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Tue, 27 Jun 2017
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Moscow's cathedral mosque sees 250,000 Muslims come together for Eid prayer

© Eugene Odinokov / Sputnik
Muslims pray in the Jami Mosque in Moscow on the Eid al-Fitr holiday.
Over 250,000 Islamic faithful came to the Moscow Cathedral Mosque for the morning prayer celebrating the Eid al-Fitr festival, police reported. Smaller public gatherings took place throughout Russia, where Muslims are the second-largest denomination.


Everything that's wrong with the government: Teens handcuffed for selling bottled water

Lemonade stands, paper routes, and bake sales seem yet destined for the dustbin of history, thanks to an imperious State, which — to its sanctimonious detriment — manages to pull off seemingly impossible PR predicaments of its own making, like the handcuffing of teenagers for selling bottled water on the National Mall without a permit Thursday evening.

Yes. Seriously.

Perched atop chains interlinking fence posts lining the walk near Smithsonian Castle, three justifiably perplexed Black youth, wrists in handcuffs behind their backs can be seen speaking with U.S. Park Police — bottles of water resting in an evidence bin, nearby.

Comment: Common sense is not a flower that grows in everyone's garden.

Stock Up

Surrogacy 'wombs for rent' business flourishes in Laos

© Laboko/Shutterstock
Dozens of fertility clinics have mushroomed in land-locked Laos after scandals over commercial surrogacy have spurred wealthier southeast Asian neighbors to ban the controversial procedure since 2015.

The gleaming, modern clinics have names featuring words such as "Miracle" and "Perfect" to help them stand out amid the dusty surrounding roads and highways in the Lao capital of Vientiane, close to the Thai border.
"Laos has the best governance. Surrogacy or egg donation is not illegal!" one clinic, Thai Perfect IVF, said in a recent WeChat post in Chinese, hoping to attract clients from a country where surrogacy services have been illegal since 2001.


Police corruption: Entire drug unit suspended after trying to cover up illegal home entry

The entire drug unit of Troy, New York's Police Department has been placed on administrative leave following reports that the unit entered a home without a warrant.

According to the Times Union, the officers entered a home after they were tipped off by another Capital Region police agency. But then they lied about it.

Apparently, they realized they made a major mistake, but then compounded their problems by attempting to cover their tracks. They allegedly filed a false burglary report. Now, all of their cases will likely come under scrutiny by lawyers attempting to free their clients.

After the chief became aware of the incident, and their attempts to cover it up, they were all placed on administrative leave.

The unit is led by Sgt. Ron Epstein, and it consists of five officers. It serves as Troy's front line in the city's "war on drugs." Their suspension has further deepened the rift between the police department, and the mayor's office and the city council—who have been given very little information about the alleged home invasion.

Arrow Down

Hawaii named the worst state to make a living for the 7th year in a row

At least we're consistent: For a seventh straight year, Hawaii has been named the worst state to make a living thanks to its astronomical cost of living.

The ranking, put together annually by MoneyRates.com, says while Hawaii has the 10th-highest median wage nationwide, that's not enough to make up for living expenses that are two-thirds higher than in the rest of the nation. The high cost of living is compounded by one of the highest state tax income burdens in the nation.To put together the ranking, MoneyRates considered median salary, state tax rates, cost of living and unemployment rates.

Comment: Out of control homelessness prompts Hawaii to declare state of emergency


100 evacuated in Paris suburb following 'seemingly deliberate' fire

About a hundred people were evacuated by Paris fire brigades after a fire started in an apartment building in a suburb of the French capital, local media reported. Police suspect arson, saying the fire seemed to be "deliberate."

The "seemingly deliberate" fire started on Sunday morning at a residential building in Paris' Boulogne-Billancourt neighborhood, AFP reported.

Firefighters were notified shortly before 7:00am local time. It took an hour to extinguish the blaze and four people were treated for smoke inhalation, a fire brigade spokesman said.


Minnesota cops issued Facebook a warrant to dig up dirt on Philando Castile after they murdered him

Jeronimo Yanez and Philando Castile
Everything anyone has ever said about staying safe while interacting with the police is wrong. That citizens are told to comport themselves in complete obeisance just to avoid being beaten or shot by officers is itself bizarre -- an insane inversion of the term "public servant." But Philando Castile, who was shot five times and killed by (now former) Officer Jeronimo Yanez, played by all the rules (which look suspiciously like the same instructions given to stay "safe" during an armed robbery). It didn't matter.

Castile didn't have a criminal record -- or at least nothing on it that mattered. Otherwise, he wouldn't have been allowed to own a weapon, much less obtain a permit to conceal the gun. Castile told Yanez -- as the permit requires -- he had a concealed weapon. He tried to respond to the officer's demand for his ID, reaching into his pocket. For both of these compliant efforts, he was killed.

Castile's shooting might have gone unnoticed -- washed into the jet stream of "officer-involved killings" that happen over 1,000 time a year. But his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, immediately live-streamed the aftermath via Facebook. Her boyfriend bled out while responding officers tried to figure out what to do, beyond call for more backup to handle a dead black man sitting in his own vehicle. Only after Yanez fired seven bullets into the cab of the vehicle did officers finally remove his girlfriend's four year old daughter.


War veterans describe what it's like to kill someone in combat (Video)

With military suicides hitting an all time high, far exceeding the number of combat casualties, it is clear that something terrible is happening to those who sign up to soldier for America. Veterans have historically returned from combat with deep psychological scars and in the past we've referred to this as combat stress, battle fatigue, shell shock and post-traumatic stress disorder, but never before has this turned into such a crisis of suicide.

Whatever we call it, the fact remains that war is hell. It permanently affects those who've seen combat, even people like J.R.R. Tolkien was so affected by his experiences in World War I that he began writing as a means to heal himself.

But, what is it like to kill someone in combat? Committing murder in the heat of battle is the crucible in which boys become men in combat, and very few soldiers forget the feeling of their first kill.


Dutch man arrested in Cambodia for child sex abuse

© Wikimedia Commons/Wildfeuer)
The Cambodian authorities arrested a 42-year-old Dutch man this week on suspicion that he repeatedly sexually abused a 6-year-old girl, relief organization Terre des Hommes announced. The man was caught based on a tip received by APLE, a local partner of the relief organization, AD reports.

The child's mother turned to APLE when she noticed her daughter was being abused. The girl gave a statement to the police. "We are very pleased wit the rapid action of the provincial youth protection police", Vando Khoem of APLE said. "Such an action is not only about saving one girl, but about preventing many new abuse cases."


Yemen facing 'worst cholera outbreak in the world' with 1000's of new cases each day - UN, WHO

© Khaled Abdullah / Reuters
Women help a young relative infected with cholera at a hospital in Sanaa.
Yemen is now facing the "worst cholera outbreak in the world," with some 5,000 suspected cases arising each day, UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) announced in a joint statement, adding that 1,300 people have died from the illness.

"In just two months, cholera has spread to almost every governorate of this war-torn country," the Saturday statement reads, noting that more than 200,000 suspected cases of cholera have been recorded.

"Already more than 1,300 people have died - one quarter of them children - and the death toll is expected to rise," it continues.

The statement says that 14.5 million people have been cut off from regular access to clean water and sanitation, which increases the ability of cholera to spread.

Comment: See also: Saudi Arabia donates $66.7 million to stop Yemen cholera crisis as it continues to bomb and blockade it