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Lebanon restores power after shortages at country's two biggest power stations cause widespread blackouts

Electricity cables
© Reuters
Electricity cables are seen in Tyre, Lebanon July 18, 2020.
Lebanon's power supplies were back to normal on Sunday after a blackout the previous day when the country's two biggest power stations shut down because of a fuel shortage, the Energy Ministry said.

The closure piled further hardship on Lebanese struggling with job losses, soaring prices and hunger wrought by the country's worsening financial meltdown.

The ministry said it had received central bank approval for $100 million in credit to issue fuel import tenders for electricity generation, adding the country's grid had resumed supplying the same amount of electricity as before the complete outage.

Comment: On September 17th it was reported that Iran began oil shipments to Lebanon: Lebanon is under maximum pressure, and the target is Hezbollah: Iran sends its support

But it's not just hard hit Lebanon struggling through this energy supply crisis:


DeSantis offers the solution to supply-chain issues Newsom has exacerbated

© Wilfredo Lee/AP
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis
We have a supply chain problem in this country, as illustrated by empty shelves and delayed products in every retail chain and small enterprise. Everything from electronic equipment, to appliances, to fresh dog food, is in limited or non-supply because of this.

While Governor Gavin Newsom preens, postures, and belches out brags on how the State is doing better than Texas and Florida, he is doing nothing to resolve the issue of ships at the Port of Los Angeles being unable to dock and unload billions of dollars in goods.

Tallahassee, FL's WTVY reports:
The coronavirus pandemic has triggered a global supply chain problem. As of Sunday, an estimated 500,000 shipping containers were sitting on cargo ships off the Southern California coast. Ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach, California, recently broke records for the number of cargo ships waiting to dock. Those ships are carrying a variety of products for the American market, everything from sneakers to toys, to toilet paper.
This massive logjam of ships sitting idle at the port may have factored into the cause of the oil spill in Huntington Beach, CA (Orange County).


Hundreds of Los Angeles firefighters file notice of intent to sue over COVID vaccine mandate

Fighting fire
© AP/Ringo H.W. Chiu
Firefighter battles blaze
Los Angeles faces a broadening lawsuit as 871 city firefighters have filed a notice of intent to sue over the public employee vaccine mandate passed by City Council, seeking $2 million per plaintiff.

Sandra Mitchell reports for the KTLA 5 News at 6 on Oct. 8, 2021.

Comment: LA firefighters are turning up the heat on this smoldering issue:
The notice (pdf), filed Oct. 7, said the 871 firefighters are seeking $ 2.5 million each in damages. Kevin McBride, attorney for the firefighters, wrote:
"The claims will be filed in Superior Court as an unlimited civil case in accordance with the California Code of Civil Procedure."
Los Angeles City Council in August issued an ordinance (pdf) requiring all city employees to have received a second dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine, or a single dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by the 5th October, unless there is a medical or religious exemption. According to the ordinance:
"The goal of the city is to have a vaccinated workforce. As such, employees will not have the option to 'opt out' and be subject to weekly testing."
The mayor's office announced that exempt and unvaccinated employees would still need to be tested regularly for COVID-19.

McBride said in the notice of intent, citing orders given to Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) firefighters, that those who are not exempt or fully vaccinated by the "strict deadline" of October 20 will be sent home. for five days without pay, and if they still decide not to get vaccinated after another five days, their employment will be terminated.

The attorney wrote that the vaccination order is "manifestly unlawful conduct," citing several reasons, including: interference with labor rights; inflict emotional distress; violation of constitutional privacy rights; and violation of the protection of human subjects in the act of medical experimentation.

The plaintiffs are members of the United Firefighters of Los Angeles (UFLAC). The union stated its position in an October 4 newsletter,
"[T]The city cannot impose any consequences relevant to the October 5 deadline 'to be vaccinated against COVID-19, adding that the city ordinance' does not provide for any consequences, and any planned discipline must first be negotiated with UFLAC.

"Additionally, the city has not provided any notice to UFLAC that it intends to discipline employees for failing to meet the October 5 deadline."
The city has 45 days to evaluate the document, after which the lawsuit will be filed immediately.

Los Angeles city attorney Mike Feuer said in a statement to KTLA:
"The US Supreme Court and courts across the country have upheld the vaccine mandates ... I am confident we will prevail."
Those who intend to sue the city comprise about one in four of the city's firefighters. According to the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) website, it has 3,435 firefighters.
See also:


The American mom sued for asking a school why it teaches CRT: 'Teaching kids about race & gender? You're stealing their innocence'

Nicole Solas mom sued crt school curriculum
© RT
Nicole Solas is being sued by her school district for attempting to find out the curriculum being taught in her child's kindergarten class
The teaching of critical race theory's a controversial topic for many US schools, and one parent's seemingly innocuous enquiry about it has really lifted the lid on the whole can of worms.

