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Tue, 31 Jan 2023
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French village pleads with Mayan apocalypse fanatics not to visit Bugarach

© Guillaume Horcajuelo/EPA
Believers see Bugarach as one of a few sacred mountains sheltered from the end of the world Photo:
French authorities have pleaded with New Age fanatics, sightseers and media crews not to converge on Bugarach, the tiny village some believe will be one of the few places spared when the world supposedly ends.

Jean-Pierre Delord, the mayor of Bugarach, said: "I am making an appeal to the world - do not come to Bugarach."

He added that police will from Wednesday block access to the southwestern village of 200 residents.

Arrow Down

Scammers & spammers try to cash in on Sandy Hook shootings

© JonHappiness Blogspot
It's no surprise that there are horrible people in this world who will try to take advantage of peoples' desire to do something, anything, positive in the wake of a tragic event. Sadly, the shooting deaths of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary is no exception to that rule.

As with many tragedies, scammers immediately come wriggling out of the muck. According to NotB4coffee.com, within hours of the police releasing the names of the Sandy Hook victims, fake Facebook pages were set up in the names of each child. Some of these are asking for people to make donations, though most are not legitimate.

There are also numerous pages that appear to be set up with the purpose of memorializing the victims through photos and "Like"-worthy quotes, but it's possible that the people running some of these pages are simply doing this to flip the pages for a profit.

Technorati's Shea Wong explains why all those "Likes," Re-Tweets, and shares could add up to cash for underhanded marketers:
Every time you like and share one of these images, the algorithm in the social media platform you are using assigns that image a level of importance - the more people who like and share, the higher importance that image has. That explains why sometimes you see the same image three or four times on your news feed.

When people 'like' the page that created the meme (usually a name like "All The Newtown Babies Are Now Angels"), that page also rises through the algorithm rankings. The creator of the page then sells the page wholesale to the highest bidder in online marketer forums. The name of the page is changed (usually to a cheap product page) and your Facebook feed gets flooded with sales spam.

Book 2

Controversial UK law criminalises 'insulting words or behaviour'


Free speech: Keir Starmer QC, the Director of Public Prosecutions, said there is no need for a law that makes it a crime to insult someone
There is no need for a law that makes it a crime to insult someone, the Director of Public Prosecutions has said.

In a boost to free-speech campaigners, Keir Starmer QC said it was safe to reform the controversial law that says it is a criminal offence to use 'insulting words or behaviour'.

The clause of the 26-year-old Public Order Act has spurred a campaign which has united gay and secular activists, celebrities and conservative Christian evangelicals in favour of a robust right for people to insult each other.

In October, comedian Rowan Atkinson said the law was having a 'chilling effect on free expression and free protest'.

He warned: 'The clear problem of the outlawing of insult is that too many things can be interpreted as such. Criticism, ridicule, sarcasm, merely stating an alternative point of view to the orthodoxy, can be interpreted as insult.'

Arrow Up

Number of homeless students hits new record: Over 1 million

© Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP
The number of homeless students in America topped one million for the first time last year as a result of the economic recession, a number that has risen 57 percent since 2007.

The US Department of Education found that of these 1,065,794 children, many lived in abandoned homes, cheap hotels, stations, church basements and hospitals. Some spent their time sleeping over at the houses of various friends whenever they could. Others fell victim to drugs and sexual abuse, in some cases trading sexual acts for food, clothing and shelter or selling illegal drugs.

The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act of 1987 requires pubic schools to register homeless children. The Department of Education report was only able to compile data from those currently enrolled in school, which indicates that there may be many more homeless children or infants living on the streets without an education.

The southern US state of Georgia has in recent years always had the highest number of homeless children. As many as 45,000 homeless kids and teens are on the street or in a temporary shelter each night in Georgia, 14,000 of which are in Atlanta.

But the states that reported the largest year-to-year increases in the June report were Kentucky at 47 percent, Utah at 47 percent, Michigan at 38 percent, West Virginia at 38 percent and Mississippi at 35 percent. In Michigan, where unemployment is above the national average, every county reported an increase in the number of homeless students.

Snow Globe

Don't Say a Word

I don't want to say a word about this. I don't want to analyze it, or to even think about the implications of America's most recent horrid emotional shock. The profound grief and loss experienced by the families in Newtown CT is so overwhelming, so unthinkable, so achingly painful to contemplate that I really just want to be quiet for them - out of respect, out of profound empathy, I just want to be quiet and hold them in my mind and heart. For the last three days that's what I've done. But now it's time to speak, out of that same respect and profound empathy, because we, as a nation, are in a state of psychological shock and during such times, that shock makes us more easily moved, more easily influenced and more easily herded by the people who, by their very nature, do not have our best interests at heart.

From the beginning, the information coming out of Newtown was sketchy, which is not unusual in such situations, but when our national and personal emotions are being so worked, we must strive to pay attention to what is really going on, no matter how much our emotions pull us in the direction of feeling only and thinking not at all. This article goes into the preliminary details (there's more to come) of what doesn't quite fit about this event, so I'm not going to go into that right now. What I would like to do is take a look at how we are being moved to think and feel about this heart-wrenching slaughter by those in the position to change the future of our society. In very much the same way, our society was fundamentally changed on and in the days following September 11th 2001, when America was herded toward previously unimaginable control through emotional trauma and manipulation resulting in things like this being the "new normal".

