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Mon, 29 Aug 2016
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UK's National Health Service found to have prescribed antidepressant to 1yo boy and over 450 children over five-month period

© Darren Staples / Reuters
A one-year-old boy was prescribed antidepressants by Britain's National Health Service (NHS), it has emerged.

NHS Tayside in Dundee, Scotland, prescribed the medication to the child in 2014, according to figures obtained by the Dundee Evening Telegraph. The Trust prescribed anti-depressants to 450 children over a five-month period between January and May this year.

Figures reveal the most common age group to be given antidepressants were children aged between 14 and 17 and that girls are more likely to be prescribed the drug than boys.

Although very young children are sometimes prescribed antidepressants for problems including bed-wetting and chronic pain, NHS guidelines state that under 18s should not be given the drug.


New Jersey: Random drug tests for middle school students with stiff penalties for positive results

Random drug-testing of middle-schoolers — with penalties — has become a reality for a school district in New Jersey that already does so with high school students.

Though the Lacey Township Board of Education program will be implemented purely on a "voluntary" basis for seventh and eighth graders who participate in athletic programs and extracurricular activities — and only then with parental consent — the invasiveness of the plan should sound a number of alarm bells.

"I'm a supporter for any intervention to give another reason for kids to say 'no' and that can start at any age, especially with our young teens," district superintendent Craig Wigley told NJ Advance Media following the school board's vote on August 15.

Cell Phone

Are people finally getting sick of Pokémon Go? 10 million users quit

Pokémon Go is starting to lose its buzz, with the latest tracking data seeming to suggest the game is simply a fad.

It had almost 45 million daily users in July, but this figure appears to have sunk by more than 12 million since the start of August, to just over 30 million said to be playing Pokémon Go. Further decline is expected, as downloads, engagement, and the time users spend on the app have all also visibly flopped, according to data provided by Sensor Tower, SurveyMonkey, and Apptopia.

Bloomberg, which saw the raw data, reported that other major apps such as Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat "can breathe a sigh of relief" that Pokémon Go is finally wobbling, as the game's popularity had apparently been costing them considerable amounts of users.

Comment: Great. We can't wait for more Pokémon idiocy.


Report: Nigerian air raid 'fatally wounds' Boko Haram leader - for the third time

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau
Nigeria says the leader of one of the deadliest terror groups in the world, Boko Haram, was fatally wounded in an airstrike carried out by the Nigerian military in its northeastern Borno State, according to media reports citing a senior official.

The Nigerian army has carried out a "most unprecedented and spectacular air raid" and "fatally wounded" Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau, read a statement released early on Tuesday by Colonel and Acting Director of Nigerian Army Public Relations, Sani Kukasheka Usman, according to the media.

The strike was reportedly carried out on August 19 in the village of Taye.

"In what one could describe as the most unprecedented and spectacular air raid, we have just confirmed that as a result of the interdiction efforts of the Nigerian Air Force, some key leaders of the Boko Haram terrorists have been killed while others were fatally wounded," Usman said.

"[At the time of the strike] the terrorists were performing Friday rituals."

This is not the first time the Nigerian army has claimed to have killed Abubakar Shekau - similar reports were made in 2013 and 2014.

Comment: One wonders what makes one air raid so "unprecedented and spectacular"! More on Shakau:


Journal claims homosexuals aren't born that way, sexual orientation is not "fixed"

© Lucy Nicholson / Reuters
A cross-discipline study has challenged the belief that human sexuality and gender identity are determined by biology and remain fixed, saying that there is no scientific proof of this. The study cautioned against drastic medical treatment for transgender children.

The notion that sexual orientation is predetermined by biology is an important part of the current LGBT discourse. If a person has no choice over whether to be gay or not, society cannot demand that he or she be straight, so the argument goes.

But regardless of its political worth, the "born this way" paradigm is not backed up by sufficient scientific data, according to a new paper published in the autumn issue of the New Atlantis, a journal focusing on political, societal and ethical ramifications of technological advances.

The study does not claim that being gay is a choice, merely that stating the opposite may be wrong.

Stock Up

France's burkini-ban brings boon to the swimsuit's sales

© Ahiida Burqini Swimwear and Hijood Sportswear / Facebook
News that several French cities have recently banned the now infamous "burkini" has sparked sales worldwide, even among non-Muslim women, including cancer survivors and those wanting to protect their skin, the designer of the controversial swimsuit said.

"It's just been so hectic... I can tell you that online on Sunday, we received 60 orders [for burkinis] - all of them non-Muslim,"Aheda Zanetti, a Lebanese-born Australian fashion designer for Muslim women who claims to have developed the burkini, told AFP, adding that she usually receives 10 to 12 orders on Sundays. The 48-year-old designer says she has received a lot of letters from women of diverse backgrounds since the "burkini issue" came under the spotlight. Some were cancer survivors and others just wanted to protect their skin from the sun.

"A lot of the correspondence... was that they are survivors of skin cancer and they've always been looking for something like this, saying, 'Thank god we've found someone like this producing such a swimsuit,'" she said.

