February 1, 2019

U.S. government building biometric database of ‘voice prints’. “Prison authorities have quietly enrolled hundreds of thousands of incarcerated people’s voice prints into large-scale biometric databases. Computer algorithms then draw on these databases to identify the voices taking part in a call and to search for other calls in which the voices of interest are detected.”   https://theintercept.com/2019/01/30/prison-voice-prints-databases-securus/

More that 10 million Americans arrested in 2016, but only 5% for violence-related incidents. “…while arrests for serious crimes have dropped consistent with declining crime rates nationwide, they are increasingly being substituted with arrests for minor misconduct.”   https://theintercept.com/2019/01/31/arrests-policing-vera-institute-of-justice/

Court finds Syrian government liable for deaths of journalists. “The suit followed from a six-year investigation by the Center for Justice and Accountability, which unearthed testimony and documentary evidence detailing how Assad’s commanders tracked and killed (Marie) Colvin and her colleague (Remi Ochlik) on the morning of February 22, 2012 in Homs, Syria.”   https://theintercept.com/2019/01/31/marie-colvin-death-syria/

Is Kamala Harris too pro-Israel? “The (U.N.) Security Council resolution called on both the Israeli and Palestinian governments to prevent violence against civilians, condemn and combat terrorism, refrain from inciting violence, and comply with their obligations under international law. But Harris’s resolution called the UN version ‘one-sided’, and effectively equated opposition to the illegal colonization drive by Israel’s right-wing government with opposition to Israel itself.”   https://www.tikkun.org/newsite/more-aipac-than-j-street-kamala-harris-runs-to-the-right-on-foreign-policy

Thousands of immigrants summoned to fake court hearings by ICE. “ICE agents had issued thousands of Notice to Appear documents — essentially a court summons for immigration court — telling immigrants to appear in court or risk permanent removal from the U.S. It wasn’t until hundreds of those people arrived at court Thursday morning that they realized those dates weren’t real.”   https://www.cbsnews.com/news/immigration-court-fake-court-dates-ice-agents-immigrants-2019-01-31-live-updates/

Federal court blocks health warnings on sugary drink ads. “In a unanimous ruling, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the law, approved by San Francisco voters in June 2015, is an unconstitutional infringement on commercial speech.”    https://www.npr.org/2019/01/31/690541166/federal-appeals-court-blocks-san-francisco-law-on-ad-warnings-for-sugary-drinks

Students in Belgium skipping classes on Thursdays to protest for action on climate change. “…in Belgium, they organize on Facebook and have skipped school by the thousands on four consecutive Thursdays. Last Sunday, climate protests in Brussels swelled to an estimated 100,000 people of all ages.”   https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/31/world/europe/climate-change-protests-students.html

Two French police officers sentenced to 7 years in prison for gang raping drunken tourist. “Police found they had destroyed vital evidence including photographs and videos taken on the night. (Officer) Quirin initially denied any sexual contact with the victim, but changed his story after his DNA was found on her underwear.”   https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jan/31/french-police-officers-jailed-for-raping-canadian-tourist

Details of NRA delegation’s visit to Russia revealed in leaked emails. “Dozens of pages of email correspondence between August 2015 and November 2016, shared with ABC News by a source who asked not to be identified, detail (Maria) Butina’s efforts to organize the summit that brought high-ranking NRA members and powerful Russian nationals together in Moscow in December 2015…”   https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/nra-2015-moscow-trip-wasnt-official-emails-photos/story?id=60715741

Foxconn reportedly changes focus of its planned, taxpayer-subsidized Wisconsin facility. “…in an interview with Reuters, a company executive said the bulk of the jobs at the facility would be for white-collar research and engineering jobs, rather than the types of blue-collar manufacturing jobs President Donald Trump touted when he and former Gov. Scott Walker broke ground on the project last June.”   https://madison.com/wsj/business/foxconn-changes-focus-of-massive-wisconsin-project/article_42c67a52-5c4e-5093-a5fa-2db5dfd95dc8.html

Electrolux announces 2020 closure of its Memphis factory, which it opened in 2014. “Electrolux received $137 million in city, county and state incentives.”   https://www.fox13memphis.com/top-stories/electrolux-to-close-memphis-facility-impacting-local-economy/912610348

FDA not doing enough to stop teen smoking says American Lung Association. “The inaction, in particular the FDA’s passivity regarding vaping, is ‘putting the lives and health of Americans at risk’, said (ALA national policy director Thomas) Carr, who noted the ‘staggering 78% increase among high school students and e-cigarette use in 2017-18’.”   https://edition.cnn.com/2019/01/30/health/tobacco-grades-fda-american-lung-association/index.html

Uber shows users their public transportation options in Denver market trial. “Denver’s Regional Transportation District (RTA) has been added to the Uber app, which means that people searching for a ride will also see what public transportation options are nearby that can get them where they’re going.”   https://www.engadget.com/2019/01/31/uber-public-transit-denver-test/

Feds crack down on ‘birth tourism’ companies. “While it isn’t illegal to visit the United States while pregnant, authorities said the businesses – which were raided by federal agents in 2015 – touted the benefits of having U.S. citizen babies, who could get free public education and, years later, help their parents immigrate.”   https://www.cbsnews.com/news/20-charged-in-crackdown-on-birth-tourism-to-u-s-by-chinese-women/

Catholic bishops in Texas release names of 286 priests accused of sexual misconduct. “Some of the 15 Texas dioceses listed priests accused of abuse going back as far as the 1940s. Others like Laredo only went back to 2000, when it was created, and listed no names.”   https://www.rawstory.com/2019/02/catholic-leaders-texas-name-around-300-priests-accused-abuse/

Erik Prince’s private security firm Frontier Services Group reportedly planning to open training base in Xinjiang, China, site of the country’s Muslim internment camps. “Prince was also the founder of the US military contractor Blackwater, whose mercenaries had a prominent and controversial role during Washington’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — including the 2007 killing of 14 unarmed Iraqi civilians…”   https://www.rawstory.com/2019/02/erik-prince-firm-fsg-inks-deal-train-security-forces-xinjiang-uighur-muslims-experienced-huge-crackdown/

Pentagon denies U.S. military personnel have been present during torture sessions in Yemeni prisons. “The Associated Press over the past two years has chronicled multiple allegations of torture and sexual abuse of Yemeni detainees in a network of secret prisons run by the UAE and affiliated forces, and that during later interrogations, American personnel may have witnessed evidence of the abuse.”   https://www.militarytimes.com/news/pentagon-congress/2019/01/08/pentagon-denies-us-personnel-saw-detainee-abuse-in-yemen/

Trump administration pick for special envoy on Venezuela has long history of involvement in America’s ‘dirty wars’. “…(Elliott) Abrams participated in many of the most ghastly acts of U.S. foreign policy from the past 40 years, all the while proclaiming how deeply he cared about the foreigners he and his friends were murdering.”   https://theintercept.com/2019/01/30/elliott-abrams-venezuela-coup/

EU parliament recognizes guy who swore himself in at a protest rally as president of Venezuela. “Though accusing (President) Maduro of stifling democracy, the European Union is nervous at the precedent of a self-declaration, so has been reluctant to follow the United States and most Latin American nations with immediate recognition of (Juan) Guaido.”   https://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-politics-eu/eu-parliament-recognizes-guaido-as-venezuelan-interim-president-idUSKCN1PP1HQ

Mainstream media concerned about negotiations with Taliban, New York Times warns that a speedy American withdrawal ‘could consign Afghanistan to a protracted, bloody civil war’. “Max Boot (Washington Post, 1/30/19) urged the US public to accept a long-term occupations of Syria and Afghanistan by comparing them to the genocidal ‘Indian Wars, which lasted roughly 300 years’.”   https://fair.org/home/media-rally-around-forever-war-in-afghanistan/

Ethiopian Jews protest against police brutality in Israel. “We had so many years of dreaming to be a part of the Israeli society, and today we are saying, ‘No more violence against us’.”   https://www.democracynow.org/2019/1/31/headlines/israel_thousands_of_israeli_ethiopians_protest_racism_police_brutality

FBI conducted ‘domestic terrorism investigation’ of anti-fascist protesters. “The FBI launched its terrorism investigation and surveillance of (By Any Means Necessary) after white supremacists armed with knives faced off with hundreds of counter-protesters, including BAMN activists, at a June 2016 neo-Nazi rally in Sacramento.”   https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/feb/01/sacramento-rally-fbi-kkk-domestic-terrorism-california

Syrian refugee camp overrun with people fleeing the fighting, but unable to provide even basic shelter. “Many have walked or travelled in open trucks for days in bitterly cold weather to reach al-Hol, the main camp for displaced people, only to spend several nights in the facility’s open-air reception areas without tents, blankets or heating.”   https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2019/jan/31/children-and-babies-die-temperatures-plummet-syria-fleeing-conflict-world-health-organization

Line 3 oil pipeline opponents reportedly already under pre-protest investigation by police and private security firms. “While fusion centers were originally established to facilitate counter-terrorism intelligence sharing, they have increasingly played a role in monitoring, interpreting, and criminalizing political activity.”   https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/01/30/documents-show-police-using-private-security-firms-target-anti-pipeline-organizers

More than 5,000 garment workers in Bangladesh claim they were fired for demanding more than $96 a month in wages. “Kalpona Akter of the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity said the firings came after thousands of workers took to the streets earlier this month in and around Dhaka, the nation’s capital.”   https://www.courthousenews.com/thousands-fired-after-garment-industry-protest-in-bangladesh/

Fleeing suspect shot multiple times after hitting Las Vegas police cars. “It was unclear how many times the man was struck by gunfire… Multiple officers fired their weapons, but how many wasn’t clear…. No officers were injured during the encounter, police said.”   https://www.reviewjournal.com/crime/shootings/lockdown-ends-at-2-summerlin-schools-after-las-vegas-police-shooting-1586438/

Federal jury awards bystander shot by Las Vegas police $225,000. Officers opened fire when the suspect they were after tried to get into a car. “Landeros and Villalba were both struck when police opened fire on Torres, who police said shot his pregnant girlfriend in the head the day before.”   https://www.reviewjournal.com/crime/courts/jury-awards-man-225k-in-lawsuit-over-las-vegas-police-shooting-1586155/

Few details available on incident involving Miami, Arizona police officer who shot driver fleeing traffic stop. “The driver didn’t stop and the officer followed the car into a residential area ‘where gunshots were fired’, officials said.”   https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona-breaking/2019/01/05/arizona-miami-police-officer-shoots-driver-traffic-stop/2490259002/

Pomona, California police officers acquitted of using excessive force during arrest, despite video showing them punching a non-violent 16 year-old, hitting him with a nightstick and tasing him. “In 2016, the city of Pomona paid (Christian) Aguilar $500,000 to settle a civil lawsuit over the beating.”   https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-pomona-officers-acquitted-20190128-story.html

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February 1, 2019

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