Signs Of The Times RSS

Signs of the Times: The World for People who Think. Featuring independent, unbiased, alternative news and commentary on world events.
  1. Even if Russia and Ukraine were to fail to reach an agreement on the natural gas transit through Ukraine onto Europe, the security of gas supply in the European Union (EU) will not be materially threatened, the Institute of Energy Economics (EWI) at the University of Cologne said in a study on Wednesday. The current ten-year gas transit agreement between Russia and Ukraine expires on December 31, 2019. The parties need to reach a new agreement by that date to set the terms of deliveries of Russian gas to Europe via Ukraine's territory. Russia has been building pipelines to Europe and Turkey that bypass Ukraine — TurkStream and Nord Stream 2. Ukraine, for its part, is a key transit country for Russian gas westwards to Europe and relies on the gas transit fees.
  2. The US may be cannibalizing itself with social justice dogma, but some places remain untouched by the long arm of the woke. Not anymore, as a prominent ballerina took to hounding Russian children on the internet for 'racism.' Ballerina Misty Copeland made history in 2015 by becoming the American Ballet Theater's first black principal dancer. She's since appeared in productions of 'Swan Lake,' 'Romeo and Juliet' and 'The Nutcracker,' among others. Lately, however, she's also found time to publicly shame Russian children for not measuring up to American standards of political correctness. In an Instagram post on Sunday, Copeland called out a pair of teenage dancers from the Bolshoi Ballet Academy - one of whom is 14 years old - for appearing in blackface, apparently during a rehearsal of 'La Bayadère.' Copeland's followers saw red, and several reported the dancers for racism. To help them, Copeland tagged one of the dancers in her post. "No doubt they will be upset and embarrassed by...
  3. On 29 November, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) said that a rocket was fired from Gaza "at Israeli civilians", noting that it was the fourth launch that week. Following the attack, the IDF conducted a retaliatory air strike against a Hamas military post in Gaza. Air-raid sirens were activated in the Gaza Strip and Sderot on Saturday, according to the Israel Defence Forces. The IDF said that three rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip toward Israel, noting that two of the rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome Aerial Defence System. ​Twitter users shared videos allegedly showing the moment when the Iron Dome intercepted the rockets.
  4. Truckers blocked roads in about 10 regions around France on Saturday to protest against a planned reduction in tax breaks on diesel for road transport, while train and metro services remained heavily disrupted by a strike against pension reform. In Paris there were scuffles with police in the Denfert Rochereau area of the residential Left Bank as several hundred "yellow vest" protesters continued their weekly demonstrations, but numbers were relatively small compared with previous weeks as the transport strike made it hard to reach the capital. The combined pressure of the yellow vest movement over the cost of living and union protests against pension reform are a major challenge to President Emmanuel Macron's efforts to balance the state budget and introduce more environmentally friendly legislation in the second half of his mandate.
  5. In early 2014 Washington staged a blatant coup d'etat in Ukraine breaking the historic relationship with Russia and setting the stage for the subsequent NATO demonization of Russia. The one in charge for the Obama Administration of the Ukraine coup was then-Vice President Joe Biden. Today a bizarre Democrat impeachment attempt aimed at President Donald Trump has curiously enough put the spotlight on the dubious role that Joe Biden played in Ukraine affairs in 2014 and after. That Biden-steered coup had the unintended effect of causing a 180 degree geopolitical pivot of Moscow from West to East. The opening of a massive new gas pipeline now is only one of those unintended consequences. On December 2, Russian President Vladimir Putin participated in the official opening of the Power of Siberia natural gas pipeline to Asia, servicing the growing China gas market. It met the planned deadline punctually, to the month. This marked the first Russian pipeline gas deliveries to China. In a...
  6. Nancy Pelosi is a bitch. And in saying that I'm actually being sexist against female dogs, since every one of them I've ever met is a higher quality individual than Pelosi. So, my apologies to dogs everywhere. Just when you thought this power-mad harpy couldn't sink any lower she responds to a simple question from a reporter with the kind of lame, stuttering virtue-signaling that has become her signature move, to attack when confronted with the truth. This screed is a masterclass in diversion and doublespeak. Her self-righteous anger is a dead giveaway that she was lying about her motivations for proceeding with this impeachment while scolding the CSPAN reporter who asked the question like he was an impudent child.
  7. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has suggested that relations between Moscow and NATO are "not just halted but...degrading every day," citing a falloff that began "about five years ago." Shoigu was responding to a question about Moscow's currently rocky relations with the transatlantic military alliance on Rossiya 1's weekend show on December 8. "About five years ago, we had rather active cooperation in Brussels. We had our representative there," Shoigu said. "[Today] our partners are pulling out of more and more agreements, clearly along with the Americans. And the security space is getting increasingly narrow." Neither the TASS nor the Interfax report that quoted Shoigu made any mention of Russia's 2014 illegal annexation of Ukraine, which sparked tough Western sanctions and many blame for the decline in the relationship. Comment: Crimea was not illegally annexed. It was a Crimean population decision by vote. 'Everything is great': Crimea celebrates 2 years since historic...
  8. North Korea conducted a "very important test" at a long-range missile launch site that the reclusive regime had promised to close as part of nuclear weapons talks with the United States, state media reported on Sunday. The development comes as Pyongyang has warned it would seek a "new path" with the stalled denuclearization talks if the US fails to make major concessions by the end of the year, according to KCNA, the Korean Central News Agency. The test occurred Saturday at the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground and will have an "important effect on changing the strategic position of (North Korea) once again in the near future," a spokesman for the North's Academy of National Defense Science said in a statement carried by KCNA. North Korean President Kim Jong-un agreed to dismantle the Sohae facility during talks with President Trump in Singapore last year, but reports in March said it was being restored. North Korea didn't elaborate on what the test included.
  9. A Reagan Institute survey has found that nearly half of all American military households view Russia as more of an ally than a threat. Pentagon officials reckon they've been brainwashed by the Kremlin. The Reagan Institute's annual National Defense Survey measures the attitudes of Americans on all things war, peace, and politics. The latest version, published in October, has more statistics than you could shake a stick at, but to the Pentagon, one in particular stands out. Some 46 percent of military households see Russia as an "ally," while 28 percent of all American households share that belief. China has overtaken Russia as America's next top enemy, according to the survey. The think tank reckons positive views of Russia are held mostly by Republicans, which could explain the rampant Russophilia within military ranks (America's men and women in uniform usually vote for the GOP), but the Pentagon's top brass has other ideas.
  10. A defense contractor overcharged the Pentagon by more than $1.2 billion for thousands of armored vehicles, a whistleblower's complaint alleges. The company also threatened employees who refused to go along with the grift. With Improvised Explosive Device (IED) attacks responsible for more than six in ten deaths of US personnel in Iraq and four in ten deaths in Afghanistan in 2007, the Pentagon solicited designs for a Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle to replace its thin-skinned Humvees. The military hoped the vehicles' thickened armor and explosion-deflecting v-shaped hulls would save lives on the battlefield. Navistar Defense, one of the companies contracted to build the new MRAPs, saw green and decided to milk the government for as much cash as possible, according to a complaint filed by a company whistleblower in 2013 and unsealed this week after the US government intervened in the case. The whistleblower, Navistar's former contract director Duquoin Burgess, claims...
  11. Israeli firm funded by US tech giant collects biometric data at checkpoints and helps the government track the movement of Palestinians. Anger and frustration is growing towards Microsoft for failing to put an end to its funding of an Israeli tech firm found to be conducting secret surveillance of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank. Microsoft has been under fire since an NBC News investigation in October found that Israeli start-up AnyVision was not only collecting biometric data of Palestinians at checkpoints but also using facial recognition software to help the Israeli government conduct surveillance on Palestinians in the occupied territories. Activists from Jewish Voice for Peace, M Power Change and SumOfUs said that Microsoft's continued investment in the Israeli firm contradicted its own policies on facial recognition. The trio have demanded that Microsoft #DropAnyVision immediately.
  12. Bloomberg Terminal, a platform that offers real-time data and news to financial professionals, had a built-in search shortcut directing users to Mike Bloomberg's presidential campaign site, at least until the "glitch" was exposed. The service, that prides itself of being "the most powerful, flexible platform for financial professionals who need real-time data, news, analytics" while "sitting on the desks of 325,000 of the world's most influential decision makers" has been caught red-handed peddling the presidential campaign of its owner, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Until recently, if a user typed in "Mike" or "Mike Bloomberg" into a search box at the terminal, the first result would have been none other than the billionaire Democratic candidate's official campaign website, the Financial Times reported in its scoop on Thursday.
  13. British broadcaster Channel 4 has apologized for, and deleted, a video misquoting British Prime Minister Boris Johnson as saying he wanted democratic control over the migration of "people of color." The erroneous and now-corrected video was posted on Twitter by Channel 4 and showed Johnson answering questions at a factory in Derbyshire while on the campaign trail ahead of the UK general election. Channel 4 quoted him as saying: "I am in favour of having people of colour come to this country but I think we should have it democratically controlled," despite him actually saying "people of talent."
  14. While the prospect of a polar research expedition in the Antarctic might seem like a dream come true for many, the reality of prolonged darkness in isolation is so severe that it actually shrinks parts of the human brain. Researchers from Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin and the Max Planck Institute for Human Development studied the effects of social isolation and extreme environmental conditions on the brains of five men and four women who spent a total of 14 months in the Antarctic, nine of which saw them cut off from the outside world. The plucky participants ventured to the Neumayer-Station III, which experiences temperatures as low as -50 degrees Celsius (-58 degrees Fahrenheit) and almost complete darkness during the winter months. To make matters worse, because of the harsh and unforgiving environment, there was no real chance to opt out of the mission during the winter months; emergency evacuation and food and equipment deliveries only take place during the summer...
  15. A man crouches on the Oregon forest floor late at night, peering between the trees for signs of nocturnal life. The scene is pitch-black but his face and hands are visible in infrared footage, and he scans the landscape with a thermal camera, looking for a heat signature that would indicate he isn't alone. Suddenly, a red blob emerges in the distance. "Do you see that?" he whispers. "It's something big." But could it be Bigfoot, North America's fabled apelike creature? That's the question this man — author and explorer Russell Acord — and his colleagues are trying to answer, in the new Travel Channel documentary series "Expedition Bigfoot," premiering tonight (Dec. 8) at 10 p.m. ET/PT. More than 10,000 eyewitness accounts have described Bigfoot encounters in the continental U.S. over the past 50 years. Bigfoot even has an FBI file that was released to the public on June 5; in 1977, the agency examined 15 unidentified fibers that were suspected of being Bigfoot hairs. But the hairs...
  16. The first successful person I ever met — truly successful, with accomplishments I admired and ambition I strove to emulate — was an entrepreneur in his forties, a client of mine in the first real business I'd ever started. I was 24 and eager to learn; he was constantly cheerful, and had more money than he could count. We became close friends, and he told me eventually that he'd lost his wife, the love of his life, a half-decade before we met — the kind of loss, he said, that you never get over. It was a story that made his positive outlook seem all the more remarkable to me: Here was someone who had been through tragedy, and yet still made it a priority to do good things with his time and his money. He seemed to truly care about other people. Often, he'd tell me what he saw as the secret to his success: "I just try to avoid being unsuccessful," he said. He studied what made someone (avoidably) unhappy, broke, or unmotivated — and then he avoided making the same mistakes. I knew in...
  17. For years, Keith Raniere, who is to be sentenced next year on several charges, ran the successful self-help group Nxivm, which had numerous supporters, including the billionaire Bronfman family. However, it was revealed that the organisation was, in fact, a despotic sex cult. New allegations suggest that the Nxivm boss is behind several murders. The leader of the now-infamous New York-based self-help group Nxivm, Keith Raniere, has been linked to the mysterious deaths of four women connected to his group, the TV special "The Lost Women of NXIVM" reports. As the cult's former publicist Frank Parlato insists, Kristin Snyder, Barbara Jeske, Gina Hutchinson, and Pamela Cafritz passed away under suspicious circumstances between 2002 and 2016. The death of two women, 33-year-old Hutchinson and Snyder, were ruled as suicides by gunshot and drowning, respectively. But as Parlato says, they talked about their sexual relationships with the guru shortly before their deaths. Incidentally,...
  18. Twelve people have been swept to their deaths by floods in western Uganda, the Red Cross said on Saturday, as the East African country is battered by torrential rain. "We have recovered 12 bodies from the water and one person has been rushed to hospital with serious injuries," said Diana Tumuhimbise, Red Cross branch manager in the Bundibugyo district. "The rain started last night and continued until 9:00 am (0600 GMT)," she told AFP on Saturday. "Several houses have been swept away, roads have been blocked and some washed away completely."
  19. Families were forced from their homes across Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire by heavy downpours ahead of the holiday season. Many still remain homeless and are staying in hotels, as they are not allowed to return to their houses, which remain uninhabitable. Dozens of families in the UK still can't return to their homes following floods that local media describe as nothing short of "Biblical". As the Daily Star reports, over 1,000 households in communities across Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire were hit by the high water levels, which were due to heavy rains in November. However, dozens of families are still stranded in hotels, as their homes remain uninhabitable. They now face the prospect of spending the holiday season fighting challenges from their insurance companies. "No mum or dad should have to go through what we are going through. I've been moved ­between two hotels but I know someone who's been moved between three. On some nights the insurance hasn't been able to get my family...
  20. Depraved Jeffrey Epstein, his alleged pimp Ghislaine Maxwell and disgraced film mogul Harvey Weinstein grin at Princess Beatrice's Windsor Castle party. The astonishing image, obtained exclusively by The Sun on Sunday, shows how the trio were invited into the seat of royal power by Prince Andrew. As they mingled with royalty at Beatrice's 18th, police had already prepared an arrest warrant for Epstein on child sex abuse charges and raided his Florida mansion. Eight days after the billionaire posed in a US Navy Seal uniform for this snap he was in cuffs. Tuxedo-wearing Weinstein is due in court next month accused of a sex offence in 2006 - the same year this photo was taken.
  21. More than 7 million people have spent their vacations in Crimea so far this year, Deputy Chairman of Crimea's Council of Ministers and Permanent Presidential Envoy Georgy Muradov said, setting a post-Soviet record. Muradov told TASS that "Crimea is Russia's second most visited region for tourism and recreation after the Krasnodar Region." Despite Western sanctions targeting the Black Sea peninsula (due to its reunification with Russia), Crimea is becoming increasingly popular with foreign tourists, Muradov said. This includes travelers from the United States and Europe, he added.
  22. News from MetService In the 24 hours leading up to 7am this morning, 109,000 lightning strikes were recorded over New Zealand and our surrounding waters, with 18,000 over the land. Previously our records had only seen 44,000 strikes over both land and sea. Thunderstorms can bring localized flooding and downpours which have caused disruptions to travel.
  23. As damages from the flooding in US Midwest surpass $5.3 billion -- affecting farmers across the nation -- and more flooding is expected in 2020, it is time to step back and take stock of what is happening. The war on farmers -- the war on our food -- is a silent war with quiet weapons, meaning we must work to SEE what is going on: farm after farm lost. Christian makes it real. Sources
  24. In what appears to be the first firearm seizure linked to massive rallies, police in the former British colony have found a semi-automatic pistol and live ammunition - along with knives and even a Japanese sword. Hong Kong police have carried out raids early on Sunday, as the city braces for another wave of protests against the local and Beijing government. In wake of the searches, officers found an Austrian-made Glock pistol and four magazines, three of which were loaded with a total of 105 live rounds. Glock is particularly valued by police and security forces worldwide for its simplicity, versatility and firepower. Its customized versions are also one of the best-selling firearms on the civilian market.
  25. Democrats in the House of Representatives are drafting articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump and the Judiciary Committee may hold a vote this week, the panel's chairman said on Sunday. Representative Jerrold Nadler told CNN's State of the Union his committee will not decide on the charges against the Republican president until after a hearing on Monday to consider evidence gathered by the House Intelligence Committee that led the investigation. The impeachment inquiry that threatens Trump's presidency focuses on his request that Ukraine investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, a leading contender for the Democratic nomination to face Trump in the November 2020 election.
