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Buenos Aires: Orangutan, ruled a non-human person, will be freed from zoo

Sandra the orangutan
© AP
Do I not bleed? ... Sandra ponders life inside her enclosure at Buenos Aires' Zoo. She has lived her entire life in captivity.
An orangutan held in the Buenos Aires zoo can be freed and transferred to a sanctuary after a court recognized the ape as a "non-human person" unlawfully deprived of its freedom, local media reported.

Animal rights campaigners filed a habeas corpus petition - a document more typically used to challenge the legality of a person's detention or imprisonment - in November on behalf of Sandra, a 29-year-old Sumatran orangutan at the zoo.

In a landmark ruling that could pave the way for more lawsuits, the Association of Officials and Lawyers for Animal Rights (AFADA) argued the ape had sufficient cognitive functions and should not be treated as an object.

The court agreed Sandra, born into captivity in Germany before being transferred to Argentina two decades ago, deserved the basic rights of a "non-human person."

Comment: Zoos are little more than animal prisons. Hopefully, Sandra can live out the rest of her days in relative peace.


Airplane

Philadelphia-Manchester flight is forced to make emergency landing after flames appear under the plane

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A flight to Manchester was returned to Philadelphia yesterday after a suspected maintenance issue led to flames shooting out from under the plane and a series of loud banging noises
A passenger on a flight to Manchester that was returned to Philadelphia after an engine problem has told how he feared for his life after seeing flames shoot out from under the plane.

John Vien was on his way back to New Hampshire to visit his family for New Year's yesterday when the emergency happened.

Mr Vien, who was one of 75 passengers on the plane, said the mood inside the cabin quickly went from panic to hysteria. From his window seat he filmed the flames.


Stock Down

2014 in review: A look behind central economic control

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Twelve short months ago, the immediate future looked like a lock. Overvalued equities had to fall, ridiculously-low interest rates had to rise, and beaten-down precious metals had to resume their bull market.

The evidence was overwhelming. Debt in the developed world had risen to $157 trillion, or 376% of GDP, by far the highest level on record and clearly unsustainable. Long-term US Treasury rates had been falling for literally three decades and despite a recent uptick were so low that the only way forward seemed to be up.

Europe and Japan were drifting into recessions that could easily morph into capital-D Depressions. The eurozone would fragment, Japanese bonds and probably stocks would crater, one or more major currencies would implode. No way to know which event would come first and in what order the other dominoes would fall, but without doubt something had to give.

Comment: The edge on which central economic control is walking is getting thinner and thinner - leading to an instability in which the house of cards collapses due to a (formerly) minor event. Much of the above is discussed in more detail in the following interview between Gordon T Long and John Rubino:




Airplane

UK EasyJet flight makes emergency landing after pilot declares medical emergency

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The easyJet flight from Geneva to Manchester was forced to land at Stansted due to passenger emergency
A plane travelling from Geneva to Manchester was diverted to Stansted due to an on-board medical emergency.

The Airbus landed at Stansted Airport shortly before 10.30pm last night, just under two hours after it set off from the Swiss airport.

The budget airline flight had been due to land at Manchester Airport at 11.45pm. The alarm was sounded as the plane flew over the English Channel and the pilot was forced into a rapid descent.

Airplane

Thai Airways flight to London dumps fuel and returns to Bangkok due to 'hydraulic leak'

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Passenger Matt Babai tweeted a photo of the plane dumping fuel before returning to an airport in Bangkok
A Thai Airways flight from Bangkok to London was forced to turn around and make an unscheduled landing after the plane experienced an apparent hydraulic leak.

The captain decided to abort the 12-hour journey and returned to Suvarnabhumi Airport in the Thai capital due to a fault that occurred shortly after take-off.

Passenger Matt Babai tweeted a photo of the plane dumping fuel as it circled over Thailand in a holding pattern, calling it an 'eerie few days for the aviation industry'.

Snowflake Cold

As temperatures plummet well below freezing, 5 homeless men die in France

france homeless
One 29-year-old man was found dead in the northern city of Douai on Saturday and two others died on Sunday, one 50-year-old man in Paris and a Belgian 46-year-old in south-eastern France.

All three apparently died of hypothermia, according to authorities.

After an unusually warm spell of weather, France has been gripped by a sudden freeze in the past few days, with the mercury dropping to minus 14C (7F) and as low as minus 22 in the mountains.

French authorities said they had offered the 29-year-old man emergency accommodation but he had "systematically declined the offer".

The 50-year-old Parisian had also been approached by authorities. He was found in a state of hypothermia and died when receiving first aid.

Comment: A tragic consequence of high unemployment and dire weather conditions:

15,000 vehicles trapped by snow and ice in Savoy, France

France unemployment total at new record high


People

Dozens injured as Nicaraguans protest canal construction, removal from their lands

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© Esteban Felix / AP
A protest march in San Jorge against the construction of the planned interoceanic canal.
Scores of Nicaraguan protesters have been arrested and dozens injured as Nicaraguan police broke up road blocks set up by demonstrators protesting this week against possible eviction from their lands due to the construction of an interoceanic canal in the country.

Protesters in Rivas blocked the Pan-American Highway shortly after the official ceremony marking the beginning of construction work. Another road block on the Managua-San Carlos Highway was set up by protesters from the community of El Tule and the municipality of Nueva Guinea, which are also on the proposed canal route.

Although in a recent press conference, Chinese businessman Wang Jing, the president of HKND Group, the company building the canal, promised to pay "compensation according to market principles in a fair, open and transparent way", many peasants complained of a lack of information when workers turned up to measure their land accompanied by police officers and soldiers. This has generated uncertainty among the campesino farmers affected and some have even said they won't give up without a fight.

Comment: Nicaragua's President, Daniel Ortega, created a socialist bank to help free the country from debt servitude to the US. This canal is another step in the same direction of freeing Nicaragua from the US' grip.

Protests have broken out over a concern for ancestral lands and possible environmental concerns. If the US' NGOs are responsible, provoking people with fears of "Chinese takeovers," then this would be no surprise.
  • Building alliances - Putin makes unplanned stopover in Nicaragua
    The mega-development - if it really happens, which many still doubt (there still aren't any serious earth-moving machines in the country two weeks before ground-breaking, and Nicaragua has a perfect 0 for 7 record when it comes to converting mega-projects) - would be the biggest engineering feat in the history of Latin America, and the biggest single Chinese investment in the hemisphere.

    "This will be like the new Great Wall of China for the Western Hemisphere," said Nicaraguan political analyst and former ambassador Arturo Cruz.

    As Chinese push into Latin America Nicaraguans try to hold the line



Airplane

Air Asia plane overshoots runway in the Philippines

The passengers were forced to use emergency slides to evacuate the plane.
Air Asia Airbus A320
© AFP
Air Asia Airbus A320
An AirAsia plane has overshot a runway while making a landing at Kalibo International Airport in the Philippines, The Independent reports.

The Airbus A320 passengers were forced to use emergency slides to evacuate the plane.

Flight Z2272 was bound from Manila to Kalibo, a city in the central Philippines.

Jet Damazo-Santos, a journalist for Rappler who was onboard, posted several photos of the incident on Twitter, adding that apparently no one was hurt during the ordeal, according to The Straits Times.

Comment: See: SOTT EXCLUSIVE: Year of the planes: Cluster of plane problems as 2014 comes to a close


Boat

Ship off Greek coast carrying 700 'illegal immigrants' issues SOS: 'Armed people on board'

Blue Sky
© marinetraffic.com
Shiptracking service Marinetraffic.com show that Blue Sky has recently changed its course and made a sharp turn towards Italy instead of Croatia where it was heading
A ship carrying hundreds of passengers near the island of Corfu has issued a distress call because of armed people on board, according to the Greek shipping ministry.

Several reports say the vessel, currently off the coast of Corfu, is carrying 700 passengers.

Greek state television has reported that 'illegal immigrants' are involved in the situation on the ship, while other news sources say all 700 passengers are 'undocumented migrants'.

Comment: And this happens right after the completion of a rescue operation involving a ferry-boat traveling from Greece to Italy around the same area, that caught on fire, and the Whys and Hows still remain unanswered:

Evacuation complete, 7 dead - Ferry stricken by flames between Greece and Italy evacuated, teams helped "avoid a massacre"


Airplane

SOTT EXCLUSIVE: Year of the planes: Cluster of plane problems as 2014 comes to a close

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In addition to Ebola, ISIS, and Ukraine in general, some of the biggest events of 2014 have involved passenger jets. First there was the mysterious disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 and its 239 passengers and crew on March 8, followed by the shoot-down of MH17 over Ukraine on July 17, killing all 298 aboard. A week later, July 24, Air Algerie Flight AH5017 enigmatically crashed in Mali, burning to a crisp and killing all 116 aboard. After that, there was the plane crash in Brazil that killed presidential candidate Eduardo Campos and six others on 13 August.

Now, another Malaysia-connected flight has gone missing on December 28: AirAsia Flight QZ8501, with 162 aboard and presumed dead at this point. No distress signal, just an announcement that the pilots would gain altitude to navigate a storm, before disappearing completely from radar.