Friday, August 18, 2017

Body scanners being piloted in Los Angeles subway system...

Aiming to stay ahead of an evolving threat against transit systems worldwide, officials in Los Angeles are testing out airport-style body scanners that screen subway passengers for firearms and explosives.

As commuters raced to get on their trains Wednesday, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority launched a two-day pilot program. But officials quickly experienced a hiccup when a scanner being demonstrated Wednesday morning at Union Station malfunctioned before passengers could be put through the machine.

Metro is conducting the pilot program to evaluate the accuracy and capacity of the portable machines amid the hustle and bustle underground and determine if the scanners could become permanent fixtures in the Los Angeles transit system.

The machines use sensors to scan a person as they walk through, searching for firearms and explosive compounds, said Dave Sotero, a Metro spokesman. Passengers don’t need to unload laptops or take off their jackets or shoes as the radio waves scan them to detect anomalies. Full story...

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America - diminished and dismissed...

(...)

This summer I spent time in the UK, France and Spain.

In all three countries, leaders are trying to figure out how to get by without American leadership on critical issues like climate change and trade, while the general publics increasingly see the US as a non-entity.

It's not even seen as a joke, people are saddened by America's diminished global status.

Europeans have long had a complicated and somewhat insecure relationship with the US, part admiration, part jealousy, part irritation. But this year the reaction in Europe to America felt different.

Continental Europe is feeling more confident, the economy is doing better and far-right groups have been defeated at the ballot box. Even Britain's decision to withdraw from the EU doesn't get much attention - Brexit is old news in France and Germany. Full story...

How a Haitian village cooks with sunlight...


Lee Kuan Yew's grandson left Singapore because friends feared he would be detained...

A grandson of Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s late founding father and ruler for more than three decades, said he left the city state in July after friends expressed concerns he might be detained by the authorities in a contempt of court case.

"In Singapore, it is possible that one can be detained and interrogated for some time without a lawyer,” said Li Shengwu, whose uncle is the nation’s current Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, in an interview with Reuters. “My friends had warned me that they were concerned for my safety if I remained in Singapore."

Li declined to identify his friends or disclose if they had specific information. Reuters has no independent evidence that Li Shengwu faced any threats to his safety.

The Prime Minister’s Press Secretary Chang Li Lin said it was “not accurate” to make points about detention and interrogation. "This is a well-established legal process. Clear laws and procedures apply to all cases of contempt, including this case involving Mr Li," Chang said. "The courts will decide on the merits of the case." Full story...

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Pornhub reveals that yes, of course, tons of people are looking for boobs...

Have you heard? Boobs are back.

Yes, they have once again been christened trendy by the vague entity that decides such things. (We’ll give your eyes a second to stop rolling.) So Pornhub decided to have a look at how this renewed love of breasts is playing out in people’s porn habits.

It might not shock you to study tens of millions of individuals are in search of chest-heavy porn — the truth is it makes up about 1.5 % of all Pornhub searches day-after-day. However it turns on the market are a surprisingly giant variety of methods to seek for it. Full story...

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How Norway is selling out-of-date food to help tackle waste...

They might not taste quite the same,” says Naeeh Ahmed, 37, holding up for inspection a pack of Old El Paso soft tacos. The tower of boxes in front of him are three weeks past their best before date but Ahmed, operations manager at the Best Før supermarket in Oslo, says they’ll stay on display for a good few weeks yet. The same goes for the chocolate biscuits precariously piled up in the display – four weeks past their best before date – and the packs of Tassimo coffee pods that should have been sold in April. But all the prices reflect the product’s age: half-price for the tacos, two-thirds off the biscuits and, at 30 kroner (£3.66) for 32 pods, the coffee is also less than half its regular price.

It would be hard to find cheaper food in Oslo than that sold at Best Før. They flog the stuff that no one else has been able to get rid off. Products whose season has passed, or which have been overproduced, have been arriving at this small store since October last year when the mainstream Lentusgruppen supermarket chain heeded the call of the Norwegian government and decided to take food waste seriously. They established an offshoot in Oslo, the first of its kind in the city, selling the stuff other stores and suppliers throw away. It’s all up front – the shop looks like any other, but a large sign informs customers of the slightly different nature of the food down their aisles and in the chillers, which includes chicken fillets frozen a couple of days before going off. Full story...

