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Sat, 21 Jan 2017
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Fiancé calls off wedding, so bride-to-be treats Sacramento's homeless to a free four star reception

© David McNew / Reuters
After one California groom-to-be cancelled his $35,000 wedding at the last minute, the bride-to-be's family decided not to surrender to despair and turn the already paid-for banquet into a dream come true for some unlikely guests - Sacramento's homeless.

The bride's mother, Kari Duane, said she couldn't believe her ears when her 27-year-old daughter Quinn called her to say that the wedding just wasn't going to happen because her fiancé had called it off.

But the deposits for the reception were already paid, and instead of calling it off, the local homeless were invited for a weekend meal at one of the city's finest venues, the Citizen Hotel. An elderly woman who lives in a shelter, unable to afford rent, was the first to arrive, half an hour early.

"I was thinking at that moment, if she's the only person that comes tonight, this was worth it," the bride's mother told KCRA-TV.

But then more homeless people started to turn in - individuals, as well as families with grandparents and even newborns.

"When you're going through a hard time and a struggle for you to get out to do something different and with your family, it was really a blessing," Rashad Abdullah, who arrived with his spouse and their five children, told the broadcaster.

Take 2

Empire files: The United States' Unofficial Religion - The War on an Idea

The Empire has a range of weapons to maintain its power: from its courts to its military. But it also has effective ideological weapons.

Everyone in the United States knows that "socialist" or "communist" is considered a bad word. How did things get that way? Abby Martin explores the history of anti-communism in the US, and the heavy repression of an idea that became an unofficial religion.


Hospital shooting: Minnesota deputy killed by patient

© Flicker
A sheriff's deputy in the Midwest US state of Minnesota has been fatally shot by an inmate receiving treatment at a local hospital, local authorities said Sunday.

Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Superintendent Drew Evans said Sandberg, 60, was shot when his firearm was seized during a struggle at the St. Cloud Hospital early Sunday.

"I would hope that everyone would keep Investigator [Steven] Sandberg's wife and daughter in their thoughts and prayers," Aitkin County Sheriff Scott Turner said at a press conference.


Zombie attack? Young man goes nuts on flight from Portugal to Ireland, bites passenger then drops dead

© Cathal McNaughton / Reuters
In a bizarre and terrifying incident, a 24-year-old man has died on a Dublin-bound flight after "running amok," and biting another passenger. The crew described him as being, "extremely violent."

The Aer Lingus flight took off from Lisbon, Portugal and was en route to Dublin, Ireland.

All of a sudden a man "ran amok" across the cabin, bit a fellow passenger and had to be restrained by the crew. He injured "one or two passengers."

The crew had to broadcast an emergency 'Pan Pan' message three times and told air traffic controllers about the incident, before making an unscheduled landing at Cork airport.

Comment: This incident joins our list of 'zombie attacks' in recent years. People are starting to literally consume each other... It's curious that the man on the Dublin-bound flight went berserk just before dying, as if whatever had taken control of his mind - a parasite, virus, or whatever - dictated this last effort from him, perhaps to replicate itself before its host died...

While there may end being a more mundane explanation for this man's behavior and death, we note that this is yet another weird air travel incident in a year when aircraft accidents and mishaps are piling up high... UPDATE: The man in question, "John Kennedy Santos Gurjao", was allegedly carrying 800 grams of cocaine in his stomach. One of the pellets burst in his stomach, causing him to suffer a violent seizure.

Fireball 5

Bogota, Columbia: Plane crash kills 5 in residential area

© RCN La Radio / YouTube
Five people have been killed after a plane crashed into a residential area in Colombia's capital, local media reported citing authorities. Seven people have been injured, according to Bogota fire officials.

The Beechcraft 60 twin-engined plane crashed around 4:20pm local time (9:20pm GMT) in western Bogota, indicated the Civil Aeronautics Agency on its Facebook page.

It crashed with four people on board including the captain, Juan Pablo Angulo Reyes, the aviation authority said in a statement.

The plane crashed into Villa Luz bakery and affected three nearby houses, according to fire officials.