  26. "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary." - H.L. Mencken. Mencken died in 1956, in what could still be described as a period of political sanity, when the hobgoblins were much fewer in number. Since then, they have multiplied beyond measure, with politicians inventing, feeding and nurturing new hobgoblins every year, then presenting themselves as the hobgoblin-slayers, ready to vanquish them on our behalf. I generally try to ignore politicians, but all the more so around election time, when their nauseating PR and snake-oil sales techniques go into overdrive, and we get treated to the spectacle of having promises of the money we have earned, extracted from us upon pain of imprisonment, spent for us multiple times, as if they were doing us some great favour. I say "spent", but please forgive me for using Oldspeak. In Newspeak the word is...
  27. The embattled Prime Minister wants Washington to approve of Israel's further expansion into the Jordan Valley, just days after he urged Donald Trump not to miss a rare chance to back Tel Aviv's territorial appetites. Benjamin Netanyahu, who fiercely fights for re-election, believes that "the time has come to extend Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley," a swath of land spanning between the occupied West Bank and neighboring Kingdom of Jordan. On their part, Israel's closest ally should give a final nod to the move. "I want American recognition of our sovereignty in the Jordan Valley. This is important," he bluntly told an event set up on Sunday by Israel's Makor Rishon newspaper. As part of the proposed annexation, all Jewish settlements in the area would become part of Israel, he insisted. Comment: Woman: Aren't you afraid of the world, Bibi? Netanyahu: Especially today, with America. I know what America is. America is something that can easily be moved. Moved to the right...
  28. In the United States, the task of printing money and minting coins falls to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, which is part of the Treasury Department. But in the United Kingdom, a private company prints the nation's bank notes and passports — and it is running short of cash. De La Rue, which has printed banknotes for the Bank of England since 1860, and also prints currency for 140 other countries, last week issued a warning that there was "significant doubt" about its future. It is the largest commercial printer in the world, produces passports for 40 countries, and has designed 36 percent of all banknote denominations in circulation, according to investment research company Edison Group.
  29. The claim that there's an "epidemic" of fatal anti-transgender violence in the United States has been made widely in recent years. A Google search for the phrase "epidemic of anti-trans violence" turns up pieces from the New York Times, NBC National News, ABC National News, and the Human Rights Campaign, a leading LGBT lobby group — among 2,500,000 other results. The HRC's primary on-point article was headlined 'A National Epidemic: Fatal Anti-Transgender Violence,' while the Times led with 'Eighteen Transgender Killings This Year Raise Fears of an Epidemic.' Transgender Day of Remembrance has been celebrated since the late 1990s to honor those "members of the transgender community whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence," and the American Medical Association has stated on record that fatal attacks on transgender people — particularly minority trans women — constitute a large part of an "epidemic of violence" against the trans community. However, there is...
  30. Richard Alexander, 74, and his wife, Elizabeth Alexander, 79, both from Ash Fork, were found dead, most likely from hypothermia, as they were found beneath a snowdrift, KNXV reported. Detectives said the couple's car was found a mile from where the bodies were found, the television station reported. The bodies were found outside a private property on land along Old Route 66, KTVK reported. Mike Haas and Diane Haas were heading out of their Ash Fork home when they noticed two figures in their yard, KNXV reported. "(Mike) wondered if they were sleeping, so he got out and yelled at them and they didn't respond," Diane Haas told the television station.
  31. Four Muslim men attacked a street preacher after they lured him away while he was preaching and praying for the sick on a street in Trondheim, Norway last week. According to the website Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination Against Christians in Europe, Roar Fløttum was approached by the men when one of them asked him to come with them to pray for a friend who had injured his foot. Instead, they took him to a nearby backyard where the men allegedly pushed him down a cellar staircase, beat him, robbed him and threatened to kill him if he did not convert to Islam. "They told me to give them my bank card and certificate, codes, mobile, and Apple ID. They held me hostage there for an hour as they withdrew from the card," Fløttum told Norway Today. They made about 10,000 kroner (a little more than $1,000 in US dollars). While they kept me there, they threatened me and said they would kill me if I did not convert to Islam." "They wanted me to say a few words in Arabic," he...