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Theresa May rejects appeal from 9/11 survivors to release suppressed Saudi Arabia terror report...

Theresa May has rejected an appeal from survivors of the 9/11 attacks to make public a suppressed report into the role of Saudi Arabia in funding Islamist extremism in the UK.

Earlier this summer, the British government announced it had decided not to publish the information, citing national security reasons and the “vast amount of personal information” it contained.

Among those calling for Ms May to make public the report, which was commissioned by her predecessor, David Cameron, was a US group of survivors of the 9/11 attacks and relatives of some of the almost 3,000 people who were killed.

May denies supressing report into Saudi Arabia's funding of extremism to protect arms deals

“The UK now has the unique historic opportunity to stop the killing spree of Wahhabism-inspired terrorists by releasing the UK government’s report on terrorism financing in the UK which, according to media reports, places Saudi Arabia at its centre of culpability,” said the letter, signed by 15 people. Full story...

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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

John Oliver - Charlottesville...

Maldives President Abdulla Yameen has admitted receiving bags of stolen cash...

Maldives President Abdulla Yameen has admitted receiving bags of stolen cash at his private residence after an Al Jazeera investigation exposed how he and his former deputy coordinated the theft of millions of dollars from state coffers.

Yameen, however, pinned the blame on Ahmed Adeeb, his former vice president.

He criticised Al Jazeera for what he suggested was a failure to report on other politicians who had benefitted from the giant embezzlement scheme.

"Al Jazeera only saw the cash that entered my house," Yameen told ruling party supporters on Monday. "Al Jazeera did not see anything else."

Yameen won a 2013 presidential election and has since been accused of corruption and reversing much of the Maldives' democratic gains. Full story...

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'Worrying trend' of freedom of the press in the UK as country ranks 40 in latest Reporters Without Borders index

'We have reached the age of post-truth, propaganda, suppression of freedoms - especially in democracies

A "heavy handed approach" often in the name of national security has seen the UK slip in the rankings of countries with the world's freest press, according to a new report by Reporters Without Borders.

Scandinavian countries have the freest press in the world, the non governmental organisation said in its World Press Freedom Index 2017, while the UK is slipping onto "a worrying trend", it said.

It added that only 16 countries in the world were rated as "good" this year.

At the top of the list, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark lead the way followed by the Netherlands, Costa Rica, Switzerland, Jamaica, Belgium and Iceland.  Full story...

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Teen's death at Chinese internet addiction camp sparks anger...

A Chinese teenager has died days after he was sent to an internet addiction treatment centre, reigniting criticism of these controversial institutions.

The 18-year-old had allegedly sustained multiple injuries, and the centre's director and staff members have been held by police, according to reports.

The incident took place earlier this month in eastern Anhui province.

China has seen a proliferation in so-called "boot camps" aimed at treating internet and gaming addictions.

Some are known for their military-style discipline and have been criticised for overly harsh practices. Full story...

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Three Saudi princes living in Europe who were critical of the Saudi Govt have disappeared...

In the last two years, three Saudi princes living in Europe have disappeared. All were critical of the Saudi government - and there is evidence that all were abducted and flown back to Saudi Arabia… where nothing further has been heard from them.

Early in the morning on 12 June 2003, a Saudi prince is being driven to a palace on the outskirts of Geneva.

His name is Sultan bin Turki bin Abdulaziz, and the palace belongs to his uncle, the late King Fahd. It's the king's favourite son, Prince Abdulaziz bin Fahd, who has invited him to breakfast.

Abdulaziz asks Sultan to return to Saudi Arabia - where he says a conflict over Sultan's criticisms of the Saudi leadership will be resolved.

Sultan refuses, at which point Abdulaziz excuses himself to make a phone call. The other man in the room, the Saudi Minister of Islamic Affairs, Sheikh Saleh al-Sheikh, leaves too and after a few moments masked men rush in. They beat Sultan and handcuff him, then a needle is plunged into his neck. Full story...

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Mongolians protest as bulldozers threaten Beatles monument...

Roger Waters says he’s shunned on orders “from above”

Roger Waters says he won’t be deterred by attempts to silence him because of his support for the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights.

The former Pink Floyd bass player talked to RT’s Anya Parampil about the effort by a group of local politicians on New York’s Long Island to have his September performance at the Nassau Coliseum canceled because he backs BDS.

But so far free speech is prevailing. Last month, the lawyer for the Nassau Events Center, the company that has a 49-year lease to run the state-owned venue, affirmed that Waters’ opinions are protected speech.

Chief legal officer Jeffrey Gewirtz wrote that the company “respects the constitutionally guaranteed rights of all people and therefore intends the Coliseum – under its stewardship – to be a venue that respects the expression and exchange of a wide variety of ideas and viewpoints.”

The effort to target him, Waters noted, comes in the context of a bigger push by Israel lobby groups to silence support for Palestinian rights, particularly with the Israel Anti-Boycott Act which is currently before Congress. Full story...

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Yes, Syrian refugees can return to Aleppo… and do so in their 100,000s...

Aleppo, a city retaken by Damascus from rebels in December last year, has become a major destination for displaced Syrian returning home in 2017 as numbers of returnees to Syria spills over 600,000, according to the UN.

Over the first seven months of 2017, over 600,000 displaced Syrians returned home, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said Friday, citing its own figures as well as those of the UN Migration Agency and partners on the ground. The returnees are overwhelmingly internally-displaced people, but 16 percent returned to Syria from other nations, primarily Turkey. The number almost matched that recorded in the whole of 2016.

An estimated 67 percent of returnees went to government-controlled Aleppo Governorate, with the provincial capital itself being the primary destination. Among other places where refugees went in significant numbers, according to ICO, is Al-Hasakah Governorate, the north-eastern province dominated by Kurds.

The city of Aleppo – the largest in Syria prior to the conflict – was retaken by the government army last year, aided by Russia, with hostilities ending in mid-December. For years before that, it was divided between two parts, held respectively by government forces and by a disjointed collection of militant groups, including hardcore jihadists. The battle for the city ended with a ceasefire deal, which allowed remaining rebel forces and their families leave Aleppo and go to Idlib governorate, which currently remains a rebel stronghold. Full story...

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Saturday, August 12, 2017

35 children die in Indian hospital in 3 days; parents blame lack of oxygen

Parents of at least 35 children who have died in a hospital in northern India over the past three days have alleged that the deaths were due to the lack of oxygen supply in the children's ward.

District Magistrate Rajiv Rautela said Saturday that the deaths of the children being treated for different ailments at the Baba Raghav Das Medical College Hospital in Gorakhpur city in Uttar Pradesh state were due to natural causes. He denied that the lack of oxygen led to their deaths.

Parents said oxygen supply to the ward ran out Thursday night and patients' families were given self-inflating bags to help the children breathe.

“That's the time when the death of the children peaked,” said Mritunjaya Singh, whose 7-month old son was admitted to the hospital and was not among the dead. Full story...

Read also: What does Gorakhpur children’s murder say about our conscience?

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CIA pilot presents evidence that no planes hit towers on 9/11...

Ex-CIA and commercial jet pilot John Lear claims that the Twin Towers were not bought to the ground by planes crashing into them on 9/11, and now detailed information has been posted online corroborating his account.

In Lear’s expert opinion the official claim that two planes crashed into the towers is actually “physically impossible.”

With reports from the Kremlin that President Putin will release satellite images proving that the Twin Towers were destroyed by “controlled demolition” rather than by the force of two planes, enormous strides towards disproving the official 9/11 Commission version are taking place.

The grandson of Learjet founder Bill Lear, John Lear is a retired airline captain and former CIA pilot who has flown over 100 different types of plane during 40 years of active flying. He holds more FAA airman certificates than any other FAA certified pilot, and has flown secret CIA missions in Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

Basically, you don’t want to argue with John Lear about flying and planes. He is as close as you can come to being American intelligence and aerospace aristocracy. Full story...

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Friday, August 11, 2017

The strange world of Sandy Hook school shooting - the incredible proof it was a government hoax with 7 secret agendas

There is now persuasive evidence that Sandy Hook, the deadliest school ‘shooting’ in U.S. history, was a hoax.  Is it possible that the killing of 20 children and 7 adults, on December 14th 2012, did not, in fact, take place?

Astonishingly, a ‘YouTuber’ claims to have identified a man playing two ‘roles’ in Sandy Hook: one, as the ‘parent of a child allegedly killed’, and, two, as an ‘FBI SWAT team member!’  From this evidence, and a host of other strange anomalies, storylines and the bizarre behaviour of those involved in this event, a growing number of people in the alternative media are concluding that Sandy Hook was a faked event; ran as a Government drill, and presented to the public as real.

With YouTube viewings questioning Sandy hook hitting an estimated 100 million, could the alternative media have uncovered a huge conspiracy; what researcher and former State Trooper, ‘Wolfgang Halbig’ describes as an event ‘bigger than Watergate that brought down Nixon’.  Could the Sandy Hook ‘shooting’, in truth, be a hoax with secret agendas?

It is important that you take time to look at the evidence presented here, because, as the author, Patricia Corrie, points out in her book: ‘No More Secrets, No More Lies’: Full story...

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How a common man became Tamil Nadu's weatherman, whose weather forecasts are trusted by 2 lakh people...

How many of us follow weather updates everyday? They seem like a mundane feature of the news – a vestigial organ. What if I told you that there is an amateur weatherman – yes, a weatherman – with an almost cult-like following, whose forecasts people follow every day? And what if you learnt that he is not even formally trained, but receives thousands of questions every day about the weather?

Meet 35-year-old Pradeep John, a.k.a the ‘Tamil Nadu Weatherman’. For the last 7 years, this self-confessed Pluviophile (lover of rain), has been blogging and updating a Facebook page called Tamil Nadu Weatherman.

“In 2010 I started publishing interesting rainfall related information under different titles like ‘Top 20 rainfall stations in India’ and so on,” says Pradeep. Initially, the blog did not get much traction, but this didn’t deter him from posting articles regularly.

Today with over 2 lakh followers on social media, it would not be a stretch to say that this self-taught weatherman’s forecasts are more closely followed than the Met department’s! Pradeep, although untrained in meteorology, does have a degree in Computer Science, and an MBA in Finance. Full story...

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'This phone almost burned my house down,' says Samsung Galaxy S6 owner...

Samsung had a particularly unpleasant 2016, evidently due to the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco, wherein hundreds of smartphones caught fire, reportedly due to an issue pertaining to the device’s battery. The extent of the smartphone’s battery problems was such that the South-Korean technology giant had to follow it up with a global recall of millions of Galaxy Note 7 units, ultimately forcing them to take the smartphone off from the listings. The events caused much damage to Samsung’s brand, in terms of consumers relying on the smartphone manufacturer’s future innovations. In short, Samsung wouldn’t want to face something like this ever again.

However, following the incident and subsequent brand-fixing activities carried out by the firm, there are still many consumers who have reported that their Samsung-branded smartphones are experiencing similar problems, wherein their devices’ batteries are overheating and even catching fire in the process.

On a similar note, a North-West DC-resident, Sylvia Adams recently told NBC4 that her Samsung Galaxy S6 had caught fire in her bedroom. “I was talking on the house phone and then all of a sudden, I heard this sizzle and then I looked and I saw flames,” she said. She revealed the burn marks that the explosion had left on her blanked, top sheet, fitted sheet and mattress. The woman tried knocking the device off her bed, which ended up burning her hardwood floor as well. “This phone almost burned my house down,” she claimed. Full story...

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Thank you, Google...

Google engineer James Damore wrote a ten-page memo (PDF), titled “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber.” Google fired him.

You know all about the contents already. To make a long story short, he suggests…

…that biological differences could help explain the gender gap in tech employment in Silicon Valley, and criticized Google’s policy of silencing discussion on the issue.

And wouldn’t you know it, Google attempted to silence discussion on the issue.

The ten-page memo is well written and well documented; based on my quick (and likely not perfect) count, he has thirty-four hyperlinks and eleven footnotes.

 The reaction from the left is exactly what you would expect. A typical example is offered by The Guardian. They found an expert on the topic: Full story...

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Simon's cat in Bed Head...

The Maldives: Political turmoil threatens the 'island paradise'

You may want to choose another fantasy destination after the British Foreign Office told tourists to be aware that some political demonstrations in the capital, Male, have led to violence. It did add, though, that most trips there are trouble-free.

At the end of last month the Maldives celebrated its birthday, 52 years since independence from Britain.

But the festivities were marred when the government ordered troops to storm the country's parliament and prevent opposition MPs from entering.

It was the latest dramatic attempt by President Abdulla Yameen to maintain his grip on power, and the latest twist in a tale of tropical intrigue worthy of a thriller.

The story is certainly set against a suitably exotic backdrop. Full story...

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Australian High Commission in Wellington targeted in blood over Manus Island deaths...

Blood, or a symbolic equivalent, was thrown on the Australian High Commission in Wellington decrying the latest death of an asylum seeker on Manus Island.

On Thursday posters were also put up in the Thorndon diplomatic precinct of refugees who have died in the Australian offshore detention centres in Papua New Guinea.

This week, Iranian asylum seeker Hamed Shamshiripour, 31, was the fifth detainee to die on Manus Island.

Al Jazeera reported he was found hanging from a tree near the East Lorengau refugee transit centre on the island on Monday.

The media outlet reported refugees on Manus Island were questioning initial reports that he had committed suicide after injuries were reportedly found on his body. Full story...

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Thursday, August 10, 2017

Proof surfaces insurance company pays massive bonuses to doctors for vaccinating babies...

Here is a perfect example of the tactics that Big Pharma uses to incentivize doctors to push vaccines on the public. Insurance company Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) pays pediatricians $400 for EACH fully vaccinated child under the age of 2. This means that for every 100 vaccinated patients, the doctor gets a $40,000 bonus!

BCBS outlines the incentive program for vaccinating babies in the BCBS doctor incentives booklet. Below is an image of the childhood immunization incentives page.

(...)

The program specifies that patients under the age of 2 must receive 24 inoculations for the doctor to receive the $400 per-patient payout. Notice the list includes the flu vaccine, even though evidence suggests that the flu vaccine actually weakens the immune system long-term. Furthermore, during the 2012-2013 flu season, the flu vaccine’s effectiveness was found to be just 56 percent across all age groups reviewed by the CDC. Full story...

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Why is Amazon being given £1m by the taxman? MPs and business owners' outrage after company receives tax credit despite notching £7bn of sales last year...

Amazon has received £1.3million back from the taxman – despite annual sales in the UK soaring past £7.3billion.

The internet giant has recently joined an elite group of companies worth more than $500billion (£385billion) but its tax bill in the UK has fallen despite vast growth.

Amazon has embarked on a huge expansion spree, promising to recruit thousands more staff and develop vast new warehouses in the country.

But accounts just filed with Companies House show that its UK Services arm, which used to be known as Amazon.co.uk, received a £1.3million tax credit for 2016. Full story...

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Thai granny completes university degree at 91...

Kimlan Jinakul had always wanted to go to university but as a young girl simply did not have the opportunity.

But almost a lifetime later and after seeing most of her own children through university, she decided to enrol and on Wednesday finally picked up her degree.

Kimlan originally comes from the Lampang province in the north of Thailand. She was a smart pupil and went to one of the best schools in her province.

But moving on to university was not an option at the time, and after her family moved to Bangkok she got married and had to abandon her dream to study further.

"I have always, though, wanted my children to be able to study. So I encouraged and supported them when they wanted to to go to university." Full story...

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First Venice and Barcelona: now anti-tourism marches spread across Europe...

With the continent sweltering under a heatwave nicknamed Lucifer, tempers have been boiling over, too, as a wave of anti-tourism protests take place in some of Europe’s most popular destinations. Yet, as “tourism-phobia” becomes a feature of the summer, the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has defended the sector, calling on local authorities to do more to manage growth in a sustainable manner.

The focal point for much of this has been Spain, which had a record 75.6 million tourists last year, including 17.8 million from the UK. In Barcelona, where tensions have been rising for years over the unchecked surge in visitors and impact of sites such as Airbnb on the local housing market, Arran, the youth wing of the radical CUP (Popular Unity Candidacy), have been filmed slashing the tyres of rental bicycles and a tour bus. An Arran spokesperson told the BBC: “Today’s model of tourism expels people from their neighbourhoods and harms the environment.” Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy described the group as “extremists”.

There have also been protests in Mallorca and San Sebastián, where an anti-tourism march is planned for 17 August, to coincide with Semana Grande – a major festival of Basque culture. Full story...

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Monsanto was its own ghostwriter for some safety reviews...

Monsanto Co. started an agricultural revolution with its “Roundup Ready” seeds, genetically modified to resist the effects of its blockbuster herbicide called Roundup. That ability to kill weeds while leaving desirable crops intact helped the company turn Roundup’s active ingredient, the chemical glyphosate, into one of the world’s most-used crop chemicals. When that heavy use raised health concerns, Monsanto noted that the herbicide’s safety had repeatedly been vetted by outsiders. But now there’s new evidence that Monsanto’s claims of rigorous scientific review are suspect.

Dozens of internal Monsanto emails, released on Aug. 1 by plaintiffs’ lawyers who are suing the company, reveal how Monsanto worked with an outside consulting firm to induce the scientific journal Critical Reviews in Toxicology to publish a purported “independent” review of Roundup’s health effects that appears to be anything but. The review, published along with four subpapers in a September 2016 special supplement, was aimed at rebutting the 2015 assessment by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) that glyphosate is a probable human carcinogen. That finding by the cancer-research arm of the World Health Organization led California last month to list glyphosate as a known human carcinogen. It has also spurred more than 1,000 lawsuits in state and federal courts by plaintiffs who claim they contracted non-Hodgkin lymphoma from Roundup exposure. Full story...

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Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Brigitte Macron 'will not become France's First Lady', after 280,000 people sign petition to block her...

Brigitte Macron, the wife of French president Emmanuel Macron, will not officially be France’s First Lady, according to government officials and reports.

The decision flies in the face of Mr Macron's pre-election promise to make an official position for his wife, a move that turned heads particularly as the government is soon to pass a law preventing MPs from hiring family members as assistants, as part of his own anti-corruption drive.

But after 280,000 people signed a petition over the last two weeks in an attempt to block Mrs Macron from having a salary, it appears the government is back-pedalling.

French government spokesman Christophe Castaner took to Twitter on Monday night to stress that Mrs Macron would not have an official role. Full story...

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Google firing an engineer for standing up against the hive mind is about more than one minority opinion. If the web's gatekeeper doesn't believe in its own employees' right to free speech, how can we trust it with ours?

(...)

'When it comes to diversity and inclusion, Google’s left bias has created a politically correct monoculture that maintains its hold by shaming dissenters into silence. This silence removed any checks against encroaching extremist and authoritarian policies’ he wrote.

But whether or not we agree with every one of his sentiments, many of us will identify with the above that James been brave enough to say.

Too many no longer have a voice because the list of things we cannot say is longer than the list of things we can. And too often it is voices from the right that are presented as wrong.

In his detailed analysis entitled ‘Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber’, he argues it is biological differences which play a role in the shortage of women in tech. And that Conservatives voices are silenced.

And, as if to underline his point, James Damore has just been fired.

Google CEO Sunder Pichai cut short his family holiday to deal with the fall out, making it sound like he just lost his father and mother in some kind of horrible accident. Full story...

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Russians to investigate whether America really landed on the moon...

Putin on Pope Francis: He is not a man of God, at least not a Christian God...

Vladimir Putin has once again demonstrated why he is the most perceptive, farsighted, and for a politician, the most honest world leader to come around in quite a while. If it had not been for his patient and wise statesmanship, the world may have already been embroiled in an all encompassing global configuration with the possibility of thermonuclear destruction.

His latest comments on the purported head of the Catholic Church may have been his most perceptive as of yet and should be heeded not only by Western secular leaders, but by the globe’s one billion or so Catholics, most of whom regard Jorge Bergoglio as pope.

The Russian President’s statement came on a visit to the Naval Cathedral of St. Nicholas in Kronstadt. Mr. Putin succinctly sums up what Pope Francis is not: “If you look around at what he (the Pope) says it’s clear that he is not a man of God. At least not the Christian God, not the God of the Bible.”

No truer words have as yet been said about this cretin by a world leader since his wretched pontifical reign began in 2013!

While Mr. Putin and those with “eyes to see and ears to hear” recognize that “Pope Francis” is not a Christian, the current occupant of St. Peter’s Chair is disqualified for that position on theological grounds. To be a legitimate pope, one must be “bishop of Rome,” and prior to becoming a bishop, one must be a priest. Jorge Bergoglio was not ordained (1969) in the traditional Apostolic ordination rite of the Church, nor was he consecrated (1992) as a true bishop in that rite. His predecessor, Benedict XVI, was, likewise, not consecrated in the traditional rite although he was ordained as a priest under the “old rite.” Full story...

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Thailand sentences man to 18 years in prison for insulting monarchy...

A Thai man was jailed for 18 years on Wednesday for posting six video clips deemed insulting to the monarchy, his lawyer said, the latest conviction in junta-ruled Thailand where authorities have cracked down on critics of the monarchy and military.

Use of the country's lese-majeste law has surged under the royalist junta that took power in a 2014 coup d'etat, with more than 100 people charged since the coup, according to legal monitoring group iLaw.

Tara, 61, whose last name was withheld by his lawyer, was arrested in 2015 for sharing online materials allegedly insulting to the monarchy.

He was charged with royal defamation and computer crime. Full story...

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Tuesday, August 08, 2017

From life after death to robot criminals: AI expert reveals his 10 terrifying predictions for how society will change by 2050...

Artificial intelligence is already transforming the world around us, but one expert predicts terrifying changes on the horizon over the next 30 years.

Professor Toby Walsh believes machine learning has the power to radically alter life as we know it by the year 2050.

Among the more disturbing prophecies, which could be taken straight from an episode of Black Mirror, is that people will live on as chatbots after they die.

The lure of virtual reality and the horrors of reality could also ensnare people into retreating into their deepest and darkest fantasies. Full story...

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Singapore family feud exposes farce of country’s judicial independence...

The rift within the Lee family over what to do with the grand colonial-style home of Lee Kuan Yew, the patriarch who died in March 2015 at 92, has further exposed the contradictions inherent in Singapore’s system between the appearance of rule of law via an independent judiciary and the perceptions of so many onlookers of favoritism toward the government and the ruling Lee family.

This gap may not have had significant consequences while Lee Kuan Yew’s personality towered over Singapore and carried weight around the world. But it does now, and it is providing a good deal of schadenfreude for the politicians and journalists who over the decades have been forced to knuckle under to the Lees’ version of justice.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s nephew has challenged the system by openly describing the government as “litigious” and the courts as “pliant”in the middle of the increasingly ugly family dispute. For his pains, the 32-year-old Li Shengwu is to be subjected to contempt of court proceedings, according to the office of Singapore’s Attorney General Lucien Wong. Li, the son of the prime minister’s estranged younger brother Lee Hsien Yang, made the remarks from the safety of the United States, where he is a junior fellow at Harvard University. Full story...

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Chinese restaurant offers bra size discounts...

A Chinese restaurant has come under fire for offering discounts to women depending on their bra size, it's reported.

According to the Qianjiang Evening Post, local people complained to the council after seeing posters advertising discounts for the Trendy Shrimp restaurant at a mall in Hangzhou, the main city of coastal Zhejiang province.

The company's adverts showed a line-up of cartoon women in their underwear with the slogan "The whole city is looking for BREASTS". It listed discounts for women depending on their cup size, with greater offers available to women with bigger busts.

One representative complaint said the posters were "vulgar advertising" and "discriminatory towards women". Full story...

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Monday, August 07, 2017

Forced Into Marriage: UK children call for help fearing arranged marriages...

Chilling face of the future: As train companies say they'll use facial recognition technology to replace tickets... how the technology could strike at our right to privacy...

There are few sights more dispiriting than a long queue at ticket offices or machines when you’re rushing to catch a train. However, technology is now offering an ingenious solution.

A facial recognition system is being developed that uses two invisible, near-infrared lights flashing at high speed to help a single camera capture a 3-D image of a face in astonishing detail.

It will register the smallest details, down to tiny blemishes and wrinkles, and can recognise individuals even if they are wearing glasses or moving quickly along a platform. The image can then be checked against a customer database.

Such a system could potentially dispense with the need for tickets as passengers, their faces already scanned in a registration process, could pay by online account. Full story...

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