Daily News, via SOTT.net aggregation.

'Free Tommy' protests: Letter to the Guardian urges people to 'come together' to defeat UK's resurgent far-right

'Free Tommy' protests: Letter to the Guardian urges people to 'come together' to defeat UK's resurgent far-right

Protests surrounding the imprisonment of ex-EDL leader Tommy Robinson have caused over 50 prominent figures to collectively voice their concerns in a letter to the Guardian, urging a "defence of our multicultural society." Published Tuesday, the letter accuses the "racist right" of using the ongoing protests demanding the release of Tommy Robinson from prison to "reorganise." Stating that the demonstration, which saw 5 police officers injured in running clashes, is the "first serious attempt since the collapse of the English Defence League (EDL) to develop a racist street movement and give it a political form.

New research suggests risk of California earthquake higher than previously thought

New research suggests risk of California earthquake higher than previously thought

Geophysicists are hypothesizing that the San Andreas fault line in California could be the central point of a massive earthquake after new research suggested that the fault may be at higher risk than previously thought. Researchers at Arizona State University have published a new study looking at the likelihood of a 7.5-magnitude (or stronger) quake occurring and rupturing the entire fault line. It has long been thought that the central section of the fault line, which stretches 90 miles from San Juan Bautista southward to Parkfield, was creeping steadily in such a way that provided for the safe release of energy. That "creeping" movement, scientists believed, lessened the chances of a huge quake rupturing the entire fault line - but new research casts doubt over old assumptions.

D.C. school approves program to give 13yo girls hormone-altering drugs without parents' consent

D.C. school approves program to give 13yo girls hormone-altering drugs without parents' consent

While parental consent is typically required when a student goes on a field trip or is subjected to a vision test in school, students as young 13 years old are being prescribed birth control at a public school in Washington D.C. and they could leave school with a prescription for pills or a newly inserted IUD, without their parents ever being notified. The program is currently happening at Anacostia High School, a public school in D.C. that has around 450 students, 98.9 percent of whom are African American. Only 1 percent of the students are proficient in Math, and only 4 percent are proficient in English, according to the school's website. Midwife Loral Patchen, who runs the program at the school and is responsible for administering pregnancy and STD tests, and prescribing various forms of birth control to underage girls, told NPR that the goal is to reduce the rate of teen pregnancy.

Devastating floods strike Accra, Ghana

Devastating floods strike Accra, Ghana

Devastating floods have hit areas around Accra, the capital city of Ghana, after heavy rainfall from 18 June, 2018. The Minister for the Interior, Mr Ambrose Dery, toured of some flood areas in the Accra Metropolis, including Odawna, Dome, Kissieman, Kwabenya, Madina, and communities in Tema. He called on management of National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) to carry out a needs assessment of the flood situation. He said government, together with other stakeholders, would take immediate steps and strategies to see how best to resolve the situation and address the challenges. Images on Social Media showed streets in the Greater Accra Region under 1 metre of water, leaving cars submerged and buildings damaged.

Separating children from their families is nothing new to the US - it has been doing it for decades

Separating children from their families is nothing new to the US - it has been doing it for decades

Outrage over the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" immigration policy appears to have little to do with genuine concerns over human-rights abuses committed by the US government on a routine basis. The Trump administration's Stephen Miller-inspired immigration policy of coercively tearing children from their parents is rightly receiving a hefty load of criticism, even from some of the more traditional Republicans. Some 2,000 children have already been separated from their parents and placed in makeshift government shelters in less than a month and a half, with estimates that this number will continue to rise (and has probably already risen). The outrage over this policy - while blame is still being deflected elsewhere by Donald Trump himself - is understandable and far-reaching indeed, right across the political spectrum.

China can seriously hurt America in the escalating trade war

China can seriously hurt America in the escalating trade war

The threat of a full-scale trade war between the US and China has dominated the news in recent weeks. The countries have exchanged import tariffs on each other's goods, and are threatening further protective steps. After numerous threats to tax Chinese imports, US President Donald Trump fired the first shot by approving $50 billion in tariffs that will come into force on July 6. Beijing immediately responded by imposing a 25-percent tariff on American imports worth $34 billion, which will come into effect on the same day. Trump issued a threat to impose additional 10-percent levies on $200 billion of Chinese goods coming to the US. This prompted a pledge from China's Commerce Ministry to "forcefully fight back" with "qualitative" and "quantitative" measures. The mutual exchange came two months after the White House slapped China and several other nations, including Russia and India, with an import tax of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum. In late May, the measure was extended to the EU, Canada and Mexico. Now that everyone's cards are on the table, the question is what else China can do to protect itself and minimize damages in this fierce fight between the world's two largest economies. Let's explore the possibilities.

SOTT FOCUS: California is full of psychopaths, but not as bad as D.C., study finds

SOTT FOCUS: California is full of psychopaths, but not as bad as D.C., study finds

Ever feel like there's something sinister lurking behind the crunchy granola, yoga-loving, avocado-eating facade of your fellow Californians? Now there's research to back you up. California is among the two U.S. states with the highest concentration of psychopaths, according to a working study from Southern Methodist University released on the Social Science Research network this week. The study looks at trends in personality traits across areas (the study hasn't yet gone through the full peer review process, so take the findings with a grain of salt). The only places with more psychopaths? Connecticut (thanks, hedge funds!) and, shocker, the District of Columbia. Other highly psychopathic states include New Jersey, New York and Wyoming, while West Virginia, Vermont and Tennessee are among the least psychopathic states. 'The presence of psychopaths in District of Columbia is consistent with the conjecture found in Murphy (2016) that psychopaths are likely to be effective in the political sphere," the author writes.

How does Google News' closely guarded algorithm actually work?

How does Google News' closely guarded algorithm actually work?

Google News is checked by millions of people on a daily basis looking for quick access to a range of coverage of a given event or issue. It was founded by software developer Krishna Bharat in 2002 in response to the scramble for news that followed the attacks on the World Trade Centre on 11 September 2001. The service collects and ranks all articles on a particular topic then making international headlines into clusters, allowing readers to choose which publication's account they read. But how does Google rank the content it shows?

The internet groans with revulsion as Madeleine Albright and Bana Alabed honored as bastions of freedom

The internet groans with revulsion as Madeleine Albright and Bana Alabed honored as bastions of freedom

The pro-NATO Atlantic Council think tank is set to honor former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Syrian child activist Bana Alabed at its Freedom Awards this week. The Freedom Awards honor individuals who "defend and advance the cause of freedom around the world" and will be hosted in Berlin later this week - but the nominations have caused quite a few puzzled reactions online. According to the Atlantic Council website, Albright will be recognized for her "championing of global democracy" and as an exemplar of "the power of diplomacy in achieving solutions to the most pressing challenges facing our world."

Postmodern indoctrination: Princeton offers new course that will teach students to 'read queerly'

Postmodern indoctrination: Princeton offers new course that will teach students to 'read queerly'

Princeton University is offering a new course this fall that will teach students about the "theory, narrative, and aesthetics" of "queer literatures." According to the official course description posted on the school's website, students will "both read from various trajectories of queer literature and engage what it means to read queerly" as part of the "Queer Literatures: Theory, Narrative, and Aesthetics" course. "We will consider the historical etymology of the term queer and think through its affiliate terms and acronyms: lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans," the description continues. "We will investigate how discourses of power and institutions of normativity have come up against queer bodies, narratives, and politic-and how such encounters are historically situated."

Hungary passes 'Stop Soros' law banning NGOs from providing benefits to illegal immigrants

Hungary passes 'Stop Soros' law banning NGOs from providing benefits to illegal immigrants

Hungary's parliament has passed a law that could see anyone helping illegal immigrants claim asylum in the country imprisoned. The 'Stop Soros' law is named after Hungarian-born billionaire and open-borders advocate, George Soros. The law was voted on in the Hungarian parliament on Wednesday, where Viktor Orban's right-wing Fidesz party holds a two-thirds majority. Under the law, individuals who aid migrants, informing them about the asylum procedure or "providing financial or property benefit" will be liable for a 12-month prison sentence. NGOs working with migrants will need to seek licenses and will see the scope of their work severely restricted. The law was criticized by Human Rights Watch, who called it "the latest salvo in the Hungarian government's war on refugees and those who help them."

Trump to sign executive order to end separation of illegal immigrant families

Trump to sign executive order to end separation of illegal immigrant families

The White House has been harshly criticized for its "zero-tolerance" policy, as it has led to the separation of thousands of children from their families at the border. US President Donald Trump announced on Wednesday that he would sign "something pre-emptive" in order to put an end to the separation of immigrant families at the southern borders of the country. "We're going to be signing an executive order in a little while...We've got to be keeping families together," Trump said as quoted by a pool reporter. "So I'm going to be signing an executive order in a little while before I go to Minnesota but, at the same time, I think you have to understand, we're keeping families together but we have to keep our borders strong. We will be overrun with crime and with people that should not be in our country."

Kiev plays the Crimean Tatar card to drive a wedge between Moscow and Ankara

Kiev plays the Crimean Tatar card to drive a wedge between Moscow and Ankara

Previously, Turkey had little to no difficulties in playing two of the opposing geopolitical powers, namely the US and Russia, against each other. When tensions began mounting between bilateral relations with one side, Ankara would typically perform a one-eighty to pursue a rapprochement with the other. However, these days, while reading the headlines, it might appear that Russia has suddenly become Tayyip Erdogan's most trusted ally. He and his supporters are up in arms against the US, which they have recently branded as Turkey's archenemy. The EU, and especially Germany, has long been on Turkey's bad side. On the other hand, Russia has proven time and time again that it's a trustworthy partner - whether in Syria, in the support it provided Erdogan in his feud against Fethullah Gülen and his movement, or in Turkey's aspirations to become an energy heavyweight. Yet, it's been noted that appearances can be misleading. Ankara's so-called pivot to Moscow is, in actuality, consistent with a broader trend in Turkish foreign policy of late. It is a bid to assert autonomy in foreign affairs, rather than a step towards a lasting alliance with the Kremlin. This notion can be proven by the rapidly strengthening ties between Ankara and Kiev, which Ukraine tries to exploit to the best of its abilities to cause harm to Russia, which means that Turkey's interests often diverge from Russia's.

IM Seehofer puts Merkel under deadline; Germany to kick out migrants if there is no deal with EU

IM Seehofer puts Merkel under deadline; Germany to kick out migrants if there is no deal with EU

German police will start unilaterally turning away migrants who applied for asylum in a different state if Chancellor Angela Merkel fails to negotiate an EU-wide solution, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said. Speaking at a Monday briefing, the key Merkel ally and Christian Social Union (CSU) party head said that the chancellor effectively approved almost all provisions of his so-called "master plan." He also wished Merkel "much luck" in her negotiations with other European nations, expected to take place at the European Council on June 28-29, and said his party supports "any European decision" aimed at resolving the migration problem. However, Seehofer also showed determination to go it alone, saying that if Merkel's talks ultimately fail, then they'll be compelled to "act on a national basis." "We stick to our position that should the immediate rejection at the border not be possible, I would immediately order the police that people who either have prohibition of entry or prohibition of stay should be immediately turned away at the border," he said. The new measures would be applied particularly to migrants, who either registered or applied for asylum in another EU country, the interior minister said.

Hungary: EU members should follow example of Italy, ban migrant ships from their harbors

Hungary: EU members should follow example of Italy, ban migrant ships from their harbors

If decisions as to "which migrants entering Europe should be given refugee status" were made in Brussels "it would even pose a greater danger than migrant quotas", Antal Rogan, head of the prime minister's cabinet office, told public Kossuth Radio on Sunday morning. Rogan said that countries accommodating hundreds of thousands or millions of migrants were facing serious, everyday problems, while migration "poses a danger for central Europe because of the open internal borders". That is why Hungary would not receive migrants and cannot be obliged to do so, Rogan said, and argued that the country "had not agreed to do anything of the kind when it joined the EU". Rogan said that it was not Hungary but "George Soros's organisations" that broke European laws "with support from the Brussels". European leaders promote "the ideology of a United States of Europe which nobody has approved" rather than the interests of member states. Rogan called it "appalling" that "Soros's ships routinely carry migrants from Africa to Europe" and urged that EU members should follow the example of Italy and ban such ships from their harbours. "The right principle is to assist where there is a problem and send aid to countries of origin rather than import the problem to Europe and then distribute it among EU members," he said.

Palestinians still have keys to homes they fled decades ago, many determined to return

Palestinians still have keys to homes they fled decades ago, many determined to return

Keys must always be the symbol of the Palestinian "Nakba" - the "disaster" - the final, fateful, terrible last turning in the lock of those front doors as 750,000 Arab men, women and children fled or were thrown out of their homes in what was to become the state of Israel in 1947 and 1948. Just for a few days, mind you, for most of them were convinced - or thought they knew - that they would return after a week or two and re-open those front doors and walk back into the houses many had owned for generations. I always feel a sense of "shock and awe" when I see those keys - and I held one in my hand again a few days ago.

Ex-Trump campaign chief Lewandowski denounced online for mocking migrant girl with Down Syndrome

Ex-Trump campaign chief Lewandowski denounced online for mocking migrant girl with Down Syndrome

Corey Lewandowski, the former campaign manager to then-presidential nominee Donald Trump, has angered critics after mocking a story of a disabled migrant being separated from her mother. During an appearance on Fox News, Lewandowski responded to a story of a 10-year-old girl with Down Syndrome being taken from her mother and placed in caged detention in Texas by saying "womp, womp" - an onomatopoeic phrase sometimes heard in cartoons. Fellow panelist Zac Petkanas, a former adviser on the Democratic National Committee, then became enraged, shouting as the interview descended into cross-talk. Lewandowski continues to make his point, saying: "When you cross the border illegally, when you commit a crime, you are taken away from your family because that's how this country works."

Gasp! Estonia to spend millions on a new pipeline so it can get Russian gas from Finland (not Russia?)

Gasp! Estonia to spend millions on a new pipeline so it can get Russian gas from Finland (not Russia?)

Dear friends, here are some perplexing news. I read and reread them several times, checked sources and encyclopedia, and still couldn't understand what exactly is happening. Hopefully, together we will get to the bottom of it. Estonia has decided to fight for its "energy independence" and decided to buy natural gas from...Finland. There is only one question regarding this otherwise normally sounding news. What is the source of natural gas in Finland? Let's figure this out step by step... Yle, the Finnish Broadcasting Company, reports that the construction of the Balticconnector gas pipeline project to connect Finland and Estonia with the natural gas pipeline started on 8th of June 2018 near Helsinki. The reason for this project, as I have said already, is "to reduce dependence" on Russian gas. During the opening ceremony, Finnish Minister of the Environment and Energy Kimmo Tiilikainen stated that the construction of the Balticconnector will be beneficial to all participants on the Eastern part of the Baltic Sea region. It will also open the Scandinavian energy market for the Baltic countries. This gas pipeline also, in his opinion, will increase the security of natural gas deliveries. So far so good.

Big banks start offering voice-assisted banking through virtual assistants Alexa, Siri, Assistant

Big banks start offering voice-assisted banking through virtual assistants Alexa, Siri, Assistant

Hey Alexa, what's my bank account balance? Big banks and financial companies have started to offer banking through virtual assistants - Amazon's Alexa, Apple's Siri, and Google's Assistant - in a way that will allow customers to check their balances, pay bills and, in the near future, send money just with their voice. And with the rapid adoption of Zelle, a bank-to-bank transfer system, it soon could be possible to send money to friends or family instantly with voice commands. But the potential to do such sensitive tasks through a smart speaker raises security concerns. Virtual assistants and smart speakers are still relatively new technologies, and potentially susceptible to being exploited by cyber criminals. Regional banking giant U.S. Bank is the first bank to be on all three services - Alexa, Siri and Assistant. The company did a soft launch of its Siri and Assistant services in early March and this month started marketing the option to customers.

Occupied West Bank: Israel to pay $16.7M to illegal settlers after home demolitions

Occupied West Bank: Israel to pay $16.7M to illegal settlers after home demolitions

An Israeli official said this week that the occupied West Bank and all of its illegal settlements will "soon become part of the State of Israel." Israel plans to pay illegal Israeli settlers $16.7 million in compensation for demolishing their homes. The settlers, their supporters, and right-wing Israeli ministers have been protesting the move. Fifteen buildings were set to be demolished in the illegal settlement of Netiv HaAvot. The settlement, south of Bethlehem, is in the occupied West Bank and the buildings were built on private Palestinian land. The buildings will be demolished because they were constructed on private land. The compensation funds will be used to rebuild the structures on nearby land in the occupied West Bank that is "not privately owned." Israel's Education Minister and leader of the orthodox Jewish Home party, Naftali Bennett, called the demolitions "senseless," adding: "This is a difficult night. It is incomprehensible to the residents of the Netiv HaAvot neighbourhood and for everyone who has settled the precious land of Israel."

