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Mon, 20 Jan 2020
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Post-irony world: HBO hires CNN's 'king of fake news' Brian Stelter to produce documentary on... the dangers of fake news

brian stelter CNN
© Reuters/Andrew Kelly
Brian Stelter at a Media Literacy Week panel in Manhattan, New York
If you were making a documentary on fake news and wanted to get journalists involved behind the scenes, there are a few people you may want to avoid. One of those is CNN host Brian Stelter.

The HBO network is rightly being mocked for putting Stelter - the host of a CNN show ironically named Reliable Sources - on the team for an upcoming documentary on fake news.

According to Stelter himself, the documentary will investigate "disinformation and the cost of fake news." The film, for which Stelter was executive producer, will dive into "how post-truth culture has become an increasingly dangerous part of the global information environment," according to WarnerMedia.

Bad Guys

A few questions for Mr Ridley on the poisoning and death of Dawn Sturgess

dawn sturgess
© Adrian Sherratt/The Guardian
Dawn Sturgess died after being poisoned with nerve agent following the Sergei Skripal incident
There are still a number of people commenting on the piece I posted about the delay to the Inquest into Dawn Sturgess's death, and because that comment section is now vast and barely navigable, and the Wiltshire and Swindon coroner's court has just released a document relating to the scope of the Inquest (which you can download here), it seemed to be an opportune time to start a new thread so that comments do not get completely lost.

I will just comment briefly on that coroner's report. It is basically a response to the request of Dawn Sturgess's family's legal team for the coroner to consider Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which states:
"Everyone's right to life shall be protected by law. No one shall be deprived of his life intentionally save in the execution of a sentence of a court following his conviction of a crime for which this penalty is provided by law."
The Sturgess legal team had argued that:
"...the UK authorities failed to take reasonable steps to protect members of the public, including Ms Sturgess, from Novichok after it was discovered in early 2018."



Puerto Rico's emergency services director fired after warehouse discovered with supplies from Hurricane Maria

Aid in storage
Puerto Rico Gov. Wanda Vazquez dismissed the island's director of emergency management after a warehouse was discovered with supplies dating back to Hurricane Maria.

Video published Saturday showed a warehouse in the southwestern city of Ponce filled with supplies, including thousands of cases of water, believed to have been from when the hurricane struck the island in 2017.

Hurricane Maria left 2,975 people dead and caused major problems in Puerto Rico for months, including power outages and shortages of food, water and medicine.

"There are thousands of people who have made sacrifices to bring help to the south, and it is unforgivable that resources have been kept in a warehouse," Vazquez said in a statement.

Arrow Up

Michigan man finds $43,000 in couch he bought for $35, returns money to original owner

© Rick Merling
Howard Kirby found $43,000 in a cushion of a couch he purchased from a thrift store in Owosso, Michigan.Howard Kirby found $43,000 in a cushion of a couch he purchased from a thrift store in Owosso, Michigan.
A Michigan man made a shocking discovery inside a couch he purchased from a thrift store for just $35: an extra $43,000.

Howard Kirby purchased a couch from the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Owosso only to discover it came with the wad of cash inside one of the cushions, the store manager told ABC News on Saturday.

Kirby decided to return the money to the couch's owner.

"He could use it. ... He has needs, but he said he just felt this prompting from God that said, 'This isn't yours,'" store manager Rick Merling said.


David 'Greta of the Third Age' Attenborough launches BBC's climate bedwetting blitzkrieg

David Attenborough
© Frederick M. Brown/Getty
The BBC has completely lost the plot on climate change with its star enviro loon Sir David Attenborough leading the charge over the cliff edge like the wrinkliest, long-tusked male in a herd of suicidal walruses.

BBC david attenborough

Comment: See also:


Lebanese president calls on ARMY to intervene as massive protests turn violent in Beirut

Lebanon protest
© AFP / Anwar Amro
Lebanon's capital Beirut has been plunged into chaos amid massive protests. Police struggled to contain the angry crowds with tear gas and water cannon, prompting President Michel Aoun to ask the military to intervene.

Aoun has asked the national army to restore peace and order on the streets of Beirut, as the city saw fierce clashes between protesters and security forces. Aoun called on the military to "protect the safety of peaceful protesters and of public and private property."

Crowds have taken to the streets of Beirut in a massive protest against Lebanon's soaring debt, which stands at about $87 billion, equal to more than 150 percent of GDP. The public unrest is also fueled by an almost three-months-long power vacuum and by a crippling economic crisis.

Comment: See also:


Passengers at 3 major US airports to be screened for deadly Chinese virus

© Reuters / Health Protection Agency
A electron microscope image of a coronavirus
Authorities at major airports in New York and California will screen passengers traveling from the Chinese city of Wuhan gripped by the outbreak of a new deadly pneumonia-like virus, which has since spread to Japan and Thailand.

