Daily News, via SOTT.net aggregation.

French and German scientists say radioactive cloud over Europe probably came from Russia

French and German scientists say radioactive cloud over Europe probably came from Russia

Remember that harmless radioactive cloud that mysteriously drifted across Europe back in September? Turns out it may indeed have come from Russia after all - from an area that had radioactivity of about 1,000 times higher than normal, as officials there acknowledged for the first time Tuesday. Experts emphasized that the unusually high levels may still have been harmless. What remains a mystery, however, is what produced this cloud. The most likely culprit, a serial offender nuclear reprocessing plant, still denies any connection. It was Austria that first detected unusually high levels of radiation Oct. 3, with Germany confirming them the next day. Over the next two weeks, the levels went up and down and finally faded away over a vast swath of the continent. France's Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety calmed fears this month, saying that the cloud of radioactive isotopes - Ruthenium-106 - had posed no health hazards. But the French researchers remained baffled by the cloud's origins, and over the next few weeks, they calculated that it most likely came from deep inside Russia. Germany's governmental Agency for Radiation Protection came to the same conclusion.

Severe storm produces large hail accumulations in Mersin, Turkey

Severe storm produces large hail accumulations in Mersin, Turkey

A severe storm brought heavy rain and walnut sized hailstones to Turkey's Mediterranean coastal city of Mersin on Sunday, November 19, 2017. According to local media it produced large hail accumulations and caused havoc for motorists.

Three killed as heavy rain wreaks havoc across Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Three killed as heavy rain wreaks havoc across Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Three people died in flash floods triggered by heavy rains swept through Jeddah on Tuesday, leaving motorists stranded and forcing authorities to shut schools and universities in Saudi Arabia's second biggest city. One person died of electrocution in Jeddah and three others in other places in Makkah region, according to a Saudi Gazette report. Out if the 29 emergency reports received by Jeddah Health Affairs, eight were related to electrocution and the rest traffic accidents. The Civil Defense received 250 reports of short circuits, spokesman of the Civil Defense in Makkah Province Col. Saeed Al Sarhan told the newspaper. Dozens of people were plucked from vehicles engulfed by floodwaters, Saudi civil defence authorities said, with heavy rainfall expected to last at least until Wednesday. The Saudi Red Crescent Authority in Madinah reported 17 cases of people slipping and falling near the Prophet's Mosque in Madinah and in the Central Area.

Justice Department to turn over wide range of documents to Mueller's team

Justice Department to turn over wide range of documents to Mueller's team

Special counsel Robert Mueller's team investigating whether President Donald Trump sought to obstruct a federal inquiry into connections between his presidential campaign and Russian operatives has now directed the Justice Department to turn over a broad array of documents, ABC News has learned. In particular, Mueller's investigators are keen to obtain emails related to the firing of FBI Director James Comey and the earlier decision of Attorney General Jeff Sessions to recuse himself from the entire matter, according to a source who has not seen the request but was told about it. Issued within the past month, the directive marks the special counsel's first records request to the Justice Department, and it means Mueller is now demanding documents from the department overseeing his investigation. Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein played key roles in Comey's removal. And Sessions has since faced withering criticism from Trump over his recusal and Rosenstein's subsequent appointment of Mueller. Mueller's investigators now seek not only communications among Justice Department staffers but also any of their communications with White House officials, the source said. Before this request, investigators asked former senior Justice Department officials for information from their time at the department, ABC News was told. The latest move suggests the special counsel is still digging into, among other matters, whether Trump or any other administration official improperly tried to influence an ongoing investigation.

Don't let new blood pressure guidelines raise yours

Don't let new blood pressure guidelines raise yours

"Under New Guidelines, Millions More Americans Will Need to Lower Blood Pressure." This is the type of headline that raises my blood pressure to dangerously high levels. For years, doctors were told to aim for a systolic blood pressure of less than 140. (The first of the two blood pressure numbers.) Then, in 2013, recommendations were relaxed to less than 150 for patients age 60 and older. Now they have been tightened, to less than 130 for anyone with at least a 10 percent risk of heart attack or stroke in the next decade. That means that nearly half of all adults in the United States are now considered to have high blood pressure. I bet I'm not the only doctor whose blood pressure jumped upon hearing this news. Disclosure: I'm an advocate of less medicine and living a more healthy life, and I worry we get too focused on numbers. But to make that case I'll need to use some numbers. The new recommendation is principally in response to the results of a large, federally funded study called Sprint that was published in 2015 in The New England Journal of Medicine. Sprint was a high-quality, well-done study. It randomly assigned high blood pressure patients age 50 and older to one of two treatment targets: systolic blood pressure of less than 140 or one of less than 120. The primary finding was that the lower target led to a 25 percent reduction in cardiovascular events - the combined rate of heart attacks, strokes, heart failures and cardiovascular deaths.

Eruption at Agung volcano, Bali

Eruption at Agung volcano, Bali

Tens of thousands of people have fled their homes in Bali over the past months, fearing an inevitable Mount Agung volcanic eruption, which on Tuesday, finally spewed ash as high as 700 meters into the Indonesian sky. The volcano on the Indonesian resort island erupted at 5:05pm Tuesday, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) announced, urging residents to "remain calm" and to stay away from areas within 7.5-kilometer radius of the volcano. However, despite the high volcanic activity, flights in and out of Bali are continuing as usual. "Tourism in Bali is also still safe," the BNPB said while asking tourists to stay away from Mount Agung.

Cost of diabetes epidemic reaches $850 billion a year

Cost of diabetes epidemic reaches $850 billion a year

The number of people living with diabetes has tripled since 2000, pushing the global cost of the disease to $850 billion a year, medical experts said on Tuesday. The vast majority of those affected have type 2 diabetes, which is linked to obesity and lack of exercise, and the epidemic is spreading particularly fast in poorer countries as people adopt Western diets and urban lifestyles. The latest estimates from the International Diabetes Federation mean that one in 11 adults worldwide have the condition, which occurs when the amount of sugar in the blood is too high. The total number of diabetics is now 451 million and is expected to reach 693 million by 2045 if current trends continue.

Trudeau and his Canadian 'sunny ways' spells out foreign intervention plans, liberal imperialists plead 'more, faster'

Trudeau and his Canadian 'sunny ways' spells out foreign intervention plans, liberal imperialists plead 'more, faster'

(with postscripts further below) On November 15, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gave a speech to a UN-organized international conference in Vancouver of Canada's wishes to step up foreign military intervention, under the guise of 'peace operations'. The '2017 UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial Conference' is taking place in Vancouver from November 15 to 17. Many details were missing from Trudeau's remarks. These reflect the government's wariness over intervening into places where volatile military and humanitarian conditions prevail, particularly in Africa. Military missteps or fumbles could easily derail the sunny public relations bubble which surrounds the government's proclaimed 'peacekeeping' goals and on which Canada's (small-l) liberal imperialists stake their reputations.

Western media barked that Russia's helping Syria would surely not work - Now all see it was a resounding success

Western media barked that Russia's helping Syria would surely not work - Now all see it was a resounding success

Western media predicted that the Russian military campaign in Syria would end in 'failure'. That - presumably - has been achieved. Now follows a push of diplomatic efforts to settle the war. In September 2015 the "west" prepared for an open military aggression on Syria. The purported aim was to fight ISIS and to stop the migrant flow into Europe. The real aim was "regime change". Russia stepped in by sending its cavalry to Syria: The U.S., Britain, France and others announced to enter Syrian skies to "fight the terror" of the Islamic State. Russia will use the same claim to justify its presence and its air operations flying from Latakia. Simply by being there it will make sure that others will not be able to use their capabilities for more nefarious means. Additional intelligence from Russian air assets will also be helpful for Syrian ground operations. The Obama administration was surprised by the Russian (and Iranian) intervention. It had no sensible means to counter it. The administration and the U.S. commentariat tried to hide this impotence by predicting that the Russian campaign would fail.

Emergency rooms see a large spike in self-harming among tweens & early teen girls

Emergency rooms see a large spike in self-harming among tweens & early teen girls

Attempted suicides and other types of self-harm have increased dramatically among girls in America since 2001, according to a 15-year study of emergency room visits. The increase was particularly sharp after the financial crisis in 2008. The study, by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), was published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Researchers analyzed data on non-fatal, self-inflicted injuries of those treated in 60 emergency rooms, among ages 10 to 24. Nearly 29,000 girls and about 14,000 boys with self-inflicted injuries were treated in emergency rooms during the study years, 2001-2015.

Iran affirms victory over ISIS - and rightly so

Iran affirms victory over ISIS - and rightly so

All of the major powers in the anti-terrorist Resistance have declared the defeat of ISIS in the Middle East. Iran's most important military, political and spiritual figures have all used addresses to declare the military defeat of ISIS/Daesh, while offering congratulations to their allies in the fight including Iraq, Syria, Hezbollah and other forces within Lebanon. First, Major General Qassem Soleimani of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps hailed a "great victory" over the ISIS Takfiri terrorist group. General Soleimani congratulated Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei for his leadership while praising the armed forces of Syria, Iraq and the Lebanese Islamic Resistance movement, Hezbollah. General Soleimani has played a vital role in mobilizing anti-terrorist forces in both Syria and Iraq.

Russian TV report: New NSA hacker breach 'worse than Snowden' (and naturally blamed on Russia)

Russian TV report: New NSA hacker breach 'worse than Snowden' (and naturally blamed on Russia)

Another scandal that's currently still gaining speed in the US is connected to the major US intelligence agency - the National Security Agency (NSA). This Monday, the New York Times reported that a year ago unknown hackers infiltrated the NSA network and stole secret programs for cyber break-ins. Because one of its employees had Kaspersky anti-virus software on his computer, the NSA claimed 'Russia did it'. Vesti News investigates...

Postmodern crusade going mad: Schools around Western empire now banning best-friends

Postmodern crusade going mad: Schools around Western empire now banning best-friends

Members of the royal family aren't often told what they can and can't do. But just a few days into his first year of school, 4-year-old Prince George already faces a mandate: No best friends allowed. Thomas's Battersea, the school George attends, bans kids from having best friends, Marie Claire reports. Instead, teachers encourage all students to form bonds with one another to avoid creating feelings of exclusions among those without best friends. Jane Moore, a parent whose child attends the school, explained the idea on a recent episode of the British talk show "Loose Women." "There's a policy," she said, "that if your child is having a party - unless every child is invited - you don't give out the invites in class."

RT boss Margarita Simonyan showcases secret 'KGB' operation at Kremlin propaganda channel HQ (VIDEO)

RT boss Margarita Simonyan showcases secret 'KGB' operation at Kremlin propaganda channel HQ (VIDEO)

At the beginning of the week the Russian English-speaking TV channel RT was officially registered in the US as a foreign agent. This implies marking the broadcast materials and publishing detailed financial statements. In the reality of life in America, it's an attempt to create unbearable work conditions for the journalists, and an unconditional attack on freedom of speech.

Putin unveils memorial to Tsar Alexander III 'the Peacemaker' in Crimea (VIDEO)

Putin unveils memorial to Tsar Alexander III 'the Peacemaker' in Crimea (VIDEO)

President Putin this week opened a monument to Tsar Alexander III in Yalta, Crimea. The 19th century Russian Emperor thus returned to Livadia, which had been his favorite residence for many years.

Smartphones: The obvious culprit in the deteriorating mental health of teens

Smartphones: The obvious culprit in the deteriorating mental health of teens

Around 2012, something started going wrong in the lives of teens. In just the five years between 2010 and 2015, the number of U.S. teens who felt useless and joyless - classic symptoms of depression - surged 33 percent in large national surveys. Teen suicide attempts increased 23 percent. Even more troubling, the number of 13 to 18-year-olds who committed suicide jumped 31 percent. In a new paper published in Clinical Psychological Science, my colleagues and I found that the increases in depression, suicide attempts and suicide appeared among teens from every background - more privileged and less privileged, across all races and ethnicities and in every region of the country. All told, our analysis found that the generation of teens I call "iGen" - those born after 1995 - is much more likely to experience mental health issues than their millennial predecessors. What happened so that so many more teens, in such a short period of time, would feel depressed, attempt suicide and commit suicide? After scouring several large surveys of teens for clues, I found that all of the possibilities traced back to a major change in teens' lives: the sudden ascendance of the smartphone.

France ran out of money this month - the rest of Europe not far behind

France ran out of money this month - the rest of Europe not far behind

At first glance, not a lot was going on last Tuesday. Priti Patel was desperately trying to hang onto her job, unsuccessfully as it turned out. Donald Trump was mouthing off on a trip to South Korea. Manchester City were rumoured to bidding for an incredibly expensive footballer, and somebody somewhere was inevitably moaning on about Brexit. It was all fairly run-of-the-mill stuff. But for number-crunchers, something interesting happened. It was the day when France ran out of money. As of Nov. 7, all the money the government raises through its taxes - and this being France, there are literally dozens of them - had been spent. The rest of the year is financed completely on tick. And yet France is far from alone. All the main European countries, the UK included, are running out of tax revenue well before the year is over. That is worrying for three reasons. It is reminder that spending is still way too high. It tells us that governments have failed to curb deficits. And it is a warning that next time there is a recession governments won't have any room to respond with a fiscal boost.

Paranormal buff records voices of the dead

Paranormal buff records voices of the dead

You can keep your video games, your knitting, your gardening. Eric Vogel has a hobby that's not your everyday pastime. He records the voices of the dead. Within the realm of ghost hunting or parapsychology, Electronic Voice Phenomena, or EVP, are the sounds or voices potentially caused by voices from beyond the grave. These sounds are not caught by the ear, appearing only on the digital recordings made by those trying to contact ghosts. Long fascinated with the paranormal, Vogel is also a history buff, and he combines the two interests in his pursuit of ghostly voices. "I lucked upon a tour group in town that used to do spirit investigations of the Mid City Hotel, which is right next to the Bistro," said Vogel. "I used to do some investigations with them using a digital recorder and was able to capture some EVPs."

English government scraps EU legislation that sees animals as sentient beings, says they can't feel pain

English government scraps EU legislation that sees animals as sentient beings, says they can't feel pain

Proving the rule that you should never trust an English politician, a majority of members of Theresa May's Tory Government have voted that all animals have no emotions or feelings, including the ability to feel pain. As part of the process of shaping the EU Withdrawal Bill, the English government has decided to scrap EU legislation that sees animals as sentient beings, opening the way for a return to the favorite sport of the quintessential Englishman and woman: torturing and killing innocent creatures. Once the English leave the EU in 2019 (and the rest of Europe heaves a collective sigh of relief), it will not only be badgers and foxes - the traditional quarry of brain-damaged English toffs - that will be threatened by this change in law, but all animals that aren't pets (although pets across England should be very worried). The vote comes in contrast to extensive scientific evidence that shows that animals do have feelings and emotions, some even stronger than ours. Then again, the English elite never did let facts get in the way of a nice bit of brutalization of the defenseless. The staggering arrogance and cruelty that informs this decision exposes the fact that most English MPs have significantly less conscience and compassion than the average alligator.

Americans quiet over their government's support of the Saudi-led slaughter in Yemen

Americans quiet over their government's support of the Saudi-led slaughter in Yemen

As the world focuses on isolated incidents of terrorism taking place in Western countries, the wholesale slaughter being committed by Western countries against others generally goes unnoticed unless being pinned on the victim nation. However, even with Americans and other Westerners paying scant attention to Iraq and Syria, the conflict in Yemen scarcely gets a mention except in communities of human rights activists and geopolitical commentators. Even after Yemen has overtaken Syria as the world's greatest humanitarian crisis, most of the world has remained deathly silent about the situation unfolding there. While not overwhelmingly involved with troops, bombing campaigns, and the like in the way that it is in Syria or Iraq, the United States is nonetheless complicit in the destruction of an entire country by providing intelligence, weapons, and political support to Saudi Arabia and the GCC in their war against the Yemeni people. In addition to that support, however, the United States has, at times, also contributed limited direct military support to the Saudi effort. Comment: The US and UK governments are unabashedly supporting this war on Yemen: U.S., British and Saudis thwart Freedom and Democracy in Yemen - again Shameless: UK sells 457% more arms to Saudi Arabia since it started bombing Yemen Endless war: US to vote on whether to continue supporting Saudi led war on Yemen

UK cigarette prices could jump for the second time in a year

UK cigarette prices could jump for the second time in a year

Speculation has mounted about whether the cost of cigarettes is set to increase for a second time in a year in Wednesday's Budget. Since the Chancellor already announced an increase in the price of cigarettes in March, the UK's 10 million smokers are hoping to be spared another hike, which could push the cost of the average pack to over £10. This week's Budget is unusual in that it will be the second one this year - which normally only happens when there is a change of government. Philip Hammond effectively gets a second bite of the cherry with the nation's finances, because last year he announced the 2017 Autumn Statement would become an Autumn Budget, with a much smaller "Spring Statement" next year. Tobacco is subject to an automatic, annual increase in duty of two per cent above the rate of inflation, with the average cost of 20 cigarettes standing at £9.91 in March after the spring budget slapped an extra 35p on a pack.

