AuthorTopic: Knarf's Knewz Channel  (Read 1322551 times)

Offline knarf

  • Global Moderator
  • Master Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 10597
    • View Profile
Facebook and Google Struggle to Squelch ‘Crisis Actor’ Posts
« Reply #11370 on: February 24, 2018, 03:29:19 PM »


SAN FRANCISCO — On Wednesday, one week after the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., Facebook and YouTube vowed to crack down on the trolls.

Thousands of posts and videos had popped up on the sites, falsely claiming that survivors of the shooting were paid actors or part of various conspiracy theories. Facebook called the posts “abhorrent.” YouTube, which is owned by Google, said it needed to do better. Both promised to remove the content.

The companies have since aggressively pulled down many posts and videos and reduced the visibility of others. Yet on Friday, spot searches of the sites revealed that the noxious content was far from eradicated.

On Facebook and Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, searches for the hashtag #crisisactor, which accused the Parkland survivors of being actors, turned up hundreds of posts perpetuating the falsehood (though some also criticized the conspiracy theory). Many of the posts had been tweaked ever so slightly — for example, videos had been renamed #propaganda rather than #hoax — to evade automated detection. And on YouTube, while many of the conspiracy videos claiming that the students were actors had been taken down, other videos that claimed the shooting had been a hoax remained rife.

Facebook faced renewed criticism on Friday after it was revealed that the company showcased a virtual reality shooting game at the Conservative Political Action Conference this week. Facebook said it was removing the game from its demonstration of its new virtual reality products.
Continue reading the main story
Related Coverage

    The Making of a No. 1 YouTube Conspiracy Video After the Parkland Tragedy FEB. 21, 2018
    After Florida School Shooting, Russian ‘Bot’ Army Pounced FEB. 19, 2018
    Death Toll Is at 17 and Could Rise in Shooting FEB. 14, 2018

The resilience of misinformation, despite efforts by the tech behemoths to eliminate it, has become a real-time case study of how the companies are constantly a step behind in stamping out the content. At every turn, trolls, conspiracy theorists and others have proved to be more adept at taking advantage of exactly what the sites were created to do — encourage people to post almost anything they want — than the companies are at catching them.

“They’re not able to police their platforms when the type of content that they’re promising to prohibit changes on a too-frequent basis,” Jonathon Morgan, founder of New Knowledge, a company that tracks disinformation online, said of Facebook and YouTube.

The difficulty of dealing with inappropriate online content stands out with the Parkland shooting because the tech companies have effectively committed to removing any accusations that the Parkland survivors were actors, a step they did not take after other recent mass shootings, such as last October’s massacre in Las Vegas. In the past, the companies typically addressed specific types of content only when it was illegal — posts from terrorist organizations, for example — Mr. Morgan said.

Facebook and YouTube’s promises follow a stream of criticism in recent months over how their sites can be gamed to spread Russian propaganda, among other abuses. The companies have said they are betting big on artificial intelligence systems to help identify and take down inappropriate content, though that technology is still being developed.

The companies have in the meantime hired or said they plan to hire more people to comb through what is posted to their sites. Facebook said it was hiring 1,000 new moderators to review content and was making changes to what type of news publishers would be favored on the social network. YouTube has said that it plans to have 10,000 moderators by year’s end and that it is altering its search algorithms to return more videos from reliable news sources.

Mary deBree, head of content policy at Facebook, said the company had not been perfect at staving off certain content and most likely would not be in the future.

“False information is like any other challenge where humans are involved: It evolves, much like a rumor or urban legend would. It also masks itself as legitimate speech,” she said. “Our job is to do better at keeping this bad content off Facebook without undermining the reason people come here — to see things happening in the world around them and have a conversation about them.”



A YouTube spokeswoman said in a statement that the site updated its harassment policy last year “to include hoax videos that target the victims of these tragedies. Any video flagged to us that violates this policy is reviewed and then removed.”

For many people, getting around Facebook and YouTube’s hunt to remove noxious content is straightforward. The sites have automated detection systems that often search for specific terms or images that have previously been deemed unacceptable. So to evade those systems, people sometimes can alter images or switch to different terminology.

Sam Woolley, an internet researcher at the nonprofit Institute for the Future, said far-right groups had started using internet brands to describe minorities — like “Skype” to indicate Jewish people — to trick software and human reviewers.

Those who post conspiracy theories also tend to quickly repost or engage with similar posts from other accounts, creating a sort of viral effect that can cause the sites’ algorithms to promote the content as a trending topic or a recommended video, said David Carroll, a professor at the New School who studies tech platforms.

That duplication and repackaging of misinformation “make the game of snuffing it out Whac-a-Mole to the extreme,” he said.

That game played out across the web in the past few days, after a video suggesting that one of the most vocal Parkland survivors, David Hogg, was an actor became the No. 1 trending video on YouTube. After a public outcry, YouTube removed the video and said it would take down other “crisis actor” videos because they violated its ban on bullying. YouTube has since scrubbed its site of many such videos.

Yet some of the videos remained, possibly because they used slightly different terminology. One clip that had drawn more than 77,000 views by Friday described the shooting survivors as “disaster performers” instead of “crisis actors.”

Other videos that were not about the Parkland survivors but that called the entire shooting into question also stayed online. A video posted last week by Alex Jones, the founder of the conspiracy theory site Infowars, titled “Red Alert! Evidence Mounts Florida Attacks Is a Giant False Flag” had attracted more than 300,000 views by Friday.

On Facebook, some of the posts the social network had vowed to ban were still gaining traction. One lengthy post had been shared more than 3,800 times by early Friday. The post included a photo of Mr. Hogg and his classmate Emma Gonzalez with the text “Globalist Deep State Crisis Actors.”

After The New York Times contacted the author of the post, a self-described political analyst named John Miranda, the post disappeared. It is unclear if Facebook removed it. Mr. Miranda did not respond to a request for comment.

The tech companies’ increasing efforts to remove misinformation have a side effect: angering some of their most active users.

Moe Othman, a comedian and commentator on YouTube who has about 60,000 subscribers, said that within 10 minutes of posting a video on Wednesday that suggested some Parkland students were actors, YouTube removed it and placed a strike on his account. YouTube terminates accounts after three strikes.

Mr. Othman said in a private message on Twitter: “I’m not surprised. We live in a world where information is one of the most important tools.” He added, “In this case, I see YouTube as a censoring machine.”

Would he stop using YouTube? No, he said, “mainly because I’m still a comedian who simply wants to make people laugh.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/23/technology/trolls-step-ahead-facebook-youtube-florida-shooting.html
HUMANS ARE STILL EVOLVING! Our communities blog is at https://openmind693.wordpress.com

Offline knarf

  • Global Moderator
  • Master Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 10597
    • View Profile
Egyptian archaeologists discover an ancient cemetery south of Cairo.
« Reply #11371 on: February 24, 2018, 03:32:24 PM »
This latest discovery is in an area known to house ancient catacombs from the Pharaonic Late Period and the Ptolemaic dynasty.

Egyptian archaeologists have discovered an ancient cemetery near the Nile Valley city of Minya, south of Cairo.

The site, which hosts a range of family tombs and graves of more than 2,000 years old, is expected to take another five years to excavate.

Antiquities minister Khaled El-Enany said on Saturday the discovery near Tuna al-Gabal, south of Cairo, consisted of a large number of burial shafts dating from the late Pharaonic period to the early Ptolomaic era.

In 2017, the ministry found a necropolis holding at least 17 mummies in the area of Tuna al-Gabal. a vast archaeological site on the edge of the western desert.

The area is also known to include tombs, a funerary building and a large necropolis for thousands of mummified ibis and baboon birds, as well as other animals.

"It's only the beginning," said Enany. "We are very soon going to add a new archaeological attraction to Middle Egypt."

Egypt hopes the new finds can help revive tourism which was hit hard by political turmoil following the 2011 uprising.

The number of tourists visiting the country rose 54 percent to 8.3 million last year, still below the 14.7 million who came in 2010.

Archaeologists started excavation work in the area late last year and found tombs belonging to priests of Thoth, the ancient god of the moon and wisdom.

One tomb includes more than 1,000 statues and four well preserved alabaster canopic jars inscribed with hieroglyphics and designed to hold the mummified internal organs of their owner - Thoth.

The priest's mummy was also found decorated with blue and red beads and bronze gilded sheets.

Another tomb includes several coffins, statues depicting ancient priests and other funerary artefacts.

Mostafa Waziri, head of the archaeological mission, says eight tombs have been uncovered so far and he expects more will be discovered soon.

40 stone coffins, believed to belong to the priest's family members and a necklace charm bearing the hieroglyphic inscription "happy new year" have also been found.

Mostafa Waziri said the scarab charm had been unearthed last New Year's Eve in a "wonderful coincidence".

http://www.euronews.com/2018/02/24/egyptian-archaeologists-discover-an-ancient-cemetery-south-of-cairo-
HUMANS ARE STILL EVOLVING! Our communities blog is at https://openmind693.wordpress.com

Offline knarf

  • Global Moderator
  • Master Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 10597
    • View Profile
A former Perry County jail guard convicted of beating an inmate who later died has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

William Curtis Howell, 61, was a supervisor deputy jailer at the Kentucky River Regional Jail in Hazard when he and another supervisor, Damon Wayne Hickman, assaulted inmate Larry Trent in 2013.

The attack happened after Trent, 54, who was charged with driving under the influence, briefly ran out of his cell, according to court records.

Hickman threw Trent to the floor and kicked him in the ribs, according to a court record.

After deputies carried Trent back to his cell, Hickman and Howell punched, kicked and stomped Trent, according to testimony.

Witnesses reported that before closing the cell door, Howell kicked Trent in the head as he lay on the floor, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a news release.

A maintenance worker found Trent unresponsive about four hours later.

An autopsy showed he died from internal bleeding caused by a fractured pelvis, though blows to his head and body contributed.

Hickman, who pleaded guilty and testified against Howell, was sentenced to 10 years and six months in prison.

Howell was convicted of using excessive force against Trent and denying him medical care.

Chief U.S. District Judge Karen K. Caldwell sentenced him Friday in federal court in Lexington.

Howell must report to prison April 13. He will have to serve at least 85 percent of his sentence.

“There is no place in law enforcement or corrections for this shocking and illegal conduct,” U.S. Attorney Robert M. Duncan Jr. said in a news release. “The actions of those convicted dishonor the work done and sacrifices made by the overwhelming majority of law enforcement and corrections officers.”

Three other former guards at the jail have been convicted in connection with assaulting inmates.

