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Sun, 19 Jan 2020
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Iran: Ukrainian Airlines PS752 black boxes will be sent to Kiev

Comment: Of all the places to send that data...

No chance they'll ever get to revise their position on the downing of that plane now. Sending it to Ukraine is like sending it directly to the Mossad, CIA and MI6.

Debris field of PS752
Debris field of PS752
Iran has confirmed it will send the black-box flight recorders recovered from a Ukrainian passenger jet that was shot down over Tehran on January 8 to Kyiv.

Hassan Rezaifer, head of the accident investigations unit of Iran's civil aviation authority, told the Tasnim news agency on January 18 that it had not been possible to read the black boxes in Iran. He said French, American, and Canadian experts will work with the equipment after it arrives in Kyiv.

"If this effort is unsuccessful, then the black box will be sent to France," Rezaifer said.

On January 15, Oleksandr Ruvin of the Kyiv Research Institute of Forensic Studies said the international team would begin studying the black boxes on January 20.


Prizes for all - paying customers, that is. Why 4 out of 5 UK students get a top degree

3 Grads
© Getty Images/Richard Baker
Once again, there is an outcry about the inflation of grades in the English University system. Almost eighty percent of students graduate with a first or a 2.1. degree - the top two grades.

Like previous secretaries of education, the present occupant of this post, Gavin Williamson, has vowed to put an end to the 'continuous drift' of grade inflation.

Unfortunately, the devaluation of a university degree cannot be stopped as long as universities continue to operate as businesses that treat students as customers. When higher education establishments have to keep their customers satisfied, grade inflation will continue. For what better way of ensuring that students are satisfied and happy than by offering them high grades?

Comment: 'Buying a degree' does not support 'incentive to learn'. Those who legitimately study, work to gain knowledge and refine their discernment capabilities will note the current trajectory of a crashing society. A few may even contemplate why.


Attack of the snowflake culture: Children could be banned from heading balls in Scotland

Two kids soccer ball
© Global Look Press/ImageBROKER.com/Elmar Herz
With just over two weeks into the new decade, the UK in 2020 seems less about the roaring twenties, and more about the tedious advances in "cotton wool culture", as Scottish children could be banned from heading balls.

In recent years playgrounds have seen the game of conkers banned, lunchtime tag replaced by "gentle hands," and now football [soccer] might be joining the list too. The concern with the popular ball game grew due to research from Glasgow Brain Injury Research Group. They found that professional footballers are three and a half times more likely to develop neurological diseases than the general public. Because of that the Scottish FA is considering a ban on children's heads coming into contact with footballs.

Comment: The act of ball heading doesn't explain the mental states of deluded politicians, over-active activists and those dingbats who make up social justice rules...now does it? Perhaps learning 'how to head a ball and do it properly' might be a 'real' heads up and smack some sense into them!

Yellow Vest

French insurgency: Mass arrests as tens of thousands converge for Acte 62 of Yellow Vest movement and Day 45 of national strikes

macron louis king protest
© REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
A striking French worker holds a portrait of French President Emmanuel Macron as King Louis XVI at a demonstration against pensions reform plans, Paris, 9 January 2020.
Demonstrators shouted slogans denouncing the police, President Macron and his pension reforms on Saturday.

French police have fired tear gas at protesters hurling projectiles and arrested dozens of people as thousands of "yellow vest" anti-government protesters returned to the streets of Paris.

Demonstrators on Saturday shouted slogans denouncing the police, President Emmanuel Macron and his pension reforms that have triggered the longest French transport strike in decades, which has snarled public transportation for millions of commuters in the French capital for 45 days.

With sirens wailing, dozens of vans carrying riot police fanned out the route along which thousands of protesters marched.

Young people wearing masks shouted "revolution" as tear gas drifted by the Bastille, the square where the French revolution erupted in 1789.

Comment: Paris Opera employees also took to the streets... and did this!


Florida ex-mayor gets 4+ years in prison for charity fraud

United Way
The former mayor of a Florida city has been sentenced to more than four years in prison for defrauding a United Way charity while he ran the organization.

U.S. Attorney Lawrence Keefe said in a news release Friday that ex-Milton mayor Guyland Thompson pleaded guilty in May to 20 counts of wire fraud and three counts of tax evasion stemming from his embezzlement of funds from United Way of Santa Rosa County.

