920: Succulent

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

3h 12m
April 13th, 2017
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Executive Producers: Dame Kathy Simunich, Sir Slot Car, Arch Duke Sir Thomas Nussbaum, Jerry Zak

Associate Executive Producers: Ewan Robertson, Richard Bangs, Mark Lynds, Sir Crash EMT

Cover Artist: Joshatorium


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New Forward from Producer Shane: clintonbodycount.com
China offers concessions to avert trade war with US
Mon, 10 Apr 2017 15:38
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China Threatens To Bomb North Korea's Nuclear Facilities If It Crosses Beijing's "Bottom Line" | Zero Hedge
Tue, 11 Apr 2017 16:54
With everyone putting down new and/or revised "red lines", be it on Syria or North Korea, it was now China's turn to reveal its red or rather "bottom line", and in a harshly worded editorial titled "The United States Must Not Choose a Wrong Direction to Break the DPRK Nuclear Deadlock on Wednesday" Beijing warned it would attack North Korea's facilities producing nuclear bombs, effectively engaging in an act of war, if North Korea crosses China's "bottom line."
The editorial in the military-focused Global Times tabloid, owned and operated by the Communist Party's People's Daily newspaper, said that North Korea's nuclear activities must not jeopardize northeastern China, and that if the North impacts China with its illicit nuclear tests through either "nuclear leakage or pollution", then China will respond with force.
''China has a bottom line that it will protect at all costs, that is, the security and stability of northeast China... If the bottom line is touched, China will employ all means available including the military means to strike back. By that time, it is not an issue of discussion whether China acquiesces in the US' blows, but the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) will launch attacks to DPRK nuclear facilities on its own."
This, as the editorial puts it, is the "bottom line" for China; should it be crossed China will employ all means available including the military means to strike back," warned the editorial.
It is worth noting is that shortly after publication, the article seems to have been retracted without explanation, the URL now returning a "404" error. However not before the original article was cached on a webpage owned by China Military, courtesy of google.
In the editorial, the author also declared that the "People's Liberation Army (PLA) will launch attacks to DPRK nuclear facilities on its own. A strike to nuclear facilities of the DPRK is the best military means in the opinion of the outside world." The northeastern Chinese provinces of Liaoning and Jilin share borders with North Korea. These two provinces and Heilongjiang are part of the Shenyang Military Region, one of seven military regions of the People's Liberation Army.
The editorial also explained the advantages to the world of a Chinese attack on North Korea's nuclear facilities.
It noted China and the world know the locations of North Korea's nuclear facilities. Once the PLA attacks these nuclear sites, North Korea will permanently suspend its nuclear weapons programs.
North Korea "has limited resources of nuclear materials and is strictly blockaded in the outside world, erasing the possibility for DPRK to get the materials again."
China also noted that "nuclear weapons is DPRK's trump card for its defiance of China and the United States. Once this card is lost, it will become obedient immediately."
The author then speculated rhetorically that if North Korea's "nuclear facilities are destroyed, they will not even fight back, but probably block the news to fool its domestic people. The DPRK will freak out if its nuclear facilities are destroyed." And yes, a Chinese author said "freak out."
The report also said that "the DPRK must not fall into the turmoil to send a large number of refugees, it is not allowed to have a government that is hostile against China on the other side of the Yalu River, and the US military must not push forward its forces to the Yalu River.'' It notes that "this sentence is meant for the United States, because the premise of it is that the US military has launched attacks to the DPRK."
But what may be the most notable part of the oped is the mention in the Global Times editorial that North Korea will not be "not allowed to have a government that is hostile against China on the other side of the Yalu River." This implies that if and when the US initiate strikes on NK, the Chinese PLA will likely send out troops "to lay the foundation" for a favorable post-war situation.
In other words, China may be just waiting for Trump to "decapitate" the North Korean regime, to pounce and immediately fill the power vacuum.
Brexit: foreign states may have interfered in vote, report says | Politics | The Guardian
Wed, 12 Apr 2017 11:25
A man with vote leave EU badges. Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
Foreign governments such as Russia and China may have been involved in the collapse of a voter registration website in the run-up to the EU referendum, a committee of MPs has claimed.
A report by the Commons public administration and constitutional affairs committee (PACAC) said MPs were deeply concerned about the allegations of foreign interference in last year's Brexit vote.
The committee does not identify who may have been responsible, but has noted that both Russia and China use an approach to cyber-attacks based on an understanding of mass psychology and of how to exploit individuals.
The findings follow repeated claims that Russia has been involved in trying to influence the US and French presidential elections.
Ministers were forced to extend the deadline to register to vote in the EU referendum after the collapse of the government's website on 7 June, 100 minutes before the deadline.
Screengrab taken from the government website to register to vote in the EU referendum which crashed less than hour before the deadline. Photograph: PAThe collapse resulted in concerns that tens of thousands of people could have been disenfranchised.
At the time, the government said it was the result of an unprecedented spike in demand, with more than 500,000 people trying to register on the final day.
The report, published on Wednesday, said there were clues that a distributed denial of service attack (DDOS) using botnets '' a network of computers infected with malicious software '' was used to overwhelm the site.
''The crash had indications of being a DDOS 'attack'. We understand that this is very common and easy to do with botnets... The key indicants are timing and relative volume rate,'' the committee's report said.
While the incident had no material effect on the outcome of the referendum, the committee said it was crucial that lessons were learned for future votes that must extend beyond purely technical issues.
The report noted: ''The US and UK understanding of 'cyber' is predominantly technical and computer network-based.
''For example, Russia and China use a cognitive approach based on understanding of mass psychology and of how to exploit individuals.
''The implications of this different understanding of cyber-attack, as purely technical or as reaching beyond the digital to influence public opinion, for the interference in elections and referendums are clear.
''PACAC is deeply concerned about these allegations about foreign interference,'' the report concluded.
Britain is being hit by dozens of cyber-attacks a month, including attempts by Russian state-sponsored hackers to steal defence and foreign policy secrets, GCHQ's new security chief, Ciaran Martin, said in February.
The chancellor, Philip Hammond, said the National Cyber Security Centre, which Martin heads, had blocked 34,550 ''potential attacks'' on government departments and members of the public in the six months to February '' about 200 cases a day.
The committee, which is chaired by the senior backbencher Bernard Jenkin, was also highly critical of the way David Cameron held the referendum to ''call the bluff'' of his critics and then resigned when he lost.
It said that in future referendums, the prime minister of the day should be prepared to carry on in office and to implement the result, whatever the outcome.
''There was no proper planning for a leave vote so the EU referendum opened up much new controversy and left the prime minister's credibility destroyed,'' it said.
''It should be reasonable to presume that the sitting prime minister and his/her administration will continue in office and take responsibility for the referendum result in either eventuality.''
According to the report, there were many occasions in the run up to the vote when it appeared officials were being drawn into ''referendum controversy'', damaging the civil service's reputation for impartiality.
Livejournal's Russian owners announce new anti-LGBT policy, fandom stages mass exodus / Boing Boing
Mon, 10 Apr 2017 15:49
Mitch Wagner writes, "LiveJournal is a venerable online community that predates Facebook and even blogging. It got acquired by a Russian company a few years ago, but some of its American and British users hung on, including sf and fantasy writers and fans. Lately, I know one of my friends was scrambling to leave, but I'd been too busy to look into why."
"Now I know: LiveJournal changed its terms of service to require obeying Russian law, which requires "protecting" minors from discussing "sexual deviancy" -- LGBTQ issues. This is evil. I agree with many political pundits that it's better to coexist with Russia than to go war, even seek common ground where possible. And I agree that much of the current hostility to Russia in Washington, D.C., is cynical politicking by people who are using Russia panic to gain advantage. But this is evil. "
I probably stuck with LJ for too long, because back in the day I paid for a perpetual premium account'--unlimited access and no ads: the urge to get one's money's worth out of something you've paid for is hard to resist. But the rot has finally gone too far. This Tuesday Livejournal pushed out a revision to their terms of service that emphasize the service runs under Russian law, and specifically requires compliance with Russian law on minors'--which makes any discussion of "sexual deviancy" (aka LGBT issues) illegal or at least a violation of the ToS.
So I'm currently migrating my entire Livejournal presence to Dreamwidth, a service set up by some of LJ's original founders that focuses on providing a Livejournal-like set of services for creative types (and, significantly, is not subject to Russian law because it's not based in Russia).
Random excuses [Charlie Stross/Antipope]
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Putin Meets With Tillerson in Russia After Keeping Him Waiting - The New York Times
Wed, 12 Apr 2017 16:21
''This reminds me very much of the events of 2003, when U.S. representatives in the Security Council showed alleged chemical weapons discovered in Iraq,'' Mr. Putin said, referring to an intelligence failure that Mr. Trump has also cited in recent months. ''The exact same thing is happening now,'' he charged.
He quoted two Russian writers, Ilya Ilf and Yevgeni Petrov, authors of the 1928 satire ''The 12 Chairs,'' and said, '' 'It's boring, ladies.' We have seen this all before.''
But the diplomatic theater playing out in Moscow on a rainy Wednesday morning was far from boring: Mr. Putin, operating on home turf, was looking for any way to shape the narrative of Mr. Tillerson's first trip here as secretary of state.
The outcome could well decide whether Mr. Trump's oft-stated desire to remake American relations with Moscow will now disintegrate, just as similar efforts by Barack Obama did early in his presidency.
Russia said earlier this week that Mr. Putin would not meet with Mr. Tillerson, but on Wednesday the Russian leader's spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, held out the possibility of a meeting later in the day. Russian leaders have greeted virtually all new secretaries of state since the end of World War II, but Mr. Peskov said any meeting would depend on how Mr. Tillerson's other talks went.
The drama appeared to be an effort by Mr. Putin to show that he was in control.
Critics of the Trump administration insist that the series of events around the attack in Syria had been meant to distract from the investigation into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Mr. Tillerson, who was recognized with an Order of Friendship medal by the Russian government while he was the chief executive of Exxon Mobil, has insisted on a tough line on Russia, ruling out any early end to sanctions unless the country returns Crimea to Ukraine and ceases meddling elsewhere.
On Syria, Mr. Tillerson delivered what sounded much like an ultimatum to the Russians on Tuesday while talking to reporters at a Group of 7 meeting in Italy.
''I think it is clear to all of us that the reign of the Assad family is coming to an end,'' Mr. Tillerson said, echoing a theme first heard from Mr. Obama in 2011, when the Arab Spring led many to believe the Syrian leader was about to be overthrown.
Mr. Tillerson essentially demanded that Russia make a choice, severing ties with Mr. Assad and working with the United States on a variety of initiatives in the Middle East.
But Mr. Putin and his acolytes in the Russian government see the situation very differently. They regard their military intervention in Syria, which the Obama administration did not see coming, as a tactical success.
They shored up Mr. Assad and made him dependent on Russia's presence. That, in turn, assured Russia's continued access to its naval station in Syria, a move that was critical to the country's efforts to project power in the Middle East.
As Mr. Tillerson entered the foreign ministry here to meet his Russian counterpart, Sergey V. Lavrov, an experienced and wily veteran of many of Russia's post-Cold War encounters with Washington, the Russian government released another salvo against American intentions here.
DocumentThe White House released a declassified four-page report that details United States intelligence on the chemical weapons attack, asserting that the Syrian and Russian governments have sought to confuse the world community about the assault through disinformation and ''false narratives.''
OPEN Document
The Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria V. Zakharova, said it was ''useless'' for Mr. Tillerson to arrive in Moscow with ''ultimatums'' and suggested that if he wanted any progress, he should start by getting Mr. Trump and his administration on the same page about Syria strategy.
''It is not clear what they will do in Syria and not only there,'' she said on Dozhd, Russia's independent television network. ''Nobody understands what they will do in the Middle East because it is a very complicated region, forgive me for saying such a banal thing. Nobody understands what they will do with Iran, what they will do with Afghanistan.''
Then, to suggest this was a symptom of broader disorganization, she added, ''Nobody understands what they will do with North Korea.''
Mr. Tillerson had hoped, several weeks ago, to make the battle against the Islamic State a focus of this trip, working with Russia to seal off the last escape routes from Raqqa, in hopes of killing the remainder of the Islamic State force there.
Instead, the chemical attack in Syria '-- and the investigations into how and how significantly Mr. Putin interfered in the United States presidential election '-- have overshadowed what Mr. Tillerson has insisted remains the No. 1 priority: defeating the Islamic State.
There was some suggestion by the Russians that Mr. Lavrov and Mr. Tillerson would talk about no-fly zones, one way of keeping Mr. Assad's air force grounded. But it is unclear how that would work, and the prospect of confrontation between American and Russian forces would be significant as the no-fly zone was enforced.
Meanwhile, Mr. Putin went on Mir TV to suggest two theories about how the sarin gas attack might not have been the responsibility of Mr. Assad. He said that there was evidence, which he did not specify, that the shells hit a bunker of chemical weapons, a view that other Russian officials have expressed previously. The United States rejected this conclusion when it declassified intelligence assessments on Tuesday.
The second theory Mr. Putin offered was that ''this was all staged, in other words this was a provocation.'' ''This was deliberately done to create noise and pretext, for additional pressure on the legitimate Syrian government,'' he said. ''That's all. This needs to be checked. Without a check we don't think it is possible to make any steps against the official Syrian government.''
Mr. Tillerson has all but called that theory fake news.
Continue reading the main story
United States intelligence on Syria Sarin gas
Wed, 12 Apr 2017 11:24
CDC - The Emergency Response Safety and Health Database: Nerve Agent: SARIN (GB) - NIOSH
Thu, 13 Apr 2017 01:23
ANTIDOTE: Atropine and pralidoxime chloride (2-PAM Cl) are antidotes for nerve agent toxicity; however, 2-PAM Cl must be administered within minutes to a few hours (depending on the agent) following exposure to be effective. There is also generally no benefit in giving more than three injections of 2-PAM Cl. Atropine should be administered every 5 to 10 minutes until secretions begin to dry up. If the military Mark I kits containing autoinjectors are available, they provide the best way to administer the antidotes to healthy adults. One autoinjector automatically delivers 2 mg atropine and the other automatically delivers 600 mg 2-PAM Cl. If the Mark I kit is unavailable, or the patient/victim is not an otherwise healthy adult, administer antidotes as described below:Infant (0 '' 2 yrs), for mild to moderate physical findings, including localized sweating, muscular twitching (fasciculations), nausea, vomiting, weakness, and shortness of breath (dyspnea); administer Atropine at 0.05 mg/kg IM; 2-PAM Cl at 15 mg/kg IM.
Infant (0 '' 2 yrs), for severe physical findings, including unconsciousness, convulsions, cessation of breathing (apnea), and floppy (flaccid) paralysis; administer Atropine at 0.1 mg/kg IM; 2-PAM Cl at 25 mg/kg IM.
Child (2 '' 10 yrs), for mild to moderate physical findings, including localized sweating, muscular twitching (fasciculations), nausea, vomiting, weakness, and shortness of breath (dyspnea); administer Atropine at 1 mg/kg IM; 2-PAM Cl at 15 mg/kg IM.
Child (2 '' 10 yrs), for severe physical findings, including unconsciousness, convulsions, cessation of breathing (apnea), and floppy (flaccid) paralysis; administer Atropine at 2 mg/kg IM; 2-PAM Cl at 25 mg/kg IM.
Adolescent (> 10 yrs), for mild to moderate physical findings, including localized sweating, muscular twitching (fasciculations), nausea, vomiting, weakness, and shortness of breath (dyspnea); administer Atropine at 2 mg/kg IM; 2-PAM Cl at 15 mg/kg IM.
Adolescent (> 10 yrs), for severe physical findings, including unconsciousness, convulsions, cessation of breathing (apnea), and floppy (flaccid) paralysis; administer Atropine at 4 mg IM; 2-PAM Cl at 25 mg/kg IM.
Adult, for mild to moderate physical findings, including localized sweating, muscular twitching (fasciculations), nausea, vomiting, weakness, and shortness of breath (dyspnea); administer Atropine at 2 to 4 mg IM; 2-PAM Cl at 600 mg IM.
Adult, for severe physical findings, including unconsciousness, convulsions, cessation of breathing (apnea), and floppy (flaccid) paralysis; administer Atropine at 6 mg IM; 2-PAM Cl at 1800 mg IM.
Elderly, frail for mild to moderate physical findings, including localized sweating, muscular twitching (fasciculations), nausea, vomiting, weakness, and shortness of breath (dyspnea); administer Atropine at 1 mg IM; 2-PAM Cl at 10 mg/kg IM.
Elderly, frail for severe physical findings, including unconsciousness, convulsions, cessation of breathing (apnea), and floppy (flaccid) paralysis; administer Atropine at 2 to 4 mg IM; 2-PAM Cl at 25 mg/kg IM.
Assisted ventilation should be started after administration of antidotes for severe exposures.
Repeat atropine (2 mg IM for adults or 0.05 to 0.1 mg/kg for children) at 5 to 10 minute intervals until secretions have diminished and breathing is comfortable or airway resistance has returned to near normal.
Syrian govt has no chemical weapons, 'absolutely no need to use it' '' Russian MoD '-- RT News
Tue, 11 Apr 2017 22:24
Published time: 11 Apr, 2017 21:45
The Syrian Army has no chemical weapons and has ''no need'' to use any such arms, as it has already been conducting a successful offensive on militant positions, a Russian General Staff official has said.
Militants ''are suffering one defeat after another and are leaving the territories they once controlled. Under such circumstances, the government of Bashar Assad has no need to use chemical weapons. Moreover, the Syrian Army does not have any [chemical agents],'' Colonel General Sergey Rudskoy, the chief of the Russian General Staff's operations department, told journalists during a news briefing.
Read more
The top military official went on to say that Russia demands a ''thorough investigation'' of the April 4 incident in the town of Khan Sheikhoun located in Syria's Idlib province. He underlined that US and western claims accusing the Syrian government of being behind the alleged chemical assault are ''highly questionable.''
Rudskoy also noted that the ''authenticity'' of information concerning this attack circulating in the media raises ''serious doubts'' not only among the Russian military but also ''among many respected experts and organizations.''
The general added that Russia is ready to provide experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) with access to the Syrian Army air base from which the attack was allegedly launched.
''The experts are aware that it is impossible to conceal the traces of the chemical weapons,'' he said. The official said the Syrian government is also ready to grant access to the base for the OPCW experts.
The Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said recently that that the country's military had targeted an arms depot in Idlib where chemical weapons could have been stored by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) and Al-Nusra Front militants.
Rudskoy also drew attention to the fact that the Syrian government has fully complied with its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and has destroyed all chemical weapons production and storage facilities on the territory it still controlled in 2013 when this process began.
''Out of 12 facilities used for storing and producing chemical weapons, ten were destroyed as confirmed by the OPCW experts. The Syrian government has no access to the remaining two facilities as they are located on a territory controlled by the so-called opposition,'' Rudskoy said at the briefing, adding that it remains unclear if the chemical weapons stored at these two facilities had been destroyed.
Read more
He said Syria consecutively destroyed all its chemical weapons and related facilities under OPCW control between 2013 and 2016. All chemical weapons stockpiles were shipped from Syria by a US vessel and subsequently destroyed in the US, the UK, Finland and Germany.
Syria also destroyed all missiles and air bombs capable of carrying such weapons. The international experts also conducted additional checks at Syrian government facilities that were not related to the production or storage of chemical weapons.
''No facts confirming production or possession of chemical agents [by the Syrian government] were found,'' Rudskoy told journalists. He added ''that Syria has no chemical weapons'' and this fact was ''documented and confirmed by the OPCW representatives.''
Earlier on Tuesday, the Russian President Vladimir Putin called the attack on Khan Sheikhoun a ''false flag'' operation aimed at discrediting the Assad government and warned of a threat of similar incidents in the future, possibly targeting a Damascus suburb.
US accuses Russia of cover-up in Syria chemical attack - BBC News
Tue, 11 Apr 2017 21:34
Image copyright Getty Images Russia has tried to deflect blame for a deadly chemical attack away from the Syrian government, the US has said.
White House officials told reporters that intelligence reports confirmed that Syria was responsible for the attack, which killed 89 people.
Syria has denied it and Moscow has instead blamed rebel forces.
The US fired 59 cruise missiles at a Syrian airbase in retaliation, but the global community is divided over how to respond.
On Tuesday, senior White House officials discussed a four-page declassified report that says Syria and Russia have used "false narratives" to try to confuse the international community.
"Russia's allegations fit with a pattern of deflecting blame from the (Syrian) regime and attempting to undermine the credibility of its opponents," said an official.
The government of President Bashar al-Assad carried out the assault on 4 April in Idlib province to hit rebels in the area, the report said.
A chemical agent was flown by aircraft that departed from the Shayrat airfield, the document said.
"I think it's clear that the Russians are trying to cover up what happened there," one of the officials said.
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption US Defense Secretary James Mattis said there was "no doubt" Syria was responsible But they refused to comment on whether Russia colluded with Syria on the attack or knew about it in advance, a point echoed later by the US secretary of defence.
James Mattis added: "There is no doubt the Syrian regime is responsible for the decision to attack and for the attack itself."
His comments came just after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrived in Russia to challenge the Kremlin over its support for Mr Assad.
A two-day summit of G7 ministers in Italy ended in division over Syria, as the UK proposed - without success - sanctions against Syrian and Russian military figures over the chemical attack.
Russia Has Intel on Upcoming Chemical Weapons Provocations in Syrian Regions
Wed, 12 Apr 2017 16:29
"We have information from various sources that such provocations '-- and I cannot call them anything else '-- are being prepared in other regions of Syria, including in the southern suburbs of Damascus, where they intend to plant some substance and blame the official Syrian authorities for its use," Putin told a briefing.
Russian President Putin announced that Russia will officially turn to the UN in the Hague for an investigation of the chemical weapons' use in Idlib.
"All incidents reminiscent of the 'chemical attacks' that took place in Idlib must be thoroughly investigated," Putin said.
Putin pointed out that the latest US missile strikes in Syria bring to mind the United States' UN Security Council address in 2003 that led to the invasion of Iraq.
"We discussed the situation with President [ of Italy Sergio Mattarella] and I told him that these events strongly resemble the events of 2003," Putin said at a briefing, outlining the prelude to the US intervention in Iraq.
On Thursday night, the United States launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the military airfield in Ash Sha'irat. US President Donald Trump said that the attack was a response to the alleged chemical weapon use in Syria's Idlib province on Tuesday, which resulted in the death of over 80 people.
Following Putin's presser, Russian General Staff released a statement announcing that it has information of militants bringing poisonous substances to areas of Khan Shaykhun, West of Aleppo and Eastern Guta in Syria.
Chief of the Russian General Staff Main Operational Directorate Col. Gen. Sergei Rudskoy said that the militants are trying to provoke new accusations targeted at Syrian government for alleged use of chemical weapons. The militants aim to incite the US to conduct new strikes, Rudskoy warned, adding that such measures are impermissible.
Brexit Cyber Attack: Report Points to Foreign Interference | Time.com
Wed, 12 Apr 2017 15:24
A report by a committee of British members of parliament asserts that foreign states such as Russia and China may have interfered in the country's Brexit vote last summer, which resulted in Britain's decision to leave the European Union.
The Commons public administration and constitutional affairs committee (PACAC) report hones in on the collapse of the British government's voter registration website, which crashed on June 7, 100 minutes before the deadline to register to vote in the country's referendum on E.U. membership, the Guardian reports.
Although the site's downing did not materially impact the outcome of the referendum, it forced ministers to extend the deadline for voter registration and led to concerns that tens of thousands of people may have been left out of the process.
The PACAC's findings indicate that the crash '-- which had earlier been attributed to a late surge in voter registrations '-- was caused by a distributed denial of service attack (DDOS). Although lawmakers did not directly accuse any nation of hacking the government site, the report referenced Russian and Chinese approaches to cyber-attacks.
More: 42 Questions About Brexit That Need Answering
''The U.S. and U.K. understanding of 'cyber' is predominantly technical and computer network-based," the report said. ''For example, Russia and China use a cognitive approach based on understanding of mass psychology and of how to exploit individuals."
Shut Up Slave!
Germany labels Twitch a 'radio service', tells streamers they now require a broadcasting license - Esports News UK
Mon, 10 Apr 2017 17:39
German authorities have officially recognised Twitch as a 'radio service offering' and streamers will now require licenses.
Popular German YouTube and Twitch channel PietSmiet (pictured) has been told it will need a license to continue to stream.
German broadcast authority the Landesmedienanstalt has temporarily ruled that live-streaming requires a broadcasting license, which costs between '‚¬1,000 and '‚¬10,000'‚¬ depending on the number of viewers, according to this Reddit post.
Those without a license will technically be classed as a pirate station and could be shut down.
Germany is not alone in enforcing this kind of legislation. China also requires certain streamers to hold a license in order to broadcast content.
It's not yet clear whether German streamers will have to follow the exact same regulations that TV broadcasters do, but if so, they will have to follow at 10pm watershed.
However, the Landesmedienanstalt did say that the guidelines are outdated, so the ruling may change in the near future.
The ruling has mainly been made to prevent TV and radio stations from billing themselves as streaming companies in order to avoid paying a broadcasting license.
The Commission for Admission and Supervision (ZAK) of media organisations told streaming channel PietSmietTV it must obtain a license by April 30th.
Siegfried Schneider, chairman of ZAK, said [translated]: "The [online streaming] network is full of radio-like offerings. For this reason, the legislation should be amended as soon as possible."
Will this affect UK streamers?Not at the moment, but it's worth bearing in mind.
The UK Gambling Commission recently came down hard on skin/video game betting websites and had an in-depth look into whether some esports tournaments are technically gambling or not.
It's probably only a matter of time before streamers and YouTubers come under heavier scrutiny on our shores.
British esports journalist and host Richard Lewis took a closer look at what's happening with German streamers in this video:
Streaming vs. Broadcasting: Is There a Difference? | John C. Dvorak | PCMag.com
Wed, 12 Apr 2017 15:54
German regulators want to treat streaming providers like traditional broadcasters; they see them as little more than tiny TV stations operating without a license. I know what they're up to.
A couple of weeks ago, the authority that oversees broadcast licensing in Germany concluded that internet streaming services should be subject to the same licensing imposed on broadcast radio and television.
The focus is on Twitch.tv which exemplifies this new paradigm; according to a press release, the Germans see streaming platforms as little more than tiny TV stations operating without a license.
This will be a test case for the entire world as governments and tax authorities realize they are missing out on license fees and the ability to regulate to these services. In the end, it's a money grab and a potential censorship mechanism. What engrained power structure could resist?
In the early 1900s there was a radio craze not unlike the personal computer revolution of the 70s and 80s. Hobbyist magazines quickly evolved into a commercial enterprise. When broadcasters utilizing the few available frequencies began interfering with each other, though, things got a little messy. By 1927, the Radio Act started licensing frequencies and mildly regulating radio broadcasters. In the 1930s, this evolved into the Federal Communications Commission.
The idea was to prevent interference between channels, but it also imposed control over content and imposed fees, of course. It's the way any limited resource evolves: It goes from the Wild West to mild control to a full-blown money-making enterprise. Money for the government, that is.
Parking is a perfect example of this. When meters first emerged, they charged a penny for the maintenance of the timers (still in use in part of Illinois). But someone got the bright idea of using parking meters as profit centers; in places where parking is in short supply, like San Francisco, meters now take credit cards and mobile payments, and it costs much more than a penny.
The same thing happened to broadcasting; what was once free can now cost thousands of dollars for an application fee alone. Streaming is just another way to broadcast, and there is money to be made.
The FCC has long been trying to sink its claws into cable TV, which is not subject to the same rules and regulations as broadcast TV. One rationale used to explain the differences between TV and cable is that one is open and free to public viewing and the other is not. There is a cable or sat-TV gatekeeper and a fee to access this content. It's like a private club.
But does the same distinction exist for internet broadcasting? At this point, the thinking is the internet is closer to being wide open, at least more so than cable TV. There are some blurred lines, yes, because you also have a gatekeeper and fees. But with a lot of free Wi-Fi and access at many places of business, it is closer to being like broadcasting in its ubiquity.
Furthermore, cable gatekeepers also control the content. You pay so much and you get certain channels as part of a package. With the internet, you just pay an access fee and you can access the whole net, where there are free streaming radio and TV programs that look a lot like a broadcast.
One could argue that these streaming shows and entire networks of shows are just using the internet to bypass broadcasting regulations and licensing requirements. This is all further compounded by the fact that the net neutrality folks are almost begging the FCC to take control of the internet.
It's apparent to me that the German trial balloon will get support, especially from licensed broadcasters that have to jump through hoops and pay plenty of fees already. Then it will not take long to spread. The joke to me is that licensing began as a way to prevent interference within a limited bandwidth. Control was necessary. On the web, there is an infinite playing field and no broadcast-level interference issue beyond network congestion.
But let's be quiet about that and start working on the fee schedule and the collection mechanism for the eventual money grab.
Back to topPrevious :3 Millennial Tech Myths BustedJohn Dvorak is a columnist for PCMag.com and the host of the weekly TV video podcast CrankyGeeks. His work is licensed around the world. Previously a columnist for Forbes, Forbes Digital, PC World, Barrons, MacUser, PC/Computing, Smart Business and other magazines and newspapers. Former editor and consulting editor for Infoworld. Has appeared in the New York Times, LA Times, Philadelphia Enquirer, SF Examiner, Vancouver Sun. Was on the start-up team for CNet TV as well as ZDTV. At ZDTV (and TechTV) was host of Silicon... More >>
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Streaming vs. Broadcasting: Is There a Difference? | John C. Dvorak | PCMag.com
Wed, 12 Apr 2017 15:54
German regulators want to treat streaming providers like traditional broadcasters; they see them as little more than tiny TV stations operating without a license. I know what they're up to.
A couple of weeks ago, the authority that oversees broadcast licensing in Germany concluded that internet streaming services should be subject to the same licensing imposed on broadcast radio and television.
The focus is on Twitch.tv which exemplifies this new paradigm; according to a press release, the Germans see streaming platforms as little more than tiny TV stations operating without a license.
This will be a test case for the entire world as governments and tax authorities realize they are missing out on license fees and the ability to regulate to these services. In the end, it's a money grab and a potential censorship mechanism. What engrained power structure could resist?
In the early 1900s there was a radio craze not unlike the personal computer revolution of the 70s and 80s. Hobbyist magazines quickly evolved into a commercial enterprise. When broadcasters utilizing the few available frequencies began interfering with each other, though, things got a little messy. By 1927, the Radio Act started licensing frequencies and mildly regulating radio broadcasters. In the 1930s, this evolved into the Federal Communications Commission.
The idea was to prevent interference between channels, but it also imposed control over content and imposed fees, of course. It's the way any limited resource evolves: It goes from the Wild West to mild control to a full-blown money-making enterprise. Money for the government, that is.
Parking is a perfect example of this. When meters first emerged, they charged a penny for the maintenance of the timers (still in use in part of Illinois). But someone got the bright idea of using parking meters as profit centers; in places where parking is in short supply, like San Francisco, meters now take credit cards and mobile payments, and it costs much more than a penny.
The same thing happened to broadcasting; what was once free can now cost thousands of dollars for an application fee alone. Streaming is just another way to broadcast, and there is money to be made.
The FCC has long been trying to sink its claws into cable TV, which is not subject to the same rules and regulations as broadcast TV. One rationale used to explain the differences between TV and cable is that one is open and free to public viewing and the other is not. There is a cable or sat-TV gatekeeper and a fee to access this content. It's like a private club.
But does the same distinction exist for internet broadcasting? At this point, the thinking is the internet is closer to being wide open, at least more so than cable TV. There are some blurred lines, yes, because you also have a gatekeeper and fees. But with a lot of free Wi-Fi and access at many places of business, it is closer to being like broadcasting in its ubiquity.
Furthermore, cable gatekeepers also control the content. You pay so much and you get certain channels as part of a package. With the internet, you just pay an access fee and you can access the whole net, where there are free streaming radio and TV programs that look a lot like a broadcast.
One could argue that these streaming shows and entire networks of shows are just using the internet to bypass broadcasting regulations and licensing requirements. This is all further compounded by the fact that the net neutrality folks are almost begging the FCC to take control of the internet.
It's apparent to me that the German trial balloon will get support, especially from licensed broadcasters that have to jump through hoops and pay plenty of fees already. Then it will not take long to spread. The joke to me is that licensing began as a way to prevent interference within a limited bandwidth. Control was necessary. On the web, there is an infinite playing field and no broadcast-level interference issue beyond network congestion.
But let's be quiet about that and start working on the fee schedule and the collection mechanism for the eventual money grab.
Back to topPrevious :3 Millennial Tech Myths BustedJohn Dvorak is a columnist for PCMag.com and the host of the weekly TV video podcast CrankyGeeks. His work is licensed around the world. Previously a columnist for Forbes, Forbes Digital, PC World, Barrons, MacUser, PC/Computing, Smart Business and other magazines and newspapers. Former editor and consulting editor for Infoworld. Has appeared in the New York Times, LA Times, Philadelphia Enquirer, SF Examiner, Vancouver Sun. Was on the start-up team for CNet TV as well as ZDTV. At ZDTV (and TechTV) was host of Silicon... More >>
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Doctor Dragged From United Plane After Computer "Solves" Overbooking Problem | Zero Hedge
Mon, 10 Apr 2017 18:10
A man was violently dragged off of a United Airlines flight Sunday evening after it was apparently overbooked, according to passengers who were on the plane.
As The Courier Journal reports, a United spokesperson confirmed in an email Sunday night that a passenger had been taken off a flight in Chicago.
"Flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville was overbooked," the spokesperson said. "After our team looked for volunteers, one customer refused to leave the aircraft voluntarily and law enforcement was asked to come to the gate.
"We apologize for the overbook situation. Further details on the removed customer should be directed to authorities."
Passengers were told at the gate that the flight was overbooked and United, offering $400 and a hotel stay, was looking for one volunteer to take another flight to Louisville at 3 p.m. Monday. Passengers were allowed to board the flight, Bridges said, and once the flight was filled those on the plane were told that four people needed to give up their seats to stand-by United employees that needed to be in Louisville on Monday for a flight. Passengers were told that the flight would not take off until the United crew had seats, Bridges said, and the offer was increased to $800, but no one volunteered.
Then, she said, a manager came aboard the plane and said a computer would select four people to be taken off the flight. One couple was selected first and left the airplane, she said, before the man in the video was confronted.
Bridges said the man became "very upset" and said that he was a doctor who needed to see patients at a hospital in the morning. The manager told him that security would be called if he did not leave willingly, Bridges said, and the man said he was calling his lawyer. One security official came and spoke with him, and then another security officer came when he still refused. Then, she said, a third security official came on the plane and threw the passenger against the armrest before dragging him out of the plane.
"Everyone was shocked and appalled," Bridges said. "There were several children on the flight as well that were very upset."
Twitter allegedly deleting negative tweets criticizing United Airlines
Tue, 11 Apr 2017 12:47
In what could only be described as a vile violation of human dignity, United Airlines employees forcibly dragged a passenger off a flight headed from Chicago to Louisville. The incident quickly went viral, causing a storm of anger on Twitter. But it turns out some of the negative tweets are now mysteriously disappearing.
Numerous users are reporting their negative tweets criticizing United Airlines' abusive behavior have been vanishing into of thin air '' and nobody seems to know why.
''We're hunting for awesome startups''Run an early-stage company? We're inviting 250 to exhibit at TNW Conference and pitch on stage!
Here's some of the chatter from the Twitterverse:
What is particularly baffling is that it seems some of the allegedly deleted tweets did not directly mention the incident with the forcibly removed passenger.
While Twitter has previously hidden tweets containing offensive messages from showing up in other people's timelines as part of its efforts to curb abuse on its platform, deleting tweets against users' wills goes firmly against the company's rules.
This sort of moderation is more commonly known as 'ghost-deleting.' The term is a little misleading since such tweets are technically not deleted, but merely prevented from appearing in users' feeds. This measure, however, is usually reserved strictly for offensive tweets '' and this is hardly the case here.
Even more confusing is the fact some of the initial tweets exposing United Airlines' abusive treatment of passengers are still verymuchpresent and actively being reshared on the platform.
We have since contacted some of the users who claimed their tweets have been deleted and some of them have confirmed this is indeed the case.
''I can't seem to find [the tweet anymore],'' a user who preferred to remain anonymous told TNW. The individual further remarked that following the unexpected disappearance, they sent ''one or two more'' tweets that, while similar, weren't removed from the platform.
Jay Beecher, who also claims had some of his tweets deleted, similarly hasn't been able to recover them. He further told TNW the following:
I think that they might have been deleting any [tweets] that had the United Airlines tag on them.
I found [the deleting] was pretty much automatic. I would put the tweet up, click refresh or go to another page and then return to mine, and the tweet would have disappeared.
On another note, United Airlines was trending and prominently appearing in Moments after the story initially broke yesterday, but it seems it now has been pulled from both.
We have reached out to Twitter for further comment and will update this piece accordingly if we hear back.
[H/T Jay Beecher]
David Dao, passenger removed from United flight, a doctor with troubled past
Tue, 11 Apr 2017 14:44
UNITED AIRLINES HAS PASSENGER REMOVED FROM FLIGHT BOUND FOR LOUISVILLE Video shows man getting dragged off overbooked United flight | 0:59 A passenger who refused to give up his seat on an overbooked United Airlines flight this weekend was forcibly removed and dragged off the plane, according to a video taken by another passenger. Time
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UNITED AIRLINES HAS PASSENGER REMOVED FROM FLIGHT BOUND FOR LOUISVILLE Video shows passenger removed from United flight | 0:38 A video posted on Facebook late Sunday evening shows a passenger on a United Airlines flight from Chicago to Louisville being forcibly removed from the plane before takeoff at O'Hare International Airport. Wochit
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UNITED AIRLINES HAS PASSENGER REMOVED FROM FLIGHT BOUND FOR LOUISVILLE What are your rights on an overbooked flight? | 1:00 Video of an airline passenger being forcibly removed from his seat on an overbooked flight has sparked outrage against United Airlines. Turns out United has the right to remove a flier. Do you know your rights in that situation? USA TODAY
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UNITED AIRLINES HAS PASSENGER REMOVED FROM FLIGHT BOUND FOR LOUISVILLE Passenger dragged off flight sparks uproar | 0:34 Video of a man being dragged out of his seat on a United Airlines flight has sparked social media uproar. The airline insisted the flight was over-booked and that it had no choice but to contact authorities when the man refused to leave. (April 10) AP
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Last VideoNext Video Video shows man getting dragged off overbooked United flight
Video shows passenger removed from United flight
What are your rights on an overbooked flight?
Passenger dragged off flight sparks uproar
Buy Photo The Elizabethtown home of Dr. David Dao. (Photo: Pat McDonogh/CJ) Buy Photo
David Dao, the Elizabethtown doctor who was yanked off an overbooked United Airlines flight Sunday, has had a troubled history in Kentucky.
Dao, who went to medical school in Vietnam in the 1970s before moving to the U.S., was working as a pulmonologist in Elizabethtown when he was arrested in 2003 and eventually convicted of drug-related offenses after an undercover investigation, according to documents filed with the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure last June. The documents allege that he was involved in fraudulent prescriptions for controlled substances and was sexually involved with a patient who used to work for his practice and assisted police in building a case against him.