Comment: This year has seen numerous incidences of aircraft accidents and mishaps:


'US strike on Afghan hospital no mistake' - Doctors Without Borders demands more than an apology

© Mohammad Ismail / Reuters
Wounded Afghan men, who survived a U.S. air strike on a Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) hospital in Kunduz, receive treatment at the Emergency Hospital in Kabul October 8, 2015.
The head of an international medical charity, whose hospital in northern Afghanistan was razed to the ground by a United States airstrike earlier this month, has claimed it may have been deliberate rather than accidental.

"The hospital was repeatedly hit both at the front and the rear and extensively destroyed and damaged, even though we have provided all the coordinates and all the right information to all the parties in the conflict," Christopher Stokes, general director of Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres, MSF) told AP.

"The extensive, quite precise destruction of this hospital ... doesn't indicate a mistake. The hospital was repeatedly hit," he pointed out. The attack, in which the American Lockheed AC-130 gunship repeatedly bombed the hospital, lasted for over an hour despite calls to Afghan, US and NATO to stop it, MSF earlier said.

Comment: Also see:

Light Sabers

Unknown 'man' attacks Israeli soldier, steals his assault rifle and attacks crowd

An Israeli woman is comforted as others react at the main bus station in Beersheba in southern Israel on October 18, 2018.
An Israeli soldier has been killed and nearly a dozen others sustained injuries in an attack amid ongoing tensions in the region. The incident took place in the Israeli city of Beersheba (Bi'r as-Sab) at a bus station on Sunday evening.

An unidentified man, shot dead later, entered the place, stabbed a soldier, took his weapon and started firing at the crowd, injuring 11 people, including at least four other soldiers. Some other reports, however, said that the man fired with his own pistol.

A bystander of Eritrean origin, not involved in the attack, was also killed by Israeli police who mistook him for a second gunman. The soldier succumbed to his wounds later in a nearby hospital with reports saying that two of the wounded were in critical condition.

The identity of the man was not immediately known while there was no claim of responsibility for the attack.

Comment: It seems odd that some accounts say he stabbed the man and took his gun while others suggest he shot him with another gun first. Also the shooter is not described at all, other than being a man. The implication is that he is of Palestinian origin, given all the 'stabbing' hoopla they're bandying about in the media. The timing is certainly suspect. This is from Israel's UN ambassador two days ago.
"Palestinian leaders have established an incubator to raise children as terrorists," said Israel's UN ambassador Danny Danon.

Star of David

IDF soldier killed, 11 injured, police mistakenly shoot foreign national in bus station attack

© Dudu Grunshpan / Reuters
Israeli security personals stand next to blood on the floor, at the Beersheba central bus station where a Palestinian gunman went on a stabbing and shooting rampage, October 18, 2015
An IDF soldier was killed and 11 others injured when an Arab attacker, armed with a gun and a knife, opened fire at a bus station in the city of Beersheba in the south of the country. Local media also said that an Eritrean man was mistaken for an assailant and attacked by police.

The perpetrator made his way into the station and started shooting and stabbing people inside, in what is one of the most violent attacks since the escalation began, the police said. An Israeli soldier was killed, four police officers were lightly injured and seven civilians received wounds of varying degrees in the attack.

Despite bringing a gun with him, the man also snatched the weapon from the soldier he gunned down, Yoram Halevy, a police commander in southern Israel, told journalists. The Arab attacker, whose identity was not immediately revealed, was shot and killed by the police, she added.

It was initially reported that the attacker had an accomplice, who was wounded and detained by the police. But it later turned out that the Israeli security forces shot a foreign national after mistaking him for the assailant.

Police responding to the attack entered the bus station from another area and saw a "foreign national," opening fire and wounding him, Halevy confirmed.

Comment: As it turns out, "an angry Israeli crowd" didn't just stand and chant "death to Arabs".

Video captured by bystanders and posted to social media shows a mob of onlookers, including Israeli soldiers and police, kicking Zarhum in the head, pinning him under a chair and throwing a bench at him as he writhes on the floor, clearly in pain and bleeding severely.


