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Tue, 26 May 2020
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Chinese Business Owners Disappearing as "Underground Loans" Come Due

Credit Crunch
© Minyanville

As China tries to put the brakes on inflation, a tightening credit market has many businesses turning to what Reuters describes as the country's "vast and growing informal lending market."

But, with annual interest rates as high as 200%, "many business owners who were believed to be having trouble paying back loans to underground banks have disappeared," according to Yu Ran of China Daily.

One of the "disappeared," Wenzhou eyeglass factory owner Hu Fulin, suddenly vanished on September 21.

"We've confirmed that Hu has disappeared, and we're still not sure whether the rumors saying he left more than 2 billion yuan in debts behind are true," a government official told Yu. "But current information has proved that he borrowed about 130 million yuan from private lenders."

Hu's suppliers in Wenzhou, which the People's Daily calls "the cradle of China's private economy," are in "a panic" and "gathered in his factory demanding payments." And angry employees protested to demand the two months' salary they are owed, as well.

Cult

US, Illinois: Legal Cases Involving Minister's Naked Ritual Reopens Cult Debate

Image
© Christopher Hoffman/Chicago Tribune/MCT
Philip Livingston, pictured in this 2007 photo, testified in a Kane County, Illinois case that he repeatedly performed a naked ritual claiming it helped cure everything from drug addictions to yeast infections.
In a small house overlooking a lake in Wauconda, Ill., a minister directed his female followers to go into a back room and take off their clothes.

In one-on-one sessions, he got naked, touched their bodies and told them to touch his.

He called them prayer sessions.

What allegedly happened in that room over a series of months would spur a criminal probe in one county, spark civil litigation in two others, and reopen the age-old debate on what's a cult.

Calling it "light therapy," the minister, Philip Livingston, testified in a Kane County case that he repeatedly performed the naked ritual - claiming it helped cure everything from drug addictions to yeast infections. He said it was done only with consenting adults who were members of his donor-funded Light of the World Ministries. But one participant testified that a teenage girl was involved too.

The case offers a window not only into the evolution of a fringe church, but also the struggles of authorities to know when such a group warrants their attention.

Livingston's supporters have maintained he's an earnest, albeit unconventional minister who has done no wrong. But a Kane County judge this summer ordered that three children be kept away from Livingston and his church. That was after police in Wauconda, where Livingston's church is now based, launched a criminal investigation.

Since then, a Cook County judge has ordered Livingston, his wife and his top assistant to stay away from the one-time follower whose allegations of child endangerment sparked the latest legal rounds.

Comment: Perhaps if the Toulouse police read this article they'd have a basis for understanding what constitutes 'cultic abuse'. There is no comparison between this predator's 'naked light therapy', designed to manipulate and control people seeking spiritual guidance, and our Éiriú Eolas program, a scientifically-supported series of breathing and meditative techniques which relieves stress and heals people from the actions of cultic abusers like Philip Livingston.


Dollar

Most Choose Cash Over Happiness, Study Shows

Money
© Dreamstime
Most people would rather take a high-paying job with longer work hours than a lower-paying job that would make them happier, a new study shows.

Given the choice, most people would take a high-paying job with longer work hours over a good-paying job with reasonable demands on their time, a new study shows.

In fact, most of the study participants said they'd choose a high-paying job even if it only permitted them to get six hours of sleep a night and would bring them less happiness overall, the researchers said.

In the study, 2,699 participants were asked to consider a variety of scenarios: One scenario involved choosing between a job that paid $80,000 a year with reasonable work hours that would permit 7.5 hours a night of sleep, or a higher-paying $140,000-a-year job with long work hours and time for only six hours of sleep. Participants were also asked questions about which option they thought would make them happier.

Despite the probability that the less-demanding, lower-paying job would allow them more sleep, free time and make them happier overall, participants tended to choose the higher-paying job.

Stormtrooper

Canada: Ottawa threatens to withdraw RCMP service in British Columbia

Image
© CBC News
B.C. Solicitor General Shirley Bond, seen in a file photo, says the federal government has stonewalled RCMP contract talks and is threatening to withdraw the service.
B.C. Solicitor General Shirley Bond says she's been given an ultimatum by the federal government.

In a written statement, Bond said negotiations on a new RCMP contract are "stalled and stonewalled on the federal side of the table."

She said Ottawa has threatened to withdraw service if a new contract is not reached by November. The current contract expires next year.

"We have found it difficult to get meaningful federal engagement on key issues and because of their stalling, we are seeking to extend the current RCMP contracts to allow more time for negotiations," Bond said.

B.C. has worked hard for four years toward a new agreement, Bond said, and she's not going to give up.

"I am committed to making a deal that reflects a true partnership, strengthens accountability and contains costs in specific ways - matters the federal side has been ignoring in the interest of giving us an ultimatum," she said.

Health

Doctor in Brazil sends patient to morgue a bit too soon

Image
© Agence France-Presse
A woman waits to see a doctor at a hospital in Brazil. A Brazilian woman in her 60s being treated in hospital for pneumonia was given up for dead by her attending physician, and sent to the morgue too soon,O Globo newspaper reported Sunday
Brazilian woman in her 60s being treated in hospital for pneumonia was given up for dead by her attending physician, and sent to the morgue too soon, O Globo newspaper reported Sunday.

The doctor felt no vital signs, ran tests and pronounced her dead. She was sent to the morgue and spent at least two hours in a plastic body bag.

"I went to give my mom one last hug, and I could feel that she was breathing. I screamed out -- my mom is alive! And they all looked at me like I was crazy," Rosangela Celestrino, the patient's daughter, told the paper.

Cloud Lightning

US: Extreme weather makes portable generators a hit

Generator
© Unknown
Alex Iwashyna didn't realize how many of her neighbors in Richmond, Virginia, had backup generators until her own family bought one in the dark days after Hurricane Irene. As she endured the drone of a combustion engine in her backyard, she noticed the same steady noise from neighbors' homes.

"I mean we joke about preparing for the apocalypse and stuff," Iwashyna said. "We've had an earthquake, a hurricane and a wildfire in Virginia ... it would have never occurred to me to get one until we lost power for that amount of time."

Homeowners around the nation have endured a nasty run of power-disrupting storms, and sales of portable power generators have been brisk, industry officials say. The "big box" stores such as Lowes and Wal-Mart did not release sales information, but according to one manufacturer, Briggs & Stratton Corp., Irene led to a spike in sales. While things have slowed since then, "we are continuing to see an uptick in demand," said Briggs spokeswoman Laura Timm.

In some places, the drone of generators is becoming as common during blackouts as lawnmowers are on summer Saturdays.

X

Signs of the Times in the Crosshairs

censorship, internet
© Int'l Herald Tribune
Dog Poet Transmitting.......

May your noses always be cold and wet.

Every now and then we have to come together and show what we are made of, that is; if we are composed of anything one would consider worth saving. I don't know who said it but someone once said, "if we don't hang together then we shall all hang separately. The French authorities are going after Signs of the Times.

I've had my differences with the Signs of the Times people but I would say that the main falling out on my part was that I was in favor of the use of psychotropic substances for my own personal use. As I remember, it had to do with psychedelics because I hadn't even used ketamine at that point (grin). It was about seven years ago now that I met them; gone down to their lodgings in France and had a couple of visits.

Camcorder

US: Man faced 15 years in prison for recording police officer

An Illinois man faces a felony and up to 15 years in prison for recording a traffic stop using his cell phone. Illinois has one of the most restrictive eavesdropping laws in the country. Someone recording audio must have the permission of everyone being recorded.

"I'm in a private car on a public street and it's a public official," Louis Frobe told ABC7. "Why shouldn't I be able to record what's going on to prove my innocence?"

The charges against him were dropped, but he filed a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the eavesdropping law.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois recently asked a federal appellate court in a separate case to block future prosecutions for recording police officers performing their public duties as a violation of the First Amendment.

Watch video, courtesy of ABC7, below:

Eye 1

Facebook Tracks Your Every Move, Even After Logging Out

Image
© NaturalNews
The social media empire Facebook has unveiled some new "features" on its platform in recent days that many allege are a total and compete privacy-breaching nightmare. But one hidden feature, discovered by Nik Cubrilovic, an Australian entrepreneur and writer, that few people are aware of is the fact that Facebook now monitors your online activity, even when you are not logged in to the service.

With each new change Facebook makes, users' privacy becomes a little less ... nonexistent, if you will. The most recent "News Feed" modifications, for example, display everything you say and do on the site to all of your "friends," and even to the public. And now, even after logging out of Facebook, permanent "cookies" track all your movements on websites that contain Facebook buttons or widgets.

"Even if you are logged out, Facebook still knows and can track every page you visit," Cubrilovic wrote on a recent blog posting. "The only solution is to delete every Facebook cookie in your browser, or to use a separate browser for Facebook interaction."

But how many Facebook users will actually know to do this? The site has never announced to its users that it is even tracking them in the first place, let alone given them any instructions on how to "opt-out" of this egregious invasion of privacy.

Info

Canada: Alberta girl who killed family at age 12 to be released

Image
© www.zorpia.com
An Albertan teen who killed her parents and younger brother when she was 12 is a low risk for future violence and will be allowed to live in the community, a judge decided Tuesday at her sentence review.

The girl, who cannot be named, and her then-boyfriend Jeremy Steinke, who was 23, carried out the attack on her parents and eight-year-old brother at the family's Medicine Hat, Alta. home in 2006.

She was convicted in 2007 of three counts of first-degree murder and began her 10-year-sentence at a psychiatric hospital.

The girl's "intensive rehabilitative custody and supervision sentence" is reviewed twice per year and Court of Queen's Bench Justice Scott Brooker is given an update on her progress.

Brooker said Tuesday the latest psychologist report shows the girl is cooperating fully with staff within the treatment program.

The girl - known only as J.R. - has displayed "exemplary behaviour", Brooker said.