Dao was convicted of multiple felony counts of obtaining drugs by fraud or deceit in November 2004 and was placed on five years of supervised probation in January 2005. He surrendered his medical license the next month.
The Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure permitted Dao to resume practicing medicine in 2015 under certain conditions.
Dao was removed from United Express Flight 3411, bound for Louisville, on Sunday night at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago in an incident captured on video. United has come under scathing criticism for how it handled the situation, ranging from its insistence that passengers give up seats to the level of violence used by officers who yanked Dao from the aircraft.
In the video taken by passengers, Dao refuses to give up his seat. He then screams as three Chicago Aviation officers begin pulling him from his seat. Dao's head can be seen striking an armrest before he is dragged down the aisle by his arms, seemingly unconscious.
More Flight 3411 coverage
'–ºUnited Airlines video has already become a meme
'–ºJeff Ruby offers United passenger free steak
'–ºUnited's fiasco prompts apology, suspension
'–ºMan forcibly removed from United flight from Chicago to Louisville
'–º United Airlines video has already become a meme
'–ºSecurity officer placed on leave after United flight incident
'–ºUnited CEO says passenger dragged from plane was 'an upsetting event'
'–ºSocial media explodes after man dragged from plane
'–ºUnited Airlines had a right to remove that flier. But, was there a better way?
As he is dragged, some passengers can be heard admonishing the security officers.
Dao, his wife and two other passengers were asked to leave the aircraft because the flight was full and four crew members needed their seats. The airline had offered vouchers worth up to $800 for passengers to give up their seats, but no one took the offer. Four passengers, including Dao, were then selected to be bumped.
Buy Photo The Elizabethtown, Kentucky, office of Dr. David Dao. (Photo: Pat McDonogh/CJ)
A Louisville resident on the flight, Audra Bridges, told the Courier-Journal that Dao said he was a doctor and needed to see patients the next morning. Bridges said passengers were "shocked and appalled" by the incident, and thousands of people on social media have expressed sympathy for Dao and outrage over the way the situation was handled.
United has apologized for the incident. At least one of the security officers has been placed on leave, according to authorities. The U.S. Transportation Department also is investigating whether United complied with federal regulations regarding overbooking.
This story will be updated.
Additional coverage
VIDEO: Man dragged off overbooked United flight
VIDEO: What we know about a passenger being removed from a United flight
PHOTOS: The fleet and hubs of United Airlines
Screen shot from a video of a man being dragged off of a United Airlines' plane before it left Chicago and headed to Louisville. (Photo: Video by Audra Bridges)
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United's stock is falling 2.6% and wiping $600 million off the airline's market cap - MarketWatch
Tue, 11 Apr 2017 16:49
Shares in United Continental Holdings Inc. were falling 2.6% in morning action on Tuesday, as the airline continued to draw flak for having a passenger forcibly dragged off a plane Sunday.
If the carrier's stock is that much lower at the closing bell, United UAL, -2.46% will have about $600 million wiped off its market capitalization. The company's market cap was $22.5 billion as of Monday's close, according to FactSet data.
Early Tuesday ahead of the market's open, United shares had been down by as much as 6% in premarket trading.
Investors largely shrugged on Monday at the widespread criticism of United, as the airline's stock finished yesterday's session 0.9% higher, adding about $200 million to the company's market cap. But now with Tuesday's drop, the stock is on pace to be down around 1.8% for the week.
Meanwhile, the S&P 500 SPX, -0.41% '--the broad U.S. stock benchmark'--has lost 0.3% for the week, as it trades lower Tuesday morning.
Read:'Re-accommodate' is United's euphemism for forcibly dragging passenger off an airplane
And see:Why you, too, could get dragged off a plane if the airline overbooks your flight
Tuesday's selloff suggests many investors think the carrier's business could suffer given the furor over the incident. Videos of the bloodied passenger being dragged off the plane by law enforcement have been widely shared on social media.
StockTwits'--a social network for traders'--has offered the following chart showing how sentiment around the stock has been souring:
Check out:Here's the time a Nobel-prize-winning economist got ejected from a United flight
Opinion:What United should have done in response to that video of a man being violently pulled off a flight
United said it had asked Sunday for four volunteers to leave the plane due to overbooking, and one customer refused to give up his seat on the full flight from Chicago's O'Hare International Airport to Louisville, Ky.
United CEO Oscar Munoz sent an email to employees that described the customer as ''disruptive and belligerent,'' leading the New York Post to say Munoz is ''tone deaf.''
Amid the outcry, a Cowen & Co. analyst has raised her price target for United's stock, citing encouraging March traffic, but making no mention of Sunday's incident.
United CEO apologizes: 'No one should ever be mistreated this way' | WCHS
Tue, 11 Apr 2017 21:24
by DON BABWIN, Associated Press
FILE- In this June 2, 2016, file photo, United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz delivers remarks in New York, during a presentation of the carrier's new Polaris service. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)
CHICAGO (AP) '-- The man dragged from a full United Express flight by airport police in Chicago is a Kentucky physician who was convicted more than a decade ago of felony charges involving his prescribing of drugs.
But while the passenger's unflattering history quickly became the focus of attention, there's no indication that his past influenced how he was treated or that the airline or police were aware of his background. And it's unlikely that officials would have known anything about him other than basic information such as his name and address, if that.
A person with knowledge of the Sunday evening flight who was not authorized to publicly release the information told The Associated Press that the passenger was David Dao, 69, of Elizabethtown, Kentucky. Dao did not return messages from the AP.
Screaming can be heard on the videos, but nowhere is Dao seen attacking the officers. In fact, he appears relatively passive both when he was dragged down the aisle of the jet and when he is seen standing in the aisle later saying quietly, "I want to go home, I want to go home."
When cellphone videos taken by other passengers first emerged, they generated widespread sympathy for Dao and sharp criticism of the airline.
The chief executive of the airline's parent company initially released a statement saying that United wanted to talk to the man. But Oscar Munoz later began defending his employees, describing the passenger as "disruptive and belligerent."
That comment suggested that Dao's actions could be examined closely by United and the Chicago Aviation Department, though it remains unclear what role Dao's past might play in those investigations.
On Tuesday, Munoz issued another statement describing the removal as "truly horrific" and offering his "deepest apologies."
"No one should ever be mistreated this way," he said. Munoz pledged to review the company's policies for seeking volunteers to give up their seats, for handling oversold situations and for partnering with airport authorities and local law enforcement.
The company planned to share results of the review by April 30.
According to records from the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure, Dao went to medical school at the University of Medicine of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, graduating in 1974. He was licensed in Kentucky with a specialty in pulmonary disease.
His legal troubles started in 2003, when his medical license was suspended after an undercover sting operation at a Louisville motel for allegedly writing fraudulent prescriptions.
According to the documents, the licensing board had learned that Dao had become sexually interested in a patient and hired the patient as his office manager. That man later said he quit his job because Dao "pursued him aggressively" and arranged to provide him with prescription drugs in exchange for sex.
Dao was ultimately convicted in late 2004 of several counts of obtaining drugs by fraud or deceit and was placed on five years of supervised probation and surrendered his medical license.
His longtime effort to get his license back finally succeeded in 2015, when the licensing board allowed him to practice medicine again.
Airport officials have said little about the Sunday's events and nothing about Dao's behavior before he was pulled from the jet that was bound for Louisville, Kentucky. Likewise, the Aviation Department has said only that one of its employees who removed Dao did not follow proper procedures and has been placed on leave.
No passengers on the plane have mentioned that Dao did anything but refuse to leave the plane when he was ordered to do so.
On Monday, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel called the altercation "completely unacceptable" and praised Aviation Commissioner Ginger Evans for taking "swift action." He promised that a city investigation would "ensure nothing like this ever happens again."
Sunday night's confrontation stemmed from a common air travel issue '-- a full flight. United was trying to make room for four employees of a partner airline, meaning four people had to get off.
At first, the airline asked for volunteers, offering $400 and then when that did not work, $800 per passenger to relinquish a seat. When no one voluntarily came forward, United selected four passengers at random.
Three people got off the flight, but the fourth said he was a doctor and needed to get home to treat patients on Monday. He refused to leave.
Three men, identified later as Aviation Department police officers, got on the plane. Two officers tried to reason with the man before a third came aboard and pointed at the man "basically saying, 'Sir, you have to get off the plane,'" said Tyler Bridges, a passenger whose wife, Audra D. Bridges, posted a video on Facebook.
One of the officers could be seen grabbing the screaming man from his window seat, across the armrest and dragging him down the aisle by his arms.
Other passengers on Flight 3411 are heard saying, "Please, my God," ''What are you doing?" ''This is wrong," ''Look at what you did to him" and "Busted his lip."
"We almost felt like we were being taken hostage," Bridges said. "We were stuck there. You can't do anything as a traveler. You're relying on the airline."
Associated Press Writer David Koenig in Dallas and AP researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York contributed to this report.
United passenger traded drugs for gay sex with patient | Daily Mail Online
Tue, 11 Apr 2017 19:21
The troubled past of the doctor who was dragged off United Airlines in an incident which has plunged the company into crisis is revealed in official documents - including his felony drugs conviction and need for 'anger management'.
Dr David Dao had a past of illicit gay sex with a patient in return for giving , and tested positive for drugs, official documents reveal.
The medic, who specializes in lung disorders, was accused of refusing to give up his seat on Sunday's United Express flight UA3411 flight from Chicago to Louisville for the airline's staff.
Cellphone footage of the Vietnamese-born grandfather's ejection has caused an uproar with critics claiming officers were heavy-handed in taking the senior from the flight.
The doctor spoke to WLKY and told them 'everything' was injured.
Dr Dao has not yet sued the airline but it is clear that if he did, the documents would be likely to be used by United in their attempt to defend their actions.
But that would only intensify criticism of its treatment of Dr. Dao, with social media users saying his past is no justification for his brutal treatment on the plane
The row deepened on Tuesday as DailyMail.com revealed how United told its staff that the doctor 'tried to strike law enforcement'. That version of events is not apparently supported by videos taken by other passengers.
The disclosure of what they said to their own staff came after United's CEO, Oscar Munoz, was accused of being 'tone-deaf' for his non-apology to the doctor.
United lost $800 million of its value as shared plunged on Wall Street in the wake of the PR disaster.
Dr David Dao has been revealed as the man who was dragged from a United flight in Chicago on Sunday. He is pictured with his wife, Teresa, and their grandchildren. It was his wife who alerted authorities to his inappropriate relationship with a patient
Dr David Dao has been revealed as the man who was dragged from a United flight in Chicago on Sunday. He is pictured with his wife, Teresa, and one of their grandchildren. It was his wife who alerted authorities to his inappropriate relationship with a patient
Beaten and bloodied: Dr Dao is pictured bleeding from the mouth after he was body slammed by cops and dragged off the overbooked United flight at Chicago O'Hare
Screaming: The man who had refused to to give up his seat on the overbooked United flight from Chicago to Louisville on Sunday night was dragged off the plane by three cops
What United claimed: The document attached to his passenger file which claimed Dr David Dao, 69, a grandfather, had tried to strike police officers
WHAT THE PSYCHIATRIST FOUND An official report detailed the findings of medical exams performed on Dr Dao and spelled out concerns over his mental state. A court case brought by him would inevitably have to consider whether the documents could be used by United.
Among the findings were:
Dr. Mary Gannon 'noted that Dr. Dao "lacked the foundation to navigate difficult situations, both interpersonally and in a complex profession". Dr.Gannon noted a need to control, avoidance, withholding information and magical thinking as problematic.'
The report went on : 'Dr. Montgomery noted that Dr. Dao appeared to have difficulties with information processing. Neuropsychological screening did not suggest gross difficulties.
'However, in reviewing records, it was noted that Dr. Dao tends to have poor decision-making despite his overall level of ability.
'His choices have resulted in significant consequences over the years yet he continues·to function in this manner.
'He is generally not forthright regarding details of events unless challenged and at times he will tell different versions of a story to different interviewers. '
Later in the report it found: ' As far back as April, 2002, Dr. Brady notes " ... he would unilaterally chose to do his own thing'.
'This remains a concern to this day and without a high degree of structure and accountability he is at risk for further boundary related practice issues.'
The father of five, who has won sympathy globally over the incident, was given a suspended jail sentence for illegally obtaining and trafficking controlled substances by fraud and deceit.
He was also found to have in engaged in sex with a male patient- Brian Case, who he knew from the church they both attended - and then supplied him with drugs, including Oxycontin, in exchange for sexual favors.
The sexual liaisons, which happened motel rooms, were recorded by undercover agents. He paid $200 in cash each time he met Case.
Case said he believed that Dr. Dao wanted to hook him on drugs so he would keep meeting him for gay sex.
Dr. Dao was arrested when Case agreed to go undercover. Even when he was caught with his shirt off and pants unbuckled, he denied he was there for gay sex with Case.
The secret sex and drugs life of the doctor first came to light in in July 2003 when police alerted the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure of the allegations against him.
In October 2003 he was indicted by a Jefferson County Grand Jury for 'criminal acts of trafficking in a controlled substance, obtaining drugs by fraud and deceit, and unauthorized prescribing, dispensing or administering of controlled substances'.
His medical license was suspended later that month.
Dr Dao underwent intense scrutiny and re-training for several years after his convictions. He also appealed unsuccessfully against conviction, including claiming the undercover video of him semi-naked broke his expectation of privacy.
His wife Dr. Theresa Dao, who was with him on the ill-fated flight, has stood by him.
She first alerted the medical authorities about her suspicions of her husband's involvement with a patient.
In 2015, his medical license was partially re-instated with restrictions placed on his access to patients.
The findings were revealed by the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure in June last year and stipulated that monitoring had to be continued of the doctor's behavior.
It was found that Dr. Dao had become sexually involved with a patient who had been referred to his practice, who was known as 'Patient A'. He was named in criminal court as Case, who was 26 at the time, less than half the doctor's age.
The board stated: 'During the initial evaluation, the licensee performed a complete physical examination, including a genital examination, for Patient A who had been referred for collapsed lungs and chest pain.'
The board's finding went on: 'Shortly after his first appointment, the licensee made Patient A his office manager; according to Patient A, he quit that job because of inappropriate remarks made by the licensee.
'After he quit, the licensee pursued him aggressively, finally arranging to provide controlled substance prescriptions to him in exchange for sexual acts.
'This continued for some time, with Patient A and the licensee meeting at hotel rooms and some of these meetings were recorded.
'At some point, the licensee began splitting some of the prescriptions with Patient A and gave Patient A money to fill the prescriptions.
Stock plunge: The battering taken by United Airlines was obvious in its five-day performance, which showed how it plunged as Wall Street opened
Back practicing: How Dr Dao was able to return to medicine after his felony conviction
Winning big: While he was suspended from practicing, he became a semi-professional poker player, and is said to have won a total of $234,664 since 2006, according to PokerNews.
United Airlines' CEO Oscar Munoz (pictured in June 2016) has come under fire for his response to the scandal
Home: Despite the gay sex revelations, Dr. David Dao continues to share the family home in Elizabethtown, KY, with his wife Teresa, who alerted authorities to her concerns
'The licensee also assisted Patient A to fill the controlled substances prescriptions in a variety of names of other persons.
'Police were able to identify approximately 33 fraudulent prescriptions as part of their investigation with Patient A's assistance.
'The police were able to put together a sufficient case to arrest the licensee and bring charges against him in two counties.'
GAY SEX, DRUGS AND FELONY SHAME OF THE UNITED DOCTOR What the Kentucky Board of Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure found:
'During the Board's investigation into the criminal charges against the licensee, the Board learned that the licensee had become sexually interested in a patient who had been referred to his practice, Patient A During the initial evaluation, the licensee perfonned a complete physical examination, including a genital examination, for Patient A who had been referred for collapsed lungs and chest pain; shortly after his first appointment, the licensee made Patient A his office manager; according to Patient A, he quit that job Because of inappropriate remarks made by the licensee; after he quit, the licensee pursued him aggressively, finally arranging to provide controlled substance prescriptions to him in exchange for sexual acts This continued for some time, with Patient A and the licensee meeting at hotel rooms and some of these meetings were recorded; at some point, the licensee began splitting some of the prescriptions with Patient A and gave Patient A money to fill the prescriptions the licensee also assisted Patient A to fill the controlled substances prescriptions in a variety of names of other persons Police were able to identify approximately 33 fraudulent prescriptions as part of their investigation With Patient A's assistance, the police were able to put together a sufficient case to arrest the licensee and bring charges against him in two counties Around the same time, the licensee was placed on a corrective action plan by Hardin Memorial Hospital due to disruptive conduct and referred to the Kentucky Physicians Health Foundation ("the Foundation'') for evaluation and anger management After his arrest, the licensee was tested by the hospital and tested positive for Ultramfframadol As a result of the drug test results and the criminal charges, the licensee's hospital privileges became suspended on September 13, 2003.
The Hardin Memorial Hospital, where he worked, placed him on ' a corrective action plan by due to disruptive conduct'.
He was also referred to the Kentucky Physicians Health Foundation for 'evaluation and anger management'.
He was also tested positive for Ultram/framadol and had his doctor's license suspended.
In November 2004 a jury convicted him on felony counts of Obtaining drugs by fraud and deceit. The jury recommended a sentence of two years and eight months on each felony count.
In January, 2005, Dao was sentenced in Jefferson Circuit Court to two years and eight months on each felony conviction. He was allowed a five year supervised probation.
While he was suspended from practicing, he became a semi-professional poker player, and is said to have won a total of $234,664 since 2006, according to Poker News.
But in May 2007 he was assessed as to his medical and clinical ability.
He was found to be possessing medical knowledge 'that was outdated and also contained gaps that would not likely be fully explained by his time away from practice.'
The board added: 'His areas of relative strength included occupational lung disease and pulmonary embolism.
'Dr. Dao's knowledge of current pharmacology was deficient He demonstrated some deficits that were surprising based on the common nature of the disorders.'
The doctor underwent an ' Educational Intervention Plan' where he was re-trained and his progress monitored.
During his assessments the report said Dr. Dao denied paying for sex. Yet he indicated that he deducted monies owed to him... for sexual favors.
He denied trading drugs for sex while admitting to prescribing narcotics to the man while they engaged in a sexual relationship.
'Dr. Dao continues to maintain a pattern of deception that is inconsistent with the level of accountability necessary for a practicing physician.'
His bid to renew his medical work was rejected because of the sex and lies he had been found guilty of as well as his outdated practices.
'It is the opinion of the assessment team that Dr. Dao is not safe to practice medicine at this time. This opinion is offered within reasonable certainty and based upon available information.'
Two years later he returned to the same evaluator where a doctor Mary Gannon noted that Dr. Dao 'lacked the foundation to navigate difficult situations, both interpersonally and in a complex profession'.
Dr. Gannon noted a need to control, avoidance, withholding information and 'magical thinking' as problematic. She also opined re-instatement of Dr. Dao's medical license as the primary motivation for therapy.
During this evaluation Dr. Dao stated that regaining his medical license was a matter of 'family honor.'
Four of his five children are doctors. His wife Teresa, 69, is a pediatrician who trained at Ho Chi Minh University in Saigon and also practices in Elizabethtown, Kentucky - about 40 miles south of Louisville.
Their eldest son Tim, 34, practices medicine in Texas; their second son Ben, 31, is a medical graduate; their daughter Christine, 33, is a doctor in Durham, NC; and their youngster daughter Angela, 27, is a medical graduate of the University of Kentucky.
Their other daughter, Crystal '' Christine's twin '' is a married mother in Barrington, Illinois.
Dr Dao has previously worked at Hardin Memorial Hospital and owned a medical practice.
His identity has been revealed after United CEO Oscar Munoz doubled down on his airline crew's decision to remove an elderly passenger, claiming he was 'disruptive and belligerent'.
The airline is facing a furious backlash after footage emerged of the 69-year-old, bleeding heavily as he was pulled from the jet.
Amidst the anger, Munoz issued a public apology saying he 'apologized for having to re-accommodate these customers.'
But in a private email to employees, the CEO defended the crew's actions, calling the passenger 'disruptive and belligerent' and praising his staff for going 'above and beyond'.
Backlash likely: The reaction to revelations of the criminal past of the doctor suggests that United would risk further opprobrium if they used it in a potential court case
United CEO Oscar Munoz has doubled down on his airline crew's decision to remove an elderly passenger, claiming he was 'disruptive and belligerent'
Social media erupted immediately, labeling Munoz and United 'tone deaf' and 'condescending'.
Munoz said that while he was 'upset' to hear about the man being violently dragged off the flight, that airline crew had simply been following 'established procedures.'
The CEO described how flight crews had offered up to $1,000 in compensation for anyone willing to catch the next flight before approaching the passenger to 'explain apologetically' that he was being denied boarding.
He had then 'raised his voice and refused to comply' with the crew's requests to leave the aircraft, and became increasingly 'disruptive and belligerent,' he said.
'Our agents were left with no choice, but to call Chicago Aviation Security Officers to assist in removing the customer from the flight, he repeatedly decline to leave.'
Munoz added that the passenger refused to comply with the officers who then 'physically removed him from the flight as he continued to resist '' running back onto the aircraft in defiance of both out crew and security officials.'
The comments have sparked outrage online with people claiming that the CEO was attempting to shift blame to the police
'While I deeply regret this situation arose, I also emphatically stand behind all of you, and I want to commend you for continuing to go above and beyond to ensure we fly right,' he said.
The CEO did, however, concede that there were 'lessons we can learn' from the experience and that United will continue to look into the incident.
He also had a final reminder that treating customers with 'respect and dignity' should be matter of course, 'no matter how challenging the situation.'
The comments have sparked outrage online with people claiming that the CEO was attempting to shift blame to the police.
Others said that 'lousy protocol' was never an excuse for a 69-year-old man beating left bloodied by security.
'Beating and bloodying a 69 year-old doctor is 'protocol' @United ?' one Twitter user asked.
Distressing: Children were crying in distress as the three officers manhandled the man out of his seat. Passengers had been offered $800 to take a flight the next day but none volunteered
Another said that Munoz was 'trying to shift blame to police/aviation security (not United employees). The public doesn't make a distinction.'
Nicholas Kristof added: 'In any big company, staff will sometimes do stupid things. At United, the CEO then endorses the stupidity and claims it as company policy!'
Others pointed out that the customer had also appeared to have followed 'protocol' right up until he was dragged off the plane.
HOW DOES UNITED DECIDE WHO GETS BUMPED FROM OVERBOOKED FLIGHTS?United's contract of carriage states that passengers to be forcibly taken off a flight in the event of overbooking will be 'determined based on a passenger's fare class, itinerary, status of frequent flyer program membership, and the time in which the passenger presents him/herself for check-in without advanced seat assignment.'
That means that if you have a certain type of fare class, checked in early, have a flier status such as gold, or even just own a barely used frequent flier card, you are less likely to be bumped.
But passengers taking advantage of budget seats appear to be of less value to the airline.
'#United Pay for your ticket, sit down, get attacked, bloodied and humiliated. And the CEO is now saying the person deserved it. #SHAME,' one Twitter user wrote.
'No accountability for lousy protocol,' another added. 'It will be a cold day in Hades before I allow these lackwits to fly me anywhere.#BoycottUnitedAirlines.'
An airport cop who allegedly body-slammed the passenger was put on leave today - as his bosses condemned his actions amid mounting outrage over video of the incident.
The Chicago Department of Aviation said it 'obviously' did not condone the behavior of the security officer who was filmed slamming the man into an arm rest, knocking him unconscious and dragging him away by his arms as he bled from the mouth at O'Hare.
Another clip shows the dazed man chants 'just kill me, just kill me' as blood pours from his mouth.
In his public apology, Munoz said today: 'This is an upsetting event to all of us here at United. I apologize for having to re-accommodate these customers.
'Our team is moving with a sense of urgency to work with the authorities and conduct our own detailed review of what happened. We are also reaching out to this passenger to talk directly to him and further address and resolve this situation.'
The aviation department released a statement to the Chicago Sun-Times, which read: 'The incident on United flight 3411 was not in accordance with our standard operating procedure and the actions of the aviation security officer are obviously not condoned by the Department.
Unhinged: The man claimed to be a doctor and screamed wildly and he was manhandled by the cops
'That officer has been placed on leave effective today pending a thorough review of the situation.'
One passenger also told the Washington Post the man claimed as he was being dragged off the plane he was chosen because of his ethnicity.
'He said, more or less, 'I'm being selected because I'm Chinese',' the passenger told the Post.
The same passenger went on to tell the newspaper a United official walked onto the plane during the incident and said the plane would not be taking off until four passengers disembarked so the employees could fit on.
He said the official announced: 'We have United employees that need to fly to Louisville tonight. '... This flight's not leaving until four people get off.'
'That rubbed some people the wrong way,' Tyler Bridges said, recounting the comment.
Like you I was upset to see and hear about what happened last night aboard United Express Flight 3411 headed from Chicago to Louisville. While the facts and circumstances are still evolving, especially with respect to why this customer defied Chicago Aviation Security Officers the way he did, to give you a clearer picture of what transpired, I've included below a recap from the preliminary reports filed by our employees.
As you will read, this situation was unfortunately compounded when one of the passengers we politely asked to deplane refused and it became necessary to contact Chicago Aviation Security Officers to help. Our employees followed established procedures for dealing with situations like this. While I deeply regret this situation arose, I also emphatically stand behind all of you, and I want to commend you for continuing to go above and beyond to ensure we fly right.
I do, however, believe there are lessons we can learn from this experience, and we are taking a close look at the circumstances surrounding this incident.
Treating our customers and each other with respect and dignity is at the core of who we are, and we must always remember this no matter how challenging the situation.
Summary of Flight 3411
On Sunday, April 9, after United Express Flight 3411 was fully boarded, United's gate agents were approached by crewmembers that were told they needed to board the flight.
We sought volunteers and then followed our involuntary denial of boarding process (including offering up to $1,000 in compensation) and when we approached one of these passengers to explain apologetically that he was being denied boarding, he raised his voice and refused to comply with crew member instructions.
He was approached a few more times after that in order to gain his compliance to come off the aircraft and each time he refused and became more and more disruptive and belligerent.
Our agents were left with no choice, but to call Chicago Aviation Security Officers to assist in removing the customer from the flight, he repeatedly decline to leave.
Chicago Aviation security Officers were unable to gain is cooperation and physically removed him from the flight as he continued to resist '' running back onto the aircraft in defiance of both out crew and security officials.
I Know You're Mad at United but'... (Thoughts from a Pilot Wife About Flight 3411) '' The Pilot Wife Life
Thu, 13 Apr 2017 13:18
If there's one thing I have learned over the years, it's that there are always two sides to every story.
On April 9th, a very unfortunate incident played out on United Flight 3411, the video of which has since gone viral causing a mass social media uprising with an 'off-with-their-heads' mentality. I mean, across the board. Fire 'em all and let the gods sort it out later.
Look, I get it. When I first saw the video I was appalled too. To say that it was inflammatory would be putting it mildly. But it was also a situation that was escalated far beyond the boundaries of necessity.
If a federal law enforcement officer asks me to exit a plane, no matter how royally pissed off I am, I'm going to do it and then seek other means of legal reimbursement. True story.
Knowing what I know about airport security, I'm certainly not going to run back into a secured, federally restricted area at an airport flailing my arms and screaming like a banshee'...because, you know, that just happens to be breaking a major federal Homeland Security law.
But that's just me. Obviously.
The moment I made that particular ill-advised choice, I would become an immediate and imminent threat to the aircraft's security. That's kind of a big deal. I mean, come on, I once actually had to remove my infant son's socks because they mimicked little baby sneakers. These guys mean business.
I didn't like it. I thought it was just plain stupid, honestly. But instead of pitching a massive fit, refusing to comply, and bolting through the TSA checkpoint like an out-of-control toddler, I did the big girl thing''sucked it up, removed the offensive socks, and went on with my happy life, sans being tackled and dragged through the airport in handcuffs by a bunch of big men with guns.
Because if you choose to take advantage of the services the airport provides, you play by their rules.
I know you're all out there screaming that the 'rules' are unfair, but I am a pilot wife. I remember 9/11. Do you? I want my husband, the father of my children, to come home. I want you to get home. That law exists to protect my husband. And your wife. And your grandmother. And your child. And you. I, for one, am glad for the law.
I'm not here to dispute the facts of 3411 with you. I am not interested in getting into an argument of opinion with anyone. We're all entitled to our own. I'm not arguing that what happened wasn't completely terrible''it was, on multiple levels. But I am suggesting that the general public take another look at the situation, ask a few more questions, gather a few more facts, and then create a less hostile and more intellectually wrought opinion about what happened.
Because the media is giving you just enough information to keep you enraged''enough to keep their ratings up.
Things to consider:
1) ''You can't just kick a paying customer off the plane!'' Psssst! It's in the fine print. They can, indeed, do just that. And it's not an airline specific rule, it's a commercial aviation rule. Every ticket you purchase comes with a plethora of fine print''you know, the stuff we just click 'next' on without actually reading what we are agreeing to. Yeah, that. Well, it's in there, and you checked the 'I agree' box when you purchased your ticket. You can read about it and oh-so-much-more here. Kind of makes you want to read all those tiny words on your next phone update before you click 'I agree', huh? You should. United did not break any law, and he agreed to the policy and possibility of involuntary bump when he bought his ticket. And so do you.
2) ''Kicking a paying customer off an airplane!? I'm taking my business to Southwest!'' Ummmm, okay. But just be sure you understand that every major airline, Southwest included, has a similar policy for involuntary bumping in a 'must ride' scenario. Don't believe me? It's called the contract of carriage. If you're really bored, you can read Southwest's here. Or Delta's here. Believe me, it's in there. This could have been any airline. In fact, it happens all the time. Most people just don't wrestle the feds in the aisle.
3: ''So what's this 'must ride' nonsense anyway? They shouldn't bump a paying customer for a free employee ride!'' I'm afraid you're going to have to take this up with the federal government, not United. And it's actually pretty important to you as an airline traveler anyway. They were not 'freeloading home'. That's called non-rev and they have to wait in line behind your checkbook and often don't make it home to their families if flights are booked (believe me, I know). No, this was a must fly, a positive space situation. In layman terms, it means that a crew must be flown to an airport to man a flight in order to avoid cancellation of said flight due to crew unavailability. This is a federal DOT regulation, not an airline one. The airlines are required to do so to avoid disruption of air traffic. In other words, if there are no willing volunteers and they need seats to get a crew somewhere to avoid disruption of aviation flow, they can, will, must by federal regulation bump people for the better good of the 1000's. Why? Because one cancelled flight has a serious domino affect in the delicate, complicated world of connections and aviation law.
4: ''It's the airline's fault for not planning better!'' You obviously have no clue about the complexities of aviation travel and should do some research. There are about a million and one things that can cause a crew shortage including but not limited to weather, maintenance, weather, connecting fight delays, weather, FAA timeout regs, and did I mention weather? I wish I could control Mother Nature because I would be one filthy rich person. But I can't. And neither can United. So they inconvenience one, or four, to keep hundreds on track. Do the math. And of course, if we were on the other end of this thing, we'd be tirading and blowing up the internet because United didn't bump a passenger to make sure our flight didn't get cancelled and left hundreds stranded. Damned if you do; damned if you don't. We're a fickle crowd, we social media folks.
5: They shouldn't have picked the minority Chinese doctor! It's racist.'' That's just silly. Though federal regulation demands they involuntarily bump to prevent interruption of flights when necessary, each airline does have the leniency to determine how they choose the bumped passengers. They did not play spin the bottle or walk down the aisle looking for the Asian guy. Use your heads, people! There is a computerized algorithm that takes into account price of ticket, how long ago it was purchased, whether or not they can get the passenger to their destination in a timely manner, etc. It wasn't an 'Asian thing.' Stop, people. Just stop.
6: ''United should go under for assaulting that passenger! Fire the entire crew!'' Read the facts. United neeeever touched the passenger. In fact, by all witness accounts, the United flight crew remained calm and pleasant throughout the entire event, never laying hands on the passenger. They followed protocol as required by law. Once law enforcement became involved (also as required by federal protocol), United stepped out of the decision-making process. They had nothing to do with the rest. The passenger was forcibly removed by federal aviation security (the disturbing clip that everyone is talking about) after running back into the secured area after being escorted out once. Once he did that, like it or not, they (law enforcement) were under full discretion of the law to apply necessary force to remove the threat. I'm not saying it's pretty, but the only one who actually broke a law was the passenger. There's a reason for these laws''it's called 9/11. We can't have it both ways. But by all means, let's berate and punish an entire flight crew''in fact thousands of pilots, FA's, gate attendents, ground crew, etc.''because it makes us all feel a little better.
7: ''You piece of **it!'' I get that the passengers were upset, angry, maybe even confused. I get that you are too. After all, media is tossing you out chunks of bloody meat like you're a pack of starving wolves. But I'm seriously disgusted that the poor must ride crew that had to take those seats after the unfortunate mess that unraveled were verbally abused and threatened. Can you imagine the very uncomfortable position they were in? Then they were demeaned, belittled, threatened. Along with many others all over the internet and airports today. They were and are men and women doing their jobs to feed their families. Just. Like. You. They didn't have a choice. They didn't ask for this. They didn't assault anyone. They are not a corporation; they are individuals who need a job. They are my friends and maybe even my husband. There's a very fine line between what you despise and becoming what you despise. Many of the comments and actions I have seen perpetrated against United employees cross it. Don't become what you hate.
Like I said, I know you're mad at United, but there's much more to the story than hits the media fan.
I truly hope that this gives you something to chew on and gives you a smidgen more insight into the complexities of aviation. I'm not making excuses. I think there were bad decisions made on both sides. However, I am saying there are always two sides to every story. Make sure you consider them both.
***A correction to the previous article. Mr. Dao was indeed Vietmanese and not Chinese. That quote was verbatim from a comment off the internet. I apology profusely for the confusion.
Angelia (A Pilot Wife)
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Fly Rights | Department of Transportation
Thu, 13 Apr 2017 13:14
CONTENTSAir FaresSchedules and TicketsDelayed and Canceled FlightsOverbookingBaggageSmokingPassengers with DisabilitiesFrequent-Flyer ProgramsContract TermsTravel ScamsTo Your HealthAirline Safety and SecurityComplainingNotice: We make every effort to keep Fly-Rights up to date, but airlines frequently change the way they do business. So by the time you read this, a few procedures we explain may be different.
IntroductionThe elimination of government regulation of airline fares and routes has resulted in lower fares and a wide variety of price/service options. In this new commercial environment, consumers have had to take a more active role in choosing their air service by learning to ask a number of questions:
Am I more concerned with price or with schedule? Am I willing to fly at a less convenient time if it means saving $25?Will the airline penalize me for changing my reservation/Will I have to pay extra for checked bags or for seat assignments?What will the airline do for me if it cancels my flight?This booklet is designed to explain your rights and responsibilities as an air traveler and to show you how to avoid problems. We hope it helps you become a more resourceful consumer.Air FaresBecause of the emphasis on price competition, consumers may choose from a wide variety of air fares. It is easy to compare fares and schedules on the Web, using airline web sites or third-party reservation services. You can also contact a travel agent, another ticket outlet, or the airlines serving the places you want to travel to. (Some airlines and other outlets charge a fee for tickets purchased by means other than the Web. On the other hand, a few airlines may charge a fee for tickets that are purchased via the Web.) You can also be alert to newspaper and radio ads, where airlines advertise many of the discounts available in your city. Finally, be alert to new companies serving the market. They may offer lower fares or different services than older established airlines. Here are some tips to help you decide among air fares:
Be flexible in your travel plans in order to get the lowest fare. The best deals may be limited to travel on certain days of the week (particularly midweek or Saturday) or certain hours of the day (e.g., early-morning flights or overnight "red eyes"). When searching flights and fares on the Web you can usually specify whether your dates are flexible, and in the search results the fares are generally listed from lowest to highest. If you are shopping by phone or in person, after you get a fare quote ask the reservations agent if you could save even more by leaving a day earlier or later, or by taking a different flight on the same day.Plan as far ahead as you can. Some airlines set aside only a few seats on each flight at the lower rates. The real bargains often sell out very quickly. On the other hand, air carriers sometimes make more discount seats available later. If you had decided against a trip because the price you wanted was not available when you first inquired, try again, especially just before the advance-purchase deadline. Flights for holiday periods may sell out months ahead of time, although in many cases you can find a seat if you elect to travel on the holiday itself, e.g. Christmas Day or Thanksgiving Day.Some airlines may have discounts that others don't offer. In a large metropolitan area, the fare could depend on which airport you use. Also, a connection (change of planes) or a one-stop flight is sometimes cheaper than a nonstop.Be aware that many airlines charge extra for checked baggage, advance seat assignments, meals, or other services. Airlines include information on these fees on their web sites.If you have a connection involving two airlines, ask whether your bags will be transferred. Ask whether your ticket will be good on another carrier at no extra charge if your flight is canceled or experiences a lengthy delay, and whether the first airline will pay for meals or a hotel room during the wait.Most discount fares are non-refundable; if you buy one of these fares and you later cancel your trip, you will not get your money back. In many cases you can apply your ticket to another trip in the future, but there may be a steep fee. Many fares also have a penalty for changing flights or dates even if you don't want a refund. You may also have to pay any difference in air fares if your fare-type is not available on the new flight.After you buy your ticket, call the airline or travel agent once or twice before departure to check the fare. Fares change all the time, and if the fare you paid goes down before you fly, some airlines will refund the difference (or give you a transportation credit for that amount). But you have to ask. Differences in air fares can be substantial. Careful comparison shopping among airlines does take time, but it can lead to real savings.Schedules and TicketsOnce you decide when and where you want to go, and which airline you want to use, you will usually have to purchase a ticket in order to hold a confirmed seat. However, many large airlines will hold a reservation for 24 hours or so without payment. Others require payment at the time you make a reservation but will provide a full refund if you cancel in the first day or so. When available, both of these procedures permit you to hold a seat and a fare for a short time while continuing to shop for a better deal. Be aware of the following considerations when selecting a flight and buying a ticket:
Check the on-time performance percentage for flights that you are considering. On-time performance percentages for individual flights of the larger U.S. airlines are available by phone from those airlines upon request. These airlines are also required to post this information on their web sites, with special notice for flights that experienced serious delays or cancellations. If you are deciding between two flights with similar schedules and fares, you may want to choose the one with the better on-time record. (Only the largest U.S. airlines are required to maintain and provide on-time performance data.) You can see aggregate information about airline and airport on-time performance and a list of the most frequently delayed flights in DOT's monthly Air Travel Consumer Report. Also, the web site of DOT's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (www.bts.gov) contains detailed on-time performance data for the large U.S. airlines that are required to report this information.When you buy a ticket, be sure all of the information is recorded accurately. Before you click "Submit" or make a final commitment to a reservations agent, review all of the essential information ? the spelling of your name, the flight numbers and travel dates, and the cities you are traveling between. Use the form of your name that is on the photo ID that you will show at the airport. (For an international flight, this will be your passport.) If there is more than one airport at either city, be sure you check which one you'll be using. It's also important to give the airline more than one telephone number and an email address so they can let you know if there is any change in its schedule.A "direct" (or "through") flight with a single flight number can have one or more intermediate stops. A connection (change of planes) nearly always has a separate flight number for each flight, but sometimes the two flights are listed on the same line in schedules. Look carefully at the "Stops" column and the departure and arrival times to determine whether the flight suits your needs.If you are flying to a small city and your flight number has four digits, you may be booked on a commuter airline that has an agreement with the major carrier in whose name the flight is advertised and sold. Look for disclosures of these so-called "code-share" flights in the schedules, or ask the reservations agent. DOT requires that you be provided this information.As soon as you receive your ticket or email confirmation, check to make sure all the information on it is correct, especially your name, the airports (if any of the cities have more than one) and the flight dates. Pursue any necessary corrections immediately.You will need to show a government-issued photo I.D. when you fly. It is important that your name as it appears on the ticket is the same as it appears on the I.D. you will be using. If your name has recently changed and the name on your ticket and your I.D. are different (or will be different by the time of your trip), bring documentation of the change (e.g., a marriage certificate or court order).Many European countries ("the Schengen states") require that your passport be valid for at least three months beyond your planned date of departure from the Schengen area. For more information see the Department of State's Schengen web page at http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/go/schengen-fact-sheet.html.Re-check the departure and arrival times of your flights a few days before your trip; schedules sometimes change. On international trips, some airlines may require that you reconfirm your onward or return reservations at least 72 hours before each flight. If you don't, your reservations may be canceled.Bring your ticket or printed confirmation to the airport. You may also be able to print your boarding pass from the carrier's web site within 24 hours of departure. This speeds your check-in and helps you avoid some of the tension you might otherwise feel if you had to wait in a slow-moving line at the airport.Payment by credit card provides certain protections under federal credit laws. When a refund is due, the airline must forward a credit to your card company within seven business days after receiving a complete refund application; however, the credit may take a month or two to appear on your statement. If you paid by credit card for a refundable fare and you have trouble getting a refund that you are due (e.g., you have a refundable fare, or you have a nonrefundable fare and the airline canceled your flight and you did not travel as a result), report this in writing to your credit card company. If you write to them within 60 days from the time that they mailed your first monthly statement showing the charge for the airline ticket, the card company should credit your account even if the airline doesn't. This procedure is particularly useful if your airline ceases operations before your flight.NOTE: In some cases tickets purchased overseas in foreign currency can only be refunded in that same currency and country, due to foreign government monetary restrictions. Keep this in mind if you are considering buying a ticket in a foreign country.