  32. Violent crime has swept the liberal nation. Bomb attacks have become the norm, almost one occurring every three days. It's often tied to organized crime and the drug trade. On top of being renowned for its [questionable] education system regarding gender and sexuality for toddlers, and it's highly interventionist Child services, Sweden has a strong welfare system and strict gun control laws. Liberals always insist that by banning guns, fewer people will end up with bullets in their hides. Obviously that's not the case in Sweden. Last month, on the streets of Malmo, two 15 year olds were fired upon... one died, while the other was brought to the ER with 10 bullet wounds. In the same locality, back in August, a mother was shot dead [in the head] on the street, while holding her five year old son. Maher Turkie, originally from Lebanon, and a reformed convict in Sweden, said about the country that it will "soon resemble Syria and won't be any difference." If some think it too great an...
  33. Paris is set to host the first summit of the so-called Normandy Four in over three years. The rendezvous is possible thanks to a change of power in Ukraine and a very active stance by Macron. What are the stakeholders' cards? Virtual carte-blanche to Zelensky Volodymyr Zelensky has the biggest interest of them all. By handing him victory in the spring election, the voters hoped for peace, an armistice in Donbass and better ties with Russia. There is no doubt that Zelensky personally, as well as his closest circle, shares these objectives. However, Ukraine's political scene is extremely murky. Pursuing any policy requires special skills that were masterfully displayed by Ukraine's former president Leonid Kuchma (1994-2004) and to a certain extent by Petro Poroshenko. Zelensky has none.
  34. Four people are dead including the suspect after an active shooting incident at a naval base in Pensacola, Florida, police said. The shooter was identified as Mohammed Alshamrani, a Saudi national and member of the country's air force who was in the U.S. for flight training, law enforcement officials familiar with the investigation told ABC News. Investigators are trying to determine whether the shooting was terror-related, the officials said. Authorities responded to reports of a shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola at 6:51 a.m. on Friday, officials said. ATF and FBI also responded to the scene. The shooting took place at one of the classroom buildings on the base, officials said. Officers with the Escambia County Sheriff's Office arrived on the scene and fatally shot the suspect after exchanging gunfire. Three people, including the shooter, were pronounced dead on scene, police said. One victim was taken to the hospital and died from injuries. Eight others injured in the...
  35. Whether you're an athlete looking to improve your training and performance, or someone trying to reduce pain and achieve better alignment, myofascial release therapy can likely help. This type of manipulative therapy targets hard knots and trigger points in the muscle tissue that can elicit tenderness, pain, stiffness and even twitching. While it's still considered an "alternative treatment," one that has been studied significantly less than similar approaches, there's evidence that it may be beneficial for those dealing with pain or inflexibility even after trying surgery, medication and stretching. What Is Myofascial Release? Myofascial release (or MFR) is a type of hands-on treatment that is used to reduce tightness and pain in the body's connective tissue system. It's intended to improve range of motion, flexibility, stability, strength, performance and recovery. The purpose of MFR is to detect fascial restrictions — areas of connective tissue that are tight, painful or...
  36. A violent police response to a botched robbery in Florida has come under fire by one victim's family. The high-speed chase ended in a shootout in which officers gunned down the robbers, but also a hostage and a bystander. At least 19 officers from five different agencies fired over 200 rounds at the robbers in the intense gun battle on Thursday, after a failed jewelry store holdup led police on a chase spanning several counties in South Florida. Family members of one of the shootout victims, Frank Ordonez - who was taken hostage when the two thieves commandeered his UPS delivery truck to escape arrest - have been among the most vocal critics of the heavy-handed police response, which saw officers using cars stuck in traffic as cover from gunfire.
  37. The US government has dropped all charges against Max Blumenthal, after arresting the journalist over a dubious 5-month-old warrant. But the Grayzone editor says the case is far from closed. Blumenthal was detained for nearly two days after police raided his Washington, DC office in October. The month-old warrant for his arrest listed the journalist as "armed and dangerous," and police carrying out the warrant reportedly threatened to kick down his door.The government's case was based solely on an unsubstantiated claim made by a right-wing Venezuelan opposition activist, Naylet Pacheco, who alleged that Blumenthal and a friend had assaulted her during a protest at the Venezuelan embassy in Washington.