The reason I feel it's now time to say something is that President Obama gave a brief speech last night from the Sandy Hook Interfaith Prayer Vigil in Newtown, CT and I'd like to go through it with the focus on the real message, not the illusion.


Hacktivists strike Westboro Baptist Church over Newtown tragedy

Hacktivists, Anonymous
© Reuters/Stefano Rellandini
Hacktivists with the Anonymous movement and other online groups have waged a war on the Westboro Baptist Church following news that the group plans to demonstrate on the site of the Shady Hook Elementary School massacre.

Shirley Phelps-Roper of the notorious Westboro Baptist Church announced Friday that the Topeka, Kansas-based religious group would be picketing in Newtown, Connecticut, where less than five hours earlier a shooter opened fire killing more than two dozen people, mostly children.

"Westboro will picket in CT," Shirley Phelps-Roper, a lawyer and spokesperson for the group, confirmed Friday afternoon over Twitter. On Saturday, she added, "Westboro will picket Sandy Hook Elementary School to sing praise to God for the glory of his work in executing his judgment."

When the WBC first announced their intentions, the body of 20-year-old shooter Adam Lanza was still inside of Sandy Hook, where only hours earlier he murdered 20 children and six staffers after shooting and killing his mother at their nearby home. In the two days since, members of Anonymous and the UGNazi clan, among others, have launched a full-fledged assault on the WBC and its parishioners, exposing the personal information of church members and attempting relentlessly to collectively clear them off the Internet.


Police arrest man for threatening elementary schools in Los Angeles, weapons recovered

© Agence France-Presse/Mark Ralston
LAPD officers
Police in Los Angeles, California have arrested a man that they say made criminal threats against area elementary schools.

The identity of the suspect, apprehended Sunday afternoon, has not been released. On Monday, however, the Los Angeles Police Department confirmed that the individual was still in custody after making online threats.

"Apparently on Facebook, he made some threats against a number of elementary schools. He was arrested. A number of firearms were retrieved," LAPD Officer Venue Hall tells the Associated Press. "His name and age and location and all that is not being revealed at this time because of an ongoing criminal investigation."

Venus adds that weapons were confiscated from the man's home.

Students in LA are currently on winter break, but Police Chief Charlie Beck tells the AP that the department will begin patrolling schools more seriously once the new semester starts up.

"Every K through 5 and every middle school in Los Angeles gets visited at least once a day by a Los Angeles police officer," Beck tells NBC LA.

Sunday's arrest came just two days after 20-year-old Adam Lanza shot-and killed 26 people, mostly children, at a Newtown Connecticut, elementary school.

Bizarro Earth

Copycat shooters on a rise after Connecticut rampage

© Agence France-Presse/Mario Tama
Several armed suspects have been arrested for attempts to recreate the Connecticut elementary school shooting massacre, which killed at least 27 people, including 20 children.

In Indiana, a man identified as Von Meyer, 60, was arrested on Sunday after threatening to light his wife on fire and kill as many people as possible at Jane Ball Elementary School. Police discovered 47 guns and ammunition in his home, worth a total of over $100,000.

Officials fear the Indiana man is only one of a number of copycats who may try to imitate the Connecticut massacre, CBS reported.

The copycat shooting phenomena, in which an attacker is inspired by a gun massacre and tries to re-create it, is not new. The US has seen numerous copycat shooting, even giving the syndrome a name - the 'Werther Effect.' Adolescents are said to be the most susceptible to it.

Another incident over the weekend involved a shooter opening fire at a clinic in Uruguay to imitate the Connecticut school shooting, according to the suspect's police statement. The suspect fired three shots and was arrested on site, local media reported.


Police gunned down at grocery store

A shooting outside a Kansas grocery store left two police officers dead last night.

They were shot while responding to a report of a suspicious vehicle near a Topeka grocery store.

Officers tracked the suspected gunman down to this nearby home early this morning.

They say they tried to make contact with the suspect several times before finally deploying gas.

They say the suspect then came out with a gun in hand.

He was shot by officers and pronounced dead at a hospital.

Now, a store employee is reacting. "It was kind of shocking."
"We're a good store and nice people and nice employees, but this could happen anywhere."

Police have not identified the suspect.

But they have named the two officers killed, 50 year old Corporal David Gogian and 29 year old Officer Jeff Atherly.

Source: KTKA

  • Smoking

    Anti-smoking police are set to patrol New York neighbourhoods and stop people smoking in their own homes

    Anti-smoking police are set to patrol New York neighbourhoods and stop people smoking in their own homes, secret new documents reveal. Community groups will be sent out to convince landlords and tenants across the city to turn their private buildings into smoke-free zones, according to the documents seen by the New York Post.

    The community groups would 'work with property managers, tenants, and others on adoption of voluntary smoke-free policies', the document says. In return for their work, each community group will collect a $10,000 bounty - paid for out of a Centers for Disease Control grant.

    The news comes one year after the city banned smoking in parks and beaches, despite promises by Mayor Bloomberg that there were no plans to extend a ban to apartment buildings. The document explains how neighbourhood contractors would help develop New York health department's agenda in tobacco, alcohol, exercise and diet.

    Comment: Nicotine - The Zombie Antidote