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More blackouts: Turkey comes to complete halt following biggest power cut in 15 years

A general view of Ambarli power station in Istanbul
© Reuters / Osman Orsal
A general view of Ambarli power station in Istanbul
Widespread power outages have struck Turkey, with rail networks and air traffic radars crippled. The nation is facing the worst event of its kind in 15 years. The possibility of a terrorist attack is being investigated.

The outage was confirmed in some 23 provinces, including Ankara and Istanbul, by news agency Anadolu. Later information from Broadcaster NTV put the number at 40. An energy official at the ministry has offered no immediate comment, while the power supplier TEIAS likewise did not respond to questions.

The subway system is at a standstill and flights across the country have also suffered setbacks.



Turkey's Anadolu agency reports that the outages struck around 10:36am Turkish time, according to officials. Flights in and out of the capital have been grounded.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu says all potential causes are being investigated currently, "including the possibility of a terror attack."


This is the first outage event of such magnitude in 15 years, according to the daily Hurriyet paper.

Eleven out of 16 flight radar receivers are reported to be down, according to Turkish air traffic control.

Comment: This is the second major power outage this week, following the widespread disruption in the Netherlands. Several possible causes to consider are: Update 13:14 CET

The Turkish PM is now suggesting that 'a cyber attack' is to blame, a possible allusion to a certain foreign power's cyberwarfare capabilities being responsible.


Airplane

Not one but TWO Turkish Airlines planes make emergency landings after 'bomb' and 'C-4 cargo' notes are found in lavatories

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Two Turkish Airlines planes diverted in two days by 'bomb notes'... is someone literally sending Turkey a message?
A Turkish Airlines flight carrying 256 passengers was diverted Monday after a note with the word "bomb" written on it was found in a lavatory, the airline said.

Turkish Airlines Flight 15 departed Istanbul en route for Sao Paulo, Brazil, until the note was found.

The plane, a Boeing 777, landed safely in Casablanca, Morocco, the airline said.

No explosives were found on the plane, the airline said.

The airline said this was the second time in two days that a flight was diverted because of a similar threat.

On Sunday, a Turkish Airlines flight that took off from Istanbul turned around and returned to the airport after a note that said "C-4 cargo" was found in a bathroom. C-4 is a common type of explosive.

No explosives were found on that flight, either, the airline said.

Comment: Between this and today's nationwide blackout in Turkey, is someone trying to send the Turkish government a message?

More blackouts: Turkey comes to complete halt following biggest power cut in 15 years


Sheriff

12-year old arrested for throwing a book at a bully

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A 12-year-old girl was recently arrested at school for the "crime" of throwing a book in class. Lacreshia Preston Garrett explains that her daughter was apprehended by the Dallas school district police for something that should have been dealt with by simply sending her to the principal's office. It all happened last fall at the Thomas Edison Middle School Garrett says. Little Zyria Grizelle was tired of the teasing coming from the class clown. He continuously slapped her arm. As a result, she lashed out and threw a book at him.

"I hit the computer, and the computer fell," she recounted.

Knocking over that computer apparently made all the difference in the world. While the class clown was permitted to assault her repeatedly, once she accidentally broke school property, she was treated like a hardened criminal.

"The officer came in the classroom, told her to come outside the class, and to put her hands behind her back," Zyria's mom, Lacreshia said.

Garrett follow the police cruiser with her daughter handcuffed in the back, all the way to the holding cell where she remained for some time, traumatized by the police state interaction.

"She was just crying," Garrett continued. "She said 'I just know the police come for bad people.' She was terrified."

Eye 2

Serial rapist Bill Cosby on rape allegations: "Jesus would give you a little wiggle room"

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© Baltimore Sun screencapture
Appearing at Baltimore's Modell Center for the Performing Arts, comedian Bill Cosby followed the removal of a heckler accusing him of rape with an anecdote about sin, concluding, "Jesus would give you a little wiggle room."

The former television star has continued a stand-up comedy tour despite accusations of doping and sexually assaulting women, with two more women coming forward leveling accusations at the comedian on Friday, bringing the total to over three dozen.

