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Thu, 27 Oct 2016
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Life at migrant centers in Germany: RT talks to volunteers, refugees about their hopes and fears

© Pascal Rossignol / Reuters
Some have faced criticism in their own country for aiding asylum seekers, while others are themselves migrants who have seen their accommodation centers burnt down. RT Russian talked to residents and volunteers at migrant centers in Germany.

Miriam Düsterhöft, 27, studies social science at university and believes that working at one of the refugee centers in Düsseldorf, Germany, will be a good experience.

Düsterhöft told RT Russian that she wants to help refugees to integrate into Europe.

"At first it was very difficult. There was a lack of essentials, it was hard to communicate with refugees. Many didn't make any effort to learn German," she said.


Cop accidentally discharges his weapon, sending a bullet into the wall of a daycare center

Authorities are only 'contemplating' criminal charges against an East Cleveland police officer today after he discharged his weapon sending a bullet hurling into a day care center.

The staff and children at the KinderCare Learning center were likely terrified when a bullet came blasting through the fence and lodged into the wall of the school around 3:35 pm on Tuesday.

Police have refused to release the name of the officer who negligently discharged his firearm. Authorities did, however, note that the officer was unloading his 9mm Glock inside his home, directly behind the daycare, when it 'accidentally' discharged.

Up until that point, the staff and parents of the children at KinderCare probably thought that their children were safer being neighbors with a police officer.


Germany cancels Armenian genocide concert in Istanbul - after Erdogan invited to the show

A concert in Istanbul by the Dresden Orchestra to mark the 1915 genocide of Armenians by the Ottomans has been cancelled by Germany. That follows reports that the musicians sent out invitations to the Turkish President and his top aides.

The concert, run by the renowned Dresden Symphony Orchestra, was scheduled to take place on November 13 in the German consulate in Istanbul.

Called 'Aghet' or 'catastrophe' in Armenian, the performance was to commemorate the victims of the 1915 massacre that left around 1.5 million Armenians dead and hundreds of thousands forced to flee.

Turkish President Recep Erdogan was personally invited to attend the event by the orchestra, along with other top Turkish politicians, including Prime Minister Binali Yildirim and Foreign Minister Melvut Cavusoglu, German T-Online news outlet reports, citing DPA news agency, which gained access to copies of the invitations.

Comment: The Armenian genocide is one of Turkey's major political 'red lines' and a top priority for the Turkish lobby. (The parallels to Israel, the Nakbah, and the Israeli lobby should be obvious.) After relations between Germany and Turkey worsened this past year over the refugee crisis and Turkey's EU bid, Germany passed its Armenian genocide resolution. But after the failed coup, and with Turkey's alliance with the West shakier than ever, the Germans seem more willing to play nice. Back on September 2, FM Steinmeier made sure to reassure Turkey that the Bundestag resolution was "non-binding". It looks like his latest event follows a similar line of force.


Pentagon rippoff! Thousands of California soldiers forced to repay enlistment bonuses a decade after going to war

© California Army National Guard
Soldiers from the California Army National Guard have been ordered to return enlistment bonuses they received a decade ago when the Pentagon needed troops for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Short of troops to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan a decade ago, the California National Guard enticed thousands of soldiers with bonuses. Now the Pentagon is demanding the money back.

Short of troops to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan a decade ago, the California National Guard enticed thousands of soldiers with bonuses of $15,000 or more to reenlist and go to war.

Now the Pentagon is demanding the money back.

Nearly 10,000 soldiers, many of whom served multiple combat tours, have been ordered to repay large enlistment bonuses — and slapped with interest charges, wage garnishments and tax liens if they refuse — after audits revealed widespread overpayments by the California Guard at the height of the wars last decade.

Investigations have determined that lack of oversight allowed for widespread fraud and mismanagement by California Guard officials under pressure to meet enlistment targets.

But soldiers say the military is reneging on 10-year-old agreements and imposing severe financial hardship on veterans whose only mistake was to accept bonuses offered when the Pentagon needed to fill the ranks.