Starting Friday, passengers from Wuhan who arrive at San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles's main international airports will undergo screening for the symptoms of a novel coronavirus (2019-nCov) that broke out in the Chinese city last month. Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will carry out the checks, along with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents.

The illness was first noticed in Wuhan in December, and is believed to have originated at a seafood and animal market in the city. The CDC states that the virus likely jumped from market animals to humans, and then may have spread between people.

Comment: India has also issued a travel advisory:
The emergent coronavirus - related to the lethal SARS pathogen - has struck scores of people across China, hitting the city of Wuhan the hardest, with up to 40 confirmed cases, prompting the Indian Ministry of Health to issue a travel advisory on Friday.

While the World Health Organization has assessed the infection as "low" risk, India's health ministry warned anyone traveling to China "as a matter of abundant precaution."

"The mode of transmission of the disease is unclear as of now. However, so far there is little evidence of significant human-to-human transmission."

The advisory follows a similar decision by US health officials, who began screenings for the bug at three major airports on Friday afternoon after it claimed its second casualty in Wuhan.

While India's health officials stressed the move was merely a precautionary safeguard, researchers at the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis at Imperial College in London estimated that there could be as many as 1,723 cases in Wuhan alone, dwarfing the few dozen confirmed patients.


Don't blame climate change for raging wildfires, blame bad management

australia fires
© Ninian Reid/Flickr
California and Australia share a common enemy: overzealous environmental regulation. In both places, the unintended consequences of a radical environmentalist agenda has been massive wildfires.

California suffered from two horrible fire seasons in the last three years, one of which burned down an entire town. Australia has been battling fires for months. More than 135 fires are still burning currently. So far, the fires have scorched 12 million acres, killed 25 people, caused 240,000 Australians to evacuate their homes, burned alive an estimated half a billion animals, and caused $3.4 billion worth of damage.

The big question isn't necessarily how these wildfires started. In both cases, most of the fires were likely man-made, whether through downed electrical lines in California or arsonists in Australia. The real question, however, is what factors have contributed to making these fires into "mega catastrophes," or fires that cause over a billion dollars of damage?

Many on the left will name climate change as the bogeyman. For example, a recent opinion article in The New York Times reads, "Australia Is Committing Climate Suicide." Yet more evidence points to failed environmental policies.

Comment: See also:


Why is Western media not questioning the mysterious death of Australian youth activist Wilson Gavin?

Brisbane Square Library

Brisbane Square Library
Following a protest against a 'drag queen story time' at a library in Australia, Wilson Gavin, 21, the president of the University of Queensland Liberal National Club, was found dead the next morning at a train station. Local media, while going out its way to portray Gavin and his fellow protesters as hell-raisers, has yet to ask any serious questions with regards to the young man's alleged suicide - at a time when he was reportedly house-sitting for a Liberal National Party Senator.

If ever there was a story that epitomizes exactly how low Western media has sunk, the story involving the events leading up to the tragic death of Wilson Gavin would have to rank very high.

On Sunday, Gavin and about fifteen members of the University of Queensland's Liberal National Club (UQLNC) walked into the Brisbane Square Library where a 'Drag Queen Story Hour' event for children was in full swing. Gavin went face-to-face with the star of the show, drag queen Johnny Valkyrie, aka Queenie, as the group began to chant "drag queens are not for kids." No violence, no broken chairs, just a group of university students expressing their displeasure with a controversial event that is sponsored by the local government, i.e. the taxpayers.

Comment: See also: Australia: Man commits suicide after suffering social media abuse from viral drag queen protest video

Arrow Up

Officers deliver baby in patrol car after woman goes into labor while stuck in Moscow traffic

Police car
Moscow traffic patrol officers tried their hand at a new job, literally - helping a pregnant woman deliver a baby boy after her taxi got stuck in traffic. The newborn got his own uniform right away, bundled up in a police jacket.

On-duty traffic patrol officers in southwestern Moscow hardly expected they would be approached by a desperate husband pleading with them to take his heavily pregnant wife to a hospital when they came to work on Friday - but that was exactly what happened, as evening rush hour approached on Friday afternoon.

At that time, a visibly agitated man was spotted running towards a patrol vehicle, telling the officers his wife was about to go into labor in a taxi and there was no way they could reach the hospital in time considering the situation on the road.

Officers took the couple in and dashed away in the patrol vehicle, but could not make it to the hospital in time. It might have been an unusual call of duty, but the patrolmen did not hesitate, taking matters in their own hands while waiting for an ambulance to arrive.