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Tue, 27 Sep 2016
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Evil Rays

Rise of the death culture: Murder rate in US up 11%, biggest increase since 1971

© Rick Wilking / Reuters
Violent crime is up by nearly 4 percent across the US, while seven cities drove the biggest single-year increase in homicide rates since 1971, says a newly released annual crime report that is causing ripples ahead of the first presidential debate.

The FBI's Uniform Crime Report (UCR) program defines violent crimes as those offenses that involve force or threat of force, and includes murder and non-negligent manslaughter, rape, robbery and aggravated assault. As the FBI's definition of rape was changed in 2015, the report contains figures pertaining to the "legacy" definition, the bureau said.

The annual UCR is put together by the FBI from data provided by law enforcement agencies around the country. The 2015 report was released Monday.

With an estimated 372.6 violent crimes per 100,000 inhabitants, the crime rate rose 3.1 percent in comparison to 2014.


Ya think? Exposed British doper Bradley Wiggins' doctor says therapeutic use exemption looks very suspicious

© Eric Gaillard / Reuters
Sir Bradley "Dopey" Wiggins.
A former team doctor who worked with Sir Bradley Wiggins says the decision to authorize the use of a powerful steroid for the five-time Olympic gold medalist before three important races "doesn't look right".

Prentice Steffen, who worked with Wiggins at Garmin Slipstream, says the sport's governing body was wrong to allow Wiggins the use of a powerful corticosteroid.

Therapeutic Use Exemptions allow athletes to take banned substances if there is a genuine medical need, but the timing of the British rider's TUEs have been called into question.

Comment: If they are so sick that they need to take banned substances, they shouldn't be competing in the first place.

Wiggins said his use of the drug was for legitimate medical reasons and that no rules were broken.

An asthma and allergy sufferer, he was allowed to use triamcinolone before three major races, including the 2012 Tour de France.

Comment: Of course it's suspicious. The doping system is set up so that the "chosen" athletes are given a free pass to dope, thus giving them a greater chance of winning. In other cases, athletes are not allowed to dope, thus keeping their countries off the podium. And others - like the Russians - are publicly vilified and banned for what all the big athletes are doing. It's a thoroughly corrupt system, subject to abuse and political agendas, and it deserves to be exposed.

Bad Guys

Watching the Killary-Drumpf debate? 26 sobering facts about the economy that every American should know

© Reuters/David Becker/Nancy Wiechec/Files
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (L) and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump are seen in a combination of file photos
Are you ready for the most anticipated presidential debate in decades? It is being projected that Monday's debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton could potentially break the all-time record of 80 million viewers that watched Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter debate back in 1980. Many Americans probably hope to see some personal fireworks between the two nominees, but the two candidates have both expressed a desire to focus on substantive issues. There will likely be quite a few questions about the economy, and without a doubt this is an area where Trump and Clinton have some very sharp differences. The mainstream media would have us believe that the U.S. economy is in pretty good shape, and if that was true that would seem to favor Clinton. But is it actually true? The following are 26 incredible facts about the economy that every American should know for the Trump-Clinton debate...

#1 When Barack Obama entered the White House, the U.S. government was 10.6 trillion dollars in debt. Today, the U.S. government is 19.5 trillion dollars in debt, and Obama still has several months to go until the end of his second term. That means that an average of more than 1.1 trillion dollars will be added to the national debt during his presidency. We are stealing a tremendous amount of consumption from the future to make the economy look much, much better than it otherwise would be, and we are systematically destroying the future in the process.

#2 As Obama prepares to leave office, the rate at which we are adding to the national debt is actually increasing. During the fiscal year that is just ending, the U.S. government has added another 1.36 trillion dollars to the national debt.

Comment: Best to get your own house in order. The 'government' won't be there when the economy goes sideways.


Tonight's presidential debate: Watch how it's staged and compare its superficiality with the evening news

Every television newscast: staged reality

Watch how tonight's Trump-Hillary debate is set up.

Are the two podiums the same size? No? Who has the bigger podium?

Is the lighting even, or are there shadows? Where do the shadows fall?

Is there blue color in the background, which exudes a "calming effect?"

How is the moderator, Lester Holt, lit? Is he spotlighted, haloed, to impart the sense that he's the ultimate authority in the room?

What about camera angles on the two candidates? Are they receiving the same coverage, or is one more prominent? Are there close-ups?

Will cameras impart a sense of distance, in order to reduce dramatic effect and give the impression that the whole event is somewhat monotonous?