Comment: Update (Oct. 27): The House Oversight Committee has launched an investigation into the issue, the Pentagon has halted collections, and War Secretary Ash Carter has promised to resolve the problem. Can't have a scandal like this so close to election time!
"The Committee is seeking information about this serious matter, and to see that officials who mismanaged bonus programs are held accountable," wrote committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) in a letter to Lengyel and Baldin.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) has joined other members of Congress in demanding that the Pentagon cease collection efforts.

"Congress has time... to protect service members from lifelong liability for DOD's mistakes," Stars and Stripes quoted Ryan as saying.
To members of the California Army National Guard, the problem is hardly new. Major-General Matthew Beevers told the Washington Post on Monday that Guard leaders have tried to resolve the issue before, including going to Congress and asking lawmakers to pass legislation two years ago. The bill was not well-received by the Congressional Budget Office, however, due to concerns that forgiving the debt would have increased spending.

On Wednesday, Carter announced that he had ordered the DOD to suspend its efforts to collect the erroneous enlistment bonuses from the California troops, as well as steps to resolve the issue and to streamline procedures so that those who received the bonuses in error or through the criminal behavior of others can seek relief. "This suspension will continue until I am satisfied that our process is working effectively," Carter said in a statement.

He tasked a team led by Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Peter Levine with creating the streamlined process by the beginning of 2017, with a goal of completing "the decision-making process on all cases as soon as possible - and no later than July 1, 2017," Carter said.

Stock Down

Samsung profits plunge by 30% following disastrous fires involving Note 7 smartphones

South Korean electronics giant Samsung has reported a drop in third-quarter profit of 30 percent, following the disastrous recall of its flagship Galaxy Note 7 smartphone.

The company's overall operating profit fell to $4.6 billion which is the lowest level in two years. Its mobile division's operating profit collapsed 98 percent to just $88 million.

Samsung said this month it will lose approximately $3.1 billion on the Note 7 recall over the next six months.


Despite opposition by majority of voters, Maryland fracking ban may be lifted

© Andrew Cullen / Reuters
Fracking has been banned in Maryland since last year, but next year's proposed regulations jeopardize the moratorium. While the planned regulations are strict, they would allow fracking - a practice which is opposed by the majority of voters.

Maryland has a year until its moratorium on fracking expires, but voters are already being asked to consider new rules on the controversial practice. Those rules would introduce heavy regulations but leave room for the possibility to allow fracking.

A statewide poll taken by OpinionWorks found that 56 percent of Maryland voters would support a complete, statewide ban on fracking.

Comment: The oil and gas industry is battling tooth and nail to continue fracking as more communities are taking steps to institute bans - and with good reasons:


Hero of Novorossiya: Honoring the life of Arsen Pavlov aka "Motorola"

Arsen Pavlov, or Motorola, was the leader of the Sparta battalion in the war for Donbass.
The people of Novorossiya (aka the Donbass) have suffered a terrible loss. Arsen Pavlov, better known to the world as Motorola, was assassinated in a brutal terrorist bombing on October 16, 2016. He was a beloved commander and a hero to the people of the Donbass, to Russia, and to people all over the world who oppose the fascist junta in Ukraine and US imperialism. The murder was no doubt ordered by the empire in revenge for Russia's intervention in Syria which one year later appears to have decisively shifted the war. On every front the SAA are making advances and winning new victories especially in the battle to fully liberate Aleppo from NATO's terrorist death squads. Thankfully after the treacherous bombing at Deir Ezzor Russia was in no mood to give in to the empty threats of full-scale nuclear war the empire claimed it was prepared to launch in order to halt the liberation of eastern Aleppo. Slowly the SAA are making gains on multiple fronts in Eastern Ghouta, in Homs, in Aleppo.

