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Fri, 23 Aug 2019
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Eye 1

New 'cultural norm': Child sex-trafficking more common in US than people realize, government dedicates few resources to combat it

child abuse
© Tinnakorn jorruang, Shutterstock
Anti-trafficking activist Jaco Booyens said President Donald Trump has done more to fight child sex-trafficking than any other world leader, but the United States has a long way to go in protecting American youth.

Sex-trafficking has been a major issue recently as financier Jeffrey Epstein, who was charged with sex-trafficking and conspiracy, died Saturday in his Manhattan jail cell while awaiting trial. Alleged victims are coming out with their stories and lawsuits against his estate.

Booyens is the founder of SHAREtogether, a non-profit that fights child sex-trafficking around the world. He is also the president and CEO of film company After Eden Pictures, and director of the movie "8 Days," which tells the story of a young girl who fell victim to trafficking. Booyens has been part of the effort to conquer sex-trafficking since 2001, he said.

Comment: It's an outright crime that governmental resources aren't seriously dedicated to fighting against child sex trafficking. It's indicative of the types of people who occupy seats of power. Sexual predation is indeed much, much worse than most people realize. See Anna Salter's work here and here to get an idea of just how bad it is.

Arrow Down

School forced black student to 'Sharpie in' his haircut: lawsuit

black student sharpie haircut
© Facebook
Another black student has been humiliated by school faculty over hair.

Pearland Independent School District in Texas is being hit with a lawsuit by parents Dante Trice and Angela Washington, who say faculty at Berry Miller Junior High School disciplined their son, J.T., by using a black Sharpie marker to color in the boy's fade haircut, which staffers allege violates the school's dress code.

According to the suit, the 13-year-old got a "fade haircut with a design line" on April 16, featuring a track — like an artificial hair part — resembling the letter M.

"The haircut did not depict anything violent, gang-related, obscene or otherwise offensive or inappropriate in any manner. J.T. did not believe the haircut violated any school policy," the suit stated, according to NBC News.

Comment: We're living in an age where teachers act just as cruel as some of the children in their charge. That said, the callous and inappropriate punishment doesn't automatically translate into racism. These school officials would likely do better with basic discipline training and relationship building over 'discrimination training' to know what to do and when it should be applied.


Trump administration sets new rules that could hold undocumented families detained together indefinitely

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan
© Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan listens during a hearing with the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington on June 11, 2019.
The Trump administration on Wednesday announced plans that could hold undocumented families detained together indefinitely, replacing the agreement that set a 20-day limit for holding children.

The rule unveiled by acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan is part of the administration's aggressive effort to revamp immigration laws as the number of families and unaccompanied minors crossing the US-Mexico border has increased.



Philadelphia's police commissioner resigns as bias suit roils the department

© AP/Matt Rourke
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross
Philadelphia's police commissioner resigned Tuesday amid allegations that members of his department engaged in sexual harassment and racial and gender discrimination against two women serving in the ranks.

Mayor Jim Kenney said in a news release he was disappointed to lose Commissioner Richard Ross Jr., but in light of the new allegations, he said Ross' "resignation is in the best interest of the department."

Kenney spokeswoman Deana Gamble said Ross offered his resignation after Kenney learned details of the allegations by the women, including one who says she once had an affair with Ross.

The corporal and patrol officer made the allegations against several department employees. Gamble said Ross knew about the alleged harassment and failed to respond adequately.

Eye 1

Willful ignorance or complicity: Newly released images show Prince Andrew inside paedophile Epstein's mansion in 2010 - UPDATES

prince andrew epstein house
© Daily Mail
On December 6 2010, paedophile Jeffrey Epstein was seen leaving his home on New York's East 91st Street before Prince Andrew was also spotted inside
Standing by the towering 15ft-high solid oak front door, Prince Andrew gives a nod and a cheery wave to the pretty brunette as she leaves the £63 million Manhattan mansion.

He appears entirely at ease but then, for a split second, glances around the door as if to check that no one had witnessed the brief encounter.

As well he might.

For these exclusive pictures come from a never-before-seen video of the Duke of York staying at the New York home of convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein. And some of the other images caught on camera make for disturbing viewing.

Comment: UPDATE: Reportedly the brunette has been identified as Katherine Keating daughter of former Aussie PM Paul Keating.

It's also been revealed that flight logs show that Prince Andrew flew with one of Epstein's victims, 'sex-slave' Virginia Roberts, to London, New York and the Caribbean in 2001. At this point the royal family has yet to answer questions regarding just what the Duke of York was doing flying around in Epstein's rape jet with teenage girls.

