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'Barbaric': Turkey prepares to flood 12,000-year-old city to build dam

© Alamy
The ancient cave-city of Hasankeyf on the Tigris River.
After the half-hour drive from Batman in south-east Turkey, the ancient city of Hasankeyf, which sits on the banks of the Tigris River, appears as an oasis.

Hasankeyf is thought to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements on Earth, dating as far back as 12,000 years and containing thousands of caves, churches and tombs.

But this jewel of human history will soon be lost; most of the settlement is about to be flooded as part of the highly controversial Ilisu dam project.

Comment: The fertile crescent is renowned for discoveries that have provided critical insights into humanities history, and so, while increasing energy requirements are understandable, when there are viable, much more efficient and less dangerous alternatives, it's all the more puzzling that they're resorting to hydroelectric power:


Comedy's last stand

dave chappelle
It was one of the most unusual impressions from a comic legend who doesn't generally do them at all. But it marked an important moment in the culture wars.

In his new Netflix special Sticks and Stones, Dave Chappelle set a trap for his audience and they walked right into it. "I want to see if you can guess who it is I'm doing an impression of," he said. "All right? Let me get into character. You gotta guess who it is, though. Okay, here it goes. 'Uh, duh. Hey! Durr! If you do anything wrong in your life, duh, and I find out about it, I'm gonna try to take everything away from you, and I don't care when I find out. Could be today, tomorrow, 15, 20 years from now. If I find out, you're f---ing-duh-finished.' Who's that?"

Chappelle waits a beat while the audience — bizarrely — guesses that he's doing an impression of President Trump. Chappelle rears his arm back and points at the audience: "Thaaaaaat's you! That's what the audience sounds like to me!"

Chappelle explains that the modern audience is so tedious to entertain it's almost not worth trying.

Stand-up comics are the frontline fighters of the culture war for a reason: It is their job, more so than even musicians or artists, to push boundaries, to turn sacred cows into hamburgers. They identify and probe societal tension without any mandate to heal the fissures — though humor itself can serve as a salve. This is undeniably healthy for a society, but it's also what makes the industry unacceptable to the militant humorlessness of "cancel culture."

Comment: See also:

Microscope 1

'There is a problem': Australia's top scientist Alan Finkel pushes to eradicate bad science

Alan Finkel
Australia’s Chief Scientist Alan Finkel.
In the main, Australia produces high-quality research that is rigorous and reproducible, and makes a significant contribution towards scientific progress. But that doesn't mean we can't do it better.

In the case of the research sector here and abroad, we need to acknowledge that as good as the research system is, there is a problem.

There are a significant number of papers that are of poor quality, and should never have made it through to publication. In considering why this might be the case, I have found myself reflecting on the role of incentives in the research system.

Comment: The problem of 'bad science' is a growing issue, with many stating that little of what is published is actually believable. Part of the problem, not addressed above, is straight-up corruption, with researchers, journals and grant agencies steering results in desired directions toward the status quo. On top of this, the invention of the 24-hour news cycle has also lead to incentivizing attention grabbing headlines over thorough and truthful research.

See also:


Jordan Peterson film cancelled in Canadian movie theatre

jordan peterson carlton theatre
Nobody becomes a prophet in his own country. Although he is probably one of the most famous living Canadians, Jordan Peterson is still being protested and cancelled on his home turf, proving not only the relevance of this Biblical reference but that cancel culture is showing no signs of abating. The latest victim in this sad saga of censorship is The Rise of Jordan Peterson, the feature-length film by Patricia Marcoccia. The film has been removed from its scheduled, week-long run at the Carlton Cinema in Toronto after "one or more" staff complained. The Post Millennial reached out to the Carlton Cinema, and the manager on duty confirmed that there was disagreement among the staff over the film. Marcoccia, who directed the movie, said in an email that her company, Holding Space Films, has also experienced reluctance and rejections from independent film houses and cinemas across the country.

"Over the last few months we have been reaching out to mainstream and arthouse cinemas across North America. In many cases, we encountered challenges simply because of the subject matter being Jordan Peterson. Some cinemas got stuck in internal debates. Others told us outright that they thought the film was well done and fair, but that they couldn't, in good conscience, contribute to the 'cult of personality around Peterson' in any way," Marcoccia said.

Comment: See also:


Kabul: Two separate Taliban suicide bombings kill at least 48, many more wounded

Kabul attack
© Ebrahim Noroozi/AP
Afghan security forces, site of suicide attack near US Embassy in Kabul, September 17, 2019.
Two Taliban attacks have killed at least 48 people and wounded dozens more in Afghanistan, 11 days before the country is set to hold a presidential election the militant group has vowed to disrupt.

At least 26 people were killed and 42 wounded when a suicide bomber detonated explosives near an election rally attended by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on September 17, but Ghani was unhurt, officials say.

Later that day, another suicide blast rocked central Kabul, killing at least 22 people and wounding 38 others, according to the Interior Ministry.

Both attacks were claimed by the Taliban, which has threatened to step up attacks to discourage people from voting in the September 28 presidential election, where Ghani is seeking a second five-year term.

Comment: And this from RT, 17/9/2019: Blast near US Embassy in Kabul
The attack hit near the Massoud Square in Kabul, close to the US Embassy premises, TOLO reported uploading footage that purportedly showed the aftermath of the explosion. The media outlet also referred to the Interior Ministry that said the Defense Ministry building was also hit in what they called "a suicide blast."


Justice Department charges three traders in precious metal market manipulation scheme

JP Morgan Chase
© Spencer Platt / Getty Images file
The JPMorgan Chase and Co. headquarters in New York in 2012.
The scheme is similar to those documented in "Flash Boys," a 2014 book by nonfiction author Michael Lewis.