ECB deposit protection scheme in jeopardy, protect savings with gold

ECB deposit protection scheme in jeopardy, protect savings with gold

- Protect Your Savings With Gold: ECB Propose End To Deposit Protection New ECB paper proposes 'covered deposits' should be replaced to allow for more flexibility Fear covered deposits may lead to a run on the banks Savers should be reminded that a bank's word is never its bond and to reduce counterparty exposure Physical gold enable savers to stay out of banking system and reduce exposure to bail-ins It is the 'opinion of the European Central Bank' that the deposit protection scheme is no longer necessary: 'covered deposits and claims under investor compensation schemes should be replaced by limited discretionary exemptions to be granted by the competent authority in order to retain a degree of flexibility.' To translate the legalese jargon of the ECB bureaucrats this could mean that the current €100,000 (£85,000) deposit level currently protected in the event of a bail-in may soon be no more. But worry not fellow savers as the ECB is fully aware of the uproar this may cause so they have been kind enough to propose that: "...during a transitional period, depositors should have access to an appropriate amount of their covered deposits to cover the cost of living within five working days of a request." So that's a relief, you'll only need to wait five days for some 'competent authority' to deem what is an 'appropriate amount' of your own money for you to have access to in order eat, pay bills and get to work.

Why the DOJ is downplaying proof linking Obama and Clinton to Russian corruption

Why the DOJ is downplaying proof linking Obama and Clinton to Russian corruption

Following the release of the identity of the FBI informant, Justice Department officials in recent days said that informant William Campbell's prior work won't shed much light on the U.S. government's controversial decision in 2010 to approve Russia's purchase of the Uranium One mining company and its substantial U.S. assets. However, The Hill's John Solomon has reviewed 1000s of new memos from an FBI informant that clearly show illegal activity surrounding a Russian plot to corner the American uranium market, ranging from corruption inside a U.S. nuclear transport company to Obama administration approvals that let Moscow buy and sell more atomic fuels. FBI informant Campbell, acting as a consultant trying to help Rosatom overcome political opposition to the Uranium One deal, gathered evidence for six years, and, according to the more than 5,000 pages of documents from the counterintelligence investigation, there are a number of evidentiary links between corrupt Russians, President Obama, and Hillary Clinton...

The end of Merkel-ism in Europe

The end of Merkel-ism in Europe

This is a headline I've been waiting to write for six years. German Chancellor Emeritus Angela Merkel can't put a bad coalition together. This is the result of an election that saw populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) rise and the Social Democrats, led by Soros-stooge Martin Schultz, fall. Now the Free Democrats (FDP), led by Christian Lidner, understand just how strong their position is. They don't have to make a bad deal with Merkel to get a seat at the table only to have to share it with the ideologically-opposite Greens. They can force a re-vote, see their standing rise, along with AfD and go for a far bigger piece of the pie. But, ultimately, if Merkel's CDU/CSU coalition party is to stay together, and there's no guarantee of that anymore, it will have to dump Merkel herself if it wants to survive as a voting bloc.

US labels Venezuela a global threat at UN, EU approves arms embargo

US labels Venezuela a global threat at UN, EU approves arms embargo

The US chaired an informal meeting at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Monday to discuss the situation in Venezuela despite a boycott from leading members such as China and Russia. "The crisis in Venezuela today poses a direct threat to international peace and security. Venezuela is an increasingly violent narco-state that threatens the region, the hemisphere, and the world, "Washington's ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, declared during the session. Also present at the meeting were Organization of American States Secretary General Luis Almagro and UN High Commissioner Human Rights Prince Zeid bin Ra'ad, both vocal critics of the government in Caracas. The meeting was also boycotted by Bolivia and Egypt, who objected to Washington's interference in Venezuelan internal affairs. "The situation in Venezuela is an issue that is entirely the responsibility of Venezuelans and of course does not constitute a threat to international peace and security," said Bolivian UN Ambassador Sacha Llorenty at a press conference alongside his Russian, Chinese, and Venezuelan counterparts Monday.

Rare oarfish discovered on beach in Kingston, South Australia

Rare oarfish discovered on beach in Kingston, South Australia

A rare discovery washed up on Kingston's shore last week. The remains of an Oarfish was discovered on the Kingston beach by Sharryn Tiller and her dog Hugo on November 11. Living in the deep sea, the fish is rarely seen and its behaviour not widely studied, and it is believed to have inspired tales of sea serpents. "I was taking Hugo for a walk along the beach and we came across this great big dead fish," said Sharryn. "I thought what on earth is it? I stood there thinking maybe it was an eel. "But eels don't have whiskers, this fish had great long hard whiskers. "I came home and my husband was chatting to our neighbour, Dan Watson and I mentioned what I had seen on the beach.

Trump's 'sanctuary cities' executive order deemed unconstitutional, blocked in US court

Trump's 'sanctuary cities' executive order deemed unconstitutional, blocked in US court

A US judge berated and ruled President Donald Trump's "sanctuary cities" executive order unconstitutional. Cities that do not fully comply with federal immigration enforcement are still entitled to billions of dollars in federal money, the judge found. On Monday evening, US District Court Judge William Orrick, of California's Northern District, slammed one of President Donald Trump's first executive orders. Executive Order 13768, titled "Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States," was determined to be "unconstitutional on its face," the judge wrote, according to documents obtained by USA Today. Trump's order denied not only federal grants, but also federal funding for local jurisdictions with policies against cooperating or assisting federal immigration officers in identifying or detaining illegal immigrants. These so-called "sanctuary cities" or "sanctuary jurisdictions" have risen in number for several years, but they fall under a broad category. San Francisco County and Santa Clara County claimed they were at risk of losing $2 billion in federal funds under the January 25 executive order. They argued that the executive order was unconstitutional, because it violated the separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches of government.

Ankara threatens to disable US radar over F-35 deal ban, blind Israeli defense

Ankara threatens to disable US radar over F-35 deal ban, blind Israeli defense

An editorial in a Turkish conservative pro-government newspaper said Ankara could leave Israel exposed to an Iranian missile attack by disabling a US radar station, in retaliation for a possible Washington ban on the purchase of F-35 fighter jets. The editorial was published on Sunday by the Yeni Safak newspaper in apparent response to concerns voiced by a US Air Force official. Heidi Grant, the deputy undersecretary of the USAF for international affairs, had earlier said that Turkey's deployment of the Russian-made S-400 long-range anti-aircraft missile system may expose vulnerabilities of the US-made F-35 Lightning II fighter jets. Turkey plans to purchase over 100 of the advanced warplanes from Lockheed Martin. The newspaper called the implication that the planned deal may be frozen "blackmail" by Washington, and suggested that in retaliation Ankara could dismantle the Kurecik radar station. The powerful AN/TPY-2 X-band early-warning radar, which was set up by the US in the eastern province of Malatya in 2012, is part of NATO's system of airspace surveillance in the region. The newspaper says that unlike similar surveillance sites in Israel, Jordan, Qatar and the UAE, the Kurecik radar station can detect missile launches from the entire western part of Iran. With the site disabled, that airspace would no longer be properly monitored by NATO, the editorial said.

Six years post NATO 'intervention': Libya is home to slave trade

Six years post NATO 'intervention': Libya is home to slave trade

NATO's military intervention in Libya in 2011 has justifiably earned its place in history as an indictment of Western foreign policy and a military alliance that, since the collapse of the Soviet Union, has been deployed as its sword. The destruction of Libya will forever be an indelible stain on the reputations of those countries involved. But now, with the revelation that people are being sold as slaves in Libya (yes, you read that right - in 2017 the slave trade is alive and kicking Libya), the cataclysmic disaster to befall the country has been compounded to the point where it is hard to conceive of it ever being able to recover - and certainly not anywhere near its former status as a high development country, as the UN labeled Libya in 2010, a year prior to the "revolution." Back in 2011, it was simply inconceivable that the UK, the US and France would ignore the lessons of Iraq in 2003, just nine years previously. Yet ignore them they did, highlighting their rapacious obsession with maintaining hegemony over a region that sits atop an ocean of oil; this regardless of the human cost and legacy of disaster and chaos this particular obsession has wrought. When former UK Prime Minister David Cameron descended on Benghazi in eastern Libya in the summer of 2011, basking in the glory of the country's victorious "revolution" in the company of his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy, he did so imbued with the belief he had succeeded in establishing his legacy as a leader on the global stage. Like Blair before him, he'd won his war and now was intent on partaking of its political and geopolitical spoils. Cameron told the crowd, "Your city was an inspiration to the world, as you threw off a dictator and chose freedom."

Gov. Cuomo turned blind eye to pervert under his nose according to sex-harass accuser

Gov. Cuomo turned blind eye to pervert under his nose according to sex-harass accuser

An upstate woman has stepped forward to reveal she is the sex-harass accuser who prompted the resignation last month of a high-ranking Gov. Cuomo appointee - and to accuse the governor of repeatedly ignoring his pal's "horrific acts." In a shocking Manhattan federal court lawsuit filed Saturday, Lisa Marie Cater alleges former Empire State Development Corp. regional president William "Sam" Hoyt got her a job at the DMV and then leveraged it to "manipulate, sexually harass and sexually assault" her. The bombshell complaint - which names Cuomo and Hoyt as defendants - says Cater contacted Cuomo's office no less than six times but met "deliberate indifference."

President Trump at risk of a creeping coup

President Trump at risk of a creeping coup

President Trump is being attacked from all sides. On Nov.18, Air Force General John Hyten, commander of the US Strategic Command (STRATCOM), told an audience at the Halifax International Security Forum in Nova Scotia, Canada, that he would resist President Donald Trump if he ordered an "illegal" launch of nuclear weapons. It's up to the general to decide if the order is legal or illegal! This is an extraordinary statement coming from a top official on active service! And it does not look like the general is going to resign or retire. It means he can afford it with no consequences to face. The statement came after Senate held the first congressional hearing in more than four decades on the president's authority to launch a nuclear strike. Some senators want legislation to alter the nuclear authority of the US president. Questions were raised about Trump's authority to wage war, use nuclear weapons and enter into or end international agreements after he made threats to strike North Korea. The president's taunting tweets aimed at Pyongyang have sparked concerns primarily among congressional Democrats that he may be inciting a war. "We are concerned that the President of the United States is so unstable, is so volatile, has a decision-making process that is so quixotic that he might order a nuclear weapons strike that is wildly out of step with US national security interests," said US Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut.

More layoffs planned for ESPN as they slash $80 million in salaries

More layoffs planned for ESPN as they slash $80 million in salaries

ESPN is expected to cut millions of dollars in salaries when layoffs happen in the near future. Sporting News is reporting ESPN will slash about $80 million in salaries and other costs when the third round of layoffs in two years come down after Thanksgiving and before Christmas. The network reportedly plans to part ways with over 100 staffers. The latest round of layoffs is expected to impact positions on the television side, producers, executives and those in digital and technology, according to Sports Illustrated. SportsCenter is expected to be "hit hard" by the cuts and current on-air talent could soon be unemployed. This past April, ESPN laid off over 100 reporters and personalities, including big-name talents such as Trent Dilfer, Ed Werder and Danny Kanell.

Israel to cut off Palestinian access to spring, steal more land, by moving checkpoint deeper into West Bank

Israel to cut off Palestinian access to spring, steal more land, by moving checkpoint deeper into West Bank

Residents in al-Walaja are well versed in Israeli planning law. The small village has been in legal battles against Israel's separation wall, land confiscation and home demolitions for decades. This week Israeli authorities added another battle to the ongoing lists of obstacles faced by the rural village. On Nov. 12, Israeli forces issued notices to Palestinians living in the area that the closest Israeli military checkpoint to the village, one of the two checkpoints between the Bethlehem district and Jerusalem, will be moved further into the West Bank, annexing more of al-Walaja land. According to the notices, residents have 15 days to challenge the order. Firas al-Atrash, a member of the Local Council of al-Walaja, told Mondoweiss that moving the checkpoint according to Israel's plans would have devastating effects on the farming village. "Moving the checkpoint means that the Israel will take over around 1200 dunams (296 acres) of the land village, and prevent landowners to from accessing their land located behind the wall, including the Ein Al-Haniya spring and archaeological site," al-Atrash said.

Small news outlets can have large effects - Harvard study finds

Small news outlets can have large effects - Harvard study finds

Even small publishers have a large effect on the national discourse, according to a new paper published in Science on the effects of news. "Exposure to the news media," the study states, "causes Americans to take public stands on specific issues, join national policy conversations, and express themselves publicly." Comment: With this in mind, this must be why the bigger outlets publish nonsense like: Propaganda: Newsweek smears Donald Trump with Charles Manson comparison The research aims to quantify the effect of news media. Put in terms that are increasingly common when talking about journalism: What is the impact of news organizations? The act of publishing news is influential in still-surprising and robust ways. The study by Harvard professor Gary King and collaborators found that a few, mostly small news outlets publishing simultaneously in a broad area of public policy concern increased the volume of conversation on social media by 19 percent the day after publication. Over a full week, the volume was increased 63 percent relative to the average day's volume. The number of unique authors increased as well, and the composition of opinion changed in the direction of the published articles.

Air China ends flights to North Korea, nobody wants to go

Air China ends flights to North Korea, nobody wants to go

Beijing-owned Air China airline has ended flights to the capital of North Korea, Pyongyang, due to a lack of passenger demand. Flights were "temporarily suspended due to unsatisfactory business operations," said an Air China employee, as quoted by AP. The suspension means North Korea's Air Koryo is the only airline, which connects the country to China. Its website lists flights to Beijing, Shanghai, Shenyang, and Dandong in China and Vladivostok in Russia. In April, Air China said it was cutting the frequency of flights to its isolated neighbor. Some other Chinese airlines offered charter services to the country, but those have been scrapped as well. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Lu Kang, said he had no information about the news, but any such decisions would be made based on the "state of operation and the market," he said. The UN Security Council unanimously imposed new sanctions on North Korea. China said it would enforce them. According to a Reuters report, as of the end of October, China has significantly cut coal, lead, and iron ore imports from the North, which are crucial for Pyongyang's economy. Lead ore imports dropped 84 percent, iron ore shipments plunged 98 percent, and coal imports were down 71.6 percent from a year earlier. China also stopped selling gasoline and diesel to North Korea at the end of June over concerns the country would fail to pay for the goods. The restrictions are still in force, Reuters reports. The October data showed trade between the world's second-largest economy and its northern neighbor was $412 million, the lowest since April.

Cop arrested for tampering with breathalyzers, 20,000 DWI cases affected

Cop arrested for tampering with breathalyzers, 20,000 DWI cases affected

More than 20,000 drivers in the state of New Jersey could have DWI charges wiped from their record because a police officer was caught tampering with multiple breathalyzer machines. Last year, Sgt. Marc Dennis, a coordinator in the New Jersey State Police Alcohol Drug Testing Unit, was accused of skipping a vital step in the calibration of breathalyzers on multiple occasions. It has not been specified in police reports whether or not Dennis had malicious intent. However, given how quickly criminal charges were brought against him, it seems that this is far more than a simple oversight. While Dennis denies the accusations, he was allegedly identified tampering with these machines on three separate occasions. Lt. Brian Polite, a spokesman for the State Police, said in a statement after the arrest that a supervisor at the police department witnessed Dennis committing these crimes and reported him immediately. "Once it was determined that there was a possibility of criminal charges being filed, it was then referred to Division of Criminal Justice," Polite said.

Discovery: 260 million-year-old Antarctica forest that thrived long before dinosaurs

Discovery: 260 million-year-old Antarctica forest that thrived long before dinosaurs

Antarctica once had a forest and researchers are trying to figure out why it disappeared. During Antarctica's summer, from late November through January, UW-Milwaukee geologists Erik Gulbranson and John Isbell climbed the McIntyre Promontory's frozen slopes in the Transantarctic Mountains. High above the ice fields, they combed the mountain's gray rocks for fossils from the continent's green, forested past. By the trip's end, the geologists had found fossil fragments of 13 trees. The discovered fossils reveal that the trees are over 260 million years old, meaning that this forest grew at the end of the Permian Period, before the first dinosaurs.

Scientists discover gold literally grows on trees

Scientists discover gold literally grows on trees

Money might not grow on trees, but scientists have confirmed that gold is found in the leaves of some plants. Scientists from Australia's national science agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), have proved that the leaves of certain eucalyptus trees contain minute amounts of the precious metal that have been naturally absorbed. Eucalypts in the Kalgoorlie region of Western Australia and the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia are drawing up water containing gold particles from the earth via their roots and depositing it in their leaves and branches. One of the authors of the paper, the CSIRO geochemist Dr Mel Lintern, said some eucalyptus root systems dived down deeper than 30m, through much of the sediment that sits on top of solid ore-bearing rock. The tree acts "as a hydraulic pump ... drawing up water containing the gold", he said. "As the gold is likely to be toxic to the plant, it is moved to the leaves and branches where it can be released or shed to the ground."

Moscow slams Kiev's permissive attitude toward repeated vandalism of WWII memorial

Moscow slams Kiev's permissive attitude toward repeated vandalism of WWII memorial

The Russian Foreign Ministry has expressed indignation over an act of vandalism committed at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Kiev. Moscow says this shows that the Ukrainian government is not able to counter extremism. "To our indignation we have learned about another act of vandalism - on November 20, the Eternal Flame at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in central Kiev was put out with cement. The fact that this act of desecration took place for the second time in just one month and the culprits have not been found and punished speaks either about the criminal permissiveness of the Kiev authorities or about their lack of will and inability to counter unrestrained radicals," reads the statement released by the foreign ministry on Tuesday.

Star Smacked: America has become a nation of groupies, taking bullets for our idols

Star Smacked: America has become a nation of groupies, taking bullets for our idols

Politics is the root of most of this world's problems. It's sad when you think about it; some families are broken, friendships lost and marriages are set asunder for something as petty as political differences and ideological divergences. At the core of this issue is the need too many of us have to deify political idols and elevate people we don't know or never met as gods to worship. I don't know what it is about humanity; the very same people who are neglected, and even exploited, by the rich and famous feel the need to offer more of our backs to the gentry and beg to be stepped on. Actually, I kind have an inkling of an idea why we seemingly become a collective of masochists when it comes to groveling before the gentry. We put the rich and famous on pedestals because we too want to be rich and famous by derivative. This same theme was touched upon by a rabbi at 6th and I synagogue in DC I visited a couple of years ago-I'm a bit of a free spirit when it comes to exploring people's faiths. The rabbi noted that our egos and our desire to be acknowledged makes us glom on to those who are famous because it makes us feel that we too are important by extension. When we take pictures with a famous personality or a movie star, we do so mostly to show off our exploits to others. Our need to be noticed makes us latch on to those who are noted. By the way, there is a reason the title of this article has we instead of they in it. I'm not separating myself from the rest; I too fall victim to idolizing those who are elevated as stars. If someone renowned walked into this coffee shop right now while I'm writing this article, I would reflexively take a picture or at the very least gaze in astonishment. After all, it was not too long ago that I was a political parrot and a toady of Democrats [read My Political Awakening]. True enough, two years of wandering the wilderness has made me a lot less reverential of the rich and famous and a lot more admiring of broken strangers, but I would be a liar if I tried to pretend that I'm not occasionally in awe of people solely because of their notoriety.

Online abuse of women laid bare in new report: 'I'd receive 200 messages threatening rape every day'

Online abuse of women laid bare in new report: 'I'd receive 200 messages threatening rape every day'

From tweets threatening violence to emails detailing graphic descriptions of rape, a new survey has revealed that one in five women has experienced online harassment. Amnesty International UK says it is causing psychological distress for thousands of women. An Amnesty poll asked 504 women aged 18 to 55 in the UK about their experiences of online abuse to"investigate this emerging violation of ... human rights." It found that one in five women said they had experienced abuse or harassment through social media. Young women aged between 18 and 24 are particularly affected, Amnesty says, with more than one in three (37 percent) saying that they had experienced online abuse. One-third (36 percent) felt their physical safety had been threatened, while more than half (55 percent) suffered stress, anxiety or panic attacks as a result of the abuse.

Propaganda: Newsweek smears Donald Trump with Charles Manson comparison

Propaganda: Newsweek smears Donald Trump with Charles Manson comparison

"Manson was able to speak in a way that engaged those who felt marginalized or alienated," Newsweek's Melissa Matthews contends in an article titled "How Murderer Charles Manson and Donald Trump Used Language to Gain Followers." She then quotes a former president of the American Psychoanalytic Association, Mark Smaller, who tells her: "Our current president speaks in an emotional or affective way to large numbers of people in our country who feel a kind of alienation or disconnection from the government." Comment: Barrack Obama did exactly the same. In fact, nearly every US politician does. Yes, leaders persuade and water is wet. But Donald Trump is not Charles Manson is not Donald Trump. The people playing cheerleader to Charles Manson in 1969 appeared very different from the people wearing Make America Great Again hats in 2016. One gleans the opposite impression from Newsweek. "I fell in love with Charlie Manson the first time I saw his cherub face and sparkling eyes on TV," Jerry Rubin of Chicago Seven fame proclaimed. He made the pilgrimage to Los Angeles County Jail to rap with Manson for three hours. The disruptive tactics Rubin and his six co-defendants used in their trial in the Windy City Manson and his three co-defendants plagiarized in their trial in the City of Angels. "His words and courage inspired us," Rubin reflected of the serial killer. "Manson's soul is easy to touch because it lays quite bare on the surface."

Police violence continues, though most media have stopped paying attention

Police violence continues, though most media have stopped paying attention

October was an especially brutal month when it comes to the tally of people killed by police in this country, particularly for people of color. I emphasize people of color because my lifelong research on this topic tells me that their killings are not random, but rather are a result of dehumanization and the constant patrolling of bodies and communities of color, especially those of Native, Black and Brown peoples. Unfortunately, this is not a new phenomenon. This pattern of killings with impunity has been ongoing since 1492. Regardless of whether the killings are random or targeted, the number of law enforcement killings in this country is unparalleled anywhere else in the "developed" world. Killedbypolice.net (KBP) lists 93 people killed in the month of October. For September, the number was "only" 84. Let that sink in; that is more than three per day, and November is on the same pace.