People 2

'Transgender' couple gives birth

© facebook
Fernando Machado and Diane Rodriguez
Fernando Machado, who used to be a woman, met Diane Rodriguez, who used to be a man, on social media two years ago and started a relationship.

Ms Rodriguez made headlines in Ecuador in 2013 when she was the first transgender candidate to run for Government.

The couple decided to be just as public with their relationship, sharing pictures on Facebook.

Then they decided they wanted a child, and Mr Machado soon made the discovery he was expecting.

The couple were able to have a baby because neither had undergone corrective surgery.


More corporate hoarding: Nestlé outbids another town for control of the local water supply

© Raúl Hernández González/flickr
Nestlé dropped its conditions, including pump tests for quality, to win the bid.

Council of Canadians launches new Boycott Nestlé campaign in response to company's continued water grabs

Corporate giant Nestlé continued its privatization creep on Thursday as it won approval to take over another Canadian community's water supply, claiming it needed the well to ensure "future business growth."

Nestlé purchased the well near Elora, Ontario from Middlebrook Water Company last month after making a conditional offer in 2015, the Canadian Press reports.

In August, the Township of Centre Wellington made an offer to purchase the Middlebrook well site to protect access to the water for the community. Consequently, the multinational—which claimed it had no idea the community was its competitor—waived all its conditions and matched the township's offer in order to snag the well for itself.

Those conditions included conducting pump tests to determine if the watershed met the company's quality and quantity requirements, the Canadian Press reports.

Comment: The ongoing travesty that is the Nestlé corporation:


Divide and conquer: German anti-immigrant AfD gains record high support

© Thomas Peter / Reuters
The right-wing, Eurosceptic Alternative for Germany Party (AfD)'s nationwide support has hit a record high. Meanwhile, traditional German establishment parties gradually lose public backing, a new poll shows.

Nationwide public support for AfD has risen to 16 percent, beating the right-wing party's previous May record of 15 percent, a DeutschlandTrend survey, conducted by market research company TNS Infratest for Germany's public broadcaster ARD.

In comparison to the previous DeutschlandTrend survey conducted on September 1, AfD got two more percentage points, ARD reports. Now, it takes the third place among Germany's major parties, and falls behind the two major establishment parties, Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and their coalition partners, Social Democrats (SPD).


Severed head found in McKinley Park lagoon

A severed head and other body parts were found inside a garbage bag floating in the McKinley Park lagoon Friday morning on the South Side.

The human remains were found about 10 a.m. at the park at 2210 W. Pershing, according to Chicago Police.

A Chicago Park District worker found the bag during a routine clean-up and discovered the man's head and other body parts inside, a source said.

Cell Phone

Smartphone addiction: 15 million Britons check their smart devices at night

A third of the UK's smartphone users—an estimated 15 million people— are waking up in the middle of the night and checking their devices, new research suggests.

The study, published on Monday by business consultancy firm Deloitte, found that 10 percent of the 4,000 respondents reach for their smartphones immediately after waking up, and more than half check their devices within 15 minutes.

For the first time we have captured data on the UK population's nocturnal smartphone habits and have found that the smartphone is truly a 24/7 device," said Paul Lee, head of technology, media and telecommunications research at Deloitte.

Younger Britons are more likely to check their phones at night, with 50 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds admitting to doing it. Meanwhile, just 14 percent of over-65-year-olds said they did it.

Checking instant messages and social media were the most popular nocturnal activities, the study found.

Comment: Who needs sleep or friends when there's Pokemon to catch and new pictures on Instagram to peruse?

Star of David

'I still have nightmares': 13yo girl shot five times by Israeli soldiers interviewed by RT

© RT
A 13-year-old girl who was shot five times by Israeli soldiers has told RT she is still haunted by the incident, and hopes that soldiers will restrain themselves from shooting other "innocent children." Her father says he wants Israel to compensate his family.

Speaking to RT, 13-year-old Bara'a Owaisi said she had traveled to a West Bank checkpoint after dreaming about her aunt, who had been killed there.

"She called to me saying, 'I want to see you.' So I went to the checkpoint to see where my aunt died, because I miss her," Owaisi explained.

"The Israeli soldiers spoke to me, but I couldn't understand them, so some Arab workers explained. They asked me to take my bag off my back and put it down. I removed my bag. I said I wanted to see where my aunt died. They asked for my aunt's name and I answered...then they opened fire on me. The two soldiers said, 'This one is a terrorist,' and ordered the others to open fire," she said.

Comment: She doesn't mention anything about wanting to die as Israel claims: 'I came here to die': Israeli guards shoot unarmed 13yo Palestinian girl at West Bank checkpoint