  38. Several West Virginia state employees have been suspended after a photo emerged depicting a training class of roughly 30 correctional officers performing a Nazi salute. Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety Director Jeff Sandy sent a letter to all employees Wednesday describing the photo as "distasteful, hurtful, disturbing, highly insensitive, and completely inappropriate." The photo, on state letterhead, shows almost all of Basic Training Class No. 18 displaying the Nazi salute. Text above the photo reads: "HAIL BYRD!"
  39. A New York-based performance artist strode into a Miami art gallery and ate a banana. The banana, however, was a piece of art, and the slightly overripe fruit was worth a whopping $120,000. Entitled 'Comedian,' the art installation consisted of a banana duct-taped to a wall, and was on display at Art Basel Miami in an exhibition run by contemporary art gallery Perrotin. According to Artnet, two of three editions have already been sold to two French collectors with the third now priced at $150,000, which will be sold to a museum.
  40. The US government has dropped its bogus charge of "simple assault" against journalist Max Blumenthal, after having him arrested on a 5-month-old warrant and jailed for nearly two days. The Grayzone has learned that Secret Service call logs recorded during the alleged incident were either not kept or destroyed. The mysteriously missing evidence included print documents and radio recordings that may have exposed collusion between Secret Service officers operating under the auspices of the US State Department and violent right-wing hooligans in an operation to besiege peace activists stationed inside Venezuela's embassy in Washington, DC. Blumenthal, who is the editor of The Grayzone, was arrested at his home on October 25 by a team of DC cops who had threatened to break down his door. He later learned that he was listed in his arrest warrant as "armed and dangerous," a rare and completely unfounded designation that placed Blumenthal at risk of severe harm by the police.
  41. The House Judiciary Committee released a report Saturday in which it argued that a president may be impeached for "illegitimate motives" even if his actions are "legally permissible." The 52-page report, written by 20 members of the staff for the Democratic majority, attempts to provide a legal and constitutional basis for the Democrats' ongoing effort to impeach the president. The report states: "The question is not whether the President's conduct could have resulted from permissible motives. It is whether the President's real reasons, the ones in his mind at the time, were legitimate."
  42. A newly hired community organizer for the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign has left just days after taking the job - reportedly because some of his past tweets allegedly contained anti-Semitic and homophobic statements, as well as derogatory remarks about women and Asians. Several of the tweets also reportedly included crude sexual references. Darius Khalil Gordon had announced Wednesday that he had been named deputy director of constituency organizing for Sanders, the independent U.S. senator from Vermont who is among the top contenders for the Democratic Party's 2020 presidential nomination, the Washington Free Beacon reported.
  43. A recent study published in Nature Scientific Reports, a specific type of mushroom extract can help honey bees fight off a devastating virus that is suspected of contributing to massive bee die-offs in recent years. Bees are dying, in massive numbers. Termed colony collapse disorder, a significant cause of the die-offs is a parasite named Varroa destructor. A tiny 2mm eight legged mite that invades honeybee hives around the world, latching onto the bees and feeding on their bodies, a process which transmits a devastating RNA virus. This new study was conducted by researchers at Washington State University, with help from the USDA and a Washington based business called Fungi Perfecti.
  44. 2019 may be remembered as the year of the protest, as demonstrations are engulfing the world. From the Yellow Vests in France to demonstrations in Lebanon, Gaza, Chile, Ecuador and Haiti, sustained movements all over the planet have taken to the street demanding change. Yet US corporate media have been disproportionately interested in only one: the Hong Kong protests. As FAIR argued previously (FAIR.org, 10/26/19), this disparity in coverage can largely be explained by understanding who is protesting and what they are protesting against. The unrest in Hong Kong flared up in March in response to a proposed extradition treaty between the island city, the Chinese central government and Taiwan, which many residents feared would be used by Beijing authorities to arrest and persecute opponents of the Chinese state. Thus, the target of Hong Kong's protesting is an official enemy of the US, hence the extent and favorability of the coverage. FAIR conducted a study of New York Times and CNN...