Chicago cop sentenced to 5 years for firing 16 rounds into a car full of unarmed teens

Chicago cop sentenced to 5 years for firing 16 rounds into a car full of unarmed teens

In August, Chicago police officer Marco Proano told a jury that when he fired 16 shots into a car full of unarmed teenagers, that was not threatening him, he was just doing his job. However, the dashcam video was so 'gruesome' that a jury did not agree. After only a 4 hour deliberation, Proana became the exception to the rule by actually getting convicted for his crimes. Proano was found guilty on two felony counts of using excessive force in violating the victims' civil rights. He was facing a maximum of 10 years in prison on each count but moments ago, he was sentenced to just 5 years. Given Chicago's irresponsible and incredible ability to utterly fail at holding violent cops accountable, the sentence is surprisingly lengthy and precedent-setting. Comment: Cop convicted of two felonies after leaked video shows him firing 16 rounds into a car of unarmed teenagers During the sentencing, U.S. District Judge Gary Feinerman rejected Proano's argument that he was forced to shoot at the car to save a teen's life. The judge said that at the time of the shooting, Proano "was not a police officer . . . He was the source of chaos and violence."

Jehovah's Witnesses are paying $4K a day to hide details of child sex abuse by leaders

Jehovah's Witnesses are paying $4K a day to hide details of child sex abuse by leaders

Victims who claim they were told not to speak out about the sexual abuse they endured as children are now sharing their stories, as the religious organization that abused them is paying over $2 million to protect its leaders. A court in San Diego ordered Jehovah's Witnesses to pay $4,000 each day for withholding documents that show their leaders were aware that a man with a history of child sex abuse was being promoted within their organization-despite continued allegations against him. The decision was upheld by an appellate court in California this month.

Philadelphia neurologist accused of sexually abusing patients and withholding medications for non-compliance

Philadelphia neurologist accused of sexually abusing patients and withholding medications for non-compliance

Seventeen women from New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania are accusing a prominent neurologist of using his sought-after treatments as leverage to extract sexual favors. The women claim that Dr. Ricardo Cruciani, 63, former chairman of the neurology department at Drexel University in Pennsylvania, has abused his patients going back more than a decade. He will appear in Philadelphia court Tuesday on charges he assaulted seven patients last year alone. The remaining women have filed separate police reports or hired lawyers for civil suits. The victims, ages 31 to 55, described a pervy bedside manner that includes unwanted touching and kissing, as well as being coerced into oral sex. Another said he masturbated in front of her - even as she declined his advances.

Civilian deaths: US war records can't keep up

Civilian deaths: US war records can't keep up

Anyone willing to think carefully and critically about the use of armed force against a target such as Islamic State (ISIS) would do well to read the intensively researched piece in the New York Times by investigative journalist Azmat Khan and Arizona State professor Anand Gopal about civilian casualties from the air war waged by the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq. The key conclusion is that those casualties are far higher-probably many times higher-than what the U.S. military acknowledges. Such a discrepancy has been suspected for some time, based on earlier work by private organizations that comb press reports and other publicly available information from afar. Khan and Gopal went beyond that work by selecting three areas in Nineveh province as samples in which they performed an exhaustive on-the-ground investigation, interviewing hundreds of residents and sifting through the rubble of bombed structures. They compared such direct evidence, incident by incident, with what the responsible U.S. military command said it had in its records about airstrikes it had conducted in the area and the results of those airstrikes.

20-foot-long sinkhole opens up on busy Manhattan street

20-foot-long sinkhole opens up on busy Manhattan street

New Yorkers had a scare early Monday morning after a water main failure caused a 20-foot-long sinkhole to open up on Manhattan's Upper West Side. The sinkhole appeared around 8:30 a.m. on West 82nd Street between Central Park West and Columbus Ave., after residents reported a water main break, according to a local CBS affiliate.

Will America's renegade wars ever cease?

Will America's renegade wars ever cease?

Seventy-seven million people in North and South Korea find themselves directly in the line of fire from the threat of a Second Korean War. The rest of the world is recoiling in horror from the scale of civilian casualties such a war would cause and the unthinkable prospect that either side might actually use nuclear weapons. Since the first Korean War killed at least 20 percent of North Korea's population and left the country in ruins, the U.S. has repeatedly failed to follow through on diplomacy to establish a lasting peace in Korea and has instead kept reverting to illegal and terrifying threats of war. Most significantly, the U.S. has waged a relentless propaganda campaign to discount North Korea's legitimate defense concerns as it confronts the threat of a U.S. war machine that has only grown more dangerous since the last time it destroyed North Korea. Comment: See: Why North Korea hates AmericaThe hidden origins of the wars in Korea and Vietnam The North has lived under this threat for 65 years and has watched Iraq and Libya destroyed after they gave up their nuclear weapons programs. When North Korea discovered a U.S. plan for a Second Korean War on South Korea's military computer network in September 2016, its leaders quite rationally concluded that a viable nuclear deterrent is the only way to guarantee their country's safety.

Trump Administration blocks AT&T-Time Warner merger

Trump Administration blocks AT&T-Time Warner merger

The Trump administration has filed a civil antitrust lawsuit to block AT&T from acquiring Time Warner for $85.4 billion, a deal that would give the largest world's largest telecommunications company control of CNN. The Justice Department announced Monday it will be challenging the AT&T-Time Warner merger, one of the largest mergers in American history, arguing the combined company would raise prices and stifle competition and innovation. Makan Delrahim, the assistant attorney general for the DOJ's antitrust division, said the potential merger would be illegal.