Kevin Asher was sentenced to nine years in prison. Matthew B. Amburgey and Jarod Allen Lucas, who each face up to a year in prison, have not been sentenced.

http://www.kentucky.com/news/state/article201960719.html
HUMANS ARE STILL EVOLVING! Our communities blog is at https://openmind693.wordpress.com

Offline knarf

  • Global Moderator
  • Master Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 10597
    • View Profile
Judge dismisses federal drug case tied to O.C. jailhouse-snitch scandal
« Reply #11373 on: February 24, 2018, 03:37:07 PM »
SANTA ANA – A frustrated federal judge on Friday dismissed drug charges against a man who claimed he was unfairly targeted by Orange County sheriff’s deputies, so the jailhouse-informant scandal that has unraveled more than a half-dozen cases in state court has now led to a case getting tossed out of a U.S. court.

In dismissing the charges against Joseph Martin Govey, U.S. District Judge Cormac J. Carney repeatedly questioned why the government had pursued a case involving only 37.7 grams of methamphetamine, particularly when it brought federal prosecutors into the local informant scandal and could have jeopardized an ongoing federal investigation about the use of snitches in Orange County.

“I am absolutely baffled the government charged this case and pursued it, particularly with the baggage of the witnesses,” Carney said during a hearing Friday morning at the federal courthouse in Santa Ana.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office declined comment.

In June 2017, Govey was arrested during a probation search of what law enforcement officials have described as a “known crash pad for white-race gang members” in Anaheim. His attorney acknowledged that Govey had methamphetamine but said it was for personal use, not for sale.

Two year’s before, an Orange County Superior Court judge dismissed an attempted-murder case against Govey. The Orange County District Attorney’s Office had charged him with soliciting a death, but chose to dismiss the charges after being ordered to disclose informant evidence.

A key witness in the drug case against Govey was sheriff’s Deputy Bryan Larson, a former member of the jailhouse unit that allegedly misused jail informants. Larson was among the deputies who invoked their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination when called to testify in another murder case involving alleged informant misconduct and became the lead investigator in the federal drug case.

Govey’s attorney, Timothy Scott, had argued that Larson and other deputies caught up in the informant scandal were angered by the earlier attempted-murder charges against Govey being dismissed, and decided to settle the score by overstating the evidence in the drug case.

Federal prosecutors denied Scott’s allegations. They have noted that Larson was not involved in the attempted-murder case.

Had the drug case gone to trial, the judge was planning to allow the defense to question Larson in front of a jury about his past invocation of the Fifth Amendment, challenging the credibility of the deputy, whose testimony was considered key to the government’s case.

Judge Carney on Friday noted that he couldn’t recall being involved in another federal drug case “with such a low quantity” of methamphetamine.

“This is still a federal offense,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Bradley Marrett told the judge

Despite a trial that was set for next week, Scott on Friday said he was struggling to work through an estimated 75,000 pages of potential evidence the government had given him in recent weeks, documents tied to the informant scandal. Judge Carney said he was particularly concerned that on Thursday night the government had turned over to him an additional 20,000 pages of potential evidence.

Marrett told the judge that Govey’s attorney had asked for a wide range of documents, which had complicated the government’s efforts to turn over the material.

Carney described the release of so many pages on the eve of trial as a “document dump.” The failure to turn over the material earlier violated Govey’s right to a speedy trial, the judge said.

https://www.ocregister.com/2018/02/24/judge-dismisses-federal-drug-case-tied-to-o-c-jailhouse-snitch-scandal/
HUMANS ARE STILL EVOLVING! Our communities blog is at https://openmind693.wordpress.com

Offline knarf

  • Global Moderator
  • Master Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 10597
    • View Profile
Air Force master sergeant to face court-martial on child porn charges
« Reply #11374 on: February 24, 2018, 03:39:16 PM »


A master sergeant with the 315th Security Forces Squadron at Joint Base Charleston in South Carolina will face a court-martial next month on charges of possession of child pornography.

Master Sgt. Brian Arnold, of the Air Force Reserve, is accused of possessing sexually explicit videos of a minor, or someone who appears to be a minor, between August 2012 and June 2015, according to charge sheet information provided by Joint Base Charleston. If convicted, this would be a violation of Article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Arnold’s court-martial is scheduled to begin March 19 at the base, and end March 23. Maj. Gen. Christopher Bence, the commander of the United States Air Force Expeditionary Center, will be the convening authority.

“It is important to remember in the military justice system every individual is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt,” Marvin Krause, a spokesman for Joint Base Charleston, said in an email. “While it is premature to comment on the outcome of the case, charges have been referred to trial by the General Court Martial Convening Authority, and a court will determine if the accused is guilty of the alleged offense and if so, adjudicate an appropriate sentence.”

https://www.airforcetimes.com/news/your-air-force/2018/02/22/air-force-master-sergeant-to-face-court-martial-on-child-porn-charges/
HUMANS ARE STILL EVOLVING! Our communities blog is at https://openmind693.wordpress.com

Offline knarf

  • Global Moderator
  • Master Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 10597
    • View Profile
Indian state offers free breast implants to the poor
« Reply #11375 on: February 24, 2018, 03:43:19 PM »
Tamil Nadu officials say service provided to stop people taking loans they can not afford or opting for other methods



A south Indian state has become possibly the first in the world to offer publicly-funded breast implants, its health minister arguing, “Why should beauty treatment not be available to the poor?”

The Tamil Nadu state health department on Wednesday launched the free service at a clinic in the capital Chennai. “If we don’t offer [the procedure for free], they may opt for dangerous methods or take huge loans for it,” said C Vijaya Baskar, the state health minister.

