2019 Free Thinkers Headline News
6-20-19 Are US child migrant detainees entitled to soap and beds?
A Trump administration lawyer has disputed in court whether detained migrant children are entitled to toothbrushes and soap. The Department of Justice argued the government was adhering to a landmark ruling requiring migrants to be kept in "safe and sanitary" facilities. The attorney pointed out the law did not mention soap. But a panel of judges in California questioned the rationale, saying the children were sleeping on concrete. In July 2017, US District Judge Dolly Gee found the Trump administration had breached the 1997 Flores agreement by not providing migrant children with appropriate food or hygienic supplies, housing them in cold facilities without beds. The agreement states that immigrant children cannot be held for more than 20 days and must be provided with food, water, emergency medical care and toilets. But Department of Justice lawyer Sarah Fabian argued on Tuesday that the federal government had not violated Flores. Ms Fabian maintained in a Ninth Circuit court in San Francisco that the government had fulfilled the Flores agreement because it did not specifically list items such as soap or toothbrushes. "One has to assume it was left that way and not enumerated by the parties because either the parties couldn't reach agreement on how to enumerate that or it was left to the agencies to determine," she said, Courthouse News reported. "These are the challenges of interpreting a very old agreement." Ms Fabian argued that children in shorter-term immigration detention did not require soap or toothbrushes. Circuit Judge William Fletcher questioned the government's reasoning. "Are you arguing seriously that you do not read the agreement as requiring you to do anything other than what I just described: cold all night long, lights on all night long, sleeping on concrete and you've got an aluminium foil blanket?" He added that it was "inconceivable" that the government would describe those conditions as "safe and sanitary". Fellow Judge A Wallace Tashima remarked: "It's within everybody's common understanding that if you don't have a toothbrush, you don't have soap, you don't have a blanket, those are not safe and sanitary [conditions]."
6-17-19 Family thought US police were going to shoot them
Armed police surrounded a family car after a child left a shop with a doll without paying for it. Phoenix police say they were responding to a report of shoplifting. The city's police chief has apologised for the aggressive confrontation and says the incident is being investigated. The incident in Arizona comes amid heightened scrutiny of law enforcement by the public across the United States following a series of high-profile killings of African Americans.
6-17-19 Phoenix mayor apologises after police threaten to shoot black family
The mayor of the US city of Phoenix has apologised after a video allegedly showing police threatening to shoot a black family went viral. Officers were responding to an alleged shoplifting incident last month when the video was recorded. Police officers can be seen shouting at the family to get out of their vehicle before threatening them. The parents say they did not realise their four-year-old had taken a $1 (£0.79) Barbie doll from a store. Mayor Kate Gallego said the officers' actions were "completely inappropriate and clearly unprofessional". Ms Gallego said in a statement: "There is no situation in which this behaviour is ever close to acceptable. As a mother myself, seeing these children placed in such a terrifying situation is beyond upsetting. "I am deeply sorry for what this family went through and I apologise to our community." She said that the city was speeding up the implementation of body-worn cameras. A community meeting about the incident will also be held on Tuesday. In the video, Iesha Harper can be seen emerging from the car with her two young children. The children are handed to a bystander and Ms Harper is arrested. The footage also shows another man, Dravon Ames, being kicked in the legs as he is handcuffed by an officer. The couple are preparing to sue the city for $10 million over the incident. Rapper Jay Z's Roc Nation company has offered the pair legal support. Roc Nation Managing Director of Philanthropy Dania Diaz said in a statement: "We are calling for the immediate termination of the police officers in question. We are committed to supporting the family to ensure justice is served." Ms Harper, who is pregnant, told CNN: "I really thought he was going to shoot me in front of the kids." She said that she gave her two children to a bystander as she "didn't trust the police". (Webmaster's comment: Threatening someone with guns without reason is illegal. The officers should be arrested, charged, tried, convicted and imprisoned.)
