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Thu, 20 Feb 2020
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Syria: Aleppo intl airport receive first flight ending 8 years long shutdown

Aleppo First flight 2020
© SANA via AP
In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian officials and journalists disembark a Syrian commercial plane after it landed at Aleppo Airport, Syria, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020. The Syrian commercial flight on Wednesday from Damascus, marked the resumption of internal flights between Syria's two largest cities for the first time since 2012.
A Syrian Air flight has landed at Aleppo International Airport for the first time in years, marking a milestone in the recovery of the city, which has been returning to normal life from the abyss of its civil war.

The commercial flight, carrying Syrian officials and journalists, landed in Aleppo on Wednesday, some 40 minutes after taking off from the capital, Damascus. The arrival of the Airbus A320 has become a symbolic message, marking the resumption of flights between Syria's two biggest cities.

Footage taken on the spot showed a crowd of people that came to the airport to welcome the first flight. Some cheered and waved Syrian national flags, others held placards with portraits of President Bashar Assad.

Comment: See also:

Heart - Black

Australia: Four people dead after mid-air plane collision north of Melbourne

  • One plane crashed to the ground immediately after the collision
  • The other travelled for some distance before crashing nearby
  • All of the passengers on board the planes died at the scene
Managalore,Australia Crash2
© ABC News
Both aircraft were carrying two people.
Four people are dead after two twin-engine planes collided mid-air at Mangalore, about 120 kilometres north of Melbourne.

One of the planes was carrying a trainee pilot and instructor who had taken off from Mangalore airfield shortly before the collision, which happened about 11:25am.

The other aircraft had taken off from a different airport, Victoria Police Inspector Peter Koger said.


South African university transforms into a flaming battleground as protests turn ugly

South African university transforms into a flaming battleground
Students at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) in South Africa set up flaming barricades and pelted police with various missiles as demonstrations against fees spiralled into violence.

The skirmishes broke out as students staged protests against paying 15 percent of historic debt accrued by the university, as well as perceived financial exclusion.

People 2

Teen detransitioners are telling their stories on YouTube

teen detransition
"Detransitioning" is a touchy topic for the trans community. Individuals who medically transition only to figure out later that they were never truly trans are a probably unsurprising phenomenon. It's only common sense that a certain number of people who take the leap into hormone treatments or cosmetic surgery may end up having a change of heart.

In the last few years, there has been a huge statistical rise in young people identifying as transgender. According to The Children's Gender Service at the Tavistock in Britain, there were just 77 trans children at their clinic in 2010. By 2019, there were 2,950 patients with 3,000 more on the waiting list to be treated.

Many young adults are turning to vlogging their detransition experiences and stories on YouTube. As a trans woman myself, I remember these stories being rarer in the past. A few years ago, there were a few detransitioners on Youtube talking about their experiences, but not many. Now, there appears to be almost as many people talking about their transition failures as there are people talking about their transition successes.

What's the explanation for this? I have a few theories, the first being the overdiagnosis of mental disorders in children today. Now more than ever in history, we're quick to throw a kid who's disruptive in class or rowdy during recess on medication. As hormone replacement therapy becomes more commonplace, specifically for teens, it only makes sense that a certain number of those being over-diagnosed will end up on it.

Comment: Blaire White is right, transgenderism has become a fad. But that might be too imprecise a description. What's actually going on seems more along the lines of a social contagion, similar to what happened over a century ago with "hysteria", and the bulimia crisis in the 90s, not to mention the recurring examples of suicide clusters. For more, see SOTT's discussion of this phenomenon on the Truth Perspective (now MindMatters): See also:


A year in jail & quarter million fine since, lawyers seek freedom for Chelsea Manning refusing to testify against WikiLeaks

© REUTERS/Ford Fischer/News2Share
Chelsea Manning's attorney has filed a new motion requesting her release from jail, where she has been for nearly a year for continuously refusing to testify before a grand jury against WikiLeaks and Julian Assange.

Manning's incarceration has "exceeded its lawful scope" by moving from being a coercive tactic to a criminal punishment, her lawyer Moira Meltzer-Cohen said in a motion requesting her release filed on Friday.

Manning was jailed in March of 2019 for refusing to testify before a grand jury investigating WikiLeaks. She has been held at the Alexandria Detention Center in Virginia since then and fined $1,000 a day for refusing to cooperate. Her fines now total $230,000.

Comment: See also:


Clickbait-hungry media warns Ireland of 'Russian ghost ship with CANNIBAL RATS,' but Twitter's not amused

Rat eating potatoe
© GlobalLookPress / Arco Images GmbH / Esch, J.
File photo of a domestic rat, possibly preparing to pop his comrades into a casserole.
An Irish news outlet has posted an alarming tweet warning that a cannibal rat-laden Russian 'ghost ship' is "heading for Ireland." Rather than spark concern, the clickbait tweet has merely generated eye-rolls from Twitter users.

Wednesday's tweet from the Irish Times shared a link to a feature about a couple of ghost ships currently at large somewhere on the high seas that could - maybe, possibly, in the right conditions - wind up washing ashore along Ireland's coast. And the vessel of most concern is apparently "an abandoned former Soviet cruise liner [called] Lyubov Orlova" which is apparently manned only by rats who have a taste for their own.

The article even admits that the Irish Coast Guard believes the vessel has probably already sunk to the watery depths.

Shopping Bag

Financial feudalism and the pernicious weaponization of debt

serfdom sucks
"Happy 18th Birthday! Meet your new Daddy," read one website advertisement. "Do you have strong oral skills? We've got a job for you!" cooed another.

A message on another billboard directed at the "daddies" was more blunt: "The alternative to escorts. Desperate women will do anything"...

SeekingArrangement was founded by Las Vegas tech tycoon Brandon Wade. Wade is apparently worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $40 million. His motto is, "Love is a concept invented by poor people"...

SA also markets itself as an antidote to student debt. In the U.S. and elsewhere, college students are enduring financial instability and hardship. Because of rising college fees and rent, and the lack of time available for work during studies, many women are extremely vulnerable to exploitation. "SeekingArrangement.com has helped facilitate hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of arrangements that have helped students graduate debt-free," Wade boasts on the website. Promotional videos show young, beautiful women enrolled in "Sugar Baby University" — in classrooms, holding wads of cash, driving luxury cars, and discussing the pleasure and ease of being a sugar baby.

When signing up for an account, potential sugar babies are told, "Tip: Using a .edu email address earns you a free upgrade!"

- TruthDig: Sugar-Coated Pimping
When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.

- Frédéric Bastiat
Watching politics unfold in the post-financial crisis era has been extraordinarily frustrating. While it's been refreshing to observe the emergence of grassroots populism over the last few years, there's a problematic lack of depth and clarity embedded in these burgeoning mass movements. Tens if not hundreds of millions of Americans now acknowledge that something's deeply broken within the current paradigm, but we remain focused on identifying symptoms as opposed to understanding and rectifying the systemic nature of the problem.

Eye 1

Soybean dust blamed for 14 mysterious deaths in Karachi, locals protest poor government response

Patient on a stretcher
Paramedics shift a patient on a stretcher into the hospital in Karachi after a suspected toxic gas leak.
An illness which affects the lungs and has killed 14 people and hospitalized over 200 in Karachi, may have been caused by soybean dust, a lab has said. It has sparked street protests and prompted some to leave the city.

The health crisis in the Pakistani city started on Sunday night as people living near the port of Karachi complained about breathing problems, tightness in the chest, and a burning sensation in the eyes. Other symptoms include dizziness and nausea. Some reported smelling an unfamiliar odor before feeling sick.

The mysterious illness, which was initially blamed on a gas leak, soon proved to be fatal. On Monday eight people were reported dead, while on Tuesday the death toll rose to 14. More than 250 people were treated for lung problems before being discharged, local hospitals said, while a handful remained in intensive care.

Karachi Commissioner Iftikhar Shallwani said the outbreak was a localized event affecting an area near the port. While no cause was immediately identified, city health officials said hydrogen sulfide could have been responsible. The colorless gas notorious for smelling like rotten eggs is toxic - it was even used as a chemical weapon during WWI - and may be released during improper handling of oil products.


Ex-South Korean president Lee Myung-bak receives 17-year jail sentence

© AP
Former South Korean president Lee Myung-bak
Former South Korean president Lee Myung-bak was sentenced Wednesday to 17 years in jail over a set of corruption charges, including bribery and embezzlement in connection with his brother's auto parts company DAS.

At the second hearing, the Seoul Central District Court sentenced Lee, who served as the country's head of state from early 2008 to 2012, to 17 years in prison and a fine of 13 billion won (11 million U.S. dollars). The Seoul High Court also decided to lift the bail on Lee, bringing him back into custody. In March 2019, Lee was released on bail on health concerns, Yonhap reported.

In January, the prosecution demanded a 23-year prison term for Lee, condemning him for not repenting for his wrongdoings and blaming others to avoid responsibility.

A lower court found that Lee was the de facto owner of DAS and that he used his presidential power to benefit the firm and himself, including accepting 8.5 billion won in bribes, said Yonhap. "The defendant ignored the duty and responsibility (that were imposed on the president) and made wrongdoings, such as accepting bribes from public servants or a private company," said the Seoul High Court, the appellate court.

The appellate court found that Lee embezzled 25.2 billion won from DAS and accepted bribes totaling 9.4 billion won, including 8.9 billion won from Samsung. These amounts were higher than the embezzlement of 24.6 billion won and bribes worth 8.5 billion won that a lower court recognized.


German parliamentary group nominates Edward Snowden, Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning for 2020 Nobel Peace Prize

Manning Snowden Assange
"We wish to nominate Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden for the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize."

Two whistleblowers — Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden — were nominated alongside WikiLeaks journalist and former editor-in-chief Julian Assange for the Nobel Peace Prize of 2020 by 17 members of a German parliamentary group.

Żaklin Nastić (MdB) writes:
"I am one of a total of 17 members of our parliamentary group who have nominated Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden for the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize. These brave people should not be criminalized but should be recognized and honored. The war criminals and their henchmen must be held accountable.

We feel that Assange, Manning and Snowden have to be recognized for their 'unprecedented contributions to the pursuit of peace and their immense personal sacrifices to promote peace for all.' With the unveiling of US war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq and the global surveillance program of the US secret services, the three have 'exposed the architecture of war and strengthened the architecture of peace'."