Arsen Pavlov was born in the Komi Republic. At 15 he became an orphan and moved in with a grandmother. He joined the Russian Naval Infantry where he gained the callsign Motorola. He joined as a conscript but volunteered to reenlist and served in the 2nd Chechen War where he gained valuable experience, and they say became addicted to war. He was a bit of an adrenaline junky which added to his charisma since he was paradoxically cheerful in the most dangerous situations. He had a great sense of humor which came through even to non-Russian speakers like myself but he was even more beloved in Russia and Ukraine for his hilarious narrations of the war in Ukraine.

Comment: Further reading:
The commander of the Sparta battalion of the Donetsk People's Republic and famous defender of Donbass known by his callsign "Motorola,"Arsen Pavlov, was killed today, October 16th, by a bomb in his apartment building's elevator. The incident has been officially confirmed as an assassination carried out by Ukrainian special forces.

Cowardly Kiev Special Forces Assassinate Novorossiya Hero "Motorola" Arsen Pavlov (UPDATE)


Ex-Secret Service officer behind Clinton tell-all intends to file defamation suit

© Getty Images
A former Secret Service officer who published an explosive tell-all from his days guarding the Bill and Hillary Clinton White House is planning to file a defamation lawsuit against his detractors, The Post has learned.

A lawyer for Gary Byrne, whose book "Crisis of Character: A White House Secret Service Officer Discloses His Firsthand Experience with Hillary, Bill, and How They Operate," has sent notices to Media Matters for America and David Brock informing them that he intends to file suit.

"Officer Byrne will bring legal action against you, in your personal capacity, and against Media Matters," a lawyer for the former Secret Service officer wrote to Brock, a loyal Clinton ally and the founder of the liberal advocacy group Media Matters.


Slave labor: Prison food contractors funded efforts to combat marijuana legalization

An inmate makes a sandwich while working in the employees’ cafeteria at Coxsackie Correctional Facility in Coxsackie, N.Y.
Food Services of America, a subsidiary of Services Group of America is funding efforts to keep marijuana illegal. It makes sense, considering that a vast majority of America's prisoners are locked in prison on marijuana charges, and the company stands to gain a lot of business from the laws staying the same.

Marijuana.com reported that the company donated $80,000 to a campaign committee opposing the legal cannabis measure on Arizona's November ballot.

Services Group of America has been criticized in the past for providing food to prisons that failed to meet basic nutritional requirements.


Watch: Police viciously attack, arrest peaceful protesters at DAPL including children and the elderly

© The Free Thought Project
Dramatic video from Intercept reporter, Jihan Hafiz, was released this week from the Dakota Access Pipeline protests showing a full on assault by militarized police on peaceful people. The video is from Saturday but took several days to be released as cops confiscated the camera used to film it.

The video was taken as water protectors and reporters covering the protests marched toward the construction site. However, their peaceful walk was swiftly interrupted by militarized shock troops armed with massive cans of pepper spray, batons, rubber bullets, and assault rifles.

According to Hafiz, the march was undertaken in solidarity with several protesters who had chained themselves to bulldozers and pipeline machinery at the construction site. But the marchers never made it to their destination. Instead, they were attacked by police forces who used pepper spray and beat protesters with batons. Dozens of officers, backed by military trucks, police vans, machine guns, and nonlethal weapons, violently approached the group without warning.

"Don't move, everyone is under arrest," a voice says from the military vehicle that appears to be equipped with a Long Range Acoustic Hailing Device, or LRAD.

As protesters attempted to leave, the police surrounded them and began their attack. According to Hafiz, several women were targeted for leading the march and dragged from the crowd to be arrested. Police body slammed one man and another woman's ankle was broken as she ran.

The militarized police then circled the protesters in an apparent move to 'kettle' them — a tactic usually reserved for urban protests in which riot police force large crowds into corners to seemingly provoke them. However, the protesters stayed entirely peaceful.

Police continued their mass arrests even though the people were trying to leave. Some natives were seen running for the hills as the assault began.

Comment: We are just one breath away from an all out massacre!