6-16-19 Donald Trump attacks Sadiq Khan over London violence
US President Donald Trump has once again criticised London Mayor Sadiq Khan, calling him a "national disgrace" who is destroying the UK's capital. His comments came after five violent attacks in London in less than 24 hours left three men dead and three injured. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said it was "absolutely awful" Mr Trump was using the "tragedy of people being murdered to attack the mayor". Police have increased patrols in the capital following the attacks. President Trump's tweets follow a long-running feud with Khan. Retweeting a post by right-wing commentator Katie Hopkins about this weekend's violence in London, the president said Mr Khan was "a disaster" and the capital needed a new mayor. Mr Trump later followed it up with another post saying: "He is a national disgrace who is destroying the city of London!" In response, Mr Khan's spokesman said the mayor's thoughts were with the victims' families and he "is not going to waste his time responding to this sort of tweet". The mayor was focused on supporting the city's communities and "over-stretched" emergency services, he added. Mr Khan later tweeted: "Violent crime has no place in our city, and there's no higher priority for me than Londoners' safety." Mr Corbyn tweeted in defence of Mr Khan, saying he was "rightly supporting the police to do their job while Katie Hopkins spreads hateful and divisive rhetoric". (Webmaster's comment: The homicide rate in England is 1.22 per 100,000. In the United States it is 5.35 per 100,000. That's 4.4 times higher than in England. The English need to buy more guns so they can catch up with the United States' homicidal maniacs.)
6-5-19 Alabama mayor suggested 'killing out' gay people
The mayor of an Alabama town reportedly called for "killing out" gay people in a since-deleted Facebook comment. Mark Chambers lumped "homosexuals" and "transvestites" together with "baby killers" and "socialists" in the post, according to TV station WBRC. The Carbon Hill mayor reportedly maintained his words had been taken out of context, before apologising. A gay rights group has demanded his resignation. The mayor could not immediately be reached for comment. According to WBRC, Mr Chambers posted on Facebook a graphic that read all in capital letters: "We live in a society where homosexuals lecture us on morals, transvestites lecture us on human biology, baby killers lecture us on human rights and socialists lecture us on economics!" The mayor reportedly commented on the post: "The only way to change it would be to kill the problem out. I know it's bad to say but with out [sic] killing them out there's no way to fix it." The comment prompted calls for the mayor to step down, including from the Alabama branch of the Human Rights Campaign. The group called Mr Chambers' comments "horrifying, unconscionable and unacceptable". "LGBTQ people face disproportionate levels of violence and harassment in their daily lives - a fact that is especially true in Alabama. Mayor Chambers must be held to account." Mr Chambers has given no signal that he will step down as mayor of Carbon Hill, a town of less than 2,000 people, 150 miles (240km) north of the state capital, Montgomery. When WBRC contacted Mr Chambers, he initially denied writing the comment, according to the Birmingham, Alabama-based news station. But in a subsequent call, he reportedly told WBRC he had made the comment public by mistake and intended to send it privately to a friend. During his phone call with the TV station, Mr Chambers also reportedly mentioned immigrants in the US, calling them "ungrateful" and arguing they were taking over the country. (Webmaster's comment: The naked face of HATRED in America.)
5-8-19 Colorado shooting: Teenager killed in high school attack
A teenager has been killed and seven others injured after two pupils allegedly opened fire in a US school. The attack at the STEM School Highlands Ranch, near Denver, Colorado, took place on Tuesday, police said. Both attackers have now been arrested. Highlands Ranch is just 8km (5 miles) from Columbine High School - the site of one of the US's worst school shootings 20 years ago. This is believed to be the 115th mass shooting in the US in 2019. The STEM - science, technology, engineering and math - school is a charter school in an affluent suburb. Just before 14:00 local time (20:00 GMT) the attackers "walked into the STEM school, got deep inside the school and engaged students in two separate locations", Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock said. During a news conference on Wednesday, Mr Spurlock said the two came in through an entrance at the STEM's secondary school that did not have a metal detector. One suspect is a female youth, while the other has been identified by police as 18-year-old Devon Erickson. Both were pupils at the school. Police had initially misidentified the youth as male, based on her appearance, according to the sheriff. Mr Spurlock said the school contacted the emergency services "almost immediately", and that officers arrived at the scene about two minutes later. The school was closed and placed on lockdown as police attended the scene. It was eventually lifted an hour later, at about 15:00 local time (21:00 GMT). Eighteen-year-old Kendrick Castillo - who was to graduate this month - was identified as the student killed in the attack. "We have no information about anyone being targeted," Mr Spurlock said, adding that it was too early to come to any conclusions. One parent, named in local media as Fernando Montoya, said his 17-year-old son was shot three times and wounded.