What inclusivity? Denver PrideFest bans men's group after baselessly labeling them as a 'hate group'

What inclusivity? Denver PrideFest bans men's group after baselessly labeling them as a 'hate group'

Last year, Denver-based nutritionist Aaron Mello and his nonprofit Rocky Mountain MRA enjoyed an "overwhelmingly positive" reception at the Denver GLBT Pride Fest. Mello and his team distributed hundreds of flyers on men's issues, and talked to "dozens" of passersby. "We even talked to several trans people who shared their experiences having lived as both genders. A few people were so grateful to have someone to talk to about men's issues that they started crying in our booth," Mello told PJ Media on Monday. Despite the group's positive impact at last year's Denver GLBT PrideFest, however, the local Rocky Mountain MRA was banned from this year's festival, much to the confusion of Mello since his nonprofit initially was invited back by organizers.

Sick: Actor Peter Fonda calls for Barron Trump to be 'ripped from his mother's arms and put in a cage with pedophiles'

Sick: Actor Peter Fonda calls for Barron Trump to be 'ripped from his mother's arms and put in a cage with pedophiles'

The actor Peter Fonda has told his Twitter followers that President Trump's 12-year-old son Barron should be ripped from his mother's arms and put 'in a cage with pedophiles' in an expletive-laden rant about the border crisis. He also called for 90 million people to take to the streets in protest at the government's decision to criminally prosecute migrants who cross the US border illegally and separate them from their children. The Easy Rider star, who has more than 46,000 followers, also said 'we should hack the system' and 'get the addresses of ICE agents' to 'surround their homes' and 'find out what schools their children go to and surround the schools'. Branding President Trump a 'f****** monster', he added: 'We need to scare the f*** out of [border agents]! Need to make their children worry now'. He earlier referred to presidential adviser Stephen Miller as a 'pedophile'. Fonda also called Miller, who is Jewish, 'Goebbels' in an apparent reference to Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels, an extreme anti-Semite who strongly supported the Holocaust and who arranged the murder of his own children in 1945.

SOTT FOCUS: Multipolar World: In World Cup, as in Life, Times They Are A-changin'

SOTT FOCUS: Multipolar World: In World Cup, as in Life, Times They Are A-changin'

It was the dogs what done it. The picture of the "pile of canine corpses on the streets of Russia killed in the name of the world cup," I mean. Or at least the thousands of people who had retweeted the image thought so, before it turned out the dead dogs were Pakistani, killed for public health reasons in Karachi five years before. A lie half-way around the world before the truth could get a leash on it. It was that Pavlovian reaction which made me take the World Cup for my topic this week. There are of course no dead dogs on the streets of Russia, the strays are comfortably in kennels for the duration. No tanks either. No racist mobs rampaging, as we'd been told to expect. No homophobic gangs gone "queer-bashing" (unlike in Mississippi). Just millions of Russians, opening their arms, their hospitality and their hearts to a multi-colored peaceful invasion of football-lovers, quickly finding out that Russia ain't what "they" said it would be.

Quantum physics says the future can actually change the past

Quantum physics says the future can actually change the past

If you thought physicist Sabine Hossenfelder was exaggerating when she claimed that theoretical physics is going off the rails and bringing the whole discipline of physics down with it, a group of scientists claiming that the future influences the past may change your mind. The group's theory revolves around the idea of "retrocausality," which aims to explain one of the central mysteries of quantum physics: quantum entanglement. At the heart of what makes quantum physics so confusing (and seemingly insane) is the idea that the actual properties of particles change when they're observed. Until then, they seem to exist in a state of blurry possibilities, where they can, for example, be spinning in both directions and neither all at once. So is this seemingly paradoxical "quantum state" a real phenomenon, or just a product of a flawed view of physics?

Why being left-handed matters for treatment of mental health problems

Why being left-handed matters for treatment of mental health problems

Treatment for the most common mental health problems could be ineffective or even detrimental to about 50 percent of the population, according to a radical new model of emotion in the brain. Since the 1970s, hundreds of studies have suggested that each hemisphere of the brain is home to a specific type of emotion. Emotions linked to approaching and engaging with the world -- like happiness, pride and anger -- lives in the left side of the brain, while emotions associated with avoidance -- like disgust and fear -- are housed in the right. But those studies were done almost exclusively on right-handed people. That simple fact has given us a skewed understanding of how emotion works in the brain, according to Daniel Casasanto, associate professor of human development and psychology at Cornell University. That longstanding model is, in fact, reversed in left-handed people, whose emotions like alertness and determination are housed in the right side of their brains, Casasanto suggests in a new study. Even more radical: The location of a person's neural systems for emotion depends on whether they are left-handed, right-handed or somewhere in between, the research shows.

Shoot first, ask questions later: Video shows cops shooting teen in back as he flees traffic stop

Shoot first, ask questions later: Video shows cops shooting teen in back as he flees traffic stop

An extremely disturbing video was shared with the Free Thought Project Tuesday night which shows Allegheny County Police in East Pittsburgh shoot and kill a 17-year-old boy as he fled a traffic stop on foot. The boy was a passenger in a vehicle that had been stopped by police. According to police, they responded to calls of a shooting in the neighborhood of North Braddock. When they arrived, they found a 22-year-old man who'd been shot and witnesses reported a vehicle fleeing the scene. "At approximately 8:20 PM, County 9-1-1 received multiple calls reporting that shots were fired and that a male had been shot in the 800 block of Kirkpatrick Avenue," police said. "Callers reported that a vehicle was seen fleeing the scene, and were able to provide a description of that vehicle. North Braddock Police and paramedics responded and found a 22-year-old male who had been shot. He was been transported to a local trauma center where he was treated and released."

Roughly 60 organizations consider lawsuit against Southern Poverty Law Center

Roughly 60 organizations consider lawsuit against Southern Poverty Law Center

No fewer than 60 organizations branded "hate groups" or otherwise attacked by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) are considering legal action against the left-wing smear factory, a Christian legal nonprofit leader confirmed to PJ Media on Tuesday. He suggested that the $3 million settlement and apology the SPLC gave to Maajid Nawaz and his Quilliam Foundation on Monday would encourage further legal action. "We haven't filed anything against the SPLC, but I think a number of organizations have been considering filing lawsuits against the SPLC, because they have been doing to a lot of organizations exactly what they did to Maajid Nawaz," Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, told PJ Media on Tuesday. Liberty Counsel filed a lawsuit against the charity navigation organization GuideStar for defamation after GuideStar adopted the SPLC's "hate group" list. That lawsuit is ongoing.

Demystifying the myths of Israel's Six-Day War

Demystifying the myths of Israel's Six-Day War

The war that Israel initiated in June of 1967 became the stuff of myths and legends on many levels. Now, after fifty one years it may be time to unravel and demystify what took place during those fateful six days in June. There is the myth of the existential threat which called for Israel to engage in a preemptive strike which started the war, then there is the myth of the greatness of the Israeli army and its remarkable abilities, and there is a claim which one can argue is also a myth that it was this war that changed the face of the Middle East forever. Then, there is an even greater myth and that is that Palestine was occupied as a result of the 1967 war. That the West Bank and The Gaza Strip, which are no more than two small parts of Palestine artificially created when Israel was established, are The Occupied Palestinian Territories, as opposed to two areas within occupied Palestine. It can be no coincidence that most immediately after the war of 1967 these areas were named "The Occupied Territories" and the fact that the greater part of Palestine had been occupied for almost twenty years - that point had somehow slipped the collective memories of all but the Palestinians themselves.

LAPD cops fire rubber bullets into crowd at slain rapper's memorial after they allegedly threw rocks

LAPD cops fire rubber bullets into crowd at slain rapper's memorial after they allegedly threw rocks

Hundreds of XXXTentacion fans converged in the Fairfax area of Los Angeles late Tuesday in a makeshift memorial for the rapper, who was shot and killed Monday - but the gathering quickly grew ugly. About 300 people gathered to honor the controversial 20-year-old rapper, who, along with a wildly successful career, had an extensive rap sheet including domestic violence charges after allegedly beating up his pregnant girlfriend. Comment: The LA Times reported that it's peak, up to 1,000 people were drawn to the event. A Los Angeles Police Department spokesman told the Daily News that the crowd threw rocks and bottles at officers brought in to disperse the group. When fans failed to comply, officers fired 37mm rubber bullets into the area.

Learning from the USSR: Markers of the collapse of the American Empire

Learning from the USSR: Markers of the collapse of the American Empire

In thinking through the (for now) gradually unfolding collapse of the American empire, the collapse of the USSR, which occurred close through three decades ago, continues to perform as a goldmine of useful examples and analogies. Certain events that occurred during the Soviet collapse can serve as useful signposts in the American one, allowing us to formulate better guesses about the timing of events that can suddenly turn a gradual collapse into a precipitous one. When the Soviet collapse occurred, the universal reaction was "Who could have known?" Well, I knew. I distinctly remember a conversation I had with a surgeon in the summer of 1990, right as I was going under the knife to get my appendix excised, waiting for the anesthesia to kick in. He asked me about what will happen to the Soviet republics, Armenia in particular. I told him that they will be independent in less than a year. He looked positively shocked. I was off by a couple of months. I hope to be able to call the American collapse with the same degree of precision. I suppose I was well positioned to know, and I am tempted to venture a guess at how I achieved that. My area of expertise at the time was measurement and data acquisition electronics for high energy physics experiments, not Sovietology. But I spent the previous summer in Leningrad, where I grew up, and had a fair idea of what was up in the USSR. Meanwhile, the entire gaggle of actual paid, professional Russia experts that was ensconced in various government agencies in Washington or consuming oxygen at various foundations and universities in the US had absolutely no idea what to expect. I suspect that there is a principle involved: if your career depends on the continued existence of X, and if X is about to cease to exist, then you are not going to be highly motivated to accurately predict that event. Conversely, if you could manage to accurately predict the spontaneous existence failure of X, then you would also be clever enough to switch careers ahead of time, hence would no longer be an expert on X and your opinion on the matter would be disregarded. People would think that you screwed yourself out of a perfectly good job and are now embittered. Right now I am observing the same phenomenon at work among Russian experts on the United States: they can't imagine that the various things they have spent their lives studying are fast fading into irrelevance. Or perhaps they can, but keep this realization to themselves, for fear of no longer being invited on talk shows. I suppose that since expertise is a matter of knowing a whole lot about very little, knowing everything about nothing-a thing that doesn't exist-is its logical endpoint. Be that as it may. But I feel that we non-experts, armed with the 20/20 hindsight afforded to us by the example of the Soviet collapse, can avoid being similarly blindsided and dumbfounded by the American one. This is not an academic question: those who gauge it accurately may be able to get the hell out ahead of time, while the lights are mostly still on, while not everybody is walking around in a drug-induced mental haze, and mass shootings and other types of mayhem are still considered newsworthy. This hindsight makes it possible for us to spot certain markers that showed up then and are showing up now. The four that I want to discuss now are the following: 1. Allies are being alienated 2. Enmities dissipate 3. Ideology becomes irrelevant 4. Military posture turns flaccid

The financial cost of liberal hysteria: Starbucks closing 150 stores after losing millions to conduct 'anti-bias training'

The financial cost of liberal hysteria: Starbucks closing 150 stores after losing millions to conduct 'anti-bias training'

Starbucks announced Tuesday that it is closing 150 of its U.S. stores in the next year, three times as many as the chain normally closes in that time period. "While certain demand headwinds are transitory, and some of our cost increases are appropriate investments for the future, our recent performance does not reflect the potential of our exceptional brand and is not acceptable," Starbucks Chief Executive Officer Kevin Johnson said in a statement. In May, Starbucks closed all of its more than 8,000 U.S. stores for an afternoon so that their employees could participate in "racial bias training" following an incident in Philadelphia in which a store employee called the police on two black men who were arrested for trespassing.

US report warns of risk of synthetic bioweapons - Fails to recognize it's the world leader in diabolical research

US report warns of risk of synthetic bioweapons - Fails to recognize it's the world leader in diabolical research

The rapid rise of synthetic biology, a futuristic field of science that seeks to master the machinery of life, has raised the risk of a new generation of bioweapons, according a major US report into the state of the art. Advances in the area mean that scientists now have the capability to recreate dangerous viruses from scratch; make harmful bacteria more deadly; and modify common microbes so that they churn out lethal toxins once they enter the body. The three scenarios are picked out as threats of highest concern in a review of the field published on Tuesday by the US National Academy of Sciences at the request of the Department of Defense. The report was commissioned to flag up ways in which the powerful technology might be abused, and to focus minds on how best to prepare.

London artist recycles bodily fluids for fashion

London artist recycles bodily fluids for fashion

Struggling to make your fashion more personal? No sweat. A London fashion student can help you decorate your attire with crystal accessories formed from your bodily excretions. Royal College of Art graduate Alice Potts showcased her quirky design methods with a pair of ballet shoes adorned with crystals formed from sweat and a fake fur featuring urine-crystals at the RCA's annual fashion show. Potts, who has also experimented with blood, believed the odorless but stomach-turning materials, donated to her by fellow students, had environmental and health benefits beyond the limitations of traditional plastic or cotton. "Instead of using plastic accessories to maybe embellish garments ... we can start like growing onto our garments these new materials and more natural materials," she told Reuters.

Does Neurofeedback have the potential to help people overcome anxiety and depression?

Does Neurofeedback have the potential to help people overcome anxiety and depression?

You sit in a chair, facing a computer screen, while a clinician sticks electrodes to your scalp with a viscous goop that takes days to wash out of your hair. Wires from the sensors connect to a computer programmed to respond to your brain's activity. Try to relax and focus. If your brain behaves as desired, you'll be encouraged with soothing sounds and visual treats, like images of exploding stars or a flowering field. If not, you'll get silence, a darkening screen and wilting flora. This is neurofeedback, a kind of biofeedback for the brain, which practitioners say can address a host of neurological ills - among them attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism, depression and anxiety - by allowing patients to alter their own brain waves through practice and repetition.

Scientist creates 'ideal human' using animal parts in attempt overcome 'evolutionary glitches' in the human body

Scientist creates 'ideal human' using animal parts in attempt overcome 'evolutionary glitches' in the human body

As walking, talking mammals, humans sit atop of the evolutionary ladder. But would life be better with emu legs, frog skin and a dog's heart? Anatomist Alice Roberts explains to RT her far-out quest for the 'perfect human body'. The evolutionary journey from apes to the upwardly mobile and chatty homosapiens of today has been impressive but not entirely plain sailing. Cartilage in knee joints degrade with every passing decade, the heart's pulmonary arteries are open to attack from fatty plaque, while the plumbing within a human neck is a choking hazard waiting to happen. All these design flaws are tackled in the latest project by University of Birmingham anatomist Alice Roberts in her "weird artistic" attempt to explore the evolution of the world's most complex creatures. The result is a rather freakish looking 3D printed version of Roberts, complete with a chimp's spine, octopus refined retinas, pointed ears, and the legs of a speeding emu bird.

Kyrgyzstan dumps yuan and dollar for gold in reaction to US/China trade war

Kyrgyzstan dumps yuan and dollar for gold in reaction to US/China trade war

China's neighbor Kyrgyzstan has been piling up gold reserves as a hedge against a possible trade war between Beijing and Washington. The country is seeking to boost the share of gold in its $2-billion international reserves to 50 percent from its current 16 percent. "The rules of the game are changing," Kyrgyz Central Bank Governor Tolkunbek Abdygulov told Bloomberg in an interview. "It doesn't matter what currencies we have in our reserves; dollars, yuan or rubles all make us vulnerable."

Anti-arms group calls for UK gov't to halt arms sales to 'tyrannical' Thai regime

Anti-arms group calls for UK gov't to halt arms sales to 'tyrannical' Thai regime

The UK government is "promoting" the use of "deadly" weaponry in Thailand by continuing to sell arms to the military regime despite its track record of human rights abuses, anti-arms campaigners have argued. Ahead of the UK visit of Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha on June 20, Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) has called on Prime Minister Theresa May to halt all arms sales to the country. To maintain this trade will show that "the UK government believes the political rights of Thai people to be less important than arms company profits and cozy relations with a dictatorship." The south-east Asian country is on the UK's 'core market' list for arms sales. According to CAAT, the UK has licensed £48 million worth of arms to the Thai dictatorship since the military coup in 2014. Andrew Smith of CAAT said: "Human rights must be on top of the agenda at the meeting. This cannot become yet another photo-op for human rights abusers on the steps of Downing Street. The government isn't just overseeing the sale of deadly equipment, it is actively promoting it. It's time for Theresa May to end the arms sales and call for democratic change."

The big immigration charade offers no solutions

The big immigration charade offers no solutions

If you sought to preserve the violent, reactionary and undemocratic regimes of countries like El Salvador and Honduras -- and, to a great extent, Mexico -- into perpetuity, how would you do it? One way would be by providing a permanent U.S. safety valve for all their poor and downtrodden, the victims. Just as with Europe and the Middle East, open borders can salve the soul and make us all feel good about ourselves, but they come with a price. And that price is not just for the richer host countries in supplying costly services. It is even greater for the countries of origin whose benighted citizens, the stay behinds, are left to suffer under governments that are incompetent, corrupt and often murderous.

Russian senator Konstantin Kosachev: US slamming door on UNHRC shows weakness, not strength

Russian senator Konstantin Kosachev: US slamming door on UNHRC shows weakness, not strength

The US decision to quit the UN Human Rights Council demonstrates its weak position, Russian Senator Konstantin Kosachev has said. The official suggested that Washington always slams doors when it fails to get its way. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and US envoy to the UN Nikki Haley announced the country's withdrawal on Tuesday, calling the council a "hypocritical and self-serving organization that makes a mockery of human rights." Washington's decision demonstrates political weakness, according to the head of Russia's Upper House Committee for Foreign Relations, Konstantin Kosachev.

Could some serial killers be possessed?

Could some serial killers be possessed?

Without doubt, we humans took an important step forward when we stopped attributing every unexplained phenomenon, whether in the world around us or in our own psyches, to the action of supernatural forces. But is it possible that we've carried this undeniably successful and productive approach too far? Perhaps in some cases, especially cases of extremely aberrant human behavior, there is a supernatural component, whether we're talking about miracles performed by saints or heinous crimes committed by the type of people we still characterize as "monsters." In other words, can some varieties of evil be better understood in terms of spirit possession or obsession, rather than as a simple breakdown of neurochemistry in combination with subconscious drives? I became more interested in this question after reading about the serial killer Charles Cullen, who, in his capacity as a nurse, murdered at least forty patients and probably many more. Throughout his life, Cullen made repeated suicide attempts, starting at the age of nine, when he drank chemicals from a chemistry set. After joining the Navy, he attempted suicide seven times before receiving a medical discharge. His first confirmed murders occurred a decade later, after which he attempted suicide on four occasions - three times in 1993 and again in 2000. Now, it could be argued that these suicide attempts were not serious, since none of them succeeded. But at least some of them do appear to have been legitimate attempts at ending his own life. It's doubtful that, as a nine-year-old, he would have been sure that the chemicals he ingested would not prove fatal. And his last attempt, in 2000, was thwarted only because neighbors smelled the smoke coming from a charcoal grill he'd lit inside his apartment in the hope of poisoning himself with carbon monoxide. At the very least, it appears that Charles Cullen was a deeply divided personality. On one hand, he murdered scores of people over a long period, with no apparent hesitation or remorse. On the other hand, he repeatedly tried to take his own life, as if he found his homicidal obsessions intolerable. Is this inner conflict rooted only in psychological or neurological dysfunction, or could it be indicative of an external personality trying to control and distort his behavior, and of his increasingly desperate attempts to escape?

Charges against ex-CIA engineer intended to send message to potential whistleblowers

Charges against ex-CIA engineer intended to send message to potential whistleblowers

Charges against an ex-CIA employee are intended to send a message to potential whistleblowers, warning them that they will have no defense when pursued by the government, the executive editor of 21st Century Wire told RT. Former CIA software engineer Joshua Schulte is facing charges over what has been described as the largest information leak in the agency's history. Prosecutors claim that he unlawfully obtained information on the intelligence-gathering capabilities of the CIA during his time at the agency. He is alleged to have provided the information to an organization for it to be disseminated. While the indictment does not mention the organization by name, the whistleblower's lawyers have identified it as none other than WikiLeaks. If he is convicted on multiple charges, Schulte faces over 100 years in jail.

"You have a soul, be careful with it": Actor Chris Pratt gives teens his "9 rules for life" to MTV-watching millennials

"You have a soul, be careful with it": Actor Chris Pratt gives teens his "9 rules for life" to MTV-watching millennials

Something happened at the MTV Movie and TV Awards on Monday that MTV surely was not expecting, and not hoping for. In a move that is sadly rare for Hollywood, Chris Pratt, the night's winner of the Generation Award, used his platform on the MTV stage to speak about his faith and to encourage the young generation to believe in God. God is real. God loves you. God wants the best for you. Believe that. I do, Pratt said, with some oomph. While it's not uncommon for award winners to throw in a thank you to God, Pratt, known for his work on Parks and Recreation, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Avengers, and more, took it to another, refreshing, level. The actor got spiritual in his award speech when he delivered what he dubbed "9 Rules From Chris Pratt." Of course, his rules were peppered with Pratt-style comedy - offering advice on how to effectively take a poop at a party, for instance - but the actor also made sure to remind the millions watching that they have a soul, and that they need to take care of it.

State Dept says US wants rapprochement with Russia - Trump-Putin meeting in the works

State Dept says US wants rapprochement with Russia - Trump-Putin meeting in the works

US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said on Tuesday that the US wants rapprochement with Russia. "Overall, I can say that the United States government would certainly prefer to have a stronger relationship with the Russian government," Nauert told reporters. What's more, on Friday, Trump said it is possible that he might meet with Russian President Putin this summer. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has confirmed this possibility. On Monday, Russian congressman Konstantin Kosachev revealed to reporters that US Senators have requested a meeting with the Council of the Federation, Russia's equivalent of the US Senate, and that such could be held in early July. Since 2014, relations between Russia and the United States have deteriorated over the crisis in Ukraine. Washington imposed anti-Russian sanctions in response to Crimea's reunification with Russia and alleged Russian involvement in the war in Donbass. Russia has denied all these charges and has launched its own economic sanctions in retaliation.

Nearly 80% of Russians want death penalty to combat corruption, Twitter poll shows

Nearly 80% of Russians want death penalty to combat corruption, Twitter poll shows

Some 79 percent of Russians want their country to use Chinese means to fight corruption, with the death penalty for large-scale bribery, according to a Twitter poll conducted by the head of the Defense Ministry's public council. Earlier this week renowned Russian journalist and military expert Yuri Korotchenko asked his Twitter following to answer the question: "Does the Russian Federation need death penalty as punishment for corruption and bribery among high-placed officials, military and security officers and civil servants?" When Korotchenko decided to wrap up the research he had 1775 answers with almost 80 percent of respondents positive about the idea. "In other words, my followers want our country to use the same anti-corruption measures that are being used in China," the journalist concluded.

Postmodern polygamy? Israel bans NY math professor from donating sperm in Israel

Postmodern polygamy? Israel bans NY math professor from donating sperm in Israel

The Health Ministry in Jerusalem is banning the sperm of famed donor Ari Nagel from use in Israel, the New York Post reported on Saturday. Six women who received samples from Nagel can no longer access them, despite paying annual storage fees. Nagel, 42, a married father of three, is a prodigious purveyor of sperm, having sired 33 children in the last 10 years all over the U.S., including in Maryland, Orlando and New York City. He has also fathered babies in Israel, with 10 more on the way this year. Coming from a six-sibling Jewish Orthodox home in New York, Nagel says he donates his seed for free to woman who can't afford a sperm bank because "I just love seeing how happy the moms and kids are." But his resume seems to have made a negative impression on the Israeli Health Ministry. Last December, a 43-year-old woman who flew Nagel in to donate his sperm at a private clinic. After Nagel filed his contribution, the employee at the clinic destroyed the sample and told him he was not allowed to keep his sperm at the clinic. The woman later received a letter from the Health Ministry, saying it had alerted all sperm banks in the country not to store Nagel's sperm in their freezers. Israeli law requires donors to be anonymous, unless they sign a document stating his intention to co-parent the child with the mother. Nagel signed such a document with the woman, as well as with six other hopeful future mothers, who also had his seed frozen in Israel.

Turkey's general election takes a turn after brutal abuse of puppy appears online, shifting political agendas

Turkey's general election takes a turn after brutal abuse of puppy appears online, shifting political agendas

The torturing and killing of a puppy has shifted the political agenda in Turkey ahead of its general election. Turkish police arrested a man after shocking images emerged online of the maimed animal, which had its four paws and tail cut off, sparking outrage in the country. The dog was found in a forest in the Sapanca district in the northwestern province of Sakarya and taken to a vet for treatment, but later died during surgery on Friday after fighting for its life for two days. The issue has been taken up by rival politicians in the close run contest, in which the country's strongman president is standing on a platform that would see his powers enhanced.

No deal: Syrian Army begins battle for Daraa, Hezbollah to participate

No deal: Syrian Army begins battle for Daraa, Hezbollah to participate

The battle of Daraa against the "Islamic State" (ISIS) group (known under the name of Jaish Khaled Bin al-Waleed), al-Qaeda and the "Free Syrian Army" is happening without doubt. The Syrian government won't take into consideration the US menace to bomb the Syrian Army, or Israel's threat - Israel which is supporting Jihadists for years offering to these finance, intelligence information and medical assistance - to prevent the Damascus forces from reaching the borders. Damascus will also ignore the Russian-US-Jordanian agreement of protecting and respecting the de-escalation zone for very long. Damascus asked its special forces under the command of General Suheil al-Hassan (known as al-Nimer - Tiger) to move to Daraa. These forces have been operating exclusively under the Russian military command over the entire Syrian geography. The Syrian government is also gathering anti-air missile units in Daraa and also at the back of the front around Damascus and have commanded its strategic missile units to be ready to intervene offering protection to the ground forces. This indicates the forthcoming battle is expected to be harsh and doesn't exclude the intervention of the regional forces in Syria. The Syrian command ignored the US and the Israeli requests to exclude Hezbollah and the Iranian allies from being present in Daraa. Thus, the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad asked Hezbollah al-Ridwan Special Forces to take positions in Daraa and around it to participate in the forthcoming attack.

Israeli court fails to determine whether brutal Shin Bet using 'enhanced interrogation' techniques is torture

Israeli court fails to determine whether brutal Shin Bet using 'enhanced interrogation' techniques is torture

An Israeli court has failed to decide if so-called 'enhanced interrogation' used by Israeli security services constitutes torture, but threw out a confession by a Jewish minor, made under duress, in a Palestinian firebombing case. The two young Jewish Israeli suspects are charged with launching Molotov cocktails at the home of the Palestinian Dawabsha family in 2015. The attack in the West Bank town of Duma killed a toddler and his parents.For months the police and the security agency Shin Bet made no apparent progress in resolving the case but later arrested Amiram Ben-Uliel, who is alleged to have prepared and thrown the bombs, and an unnamed minor who allegedly assisted him in planning the arson. The Central District Court in Lod in Central Israel rejected a confession made by the minor but abstained from condemning Shin Bet of physically abusing him.

Scientists reveal those who drink alcohol occasionally have lower risk of dying early than those who abstain

Scientists reveal those who drink alcohol occasionally have lower risk of dying early than those who abstain

People who enjoy the occasional tipple are less likely to suffer a premature death than abstainers, research suggests. Mortality rates are lowest in light drinkers, who have an average up to three pints of beer or glass of wine a week across their lifetime. The risk soars 20 per cent for very heavy drinkers who indulge in the same amount of booze - but on a daily basis, scientists at Queen's University Belfast found. And there is a seven per cent higher chance of an early death or being diagnosed with cancer for those who have never even touched alcohol. The scientists have now revealed the exact risk of dying early or developing cancer for men and women in eight different brackets of drinkers. Current UK guidelines advise a maximum of 14 units of alcohol a week - six pints of average strength beer or seven medium sized glasses of wine. Comment: Put down that beer! Alcohol consumption guidelines may shorten your life expectancy, study says

Saudi plans to build massive canal will turn Qatar into an island

Saudi plans to build massive canal will turn Qatar into an island

Saudi Arabia will reportedly hold bidding among foreign engineering firms in order to dig a huge canal that will separate it from Qatar and basically turn the neighboring state into an island, a local paper reports. Five companies have expressed a desire to participate in the tender, which is scheduled to take place on June 25, sources told Saudi Makkah newspaper. The winner of the bidding, which will be announced within three months, will start construction of the canal immediately, the paper wrote. Riyadh plans for the so-called Salwa Canal to be dug within a year in order to create a water barrier between itself and Qatar as relations between the two nations continue to deteriorate.