tv video: Digest for January 18, 2020

tv video: Digest for January 18, 2020

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Iran plane crash: A pilot’s perspective

For the moment, the crash of a Ukrainian Airlines Boeing 737-800 shortly after takeoff from Tehran, Iran, is a mystery — and a tragedy. All 176 people on board died.

It is also a huge story, not least because all eyes are already trained on the region at a fraught geopolitical moment.

The fact is there are all kinds of possible explanations for the crash, and only a thorough investigation will provide the real answer of what went terribly wrong.

So what, possibly, could that have been? Obviously we can’t speculate till we know more, but I can offer some perspective from my years of flying.

Judging by the relatively small pieces seen dispersed widely over the well-defined debris field of the accident site, the airplane’s impact with the earth was at high speed and with great force. In other words, the aircraft didn’t skid across the ground striking immovable barriers, i.e. trees, rocks, etc., in an apparent effort at emergency landing. It plunged dramatically and crashed. This implies that the airplane was not in the direct control of the pilots.

If the video circulated by Iranian news agencies — seen here in a video report from The Guardian — is indeed of the crashing plane, it may have been on fire prior to impact.

An onboard electrical fire, an explosion from somewhere within the fuselage, or an engine fire could be potential causes. But with an engine fire, the crew is highly trained for such an event. Internal systems allow the pilots to discharge fire retardant material directly into the engine. And the airplane is designed to fly on only one engine.

However, if a catastrophic engine failure occurred — say a turbine blade or compressor blade failure — and pieces of the engine were not contained within the cowl (the equivalent of a hood on an automobile, which surrounds the guts of a jet engine), shrapnel could have been expelled. And if shrapnel flew and struck crucial flight controls, the airplane may have become uncontrollable.

Engine manufacturers design the cowl to prevent fan blades, turbine blades, and bearings from escaping and striking strategic areas of the airplane, but not all types of catastrophic engine failures can be reproduced on a test bed, and the cowl may not have done its job.

Could a heat-seeking missile also cause such a catastrophe? Short answer: Yes. But that is speculation. While a spokesman from Iran’s military has said the crash did not a result from any military action, new reporting from CNN noted that Ukraine’s National Security and Defense council chief, Oleksiy Danilov, wrote on Facebook that a meeting was taking place Thursday with Iranian authorities, where various causes behind the crash were “being studied.”

These include the theory that the plane was hit by an anti-aircraft missile, Danilov wrote.

I caution everyone to wait for more information.

The tragedy needs to be treated like any other accident investigation without reaching conclusions until all the facts have been presented. An organized and systematic methodology for such investigations must be conducted according to ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) guidelines.

If Iran is interested in determining the cause of the crash, it should share with interested stakeholders, such as the plane’s manufacturer, Boeing, the most valuable pieces of evidence: the cockpit voice recorder and the digital flight data recorder. So far it has refused to do so, though it has said it will work with Ukrainian officials on the investigation.

Judging from the number of photos made available from personnel at the crash site, I have concerns that the evidence is not being protected as well as it might be if the United States’ National Transportation Safety Board was involved.

What happened? For now, we have little choice but to allow the investigation to progress before drawing conclusions.

No Copyright Infringement Intended, Credit to CNN.

Yahoo! News: Iraq

Yahoo! News: Iraq

Yahoo! News: Iraq Impeachment and a path to redemption for Trump An ISIS preacher captured in Iraq was apparently so overweight that police had to take him away in the back of a pickup truck Therapist charged with killing family faced fraud probe Jordan, Meadows Send Letter to FISA Court Questioning Kris Appointment Princess Cruises responds after 'Marriage Story' actress speaks out, sues alleging bedbugs Secrets Stolen: What Will China Do With Data On Israel's Iron Dome Missile Defense? Republican tells female reporter 30 schoolboys ‘could have a lot of fun’ with her U.S. warship transits Taiwan Strait less than week after election U.S., Japan May Invest in Indonesia Islands Near South China Sea Parnas said he is speaking out because he is afraid of William Barr A 15-year-old orphan who lives with his grandparents is being kicked out of their senior living community because he's too young Texas carries out first U.S. execution of 2020, putting man to death by lethal injection Florida woman who feeds alligators, vultures behind her home forced to pay $53K in fines Canada says black boxes from Iran crash should be sent to France Judge upholds firearms ban for Virginia gun rally Philippines reimposes ban on workers deploying to Kuwait McConnell says 'the House's hour is over' Wealthy CEOs complain about feeling 'unsafe' because of homeless people in San Francisco US court dismisses suit by youths over climate change The TSA apologized after an agent pulled a Native American passenger's braid and said "giddyup!" during a pat down The 1 Downside to Building Fake Islands China Didn't See Coming Royal Caribbean blames 'reckless' grandfather in toddler Chloe Wiegand's death As Iran and Iraq simmer, giants of Shiite world vie for influence Rainstorms douse bushfires across eastern Australia Life in a Troubled Mississippi Prison, Captured on Smuggled Phones Denver officials won't hand over information sought by ICE Is There a Hidden 'Super-Earth' Exoplanet Orbiting Our Closest Stellar Neighbor? Myanmar president hails 'historic' visit as China's Xi arrives to fanfare Israel's F-35I Adir Is Taking America's Stealth Fighter To A Whole Other Level Trump administration to roll back school lunch regulations on fruits and vegetables Marine Le Pen to Run in 2022 French Presidential Election: Report Georgia sets execution for man convicted of killing 2 people Did Russian Prime Minister Medvedev Drop a Grim Hint About Putin’s Latest Power Grab? A Boeing 737 Max crash killed my daughter. Boeing's board and CEO don't inspire optimism. Renault, Nissan share 'real desire' to make alliance work – chairman Germany's Air Force Has a Serious Problem Delta plane slides off taxiway amid winter storm; airlines issue travel advisories into weekend A 'naked philanthropist' who says she raised $1 million for Australia's fires is now sending nudes to people who donate to Puerto Rico The United States' main allies are abandoning Trump as his threats to world leaders backfire Iranian general says officials lied about shooting down jet to defend national security Hillary Clinton to 2020 Democratic voters: pick a winner Impeachment and a path to redemption for Trump
Posted: 16 Jan 2020 09:23 AM PST
President Trump’s most effective path forward, not only to prevail in the impeachment proceedings but to end this ordeal and create a strong position from which to govern, is to follow the Clinton model rather than the Nixon path.
An ISIS preacher captured in Iraq was apparently so overweight that police had to take him away in the back of a pickup truck
Posted: 17 Jan 2020 06:36 AM PST
Shifa al-Nima was captured in the Mansour neighborhood of Mosul by the Nineveh police command, according to Iraqi police.
Therapist charged with killing family faced fraud probe
Posted: 16 Jan 2020 10:28 AM PST
A physical therapist charged with killing his wife, three children and dog in a home near Walt Disney World and leaving their bodies there for days was being investigated in Connecticut for health care fraud motivated by his need to pay off personal loans, according to court documents unsealed this week. Anthony Todt was being investigated for submitting fraudulent claims for physical therapy by the FBI and agents with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, according to an affidavit and criminal complaint unsealed Wednesday in federal court in Connecticut. According to agents, the allegations involved Todt and his Colchester, Connecticut-base clinics submitting claims to Medicaid and private insurers for physical therapy services that weren’t given to patients.
Jordan, Meadows Send Letter to FISA Court Questioning Kris Appointment
Posted: 16 Jan 2020 12:10 PM PST
House Oversight Committee Republicans Jim Jordan and Mark Meadows issued nine demands to FISA Court presiding judge James Boasberg in a Thursday letter in response to the appointment of Obama Department of Justice lawyer David Kris to help oversee the FBI’s reform of FISA applications.The letter, obtained by National Review, asked Boasberg to identify who else besides Kris was considered, whether Kris’s past defense of the FISA application to surveil Trump-campaign adviser Carter Page was taken into account, and whether “the FISC bears any responsibility for the illegal surveillance of Carter Page,” among other concerns.”If the FISC’s goal is to hold the FBI accountable for its serious misconduct, Mr. Kris does not appear to be an objective — or likely effective — amicus curiae for several reasons,” the letter states. “At minimum, the selection of Mr. Kris creates a perception that he is too personally invested on the side of the FBI to ensure it effectuates meaningful reform.”A Republican official with knowledge of the letter told National Review that the letter signaled a concerted Congressional effort to reform FISA.”For too long, the FBI has remained largely un-checked when it comes to the FISA process. Congress must ensure that FISC stands ready to protect civil liberties without even the slightest indicia of political bias,” he said.The letter appears to be a follow-up to Monday comments from Meadows, who said in an interview that Republicans were “appealing this to the Judge” regarding Kris’s appointment. The North Carolina Congressman also slammed the move to appoint Kris, saying that “there’s no way” Kris is the right man to address abuses “if he doesn’t even acknowledge that there is a problem.”Kris, a former assistant attorney general in the Obama DOJ’s national security division, has extensive experience with the FISA Court, serving as an amicus curiae, or special adviser, since March 2016.A frequent contributor to Lawfare blog, Kris was an outspoken defender of the FBI’s authority in surveilling Page, who was accused of being a Russian agent.Following the release of heavily-redacted FISA applications used to surveil Page in July 2018, Kris doubled down. “It seems to me very likely that if we get below the tip of the iceberg into the submerged parts and more is revealed, it will get worse, not better,” for Page, he told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow at the time. The letter references Kris’s comment to Maddow as evidence that he is biased in favor of the bureau and against Page.DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz revealed in December that the FBI knowingly withheld information that Page was a CIA informant in order to obtain a FISA warrant against him, and even doctored an email to keep the information from the court. The report also revealed that the bureau did not inform the FISC of the partisan origins of the uncorroborated Steele dossier despite its playing a “central and essential” role in their application to surveil Page.In their letter, Jordan and Meadows also request that Boasberg give greater insight into the details surrounding the court’s assessment of the Page applications, including when it “first received any indication that information contained in the FBI’s surveillance applications for Carter Page was misleading or false.”
Princess Cruises responds after 'Marriage Story' actress speaks out, sues alleging bedbugs
Posted: 17 Jan 2020 04:57 AM PST
A “Marriage Story” actress and her husband are suing Princess Cruises, alleging their room was infested with bedbugs.
Secrets Stolen: What Will China Do With Data On Israel's Iron Dome Missile Defense?
Posted: 16 Jan 2020 09:00 PM PST
If China can break into top-secret Israeli computers, they can break into America’s—and everybody else’s, too.
Republican tells female reporter 30 schoolboys ‘could have a lot of fun’ with her
Posted: 16 Jan 2020 05:09 AM PST
A Republican lawmaker is facing calls for a sexual harassment investigation after he told a young female reporter that a group of high school boys “could have a lot of fun” with her.Peter Lucido, a Michigan state senator, has been accused of making inappropriate comments to local reporter Allison Donahue during a tour of the state Capitol.
U.S. warship transits Taiwan Strait less than week after election
Posted: 16 Jan 2020 04:29 PM PST
A U.S. warship sailed through the Taiwan Strait on Thursday, the island’s defense ministry said, less than a week after Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen won re-election by a landslide on a platform of standing up to China which claims the island. The ship sailed in a northerly direction through the sensitive waterway and Taiwan’s armed forces monitored it throughout, the ministry said in a brief statement on Friday, describing the sailing as an “ordinary mission”. Taiwan is China’s most sensitive territorial and diplomatic issue and Beijing has never ruled out the use of force to bring the island under its control.
U.S., Japan May Invest in Indonesia Islands Near South China Sea
Posted: 16 Jan 2020 10:39 PM PST
(Bloomberg) — The U.S., Japan and South Korea are keen to invest in Indonesia’s Natuna Islands as President Joko Widodo steps up efforts to rebuff Chinese claims over the resource-rich waters in the South China Sea.The countries are interested in building fisheries processing and manufacturing industries in Natuna, Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Pandjaitan, told reporters in Jakarta on Friday. Indonesia can manage the sea dispute with China without going into a war, Pandjaitan, a former general, said.”The U.S. investors have expressed their interest, along with investors from Japan, Korea and China,” Padjaitan said. “For us, it doesn’t matter where they come from.”Widodo’s efforts to lure foreign investment into the Natuna islands may ratchet up tension with Beijing following the intrusion of Chinese fishing vessels into an area claimed by Indonesia as an exclusive economic zone. Indonesia is not a claimant in the broader dispute over the South China Sea, but it does insist on its sovereign rights to waters around the Natunas.Beijing says while it has no territorial disputes with Jakarta, claims over maritime interests in certain waters in the South China Sea “overlap.””War is the last resort in our negotiation process,” Pandjaitan said referring to the standoff with China on Natuna. “But under no circumstances will we negotiate our sovereignty and territorial rights.”Jokowi, as Widodo is commonly known, visited the Natuna islands last week and asserted Indonesia’s sovereignty over the waters after authorities deployed fighter jets and warships to push back the Chinese fishing vessels, which were accompanied by coast guard ships. The president also inaugurated a fisheries processing center in the region and days later invited Japan to invest in Natuna to develop the fishing industry.Indonesia is also seeking investment by Vietnamese marine processing companies. Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi met officials of Hai Nam Co., a seafood importer this week in Ho Chi Minh City, and asked it to explore a joint venture with Indonesian companies for a fisheries processing unit in areas including Natuna, according to a foreign ministry statement Thursday.It has identified a location in north Natuna for a fishing port, while southern Natuna will serve as a base for the navy, Pandjaitan said. The country will also soon acquire its first ocean-going vessel, probably from Denmark, to beef up its sea powers, he said.To contact the reporters on this story: Arys Aditya in Jakarta at aaditya5@bloomberg.net;Harry Suhartono in Jakarta at hsuhartono@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Stephanie Phang at sphang@bloomberg.net, Thomas Kutty AbrahamFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Parnas said he is speaking out because he is afraid of William Barr
Posted: 16 Jan 2020 07:08 PM PST
Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas said he was giving media interviews about his role in President Trump’s attempts convince Ukrainian officials to announce an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden because he wanted to protect himself from Attorney General William Barr.
A 15-year-old orphan who lives with his grandparents is being kicked out of their senior living community because he's too young
Posted: 17 Jan 2020 12:51 PM PST
Collin Clabaugh has been living with his grandparents in a 55-and-over gated community in Arizona since last year, when both of his parents died.
Texas carries out first U.S. execution of 2020, putting man to death by lethal injection
Posted: 16 Jan 2020 07:54 AM PST
Texas on Wednesday carried out the first execution of the year in the United States, putting to death by lethal injection a man convicted of killing his wife 15 years ago because she wanted a divorce. John Gardner, 64, was sentenced to death in 2006 for killing his fifth wife, who had left him after multiple incidents of physical violence and filed for divorce.
Florida woman who feeds alligators, vultures behind her home forced to pay $53K in fines
Posted: 17 Jan 2020 06:40 AM PST
The property owners association said the feedings attracted flocks of defecating, vomiting vultures, as well as raccoons, alligators and a bobcat.
Canada says black boxes from Iran crash should be sent to France
Posted: 17 Jan 2020 09:10 AM PST
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday urged Iran to send the black boxes from the passenger plane shot down by its forces to France for analysis and said the first remains of victims should soon arrive back in Canada. Trudeau told a news conference in Ottawa that France was one of the few countries with the ability to read the flight and cockpit data recorders from the jet, which he said were badly damaged. Iran says it shot down Ukrainian International Airlines flight 752 last week by accident, killing all 176 people aboard, 57 of whom were Canadian.
Judge upholds firearms ban for Virginia gun rally
Posted: 17 Jan 2020 03:14 AM PST
A Virginia judge ruled that a firearms ban imposed by the governor ahead of a planned pro-gun rally can stay in place, but gun rights groups are still fighting the ban.
Philippines reimposes ban on workers deploying to Kuwait
Posted: 16 Jan 2020 04:16 PM PST
The Philippines said Friday it was reimposing a ban on its citizens going to work in Kuwait after a Filipina was allegedly killed by her employer, echoing a 2018 row between the two countries. President Rodrigo Duterte approved the ban as his government accused the emirate of covering up the killing of a maid, one of about 240,000 Filipinos working in the Gulf state. Duterte’s government briefly banned Filipinos deploying for work in Kuwait two years ago amid a diplomatic row that began with the discovery of the remains of a murdered Filipina maid in her employers’ freezer.
McConnell says 'the House's hour is over'
Posted: 16 Jan 2020 08:02 AM PST
During an address on the floor, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, “The House’s hour is over. The Senate’s time is at hand.”
Wealthy CEOs complain about feeling 'unsafe' because of homeless people in San Francisco
Posted: 16 Jan 2020 09:01 AM PST
A major healthcare conference in San Francisco this week has sparked a debate about the California city’s homeless crisis as wealthy executives and investors complain of feeling ‘unsafe’.The city rakes in $51m (£39m) each year from the annual JPMorgan Healthcare Conference despite growing concerns about the city’s homeless population among attendees of the healthcare industry’s leading conference, according to Bloomberg News.
US court dismisses suit by youths over climate change
Posted: 17 Jan 2020 10:32 AM PST
A federal appeals court on Friday dismissed a lawsuit by 21 young people who claimed the U.S. government’s climate policies and reliance on fossil fuels harms them, jeopardizes their future and violates their constitutional rights, potentially dealing a fatal blow to a long-running case that activists saw as an important front in the war against environmental degradation. The Oregon-based youth advocacy group Our Children’s Trust filed the lawsuit in 2015 in Eugene on behalf of the youngsters. It sought an injunction ordering the government to implement a plan to phase out fossil fuel emissions and draw down atmospheric carbon dioxide emission.
The TSA apologized after an agent pulled a Native American passenger's braid and said "giddyup!" during a pat down
Posted: 17 Jan 2020 09:43 AM PST
Tara Houska was going through security at the Minneapolis airport on Monday when she said an agent humiliated her by whipping her braids.
The 1 Downside to Building Fake Islands China Didn't See Coming
Posted: 16 Jan 2020 11:48 PM PST
Too much land to defend?
Royal Caribbean blames 'reckless' grandfather in toddler Chloe Wiegand's death
Posted: 17 Jan 2020 07:48 AM PST
“His actions… were reckless and irresponsible and the sole reason why Chloe is no longer with her parents,” Royal Caribbean said in court documents.
As Iran and Iraq simmer, giants of Shiite world vie for influence
Posted: 17 Jan 2020 08:49 AM PST
The separation of religion and state is splitting the Shiite world, pitting the supreme leader of Iran, a theocracy, against Iraq’s grand ayatollah.
Rainstorms douse bushfires across eastern Australia
Posted: 17 Jan 2020 04:03 PM PST
Rain and thunderstorms doused long-burning bushfires across much of eastern Australia Saturday, but they also brought a new threat of flooding in some areas. Major bushfires continued to rage in regions of the south and southeast of the country that have so far missed out on the rain, including in wildlife-rich forests on Kangaroo Island off the southern coast. The fire service in New South Wales (NSW) state, the country’s most populous and the hardest hit by the crisis, said 75 fires continued to burn Saturday, down from well over 100 a few days earlier.
Life in a Troubled Mississippi Prison, Captured on Smuggled Phones
Posted: 16 Jan 2020 12:28 PM PST
ATLANTA — The cellphone rang once before someone picked up. On the other end was an inmate inside Unit 29 of the Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman. “Hello,” he said.Then, in a steady voice that competed against a cacophony of rowdy conversations and a fuzzy signal, he urgently described to a complete stranger the turmoil he said existed on the inside. Some inmates needed medical attention, he said. All of them could use a hot shower.”Mold everywhere, rats everywhere,” said the inmate, who was serving time for armed robbery, aggravated assault and other charges.Then the line suddenly fell silent. When the inmate returned a moment later, he explained that an officer had walked past and that he had needed to quickly stash his phone. He had paid $600 for the smartphone — contraband in prisons nationwide. If caught with it, years could be tacked onto his already lengthy sentence.He then handed the phone to another inmate. “They’re treating us like animals,” that inmate said, before passing the phone on yet again.And so it went, from one prisoner to the next, in a phone call with a reporter that stretched on for roughly an hour. The inmates complained about unreliable electricity and water, injuries that had not healed, and the vermin that forced them to hang leftover food from the ceiling. One inmate mentioned his girlfriend; another, the countdown to his release, now almost a month away.The meandering conversation was punctuated by lulls, as the phone was hidden or passed around, capturing the ambient noise of life inside the maximum-security prison.Parchman, the oldest prison in Mississippi, with a notorious reputation for harsh conditions, has descended into dilapidation and chaos, including a recent burst of violence that left several inmates dead.Inmates have used illegal cellphones to capture and transmit images — inmates fighting, broken toilets, holes in prison walls, dangling wires and dead rodents caught in sticky traps — that have come to define the crisis in Mississippi. Many photos were texted to The New York Times.Across the country, prisons are rife with smuggled cellphones, allowing inmates access to the internet, social media and their old lives outside the prison walls. But state officials said the phones have been used by inmates to propel unrest, and by gangs to orchestrate attacks on rivals, inside and outside of