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Fri, 24 Mar 2023
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Black Cat

Police Charge Protesters at Madrid Demonstration Against Economic Stranglehold

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© AFP Photo/Dominique Faget
Thousands of people protest against the Spanish government's latest austerity measures in Madrid. Spanish police fired rubber bullets and charged protestors in central Madrid early Friday at the end of a huge demonstration against economic crisis measures.
Spanish police fired rubber bullets and charged protestors in central Madrid early Friday at the end of a huge demonstration against economic crisis measures.

Thick smoke hung in the air from plastic bins set alight by protestors chased by police, who hit them with batons when some tried to reach the heavily-guarded parliament at the end of a mostly peaceful march.

AFP reporters at the scene said dozens of protestors lingered, some throwing bottles at police, near the Puerta del Sol, the big square at the heart of the city where a march of hundreds of thousands wound up late Thursday.

A police official told AFP that officers arrested seven people and six people were injured.

Earlier, workers protesting against crisis pay cuts and tax hikes filled the streets of several Spanish cities, yelling and whistling in anger as they branded the government's latest crisis measures "robbery".

Pirates

Drug Money Banking, Terror Dealings Exposed at HSBC

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International banking giant HSBC may have financed terrorist groups and funneled Mexican drug money into the US economy through its lax policies, a damning Senate report reveals. The bank's bosses have apologized for the misconduct.

David Bagley, HSBC's Head of Group Compliance, admitted during a Senate subcommittee hearing that the company had made a number of lapses, adding that he planned to resign.

"I recognize that there have been some significant areas of failure," Bagley told the US Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigation. "I have said before and I will say again: despite the best efforts and intentions of many dedicated professionals, HSBC has fallen short of our own expectations and the expectations of our regulators."

Irene Dorner, CEO and President of the bank's American operation (HBUS), told the panel that HSBC deeply regrets the lapses in oversight, apologizing for the company's mistakes.

Bad Guys

NASA Engineer's Experiment Proves That 6% of U.S. Drivers are 'Sadistic Animal Killers'

Mark Rober, an engineer at NASA with apparently a lot of spare time on his hands, designed an experiment in which he placed rubber animals on the side of the road to see how many cars go out of their way to run over them - and the results are not reassuring.

Rober found that about 6 per cent of the 1,000 drivers he observed would swerve out of their lane just so they could squish an animal, albeit a rubber one, with their vehicle.
The 6%_1
© YouTube
Roadkill experiment: Mark Rober has found that 3.2 per cent of drivers were eager to run over a rubber tarantula, followed by 1.8 per cent who went after a snake and 1 per cent who had no qualms with killing an innocent turtle.
The young engineer, decked out in a white lab coat, alternately placed a rubber spider, a tarantula, a turtle and a snake - with a leaf as a control object - on the shoulder of a road.

In an entertaining YouTube video below, presenting his findings in the form of charts drawn with colorful crayons, Rober points out that 94 per cent of the motorists stayed their course and ignored the animal in the road.

The remaining six per cent, however, deliberately ran over the critters, although they were placed outside their driving path and presented no danger to them even if they were real.
The 6%_2
© YouTube
Test subjects: Rober alternately placed a turtle, a spider, a snake and a leaf as a control object on the shoulder of a road.
'One thing that might explain the higher numbers here - in case people question my methods - is that I used a tarantula,' Rober points out in the video below.

Fish

Killer Whales Were Ill Treated at SeaWorld

A new book examining the dark side of keeping killer whales in captivity has slammed SeaWorld for its treatment of the enormous beasts and for massive safety failings which still haunt the world famous marine parks.

Claiming that the 12,000 pound animals are self harming and that staff are inadequately prepared for another killer whale attack incident, Death at SeaWorld has been published two-and-a-half years after the death of trainer Dawn Brancheau in Orlando.
SeaWorld Killer Whales_1
© AP
A new book has produced a damning verdict on SeaWorld and the future of keeping killer whales in captivity in the wake of trainer Dawn Brancheau's death at the hands of Tilikum (pictured) in 2010.
Brutally butchered in February 2010 by a killer whale named Tilikum, the book states that such an event was inevitable and that these kinds of tragic occurrences will continue if the animals continue to be treated in the same way.

Written by New York City reporter David Kirby, Death at SeaWorld claims that killer whales kept in captivity suffer immense emotional and psychological trauma and spoke to former trainers and campaigning animal rights advocates to present his damning case.

Staff interviewed by Kirby told him of killer whales destroying their teeth on metal gates and then subsequently having those teeth removed by staff wielding power drills.

In addition, he claims that calves are separated from their mothers causing both parent and child massive distress and in one instance almost leading to a fatality as an irate mother took out her anger on a trainer at SeaWorld's San Diego headquarters.
SeaWorld Killer Whales_2
© AP
Killer: The six-ton whale was is allowed limited appearances in SeaWorld shows and it is alleged that he is being used as a semen donor for the park's artificial insemination program.
Furthermore, Kirby claims that staff are instructed to get Tilikum to come out of the water and roll and then masturbate him with a gloved hand, collecting the semen for the park's artificial insemination program.

Green Light

Bay Area Drivers Could Be Tracked By GPS, Taxed Per Mile Driven

cars, traffic
© David McNew/Getty Images
Oakland, California - Bay Area drivers could one day be tracked using a GPS-like device in their cars and taxed per miles driven - a scenario which is part of a proposed long-range study aimed at finding ways to reduce traffic and pollution, while also raising revenues.

Members of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Association of Bay Area Governments are scheduled to vote on Thursday on whether or not to authorize a study of the proposal. Under the plan, drivers would have to install trackers in their vehicle and officials would tax drivers for every mile they travel.

Randy Rentschler with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission said this is a 20-year look at what may be best for transit funding and as always, there is going to be a concern from consumers about government tracking.

Eye 1

Zimmerman: 'I'm Not a Racist and I'm Not a Murderer'


In his first television interview, George Zimmerman walked through his version of what happened the night he killed Trayvon Martin. He said he does not regret being armed, nor does he regret his actions.

Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, is charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of Martin, an unarmed black teenager, on Feb. 26 in Sanford, Fla. The case has become the focus of national media, and ignited an emotional debate over race and gun rights.

The 28-year-old son of a white father and Peruvian mother of Hispanic descent, Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty to the murder charge. He says he shot Martin in self-defense after Martin attacked him. He is currently out on bail.

Comment: For more information about this case please read:
Sott Focus: Hysterization Via Racism in the Trayvon Martin Case


Gear

'Lack of Evidence' That Popular Sports Products Work

Usain Bolt
© AFP
Puma shoes carried Jamaica's Usain Bolt to Olympic Gold in the 100-metre sprint in Beijing in 2008.
Consumers could be wasting their money on sports drinks, protein shakes and high-end trainers, according to a new joint investigation by BBC Panorama and the British Medical Journal.

The investigation into the performance-enhancing claims of some popular sports products found "a striking lack of evidence" to back them up.

A team at Oxford University examined 431 claims in 104 sport product adverts and found a "worrying" lack of high-quality research, calling for better studies to help inform consumers.

Dr Carl Heneghan of the Oxford University Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine led the independent research into the claims made by the makers of sports drinks, protein shakes and trainers.

In the case of Lucozade Sport, the UK's best-selling sports drink, their advert says it is "an isotonic performance fuel to take you faster, stronger, for longer".

Info

13-year-old girl in Fruitport launches grandmother's vehicle onto another in parking lot of Bed, Bath & Beyond

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© Courtesy Photo
A 13-year-old is facing possible charges after a bizarre accident in the parking lot at The Lakes Mall in Fruitport.
Michigan - A 13-year-old girl who apparently drove her grandmother's vehicle into several objects, including two other vehicles, before landing on top of another, could face criminal charges, authorities said.

Fruitport Township Public Safety Director Ken Doctor said the girl was waiting in her grandmother's vehicle outside Bed, Bath & Beyond at the Lakes Mall, on Harvey Street, around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday while the grandmother shopped.

The girl was inside the vehicle listening to the radio, Doctor said, before she drove the vehicle.

At some point the teen drove the vehicle into a tree, then struck a utility pole and hit at least two other vehicles before launching the grandmother's vehicle onto another vehicle.

Stormtrooper

TSA Agents Allegedly Strip-Search Woman, Fiddle with Feeding Tube

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A North Texas man says he is outraged that airport security agents at Dallas Love Field strip-searched his wife and handled her feeding tube.

Melinda Deaton has a four-inch medical tube sticking out of her stomach. The medically implanted tube is needed for treatment after complications with a gastric bypass surgery.

Deaton frequently flies from Dallas to Minneapolis for treatment at the Mayo Clinic. She said Transportation Security Administration agents strip-searched her and touched her feeding tube Wednesday morning when she was on her way to three days of treatment.

Her husband, John Deaton, said the incident was unusual.

"They will see it on their screens, ask her what it is, she'd identify it, they may pat it on the outside of her clothing, accept it and go on," he said.

But that didn't happen Wednesday morning.

Even though she was wearing a medical bracelet with a USB drive on it that contained notes from her doctor, TSA agents still searched her.

Rocket

55 years ago, 6 stood under A-bomb blast on purpose


Fifty-five years ago today, five Army officers and a photographer stood directly under a 2-kiloton atomic blast at the Nevada Test Site, about 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas, and survived.

The five officers, who volunteered for the duty, and the cameraman, who did not, designated the July 19, 1957, test site with a hand-lettered sign as "Ground Zero, Population 5," KPLU, a Seattle/Tacoma-based NPR station, said in a story marking the 55th anniversary of the blast.

The intent of the Cold War test was to film the officers surviving the blast and convince U.S. military leaders of the time that using low-grade nuclear missiles in the air would be relatively safe for people on the ground, KPLU reported.

A movie, obtained from government archives by AtomCentral.com, shows two F-89 jets zooming into view and one shooting off the missile carrying the atomic warhead. The officers are shown waiting during a countdown for the missile to detonate 18,500 feet above them. One officer, wearing sunglasses, looks up as the warhead explodes, at first in silence, followed by a roar, after which the sky goes black and the air turns to fire.