See also:


US-trained Honduran police get brutal as political prisoner Edwin Espinal is released

riot police honduras protests
© Jorge Cabrera/Reuters
Riot police run in front of a cloud of tear gas during a protest against Honduras President Juan Orlando Hernandez, in Tegucigalpa, August 6, 2019.
"It's sad how the United States is supporting this corrupt government," Honduran political prisoner Edwin Espinal told MintPress News immediately after his release from prison, where he had spent 19 months.

Edwin's case — and the medieval violence to which U.S.-trained police in Honduras tried to subject me — perfectly illustrate the often lethal repression that has fueled the migrant crisis. After hours of police hurling stones and tear gas at student protesters last week, young children gathered the aluminum scraps from the ground to sell, underscoring that the poverty brought on by U.S.-backed neoliberal measures has gone hand-in-hand with police violence in fueling the human-rights catastrophe at the heart of the central American exodus.


Heart - Black

Death toll from IS-claimed wedding attack in Afghanistan rises to 80

Prayer for victims of wedding bombing in Kabul, Afghanistan August 17th 2019
© Reuters
The death toll from a suicide bomb attack on a wedding party in Kabul last week has risen to 80, two senior Afghan officials said on August 21.

The initial death toll after the August 17 explosion was 63, but some of the wounded had died in hospital, said Nasrat Rahimi, an Interior Ministry spokesman.

"Seventeen others have succumbed to their injuries in hospital and over 160 are still being treated either in hospitals or at home," Rahimi said.

The Islamic State (IS) militant group claimed responsibility for the attack on a huge wedding reception at a hotel in western Kabul.

Comment: The school shootings the U.S. has been subjected to even just this year pale in comparison to what Afghanistan has suffered - going on 18 years. If Trump can succeed in ending this war, that alone will be something worth celebrating about his presidency. But we'll just have to wait and see what actually happens. See also:

Light Sabers

Profit before safety? Walmart sues Tesla, claims solar panels caused fires at several stores

solar panels
© Pexels
Retail giant Walmart is suing Elon Musk's electric car maker and energy company Tesla, accusing it of "gross negligence" and blaming Tesla's rooftop solar panels for fires at seven of its stores.

In a lawsuit filed in the New York State Supreme Court, Walmart said that it faced massive losses after the solar panels supplied by Tesla allegedly caught fire at the stores last year. Much of the merchandise was burnt or damaged, the facilities required substantial repairs, and damages totalled millions of dollars, according to Reuters citing the court papers.

The suit claims that Tesla failed to hire qualified workers to install the equipment, and its own inadequate inspections could have threatened the safety of Walmart customers and employees.


Mexico: Judge approves recreational cocaine use in landmark ruling, 'war on drugs has failed'

A Colombian drug dealer prepares cocaine for street sale in Bogota, on September 20, 2013. A Mexican judge has granted two people the right to recreational cocaine use.
A judge in Mexico has approved two people to use cocaine recreationally in what has been described as a historic step toward ending the country's deadly "war on drugs."

In the first ruling of its kind, the district court in Mexico City granted permission for the pair to "possess, transport and use cocaine" — but not sell itfollowing an injunction request by Mexico United Against Crime.

"We have been working for a safer, more just and peaceful Mexico for years, and with this case we insist on the need to stop criminalizing users of drugs other than marijuana and design better public policies that explore all available options, including the regulation," Lisa Sánchez, director of MUAC, said in a statement.

Comment: It is true that the war on drugs has failed and drastic shifts in policy need to be implemented:

Red Flag

American describes his life as 'a living nightmare' ever since manslaughter charge in Anguilla

Scott Hapgood
© Evan Nierman
Scott Hapgood of Connecticut and his family were on vacation in Anguilla in April when they claim a man dressed as a hotel worker tried to rob them in their room.
The New York City banker who was charged in the death of an Anguillan hotel worker in April described his life as "a living nightmare" since he was charged with manslaughter.

Connecticut resident Scott Hapgood, 44, was allegedly with his two daughters in a room at the Malliouhana Resort on April 13 when a man dressed in a hotel uniform knocked on the door "minutes" after the girls "walked back to the hotel room on their own," according to a statement released by the family in May.

The man, identified by Anguilla police as hotel maintenance worker Kenny Mitchel, allegedly stated that he was there to fix a broken sink before he came inside and demanded money from Hapgood, the family said. A scuffle that ensued, which the family said Hapgood was "fighting for his life," was broken up when he was restrained by a security guard, according to the family.

Hapgood was then taken to the hospital, and he later learned that Mitchel had died when he was giving a witness statement at the police station, the family said.