prison.Officials said the pervasiveness of cellphones — nearly 12,000 were seized in Mississippi in 2018 — has threatened prison security. And, by providing an uncontrolled link to the outside world, they also have undermined the very notion of incarceration.”There is a lot of misinformation fanning the flames of fear in the community at large, especially on social media,” Pelicia E. Hall, the state corrections commissioner, said in a recent statement. “Cellphones are contraband and have been instrumental in escalating the violence.”Gang warfare, decrepit accommodations and a severe shortage of corrections officers has attracted widespread attention and come to dominate the state’s political agenda. Activists and others say the problems are long-standing, but they credit the images with igniting a surge of outrage.”The story never really would have broke” without cellphones, said Honey D. Ates, whose son is serving a 15-year sentence at the state prison in Wilkinson County.”We can hear all about it,” she said, “but actually seeing it, it’s times a hundred.”It has been nearly impossible for corrections officials to curb the use of cellphones, as they have been difficult to ferret out. “As fast as you take them out, they’re back in,” said Martin F. Horn, a former top corrections official in New York City and Pennsylvania, who teaches at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.”It sort of defeats the purpose of a prison wall, if you will,” Horn said.In recent years, an inmate on death row in Texas used a smuggled phone to make threatening phone calls to a state senator. After an hourslong riot killed seven prisoners at a state prison in South Carolina, officials there blamed phones as a reason for the violence. Even Charles Manson, the closely guarded notorious mass killer who died in 2017, was repeatedly caught with phones.In Mississippi, inmates, their relatives and activists said that phones are often brought in by corrections officers and case managers, and the devices, usually pay-as-you-go burner phones, can cost upward of $300 inside. Elsewhere, visitors have sneaked them in, and there have been documented cases of phones being shot over prison fences with potato guns and deposited by drones.State officials in Mississippi have resorted to a range of measures, including seeking court orders to get service providers to shut down specific devices. In a statement, the Mississippi Department of Corrections said that it also used technology to interrupt cellular signals, regularly conducted shakedowns and used dogs to sniff out the devices.Mississippi’s prisons have been rocked by an outbreak of violence and disorder in recent weeks. Five inmates have been killed, including three at Parchman, and many others have been injured. In the chaos, two inmates escaped but were later caught. For several days, all of the prisons were locked down.Critics said the unrest reflected a pattern of problems in state prisons, which are stretched thin under the weight of an inmate population still swollen from the tough-on-crime measures of the 1980s and 1990s. Some elected officials and civil rights groups, in a complaint calling for a federal investigation, described “extreme” staff vacancies despite having the third-highest incarceration rate in the country.State leaders have acknowledged the severity of the concerns, and corrections officials have warned of a brewing crisis as they press lawmakers for more funding. On Monday, Hall, the corrections commissioner, issued a statement reiterating concerns over Unit 29 at Parchman, quoting a letter she had sent in August describing a facility that was “unsafe for staff and inmates due to age and general deterioration.”As the violence flared, inmates broadcast live on Facebook as fires raged inside one prison. They posted images of faucets spewing discolored water, and walls splotched with mold.Those images catapulted the crisis into public, coming at a pivotal moment as a new legislative session begins and Gov. Tate Reeves, a Republican, was sworn in on Tuesday.Officials and others have said that much of the unrest has quieted. The state Department of Corrections has lifted lockdowns at all of its facilities except for Parchman. But the recent turmoil has brought new scrutiny, including from the rappers Jay-Z and Yo Gotti, who filed a lawsuit on Tuesday on behalf of prisoners, assailing what they described as an “utter disregard” for inmates and their rights.State officials have countered that the depictions shared on social media only added to the discord. The outgoing governor, Phil Bryant, told reporters recently that the inmates craved limelight. “You’re making them stars,” he said, “and they’re convicts.”Albert Sykes, an activist on criminal justice issues, said many inmates feared repercussions over cellphones, a lifeline for staying in touch with families, especially as rolling lockdowns caused by staffing shortages have curtailed visitation.The inmates’ fears have been fueled by the case of Willie Nash, who was sentenced to 12 years in prison for having a cellphone in a county jail. He was being held on a misdemeanor count when he asked a jailer if he could charge his phone’s battery, an inquiry that led to the new charge. The sentence was upheld last week by the Mississippi Supreme