  45. A Newsweek journalist has resigned after the publication reportedly suppressed his story about the ever-growing OPCW scandal, the revelation of immensely significant plot holes in the establishment Syria narrative that you can update yourself on by watching this short seven-minute video or this more detailed video here. "Yesterday I resigned from Newsweek after my attempts to publish newsworthy revelations about the leaked OPCW letter were refused for no valid reason," journalist Tareq Haddad reported today via Twitter. "I have collected evidence of how they suppressed the story in addition to evidence from another case where info inconvenient to US government was removed, though it was factually correct," Haddad said. "I plan on publishing these details in full shortly. However, after asking my editors for comment, as is journalistic practice, I received an email reminding me of confidentiality clauses in my contract. I.e. I was threatened with legal action."
  46. Thousands of people have been displaced as a result of torrential rains in Northern and Eastern provinces, the Disaster Management Center (DMC) reported. According to the latest report released by the Disaster Management Center, in Eastern Province over 79,000 people are affected by the floods and 2,507 people from 798 families have been displaced. In Batticaloa district 51,434 people from 15019 families have been affected in the due to heavy rains and 2,303 people have been relocated to 15 shelters, according to the Batticaloa District Secretary Manikkam Udayakumar. The government has allocated Rs. 1.7 million for the provision of cooked meals to the displaced people at shelters and dry rations to the people temporarily staying with friends and relatives. The District Secretariat has requested Rs. 16.6 million from the Disaster Management Center to provide relief to all those affected by the floods and inclement weather.
  47. More than 500 legal scholars signed on to a letter published Friday accusing President Donald Trump of having "engaged in impeachable conduct" in his dealings in Ukraine. "There is overwhelming evidence that President Trump betrayed his oath of office by seeking to use presidential power to pressure a foreign government to help him distort an American election, for his personal and political benefit, at the direct expense of national security interests as determined by Congress," they wrote. "His conduct is precisely the type of threat to our democracy that the Founders feared when they included the remedy of impeachment in the Constitution." The letter comes after four other legal scholars testified at the first House Judiciary Committee impeachment hearing Wednesday, with three of them making the case for impeaching Trump.
  48. Boris Johnson has been lampooned for repeatedly recycling his Brexit slogan during a debate with Labour's Jeremy Corbyn. Unfazed by his critics, the Tory leader has continued to flood Twitter with his polarizing campaign mantra. The British Prime Minister locked horns with Corbyn during Friday's BBC debate. While discussing a range of issues, Johnson often steered the conversation back to his rallying cry, "get Brexit done." According to the BBC, he used the slogan no less than ten times over the course of the evening. He somehow managed to work the pledge into almost every issue, including how rude behavior and threats in politics could be ended by - yes, you guessed right - "getting Brexit done." In fact, he rolled out the phrase so many times that it reportedly began to trend on Twitter - albeit due to the tsunami of social media mockery.
  49. Japan faces a wall of debt that can only be addressed by printing more money and debasing its currency. This means they will be paying off their debt with worthless yen where possible and in many cases defaulting on the promises they have made. Japan currently has a debt/GDP ratio of about 250% which is the highest in the industrialized world. With the government financing almost 40 percent of its annual budget through debt it becomes easy to draw comparisons between Greece and Japan. While adding to the markets move higher across the globe the latest move by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe should do little to boost confidence in the small island nation. Entering the third quarter of 2019 Reuters reported their monthly Tankan survey showed that Japanese manufacturers had again turned pessimistic about business prospects. Confidence in the service sector also plunged. Amid the escalating Sino-U.S. trade war, and problems in China the prospects for a global downturn remain large. Survey...
  50. Over four dozen people have been killed after a fire erupted at a house in New Delhi, trapping scores of laborers inside the burning building. Multiple fire units rushed to the scene in an attempt to fight the blaze. The fire broke out in the early hours of Sunday, at about 5:30am, when dozens of workers were sleeping inside the factory building in the Aanaj Mandi area near downtown New Delhi. The fire spread rapidly through the building, exposing many oblivious laborers to the smoke and flames. "A fire broke out in a 600sq feet plot. It was very dark inside. It is a factory where school bags, bottles and other materials were kept," the Times of India quoted Deputy Fire Chief Officer Sunil Choudhary as saying.