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Lesson in cruelty: Terrorist sniper shoots two kindergarten-aged Syrian kids

© Sputnik/ Iliya Pitalev
A sniper from the terrorist group formerly known as the al-Nusra Front (Jabhat Fateh Al-Sham) did not think twice before turning his gun at two children in the besieged city of Al Fu'ah in northern Syria; both were seriously wounded in the shooting, according to Sputnik Arabic.

The two children, who were playing on the balcony of their home in the besieged city of Al Fu'ah in northern Syria's Idlib province, were severely wounded by a sniper from the terrorist group Jabhat Fateh Al-Sham, Sputnik Arabia reported.

A 6-year-old Syrian named Laith and his 4-year-old brother Mohammed were playing on the balcony when the Jabhat Fateh Al-Sham sniper opened fire on them from his safe haven about 800 meters from the house.


Chicago's systemic brutality: Cops shoot at someone every five days

© Jim Young / Reuters
Over the last six years, police in Chicago, Illinois have fired 2,623 bullets at citizens, killing 92 people and injuring 170 others, according to a new database by the Chicago Tribune. The department has drawn intense criticism for its brutality.

Between 2010 and 2015, the Chicago Police Department was involved with 435 shootings, many of which never caught the public's attention. In those officer-involved shootings, police fired at least 2,623 bullets. At least one person was struck in 235 shootings, while officers missed hitting anyone in 200 instances, the Chicago Tribune found.

The victims of the shootings were overwhelmingly ‒ about 80 percent ‒ African-American males. About half of the 520 officers involved in the 435 shootings were African-American or Hispanic. On average, the police officers, regardless of race, had almost a decade of experience on the job. More than 60 officers were repeat offenders, firing their weapons in more than one incident.


Stock Down

Record number of Americans can't stand the Killary - she and Trump are most unpopular candidates in modern history

Hillary Clinton hit her stride after the Democratic National Convention, riding to a double-digit lead over Donald Trump in some national and swing-state polls -- her highest of the year.

As of today, though, Americans' views of her just hit a record low.

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows 41 percent of Americans have a favorable impression of Clinton, while 56 percent have an unfavorable one.

Comment: We wouldn't be surprised if it's actually much higher than 56 percent...

That's the worst image Clinton has had in her quarter-century in national public life. Her previous low favorable rating this year was in July, when it was 42 percent, lower than any mark in historical Post-ABC polls except a few points in the 1990s when a large share of the public had no opinion of her. Her previous high for unfavorable views was in June, when 55 percent disliked Clinton.


Retired Iranian general Ahmad Gholami killed while battling militants in Syria's Aleppo

© Sputnik/ Michael Alaeddin
A retired Iranian general who used to serve as a commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) was killed while fighting militants in northern Syria, Iranian media reported.

According to the Fars news agency, Ahmad Gholami was seriously wounded during the fight against terrorists in Aleppo and died a few hours later.

Iran denies that its soldiers are active in Syria, claiming that its commanders and generals there serve only as volunteer military advisers.

Syria has been mired in civil war since 2011, with government forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad fighting numerous opposition factions and extremist groups.


Ukrainian troops blast flaws in new 'Molot' mortar launcher, manufacturer blames lack of training

© mayak.com.ua
Ukrainian troops trying the new domestically-developed 120mm 'Molot' mortars have complained of jamming and other flaws. The weapon's producer has dismissed the criticism, saying the soldiers lack training.

The M-120-15 Molot is Ukraine's newest mortar launcher. Produced by the Kiev factory Mayak, the design is basically a reworking of the old Soviet 2B11 Sani mortar. The Ukrainian Defense Ministry ordered the development of the Molot when its stockpile of Sani mortars left over from the Soviet era began to run short, with the ministry wanting a domestically-produced model in series.

The process apparently was completed in haste. According to Mayak, it took it only two months to finish the redesign. The new mortar was said to be made of better material and be more reliable than its Soviet predecessor. The specifications provided by the producer were almost identical to those of the prototype, although the Molot's rate of fire was reduced to 12 rounds per minute compared to the Sani's 15 rounds per minute.


