active component," 14 as "reserve" members, and 26 as National Guard. Broken down among service branches, the active component deaths include 60 from the Army, eight from the Marine Corps, 17 from the Navy, and 14 from the Air Force.

Comment: The rise in military suicides is a harbinger for the nation as the quality of life around us deteriorates on many fronts. To make matters worse there is no scientific nor moral justification for the Biden administration's military vaccination mandate, including threats and repercussions to those who do not bend over to the jab. Biden may be the commander-in-chief, but his position demands more than knee-jerk decisions. There are many unsavory issues for this nation to consider - and do so post-haste.

See also:


Cardboard Box

#EmptyShelvesJoe trending on Twitter amid Biden's supply chain crisis

Biden Grocery store
© Travis Long/AP/Joe Raedle/Getty Images/KJN
US President Joe Biden • Bare shelves
The hashtag #EmptyShelvesJoe shot to the top of the trending topics on Twitter Thursday amid the supply chain crisis threatening the nation's economy and holiday shopping.

Social media users employed the tagline to rip President Biden for empty shelves and skyrocketing prices caused by a backlog of shipping containers waiting to dock at California ports.

One Twitter user wrote:
"Just went food shopping...again...thanks #EmptyShelvesJoe I really love having to go every day now in order to find what used to take one trip."
Another Twitter user posted:

"I'm pretty sure @JoeBiden and the Democrats in DC are eating just fine and are having no issues getting what they need. The rest of us lowly Americans who actually go to the grocery stores, not so much. #EmptyShelvesJoe."

Comment: For fun and jollies:
For a case in point, see also:

Costco limits purchases of toilet paper, paper towels and bottled water amid inflation, supply-chain issues


Footprints

More than 10,000 John Deere workers on strike after failed UAW deal

John Deere on strike
© AP
John Deere workers go on strike
More than 10,000 John Deere workers were on the picket line Thursday after their union was unable to hammer out a new contract with management of the tractor company.

Workers at 14 Deere & Co. locations made good on their vow to go on strike at the stroke of midnight after "the company failed to present an agreement that met our members' demands and needs," The United Auto Workers union said in statement. "Our members at John Deere strike for the ability to earn a decent living, retire with dignity and establish fair work rules," said Chuck Browning, vice president and director of the UAW's Agricultural Implement Department.

Union workers overwhelmingly rejected a contract offer this week that would have delivered 5 percent raises to some workers and 6 percent to others.

Now, the UAW said, workers will picket Deere around the clock until the two sides reach a contract. The union will provide members $275 a week in strike pay until the standoff is over.

This is the first major strike in 35 years at John Deere, which is known for its iconic green and yellow farm equipment. And workers, many of whom have been toiling extra hours for months because of pandemic-related worker shortages, say they are fed up.


Arrow Up

CDC reports record high 12-month drug overdose death toll

guy overdose
© unknown
Drug overdose deaths in the United States hit a new record for the 12-month period ending March 2021, new government data shows.

A record high 96,779 drug overdose deaths occurred between March 2020 and March 2021, representing a 29.6% rise, new statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics found. The numbers are provisional, and the CDC's estimate for predicted deaths totals more than 99,000 from March 2020 to March 2021, CNN reported.

Regina LaBelle, acting director of the Executive Office of the President Office of National Drug Control Policy, said in a statement:
"It is important to remember that behind these devastating numbers are families, friends, and community members who are grieving the loss of loved ones."
The state with the largest increase in overdose deaths (85.1%) during that time was Vermont. Opioids accounted for the highest number of overdose deaths, followed by synthetic opioids, excluding methadone, which was linked to the lowest number of overdose deaths.

Three states saw their number of overdose deaths decline from March 2020 to March 2021: New Hampshire, New Jersey and South Dakota. South Dakota's reported overdose deaths declined by 16.3%, the highest of any state.

Comment: See also:


Clipboard

Facebook's secret blacklist is a powerful tool for moderating thought, free speech and projecting US foreign policy globally

Facebook/WHouse
© Dailymotion/Wikipedia/KJN
Despite the appearance of conflict between Facebook and the US government, there is an insidious, censorious division of labour between the company and the State Department, enabling both to evade public accountability.

The publication by The Intercept of Facebook's secret blacklist of 'Dangerous Individuals and Organisations' (DIO) it does not allow on its platform - from white supremacists, hate groups, militarised social movements, and alleged terrorists - provides a glimpse into how the social media network moderates content that it asserts could lead to violence offline.

There are two worrying dimensions to this latest revelation. The first is that the list, particularly regarding the terrorism category, is drawn mainly from a sanctions list maintained by the Treasury Department and created by George W. Bush in the immediate aftermath of the September 11 attacks in 2001.

These restrictions can be traced back to 2012, when in the face of growing alarm in Congress and the United Nations about online terrorist recruiting, Facebook added to its 'Community Standards' a ban on "organisations with a record of terrorist or violent criminal activity." Initially, this was modest. But today, this has morphed into what's known as the DIO policy. This restricts what Facebook's 2.9 billion active global users (not just US citizens) can say about an enormous and ever-growing roster of entities it and the US State Department deem to be beyond the pale.

Facebook is effectively projecting US foreign policy globally. And if that's not worrying enough, this legitimises its growing power to police global free speech - an ability that has no limits because it is beyond public accountability.

Comment: See also:


Bullseye

Bow-and-arrow killings in Norway appear to be act of terror, officials say

Saeverud
© Terje Pedersen/NTB/AP
Chief of Police Ole B Saeverud
A bow-and-arrow attack in a small town in Norway which left five people dead appears to be a terrorist act, authorities have said.

Police identified the suspect as Espen Andersen Braathen, a 37-year-old Danish citizen, who was arrested on Wednesday night.

Police said the suspect used the bow and arrow and possibly other weapons to randomly target people at a supermarket and other locations in Kongsberg, a town of about 26,000 where he lived, before he was seized by police on the street.

Police said they believe he acted alone.


Display

Corporate media largely silent as millions protest vaccine mandates worldwide

mandate protests
When protests in the United States happen that help the establishment in some way, whether by stoking divide or pushing an establishment agenda, corporate media is all over them, bombarding us with news of packed streets. However, when massive crowds take to the streets to have their anti-establishment voices heard, it's crickets on FOXSNBCNN.

Such is the case recently as millions of people across the world have taken to the streets to protest the draconian laws which segregate society and deprive people of their freedoms over their choice in taking a vaccine they may not even need.

Recycle

Two Georgia workers fired after being accused of shredding voting applications

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger
© AP Photo/Russ Bynum
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger
Two workers in Fulton County, Georgia have been fired after they were accused of shredding hundreds of voter registration applications, spurring Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to call for a U.S. Department of Justice investigation.

"After 20 years of documented failure in Fulton County elections, Georgians are tired of waiting to see what the next embarrassing revelation will be," Raffensperger said in a press release Monday. "The Department of Justice needs to take a long look at what Fulton County is doing and how their leadership disenfranchises Fulton voters through incompetence and malfeasance. The voters of Georgia are sick of Fulton County's failures."

The two unidentified employees are accused of shredding batches of applications the county received instead of properly processing them, according to a release from Fulton County Registration and Elections Director Richard Barron.

The allegations come just three weeks before Fulton County residents are set to vote in municipal elections, with all of the shredded applications being received in the last two weeks.

The two workers were reported by fellow employees Friday and were terminated later that day.

Comment: Fulton was the center of massive fraud during the 2020 presidential election. They'll just keep doing it, since no one stops them. Despite finding only "widespread mismanagement" and no "systemic fraud", revelations about the last election are still coming out:
A state-appointed monitor chronicled to Raffensperger in a memo 29 pages of irregularities, mismanagement and other problems in the Atlanta vote counting center during last November's election ranging from double scanning of ballots to insecure transportation of ballots and violations of voter privacy.

The monitor, Carter Jones, reported that while he found no systemic fraud, he did find widespread mismanagement. His report spurred Raffensperger to take advantage of a new state election integrity law passed this spring. He recently requested that the State Elections Board take the first step of placing Fulton County in receivership, meaning state officials could manage the county's 2022 and 2024 elections.