Four months ago, Rhode Island mom Nicole Solas, 38, asked the principal of her child's kindergarten whether the kids would be learning about critical race theory (CRT). Not all parents in the US are happy about its being taught, with some being concerned it focuses on skin colour rather than individual merit, and thereby creates the very institutional racism its teaching is supposed to eradicate.

Solas' concerns, however, went deeper. She also asked the principal whether the children were going to learn about gender theory.

"And it turns out they would be," she told RT. "They said they don't call kids 'boys' and 'girls', and they don't use gendered terminology. [As for] the First Thanksgiving, they ask kids what could have been done differently."

Comment: Ms. Solas in not alone in her concerns: Guilty conscience: School district tells principals to create fake curriculum to send parents after complaints of indoctrination

Eye 1

Police arrest far-right leaders after 10,000+ attend vaccine mandate protest in Italy

italy vaccine pass

Thousands of people marched against a mandatory COVID certification on Saturday in Rome
Protesters had violently clashed with police during the rallies against a government rule requiring COVID-19 vaccines or negative tests to access workplaces.

Comment: The original title of this article was: Italy: Police arrest far-right leaders after anti-vaccine riots', but, as evidenced by just the first line, this wasn't about being 'anti-vaccine', this was against the rule mandating coronavirus vaccines in the workplace. And, as has been the case in protests elsewhere across Europe, it's highly likely that some in attendance will have already been vaccinated. What they are protesting is the enforcement of 'certificates' that threaten to split society, that will cause those who do not have them to be barred from employment that could, ultimately, leave them destitute.

Thousands of people marched against a mandatory COVID certification on Saturday in Rome

Rome police on Sunday said they arrested 12 people after protests against Italy's COVID "green pass" turned into serious riots.

Two leaders of the extreme far-right party Forza Nuova, Giuliano Castellino and Roberto Fiore, were present during Saturday's violent protests. They were among the 12 arrested, police said.

Comment: Protests against the mandates have been continuing elsewhere throughout Europe:





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Mr. Potato

CNN head clown Acosta smacks Andrew Yang for daring to talk to 'bad person' Tucker Carlson

andrew yang jim acosta cnn
Acosta to Yang: "Tucker's a meanie. Don't talk to him any more."
CNN host Jim Acosta used his interview with former Democrat presidential candidate Andrew Yang to dress down the politician for committing the ideological sin of talking to Fox News ratings king Tucker Carlson.

"Tucker Carlson, I mean, let's just say he's just a bad person, and he represents so much of what is wrong in television news these days," Acosta told Yang on Saturday. "You know this all too well: He spouts off white nationalist talking points. So why would you even go on his show?"

The rebuke came after Yang appeared on Tucker Carlson Today on Thursday to discuss his decision to leave the Democrats and form a new party.

Oil Well

US oil benchmark tops $80 per barrel for first time in 7 years

oil rig
© Pixabay / Pexels
The price of US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil exceeded $80 per barrel for the first time since November 2014 this week following reports that Washington will not tap the nation's oil reserves to curb gasoline prices.

Global oil prices accelerated growth on Friday evening, with the value of November futures on WTI growing by 1.99% to $79.89 per barrel after briefly breaching the $80 benchmark - on course for a seventh straight weekly gain amid tightening supply. The price of December futures for global benchmark Brent crude also increased by 1.56% to $83.21 per barrel.

Comment: 19+ months of lockdown created backlogs and shortages have accelerated the already soaring prices of commodities:


16 dead after plane carrying parachutists crashes in Russia

plane crash russia october 2021
© Russia Emergencies Ministry/TASS
Sixteen people were killed after an aircraft carrying parachutists crashed in central Russia on Sunday, the emergencies ministry said.

The L-410 plane carrying 22 people crashed around 9:23 a.m. local time (0623 GMT) during a flight over the republic of Tatarstan, the ministry said on its Telegram channel.

"Six people were rescued, 16 were taken out without signs of life," the ministry said.

Comment: Whilst in some instances lax standards and accidents will be to blame, does that account for the numerous and seemingly increasing number of plane crashes reported across the globe in recent years?

Bizarro Earth

Russia's latest prison torture scandal, like Guantanamo, shows the worst human rights violations happen out of sight, out of mind

Russia prisons torture

RT composite of clips purporting to reveal shocking torture and abuse in Russia’s prisons.
A series of horrific videos of prison abuse rocked Russia this week. In reality, though, it's nothing new and the failure to tackle this long-standing issue that few want to talk about is an institutional failure of the state.