George Washington University hires de-radicalized Islamist as researcher in its homeland security center

© Ahmed Jadallah / Reuters
George Washington University has hired a former Al-Qaeda recruiter and founder of a jihadist propaganda outlet to work as a researcher at its center on homeland security. He is the first "de-radicalized" Islamist in the US to be offered such a role.

Jesse Morton, a former Al-Qaeda propagandist previously known as Younus Abdullah Muhammad who publicly vowed to "terrorize American unbelievers" and destroy society by waging jihad, was dubbed by the New York Timesone of the "most prolific recruiters for Al-Qaeda."

Now he has been hired as a researcher by George Washington University's Center for Cyber and Homeland Security, reports the New York Times.

"As many people as may have traveled, or may have committed criminal acts, because of my words, I hope that I can deter just as many," he told the newspaper when asked if the public can trust his sincerity.

"I may never be able to repair the damage that I have done, but I think I can at least try."


Plane makes emergency landing after multiple passengers and crew sustain injuries due to severe turbulence

© united / Instagram
Twelve people were hospitalized after a transatlantic United Airlines flight was forced to make an emergency landing in Ireland.

The Boeing 767-300 was en route from Houston, Texas to London Heathrow when "severe" turbulence forced the plane, with 207 passengers and crew of 13 on board, to divert to Shannon Airport.

Of the 12 casualties initially treated at Limerick University Hospital, two are crew and 10 are passengers. The injuries are said to include cuts, broken bones and minor head trauma. Three children were among those treated.
"The aircraft diverted to Shannon Airport in Ireland where it was met by medical personnel. United Airlines is providing care and support to customers and crew of flight UA-880. We wish these passengers and crew a quick recovery from their injuries.

-United Airlines statement

Snakes in Suits

ACLU suing Alabama officials after woman was forced to remove headscarf for driver's license photo

© ACLU.org
Yvonne Allen
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is suing Alabama officials after a Christian woman was forced to remove her headscarf for a driver's license photo. The woman was told that only Muslim women are allowed to keep their heads covered.

When Yvonne Allen of Tuskegee went to renew her license at the local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in April, the clerk told her that she would have to take off her headscarf because "only Muslim women have the right to cover their hair in their driver license photos."

The comment upset Allen, who says wearing a headscarf is an "integral part" of her Christian beliefs.

"I raised the issue with the clerk's supervisor, but she too claimed that the rule was policy, adding that she was a Christian and does not cover her hair. I told the supervisor that while she is entitled to her interpretation of the Bible, so am I," Allen wrotein a letter published on the ACLU's website.

Allen says she wears a headscarf every day, to "be obedient to God's Word and show my submission to Him." She says she believes removing her headscarf in public is "extremely shameful" and "dishonors God."


Survey reveals British kids as young as 3 think they're 'fat & ugly'

© Suzanne Plunkett / Reuters
Children as young as three are showing signs of body image issues, such as rejecting food because they worry it will make them "fat," a survey of childcare professionals has revealed.

The research, conducted by the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years (PACEY), indicates that children start worrying about their weight as early as preschool. Nearly a third of childcare workers reported they have heard a child call themselves fat.



Whistleblower receives $22mn award for exposing Monsanto securities fraud; company pays a fine and no one goes to prison

© Charles Platiau / Reuters
An unnamed whistleblower responsible for exposing Monsanto's shady deals involving Roundup products to the federal government has been awarded over $20 million by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), in its second biggest payout in history.

The SEC Office of the Whistleblower Program was created by Congress in 2011 to provide monetary incentives for individuals to come forward and report possible violations of the federal securities laws to the SEC. Under the program, whistleblowers are encouraged to report financial mishandlings of over $1 million. For their services, whistleblowers receive an award of up to 30 percent of the monetary sanctions collected by the government.

The award of $22,437,800 given to an unnamed recipient, believed to be a former financial executive with Monsanto, was tied to an $80 million settlement between the SEC and Monsanto in February, lawyer in the case, Stuart Meissner said in a statement.

February's case settlement centered on Monsanto's reporting of revenue from its weed-killer Roundup generated through a corporate rebate program designed to boost product sales. Monsanto neither admitted nor denied the fraud charges and went on to settle the issue earlier this year.

"Without this whistleblower's courage, information, and assistance, it would have been extremely difficult for law enforcement to discover this securities fraud on its own," said Jane Norberg, acting chief of the SEC's Office of the Whistleblower.