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Thu, 14 Dec 2017
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Tunisian soldier killed, six injured by terror mine blast

Tunisian soldiers
© REUTERS/Stringer/
File photo of Tunisian soldiers standing guard at the border crossing at Ras Jdir Ben Guerdane, in this picture taken December 5, 2014
A Tunisian soldier was killed and six others injured when a landmine exploded on Monday followed by a fire exchange with a terror group in the central region of western Tunisia, Colonel Belhassen al-Waslati, spokesman for the Tunisian Ministry of Defense, said.

Injured soldiers were transferred to the regional hospital in Kasserine to receive the necessary treatment.

He said that a mine exploded during a military patrol combing Kasserine Mountains in pursuit of terrorists that attacked the local population during the past few days and seized food supplies to families living close to military zone.


Scientist faces criminal charges because his results didn't confirm environmentalists beliefs

ice water
© Mario Tama/Getty Images
An Argentinean scientist is facing criminal charges for a 2011 glacial survey that angered environmentalists.
An Argentinean scientist is facing criminal charges after he released a glacier report with results and methods that angered environmental activists.

What happened?

Geo-scientist Ricardo Villalba, who heads the South American country's Institute of Snow, Ice and Environmental Research, has been charged with "abusing his authority and violating his duty as a civil servant," Nature.com reported.

The charges stem from a complaint from environmentalists who allege Villalba doctored a 2011 glacier survey to protect gold-mining interests. In that survey, Villalba included only glaciers one hectare or larger. The environmentalists were angry because Villalba didn't include smaller glaciers. But as Nature.com noted, the international norm for scientific glacial surveys is to only include glaciers one hectare or larger.

Villalba appealed his charges on Dec. 4. If the indictment isn't overturned, his case will go to trial. In the meantime, the court has ordered the seizure of Villalba's assets up to 5 million pesos, or about $300,000.


Explosion at Austrian energy facility kills worker, impairs Ukraine gas transit to Europe

gas lines
© Sputnik
Ukraine is sending 23 percent less Russian gas this Wednesday to Europe following the fatal explosion at the Austrian gas facility on Tuesday.

Despite the plunge in transit, "Ukraine will timely fulfill the requests of European importing countries and is ready to increase the volume of pumping of gas to Europe after the receipt of relevant applications," a spokesman for the Ukrainian energy ministry Maksim Belyavsky told RIA Novosti.

The blast didn't affect Ukrainian consumers, he said.


Top trauma surgeon found dead with knife in chest; police are treating it as a suicide (Update)

Dean and Deborah Lorich

Police said the death was being treated as a suicide, though no note was found, and that the body was discovered by Lorich's daughter. His wife, Deborah, left, was out playing tennis,
A surgeon to the stars has been found dead with a knife in his chest at his New York apartment while his 11-year-old daughter was at home.

The death of Dr. Dean Lorich, 54, is being treated as a suicide after his body was found in the bathroom of the Park Avenue apartment he shared with his family.

The father-of-three doctor's wife was playing tennis at the time.

The NYPD said that there were no signs of forced entry at the apartment, and have hinted he had been 'under some personal stress'.

The surgeon had a storied career, saving the lives of celebrities and members of both the NYPD and FDNY.

He treated Bono when was involved in a serious cycling accident in Central Park.

His daughter alerted the doorman of the apartment building after she found her father's lifeless body on Sunday. He then called 911.

Comment: More details here:
Investigators are looking into the possibility of Lorich taking his own life since there are no signs of forced entry in his apartment. Authorities have not found a suicide note so far.

Lorich lived in an Upper East Side apartment on Park Avenue with his wife and three daughters. At the time, Lorich's wife was not present inside the house. She was out playing tennis.

Although the police did not go into the details, they did reveal that Lorich was going through some kind of "personal stress" in recent times.
Update: In an odd 'coincidence', Dr. Lorich worked in Haiti where he discovered an almost non-existent medical effort backed by the Clinton Foundation:
In fact, in January of 2010, Dr. Lorich sent a detailed email to a confidant which ended up getting forwarded to Cheryl Mills who was Counselor and Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the time before being forwarded on again to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The doctor's correspondence, provided by Wikileaks, was critical of how the situation in Haiti was being handled.

"Disaster management on the ground was nonexistent," the doctor wrote. " Cheerios on the tarmac are not getting it done on these patients which clearly would be savable if good care could urgently be provided."

However, the email was only a precursor to the bombshell the doctor dropped publically just days later on Jan. 25, 2010, in a piece for CNN titled "Doctors: Haiti medical situation shameful" which detailed the conditions overseas and again the doctor took veiled shots at the Clinton Foundation.

"Once we arrived, we saw a severely damaged hospital with no running water and only limited electrical power, supplied by a generator. Surgeries were being performed in the equivalent of a large storage closet, where amputations were performed with hacksaws," the doctor wrote. "This facility could not nearly accommodate our equipment nor our expertise to treat the volume of injuries we saw."
See also:
'Fostered'? - Haiti official, expected to expose The Clinton Foundation, found dead in Miami
Another mystery Clinton acquaintance death: Close friend of Hillary planning to "step away from politics" found dead in apparent suicide
The Untold Story of Killary's Corrupt Haitian Earthquake Recovery Project

Stock Up

Ethereum beats bitcoin this year with 8,000% surge

ethereum coin
© Jaap Arriens / Global Look Press
Despite all the hype surrounding bitcoin, there are virtual currencies that have seen an even more astounding rise in value. Rival cryptocurrency ethereum has just reached an all-time high, and is now up 8,000 percent this year.