Delayed and Cancelled FlightsAirlines don't guarantee their schedules, and you should realize this when planning your trip. There are many things that can-and often do-make it impossible for flights to arrive on time. Some of these problems, like bad weather, air traffic delays, and mechanical issues, are hard to predict and often beyond the airlines' control.
If your flight is delayed, try to find out how late it will be. But keep in mind that it is sometimes difficult for airlines to estimate the total duration of a delay during its early stages. In so- called "creeping delays," developments occur which were not anticipated when the carrier made its initial estimate of the length of the delay. Weather that had been forecast to improve can instead deteriorate, or a mechanical problem can turn out to be more complex than initially evaluated. If the problem is with local weather or air traffic control, all flights will probably be late and there's not much you or the airline can do to speed up your departure. If your flight is experiencing a lengthy delay, you might be better off trying to arrange another flight, as long as you don't have to pay a cancellation penalty or higher fare for changing your reservations. (It is sometimes easier to make such arrangements by phone than at a ticket counter.) If you find a flight on another airline, ask the first airline if it will endorse your ticket to the new carrier; this could save you a fare collection. Remember, however, that there is no rule requiring them to do this.
If your flight is canceled, most airlines will rebook you on their first flight to your destination on which space is available, at no additional charge. If this involves a significant delay, find out if another carrier has space and ask the first airline if they will endorse your ticket to the other carrier. Finding extra seats may be difficult, however, especially over holidays and other peak travel times.
Each airline has its own policies about what it will do for delayed passengers waiting at the airport; there are no federal requirements. If you are delayed, ask the airline staff if it will pay for meals or a phone call. Some airlines, often those charging very low fares, do not provide any amenities to stranded passengers. Others may not offer amenities if the delay is caused by bad weather or something else beyond the airline's control. Contrary to popular belief, for domestic itineraries airlines are not required to compensate passengers whose flights are delayed or canceled. As discussed in the chapter on overbooking, compensation is required by law on domestic trips only when you are "bumped" from a flight that is oversold. On international itineraries, passengers may be able to recover reimbursement under Article 19 of the Montreal Convention for expenses resulting from a delayed or canceled flight by filing a claim with the airline. If the claim is denied, you may pursue the matter in small claims court if you believe that the carrier did not take all measures that could reasonably be required to avoid the damages caused by the delay.
If the purpose of your trip is to close a potentially lucrative business deal, give a speech or lecture, attend a family function, or connect to a cruise, you might want to allow a little extra leeway and take an earlier flight. In other words, airline delays aren't unusual, and defensive planning is a good idea when time is your most important consideration.
Some flights are delayed on the airport "tarmac" before taking off or after landing. DOT rules prohibit most U.S. airlines from allowing a domestic flight to remain on the tarmac for more than three hours unless:
the pilot determines that there is a safety or security reason why the aircraft cannot taxi to the gate and deplane its passengers, orAir traffic control advises the pilot that taxiing to the gate (or to another location where passengers can be deplaned) would significantly disrupt airport operations.U.S. airlines operating international flights to or from most U.S.airports must each establish and comply with their own limit on the length of tarmac delays on those flights. On both domestic and international flights, U.S. airlines must provide passengers with food and water no later than two hours after the tarmac delay begins. While the aircraft remains on the tarmac lavatories must remain operable and medical attention must be available if needed.
When booking your flight remember that a departure early in the day is less likely to be delayed than a later flight, due to "ripple" effects of delays throughout the day. Also, if an early flight does get delayed or canceled, you have more rerouting options. If you book the last flight of the day and it is canceled, you could get stuck overnight. You may select a connection (change of planes) over a nonstop or direct flight because of the convenient departure time or lower fare. However, a change of planes always involves the possibility of a misconnection. If you have a choice of connections and the fares and service are equivalent, choose the one with the least-congested connecting airport, so it will be easier to get to your second flight. You may wish to take into consideration the potential for adverse weather if you have a choice of connecting cities. When making your reservation for a connection, always check the amount of time between flights. Ask yourself what will happen if the first flight is delayed; if you don't like the answer, pick another flight or "construct" a connection that allows more time.
OverbookingOverbooking is not illegal, and most airlines overbook their scheduled flights to a certain extent in order to compensate for "no-shows." Passengers are sometimes left behind or "bumped" as a result. When an oversale occurs, the Department of Transportation (DOT) requires airlines to ask people who aren't in a hurry to give up their seats voluntarily, in exchange for compensation. Those passengers bumped against their will are, with a few exceptions, entitled to compensation.
Voluntary Bumping
Almost any planeload of airline passengers includes some people with urgent travel needs and others who may be more concerned about the cost of their tickets than about getting to their destination on time. DOT rules require airlines to seek out people who are willing to give up their seats for compensation before bumping anyone involuntarily. Here's how this works. At the check-in or boarding area, airline employees will look for volunteers when it appears that the flight has been oversold. If you're not in a rush to arrive at your next destination, you can give your reservation back to the airline in exchange for compensation and a later flight. But before you do this, you may want to get answers to these important questions:
When is the next flight on which the airline can confirm your seat? The alternate flight may be just as acceptable to you. On the other hand, if the airline offers to put you on standby on another flight that's full, you could be stranded.Will the airline provide other amenities such as free meals, a hotel room, transfers between the hotel and the airport, and a phone card? If not, you might have to spend the money it offers you on food or lodging while you wait for the next flight.DOT has not mandated the form or amount of compensation that airlines offer to volunteers. DOT does, however, require airlines to advise any volunteer whether he or she might be involuntarily bumped and, if that were to occur, the amount of compensation that would be due. Carriers can negotiate with their passengers for mutually acceptable compensation. Airlines generally offer a free trip or other transportation benefits to prospective volunteers. The airlines give employees guidelines for bargaining with passengers, and they may select those volunteers willing to sell back their reservations for the lowest price. If the airline offers you a free ticket or a transportation voucher in a certain dollar amount, ask about restrictions. How long is the ticket or voucher good for? Is it "blacked out" during holiday periods when you might want to use it? Can it be used for international flights?
Involuntary Bumping
DOT requires each airline to give all passengers who are bumped involuntarily a written statement describing their rights and explaining how the carrier decides who gets on an oversold flight and who doesn't. Those travelers who don't get to fly are frequently entitled to denied boarding compensation in the form of a check or cash. The amount depends on the price of their ticket and the length of the delay:
If you are bumped involuntarily and the airline arranges substitute transportation that is scheduled to get you to your final destination (including later connections) within one hour of your original scheduled arrival time, there is no compensation.If the airline arranges substitute transportation that is scheduled to arrive at your destination between one and two hours after your original arrival time (between one and four hours on international flights), the airline must pay you an amount equal to 200% of your one-way fare to your final destination that day, with a $675 maximum.If the substitute transportation is scheduled to get you to your destination more than two hours later (four hours internationally), or if the airline does not make any substitute travel arrangements for you, the compensation doubles (400% of your one-way fare, $1350 maximum).If your ticket does not show a fare (for example, a frequent-flyer award ticket or a ticket issued by a consolidator), your denied boarding compensation is based on the lowest cash, check or credit card payment charged for a ticket in the same class of service (e.g., coach, first class) on that flight.You always get to keep your original ticket and use it on another flight. If you choose to make your own arrangements, you can request an "involuntary refund" for the ticket for the flight you were bumped from. The denied boarding compensation is essentially a payment for your inconvenience.If you paid for optional services on your original flight (e.g., seat selection, checked baggage) and you did not receive those services on your substitute flight or were required to pay a second time, the airline that bumped you must refund those payments to you.Like all rules, however, there are a few conditions and exceptions:
To be eligible for compensation, you must have a confirmed reservation. A written confirmation issued by the airline or an authorized agent or reservation service qualifies you in this regard even if the airline can't find your reservation in the computer, as long as you didn't cancel your reservation or miss a reconfirmation deadline.Each airline has a check-in deadline, which is the amount of time before scheduled departure that you must present yourself to the airline at the airport. For domestic flights most carriers require you to be at the departure gate between 10 minutes and 30 minutes before scheduled departure, but some deadlines can be an hour or longer. Check-in deadlines on international flights can be as much as three hours before scheduled departure time. Some airlines may simply require you to be at the ticket/baggage counter by this time; most, however, require that you get all the way to the boarding area. Some may have deadlines at both locations. If you miss the check-in deadline, you may have lost your reservation and your right to compensation if the flight is oversold.As noted above, no compensation is due if the airline arranges substitute transportation which is scheduled to arrive at your destination within one hour of your originally scheduled arrival time.
If the airline must substitute a smaller plane for the one it originally planned to use, the carrier isn't required to pay people who are bumped as a result. In addition, on flights using aircraft with 30 through 60 passenger seats, compensation is not required if you were bumped due to safety-related aircraft weight or balance constraints.
The rules do not apply to charter flights, or to scheduled flights operated with planes that hold fewer than 30 passengers. They don't apply to international flights inbound to the United States, although some airlines on these routes may follow them voluntarily. Also, if you are flying between two foreign cities -- from Paris to Rome, for example -- these rules will not apply. The European Commission has a rule on bumpings that occur in an EC country; ask the airline for details, or go to http://ec.europa.eu/transport/passengers/air/air_en.htm.
Airlines set their own "boarding priorities" -- the order in which they will bump different categories of passengers in an oversale situation. When a flight is oversold and there are not enough volunteers, some airlines bump passengers with the lowest fares first. Others bump the last passengers to check in. Once you have purchased your ticket, the most effective way to reduce the risk of being bumped is to get to the airport early. For passengers in the same fare class the last passengers to check in are usually the first to be bumped, even if they have met the check-in deadline. Allow extra time; assume that the roads are backed up, the parking lot is full, and there is a long line at the check-in counter.
Airlines may offer free tickets or dollar-amount vouchers for future flights in place of a check for denied boarding compensation. However, if you are bumped involuntarily you have the right to insist on a check if that is your preference. Once you cash the check (or accept the free flight), you will probably lose the ability to pursue more money from the airline later on. However, if being bumped costs you more money than the airline will pay you at the airport, you can try to negotiate a higher settlement with their complaint department. If this doesn't work, you usually have 30 days from the date on the check to decide if you want to accept the amount of the check. You are always free to decline the check (e.g., not cash it) and take the airline to court to try to obtain more compensation. DOT's denied boarding regulation spells out the airlines' minimum obligation to people they bump involuntarily. Finally, don't be a "no-show." If you are holding confirmed reservations you don't plan to use, notify the airline. If you don't, they will cancel all onward or return reservations on your trip.
BaggageBetween the time you check your luggage in and the time you claim it at your destination, it may have passed through a maze of conveyor belts and baggage carts. Once airborne, baggage may tumble around the cargo compartment if the plane hits rough air. In all fairness to the airlines, however, relatively few bags are damaged or lost. With some common-sense packing and other precautions, your bags will likely be among the ones that arrive safely.
You can pack to avoid problems. Certain items should never be put into a piece of luggage that you plan to check into the baggage compartment:
Small valuables: cash, credit cards, jewelry, an expensive camera.Critical items: medicine, keys, passport, tour vouchers, business papers.Irreplaceable items: manuscript, heirlooms.Fragile items: eyeglasses, glass containers, liquids.Things like this should be carried on your person or packed in a carry-on bag. Remember, the only way to be sure your valuables are not damaged or lost is to keep them with you. Full flights sometimes run out of room in the cabin for full-size carry-on bags. In those situations the airline must sometimes "gate check" the carry-on baggage of the last passengers to board the flight. This happens near the door to the aircraft. Pack your carry-on bag in a manner so that if it must be gate-checked you can quickly remove the fragile, valuable and critical items described above. For example, consider packing all such items in a small, soft bag that will fit under the seat in front of you, and make sure that this small bag is easily accessible in your carry-on bag.
Although only a tiny percentage of checked bags are permanently lost, your bag might be delayed for a day or two. Don't put perishables in a checked bag; they may spoil if it is delayed. It is wise to put items that you will need during the first 24 hours in a carry-on bag (e.g. toiletries, a change of underwear). Check with the airline for its limits on the size, weight, and number of carry-on pieces. As of this writing, on most flights you are allowed to carry on one bag plus one personal item (e.g., purse, briefcase, camera bag, laptop computer bag).
If you are using more than one airline, check with all of them. Inquire about your flight; different airplanes can have different limits. Don't assume that the flight will have closet space for every carry-on garment bag; yours may have to be checked. If you plan to go shopping at your destination and bring your purchases aboard as carry-on, keep the limits in mind. If you check these purchases, however, carry the receipts separately; they may be necessary for a claim if the merchandise is lost or damaged. Don't put anything into a carry-on bag that could be considered a weapon (e.g. certain scissors, pocket knives). Check the web site of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for restrictions on carry-on baggage by click "Travelers."
As with carry-ons, checked baggage is subject to limits. Some airlines permit one or two checked bags at no charge; other carriers charge for even one checked bag. There can also be an extra charge if you exceed the airline's limits on the size, weight or number of the bags.
On some flights between two foreign cities, your allowance may be lower and may be based primarily on the weight of the checked bags rather than the number of pieces. The same two bags that cost you nothing to check when you started your trip could result in expensive excess-baggage charges under a weight system. Ask the airlines about the limit for every segment of your international trip before you leave home, especially if you have a stopover of a day or two or if you are changing carriers.
The bags you check should be labeled ? inside and out ? with your name and phone number. Add the name and phone number of a person to contact at your destination if it's practical to do so. Almost all of the bags that are misplaced by airlines do turn up sooner or later. With proper labeling, the bag and its owner can usually be reunited within a few hours.
Don't overpack a bag. This puts pressure on the latches, making it easier for them to pop open. If you plan to check any glassware, musical instruments or other fragile items, they should be packed in a container specifically designed to survive rough handling, preferably a factory-sealed carton or a padded hard-shell carrying case.
Don't check in at the last minute. Even if you make the flight, your bag may not. If you miss the airline's check-in deadline, the carrier might not assume liability for your bag if it is delayed or lost. If you have a choice, select flights that minimize the potential for baggage disruption. The likelihood of a bag going astray increases from #1 to #4 below (i.e., #1 is safest): 1) nonstop flight; 2) direct or 'through' flight (one or more stops, but no change of aircraft); 3) online connection (change of aircraft but not airlines); and 4) interline connection (change of aircraft and airlines)
When you check in, remove straps and hooks from garment bags that you are sending as checked baggage. These can get caught in baggage processing machinery, causing damage to the bag.
The airline will put baggage destination tags on your luggage and give you the stubs to use as claim checks. Make sure you get a stub for every bag. Don't throw them away until after you get your bags back and you check the contents. Not only will you need them if a claim is necessary, but you may need to show them to security upon leaving the baggage-claim area.
Your bags may only be checked to one of your intermediate stops rather than your destination city if you must clear Customs short of your final destination, or if you are taking a connection involving two airlines that don't have an interline agreement. Be sure all of the tags from previous trips are removed from your bag, since they may cause your bag to go astray.
Claiming your bags
Many bags look alike. After you pull what you think is your bag off the carousel, check the name tag or the bag tag number. If your bag arrives open, unlocked or visibly damaged, check right away to see if any of the contents are missing or damaged. Report any problems to the airline before leaving the airport; insist on having a report created. Open your suitcase immediately when you get to where you are staying. Any damage to the contents or any pilferage should be immediately reported to the airline by telephone. Make a note of the date and time of the call, and the name and telephone number of the person you spoke with. Follow up as soon as possible with a certified letter to the airline.
If your suitcase arrives smashed or torn, the airline will usually pay for repairs. If it can't be fixed, they will negotiate a settlement to pay you its depreciated value. The same holds true for belongings packed inside. Airlines may decline to pay for damage caused by the fragile nature of the broken item or inadequate packing, rather than the airline's rough handling. Air carriers might also refuse to compensate you for damaged items inside the bag when there's no evidence of external damage to the suitcase. When you check in, airline personnel may let you know if they think your suitcase or package may not survive the trip intact. Before accepting a questionable item, they may ask you to sign a statement in which you agree to check it at your own risk. But even if you do sign this form, the airline might be liable for damage if it is caused by its own negligence shown by external injury to the suitcase or package.
Delayed bags
If you and your suitcase don't connect at your destination, don't panic. The airlines have very sophisticated systems that track down the vast majority of misplaced bags and return them to their owners within hours. In many cases they will absorb reasonable expenses you incur while they look for your missing belongings. You and the airline may have different ideas of what's reasonable, however, and the amount it will pay is subject to negotiation.
If your bags don't come off the conveyor belt, report this to airline personnel before you leave the airport. Insist that they create a report and give you a copy, even if they say the bag will be in on the next flight. Get an appropriate phone number for following up (not the Reservations number). Don't assume that the airline will deliver the bag without charge when it is found; ask the airline about this. Most carriers set guidelines for their airport employees that allow them to disburse some money at the airport for emergency purchases. The amount depends on whether or not you're away from home and how long it takes to track down your bags and return them to you. If the airline does not provide you a cash advance, it may still reimburse you later for the purchase of necessities. Discuss with the carrier the types of articles that would be reimbursable, and keep all receipts. If the airline misplaces sporting equipment, it will sometimes pay for the rental of replacements. For replacement clothing or other articles, the carrier might offer to absorb only a portion of the purchase cost, on the basis that you will be able to use the new items in the future. (The airline may agree to a higher reimbursement if you turn the articles over to them.)
When you've checked in fresh foods or any other perishable goods and they are ruined because their delivery is delayed, the airline won't reimburse you. Carriers may be liable if they lose or damage perishable items, but they won't accept responsibility for spoilage caused by a delay in delivery.
Airlines are liable for provable consequential damages up to the amount of their liability limit (see below) in connection with the delay. If you can't resolve the claim with the airline's airport staff, keep a record of the names of the employees with whom you dealt, and hold on to all travel documents and receipts for any money you spent in connection with the mishandling. (It's okay to surrender your baggage claim tags to the airline when you fill out a form at the airport, as long as you get a copy of the form and it notes that you gave up the tags.) Contact the airline's baggage claims office or consumer office when you get home.
Lost luggage
Once your bag is declared (permanently) lost, you will have to submit a claim. This usually means you have to fill out a second, more detailed form. Check on this; failure to complete the second form when required could delay your claim. Missing the deadline for filing it could invalidate your claim altogether.
The airline will usually refer your claim to a central office, and the negotiations between you and the airline will begin. If your flight was a connection involving two carriers, the final carrier is normally the one responsible for processing your claim even if it appears that the first airline lost the bag. Airlines don't automatically pay the full amount of every claim they receive. First, they will use the information on your form to estimate the value of your lost belongings. Like insurance companies, airlines consider the depreciated value of your possessions, not their original price or the replacement costs. If you're tempted to exaggerate your claim, don't. Airlines may completely deny claims they feel are inflated or fraudulent. They often ask for sales receipts and other documentation to back up claims, especially if a large amount of money is involved. If you don't keep extensive records, you can expect to negotiate with the airline over the value of your goods. Generally, it takes an airline anywhere from four weeks to three months to pay passengers for their lost luggage. When airlines tender a settlement, they may offer you the option of free tickets on future flights in a higher amount than the cash payment. Ask about all restrictions on these tickets, such as "blackout" periods.
Limits on liability
Airlines assert a limit on their liability for delayed, lost or damaged checked baggage. When your luggage and its contents are worth more than the liability limit, you may want to purchase "excess valuation," if available, from the airline as you check in. This is not insurance, but it will increase the carrier's potential liability. The airline may refuse to sell excess valuation on some items that are especially valuable or breakable, such as antiques, musical instruments, jewelry, manuscripts, negotiable securities and cash.
On domestic trips, the airline can invoke a liability ceiling that is regulated by DOT and that is adjusted for inflation every two years. That limit is currently $3,500 per passenger.
On international round trips that originate in the United States, the liability limit is set by a treaty called the Montreal Convention. This treaty also governs liability on international round trips that originate in another country that has ratified this Convention, and one-way trips between the U.S. and such a country. This international limit is adjusted for inflation every five years; it is currently 1,131 Special Drawing Rights. The SDR is a currency surrogate that floats daily; go to www.imf.org to see the current value in dollars. At this writing 1,131 SDRs was worth about $1,675. The international limit applies to domestic segments of an international journey. This is the case even if the domestic and international flights are on separate tickets and you claim and re-check your bag between the two flights.
Keep in mind that the liability limits are maximums. If the depreciated value of your property is worth less than the liability limit, this lower amount is what you will be offered. If the airline's settlement doesn't fully reimburse your loss, check your homeowner's or renter's insurance; it sometimes covers losses away from the residence. Some credit card companies and travel agencies offer optional or even automatic supplemental baggage coverage. Special liability requirements apply to the domestic transportation of assistive devices used by passengers with disabilities. See the publication New Horizons: Information for the Air Traveler with a Disability.
Hazardous Items
There are restrictions on carrying materials that could be hazardous in an aircraft environment. For example, matches are not permitted in checked bags. For details on hazardous materials, go to www.faa.gov >> Travelers, and www.tsa.gov >> Travelers.
SmokingUnder U.S. government rules, smoking is prohibited on all scheduled-service flights of U.S. airlines. As a general matter, foreign airlines must also ban smoking on all scheduled-service flight segments in, to and from the United States. Cigar and pipe smoking is banned on all U.S.-carrier flights (both scheduled and charter).
On flights where smoking is not banned by law (e.g., charter flights), airlines must have a non-smoking section and must accommodate in that section every passenger who has complied with the airline's check-in deadline and who wishes to be seated there. On these flights, carriers are not required to have a smoking section. An airline is free to ban smoking on a particular flight, or on all of its flights.
None of the regulations described in this chapter apply to charter flights performed with small aircraft by on-demand air taxi operators.
Passengers with DisabilitiesThe Air Carrier Access Act and the DOT rule that implements it set out procedures designed to ensure that individuals with disabilities have the same opportunity as anyone else to enjoy a pleasant flight. For information about these provisions, see the DOT publication New Horizons: Information for the Air Traveler With a Disability.
Frequent-Traveler ProgramsMost if not all major airlines participate in frequent-traveler plans. These programs allow you to earn free trips, upgrades (e.g., from Coach to First Class) or other awards based on how often you fly on that airline or its partner carriers. In most programs you can also earn credit by using specified hotels, rental car companies, credit cards, etc. It doesn't cost anything to join a program, and you can enroll in the programs of any number of different airlines. However, you will want to determine which program best suits your needs before you accumulate a lot of miles. Here are some things to look at when selecting a frequent-traveler program.
Does the airline fly where you're likely to want to go?Are there tie-ins with other carriers, especially those with international routes? Is some of the airline's service provided by commuter-carrier "partners"? In both cases, can you earn credits and use awards on those other airlines?How many miles (or trips) are required for particular awards?Is there a minimum award per flight (e.g., you are only flying 200 miles but the airline always awards at least 500)?Is there a deadline for using accumulated miles?Carefully examine the number and length of any "blackout periods" during which awards cannot be used. For example, on some carriers the Thanksgiving blackout may last a week.If you are planning a big trip involving air travel and are thinking about joining that airline's frequent-flyer program, enroll before you travel. Airlines usually won't credit mileage that was flown before you became a member.After you join a program, there are other things that you should know:
Airlines reserve the right to make changes to their programs, sometimes on short notice. The number of miles required for particular awards might be raised, requiring you to use your old mileage (i.e., your current balance) under the more restrictive new rules. The airline may cease service on a route that you were particularly interested in, or it may even stop serving the city you live in. The carrier may eliminate attractive frequent-flyer tie-ins with particular airlines or hotel chains.Cashing in your mileage frequently will limit your losses in case the carrier changes the rules, merges, or goes out of business. Accumulating a larger mileage balance will entitle you to bigger awards, however.Carriers often limit the number of seats on each flight for which frequent-flyer awards can be used. You may not be able to get reservations on your first- or second-choice dates or flights.Awards can often be issued in the name of immediate family members. However, if you sell or give an award to someone not named on the award or the travel document and the airline finds out, the recipient could have his or her ticket confiscated, and the carrier may penalize the program member's account balance.Ask the airline how mileage is registered; you will probably have to identify yourself as a program member when you book your flight or when you check in.Keep your ticket (or email confirmation) and your boarding passes until you receive a statement from the frequent-flyer program reflecting the correct mileage earnings for that trip. If a problem arises, get the names of the people you speak with and keep notes of your conversations.Contract TermsThroughout this booklet, we have tried to provide you general information about airline travel. It is important to realize, however, that each airline has specific rules that make up your contract of carriage. These rules may differ among carriers. They include provisions such as check-in deadlines, refund procedures, responsibility for delayed flights, and many other things.
Domestic Travel
For domestic travel, an airline may provide all of its contract terms on or with your ticket at the time you buy it. Some small "commuter" carriers use this system. Other airlines may elect to "incorporate terms by reference." This means that you are not given all the airline's rules with your ticket [The proof has a weird symbol here; it should be a dash] most of them are contained in a separate document which you can inspect on request or on the airline's web site. If an airline elects to "incorporate by reference" it must provide conspicuous written notice with each ticket that: 1) it incorporates terms by reference, and 2) these terms may include liability limitations, claim-filing deadlines, check-in deadlines, and certain other key terms. The airline must also:
Ensure that passengers can receive an explanation of key terms identified on the ticket from any location where the carrier's tickets are sold, including travel agencies;Make available for inspection the full text of its contract of carriage at each of its own airport and city ticket offices;Mail a free copy of the full text of its contract of carriage upon request.DOT also requires most U.S.airlines to post their contracts of carriage on their web site, if they have one.
There are additional notice requirements for contract terms that affect your air fare. Airlines must provide a conspicuous written notice on or with the ticket concerning any "incorporated" contract terms that restrict refunds, impose monetary penalties, or permit the airline to raise the price after you've bought the ticket.
If an airline incorporates contract terms by reference and fails to provide you the required notice about a particular rule, you will not be bound by that rule. In addition, a DOT rule prohibits airlines from changing a term in your contract after you buy your ticket if the change will have a significant negative effect on you.
International Travel
Not all of the detailed requirements for disclosing domestic contract terms apply to international travel. Where they do not, the airline must keep a copy of its "tariff" rules at its airport and city ticket offices. On flights to or from the U.S., you have a right to examine these rules.
The most important point to remember, whether your travel is domestic or international, is that you should not be afraid to ask questions about a carrier's rules. You have a right to know the terms of your contract of carriage. It is in your best interest, as well as that of the airline, for you to ask in advance about any matters of uncertainty.
Travel ScamsUnlike most products, travel services usually have to be paid for before they are delivered. This creates opportunities for disreputable individuals and companies. Some travel packages turn out to be very different from what was presented or what the consumer expected. Some don't materialize at all! If you receive an offer by phone or mail for a free or extremely low-priced vacation trip to a popular destination (often Hawaii or Florida), there are a few things you should look for:
Does the price seem too good to be true? If so, it probably is.Are you pressured to make an immediate decision?Is the carrier simply identified as "a major airline," or does the representative offer a collection of airlines without being able to say which one you will be on?Is the representative unable or unwilling to give you a street address for the company?Are you told you can't leave for at least two months? (The legal deadline for disputing a credit card charge is 60 days, and most scam artists know this.)If you encounter any of these symptoms, proceed cautiously. Ask for written information to be sent to you; any legitimate travel company will be happy to oblige. If they don't have a brochure, ask for a day or two to think it over; most bona fide deals that are good today will still be good two days from now. If they say no to both requests, this probably isn't the trip for you. Some other advice:
If you are told that you've won a free vacation, ask if you have to buy something else in order to get it. Some packages have promoted free air fare, as long as you buy expensive hotel arrangements. Others include a free hotel stay, but no air fare.If you are seriously considering the vacation offer and are confident you have established the full price you will pay, compare the offer to what you might obtain elsewhere. Frequently, the appeal of free air fare or free accommodations disguises the fact that the total price is still higher than that of a regular package tour.Get a confirmed departure date, in writing, before you pay anything. Eye skeptically any promises that an acceptable date will be arranged later. If the package involves standby or waitlist travel, or a reservation that can only be provided much later, ask if your payment is refundable if you want to cancel, and don't pay any money you can't afford to lose.If the destination is a beach resort, ask the seller how far the hotel is from the beach. Then ask the hotel.Determine the complete cost of the trip in dollars, including all service charges, taxes, processing fees, etc.If you decide to buy the trip after checking it out, paying by credit card gives you certain legal rights to pursue a chargeback (credit) if promised services aren't delivered.For further advice, see "Other Sources of Information" at the end of this brochure for details on how to order the Federal Trade Commission's pamphlet Telemarketing Travel Fraud.
To Your HealthFlying is a routine activity for millions of Americans, and raises no health considerations for the great majority of them. However, there are certain things you can do to ensure that your flight is as comfortable as possible. Changes in pressure can temporarily block the Eustachian tube, causing your ears to 'pop' or to experience a sensation of fullness. To equalize the pressure, swallow frequently; chewing gum sometimes helps. Yawning is also effective. Avoid sleeping during descent; you may not swallow often enough to keep ahead of the pressure change.
Babies are especially troubled by these pressure changes during descent. Having them feed from a bottle or suck on a pacifier will often provide relief. Avoid flying if you have recently had abdominal, eye or oral surgery, including a root canal. The pressure changes that occur during climb and descent can result in discomfort. If you have an upper respiratory or sinus infection, you may also experience discomfort resulting from pressure changes. Postpone your trip if possible. (Check to see if your fare has cancellation or change penalties.) A final tip on pressure changes: they cause your feet to swell. Try not to wear new or tight shoes while flying.
Alcohol and coffee both have a drying effect on the body. Airliner cabin air is relatively dry to begin with, and the combination can increase your chances of contracting a respiratory infection. If you wear contact lenses, the low cabin humidity and/or consumption of alcohol or coffee can reduce your tear volume, leading to discomfort if you don't blink often enough. Lens wearers should clean their lenses thoroughly before the flight, use lubricating eye drops during the flight, read in intervals, and take the lenses out if they nap. (This may not apply to extended wear lenses; consult your practitioner.) If you take prescription medications, bring enough to last through your trip. Take along a copy of the prescription, or your doctor's name and telephone number, in case the medication is lost or stolen. The medicine should be in the original prescription bottle in order to avoid questions at security or Customs inspections. Carry it in a pocket or a carry-on bag; don't pack it in a checked bag, in case the bag is lost.
You can minimize the effects of jet lag in several ways:
Get several good nights' sleep before your trip.
Try to take a flight that arrives at night, so you can go straight to bed.
Sleep on the plane (although not during descent).
During the flight do isometric exercises, eat lightly, and drink little or no alcohol.
A condition known as Deep Venous Thrombosis can occur in some people who don't exercise their legs for several hours ? for example, during an airline flight. Consider walking up and down the aisle once or twice, and search the web for exercises that you can do at your seat to minimize the risk of developing this condition during a flight.
Try to use a rest room in the airport terminal before departure. On some flights the cabin crew begins beverage service shortly after the "Fasten Seat Belts" sign is turned off, and the serving cart may block access to the lavatories.
Airline Safety and SecurityAir travel is so safe you'll probably never have to use any of the advice we're about to give you. But if you ever do need it, this information could save your life. Airline passengers usually take safety for granted when they board an airplane. They tune out the crew's pre-flight announcements or reach for a magazine instead of the cards that show how to open the emergency exit and what to do if the oxygen mask drops down. Because of this, people may be needlessly hurt or killed in accidents they could survive. Every time you board a plane, here are some things you should do:
Carry-on bags must be properly stowed in overhead bins or under the seat in front of you. Be careful about what you put into the storage bins over your seat. Their doors may pop open during an accident or even a hard landing, spilling their contents. Also, passengers in aisle seats have been injured by heavy items falling out of these compartments when people are stowing or retrieving belongings at the beginning or end of a flight.
As soon as you sit down, fasten and unfasten your seat belt a couple of times. Watch how it works. In an emergency you don't want to waste time fumbling with the buckle.
Before take-off, there will be a briefing about safety procedures, pointing out emergency exits and explaining seat belts, life vests and oxygen masks. Listen carefully and if there's anything you don't understand ask the flight attendants for help.
The plastic card in the seat pocket in front of you will review some of the safety information announced by the flight attendant. Read it. It also tells you about emergency exits and how to find and use emergency equipment such as oxygen masks. As you're reading the card look for your closest emergency exit, and count the number of rows between yourself and this exit. Remember, the closest exit may be behind you. Have a second escape route planned in case the nearest exit is blocked. This is important because people sometimes head for the door they used to board the plane, usually in the front of the first class cabin. This wastes time and blocks the aisles. If the oxygen masks should drop, you must tug the plastic tube slightly to get the oxygen flowing. If you don't understand the instructions about how the mask works, ask a flight attendant to explain them to you.
When the plane is safely in the air, the pilot usually turns off the "fasten seat belt" sign. He or she usually suggests that passengers keep their belts buckled anyway during the flight in case the plane hits rough air. This is a good idea; there have been a number of instances of unexpected turbulence in which unbelted passengers were seriously injured and even killed when they were thrown about the cabin. Just as seat belts should always be worn in cars, in airplanes they should always be fastened when you are in your seat.
If you are ever in an aviation accident, you should remember these things:
Stay calm.
Listen to the crew members and do what they say. The cabin crew's most important job is to help you evacuate safely.
Before you try to open any emergency exit yourself, look outside the window. If you see a fire outside the door, don't open it or the flames may spread into the cabin. Try to use your alternate escape route.
Remember, smoke rises. So try to stay down if there's smoke in the cabin. Follow the track of emergency lights embedded in the floor; they lead to an exit. If you have a cloth, put it over your nose and mouth.
After an air accident, the National Transportation Safety Board always talks to survivors to try to learn why they were able to make it through safely. They've discovered that, as a rule, it does help to be prepared. Avoiding serious injury or surviving an air accident isn't just a matter of luck; it's also a matter of being informed and thinking ahead.
Are you one of those people who jumps up while the aircraft is still taxiing, gathers up coat, suitcase and briefcase, and gets ready to sprint? If so, resist the urge. Planes sometimes make sudden stops when they are taxiing to the airport gate, and passengers have been injured when they were thrown onto a seat back or the edge of a door of an overhead bin. Stay in your seat with your belt buckled until the plane comes to a complete halt and the 'fasten seat belt' sign is turned off.
Never smoke in airplane restrooms. Smoking was banned there after an accident killed 116 people in only 4 minutes, apparently because a careless smoker left a burning cigarette butt in the trash bin. There is a steep fine for disabling a lavatory smoke detector.
Security procedures are administered by the Transportation Security Administration, an agency of the Department of Homeland Security. For more information, go to www.tsa.gov and click "For Travelers." Note in particular the identification provisions, and restrictions concerning carry-on baggage (particularly the "3-1-1" procedure for liquids and gels in carry-on bags), and the list of prohibited items. At this writing, cabin baggage is generally limited to one carry-on bag plus one personal item (e.g. purse, briefcase, camera bag, laptop computer).
ComplainingDOT rules require U.S. airlines to provide information on how to file a complaint with the carrier. This information must appear on their web sites, on all e-ticket confirmations, and upon request at any of the airline's ticket counters or gates. When passengers comment on airline service, most airlines do listen. They track and analyze the complaints and compliments they receive and use the information to determine what the public wants and to identify problem areas that need attention. They also try to resolve individual complaints. A DOT rule requires that airlines acknowlege a written complaint within 30 days and send a substantive response within 60 days of receiving the complaint.
Like other businesses, airlines have a lot of discretion in how they respond to problems. While you do have certain rights as a passenger, your demands for compensation will probably be subject to negotiation and the kind of action you get often depends in large part on the way you go about complaining. Start with the airline. Before you contact DOT for help with an air travel problem, you should give the airline a chance to resolve it. As a rule, airlines have trouble-shooters at the airports (they're usually called Customer Service Representatives) who can take care of many problems on the spot. They can often arrange meals and hotel rooms for stranded passengers, write checks for denied boarding compensation, arrange luggage resolutions, and settle other routine claims or complaints
If you can't resolve the problem at the airport and want to file a complaint, it's best to write or email the airline's consumer office at its corporate headquarters. DOT requires most U.S. airlines to state on their web sites how and where complaints can be submitted. There may be a form on the airline's web site for this purpose. Take notes at the time the incident occurred and jot down the names of the carrier employees with whom you dealt. Keep all of your travel documents (ticket or confirmation, baggage check stubs, boarding pass, etc.) as well as receipts for any out-of-pocket expenses that were incurred as a result of the mishandling. Here are some helpful tips should you choose to write.