The clinic had already been providing breast reconstruction surgery for cancer patients, but was now extending the service for people who wished to alter the size of their breasts for other health or cosmetic reasons.

The head of plastic surgery at the clinic, Dr V Ramadevi, said some of her patients sought breast reduction to alleviate shoulder and back pain, while others sought to augment or shrink their breasts for a boost in confidence.

“There is a psychological benefit. Many girls who have larger breasts don’t like to go out. There is no reason this surgery should be restricted from the poor.”

The procedure would also be available to men, she said.

Cosmetic surgery has slowly grown in popularity as Indians have became wealthier, with about 420,000 procedures performed in 2016, compared to about 390,000 six years earlier.

According to the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, there were about 33,000 breast augmentation surgeries carried out in India in 2016, the most recent year it published statistics, versus about 50,600 procedures in 2010.

But among the men the figure has grown, according to the same group, with 25,640 seeking breast reduction in 2016, an 11,000 increase on 2010 figures.

Among the procedures that have surged in popularity are controversial “limb-lengthening” surgeries intended to increase a patient’s height.

Apart from providing breast surgery, the Chennai clinic will also perform free cleft lip surgeries for children and hand transplants among other procedures.

Tamil Nadu’s government is known for its largesse, particularly under former chief minister Jayalalithaa, who pioneered free food canteens and doled out wedding jewellery and venues to the poor.

A former public health director for the state, Dr S Elango, criticised this latest scheme. “[It] sounds populist, but it is not an ideal public health programme,” he told the Times of India.

“State funds are required for emerging non communicable diseases and communicable diseases. It is sad that we are now focusing on beauty instead of life-saving surgeries.”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/23/indian-state-offers-free-breast-implants-to-the-poor

HUMANS ARE STILL EVOLVING! Our communities blog is at https://openmind693.wordpress.com

Offline knarf

  • Global Moderator
  • Master Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 10597
    • View Profile
Syrian capital, its suburbs calm after UN cease-fire vote
« Reply #11376 on: February 25, 2018, 04:28:08 AM »

This photo released on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018 by the Syrian official news agency SANA, shows Syrian citizens at a street market in Damascus, Syria

 The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Sunday no deaths have been reported since the resolution passed.

Syrian opposition activists and residents of Damascus say the city and its embattled eastern suburbs are relatively calm following the U.N. Security Council’s unanimous approval of a resolution demanding a 30-day cease-fire across Syria.

The activists reported few violations, including some clashes, on the southern edge of the rebel-held suburbs, known as eastern Ghouta, and two airstrikes late on Saturday, shortly after the resolution was adopted.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Sunday no deaths have been reported since the resolution passed.

Ghouta-based opposition activist Anas al-Dimashqi says the night was calm but warplanes and drones are still flying over rebel-held areas.

Damascus residents say there’s more traffic in the streets, compared with previous days.

The resolution calls on all parties to immediately lift sieges of populated areas.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/syrian-capital-its-suburbs-calm-after-un-cease-fire-vote/article22849425.ece
HUMANS ARE STILL EVOLVING! Our communities blog is at https://openmind693.wordpress.com

Offline knarf

  • Global Moderator
  • Master Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 10597
    • View Profile
"Hoodlums" 911 caller convicted in murder of unarmed black man
« Reply #11377 on: February 25, 2018, 04:31:09 AM »

Kouren-Rodney Bernard Thomas


RALEIGH, N.C. — A white man who fatally shot an unarmed black man after calling 911 and reporting "hoodlums" has been found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole.

News outlets report that the jury spent less than two hours deliberating Thursday before finding Chad Copley guilty of premeditated murder in the death of 20-year-old Kouren-Rodney Thomas, who was attending a party near Copley's home.

Prosecutors had said Copley appeared bent on violence when he told 911 operators he was "locked and loaded" to confront people he described as armed "hoodlums."

CBS affiliate WNCN reports that Copley told the operator: "We got a bunch of hoodlums out here racing. I am locked and loaded and I am going outside to secure my neighborhood. You need to send PD as quickly as possible. I am going to secure my neighborhood. I am on the neighborhood watch. I am going to have my neighbors with me."

About seven minutes after that call, Copley called 911 again: "We have a house…we have a lot of people outside of our house yelling and shouting obscenities. I yelled at them 'please leave the premises.' They were showing firearms, so I fired a warning shot and we got someone that got hit," he said.

Defense attorneys acknowledged Copley fired the fatal shotgun blast, but said he feared for his safety and was covered by the state's Castle doctrine.

On cross examination, Copley admitted escalating the situation and lying to the 911 operator about several things, including that he was on the neighborhood watch, that people were "racing up and down the street" and vandalizing the neighborhood, and that the shot he fired was a warning shot, reports WNCN.

Superior Court Judge Michael J. O'Foghludha sentenced Chad Copley on Friday after hearing from Thomas' mother.

"Not a day goes by, or an hour, or a minute, that I don't miss him," said his mother, Simone Butler-Thomas, holding an urn of his ashes in court. "This is all I have left of him. This is Kouren's urn that holds his ashes."

Copley declined to address the judge, but his attorney Raymond Tarlton said the defense team would appeal his conviction to the North Carolina Court of Appeals. Copley's family declined to speak to reporters after the hearing.

Thomas, who was known for reminding friends to buckle seatbelts, had arrived at the party with two other people but they decided to leave because it seemed boring, friends testified. Thomas had been startled to see flashing lights at a traffic stop down the street and began to jog toward his friend's car because he was afraid police would break up the party, his friend David Walker testified. Thomas was shot at the edge of Copley's yard.

A friend of the victim's family, Nikia Pratt, told the judge that the outcome of the case is sad for all sides.

"No one wanted this situation. Everybody still loses, in a way," she said. "We can't bring back Kouren. We can't bring Mr. Copley back to his family."

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/chad-copley-hoodlums-911-caller-convicted/?ftag=COS-05-10aaa0g&utm_campaign=trueAnthem:+Trending+Content&utm_content=5a92a5f704d301577c8b9764&utm_medium=trueAnthem&utm_source=twitter
HUMANS ARE STILL EVOLVING! Our communities blog is at https://openmind693.wordpress.com

Offline knarf

  • Global Moderator
  • Master Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 10597
    • View Profile
Gus Kenworthy, boyfriend rescue puppy from South Korean dog meat farm
« Reply #11378 on: February 25, 2018, 04:34:25 AM »
 U.S. Winter Olympic skier Gus Kenworthy isn't walking away from the games with a medal, but instead, he's returning from PyeongChang with something cuddlier and yappier: A rescue dog from a South Korean dog meat farm.

"This morning Matt and I had a heart-wrenching visit to one of the 17,000 dog farms here in South Korea," Kenworthy explained on Instagram Friday, along with a photo of his actor boyfriend Matt Wilkas and their new pooch, Beemo. "Across the country there are 2.5 million dogs being raised for food in some of the most disturbing conditions imaginable.



 Kenworthy detailed the conditions at the farm he visited in his Instagram post.

"I was told that the dogs on this particular farm were kept in 'good conditions' by comparison to other farms," Kenworthy, 26, said. "The dogs here are malnourished and physically abused, crammed into tiny wire-floored pens, and exposed to the freezing winter elements and scorching summer conditions."

 The farm Kenworthy visited is being shut down, and the newly-free canines will be brought to the U.S. and Canada and placed in "fur-ever homes," he explained.

"I adopted the sweet baby in the first pic (we named her Beemo) and she'll be coming to the US to live with me as soon as she's through with her vaccinations in a short couple of weeks," Kenworthy wrote of his new family member. "I cannot wait to give her the best life possible!"

Kenworthy's soft spot for rescue dogs was apparent at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, when he brought home two puppies he found near the Olympic Village. Those dogs, Jake and Misshka, now reportedly live with his ex-boyfriend in Canada.

http://abcnews.go.com/Sports/gus-kenworthy-boyfriend-rescue-puppy-south-korean-dog/story?id=53324769
HUMANS ARE STILL EVOLVING! Our communities blog is at https://openmind693.wordpress.com

Offline knarf

  • Global Moderator
  • Master Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 10597
    • View Profile
At least 4 dead after reported tornadoes, flooding sweep through the South
« Reply #11379 on: February 25, 2018, 04:40:24 AM »


Three reported tornadoes swept through the South overnight, while flooding and other severe weather also wrecked havoc on the region, resulting in at least four deaths.

The tornadoes were reported in Kentucky, Tennessee and Arkansas. Three of the deaths reported so far were reported in Kentucky, while the fourth death occurred in Arkansas.

 In Kentucky's Logan County, one person died from a house collapsing due to strong winds. In Simpson County, a man was killed after flooding washed away his car. And in Henderson County, a man was found dead submerged in his car.

The fourth death, in Arkansas, was caused by a man's trailer being blown away during strong winds. Straight-line wind gusts of 70 mph were reported in parts of Arkansas.

There was also widespread damage in parts of Missouri, as well.

 In Hopkinsville, Kentucky, damage to homes prompted 13 residents to relocate to a shelter and 25 residents to move into a hotel.

Over 4 inches of rain was reported in the Louisville, Kentucky area on Saturday. Louisville has seen over 10 inches of rain so far this month, nearly three times the city's average monthly rainfall. According to the Louisville Division of Fire, there were over 100 water rescues overnight. Nearly 6 inches of rain has been reported in western Kentucky in the past week.

 Now, the good news: The storms are rapidly losing intensity Sunday morning as they move off to the north and east. Drier air is finally moving into much of the central U.S. for the next few days. However, the concern for river flooding remains.

Over 30 gauges across much of the Midwest and south-central U.S. will see major river flooding this week.

The Ohio River in Cincinnati will reach 60 feet Sunday, the highest in 20 years. This is moderate flood stage for the area. Homes and businesses near the river will see some flooding. The Ohio River at McAlpine Upper, near Louisville, is on the rise this morning. The Ohio River here is now the highest it's been in 20 years.

The river flooding across the central U.S. could linger for much of the upcoming week. It will take time for the some rivers to come to their highest crest and then recede. The Mississippi River, for example, at Osceola will reach major flood stage by next weekend.

The next round of unsettled weather arrives around midweek, when more rain and severe weather could return to regions that were hard hit overnight.

On the colder side of this storm, snow moved from the central Plains into the upper Midwest. Nearly 5-6 inches of snow reported in the Twin Cities metro area.

Some heavy rain and strong thunderstorms will get caught up across portions of the Gulf Sunday, from eastern Texas to southern Mississippi. Locally 3 to 4 inches of rain is possible and some flash flooding will be possible in the metro areas from Houston, Texas, to Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

In the Northeast, heavy rain and some wintry mix will move in Sunday morning. Temperatures are very close to freezing across interior New England. Therefore there is a risk of some low end ice and snow accumulation on untreated roadways and surfaces.

 As for the West, another round of cold air and snow is moving in on Sunday. It will bring more heavy snow to Cascades and parts of the Sierra Nevada.

Lowland snow will be possible across parts of the Seattle area Sunday. Accumulations should be light. However in parts of the Cascades another 1 to 2 feet will be possible.

As the frontal system moves south into California, it will increase the winds out ahead of the system. Wind gusts over 35 mph will be possible in parts of southwest California Sunday.

By Monday night and Tuesday, there will be some rain moving into southern California, with locally over 0.3" of rain possible in the metro area. Another round of snow will be possible in the higher elevations outside of Los Angeles, with 1 to 2 inches of snow possible.

Behind this frontal system, another round of pretty cold air comes into the west, with wind chills dropping from Washington to the Rockies. Seattle, Portland, and Los Angeles will have chances to have wind chills in the 30's this upcoming week. This comes after having below average temperatures across the region for the last week or so.

http://abcnews.go.com/US/dead-reported-tornadoes-flooding-sweep-south/story?id=53342956
HUMANS ARE STILL EVOLVING! Our communities blog is at https://openmind693.wordpress.com

Offline knarf

  • Global Moderator
  • Master Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 10597
    • View Profile
China proposes to let Xi Jinping extend presidency beyond 2023
« Reply #11380 on: February 25, 2018, 04:44:25 AM »

Xi Jinping became Chinese president in 2013 and is currently due to step down in 2023

China's governing Communist Party has proposed removing a clause in the constitution which limits presidencies to two five-year terms.

The move would allow the current President Xi Jinping to remain as leader after he is due to step down.

There had been widespread speculation that Mr Xi would seek to extend his presidency beyond 2023.

Party congress last year saw him cement his status as the most powerful leader since the late Mao Zedong.

His ideology was also enshrined in the party's constitution at the congress, and in a break with convention, no obvious successor was unveiled.

Born in 1953, Mr Xi is the son of one of the Communist Party's founding fathers. He joined the party in 1974, climbing its ranks before becoming president in 2013.

His presidency has seen economic reform, a fierce campaign against corruption, as well as a resurgence in nationalism and a crackdown on human rights.

What do we know about the move?

"The Communist Party of China Central Committee proposed to remove the expression that the President and Vice-President of the People's Republic of China 'shall serve no more than two consecutive terms' from the country's Constitution," it reported.

It gave no other details, but the full proposal was due to be released later.

The announcement appears carefully timed, with many Chinese people due to return to work on Monday after celebrating the Chinese New Year. China was also centre stage at the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics, as South Korea prepared to hand the Games over to Beijing for 2022.

The top officials who make up the party's Central Committee are due to meet on Monday in Beijing.

The proposal will go before legislators at the annual full session of the National People's Congress which starts on 5 March.
How significant is this?

Under the current system, Mr Xi was due to step down in 2023.

The tradition of limiting presidencies to 10 years emerged in the 1990s, when veteran leader Deng Xiaoping sought to avoid a repeat of the chaos that had marked the Mao era and its immediate aftermath.

Mr Xi's two predecessors have followed the orderly pattern of succession. But since he came to power in 2012 he has shown a readiness to write his own rules.

It is not clear how long Mr Xi might stay in power, but an editorial in China's state-run Global Times said the change did not mean "that the Chinese president will have a lifelong tenure".

The paper quoted Su Wei, a Communist Party academic and party member, as saying it was a significant decision as China needed a "stable, strong and consistent leadership" from 2020-2035.
'Papa Xi' tightens his grip

By Celia Hatton, BBC World Service Asia Pacific Regional Editor

This is an announcement many have been expecting.

For decades, the Communist Party has dominated life in China. Now, Xi Jinping has stepped into that spotlight, outshining the party that promoted him to the top spot.

His photo is plastered on billboards across the country and his authorised nickname, "Papa Xi", appears in official songs.

In the past the Communist Party stayed firmly in control, while the man at the top was in command for a limited amount of time. One leader would dutifully hand power to another after serving a decade in power.

Xi Jinping disrupted that system from the early days of his time in office. He instituted an anti-corruption campaign, the same campaign that conveniently eliminated Mr Xi's political rivals.

Mr Xi has also shown a clear political vision, promoting huge national projects like the One Belt One Road initiative to build new global trade routes and announcing grand plans for China to erase poverty by 2020.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-43188739
HUMANS ARE STILL EVOLVING! Our communities blog is at https://openmind693.wordpress.com

Offline knarf

  • Global Moderator
  • Master Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 10597
    • View Profile
At drone fair, Chinese show off armed model likely in UAE
« Reply #11381 on: February 25, 2018, 04:46:30 AM »


ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Walking through a trade show all about military drones, Emirati officials made a point on Sunday to stop first at a stand run by Chinese officials with a mock armed drone hanging above them.

Defense analysts believe that drone, the Wing Loong II, is now being used by the Emirati military while the UAE remains barred from purchasing weaponized drones from the United States.

That purchase, as well as Abu Dhabi hosting the Unmanned Systems Exhibition & Conference this week in the Emirati capital, shows the power these weapons now hold across the Middle East.

Top UAE officials, including Abu Dhabi’s powerful crown prince, Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, were on hand for the drone conference, which opened on Sunday.

The UAE, home to skyscraper-studded Dubai, already has embraced drones. Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, has given the $1 million Drones for Good Award in recent years. Meanwhile, civil defense officials fighting fires and lifeguards trying to save those at risk of drowning use drones in their work.

But the UAE remains highly interested in military drones.

Al-Dhafra Air Base near Abu Dhabi, which hosts some of the 5,000 American troops in the UAE, is also home to some of the U.S. military’s unmanned aircraft that flew missions over Iraq and Syria targeting the Islamic State group.

Chief among those aircraft is the Predator, built by San Diego-based defense contractor General Atomics. The UAE previously purchased some $200 million worth of surveillance-only Predator drones from General Atomics.

The Obama administration opposed selling the UAE armed versions of the Predator over Missile Technology Control Regime, a 30-year-old agreement that aims to limit the spread of missile technology.

But that apparently didn’t stop the UAE from purchasing weaponized drones. Satellite photographs taken of a mysterious Emirati air base in the country’s deep south — a desert area known as the in the Empty Quarter — appear to show three Wing Loong IIs there, according to a January article by IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly.

China has never acknowledged selling the drones to the UAE, though the state-run Xinhua News Agency has reported a major sale of the drones to a foreign buyer.

Asked if China sold the UAE the Wing Loong II, sales manager Zhao Chuang of the China National Aero-Technology Import & Export Corp. only smiled and said: “No idea.”

“We are trying to find the world market,” he told The Associated Press after his colleagues greeted high-ranking Emirati officials.

General Atomics, which displayed a massive Predator surveillance drone nearby, declined to speak to the AP. However, U.S. lawmakers last year sent a letter to President Donald Trump asking him to allow armed Predator drone sales to both the UAE and Jordan.

https://apnews.com/343d4ce9d65f44fb9212c18b51ec28a9/Abu-Dhabi-hosts-international-trade-show-of-military-drones
HUMANS ARE STILL EVOLVING! Our communities blog is at https://openmind693.wordpress.com

Offline knarf

  • Global Moderator
  • Master Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 10597
    • View Profile
Satellite Imagery Confirms Russia Deployed Stealthy Su-57 Fighters To Syria
« Reply #11382 on: February 25, 2018, 04:52:47 AM »


Our initial analysis has been outright confirmed and at least two Russian Su-57s have been forward-deployed to Khmeimim Air Base in western Syria. Satellite imagery dated February 23rd, 2018 shows two of the aircraft parked on the base's tightly packed fixed-wing tactical aircraft ramp.

It appears that one of the aircraft wears the "shark" scheme, first seen of fifth T-50 prototype "Blue 055," while the other seems to wear a similar paint job, albeit with less contrast and a "pixelated" or "digitized" design first on T-50 "Blue 509."

Blue 055 suffered a bad engine fire during a ground run in 2014, resulting in severe damage to its airframe. The aircraft was returned to flying condition in 2016 by using parts from an unfinished T-50 prototype.

Another satellite image appears to show an Su-57 cocooned in modular barriers on the base's southern ramp area, possibly taken at a later time than the image above. We must note that the origin of this image has not been confirmed.

The barriers, which can be used to create temporary revetments, have began to appear at the base following a series of attacks, one of which was executed via a group of GPS guided drones, in early January.

Some sources have claimed two additional Su-57s arrived the day after the initial pair, with images showing a pair of the jets flanked by Su-35s approaching the base. From what we can tell, this is just another angle of the first pair arriving, but with limited information available, we cannot rule out the presence of four Su-57s instead of just the pair.

Russia usually sends batches of four high-end tactical jets to the Syrian theater at a time, and just two would make generating sorties very challenging, especially considering the aircraft is still quite immature. But there are roughly a dozen Su-57s (also known by its pre-operational T-50 designation) in existence, and many of them are early prototype models. So the idea that Russia would commit four to Syria at such an early time would be a bold move, but not really an unexpected one.

We have discussed the reasons why Russia would execute such a surprise deployment of their most technologically advanced combat aircraft, but beyond the marketing and tactical aspects of the operation, Moscow's choice to send the Su-57 to Syria shouldn't be surprising, as we have said it would be just a matter of time.

The country has a more flexible rubric for deploying an asset into an operational combat theater than the U.S., which could be seen by some as one luxury of having little opposition oversight, especially by the media, of major defense projects. It also is indicative of how Russia develops its weaponry, which allows for greater operational risk early on in the system's lifecycle.

Regardless, the jets will likely undergo what the Kremlin calls "combat evaluation," which will work to test the aircraft's systems over an actual combat zone and to make the case for the jet to potential export customers. It is also likely aimed at saving the long-struggling deal between New Delhi and Moscow to produce an India-specific version of the jet.

Russia's initiative to showcase its weapon systems in Syria, and slapping on the "proven in combat" badge of approval on them, has indeed worked well over the past two and a half years when it comes to drumming up sales of some of the country's most technologically advanced and expensive weapons to foreign customers.

Russia itself has struggled to buy significant numbers of Su-57s even as the program winds down primary development and moves towards operational testing. Instead the Ministry of Defense has ended up purchasing less expensive and far more mature Su-35s instead. The War Zone wrote the following in 2017:

    "Despite initial plans to have built 150 of Sukhoi’s T-50 stealth fighter by 2020, the Kremlin has now scaled that back to a buy of just a dozen aircraft. This year, after more than seven years of flight testing, the Russian military hopes to finally take delivery of the 10th and 11th pre-production prototypes."

Now we'll have to wait and see how Russia publicizes the Su-57's presence in Syria and if they attempt to challenge airspace patrolled by American fighters, namely F-22 Raptors. And yes, this plot setup sounds exactly like it was ripped right out of a somewhat far-fetched military techno-thriller novel.

Strange times indeed.

http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/18773/satellite-imagery-confirms-russia-deployed-stealthy-su-57-fighters-to-syria
HUMANS ARE STILL EVOLVING! Our communities blog is at https://openmind693.wordpress.com

Offline knarf

  • Global Moderator
  • Master Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 10597
    • View Profile
More than 100 girls missing after raid on Nigerian school, father says
« Reply #11383 on: February 25, 2018, 04:56:45 AM »
Lagos, Nigeria (CNN)More than 100 girls are missing after suspected Boko Haram militants attacked their school in northeastern Nigeria Monday night, according the father of one of those missing.
Bashir Manzo told CNN that his daughter Fatima was among at least 104 schoolgirls unaccounted for after the raid on the Government Girls Science Technical College in Dapchi, Yobe.
Nigeria's government has yet to release an official list of those missing and government agencies have given contradictory information.
Shortly after the attack, the Yobe governor's office said 50 girls were unaccounted for.

However, Manzo -- the newly elected head of the parents' association at the school -- said that according to parents and the association's records 104 girls were missing.

More than 100 girls missing after raid on Nigerian school, father says


Lagos, Nigeria (CNN)More than 100 girls are missing after suspected Boko Haram militants attacked their school in northeastern Nigeria Monday night, according the father of one of those missing.
Bashir Manzo told CNN that his daughter Fatima was among at least 104 schoolgirls unaccounted for after the raid on the Government Girls Science Technical College in Dapchi, Yobe.
Nigeria's government has yet to release an official list of those missing and government agencies have given contradictory information.
Shortly after the attack, the Yobe governor's office said 50 girls were unaccounted for.

However, Manzo -- the newly elected head of the parents' association at the school -- said that according to parents and the association's records 104 girls were missing.

Abuja
Dapchi

"According to our record 104 girls are missing including my 16-year-old daughter, Fatima. Those are the numbers we gather from fathers who have not seen their children from the school. They told us they saw some girls but the governor has told us yesterday they haven't found them," Manzo said.
The group's secretary, Kachalla Bukar, told CNN that his 14-year-old daughter was also missing.
"My daughter Aisha Kachalla is missing and we can't get any information from school because soldiers are all over there. No security came to Dapchi the day the men came, now over a hundred soldiers have taken over the village," Bukar said.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has promised the families of the missing girls that they'll be found and their attackers brought to justice.
Buhari called the situation a "national disaster" and said more troops and surveillance aircraft had been deployed to search the entire territory for the unknown number of missing students.
"We are sorry that it happened; we share your pain. Let me assure that our gallant armed forces will locate and safely return all the missing girls," Buhari said in a Twitter statement.

The local Yobe government released a statement Wednesday announcing the girls had been found, but later apologized for the "erroneous" statement that it said was based on inaccurate information.

Earlier, the governor's aide released a statement saying 50 students were still unaccounted for after armed militants approached the school under the cover of darkness Monday night. The statement also said it was unclear whether the students were abducted by the militants.

"The Yobe state government has no credible information yet as to whether any of the schoolgirls was taken hostage by the terrorists," said Abdullahi Bego, an aide to Gov. Ibrahim Gaidam, in a statement.
Witnesses told CNN that terrified residents of the town fled on Monday when they saw trucks and motorcycles carrying armed men shooting at people randomly.
Freed Chibok girls reunite with families
Boko Haram militants kidnapped nearly 300 girls from a school in Chibok in April 2014, setting off global outrage. Many of the Chibok girls were freed after negotiations, but more than 100 remain in captivity, their whereabouts unknown.

https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/25/africa/nigeria-boko-haram-father/index.html
« Last Edit: February 25, 2018, 05:04:12 AM by knarf »
HUMANS ARE STILL EVOLVING! Our communities blog is at https://openmind693.wordpress.com

Offline knarf

  • Global Moderator
  • Master Chef
  • *****
  • Posts: 10597
    • View Profile
Woman Sentenced to 16 Years in Prison After Shopping With Dead Baby in Her Bag
« Reply #11384 on: February 25, 2018, 04:58:25 AM »


A New York City mother was sentenced to 16 years in prison after pleading guilty to manslaughter under extreme emotional disturbance.

Tiona Rodriguez was shopping in a Victoria’s Secret as a teenager in 2013, PIX11 reported, and was stopped by security when she was accused of stealing jeans. That’s when they reportedly noticed a “foul odor” and found the dead child. She was 17 at the time, according to the New York Post.

She could have faced life in prison if the case went to trial, the Post reported. Authorities found messages in her phone callously referring to the boy, which led prosecutors to charge Rodriguez with murder.

“Take this s–t and dig a hole, put it somewhere, lol, then we go eat IHOP,'” one message read.

The District Attorney said Rodriguez delivered the baby in friend’s apartment bathroom and intentionally killed the newborn, according to PIX11. The baby reportedly weighed 8 pounds at birth and died of homicidal asphyxiation.

Rodriguez also had a child at 14, which her family was not aware of until she gave birth, PIX11 reported. She also gave birth in 2012, though that child did not survive, according to the network.

http://time.com/5174242/woman-sentenced-to-16-years-in-prison-after-shopping-with-dead-baby-in-her-bag/

« Last Edit: February 25, 2018, 05:05:53 AM by knarf »
HUMANS ARE STILL EVOLVING! Our communities blog is at https://openmind693.wordpress.com