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Fri, 01 Dec 2023
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Gas explosion at Escambia County jail in Pensacola, Florida - deaths and injuries

© AP
Florida officials are investigating whether a county jail's flooded laundry room was the source of leaking gas that sparked the massive explosion that killed two inmates and injured 150 others.

The blast triggered chaos that has carried into Thursday and caused conflicting reports from officials regarding the whereabouts of all of the jail's 600 inmates.

Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan said the epicenter of the late Wednesday explosion was at the rear of the jail, where the inmate laundry rooms are located. Pounding rains from a week ago had caused a retaining wall at the Pensacola facility to collapse, and may have exacerbated the problem as more rain Wednesday hit the region, Morgan told reporters.


Dozens killed in train crash in Congo

© Press TV
A train crash has killed at least 63 people in Democratic Republic of Congo's Katanga province, a government official says.

Dikanga Kazadi, the interior minister of the province, said on Wednesday the accident took place near the town of Likasi where the passenger train sped off the rails due to its high speed.
"Evidently the train was going too fast, the driver came to a curve and had to break suddenly leading to the accident," Kazadi said.
"There were two train engines and two carriages overturned," he added.


Soldier in battle to rid home of squatters, Florida sheriff's office says it can't do anything

The Sharkeys' house
Soldier Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago and asked a friend to watch over his house in New Port Richey, Florida. Sharkey never thought that he would have to fight a battle to save his home from ex-convict squatters.

As reported by WFLA News Channel 8, strangers broke into the home Sharkey shared with his wife Danielle, changed the locks, then moved in. The squatters, Julio Ortiz and his girlfriend Fatima Cardoso, then refused to leave. Ortiz claims that there was a verbal 'contract' made with Sharkey's friend who was watching the home. Mr. Ortiz said the agreement was that he would live there rent-free while he renovated the house, then later a rental agreement would be worked out. However, Sharkey and Lisa Pettus, Sharkey's friend, say there was no such agreement.

Black Magic

First look at the new Satanic monument being built for Oklahoma's statehouse

Satanic Temple
© Jonathan Smith
When the monument is finished, the Baphomet will rest on the block beneath the inverted pentagram. His lap will serve as a seat for children.

In January the Satanic Temple announced plans to erect a monument glorifying the Dark Lord on the front lawn of the Oklahoma Statehouse. An Indiegogo campaign was launched with what seemed like a somewhat lofty goal of $20,000, but by the time donations ended almost $30,000 had been raised. Now an artist trained in classical sculpture is toiling away in New York, crafting a Baphomet figure sitting beneath an inverted pentagram and flanked by two children gazing upward in loyalty. When it is finished, it will be cast in bronze and, the Satanists hope, eventually displayed in Oklahoma.

The statue is a direct response to the state's installation of a Ten Commandments monument outside the Capitol in 2012. State Representative Mike Ritze paid for the controversial statue with his own money, and therefore it was considered a donation and OK to place on government property. Following that line of reasoning, the Satanic Temple submitted a formal application for their monument.

As Trait Thompson of the Oklahoma Capitol Preservation Commission told CNN last December, "Individuals and groups are free to apply to place a monument or statue or artwork." The applications are then approved or rejected by the Commission. Unfortunately, the state has placed a halt on issuing permits for any other monuments until a lawsuit filed by the ACLU against Ritze's Commandments monument is settled.

Mr. Potato

Ridiculous unfounded claims: 11 people (allegged al-Qa'ida terrorists) arrested on suspicion of involvement in MH370's disappearance

Malaysian plane

A new "terror" group consisting of students, widows, workers and professionals was involved in the disappearance of flight MH370. They must be a group of magicians...
The suspects are alleged to be members of a new terror group

The mystery surrounding the fate of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 deepened after officials arrested a group of 11 terrorists with links to al-Qa'ida on suspicion of involvement in the jet's disappearance.

The suspects, aged between 22 and 55, were arrested in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur and the state of Kedah last week, the Daily Mail reported.

Investigators, including the FBI and MI6, are said to have called for the militants to be questioned. They are alleged to be members of a new terror group and include students, odd-job workers, a young widow and business professionals.

Comment: The above claims, despite being sensational, are total "rubbish":
Malaysian police deny al-Qaeda links to MH370

Malaysian police on Sunday rejected a British report linking the missing Malaysian flight with al-Qaeda, described it as "rubbish."

Earlier, it was reported that a group of eleven suspected terrorists with links to al-Qaeda were arrested on suspicion of being involved in the disappearance of Malaysian flight MH370 and were being interrogated yesterday.

The suspects had reportedly formed a new terror group that is believed to be carrying out bomb attacks in Muslim countries. They were arrested last week in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur and in the state of Kedah.

"That's rubbish! This has nothing to do with the plane," Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar told The Star on Sunday.[...]


Book review: 'The Embrace of Unreason': How France Lost It All Between the Wars

the embrace of unreason book
A victor splintered and embittered, careening into the Third Reich. In The Embrace of Unreason, Frederick Brown weaves a warning for America from the story of the divided French.

It is hard to predict how much attention will be paid to the fact that this year will be the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I. No event has ever shaken the world more severely, or had such far-reaching and long-lasting consequences. Indeed, we still live in its gigantic shadow, wrestling with problems that were left unsolved and are still not answered today, among them the tangled ethnic and religious hatreds in the Balkans and the failure to deal with the Ottoman Empire's possessions in the Middle East in a way that satisfied either their inhabitants or the "great powers."

I am particularly susceptible to accounts of that war and its consequences, perhaps because my father and my Uncle Zoltan fought in it, in the Austro-Hungarian Army, while my maternal grandfather fought on the other side, in the British Army. When my elders mentioned "The War," they invariably meant that of 1914-1918, even after 1939, for the Second World War was merely the continuation of the first, "an armistice of 20 years," as Marshal Foch had accurately predicted at the Versailles Peace Conference, with some changes of side.

No country on the Allied side - except Russia, which plunged into revolution, civil war, and enforced isolation in the wake of its astronomical losses in battle - suffered more than France, which had almost 1.4 million battlefield deaths between 1914 and 1918 in a nation of 40 million people. In 1918, Germany suffered the ghastly consequences of defeat; France suffered those of victory, the price of which was to divide and embitter French politics and culture, and lead to its defeat in 1940.

It is that phenomenon that Frederick Brown explores in his brilliant new book, The Embrace of Unreason: France, 1914-1940. France had already been the victim of cultural clashes prior to the war that polarized the country as sharply as did our own civil war - between left and right, monarchists (both those who yearned for the ancienne régime and those who favored the Bonapartists), between those who believed in the innocence of Captain Dreyfus and those who believed in his guilt, between Catholics and non-believers, between those who wanted a bigger French army with which to confront Germany and those who feared the French army as a reactionary force in French politics, between Boulangists and anti-Boulangists...

Read more here.


Breeding for psychopathy: Multi-generational physical and sexual abuse in Britain's elite boarding schools

For generations of boys, sexual abuse was part of the everyday cruelty of boarding school. In this painfully honest report, writer Alex Renton confronts the demons of his past at Ashdown House, where some of Britain's most powerful men were also educated - and reveals the scale of the outrage about to engulf the private education system.

© Robert Perry
Alex Renton: ‘I never really trusted an adult again, not until I was one myself.’
If Ashdown House's pretty Georgian facade reminds you of Washington's Capitol and the White House that's because the architect, Benjamin Latrobe, had a hand in those, too. It is an excellent look for the entrance to a temple of education: it speaks of classical wisdom and the rule of reason. We boys weren't allowed to go in that way, of course.

Today, 40 years since I last saw the school, we step in through Latrobe's columned porch as though entitled. Nothing can touch us: we're parents. Ruth, my wife, grips my hand. A friend who works in post-traumatic stress disorder warned us, quite gravely, of the risks when people visit scenes of past troubles; of hyper-arousal - sweats, nausea, high heart-rate. Or the opposite, hypo-arousal: a state of lethargy, a feeling of unreality. But I'm fine. Pulse steady. People hurt you, not places.

There were no ghosts, no shocks as we toured the corridors and classrooms. I have not been looking forward to the smell. I could summon the brew: disinfectant, boy sweat, meat stew, chalk dust. An incense of misery. But it is gone. There is no chalk these days.


Shaken babies: Parents to see 'life-saving' film aimed at cutting number of infants injured - or killed - by abuse and ignorance

A film which could help save infants is to be shown to thousands of new parents across Britain this month in a bid to prevent the violent abuse of crying babies.

One in four babies who suffer 'non-accidental head injuries' will die as a result, and most of those who survive suffer disabilities such as cerebral palsy and blindness
Each year nearly 200 babies suffer "non-accidental head injuries" - the leading cause of death and long-term disability in infants who are abused. Medically termed as "abusive head trauma", the injuries are often caused by adults shaking or hitting a baby. One in four children will die as a result of such injuries, and most - between 50 and 80 per cent - of those who survive suffer disabilities such as cerebral palsy and blindness.


Sober driver arrested after deputy runs stop sign, crashes into her car

Milwaukee - A woman says she was arrested for drunk driving after a deputy ran a stop sign, causing a violent crash.

Tanya Weyker said, "My reputation is everything to me."

On Feb. 20, Milwaukee County Deputy Sheriff Joseph Quiles was working the night shift when he pulled onto a street and T-boned Weyker's car.

Her vehicle came to rest after hitting a tree.

Weyker suffered a broken neck in four places.

She said, "It was a miracle I wasn't paralyzed."

As rescue workers tried to get her into an ambulance, sheriff's deputies started asking if she had anything to drink.

Weyker said, "I told them I had a few sips from a friend's drink."

Officers say her speech was slurred and her eyes looked red and glassy.

She said, "I explained to him my eyes were red and glassy because I was crying."

Her injuries were too severe to allow for any field sobriety tests.

In fact, she was suffering so much she couldn't even do a breathing sample.

Deputies then began asking about prescription drugs.

Weyker said, "I just got my wisdom teeth pulled out, so they gave me Vicodin for that. I told them it was little over a week since I took the Vicodin."

Despite that, deputies arrested Weyker on five separate charges including drunk driving causing injury.

Heart - Black

Boy, 8, killed defending sister from rapist

The family of an 8-year-old boy beaten to death as he tried to defend his 12-year-old sister from a brutal rape gathered outside their home Friday, grappling with the details of the vicious attack.

They leaned on one another, crying, shaking and struggling to understand the loss of little Martin Cobb.

"He was a lovely little boy. He didn't deserve this," said Geraldine Pitchford, the children's aunt, choking back tears in front of the family's home in Richmond's working-class Southside. Martin's mother was too distraught to come outside.