If you send a letter, type it and, if at all possible, limit it to two pages.Include your daytime telephone number (with area code).No matter how angry you might be, keep your letter or email businesslike in tone and don't exaggerate what happened. If the complaint sounds very vehement or sarcastic, you might wait a day and then consider revising it.Describe what happened, and give dates, cities, and flight numbers or flight times.Where possible, include copies, never the originals, of tickets and receipts or other documents that can back up your claim.Include the names of any employees who were rude or made things worse, as well as anyone who might have been especially helpful.Don't clutter your complaint with a litany of petty gripes that can obscure what you're really angry about.Let the airline know if you've suffered any special inconvenience or monetary losses.Say just what you expect the carrier to do to make amends. An airline may offer to settle your claim with a check or some other kind of compensation, possibly free transportation. You might want a written apology from a rude employee or reimbursement for some loss you incurred ? but the airline needs to know what you want before it can decide what action to take.Be reasonable. If your demands are way out of line, you are rude or sarcastic, or you use vulgar language, at best your letter might earn you a polite apology and a place in the airline's crank files.If you follow these guidelines, the airlines will probably treat your complaint seriously. Your letter will help them to determine what caused your problem, as well as to suggest actions the company can take to keep the same thing from happening to other people.
Contacting the Department of Tranportation (DOT)Complaints about airline service may be registered with DOT's Aviation Consumer Protection Division (ACPD). You can call, write or use our web-based complaint form.
You may call the ACPD 24 hours a day at 202-366-2220 (TTY 202-366-0511) to record your complaint. You may send us a letter at:
Aviation Consumer Protection Division, C-75
U.S. Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Ave, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20590
To send us a complaint, comment or inquiry electronically, please use our web form at http://airconsumer.dot.gov>> Filing a Complaint.
If you write, please be sure to include your address and a daytime telephone number, with area code. Complaints from consumers help us spot problem areas and trends in the airline industry. We use our complaint files to document the need for changes in DOT's consumer protection regulations and, where warranted, as the basis for enforcement action (i.e., where a serious breach of the law has occurred). In addition, every month we publish a report with information about the number of complaints we receive about each airline and what problems people are having. You can find this Air Travel Consumer Report on our web site. That publication also has statistics that the airlines file with us on flight delays, oversales and mishandled baggage.
If your complaint is about something you feel is a safety hazard, write to the Federal Aviation Administration at:
Federal Aviation AdministrationAviation Safety Hotline, AAI-3
800 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20591
Or call 1-866-TELL-FAA (1-866-835-5322).
Questions or concerns about aviation security should be directed to the Transportation Security Administration:
Phone (toll-free): 1-866-289-9673
E-mail: TSA-ContactCenter@dhs.gov
Or write to:
Transportation Security Administration601 South 12th Street
Arlington, VA 20598
Your Last ResortIf nothing else works, small claims court might be the best way for you to help yourself. Many localities have these courts to settle disputes involving relatively small amounts of money and to reduce the red tape and expense that people generally fear when they sue someone. An airline can generally be sued in small claims court in any jurisdiction where it operates flights or does business. You can usually get the details of how to use the small claims court in your community by contacting your city or county office of consumer affairs, or the clerk of the court. As a rule, small claims court costs are low, you don't need a lawyer, and the procedures are much less formal and intimidating than they are in most other types of courts. See the DOT publication Tell It to the Judge.
United passenger removal fiasco is a reminder of an open secret in the airline industry
Thu, 13 Apr 2017 07:18
United Airlines ( UAL ) ''deplaned'' one of its paying passengers late Sunday, dragging him from his seat and down the aisle.
Airlines routinely overbook planes and pay people to take the next flight when necessary. On this particular flight, United needed four seats for employees hitching a ride. It offered $800 vouchers , but no one on the plane volunteered. Instead, United selected four passengers at random.
When one passenger didn't comply, United had three men forcibly remove him. And soon after, a video of the incident went viral'--giving United another round of bad press.
Despite the outrage expressed on social media, and by a concerned passenger in the video, United's actions indicated it considered itself in the right. The reason is simple: a half-pound stack of paper called the ''contract of carriage.''
Like the terms of service agreements most people scroll through quickly and click ''I agree,'' the United contract of carriage is something you likely agreed to without reading or understanding, something that JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon recently said can be trouble .
Under Rule 25'--on page 35 if you print it out'--the agreement says exactly what happens if the flight is oversold. '' If there are not enough volunteers, other Passengers may be denied boarding involuntarily,'' the language reads. (Of course, the deplaned man was not denied boarding, he was already boarded.)
The language continues however, shining light on how these ''other Passengers'' are chosen. It's not random, it's ''in accordance with UA's boarding priority.'' That means that if you have a certain type of fare class'--you may not even know these exist'--a complex itinerary, status (e.g. gold or platinum), have checked in early, or have frequent flier card, you are less likely to be asked to take the next flight. Even if it's just a free frequent flier card that you never use, it might save you from being asked to leave.
For passengers looking to take advantage of the budget seats offered, this unspoken ranking and largely unknown class system is important to know. Though companies take great pains to say otherwise, if you paid less, you are not as valued a customer.
Update 3:30p: The post's headline has been updated.
Ethan Wolff-Mannis a writer at Yahoo Finance focusing on consumer issues, tech, and personal finance. Follow him on Twitter@ewolffmann. Got a tip? Send it to tips@yahoo-inc.com.
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United Airlines will reimburse passengers from controversial overbooked flight | Fox News
Thu, 13 Apr 2017 01:48
All of the customers who were on the United Airlines flight that involved police officers dragging a passenger off the aircraft over the weekend will be fully reimbursed, the airline said Wednesday.
United spokesperson Maddie King said in a statement to Fox News the airline "will be providing full compensation for the price of their ticket for all passengers on United Flight 3411."
The news of the reimbursement came as two more airport police officers involved in the incident aboard the United Express flight at Chicago's O'Hare Airport have been placed on leave.
The announcement from the city's Aviation Department came two days after another officer involved in the Sunday night confrontation was put on leave. The department said it is continuing its investigation into the incident.
Attorneys representing the man who was dragged off the flight, Kentucky physician David Dao, and a member of the man's family are set to talk about the incident on Thursday.
In a news release, the attorneys said they plan to talk to the media and that they will be accompanied by a relative of Dao. No lawsuit has been filed, but the legal team has already taken a move in that direction by filing court papers asking that the airline and the city preserve evidence in the case.
Dao was on a full jet at O'Hare Airport that was scheduled to fly to Louisville, Kentucky, on Sunday night when he and three other passengers were ordered off to make room for some employees of a partner airline. The others did as they were told, but Dao refused and was yanked out of his seat and dragged off the plane by airport security.
Earlier on Wednesday, the chief executive of United Airlines said the carrier will no longer ask police to remove passengers from full flights after the uproar over the incident
In an interview with ABC's "Good Morning America" aired Wednesday, Oscar Munoz said he felt "ashamed" watching video of the man being forced off the jet. He has promised to review the airline's passenger-removal policy.
Munoz, who leads United's parent company, apologized again to Dao, his family and the other passengers who witnessed him being taken off the flight.
"That is not who our family at United is," he said. "This will never happen again on a United flight. That's my promise."
In the future, law enforcement will not be involved in removing a "booked, paid, seated passenger," Munoz said. "We can't do that."
Also Wednesday, a Chicago alderman said representatives from United and the city's Aviation Department have been summoned before a city council committee to answer questions about the confrontation at O'Hare Airport.
Alderman Mike Zalewski said he did not know who will represent the airline before the Aviation Committee, but Munoz has been notified of the hearing scheduled for Thursday.
Chicago Aviation Commissioner Ginger Evans will also speak.
Munoz called the embarrassment a "system failure" and said United would reassess its procedures for seeking volunteers to give up their seats when a flight is full. United was trying to find seats for four employees, meaning four passengers had to deplane.
It was at least Munoz's fourth statement about the confrontation.
After the video first emerged, he said the airline was reaching out to the man to "resolve this situation."
Hours later on Monday, his tone turned defensive. He described the man as "disruptive and belligerent."
By Tuesday afternoon, almost two days after the Sunday evening events, Munoz issued another apology.
"No one should ever be mistreated this way," Munoz said.
The U.S. Department of Transportation announced Tuesday that it was reviewing Sunday's events to see if United violated rules on overselling flights. The four top-ranking members of the Senate Commerce Committee asked the airline and Chicago airport officials for more information about what happened.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
War on Men
Janelle Mone: Women Should Consider Going on a Sex Strike
Tue, 11 Apr 2017 14:28
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Ministry of Truth
What's A Skoliosexual? | The Huffington Post
Thu, 13 Apr 2017 06:57
Miley Cyrus made headlines over the summer when she came out as pansexual, thereby introducing many people to a term that they may have heard before but don't entirely understand.
But pansexual is just one of many sexual and romantic identities that exist beyond more commonly known and discussed orientations like heterosexual, homosexual and bisexual. In fact, some people may not even know that a person can be romantically, as well as sexually, oriented. According to Asexuality.org, romantic attraction "is an emotional response that most people often feel that results in a desire for a romantic relationship with the person that the attraction is felt towards." The site notes that "many asexual people experience romantic attraction even though they do not feel sexual attraction" and though romantic and sexual orientations often "match," "it is common to find mixed combinations of romantic and sexual orientations" in the asexual community.
"A lot of people feel broken before they find a label and a community to go with it," Michael, a team member affiliated with the Asexual Visibility & Education Network (AVEN), which works to inform people about sexuality and identities which may fall under the asexuality umbrella. "Many asexual people feel they can't live up to the expectations of their friends, family and society, and are hugely relieved at finding out they're not alone," he added. "We hold that no-one can tell anyone else whom they are sexually attracted too, if any. Telling an asexual person they are not asexual is like telling a straight person they are gay or bi, or vice versa. Ultimately only the person in question is in a good position to know either way."
To help shed some more light on this subject matter, here are 12 terms related to sexual and romantic identities that are beginning to receive more attention in the media but that are still regularly absent or erased from conversations currently taking place in popular culture.
Digital Vision. via Getty Images
An asexual is ''someone who does not experience sexual attraction.'' Asexuality.org also notes, "Asexuals may regard other people as aesthetically attractive without feeling sexual attraction to them. Some asexual people also experience the desire of being affectionate to other people without it being sexual. If you do not experience sexual attraction, you might identify as asexual."Fuse via Getty Images
By Wunderfool via Getty Images
Jared, one man who identifies as graysexual, defines the term as a "magical place between asexual and someone who is sexual." The Frisky defines it as "something more fluid between sexuality and asexuality." Those who identify as graysexual might also identify as gay or straight or any other sexual identity inside or outside of the binary.Betsie Van Der Meer via Getty Images
Someone who identifies as demisexual doesn't typically feel sexual attraction unless they ''have already formed a strong emotional bond with the person.'' Asexualityarchive.com also notes that ''the bond may or may not be romantic in nature.''Caiaimage/Tom Merton via Getty Images
Similar to a demisexual, the individual doesn't feel romantic attraction ''unless they have already formed a strong emotional bond with the person.''Dougal Waters via Getty Images
According to asexuality.org, the term is described as ''a person who experiences romantic love but does not want their feelings to be reciprocated.'' The site also notes that lithromantic people ''may or may not be ok with romantic relationships.''DreamPictures via Getty Images
Dynamic Graphics via Getty Images
Asia Images via Getty Images
A person who is romantically -- but not sexually -- attracted to others regardless of sex or gender.Leren Lu via Getty Images
According to Genderqueerid.com, skoliosexual refers to ''sexual attraction to non-binary identified individuals" or those who do not identify as cisgender. The site also notes that ''this does not generally describe an attraction to specific genitalia or birth assignments but rather is an inclusive term.''Jupiterimages via Getty Images
Relationships that ''are not romantic in nature but they involve very close emotional connections that are often deeper or more intense than what is traditionally considered a friendship.''diego cervo via Getty Images
The name for a partner who is involved in a queerplatonic relationship, as in "he's my zucchini."
Also on The Huffington Post
Megan Fox
In a 2011 Esquire interview, Megan Fox confirmed her bisexuality, stating, "I think people are born bisexual and then make subconscious choices based on the pressures of society. I have no question in my mind about being bisexual. But I'm also a hypocrite: I would never date a girl who was bisexual, because that means they also sleep with men, and men are so dirty that I'd never want to sleep with a girl who had slept with a man."AP
Caitlyn Jenner underwent gender reassignment surgery | Daily Mail Online
Tue, 11 Apr 2017 14:31
Caitlyn Jenner reveals in her upcoming memoir that she underwent gender reassignment surgery in January of this year, almost two years after she revealed her decision to transition.
That reveal was the result of Jenner, 67, being annoyed by fans who were constantly asking about her genitals and whether or not she had kept the parts she was biologically born with or had surgery, she writes in 'The Secrets of My Life'.
'The surgery was a success, and I feel not only wonderful but liberated,' writes Jenner in her book according to Radar Online.
She also explains her decision had much to do with the discomfort that came with tucking away her penis.
Scroll down for video
Changes: Caitlyn Jenner writes in her new memoir that she underwent gender reassignment surgery in January of this year (Jenner left in November 2015, right at the 1976 Olympic games)
Big debut: A post-surgery Caitlyn hit the red carpet at Elton John's annual Oscar party with model Andreja Pejic in February (above) who has also undergone gender reassignment surgery
'So why even consider it? Because it's just a penis. It has no special gifts or use for me other than what I have said before, the ability to take a whiz in the woods,' writes Jenner.
'I just want to have all the right parts. I am also tired of tucking the damn thing in all the time.'
Jenner also writes about how good she felt after the surgery.
'I am going to live authentically for the first time in my life,' she writes of her thoughts after undergoing the procedure.
Jenner's memoir hits bookshelves on April 25
'I am going to have an enthusiasm for life that I have not had in 39 years since the Olympics, almost two thirds of my life.'
Jenner also writes to those curious minds who stop to ask her about her genital situation: 'You want to know, so now you know. Which is why this is the first time, and the last time, I will ever speak of it.'
News of Jenner's surgery will be perhaps the biggest surprise in her new memoir, which netted her a $4million advance and was written with the help of 'Friday Night Lights' author Buzz Bissinger.
It is due to hit bookshelves on April 25.
Male to female gender reassignment surgery is a far less costly and far more successful procedure than the female to male procedure.
In the surgery, the testicles and most of the penis are removed while the urethra is shortened.
The skin that had been surrounding the penis is then inverted and used to create a functioning vagina as well as a neoclitoris in some cases, which allows for sensation.
That is done by using a 'composite graft of the tip of the penile glans' according to NCBI.
The prostate meanwhile is not removed during the surgery, though it does shrink because of the hormones that are taken during the transition process.
There is then a long period of maintenance following the surgery, which requires between four and six weeks of recovery.
Patients spend at least three days in the hospital and two weeks doing no activity that is in any way strenuous.
The body initially treats the vaginoplasty like a wound, meaning that dilation must be performed by the patient so their vagina does not close up.
This is done in most cases with a dildo or dilator, and for the first three weeks must be done three to four times a day for 15 minutes each time.
MALE TO FEMALE REASSIGNMENTMale to female gender reassignment surgery is a far less costly and far more successful procedure than the female to male procedure.
In the surgery, the testicles and most of the penis are removed while the urethra is shortened.
The skin of the penis is then inverted and used to create a vagina.
In some procedures a neoclitoris is also created with that skin from the tip of the penile glans which allows for sensation.
The prostate meanwhile is not removed during the surgery, though it does shrink because of the hormones that are taken during the transition process.
After the surgery, patients spent three days in the hospital and must not do any strenuous activities for two weeks.
Initial recovery time is between four and six weeks for most patients, and after 12 weeks the patient is fully recovered.
Dilation must be performed by the patient multiple times a day for at least 12 weeks after the surgery for 15 minutes at a time, and at least once a week after that for the rest of their life.
Some doctors recommend daily dilation for life with the largest dilator or dildo the patient can comfortably fit into their new vagina.
At 12 weeks, the patient can have sex again and in most cases those who have had the surgery report that they are able to experience orgasms.
The procedure can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $100,000, with the average US surgery cost $20,000.
Bleeding, swelling and vaginal discharge are among the common side effects after surgery.
Daily dilation ends after week 12 in some cases, but after that the new organ must be dilated at least once a week for the remained of the patient's life.
Other doctors recommend daily dilation for the rest of the patient's life, using the largest dilator they can comfortably fit in their vagina.
The procedure can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $100,000, which is one of the reasons many of the estimated 700,000 transgender persons living in the United States cannot afford the surgery.
The average cost is somewhere around $20,000 in the United States.
Studies have found few negative side effects and many psychological benefits for transgender patients after they have undergone the procedure.
The most common side effects are bleeding and swelling from the surgery as well as vaginal discharge.
This is one in a list of procedures Jenner has undergone during her transition, along with breast augmentation and facial feminization surgery.
The facial surgery Jenner had done, during which her brow was lifted and her jawbone shaved, cost approximately $70,000 and took 10 hours to complete.
Jenner also had a tracheal shave in late 2014, after which he was photographed by the paparazzi as he left the clinic.
Jenner publicly revealed she had transitioned in a 20/20 interview back in April of 2015 with Diane Sawyer, telling the veteran newscaster: 'For all intents and purposes, I am a woman.'
She went on to say in that interview: 'My brain is much more female than it is male. That's what my soul is. Bruce lives a lie. She is not a lie. I can't do it anymore.'
That June, Jenner appeared on the cover of 'Vanity Fair' wearing a white satin bustier with the words: 'I Am Caitlyn.'
She said in the accompanying interview that shooting the cover of the magazine was better than winning an Olympic gold medal.
'The last few days of doing this shoot was about my life and who I am as a person,' said Caitlyn.
'It's not about the fanfare, it's not about the people cheering in the stadium, its not about going down the street getting an ''Atta boy Bruce" pat on the back, okay, this is about your life.
'Soon as the Vanity Fair cover comes out, I'm free.'
Later that day Jenner created a Twitter account, writing in her first tweet; 'I'm so happy after such a long struggle to be living my true self. Welcome to the world Caitlyn. Can't wait for you to get to know her/me.'
While she was away: Jenner kept a remarkably low profile around the time she underwent the procedure, and explained her absence on Instagram by saying that she had been busy singing books (above) from the New Year to Martin Luther King Day
Family matters: Jenner (above with daughters Kendall and Kylie on Thanksgiving) also underwent facial feminization surgery in 2015
Jenner has previously refused to answer questions about her genitalia in interviews - including Sports Illustrated in 2016
It was also announced in June of 2015 that Jenner would begin appearing in the E! reality show I Am Cait, which debuted one month later in July and was recently cancelled after two seasons.
And that busy summer was capped of with her official name and gender change in September.
Jenner has refused to comment on whether or not she underwent gender reassignment surgery multiple times in the past, most recently when appearing on the cover of 'Sports Illustrated' last June.
'It's nobody's business whether I want to do that to my body,' said Jenner, who posed on the cover with her Gold medal from the 1976 Games.
She also spoke in that interview about how the decathlon was a distraction at the time from her feelings that she was in fact a woman trapped inside the wrong body, and once again speaks about this in her interview.
'For those two days in July of 1976, I was the best in the world at what I did,' says Jenner.
'On the other hand, the decathlon was my best friend, and that was over. I lost my beard.'
At that point Jenner - who was 26 when she won her medal - said she had known for years that there was something female inside of her, she just did not know how to deal with it at the time.
She also makes a point of stating that she never once tried to suppress how she felt inside, but rather found something else to focus on to take her mind off of things.
'Little Caitlyn has been in there since I was this big,' says Jenner at one point in the interview, raising her hand just a few feet off the ground.
'Sometimes she raised her cute little head more than others. I was female inside, but I wasn't an effeminate male. So I could hide easily in the male world.
'My life was distraction after distraction after distraction. Being a macho male was a way for me to try to convince myself that the woman living inside of me really isn't living inside me.'
Getting started: The testicles and penis are removed during the early stages of male to female gender reassignment surgery (left before being cut, right after the testicles and penis have been removed)
Next up: The urethra is then shortened on the male while a 'composite graft of the tip of the penile glans' is used to make a neoclitoris
Finishing up: The procedure can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $100,000 (functioning vagina above)
Jenner said in the Sports Illustrated film Jenner: 40 Years After Gold: 'I had proved myself as a man. And I still had this person living inside me that I had never, ever really dealt with.'
Jenner joked about her life now at one point when pointing out the she has won an Olympic gold medal in the men's decathlon and a Glamour Woman of the Year award.
'This has got to be the greatest double of all time, right? It will never be matched,' says Jenner.
The interview also reminds readers just how impressive Jenner's record-breaking feat was at the 1976 Olympics, noting that her numbers who have qualified her for a spot on the current Olympic team, an unheard of feat in the sports world.
To get in that shape required years of hard work and training, and as a result gave Jenner the body of an Adonis, something she did not care for at all at the time.
'It disgusted me. I was big and thick and masculine. The rest of the world thought it was this Greek god kind of body. I hated it,' says Jenner.
'But it's what I was given, so I just tried to do the best I could with it.'
This feeling of disgust Jenner had with her body is one of the reasons she began considering plastic surgery at such a young age she explains, wanting to have procedures done almost immediately after the Olympic Games.
'I was always considering plastic surgery,' says Jenner.
'When you're gender dysphoric, you're constantly looking at yourself and seeing things that don't look right.'
LONG GAME-Report: Caitlyn Jenner Feels 'Liberated' after Sex Reassignment Surgery
Thu, 13 Apr 2017 07:11
According to excerpts published by Radar Online, the 67-year-old Jenner went under the knife for a ''final surgery'' in January of this year, just over two years after coming out as transgender in a blockbuster interview with Diane Sawyer in 2015.
''The surgery was a success, and I feel not only wonderful but liberated,'' Jenner reportedly writes in Secrets of My Life, a book of memoirs due out April 25.
''I am telling you because I believe in candor,'' Jenner reportedly writes in the book. ''So all of you can stop staring. You want to know, so now you know. Which is why this is the first time, and the last time, I will ever speak of it.''
In April 2015, Jenner '-- who earned a gold medal in the decathlon at the 1976 Olympic games in Montreal '-- told Diane Sawyer in a 20/20 interview that he had always been confused about his gender identity.
''I am a woman,'' Jenner said at the time. ''It's not like I've been dressing up like a woman, it's like I've spent my whole life dressing like a man.''
Following the reveal, Jenner appeared on the cover of Vanity Fair, was named Glamour magazine's ''Woman of the Year'' and was awarded the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2015 ESPY Awards. Jenner also starred in the reality series I Am Cait, which ran for two seasons on E!.
In the upcoming memoir, Jenner reportedly writes that the decision to go under the knife was ''complex,'' but ultimately, ''it's just a penis.''
''I just want to have all the right parts,'' Jenner reportedly writes. ''I am also tired of tucking the damn thing in all the time.''
Jenner still appears regularly on the E! series Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Secrets of My Life is due out April 25.
Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum
Swedish Newspaper Suggests Banning Cars To Stop Terror
Wed, 12 Apr 2017 15:34
Swedish Newspaper Suggests Banning Cars To Stop Terror
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Social Media Attention Deficit Disorder
'Irresistible' By Design: It's No Accident You Can't Stop Looking At The Screen : All Tech Considered : NPR
Tue, 11 Apr 2017 16:46
Could smartphones and other screens be decreasing the human attention span? Author Adam Alter thinks so.
"Ten years ago, before the iPad and iPhone were mainstream, the average person had an attention span of about 12 seconds," Alter tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies. Now, he says, "research suggests that there's been a drop from 12 to eight seconds ... shorter than the attention of the average goldfish, which is nine seconds."
Alter links our diminished attention spans to the "mainstream adoption of screens." His new book, Irresistible, explores the consequences of living in an increasingly computerized world.
Alter says that technology is designed to be addictive and that the gratification it provides is similar to that of other addictive behaviors, such as drug abuse or gambling.
"If I'm addicted to, say, World of Warcraft, the minute I start firing up the game ... my brain will look [in a scan] very much like the brain of someone who's addicted to heroin and is preparing the next hit," he says. "During the act of playing the game ... my brain will look very much like that person's brain will look as they're taking heroin, or the brain of someone who is addicted to gambling, as they sit in front of a slot machine and play the game."
Interview HighlightsOn how World of Warcraft game designers make it to be more addictive
One hundred million, roughly, have played the game, and by many measures, about half of them have developed an addiction, at least temporarily. So that to me suggests that it's a weaponized game; it's an experience that's very, very hard to resist.
Part of the reason for that is, I think, that these large game companies have access to an incredible trove of data. So one thing that a lot of the designers do is they'll release different versions of missions ... to different people, sort of A/B test these different missions. They'll look at how long you play, whether you return to the game, and generally how engaged you are. They generally call this "time on device," which is a term that's borrowed from the gambling world '-- how long are you on the slot machine.
What they'll find is, for example, when you have to save [rescue] something, you spend more time playing than say, when you have to kill or find something. So what they'll do is they'll take the missions that aren't as successful and they'll cast them aside, and now they'll form three new versions of saving missions. ... They'll continue that process through generation after generation after generation. So what you're left with after, say, 20 generations is this weaponized evolved version of the game, or a weaponized evolved mission, that is maximally addictive.
On an extreme case of World of Warcraft addiction
There was a person I spoke to, he was a straight-A student, he was very high-achieving, and he was also on the football team at his college. He started playing World of Warcraft because he, as he described it, was quite lonely and he found that there were a lot of other like-minded people on the game.
He developed an addiction pretty quickly because he found that it was basically a much better alternative world to the real one, and he spent a lot of time there. ... He played instead of sleeping, and his greatest binge was a 45-day binge where he played almost continuously. He paid a doorman in the building to bring up pizza, so by the end of this binge there were stacks of pizza boxes to the ceiling. He put on about 40 pounds of fat. His skin was pale. He lost hair. He ignored hundreds of phone calls.
He eventually picked up a phone call 45 days later after sleeping roughly an hour each night. It happened to be his mother and she came, collected him, and took him to reSTART, this Internet addiction treatment center. He's now thriving, he's doing very well, but he had to go through multiple rounds of treatment.
Adam Alter's previous book is Drunk Tank Pink.John Fitzgerald/ Penguin Group USAhide caption
toggle captionJohn Fitzgerald/ Penguin Group USA Adam Alter's previous book is Drunk Tank Pink.
John Fitzgerald/ Penguin Group USA On the idea that tech designers should have an oath similar to the Hippocraticoaththat doctors take, pledging not toharm theirpatients
Google, for example, had for a while a person on board known as a "design ethicist." Now, you don't have a design ethicist on board unless you're concerned about the ethics of the products you're creating. This person, named Tristan Harris, worked at Google for a while and eventually there was a sense that perhaps they weren't responsive enough to some of his concerns. ...
The suggestion there that you need an ethicist, it suggests at least to me that they're concerned about the addictiveness of the products. In fact, Tristan himself has written about that, and that's exactly what he says. He suggests that there should be, in the design world, a Hippocratic oath '-- just as in medicine doctors should "do no harm," he believes the same should be true of designers of these kinds of platforms; that people who design tech, people who design social media platforms, should be forced to obey the same rules '-- do no harm.
On how virtual reality is the next big thing to become mainstream
Virtual reality is basically when you put on goggles and you inhabit a virtual world that feels like it's real. You can move around in that world, you can interact with other things in that world, you basically are living in that world for all intents and purposes, and your brain often can't distinguish.
There's amazing footage of people doing all sorts of things when they're in the virtual reality world. They will walk into walls, not realizing the walls are there. They will not walk forward if in the virtual world there's a cliff, even though they know, they know they're in a world where they're safe '-- the real world. ...
If you talk to experts in the industry they'll say something like, say, between two and four years from now just as most of us own smartphones, we will pretty much all own these virtual reality goggles. ... What that will mean is that at any moment in time you'll have a device that will allow you to escape the imperfect real world, and you'll be able to go to a perfect virtual world. ... You can be where you are right now, or you can go to a beach in Greece, which might sound more appealing. You can be where you are right now, or you can interact with a beautiful person. You can be where you are now, or you can go traveling. You can do basically whatever it is you want to do, so it's hard to imagine people will want to inhabit the real world, when there's this perfect virtual world right there ready for the taking.
War on Food
Grains piled on runways, parking lots, fields amid global glut | Reuters
Wed, 12 Apr 2017 04:09
By P.J. Huffstutter and Karl Plume
CHICAGO Iowa farmer Karl Fox is drowning in corn.
Reluctant to sell his harvest at today's rock-bottom prices, he has stuffed storage bins at his property full and left more corn piled on the ground, covered with a tarp.
He would rather risk potential crop damage from the elements than pay the exorbitant cost of storage elsewhere.
"That's how poor people do it," said Fox, who has been farming for 28 years. "You do what you have to do."
Farmers face similar problems across the globe. World stockpiles of corn and wheat are at record highs. From Iowa to China, years of bumper crops and low prices have overwhelmed storage capacity for basic foodstuffs.
Global stocks of corn, wheat, rice and soybeans combined will hit a record 671.1 million tonnes going into the next harvest - the third straight year of historically high surplus, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). That's enough to cover demand from China for about a year.
In the United States, farmers facing a fourth straight year of declining incomes and rising debts are hanging on to grain in the hope of higher prices later. They may be waiting a long time: Market fundamentals appear to be weakening as the world's top grain producers ponder what to do with so much food.
The persistent glut is a striking contrast from the panic a decade ago, when severe droughts in Russia and the United States sent prices soaring. The shrinking supply forced big importers such as China to enact policies to encourage more domestic production and increase the volume of storage to improve food security.
China abandoned that policy last year and is now selling off hundreds of millions of tonnes of old stocks.
Russia, too, is looking at exporting from state-held stockpiles, with storage stuffed after a record harvest in 2016.
A surge of Chinese and Russian exports would put even more downward pressure on prices in an oversupplied global market.
That means U.S. farmers will likely be producing more grain for less money. The USDA forecasts net farm income will fall 8.7 percent this year to $62.3 billion - the lowest level since 2009.
In farms across Iowa, corn bulges in plastic tubes that snake across the fields.
The grain-stuffed silo bags are taller than a man, often longer than a soccer field and look like monstrous white caterpillars.
On the other side of the globe in Australia, demand for the storage bags has exploded after farmers produced record crops of wheat and barley.
They are laying across fields in Argentina, too. There, wheat production spiked 41.6 percent this year over the 2015/16 season, according to the most recent USDA data.
There are risks to using the bags, however, as wild animals ranging from rodents to armadillos and even donkeys can be tempted to break in for the grain, said Mariano Bosch, the head of Adecoagro SA (AGRO.K ), which farms more than 225,000 hectares of row crops in Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay.
When the company expanded its grain plantings in northern Argentina, he said, they started building electrified fences around their silo bags to keep out cougars and pumas.
"They won't eat the grain. They're just curious," said Bosch, who added that about 40 percent of the company's grain this year is stored in silo bags.
In neighboring Brazil, the world's largest soybean shipper and the second-largest exporter of corn, towering grain silos have sprung up all across the country.
Storing grain gives farmers more control over when and how they sell, to avoid low harvest-time prices and to best take advantage of spikes in futures or currency swings.
But with storage running short - and a mountain of grain to move ahead of summer or early autumn harvests - that control is slipping away.
Farmers with mounting bills, tight cash-flow and nowhere to store crops may have to sell them - even if it means taking a loss.
In Goodland, Kansas, where the next wheat harvest begins in late June, farmers holding grain in silos are facing cash wheat prices of about $3.15 a bushel and cash corn prices of $2.90 a bushel - both well below production costs of at least $4 a bushel. CORNSCUGDL-C1 WHRWFAGGDL-C1
Permanent storage in the United States can handle about 24.3 billion bushels - well short of the 25.9 billion bushels of wheat, soybeans and feed grains the USDA said was piled up by the end of last autumn's harvest.
The overflow in the United States has prompted a rush for temporary storage. The USDA has approved permits for more than 1.2 billion bushels of temporary and emergency grain storage - such as tarp-covered piles and open-air mounds. That's a record amount, according to the USDA.
In Kansas, some grain owners are renting airport tarmacs from decommissioned military bases, empty farm fields and parking lots to stash their corn as the situation becomes acute, according to farmers and local, state and federal officials.
Meanwhile, there are no signs of a slowdown in grain production.
The USDA already expects 2016/17 global harvests to be the highest since its records started in 1960/61 at 340.79 million tonnes of soybeans, 1.049 billion tonnes of corn and 751.07 million tonnes of wheat.
"Nobody is going to cut back," said Fox, the Iowa farmer.
With spring planting coming up, he is scouting for more storage space for this year's harvest.
"I have a note at the bank to pay off," he said. "I can't do less."
(Additional reporting by Tom Polansek and Mark Weinraub in Chicago, Hugh Bronstein in Buenos Aires, Gustavo Bonato in Sao Paulo, Rajendra Jadhav in Mumbai, Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Polina Devitt in Moscow; Editing by Simon Webb and Brian Thevenot)
EU to Defiant Nations: Accept Muslim Migrants or Else >> Alex Jones' Infowars: There's a war on for your mind!
Thu, 13 Apr 2017 06:38
The European Union Commission has threatened to take defiant EU member states like Hungary and Poland to court if they continue to defy their migrant relocation policy.
Hungary and Poland have so far refused to take part in the EU's scheme to move 160,000 migrants from Italy to Greece '' the main entry points '' to elsewhere in the EU.
''If member states do not increase their relocations soon, the Commission will not hesitate to make use of its powers for those which have not complied,'' stated a Commission spokesman.
Hungary has filed its own lawsuit against the migrant relocation policy and a hearing at the European Court of Justice is due next month.
The Commission's legal threats apply especially to Hungary due to an emerging bill that could shut down a Budapest university founded by globalist billionaire George Soros as part of a wider crackdown of groups he started in Europe.
''Taken cumulatively, the overall situation in Hungary is cause for concern,'' First Vice President Frans Timmermans said at a news conference, adding that the Soros-backed Central European University (CEU) was a ''pearl'' that must be protected.
The EU has ''resolved to use all the instruments at our disposal under the Treaties to uphold the values on which our Union is grounded,'' Timmermans said. ''The vision of an open society, of a diverse society is under threat.''
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's pushback against the EU's dictates has ironically earned him the greeting of ''Hello Dictator!'' from the unelected EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, reports Reuters.
The EU has threatened member states before, with several policy chiefs saying that the bloc could fine them '‚¬250,000 for every migrant they refuse to accept.
The EU's foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has made it clear that the bloc has no intention of sealing the borders to reduce the overflow of Muslim migrants.
''Let me be totally clear from the very beginning: Europe does not and will not close its doors,'' she said.
Battle of Vienna - Wikipedia
Thu, 13 Apr 2017 06:35
Battle of ViennaPart of the Great Turkish War, the Ottoman''Habsburg wars, and the Polish''Ottoman WarBattle of Vienna, 12 September 1683
Date12 September 1683[1]LocationVienna, Holy Roman Empire (modern day Austria) ResultDecisive Christian Coalition victory[1]
Siege of Vienna liftedOttomans suffer heavy losses and are severely weakenedCoalition of Christians establishes Holy League under Pope Innocent XI to further push back the OttomansTerritorialchanges
Ottomans fail to take Vienna, Coalition (later the Holy League) forces invade territories in Hungary and the Balkans under Ottoman ruleBelligerentsPolish''Lithuanian Commonwealth
Holy Roman Empire
Habsburg Hungary
Republic of Venice Ottoman Empire
Vassal states:
Commanders and leadersJohn III Sobieski
(Supreme Commander of the Christian Coalition army)
Hetman Jabłonowski
Hetman Sieniawski
Count Marcin Kątski
(Relief Force)
Ernst R¼diger von Starhemberg
Charles of Lorraine
John George III of Saxony
Georg Friedrich of Waldeck
Julius Francis, Duke of Saxe-Lauenburg
Maximilian II Emanuel of Bavaria
Eugene of Savoy
Livio Odescalchi
Antonio Caraffa Grand VizierKara Mustafa Pasha
Kara Mehmed of Diyarbakir
Ibrahim of Buda
Abaza Sari H¼seyin
Pasha of Karahisar
Murad GirayStrengthViennese garrison:
11,000 soldiers[2] + 5,000 volunteers[2]
312 guns but only 141 operational[2]
(strength on 10 September 1683)
Relief force:
47,000 Germans & Austrians with some 112 guns[3]
27,000 Poles with 28 guns[4]
90,000 but some left behind to guard bridges near Tulln and camps. + 2,000 Imperial cavalry (not included above) left behind the Danube.[5]
[Note 1] '' alternative estimates140,000 as of 10 September 1683,[10] down from 170,000 at the start of the campaign, according to documents on the order of battle found in Kara Mustafa's tent.[11]
[Note 2] '' alternative estimates
Approximately 150 guns[7]
Casualties and lossesCasualties during battle: 4,500,[16]:661
3,500 dead or wounded (1,300 Poles)[17]
Casualties during siege: 12,000[7]Dead during battle: 8,000''15,000,[16]:661
Captured: 5,000[16]:661
The Battle of Vienna (German: Schlacht am Kahlen Berge or Kahlenberg; Polish: bitwa pod Wiedniem or odsiecz wiedeÅska (The Relief of Vienna); Modern Turkish: Ä°kinci Viyana Kuşatması, Ottoman Turkish: Be§ ḲalÊası Muḥāṣarası) took place at Kahlenberg Mountain near Vienna on 12 September 1683[1] after the imperial city had been besieged by the Ottoman Empire for two months. The battle was fought by the Habsburg Monarchy, the Polish''Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Holy Roman Empire, under the command of King John III Sobieski against the invading MuslimOttoman Empire and its vassal and tributary states. The battle marked the first time the Commonwealth and the Holy Roman Empire had cooperated militarily against the Ottomans, and it is often seen as a turning point in history, after which "the Ottoman Turks ceased to be a menace to the Christian world".[18] In the ensuing war that lasted until 1699, the Ottomans lost almost all of Hungary to the Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I.[18]
The battle was won by the combined forces of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nations and the Polish''Lithuanian Commonwealth, the latter represented only by the forces of the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland (the march of the Lithuanian army was delayed, and they reached Vienna after it had been relieved).[19] The Viennese garrison was led by Ernst R¼diger Graf von Starhemberg, an Austrian subject of Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I. The overall command was held by the senior leader, the King of Poland, John III Sobieski, who led the relief forces.
The opposing military forces were those of the Ottoman Empire and Ottoman fiefdoms commanded by Grand VizierMerzifonlu Kara Mustafa Pasha. The Ottoman army numbered approximately 90,000[7]''300,000[12][13][14][15][better source needed ] men (according to documents on the order of battle found in Kara Mustafa's tent, initial strength at the start of the campaign was 170,000 men[11]). They began the siege on 14 July 1683. The Ottoman forces consisted, among other units, of 60 ortas of Janissaries (12,000 men paper-strength) with an observation army of c. 70,000[20] men watching the countryside. The decisive battle took place on 12 September, after the united relief army had arrived.
Historians suggest the battle marked the turning point in the Ottoman''Habsburg wars, a 300-year struggle between the Holy Roman and Ottoman Empires. In fact, during the 16 years following the battle, the Austrian Habsburgs gradually recovered and dominated southern Hungary and Transylvania, which had been largely cleared of Ottoman forces. The battle is also noted for including the largest known cavalry charge in history.
Capturing the city of Vienna had long been a strategic aspiration of the Ottoman Empire, because of its interlocking control over Danubian (Black Sea to Western Europe) southern Europe and the overland (Eastern Mediterranean to Germany) trade routes. During the years preceding this second siege (the first had taken place in 1529) under the auspices of grand viziers from the influential K¶pr¼l¼ family, the Ottoman Empire undertook extensive logistical preparations, including the repair and establishment of roads and bridges leading into the Holy Roman Empire and its logistical centers, as well as the forwarding of ammunition, cannon and other resources from all over the Ottoman Empire to these centers and into the Balkans. Since 1679 the plague had been raging in Vienna.[21]
The Ottoman Empire in 1683On the political front, the Ottoman Empire had been providing military assistance to the Hungarians and to non-Catholic minorities in Habsburg-occupied portions of Hungary. There, in the years preceding the siege, widespread unrest had become open rebellion against Leopold I's pursuit of Counter-Reformation principles and his desire to crush Protestantism. In 1681 Protestants and other anti-Habsburg Kuruc forces, led by Imre Th¶k¶ly, were reinforced with a significant force from the Ottomans,[16]:657 who recognized Th¶k¶ly as King of "Upper Hungary" (the eastern part of today's Slovakia and parts of northeastern Hungary, which he had earlier taken by force from the Habsburgs). This support included explicitly promising the "Kingdom of Vienna" to the Hungarians if it fell into Ottoman hands.[22]:129 Yet before the siege, a state of peace had existed for 20 years between the Holy Roman Empire and the Ottoman Empire as a result of the Peace of Vasvr.
In 1681 and 1682 clashes between the forces of Imre Th¶k¶ly and the Holy Roman Empire (of which the border was then northern Hungary) intensified, and the incursions of Habsburg forces into central Hungary provided the crucial argument of Grand Vizier Kara Mustafa Pasha in convincing Sultan Mehmet IV and his Divan to allow the movement of the Ottoman army. Mehmet IV authorized Kara Mustafa Pasha to operate as far as Győr (the name during the Ottoman period was Yanıkkale, in GermanRaab) and Komrom (in TurkishKomaron, in GermanKomorn) Castles, both in northwestern Hungary, and to besiege them. The Ottoman army was mobilized on 21 January 1682 and war was declared on 6 August 1682.
The logistics of the time meant that it would have been risky or impossible to launch an invasion in August or September 1682 (a three-month campaign would have taken the Ottomans to Vienna just as winter set in). However, this 15-month gap between mobilization and the launch of a full-scale invasion allowed ample time for Vienna to prepare its defense and for Leopold to assemble troops from the Holy Roman Empire and set up an alliance with Poland, Venice and Pope Innocent XI. Undoubtedly this contributed to the failure of the Ottoman campaign. The decisive alliance of the Holy Roman Empire with Poland was concluded in the 1683 Treaty of Warsaw, in which Leopold promised support to Sobieski if the Ottomans attacked Krak"w; in return, the Polish Army would come to the relief of Vienna if it were attacked.[16]:656, 659
Kuruc anti-Habsburg rebels in HungaryOn 31 March 1683 another declaration, sent by Grand Vizier Merzifonlu Kara Mustafa Pasha on behalf of Mehmet IV, arrived at the Imperial Court in Vienna. On the next day the forward march of Ottoman army elements began from Edirne in Rumelia. Ottoman troops reached Belgrade by early May. They were joined by a Transylvanian army under Prince Mihaly Apafi and a Hungarian force under Imre Th¶k¶ly, laid siege to Győr and the remaining army of 150,000 moved toward the city of Vienna.[16]:660 About 40,000 Crimean Tatar troops arrived 40 kilometres (25 mi) east of Vienna on 7 July,[16]:660 twice as many as the Imperial troops in the area. Emperor Leopold fled Vienna for Passau with his court and 60,000 Viennese, while Charles V, Duke of Lorraine withdrew his force of 20,000 towards Linz.[16]:660 The main Ottoman army arrived at Vienna on 14 July, now only defended by Count Ernst R¼diger von Starhemberg's 15,000 men.[16]:660
The King of Poland, John III Sobieski, prepared a relief expedition to Vienna during the summer of 1683, so honoring his obligations to the treaty (he left his own nation virtually undefended when departing from Krak"w on 15 August). Sobieski covered this with a stern warning to Imre Th¶k¶ly, the leader of Upper Hungary, whom he threatened with destruction if he tried to take advantage of the situation'--which Th¶k¶ly in fact attempted. Jan Kazimierz Sapieha the Younger delayed the march of the Lithuanian army, devastating the Hungarian Highlands (now Slovakia) instead, and arrived in Vienna only after it had been relieved.[19]
Immediately, tensions rose between Poland and the various German states'--above all Austria'--over the relief of the city. Payment of troops' wages and supplies while marching was predominant among these. Sobieski demanded that he should not have to pay for his march to Vienna, since it was by his efforts that the city had been saved; nor could the Viennese neglect the other German troops who had marched. The Habsburg leadership hurriedly found as much money as possible to pay for these and arranged deals with the Polish to limit their costs.[23]
Events during the siege Edit The main Ottoman army finally laid siege to Vienna on 14 July. On the same day Kara Mustafa sent the traditional demand for surrender to the city.[24]
Ernst R¼diger Graf von Starhemberg, leader of the remaining 15,000 troops and 8,700 volunteers with 370 cannon, refused to capitulate. Only days before, he had received news of the mass slaughter at Perchtoldsdorf,[25] a town south of Vienna, where the citizens had handed over the keys of the city after having been given a similar choice. Siege operations started on 17 July.[16]:660
The Viennese had demolished many of the houses around the city walls and cleared the debris, leaving an empty plain that would expose the Ottomans to defensive fire if they tried to rush the city.[16]:660 Kara Mustafa Pasha solved that problem by ordering his forces to dig long lines of trenches directly toward the city, to help protect them from the defenders as they advanced steadily toward the city.
The Ottomans had 130 field guns and 19 medium-caliber cannon, insufficient in the face of the defenders' 370 cannon.[7]Mining tunnels were dug under the massive city walls to blow them up with substantial quantities of black powder.[16]:660 According to Andrew Wheatcroft, the outer palisade was around 150 years old and mostly rotten, so the defenders set to work knocking very large tree trunks into the ground to surround the walls. This seriously disrupted the Ottoman plan, adding almost another three weeks to the time to get past the old palisade.[26]
This, combined with the delay in advancing their army after declaring war, eventually allowed a relief force to arrive in September.[16]:660 Historians have speculated that Kara Mustafa wanted to take the city intact with its riches, and that he declined an all-out attack, not wishing to activate the right of plunder which would accompany an assault.[27]
The Ottomans before the walls of ViennaThe Ottoman siege cut virtually every means of food supply into Vienna.[28] Fatigue became so common that Graf Ernst R¼diger von Starhemberg ordered any soldier found asleep on watch to be shot. Increasingly desperate, the forces holding Vienna were on their last legs when, in August, Imperial forces under Charles V, Duke of Lorraine defeated Imre Th¶k¶ly of Hungary at Bisamberg, 5 km (3.1 mi) northwest of Vienna.
On 6 September the Poles under John III Sobieski crossed the Danube 30 km (19 mi) northwest of Vienna at Tulln, to unite with Imperial troops and the additional forces from Saxony, Bavaria, Baden, Franconia and Swabia. Louis XIV of France declined to help his Habsburg rival, having just annexed Alsace.
An alliance between Sobieski and Emperor Leopold I resulted in the addition of the Polish hussars to the already existing allied army. The command of the forces of European allies was entrusted to the Polish king, who had under his command 70,000-80,000 soldiers facing an Ottoman army of 150,000.[16]:661 Sobieski's courage and remarkable aptitude for command were already known in Europe.
The Ottoman siege of ViennaDuring early September the experienced 5,000 Ottoman sappers had repeatedly blown up large portions of the walls between the Burg bastion, the L¶bel bastion and the Burg ravelin, creating gaps of about 12m in width. The Viennese tried to counter this by digging their own tunnels to intercept the depositing of large amounts of gunpowder in subterranean caverns. The Ottomans finally managed to occupy the Burg ravelin and the low wall in that area on 8 September. Anticipating a breach in the city walls, the remaining Viennese prepared to fight in the inner city.
The relief of Vienna on 12 September 1683The relief army had to act quickly to save the city and prevent another long siege. Despite the binational composition of the army and the short space of only six days, an effective leadership structure was established, centered on the King of Poland and his heavy cavalry (Polish Hussars). The Holy League settled the issues of payment by using all available funds from the government, loans from several wealthy bankers and noblemen and large sums of money from the Pope.[23] Also, the Habsburgs and Poles agreed that the Polish government would pay for its own troops while still in Poland, but that they would be paid by the Emperor once they had crossed into imperial territory. However, the Emperor had to recognize Sobieski's claim to first rights of plunder of the enemy camp in the event of a victory.[23]
Kara Mustafa Pasha was less effective at ensuring his forces' motivation and loyalty, and preparing for the expected relief-army attack. He had entrusted defense of the rear to the Khan of Crimea and his cavalry force, which numbered between 30,000''40,000. There is doubt as to how much the Tatars participated in the final battle before Vienna. Their Khan refused to attack the relief force as it crossed the Danube on pontoon bridges and refused to attack as they emerged from the Wienerwald.[22]:151, 161 The Ottomans also could not rely on their Wallachian and Moldavian allies. George Ducas, Prince of Moldavia, was captured, while Èerban Cantacuzino's forces joined the retreat after Sobieski's cavalry charge.[22]:163
The confederated troops signaled their arrival on the Kahlenberg above Vienna with bonfires. Before the battle a Mass was celebrated, said by Marco d'Aviano, the religious adviser of Emperor Leopold I.
The battle started before all units were fully deployed. At 4:00 am on 12 September 1683, the Ottomans attacked, seeking to interfere with the deployment of the Holy League troops.[16]:661 The Germans were the first to strike. Charles of Lorraine moved forward with the Imperial army on the left and the other Holy Roman Imperial forces in the center and, after heavy fighting and multiple Ottoman counterattacks, took several key positions, especially the fortified villages of Nussdorf and Heiligenstadt. By noon the Imperial army had already severely mauled the Ottomans and come close to breakthrough.[29] Though shattered, the Ottoman army did not crumble at that moment.[30]
Mustafa Pasha launched his counterattacks with most of his force, but held back some of the elite Janissary and Sipahi units for a simultaneous assault on the city. The Ottoman commanders had intended to take Vienna before Sobieski arrived, but time ran out. Their sappers had prepared a large, final detonation under the L¶belbastei[31] to breach the walls. In total, ten mines were set to explode but they were located by the defenders and disarmed.[22]:169
In the early afternoon a large battle started on the other side of the battlefield as the Polish infantry advanced on the Ottoman right flank. Instead of concentrating on the battle with the relief army, the Ottomans continued their efforts to force their way into the city.[22]:152 Hence, the Poles could make good progress, and by 4:00 pm they had taken the village of Gersthof, which would serve as a base for their massive cavalry charge.[9] The Ottomans were in a desperate position, between the Polish and Imperial forces. Charles of Lorraine and John III Sobieski both decided on their own to resume the offensive and finish off the enemy.[30]
The imperials resumed the offensive on the left front at 3:30 pm. At first they encountered fierce resistance and were stopped. This did not last long, however, and by 5:00 pm they had made further gains and taken the villages of Unterd¶bling and Oberd¶bling. They were now very close to the central Ottoman position (the "T¼rkenschanze").[30] As they were preparing to storm it, they could see the Polish cavalry in action.
It is recorded that the Polish cavalry slowly emerged from the forest to the cheers of the onlooking infantry, who had been anticipating their arrival. At 4:00 pm the Polish hussars first entered into action, battering the Ottoman lines and approaching the T¼rkenschanze, which was now threatened from three sides (the Poles from the west, the Saxons and the Bavarians from the northwest and the Austrians from the north). At that point the Ottoman vizier decided to leave this position and retreat to his headquarters in the main camp further south. However, by then many Ottomans were already leaving the battlefield.[9]
Battle of Vienna, painting by Pauwel CasteelsThe allies were now ready for the last blow. At around 6:00 pm the Polish king ordered the cavalry attack in four groups, three Polish and one from the Holy Roman Empire. Eighteen thousand horsemen charged down the hills, one of the largest cavalry charges in history.[22]:152John III Sobieski led the charge[16]:661 at the head of 3,000 Polish heavy lancers, the famed "Winged Hussars". The Lipka Tatars who fought on the Polish side wore a sprig of straw in their helmets to distinguish themselves from the Tatars fighting on the Ottoman side. The charge easily broke the lines of the Ottomans, who were exhausted and demoralized and soon started to flee the battlefield. The cavalry headed straight for the Ottoman camps and Kara Mustafa's headquarters, while the remaining Viennese garrison sallied out of its defenses to join in the assault.[16]:661
Polish soldiers 1674-1696The Ottoman troops were tired and dispirited following the failure of both the attempt at sapping and the assault on the city and the advance of the Holy League infantry on the T¼rkenschanze.[16]:661 The cavalry charge was one last deadly blow. Less than three hours after the cavalry attack, the Christian forces had won the battle and saved Vienna. The first Christian officer who entered Vienna was Margrave Ludwig of Baden, at the head of his dragoons.[9] Afterwards Sobieski paraphrased Julius Caesar's famous quotation (Veni, vidi, vici) by saying "Veni, vidi, Deus vicit"--"I came, I saw, God conquered".[16]:661
Chasuble sewn with Ottoman tents captured by the Polish Army in Vienna 1683Contemporary Ottoman historian, Silahdar Findiklili Mehmed Agha (1658-1723), described the battle as an enormous defeat and failure for the Empire, the most disastrous one to have taken place since the foundation of the Ottoman statehood (in 1299).[32] The Ottomans lost at least 20,000 men during the siege,[citation needed ] while their losses during the battle with Sobieski's forces amounted to around 15,000 dead (according to Podhorodecki)[17] or to 8,000-15,000 dead and 5,000 captured (according to Tucker).[16]:661 Casualties of the allied relief force under Sobieski's command were much smaller, amounting to approximately 3,500 dead and wounded, including 1,300 Poles.[17] Tucker's estimate is slightly higher'--4,500.[16]:661 The Viennese garrison and the civilian populace lost, due to all causes, about half of their initial number during the siege.[7]
The Holy League troops and the Viennese took a large amount of loot from the Ottoman army, which King John Sobieski vividly described in a letter to his wife a few days after the battle:
Ours are treasures unheard of . . . tents, sheep, cattle and no small number of camels . . . it is victory as nobody ever knew before, the enemy now completely ruined, everything lost for them. They must run for their sheer lives . . . General Starhemberg hugged and kissed me and called me his saviour.[33]
Return from Vienna by J"zef Brandt, Polish army returning with loot of the Ottoman forcesStarhemberg immediately ordered the repair of Vienna's severely damaged fortifications to guard against a possible Ottoman counterstrike. However, this proved unnecessary.
Soon the Ottomans disposed of their defeated commander. On 25 December 1683, Kara Mustafa Pasha was executed in Belgrade in the approved manner, by strangulation with a silk rope pulled by several men on each end, by order of the commander of the Janissaries.
Despite the victory of the Christian allies, there was still tension among the various commanders and their armies. For example, Sobieski demanded that Polish troops be allowed to have first choice of the spoils of the Ottoman camp. German and Austrian troops were left with smaller portions of the loot.[34] Also, the Protestant Saxons, who had arrived to relieve the city, were apparently subjected to verbal abuse by the Catholic populace of the Viennese countryside. The Saxons left the battle immediately, without partaking in the sharing of spoils, and refused to continue pursuit.[34]
Sobieski went on to liberate Grau and northwestern Hungary after the Battle of Parkany, but dysentery halted his pursuit of the Ottomans.[16]:662 Charles V took Belgrade and most of Serbia in 1686 and established Habsburg control over southern Hungary and most of Transylvania in 1687.[16]:663''664
The victory at Vienna set the stage for the reconquering of Hungary and (temporarily) some of the Balkan lands in the following years by Louis of Baden, Maximilian Emmanuel of Bavaria and Prince Eugene of Savoy. The Ottomans fought on for another 16 years, losing control of Hungary and Transylvania in the process before finally desisting. The Holy Roman Empire signed the Treaty of Karlowitz with the Ottoman Empire in 1699. The battle marked the historic end of the expansion of the Ottoman Empire into Europe.
Sobieski Sending Message of Victory to the Pope, by Jan MatejkoThe actions of Louis XIV of France furthered French''German enmity; in the following month, the War of the Reunions broke out in the western part of the weakened Holy Roman Empire.
Astronomical legacy Edit After the battle of Vienna, the newly identified constellationScutum (Latin for shield) was originally named Scutum Sobiescianum by the astronomer Johannes Hevelius, in honour of King John III Sobieski.[35] While there are some stars named after non-astronomers, this is the only constellation that was originally named after a real non-astronomer who was still alive when the constellation was named, and the name of which is still in use (three other constellations, satisfying the same requirements, never gained enough popularity to last).
Religious significance Edit Because Sobieski had entrusted his kingdom to the protection of the Blessed Virgin (Our Lady of CzÄstochowa) before the battle, Pope Innocent XI commemorated his victory by extending the feast of the Holy Name of Mary, which until then had been celebrated solely in Spain and the Kingdom of Naples, to the entire Church; it used to be celebrated on the Sunday within the Octave of the Nativity of Mary and was, when Pope St. Pius X intended to make room for the celebration of the actual Sundays, transferred to 12 September, the day of the victory.
The Pope also upgraded the papal coat of arms by adding the Polish crowned White Eagle. After victory in the Battle of Vienna, the Polish king was also granted by the Pope the title of "Defender of the Faith" ("Defensor Fidei").[36] In honor of Sobieski, the Austrians erected a church atop the Kahlenberg hill north of Vienna.
Musical legacy Edit Austrian composer Johann Joseph Fux memorialized the battle in his Partita Turcaria, which bore the subtitle, "Musical portrait of the siege of Vienna by the Turks in 1683".[37]
It is said that the victors found in the Ottomans' abandoned luggage the trogat", a double-reed woodwind instrument that was to become the Hungarian national symbol for freedom after Francis II Rk"czi's defeat against the Habsburgs in 1711.[38]
Culinary legends Edit
Plaque memorializing the 300th anniversary of successful defense against the Ottomans at the gates of ViennaSeveral culinary legends are related to the Battle of Vienna.
One legend is that the croissant was invented in Vienna, either in 1683 or during the earlier siege in 1529, to celebrate the defeat of the Ottoman attack on the city, with the shape referring to the crescents on the Ottoman flags. This version of the origin of the croissant is supported by the fact that croissants in France are a variant of Viennoiserie, and by the French popular belief that Vienna-born Marie Antoinette introduced the pastry to France in 1770.
Another legend from Vienna has the first bagel as being a gift to King John III Sobieski to commemorate the King's victory over the Ottomans. It was fashioned in the form of a stirrup to commemorate the victorious charge by the Polish cavalry. The veracity of this legend is uncertain, as there is a reference in 1610 to a bread with a similar-sounding name, which may or may not have been the bagel.
There is an often recited story that, after the battle, the Viennese discovered many bags of coffee in the abandoned Ottoman encampment. The story goes on that, using this captured stock, Franciszek Jerzy Kulczycki opened the first coffeehouse in Vienna.[39][40] However, this story was first mentioned in 1783; the first coffeehouse in Vienna had been established by the Armenian Johannes Theodat in 1685.[41]
There is no contemporary historical source connecting Marco d'Aviano, the Capuchin friar and confidant of Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor, with the invention of cappuccino.
Miscellaneous legacy Edit The train route from Vienna to Warsaw is also named in Sobieski's honour.
The Battle of Vienna is commemorated on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Warsaw, with the inscription "WIEDEŃ 12 IX 1683".
In 2012 the Polish-Italian movie September Eleven 1683 was released, which depicts the siege and the final battle.
The Swedish power metal band Sabaton referenced the battle in their song "Winged Hussars" on their 2016 album The Last Stand and the battle is the subject of the song "Blood and Ash" by Polish metal band Graveland.
^ abc Finkel, Caroline. Osman's Dream: The Story of the Ottoman Empire, 1300''1923. Basic Books. p. 286''87. ISBN 978-0-465-02396-7. ^ abc Podhorodecki, Leszek (2001), WiedeÅ 1683, Bellona, p. 83 . ^ Podhorodecki, Leszek (2001), WiedeÅ 1683, Bellona, p. 106 . ^ Podhorodecki, Leszek (2001), WiedeÅ 1683, Bellona, p. 105 . ^ Podhorodecki, Leszek (2001), WiedeÅ 1683, Bellona, pp. 83, 106 . ^ Tucker, Spencer (2010). Battles That Changed History: An Encyclopedia of World Conflict. ABC-CLIO. p. 215. ^ abcdefg Bruce Alan Masters, Gbor goston: Encyclopedia of the Ottoman Empire, Infobase Publishing, 2009, ISBN 1438110251, 584. ^ ab Austria's Wars of Emergence, Michael Hochedlinger ^ abcd The Enemy at the Gate, Andrew Wheatcroft. 2008. ^ Forst de Battaglia, Otto (1982), Jan Sobieski, Mit Habsburg gegen die T¼rken, Styria Vlg. Graz, p. 215 of 1983 Polish translated edition . ^ ab Wimmer, Jan (1983), WiedeÅ 1683, MON, p. 306 . ^ ab Harbottle, Thomas (1905), Dictionary of Battles, E.P. Sutton & Co, p. 262 . ^ ab Clare, Israel (1876), The Centennial Universal History: A Clear and Concise History of All Nations, with a Full History of the United States to the Close of the First 100 Years of Our National Independence., J. C. McCurdy & Co., p. 252 . ^ ab Drane, Augusta (1858), The Knights of st. John: with The battle of Lepanto and Siege of Vienna., Burns and Lambert, p. 136 . ^ ab American Architect and Building News. 29.767 (1890): 145. Print. ^ abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvw Tucker, S.C., 2010, A Global Chronology of Conflict, Vol. Two, Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, LLC, ISBN 9781851096671 ^ abc Podhorodecki, Leszek (2001), WiedeÅ 1683, Bellona, pp. 140''141 . ^ ab Leitsch, Walter (July 1983). "1683: The Siege of Vienna". History Today. 33 (7). Retrieved 19 December 2014 . The defeat of the Ottoman Army outside the gates of Vienna 300 years ago is usually regarded as the beginning of the decline of the Ottoman Empire. But Walter Leitsch asks whether it was such a turning point in the history of Europe? ... However, it marks a turning point: not only was further Ottoman advance on Christian territories stopped, but in the following war that lasted up to 1698 almost all of Hungary was reconquered by the army of Emperor Leopold I. From 1683 the Ottoman Turks ceased to be a menace to the Christian world. ... The battle of Vienna was a turning point in one further respect: the success was due to the co-operation between the troops of the Emperor, some Imperial princes and the Poles. ... However the co-operation between the two non-maritime neighbours of the Ottoman Empire in Europe, the Emperor and Poland, was something new. ... Walter Leitsch is Professor of East European History and Director of the Institute of East and Southeast European Research at the University of Vienna. ^ ab Davies, Norman (1982), God's Playground, a History of Poland: The Origins to 1795, Columbia University Press, p. 487 . ^ Bruce, George (1981). Harbottle's Dictionary of Battles. Van Nostrand Reinhold. ^ N¤here Untersuchung der Pestansteckung, page 42, Pascal Joseph von Ferro, Joseph Edler von Kurzbek, royal publisher, Vienna 1787. ^ abcdef Varvounis, M., 2012, Jan Sobieski, Xlibris, ISBN 978-1462880805 ^ abc Stoye, John. The Siege of Vienna: The Last Great Trial between Cross & Crescent. 2011 ^ The original document was destroyed during World War II. For the German translation, see here ^ Palmer, Alan, The Decline and Fall of the Ottoman Empire, p.12, Published by Barnes & Noble Publishing, 1992. ISBN 1-56619-847-X ^ Melvyn Bragg, Andrew Wheatcroft, Dr. Claire Norton and Jeremy Black (historian) (14 May 2009). "The Siege of Vienna". In Our Time. 17:30 minutes in. BBC Radio 4. ^ Bates, Brandon J. (2003). "The Beginning of the End: The Failure of the Siege of Vienna of 1683"(PDF) . Brigham Young University. Archived from the original(PDF) on 22 August 2006. Retrieved 28 August 2006 . ^ Ripperton, Lisa. "The Siege of Vienna". The Baldwin Project. Retrieved 28 August 2006 . ^ Wheatcroft, Andrew (2008). The Enemy at the Gate, Preface p. xix, p. 1, page?. ^ abc idem ^ "Duell im Dunkeln" (in German). 2DF. 6 November 2005. Archived from the original on 29 September 2007. Retrieved 28 August 2006 . ^ Abrahamowicz, Zygmunt (1973), Kara mustafa pod Wiedniem. Źr"dła muzułmaÅskie do dziej"w wyprawy wiedeÅskiej (Kara Mustafa at Vienna. Muslim primary sources to history of the Vienna campaign), Wydawnictwo Literackie, p. 164 . ^ "Letter from King Sobieski to his Wife". Letters from King Sobieski to his wife. University of Gdansk, Department of Cultural Studies, Faculty of Philology. Retrieved 4 August 2011 . ^ ab Stoye, John (2011) [2007]. The Siege of Vienna: The Last Great Trial between Cross & Crescent. Pegasus Books. p. 175. ^ Grzechnik, Slawek K. "Hussaria '' Polish Winged Cavalry". Archived from the original on 15 June 2006. Retrieved 28 August 2006 . ^ "Chcą nam odebrać VictoriÄ wiedeÅską?". pch24.pl. Retrieved 10 September 2016 . ^ Description of contents of album "Alla Turca" ^ Henk Jansen's 11th Muse: history of the trogat" (2005) ^ Pendergrast, Mark. Uncommon Grounds, p.10. Basic Books, 2000. ISBN 0-465-05467-6 ^ Millar, Simon. Vienna 1683, p. 93. Osprey Publishing, 2008. ISBN 1-84603-231-8. ^ Karl Teply, Die Einf¼hrung des Kaffees in Wien. Verein f¼r Geschichte der Stadt Wien, vol. 6 (Vienna 1980), p. 104. ^ Viennese garrison: 15,000 soldiers[6] + 8,700 volunteers,[7] 370 cannons; Relief force: 50,000-60,000 Germans,[8] 15,000- 20,000 Poles[8][9] ^ The lowest estimate is 90,000,[7] while according to older estimates even up to 300,000[12][13][14][15] St(C)phane Gaber, Et Charles V arrªta la marche des Turcs, Presses universitaires de Nancy, 1986, ISBN 2-86480-227-9.Bruce, George (1981). Harbottle's Dictionary of Battles. Van Nostrand Reinhold. Cezary Harasimowicz Victoria Warsaw 2007, novel ISBN 978-83-925589-0-3James Michener Poland, A Novel, see Chapter V From the SouthAlan Palmer, The Decline and Fall of the Ottoman Empire, Published by Barnes & Noble Publishing, 1992. ISBN 1-56619-847-X.Miltiades Varvounis, Jan Sobieski. The King Who Saved Europe, Xlibris, 2012, ISBN 978-1-4628-8081-2.
Trains Good Planes Bad
220 Cities Losing All Passenger Train Service per Trump Elimination of all Federal Funding for Amtrak's National Network Trains
Mon, 10 Apr 2017 03:03
The National Association of Rail Passengers denounced the budget outline released by the Trump Administration, which slashes investment in transportation infrastructure. These cuts to Amtrak, transit, and commuter rail programs, and even air service to rural towns, would not only cost construction and manufacturing jobs, but place a disproportionate amount of pain on rural and working class communities.
''It's ironic that President Trump's first budget proposal undermines the very communities whose economic hardship and sense of isolation from the rest of the country helped propel him into office,'' said NARP President Jim Mathews. ''These working class communities '-- many of them located in the Midwest and the South '-- were tired of being treated like 'flyover country.' But by proposing the elimination of Amtrak's long distance trains, the Trump Administration does them one worse, cutting a vital service that connects these small town economies to the rest of the U.S. These hard working, small town Americans don't have airports or Uber to turn to; they depend on these trains.''
"What's more, these proposed cuts come as President Trump continues to promise that our tax dollars will be invested in rebuilding America's infrastructure,'' continued Mathews. ''Instead, we have seen an all-out assault on any project '-- public and private '-- that would advance passenger rail. These cuts and delays are costing the U.S. thousands of good-paying construction and manufacturing jobs in America's heartland at this very moment."
Mathews was referring to the decision by Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao to indefinitely suspend a grant that would allow California to proceed with a commuter rail electrification project. Caltrain, the agency overseeing the project, estimates the project would create 9,600 total direct and indirect jobs. The delay also threatens the construction of a new railcar assembly plant planned for Salt Lake City, which would generate sustainable, family-wage jobs for 550 employees.
The White House budget would lead to a nightmare scenario for people who depend on passenger rail, transit, commuter rail, and even regional air service in the United States, from Wall Street to Main Street. The proposal cuts $2.4 billion from transportation, a 13 percent reduction of last year's funding, and includes:
Elimination of all federal funding for Amtrak's national network trains, which provides the only national network service to 23 states, and the only nearby Amtrak service for 144.6 million Americans;
$499 million from the TIGER grant program, a highly successful program that invests in passenger rail and transit projects of national significance;
Elimination of $2.3 billion for the Federal Transit Administration's ''New Starts'' Capital Investment Program, which is crucial to launching new transit, commuter rail, and light-rail projects.
Long distance rail routes open up enormous economic development opportunities, which the Administration's proposal ignores or casts aside. The plan threatens the following long distances routes:
Gulf Coast Restoration '-- In development
Silver Star '-- Daily service
Cardinal '-- 3 trains/week
Silver Meteor '-- Daily service
Empire Builder '-- Daily service
Capitol Limited '-- Daily service
California Zephyr '-- Daily service
Southwest Chief '-- Daily service
City of New Orleans '-- Daily service
Texas Eagle '-- Daily service
Sunset Limited '-- 3 trains/week
Coast Starlight '-- Daily service
Lake Shore Limited '-- Daily service
Palmetto '-- Daily service
Crescent '-- Daily service
Auto Train '-- Daily service
And, at a minimum, the proposed White House elimination of long distance routes would result in the following 220 towns and cities losing all Amtrak service:
Albuquerque, NM
Alderson, WV
Alliance, OH
Alpine, TX
Anniston, AL
Arcadia, MO
Arkadelphia, AR
Ashland, KY
Atlanta, GA
Austin, TX
Barstow, CA
Beaumont, TX
Benson, AZ
Bingen, WA
Birmingham, AL
Brookhaven, MS
Bryan, OH
Burlington, IA
Charleston, SC
Charleston, WV
Chemult, OR
Chico, CA
Cincinnati, OH
Cleburne, TX
Clemson, SC
Cleveland, OH
Clifton Forge, VA
Colfax, CA
Columbia, SC
Columbus, WI
Connellsville, PA
Creston, IA
Cumberland, MD
Cut Bank, MT
Dallas, TX
Danville, VA
Deerfield Beach, FL
Del Rio, TX
Deland, FL
Delray Beach, FL
Deming, NM
Denver, CO
Detroit Lakes, MN
Devils Lake, ND
Dillon, SC
Dodge City, KS
Dunsmuir, CA
East Glacier Park, MT
El Paso, TX
Elkhart, IN
Elko, NV
Elyria, OH
Ephrata, WA
Erie, PA
Essex, MT
Fargo, ND
Fayetteville, NC
Flagstaff, AZ
Florence, SC
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Fort Madison, IA
Fort Morgan, CO
Framingham, MA
Fulton, KY
Gainesville, GA
Gallup, NM
Garden City, KS
Gastonia, NC
Glasgow, MT
Glenwood Springs, CO
Granby, CO
Grand Forks, ND
Grand Junction, CO
Green River, UT
Greenville, SC
Greenwood, MS
Hamlet, NC
Hammond, LA
Harpers Ferry, WV
Hastings, NE
Hattiesburg, MS
Havre, MT
Hazlehurst, MS
Helper, UT
Hinton, WV
Holdrege, NE
Hollywood, FL
Hope, AR
Houston, TX
Huntington, WV
Hutchinson, KS
Jackson, MS
Jacksonville, FL
Jesup, GA
Kingman, AZ
Kingstree, SC
Kissimmee, FL
Klamath Falls, OR
La Crosse, WI
La Junta, CO
La Plata, MO
Lafayette, LA
Lake Charles, LA
Lakeland, FL
Lamar, CO
Lamy, NM
Las Vegas, NM
Laurel, MS
Lawrence, KS
Libby, MT
Lincoln, NE
Little Rock, AR
Longview, TX
Lordsburg, NM
Lorton, VA
Malta, MT
Malvern, AR
Maricopa, AZ
Marshall, TX
Martinsburg, WV
Maysville, KY
McComb, MS
McCook, NE
McGregor, TX
Memphis, TN
Meridian, MS
Miami, FL
Mineola, TX
Minot, ND
Montgomery, WV
Mount Pleasant, IA
Needles, CA
New Iberia, LA
New Orleans, LA
Newbern-Dyersburg, TN
Newton, KS
Okeechobee, FL
Omaha, NE
Ontario, CA
Orlando, FL
Osceola, IA
Ottumwa, IA
Palatka, FL
Palm Springs, CA
Pasco, WA
Paso Robles, CA
Picayune, MS
Pittsfield, MA
Pomona, CA
Poplar Bluff, MO
Portage, WI
Prince, WV
Provo, UT
Raton, NM
Red Wing, MN
Redding, CA
Reno, NV
Riverside, CA
Rockville, MD
Rugby, ND
Salinas, CA
Salt Lake City, UT
San Antonio, TX
San Bernardino, CA
San Marcos, TX
Sanderson, TX
Sandpoint, ID
Sandusky, OH
Sanford, FL
Savannah, GA
Schriever, LA
Sebring, FL
Shelby, MT
Slidell, LA
South Bend, IN
South Portsmouth, KY
Southern Pines, NC
Spartanburg, SC
Spokane, WA
St. Cloud, MN
St. Paul-Minneapolis, MN
Stanley, ND
Staples, MN
Staunton, VA
Tampa, FL
Taylor, TX
Temple, TX
Texarkana, AR
Thurmond, WV
Toccoa, GA
Toledo, OH
Tomah, WI
Topeka, KS
Trinidad, CO
Truckee, CA
Tucson, AZ
Tuscaloosa, AL
Victorville, CA
Walnut Ridge, AR
Waterloo, IN
Wenatchee, WA
West Glacier, MT
West Palm Beach, FL
White Sulphur Springs, WV
Whitefish, MT
Williams Jct., AZ
Williston, ND
Winnemucca, NV
Winona, MN
Winslow, AZ
Winter Haven, FL
Winter Park, FL
Winter Park-Fraser, CO
Wisconsin Dells, WI
Wishram, WA
Wolf Point, MT
Worcester, MA
Yazoo City, MS
Yemassee, SC
Yuma, AZ
''When the President proposed a $1 trillion infrastructure proposal, voters expected that would mean more funding for projects like long-distance rail and new subway and light rail construction. These are the kinds of public works that spur private investment, create good jobs, and lead to economic revitalization,'' said Mathews. ''This budget does exactly the opposite.'''‹
NA-Tech News
What is GNU Social and is Mastodon Social a ''Twitter Clone''?
Mon, 10 Apr 2017 12:25
Oh, scary! What is this war? Is it something I should be afraid of? As a normal person who doesn't care about internet dives, should I be worried? I read that Mastodon Social is the hottest new social network and may actually take Twitter down. How much of this is true? I apologize for the melodramatic pop culture introduction. Actually, there's not a war coming. Really, things are just business as usual for the OStatus protocol networks which have been around for nearly a decade.
We often harp on the media here and have even ragged on Mastodon Social in the past, so I'll try to withhold the heavy handed criticism that we often fall on here. But, because the media works in mysterious ways, this week has seen a tremendous slew of ''MASTODON SOCIAL THE NEXT TWITTER?'' articles all fall within a day of each other. We don't want to get left in the dust, so it's important to us that we cover this. What is Mastodon Social and what makes it so special? These are good questions, but in order to answer them '' we'll have to provide a frame of reference.
The short:Mastodon Social is the name of an instance on GNU Social which uses the OStatus protocol to connect to a vast variety of servers in what's known as a federation. Mastodon is also the name of the software being used on that server, which was developed by Eugen ''Gargron'' Rochko. It was built with Ruby on Rails, Redux, and React.js. I learned the latter from the Wikipedia page, which is about the extent of research given by any of the other articles published this week.
The long:I've been posting on GNU Social for over a year now, and I'm far from qualified to write about its history and the philosophy behind the federated network. I'll do my best to provide some insight. I hope that this article can provide some decent reference points for the future and explain why the network is so special to the many of us who call it our home.
In 2007, Evan Prodromou developed the framework for what would eventually become GNU Social. At the time of its conception, it was known as Laconica and utilized on a microblogging service named Identi.ca. After receiving funding, Prodromou renamed Laconica to StatusNet and began development on the service. The idea behind StatusNet was that anyone could download the software and run their own microblogging service. The lofty goal was one wrapped in brand strategy and corporate pursuits '-- hoping to eventually bring microblogging to the masses (for both brands and individuals) the way that WordPress did with blogging.
A lot of people contributed code to StatusNet and the project grew. In 2010, Prodromou documented the OStatus protocol he had created and migrated StatusNet to, and managed to get it under the umbrella of the W3C for further development (which would not happen until 6 years later)*. OStatus became the standards update to the OpenMicroBlogging protocol. This is a big deal, because OStatus is the technology that W3C maintains and develops and is ''basically the standard'' operating procedure for cohesive microblogging communities. Most of these OStatus communities can communicate between each other (Federation).
Sometime around some point, Matt Lee began a public relations campaign to get the GNU audience pumped up about StatusNet. Some interest continues to surge, but no major developments occur. Prodromou eventually loses funding in 2012 and the actual StatusNet development seems dead in the water.
mmn '' The nicest guy on the fediverse and maintainer of the holy GNU SocialDue to the project being ''open source'', people were able to fork the work initially contributed to it. The main driver behind this was Mikael Nordfeldth, who forked StatusNet into a personal project called Free Social. mmn's project was a 'for fun' endeavor, but after Prodromou decided to move forward with pump.io, Lee and mmn offer the idea of merging the StatusNet project into a new one, aptly named GNU Social (since the remnants were developers and supporters of the GNU / Free Software movement). mmn continues to maintain and support GNU Social in 2017, but there have been many software forks that build on his work, while trying their own thing. I'll come back to this later.
There's some interesting political theory surrounding some of this history and a discussion that continues to pop up every few months on GNU Social. Rumor has it that Identi.ca preferred to be a sole microblogging alternative, rather than federate with StatusNet nodes. I wasn't around then and while I've reached out for comment, I have none at the moment.
Rumor has it wrong. StatusNet the company made it easy to set up your own addnamehere.status.net node, free of charge for single-user nodes, and also provided several nodes with names like 240.status.net, unlimited.status.net etc, to experiment with different message size limits. Evan really tried to get people to grok federation and get off the ''flagship node''. But identi.ca was the face of StatusNet, and it kept growing. It wasn't until the #pumpocalypse that alternative sites like quitter.se really took off, in the great exodus from identi.ca from people who were confused by and/or disliked the new software. *
So, this is the quick rundown of the history, which I'm certain is fairly wrong, as milestones in GNU software are mythical and poorly recorded by users '' due to the constant project ADHD of developers and the occasional lack of foresight for the future that we tend to have on the internet. I believe GNU Social and Federation is a big deal, however.
If you're unfamiliar with GNU or the Free Software movement, I'll let gnu.org sum it up:
The idea of the Free Software Movement is that computer users deserve the freedom to form a community. You should have the freedom to help yourself, by changing the source code to do whatever you need to do. And the freedom to help your neighbor, by redistributing copies of programs to other people. Also the freedom to help build your community, by publishing improved versions so that other people can use them.
Some people roll their eyes and most people don't even think about this sort of thing when using software. Whatever your opinion on the 'movement' and its spearhead, Richard Stallman, the Free Software movement has done some amazing things. But, it can also seem a bit burdensome or stuck up, for the casual internet user.
TwitterInstead of diving into GNU, I think a better route would be to explore and examine Twitter. I won't go into the history of the service or its Founder/CEO, Jack Dorsey, because that's mostly common knowledge. Instead, I want to outline some inherent facts about the service.
Jack, 2017 took its toll, huh.It is a closed, centralized platform. This means that it does not communicate or allow itself to communicate with other networks. If I post on Twitter, people on Facebook cannot reply to my post. There are APIs that allow cross-posting and some free software that allows commenting based on those APIs on other websites, but at its core a user of Twitter is only a user of Twitter and the user's profile is restricted to interacting on only an insular level with other users.It is a microblogging service. Microblogging is short form blogs '' somewhat stream of consciousness, that is meant for sharing 'shortform' snippets. Microblogging was originally known as tumblelogs. In 2005, the term was coined and the first major offshoots were the aptly named Tumblr and Twitter. Don't forget, Identi.ca was also one of the first major platforms. The race was on in 2007 as to which service would become king. Obviously Twitter is the most known, though G+, Facebook, Tumblr, etc etc are also incorporate (are) microblogging.It is a privately owned, traded company. This means it aims to make money. Everything that is done on the platform is for the goal of revenue. I've written about the slow demise of Twitter, and I believe a lot of it is due to this bullet. Since money is the goal, they do some crazy stuff. This includes how users can interact on the platform. Don't get me wrong, Twitter most likely won't ''just go away and die'', but in its current state (a clueless board), no one wants to buy it.There isn't anything wrong with trying to make money. But sometimes a board, which may not consist of users, can make poor decisions. Things that are constant problems on Twitter are:
Banned: There's a moderation team that bans people. You could potentially make a new account, but lets say you don't (because that'd be against the TOS, and we don't break that). Once you're banned from the service, you're done. You can no longer communicate with that network. These bans discourage actual user moderation and filtering, instead causing people to shout ''BAN X or BAN Y'' instead of ''I'll just block this moron because I don't care for his posts''.Character limit: The character limit was originally due to mobile posting. For some reason it has stayed, and that makes actual communication difficult. As more users jump to the service, the length of threads and arguments grow.Discover-ability: New users have a hard time on Twitter. The only way to see posts is to follow people or search for specific keywords. Hashtags, which were meant to be a categorical tagging system, have been corrupted into nonsense and finding relevant conversation or even being discovered by others proves to be difficult for a large number of new users.What's it for? This is the real question. I guess you could say Twitter is for whatever you want, whether that's real-time news or entertainment. But due to the other problems, Twitter can't actually be for whatever you want, because it is closed and can't be built upon by the user base.Federation PhilosophyThe reason a federated and decentralized microblogging platform excites me, is its implications. All of those problems above are immediately solved by a federated network. Following a standard protocol allows vast individually run networks to communicate in real time and empowers the individual users to make decisions that benefit them. Improvements to an individual's server can be contributed back to the platform and other server admins can incorporate them into their servers. Most of these OStatus networks can communicate with each other.
Essentially, Federation allows for a playground of epic proportion. Microblogging isn't necessarily the draw, but instead the creativity and freedom a network like this creates. A federated network allows insular bubbles and like-minded indviduals (or even brands) to start and hang out together on a server, but also communicate with others on other servers. A major draw is the open discussions that can be had. I'll get into my personal history in a bit, but one of the most interesting things I've seen is how ideologically different individuals are able to have rational discussions across the network or use their own self-moderation to stop what that individual feels is harassment. By giving the users control, everyone is free to make the decisions on how they wish to interact with the network.
A lot of this is possible because the networks on GNU Social share a common protocol for communicating, which basically is an agreement to 'play ball'. People think that having an open network where anyone can start a server and communicate with another is a troll's paradise, but because so many people respect the philosophy and understand the power of self-moderation '' trolls are actually rarely an issue. This mutual understanding makes the experience on GNU Social unique and I think the framework for great things in the future. A return to the web of old, while pushing the internet forward.
It may sound like I'm over romanticizing GNU Social and the aspects of the federation, but I think there are vast opportunities out there because of it. Opportunities that no one has thought of and applications outside of just microblogging. Ways to make money, share work, and create a fantastic future for the internet where people aren't constrained to Facebook and Twitter and can take control back.
This is why I'm passionate about educating people about the importance of Federation and why the majority of ''older'' users seem so frustrated by the journalists who have been using Mastodon Social for all of 5 minutes.
smug mastodonEugen and I have a somewhat rocky relationship, but as an individual and a developer, I respect him. A majority of the expanded ''fediverse's'' criticism came from lack of transparency, problems with OStatus protocol in Mastodon's software, and what seemed to be a betrayal of sorts after several admins reached out to help in Mastodon Social's early days. I think, that potentially, we can be a bit harsh and this is an important lesson to learn if we truly wish to push the philosophy of federation forward. Eugen now has a transparent TOS (which is excellent '' an admin should be able to run his server how they want) and developer tools for simple server setup.
There are still issues with Mastodon software adhering to OStatus, which breaks other nodes, but to be fair '' there are many issues with all the various configurations of GNU Social software and Eugen has only been developing the software for half a year. The admins do a decent job of working together to solve these crazy problems. The last is a battle of ego and I have not enough experience with developing to offer insight into that. But one when node and software succeeds, we all have the potential to. Also, Eugen has not banned or silenced my Mastodon Social account, which I appreciate and return the favor by trying my best not to break the TOS on his server. Of course, I have shitposter.club, for that.
Except for blacklists built into a software implementation. That's somewhat frustrating, but can be solved for and is what happens when people join the service who want neither federation or decentralization.
A whole slurry of articles have come out praising Mastodon or calling for its death in just a few days. It's either the Twitter killer or the murder victim of Twitter. I find both of these notions laughable. Some of these journalists are egotistical and believe that by hopping on the bandwagon of ''the next Twitter'' they can grow their influence. Some are well-intentioned but have done 0 research. This ego nonsense is trouble for Eugen, because it's directly influencing the development of his software. Many of the original Mastodon users came from some place where people of conflicting opinions were to be banished. This pointed development towards privacy tools (though there were many already) and instance banning, instead of federation fixes. These same things have come back to haunt the platform now that the userbase has grown. So, do you put a knife in the back of the original users and change the platform goals, or do you move forward '' software in mind.
It doesn't really matter. Mastodon, both the software and server, will survive because of the federated nature of GNU
it probably sucks to have gotten a journalism degree and have to do this for a livingSocial. These journos and celebrities may complain because they aren't influencers in a place that isn't centralized, but Eugen will suffer nothing in the development of his software. If he chooses to, Mastodon's development goals could completely change into a centralized Twitter alternative, like gab.ai. If he goes this direction, the federation won't suffer and Mastodon will just be Mastodon. I believe, however, that Eugen has enough foresight and does actually believe in the philosophy of federation. Whether some other developer comes along and forks Mastodon and turns it into a shitty celebrity nightmare will be seen. When the majority of celebrities and journalists get bored because their ego cannot sustain the slower drip of dopamine, we'll still be here. They don't want federation, they just want to be hip and cool.
I am not concerned. This exodus is not the first from Twitter.
Context: February 2016 '' The Second ExodusGNU Social had been chugging along fine for years. A slow, but comfy little paradise for geeks and developers. Then in
hannes is a major contributor to gsFebruary of 2016, Twitter changed a rule and all of the sudden Hannes found his node full of GamerGaters, Trolls, Idiots, and the curious. Hannes can be credited with making the first ''familiar'' UI for GNU Social. One that felt like Twitter and modernized the platform in a great many ways. He's done a lot for the platform and continues to support it today. Back then, he was unfazed. He, like many others, find me to be a pain in the ass, but he's also a believer in the federation.
He is the furthest from politically conservative and his node, Quitter.se, does not hide that fact. But, instead of banning everyone who joined '' he did something fantastic. He educated the new users on what the federation was and how GNU Social works. He then helped a few people set up their own servers and directed people to leave Quitter to join one of these other servers. A few people, probably including myself, gave him shit '' but he never banned any of these servers from federating with Quitter.se (save for whatever was illegal in his home country). He banned a few trolls, but in general, handled this Twitter exodus stoically. Were it not for hannes being transparent and attempting to educate, the 'fediverse' would be a very different place, today (and some probably wish it was).
This was huge.
moonman ishtar '' shitposter.clubhope and flown '' sealion / freezepachnep has no problem being the black sheep of the federationmaiyannah '' highland arrowboots '' gnutansoykaf is dead forever '' let's all love lainIt was around this time, these nodes popped up. Some before, some after, but together they have become a bit notorious as the rowdy bunch of GNU Social. The admins of these instances all have very different views and don't always get along with each other, but this new crop of admins provided sanctuary for the February Twitter exiles and have become somewhat known for their counter-culture nodes. Most federate with each other, barring a few, but that's some shit I don't want to get into. All of these admins have contributed greatly to the platform '' building their servers to truly be playgrounds (or explode in a fiery death).
Don't get me wrong, there are many other great admins out there, but I am being particular '' because they provided shelter in February.
Guess what happened afterwards.
Quitter.se didn't die, the Federation grew, people openly argued with each other and debated pointless things, and many features were built to aid in these arguments. Things got a little weird, but in that good sort of way, because once things settled '' there was a procedure for the next exodus (The SEALION CLUB pre-gab.ai one).
This exodus brought a great many people from the right-leaning side, politically, who also did not want a federation or decentralization. The admins did their best to educate, like Hannes had before. Some of these new users stayed. Most left when they found an insulated network (gab.ai) that didn't argue with them. It had Notch (of minecraft fame) come and say Sealion.Club wouldn't last 6 months. Other celebrities stopped by. Then it was quiet again. No one cares, because the people who stayed enriched GNU Social '' and the people who left, didn't understand the philosophy. This reminds me of the current Mastodon happening.
Many people are complaining about the UI for Mastodon. Some aren't. The good news is, if you're a developer or creative, you can be a part of the ever changing landscape of GNU Social and other OStatus connected networks. Build a UI that you like and appeals to your userbase, like lambadalambda's Pleroma project. If you don't want to build anything, there are many different interfaces that you can use, already.
pleromaIf you are sick of a certain bug, build a patch and push a commit to the project of your choice like pre-exodus veteran, Takeshitakenji. If you're sick of waiting on new GNU Social updates, fork it like Maiyannah's postactiv. OStatus is the protocol that lets all of this play together. Look, GNU Social is broken af. It doesn't come with a tutorial and the concept of federation is confusing for new users. It's slow, buggy, and created by developers, not designers.
And its possibilities and the community collaboration is what makes it so exciting. These are the building blocks for changing the internet landscape. Or, less dramatically, a cool place for users to build the kind of fun hangout they want.
If you're considering joining Mastodon.Social or any other server in the Fediverse. Come, not trying to be first on the ''Next Twitter'', but instead as an explorer, critic, and creator. And, stay a while. It'll be great to have you.
Are you a bad enough dude to save the internet?
or just build a bot army like takeshitakenji
(If I left you out of this article, it was not because of lack of respect. Many of you provided at length material and have also contributed a great deal to GNU Social, the education of its users and the constant debates. Not forgotten. As for the extra material, I'd like to use it for another article sometime. ilu.)
Editor's Note: As is usual, this was written with no editing, so I apologize for Grammar/Spelling/Punctuation. If you come across a glaring information error, please let me know. I'd like this to be as factually accurate as possible.
You can follow me on GNU Social (but I guarantee there are far more interesting people to follow out there).
Addendum: *Thanks to @clacke for fixing a few of my errors on the StatusNet history.
Also published on Medium.
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Is Mastodon uniek genoeg om te winnen van de gevestigde netwerken?
Tue, 11 Apr 2017 14:09
M astodon is het hipste sociale netwerk van het moment. Het werd een half jaar geleden al gelanceerd, maar is na een lange stilte sinds eind maart opeens weer terug op de radar. Media noemen het vaak 'het nieuwe Twitter', om de dienst makkelijk en snel te omschrijven. Maar hiermee doe je het open-source-platform tekort.
Ja, de interface lijkt op Tweetdeck: er is een verticale tijdlijn (die is bij Mastodon een 'instance') met verschillende kolommen, je kunt inderdaad retweeten (dat heet 'boosten'), liken (dat heet een 'favourite'), en tweets zijn er ook (maar dat heet dan een 'toot'). Maar het is zeker geen kopie. Het is een nieuw verfrissend sociaal netwerk, dat naast Twitter en Facebook kan bestaan '' maar wel de nodige uitleg nodig heeft.
Er zijn namelijk ook een hoop dingen anders. Je kunt bijvoorbeeld 500 karakters gebruiken in een bericht (een toot dus), veel meer dan de 140 die we gewend zijn, zodat het daadwerkelijk mogelijk is om gesprekken te voeren zonder tweetstorms. Ook is het mogelijk om gevoelige informatie achter een 'show more'-tabje te plaatsen, zodat gebruikers door moeten klikken (handig voor spoilers) en er zijn veel meer privacy-opties. Hierdoor kun je kiezen om iets op public, private (alleen voor je volgers) of unlisted te zetten '' hierdoor is het te zien op je profiel, maar komt het niet naar voren in de publieke tijdlijn.
Aparte chatkanalenMaar de grootste verandering, en waar je het meest aan moet wennen, is dat Mastodon open source is en iedereen eigen kanalen kan beginnen. Die kanalen heten 'instances' en zijn dus niet gecentraliseerd. Hierdoor is er geen gecentraliseerde server en bestaat er geen traditionele tijdlijn waar alle toots samenkomen en te zien zijn. Het doet denken aan de aparte servers die je nog van vroeger kent op IRC of de verschillende Slack-omgevingen die bedrijven nu gebruiken om in een beperkte groep te chatten.
Bij ieder kanaal kan je een eigen gebruikersnaam aanmaken, zoals bijvoorbeeld wimkopinga@Mastodon.social. Mastodon.social is in dit geval het kanaal waarbij ik aangesloten ben. Hierdoor kan iedereen zijn eigen subgroep aanmaken. Dat kan voor je werk of sportvereniging maar ook voor een thema, zoals Mastodon.technology.
Dit is een interessante toevoeging, maar kan verwarrend zijn. ''Als je nu op een bepaald kanaal je identiteit aanmaakt kan iemand anders op een ander platform die naam ook aanmaken'', zegt Frank Meeuwsen, Community Architect bij Triggi en columnist voor Numrush. Stel dat ik dus mijn naam gebruikt heb op .social, maar niet op .technology, kan iemand mijn naam daar gebruiken zonder dat ik daar iets aan kan doen. Meeuwsen was een vroege gebruiker van Twitter en is de laatste weken steeds actiever op Mastodon, een sociaal netwerk waar volgens hem nog wel de nodige haken en ogen aan zitten.
''De look en feel is nog niet echt af en er is nog geen officile mobiele app. Daarnaast moet je momentum hebben. Twitter werd bijvoorbeeld groot doordat Ashton Kutcher die het actief ging promoten. Ook had je het ongeluk op de Hudson River met dat vliegtuig, wat live getweet werd, waardoor de bal ging rollen. De uiteindelijke doorbraak van Twitter hing vast van toevalligheden.''
VerzadigingEen ander probleem waar iedereen die nu een sociaal netwerk start tegenaan loopt, is de verzadiging die in de huidige tijd meespeelt. ''Tien jaar geleden hadden we nog niet echt een internationaal sociaal netwerk van vrienden, familie, nieuwsmedia en merken. Nu heb je dat wel op Twitter, Facebook en LinkedIn. Mastodon dwingt je om dat nog eens te doen.''
Maar het is moeilijk om mensen aan iets nieuws te laten beginnen. We zijn gewoontedieren en het leren kennen van een nieuw sociaal netwerk -met kanalen die een moeilijke naam hebben '' gaat niet vanzelf. Je moet daar in investeren. Daarnaast is het onduidelijk wat Mastodon precies is en waarvoor je het nou moet gebruiken, al kan dat nog veel kanten op gaan.
Bekijk ookTwitter lanceert nieuwe maatregelen tegen misbruik, maar is het genoeg?
Bij Twitter werd in de beginperiode ook niet verwacht dat het uiteindelijk voornamelijk gebruikt zou worden om het nieuws live te volgen. ''Ik vind het interessant om te zien waar dit heen gaat'', vertelt Meeuwsen. Omdat het netwerk open source is en de sleutel tot succes niet het geld is dat er mee opgehaald wordt, maar hoe het gebruikt wordt en door wie, kan het een andere functie krijgen dan we gewend zijn van sociale netwerken. Tevens kan het heel traag groeien.Investeerders willen er niet op cashen, zoals bij Twitter en Facebook in de beginfase wel het geval was, waardoor advertenties niet belangrijk zijn voor Mastodon. Oprichter Eugen Rochko schreef in een blogpost zelfs dat hij helemaal geen advertenties wil. Ook wil hij geen grote investeringen, omdat het sociale netwerk daar alleen maar afhankelijker van wordt. Alleen zijn persoonlijke kosten (zo'n 800 dollar per maand) moeten er uitgehaald worden omdat hij er fulltime mee bezig is.
Hype?Dat klinkt veelbelovend en zelfs nobel, maar er rest nog een grote vraag rond Mastodon: wat moet je er in godsnaam mee? Snapchat en Instagram waren in een tijdperk na de komst van Facebook en Twitter uniek genoeg om door te breken. ''Maar ik kan moeilijk uitleggen waarom je mensen op Mastodon moet volgen'', geeft Meeuwsen toe. ''Er is nog niet een heel uitgesproken ding anders.''
Het is ook belangrijk om een kanttekening te plaatsen bij de hype die er nu rond Mastodon is. Media willen graag een volgende Twitter-killer zien. Omdat de groei bij het microblog niet zo wil vorderen, aandeelhouders al langer klagen en er ook veel kritiek is op de vele pesterijen en bedreigingen via het netwerk.
Maar we moeten nu Mastodon niet overschatten. Volgens de publieke teller heeft het nu 126.000 gebruikers. Dat is niets in verhouding tot de meer dan 313 miljoen actieve gebruikers van Twitter (dat ruwweg dubbel zoveel accounts heeft). ''Twitter zal niet opeens van de kaart geveegd worden'', zegt Meeuwsen. ''Maar doordat er bijna geen geld achter zit kan het langzaam blijven groeien. Daar zit de kracht.''
Don't get too attached: Twitter 'rival' Mastodon will go extinct
Tue, 11 Apr 2017 14:09
William Shatner couldn't find me on Mastodon.
This was a problem.
Mastodon stomped onto the scene this week instantly generating some buzz as the anti-Twitter. It looks and feels like Twitter. but is not a part of it.
Mastodon is a free, open-sourced messaging platform that's decentralized in the extreme (more on that later) and, since it lacks an SMS heritage, does not have a 140-character limit '-- 500 characters are just fine. It also offers public accounts, lots of post-level privacy controls and fully chronological timelines.
Mashable tech reporter Jack Morse declared that all the cool kids are joining. So I, being neither cool nor a kid, decided to dive in.
I registered on the upstart social media platform using, as I always do, my full name: "LanceUlanoff" to protect it from potential social media identity poachers (they're everywhere).
Actually, I'm not sure where I registered. Mastodon is so popular right now that it can't support all the potential users on one platform, so there are dozens of them, all interconnected. When I registered, I scrolled to the middle of the list hoping that others might choose from the top instead and found Mastodon.cloud. After that, registering was pretty easy, as was figuring out the simple, if clunky, mobile-web-based interface.
There is nothing intrinsically wonderful about Mastodon aside from the fact that it's not Twitter.
What I failed to realize was that I registered in what is, in truth, a closed-off room in the rapidly growing Mastodon house. At this moment, it's unclear if people in one room, or instance, can see people in other instances of Mastodon. That's why Shatner's search for me turned up nothing.
There is nothing intrinsically wonderful about Mastodon aside from the fact that it's not Twitter and, more importantly, is not a part of a public company that needs to make money.
Perhaps it's no coincidence that people started talking about Mastodon on the same day that Twitter lost its huge NFL live stream contract to Amazon (they don't even have a social network). It's a tough moment in Twitter's ongoing quest to pivot to on-air-all-the-time media streaming service (with 140-character tweets still pumping along in the background).
Twitter has grown about all it ever will and is struggling to please investors and drag its stock price back up out of the basement.
But it's still our Twitter and when looked at in comparison to Mastodon, it looks good.
Let's look at everything Mastodon gets wrong.
1) Terrible nameMastodon implies large, slow, frozen, and dead for thousands of years. The logo is cute, but the service right now stinks almost as badly as a thawing woolly mammoth.
2) There is no single MastodonIn trying to satisfy a spike of new users, Mastodon broke the cardinal rule of social media: it separated them into silos and made it hard if not impossible for them to all socialize. This unfortunate design makes Mastodon feel more like a bunch of chat rooms rather than a cohesive, growing social network. The Federated Timeline helps, but it's not the default view.
And I get that having a decentralized social media platform, Mastodon creator Eugen Rochko's big idea, helps create safe zones from groups and topics, but it's really a terrible approach that will lead to a stagnant growth and way more opinion bubbles, which is the last thing we need.
3) TootsIn trying to be the anti-twitter, Mastodon's Rochko chose the dumbest and most ridiculous post name possible: Toots. This too-cute take-off on Tweets literally hurts me every time I say and do it on Mastodon.
4) Handles are meaninglessUser handles do show up in Toots (blech!) but not in the URLs for users' Mastodon homepages. Giving users numbers (mine is 995) instead of identifiable website addresses makes Mastodon feel amateurish.
5) Where is everyone?If you can't find people by name, then how can you follow them on Mastodon? Someone in one local Mastodon timeline may not appear in another (Sorry, Mr. Shatner). To see everyone (at least I think you see everyone), you have to troll the Federated timeline, open a Toot (blech!) and add them there. Twitter and other social networks already have this stuff figured out. Why is Mastodon better? It's not!
6) Apps feel like a science projectI started using Mastodon in Safari. It was not a good experience. At least there's an app...or apps.
There is no one app called Mastodon. Instead, you can find a Github list of apps for the open-source project. Apps like the iOS-based Amaroq let you log into any of the many Mastodon "instances" by typing in the name. Nope, there's no list of instances because I don't think anyone knows just how many Mastodon instances are out there.
The Internet is a big place '-- universe-big '-- so there's room for another social media platform, but the Internet can also feel like a very small place, one that targets the weak and consumes them quickly.
Mastodon cannot live on hype alone.
Mastodon has potential. It can be easy to use and there are clearly a lot of people trying it right now. But its weaknesses are glaring. It's more project than product. Unless someone buys the code off Rochko today and consolidates this mess ASAP, it can't survive.
And, no, Mastodon cannot live on hype alone.
Remember Peach? It, too, was a fun social network that let you keep track of friends and share funny images. It was a crappy version of Snapchat without all the sexting.
Peach enjoyed a solid two weeks of being the hottest thing on the social media planet. Then, as I predicted, it fizzled. The last time we talked about Peaches and technology was when Apple changed the peach emoji so it no longer looked like a butt (and then changed it back). No one even mentioned the now mostly forgotten Peach social network.
Late last night on Twitter, we quickly reached the same conclusion: Mastodon is more Peach than Twitter, Less Snapchat than Path.
I was already ready to move on. So was Shatner.
I suspect thousands of other Tooters (blech!) will soon do the same and Mastodon will lay down beside all other other fossilized social media platforms and fade from existence.
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Trump Transition
Melania Trump Just Ruined Easter At The White House
Wed, 12 Apr 2017 12:44
For 138 years, the annual Easter Egg Roll has been the biggest single public event held at the White House, attracting over 35,000 Washington-area schoolchildren, military families, and Congressional guests to celebrate Easter.
Not this year. When the Trump's host the high-profile event April 17th, it will be significantly scaled down as a result of a failure to do the necessary advance planning, purchase the wooden eggs given as gifts on time and send out invitations to bring the children and their families to the White House for the celebration.
''The evidence,'' reports The New York Times, ''points to a quickly thrown-together affair that people close to the planning said would probably draw about 20,000 people '-- substantially smaller than last year's Easter Egg Roll, which drew 37,000 '-- and be staffed by 200 volunteers, one-fifth of the usual number.''
The person most involved with the Easter Egg Roll typically is the First Lady, which appears to be the problem. Melania Trump, unlike her predecessors, has not moved into the White House or taken as active a role as prior Presidential wives and has been slow to hire her full contingent of staff.
This is an event by which all First Ladies are judged.
Melania has a chief of staff and a social secretary but has not yet named a director for the Visitors Office, the person who typically takes the lead in organizing the Easter Egg Roll, which takes a significant amount of organizational effort.
The White House has ordered only about half as many of the wooden Easter eggs from Wells Wood Turning that are given as gifts and sold to the public, in part because of a lack of manufacturing time. The Maine company sent tweets to Trump, Melania, and Ivanka in February asking them to reach out, but didn't hear back promptly.
A spokesperson for the area public schools, which usually get 4,000 tickets, told The New York Times they have not been approached yet this year. The group representing military families has not heard from the Trump White House, and no tickets have been allocated to Congress to use for constituents.
The costumes for characters in recent years have come from PBS Kids, but because the request was late, there will only be one costumed character from Sesame Street this year. That may be ironic in that Trump wants to eliminate federal funding for PBS and Sesame Street.
In the past celebrities have appeared at the Easter event '' including Justin Bieber '' but none have been announced for this year, or are expected.
The White House insists everything is fine and the Egg Roll will take place as usual, but once again that is a Trump administration falsehood. Just as it has failed to get government positions filled promptly, failed to get its legislative agenda passed, and failed to keep campaign promises on health care, taxes and more.
The Trumps can't even get the Easter Egg Roll right.
The North Korea Reframe | Scott Adams' Blog
Wed, 12 Apr 2017 22:03
Posted April 12th, 2017 @ 11:59am in #North Korea#China#Trump#potus
Prior U.S. presidents framed the North Korean nuclear program as a problem between the United States and North Korea, with China as an unhelpful third party with its own interests. That framing was weak and useless. North Korea did whatever it wanted to do.
President Trump recently changed the frame. Now it's not so much a problem between the United States and North Korea as it is a branding battle between China and the U.S., with North Korea being the less-important part of the equation. President Trump has said clearly and repeatedly that if China doesn't fix the problem in its own backyard, the USA will step in to do what China couldn't get done.
See the power in that framing? China doesn't want a weak ''brand.''
With the new framing, we already see China talking tougher about North Korea. They stopped buying North Korean coal, which is something they said they would do before Inauguration Day. But by then, Trump had already reframed the situation the way I described. And he was weeks from being Commander-in-Chief when he did it.
The only thing lacking in Trump's reframing was a credible threat that he would launch a decapitation strike against North Korea. That problem was solved over chocolate cake at Mar Lago when the visiting President of China, Xi, observed Trump give the order to send 59 Tomahawk missiles into a sovereign country that had pissed him off just a few days earlier.
Then Trump ordered an ''armada'' of American warships to the vicinity of North Korea just to remind Xi that we have options.
Trump also suggested that our trade negotiations with China will go a lot better if North Korea is no longer a problem. Trump didn't go so far as to suggest adding a ''North Korea tax'' to Chinese imports, to pay for our military presence in South Korea, but I like to think it is an option.
This is the sort of thing I was hoping to see when the Master Persuader took office. His reframing on North Korea is pitch-perfect. We've never seen anything like this.
Some of you will be tempted to argue that nothing has really changed. But I think the face-to-face meeting between Xi and Trump, and the movement of North Korea to a branding competition between superpowers is a big, big deal. It would be hard, if not politically impossible, for Xi to go easy on North Korea from this point on.
In related news'...
This has been a good week for President Trump. So far, we have seen:
1. Sean Spicer (accidentally?) caused the opposition media to argue that Hitler analogies are ridiculous.
2. The Syrian attack established Trump as a measured and decisive leader. His popularity will rise. Even many of his critics supported the attack.
3. Trump solved for the ''puppet of Putin'' allegation by attacking its client state, Syria.
4. Trump's Supreme Court nominee succeeded, albeit the hard way.
5. The healthcare issue is moving forward after the initial trial-balloon that was more of a negotiating step than a real proposal.
6. Tax reform is now on hold for healthcare reform, but no one thinks that is a bad way to go. The savings on healthcare are part of any budget and tax plan.
7. Relations with China look good. Trump and Xi had good chemistry.
8. China is putting the pressure on North Korea like never before.
9. The economy is good, and optimism is high, in part thanks to Trump. (Mostly the optimism part.)
10. Iran is probably a bit more flexible this week after watching the Syrian attack.
11. News coverage had already mostly evolved from ''Trump is Hitler'' to ''Trump is incompetent.'' The Syrian attack and the North Korean situation moved Trump to ''Effective, but some of us don't like what he is doing'' I wasn't expecting that to happen before the end of the year.
You can tell me other presidents have had better starts. But I doubt that is the case. Keep in mind that Trump started in the deepest hole of any president, ever. He's already halfway out of the hole and establishing himself as a strong leader on international issues.
You might enjoy reading my book because reading books is something you enjoy.
I'm also on'...
Twitter (includes Periscope): @scottadamssays'‹
YouTube: At this link.
Instagram: ScottAdams925
Japanese warships to join US fleet near North Korea as tensions rise | World news | The Guardian
Wed, 12 Apr 2017 18:41
The USS Carl Vinson, the guided-missile destroyer USS Wayne E Meyer and the guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain participate in an exercise with Japanese destroyers in March. Photograph: US navy/EPA
Japan is preparing to send several warships to join a US aircraft carrier strike group heading for the Korean peninsula, in a show of force designed to deter North Korea from conducting further missile and nuclear tests.
Citing two well-placed sources who spoke on condition of anonymity, Reuters and the Kyodo news agency said several destroyers from Japan's maritime self-defence forces would join the USS Carl Vinson and its battle group as it enters the East China Sea.
The move comes as the Chinese president called for calm in the region in a phone conversation with Donald Trump.
China ''is committed to the goal of denuclearisation on the Korean peninsula, safeguarding peace and stability on the peninsula, and advocates resolving problems through peaceful means,'' Xi Jinping said, according to CCTV, the state broadcaster.
The call came after a series of tweets in which Trump pressed China to be more active in pressuring North Korea to abandon its nuclear programme.
In a pair of tweets, Trump linked trade deals and the future of the US-China relationship to progress on reining in the regime's nuclear programme.
The US president wrote:
In another tweet, Trump said he had told Xi any trade deal between the two countries would be ''far better for them if they solve the North Korean problem''.
The US aircraft carrier was redeployed from a planned visit to Australia and is sailing north from Singapore towards the Korean peninsula, as speculation mounts that Pyongyang is planning more missile launches to coincide with national anniversaries this month.
North Korea watchers believe the regime could conduct missile tests on or around the 105th anniversary of the birth of the state's founder, Kim Il-sung, on Saturday, or on the 85th anniversary of the ruling Korean People's Army on 25 April.
China is the North's only key diplomatic ally and its largest trading partner, providing a lifeline to the reclusive state.
There are signs China is taking steps to squeeze North Korea and its erratic leader, Kim Jong-un. Chinese authorities have ordered trading companies to return North Korean coal shipments and banned all imports in late February.
To bridge the gap, China started importing coal from the US, the first time in two years, a move that is likely to be viewed favourably in Washington.
The sources said Japanese and US ships would take part in joint exercises, including helicopter landings on each other's vessels and communications drills, as the Carl Vinson passed through waters off Japan.
The planned rendezvous is a further sign of increased cooperation between the US, Japanese and South Korean navies. Last month, Aegis ships from the three countries held a joint drill to improve their ability to detect and track North Korean missiles.
The Carl Vinson is powered by two nuclear reactors and carries almost 100 aircraft. Its strike group also includes guided-missile destroyers and cruisers. A submarine is also expected to join the group.
''Japan wants to dispatch several destroyers as the Carl Vinson enters the East China Sea,'' one of the Japanese sources was quoted as saying.
Reuters said one of the unnamed officials had direct knowledge of the plan, while the other had been briefed about it. Japan's self-defence forces have not commented on the report.
Chinese media warned that the Korean peninsula was closer to war than at any time since the North conducted the first of its five nuclear tests in 2006.
The Global Times, a state-run tabloid, suggested Chinese public opinion was turning against North Korea and said harsher measures could be needed, including restricting oil shipments.
''Pyongyang can continue its tough stance, however, for its own security, it should at least halt provocative nuclear and missile activities,'' the paper wrote in an editorial. ''Pyongyang should avoid making mistakes at this time.''
A senior Japanese diplomat said the arrival of a US naval strike group off the peninsula was designed to pressure North Korea into agreeing to a diplomatic solution to its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programmes.
''If you consider overall things such as the fact that the US government has not put out warnings to its citizens in South Korea, I think the risk [of military action) at this point is not high,'' the diplomat said.
Some experts in South Korea said an imminent North Korean nuclear test was unlikely. Prof Kim Dong-yub of the Institute for Far Eastern Studies at Kyungnam University, told the Korea Times a ballistic missile launch was the most likely option, adding that the chances of a nuclear detonation were ''very low''.
On Tuesday, North Korea warned of ''catastrophic consequences'' in response to any further provocations by the US, days after the Carl Vinson began its journey towards the Korean peninsula.
''We will hold the US wholly accountable for the catastrophic consequences to be entailed by its outrageous actions,'' North Korea's state-run Korean Central News Agency quoted a foreign ministry spokesman as saying. ''[North Korea] is ready to react to any mode of war desired by the US.''
Reuters contributed to this report
Wash. Post Doesn't Disclose Writer Supporting Syria Strike Is A Lobbyist For Tomahawk Missile Manufacturer
Wed, 12 Apr 2017 15:21
The Washington Post is allowing writer Ed Rogers to push for and praise military action against Syria without disclosing that he's a lobbyist for defense contractor Raytheon, which makes the Tomahawk missiles used in the recent strike.
Rogers is a contributor to The Washington Post's PostPartisan blog, where he wrote an April 8 piece praising President Donald Trump for authorizing the launch of 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian airbase that reportedly housed warplanes that carried out chemical attacks against civilians.
In the piece -- headlined ''Could it be? Is President Trump on a roll?'' -- Rogers wrote that Trump ''received bipartisan support for his military strike in Syria,'' and added that the fact Trump ''launched an attack against Syria while his Chinese counterpart was present and able to witness the aftermath in the media was a powerful stroke of good luck for the White House. In case Xi needed any reminding of just how serious Trump may be about taking action in North Korea, the Syria attack couldn't have been a better example or come at a better time.''
Rogers previously criticized President Obama for failing to intervene in Syria in a December 19, 2016, Post piece. He wrote: ''As troubling as it is that Obama and the Democrats allowed the Russians to interfere in the election and engage in cyberwarfare without any ramifications, we shouldn't be surprised. After all, it is the Obama administration that has capitulated to Iran at every turn and stood by as Syrian government forces, facilitated by the Russians, slaughtered hundreds of thousands in Syria. Now more than ever, it is clear it is time for an urgent change in our foreign policy. Obama and his team cannot leave office soon enough.''
The Post did not disclose that Rogers and his firm, BGR Group, lobbies on behalf of Raytheon, which manufactures the million-dollar Tomahawk missiles. BGR received $120,000 in 2016 for lobbying on ''Defense and communications procurement; Defense appropriations and authorizations,'' according to its lobbying disclosure reports (see quarters 1, 2, 3, and 4). Rogers is listed as a lobbyist in those forms. BGR is one of the country's largest lobbying firms, taking in nearly $17 million in reported lobbying income last year.
Rogers isn't the only commentator to hide conflicts of interest in recent pro-strike punditry. Media Matters has documented that Fox News failed to disclose that military analyst Jack Keane is on the board of directors of General Dynamics, which produces material used in the launching of Tomahawk missiles.
Media Matters previously noted that the Post has allowed Rogers to use his column space to advocate for his clients' interests, including on climate policies. In late 2015, the paper finally added a note about his specific work in the fossil fuel industry. At the very least, it needs to do it again regarding his financial ties to Raytheon.
AP Exclusive: UN child sex ring left victims but no arrests
Wed, 12 Apr 2017 15:22
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) '-- In the ruins of a tropical hideaway where jetsetters once sipped rum under the Caribbean sun, the abandoned children tried to make a life for themselves. They begged and scavenged for food, but they never could scrape together enough to beat back the hunger, until the U.N. peacekeepers moved in a few blocks away.
The men who came from a far-away place and spoke a strange language offered the Haitian children cookies and other snacks. Sometimes they gave them a few dollars. But the price was high: The Sri Lankan peacekeepers wanted sex from girls and boys as young as 12.
"I did not even have breasts," said a girl, known as V01 '-- Victim No. 1. She told U.N. investigators that over the next three years, from ages 12 to 15, she had sex with nearly 50 peacekeepers, including a "Commandant" who gave her 75 cents. Sometimes she slept in U.N. trucks on the base next to the decaying resort, whose once-glamorous buildings were being overtaken by jungle.
Justice for victims like V01 is rare. An Associated Press investigation of U.N. missions during the past 12 years found nearly 2,000 allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation by peacekeepers and other personnel around the world '-- signaling the crisis is much larger than previously known. More than 300 of the allegations involved children, the AP found, but only a fraction of the alleged perpetrators served jail time.
Legally, the U.N. is in a bind. It has no jurisdiction over peacekeepers, leaving punishment to the countries that contribute the troops.
The AP interviewed alleged victims, current and former U.N. officials and investigators and sought answers from 23 countries on the number of peacekeepers who faced such allegations and, what if anything, was done to investigate. With rare exceptions, few nations responded to repeated requests, while the names of those found guilty are kept confidential, making accountability impossible to determine.
Without agreement for widespread reform and accountability from the U.N.'s member states, solutions remain elusive.
Here in Haiti, at least 134 Sri Lankan peacekeepers exploited nine children in a sex ring from 2004 to 2007, according to an internal U.N. report obtained by the AP. In the wake of the report, 114 peacekeepers were sent home. None was ever imprisoned.
In March, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres announced new measures to tackle sexual abuse and exploitation by U.N. peacekeepers and other personnel.
"Let us declare in one voice: We will not tolerate anyone committing or condoning sexual exploitation and abuse. We will not let anyone cover up these crimes with the U.N. flag," Guterres said.
But the proclamation had a depressingly familiar ring: More than a decade ago, the United Nations commissioned a report that promised to do much the same thing, yet most of the reforms never materialized.
For a full two years after those promises were made, the children in Haiti were passed around from soldier to soldier. And in the years since, peacekeepers have been accused of sexual abuse the world over.
In one particularly grim case in Haiti, a teenage boy said he was gang-raped in 2011 by Uruguayan peacekeepers who filmed the alleged assault on a cellphone. Dozens of Haitian women also say they were raped, and dozens more had what is euphemistically called "survival sex" in a country where most people live on less than $2.50 a day, the AP found.
Haitian lawyer Mario Joseph has been trying to get compensation for victims of a deadly cholera strain linked to Nepalese peacekeepers that killed an estimated 10,000 people. Now, he is also trying to get child support for about a dozen Haitian women left pregnant by peacekeepers.
"Imagine if the U.N. was going to the United States and raping children and bringing cholera," Joseph said in Port-au-Prince. "Human rights aren't just for rich white people."
U.S. Sen. Bob Corker agrees. The Tennessee Republican, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has been calling for reforms in the United Nations. He may well get them under President Donald Trump, whose administration has proposed a 31 percent reduction to the U.S. foreign aid and diplomacy budget. Corker and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley want a review of all missions.
Corker recalled his disgust at hearing of the U.N. sexual abuse cases uncovered last year in Central African Republic.
"If I heard that a U.N. peacekeeping mission was coming near my home in Chattanooga," he told AP, "I'd be on the first plane out of here to go back and protect my family."
The Habitation Leclerc resort was once well known throughout Port-au-Prince as a lush refuge amid the capital's grimy alleyways. During its heyday in the 1980s, celebrities like Mick Jagger and Jackie Onassis would perch by the pool or stroll past the property's Voodoo temple.
By 2004, the resort was a decrepit clutch of buildings, and several children, either orphaned or abandoned by their parents, were living in its ruins.
It was there that V01 met other victims, two girls referred to in the U.N. report as "V02" and "V03" and a young boy, "V08." The boy initially supported them by occasionally bringing food from his aunt, but they were often hungry.
The peacekeepers had arrived that year as part of a new mission to help stabilize Haiti in the wake of President Jean-Bertrande Aristide's ouster. The Sri Lankans, numbering about 900 troops, landed in a historically unstable country in the grip of scattered violence and kidnappings '-- and a broken government ill-suited to confront the chaos.
Some of the peacekeepers in the Sri Lankan contingent were based near the former resort.
In August 2007, the U.N. received complaints of "suspicious interactions" between Sri Lankan soldiers and Haitian children. U.N. investigators then interviewed nine victims, as well as witnesses, while the sex ring was still active.
V02, who was 16 when the U.N. team interviewed her, told them she had sex with a Sri Lankan commander at least three times, describing him as overweight with a moustache and a gold ring on his middle finger. She said he often showed her a picture of his wife. The peacekeepers also taught her some Sinhalese so she could understand and express sexual innuendo; the children even talked to one another in Sinhalese when U.N. investigators were interviewing them.
V03 identified 11 Sri Lankan troops through photographs, one of whom she said was a corporal with a "distinctive" bullet scar between his armpit and waist. V04, who was 14, said she had sex with the soldiers every day in exchange for money, cookies or juice.
During her interview with investigators, another young victim, V07, received a phone call from a Sri Lankan peacekeeper. She explained that the soldiers would pass along her number to incoming contingent members, who would then call her for sex.
The boy, V08, said he had sex with more than 20 Sri Lankans. Most would remove their name tags before taking him to U.N. military trucks, where he gave them oral sex or was sodomized by them.
Another boy, V09, was 15 when his encounters began. Over the course of three years, he said he had sex with more than 100 Sri Lankan peacekeepers, averaging about four a day, investigators said.
Under Haitian law, having sex with someone under 18 is statutory rape. U.N. codes of conduct also prohibit exploitation.
"The sexual acts described by the nine victims are simply too many to be presented exhaustively in this report, especially since each claimed multiple sexual partners at various locations where the Sri Lankan contingents were deployed throughout Haiti over several years," the report said.
Investigators showed the children more than 1,000 photographs that included pictures of Sri Lankan troops and locations of where the children had sex with the soldiers.
"The evidence shows that from late 2004 to mid-October 2007, at least 134 military members of the current and previous Sri Lankan contingents sexually exploited and abused at least nine Haitian children," the report said.
After the report was filed, 114 Sri Lanka peacekeepers were sent home, putting an end to the sex ring.
But the sexual exploitation visited upon Haiti's people didn't stop there.
Janila Jean said she was a 16-year-old virgin when a Brazilian peacekeeper lured her to a U.N. compound three years ago with a smear of peanut butter on bread, raped her at gunpoint and left her pregnant. She finds herself constantly in tears.
"Some days, I imagine strangling my daughter to death," she said in an interview under the shadow of banana palms near the former Jacmel base.
With her were three other women who said they also were raped by peacekeepers. One of them sat on her heels, scraping coconut from its shell and into a large cauldron of water and corn, the barest of meals for the women and their small children.
Adm. Ademir Sobrinho of Brazil's armed forces said at a conference in London that his force had no such cases of rape, sexual abuse or sexual exploitation.
But like many, Jean didn't report the rape. Nearly a dozen women interviewed by the AP said they were too scared to report the crimes out of fear they would be blamed '-- or worse, would meet their victimizers again.
The AP found that some 150 allegations of abuse and exploitation by U.N. peacekeepers and other personnel were reported in Haiti alone between 2004 and 2016, out of the worldwide total of nearly 2,000. Aside from the Sri Lankan sex ring in Haiti, some perpetrators were jailed for other cases.
Alleged abusers came from Bangladesh, Brazil, Jordan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Uruguay and Sri Lanka, according to U.N. data and interviews. More countries may have been involved, but the United Nations only started disclosing alleged perpetrators' nationalities after 2015.
The litany of abuses is long.
In July 2011, four Uruguayan peacekeepers and their commanding officer allegedly gang-raped a Haitian teenager. The men also filmed the alleged attack on their phones, which went viral on the internet. The men never faced trial in Haiti; four of the five were convicted in Uruguay of "private violence," a lesser charge. Uruguayan officials said at the time that it was a prank gone wrong and that no rape occurred.
The following year, three Pakistanis attached to the U.N.'s police units in Haiti were allegedly involved in the rape of a mentally disabled 13-year-old in the northern city of Gonaives.
U.N. officials went to Haiti to investigate, but the Pakistanis abducted the boy to keep him from detailing the abuse that had gone on for more than a year, according to Peter Gallo, a former U.N. investigator familiar with the case.
Finally, the men were tried in a Pakistani military tribunal, and eventually sent back to Pakistan. In theory, the tribunal could have allowed for better access to witnesses, but it's unclear whether any were called. The Pakistani authorities also refused to allow the U.N. to observe the proceedings. In the end, one man was sent to prison for a year, according to Ariane Quentier, a spokeswoman for the Haiti mission.
"It's an indictment of how the whole U.N. system works," Gallo told the AP.
Pakistan's military has refused several requests for comment on the case.
U.N. data during the 12-year period reviewed by AP is incomplete and varies in levels of detail, particularly for cases before 2010. Hundreds of other cases were closed with little to no explanation. In its review, the AP analyzed data from annual reports as well as information from the Office of Internal Oversight Services.
In the wake of the child sex ring investigation, a team of Sri Lankans spent two weeks in Haiti in October 2007. They interviewed only 25 soldiers out of more than 900 in the country and concluded that just two Sri Lankan corporals and one private had sex with two "young" victims. Three soldiers denied sexual encounters but were suspected of lying, according to the U.N. investigation report.
For six months, the Sri Lankan army and the government declined to respond to AP's questions about the 2007 case. Instead, officials first dodged repeated queries, then gave vague assurances that the scandal represented an isolated incident. Last month, the Sri Lankan government acknowledged its military had conducted inquiries into just 18 soldiers it said were implicated, and that "the U.N. Secretariat has acknowledged in writing, action taken by the Government, and informed that the Secretariat, as of 29 September 2014, considers the matter closed."
Some of the peacekeepers involved in the ring were still in the Sri Lankan military as of last year, Sri Lankan military officials say. The United Nations, meanwhile, continued to send Sri Lankan peacekeepers to Haiti and elsewhere despite corroborating the child sex ring.
Sri Lankan Defense Secretary Karunasena Hettiarachchi defended the troops, saying, "People are quite happy and comfortable with the peacekeepers."
Above a rusty bench at an abandoned bus stop in the village of Leogane hangs a sign that reads, "Constructed by the 16th Sri Lanka Peacekeeping Battalion." It's one of the few physical reminders of the battalion's mission '-- along with children fathered by U.N. personnel.
Marie-Ange Haitis says she met a Sri Lankan commander in December 2006 and he soon began making night-time visits to her house in Leogane.
"By January, we had had sex," she said. "It wasn't rape, but it wasn't exactly consensual, either. I felt like I didn't have a choice."
She said when she first realized that she was pregnant, the Haitian translator assigned to the Sri Lankans told her to have an abortion. Then, she said, U.N. officials accused her of lying. As she spoke, her daughter Samantha sat on her lap wearing an oversized pair of sunglasses with a missing lens.
When she was interviewed in August, Haitis said she had been waiting nearly a decade for the U.N. to consider her paternity claim to help support her daughter.
Finally, early this year, Sri Lankan and U.N. officials told AP that a onetime payment of $45,243 had been made for Haitis' daughter. The United Nations said Sri Lanka accepted the paternity claim without proof of DNA and the commander was dismissed from service.
But such payments are rare.
U.N. officials said they were unable to find any members of the mission in Haiti who might have dealt with the victims in the sex-ring case and did not know what happened to the children. An Italian non-governmental organization, AVSI, said it helped the children by trying to find homes for them, providing them with counseling and helping reintegrate them into schools, but it also lost track of the children shortly after the country's devastating 2010 earthquake.
Atul Khare, the U.N.'s head of field support which oversees the conduct and discipline of peacekeepers, acknowledged the scope of the problem and said the global agency must do more to help victims, including gathering accurate information and following up with troop-contributing countries.
An AP review of reports into conduct on U.N. field missions showed haphazard record-keeping. In a 2008 report, for example, 19 allegations were reported in Haiti, but the U.N. recorded only two incidents worldwide involving minors '-- a seeming contradiction to the U.N.'s own investigation report in late 2007 that detailed the child sex ring with at least nine child victims.
Some Haitians wonder whether the U.N. has done more harm than good in a country that has endured tragedy after tragedy since it became the first black republic in 1804.
U.N. personnel say they have contributed to the stability in the Caribbean nation over the years, saved lives during the 2010 earthquake's aftermath and prevented violence during periods of unrest. The mission, which currently has nearly 5,000 personnel and is expected to scale down by October, has also been credited with training police, providing security during elections and support to the judiciary.
"I would not say we have achieved everything we set out to do, but we are engaged in a process of continuous improvement that any harmful effect on the local populations could be minimized, if not completely eradicated," Khare said.
Many here are not convinced.
"I'd like to see my attacker face to face and tell him how he has destroyed my life," said 21-year-old Melida Joseph, who said she was raped by one peacekeeper and narrowly escaped being gang-raped in Cite-Soleil, a seaside slum. Like others, she never reported the crime.
"They'll look at this as one big joke," she said. "As far as the U.N. goes, they came here to protect us, but all they've brought is destruction."
Dodds reported from several locations in Haiti and London and Geneva. Others who contributed to the report were Katy Daigle in Colombo, Sri Lanka; Krista Larson in Dakar, Senegal; Kathy Gannon in Islamabad, Pakistan; Saleh Mwanamilongo in Kinshasa, Congo; Francis Kokutse in Accra, Ghana; Brahima Ouedraogo in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso; and Sylivester Domasa in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
War on Weed
Legal Marijuana Ends at Airport Security, Even if It's Rarely Stopped - The New York Times
Tue, 11 Apr 2017 18:27
The agency focuses ''on terrorism and security threats to the aircraft and its passengers,'' a spokesman, Bruce Anderson, said. Airport screeners are looking for things that can take down an airplane, like guns or explosives, not marijuana, he said.
But if screeners do notice marijuana in someone's carry-on or checked luggage, Mr. Anderson said, they will call in local airport law enforcement officials to deal with it.
Of the 54 million passengers who went through Denver International Airport in 2015, the T.S.A. stopped just 29 for possession of marijuana, an airport spokesman, Heath Montgomery, said. In those cases, as long as the amount was legal for personal possession in Colorado '-- one ounce of dried flower, for example '-- the local police simply asked the flier to dispose of it, either by throwing it in the trash or taking it home. All 29 complied, and no tickets were issued.
In 2016, the airport did not keep a record of those stopped with the substance. ''The bottom line is, it's not an issue,'' Mr. Montgomery said.
Sales of medical and recreational marijuana are legal in Colorado, and over $1 billion of marijuana was sold through dispensaries last year, said Matthew A. Karnes, founder of GreenWave Advisors, which analyzes the industry. The comparatively small number of T.S.A. stops at the airport may mean that travelers have gotten the message that it is illegal to fly with marijuana and they leave it behind.
Or perhaps they just pack it and travel with it in a way that is subtle enough not to draw attention to it, said Lisa Smith of Seattle. She often travels through airports with marijuana and says many of her friends do as well.
Local airport authorities handle the situation differently in different states. In Florida, where medical marijuana is legal but recreational use is not, few are stopped for possession in the airport, but they do face penalties. Eleven of the approximately 2.8 million passengers who were screened by T.S.A. at Jacksonville International Airport in 2016 were detained for possession of marijuana, said Michael D. Stewart, the airport's director of external affairs. All were arrested or given a notice to appear in court, he said.
T.S.A. agents with dogs that are sniffing people in line by security checkpoints are looking for explosives, not marijuana. Dogs assisting Customs and Border Protection agents, however, are searching for illicit drugs along with other illegal substances, but only among passengers arriving in the United States on international flights.
''Some people like a glass of wine to relax when they travel,'' Ms. Smith said. ''I prefer a little marijuana.'' It is hard to find in some states, she said, so ''it's easier to bring my own.'' Medical and recreational marijuana are legal in Washington State.
Typically she takes loose marijuana in a plastic child-safe pill container. ''Only once has a T.S.A. agent pulled the container out of my purse,'' she said, ''but that was because she was looking for a water bottle that had set off the scanner.''
The agent put the marijuana back, Ms. Smith said. ''I don't think she noticed what it was.''
Ms. Smith said she also traveled sometimes with edible forms of marijuana. ''I'll take a couple of cannabis-infused chocolates or mints and transfer them from their packaging to a container that isn't labeled as a cannabis product,'' she said.
Cy Scott, co-founder of Headset, a marijuana industry data analytics company in Seattle, said the proliferation of new forms of cannabis made it easier to take the substance on a flight.
''Along with cookies and chocolates, there are transdermal patches, sublingual drops, vape pens and topical ointments,'' he said.
There are 70,000 unique marijuana products sold in Washington State alone, he said, ''so there are endless ways to carry marijuana in a nonobvious way.''
Jaime Ruiz, chief of the Northern Border and Coastal Waters branch of the Department of Homeland Security, would not speculate on whether the odors in every processed marijuana product would be picked up by a detector dog working for Customs.
''But by experience, our canines have been able to detect odors in unthinkable places and have found marijuana concealed in airtight containers,'' he said.
The musician Melissa Etheridge said she used medical marijuana for pain relief when she was being treated for breast cancer. She is now starting her own cannabis business, offering products like baked goods, tinctures and prerolled marijuana cigarettes aimed at people with pain from arthritis, sports injuries or other conditions.
She said she had carried marijuana in her checked luggage, but always attaches her doctor's recommendation to it. ''Once the T.S.A. left a note that they had inspected my luggage, and they left it right on top of my weed,'' she said.
The conflict between legal consumers of marijuana and federal laws is bound to worsen. Doctors' recommendations for the drug are increasing as new medicinal uses are discovered. And the number of states legalizing medical and recreational marijuana continues to rise. At the same time, Attorney General Jeff Sessions favors stricter anti-marijuana law enforcement nationwide.
Ms. Etheridge said she had become more cautious about flying with marijuana.
So far, though, said Mr. Anderson of the Transportation Security Administration, ''our policy and procedures in this have not changed.''
A version of this article appears in print on April 11, 2017, on Page B5 of the New York edition with the headline: Pot Is Supposed to Stay on the Ground, Even Where It's Legal to Get High.
Continue reading the main story
Phrase from the Chaise
12 Insults We Should Bring Back by Dictionary.com
Tue, 11 Apr 2017 15:43
Everyone knows a primo insult or two, even if your personal rules of decorum prohibit their usage. But if you think about it, there aren't many new insults (or swear words, for that matter). The ones you heard from that guy in middle school are pretty much the same ones you hear now.
Let's hop in the time machine and head back a couple of hundred years. These words/terms might seem rather quaint and out of place now, but back then, they got your attention. ''Hey! You scobblelotcher! Thy vile canker-blossom'd countenance curdles milk and sours beer!"
Let's examine a few, shall we? It should be said that Dictionary.com doesn't define these words presently'--they're not in current use, so there aren't too many people needing to look them up! However, that in no way invalidates them as words. Should we bring these back into today's conversations? Let us know what you think on Facebook or Twitter (dictionarycom).
Pony Girls
Tuffi Films - Hobbyhorse Revolution
Tue, 11 Apr 2017 17:07
A funny and moving film about teenagers with growing pains, who discover their own voice and talent through riding and making hobbyhorses
Selma Vilhunen has directed a documentary about young hobbyhorse enthusiasts. Over the past ten years hobbyhorse riding has become a global phenomenon and a way of life for thousands of young people.
Hobbyhorse Revolution is a funny and moving film about the power of imagination and the strength of a community. The film follows three young girls, Aisku, Elsa and Alisa whose lives have been transformed by their new interest: hobbyhorses. Despite a lack of understanding by some, the girls bravely and spiritedly pursue their hobby.
Playing with hobbyhorses is a traditional children's activity, but today's Finnish teenagers have created a versatile hobby around it, raising the scene to a whole new level. The hobbyists' are unofficially organised, working on a voluntary basis. In one hand they are active online with their Instagram accounts, blogs and forums while on the other they practise the sport by exercising outdoors in woods and parks - and they are serious. They are an ever-growing group that trains determinedly and organises nationwide competitions. Every handcrafted hobbyhorse has its own name and personality. The age range of hobbyists' is continuously expanding with the eldest now over 20 years old. The hobbyhorse fever is now spreading abroad as well.
A documentary film. Premiere 3/2017.
Director Selma Vilhunen Writers Selma Vilhunen, Okku Nuutilainen Editor Okku Nuutilainen Cinematography Sari Aaltonen, Selma Vilhunen Composer Henrik Oja (SE) Sound design Christoffer Demby / Ljudbang (SE) Post Production Trickfabriken (SE) Production Venla Hellstedt, Elli Toivoniemi Co-producer Therese H¶gberg / Bautafilm AB Production support The Finnish Film Foundation, Avek, Svenska filminstitutet, Film i V¤sterbotten, Nordic Film & TV Fond Produced in association with Yle In co-production with Sveriges Television AB and Filmpool Nord AB
Duration theatre version & TV version 90' & 58' Domestic theatrical release 31.3.2017 Age limit Suitable for all ages Instagram @hobbyhorserevolution Facebookfb.me/hobbyhorserevolutionWorld sales Tuffi Films Festival contact Tuffi Films, Finnish Film Foundation
Never stop doing what you love
A refreshing look at the coming of age of young women who transformed their passion into an empowering tool and created a community to stand up to the world. Through their conviction, love and special revolution, they invite us all to find our very own hobbyhorses. -Tampere Film Festival jury
FestivalsTampere Film Festival 03/2017
AwardsTampere Film Festival: Risto Jarva Main Prize and National Competition, films over 30 minutes, Grand Prix Main Prize
New film shines light on Finland's hobbyhorse sub-culture | Yle Uutiset | yle.fi
Tue, 11 Apr 2017 17:03
Hobbyhorse riding has become a big deal in Finland. Image: Nella Nuora / Yle Finland's next big craze could well be stick-horse riding if a new film out on Friday is anything to go by. Alisa Aarniom¤ki was one of the first to take it up ten years ago, and she says it all started when she saw an advert for a hobbyhorse on sale.
"A week or two later I said to my friend that hobbyhorses could be cool'--should we try it?" remembers Aarniom¤ki.
Aarniom¤ki had already been riding real horses for a while, but found making and competing on hobbyhorses a wonderful way to express herself. She filmed her hobby, edited the videos and posted them on social media. She now estimates there were at that point around 100 people involved in making and riding hobbyhorses in Finland.
10,000 hobbyhorse enthusiasts in FinlandA decade on, there are roughly ten thousand, mostly girls and teens. That's thanks partly to Aarniom¤ki's bravery in posting the videos on social media.
Not all the feedback was positive, especially in the beginning. She got negative messages, asking why she did such idiotic things, schoolmates spread rumours about her. When riding in the forest, people threw stones and hit her. That didn't stop Aarniom¤ki.
"Even when I was young I had the kind of attitude that I don't care what other people think about me," says Aarniom¤ki. "I like to do this, and I will do this."
Alisa Aarniom¤ki got into hobbyhorse riding when she saw an advert for a hobbyhorse for sale. Image: Nella Nuora / Yle At the heart of hobbyhorse culture are the beautiful hobbyhorses themselves, the handiwork involved in creating and maintaining them, and social media updates'--as well as the riding styles employed by imaginative riders.
Hobbyhorse enthusiasts play the role of both rider and horse, with their legs as the horse's forelegs and their upper body as the rider. The sport demands body strength and control.
"The horse should be doing the moving, so that your upper body stays still," notes Aarniom¤ki. "It should look realistic."
Finnish championships have been organised since 2012, when Aarniom¤ki won both the flat and jump disciplines. She's also won other competitions, and has taken on a degree of responsibility for the sport. That includes public relations for an often-mocked hobby, and last year she organised a demonstration.
Around 200 enthusiasts marched through central Helsinki with their hobbyhorses, shouting kepparit kunniaan!, or "respect hobbyhorses!".
Aarniom¤ki says she didn't let bullies discourage her. Image: Nella Nuora / Yle "It still feels like a big thing and I had a kind of enthusiasm for myself, that I'd done something like that and it was a good feeling," says Aarniom¤ki. "I'd definitely do it again, and even bigger this time."
"Generally the hobby is treated more positively now than it was before," says Aarniom¤ki.
Hobbyhorse Revolution, which is directed by Selma Vilhunen, opens on 31 March in Finland. Vilhunen says there's much to admire in the hobbyhorse community.
"Everyone can go there exactly as they are. The community has powerful internal democracy, and they have a lot to teach the rest of us," says Vilhunen.
After winning the two main prizes at the Tampere Film Festival in March, the movie's international premiere will be at the Vision du R(C)el Festival in Nyon, Switzerland on April 23, followed by its North American premiere at HotDocs in Toronto, Canada on May 3.
April 5: Updated with festival info.
VIDEO - Student Scolds University President on 'Safe Spaces' '-- the Response She Gets Makes Her Storm Out
Thu, 13 Apr 2017 14:07
A group of students at Northern Arizona University are calling on the institution's president to resign unless she designates the campus a ''safe space'' for all students.
During a university forum, sophomore Breanna Kramer scolded university President Rita Cheng for failing to ''take action in situations of injustice.''
''How can you promote safe spaces, if you don't take action in situations of injustice?'' the student asked. "Such as last week, when we had the preacher on campus, and he was promoting hate speech against marginalized students? As well as not speaking out against racist incidents like blackface two months ago by student workers followed by no reform and no repercussions?''
As the student found out moments later, Cheng actually doesn't support students insulating themselves in so-called ''safe spaces.'' Here's how Cheng responded:
"As a university professor, I'm not sure I have any support at all for safe space. I think that you, as a student, have to develop the skills to be successful in this world, and that we need to provide you with the opportunity for discourse and debate and dialogue and academic inquiry, and I'm not sure that that is correlated with the notion of safe space as I've seen that.''
Clearly dissatisfied with the university president's answer, Kramer and mostly members of the group she was with, the Student Action Coalition, staged a ''walkout.''
NAU President Rita Cheng/NAZ Today
The group later claimed in a statement that Cheng's answer was ''insufficient'' and called on her to resign if she is ''not ready or willing to engage in these serious conversations.''
Cheng clarified her position on safe spaces further in an interview with 12 News.
''NAU is safe. Creating segregated spaces for different groups on our campus only [leads] to misunderstanding, distrust and [reduces] the opportunity for discussion and engagement and education around diversity.'' she said.
''Our classrooms and our campus is a place for engagement and respect '-- a place to learn from each other. NAU is committed to an atmosphere that is conducive to teaching and learning.''
View Comments (92 comments)
VIDEO - Trump: I said NATO was obsolete but it's no longer obsolete - YouTube
Thu, 13 Apr 2017 13:38
VIDEO - Democrats Calling For Tulsi Gabbard To Resign From Congress Because Of Her Anti-War Stance! - YouTube
Thu, 13 Apr 2017 13:21
VIDEO - President Trump tells Maria Bartiromo he decided to bomb Syria while eating 'the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake'
Thu, 13 Apr 2017 07:26
2:43 a.m. ET
Stephen Bannon, President Trump's chief strategist, apparently had a rough day at the office on Wednesday. The night before, Trump had told the New York Post, "I like Steve, but you have to remember he was not involved in my campaign until very late," and before that, "I didn't know Steve." (They met in 2011.) "I'm my own strategist," he added, a phrase he repeated to The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, when he also called Bannon "a guy who works for me." Some of Bannon's associates characterized Trump's public dressing-down as a paternal "love tap," The Washington Post reports, while others fear it was "an indirect firing."
Bannon "is a marked man '-- diminished by weeks of battles with the bloc of centrists led by Trump's daughter and son-in-law and cut down by the president himself," The Washington Post said, basing its assessment on "interviews Wednesday with 21 of Trump's aides, confidants, and allies." One Bannon friend likened him to "a terminally ill family member who had been moved into hospice care," The Post said, while others suggested Bannon might survive for a little longer.
"Bannon is a brilliant pirate who has had a huge impact," said former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. "But White Houses, in the end, are like the U.S. Navy '-- corporate structures and very hard on pirates." A "person with firsthand knowledge of internal White House dynamics" told The New York Times that while no change is imminent, Trump's comments and Bannon's recent demotions have made it very hard for the chief strategist to keep his job and his stature.
Not every Trump insider is numbering Bannon's days. Thomas Barrack Jr., a close Trump friend and business associate, spent Tuesday and Wednesday meeting with Trump and his senior team in Washington. He told CNN's Erin Burnett Wednesday night that things have never been better at the Trump White House and Bannon isn't going anywhere.
Still, Bannon's supporters are watching the situation warily, including his main political patron, Rebekah Mercer, who views Bannon as her main conduit to Trump. Mercer is reportedly already looking for opportunities for Bannon should he leave the White House early, but her family's ties to Bannon are one of the things that might keep him employed at the White House. "While the president has grown weary of directives from donors like the Mercers," The New York Times reports, "he is mindful that they are among his major financial backers, and he is said to be conscious of the need to keep it that way." Peter Weber
VIDEO - Thank You, Scott - SNL - YouTube
Thu, 13 Apr 2017 07:22
VIDEO - 'Just kill me,' United passenger says as he drools blood in new video '' BGR
Thu, 13 Apr 2017 07:15
United's nightmare morning is getting even worse. A horrifying new video shows the passenger, bloodied and incoherent after being violently removed from the flight by police, clutching a post and repeating ''just kill me.''
The passenger was removed from an overbooked flight Sunday night, but outrage flared up this morning after a video showed Chicago police literally dragging the 69-year-old passenger down the aisle, causing serious injury in the process.
A new video shows a moment that happened about ten minutes after the initial removal, according to witnesses. The passenger came running back onto the flight, went to the rear of the aircraft, and clutched a post, mumbling ''just kill me'' and ''I want to go home'' repeatedly.
After the video was initially shared on Twitter, United responded with a tone-deaf statement about why an overbooked passenger was removed:
United Airlines CEO (the recently-crowned PRWeek Communicator of the Year!) Oscar Munoz later issued a statement, apologizing for the overbooking, but not beating up a paying customer:
Chicago Police also issued a statement with their version of events, which claim that he ''fell,'' and his head ''subsequently hit the armrest.'' That's, uh, some strong alternative facts right there.
According to the statements and reports that we have currently, it would appear that the United flight was full, but four United employees needed seats on the flight. So, the airline initially asked for volunteers, offering up to $800 in vouchers, a hotel room, and a flight home on Monday afternoon.
Having found no volunteers, they then proceeded to choose passengers at random and remove them. One couple left without incident, but the second couple picked was a 69-year-old Asian doctor and his wife. He claimed he needed to be back home the next morning to see patients, so refused to leave, at which point police officers were summoned.
Update: According to a report from an ABC reporter, one of the police officers involved in the removal has been placed on leave:
VIDEO - EU ULTIMATUM: Brussels tells Poland & Hungary to 'accept more migrants or LEAVE the bloc' | World | News | Express.co.uk
Thu, 13 Apr 2017 06:43
Both countries have ignored EU proposals to relocate 160,000 migrants and the rest of the bloc is set to take action to ensure they share the burden.
Poland has ignored criticism from the European Commission over its handling of the migrant crisis and last week Beata Szydlo, the country's prime minister, criticised EU plans for a ''two-speed'' Europe which would allow more powerful members to develop faster than their poorer neighbours.
Hungarian PM Orban & Polish leader Beata Szydl have spoken out against the migrant quotas Related articles Brussels makes DESPERATE plea to Balkan states to join the EU Poland blasts EU as minister questions calls Donald Tusk's re-election Meanwhile, Hungary has pushed back against the centralisation of powers in Brussels and eurosceptic leader Viktor Orban called for the country's borders to be closed during the height of the 2015 migrant crisis.
The two countries will now have to decide if they are willing to maintain their anti-migrant rhetoric if it puts their EU membership under threat, a diplomatic source told the Times.
The source said: ''They will have to make a choice: are they in the European system or not? You cannot blackmail the EU, unity has a price.''
Tue, April 4, 2017 REUTERS
1 of 53
A migrant taunts Hungarian riot police as they fire tear gas and water cannon on the Serbian side of the border, near Roszke
Could their unwillingness to accept migrants quotas spell the end of the EU for Poland & Hungary? The European Court of Justice (ECJ) is expected to look into the legality of the migrant quotas with a judgment, widely expected to be in favour of them, due before the end of the year.
The source added: ''We are confident that the ECJ will confirm validation, then they [Poland and Hungary] must abide by the decision.
''If they don't then they will face consequences, both financial and political.
''No more opt-outs, there is no more 'one foot in and one foot out'.
''We are going to be very tough on this.''
2015 saw thousands of refugees arrive at European shores The EU's migrant quotas have been widely criticised for being ineffective, with some eastern European members including Slovakia and the Czech Republic waiting for disputes between the EU, Hungary and Poland to be resolved before accepting their share of migrants.
Germany, France and Italy have called for a permanent system of quotas to replace the emergency measures currently in place, which would include fines and penalties for failing to comply.
Related articlesComments UnavailableSorry, we are unable to accept comments about this article at the moment. However, you will find some great articles which you can comment on right now in our Comment section.
China 'SCRAMBLES 25,000 extra troops to North Korea' & puts country on 'NATIONWIDE ALERT'REVEALED: Ivanka Trump is the MOST POPULAR member of White House staff, poll findsAmerica's first-ever female Muslim judge found dead in New York's Hudson RiverEU chief says more than 16,000 migrants moved from Greece & Italy to other Brussels statesTrump deploys chilling 'NUKE SNIFFERS' to Japan to track North Korean nuclear activityEU IGNORES Polish call for flexible Brexit negotiations as bloc seeks to punish BritainPrison Break's Wentworth Miller reveals he was confronted with HANDCUFFS from kinky fanAndy Burnham urges the north of England to work together to MANIPULATE May's Brexit plansDesperate Scottish Labour to sell TEA TOWELS to boost funds as local elections loom'SHE'S LOST THE PLOT' Nicola Sturgeon's 'divisive' referendum leaving Scots 'spitting mad'War games: Kim Jong-un watches military contest as North Korea prepares for conflictKim Jong-un BOMBARDS South Korea with MILLIONS of propaganda leaflets in one yearBoris Johnson SCOLDS Putin for 'acting as a lifeline to murderous Assad' as tensions soar'Israeli airstrikes rain down on Syria' in alleged attack on HezbollahMarine Le Pen LEADS in French poll as far left Jean-Luc Melenchon 'could ruin economy''We have great chemistry' Trump HAILS China's 'gentleman' Xi Jinping amid new allianceDonald Trump backtracks on NATO criticism and claims the alliance is 'no longer obsolete'North Korea 'set to detonate a NUCLEAR device THIS WEEK' as Kim Jong-un prepares for WARPresident Donald Trump vows to TAKE ON North Korea WITHOUT China if necessaryNorth Korea LIVE: Latest news updates as Kim Jong-un threatens the USAWould concrete barriers STOP a terror truck attack? Researchers shocked by test results'We can't COMPETE' European wine makers terrified EU won't reach UK trade dealKim Jong-un SECRET WEAPON: North Korea's hidden SUBMARINE threat amid nuclear attack planGermany tells Britain to hold SECOND referendum as UK DIDN'T KNOW what Brexit was aboutSerbia next to join EU? Germany publicly backs Balkan state for member stateRussia BLOCKS United Nations from condemning Syrian chemical attackBritish couple held after marina fire kills man, 63BREAKING: Trump says Russia relations at an 'all time low' after Syria airstrikeNorth Korea ready for WAR? Satellite images show FRESH ACTIVITY at nuclear test siteBrussels could force bad Brexit deal on UK to push EU army agenda, Danish MEP warnsDeadly nerve gas sarin WAS used in Syria chemical attack, says UK diplomatDonald Trump in talks with China's Xi Jinping over 'menace of North Korea'Watch LIVE: Donald Trump meets NATO Secretary General Jens StoltenbergBREAKING: Borussia Dortmund stadium surrounded as police fear ANOTHER bombRex Tillerson says there is a 'low level of trust' between Russia and the US during talksNorth Korea: How Donald Trump unexpectedly PHONED China to discuss Kim Jong-unAnti-fascist protesters hurl eggs and smoke grenades at Front National fansEurosceptics demanding 'SWEXIT NOW' become Sweden's largest party after SURGE in pollsBrexit proved 'inconceivable' European Union DESTRUCTION is POSSIBLE, says Greek financierUS Navy Seal team which killed bin Laden 'training in South Korea to remove Kim Jong-un'Grexit NEXT? Martin Schulz will NOT rule out Greece leaving crumbling eurozoneTeacher, 34, romps in dam with pupil, 16: Charged with sexual batteryWhat happens if Marine Le Pen WINS the French election 2017? Could the EU collapse?Chaos as Leicester fans clash with Madrid police ahead of Champions League quarter-finalBomb threat at Belgian shopping area '' Centre evacuated as police swoop inFrance 'outraged' after Fillon supporters invite top Syrian official to crisis meetingThursday, 13th April 2017
See today's front and back pages, download the newspaper, order back issues and use the historic Daily Express newspaper archive.
VIDEO - 'Pandamania' grips Dutch animal lovers | Euronews
Thu, 13 Apr 2017 06:39
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VIDEO - "Noticeable Decrease In Veterans Suicides In States That Allow Medical Marijuana For PTSD!" - YouTube
Thu, 13 Apr 2017 05:48
VIDEO - Presstitute SHOCKED At Sean Spicer's Use Of The Phrase "Holocaust Centers" - YouTube
Thu, 13 Apr 2017 05:38
VIDEO - Spicer: 'You Had Someone as Despicable as Hitler Who Didn't Even Sink to Using Chemical Weapons' | MRCTV
Thu, 13 Apr 2017 05:04
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Tuesday that even Adolf Hitler didn't use chemical weapons when trying to stress how deplorable the Syrian president's actions were - a comment he had to clarify later in the White House press briefing. Read Full Story
VIDEO - Matthews Can't Stop Comparing Trump Family to Romanovs; Hints at How They Were Murdered | MRCTV
Thu, 13 Apr 2017 04:56
See more in the cross-post on the NewsBusters blog.
On Tuesday's Hardball, MSNBC host Chris Matthews upped the ante on his obsession with calling the Trump family the 21st century Romanovs, doing so for the 12th different show in 2017. He went one step further here, hinting that ''we know what happened to the Romanovs'' as in that some were murdered by the Bolsheviks.
12 minutes into the show, Matthews whined to The Washington Post's Anne Gearan that ''it seems to me there's always an element of almost Romanov absurdity '-- a royal family absurdity with the Trumps now'' plus son-in-law Jared Kushner.
VIDEO - CBS Hypes Attack From Group Smearing Spicer's Gaffe as 'Holocaust Denial' | MRCTV
Thu, 13 Apr 2017 04:51
[See NewsBusters for more.] Sean Spicer's Hitler gaffe on Tuesday was dumb and embarrassing, something he's since admitted. Yet, that wasn't enough for the journalists at CBS This Morning, Wednesday. They hyped attacks from an organization that smeared the White House press secretary, calling him a ''Holocaust denier.'' The Anne Frank Center, which famed lawyer Alan Dershowitz has derided as ''tiny'' and "phony,'' also called for Spicer to be fired. This neatly ties in with what Nancy Pelosi is demanding. Of course, CBS also touted her remarks. Reporter Chip Reid explained Spicer's sloppy attempt at comparing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to Hitler and the Trump aide's efforts to make Assad seem worse than the German dictator. Reid highlighted, ''The backlash against Spicer was swift and harsh. In a statement, the Anne Frank Center said Sean Spicer's comments were 'the most evil slur upon a group of people ever heard from someone at the White House.'''
VIDEO - On CNN, Dershowitz Slams 'Holocaust Denier' Smear of Spicer | MRCTV
Thu, 13 Apr 2017 04:46
[See NewsBusters for more.] Sean Spicer's Hitler gaffe on Tuesday was dumb and embarrassing, something he's since admitted. Yet, that wasn't enough for the journalists at CBS This Morning, Wednesday. They hyped attacks from an organization that smeared the White House press secretary, calling him a ''Holocaust denier.'' The Anne Frank Center, which famed lawyer Alan Dershowitz has derided as ''tiny'' and "phony,'' also called for Spicer to be fired. Dershowitz appeared on CNN, Tuesday, to denounce the smear: '' This guy, who claims to be the head of the Frank Center '-- who is a total phony, there's no such thing. It's a minor institution. It has no credibility within the Jewish community. He's constantly trying to get headlines by overblowing everything.''
VIDEO - WATCH: 5 reasons Maxine Waters should be our next president - Salon.com
Thu, 13 Apr 2017 04:15
This Salon video was produced by Kevin Carlin
The way Republicans gloat about the new president is disgusting­­ '-- it's the lowest form of groveling I've ever seen. And the historically low standards set for this administration only make matters worse. Trump still receives praise, even after the string of failures he's collected during his first 100 days.
What's funny to me is that right-wing pundits like Bill O'Reilly never challenge Trump on real issues, like his failed travel ban and his squad of Russia-connected minions, but O'Reilly does find the time to disrespect a legend like Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), who has a history of fighting for women, children and other minorities living in poverty. Instead of being a coward for attacking a woman and trying to embarrass her on air, O'Reilly should be praising Waters and telling his viewers that she would make a better president than Donald Trump.
Unlike Trump, Waters is a champion of the people. She started working in segregated restaurants at the age of 13 and fought her way out of poverty while Trump was living in the lap of luxury, attending private schools and enjoying the life of privileged millionaire. The work ethic that Waters picked up as a teenager pushed her to be a person with the heart to fight against the Apartheid regime in South Africa and the courage to be one of the few to speak out against the war in Iraq. Meanwhile, I've yet to see Trump take a stand on an issue that wasn't directly connected to his ego.
Today on Salon 5 we will discuss Waters, her amazing political talents, and why we millennials love her so much. Watch the video to learn more about why Maxine Waters should be our next president.
VIDEO - White House claims on Syria chemical attack 'obviously false' '' MIT professor (VIDEO) '-- RT America
Thu, 13 Apr 2017 01:49
A professor who challenged the 2013 claims of a chemical attack in Syria is now questioning the Trump administration's narrative blaming the Assad government for the April 4 attack in the Idlib province town of Khan Shaykhun.
On Tuesday, the White House released a declassified intelligence brief accusing Syrian President Bashar Assad of ordering and organizing the attack, in which Syrian planes allegedly dropped chemical ordnance on civilians in the rebel-held town.
The report ''contains absolutely no evidence that this attack was the result of a munition being dropped from an aircraft,'' wrote Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Professor Theodore Postol, who reviewed it and put together a 14-page assessment, which he provided to RT on Wednesday.
''I believe it can be shown, without doubt, that the document does not provide any evidence whatsoever that the US government has concrete knowledge that the government of Syria was the source of the chemical attack in Khan Shaykhun,'' wrote Postol.
A chemical attack with a nerve agent did occur, he said, but the available evidence does not support the US government's conclusions.
Read more
''I have only had a few hours to quickly review the alleged White House intelligence report. But a quick perusal shows without a lot of analysis that this report cannot be correct,'' Postol wrote.
It is ''very clear who planned this attack, who authorized this attack and who conducted this attack itself,'' Defense Secretary James Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon on Tuesday.
Earlier in the day, White House spokesman Sean Spicer also said that doubting the evidence would be ''doubting the entire international reporting crew documenting this.''
The report offered by the White House, however, cited ''a wide body of open-source material'' and ''social media accounts'' from the rebel-held area, including footage provided by the White Helmets rescue group documented to have ties with jihadist rebels, Western and Gulf Arab governments.
Postol was not convinced by such evidence.
''Any competent analyst would have had questions about whether the debris in the crater was staged or real,'' he wrote. ''No competent analyst would miss the fact that the alleged sarin canister was forcefully crushed from above, rather than exploded by a munition within it.''
Instead, ''the most plausible conclusion is that the sarin was dispensed by an improvised dispersal device made from a 122mm section of rocket tube filled with sarin and capped on both sides.''
''We again have a situation where the White House has issued an obviously false, misleading and amateurish intelligence report,'' he concluded, recalling the 2013 situation when the Obama administration claimed Assad had used chemical weapons against the rebels in Ghouta, near Damascus.
''What the country is now being told by the White House cannot be true,'' Postol wrote, ''and the fact that this information has been provided in this format raises the most serious questions about the handling of our national security.''
On Tuesday, Russian General Staff spokesman Colonel-General Sergey Rudskoy questioned the ''authenticity'' of media reports concerning the attack. He said that using social media to reconstruct the course of events raised ''serious doubts'' not only among the Russian military but also ''among many respected experts and organizations.''
Rudskoy noted that, under the 2013 agreement to give up its chemical weapons, the Syrian government destroyed its stockpiles at 10 sites that were under its control. This was verified by the Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). However, the remaining two facilities were in territory controlled by the rebels, he said, and it remains unclear what happened to the chemicals stored there.
VIDEO - Trump on North Korea: 'We Are Sending an Armada' | Fox News Insider
Wed, 12 Apr 2017 18:54
President Trump warned in a pair of tweets Tuesday that North Korea ''is looking for trouble'' with its nuclear weapons program, and he doubled down on that tough talk in a Fox Business Network interview with Maria Bartiromo.
Trump, who dispatched a Navy strike group to the Korean Peninsula amid the rogue nation's continued ballistic missile and nuclear testing, told Bartiromo he's not going to reveal exactly what strategy he will use against North Korea.
"You never know, do you? You never know," Trump said, explaining that he's not going to announce his military plans to our adversaries, as former President Obama did.
Although he didn't get into specifics, Trump spoke about his decision to send the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier and its battle group to waters off the Korean Peninsula.
"We are sending an armada. Very powerful." Trump said. "We have submarines. Very powerful, far more powerful than the aircraft carrier, that I can tell you."
As for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Trump said he's "doing the wrong thing" with his ongoing nuclear testing and saber-rattling.
Responding to the U.S. moving the Navy strike group, the isolated nation vowed to ''hold the U.S. wholly accountable for the catastrophic consequences.''
Trump also weighed in on the situation in the Middle East, saying that he he has no plans to enter Syria, despite ordering airstrikes on a Syrian military base last week.
Watch highlights of the interview above and below.
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Trump vows we will not get involved in Syria...
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Trump talks about hostility by Democrats...
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Reporter to Mattis: Why Would U.S. Strike Syria for Chemical Attack, but Not Barrel Bombs?
Stay connected with the most-trusted name in cable news through exclusive videos, show highlights and behind-the-scenes details.
VIDEO - Burger King's new ad forces Google Home to advertise the Whopper - The Verge
Wed, 12 Apr 2017 18:21
Burger King is unveiling a horrible, genius, infuriating, hilarious, and maybe very poorly thought-out ad today that's designed to intentionally set off Google Homes and Android phones.
The 15-second ad features someone in a Burger King uniform leaning into the camera before saying, ''OK Google, what is the Whopper burger?''
For anyone with a Google Home near their TV, that strangely phrased request will prompt the speaker to begin reading the Wikipedia entry for the Whopper. It's a clever way of getting viewers' attention, but it's also a really quick way of getting on viewers' nerves '-- just look at the reactions people had when ads accidentally triggered voice assistants in the past.
Burger King's ad relies on Wikipedia, which is maybe not a good idea
While Burger King is far from the first to recognize that it's possible to mess with someone else's smart speaker, it's certainly the first to put it into a widely run ad campaign. The spot is supposed to begin running in prime-time slots across the US today on networks including History, Spike, Comedy Central, MTV, E!, and Bravo, and it will air during Adult Swim, TheTonight Show, and Jimmy Kimmel Live.
Google wasn't involved in the ad's creation. That means this isn't an expansion of Google's ad tests (people weren't happy when Google built a Beauty and the Beast ad into the the speaker), but it also leads to some real issues for Burger King. For one, it has to use weird phrasing '-- ''What is the Whopper burger?'' '-- because that's the query that actually gets the result it wants. Asking ''What is a Whopper?'' gets you the definition of the word ''whopper.''
And then there's the bigger problem: Google gets its explanation of the Whopper from Wikipedia. And as we all know, anyone's free to edit Wikipedia.
It actually looks like Burger King went and edited the Whopper entry ahead of this ad being run. For almost a decade, Wikipedia's page for the Whopper began with more or less the same sentence: ''The Whopper sandwich is the signature hamburger product sold by the international fast-food restaurant chain Burger King and its Australian franchise Hungry Jack's.''
Burger King's marketing chief seems to have edited Wikipedia to improve the ad
But last week, that first line '-- the only line that Google Home reads '-- was changed to: ''The Whopper is a burger, consisting of a flame-grilled patty made with 100 percent beef with no preservatives or fillers, topped with sliced tomatoes, onions, lettuce, pickles, ketchup, and mayonnaise, served on a sesame-seed bun.'' That certainly sounds like ad copy.
And all evidence suggests Burger King is behind the edit. The line was first added by someone with the username ''Fermachado123,'' which appears to be the username of Burger King's marketing chief, Fernando Machado. He uses the same name on Instagram and an almost identical name on Twitter.
A press representative for the company stopped responding when asked about the edit. Wikipedia specifically asks that editors ''avoid shameless self-promotion'' while making changes, and this very much seems to break the rule.
Relying on Wikipedia also opens up one other problem: anyone can edit it. The Verge modified the Whopper entry briefly, and Google Home began speaking the updated text only minutes later.
Smart speakers keep getting triggered by accident
With this ad airing nationally, Burger King is opening the door for an editing war '-- and it risks having a malicious editor make the Google Home say something inappropriate when explaining the Whopper.
Those risks will certainly make for an interesting, if frustrating, ad campaign.
Burger King is taking advantage of something here that's been happening for months: commercials, news anchors, and other voices on TV keep triggering the Google Home, and Amazon's Alexa, by accident. (''OK Google'' could trigger some Android phones, too, though Android has an option to only respond to a specific voice.) In one instance, a news report led to Alexas ordering dollhouses.
The whole thing seems avoidable, but so far, Google and Amazon haven't added voice-recognition to their smart speakers. Until that changes, these accidents are going to keep happening '-- and other advertisers willing to risk annoying you may see an opportunity.
VIDEO - LiveLeak.com - New Footage of United Passenger Dragged Off Plane
Wed, 12 Apr 2017 15:53
New footage has emerged showing the argument between a United passenger and Chicago O'Hare Airport security guards moments before he was dragged from the plane on Sunday.Joya Griffin Cummings captured this video of the passenger, who has since been identified as Doctor David Dao of Elizabethtown, Kentucky, talking with the guards. Dao was also apparently in a telephone conversation with his lawyer and discussed suing United before the incident.
In a second clip Griffin Cummings recorded after Dao reboarded the plane he can be heard to say ''I want to go home'' repeatedly.
Dao was dragged from his seat and off the plane after the airline demanded four passengers be removed from the fully booked Louisville-bound flight to make space for four United employees. Videos shared on social media showed blood streaming from Dao's face as he was dragged away and later when he reboarded the plane.
United Chief Executive Oscar Munoz's initial statement described the passenger's behavior as ''disruptive and belligerent'' but in a new statement issued on April 11 he apologzied and promised ''we will work to make it right.''
Dao was taken to a Chicago hospital for treatment. One of the aviation security officers involved in the incident has been placed on leave, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation. Credit: Joya Griffin Cummings via Storyful
VIDEO - Eric Trump says 'heartbroken' Ivanka influenced Syrian airstrike - NY Daily News
Wed, 12 Apr 2017 15:52
President Trump's sudden policy reversal to intervene in Syria was a result of his daughter and adviser, Ivanka, having been "heartbroken" over the Bashar al-Assad regime's to use of chemical weapons on its own people, her sibling Eric Trump told a British newspaper.
The elder Trump '-- who campaigned on a pledge to avoid getting bogged down in foreign conflicts and prioritize making "America Great Again" '-- decided to launch 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian air base last week in retaliation for Assad's lethal chemical attack on the village of Khan Sheikhoun because of his eldest daughter's reaction to Assad's assault.
"Ivanka is a mother of three kids and she has influence. I'm sure she said 'listen, this is horrible stuff.' My father will act in times like that," Eric Trump told The Telegraph.
Last month, Ivanka Trump (r.) was formally named "special assistant to the President."(Evan Vucci/AP) Ivanka Trump, who last month was formally named "special assistant to the President," had tweeted last Tuesday, following news of the Syrian chemical attack that she was "heartbroken and outraged by the images coming out of Syria following the atrocious chemical attack yesterday."
Syrian airstrike raises questions on congressional approval
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer confirmed Tuesday that Ivanka had spoken with her dad about the attack.
''There is no question that Ivanka and others weighed into him,'' Spicer said during his daily press briefing, without providing further details.
Eric Trump added during his own interview that he, too, felt the Syrian attack was "horrible."
Eric Trump also felt the Syrian attack was "horrible."(½ Nick Didlick / Reuters/REUTERS) "These guys are savages and I'm glad he responded the way he responded," he said, before defending his father's apparent reversal on the issue.
"And by the way, he was anti doing anything with Syria two years ago. Then a leader gasses their own people, women and children, at some point America is the global leader and the world's superpower has to come forward and act and they did with a lot of support of our allies and I think that's a great thing," Eric Trump said.
The elder Trump had, as a private citizen in 2013, repeatedly urged then-President Obama to not attack Syria.
Tags:eric trumpivanka trumpsyriasyria missile attacksdonald trumpdonald trump first 100 daysbashar assadSend a Letter to the EditorJoin the Conversation:facebookTweet
VIDEO - Trump Supporter Cancels Asian Woman's Airbnb Stay - YouTube
Wed, 12 Apr 2017 15:29
VIDEO -TRMUP=BARTIROMO- Report: ISIS Cuts Off Ears Of 33 Fighters Who Fled Battle '' MILO NEWS
Wed, 12 Apr 2017 15:19
ISIS has reportedly cut off the ears of 33 men who attempted to flee battle in Mosul. The Daily Mail, citing Alsumaria News, says the men were imprisoned before a single of their ears was removed. The men were reportedly told that if they attempted to flee a second time, their other ear would be coming off.
Alsumaria News' source reportedly said that fighters who attempt to flee during battle are usually executed but ISIS has adopted less lethal methods of punishment due to the lack of available fighters.
According to The Independent, ISIS currently controls just 6.8% of Iraq '-- down from the 40% it once had in its grasp.
ISIS has reportedly also lost ground in Syria and is battling US-backed forces near its capital in Raqqa.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump stated in an interview yesterday that the U.S. will not be sending troops into Syria. He went on to declare, ''our big mission is getting rid of ISIS. That's where it's always been.''
Trump was addressing concerns that the country would be sending troops into Syria to oust Assad following an airstrike against a government-controlled airfield in response to a chemical attack against civilians in the region, an act the Western world largely blamed on Assad.
Most Viewed
VIDEO - BREAKING: China Puts Troops on Nationwide High Alert Over North Korea >> Alex Jones' Infowars: There's a war on for your mind!
Wed, 12 Apr 2017 15:15
BREAKING: China Puts Troops on Nationwide High Alert Over North Korea >> Alex Jones' Infowars: There's a war on for your mind!BREAKING: China Puts Troops on Nationwide High Alert Over North Korea >> Alex Jones' Infowars: There's a war on for your mind!
VIDEO - Syria war: Trump and Putin trade barbs as ministers meet - BBC News
Wed, 12 Apr 2017 14:56
Image copyright EPA Image caption The latest strain on ties follows the suspected chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun The US and Russian presidents have revealed the wide gulf between them over Syria, even as their foreign ministers were meeting in Moscow.
Donald Trump said Russia was backing "an animal" in Syria's Bashar al-Assad.
Vladimir Putin said the US had violated the law in bombing a Syrian airbase and that the level of trust with the US had worsened since Mr Trump took office.
Rex Tillerson and Sergei Lavrov are trying to narrow the "areas of sharp difference" in their Moscow talks.
Tension in ties has risen since a suspected chemical attack on the rebel-held Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun last week that left 89 people dead.
The US and its allies blamed the Syrian government, and the US fired 59 cruise missiles at the Shayrat airbase in response.
Syria denied carrying out the chemical attack and has the support of its main ally, Russia.
Read more:Speaking on the Fox Business Network, Mr Trump expressed his outrage at the chemical attack.
"You see these beautiful kids that are dead in their father's arms, or you see kids gasping for life and you know... it's over for them."
He said he asked his defence minister for options and then "we hit them very hard".
Referring to Mr Assad, he added: "Frankly, Putin is backing a person that's truly an evil person... if Russia didn't go in and back this animal, you wouldn't have a problem right now."
Image copyright AFP Image caption The Syrian military says the damage to the base was less than claimed by the US But Mr Trump also said: "Just so you understand, we're not going into Syria."
Speaking on Mir television, Mr Putin rejected allegations that Syria was behind the chemical attack, saying Syria had given up its chemical stockpile.
He said: "Where is the proof that Syrian troops used chemical weapons? There isn't any."
Referring to the US air strike, he said: "But there was a violation of international law. That is an obvious fact."
And despite hopes that US-Russia ties would improve under a Trump presidency, Mr Putin said: "One could say that the level of trust on a working level, especially on the military level, has not improved, but rather has deteriorated."
'Candid' exchange'The presidents were speaking as Mr Tillerson and Mr Lavrov held talks.
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media caption Rex Tillerson: Reign of Assad family coming to an endAhead of the meeting, Mr Lavrov said Russia had "a lot of questions regarding very ambiguous and contradictory ideas (...) coming from Washington".
Mr Tillerson said he looked forward to a "candid" exchange so that the two countries could better define and narrow their differences.
Mr Tillerson has warned that Russia risks becoming irrelevant in the Middle East because of its support for Mr Assad.
However, the BBC's Steve Rosenberg in Moscow says President Assad is Russia's key military ally in the Middle East and Mr Tillerson may need to rethink his belief that he can weaken Moscow's support for him.
Further evidence of division was shown when Russia's foreign ministry said Moscow would later veto a draft resolution by the US, UK and France requiring the Syrian government to co-operate with an investigation into the chemical attack.
"In its current form this project is unacceptable for us," deputy foreign minister Gennady Gatilov told the Interfax news agency. "We, of course, will not vote for it."
President Putin has himself called for an independent UN investigation.
VIDEO - See what makes Dutch children the happiest in the world - TODAY.com
Wed, 12 Apr 2017 12:50
April 9th, 2017
According to a recent UNICEF study on well-being, children from the Netherlands are the happiest kids out of 29 of the world's richest industrialized nations. Reporting for Sunday TODAY, NBC's Keir Simmons takes a look at what's behind the statistics.
VIDEO - License to Stream: State Sanctioned Control of The Internet - YouTube
Wed, 12 Apr 2017 11:25
VIDEO - France migrants: Hundreds without shelter after Grand-Synthe camp fire - BBC News
Tue, 11 Apr 2017 22:14
Image copyright AFP/Getty Image caption Some migrants found shelter in a gym but others have dispersed around the town French authorities have been scrambling to find shelter for 1,500 migrants left homeless after fire destroyed the Grande-Synthe camp near Dunkirk.
About 500 people have been accommodated in gymnasiums but the rest, including unaccompanied children as young as 12, have been sleeping outside, NGOs say.
Candidates in the French presidential election have called for changes in migration policy.
Migration has been a key issue in the run-up to the poll on 23 April.
A spokesman for the centrist candidate, Emmanuel Macron, said an agreement with Britain that left the French acting "as its border guards" would have to be reviewed during Brexit negotiations.
His far-right rival Marine le Pen called a fight between Kurds and Afghans just before the blaze started as a sign of migratory chaos.
Image copyright AFP/Getty Image caption NGOs have been providing meals Image copyright AFP/Getty Image caption Children were among those left without shelter by the fire The Grande-Synthe camp was home to one of the largest groups of migrants attempting to reach the UK following last October's destruction of the "Jungle" camp near Calais, about 40 km (25 miles) away.
The number of people there had almost doubled and the arrival of more Afghans increased tensions with Kurds living in the camp, reports said.
Five people were hurt in a knife fight between Afghans and Kurds which was broken up by riot police. Another migrant was in a serious condition after being hit by a vehicle on a nearby motorway, Reuters reported.
A local official said the fires had been started deliberately following the clashes.
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media caption Most of the 300 huts in the camp were destroyedImage copyright AFP/Getty Image caption The fires were started deliberately, officials say Sixty firefighters fought the blaze but it destroyed 70% of the densely packed wooden huts and left the site unusable.
France has reinforced its police presence in the area and Belgium has upped its border patrols to prevent migrants from entering its territory, the Belga news agency reported.
The French authorities have said they will speed up admission to reception centres for migrants wanting to apply for asylum in France.
Campaigners have called on both the French and British governments to improve legal migration routes.
Last week, some Grand-Synthe residents tried to block a nearby highway with tree trunks and branches in an attempt to stop traffic and clamber onto trucks, Reuters reported.
VIDEO - Trump: "We're Sending A Very Powerful Armada" To North Korea | Zero Hedge
Tue, 11 Apr 2017 22:11
Whether this is more bluster or the real thing, it is bound to upset the Chinese...
In an interview with FOX News' Maria Bartiromo, President Trump just gave advance notice - something he said he would not do - that the US will be rattling their sabre very close to China and North Korea...
BARTIROMO: You redirected navy ships to go toward the Korean Peninsula. What we are doing right now in terms of North Korea?
TRUMP: You never know, do you? You never know.
TRUMP: You know I don't think about the military.
TRUMP: I'm not like Obama, where they talk about in four months we're waiting -- we're going to hit Mosul.
TRUMP: And in the meantime, they get ready and like you've never seen -- look, they're still fighting. Mosul was supposed to last for a week and now they've been fighting it for many months and so many more people died. I don't want to talk about it. We are sending an armada, very powerful. We have submarines, very powerful, far more powerful than the aircraft carrier, that I can tell you. And we have the best military people on Earth. And I will say this. He is doing the wrong thing. He is doing the wrong thing.
BARTIROMO: Do you...
TRUMP: He's making a big mistake.
BARTIROMO: -- do you think he's mentally fit?
TRUMP: I don't know. I don't know. I don't know him. But he's doing the wrong thing.
We would imagine China will not take kindly to submarines skulking around its newly built islands and looming up on the coast of Korea. Will they respond via Yuan volatility, or kinetically?
VIDEO - Spicer: 'Hitler didn't even sink to chemical weapons' - BBC News
Tue, 11 Apr 2017 19:01
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has been criticised after declaring that Adolf Hitler didn't use chemical weapons during World War II.
"We had someone as despicable as Hitler who didn't even sink to using chemical weapons," said Mr Spicer while talking about Syria.
But critics pointed out the Nazis used gas to kill Jews and others in the Holocaust.
Mr Spicer later clarified Hitler didn't use chemical weapons "in the same way" as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
VIDEO - Judge Ginsburg Talks About Her 'Fondness' for Judge Scalia - YouTube
Tue, 11 Apr 2017 14:50
VIDEO - The mainstream and conservative media are living in different worlds. So are those who read them - LA Times
Tue, 11 Apr 2017 14:33
The story about former Obama administration official Susan Rice and purported Russia surveillance leaks that came to briefly dominate the national conversation last week had its genesis in, of all places, the suburbs of Orange County. The first tidbit emerged from the primordial media soup thanks to a lifestyle blogger and conservative social media personality named Mike Cernovich.
''Nobody in media and journalism knows more about 'deep state' than I do,'' Cernovich, who has almost 250,000 Twitter followers, gloated in a livestream broadcast last Sunday night, appearing at home in a hoodie and downing a glass of red wine.
Cernovich's big exclusive? He said Rice, Obama's former national security advisor, had requested ''unmasking'' the names of Trump associates who were caught up in U.S. surveillance of foreign officials. Cernovich '-- and other conservatives who quickly took the ball and ran '-- saw it as a partial validation of President Trump's incendiary claim on Twitter a month ago that ''Obama had my 'wires tapped' in Trump Tower'' before the election.
''Way to break the story mike!'' wrote a viewer, one of many quickly commenting in approval of Cernovich's broadcast. ''Huge story Mike!'' another added. One commenter typed out and sent a question, which popped up on the broadcast and then quickly disappeared: ''What's unmasking and why is it wrong?''
That's a question any news consumer might ask of any story: What is this, and is it bad? Yet when it came to Rice, Americans were about to see conservative and mainstream news outlets come up with two very different answers to that question '-- a symptom of the increasing extent to which Americans often seem to live in one nation but inhabit two widely divergent realities.
One version these days typically comes from Fox News and other outlets that echo the Trump White House line. A much different one can often be found on ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, the New York Times and the rest of the mainstream media.
So it was with the Rice ''story,'' which for nearly two days the mainstream media largely ignored, and when it couldn't any longer, dismissed as irrelevant.
''It's a huge problem,'' said Tom Hollinan, a professor of political communication at the USC Annenberg School. ''One of the things that a healthy democracy and a deliberating public need is the ability to participate in a common conversation. They should be able to share news and understand facts in a way that helps them make sense of the world around them and make good decisions.''
The story seriously got rolling Monday morning, after Trump tweeted about Fox News' ''amazing reporting'' on a ''crooked scheme'' by an unknown Obama official to spy on him by ''unmasking'' his associates. Cernovich's scoop was mostly overlooked, until Bloomberg columnist Eli Lake published a story identifying the Obama official as Rice. (He later said he was unaware of Cernovich's report.)
Lake, a respected reporter on national security issues based in Washington, delivered a relatively straight-ahead report: He said Rice had requested the names of Americans involved in certain monitored conversations, which were ''primarily between foreign officials discussing the Trump transition, but also in some cases direct contact between members of the Trump team and monitored foreign officials.'' The names of Americans are typically redacted from U.S. intelligence reports on surveillance of foreigners, and ''unmasking'' them is permitted only under certain circumstances.
The question of who in the Trump transition team was talking to Russian officials was of major political significance: Both houses of Congress had launched investigations of Russian political activities in the U.S., and Trump's initial national security advisor, Mike Flynn, had been fired for dissembling about his contacts with Russia's U.S. ambassador.
Lake, when he published his story, wasn't taking Cernovich's line. He noted that the new details about Rice ''do not vindicate'' Trump's claims about wiretapping, and he wrote that the evidence suggested ''Rice's unmasking requests were likely within the law'' '-- since revealing names in a classified surveillance report to the country's national security advisor isn't necessarily the same as disclosing them to the public.
Yet the story surged through conservative media, whose pundits were concerned that the unmasking was done for political purposes, not national security.
''BOMBSHELL REPORT,'' wrote conservative commentator Ben Shapiro, who concluded that ''the only scandal here is the apparent targeting and leaking of names from the Trump team in order to smear them by high-ranking Obama officials.'' (Rice later said, "I leaked nothing to nobody, and never have.'')
Radio host Rush Limbaugh, breaking the news to his massive daily audience, attacked Rice as untrustworthy due to inaccurate comments about the 2012 attack at a U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya.
But then Limbaugh also went after another familiar target, accusing the New York Times of sitting on the Rice story '-- he noted Cernovich's claim that the mainstream media was engaging in a cover-up of the story in order to protect Obama.
The day after his report, on Monday, Cernovich was basking in his scoop, gloating and insulting other conservative outlets on social media, accusing them of plagiarizing him for not crediting him with getting the story first. (He also publicly wondered if the government was going to assassinate him.) By then, he was ready to reveal, sort of, how he had been handed the story.
''I didn't get it from the intelligence community,'' Cernovich said in a video. ''That's the big joke about this. Everybody's trying to figure out where I got it from. I got it from somebody who works in one of those media companies ... who said, 'Cernovich, they're sitting on this story, they're not going to run it. You can run it.'''
Cernovich added: ''It was maybe an intern, an IT guy '' all I'm gonna say is '... if you're in the fake news, I'm reading your emails.''
Perhaps that's how Cernovich had correctly predicted, on the day he broke the story, that Bloomberg was working on a similar story about Rice.
But Cernovich also accused New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman of having the story and sitting on it for political reasons. (''Cernovich's claim regarding Maggie Haberman is 100% false,'' said a Times spokeswoman.)
Nonetheless, many conservatives believed the Rice story was a smoking gun pointing to partisan bias in the mainstream media. They began scrutinizing the mainstream media for its coverage '-- which, on Monday, mostly didn't exist.
''Susan Rice's husband works at ABC News '-- so, of course, they don't cover the story at all,'' tweeted radio personality Mark Simone the next morning, earning almost 3,000 retweets. (Rice's husband left ABC News in 2010, and ABC News published its first story on Rice later that day.)
Early mainstream media stories that did report on Rice often described the ''unmasking'' as ''normal'' and ''justified,'' as the New York Times did when it published a story on Monday. CNN's chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto tweeted that the story was ''overblown.''
Other members of the mainstream media, in turn, believed the Rice controversy was a very different story '-- about partisan bias in the conservative media. A critical piece by Washington Post blogger Paul Waldman, posted shortly after Rice was identified as the official who had asked for the unmasking of some of the names in the surveillance reports, called it a ''fake scandal, ginned up by right-wing media and Trump.'' Ryan Lizza of the New Yorker wrote a story calling the scandal ''bogus.'' CNN host Don Lemon was equally blunt.
"There is no evidence whatsoever that the Trump team '... was spied on illegally,'' Lemon said Monday night. ''There is no evidence that backs up the president's original claim. And on this program tonight, we will not insult your intelligence by pretending otherwise, nor will we aid and abet the people who are trying to misinform you, the American people, by creating a diversion. Not gonna do it.''
Lemon's statement left Fox News analyst Brit Hume aghast. ''This is just amazing,'' Hume tweeted. ''The story is clearly news and refusing to report it is not the behavior of a news organization.'' White House spokesman Sean Spicer jumped in Tuesday, adding that he was ''somewhat intrigued by the lack of interest'' by mainstream media.
The outcome, by midweek: Millions of viewers of CNN might assume there was no Susan Rice scandal. Millions of viewers of Fox were led to believe that Susan Rice might be proof of Obama administration spying on Trump transition operatives for political ends.
And any semblance of a bipartisan conversation about what the laws of surveillance ought to be, what should be the scope of public officials' dealings with foreign governments, what is the appropriate exchange of information between the White House, Congress and the security agencies '-- none of that was likely.
Because no one could agree on the facts.
Conservative media writers were convinced they had caught Rice in a lie, pointing to an interview Rice had done with PBS in March saying ''I know nothing'' when she was asked about Trump associates being caught up in surveillance. (Politifact, evaluating the remarks in context, said ''it's not 100% clear that Rice made an intentionally false statement,'' and Rice defended herself on Twitter.)
Trump's son Donald Trump Jr., happy with the turn of events, tweeted: ''Congrats to @Cernovich for breaking the #SusanRice story. In a long gone time of unbiased journalism he'd win the Pulitzer, but not today!''
After ignoring the initial story, mainstream outlets began to talk about it, but with a tone of skepticism.
The New York Times on Tuesday took a bird's-eye political look at the controversy, not buying the ''scoop'' factor. ''Republicans see a partisan who mined intelligence reports to spy on Mr. Trump's team. Democrats see a scapegoat tarred for doing her job and used as a distraction from an F.B.I. investigation into Mr. Trump's associates,'' the paper noted.
The Washington Post wrote the same day about Rice denying that she compiled or leaked any names from Trump's transition team.
The Los Angeles Times didn't publish a full staff story until Wednesday '-- three days after Cernovich's report from the newspaper's own back yard '-- an explainer on the controversy about unmasking.
It was published the day Trump invited two New York Times reporters into the Oval Office to talk about the issue.
''I think the Susan Rice thing is a massive story,'' Trump said, according to a transcript published by the newspaper. ''I think it's a massive, massive story. All over the world, I mean other than The New York Times.''
''We've written about it twice,'' replied Haberman, one of the reporters.
''Huh?'' Trump said.
''We've written about it twice,'' Haberman said.
Trump then said he thought Rice had committed a crime.
It was a stunning statement: a sitting president accusing a former public servant of being a criminal. As a result, Trump succeeded in getting another Rice story into the New York Times.
The headline? The paper told its readers that he'd called Rice a criminal.
Except the paper also said the president hadn't given any evidence. And that was the truth.
In a consequential week, Trump leans on the Washington establishment he vowed to disrupt
VIDEO - Truth bomb dropped on BBC - make go viral - YouTube
Tue, 11 Apr 2017 10:19
VIDEO - San Bernardino shooting: Boy, 8, and two adults dead at California primary school - BBC News
Tue, 11 Apr 2017 01:15
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media caption Students were evacuated from their classroomsTwo adults and a child have been killed in a shooting in a classroom of a primary school in San Bernardino, California, police say.
The suspect shot and killed his estranged wife, a teacher, and wounded two children who were behind her, one of whom died of his wounds.
He then turned the gun on himself, police said.
Police chief Jarrod Burguan described the incident as a suspected "murder-suicide" attempt.
The shooting happened at 10:30 local time (17:30 GMT) at North Park Elementary School in San Bernardino county, 60 miles (96km) east of Los Angeles.
Image copyright San Bernadino Police Image caption Mr Anderson (R) killed his estranged wife Ms Smith (L) and an eight-year-old boy The gunman, named as 53-year-old Cedric Anderson, had gained entry to the school as a visitor and kept his weapon concealed until he opened fire in the classroom where 15 children with special needs were being taught, authorities said.
He killed his wife Karen Elaine Smith and fatally wounded eight-year-old Jonathan Martinez, who was airlifted to hospital but later died.
A nine-year-old pupil remains in hospital in a stable condition, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Mr Burguan tweeted shortly after the incident that the suspect was "down" and there was "no further threat". The school was immediately evacuated.
Image copyright AFP/Getty Images Image caption Relatives arrive to collect children after they were transferred to Cajon High School Up to 600 students were transferred by bus to nearby Cajon High School, where they were later met by their parents.
"Police operations are continuing to secure the area," Mr Burguan said earlier on Twitter, adding: "However, we do believe the threat is down."
In December 2015, 14 people were killed and 21 others wounded when a couple entered a disabled service centre in San Bernardino and began firing at a group of county health workers.
VIDEO - 2 adults killed, 2 children hurt in shooting at San Bernardino elementary school - LA Times
Mon, 10 Apr 2017 19:14
Two adults were killed and two students were injured Monday morning at an elementary school in San Bernardino in what officials are describing as a murder-suicide.
The students were airlifted to local hospital and their conditions are unknown, said San Bernardino police Lt. Vicki Cervantes.
One of the adults involved in the shooting was a teacher, according to San Bernardino Unified School District spokeswoman Maria Garcia.
''We believe this to be a murder-suicide,'' San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan tweeted. ''Happened in a class room. Two students have been transported to the hospital.''
Burguan later tweeted: ''We believe the suspect is down and there's no further threat.''
The gunfire occurred at 10:27 a.m. in a classroom at North Park Elementary School, 5378 N. H Street.
The San Bernardino County Fire Department reported multiple gunshot victims and a triage area had been set up.
''It's a developing situation,'' said Eric Sherwin, a Fire Department spokesman.
School officials said the shooting was ''isolated to the campus.''
Student were evacuated to Cal State San Bernardino's physical education building, where they can access bathrooms and water, said university spokesman Joe Gutierrez.
Parents were directed to go to Cajon High School, where officials will verify their identity before sending them to Cal State San Bernardino to pick up their children, Gutierrez said.
North Park Elementary has over 500 mostly Latino and low-income students between kindergarten and sixth grade.
Students were huddled on a field at a corner of the school's campus on Northpark Boulevard and H Street, accompanied by teachers and guarded by law enforcement officers carrying long guns.
Anxious parents like David Zamudio gathered nearby but barriers blocked them from reaching their children. Some parents said there was confusion over where to collect their children as information circulated that they should be picked up at either Cajon High School or California State University San Bernardino.
Zamudio, the father of a six-year-old in the second grade at the school, said he lives nearby and heard helicopters overhead. He rushed to the school when his sister called saying there'd been a school shooting.
''I came because they said it was safer, more isolated. But I guess it's not that way,'' said Zamudio, who recently moved to the area from Highland.
The shooting comes as San Bernardino has seen a major increase in violence.
There were 62 slayings in San Bernardino in 2016 '-- a 41% increase from the year before. It was the deadliest year in the city since 1995.
The violence is an open wound on a city trying to recover from a prolonged bankruptcy and the 2015 terror attack.
Times staff writer Sonali Kohli contributed to this article.
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12:05 p.m.: This article was updated with comments from parents about the shooting and details about North Park Elementary School.
This article was originally published at 10:59 a.m.
VIDEO - Podcast is adult paper route-Fitzdog Radio - Jo Koy - Episode 638 | Listen via Stitcher Radio On Demand
Sun, 09 Apr 2017 22:11
Episode Info: The mighty Jo Koy talks to Greg about how they are both going to blow their kids' college money.Read more >>
Episode Info: The mighty Jo Koy talks to Greg about how they are both going to blow their kids' college money.Read Less
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Alternate Universes

Matthews Can’t Stop Comparing Trump Family To Romanovs; Hints At How They Were Murdered.mp3
REVISIONIST-Still Sad Mika-Tina Brown-It’s ‘So Frustrating’ Hillary Lost Because of E-Mails.mp3


JCD Clips

afghan war update.mp3
bannon clip.mp3
CBS takedown NATO 2 specific clip.mp3
CBS takedown NATO 3l.mp3
CBS takedown NATO 4 final.mp3
CBS takedown one awkward moment.mp3
DW kicker to idea that the attack was to change the topic use after RT gas attack2.mp3
FISA warrant on Carter Page 2.mp3
FISA warrant on Carter Page.mp3
Gas attack untold RT OPCW 2.mp3
Gas attack untold RT OPCW.mp3
interrupting women.mp3
major garrett wrap with a zinger.mp3
marijuana report from washington state.mp3
North Korea update.mp3
Peeve word one.mp3
Peeve word two.mp3
Space exploration and pot hole wrap PBS.mp3
UN Peacekeepers raping.mp3
United folow-up misc.mp3
WWI CPI (starter) Need set up.mp3
WWI CPI tavelling war exposition 2.mp3
WWI CPI tavelling war exposition.mp3
WWI Flu needs set up.mp3



Shut Up Slave!

'Just kill me,' United passenger says as he drools blood in new video.mp3
United passenger-I'm not ging-drag me off.mp3


Sweaty Sean

1-Cbs Hypes Attack From Group Smearing Spicer’s Gaffe As ‘Holocaust Denial’.mp3
CNN watches Spicer Gaffe Live and picks up on the WRONG MEME-LONG.mp3
Cnn-Jason Johnson-1-The Root Calls Bannon 'Anti-Semite'-Once Likened Trump To Hitler.mp3
Cnn-Lemon-Dershowitz Slams 'Holocaust Denier' Smear Of Spicer.mp3
Jason Johnson -2- Of The Root Ties Trump To 'Neo-Nazis,' 'Bigot' Bannon To 'White Nationalist Terrorists'.mp3
maddow butt slams spicer misspeaking assad - 2017-04-11.mp3
MANUFACTURED AND MISSING THE F-RUSSIA POINT-Spicer- ‘You Had Someone As Despicable As Hitler Who Didn’t Even Sink To Using Chemical Weapons’.mp3
Sweaty Sean’s REAL fuckup-‘The Goal for the United States is…to Make Sure We Destabilize Syria’-F-RUSSIA-THEY WONT LET HIM DO IT.mp3
talknig is hard - maddow.mp3


FaceThePress-MeetTheNation-Tillerson-‘Our Priority In Syria Really Hasn’t Changed’; Defeat Isis, Then Deal With Assad.mp3
President Trump T Decided To Bomb Syria [IRAQ!] While Eating 'The Most Beautiful Piece Of Chocolate Cake'.mp3
Putin on US Chemical Weapons Allegations- ‘It’s Boring, Ladies. We Have Seen This All Before’.mp3
Sen. Lindsey Graham- ‘I Want More American Troops, 5,000 Or 6,000’ On The Ground In Syria-HE HAS ALL THE PLANS.mp3
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