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Fri, 26 Aug 2016
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Megaphone

Palestinians express outrage after Israel clears troops of Gaza war crimes

© Ibraheem Abu Mustafa / Reuters
A Palestinian woman looks on as she stands in front of the ruins of her house, that witnesses said was destroyed by Israeli shelling during a 50-day war last summer, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip
Palestinians are outraged at the decision by the Israeli military to clear its forces of wrongdoing over airstrikes carried out in Gaza in 2014. One activist told RT it's now time international tribunals stepped in to deal with Israel.

The Israeli military on Wednesday closed seven alleged war crimes cases in which its forces were accused of causing civilian deaths. The decision came after an internal investigation in which testimonies from Gaza residents and Israeli officers were collected and compared.

"After reviewing the factual findings and the material collated by the FFA Mechanism (General Staff Mechanism for Fact-Finding Assessments), the MAG found that the targeting processes in question accorded with Israeli domestic law and international law requirements," a press release from the IDF Military Advocate General (MAG) reads.

The closed cases include the bombings of a United Nations school and a "European Hospital" in the Gaza strip, as well as three separate airstrikes on residential areas that killed 34 Palestinians.

The biggest loss of life took place in the southern Gaza town of Rafah on August 1, 2014, when 15 members of the Palestinian Zoroub family were killed. The IDF claims the house where the Zoroub family lived was at the time used as a command center by Hamas - the governing authority of the Gaza Strip but considered a terrorist organization by Israel - and that a senior Hamas commander, Nazmi Zoroub, was hiding in the building.

Comment: See: Whitewash: Israeli military clears itself of any wrongdoing in multiple airstrikes that killed Palestinian families during 2014 Gaza slaughter


Ambulance

5yo girl becomes youngest fatality of Philippines government's war on drugs

© Romeo Ranoco / Reuters
A five-year-old girl has become the latest victim of the Philippines' controversial "war on drugs." The campaign, which has left more than 1,900 people dead in just seven weeks, has been slammed by the UN and human rights groups.

Danica May was killed by a gunshot to the head as she sat down to eat lunch with her family on Tuesday in the city of Dagupan, located north of Manila, the Inquirer reported.

It all began when the five-year-old's grandfather, Maximo Garcia, was told last week that he was on a list of alleged drug suspects that someone had passed to police.

His wife Gemma said she was shocked to hear the news, as he was a tricycle driver who had suffered a stroke and never been involved in drugs, the Inquirer newspaper reported.

When the village chief told Garcia to surrender to police, he followed orders rather than risk being shot. Garcia was questioned by authorities and eventually allowed to return to his home.

Comment: The question is, do the killers have anything at all to do with the government?


Megaphone

"Hey ISIS, you suck!" Muslim billboard ad campaign underway

© awziyahya / Instagram
Billboards have popped up in Chicago and Phoenix with the blunt message, "Hey ISIS, you suck!" as part of the beginning of what might be a national advertising campaign to combat both Islamophobia and radical Islam. The billboard, which intimates a blackboard shows the chalk-written statement, "Hey ISIS, you suck," signed by "#ActualMuslims."

ISIS is an acronym used to refer to Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL). The sign references a line of verse in the Quran, which states if a person kills another, it's "as if he had slain mankind entirely." The billboards have appeared so far in a parking lot near Interstate-10 in Phoenix, Arizona and on a highway leading toward Chicago, Illinois' O'Hare International Airport.

The Chicago-based Sound Vision Foundation, an Islamic public relations organization and non-profit, is the innovator of the campaign. "Our neighbors don't realize that Muslims are absolutely opposed to ISIS," Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid, Chicagotold CBS News. "ISIS actually kills more Muslims than anyone else."

Imam Mujahid said the attacks in Europe and the US caused his Chicago group to get more pro-active. Young people came up with the blunt slogan, because they wanted to keep the language simple. The billboard has started to catch attention with Muslim groups in 15 other cities, who are reportedly requesting a sign be installed in their area.

"ISIS and Islamophobia are the two sides of the same coin which is hurting Islam, as well as humanity," Imam Mujahid told CBS News. "They are increasing fear, hate, anger which is dividing a beautiful nation.""The KKK was defeated by good Christians, ISIS needs to be defeated by good Muslims," he added.

"Behind this billboard are the common people," Sound Vision Executive Director Mohammad Siddiqi told KPHO. "This is our declaration of independence against ISIS. It's as simple as that."

Comment: A sign of the times.


Info

Black dress submerged in the Dead Sea transformed into shining white dress

© Matanya Tausig
A new piece of artwork by Sigalit Landau shows what happens when objects are submerged in the salty waters of the Dead Sea. The sparkly salt sculpture shown here was originally a black dress that was submerged in the Dead Sea for two months. Images of the project are on exhibit at the Marlobrough Contemporary until Sept. 3, 2016.
A gorgeous new exhibit reveals just how salty the Dead Sea is.

Artist Sigalit Landau submerged a 1920s-style long black dress in Israel's Dead Sea for two months in 2014. When the dress was lifted from the salty waters, it was a sparkling, crystalline sculpture formed from salt. The images capturing this chemical transformation are now on exhibit at the Marlborough Contemporary museum in London, England, until Sept. 3. [See Images of the Salt Crystal Wedding Dress]

Landau has been inspired by the Dead Sea's unique environment for past artwork, including salt crystal-encrusted lamps, a salty hangman's noose and a crystalline island made of shoes, according to her website.

The current exhibit uses a dress that is a replica of the long, black one worn by a character in the classic Hasidic Jewish ghost-story called "The Dybbuk." In that story, the bride, Leah, is possessed by the evil spirit of her dead suitor, who died before they could marry. The dress was worn during the 1920s production of the play.

"Over the years, I learnt more and more about this low and strange place. Still the magic is there waiting for us: new experiments, ideas and understandings. It is like meeting with a different time system, a different logic, another planet. It looks like snow, like sugar, like death's embrace; solid tears, like a white surrender to fire and water combined," Landau said in a statement.

Ambulance

Over 800 bodies of illegal immigrants still unidentified Arizona morgue

The bodies of as many as 850 illegal alien men, women and children who died trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border unlawfully now lie frozen and unidentified in a morgue in Tucson, Ariz., according to an Arizona medical examiner.

CBP explained in a press release published this week:
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) released a testimonial video of [Dr. Gregory Hess Pima], a forensic expert in charge of identifying hundreds of anonymous migrant's human remains found in the Arizona desert near the United States/Mexico border.

"Our focus at the Medical Examiner's Office is identifying remains of people that we have found. We still have about 800 to 850 that are unidentified," says the doctor who analyzes bodies and remains in varying stages of decomposition.

Comment: If these immigrants are lucky enough to make it past the border they face even more hurdles to a decent life: slavery in private prisons and disease and over-crowding in Customs and Border detention centers.


Handcuffs

Belgrade police arrest man in connection to Block 45 shooting

© RTS
The police in Belgrade have arrested a man in connection with a shooting incident that took place on Thursday evening in New Belgrade's Block 45.

The police continued on Friday morning to look for the man who the previous evening hid in an apartment building after the shooting incident.

They eventually had the suspect under arrest, after an operation that lasted 18 hours.

He was apprehended close to the building that was under police blockade the whole night and morning.

As the plainclothes inspectors were arresting him, he shouted, "Call the police!"

B92 has learned unofficially that the suspect was caught as he was trying to run away after jumping from a first floor window.

Earlier, B92 learned that police dogs had found the armed suspect, who was hiding at the time "above the sixth floor." The dogs were following the scent from his car.

The police are yet to announce the identity of the suspect, and whether or not he was the owner of a BMW he was driving as the New Belgrade drama started to unfold last night.

Evil Rays

Hysteria: 10 people injured after shoppers confuse popping balloons with gunshots at Orlando mall

© Erich Jacome / YouTube
Ten people were injured at a mall in Orlando, Florida, after shoppers mistook the sound of popping balloons for gunshots.

Unsuspecting shoppers were startled to hear the sound of six large balloons being popped at Florida Mall on Thursday, fearing a gunman had opened fire.

However, the burst balloons were actually part of an industry standard test required for the inspection of a new hot dog kiosk called Fat Ones. The food stand is owned by former *NSYNC singer Joey Fatone.

"The test consisted of six large balloons popping consecutively, followed by a fire alarm," Deputy Rose Silva, a spokeswoman for the Orange County Sheriff's Office, said in a statement. "This caused people to go into panic mode and run."

Bomb

Mogadishu: Car bomb kills 9 in Al-Qaeda linked terror attack

© ibtimes.co.uk
Al-Shabaab fighter
Militants from Al-Shabaab, an Al-Qaeda affiliate on Thursday attacked a restaurant in the Somali capital, Mogadishu. A car bomb went off near the establishment before a gunfight broke out, according to police.

At least nine people have been confirmed dead, including five civilians, two security forces officers and two attackers, while another two people were said to be injured, according to local media.

Witnesses said that the noise of gunshots and explosions have died down at the Banadir Beach Club.

"A car bomb exploded at Banadir beach restaurant at Lido beach and there is an exchange of gunfire. We have no other details so far," Major Ahmed Ibrahim, a police officer, told Reuters.

The attackers reportedly made their way inside the establishment, where gunfire continued, local journalist Ahmed Abdihadi reported.

Sheriff

Deaf man killed by cops was afraid of police

© Kyle / YouTube
Sam Harris talks to reporters on August 22, 2016 after a vigil for his brother Daniel.
The North Carolina man killed by a state trooper last week was "afraid" of police because of previous misunderstandings due to his deafness, his brother said.

Daniel Harris was shot and killed outside his home in Charlotte, North Carolina last week. State Trooper Jermaine Saunders said he chased Harris for 10 miles after attempting to pull him over for speeding on Interstate 485. Harris, who was deaf, could not hear the siren - or the trooper's commands - and was attempting to communicate in sign language when Saunders shot him.


"[My brother] had times where, because of inaccessibility, there were misunderstandings that led to him being afraid of the police," Sam Harris said Wednesday, speaking to reporters outside his family home through a sign language interpreter.

Roses

'So senseless': Nuns 'with hearts of gold' found murdered in rural Mississippi

© WWLP-22News / YouTube
Sister Paula Merrill (left) and Sister Margaret Held were found stabbed to death in Durant, Mississippi.
Two Catholic nuns who worked as nurses helping the poor in rural Mississippi were stabbed to death in their home. While authorities suspect robbery, the community is devastated by the loss.

Sister Margaret Held and Sister Paula Merrill, of the Kentucky-based Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, did not show up to work at the Lexington Medical Clinic in Durant, Mississippi on Thursday. Concerned co-workers alerted the police, who found the two women dead.

There were signs of a break-in at the home and the nuns' car was stolen, Maureen Smith, a spokeswoman for the Catholic Diocese of Jackson, told AP. The blue Toyota Corolla was found later in the day, undamaged, about a mile away from the house. It was towed to the state crime lab in Jackson, about 64 miles away, according to Mississippi Department of Public Safety spokesman Warren Strain.