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Tough-on crime challenger leading in race for district attorney in Portland, Oregon

mail vote
© Jenny Kane/APVoting-by-mail • Pioneer Square, Portland, Oregon • May 21, 2024
A centrist candidate who has vowed to be tough on crime was leading in the race for top prosecutor in Oregon's Multnomah County, home to Portland, in a contest that was seen as a referendum on voter concerns over homelessness, public drug use and disorder.

Nathan Vasquez led incumbent District Attorney Mike Schmidt in early returns Tuesday night. The progressive Schmidt took office during the social justice movement of 2020.

Schmidt's term began as the police killing of George Floyd in Minnesota sparked nightly protests in Portland and a larger national conversation about criminal justice reform. But in the past four years, progressive DAs and candidates in liberal bastions ranging from the San Francisco Bay Area to Seattle have faced setbacks as frustrations over public safety and homelessness have risen.

Now, political experts are looking to Portland to see whether such issues could spur a similar shift in the electorate. Schmidt is being challenged by Vasquez, one of his own deputies who has been a prosecutor in that office for over 20 years.

Comment: The public recognizes the importance of good laws and sincere promises by candidates to uphold them. Should they not live up to their mark, it is increasingly hard to eliminate them from the system.


Aircraft bump wings at Tokyo's Haneda Airport, latest 'rare' aviation accident in Japan

ANA emergency landing okinawa
© @tmnr815/TwitterFILE: Tokyo Haneda airport
The wingtips of two Japan Airlines (JAL) passenger planes collided at Tokyo's Haneda Airport on Thursday morning, local media reported.

JAL said the incident occurred at around 7:30 a.m. local time. Both aircraft sustained damage, but no injuries were reported, public broadcaster NHK said.

JAL Flight 503, bound for Hokkaido's New Chitose Airport, was backing out of its parking spot when it struck a plane moving forward into an adjacent parking spot.

Comment: This is notable because a similar incident occurred at a UK airport just a month ago. And in the past 6 months or so there have been a number of allegedly 'rare' aviation incidents involving Japanese airports and aircraft:

Cloud Grey

Tehran reveals more details of Raisi's helicopter crash

Comment: It looks more and more like it was a tragic accident...

© Azin Haghighi/MOJ News Agency/AFPRescue team members at crash site of helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi • Varzaghan, northwestern Iran • May 20, 2024
The helicopter carrying Iran's Ebrahim Raisi first went missing when his aircraft convoy encountered a cloud bank, the news agency IRNA reported late on Tuesday, citing the deceased president's chief of staff Gholam-Hossein Esmaili, who was travelling in one of the accompanying aircraft.

According to Esmaili, weather conditions early on were normal, but 45 minutes into the flight the pilot of Raisi's aircraft said he would increase altitude to avoid a cloud and ordered the two accompanying helicopters to do the same. Once they started to gain altitude, the two other helicopters suddenly lost sight of Raisi's aircraft, which had been flying in the middle.

"After 30 seconds of flying over the clouds, our pilot noticed that the helicopter in the middle had disappeared," Esmaili stated, adding that his aircraft went back and circled the area several times in search of Raisi's helicopter. However, it was forced to abandon the search attempts due to poor visibility, and landed shortly afterwards at a nearby copper mine.

According to Esmaili, he made several attempts to contact Raisi's aircraft through radio devices, and was able to reach Mohammad Ali Ale-Hashem, an East Azerbaijan imam who accompanied the president. Ale-Hashem was able to convey that the president's helicopter had crashed into a valley.

Esmaili was cited as saying:
"When we found the location of the accident, the conditions of the bodies indicated that Ayatollah Raisi and other companions had died instantly but Ale-Hashem... after several hours."


Ex-CDC director: It's high time to admit 'significant side effects' of COVID-19 vaccines

CDC Dr. Robert Redfield covid vax side effects
© Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty ImagesThen director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr. Robert Redfield, holds up a document while testifying in Washington, DC, on Sept. 16, 2020 in ()
Dr. Robert Redfield, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said Thursday that many officials who tried to warn the public about potential problems with COVID-19 vaccines were pressured into silence and that it's high time to admit that there were "significant" side effects that made people sick.

Dr. Redfield made the remarks in a May 16 interview with Chris Cuomo on NewsNation, during which he lamented the loss of public confidence in public health agencies because of a lack of transparency around the vaccines, which he said "saved a lot of lives" but also made some people "quite ill."

"Those of us that tried to suggest there may be significant side effects from vaccines ... we kind of got canceled because no one wanted to talk about the potential that there was a problem from the vaccines, because they were afraid that that would cause people not to want to get vaccinated," Dr. Redfield said.

Bizarro Earth

How did police miss Brian Lush's body? Human error — or policy gaps — may have played a role

brian lush
© Submitted by Chloe WhiteBrian Lush is seen here with his daughter, Chloe White. Ontario police said Monday that his body had been found but aren't saying why investigators didn't discover it in his trailer, where he was last seen.
It sounds like the start of a true crime documentary: a search for a missing man ends with his body found in the trailer of a truck. The twist, of course, is that the missing man had been driving that truck — and it's precisely where he was last spotted alive.

For Brian Lush's family, it's a bizarre tragedy that they're now forced to cope with, after the remains of the 51-year-old trucker were discovered in his rig's trailer in Port aux Basques, N.L., on the truck's way back home from Ontario.

Lush was last seen around his rig at a gas station in Summerstown, Ont., on April 24. Ontario Provincial Police investigators said at the time that security video showed Lush walking around the side of the truck and out of frame.

Comment: Is this a case of Missing 411 or simply human error and/ or policy gaps?

Eye 2

Germany decriminalizes possession of child porn

germany decriminalise
Germany's Parliament (Bundestag) has received the votes necessary to remove a section of the Criminal Code which made the possession of child sexual abuse materials a felony crime. Once the bill, passed last Thursday, comes into effect, minimum sentences for the possession of child pornography will be reduced, and the offense will be downgraded to a misdemeanor.

According to the Bundestag, the bill stipulates that "possession and acquisition should be punishable with a minimum penalty of three months' imprisonment, and distribution with a minimum penalty of six months' imprisonment, and distribution with a minimum penalty of six months' imprisonment. The offenses regulated in Section 184b of the Criminal Code are therefore classified as misdemeanors and not as crimes."

Comment: Notably, after Reduxx posted this article on X, Community Notes initially attempted to discredit the framing of the story, however, unusually for CN, they later retracted their correction:
The @CommunityNotes is completely incorrect, and appears to have been written by a political operative who has been spamming every related post on the issue with the same misinformation.

While some in the Bundestag claimed their intention was to prevent innocent CSAM reporters from being accidentally prosecuted, the law did not single them out for amnesty. It is a wholesale reduction in the penalties associated with the distribution, possession, or acquisition of child pornography. Not just for those innocently reporting CSAM, but for everyone charged with the distribution, possession, or acquisition of child pornoraphy.

If the Bundestag wanted to provide legal pathways to prevent those innocently reporting CSAM to authorities from being caught up in a legal web -- it could have done that. Instead, it passed a broad-sweeping bill to drop these charges to a petty misdemeanor.

The overwhelming majority of those who will benefit are pedophiles, hence the opposition this bill received from German child safeguarding groups and the German political opposition. As always, ALL of Reduxx's articles are extensively sourced (with hyperlinks made available in the article), and this particular piece was written in collaboration with German safeguarding advocates who provided all of the translations we used.
Whilst the outlook for Western nations generally is rather bleak, Germany in particular seems to be rather typically industrious in its deterioration:

Stock Down

World's central banks buy record $24 billion in gold in first 3 months of 2024

© Metals Focus, Refinitiv GFMS, World Gold Council
Central banks are in the midst of a gold buying spree, according to new numbers from the World Gold Council (WGC).

The organization says central banks added $24 billion of gold, weighing 290 tonnes, to their coffers in the first quarter of this year.

That's the strongest level of net demand for any quarter on record, using data that dates back to the year 2000.

The WGC says China, Turkey, India and Kazakhstan are driving much of the demand for the precious metal.

"Many have attributed central banks' ongoing voracious appetite for gold as a key driver of its recent performance in the face of seemingly challenging conditions: namely, higher yields and US dollar strength. And despite the high bar set in the last two years, the voracious buying has continued into 2024 in the face of the renewed gold price rally...

Comment: The price of gold is at record highs, but it's being bought in record quantity, and China is dumping record amounts of US treasuries, meanwhile the West has resorted to stealing assets from Russia (and Afghanistan), it's concocting ever more sanctions against the multipolar alliance, and it's intensifying its warmongering:

Bad Guys

Royal Marine accused of spying for Hong Kong found dead in park under 'unexplained' circumstances

Matthew Trickett
Matthew Trickett, 37 was found dead in a park near his home just days after being charged with carrying out surveillance and hostile reconnaissance on pro-democracy activists in the UK for the Hong Kong intelligence service
A Former Royal Marine accused of spying for Hong Kong has been found dead in 'unexplained' circumstances last night.

Matthew Trickett, 37 was found dead in a park near his home just days after being charged with carrying out surveillance and hostile reconnaissance on pro-democracy activists in the UK for the Hong Kong intelligence service.

The suspected spy, who worked as an immigration enforcement officer for the Home Office, due to appear at the Old Bailey on Friday charged with betraying his country.

In a statement, his family said: 'We're mourning the loss of a much-loved son, brother and family man.'

Speaking of the Royal Marine's death, a local resident told MailOnline: 'This has been extremely disturbing for residents.

Comment: Considering the numerous suspicious deaths linked with the UK's security services, as well as the often weak links they allege the victims had with other nations - and it's usually nations the UK is hostile towards - it remains to be seen just what happened here.

Notably, it was the West that was found to be fomenting unrest during the unusually violent Hong Kong riots, and both the US and UK have recently complained of how much difficulty their own spies are having in penetrating China:


Julian Assange wins right to appeal against extradition to US

stella assange
© ReutersStella Assange, wife of the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, outside of the High Court after the ruling
Julian Assange has been granted leave to mount a fresh appeal against his extradition to the US on charges of leaking military secrets and will be able to challenge assurances from American officials on how a trial there would be conducted.

Two judges had deferred a decision in March on whether Assange, who is trying to avoid being prosecuted in the US on espionage charges relating to the publication of thousands of classified and diplomatic documents, could take his case to another appeal hearing.

On that occasion, Dame Victoria Sharp and Mr Justice Johnson ruled he would be able to bring an appeal against extradition on three grounds, unless "satisfactory" assurances were given by the US.


Victory: Federal Court rules University of Colorado vaccine policies "motivated by religious animus"

© denverjeffrey/flickr
The United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit reversed a lower court decision on May 7, 2024, issuing a 55-page ruling holding that the University of Colorado Anschutz School of Medicine's policies refusing religious exemptions to its COVID-19 vaccination mandate were "motivated by religious animus" and unconstitutional under the First Amendment's Religion Clauses.

In addition to finding religious animus, the Court found that the vaccine mandates of the University's Anschutz Medical Campus granted "exemptions for some religions, but not others, because of differences in their religious doctrines" and granted "secular exemptions on more favorable terms than religious exemptions," all of which was illegal. The court also reaffirmed the First Amendment principle that government may not test the sincerity of employees' religious beliefs by judging the legitimacy of those doctrines. The Court also held that the University's mandates violated "clearly established" constitutional rights.