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Thu, 27 Feb 2020
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'Tigers' and 'wolves' duke it out in court: Russian armored car maker sues biker association leader over trademark

(L) VPK-39272 Volk armored vehicle (R) Night Wolves President Alexander Zaldostanov (aka, the Surgeon)
© Wikipedia / Vitaly V. Kuzmin; Sputnik / Aleksandr Galperin
(L) VPK-39272 Volk armored vehicle/ Vitaly V. Kuzmin; (R) Night Wolves President Alexander Zaldostanov (aka, the Surgeon)
AMZ, the defense firm that makes the Tigr, one of Russia's modern armored cars, can't call their latest project 'Wolf' because Russia's largest biker club, the 'Night Wolves' owns the trademark. So AMZ is taking them to court.

Arzamas Machine-building Plant (AMZ) wants to call their latest armored car 'Wolf,' but they've hit a surprising road bump: the 'Night Wolves' have had the trademark for the word since 2000. Their leader, Aleksandr 'Surgeon' Zaldostanov, has personally owned it for 13 years now. So now, the Russian manufacturer has taken 'Surgeon' to intellectual property court, claiming he isn't using the trademark.

AMZ has been supplying Russia with its top-of-the-line Tigr armored car (or 'tiger' in Russian) for nearly fifteen years now. The Tigr protects its crew from gunfire, shrapnel from nearby grenades and artillery, and even mines. But time doesn't stand still, and AMZ has been working on an upgrade for its 'tiger': the Volk (or 'wolf' in Russian). The Volk is faster, better armored, and more powerful than the Tigr, and, unlike its predecessor, it's modular: the army can quickly convert it into an armored truck or an APC, if necessary. The new version is just about ready, but AMZ can't sell a vehicle called 'Volk' because the trademark belongs Zaldostanov.

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Tehran cancels prayers as coronavirus cases spike, two more officials come down with virus - plus other worldwide developments

tehran qom hospital
© AP
A medic moves a patient in a ward dedicated to people infected with the coronavirus at Forqani Hospital in Qom, the most affected region in Iran, on February 26.
Iran has canceled Friday Prayers in Tehran over the coronavirus outbreak, state media report, as the authorities confirmed that infected cases in the country spiked by more than 100.

Health Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said on February 27 that the number of deaths linked to the coronavirus outbreak in Iran has increased by seven to 26 over the past 24 hours -- the highest death toll outside of China, where the disease emerged in December.

A total of 245 people had tested positive for the virus -- an increase of 106 on the previous day, Jahanpour told a news conference, adding that the large number of new cases came from more labs now testing for the virus.

Comment: That brings the death rate to just over 10%, still 5x more than it should be, given stats from China. That suggests there could be over 1000 cases, not the 245 so far confirmed.

More than 82,000 people in about 40 countries have been infected with the new coronavirus, mainly in China. COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus, has killed more than 2,700 people globally.

The Middle Eastern country has become the main hot spot of the virus in the region, where more than 350 cases have now been reported. Many of those cases have been linked to travelers who had gone to the Islamic republic for religious visits.

As governments ramped up measures to battle a looming global pandemic, Iranian authorities announced domestic travel restrictions for people with confirmed or suspected infections, and placed curbs on access to major Shi'ite pilgrimage sites.

In affected areas, school closures will be extended for three days, and universities for another week starting from February 29, Health Minister Saeed Namaki told a news conference.

State TV later reported Friday Prayers in Tehran had been called off, and semiofficial news agencies quoted officials as saying the prayers would also be canceled in other cities.

Comment: Masoumeh Ebtekar, Iranian vice president for women and family affairs, has contracted the virus, as has Mojtaba Zonnour, head of Iran's Parliamentary Security and Foreign Relations Commission. Germany's health minister says his country is facing the beginning of an epidemic (there are 18 confirmed cases):
Spahn claimed earlier that "detection and containment" efforts in Europe were working to hold back the spread of the virus, but an explosion of cases in northern Italy and at least 13 other European countries have forced him to reevaluate the situation. At his last press conference on Tuesday, Spahn admitted "it could get worse before it gets better."

Tracking the 'infection chains' - noting the previous travel and social encounters of the infected - is vital to understanding the spread of the illness. Thus far, the majority of patients in Germany were found to have recently traveled from Italy or China, or had contact with travelers.

"The infection chains are partially no longer trackable, and that is a new thing," Spahn said on Tuesday. "Large numbers of people have had contact with the patients, and that is a big change to the 16 patients we had until now where the chain could be traced back to the origin in China."
Italy saw its death toll rise to 14, with 528 total cases (100 more than the previous day). Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio, however, says that the "infodemic" is more damaging to the country than the virus:
"The epidemic of misleading information will do more damage to Italy than the risk of the virus epidemic itself," Di Maio told reporters Thursday. "We have gone from an epidemic risk to an 'infodemic' one."

The spread of "misleading" reports damages not only the fragile economy of the country — that has seen three recessions in just over a decade — but also the reputation of its scientific community, the minister added.

Italian scientists are "addressing the situation brilliantly," while the media scare blows the situation out of proportion, he argued. So far, the outbreak affects only 0.089 percent of the country's population, including infected and quarantined, the official explained.

"Without wanting to play things down, there are just over 10 towns and cities involved in Italy at the moment," Di Maio said. "If our children go to school in most cases it means that foreigners can come here as tourists and investors."
The first American case of local transmission turned up in California (the individual had no known contact through travel of exposure to someone already infected). But in China, deaths are declining (29 new deaths reported today, lower than previous daily figures). One Chinese city is offering over $1k rewards for self-reporting symptoms in order to help stop the spread of the virus.

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Eye 2

Milwaukee Miller brewery shooting: Six Molson Coors workers, including shooter, dead in rampage

Coors shooting
In one of the worst shootings in Wisconsin history, a gunman killed five people — and then himself — during a rampage Wednesday afternoon on the Milwaukee campus of Molson Coors.

The shooter was identified as a 51-year-old man who worked for the company, the home of Miller Brewery for more than a century.

All of the shooting victims died. There were no reports of injuries.

The identities of the victims and the shooter were not released Wednesday. Police did say, however, that the victims' families have been notified.

Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales said at an early evening news conference that police were checking on the whereabouts of more than 1,000 employees. "We have to check off employees one by one," he said.

By 9:30 p.m., that had been done and all employees at the brewery had been allowed to go home, Morales said at a news conference.

"Milwaukee is grieving today," said the police chief.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett noted at the late evening news conference that the brewery has been a landmark in Miller Valley for 165 years. "It's the saddest day we have had" in that history, he said.

Eye 1

Protesters hurl stones at police during second night of riots against migrant camps in Lesbos

Scores of angry Greeks clashed with police on Wednesday night as violent protests continued over plans to build a new detention center for irregular migrants on the island of Lesbos, with dozens reported injured.

The Greek government plans to build new camps for refugees in response to overcrowding on Lesbos and four neighboring islands, Samos, Chios, Leros and Kos. Local residents were enraged with the news and used stones, sticks and fire to express their anger. The Greek police used tear gas and rubber bullets against the demonstrators on Wednesday night as rioting entered its third consecutive night.

The protesters targeted several locations, including a military camp near Pagani village on Lesbos, where police officers sent to Lesbos are housed.

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Brick Wall

Project Veritas: ABC News' David Wright identifies as 'a socialist'

david wright ABC news
© Twitter / @WrightUps
Senior ABC News correspondent David Wright accused his own network of denying President Donald Trump "credit" for his administration's accomplishments and revealed that he's a "socialist," according to an undercover video captured by Project Veritas.

Comment: While the big news of this Project Veritas release is that Wright said that he's a socialist (gasp!), the real news here is what he had to say about the state of the news in general and his network in particular. News is just another form of entertainment at this point, with the mighty clicks and views dictating the slant of everything important. This isn't exactly stunningly new information, but it's interesting to hear it from someone on the inside who "feel(s) really bad about it".

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Debunking the smear that Assange recklessly published unredacted documents

julian assange headline news
This is a new section for my newly updated ongoing mega-article Debunking All The Assange Smears, a resource for debating 30 of the most common smears against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Use it, share it, and let me know if there's anything you think should be changed or added.

The prosecution in the Assange extradition trial has falsely alleged that WikiLeaks recklessly published unredacted files in 2011 which endangered people's lives. In reality the Pentagon admitted that no one was harmed as a result of the leaks during the Manning trial, and the unredacted files were actually published elsewhere as the result of a Guardian journalist recklessly included a real password in a book about WikiLeaks.

A key government witness during the Chelsea Manning trial, Brig. Gen. Robert Carr, testified under oath that no one was hurt by them. Additionally, the Defense Secretary at the time, Robert M Gates, said that the leaks were "awkward" and "embarrassing" but the consequences for US foreign policy were "fairly modest". It was also leaked at the time that insiders were saying the damage was limited and "containable", and they were exaggerating the damage in an attempt to get Manning punished more severely.

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Production of drugs in Afghanistan 35-folded after US invasion, according to official

afghanistan poppy field
Chief of the Iranian Anti-Narcotics Police Brigadier General Masoud Zahedian said that after the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, the production of narcotics in the country has sorely increased. It has had a 35-fold increase in Afghanistan after the US and its Western allies occupied the poor country and it has reached 6,400 tons from 185 tons, Zahedian told reporters in Rome on Saturday.

He said, "More than 3,800 Iranians have been killed and 12,500 others have been injured in the fight with drug traffickers."

In relevant remarks in January, Secretary-General of Iran's Drug Control Headquarters Brigadier General Eskandar Momeni lashed out at the US and the NATO, two main occupiers of Afghanistan, for encouraging and facilitating poppy cultivation and drug production in the poor country.

Speaking at the annual meeting of counter-narcotics police chiefs of the Law Enforcement Force, Momeni said US forces occupying Afghanistan no doubt facilitates the cultivation of illicit narcotics in that country. The highest rate of drug seizures in the history of Iran and the world belongs to this year [of the local calendar from March 2019 to March 2020], which shows an 18% increase compared to last year, he said.

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Gun-toting cops endanger students and turn schools into prisons

police resource officer school
"Every day in communities across the United States, children and adolescents spend the majority of their waking hours in schools that have increasingly come to resemble places of detention more than places of learning."

— Investigative journalist Annette Fuentes

Just when you thought the government couldn't get any more tone-deaf about civil liberties and the growing need to protect "we the people" against an overreaching, overbearing police state, the Trump Administration ushers in even more strident zero tolerance policies that treat children like suspects and criminals, greater numbers of school cops, and all the trappings of a prison complex (unsurmountable fences, entrapment areas, no windows or trees, etc.).

The fallout has been what you'd expect, with the nation's young people treated like hardened criminals: handcuffed, arrested, tasered, tackled and taught the painful lesson that the Constitution (especially the Fourth Amendment) doesn't mean much in the American police state.

For example, in Florida, a cop assigned to River Ridge High School as a school resource officer, threatened to shoot a student attempting to leave school for a morning orthodontist appointment.

In Pennsylvania, school officials called in the cops after a 6-year-old with Down syndrome pointed a finger gun at her teacher.

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A top-tier Chinese virology lab is unable to quell the coronavirus conspiracy theories around it

Comment: Suspicions are growing about the centrality of that BSL-4 WHO-approved biolab in Wuhan, China, to the Cornonavirus outbreak, which is why the media is running interference on it...

wuhan biolab

The WHO-certified and affiliated top tier BSL-4 bio-lab in Wuhan city, Hubei Province, central China... where it's almost certain the CoVid-19 virus escaped from
A Chinese state-owned virology lab in Wuhan, the epicenter of China's coronavirus epidemic, is finding it extremely hard to quell conspiracy theories proliferating around the institution — a sign of the sharply decreased level of public trust in the government since the outbreak of the virus.

At the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a subsidiary of the state-owned research institute the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), scientists carry out virus research at a lab with the highest level of biological containment available on the mainland. Its construction was approved in 2003, during China's last deadly coronavirus outbreak, SARS, and completed five years ago, according to Nature journal. The lab came under spotlight in late January, after Chinese scientists said the virus could have a connection to bats via an intermediary, such as some form of game sold at a seafood market in Wuhan. As the lab has researchers who study bat-related viruses, it became a target of online suspicion that coalesced into theories that the virus could have escaped from the lab, or be a bio-weapon gone wrong.

Comment: That isn't why it's suspicious. It's suspicious because those lab researchers were located at Ground Zero of the outbreak: the country's only BSL-4 lab!

All that stuff about bats, snakes, pangolins and the fish/wet market was probably disinformation in an effort to pawn blame for it off onto ordinary people.

Comment: The outbreak is not a 'conspiracy' per se. It's probably an accident. It's only a conspiracy insofar as they're not openly admitting that messing around with vaccines caused the very thing they're supposedly all about preventing.

All to protect the 'settled sciences' (read: biotech industry) of genetics, viruses and vaccines. In reality, they understand very little about the elements they're fiddling with...


Is Bernie Sanders wrong? Fidel Castro did not give Cuba literacy or better healthcare, claims lawyer

castro sanders
On CBS's 60 Minutes, Senator Bernie Sanders recently praised the achievements of communist Cuba. An interviewer asked him about his 1985 comments that Cubans supported communist dictator Fidel Castro because he "educated their kids, gave their kids health care, totally transformed society." In response, Sanders defended those comments, by stating that when "Fidel Castro came into office, you know what he did? He had a massive literacy program."

But Castro did not give Cubans literacy. Cuba already had one of the highest highest literacy rates in Latin America by 1950, nearly a decade before Castro took power, according to United Nations data. In 2016, the Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler debunked a politician's claim that Castro's rule significantly improved Cuban healthcare and education.

In today's Cuba, children are taught by poorly paid teachers in dilapidated schools. Cuba has made less educational progress than most Latin American countries over the last 60 years.