Crazy-making cops insist 75-year-old woman lying about wrecking own car, arrest her

© CopBlock
A 75-year-old grandmother was handcuffed and arrested after Milwaukee cops insisted she was trying to cover up for a "mystery man" they said was driving when the woman's car was hit at an intersection.

Joy McFarlin was going to Potawatomi Casino for bingo and dinner with friends on Tuesday when, eastbound on Wisconsin Ave., she stopped at the traffic light at the intersection at N. 35th St.

When the light turned green, McFarlin says she began making her way through the intersection, but was hit by a car that ran the red light. The collision spun around her late husband's 20-year-old Dodge Dakota pickup, which ended up on the median.

Because of how the truck was situated, McFarlin was forced to exit through the passenger side. During her escape, a young man showed up to assist her.

McFarlin says the man, who's name she didn't catch, helped her across the street to a bus stop shelter where "he stayed with [her] and kept [her] talking because [she] was so shaky."

After paramedics showed up, McFarlin says the man left before two Milwaukee police officers - one male and one female - approached her in a hateful manner.

"[The woman officer] took an aggressive pose with her hands on her hips and told me that I better be telling the truth or I was going to jail," McFarlin said. "This was her first approach to me. I told her just what happened, and she said I was lying and I better not lie or I was going to jail."

As McFarlin was feeling faint and in pain, the paramedics drove her to Aurora Sinai Medical Center, where she says the same two officers followed and continued questioning her aggressively.

Comment: It's bad enough that this woman had just been in a traumatic car accident. Was it really necessary for the police to traumatize her even more by fixating on some bizarre "mystery man" scenario?


What's happening to Ke$ha should have us all outraged

© idolator
A lot of people have a tendency to see Kesha as this "trashy party girl" from her songs about copious amounts of drinking and having sex, and maybe it's because of this image that what's happening to her is not being taken seriously or being talked about by enough people.

Kesha has been legally battling her producer Lukasz Gottwald (Dr. Luke), who she's been signed with since she was 18 years old. Last September Kesha sued Dr. Luke for alleged "sexual, physical, verbal and emotional abuse," and also asked the court to break her contract with him. The lawsuit alleges that Dr. Luke repeatedly drugged her, raped her at least twice, and emotionally abused her to the point of causing her eating disorder, for which she checked into a rehab facility in Lemont, Illinois. Rolling Stone reports two specific claims: one claim includes Dr. Luke making her snort something before they boarded a plane and sexually assaulting her while she was incapacitated. The other claim was that she was given "sober pills," which she later found out were a date rape drug, and after taking them woke up the next morning in Luke's bed naked, sore and confused. Since Dr. Luke is an extremely successful producer, having been responsible for hits from pop stars like Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus and Katy Perry, he's using his big, fancy lawyers to try and fight back. Luke filed a countersuit for defamation.

There's been so little news coverage on this horrible injustice, but could that be because a lot of people still see Kesha as the trashy party girl? If that's the case, then those people need to first realize that this kind of abuse is as serious for a "party girl" as it would be for anyone else, and second, listen to this little bit about Kesha that might make you think of her differently. Kesha scored a 1500 on her SAT, has an IQ of 140 (which technically makes her a genius), was named the Humane Society of the United States' first global ambassador for animal rights, is an ordained minister, was strong enough to go to rehab for her eating disorder and fight and overcome it, and is obviously an extremely talented singer and songwriter. Not to mention how strong she's been even through everything she is battling with this lawsuit and the years of alleged abuse at the hands of Dr. Luke. Surviving any kind of abusive relationship is extremely difficult, and Kesha's coming out the other side stronger than ever. In fact, to show off to the world just how strong she is, at New York Fashion Week she wore a dress with the words "You Will Never Own Me" on the front -- a brilliantly constructed jab at Dr. Luke.

Comment: Unfortunately, rapists are often protected by the legal system and victims are blamed for the acts of their abusers. Check out our Sott Focus on the topic: Rape Culture in America - How the system protects the rapists and fails the victims