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Sat, 14 Dec 2019
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US: Updated - Five dead after massive Allentown, Pennsylvania gas explosion

Explosion destroys at least two center city homes, sets six on fire, more than 600 people evacuated.


Five people - including a 4-month-old boy - have died in Allentown's massive gas explosion and fire, authorities confirmed at a Thursday afternoon news conference. Search crews have located four of the five victims and the recovery operation continues. Lehigh County Coroner Scott Grim declined to identify the dead whose bodies have been recovered, describing them only as a 79-year-old man, a 69-year-old woman, a 16-year-old girl and a 4-month old baby. Grim said search dogs were being used to find the fifth victim.

Family members and friends earlier confirmed the dead as: William Hall, 79, and his wife, Beatrice, 74, of 544 N. 13th St.; and Ofelia Ben, 69, Catherine Cruz, 16, and Matthew Manuel Cruz, 4 months, of 542 N. 13th St. About a dozen people were injured and more than 350 were forced to evacuate from surrounding blocks and the Gross Towers seniors apartment complex when an apparent gas leak ignited at 544 N. 13th St. about 10:45 p.m. Wednesday.

Laptop

US: Employees Fired After Forwarding Obama E-Mail


Caption Compared President To Tar Ball In Gulf Of Mexico

Lawsuits were filed against the Centers for Rehab Services by two employees who were fired over an e-mail comparing President Barack Obama to a tar ball washing ashore in the Gulf of Mexico.

The company said the e-mail was inappropriate, but the employees said they were just expressing their political views and were wrongfully fired.

Team 4 investigator Paul Van Osdol reported that the e-mail in question was circulated last summer while the federal government was trying to contain the massive Gulf oil spill.

It showed an image of Obama walking along a Gulf beach with the caption, "Another tar ball washed up on the shore."

In a memo, a Centers for Rehab Services official called it "an inappropriate e-mail that contained political and discriminatory content."

The lawsuit said the e-mail led the company to fire Deborah Bonanno and James Sprung, who received the e-mail and forwarded it to co-workers.

In court papers, an attorney for Bonanno and Sprung said, "The motivation behind CRS' termination was to stifle (the employees') freedom of expression on a matter of public concern" -- namely, the Gulf disaster.

Vic Walczak, the ACLU's legal director in Pennsylvania, said employees have "very few" rights to sound off at work.

Walczak said he had not seen the lawsuits, but he said the Constitutional right to free speech does not apply when someone uses a workplace computer.

Laptop

U.S.: Pennsylvania Teacher Suspended Over Blog About Students

Natalie Munroe

Teacher Natalie Munroe
This is a clear case of what happens online, stays online.

The Central Bucks School District has suspended a high school English teacher after parents complained to administrators about her blog in which she railed on her students for more than a year.

Phrases on the blog include; "Frightfully dim," "Rat-like," "Am concerned your kid is going to open fire on the school," "I hate your kid," and "Seems smarter than she actually is."

Ambulance

US: 3 dead, 2 missing after massive Pennsylvania natural gas explosion

Three people including a 4-month-old child were dead and two were missing Thursday after a massive natural gas explosion demolished two row homes and set six others ablaze in eastern Pennsylvania.

Allentown fire Chief Robert Scheirer said a two-story row house exploded about 10:45 p.m. Wednesday. An elderly couple who lived in the home died. They were identified by their daughter-in-law as Beatrice Hall, 74, and her husband, William, 79, the Allentown Morning Call newspaper reported on its website.

The baby was not identified.

UGI Corp. said Thursday morning that one of its natural-gas pipelines likely exploded.


Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Attention

Tamer Hosny, Egypt's Answer to Justin Timberlake, Attacked in Cairo's Tahrir Square

Tamer Hosny
© YouTube / Getty
Egyptian pop star Tamer Hosny was attacked in Tahrir Square Wednesday a week after he called for an end to the protests.
The Arab world's King of Pop - who had publicly dissed Egypt's pro-democracy protests - went to Tahrir Square Wednesday to apologize.

First he was run out with catcalls and punches and had to be saved by the army.

Then he started to cry.

"I want to die today," Tamer Hosny said, blubbering on the video burning up Twitter and YouTube. "I thought I was saving the people."

Stormtrooper

Ontario Woman Sues Over Strip-Search at U.S. Border

ambassador bridge
An angry and embarrassed Ontario woman who says she was strip-searched at the Ambassador Bridge without justification has sued two U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents.

The Detroit Free Press says Loretta Van Beek of Stratford filed the suit in Detroit federal court against the unnamed agents. She says she was en route to her Georgia vacation home last March when one agent strip-searched and groped her while the other one watched.

Light Saber

'Nearly one million protesters descend on Cairo square'

Image
© AP Photo/Victoria Hazou
Young girls wave Egyptian flags atop an armored vehicle just outside Tahrir or Liberation Square in Cairo, Egypt.

Number of demonstrators climbing steadily, Al Jazeera reports, despite Egypt FM's warning that military could be forced into action if demonstrations continue; protesters have called for a second '1-million-strong rally' on Friday.

Hundreds of thousands of Egyptian anti-government protesters stood their ground in Cairo's Tahrir Square for a 17th day on Thursday, despite Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit's warning that the military could intervene if demonstrations continue.

Hundreds had camped overnight in and around Cairo's Tahrir Square, within sight of the nearby parliament buildings. By late afternoon, Al-Jazeera reported that nearly one million demonstrators had gathered.

