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Tue, 21 Jan 2020
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Shootings at Missouri and Texas clubs result in 4 dead, dozens injured

texas police
© KSAT via AP
In this image made from video provided by KSAT, San Antonio police officers work the scene of a deadly shooting at the Ventura, a music venue in San Antonio, Texas, Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020.
A witness told 41 Action News that several fights preceded a deadly shooting outside a Kansas City, Missouri, nightclub on Sunday night.

Two people died and at least 15 others were injured in the shooting that happened outside 9ine Ultra Lounge around 11:30 p.m.

Lilly Brooks told 41 Action News she was in the parking lot waiting to go inside when she saw a skirmish.

Brooks said a security guard fired warning shots to try to stop the fighting.

Brooks said she left the club at that point and did not witness the gunfire that erupted later.

Brooks described 9ine Ultra as a popular club that usually doesn't see many problems. She said she felt it was awful that a day of celebration in Kansas City ended with the mass shooting.

Comment: The same night, shooting erupted at a music club in San Antonio, resulting in dead and 5 injured:
Update 5:01 p.m. EST Jan. 20: San Antonio police said a suspect was arrested in connection with the shooting at a RiverWalk bar shooting that killed two people and injured five, the San Antonio Express-News reported. Police did not release the suspect's name, the newspaper reported.

Officials said the suspect faces charges of capital murder for the deaths of 20-year-old Robert Jay Martinez III and 25-year-old Alejandro Robles, the News-Express reported.

Update 11:24 a.m. EST Jan. 20: The Bexar County Medical Examiner's Office on Monday identified the two men who were killed as 20-year-old Robert Jay Martinez III and 25-year-old Alejandro Robles, the San Antonio Express-News reported.

Robles was critically injured and taken to an area hospital, where he was pronounced dead, KENS-TV reported.

"Let's pray SAPD catches this evil coward that took away our family and left a 5-year-old son without a daddy," Christopher McQuade, Robles' uncle, told KENS.

Martinez died at the scene, police told the television station.

The shooting occurred around 8 p.m. during a concert around at Ventura, a live music venue and bar along the city's RiverWalk, Police Chief William McManus told reporters at a news conference.

According to McManus, an argument broke out inside of the club, and one person pulled out a gun and started shooting, KSAT reported.

Original report: According to The Associated Press, the shooting happened about 8 p.m. local time during an argument at the Ventura, a club along the city's River Walk. At least seven people were shot, including a 21-year-old man killed inside the venue and another person who died en route to the hospital, police told WOAI-TV.

Investigators have not yet released a description of the suspect, who was still on the run, the outlets reported.

Read more here or here.


Governor of Puerto Rico fires emergency services director, aid is found sitting in a warehouse

Puerto Rico earthquake
© Belisa Rivera Negron
Saving religious relics, Guayanilla Catholic Church
Puerto Rico Governor Wanda Vázquez Garced fired the island's emergency management director on Saturday, after a video showing aid sitting unused in a warehouse went viral on social media. Some of the aid has allegedly been sitting in the warehouse since Hurricane Maria struck in 2017.
"There are thousands of people who have made sacrifices to help those in the south, and it is unforgivable that resources were kept in the warehouse."
Garced said in a statement that she has ordered Secretary of State Elmer Roman to conduct:
"a thorough investigation into the mishandling of emergency aid in a warehouse in Ponce. I have given 48 hours for this investigation. The investigation is to include this warehouse and any others which may exist. In the same vein, I have decided to relieve Carlos Acevedo of his duties as the commissioner of the National Emergency Management and Disaster Relief Agency."
Vázquez said she would nominate the current Puerto Rican National Guard chief Major General José J. Reyes for Senate consideration to replace Aceved

Comment: Puerto Rico's governor has fired two additional government officials Sunday in the fallout over the emergency supplies found in a warehouse in Ponce, Puerto Rico.

David Begnaud offers an enlightening and detailed account regarding missing supplies, statements and government explanations, the questions and frustrations at hand. Bottom line, the government knew of the supplies and people feel screwed.


Watch as thousands of economic migrants pour into Mexico on their way to the Land of the Free

mexico migrants
Hundreds of men, women and children crossed from Guatemala into Mexico through a river on Monday as a migrant caravan continues its journey onwards toward the US border, only to be met by a wall of soldiers on the other side.

Comment: Hundreds? Looks like thousands to us.

Live footage from the scene showed migrants wading right into the shallow waters of the Suchiate river after Mexican National Guards had blocked their path into Guatemala via a nearby bridge over the weekend.

Initially, people crossed into Mexico, walking right passed Mexican soldiers as they watched on, but the military soon blocked off the route and appeared to prevent further passage using riot shields. Some of the migrants hurled rocks at the soldiers and tried to flee past them.


L. Lin Wood, libel attorney for Nicholas Sandmann and Richard Jewell, gives out a warning to the media

Attorney L. Lin Wood
© Apu Gomes / Getty Images
Attorney L. Lin Wood speaks to the media about his client British rescue diver Vernon Unsworth as they arrive at U.S. District Court on Dec. 3, 2019, in Los Angeles.
The other day, as my friend and Tribune colleague Kristen McQueary and I were filling in as hosts on the national broadcast of The Dan Proft Show, we took a call.

The caller's name is L. Lin Wood. He's a famous libel lawyer from Atlanta who's been called "The Lawyer for the Damned."

Wood had read my weekend column about two innocent Americans wrongly shamed by the media mob — Nicholas Sandmann and the late Richard Jewell — and wanted to talk.