Federal prosecutors on Monday charged three JP Morgan Chase traders with manipulating the precious metals futures market in a scheme that cost investors tens of millions.

New York FBI official William F. Sweeney said the men accused in the eight-year scheme traded gold, silver, platinum and palladium in a way that hurt "the natural balance of supply-and-demand."

Michael Nowak, who led the precious metals trading desk at "Bank A" — an institution the Department of Justice has previously identified as JP Morgan — was arrested along with fellow traders Christopher Jordan and Gregg Smith.

The scheme is similar to those documented in "Flash Boys," a 2014 book by nonfiction author Michael Lewis. The book ignited a firestorm on Wall Street over the practices of high-speed trading and "spoofing," where traders try to send in fictitious buy orders.

The traders at the center of the case, announced Monday morning, are primarily charged with trying to place fictitious buy orders for future before attempting to sell them, gin up the appearance of interest in the commodities, and drive up the price.

Comment: The case above is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg where the manipulation of precious metals prices is concerned. And the really big fish quite often get away with it.

See also:


Greek mother and daughter arrested for photographing their own occupied home

turkey greece
MORPHOU, OCCUPIED CYPRUS - Two Greek Cypriots, a mother and her daughter, were arrested on Sunday by the occupying Turkish forces in the village of Morphou. They are expected to face a "military court" on Monday.

As the Turkish Cypriot Chief of the Bi-communal Technical Committee on Crime Hakki Onen told the KPE, the woman entered the garden of the house that they lived in before the Turkish invasion in 1974 and now occupies a military post.

The mother and daughter were 'arrested' on the grounds that they were taking photos in a military zone and will be brought to a 'military court' on Monday.

Comment: UPDATE: Reportedly the pair have been released after being charged with violating a military zone.
"The mother and daughter arrested on Sunday for taking photos in Morphou have been freed, authorities in the north announced.

They reportedly appeared before a court on Monday morning where they were charged with violating a military zone and released.

The government said earlier on Monday it was doing everything possible to have the women released.

According to the Turkish Cypriot head of the bi-communal technical committee on crime Hakki Onen the 52-year-old woman entered the garden of the house in which she lived before 1974 with her 20-year-old daughter where an army officer now resides and took photos.

Turkish Cypriot authorities issued a statement regarding the incident earlier, saying the mother and daughter were arrested at 10am on Sunday "for taking photos and videos in a military zone"."
For more information on the Turkish occupation of Cyprus see here:

Light Saber

Top Russian public figures call for release of actor jailed for assaulting cop during protest

Pavel Ustinov russia actor
© Sputnik/Vitaly Belousov
Pavel Ustinov awaits his verdict on Monday.
Russia's most prominent journalists, pop stars, and actors claim actor Pavel Ustinov has suffered a miscarriage of justice. He was convicted of injuring a cop at an anti-government protest, despite videos suggesting his innocence.

"It is impossible to stay silent. You cannot put an innocent man in jail," actress Julia Snigir wrote on Facebook.

"The cynicism with which this was carried out could touch any of us," actor and director Danila Kozlovsky posted on Instagram.

"Injustice brings down governments," wrote RT's editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan on Twitter.

Eye 2

Horrific human trafficking is booming in Yemen as the war enters its fifth year

People walk in a shelter for displaced persons in Ibb, Yemen
© Nariman El-Mofty | AP
People walk in a shelter for displaced persons in Ibb, Yemen, in this Aug. 3, 2018, photo.
The offensive war on Yemen, the most impoverished nation in the Middle East, was launched in 2015 by a U.S.-backed coalition of Arab countries led by Saudi Arabia, the richest nation in the Middle East. It has plunged a nation already struggling to provide basic services to its citizens into chaos, a nation now ruled by a ragtag consortium of different groups all thirsting for power. The result? A complete absence of law and order that has given rise to a black Suq (market) of human trafficking on a scale never before seen in Yemen.

Thirty-five-year-old Tawfiq hails from Amran, a small city in west-central Yemen famous for its ancient mud-brick high-rises dating back two millennia to the Sabean kingdom. Tawfiq was among 17 Yemeni victims of human trafficking who agreed to speak to MintPress about their harrowing ordeals. In 2016, Tawfiq — desperate to bring money home to his family, as the then-fledgling war decimated the already shaky Yemeni economy — was told by a friend that he could earn as much as $7,000 for one of his kidneys. Days later Tawfiq was on a bus to Saudi Arabia, traveling through al-Wadeeah port on the Yemen-Saudi border.

Today, Tawfiq suffers from complications arising from his kidney extraction and is now unable to carry heavy objects. He told MintPress, "I thought that removing a kidney would be a simple arrangement, but now I live in a hell of pain and suffering." Tawfiq's operation was crude and involved no follow-up care.


Google search outage triggers existential crises as panicked users scramble for alternative info sources

Google outage
© downdetector.com
A Google search outage had users panicked around the world as their search queries returned "internal server errors," forcing them to use DuckDuckGo or (shudder) Bing - or take to social media to complain.

Internet users worldwide found themselves plunged into unexpected darkness as their Google queries returned...nothing. Only a mysterious server error where once there had been answers.

Rushing to Twitter to see who else was suffering in this 21st century dark age, they found temporary solace in the fact that they were not alone - the outage appeared to be widespread, with no explanation available other than a promise that "engineers have been notified and are working to resolve the issue."

"I'm just trying to do homework and it's doing this," complained one user. "But why is the google broken? did the internet break?" pondered another.