The second-most valuable digital currency broke through the $500 and $600 price milestones before setting a new record of $707 at 17:20 GMT on Wednesday. It has been an amazing ride for ethereum, which began the year trading at $8.34.

Launched in 2015 by Canadian computer programmer Vitalik Buterin, ethereum's market value is currently above $68 billion, according to Coinmarketcap.com.

The rise in value was reportedly triggered by the news that Swiss financial giant UBS is going to lead an ethereum-based blockchain platform, along with such companies as Credit Suisse, Barclays, KBC, Swiss stock exchange SIX and Thomson Reuters. The network is aimed to help the firms to comply with the European Union's Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II - an overhaul of EU rules to improve financial-market transparency.


90% of plastic polluting our oceans comes from just 10 rivers

Turtle plastic ocean pollution
© Alamy
Plastic pollution in the sea is having a devastating effect on wildlife and their habitats
The report, conducted by the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research in Germany, was based on dozens of reports, as well as the debris collected at 79 sampling sites along 57 rivers.

The worst offenders are some of the longest and largest waterways in the world, and are in countries with poor waste management, when it comes to collection, dumping and recycling.

They're also the rivers with the largest population of people living alongside them, with rivers from inland areas particularly affected.


New pedophile law in Australia leads to man being detained at Sydney airport attempting to leave country

australian police
A convicted child molester has been detained at Sydney Airport while attempting to leave the country. The man was stopped under new laws aimed at preventing pedophiles convicted in Australia from traveling overseas, namely to Southeast Asia, for sex tourism.

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told reporters at Sydney Airport that the man was being questioned by the Federal Police. It is not clear where the registered child offender was attempting to fly to.

Up to 800 Australian child sex offenders traveled overseas last year. About 40 percent of them did so without informing the authorities of their travel plans, Bishop told reporters on Wednesday. "This will now stop," she promised.

Russian Flag

Alternate universe Israel: A visit to the Jewish autonomous region of Birobidzhan... in Russia's Far East

Last summer, after three months of teaching in Japan, I decided to return home to Montreal via Birobidzhan, in Russia's Far East. The Jewish Autonomous Region was getting ready to celebrate its 80th anniversary, and I easily found people to host me.

Built by Jewish enthusiasts from a dozen countries including Argentina, Canada, France, the United States and British Palestine, Birobidzhan is conceptually akin to Israel, which also considers Jews as a nationality rather than a confession. But unlike the State of Israel, Birobidzhan was built on a true "land without a people" and did not have to displace anyone to make the Communist Jewish dream come true. This is one of the reasons an earlier plan to create a Jewish autonomous region in the Crimea, populated for thousands of years, was abandoned in favor of the Far East. Of course, most settlers came from within the Soviet Union, particularly from the Ukraine and Belorussia, where millions of Jews had been living for centuries. They wanted to contribute to the edification of socialism explicitly as Jews.

Two local Jews, cousins Sasha and Igor, met me at the Khabarovsk airport, the closest to Birobidzhan. Igor had recently returned from Israel after 17 years, two of which he spent in the military.

jewish oblast russia
© Yakov Rabkin
A sign marks the entrance to Birobidzhan.

Comment: Also by the author:

Jews in Iran: A travelogue

"Is it anti-Semitic to criticize and boycott Israel?" asks Yakov Rabkin

Bad Guys

America needs new consensus on what is of vital interest to its people, and what isn't

United States flag lady liberty
© David Holt, Flickr
"We will never accept Russia's occupation and attempted annexation of Crimea," declaimed Rex Tillerson last week in Vienna.

"Crimea-related sanctions will remain in place until Russia returns full control of the peninsula to Ukraine."

Tillerson's principled rejection of the seizure of land by military force - "never accept" - came just one day after President Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital and pledged to move our embassy there.

How did Israel gain title to East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Golan Heights? Invasion, occupation, colonization, annexation.

Those lands are the spoils of victory from Israel's 1967 Six-Day War.

Is Israel being severely sanctioned like Russia? Not quite.


Man accused of kidnapping British model Chloey Ayling claims she fabricated story to become famous

Chloe Ayling
© Global Look Press
Chloe Ayling
The man accused of kidnapping aspiring British model Chloe Ayling has claimed the whole ordeal was "fabricated" to make her famous. Lukasz Herba faces court in Italy on Wednesday over accusations he abducted the 20-year-old before holding her hostage for six days.

Ayling hit the headlines in July after she was found in Italy, having been shoved into a suitcase in an alleged kidnap and ransom plot. Ayling claims that she was offered a modeling job in Milan, but on arrival was snatched and drugged by a group calling itself Black Death - which is accused of selling sex slaves to the Middle East.

Six days later, she was found outside the British embassy. Young mum Chloe was reportedly spared after telling the kidnappers she had a child.

Herba, a 30-year-old Polish national, is in custody in Milan after his arrest. He denies knowingly taking part in a crime. His brother Michal Herba was also charged with being involved in the kidnapping.

Comment: Previously: Staged? Story about British 'model' allegedly kidnapped in Italy unravels (UPDATES)