According to the Baltimore Sun, Cosby fans were greeted outside the performing arts center on Friday night by protesters organized by the advocacy group SlutWalk Baltimore, holding signs and demonstrating against a man they described as a "serial rapist."

Cosby, who entered the half-full hall to a loud ovation, was 10 minutes into his routine when a man in the balcony stood up and yelled, "Thirty-eight women spoke up and called you a rapist. Thirty-eight women!"

Bad Guys

No one is free until we all are free

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© AP / John Locher
A man takes a picture of a woman at the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas in January.
This column is adapted from a talk Chris Hedges gave Friday night at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver.

The scourge of male violence against women will not end if we dismantle the forces of global capitalism. The scourge of male violence exists independently of capitalism, empire and colonialism. It is a separate evil. The fight to end male violence against women, part of a global struggle by women, must take primacy in our own struggle. Women and girls, especially those who are poor and of color, cannot take part in a liberation movement until they are liberated. They cannot offer to us their wisdom, their leadership and their passion until they are freed from physical coercion and violent domination. This is why the fight to end male violence across the globe is not only fundamental to our movement but will define its success or failure. We cannot stand up for some of the oppressed and ignore others who are oppressed. None of us is free until all of us are free.

On Friday night at Simon Fraser University—where my stance on prostitution, expressed in a March 8 Truthdig column titled "The Whoredom of the Left," had seen the organizers of a conference on resource extraction attempt to ban me from the gathering, an action they revoked after protests from radical feminists—I confronted the sickness of a predatory society. A meeting between me and students arranged by the university had been canceled. Protesters gathered outside the hall. Some people stormed out of the lecture room, slamming the doors after them, when I attacked the trafficking of prostituted women and girls. A male tribal leader named Toghestiy stood after the talk and called for the room to be "cleansed" of evil—this after Audrey Siegl, a Musqueam Nation woman, emotionally laid out what she and other women face at the hands of male predators—and one of the conference organizers, English professor Stephen Collis, seized the microphone at the end of the evening to denounce me as "vindictive." It was a commercial for the moral bankruptcy of academia.

Comment: This is what our world has become. When you give your power to psychopaths they exploit everything - women, children and the planet - in the worst and most unimaginable ways. If you'd like to learn more about how psychopaths can infect entire populations read: Political Ponerology by Andrew M. Lobaczewski.


Bad Guys

Deepwater Horizon still creating an environment of fear and intimidation five years on

bp oil_water
© Unknown
The Nature Coast, Florida - A group of fishermen living along Florida's "Nature Coast" - tucked along the state's western shore from the Panhandle to Pine Island - have agreed to meet with Bellona's Karl Kristensen and me and they're feeling a bit edgy.

We've driven out to a house out along the Gulf of Mexico through the early sunset of a late February night.

All of them have switched off their cellphones. A woman paces back and forth to the edge of the yard to monitor passing cars and gauge if our voices might carry over the still sea waters where prying ears could be listening from darkened boats.

The people at the house are trying to puzzle together the four most devastating events following BP's Macondo well blowout on April 20, 2010, which killed 11 and fouled Gulf waters with 4.9 million barrels of crude: declining and deformed seafood harvests, chronic illnesses they've developed, what's happening to the environment that provides their livelihood, and why their concerns are met with foreboding hostility and ominous threats.

Unlike other interviews I've had with Deepwater Horizon victims in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama - who all talked to me in public lunch shacks or on their docks - this discussion opens with one of the fishermen telling me: "We could get killed for what we are telling you."

The fishing community in which they live is small and insular, they explain, and solely dependent on the sea for its survival. Talking about how it was impacted by the BP oil spill is violently discouraged.

One of the group says the message to many in these small fishing villages is clear: "If you've got something to say about oil or [the toxic oil dispersant] Corexit affecting these waters, keep your mouth shut."

Sheriff

Woman had to film herself being raped by her parole officer so police would believe her

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50-year-old Zachary Thomas Bailey
A man whose job was to help guide people after they've been released from prison, has been arrested himself, after being accused of vile criminal acts.

A parole officer in South Florida was arrested this week for sexually assaulting a woman on probation. The woman was so scared of violating her probation if she turned him in, that she had to film their second encounter in order to prove this cop's misdeeds.

According to police, 50-year-old Zachary Thomas Bailey used his authority to target the victim, telling her he needed to do a "study" of her home in Coral Springs.

"This is someone who is hired to protect you," said Coral Springs Police Lt. Joe McCue, "hired to say, 'Hey, protect the society,' and you don't expect your probation officer to be acting in this manner."

The victim alleges that on two separate occasions Bailey sexually assaulted her. To make this assault even more vile, the victim's young daughter was home during her mom's attacks.

"The first time he went there, he said he needed to check out the bedroom," said McCue. "While in the bedroom, Mr. Bailey did sexually batter the victim by putting his hands down the front of her pants."


Heart - Black

Indiana governor signs bills that legalizes discrimination against LGBT people

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Indiana Governor Mike Pence
Indiana Governor Mike Pence on Thursday signed into law a religious freedom bill that could allow businesses and individuals to deny services to gays on religious grounds.

Supporters of the bill, which was passed overwhelmingly by both chambers of the Republican-controlled state legislature, say it will keep the government from forcing business owners to act in ways contrary to strongly held religious beliefs. Opponents say it is discriminatory.

"The Constitution of the United States and the Indiana Constitution both provide strong recognition of the freedom of religion but today, many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack by government action," said Pence, in a statement after signing the bill.

Legal experts say the Religious Freedom Restoration Act sets a standard that will allow people of all faiths to bring religious freedom claims.

Gay rights groups worry it will be used by businesses that do not want to provide services for gay weddings, although those cases would probably end up being fought out in court. Gay marriage became legal in Indiana last year following an appeals court ruling.

Source: Reuters

Stock Down

U.S. study suggests parents' income indirectly affects growth of children's brains

girl
© Getty
The structure and growth of a child's brain may be indirectly affected by their parents' income, a study in the US has claimed.

In research involving more than a thousand children and young people, scientists found that those with poorer parents were more likely to have smaller brain surface area in key regions linked with language and reading.

The effects of income, as well as parent's educational history, appeared to be independent of genetic factors, the researchers from nine American universities said.

Social and economic background has long been linked with variations in brain functioning, but the new research is thought to be the first to suggest these factors can even affect the structure of the brain itself.

A link between income and children's diet, healthcare, lack of access to good schools and play areas, and even exposure to polluted areas may lie behind the connection, neuroscientists said.

Not all children of poorer families had smaller brain surface areas and the authors of the study said their findings did not mean that a person's social status led to "an immutable trajectory of cognitive of brain development".

Comment: Such a link is practically a no-brainer (no pun intended). Of course, when you are living in poverty, without access to healthy food and no doubt in a stressful environment, development will be negatively affected and thus brain function. Unfortunately, that's the price we have to pay for America's exceptionalism. The empire simply can't thrive without vast inequality and the slow but steady consumption of human material (i.e., 'useless eaters', slaves for the 1%). That includes our children.


Bizarro Earth

Renowned violinist gets naked, roams hotel halls, tries to strangle woman

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Renowned German violinist Stefan Arzberger
A renowned German violinist went on a naked rampage at a Manhattan hotel, forcing his way into a female tourist's room and choking her
, law-enforcement sources told The Post.

Staffers at the boutique Hudson Hotel at Columbus Circle were first alerted to the bizarre antics of Stefan Arzberger after guests reported seeing a man roaming around naked early Friday, the sources said.

A 64-year-old female hotel guest from North Carolina "heard a knock and opened her door slightly'' at around 8 a.m., a law-enforcement source said.

She was confronted by a wild-eyed Arzberger — who recently performed at the Library of Congress — "completely naked,'' the source said.

"He stuck his arm out, and she tried to slam the door shut, but he stuck his arm in between the door and the door jamb," the source said of the 42-year-old lead violinist for the internationally acclaimed Leipzig String Quartet, which has played at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall.

"He barged inside and grabbed her around the neck with both hands and started strangling her."

The violinist allegedly choked the woman so hard that the blood vessels in her eyes were ruptured, according to a court complaint.

Hotel staff heard the victim crying for help and pulled the crazed man off her, cops said.

Arzberger managed to flee back to his room, but police arrested him shortly after, the sources said.