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Showing posts from February 20, 2016

War Crimes and US Responsibility in Syria and Yemen

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[The ICC: a case of whose ox is being gored? "Starving out noncombatants is a war crime. Unfortunately, it is one being widely and routinely practiced, sometimes by allies of the United States." Washington is giving substantial support to the Saudi-led war in Yemen, even helping to choose bombing targets. See also: The Untold Casualties of the Drone War. *RON*]

By Juan ColeTwitter, The Nation, 18 February 2016

The international press has rightfully focused attention in the past couple of months on the plight of the people of Madaya in Syria, who have been starved by the Syrian regime and its allies. This week, the United Nations is attempting to draw attention to the similar plight of the people of Taiz, Yemen’s third-largest city. Starving out noncombatants is a war crime. Unfortunately, it is one being widely and routinely practiced, sometimes by allies of the United States. Washington has a responsibility to see that charges are brou…

Lung Cancer Deaths Soar in China’s Steel Country, Report Says

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[Chinese officials routinely censor news about how China’s rapid economic growth has given rise to widespread environmental degradation. The death rate from lung cancer in the heavily industrialized Hebei province (which accounts for half the world's steel output) surrounding Beijing has more than quadrupled in the last four decades, with researchers pointing to worsening air pollution as a likely culprit. Note this short phrase buried in the midst of the piece: "Lung cancer death rates in many American states are higher" *RON*]

By Michael Forsythe, New York Times, 19 February 2016
HONG KONG — The death rate from lung cancer in the heavily industrialized province surrounding Beijing has more than quadrupled in the last four decades, with researchers pointing to worsening air pollution as a likely culprit, according to a local cancer hospital and a report published Friday in an influential Chinese news outlet.
From 1973 to 2012, lung…

The world's busiest airport just told the TSA to shape up or be replaced by private security

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[Anyone who flies at all knows how terrible this 'service' is in the US. *RON*]

Benjamin Zhang, Business Insider, 19 February 2016

Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, the world's busiest airport, has issued a warning to the US Transportation Safety Administration to get its act together or be replaced.

According to a letter from Hartsfield-Jackson general manager Miguel Southwell to TSA administrator Peter Neffenger, the airport's security screening checkpoints are woefully understaffed with no sign of significant improvement in sight.

The letter, obtained from a source by Aaron Diamant of Atlanta's WSB-TV, was dated February 12. The TSA confirmed to Business Insider that it had received the letter and was evaluating it.

In the letter, Southwell says the chronic staffing shortages are leading passengers to wait over half an hour at the TSA checkpoints. If things don't change, the airport will bring in priv…

Two children drown every day on average trying to reach safety in Europe

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["Two children have drowned every day on average since September 2015 [when Aylan Kurdi died] trying to cross the eastern Mediterranean to find safety with their families in Europe." More than 340 deaths are known plus who knows how many bodies lost at sea and unreported. Why is more not being done to stop the vultures who bring them over on floating coffins? *RON*]

By Marco Procaccini, UN High Commission for Refugees, 19 February 2016

KOS, Greece, Feb 19 (UNHCR) – Two children have drowned every day on average since September 2015 trying to cross the eastern Mediterranean to find safety with their families in Europe, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, said today.

In a joint statement, issued in Geneva, UNHCR, UNICEF and the IOM warned that the number of child deaths was on the increase and called for more measures to increase safety for those escaping conflict and despair.

Since last September, when the tragic death of toddler Aylan Kurdi …

Spies Who Chased Terrorists Join Banks to Hunt for Rogue Traders

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[Ex-CIA agents, banksters and so-called rogue traders (aka fall guys). What could possibly go wrong? Also, this creates a very handy 'distancing' between executives and criminal decisions, doesn't it? *RON*]

Gavin FinchJohn DetrixheAmbereen Choudhury, Bloomberg, 15 February 2016
Barclays, UBS among firms stepping up scrutiny after finesNew hires bring skills from the battlefield to trading floor Bryon Linnehan spent more than two years chasing bad guys around Iraq as a U.S. military-intelligence officer. Since May, he’s been using skills he honed on the battlefield to monitor electronic communications inside Barclays Plc.

Desperate to avoid more costly run-ins with regulators, investment banks are hiring former intelligence professionals like Linnehan to scrutinize virtually all aspects of their employees’ working lives, from how long they take for cigarette breaks to which websites they frequent. The goal: to deter the next market…

Shockingly, authorities arrest activists instead of people responsible for the Aliso Canyon methane gas leak

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["The leaking well had not been inspected since 1976. The CEO of SoCalGas reported to the LA Weekly that a safety valve on the well had been removed in 1979... It is unconscionable that these regulators are putting people at risk while giving companies a pass... Nationwide, there are approximately 400 underground methane storage areas that are subject to little or no federal regulation." See also: Warren Report Criticizes Obama Administration's Failure to Prosecute Corporate Crimes. *RON*]

by Bob Berwyn, inhabit, 18 February 2016

The California State Patrol has arrested two people in connection with the massive methane leak in Southern California’s Aliso Canyon, but many residents who had to leave their homes near the leaking underground gas storage site think the wrong people are in custody. Instead of busting company executives and engineers who are responsible for the massive methane gas leak, the CSP arrested two protesters who…

The Industry That Treats Wage Theft as the Cost of Doing Business

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[More on the joys of the so-called "sharing economy." All it means is labour-busting. A new law could make skipping out on paying freelancers more difficult. *RON*]

By Michelle Chen, The Nation, 19 February 2016

Everybody in New York has a hustle: Whether coding websites, mixing drinks, or painting houses, people stitch together self-employed livelihoods through casual, newfangled, and ad hoc gigs. But amid the infinite variety of freelance jobs, there are just as many ways to get screwed.

The “Freelance isn’t Free” Act purports to be one of the first concrete legislative measures aimed at protecting independent workers specifically by providing a new enforcement mechanism to go after derelict bosses. The proposed bill would empower the Mayor’s Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) to aid with investigating wage claims and recovering lost pay, as an alternative to the longer and more costly court process for seeking backwages.

The legislat…

Polish magazine's 'Islamic rape of Europe' cover sparks outrage

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[Some Twitter users compare the image in wSieci, used for an article referring to the Cologne sex assaults, to Nazi propaganda. Note also that, although we have seen that the chief of police of Cologne says otherwise, even an article that is ostensibly complaining about this outrage perpetuates the view that "Most of those arrested in connection with the attacks were recent migrants from north Africa." *RON*]

Harriet Sherwood, The Guardian, 18 February 2016


A Polish magazine has published a highly inflammatory front cover showing a white woman being assaulted by three pairs of dark-skinned male hands under the headline “The Islamic rape of Europe”.

The cover of this week’s edition of wSieci (the Network), a mass-market politically conservative magazine, triggered outraged responses on social media. Some Twitter users compared the image to Nazi propaganda.
Appalling front cover by @Tygodnik_Sieci. Inflammatory and very offensive as thoug…