Now behind bars in Tbilisi after a dramatic arrest last week, former Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvili must be hoping that prison conditions have improved since his days in charge of the country. In 2012, a massive scandal rocked the small Caucasus nation after clips emerged showing physical abuse of prisoners in its penitentiary institutions. These included a film of a prisoner being sexually abused with a broom handle. The scandal helped delegitimize Saakashvili's government and contributed to his eventual fall from grace.

Comment: For RT, Gabriel Gavin reports:
Barbarism behind bars: Rape & torture in Russia's prisons laid bare by thousands of leaked videos, human rights activists tell RT

A decade ago, Vladimir Osechkin was sentenced to seven years behind bars over fraud allegations brought by the daughter of an influential Moscow politician. Released quickly on parole, he left the country as soon as travel restrictions imposed upon him were relaxed and is still reportedly wanted for questioning on a number of charges. Now, though, as the founder of human rights group Gulagu.net, he has managed to upend the country's penal system from afar.

Earlier this week, a tranche of videos that Osechkin and his colleagues say were taken by officers inside a prison hospital in Russia's Saratov region have caused shock and outrage in the country. In one, a man believed to be an inmate at the tuberculosis facility can be seen laying strapped to a bed and screaming while staff repeatedly violate him with a stick in a horrifying minutes-long ordeal.

Other clips released by Gulagu.net claim to show prisoners being urinated on and forced to perform sexual acts in front of the camera. The outcry in the wake of their publication has even reached the Kremlin, with President Vladimir Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, saying that, "if the authenticity of these materials is confirmed, then of course it is a pretext for a serious investigation."

However, the director of the country's federal prison services, Alexander Kalashnikov, has quickly moved to dismiss four officers from the region over the incident. After the clips were released on Wednesday, the top penal boss fired Pavel Gatsenko, the head of the Saratov hospital where the incidents were alleged to have taken place, as well as a number of senior officials. Kalashnikov has apparently also moved to sack the overall head of Saratov's prison service, Colonel Alexey Fedotov, "for serious miscalculations in operational and service activities."

Among the four officers dismissed in Saratov is Sergey Maltsev, head of the institution's security department. Osechkin alleges that he was "the main proponent and organizer of the whole process... he co-ordinated it, led it, gave commands. He told them to make video recordings, he controlled them and took the results to security agencies." Osechkin alleges that the clips were later used to blackmail and coerce prisoners.

However, Osechkin told RT that the galling episode is just the first of a series of revelations that his group will publish over the course of the coming weeks. According to him, similarly shocking footage has been passed over featuring prisons like "SIZO-1 and SIZO-6 in Irkutsk, SIZO-1 in Vladimir, SIZO-1 in Omsk, SIZO-1 in Krasnoyarsk" and others. "We are reviewing the archive and publishing it step by step," he went on.

"We have identified almost everyone to whom this happened. Now, lawyers and investigators will be working with them and there are at least 10 criminal cases coming over these terrible acts. The perpetrators have been known for a long time," the activist added.

Snezhana Muntyan, a lawyer working with Osechkin and Gulagu.net, told RT that "I am currently representing three criminal cases of rape as a victim's representative in the proceedings." The cases, already ongoing, have been brought against officers by one man, but "there is informational about several more potential victims in similar cases so it is all just a matter of time. I think more will be made public in the near future."

Muntyan also revealed later on Thursday that she "now has 14 people in the process of giving statements. I am waiting for the right moment to request that the Investigative Committee opens a criminal case. And these are only the people who decided to report crimes made against them - most have already been released from custody and are free of threats within the system."

She also told RT that she was concerned some potential victims and witnesses might have been pressured into keeping silent, as not to make their time behind bars tougher. According to Muntyan, at least one inmate she spoke to "apparently feared that if he told the truth to his lawyer, and it became known to the staff, there could be negative consequences for him."

The alleged perpetrators of cruel sexual and physical abuse in Russia's prisons will apparently go to any lengths to prevent themselves being convicted of heinous crimes and ending up behind bars. After all, they likely have a unique insight into just how bad the ordeal can be.
Despite this clearly being an ongoing scandal at Russia's prisons, It's notable that this expose comes not long after a hack that leaked footage of the mistreatment of inmates at a prison in Iran: Grim conditions in Iran's Evin prison revealed after hackers leak CCTV footage

See also:


Former journalist detained over comments about Chinese soldiers in war movie

Luo Changping

Luo Changping, who now runs a legal consultancy, was a well-known investigative reporter.
A former journalist has been detained in the southern island province of Hainan for making "insulting comments" about Chinese soldiers portrayed in a blockbuster movie about the Korean war.

Police in the Jiyang district of Sanya identified the 40-year-old man as Luo Changping in a statement on Friday. It said Luo was being held on the charge of "infringing the reputation and honour of national martyrs" and the case was being investigated.

China introduced a law in 2018 making it a criminal offence to defame or deny the deeds and spirit of the country's historic martyrs.

Comment: See also: