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Thu, 23 Jan 2020
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Australian fires claim US crew in firefighting plane crash

Aussie fire authorities
Australian fire authorities: 'No survivors'
An air tanker has crashed in a fireball while fighting bushfires in Australia, killing the three people on board. Officials lost contact with the C-130 Hercules plane shortly before 13:30 local time (02:30 GMT) on Thursday.

The cause of the crash in the Snowy Mountains in New South Wales (NSW) state is not yet known. The victims were American residents.

More than 80 blazes are raging across the state after hot and windy conditions returned.

The plane crashed in an active fire zone south of Australia's capital, Canberra, said the NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS). "The field reports are that the plane came down, it's crashed and there was a large fireball associated with that crash," said Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons. The last available flight data showed the aircraft - which is owned by a Canadian company - near Cooma. The three crew members have not been identified.


Top Arizona court: Divorced woman can't use frozen embryos

Frozen embryos
A woman can't use her frozen embryos to have a baby over opposition from her ex-husband under terms of the contract they signed with a fertility clinic, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled Thursday.

The high court ruling ends a case that drew support from social conservative groups for the woman, Ruby Torres, who had her eggs fertilized prior to treatment for an aggressive cancer in 2014 that rendered her infertile. After the couple divorced in 2017, her ex-husband didn't want to have children together and asked the courts to order the fertilized eggs donated under terms of the contract.

A trial court ruled that the contract left it up to the courts to determine the fate of the embryos and then sided with the ex-husband, John Terrell, saying his interest in not having children he would be financially responsible for outweighed Torres' right to have a biological child.

The state Court of Appeals overturned that ruling last March, agreeing that the contract allowed courts to decide but saying Torres' rights to have children prevailed over Terrell's right not to become a father.


Coronavirus outbreak - China on edge of chaos: '7 cities, 23 million people under quarantine'

thermal scanners
© Reuters / China Daily
A Hankou Railway Station employee monitors thermal scanners that detect temperatures of passengers at a security check in Wuhan, China
  • 7 Chinese cities, around 23 million people, effectively under quarantine
  • Multiple cases across the world - from Scotland to Singapore and USA
  • 634 Infected (according to Chinese officials)
  • 18 Dead (following 1st death outside Wuhan)
  • WHO says "not the time to declare a global health emergency"
"Make no mistake: This is an emergency in China," Tedros said. "But it has not yet become a global health emergency. It may yet become one."

Comment: Researchers have thrown out a few possible sources for the viral outbreak. One is snakes. Another is soup made from bats. The World Health Organization has praised China's swift response to the potential outbreak by quarantining 11mn in Wuhan. China's National Health Commission has provided the latest figures tracking the impact of the dangerous pathogen, with 131 newly confirmed infections bringing the total to 571 across some 25 Chinese provinces.

Beijing has canceled all major public events including Chinese New Year celebrations in response to the outbreak. Unsettling videos and images of the Chinese quarantine flooded social media amid the coronavirus outbreak:


Russia at least 5-10 years ahead, deploying hypersonic-detecting radars in arctic before US even acquired hypersonic missiles

military installation
© Fort Russ News
After all of the planned ten radars are deployed in the Russian Arctic, the "northeastern missile-defense area will be fully covered by the 'hunters' for hypersonic targets," a Russian military source stated, according to the Russian TASS news agency.

Russia's General Staff has decided to increase the number of latest state-of-the-art Rezonans-N radar stations in the Arctic, each capable of detecting five to ten hypersonic targets, a source in the defense industry told TASS on Monday.


Up to 40 Syrian troops killed, 80 injured as militants stage six attacks in Idlib - Russian military

Syrian Army fighter
© Sputnik / Mikhail Alaeddin
Hundreds of fighters have attempted to break through Syrian Army lines, losing dozens of militants in the process while inflicting heavy casualties on government troops who eventually had to retreat.

Almost 600 fighters staged six attacks on Syrian forces, the Russian military's Reconciliation Center in Syria told the media on Thursday. "In the wake of the offensive, government troops left their positions in the southeastern part of the Idlib de-escalation zone," it said.

The message didn't reveal details of the firefight, but the number of casualties suggests that it was fierce and took a heavy toll on both sides. Up to 40 Syrian soldiers were killed and around 80 were wounded while repelling the attacks. Militants are thought to have lost up to 50 people with 90 injured.

Idlib is the last remaining province still held by rebels affiliated with Al-Qaeda and other Islamist groups. Lying on the Turkish border, it saw an array of ceasefires brokered by Moscow and Ankara over the past year and a half.


Utah man arrested with $3.7 million worth of drugs found in his car

Drugs found in car
A Utah man was arrested in Arizona when he got caught with nearly $3.7 million worth of drugs in his car, authorities said.

Logan Lewis Pederson, 30, of Sandy had four different substances on him that tested positive for methamphetamine, cocaine, MDMA and THC, according to the Mohave County Sheriff's Office.

Officers found the drugs during a traffic stop on Interstate 15 near Beaver Dam and Littlefield, authorities said.

Eye 2

Ghislaine Maxwell's attorney claims her personal emails were hacked and damaging information is at risk of being released


Maxwell, pictured in 1995 with Epstein, was accused of arranging underage girls to have sex with the pedophile - an allegation she denies
Ghislaine Maxwell's personal emails have been hacked, and damaging information, including the names of individuals linked to Jeffrey Epstein's sex trafficking case, are at risk of being publicly released.

The revelation was made in a letter filed by the British socialite's lawyers in the defamation case brought against her by Jeffrey Epstein accuser Virginia Guiffre, DailyMail.com has learned.

The letter was sent by Maxwell's attorney, Ty Gee, on December 5 to New York federal court Judge Loretta A. Preska but made public last week. The letter addresses the materials that should remain sealed or redacted in the case.

It notes 'the difficulty and complexity' of the process as there are more than 8,600 pages, adding that it is 'difficult-to-overstate importance to the lives of Ms. Maxwell and the non-parties'.


Januhairy: Encouraging women to grow body hair does nothing to promote equality, it's toxic feminism

hairy women
© Facebook / Januhairy / Instagram / xtheodoreclarkex / monicagreatgal
The Januhairy campaign, which encourages women to ditch razors and let their body hair grow naturally 'for charity', is not an act of bravery but rather an example of herd thinking and toxic feminism.

So how's everyone's Januhairy going? Have all the people who 'identify as female' chucked out their razors in an act of bravery not seen since 1429 when Joan of Arc rode into Orleans in white armour on the back of a white horse to lead her army to victory over the English?

Just like Joan of Arc, these modern day heroines are trying to look like men. In Ms Arc's case it was out of necessity. She cropped her hair and dressed in men's clothes to make the 11-day journey across enemy territory to convince the embattled crown prince Charles of Valois to allow her to lead his troops.

The women of Januhairy are doing it because they are victims of toxic feminism.

Through vagina hat tinted glasses, they're seeing it as an act of protest to break down barriers and destigmatise hairy legs and armpits. The unfortunate reality is that by indulging in decadent gender wars, they're making a mockery of the feminist movement.


Australian Aboriginal community asks authorities for permission to ban Christian missionaries

Elders in an Aboriginal community in Western Australia (WA) are seeking to prevent Christian missionaries from visiting their region on the grounds that it is undermining and helping to erase their traditional Indigenous culture.

Christian missionaries belonging to religious organizations such as Kingdom Aviation Ministries (KAM) and Chariots of Fire Ministries have been making strong inroads into remote Indigenous communities in recent years. The trend has alarmed traditional Aboriginal elders who claim that the Christian missionaries are destroying the values and culture native to the region for thousands of years.

The elders have requested that authorities in the state prevent a Christian organization — which remains unnamed — from further encroaching on native land to carry out proselytizing activities and attempts to gain converts to their religion.

WA Commissioner for Equal Opportunity John Byrne said that the sect would be unable to lodge a complaint if the banishment comes into effect because the religious freedom grounds don't allow them to trespass Indigenous communities that have explicitly rejected their presence.


WADA suspends Moscow anti-doping lab over data manipulation that Russians say were accessed from abroad

© REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov
The World Anti-Doping Agency has officially suspended the Russian national laboratory, rejecting the claims by Russian experts that data tampering originated with former staffers who fled to the US as 'whistleblowers.'

The National Anti-Doping Laboratory of Moscow was suspended on Wednesday with immediate effect, by the decision of WADA Executive Committee chair Witold Bańka - a Polish athlete turned politician - and following the recommendations of the Laboratory Expert Group.

WADA suspended the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) in December and banned the country's athletes from competing in the Olympics and international events for the next four years, citing "discovery... of manipulation of some of the data extracted from the Moscow Laboratory in January 2019," which therefore violated RUSADA's 2018 reinstatement.

Comment: Previously: