Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Cheapskate mourner has been crashing every funeral at local church for 14 YEARS to tuck into free buffet at wake...

A phantom mourner who goes to every funeral at a local church to tuck into food at the wake has been slammed by grieving relatives.

It is claimed the unnamed woman has joined mourners at almost every funeral for the last 14 years and even chats to grieving family members and at one recent funeral ate buffet food ‘like there is no tomorrow’.

But it was revealed today that the bogus mourner is known to the local priest who said he had spoken to her and gleaned that she believes it is her “duty to attend as many church masses as possible.”

The bemused priest added that he could not stop her attending funerals, adding: “I can’t exactly say you can’t come here.” Full story...

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Operation wheelchair...

Are Facebook and Google the new colonial powers?

I was struck by a phrase from a recent essay on advertising and social media,You Are the Product: As Taplin points out, that remark ‘unwittingly revealed a previously unspoken truth: Facebook and Google are the new colonial powers.’

As you’ve no doubt noticed, the dominance of Facebook and Google in online advertising is now “in the news” for a variety of reasons: the possibility that agents of other governments influenced U.S. elections with media buys on Facebook; anti-trust concerns; the potential for these advert-tech giants to effectively silence legitimate online voices under the guise of limiting “fake news”, and of course, the ongoing issues of click fraud and the underperformance of digital ads.

The phrase that captures this broad narrative is: When an online service is free, you’re not the customer. You’re the product.

In other words, if you’re not paying for the service or content, then your information (harvested by Google, Facebook, et al.), your time online (i.e. your attention, a.k.a. eyeballs) and the content you create and post for free (videos of your cute cat, etc.) are the products being sold to advertisers at a premium. Full story...

'It's not even my biggest cock-up'

More than 250,000 people caught up in the Ryanair cancellation chaos will miss out on compensation but boss Michael O'Leary insists he won't quit and said: 'It's not my biggest cock-up'.

Passengers have been left stranded in Britain and abroad and forced to spend up to £1,500 of their own money on new flights to get home.

The debacle affecting two per cent of the airline's giant customer base could cost the airline £18million and knocked £500million off the airline's value yesterday.

During an extraordinary press conference in Dublin Mr O'Leary said: 'As the largest individual shareholder in Ryanair, I never give a rat's a** about the share price. I couldn't care less'.

He added: 'It's not my biggest cock-up. I have a litany of cock-ups in Ryanair over the past 25 years'. Full story...

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Facebook silences Rohingya reports of ethnic cleansing...

Rohingya activists—in Burma and in Western countries—tell The Daily Beast that Facebook has been removing their posts documenting the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya people in Burma (also known as Myanmar). They said their accounts are frequently suspended or taken down.

The Rohingya people are a Muslim ethnic minority group in Burma. They face extraordinary persecution and violence from the Burmese military; military personnel torch villages, murder refugees, and force hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes.

Human rights watchdogs say the persecution has intensified in recent months, and a top UN official described a renewed offensive by the Burmese military as “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.” Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees have fled to Bangladesh. Sen. John McCain, who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, has called for reduced military cooperation with the Burmese government because of the violence.

Rohingya people trying to use social media to share information about the attacks on them tell The Daily Beast they have had their posts removed and their accounts shut down, and that they hope Facebook stops silencing them. Full story...

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Monday, September 18, 2017

A word to the 1%


How big business got Brazil's poor hooked on junk food...

Children’s squeals rang through the muggy morning air as a woman pushed a gleaming white cart along pitted, trash-strewn streets. She was making deliveries to some of the poorest households in this seaside city, bringing pudding, cookies and other packaged foods to the customers on her sales route.

Celene da Silva, 29, is one of thousands of door-to-door vendors for Nestlé, helping the world’s largest packaged food conglomerate expand its reach into a quarter-million households in Brazil’s farthest-flung corners.

As she dropped off variety packs of Chandelle pudding, Kit-Kats and Mucilon infant cereal, there was something striking about her customers: Many were visibly overweight, even small children.

She gestured to a home along her route and shook her head, recalling how its patriarch, a morbidly obese man, died the previous week. “He ate a piece of cake and died in his sleep,” she said.

Mrs. da Silva, who herself weighs more than 200 pounds, recently discovered that she had high blood pressure, a condition she acknowledges is probably tied to her weakness for fried chicken and the Coca-Cola she drinks with every meal, breakfast included. Full story...

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Court asks if donkey at fault for mistaking orange sports car for carrot!!!

A court case has been in session in Gießen this week over a rather unusual dispute: a hungry donkey, a bright orange Mclaren sports car and thousands of euros of damage.

On September 15th last year Markus Zahn parked his €300,000 bright orange Mclaren 650S Spider in a car park bordering a paddock in the state of Hesse.

To his misfortune, a donkey by the name of Fitus, who was grazing in the paddock at the time, decided to take a bite out of the car. Police speculated at the time that he had mistaken the garish vehicle for a a carrot.

After dropping off his health card, Zahn returned to his car, but was surprised to see a fluffy pair of ears in his rear wing-mirror, he told Bild. Full story...

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Accused of war crimes, Saudis investigate themselves and find no wrongdoing...

Amid international calls for an independent inquiry into Saudi war crimes in Yemen, the Kingdom has investigated itself and found it has done nothing wrong.

Countries including China, the Netherlands, and Canada have pushed forward with a U.N. Human Rights Council draft resolution to establish an independent investigation into Saudi war crimes against civilians in the small war-torn nation of Yemen.

This week, Human Rights Watch also accused the coalition of committing war crimes.

Though these allegations have been circulating and documented for years, little has been done to stop the Saudi attacks, and the Saudis and their U.S. and Arab allies have worked to undermine efforts to uncover wrongdoing.

“The minimal efforts made towards accountability over the past year are insufficient to respond to the gravity of the continuing and daily violations involved in this conflict,” U.N. human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein said in Geneva this week. Full story...

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Shashi Tharoor and the British in India...

Entire Philippine city police force fired over killings...

An entire city police force in the Philippines has been fired in metropolitan Manila after some of its members were suspected in the gruesome killings of three teenagers and others were seen on surveillance cameras robbing a house.

The 1,200-strong Caloocan city police force will be relieved in batches and replaced, said metropolitan Manila police chief Oscar Albayalde.

The officers will undergo 45 days of retraining, after which those facing no charges can be reassigned to other stations.

The Department of Justice has started an investigation based on a murder and torture complaint against four Caloocan policemen allegedly linked to the killing of 17-year-old student Kian Delos Santos during an anti-drug raid last month.

The parents of two other teenagers - 19-year-old Carl Angelo Arnaiz and 14-year-old Reynaldo de Guzman - have also filed murder, torture and planting of evidence complaints against two Caloocan policemen. Full story...

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Rohingya crisis: 'Last chance' for Aung San Suu Kyi...

Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi has "a last chance" to halt an army offensive that has forced hundreds of thousands of the mainly Muslim Rohingya to flee abroad, the UN head has said.

Antonio Guterres told the BBC unless she acted now, "the tragedy will be absolutely horrible".

The UN has warned the offensive could amount to ethnic cleansing.

Myanmar says it is responding to deadly militant attacks in northern Rakhine state and denies targeting civilians. Full story...

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Saturday, September 16, 2017

Edward Snowden just retweeted about the CIA being in “cahoots with Al-Qaeda...

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden created so much transparency when he leaked information about the NSA’s mass surveillance programs. He wasn’t the first to do so, but thanks to his and many others’ efforts, whistleblowers are now a major gateway to the truth behind the military industrial complex. It makes you wonder, what else does a man like this know? Surely there are more facts he is aware of, but hasn’t revealed. This, however, has not stopped him from retweeting some interesting things over the past few years. One of the latest relates to the CIA’s connection with terrorist organization Al-Qaeda.

The tweet concerns Even McMullin, a former operations officer for the CIA who also ran during the 2016 U.S. presidential election. He’s served as a senior adviser on national security issues for the House Committee on Foreign Affairs as well as a Chief Policy Director for the House Republican Conference in the U.S. House of Representatives. He has also worked as an investment banker.

Below is a the retweet from Snowden, where Dr. Max Abrahms, an assistant professor of political science and public policy at Northeastern University who specializes in international security, especially terrorism, posits the connection between the CIA and al-Qaeda.

McMullin responds by ridiculing the assertion, which should raise immediate red flags. You would think he would offer a respectful, intelligent response, but many within the intelligence community and the “1 percent” desire to make people feel stupid for even raising an issue like this in the first place. It’s reminiscent of other controversial issues today, like vaccines. When proper dialogue ceases, and one side uses ridicule to share their beliefs, it’s most likely that they have something to hide, and the tweet below this one perfectly illustrates that. Full story...

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Christian man in Lahore sentenced to death over blasphemous WhatsApp text...

A Christian man in Lahore has been sentenced to death for blasphemy after he sent a Muslim friend a poem on WhatsApp that insulted Islam, a lawyer said Friday.

The accused was charged in July last year after his friend, Yasir Bashir, complained to police that he received a poem on the messaging app that was derogatory toward the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) and other holy figures.

The accused “was handed a death sentence by the court on Thursday on blasphemy charges,” defence lawyer Anjum Wakeel told AFP, alleging that his client was been framed by Bashir.

“My client will appeal the sentence in the high court as he has been framed by his friend who was annoyed over his [the accused's] affair with a Muslim girl,” Wakeel said. Full story...

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Friday, September 15, 2017

The surprising place where cash is going extinct...

Half a dozen men crowd round one of the many small colourful wooden shacks off a main street in Hargeisa, Somaliland, shouting and arguing over the quality of khat – a mild narcotic that has been likened to both coffee and cocaine – that they’ve just been hastily handed by the vendor.

Customers quickly come and go, grabbing bundles of the green leafy, legal plant that they deem good enough before punching digits into phones and disappearing as quickly as they came.

“We need to do everything quickly, and paying with cash here is slow,” Omar, one of the khat sellers says as he chews on the green leafy plant himself. “It keeps people calm if they can get their khat quickly.”

No cash is transferred, and there’s not a credit card in sight. But customers haven’t got their daily khat fix for free; they’ve paid using their mobiles, transferring money on the sandy Somali street in seconds with little more than a mobile phone and a few numbers.

There are not many things tiny Somaliland can claim to be a world leader in, but cashless payments might be one. Full story...

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Paul McCartney's scrambled eggs which evolved into one of the most recorded songs of all time...

Tiny bodies of slain Rohingya children wash up on Bangladesh shores...

The tiny bodies of slain children, believed to belong to the desperate Muslim families fleeing the Myanmar ‘genocide,’ have reportedly washed up on shores of Bangladesh.

Unverified footage shows crowds of people surrounding the shallows of Naf River as a young boy helps pull lifeless children from the water and lays them on the sand.

An unidentified woman is also seen clinging to a silent infant. It is not clear from the footage as to whether the child is alive or not.

The ABC, which published the video, quotes relatives of the children as claiming the young were shot dead by Myanmar police during the crossing.

Since late last month, about 400,000 Rohingya villagers have escaped Myanmar for Bangladesh, with many of them dying trying. Full story...

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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Unsettling things your smartphone is quietly recording about you...

Apple’s new Face ID feature, which will let people unlock the forthcoming iPhone X by simply looking at it, has left some feeling deeply unsettled.

The new technology uses a series of sensors and cameras on the front of the phone to map and learn its owner's face over time. The company has lauded the new technology as the ‘future of how we unlock iPhones and protect sensitive information’.

During Apple's keynote event at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California, Phil Schiller, the company's Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing , attempted to preempt fears about Face ID by saying it only works when a user's eyes are open.

He also said the facial data the iPhone X collects is only stored on the device and not a server.

Yet people were quick to express discomfort about the idea of giving Apple the digital blueprint of their face. Full story...

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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Why nobody can trust Facebook...

It becomes harder and harder to overstate the corruption and treachery of the online ad industry. Lord knows I've tried.

Among its other accomplishments, Facebook has become famous for its lunatic metrics and bizarre rationalizations.

You would think a company that built its business on the promise of putting sophisticated data to work for advertisers would have the sense not to release numbers that are patently ridiculous.

But time and again Facebook has undermined its credibility by making claims that are easily proven to be false, and then defended these claims with statements that are absurd.

This week it was reported that Facebook was claiming to reach 41 million Americans between the ages of 18-24. If Facebook reached every American between 18 and 24 they'd still be 10 million short. There are only 31 million of them. Full story...

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Is Taylor Swift the mother of a lizard, a Satan-worshiper, a neo-Nazi Pizzagate truther or a clone?

Taylor Swift's new album has already been the subject of much online fretting after its release date was set for November 10 - the anniversary of the death of Kanye West's mom.

But even that bizarre claim of hyper-vindictive psychopathy comes up short next to the accusations being made by online conspiracy theorists.

They include claims that Swift's eerie marketing alternately proves that she is a space-faring snake-mother, a clone of herself, and an insider in Pizzagate - a conspiracy so preposterous that even Alex Jones said it was wrong - Wired reported.

In the lead-up to the announcement of her album, Swift, 27, posted a string of cryptic videos and images.

They included a series of Tweeted videos showing segments of a snake, concluding with the snake's head. The music video for Swift's first single, Look What You Made Me Do, also features snake imagery.

That, apparently, is all it takes to kick-start a string of crazy conspiracy theories. More + photos...

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IOC is 'doing nothing' about corruption crisis...

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has been accused of "doing nothing" about its growing corruption crisis, by senior official Dick Pound.

Several IOC officials have been implicated in corruption in 2017.

In the latest case, police last week raided the home of Carlos Nuzman, head of the Brazilian Olympic Committee, as they investigate "strong evidence" of vote-buying to secure Rio's 2016 bid.

"We've taken a severe hit in terms of credibility," Pound told BBC Sport.

"Every time another IOC member is implicated in something potentially nefarious we lose more credibility." Full story...

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Jim Carrey: It's all meaningless...

Myanmar Rohingya crackdown: Aung San Suu Kyi cancels UN trip amid global outrage...

Aung San Suu Kyi will focus attention on the "Rakhine terrorist attacks," her spokesman said, after announcing Wednesday the she will skip an upcoming UN General Assembly session in New York later this month.

Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, is facing global outcry over Myanmar security forces' fierce response to a series of Rohingya militant attacks in the western state of Rakhine. The military's brutal counteroffensive — which has been described by the UN as "ethnic cleansing" — has left hundreds dead and forced around 370,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee into neighboring Bangladesh in just the past three weeks.

(...)

Attacks by an insurgent Rohingya group on police outposts in late August has set off a wave of violence across Rakhine state. Next to the significant human cost of the conflict, thousands of homes and whole Rohingya villages have been burned down. Myanmar authorities deny that their forces have been setting the fires.

Suu Kyi — who is not the country's president in name but effectively serves as leader — has refused to condemn the military's violent crackdown, which in turn has led to calls that she be stripped of her peace prize. Full story...

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Anger as Singapore gets first female president without a vote...

Singapore got its first female president Wednesday, but the milestone was overshadowed by criticism that her selection was undemocratic after she was handed the job without a vote.

Halimah Yacob, a former speaker of parliament from the Muslim Malay minority, did not have to face an election for the largely ceremonial post after authorities decided her rivals did not meet eligibility criteria.

It was not the first time in the affluent city-state -- which is tightly controlled and has been ruled by the same party for decades -- that the government has disqualified presidential candidates, making an election unnecessary.

But there was already unease about the process as it was the first time that the presidency had been reserved for a particular race, in this case the Malay community. The decision to hand her the job without an election added to the anger.

Social media was abuzz with criticism as Halimah, a bespectacled 63-year-old who wears a headscarf, was formally announced as president-elect, with Facebook user Pat Eng writing: "Elected without an election. What a joke." Full story...

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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Looking to leave your homeland for police state USA? think again.

I really don’t like being a downer; better to avoid reality and watch gritty college football, American Idol, Mad Men, or Ellen DeGeneres. Or take up meditation or organic food. For sure.

Somewhere at the back of my consciousness I had been aware that the USA is a police state. I didn’t let it bother me though; it didn’t seem to interfere with my life agenda.

Perhaps I’m like millions of other immigrants who slide into an economy needing my talents and naivety, along with a fine education acquired elsewhere. No one needed to instruct me about surviving; it was evident: keep your head down (and uncovered), your mouth shut (about abuses you witness), work your butt off, and you may slip below the radar and pass as white. (I didn’t give the price of white privilege much thought, namely my ethnic pride and the challenge all the family faces holding to slivers of our heritage.) Notwithstanding my doctorate from U. London, my quoted academic papers and invitations to international conferences, I remained oblivious to inequities in US society. The police state seemed to operate only in sleazy corners of the underworld.

My career shift to journalism focusing on the Arab lands and my fellow Arab and Muslim peoples changed all that. Witnessing first hand the deceit and murderousness US embargo on Iraq championed by America’s free media, I matured.

I recall a NY gathering in the mid-90s, when those of us challenging US policies complained about newly threatened civil liberties. In response to our alarm, an African American colleague remarked:

“Ah, now you feel it. We have been living with this police terror for more than 400 years, since our arrival as slaves here. Now it’s reaching you (non-Blacks); now you too taste it.”

He had no sympathy for our anxiety. Full story...

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State owned Saudi propaganda tries to blame 9/11 on Iran...

State owned Saudi propaganda television channel Al Arabiya is set to release a “documentary” produced in the United States which seeks to implicate Iran in the 9/11 attacks whose 16 year anniversary will be commemorated this month.

The preposterously untrue Saudi claims come as new information in a 9/11 related lawsuit accuses Saudi officials of financing a “dry run” of 9/11 prior to the commencement of the atrocity.

While Saudi Arabia has long been implicated as a major architect of the attacks, Riyadh’s state owned media is instead trying to shift blame to Iran which no credible source has ever accused of having anything to do with 9/11.

While Iran and the United States no longer have formal diplomatic relations, the Islamic Republic of Iran was among the first countries to unequivocally condemn 9/11. Full story...

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In Singapore, Chinese dialects revive after decades of restrictions...

The Tok and Teo families are a model of traditional harmony, with three generations gathered under one roof, enjoying each other’s company over slices of fruit and cups of tea on a Saturday afternoon in Singapore.

There is only one problem: The youngest and oldest generations can barely communicate with each other.

Lavell, 7, speaks fluent English and a smattering of Mandarin Chinese, while her grandmother, Law Ngoh Kiaw, prefers the Hokkien dialect of her ancestors’ home in southeastern China. That leaves grandmother and granddaughter looking together at a doll house on the floor, unable to exchange more than a few words.

“She can’t speak our Hokkien,” Mrs. Law said with a sigh, “and doesn’t really want to speak Mandarin, either.”

This struggle to communicate within families is one of the painful effects of the Singapore government’s large-scale, decades-long effort at linguistic engineering. Full story...

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Sex abuse probe WILL investigate Ted Heath over paedophile claims...

The controversial investigation into allegations that Sir Edward Heath was a paedophile has been dramatically widened, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

Officials at Britain’s biggest ever public inquiry confirmed that they are to study the findings of an explosive police report into claims that the former Prime Minister was a child abuser.

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse – set up to investigate claims that a Westminster paedophile ring was covered up by the Establishment – will now look at the outcome of Operation Conifer, a two-year inquiry into Heath led by Wiltshire Chief Constable Mike Veale. His confidential report is due to be published in the next few weeks.

A spokesman for the IICSA told The Mail on Sunday last night: ‘In the context of the Westminster investigation, the inquiry will be interested to see and consider the outcome of Wiltshire Police’s investigation into allegations against Sir Edward Heath.’

It is believed to be the first time the inquiry has referred specifically to the Heath investigation. Full story...

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The ultimate weapon of mass destruction: “owning the weather” for military use...

Environmental modification techniques (ENMOD) for military use constitute, in the present context of global warfare, the ultimate weapon of mass destruction.

Rarely acknowledged in the debate on global climate change, the world’s weather can now be modified as part of a new generation of sophisticated electromagnetic weapons. Both the US and Russia have developed capabilities to manipulate the climate for military use.

Environmental modification techniques have been applied by the US military for more than half a century. US mathematician John von Neumann, in liaison with the US Department of Defense, started his research on weather modification in the late 1940s at the height of the Cold War and foresaw ‘forms of climatic warfare as yet unimagined’. During the Vietnam war, cloud-seeding techniques were used, starting in 1967 under Project Popeye, the objective of which was to prolong the monsoon season and block enemy supply routes along the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

The US military has developed advanced capabilities that enable it selectively to alter weather patterns. The technology, which was initially developed in the 1990s under the High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP), was an appendage of the Strategic Defense Initiative – ‘Star Wars’. From a military standpoint, HAARP –which was officially abolished in 2014– is a weapon of mass destruction, operating from the outer atmosphere and capable of destabilising agricultural and ecological systems around the world.

Officially, the HAARP program has been closed down at its location in Alaska. The technology of weather modification shrouded in secrecy, nonetheless prevails. Full story...

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Tamil Nadu conductor faces action as pigeon travels ticketless...

A conductor with the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (TNSTC) was issued a memo for letting a pigeon perched on the window of a bus travel without a ticket earlier this week. The pigeon in question was reportedly keeping a drunk passenger company from its perch in a window of the bus. .
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Late on Thursday evening, the only government bus connecting Harur town and Ellavadi, a remote tribal village, was on its way through a forest area with more than 80 passengers, when, just as it reached the outskirts of Harur, transport department inspectors flagged the bus to check tickets. At the time, the drunk passenger, in his mid-forties, had caught hold of the pigeon, and was "having a conversation" with it.

Noticing the bird, an inspector asked the conductor if he had issued the bird a ticket. For good measure, the inspector quoted a rule purportedly mandating tickets for animals and birds on the bus as well. The conductor said the passenger was not carrying the bird at the time of boarding. Not impressed, the inspector issued the conductor a memo.

An official quoted transport department rules as saying that conductors should collect one-fourth of the full fare when a passenger is carrying more than 30 pigeons at a time."The rules don't mention charging passengers for transporting one pigeon," he said. A senior TNSTC official in the Salem division said he would wait till Monday to see the memo the inspector submits. "Inspectors submit memos on Mondays. We will take appropriate action if any rule was broken," he said. .
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 Following the incident, a bus conductor said, crew operating government buses on the route are keeping an eagle's eye to ensure no birds fly into the bus. Source...

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Saturday, September 09, 2017

How to reprogramme your subconscious...

Woman, 49, given just months to live claims cannabis oil CURED her brain tumour after chemotherapy failed ...

A woman diagnosed with an incurable brain tumour has credited cannabis oil for making her cancer-free.

Lynn Cameron was told she had just 'six to 18 months' to live and was devastated when chemotherapy and radiotherapy were failing to reduce the deadly mass.

The 48-year-old began desperately researching alternative medicines and diets in a desperate bid to survive.

After she opted to try the oil when a friend suggested it, a scan later revealed the cancer had disappeared.

Lynn, from Blantyre, in South Lanarkshire, Scotland, told the Daily Record: 'I found it hard to believe that it would cure brain cancer so advanced. Full story...

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Declassified CIA docs say Hitler was alive and well in Argentina in the 1950s...

Declassified files show that in 1955, the CIA's Western Hemisphere Division (WHD) chief received a secret memo, boasting a subject line that no doubt caused him to jump up from his chair, and spew any liquid in his mouth across the room — "Operational: Adolf Hitler."

As the shocking title implies, the acting station chief in Venezuela claimed to have received a once in a lifetime tip from one of his contacts — a decade after his apparent death by suicide in the Fuhrerbunker, Hitler was in fact very much alive, and living in Argentina.

Hitler Oder Nicht?

In brief, one of the action station chief's informants, CIMELODY, was contacted by a trusted friend, former SS trooper Phillip Citroen, who claimed to have been in touch with Hitler — masquerading under the pseudonym Adolph Schuttlemayer — about once a month in Colombia, while there on a trip from Maracaibo as an employee of the Royal Dutch Shipping Company.

Citroen indicated to CIMELODY he had even taken a picture with the fallen Fuhrer, and a grainy snap is indeed included with the memo. Full story...

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Marriage most foul: the plight of young children married to Arab men old enough to be their fathers

Noorjahan (name changed) was like any other 15-year-old Muslim girl from the old city of Hyderabad — bound by tradition, and coy, but as impetuous as the average teenager. She wore a burqa to the government school where she studied and the garment helped hide her torn school bag, a mark of poverty. Noorjahan and her friends were pranksters and the one kilometre walk to school was never short on adventure.

Both Noorjahan’s house and school are located in the Muslim-dominated Nawab Saheb Kunta, a ghetto of labyrinthine lanes. This squatter settlement that came up on the bed of a pond is only a stone’s throw away from the Nizam-era’s opulent hilltop palace named Falaknuma, now a five-star hotel belonging to the Taj group. Wealth and poverty sit side by side in this area of the old city.

Noorjahan was different from her classmates. While everyone dreamt of lucrative careers post studies in professional courses, the young girl, perhaps acutely conscious of her modest family background, harboured dreams of becoming a schoolteacher. Though rated average by her class teachers, Noorjahan tried hard to score
better marks, recalls her primary schoolteacher, Amtul Habeeb. Full story...

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The Battle for Myanmar’s Buddhist spirit...

Protests across Asia over Myanmar's treatment of Rohingya Muslims...

Thousands of people took to the streets across Asia Friday to denounce Myanmar's treatment of its Rohingya Muslim minority.

At least 270,000 Rohingya have fled northern Myanmar into Bangladesh in the past two weeks, according to the United Nations refugee agency, roughly a third of all Rohingya living in the predominantly Buddhist country. More than 1,000 people have been killed in the violence, the UN estimates.

Political and Islamic groups, along with other civil society organizations, joined protests in Bangladesh's capital Dhaka Friday to urge Myanmar to "stop committing genocide" and take back those who have sought refuge elsewhere.

Placards and banners criticized Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
Protests also took place in Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia and Pakistan. Full story...

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Friday, September 08, 2017

The South Koreans are cool as ice, so why are we sweating?

ON WEDNESDAY, after another long day of reading non-stop articles about the pending threat to the world from the nuclear armed rogue state of North Korea, I got to feeling worried for the people of Seoul, South Korea.

With President Trump goading North Korea and Kim Jong-un goading President Trump, it must be a pretty frightening time to live there, I figured.

What I learned next surprised me.

South Korea is a pretty small country and its capital is located in the northern part, really not far from the border with North Korea. The city of about 10 million people is about an hour’s drive from the demilitarised zone that separates the two countries.

North Korea claims to have nuclear weapons that could reach America. That may be true, but their ability to wreak havoc on South Korea is undoubtable, nukes or not.

President Trump’s former strategist Steve Bannon gave his sense of what a major conflict might look like in an interview a few weeks back.

“Ten million people in Seoul,” Bannon said, could “die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons.”

Those poor South Koreans must be terrified, I thought. Full story...

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The world must stop Myanmar’s savagery against Rohingya...

.If the world has a conscience, it will do something about the unconscionable genocide against the Rohingya Muslim minority community in Myanmar, which has abdicated its duty as a nation.

The latest scrutiny of the Myanmar government was sparked by the recent flight of more than 123,000 Rohingya who crossed border into Bangladesh.

The name of Nobel Peace Prize Winner Aung San Suu Kyi has been blackened irreparably by her refusal as de facto head of the Myanmar government to stop the violence against a defenseless people who have tried to do nothing more than to live in the area they have occupied for hundreds of years. Her 21 years of house arrest in defiance of the junta that ruled the country until 2012 have been rendered meaningless.

This is only the latest incident in the long-running discrimination that has been perpetrated against the Rohingya. Ethnic-cleansing, discrimination, bigotry and violence have been visited on the Rohingya Muslims for decades. The misery they endure has materialized in every aspect of their lives. Although they had been living peacefully in Myanmar for many generations, they are still considered illegal immigrants in the place they call home. Full story...

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Hackers can spy on you and take over your smart devices by controlling Siri, Alexa, and Google Now...

Voice assistants, including Apple's Siri and Amazon's Alexa, can be controlled by hackers using inaudible voice commands, researchers at Zhejiang University in China have found.

This can be done using a technique that translates voice commands into ultrasonic frequencies that are too high for the human ear to recognise.

The technique, named DolphinAttack, could be used to download a virus, send fake messages and even add fake events to a calendar.

It could also give hackers access to outgoing video or phone calls, allowing them to spy on their victims.  Full story...

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Petition seeks to revoke Suu Kyi's Nobel over Rohingya crisis...

Thousands of people have signed an online petition calling for the Nobel committee to revoke Aung San Suu Kyi's peace prize over the Myanmar government's treatment of its Rohingya Muslims.

But the Norwegian Nobel committee has ruled out any such move, saying only that the work which led to the awarding of the prize was taken into account.

The Change.Org petition has gathered over 365,000 signatures as of Thursday, reflecting growing outrage over a massive security sweep in Rakhine state by Myanmar forces after a series of deadly ambushes by Rohingya militants.

"The de facto ruler of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi has done virtually nothing to stop this crime against humanity in her country," the petition says. Full story...

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Son of Philippines' Duterte linked to $125 million drug shipment as his father's drug war kills thousands...

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's son on Thursday told a Senate inquiry he had no links to a seized shipment of $125 million worth of narcotics from China, dismissing as "baseless" the allegations of his involvement in the drugs trade.

Opponents of the president, who has instigated a fierce crackdown on a trade he says is destroying the country, say they believe his son Paolo may have helped ease the entry of the drug shipment at the port in Manila, the capital.

On Tuesday, Duterte said he had told Paolo to attend the senate investigation if he had nothing to hide, besides advising him not to answer questions and invoke his right to keep silent.

"I cannot answer allegations based on hearsay," Paolo Duterte, the vice mayor of the southern city of Davao, told the Senate.

"My presence here is for the Filipino people and for my fellow Davaoeños whom I serve," he added, referring to the people of Davao, where his father served as mayor for more than two decades before being elected president in 2016.

 The Philippine leader has repeatedly said he would resign if critics could prove any members of his family were involved in corruption. Full story...

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