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Sat, 25 Feb 2017
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Attention

Man goes on car rampage in German city, injures 3, shot by police

© R. Priebe / www.globallookpress.com
car outside an office building in Heidelberg, Germany, 25 February 2017.
A man armed with a knife has driven a car into people in the southern German city of Heidelberg, injuring three pedestrians, according to police. The suspect was shot after a short standoff with officers and taken to the hospital.

The incident occurred in Heidelberg's central square at around 16:00 local time (15:00 GMT), when a car drove into a group of people standing in front of a local bakery, German media report. Rhein-Neckar Zeitung reports that he deliberately drove into the crowd, citing eyewitnesses. However, this has not been confirmed by police.

The suspect, who was armed with a knife, then fled the scene and was later stopped by a police patrol. He was shot by an officer following a short standoff and was taken to the hospital with serious injuries.

Pirates

Rules of Identification: Pentagon to refer to terrorist group Islamic State the same way Trump does

© The Huffington Post
Those Whatchamacallits
Pentagon officials now refer to the notorious terrorist group Islamic State as ISIS rather than ISIL, as was the case under the Obama administration. The renaming is meant to be consistent with the language used by President Donald Trump.

The change of name was outlined in a February 13 memo issued by the office of Defense Secretary James Mattis, AP reported. According to the Pentagon chief, the switch to "ISIS" would make the DoD language "consistent with'" that used by the Trump administration in a January 28 directive ordering the department to come up with a new plan to defeat Islamic State (IS).

Comment: What's in a name... It depends on what it represents and what it does. Then it becomes a brand. But no matter what you call it, it will be best known by its deeds.


Arrow Down

Mercy or protecting perverts? Pope Francis quietly reducing sanctions against some pedophile priests

© AP Photo/Andrew Medichini, File)
In this Feb. 13, 2015 file photo, Pope Francis, right, talks with the head of a sex abuse advisory commission, Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley, of Boston, as they arrive for a special consistory in the Synod hall at the Vatican. Pope Francis has quietly reduced sanctions against a few pedophile priests.
Pope Francis has quietly reduced sanctions against a handful of pedophile priests, applying his vision of a merciful church even to its worst offenders in ways that survivors of abuse and the pope's own advisers question.

One case has come back to haunt him: An Italian priest who received the pope's clemency was later convicted by an Italian criminal court for his sex crimes against children as young as 12. The Rev. Mauro Inzoli is now facing a second church trial after new evidence emerged against him, The Associated Press has learned.

The Inzoli case is one of several in which Francis overruled the advice of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and reduced a sentence that called for the priest to be defrocked, two canon lawyers and a church official told AP. Instead, the priests were sentenced to penalties including a lifetime of penance and prayer and removal from public ministry.

In some cases, the priests or their high-ranking friends appealed to Francis for clemency by citing the pope's own words about mercy in their petitions, the church official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the proceedings are confidential.

"With all this emphasis on mercy ... he is creating the environment for such initiatives," the church official said, adding that clemency petitions were rarely granted by Pope Benedict XVI, who launched a tough crackdown during his 2005-2013 papacy and defrocked some 800 priests who raped and molested children.

Eye 1

Dangerous precedent: Arkansas prosecutors want to force Amazon to release Echo device audio data

Prosecutors in Arkansas are attempting to set a dangerous precedent by forcing Amazon to release audio gathered by the Echo device.

Since its June 2015 release, civil liberties activists have been concerned with the dangers associated with Amazon's Echo device. The device responds to either "wake," "Alexa," or "Amazon," and records audio automatically. Echo is also capable of voice interaction and providing weather, traffic and other real-time information.

The device is a part of the growing trend towards Smart devices and appliances, which are themselves a part of the move towards Smart Homes and a completely interconnected digital Smart Grid. This Smart Grid is sometimes known as "The Internet of Things," meant to describe a future where all smart devices (computers, phones, Amazon's Echo, smart washer and dryers) are constantly listening and watching. These smart devices will be connected within your home, as well as to other users' devices across the globe. This vision of a totally connected grid of digital devices is ripe for manipulation and surveillance by both the corporate entities who sell them and the governments that believe it is their right to access the public's most private details.

This volatile situation is now becoming a reality with a recent Arkansas case involving a murder suspect and the possibility that Amazon Echo may contain valuable evidence. James Andrew Bates is charged with first-degree murder related to the death of a friend who had been drinking at his house before being found dead in a hot tub on November 22, 2015. The death was ruled a homicide and authorities found evidence of a struggle and clean-up of the crime scene. Bates has denied any involvement in the death.

Comment: See also: The walls have Orwellian ears: Warrant granted for Amazon Echo recordings


Attention

Pope Francis warns of coming global conflict over water

© Goran Tomasevic / Reuters
Water scarcity may cause conflict and the whole globe may be on its way to a great world war over water, Pope Francis has warned, adding that the situation is very "urgent."

"The right to water is essential for the survival of persons and decisive for the future of humanity," Pope Francis said during a meeting with international experts participating in a 'Dialogue on Water' at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences on February 24, as cited by americamagazine.org.

"All people have a right to safe drinking water," he said, adding "I ask [myself] if in this piecemeal third world war that we are living through, are we not going toward a great world war for water?"

Comment: The situation is being exacerbated by 'water barons' who have been privatizing water resources worldwide:


Dollars

The War on Cash and the criminalization of financial independence

Independent enterprises are a source of political and financial independence - and any independent class is dangerous to the ruling elites.

Just as the "war on drugs" criminalized and destroyed large swaths of African-American and Latino communities, the "war on cash" will further criminalize the few remaining avenues to financial independence and freedom. The introduction of "entitlement" welfare in the 1960s generated a toxic dependency on the state that institutionalized worklessness, a one-two punch that undermined marriage and family in America's working class of all ethnicities.

The "war on drugs" launched in the 1970s turned millions of American males into felons with severely restricted rights and opportunities in mainstream America.

Now we see the same destructive pattern repeating with "disability" being the new "welfare" and "legal" synthetic heroin (oxycotin etc.) being the new street-smack that lays waste to entire communities. Once you're dependent on the state for disability and synthetic smack, you are owned by the government, lock, stock and barrel.

Handcuffs

Naked man wrestles with police after being pulled over in Melbourne, Florida

© Orlando Sentinel
Police said the man stopped his car on the Eau Gallie Causeway about 3 p.m. in the middle of a rain storm, got out and stripped naked, according to the report.
A Melbourne man who authorities said hopped out of his car on a busy causeway and then stripped naked in the rain before wrestling with several police officers in front of onlookers, remains under a mental evaluation Thursday.

The unusual incident happened about 3 p.m., Wednesday as heavy rains and winds whipped through the area. Melbourne Police Lt. Steven Sadoff said the unidentified man was driving along the Eau Gallie Causeway when he stopped and got out of the vehicle.

"He pulled over and took off all of his clothes on top of the causeway. Then he started running around yelling, 'I am God,'" Sadoff said.

Comment: More crazed, naked people stories:


Fire

2 refugee centers in Germany go up in flames, arson suspected in one of the blazes

© Ruptly / YouTube
Two refugee facilities located in separate parts of Germany caught fire throughout the course of one day, local media reported. In one case, an arson attack is suspected.

In one incident, a wooden house was allegedly set on fire in Bergedorf, one of the boroughs of Hamburg, according to NDR. Multiple refugees from Afghanistan and Iraq are living in similar houses in the area.

Some 50 firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze, but one man was taken to a hospital with inhalation burns. A 31-year-old woman was detained by police even before the fire was brought under control, NDR reported. The woman, said to be residing in the house, is known to police for attempting to commit other arson attacks.

Given that the suspect has mental issues, "political background" was ruled out as a motive.

Arrow Down

"Historic Ku Klux Klan Meeting Hall" sign may become a 'permanent fixture' in small Georgia town

© Atlanta Antifascists / YouTube
A large sign posted in a small town in Georgia claims a building is a historic monument for the Klu Klux Klan (KKK), but historians disagree, and the city says the sign was only posted as a political move.

On February 16, a 6-foot by 2-and-a-half-foot sign depicting a Klansmen with an outstretched hand and the words "Historic Ku Klux Klan Meeting Hall" was posted high on a prominent building in the middle of Dahlonega, Georgia, along with several Confederate and KKK flags.

At first, officials thought the sign may have been placed there by one of the tenants of the building, but they soon discovered that the owner of the building, Roberta Green-Garrett, had posted them.

The sign was quickly taken down, because it violated the city's sign code by not having a permit, and the flags were later removed by an unknown citizen. However, as Mayor Gary McCullough said Friday, if the owner of the building obtained a permit, there would be nothing he could do to stop the sign from being posted.

"If it meets the requirements, we can't regulate what it says," McCullough told the Dahlonega Nugget. "The US Supreme Court says so."

Comment: See also: Mysterious: Self proclaimed KKK 'imperial wizard' found dead near Missouri river after employer reports him as missing


USA

Papers, please: Domestic travelers subjected to ID checks by Border Patrol agents

© Erik S. Lesser/EPA/Redux
CBP agents, like the one pictured here in January in Atlanta, searched travelers from a domestic flight in New York City Wednesday.
Rolling Stone Update: A CBP spokesperson wrote to Rolling Stone on Friday to insist that the ID check on the jetbridge was "consensual assistance from passengers aboard the flight" and that "CBP did not compel" anyone to show ID.

The full statement follows:

Experts explain that the administration appears to have overlooked several crucial details

"In this situation, CBP was assisting ICE in locating an individual possibly aboard the flight that was ordered removed from the United States pursuant to the Immigration and Nationality Act. To assist ICE, CBP requested consensual assistance from passengers aboard the flight to determine whether the removable individual in question was in fact aboard the flight. In the course of seeking this assistance, CBP did not compel any of these domestic passengers to show identification. With much-appreciated cooperation from these passengers, CBP was able to resolve the issue with minimal delay to the traveling public."

Passengers of a domestic Delta flight from San Francisco to New York were told to show their identity documents to uniformed agents of the Customs and Border Protection agency upon their arrival at John F. Kennedy airport on Wednesday evening.