Signs of the Times
A 7-months pregnant singer and her 23-month-old were kicked off of their United Airlines flight from San Francisco to Vancouver because the toddler was crying.
Singer Sarah Blackwood is currently on tour and travelling with her young son who became restless after boarding. The flight crew reportedly told the young mother to "control your child" while waiting for takeoff on the runway Wednesday.
Up to 4,200 migrants sailing across the Mediterranean Sea were rescued by European ships on Friday, but 17 people died during the journey on unseaworthy boats. The number rescued in 24 hours appears to be one of the highest in recent years.
The 17 bodies were found on three inflatable dinghies, from which over 300 other migrants were rescued alive, the Italian Navy said on Twitter.
Friday's rescue operations were led by the Italian coastguard, and involved German and Irish naval ships working under the auspices of the EU's Frontex border agency.
A similar international maritime mission off the coast of Sicily on Thursday resulted in the rescue of over 700 migrants from Libya in six boats.
So far, the busiest days this year have been on April 12 when 3,791 migrants were rescued and the May 2 rescue of 3,690 people.
Over 40,400 boat migrants, many of them fleeing poverty and conflict-stricken countries such as Syria and Eritrea, have arrived in Italy since the start of the year, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
New statistics gathered by IOM confirm 2015 appears to be "an even deadlier year than 2014," when nearly 3,300 migrants perished trying to enter Europe. While last year the number of migrants dying in all Mediterranean crossings from January to April was 96, this year's toll is an estimated 1,770 so far through to April 30, IOM said.
EU ministers have approved plans for a military operation to fight people smugglers in the Mediterranean. Proposals to destroy traffickers' boats in Libyan waters still need UN approval, however. The European Commission plans to make the rest of the 28-nation EU share the burden of frontline, brunt bearing states such as Italy, Greece and Malta, although some countries, the UK among them, are against the plan.
An Orange County school district is using new software to spy on their students social media accounts, to "help prevent crime". Students are calling the efforts an invasion of privacy.
The school district has obtained a new social media program called SnapTrends, which will allow them to monitor student's Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Foursquare, Vine, and Instagram accounts when used on campus.
The software works by looking for keywords being used within a predetermined area based on GPS locations. The social media conversations can be monitored in real-time as they stream in and a security team can zoom in on users it views as influential.
"This information builds a clear view of social conversations when and where they unfold, the influencers driving those conversation, and why; ultimately giving you the ability to make more informed decisions and take more effective actions." the SnapTrends website explains.
The district claims that they will be using the software to prevent and stop cyber bullying, keep an eye out for students who are a risk to themselves or others, as well as criminal activities. They will receive assistance from local law enforcement in monitoring their students.
When questioned about privacy concerns, Orange County Public Schools Senior Director of Safety and Security Doug Tripp ignores that issue and just reiterates that it is to "protect our children." These privacy issues come at a time when Southern California schools have also been under scrutiny for their militarized school police forces.
The nearby Los Angeles School Police Department had received an MRAP via the Department of Defense 1033 program and was pushed to return it after a wave of harsh criticism. They have also been in possession of three grenade launchers since 2001, and 61 M-16 assault rifles. San Diego School Police are also in possession of an MRAP.
Illegal drug production in Afghanistan has increased by a factor of 50 and continues to rise since a US-led operation was launched in the country in 2001, the Russian Federal Drug Control Service (FDCS) chief said Thursday.
The amount of land being used in opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan hit a record number of 224,000 hectares last year.
"The drug production in Afghanistan is the major problem for Eurasia and Central Asia, with its level increasing 50 times since the launch on October 7, 2001 of US operation Enduring Freedom and continues to rise," Victor Ivanov said.
United States lawmakers are looking to arm and train American allies in the Pacific as a countermeasure to what legislators claim is Beijing's increasingly aggressive behavior in the region.
The Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) has added a "China Sea Initiative" to the 2016 defense bill. The legislation was drafted, in part, to address China's ongoing construction of artificial islands in the South China Sea as a part of its ambitious land-reclamation campaign.
SASC Chairman Senator John McCain inserted the initiative to offer support - in the form of training and weapons - to allied countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.
Seattle city parks are closer to going tobacco free.
City parks department commission on Thursday approved a ban set to take effect July 1.
The ban would expand a current city ordinance which bans "smoking, chewing, or other tobacco use...within 25 feet of other park patrons and in play areas, beaches, or playgrounds."
Several major cities have already adopted a parks-wide smoking ban including Los Angeles, New York City, Boston, Chicago and San Francisco.
"We think protecting people from secondhand smoke, which there is no safe level of secondhand smoke, makes sense," Parks and Recreation acting Superintendent Christopher Williams has said. "It makes sense for us to be doing this as a parks and recreation department."
A shallow magnitude 5.5 earthquake was reported Saturday morning seven miles from Brooktrails, Calif., according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The temblor occurred at 4:33 a.m. PDT at a depth of 23.6 miles.
According to the USGS, the epicenter was 27 miles from Ukiah, 60 miles from Clearlake and 68 miles from Healdsburg.
In the l10 days, there has been one earthquake of magnitude 3.0 or greater centered nearby.
This information comes from the USGS Earthquake Notification Service and this post was created by an algorithm.
Contrary to the Minsk agreements, Ukrainian government tried to exclude the representatives of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk people's republics from the contact group on Ukrainian reconciliation, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday.
The Minister told Rossiya-24 television channel that the launch in early May of the four working sub-groups of the contact group, that would oversee the implementation of the Minsk peace agreement, opens an important opportunity to discuss a broad range of issues. But even this initiative did not go without problems.
"There was a huge battle, because despite the Minsk Agreements, to which Donetsk and Luhansk are indispensable part, Kiev tried to reduce the contact group and its sub-groups to a trilateral format Russia-Ukraine-OSCE so that LPR and DPR would be only invited to hear the results of the agreements if Kiev wishes to do so."
A magnitude 4.8 earthquake was reported Saturday morning 13 miles from San Simeon, Calif., according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The temblor occurred at 4:33 a.m. PDT at a depth of 54.1 miles.
According to the USGS, the epicenter was 27 miles from King City, 33 miles from Greenfield and 34 miles from Paso Robles.
In the last 10 days, there have been three earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or greater centered nearby.
This information comes from the USGS Earthquake Notification Service and this post was created by an algorithm.
This list could grow to 1,000 ideas, but I've kept it down to ten. In the future, I might update it and add some more.
There are a lot of bad ideas that dominate the world we live in today, most of which are uncritically accepted as the norm and fully embraced by society.
As a millennial myself, I've noticed my peers seem to accept most of these as conventional wisdom. Hook, line, and sinker.
Here are some ideas I was propagandized with that I hope my children will never have to "unlearn."
Russian Navy Su-24 jets forced US Navy destroyer USS Ross to go into neutral waters in the Black Sea, a source in Crimea's security forces told RIA Novosti.
The US Navy ship was noticed heading directly toward Russian waters after leaving the Romanian port of Costanta. The incident comes on the same day as fugitive Georgian ex-leader Mikheil Saakashvili's appointment as governor of Ukraine's Black Sea-bordering Odessa region.
"The ship's crew acted provocatively and aggressively, which caused alarm among operators of monitoring stations and Black Sea Fleet ships carrying out assignments in the Black Sea. Scrambled Su-24 attack jets demonstrated a readiness to forcibly suppress border violations and defend the country's interest," the source said.
A 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck in the ocean off Japan's remote Bonin Islands at 11:23 GMT on Saturday, USGS reports. There have been no immediate reports of casualties or damage, nor any tsunami alert.
The populated area closest to the quake's epicenter is the Japanese island of Chichi-Shima with a population of about 2,000 people. It is 189 kilometers from the impact point.
Try and find any public information that shows that Sepp Blatter is guilty of any of the charges of fraud or corruption that have ever brought against him. You won't find it. The only thing Blatter seems to have been "found guilty of" is "political correctness", aka crimes against Western, liberal, capitalist, secular, atheist, war-loving culture.
Thousands of people are expected to attend numerous protests in the capital on Saturday to demonstrate against further planned cuts to welfare, the scrapping of the Human Rights Act and discrimination against the Islamic community.
Nearly 10,000 have said they are attending two separate rallies in London - the first organized by UK Uncut, which campaigns against cuts to welfare, and the second by individual campaigners who want to reverse proposals from "a government hell-bent on destroying civil liberties."
The event description from UK Uncut claims the £12 billion in planned spending cuts "puts the NHS and our public services in even more severe danger."
"The Tories are planning to cut another £12 billion, on top of the £25 billion they've already cut. Let's come together to tell the government we won't let them crush our public services with a further £12 billion of CATASTROPHIC cuts!"
"The cuts are a political choice, not an economic necessity. This government wants to destroy the welfare state and privatize our vital public services. Austerity is just an excuse to transfer public services into private hands, to protect the rich and punish the poor," it adds.
The new government has already faced civil unrest since May's general election, which saw the Tories narrowly edge a majority government.
The meat of the matter in the by now legendary May 12 meeting in the Kremlin between President Putin and US Secretary of State John Kerry is that, after a relentless torrent of US demonization of Russia, a deal - of sorts - may have been reached. Needless to add, no official source, in either Washington or Moscow, will confirm it.
Geopolitical imperatives lead us to think that Kerry - a de facto mere messenger of the real Masters of the Universe in the Beltway — asked Putin for "help" in the former, American-launched "Greater Middle East", and to facilitate the clinching of the possibly imminent P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran.
And Putin told Kerry that was a deal as long as the hysteria over Ukraine was immediately defused.
There is no hard evidence - yet - that Washington is prepared to finally admit, even tangentially, to its monumental geopolitical bungling in Ukraine; the lightning-fast deepening of the Russia-China strategic partnership is just one of the key consequences. End of sanctions would be a first fact on the (Eurasian) ground.
Instead, for the moment we have the usual NATO warmongering —remixed.
Ironically, the places that benefited the most from the debt-and-death paradigm are likely to see the quickest outbreak of chaos when dollar collapse begins in earnest. The concentrated aggression, hyper-competitive atmosphere, and wealth disparity of the typical city should be avoided if possible. Recent riots serve as a clear example of what can happen ... and the lights are still on and the financial infrastructure is still in place. In a full-blown dollar collapse, all bets are off. So, think about moving to "boring" parts of the country with real communities. Do it on your terms while options still remain.
The Ukrainian cabinet of ministers has nominated the former president of Georgia, Mikhail Saakashvili, who has been placed on an international wanted list in his own country, as the governor of Ukraine's coastal Odessa region.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko was set to meet Saakashvili on Friday to approve his candidacy for the post before officially announcing the appointment, according to the presidential press-secretary Svyatoslav Tsegolko.
The fugitive Georgian leader has already been granted Ukrainian citizenship, which makes him legally eligible for the post, according to Ukrainian journalist-turned-MP Sergey Leshchenko, who also confirmed Saakashvili's appointment as Odessa governor.
Three months. That's all it took to wipe almost every member of a species of turtles off of the map.
It all started in mid-February when canoeists paddling down the Bellinger River in New South Wales, Australia, came across several dead and dying turtles.
Since then more than 400 dead turtles have shown up. Dozens more sick turtles were also recovered, each of which was lethargic, emaciated and covered in infected lesions in their eyes, skin and even internal organs.
None of the infected turtles survived.
The 60-kilometer river is the only home to the Bellinger River snapping turtle (Elsaya georgesi), a rare but little-studied species that has already been on the decline for years due to pollution and predation by invasive foxes. Scientists now fear that this mysterious, as-yet-unidentified disease has reached 90 percent of the turtle's habitat and could cause the species's imminent extinction.
Is there hope? So far 17 apparently healthy turtles have been captured and brought into safety. University of Western Sydney zoologist Ricky Spencer says the 10 males and seven females—all that could be located by a multiagency team of wildlife experts—will spend up to the next eight months in quarantine where they will be monitored daily for signs of the disease. If they stay healthy, they could later form the core of a captive-breeding program that could, in theory, save the species from extinction even if it completely disappears in the wild.
The Obama administration on Friday formally removed Cuba from a U.S. terrorism blacklist as part of the process of normalizing relations between the Cold War foes.
Secretary of State John Kerry signed off on rescinding Cuba's "state sponsor of terrorism" designation exactly 45 days after the Obama administration informed Congress of its intent to do so on April 14. Lawmakers had that amount of time to weigh in and try to block the move, but did not do so.
Several parents are fired up after hearing a student's hot lunch was dumped in the trash in front of her classmates because her lunch account was past due.
Parents claim Bedford Elementary School did something it preaches against: In their words, "bullying" the child, not to mention wasting food to embarrass her.
On May 20 an elementary school lunch was packed with a hidden punch a child never saw coming.
"Someone came and took her lunch while she was sitting there with her friends and everybody else," said the girl's aunt, Leslie Chilton, who also happens to be the Bedford Elementary PTO Treasurer.
Chilton said it would be embarrassing for any child who has no idea their lunch account had a negative balance.
"An actual employee told me that afternoon because I was at school," she said of the incident." It was awful to think about her being there, sitting there and she was crying. She's a shy girl anyway, she's 10 years old and she's knows what's going on."