Passport

Canadian sues claiming abuse at U.S. border

Wayne County - A 46-year-old Canadian woman sued two unidentified female U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents in U.S. District Court in Detroit on Wednesday, saying one of them strip-searched and groped her without justification as the other one watched at the Ambassador Bridge last March.

Loretta Van Beek of Stratford, Ontario, who said she travels to the U.S. regularly to vacation in Georgia, said agents sent her to secondary inspection because she failed to declare raspberries.

She said agents questioned her during a two-hour session, then ordered her to strip. She said one agent aggressively groped her breasts and genital area for an extended period of time while the other watched. Then they photographed and fingerprinted her and sent her back to Canada, the suit said.

Her lawyer, S. Thomas Wienner of Rochester, said she was traumatized by the incident and wants to find out whether there are other victims.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection said it couldn't comment on pending litigation.

Cult

Mayoral candidates go after Emanuel on taxes, slavery reparations

Image
© Chris Sweda, Chicago Tribune
Miguel del Valle reaches over Rahm Emanuel to shake hands with William "Dock" Walls during the Chicago Defender-sponsored mayoral debate Wednesday at the DuSable Museum. All six candidates were at the debate, including Gery Chico, left, Carol Moseley Braun and Patricia Van Pelt-Watkins.
Debate is the first to feature all 6 hopefuls

Rahm Emanuel found himself criticized on issues ranging from taxes to reparations for slavery Wednesday night during the first forum featuring all six candidates for Chicago mayor.

The former White House chief of staff mostly ignored the barbs, especially those from Gery Chico, former Chicago school board president. He contended that Emanuel would burden taxpayers with a service tax Emanuel has proposed as part of a plan that would include a quarter-point cut in the city sales tax.

Two other candidates, William "Dock" Walls and Patricia Van Pelt-Watkins, slammed Emanuel for his positions on tax increment financing districts and reparations.

Emanuel agreed with most candidates in supporting reparations for descendants of slavery, but said that all citizens need to keep in mind that the city has a significant budget deficit to tackle.

Propaganda

Wikileaks Propaganda Machine May Have Just Confirmed That Peak Oil Is Imminent

Oil Well
© Fast Company

It's getting more and more difficult to deny that an oil supply crunch is just a few years down the road, especially now that WikiLeaks has released cables revealing that Saudi Arabia's oil reserves have been exaggerated by as much as 40%, or 300 billion barrels. Saudi Arabia is the world's largest oil exporter.

Peak oil, or the point when the maximum rate of global petroleum extraction has been reached and is about to enter terminal decline, is no longer the fringe theory it was just 10 years ago. Even Jeroen van der Veer, the chief executive of Royal Dutch Shell, has admitted that oil supply may no longer keep up with demand by 2015. But the just-released cables, which detail a back-and-forth between the U.S. consul general and geologist Sadad al-Husseini, the former head of exploration at Saudi Aramco, confirms that the situation is serious.

Here's an excerpt from one cable:
"In a presentation, Abdallah al-Saif, current Aramco senior vice-president for exploration, reported that Aramco has 716bn barrels of total reserves, of which 51% are recoverable, and that in 20 years Aramco will have 900bn barrels of reserves.

"Al-Husseini disagrees with this analysis, believing Aramco's reserves are overstated by as much as 300bn barrels. In his view once 50% of original proven reserves has been reached...a steady output in decline will ensue and no amount of effort will be able to stop it. He believes that what will result is a plateau in total output that will last approximately 15 years followed by decreasing output."

Comment: In case it wasn't clear that Wikileaks was another psy-ops boosting the interests of the power elite, this recent 'revelation' on the threat of 'peak oil' shows another desperate attempt by the elite to keep the hundred year-old con game of petroleum scarcity afloat.

So despite the millions of barrels of oil leaked into the Gulf of Mexico this year showing the planet is clearly (and literally) awash in liquid petroleum, here is a flashback describing the so-called 'scarcity' of oil in Saudi Arabia:

From ArabNews, Saudi Oil Is Secure and Plentiful, Say Officials:
WASHINGTON, 29 April 2004 - Officials from Saudi Arabia's oil industry and the international petroleum organizations shocked a gathering of foreign policy experts in Washington yesterday with an announcement that the Kingdom's previous estimate of 261 billion barrels of recoverable petroleum has now more than tripled, to 1.2 trillion barrels.

Additionally, Saudi Arabia's key oil and finance ministers assured the audience - which included US Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan - that the Kingdom has the capability to quickly double its oil output and sustain such a production surge for as long as 50 years.
Also from a recent article in Financial Sense Editorials, Gulf Oil Spill 'Could Go Years' If Not Dealt With:
What the enormoity of the oil spill does is to also further discredit clearly the oil companies' myth of "peak oil" which claims that the world is at or near the "peak" of economical oil extraction. That myth, which has been propagated in recent years by circles close to former oilman and Bush Vice President, Dick Cheney, has been effectively used by the giant oil majors to justify far higher oil prices than would be politically possible otherwise, by claiming a non-existent petroleum scarcity crisis.
For more background on the 'peak oil' scam, check out this piece by Joe Quin from back in 2006:

Ruppert and Hopsicker Co-Opting the 9-11 Truth Movement Or Exposing the Big Con - Lies and Disinformation At The End Of Civilisation As We Know It