Teen faces year in jail for pushing friend off 60ft bridge (VIDEO)

By ethan / August 19, 2018

An 18-year-old girl has been charged with reckless endangerment for pushing her 16-year-old friend off a 60-foot bridge in Washington state.

Prosecutors filed charges against Taylor Smith on Friday for pushing her friend, Jordan Holgerson, off Moulton Falls bridge earlier this month. Footage of the incident was uploaded to social media and quickly went viral.

Smith could face up to a year behind bars and a maximum fine of $ 5,000. Holgerson, who suffered six broken ribs and a punctured lung, said she would like her friend to “sit in jail” for what she did.

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American arrested for peeing on passenger two rows behind him during flight to Japan

By ethan / August 19, 2018

A 24-year-old American has been arrested for urinating on a fellow passenger, seated two rows behind him, during a flight to Japan. He was inebriated and said he didn’t recall doing it.

The bizarre incident happened aboard an All Nippon Airways flight from Chicago to Tokyo’s Narita airport, Friday, according to police.

The unfortunate target of the peeing spree was a 50-year-old Japanese man who was sitting two rows behind the suspect and had never met him before, reported The Japan Times.

READ MORE: ‘Elegant crap’: Paris urinal project turns into social media pissing contest

The perpetrator was restrained by cabin crew and handed over to police after the aircraft landed.

Police said that he had drunk at least five glasses of champagne before relieving himself on his fellow passenger. He told authorities that he did not recall his actions.

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Right, left-wing groups face each other in fiery public confrontations in Boston, Seattle

By ethan / August 19, 2018

The right and the left have faced off in Boston and Seattle, the latest of vitriolic protests between the opposing groups. The showdown comes a week after thousands rallied in the US capital to oppose a white supremacist protest.

Seattle

Hundreds of opposing demonstrators gathered in Seattle’s downtown area with police separating the raging crowds with metal barriers. The right-wing groups Washington 3 Percenters and Patriot Prayer rallied against the US government’s push to launch a gun-control initiative that would see the age in Washington state raised for those purchasing semi-automatic weapons from 18 to 21 and expand the background checks for those buying semi-automatic rifles.

They were met by Organized Workers for Labor Solidarity, Radical Women, and the Freedom Socialist Party, who yelled and used cow bells to drown out the speeches of their right-wing opponents.

READ MORE: Anti-fascist group holds rallies across US to protest Trump, Pence (VIDEO)

According to the Seattle Times, a police spokesperson confirmed that three were arrested. One person was injured and was treated at the scene of the protests.

Boston

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People gather at Freedom Plaza to protest the white supremacist Unite the Right rally in downtown Washington, US, August 12, 2018

Roughly 300 left-wing counter-protesters descended on Boston’s City Hall Plaza, where 30 right-wing activists from Boston Free Speech had planned to rally. The opposing sides were kept separate by police as they shouted insults at each other over the barricade, but no violence was reported. According to the Boston Globe, one counter-protester was handcuffed. A police spokesman said no arrests were made but one person was detained for a short period as part of an unspecified investigation.

Boston Free Speech was behind a rally last year in Boston that attracted an estimated 40,000 counter-protesters.

Members of left-wing groups Stand Against Hate—Boston, the Democratic Socialists of America, Black Lives Matter Boston, and other groups came together to oppose the ‘free speech’ rally, as they say the rally gave neo-Nazis a platform.

Organizer of the counter-protest Peter Berard said that the free-speech groups “seem to think if they just don’t use swastikas that we won’t notice what they actually believe in.” He added: “What we’re trying to do today is we’re trying to show that Boston is no place for their hate.” Organizer of last year’s Boston Free Speech Rally Brandon Navom said the claims were an “absolute lie” that the right-wing rallies have racist ties.

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Tyson Fury confirms Deontay Wilder bout after second comeback win

By ethan / August 19, 2018

The lineal heavyweight champion of the world, Tyson Fury, set up a November date with undefeated WBC champion Deontay Wilder after Fury turned in a measured performance to outpoint Francesco Pianeta in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Fury and Wilder announced in the ring in Windsor Park on Saturday night that the much-anticipated clash between the lineal world champion, Fury, and his undefeated WBC champion rival would take place later this year – likely November – but, as promoter Frank Warren was keen to impart, a specific date and venue hasn’t been selected as of yet.

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Nando's, Dublin Road, Belfast. © Ardfern

Fury won every round on the judges’ scorecards in Belfast, though some sections of the crowd appeared frustrated at his measured performance, clearly feeling that he could have finished the fight if he had upped his intensity.

For Fury though, the prize was too lucrative to take any chances. The bout will be the biggest heavyweight attraction since Anthony Joshua defeated Wladimir Klitschko in May of last year and the winner will be in prime position for the heavyweight world title unification bout with Joshua in 2019, in what would be the most lucrative fight in boxing.

At the conclusion of Saturday’s fight, Wilder climbed into the ring to tell the audience that the fight was “officially on.” Fury retorted with “I’m knocking you the f*** out, boy.”

READ MORE: ‘Ireland, I’m here baby’: WBC champ Deontay Wilder crashes weigh-in, confronts Tyson Fury (VIDEO)

“It is one thing that Tyson Fury has never had,” Wilder later elaborated about the world title he holds. “He had many belts, but he’s never had the WBC belt. And if he ever thinks about having this belt, he better wake up and apologise to me because he’ll never have this.

“I can’t wait to fight you because I am going to knock you out, I promise you. You’ve never been knocked out but you’re going to feel the experience, what it feels to get hit by the Bronze Bomber.”

As for Tyson Fury, his comeback was a simple one: “Listen, you can’t knock out what you can’t hit. This man [Pianeta] couldn’t land a blow on me tonight.”

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South African winemaker warns land seizures could be ‘disastrous’ for industry & economy

By ethan / August 19, 2018

Land expropriation in South Africa is touching almost all spheres of business in the country, and wine making is no exception. RT has talked to a South African wine producer concerned about the land seizures.

At the moment, South African wineries are not a subject to land redistribution, where a white minority reportedly still owns almost three quarters of the land – almost a quarter century after the end of apartheid.

“There is no historic ‘land ownership’ that was taken away in the winelands area. But if the constitution is amended, it might as well happen. It can go both ways. For now we believe in the law as is, and continue investing,” Josef Dreyer, winemaker at RAKA wines told RT.

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© Siphiwe Sibeko

However, there is uncertainty looming over the vineyards, and it hardly adds to confidence in this business, said Dreyer. If land expropriation hits winemakers, the effect would be ‘disastrous’ for the industry, he warns.

“I think it will result in a drop in production, and negatively impact the export of our valued product. We might end up where the government own all land and we must rent it from them… Remember: the possible beneficiaries are unschooled, uneducated, how must they run a business,” Dreyer said.

According to Dreyer, land expropriation is hardly a solution to South Africa’s economic problem, where only a tiny fraction of the population pays income taxes, and more than a third are unemployed.

“We are one of the countries with a wide gap between the rich and the poor, where 13 percent of the South African population of 56 million people are the ones paying income taxes! Yes, 13 percent make the country run! 18 million of the 56 million is reliant on social grants, and unemployment is at 37.5 percent, so yes it is much easier to hand out land as the money is drying up,” he said.

The winemaker notes that his company employs 44 people. “Why would I work hard and create jobs if it is to be shared among all,” Dreyer says. “It is the government’s job to create a corruption-free environment that is favourable for investment,” he added.

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Rupee depreciation to raise India’s oil bill by $26 billion

By ethan / August 19, 2018

A cheaper rupee could increase India’s crude oil bill by as much as $ 26 billion in FY 2018/19, according to Indian government officials.

The currency hit a low of 70.32 to the US dollar on Friday, which will also push up fuel prices at the pump and prices of cooking gas.

At the same time, Indian crude oil imports are set to rise: last financial year, the country imported 220.43 million tons of crude, with the bill coming in at $ 87.7 billion This financial year, imports are estimated to reach 227 million tons while international oil benchmarks and the US dollar rise higher and the rupee falls.

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© Frank Bienewald

The FY 2018/19 oil import bill was at the start of the year estimated at $ 108 billion on the basis of an average benchmark oil price of $ 65 and an exchange rate of 65 rupees per dollar. However, oil has been trending higher than this for much of the year so far and supply concerns resulting from the US sanctions against Iran and worry about spare production capacity among OPEC members are likely to keep it higher than $ 65 until the end of the year at least.

On top of higher benchmark prices, if the rupee remains around $ 70 per U.S. dollar, the oil import bill could swell to $ 114 billion. This would in turn pressure India’s economy further: the currency depreciation followed the latest trade deficit reading, which revealed India’s imports exceeded its exports by $ 18 billion. This is the highest trade deficit since 2013.

Earlier this year, India called on OPEC to take action and bring oil prices down, or risk a demand crunch. OPEC obliged, agreeing with Russia in June to boost combined production by a million barrels daily. However, the agreement and the subsequent increase in Russia’s and some OPEC members’ production failed to have a substantial effect on prices, as Saudi Arabia surprisingly produced 200,000 bpd less in July and a round of US sanctions against Iran came into effect.

This article was originally published on Oilprice.com

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14 fans injured after structure collapses before Backstreet Boys Oklahoma concert (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

By ethan / August 19, 2018

At least 14 people who gathered for a Backstreet Boys concert in Oklahoma have been injured after a severe storm blew over an outdoor entrance structure.

The outdoor show of the legendary group was due to take place at the Colosseum at WinStar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville, 190km from Oklahoma City on Saturday evening.

Organizers said they spotted lightning within four miles (6.4km) of the casino, which prompted them to start an evacuation. “However, about 150 patrons who were standing in line for the Backstreet Boys concert did not heed staff’s warnings,” the statement said

Nearly half an hour after the warning, the storm “hit and knocked over the concert entrance trusses” with strong winds and heavy rain. The incident led to at least 14 people being injured, the casino said.

The band tweeted that the show was canceled and that they will seek to reschedule it. “We never want to put our fans in harm’s way,” the group said. Lead singer Nick Carter said he was praying for the injured fans.

The Backstreet Boys, often referred to as BSB, formed in 1993 and rose to fame in the late 90s. During its long history, the group has sold over 100 million records worldwide, making it one of the best-selling boy bands ever.

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Syria stabilization fund was ridiculous, let the Saudis pay it, Trump says

By ethan / August 19, 2018

US President Donald Trump has praised Washington’s cancellation of $ 230mn in funding for stabilization in war-torn Syria. Let “other rich countries” pay it, Trump says, while the US spends its money on its military and allies.

The US officially ended support for stabilization projects in Syria on Friday. The $ 230mn worth of funding had been frozen for months before that however, after House forbid any funding for government-controlled territories in Syria. Now Trump says the idea of paying for the stabilization of Syria is “ridiculous,” at least for the US. America should spend its money on its military and “countries that help us.” As for Syria, let “other rich countries in the Middle East” chip in now.

Trump has long been promising the US would leave Syria “like very soon,” but so far the stabilization money is the only thing that’s been withdrawn. American military presence and support for anti-government fighters remains, and, according to diplomat Brett McGurk, is gearing up to a “final phase” of the offensive against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).

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People walk through debris in the ruins of Afrin, Syria © Khalil Ashawi

State Department Press Secretary Heather Nauert earlier said that pulling the funding “does not represent any lessening of US commitment to our strategic goals in Syria.” Those goals are ostensibly the defeat of IS and withdrawal of Iranian-sponsored, pro-Assad forces, but the idea that “Assad must go” has been voiced by American officials ever since the US got involved in the Syrian civil war and picked the side of the rebels.

Some have seen the withdrawal of stabilization money as a point lost to Russia in the proxy conflict in Syria. Senator Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey) accused Trump of “rolling out the red carpet for Russia and Iran, who will seize the vacuum of US presence and assistance to double down on their support of the Assad regime.”

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Accused 'Russian agent' Butina moved to another jail, now in 'borderline torture' conditions

By ethan / August 19, 2018

Maria Butina, the Russian gun activists jailed in the US on charges of being an unregistered “foreign agent,” has been moved to a different prison without warning. The Russian embassy says her new conditions border on torture.

The Russian embassy in the US, which has been closely following Butina’s case, says she was transferred from her Washington jail handcuffed, without warning or explanation for the move. Before the move, Butina was subjected to a “degrading full strip search,” and all her things were taken away, including books, shoes, towels and other hygiene items.

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© mvbutina / facebook.com

Butina was moved to a prison in Alexandria, Virginia, and spent the next 12 hours in a quarantine cell with the no food and all the lights on, unable to sleep. She will now be kept in “administrative segregation,” which means locked up in solitary confinement – conditions bordering on torture, the embassy says.

Embassy staff paid an emergency visit to Butina in her new place of detention. They also intend to send another note of official protest to the US Department of State, in addition to the one recently filed over the inhumane treatment of the Russian citizen.

“We have more and more questions to the U.S. justice system,” the embassy says in a Facebook post“Should allegations pressed against Maria before the actual trial condemn her to practices that are slightly below torture? It seems that the reason behind the US decision to withdraw from the UN Human Rights Council was to give the US authorities green light for such provocations.”

Butina, a Russian national lobbying for looser gun controls in Russia, has been living and studying in the US. She was arrested in mid-July and charged with acting as a Russian agent without notifying the US attorney general. While she has been fully cooperating with the investigation, reports swirling around her insinuate she was getting cosy with Republican officials, including through the use of sex as incentive. The Russian embassy has been fighting for her release, and has previously complained that she is being subjected to unwarranted strip searches and denied proper medical care, all in an attempt to “break her will.”

Butina’s lawyer has also confirmed to RT that prison conditions have worsened her health. A fundraiser has been launched to help her.

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Facebook 'censors' conservative education page, says it was a mistake, but few are convinced

By ethan / August 19, 2018

Facebook says it had mistakenly deleted videos and limited the reach of US conservative educational organization PragerU. The content has now been restored, but PragerU supporters don’t think it was an accident.

PragerU (short for Prager University, after its founder Dennis Prager) says nine of its posts reached none of its three million-odd followers, and at least two videos were deleted for “hate speech,” in what many conservatives see as part of Facebook’s ongoing censorship campaign. Facebook has now apologized and restored the content, but has offered no explanation beyond “we’re looking into it.”

PragerU is a non-profit organization creating short educational videos discussing a wide array of topics from a conservative perspective. The videos, while not generally covering current news, offer pushbacks against most of the liberal talking points, including gun ownership, oppression of women, trust in the media and climate change. In 2017 PragerU had a run-in with Google after the company restricted or demonetized 37 of its videos. PragerU filed a lawsuit, which was then dismissed by a district court judge.

Facebook, Twitter and other social media are under massive fire from conservatives as the platforms claim they step up their game against “hate speech” and for “conversational health.” In practice this has so far mostly meant bans and suspensions for conservative speakers.

The most prominent example in the recent days was that of InfoWars and its highly-controversial host Alex Jones. InfoWars content was simultaneously removed by Youtube, Facebook and Apple, its pages and channels shut down. Twitter held out for a few days, then handed Jones a week-long suspension for “abusive behavior.” Other casualties in the censorship campaign include Venezuelan broadcaster Telesur and the Pro-Palestinian group Occupy London, among others.

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US Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) © Jonathan Ernst

US President Donald Trump himself has chimed in on the matter, saying his administration won’t let the discrimination of Republican and conservative voices continue. “Who is making the choices, because I can already tell you that too many mistakes are being made. Let everybody participate, good & bad, and we will all just have to figure it out!” Trump tweeted.

The disproportionate crackdown on “offensive” conservative content is not unexpected, considering the Silicon Valley’s overall left leanings and the social media platforms’ choice of experts on “conversational health.” Facebook has partnered up with NATO-backed think tank Atlantic Council for fact checking, while Twitter has unveiled a team of Trump haters to root out “uncivil discourse.”

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