4-17-19 US ruling to expand indefinite detention for some asylum seekers
Asylum seekers who have proven a credible fear of for their safety will no longer be able to ask a judge for bond, the justice department says. US Attorney General William Barr's decision means more migrants can be indefinitely detained while they wait for their cases to be heard. The policy will be delayed for 90 days to allow officials to prepare for overcrowding in detention facilities. Activists denounced the decision and vowed to fight it in court. The US Justice Department oversees the country's immigration court system, which means Mr Barr has the authority to issue precedent-setting judgments on immigration enforcement. This judgment, which overturns a George W Bush-era policy from 2005, is Mr Barr's first ruling on immigration since taking office. The move is seen as an effort to end what President Donald Trump describes as a "catch-and-release" policy towards illegal immigrants. The decision overturns a policy that allowed migrants who illegally crossed into the US between official crossing points to apply for bond release after they proved to asylum officers they had a credible fear of persecution or torture if they returned to their country. But under the new ruling, those migrants must be now kept in detention as they await the outcome of their trial. Many immigration cases can take over several years to be processed, experts say, due to a historically high backlog in cases. According to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) - agency responsible for detaining and deporting immigrants in the country illegally - the average daily population of immigrants in detention was over 46,000 for the 2019 fiscal year. The figure is the highest level the agency has seen since its creation in 2003. (Webmaster's comment: They come to us for help and we lock them up forever! We are not a good or nice nation!)
4-5-19 Doctors in China are using 5G internet to do surgery from far away
The future of surgery could be remote. Doctors in China successfully directed a team hundreds of kilometres away to perform heart surgery using a 5G mobile internet connection. This follows on from a surgeon who recently used the same technology to remotely control a surgical robot during a procedure. The appeal of long-distance surgery is that the leading specialist can help with or even intervene in operations far away from where they live. But having a reliable and fast enough connection has been a stumbling block. On 3 April, cardiologist Huiming Guo directed surgery on a 41-year-old woman who had a hole in her heart due to a birth defect. Guo was in Guangdong General Hospital in Guangzhou, whilst the patient was in Gaozhou People’s Hospital about 400 kilometers away. Before the procedure, Guo’s team worked out a surgical plan based on a 3D model of the defected heart. The model was put together by an artificial intelligence using medical images such as CT and MRI scans and then 3D printed, according to a press conference held on Wednesday in Guangzhou. Guo and his colleagues gave instructions, such as where to make cuts and stitches, through video conference to the operating team whilst watching a live-stream from the operating room in 4K—ultra-high definition. The team also monitored the procedure via a live video from a camera probe inserted through the patient’s chest and heart ultrasound. The surgery lasted 4 hours. “Advanced internet technology can save our doctors a lot of time because they don’t have to travel as much. They can use that time to safe more lives,” said Zhiwei Zhang at Guangdong General Hospital in a press conference. A similar surgery to correct a patient’s deformed chest wall was performed at Yangshan Hospital in Guangdong with doctors 200 kilometers away in Second People’s Hospital in Guangdong giving instructions. (Webmaster's comment: They didn't copy this from the United States. They have now taken the lead in almost all technology. We should be copying them!)
3-21-19 Christchurch shootings: New Zealand to ban military style weapons
New Zealand will ban all types of semi-automatic weapons and assault rifles following the Christchurch attacks, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said. New Zealand's PM said she hoped the ban would be in place by 11 April. The announcement comes less than a week after 50 people were killed at two mosques, allegedly by a lone gunman. Ms Ardern said she expected new legislation to be in place by 11 April, saying: "Our history changed forever. Now, our laws will too." All of the dead have now been formally identified, police have confirmed. Australian Brenton Tarrant, a self-proclaimed white supremacist, has been charged with one murder and was expected to face further charges. However, police said on Thursday that the person he was formally accused of killing had been wrongly declared dead. They said they had apologised to the woman and her family, and that the charge sheet would be updated when the suspect appeared in court on 5 April. "Six days after this attack, we are announcing a ban on all military style semi-automatics (MSSA) and assault rifles in New Zealand," Ms Ardern said in a news conference. "Related parts used to convert these guns into MSSAs are also being banned, along with all high-capacity magazines." An amnesty has been imposed so the owners of affected weapons can hand them in, and a buy-back scheme will follow. Ms Ardern said the buy-back could cost up to NZ$200m ($138m; £104m), but "that is the price that we must pay to ensure the safety of our communities".The prime minister has called the Christchurch attacker a terrorist and said she will not utter his name. The gunman, armed with semi-automatic rifles including an AR-15, is believed to have modified his weapons with high-capacity magazines - the part of the gun which stores ammunition - so they could hold more bullets. As of Thursday, several weapons have been reclassified as military style semi-automatic firearms, making them harder to buy. "For many people, you will now be in unlawful possession of your firearm," Police Commissioner Mike Bush said.
3-21-19 US gun laws: Why it won't follow New Zealand's lead
Six days after the Christchurch mosque attack, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a ban on "military-style" semi-automatic rifles, prompting questions in the US. Following a series of mass shootings in the US in recent years, there has been little in the way of sweeping gun-control reforms. On the federal level, at least, the interest and attention in new legislation has led to almost no action in decades, despite numerous polls showing widespread public support for measures like strengthened background checks and banning certain types of high-capacity gun magazines and military-style assault rifles. The Trump administration has issued a regulatory ban on bump-stock modifications that allow semi-automatic weapons to fire like machine guns, and there have been some tweaks to the background check database for gun-store purchases. Last March, Donald Trump entertained the notion of more ambitious, "comprehensive" legislation, telling senators pro-gun lobbyists had little power over him. But no such talk from the president since. Part of the reason New Zealand is ability to move quickly, of course, is that it's a parliamentary democracy, ensuring that the government is controlled entirely by one party or a politically compatible coalition. That's not the only explanation for why the US has charted a different course, however. Here are five big obstacles that stand in the way of the kind of the US taking the kind of quick, major changes to firearm policy being advanced in New Zealand.
- The NRA: The National Rifle Association is one of the most influential interest groups in US politics - not just because of the money it spends on lobbying politicians, but also because of the engagement of its five million members.
- Gerrymandering: Despite these advances for the party, the House electoral playing field is still tilted toward Republicans, who tend to be for gun rights.
- The filibuster: ow that gun-control bills have hopes in the House of Representatives, the Senate - where the rural-urban divide plays itself out on the state level - becomes the biggest obstacle to legislative success
- The courts: Some of the laws have run up against another barrier, however - the US judicial system. In recent years the Supreme Court has twice ruled that the right to own personal weapons such as handguns is enshrined in the constitution.
- The enthusiasm gap: Perhaps the single biggest obstacle to new gun-control laws at the national level is that opponents tend to hold fiercely to their beliefs, while support for new regulation tends to ebb and flow around each new instance of violence.
3-20-19 Amnesty International says US air strikes 'killed Somali civilians'
Amnesty International says US air strikes have been killing civilians in Somalia, in a possible violation of international humanitarian law. The rights group said it had recorded 14 civilian deaths in five recent air strikes on territory held by jihadist al-Shabab militants. The US has stepped up its air war in Somalia, carrying out 110 strikes in the past two years. It says the strikes killed more than 800 people, none of them civilians. According to the US military, its drones and manned aircraft carried out 47 air strikes in Somalia in 2018. They have already conducted more than half that number of strikes in the first three months of 2019. The US military's Africa Command, or Africom, says it seeks to avoid civilian deaths, and insists the only casualties from its strikes have been "terrorists". However, this claim has been challenged in an Amnesty International report, entitled The Hidden US War in Somalia. The rights group said it had analysed five recent air strikes in the Lower Shabelle, a region outside Mogadishu that is largely under al-Shabab control. The report said 14 civilians had been killed and seven injured in the strikes. Its conclusion was based on 150 interviews with witnesses and relatives of the dead, as well as photographic evidence, satellite imagery and bomb fragments. The report highlighted a US military strike in the early hours of 12 November 2017, near the village of Darusalam. According to Amnesty, the strike killed three local farmers who were resting in the open after digging irrigation canals. The US military said at the time that the strike had killed al-Shabab militants. Brian Castner, Amnesty International's senior crisis adviser on arms and military operations, said the civilian deaths indicated that US secrecy over its role in Somalia's war had effectively provided "a smokescreen for impunity". (Webmaster's comment: Innocent men, women and children are being killed by the United States in a country we are not even at war with!)
3-7-19 Trump revokes Obama rule on reporting drone strike deaths
President Donald Trump has revoked a policy set by his predecessor requiring US intelligence officials to publish the number of civilians killed in drone strikes outside of war zones. The 2016 executive order was brought in by then-President Barack Obama, who was under pressure to be more transparent. Since the 9/11 terror attack, drone strikes have been increasingly used against terror and military targets. The Trump administration said the rule was "superfluous" and distracting. The order applied to the CIA, which has carried out drone strikes in countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Somalia. "This action eliminates superfluous reporting requirements, requirements that do not improve government transparency, but rather distract our intelligence professionals from their primary mission," an official said. It required the head of the CIA to release annual summaries of US drone strikes and assess how many died as a result. Mr Trump's executive order does not overturn reporting requirements on civilian deaths set for the military by Congress. There have been 2,243 drone strikes in the first two years of the Trump presidency, compared with 1,878 in Mr Obama's eight years in office, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, a UK-based think tank. Lawmakers and rights groups have criticised Mr Trump's decision, saying it could allow the CIA to conduct drone strikes without accountability. "The Trump administration's action is an unnecessary and dangerous step backwards on transparency and accountability for the use of lethal force, and the civilian casualties they cause," Rita Siemion of Human Rights First told AFP news agency. Representative Adam Schiff, a Democrat who chairs Congress's intelligence committee, called the requirement issued by Obama "an important measure of transparency," and said "there is simply no justification" for cancelling it.(Webmaster's comment: And now in order to terrorize "enemy" civilians the united States will be able to murder them wholesale without any accountability!)
It appears the billboard below was most likely correct!
2-26-19 'Thousands of US child migrants sexually abused'
The US health department has received more than 4,500 complaints of sexual abuse against detained migrant children from 2014-2018, documents show. The Department of Justice reportedly received an additional 1,303 sex abuse complaints against unaccompanied minors during the same period. Congressman Ted Deutch, who released the figures, said at least 154 claims are against facility staff members. A spokesman for the health department said it takes the claims seriously. "These documents demonstrate over the past three years there have been 154 staff-on-unaccompanied-minor - let me repeat that, staff-on-unaccompanied-minor - allegations of sexual assault," Congressman Deutch said during a House Judiciary Committee hearing. The hearing, which focused on the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" immigration policy that led to thousands of immigrant children being separated from their families, featured testimony from Jonathan White, the deputy director for children's program's at Health and Human Services' (HHS) Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). "This works out, on average, to one sexual assault by HHS staff on an unaccompanied minor, per week," Mr Deutch continued. Mr White clarified that those allegations are not against HHS staff, but rather against the contractors who are paid by HHS to run the underage migrant detention facilities. "I will make that clarification. It doesn't make what happened any less horrific," Mr Deutch responded. Caitlin Oakley, a spokeswoman for HHS, said the shelters are run by childcare service centres that are licensed by state officials. "These are vulnerable children in difficult circumstances," she said in a statement to Axios, which first reported the documents. "When any allegations of abuse, sexual abuse, or neglect are made, they are taken seriously and ORR acts swiftly to investigate and respond." The allegations include sexual relationships, showing pornographic videos to children and forcible touching, according to Axios. The figures were revealed as Democrats on the House Committee on Oversight and Reform voted to issue subpoenas to Trump administration officials involved in the now-suspended policy of separating parents from their children after they illegally cross the US-Mexico border.
2-21-19 US Coast Guard officer hoped to 'kill every person on the earth'
A US Coast Guard officer has been arrested on suspicion of planning a terror attack, court documents show. Police found a cache of weapons and ammunition at the Maryland home of Christopher Paul Hasson. The self-proclaimed white nationalist had drawn up a list of targets including prominent Democratic politicians, according to prosecutors. He is said to have drawn inspiration from the Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik. "The defendant intends to murder innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen in this country," US District Attorney Robert Hur said in the court documents, requesting that he be held in detention pending trial. Mr Hasson is charged with unlawful possession of a firearm and controlled substances, but prosecutors say these "current charges, however, are the proverbial tip of the iceberg". "The defendant is a domestic terrorist, bent on committing acts dangerous to human life that are intended to affect governmental conduct." The 49-year-old is a lieutenant at Coast Guard headquarters in Washington and lives in the Maryland suburb of Silver Spring. The Coast Guard confirmed that a member of the service had been arrested, and said he was no longer employed at the agency's headquarters. Fifteen guns and more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition were found in Mr Hasson's basement flat along with illegal drugs, the attorney's office said. When agents raided his home, they discovered a locked case with more than 30 vials of human growth hormone, a steroid that prosecutors say he took thinking that it would "increase his ability to conduct attacks". Officials say he also had ordered more than 4,200 pills of the narcotic Tramadol since 2016, as well as synthetic urine in order to pass random drug tests at work.
2-19-19 Alabama newspaper editor calls on KKK to lynch Democrats
The editor and publisher of a local paper in Alabama is under fire for penning an editorial calling for mass lynchings by the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). The opinion piece ran in his print-only newspaper, the Democrat-Reporter, last Thursday, Goodloe Sutton told another newspaper. He said Democrats were going to raise taxes and that the KKK should hang them and raid Washington DC. Alabama lawmakers have called for Sutton to resign. The editorial began garnering attention online after students from Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama, tweeted photographs of the article. Sutton could not be immediately reached for comment on the matter. He was once a celebrated journalist, commended for his ethics by other news outlets - including the New York Times and American Journalism Review. A short editorial piece published without a byline on 14 February was entitled: "Klan needs to ride again." "Time for the Ku Klux Klan to night ride again," the article said, referencing the KKK's terrorising raids through black communities. "Democrats in the Republican Party and Democrats are plotting to raise taxes in Alabama... This socialist-communist ideology sounds good to the ignorant, the uneducated, and the simple-minded people." "Seems like the Klan would be welcome to raid the gated communities up there." Sutton later confirmed to the Montgomery Advertiser that he had written the article. "If we could get the Klan to go up there and clean out DC we'd all been better off," he said. "We'll get the hemp ropes out, loop them over a tall limb and hang all of them." "It's not calling for the lynchings of Americans. These are socialist-communists we're talking about." Sutton also told the paper he did not believe the Klan was a violent organisation. "They didn't kill but a few people. The Klan wasn't violent until they needed to be." (Webmaster's comment: The EVIL is back, but has it really ever left us?)
1-21-19 US Supreme Court allows Trump military transgender ban
The United States Supreme Court has allowed President Donald Trump to enforce his policy of banning certain transgender people from the military. The court voted 5-4 to grant a Trump administration request to lift injunctions blocking the policy while challenges continue in lower courts. The four liberal judges on the court opposed the ruling. The policy prohibits "transgender persons who require or have undergone gender transition" from serving. The president announced on Twitter in 2017 that the country would no longer "accept or allow" transgender Americans to serve in the military, citing "tremendous medical costs and disruption". Former defence secretary Jim Mattis refined the policy to limit it to transgender individuals with a history of gender dysphoria, and it makes exceptions for several hundred transgender people already serving openly or willing to serve "in their biological sex". Several trial judges around the country had issued injunctions blocking it. The move is a reversal of an Obama administration policy that ruled transgender Americans could serve openly in the military as well as obtain funding for gender re-assignment surgery. Gender dysphoria is when a person's biological sex and identity does not match. There are currently some 8,980 active duty transgender troops, according to Department of Defense data analysed by the Palm Center, a public policy nonprofit.
1-15-19 First moon plants sprout in China’s Chang’e 4 biosphere experiment
A sprouting cotton seed on China’s Chang’e 4 lunar lander is the first plant ever to germinate on another world, heralding a new era for life in space. Seeds of cotton, oilseed rape, potato and arabidopsis were carried to the moon as part of a biosphere experiment, along with fruit fly eggs and some yeast. Pictures sent back by the probe show cotton, rape and potato seeds sprouting and growing well, the scientist leading the experiment, Liu Hanlong, told South China Morning Post. Chang’e 4 landed on the far side of the moon on 3 January and this image was dated 7 January. The organisms are kept in a sealed chamber, protected from the extreme temperatures and intense radiation on the moon’s surface. Understanding how to grow plants in space will help lay the foundation for establishing a human settlement on the moon, Liu said. The six organisms could make up a mini-ecosystem, with plants producing oxygen and food to sustain the fruit flies. Yeast could process the flies’ waste and dead plants to provide another food source. In a future human settlement, potatoes could provide food, rapeseed could be a source of oil and cotton could be used for clothing. Plants have been grown before in orbit in the International Space Station, including cucumbers. Astronauts got their first bites of space-grown romaine lettuce in 2015. Algae have even managed to survive 530 days on a panel on the outside of the space station. (Webmaster's comment: But the fact remains, China is taking the lead in space achievements.)
1-13-19 When kids think a shooter is coming
Lockdowns have become an ordinary feature of the American school day. Even when there's no violence, children suffer the psychic consequences. Locked behind their green classroom door, MaKenzie Woody and 25 other first-graders huddled in the darkness. She sat on the vinyl tile floor against a far wall, beneath a taped-up list of phrases the kids were encouraged to say to each other: “I like you,” “You’re a rainbow,” “Are you OK?” In that moment, though, the 6-year-old didn’t say anything at all, because she believed that a man with a gun was stalking the hallways of her school in the nation’s capital, and MaKenzie feared what he might do to her. Three times between September and November, bursts of gunfire near MaKenzie’s public charter elementary school led DC Prep to seal off its Washington campus and sequester its students. During the last one, on Nov. 16, a silver sedan parked just around the corner at 10:42 a.m., then the men inside stepped out and fired more than 40 rounds. As MaKenzie’s class hid upstairs, teachers frantically rushed three dozen preschoolers off the playground and back into the building. The children of DC Prep hid for 20 minutes, until police officers arrived at the crime scene around the corner and began to take note of where the 40-plus bullet casings had scattered. What did not arrive was the caravan of TV trucks and reporters that so often descend on schools when such scenes play out in whiter, wealthier neighborhoods. In the hours that followed, students began to unravel. Among the things they said: “Who’s going to shoot me?” “I want to shoot people.” “I want to shoot myself.” “The lockdowns,” as MaKenzie calls them, have changed her, because the little girl with long braids and chocolate-brown eyes remembers what it was like before them, when she always felt safe at her school, and she knows what it’s been like afterward, when that feeling disappeared. In April, the country will mark the 20th anniversary of the massacre at Columbine High, and that day will arrive in the aftermath of the worst year of school shootings in modern American history. Last spring, The Washington Post launched a database that tracked incidents of gun violence on campuses dating back to 1999, and the carnage in 2018 shattered every record. Most shootings at schools: 25. Most people shot: 94. Most people killed: 33. Most students exposed to gunfire on their campuses: 25,332.
1-4-19 Record Numbers of Americans Want to Leave the U.S.
While Donald Trump has spent much of his presidency focused on the number of people who want to get into the U.S., since he took office, record numbers of Americans have wanted to get out. Though relatively average by global standards, the 16% of Americans overall who said in 2017 and again in 2018 that they would like to permanently move to another country -- if they could -- is higher than the average levels during either the George W. Bush (11%) or Barack Obama administration (10%).
- 40% of women younger than 30 would like to leave the U.S.
- 22% who disapprove of Trump would like to move vs. 7% who approve
- Canada is top desired destination for would-be migrant Americans
(Webmaster's comment: Staying here in American more than doubles your odds for being beaten, raped or killed by the white male brutes. In Europe the statistics are 4 times better for your survival and a far happier life. You stay in America at a high risk of bodily harm!)
1-3-19 China’s Chang’e 4 makes historic first landing on the moon’s far side
For the first time, a spacecraft has landed on the side of the moon that is always facing away from Earth – an area that, until now, we had only seen from orbit. The China National Space Administration’s Chang’e 4 lander launched on 7 December and has spent the past month reaching the correct orbit to attempt the historic landing. The CNSA also launched a lunar satellite in May to facilitate communication with the lander, as there is never a direct line of sight between the moon’s far side and Earth. That lack of visibility meant that Chang’e 4 had to make its landing almost completely autonomously, with no input from mission control. At 10.26 am Beijing time on 3 January, the lander successfully touched down on the surface in an enormous depression called the South Pole-Aitken basin. This basin is particularly important because it is thought to be a crater from a huge impact during the moon’s early years. The impact may have punched through the crust and dug up rocks from deeper underground. If so, the spacecraft will be able to study these rocks to learn about the moon’s past as well as its present. The mission will also help prepare for the moon’s possible future. Researchers are keen to send radio telescopes to the far side of the moon, where radio wave pollution from Earth’s communications and power lines is blocked out. Chang’e 4 is also carrying a “biosphere” with potato seeds, cress and silkworm larvae to see if they can thrive in a sealed container on the moon. (Webmaster's comment: China is now the undisputed leader in space technology. United states now only leads in its number of military killing machines.)
1-2-19 US fires tear gas at migrants at Mexico border crossing
US agents have fired tear gas over the border into Mexico at migrants trying to enter the country illegally. Around 150 Central Americans tried to make the crossing near the town of Tijuana to the south of California on New Year's Day. One US official described the migrants as a "violent mob". It comes as the US federal government remains shut down as President Donald Trump and Congress argue over funding for his proposed border wall. The US said security forces used tear gas after migrants threw rocks, and that they were deliberately aiming upwind of rock-throwers who they say hindered agents from helping migrants who were passing children over razor wire. But the Associated Press reports rocks were only thrown after agents fired tear gas, and a Reuters witness says one migrant was struck by what seemed to be a tear gas canister. US Homeland Security spokeswoman Katie Waldman called the group a "violent mob", and said agents used "the minimum force necessary to defend themselves". In a statement, Ms Waldman called on Congress to "fully fund the border wall". US Customs and Border Protection said 25 people were detained, including two teenagers. The majority of migrants returned to Mexico. A spokesperson for Mexico's foreign ministry said the government "regrets the events" near Tijuana, and called on both sides to respect the law.
12-31-18 Parkland school shooting survivors' anger at Louis CK routine
Survivors of the Parkland school shooting in Florida have hit out at comedian Louis CK after he was heard poking fun at them in a stand-up set. The leaked audio apparently came from one of his comeback routines a year after he admitted sexual misconduct. In it, he ridiculed the Parkland pupils who have become anti-gun activists. Survivor Ryan Deitsch tweeted: "It's a shame when you sink so low that your comeback plan is to make fun of school shooting survivors for speaking out." Another survivor, Sofie Whitney, said he "must be really intimidated by us kids". Alex Wind said the audience members who could be heard laughing and clapping at Louis CK's jokes were "just as much at fault". And Delaney Tarr, who had to hide in a cupboard from the gunman, added her voice. Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jaime was killed in February's shooting, suggested the comic "come to our house and try out your new pathetic jokes". Jaime was one of 17 people who were killed when a 19-year-old expelled former student opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on 14 February. A group of students went on to set up the campaign group March For Our Lives to lobby for tighter gun control measures. In his routine, Louis CK could be heard making fun of the survivors, saying: "Why does that make you interesting? You didn't get shot. You pushed some fat kid in the way, and now I've got to listen to you talking?" A version of the comic's expletive-laden set was posted on YouTube on 30 December. Louis CK's career took a downturn after he admitted several instances of sexual misconduct in November 2017. He said he had "wielded power irresponsibly" and could hardly wrap his head around the "scope of hurt" he had caused. (Webmaster's comment: It all part of a white male brute's character. Rape them or shoot them or laugh about it!)
12-12-18 2018 'worst year for US school shootings'
This year, 113 people have been killed or injured in school shootings in the United States. That's the sobering finding of a project to count the annual toll of gun attacks in schools. At the beginning of 2018, Education Week, a journal covering education in the US, began to track school shootings - and has since recorded 23 incidents where there were deaths or injuries. With many parts of the US having about 180 school days per year, it means, on average, a shooting once every eight school days. Another database recording school shootings says 2018 has had the highest number of incidents ever recorded, in figures going back to 1970. That database, from the US Center for Homeland Defense and Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema), uses a different way of identifying gun incidents in school, and says this year there have been 94. The idea behind the year-long Education Week project was to mark each shooting - so that attacks should never come to seem "normal" and that every victim should be remembered. But it was also an attempt to fill in the gaps in knowledge, because while there was intense media coverage of multiple-casualty shootings, there was much less clarity about the attacks happening across the country each month. Lesli Maxwell, assistant managing editor of Education Week, said this year has "definitely been an outlier" with two large-scale school shootings, which have contributed to such a high annual loss of life. Seventeen people were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. At Santa Fe High School near Houston, Texas, there were 10 killed, with both gun attacks carried out by teenage boys. "This year also stands out because of all the activism that followed Parkland, with students leading the charge," says Ms Maxwell. These included a shooting at a primary school in Virginia last month, when a parent collecting their child was shot in the leg when a gun in the pocket of another parent was accidentally fired. Or in March in a high school in Maryland, when a 17-year-old teenager shot and injured two students and then, after he was confronted, killed himself. One of the injured, a 16-year-old girl, died a few days later. The shootings are a bleak list of teenagers, guns and innocent victims. The perpetrators are as young as 12 but are mostly 16 or 17. (Webmaster's comment: The slaughter of the innocent continues!)