Wood represented Jewell. And now he's one of the lawyers for Sandmann.


Authorities brace for massive gun rights rally in Richmond, Virginia

Law enforcement officials will be on high alert Monday as activists from around the country are expected to descend on Richmond, Virginia, to rally against the state's progressive gun control proposals.

Gun rights groups such as the Virginia Citizens Defense League and Gun Owners of America are planning a protest on the state's Lobby Day. Lawmakers in Virginia have proposed a ban on assault rifles and a "red flag" law, which would give officials the power to confiscate weapons from an individual who poses a threat, among other gun control measures.

Law enforcement officials and Gov. Ralph Northam warned that this planned show of force has put Virginians in danger. On Sunday, people sported signifiers for gun rights on the bumper stickers and clothing as they quietly filled into downtown Richmond ahead of the rally.

There were no overt signs of white supremacists or counter-protesters. On Monday, police will not be separating counter-protesters within the fenced area in Capitol Square, officers told ABC News.

Star of David

Leshem: A designer villa with a panoramic view of the Zionist occupation

illegal settlement west bank deir ballut
© Alex Levac
The fence between Deir Ballut and Leshem.
Today, when one goes through the front door of Idris Abdullah's house, one is confronted by an iron fence, its closely fitted bars topped with snarls of barbed wire, part of the fence that surrounds the nearby settlement of Leshem, in the central West Bank. Until a few years ago, what greeted one instead on departing the house was an olive grove. On the hilltop beyond the fence, a new neighborhood of villa-style homes is under construction, being built by workers from Hebron. A truck from the Shomrat Hazorea furniture company is already unloading merchandise in the yard of one of the new dwellings, and next door some trendy garden furniture has already been set up.

When the Palestinian construction workers finish building these designer homes, the iron gate in the fence will be shut, and farmer Aamar Abdullah, who is one of the owners of this land, who is accompanying us as we drive around, will no longer have access to the remnants of his olive grove. Meanwhile, sewage from plastic pipes that emerge from under the Leshem villas is seeping into the grove and forming a puddle there.


At least 75 inmates flee from Paraguay prison; many from Brazil gang

Paraguay prison
At least 75 inmates, many of them members of a notorious Brazilian gang, escaped from a Paraguayan prison in a border town on Sunday, according to authorities who said they immediately fired the prison's director.

Officials said they discovered a tunnel and found cells filled with as many as 200 bags of earth.

"It's not possible that nobody saw anything in all this time," Justice Minister Cecilia Pérez told the Telefuturo station. "This isn't the work of one day or one night."

Interior Minister Euclides Acevedo said in a statement that the tunnel itself may have been a ruse to cover complicity by prison officials and that many of the inmates may have been allowed to walk out of the prison's main gate.


Not to become the world's garbage dump: Malaysia sends back thousands of tons of trash

Garbage dump
© Reuters / Lai Seng Sin
Plastic waste piled outside an illegal recycling factory in Jenjarom, Kuala Langat, Malaysia, 2018.
Malaysia has returned 150 shipping containers loaded with plastic waste, with the country's environment minister saying it won't become the "garbage dump of the world."

Environment Minister Yeo Bee Yin announced the return of the containers, which had been imported illegally, on Monday. The containers held more than 3,700 tons of plastic waste, and originated from 13 countries. Forty-three came from France, 42 from the UK, 17 from the US, and 11 from Canada.

The cost of returning the containers was paid by the exporting countries and shipping lines, Yeo said, declaring "we don't want to pay a single cent."

"People dump the rubbish into your country, we are not supposed to pay them to send it back," she added.

Comment: See also: Japan is awash in plastic trash thanks to China's waste import ban


Iran: Ukrainian Airlines PS752 black boxes will be sent to Kiev - UPDATE

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.


UPDATE 19/01/2020: Iran is examining the downed Boeing's black boxes, but has made no decision yet on sending them anywhere
The head of the Iranian investigation team denied earlier reports that the black boxes from the downed Ukrainian airliner would be sent to Kiev. Tehran tried to extract the data on its own, he said.

"We are trying to read the black boxes here in Iran. Otherwise, our options are Ukraine and France, but no decision has been taken so far to send them to another country," Hassan Rezaeifar, who leads the investigation into the incident along with the nation's Civil Aviation Organization, told local news agency IRNA on Sunday.

He added that Iran so far has "no plans" to send the flight recorders to Kiev.

Rezaeifar had earlier been quoted by Iranian media as saying that the black boxes would be sent to Ukraine, where experts from the US, Canada and France would work at extracting the data from them. The official has also said that Iran lacks proper software and hardware to download the data from the recorders.


Martin Luther King's critique of scientific racism, scientific materialism - still powerful today

martin luther king
© Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS
Martin Luther King delivers his famous "I Have a Dream" speech from the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963
On this Martin Luther King Day weekend, I will be visiting Athens, Texas (a town south of Dallas) for a free public screening of my documentary Human Zoos, which explores the sordid legacy of scientific racism and eugenics in America. I'd like to think that the event will be a fitting activity for MLK Day weekend, because King was a powerful opponent of both scientific racism and scientific materialism.

Dr. King accepted the animal ancestry of humans as taught by Darwinian evolution, but he was sharply critical of the misuse of science to promote racial discrimination, and he also spoke forcefully against the idea that humans are the products of a blind material process.

Many of King's thoughts on science are interspersed throughout a short book titled Strength to Love, a collection of sermons King originally published in 1963. I've been reading the book on my trip to Texas, and much of its wisdom is just as pertinent today as when the book was first published.