Yellow Vest

Hundreds of German farmers drive their tractors through Berlin in protest against agriculture policy: 'We've had enough!'

German farmers protest EU regulations
© Associated Press
In a similar protest, farmers parked their tractors on a road between the university and the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019.
German farmers flooded streets of Berlin again to denounce the way government spends EU subsidies and its emission policies that satisfy neither them nor environmentalists, who are also taking part at the protests.

More than 150 tractors rolled up to the iconic Brandenburg Gate in downtown Berlin on Saturday afternoon, paralyzing traffic in the adjacent areas. Anticipating this, the authorities have urged residents to use the public rapid transit system instead of car when travelling through the city's center.

Around 15,000 people are participating in the demonstration, which takes place as Berlin hosts the International Green Week, a food and agricultural fair attended by top-ranked officials. United by the slogan 'We've had enough!,' a grand alliance of 100 organizations, including farmers and environmentalist and animal rights groups, is demanding "better appreciation" of farm work by the state and clearer regulation on pollution and animal welfare.

Comment: Hang on, they're protesting with green groups to demand more regulation on themselves?



Virginia gun sales soar as Dems consider draconian "assault weapons" ban

Ever since Virginia's Democrats retook the state assembly and Senate in November, Democratic Gov. Ralph "blackface" Northam and the legislature have been gearing up to pass a draconian gun control bill.

Unsurprisingly, many Virginians feel strongly about preserving their second amendment rights, and the state has traditionally enforced a more permissive stance toward firearm ownership. But now, lawmakers are tossing around ideas like an "assault weapons ban" - language that has been criticized as vague and even nonsensical. Several moderate Democrats have even expressed reservations about supporting a sweeping gun-control bill if it includes the ban.
"A lot of people don't really understand assault weapons and how complicated the issue really is," said Democratic Sen. John Edwards. "It's going to be very difficult to figure out a way to do it. But we're studying it, that's all I can say."

Comment: See also:


You're fired! Harry and Meghan to lose royal funds and HRH titles by Spring 2020

harry meghan markel

Harry and Meghan are 'required to step back from royal duties'
Prince Harry and Meghan will lose royal funds and no longer use their HRH titles from spring, Buckingham Palace has confirmed.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will also repay £2.4m of taxpayer's money spent on renovating their Berkshire home - Frogmore Cottage.

The statement said: "The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are grateful to Her Majesty and the Royal Family for their ongoing support as they embark on the next chapter of their lives.

"As agreed in this new arrangement, they understand that they are required to step back from Royal duties, including official military appointments. They will no longer receive public funds for Royal duties.

Comment: Fear not for this feckless celebrity couple. They will do just fine.


Burnt bodies of troupe of musicians discovered - Mexican gang suspected of grisly mass murder

Mexican Army
© Ulises Ruiz / AFP
The area was cordoned by members of the Mexican Army, National Guard and Guerrero state police, file photo.
The scorched remains of a band of 10 indigenous musicians have been discovered in southern Mexico and investigators suspect that a vicious drug gang carried out the brutal slayings.

The bodies of 10 members of the Sensación music group were found in the rural Mexcalcingo community, in the southern state of Guerrero.

The musicians, from the Nahaus indigenous group, the largest in Mexico, were traveling in two vans along the country road when they were reportedly stopped at a checkpoint by a band of armed men from a 'Peace and Justice' group linked to the infamous Los Ardillos crime syndicate.

Local police say the armed men first burned the two vans then killed all the musicians, El Universal newspaper reports. The gang then blocked the road leading to the scene of the horrific attack to prevent authorities from moving the bodies.

Comment: See also:


Second Russian prison guard in high-profile torture case sentenced


Maksim Yablokov (left) is shown at a court hearing in Yaroslavl on July 25, 2018.
The second of at least 17 Russian prison guards charged in a high-profile inmate torture case has been sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison.

A court in Yaroslavl, some 250 kilometers northeast of Moscow, on January 17 convicted Maksim Yablokov of abuse of authority for beating three inmates. The court handed down the sentence the same day.

Two days earlier, former prison guard Sergei Yefremov, who made a deal with investigators, was sentenced to four years in prison.

Comment: This anti-corruption drive has been forging ahead for a good while now and it's stories like these that show the Russian government, under Putin, means it: