The US Navy's Littoral Combat Ship struggled in drills at sea when it was tasked with deflecting a small group of attacking ships, according to a report published by the Pentagon.
During the exercise, held in August and September 2015, the LCS (Littoral combat ship) class ship was able to repel the attack, but the fast attack boats managed to get too close several times.
Pentagon testing director Michael Gilmore said in his annual report that the "inability to defeat this relatively modest threat beyond 'keep-out' range routinely under test conditions raises questions about its ability to deal with more challenging threats."
Comment: Defense contractors have been enjoying the largesse provided by the bloated Pentagon budget, yet this is the best they can produce?
An opposition group founded by Saudi Arabia last month is turning the Geneva negotiations into a farce, putting the UN under pressure and refusing to talk to the Syrian government, German newspaper Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten (DWN) wrote.
According to the newspaper, the group was formed in December and consists of Islamist fighters who want to overthrow Syrian President Bashar-al-Assad.
The opposition platform is called the High Negotiations Committee (HNC) and is referred to in the media as "the most important opposition alliance."
Comment: This is what happens when you negotiate with terrorists. Clearly, everyone in their right minds is sick of this farce.
Further reading: Lavrov: Russia has had enough: No more 'business as usual' with U.S.
Free Thought Project
Washington, D.C. — On Friday, the State Department announced it is withholding 22 emails from Hillary Clinton's private email dump because they contain information marked "top secret."
News of this scandal quickly spread as bipartisan calls for her indictment came out of every political corner. In spite of this confirmation of a crime from the White House, Clinton's campaign immediately objected, putting out a statement demanding that the emails be released.
When you know that the emails won't be released, a demand for them to be released comes particularly easy.
While it certainly would be an amazing spectacle to see such a high-level political war criminal face justice, the likelihood of such a scenario is all but non-existent — and the White House has no problem admitting it.
Comment: Then there are others that think the investigation will go the distance: Former House Majority leader Tom DeLay claims FBI is 'ready to indict' Hillary Clinton
Human traffickers are taking advantage of Europe's refugee crisis to find sex and labor slaves, particularly children, Europol says. The EU police's chief of staff told the Observer that some 10,000 minors have gone missing since crossing into the EU.
Thousands of underage refugees have reportedly disappeared since registering with authorities, Europol's chief of staff, Brian Donald, told The Observer.
At least 5,000 children have gone missing in Italy alone, Donald said, adding that another 1,000 have vanished in Sweden. Donald stressed that an EU-wide "criminal infrastructure" could be specially targeting refugee children.
"It's not unreasonable to say that we're looking at 10,000-plus children. Not all of them will be criminally exploited; some might have been passed on to family members. We just don't know where they are, what they're doing or whom they are with."
Moreover, there is already evidence of sexual exploitation, especially in Germany and Hungary. "An entire [criminal] infrastructure has developed over the past 18 months around exploiting the migrant flow. There are prisons in Germany and Hungary where the vast majority of people arrested and placed there are in relation to criminal activity surrounding the migrant crisis," said Donald.
Thickening the plot, Police have discovered that the illegal gangs helping refugees come to the EU are the same gangs involved with human-trafficking. "The ones who have been active in human smuggling are now appearing in our files in relation to migrant smuggling," said Donald.
Comment: U.S. driven wars have created the worst refugee crisis of our lifetime. The mythical war on terror, politicians and the xenophobic laws they create, the people who support them, the lying media, the deaths or loss of these children's families due to the violent occupation of their homeland - the list of why these children are missing and unaccompanied is long. We need only look in the mirror to see who is to blame.
Syria and the worst refugee crisis since WWII
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov gave a remarkable press conference that was entirely ignored by western media: For Russia, there will be no more 'business as usual' with the European Union or the United States. A new stage of history is dawning which can develop only on the basis of equal rights and all other principles of international law.
On Tuesday, 26 January Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov held his annual press conference before an audience of about 150 journalists, including the BBC correspondent Steve Rosenberg and many other well-known representatives of mainstream Western media. The purpose of this traditional event is to review issues faced by his Ministry in the past year and to give his appraisal of results achieved.
The Minister's opening remarks were concise, lasting perhaps 15 minutes, and the remaining two hours were turned over to the floor for questions. As the microphone was passed to journalists from many of the different countries represented in the room, the discussion covered a great variety of subjects. By way of example, I would name here the negotiations over re-convening the Syrian peace talks in Geneva, David Cameron's comments on the findings of a UK public inquest into the Litvinenko murder, the possibilities for reestablishing diplomatic relations with Georgia, the likelihood of a new 're-set' with the United States, and prospects for resolving conflicting claims over the Southern Kurile islands so as to conclude a peace treaty with Japan.
To the best of my knowledge, not a single report of the event has yet appeared on major online American, French, British, German newspaper portals or television channels. This was not for lack of substance or newsworthy sound bites, including the headline 'no business as usual' remark. As the sharp-tongued Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova commented not long ago with respect to a similar news blackout that followed another major Russian press briefing:what are all these accredited Western reporters doing in Moscow if nothing gets published abroad? Do they have some other occupation?
In keeping with custom, the Ministry posted the entire 3 hour video recording on Youtube. It also posted transcripts in Russian and English on the www.mid.ru site. The Russian version takes up 26 tightly spaced printed pages. This is what I have used, since I prefer to go to the source and do my own translations when I have the option. The English version probably takes 40 pages, given the normal expansion from Russian to English in the translation process.
Comment: Another measure of sanity from Sergey Lavrov.
See also: Lavrov: It's time the West drops their dangerous policies of restraining Russia
Sending a message to Geneva? At least 45 killed in Damascus suburb bombings, Islamic State claims responsibility
Two bomb blasts have struck the outskirts of Syria's capital, Damascus. At least 45 people were killed in twin blasts in the mainly Shi'ite neighbourhood, Syria's Interior Ministry reported. The Islamic State terrorist group has taken responsibility for the attacks.
According to the ministry, "more than 45 people were killed and dozens were injured." Police say that the death toll is set to rise because "some of those injured are in a critical condition."
According to the television station of Lebanon's militant Shiite Hezbollah group, the attacks took place in the Sayeda Zeinab district, where Syria's major Shiite shrine is located.
Nine Americans have been detained on terrorism charges in Saudi Arabia over the past week, according to the English-language daily Saudi Gazette. The American citizens were arrested along with 24 other suspects, including 14 Saudis, three Yemenis, two Syrians, an Indonesian, a Filipino, a United Arab Emirates citizen, a Palestinian and a citizen of Kazakhstan, the newspaper reported on Sunday citing an unnamed source.
According to the paper, four Americans were detained on Monday and another five were arrested in the following days. The US embassy refused to immediately respond to a request for comment.
The report comes as five people were killed on Friday in a suicide bomb attack and shooting at a mosque in the region of al-Ahsa, in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province, which has a Shia-majority population. At least ten people were wounded in the attacks, which targeted the Imam Reza Mosque in the town of Mahasen in al-Ahsa. Also in late October, the Daesh (ISIL) terrorist group claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing at a Shia mosque in Najran city. The attack killed at least one person and injured 16 others.
Some 532 Daesh terrorist suspects, who are charged with planning a series of terrorist attacks in the Kingdom, are currently under investigation prior to their trial at Criminal Court in Riyadh. Most of the arrested terrorist suspects are Saudis, but they also include Egyptians, Yemenis, Jordanians, Algerians, Chadians, Nigerians and others from unidentified nationalities.
ISIL terrorists, who were initially trained by the CIA in Jordan in 2012 to destabilize the Syrian government, now control parts of Syria and Iraq. They have been engaged in crimes against humanity in the areas under their control.
Comment: What goes around, comes around? The Saudi regime, supported by the US and friends, is indiscriminately destroying Yemen, the death toll and destruction rising daily.
The US Department of Defense "can confirm" that a Russian Su-34 strike fighter violated Turkish airspace on Friday, the Pentagon's spokesman said in a statement. Yet Washington has called on both Moscow and Ankara to "take measures to prevent escalation."
"We are aware of reports and can confirm that yesterday another Russian combat aircraft violated Turkish — and NATO - airspace," Pentagon spokesman Mark Wright told RIA Novosti in a written statement Saturday.
Comment: Will the US provide any evidence to this allegation?
"We call on Russia to respect Turkish airspace and cease activities that risk further heightening instability in the region," Wright's statement goes on.
Twin bomb explosions have rocked a suburban area of the Syrian capital, Damascus, leaving 45 people dead and 110 injured, the interior ministry says.
An explosive-laden vehicle went off on Sunday on a street in an area near the holy shrine of Hazrat Zeinab, the granddaughter of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him). Later, a bomber set off his explosive belt in the same neighborhood.
According to later reports, Daesh Takfiri terrorist group has assumed responsibility for the twin blasts.
The foreign-sponsored militancy in Syria, which started in March 2011, has so far claimed the lives of over 260,000 people and displaced nearly half of the Arab country's population within or out of its borders. Syrian army soldiers, backed by fighters from allied popular defense groups, have recently liberated several areas from the grips of Daesh and other terrorist groups operating in the Arab country. The recent advances of the Syrian forces against Daesh and other terrorist groups have been expedited by the air cover provided by Russia, which began on September 30, 2015, at the request of the Damascus government.
Comment: One other report claims the explosions heavily damaged a military intelligence building.
Strategic Culture Foundation
Let's start with the IMF "reform" which will be in full effect in a few weeks. Even this mini "reform" had been repeatedly vetoed by the Empire of Chaos. Washington still holds the largest quota and voting shares in the IMF, ahead of Japan. But now China is in the 3rd place and BRICS members Brazil, Russia and India are in the top ten.
This does not spell out radical change though. The US government still refuses to implement a full reform that will end up reducing the IMF's global power. China, meanwhile, advances with facts on the ground such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), and the BRICS with their New Development Bank (NDB), a serious attempt at breaking the stranglehold of a fraudulent - and hyper exploitative - monetary and financial system.
Japan says it has deployed two Patriot missile interceptors in Tokyo to counter North Korea's activity. The deployment comes amid reports that Pyongyang is preparing for a space rocket launch.
Two ground-to-air Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) launchers were installed near the Defense Ministry's headquarters on Saturday morning, according to the Japan News website. The Ministry said they had been set up as a safeguard in case it became necessary to shoot down a North Korean missile or any debris that might fall from one onto Japanese territory.
The ground-to-air units are to be placed mainly in the Okinawa Prefecture and Tokyo metropolitan area, as there are fears that these are the two locations North Korean missiles might hit.
Comment: Just as Patriot missiles were installed in eastern Europe 'to protect Europe from Iranian missiles', this move has, of course, little to do with North Korea, and everything to do with pointing missiles at China and Russia.
The View from Nazareth
Israeli government funds have been secretly transferred to far-right organisations leading a smear campaign against groups opposed to the occupation, a series of investigations show.
The rightwing groups have received tens of millions of dollars in state funding, either directly from the government or via Israeli local authorities representing the settlements in the West Bank.
In three known cases, publicly funded far-right organisations launched spying operations on human rights groups.
Other state money has gone towards ad campaigns claiming to expose peace activists as "moles", planted by foreign governments to damage Israel.
Human rights activists, the campaigns claim, are betraying their country by providing information that fuels criticism overseas of Israel and helps to bolster an international boycott movement.
Comment: Dear Israeli leaders, Nazi Germany wasn't a "How To" manual.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel expects that many refugees will go back to their home countries once peace has returned to Syria and Iraq, according to German media reports on Saturday.
Over a million of asylum seekers arrived in Germany last year. Many of them fled hostilities and poverty in North Africa and the Middle East, specifically the nearly-five-year-long war in Syria.
"We expect that once peace has returned to Syria and Islamic State has been defeated in Iraq - that you will also go back home with the knowledge you have acquired here," Merkel said at her party's meeting in the northeastern town of Neubrandenburg.
The head of the High Negotiations Committee said that the Saudi-backed Syrian opposition group will leave Geneva, the venue of intra-Syrian talks, if the Syrian government "continues to kill civilians".
The Saudi-backed Syrian opposition delegation will leave Geneva, the venue of intra-Syrian talks, if the Syrian government "continues to kill civilians," the head of the High Negotiations Committee (HNC) said in a statement Saturday.
The opposition delegation flew into the Swiss city earlier in the day for UN-mediated peace talks with government representatives. The ultimate goal is to end an almost five-year-long war in Syria and launch a transition period that will end in elections.
Comment: Also see:
The Moscow Domodedovo Airport is testing metal-detecting gloves.
Security staff at Moscow's Domodedovo International Airport tested gloves with integrated metal detectors, Thursday. The new technology is believed to increase the efficiency of security control in public places.
Comment: Further reading: In 2015 Russia detained more than 770 terrorists, stopped 30 terror-linked crimes
Navajo Water Supply is 'More Horrific than Flint,'; Victimized by the US government because they're Native American
The Free Thought Project
The news out of Flint, Michigan brought the issue of contaminated drinking water into sharp focus, as it was revealed that officials at every level—local, state and federal—knew about lead-poisoned water for months but did nothing to address the problem.
Under state-run systems like utilities and roads, poorer communities are the last to receive attention from government plagued by inefficiencies and corrupt politicians. Perhaps no group knows this better than Native Americans, who have been victimized by government for centuries.
In the western U.S., water contamination has been a way of life for many tribes. As Brenda Norrell, a news reporter in Indian country, describes, the situation in Navajo nation is "more horrific than in Flint, Michigan."
American Airlines flight makes 'emergency landing' in Brasilia: Second incident in two days following mid-flight mystery illness
Anton Nilsson and Lydia Willgress
Daily Mail (UK)
For the second time in two days, an American Airlines flight was forced to make an emergency landing Friday after passengers and crew fell ill.
Flight 904, which left Rio de Janeiro at 10.16pm Thursday heading for Miami, was diverted to Brasilia after four people - including three members of staff - complained of lightheadedness, the airline confirmed in a statement to Daily Mail Online.
'The aircraft landed safely at Brasilia at 12.37am and was met by paramedics who evaluated the passenger and crew members. None requested further medical attention,' an American Airlines spokesperson said.
'Our maintenance team is currently inspecting the aircraft and performing a thorough maintenance check.'
The emergency landing happened the day after an American Airlines flight to Los Angeles was forced to return to London's Heathrow Airport after around 15 people on board fell ill.
Although the two grounded flights involved air planes of similar models, airline officials said they 'do not want to speculate on whether [the two incidents] are linked' until investigations have been completed.
One passenger on the Miami-bound flight told Daily Mail Online she saw people 'pass out' from the mystery illness before the plane landed.
'We are currently still in Brasilia where we made an emergency landing because crew members and passengers passed out and became unwell,' the woman wrote in an email.
'It sounds exactly like what happened on the other flight with us not being allowed off the plane for two hours.
Comment: According to a doctor who was a passenger on flight AA109 from London Heathrow to Los Angeles, two flight attendants reported 'a slight electrical or burning smell' on board.
Last year other incidents on aircraft such as, "burning electrical or smoke", "odor of fumes" in cabins and smoke filled cockpits, also forced emergency landings.
Chapters in politically correct fascism: Obama to make first ever mosque visit to "celebrate Muslim contributions to America"
As Donald Trump surges ahead in Iowa, taking the bellicose billionaire even closer to winning the Republican nomination, President Obama is busy trying to counter the GOP frontrunner's message about "radical Islamic extremism."
Trump has capitalized on events like the Paris attacks and the San Bernardino massacre. Those tragedies underscored the need to remain vigilant when it comes to immigration, a topic Trump has some rather strong opinions on. In a polarizing move, Trump officially called for a Muslim ban last month. No Muslims should be allowed to enter the country Trump said, until we can "figure out what's going on."
Needless to say, that message is starkly at odds with the President's views, but as extreme as Trump's position most certainly is, it's resonated with large swaths of the American electorate.
In a bid to counter the growing backlash against the Muslim world, Obama will make his first visit to a mosque on Wednesday when the President will stop by the Islamic Society of Baltimore, described as "a sprawling community center in the city's western suburbs that serves thousands of people with a place of worship, a housing complex and schools." Here's a fun image from the center where you can, should you choose to do so, jump rope:
Comment: Obama's planned visit to a mosque in the U.S. is yet another cynical, hypocritical and disgusting play at perception management and political countermoves. He cares about Muslims about as much as he cares for which tie he's going to choose to wear on any given day. Actually less so, since he's so heavily invested in 'Brand Obama'.
Otago Daily Times
A Dunedin woman says she had better food growing up in a Nazi-occupied country than the ''disgusting'' meals on wheels trucked from Auckland and Tauranga.
Petronella Wennekes (87) cancelled the service last Friday. She felt she had no choice given the quality of the meals.
The trucked and frozen meals are reheated before delivery under a controversial 15-year outsourcing deal between Southern District Health Board and Compass Group.
The Otago Daily Times reported on Saturday that fears have emerged about the viability of the volunteer delivery system run by Age Concern Otago, because of cancellations and shrinking delivery runs.
Two weeks ago, Compass started trucking meals from the North Island. Mrs Wennekes said the watery and soft vegetables formed a mush, including ''soft'' roast potatoes.
''It was disgusting.''
Lumpy desserts stuck to their cardboard packaging, and she had been unable to scrape them into a bowl.
''When I was young, I lived in Holland. I've been through five years of war in Holland, and the occupation from the Germans, and I never ate anything like this.''
She feared many older people would not speak up.
Job Michael Mathew
Since 1995 more than three lakh Indian farmers have committed suicide - the largest wave of recorded suicides in human history. Vidarbha district of Maharashtra alone has seen 3145 farmer suicides in the last three years. Though the causes of the poverty that drives farmers to suicide are multi-dimensional Professor K.Nagaraj's definitive study of Farmer Suicides identifies Neo-Liberal policies introduced in the 1990's as the precipitating factor of the agrarian crisis rocking rural India.
The introduction of Genetically Modified crops in the country is one such neo-liberal policy that is today acknowledged to have contributed significantly to trapping many farmers in a debt trap particularly in the cotton growing areas of Vidarbha district. BT cotton was introduced in India with the stated objective of making cotton pest resistant thereby reducing pesticide use, input costs and being environment friendly at the same time. 15 years of experience with BT cotton manifest the inefficiency of the seed with the pest developing resistance against the crop. The situation is further worsened with the development of secondary pests which turn out to be major cotton pests in some time. Thus BT cotton seeds which are prized substantially higher than traditional varieties turned out to be non pest resistant and a major pesticide guzzler thereby increasing the input costs of farmers by leaps and bounds without giving any return.
Comment: The evidence keeps mounting - genetically modified crops do not increase yields and do not decrease the use of agri-chemicals, but have instead created super-pests, super-weeds and massive finical debt to farmers.
Dr. Vandana Shiva, a trained physicist and seed activist from India has written extensively on the topic of the suffering of Indian farmers and the incessant promotion of the GMO mumbo-jumbo:
It is because of these failures and the fact that GMOs are linked to patents, which translates into royalty extraction and high prices, that GMOs worsen the economic status of farmers.
The Long, Sordid U.S. Policy of Using "Bad Guy" and "Expendable" Assets
"Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?"
This first line of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" opens the latest trailer for the upcoming big-budget super-hero movie Suicide Squad. It poses a pertinent question, because, unfortunately for those of us in real life, the central premise of the film's story is not just the stuff of comic book fantasy.
That premise is introduced in an earlier, more brooding trailer. Over a steak dinner at a fine restaurant, a government operative named Amanda Waller (played by Viola Davis) debriefs two other U.S. officials about her new top secret program: a black ops team nicknamed the "Suicide Squad."
Comment: See also:
Budour Youssef Hassan
The Electronic Intifada
When the "intifada of the knives" set off in October last year, Western reporters flooded in to Jerusalem to cover the new "escalation," interview people from "both sides of the conflict" and raise several variations of the old question: "Is this the beginning of a third intifada?"
Inevitably, the journalists left once a massive crackdown significantly reduced the number of deadly attacks against Israelis in the city. It is an all too familiar pattern for Palestinians, who know by now that it's only "escalation" when there are dead or wounded Israelis. Deaths, injuries, arrests and home demolitions inflicted on Palestinians by Israel are deemed business as usual, not worthy of further inquiry.
The daily acts of collective punishment suffered by Palestinians in Jerusalem and their slow ethnic cleansing are too routine to be considered newsworthy. The temporary checkpoints, closures and concrete blocks imposed during the crackdown may have gone and the numbers of Israeli troops on the streets may have been reduced. Yet the Israeli repression — and Palestinian resistance — remains.
Holding the dead hostage
One of Israel's most troubling tactics is its withholding the bodies of slain Palestinians.
In mid-October the Israeli security cabinet endorsed several measures to quell the unrest. One involved reviving a decades-long policy of withholding the bodies of Palestinians accused of carrying out attacks. Since then, more than 80 bodies have been withheld. Israel began gradually releasing the bodies in late December after weeks of mass protests, most notably in Hebron, but the bodies of10 Palestinian Jerusalemites remain in Israeli morgues.
Comment: After so many years of persecution, horrific living conditions and inhumane captivity, the outside world is just beginning to wake up and notice the Palestinian plight. Regarding reporters ignoring the Palestinian story...let us remind ourselves who owns and controls almost all of Western media, therefore the message, therefore the mindset, therefore the public.
Thousands of people marched in 70 French cities, including Paris, to demand immediate action to stop France's ongoing state of emergency and openly voice outrage over government plans to revoke the French citizenship of dual nationals, many of them Muslims, convicted of terrorism.
Up to 20,000 protesters - many of them members of human rights groups, political parties and trade unions - took part in a peaceful protest in Paris on Saturday, RTL reported the organizers as saying.
According to police estimates, some 5,500 people gathered in the heart of the French capital, between Place de la République and the Palais-Royal, holding banners that read: "State of emergency, police state" and "My France of liberties, where are you?"
Comment: The 'war on terror' is a cover for the war on people:
French employers federation uses state of emergency to monitor workers for 'radicalist excesses'
Hollande declares economic emergency in France
For reasons that greatly puzzle this writer, Democrats in the United States seem to have divided into two camps. We will call the first one Camp B, for those campers who apparently believe that Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is the savior, the one the world has been waiting for. It is he, they seem to believe, who will usher in a new golden era of equality, one in which banks will be held accountable for their crimes, and students will be able to attend the university of their choice without going into lifelong debt. Under a Sanders administration, we are told, the United States will play a new role on the world stage, fostering independence and self-determination for all (except the Palestinians of course; we all know that they don't count) by means of diplomacy, and not weaponry. The monies stolen by the rich from the poor will be returned to those who rightfully earned them. The world's citizens will then, in some symbolic way, join hands and sing Kumbaya, as this new age of Aquarius dawns upon us all.
The remaining Democrats are encamped, it appears, in Camp H. These folks seem to believe that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is the one who will bring us into this bright new world. Never mind her vote to authorize then President George W. Bush to invade Iraq! As House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said, the voters aren't interested in the past; they want to know what the candidate will do in the future! Forget Mrs. Clinton's statement that, if Iran were to threaten her beloved Israel, she would, as president, obliterate Iran! Similar to Mr. Sanders, Palestinians are not worthy of her concern. And need we look at her close ties to every organization linked to wealth? While it may have been her husband who bedded an intern, Mrs. Clinton it seems has been intimate with every corporate industry associated with the 1%.
Comment: For further examination of this farce called the U.S. Presidential elections among other related topics, listen to this Sott.net BlogTalkRadio interview with the author of the article: The Truth Perspective: Interview with Robert Fantina
Court proceedings against a peace activist who scrawled "arms tested on children" on a battlefield truck bound for the world's biggest arms fair have been scrapped.
Vyara Glysen, 28, was arrested in September and charged with criminal damage after she graffitied a military vehicle that was en route to the Excel Center in east London. The exhibition space was being prepped for the Defense & Security Equipment International (DSEI) weapons fair, scheduled to take place the following week.
The fair is held every two years in London, and is regularly attended by representatives from repressive regimes. It has also previously provided a platform for weapons dealers to illegally promote arms that are used for torture.
A scandal broke out in one of Swedish schools after a 12-year-old girl born in Ethiopia found that a children's map depicted African people in offensive manner. The publisher had to quickly delete the "racist" map from the website.
Comment: No need to put "racist" in quotes: it's just racist.
Comment: Offending people isn't the issue: the issue is indoctrinating impressionable children into a racist mindset. And this isn't the only time that indoctrinating propaganda has been in school textbooks: SOTT Exclusive: Anti-Russian propaganda appearing in Dutch school textbooks
No end in sight: Radioactive water from the Fukushima disaster continues to be released into the Pacific
"Fukushima is the biggest industrial catastrophe in the history of mankind," Arnold Gundersen, a former nuclear industry senior vice president, told Truthout shortly after a 9.0 earthquake in Japan caused a tsunami that destroyed the cooling system of Tokyo Electric Power Company's (TEPCO) nuclear plant in Fukushima, Japan.
While this statement might sound overdramatic, Gundersen may be right.
Several nuclear reactor meltdowns in the plant, which at the time forced the mandatory evacuations of thousands of people living within a 15-mile radius of the damaged power plant, persist, and experts like Gundersen continue to warn that this problem is not going to go away.
Comment: The following article was published back in May 2014 - Japan begins purposely dumping 100s of tons of radioactive water from Fukushima into the Pacific.
According to the Japan Times, Tepco released 560 tons of radioactive water into the Pacific on Wednesday, and Tepco says that for the foreseeable future we should expect another 100 tons of radioactive water to be released into the ocean every single day...
The actions Chiune "Sempo" Sugihara took to save 6,000 Jews fleeing Poland in 1939 have been largely forgotten by history, but now a new feature film recognizes the heroism of the man often called the "Japanese Schindler".
The film, "Persona Non Grata", makes its US premiere at the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival Sunday.
Shot largely in Poland, the multilingual film has already topped the box office in Japan, but it's the first time American audiences get to see it.
Museum workers in Krasnoyarsk were astonished when they digitalized local photos from the early 1900s only to find an identical figure in all of them - a solemn girl, dressed in all white, striking an identical pose.
So far, the mystery girl has been found in at least 20 photos and four glass negatives, which researchers at the Krasnoyarsk Regional Museum of Local Lore believe were taken between 1906 and 1908, judging from the state of the buildings in the photos.
"It was only modern equipment that allowed us to notice the girl. When you look at the old pictures, you do not see her. She is rather small there. When we made high resolution scans and zoomed in, we saw her more closely, along with the details of her clothes and hairstyle," said Ilya Kuklinsky, senior researcher at the museum. "It is quite strange that no one noticed her before, though the pictures were widely used as illustrations."
|Science & Technology|
Regular readers will be aware of our ongoing chronicle covering the increasing use of biometrics in a range of security measures from standard police use, to travel, to banking.
The video below makes the same plea to embrace new technology that is always heard when discussing a solution to the very real threat of identity theft. However, it is worth noting that in this case the company which is developing the solution is Diebold. This is the company that has been charged with hacking democracy during an investigation into bribery, fraud, and a "worldwide pattern of criminal conduct."
Two super-resilient fungi were able to survive, and even grow, when exposed to a Mars-like environment aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The experiment gave clues as to how life may have once thrived on the Red Planet and possibly could again.
The tiny fungi, Cryomyces antarcticus and Cryomyces minteri, are two cryptoendolithic organisms found in extreme conditions on Earth. They are able to survive in the cracks of rocks by feeding on traces of minerals. Members of the ISS Lichens and Fungi Experiment (LIFE) team collected samples in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, a snow-free desert in Antarctica that suffers from high winds and low temperatures, making it arguably the least hospitable place on the planet.
The team then blasted them up to the space station and placed them outside the Columbus module on a special research platform known as EXPOSE-E that has an atmosphere consisting of 95% CO2, 1.6% argon, 0.15% oxygen, 2.7% nitrogen, and 370 parts per million of H2O; with a pressure of 1,000 Pascals - all parameters similar to those found on Mars. The fungi were also pelted with ultra-violet radiation.
Eighteen months later, scientists studied the results, which have been published in the journalAstrobiology.
A catastrophic disaster is now taking place outside of Los Angeles endangering hundreds of thousands of people. Officials say they have "entirely lost control of the entire (gas) field" meaning explosive methane gas is now leaking from "many places." Workers at the scene of the Porter Ranch gas field in the Aliso Canyon say some of the leaks are so loud, the hissing sound can be heard 1/2 mile away.
Comment: This quote appears to be taken from a local attorney who was present at a Porter Ranch town hall meeting on January 22nd.
If this continues, multiple massive explosions are very likely to take place once the methane comes into contact with the pilot light of a stove, or hot water heater. This could set off "rolling explosions a few hundred feet in the air, knocking down all the houses and buildings nearby as it goes!"
Worse, toxic benzene is now also confirmed to be coming out of the ground and entering the atmosphere in such large quantities, that people can be killed merely from walking through it. Benzene can be absorbed through the skin. Once a sufficient amount enters the body, there is no treatment and no cure; all the person can do is wait to die.
The graphic above was made from actual measurements of Benzene; the higher the red color goes, the worse the concentration. Fatal levels are the highest ones near the well and gas field.
An avalanche near McBride, B.C., has killed five snowmobilers, say local authorities.
RCMP say they were notified of two separate GPS beacon activations in the Renshaw area east of McBride around 1:30 p.m. PT, at which point they activated the Robson Valley Search and Rescue Team. There were at least three separate groups of snowmobilers caught in the slide, say RCMP. Six to eight people lost their snowmobiles and had to be shuttled off the mountain.
"We are a small and mostly tight-knit community," McBride Coun. Sharon Reichert said. "We live in a rugged country where many in the community enjoy the outdoors. That comes with danger, and today, our worst fears have been realized." RCMP said search and rescue technicians were on the scene almost immediately, and a helicopter was deployed.
Donita Kuzma, the regional coroner with the BC Coroners Service, said police conducted interviews with people as they came down the mountain to see if there were any other snowmobilers still missing. "It's a very busy time of year with snowmobilers," said Kuzma, adding that there were many of them in the area for the weekend. BC Emergency Health Services said it also transported one person to hospital in stable condition.
Avalanche Canada said it had received a report of what appears to be a "very large, significant avalanche event" in the North Rockies. "There are layers of concern in the snowpack in many parts of this region (and others) and a fairly significant weather event added rain and snow to the snowpack over the last few days," said Karl Klassen with Avalanche Canada.
"This may have produced stresses in the snowpack capable of producing large avalanches and this condition could take several days to settle and bond." Klassen said the avalanche was human-triggered.
This is the terrifying moment a spectacular rockslide surprised hikers on Mount Aconcagua, Argentina.
The creepy landslide video was captured on january 4, 2016, on the path linking Horcones park entrance) and Confluence (first base of the Aconcagua field).
Here a first video of the event from January 4, 2016:
The second video was posted by the guides on January 21, 2016:
The Malaysian Insider
Snow has been reported across forested upland areas in northern Laos as the extreme cold snap and associated precipitation persisting across much of Indochinese Peninsula since Sunday begins to ease, China's Xinhua news agency reported.
Temperatures in the low single digits Celsius during the day and around zero degrees or below at night since Sunday were accompanied by snow across elevated areas of the country's northern provinces.
The cold snap led to a temporary three-day suspension of domestic flights by the national carrier Lao Airlines between the capital Vientiane and the airport servicing the province of Oudoumxay while flights to other affected provincial centres faced delays, state-run media Vientiane Timesreported.
In the province of Phongsaly, three-day extended leave was provided to public servants except police and defence personnel until Wednesday to help minimise the risks to life from unnecessary travel.
Mexico News Daily
Residents in many parts of Mexico might decide to remain in their homes for this long weekend asheavy rains, strong winds, some snow and cold temperatures are forecast for many regions.
In fact, the national Civil Protection office has declared an "extraordinary emergency" in 446 municipalities in 23 states, brought on by cold front No. 34 and the eighth winter storm of the season.
The declaration will make resources available for the emergency supply of food and blankets to an estimated half a million people from Chihuahua in the north to Chiapas in the south.
The cold front´s mass of polar air is covering much of the country, guaranteeing cold to very cold weather for the weekend. Sleet or wet snow are forecast for areas 3,500 meters above sea level in the State of México, Tlaxcala, Puebla, Hidalgo and Veracruz and winds gusting to 70 km/h in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec.
A massive sinkhole and a nearby landslide swallowed up part of the road in Harbor, southwest Oregon, shutting down Highway 101 there. The ominous-looking scene was captured in an aerial video.
The initial sinkhole developed in mid-December after a culvert under the road failed and following a series of storms and heavy downpours of rain, the hole continued to widen, resulting in the road's closure on Thursday evening, The Curry Coastal Pilot reported.
"It's a monster," Jared Castle, spokesman for the Oregon Department of Transportation told NBC News.
A smaller sinkhole also opened up four lanes across from the larger hole while a landslide located a mere 50 feet from the sinkhole collapsed two lanes of the parallel road, sinking into the ravine beside it.
Spectacular drone footage from YouTube user Kyle Rice shows the sheer size of the hole and landslide, dwarfing the workers standing nearby.
Comment: For related articles, see:
Strange SoundsThese glowing polar stratospheric clouds were spotted floating over the UK on January 29, 2016.
That's the second sighting in two days after those spotted over Murmansk on Wednesday morning.
These nacreous clouds were captured from Aberdeen to Stoneheaven, Scotland, UK by lucky stargazers.
The mother-of-pearl clouds appeared in the sky before sunrise and were highly glowing and reflective.
Polar stratospheric clouds form in the winter polar stratosphere between altitudes of 15000-25000 meters.
Comment: Nacreous clouds have tiny ice crystals in that light up with iridescent color with they are hit with light from the rising or setting sun. Absolutely beautiful!
|Fire in the Sky|
The Washington Post
Scores of witnesses in northern Virginia, Maryland, and the District spotted a brilliant fireball dashing through the sky around 6:17 p.m. Saturday evening.
The fireball, defined as a very bright meteor, entered the region from the north according to reports. It was seen all over the Northeast U.S. and even southeast Canada. Specifically, Capital Weather Gang obtained reports from Baltimore, New Jersey, New York, Michigan, and Ontario via Twitter.
Observers described it as "huge" and "very bright" but then noted it fizzled, disintegrating into fragments.
|Health & Wellness|
The Free Thought Project
An investigation was launched into vaccines used at a UK school for boys after several students fell ill from receiving the jabs.
As many as 15 students at the Northampton School for Boys collapsed onto the floor Tuesday following a series of vaccines which resulted in severe adverse side effects.
As one mother who preferred to remain anonymous described: "Several different vaccines were being administered, and around 10 to 15 pupils keeled over and paramedics were called."
Children were also witnessed "on their backs on the floor with their legs up on chairs," the mom said.
"The rest of the jabs were cancelled and a letter was sent home to the parents of pupils who had been given the jabs about what to do if they felt nauseous. Rumours say there may have been a duff batch of vaccines," the woman said, according to the Daily Mail.
New York Times
Maybe you have seen television ads starring the beefy, affable comedian and actor known as Larry the Cable Guy.
In his sleeveless shirt and gimme cap, he's driving a monster truck or streaking along on a jet ski, pausing to chomp on a turkey drumstick or a barbecued rib, all the while proclaiming his love for America and for Prilosec OTC to fight "frequent heartburn."
The caution that the drug should be taken for no more than 14 days, and not more often than every four months, appears briefly on-screen. If you blink or go fetch your glasses, you'll miss it.
Todd Semla has noticed the ads, too, and he's not a fan. "I don't see Larry the Cable Guy saying, 'If you take this drug often, your kidneys may be affected or you could break a hip,'" said the pharmacist at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, who is past president of the American Geriatrics Society.
Comment: GERD: Symptoms, Causes and Remedies
The Zika virus has been known to infect people in Africa, South and Central America and Asia for more than 70 years without causing any birth defects.
The Brazilian government declared an emergency in December after 2,400 babies were found to be born with shrunken heads and brain defects believed to be linked to mosquitoes carrying the Zika Virus. The number of babies born with the defects has been rising significantly since then.
But could there be a link between the introduction of the Tdap vaccination that women in Latin America were urged to get before they were 22 weeks pregnant, and the birth of babies with these deformities called "Microcephaly" (literally 'tiny head')?
The HPV vaccine is heavily pushed to both teen girls and boys. Even though countries such as Japan won't formally have stated that they don't want to support it, the United States continues to massively push this vaccine despite all the push back world-wide. The HPV money grab by pharmaceutical companies is blatant and unchecked. Well, now things just got a whole lot worse: The American College Of Pediatricians has announced that the HPV vaccine is "possibly" associated with ovarian cancer. You can view the document here.
It has recently come to the attention of the College that one of the recommendedvaccines could possibly be associated with the very rare but serious condition of premature ovarian failure (POF), also known as premature menopause.The rest of the press release is a defensive mess, claiming that the studies aren't proof positive. But here's the thing, if the ACP is admitting this small amount, imagine how large the actual issue likely is? They are always in a mode of protection when it comes to this vaccine, it creates a lot of revenue, so for them to admit this is a really big deal. Pharmaceutical companies do not want any negative publications regarding Gardasil. And certainly, they've coerced and influenced this organization into not putting out negative claims over the matter. This tells me that this new discovery is huge and creates potential liability for them. It is so big that they actually fear not disclosing it. But in this same way, it isn't exactly front page news (until now, because we are going to push this news everywhere).
Dr. Eldon Dahl
The body's immune system is always working at some level, and as time goes on, scientists continue to discover just how crucial its role can be.
Just last month, the Perelman School of Medicine in Pennsylvania released a study noting that recurrence of HER2-positive breast cancer may be due to an immune system weakness brought about by the cancer. While the researchers suggest a vaccine targeting HER2, we believe the body is fully equipped to not just meet, but exceed this challenge via the thymus gland.
The thymus gland is one of the principle glands for the auto immune system. It is composed of two soft pinkish-grey lobes lying in a bib-like fashion just below the thyroid gland and above the heart. It is also known as the longevity gland.
|Science of the Spirit|
What spurs creativity? A Columbia sociologist studied the teams behind 12,422 video games released worldwide from 1979, when the gaming industry started, to 2009, and found the most innovative teams were built around diverse experiences and knowledge. David Stark, the Arthur Lehman Professor of Sociology, found that the most effective teams were comprised of people who had experience working together but different knowledge and skills. His findings, which can be applied to many types of teams -- businesspeople, scientists, economists, musicians, engineers and more -- show that prior social interactions enable groups to avoid intractable conflict while diverse expertise helps them avoid the pitfalls of "groupthink."
In other words, the cognitive distance of diversity creates a friction -- a productive friction in teams in which some members of the group had previously worked together. "It is this uneasy fit, a lack of harmony, which is innovative," said Stark. "It is a mobilization of productive tension to create something exceptional. Misunderstandings and breakdowns in communication can be as important as a smooth exchange of ideas."
We spend a lot of energy looking for shortcuts to save time, and sure, those shortcuts add up. But when I look back, my biggest time regrets aren't spending too much time on Twitter or mismanaging my daily tasks. Those are bad habits, but there are bigger, more systematic time wasters that havereally gotten in the way. Fixing these will free up a massive amount of time and energy.
Not Asking for Help
My first week on my first job out of college, my boss handed me a huge spreadsheet. He told me to organize it in a way that made zero sense to me. Being a quiet, timid person, I simply nodded, walked back to my desk, and stared at that spreadsheet for like an hour, hoping to make some sense of it (yep, just like George Costanza and the Penske file).
Finally, my coworker came in, and I confessed I had no idea what to do. He broke it down for me, then dropped some advice that's stuck with me ever since: "You might feel dumb asking questions, but you look dumber when you don't get it because you failed to ask."
It was harsh, but true. And not only did I look like an ass, I could've also saved a fair amount of time that day by simply asking my boss what he meant. It made me wonder how much time I'd wasted by not asking for help over the years. As dumb as you might feel asking questions, it's the fastest way to get an answer.
Comment: Top five regrets of the dying
Carolyn Gregoire & Scott Barry Kaufman
What makes highly creative people different from the rest of us? In the 1960s, psychologist and creativity researcher Frank X. Barron set about finding out. Barron conducted a series of experiments on some of his generation's most renowned thinkers in an attempt to isolate the unique spark of creative genius.
In a historic study, Barron invited a group of high-profile creators—including writers Truman Capote, William Carlos Williams, and Frank O'Connor, along with leading architects, scientists, entrepreneurs, and mathematicians—to spend several days living in a former frat house on the University of California at Berkeley campus. The participants spent time getting to know one another, being observed by researchers, and completing evaluations of their lives, work, and personalities, including tests that aimed to look for signs of mental illness and indicators of creative thinking.
Barron found that, contrary to conventional thought at the time, intelligence had only a modest role in creative thinking. IQ alone could not explain the creative spark.
The creative genius is "occasionally crazier and yet adamantly saner than the average person." Instead, the study showed that creativity is informed by a whole host of intellectual, emotional, motivational and moral characteristics. The common traits that people across all creative fields seemed to have in common were an openness to one's inner life; a preference for complexity and ambiguity; an unusually high tolerance for disorder and disarray; the ability to extract order from chaos; independence; unconventionality; and a willingness to take risks.
Describing this hodgepodge of traits, Barron wrote that the creative genius was "both more primitive and more cultured, more destructive and more constructive, occasionally crazier and yet adamantly saner, than the average person."
The fight to save Stafford's Carnegie Library has taken a spooky twist amid claims a ghost may have been caught on camera.Tireless members of the Friends of the Old Library Trust have been holding open events and tours to drum up interest in their campaign to turn it into an arts space - and last week's music event certainly proved interesting.
Stafford musicians Jon Watkiss and Steve Sutton of FEF Noise Devices, put on a private performance of dark ambient soundscape at the Old Library. Their friend Chris Healey took a photograph of the two as they created their soundscape, produced using sounds from adapted electronic toys. The image was taken in the dark and when Chris increased the brightness he noticed the image of what appeared to be a figure hovering over the musicians, listening intently to the music.
Nicky Baron, who has been spearheading the library campaign, said: "It later transpired that one of the musicians Jon initially came into the building alone, and while he was setting up by torchlight as there is no electricity at the Old Library, he felt his hair being ruffled in a friendly way. "Of course we don't really believe in ghosts, but if there were any at the Old Library, it's nice to know that they appreciate a bit of Art Noise."
The campaigners have been trying to get £650,000 to buy the building at The Green and have managed to get it listed by English Heritage. But they have to hand the keys back on February 6 when the lease runs out and the site goes up for auction at the end of that month. Members are hoping a buyer will fail to come forward as the amount of work that needs doing to bring it up to scratch could run into hundreds of thousands. This would give campaigners more time to apply for cash from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Architectural Heritage Fund to buy it.