However, there have also been critical e-mails, Zanetti said. One asked the designer why she wanted to cover up women, claiming that the French "prefer our women to be naked." Zanetti reportedly launched a series of swimsuits and sportswear especially for Muslim women under the trademark Ahiida back in 2004, and has sold more than 700,000 garments since 2008. Earlier on Saturday, Zanetti told the Sydney Morning Herald that 45 percent of her clients are non-Muslim women.

Comment: France is a bastion of democracy and freedom of expression! ...unless it comes to Muslims. In these times those who have been victimized and made homeless by Western governments are then further victimized by being deemed terrorists because of their dress. What rank hypocrisy from the West!


In defense of the burka: How bans do nothing to counter radicalization


Robot brothels could soon be reality as technology could drastically alter sex industry

© Greg Baker/AFP/Getty Images
A high-end sex doll in an industrial suburb of Beijing
Sex robot brothels similar to those seen in Channel's 4's eerie cyborg drama Humans could soon become a reality in the UK, it has been claimed.

Rapidly-improving technology could herald a revolution in the UK's sex industry which could result in reduced risk of sexually transmitted diseases and safer lives for I working girls, clients and pimps.

NUI Galway Law professor John Danaher, who has conducted research into human enhancement and artificial intelligence, said sex robots could be a good substitute for human prostitutes.

He told the Daily Star : "The cyborgs can cater for desire for sexual variety, freedom from constraint and complication and fear of lack of sexual success.

"Technology may become better at developing emotional bonds with their clients. They won't need to 'fake it' the same way as human prostitutes."

Comment: This seems to be another sign of humanity's descent into a virtual world where what's real is indistinguishable from what's virtual.


Fans of Scottish football team Celtic raise £85,000 for Palestinian charities after club was charged over flag display during match with Israel

Palestine flags were on display at the Champions League play-off first leg
Celtic fans have raised more than £85,000 for Palestinian charities after the club was charged by Uefa over a flag display during last week's game with Israeli side Hapoel Beer Sheva.

Palestinian flags were waved around Celtic Park during the Champions League match on Wednesday night. Uefa later charged the club over an "illicit banner" display.

Celtic fans have now launched a "#matchthefineforpalestine" campaign to raise funds for two charities.

In a Go Fund me page, Celtic fans state: "At the Champions League match with Hapoel Beer Sheva on 17 August 2016, the Green Brigade and fans throughout Celtic Park flew the flag for Palestine.

Comment: See also: Fans of Scottish football team wave Palestinian flags in match against Israel, defying UEFA

Eye 1

Hundreds of school children sent home in California due to new vaccination law

Scores of California students may be sent home on their first day of school because of a new vaccine law that took effect this year.

The new state law took effect July 1. Now, parents can no longer use personal or religious beliefs as a reason not to have their kids immunized. This school year, kindergartners and seventh graders must show proof of immunizations.

Monday WAS the first day of school for kids in Oakland. Hundreds of them were expected to be sent home.

"There could be a few hundred kids that are not immunized and so we'll be encouraging them as quickly as possible to get out there," said Oakland Unified School District John Sasaki. "Their parents may try to drop them off and we'll have to turn them away."

Young children who got their personal belief exemptions approved before January 2016, will be grandfathered in. According to the new law, they still must get immunized when they reach seventh grade.

Comment: Mandatory vaccinations not only violate every individual's right to control what goes in their body, it is also irrational for people with vaccinations to be worried about unvaccinated people. If you're vaccinated, you're supposedly protected from getting a disease, so why all the consternation and governmental intrusion against those who wish not to be vaccinated? Hopefully this ruling will not only be overthrown, but that the citizens of California will decide that Gov. Jerry Brown needs to be removed from office for passing this draconian law. See also:

Light Saber

'Thanks, but no thanks': Aleppo residents won't flee war-torn city

© Abdalrhman Ismail / Reuters
A doctor whose hospital was taken over by rebels, a woman taking care of orphaned children and a jeweler running a small shop have told RT why, as Aleppo residents, they have decided to stay, despite huge risks.

Ibrahim Hadidi, a UK-trained local doctor with his skills allowing him to easily leave the war-ravaged country, is still treating patients in Aleppo.

"Being here is my duty, I feel I'm among my family," he told RT's Lizzie Phelan, currently reporting from Syria's former biggest city. "My students, my patients, my relatives, my people, all of them are my family. Syria is my home and I will not leave whatever happens. And I have a great hope that this country will come back to be rebuilt, to be far better than the previous situation of these troubles."

"[The terrorists] don't want people to stay in their country and to build health authorities and health centers to give these very important and vital health centers to people," he told RT, adding that the doctors have also been targeted by extremists.

Hadidi's own hospital had been seized by the opposition forces. But he would not take his skills abroad.

Comment: Indeed, the "terrorists" (of both jihadi and American think-tanker breeds) do not want Syrians to stay in Syria. Like Operation Condor, the Contras, or any other U.S.-backed assassination or death-squad operation, the goal is to kill or displace the most talented members of a target population - the people with the ability to create and sustain a stable, sovereign nation. U.S. policy has always been to neutralize such leaders.