Court, even as justices noted that it was “obviously harsh” and “seems to demonstrate a failure of our criminal justice system.”Ates said that her son had expressed his own fear, but that she had encouraged him to be defiant. “You can’t shut all of us up,” she said, “and you can’t take all the cellphones.” In recent weeks, she has become something of a switchboard operator, receiving messages on Facebook from inmates across the state.One video that has been widely shared showed an inmate at Parchman, who spoke on the phone briefly the other day, with an open wound that he said he had received after being struck by what he thought was a rubber bullet. His back was covered in blood and he walked over to a sink, where he turned the knobs but no water came out.”Please try to help us,” said the inmate, who was convicted on aggravated assault and gun possession charges. “Let the world know.”He then passed the phone back to its owner. Its battery was draining, and the electricity had flickered out again. The inmate apologized for cutting the conversation short, but said he needed to go.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company
Denver officials won't hand over information sought by ICE
Posted: 16 Jan 2020 07:07 PM PST
Denver officials on Thursday said they would not hand over information requested by U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement on four men wanted for deportation. ICE, the Homeland Security agency tasked with arresting and deporting people in the U.S. illegally, sent four administrative subpoenas earlier this week to law enforcement looking for information on three Mexican nationals and one Honduran who had been in custody in Denver. It was the first time subpoenas had been sent to a law enforcement agency — an escalation of the conflict between the Trump administration and so-called sanctuary cities.
Is There a Hidden 'Super-Earth' Exoplanet Orbiting Our Closest Stellar Neighbor?
Posted: 16 Jan 2020 08:31 AM PST
A new exoplanet only 4.2 light years away would prove that there’s plenty left to discover in our own cosmic backyard.
Myanmar president hails 'historic' visit as China's Xi arrives to fanfare
Posted: 17 Jan 2020 04:19 AM PST
Chinese President Xi Jinping flew into Myanmar on Friday for two days of talks to shore up massive infrastructure projects in the Southeast Asian nation isolated by the West over its treatment of the Rohingya Muslim minority. State counselor Aung San Suu Kyi greeted him with a handshake on the steps of the presidential palace after a ceremonial welcome by the president and a military marching band, on the first day of a two-day visit, Xi’s first as leader and the first of any Chinese president in 19 years. Analysts say Xi will seek to reinvigorate stalled infrastructure projects central to his flagship Belt and Road Initiative described as a “21st century silk road”.
Israel's F-35I Adir Is Taking America's Stealth Fighter To A Whole Other Level
Posted: 17 Jan 2020 06:03 AM PST
Israel has a history of improving America’s weapons to fit its needs.
Trump administration to roll back school lunch regulations on fruits and vegetables
Posted: 17 Jan 2020 01:30 PM PST
The USDA announced they plan to roll back school lunch regulations championed by Michelle Obama to allow schools “more flexibility” in what they serve because “because they know their children best.”
Marine Le Pen to Run in 2022 French Presidential Election: Report
Posted: 16 Jan 2020 06:30 AM PST
(Bloomberg) — French far-right leader Marine Le Pen plans to make a third bid to become president in the 2022 election, Le Figaro newspaper reported on Thursday.The leader of the National Rally party and daughter of French far-right party founder Jean-Marie Le Pen told reporters she was getting ready for the campaign during an event in Nanterre, near Paris, on Thursday, Le Figaro said. Marine Le Pen’s decision to stand again comes as mainstream parties across Europe have been challenged by populist leaders.Le Pen was defeated by French President Emmanuel Macron in the second round of the 2017 election, when she gathered about one-third of votes. The top two candidates in the first round advance to a runoff under the French system. Macron’s five-year term ends in the spring of 2022.To contact the reporter on this story: Ania Nussbaum in Paris at anianussbaum@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net, Geraldine Amiel, James ReganFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Georgia sets execution for man convicted of killing 2 people
Posted: 17 Jan 2020 10:54 AM PST
Donnie Cleveland Lance, 66, is scheduled to die Jan. 29 at the state prison in Jackson, state Attorney General Chris Carr and Department of Corrections Commissioner Timothy Ward announced Friday. Lance has exhausted his standard appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court declined last year to hear his case, though three justices dissented. According to a Georgia Supreme Court summary of the case, Lance went to Wood’s home the night of Nov. 8, 1997, kicked in the front door and shot Wood in the front and back with a shotgun and then beat Joy Lance to death with the butt of the shotgun, the summary says.
Did Russian Prime Minister Medvedev Drop a Grim Hint About Putin’s Latest Power Grab?
Posted: 16 Jan 2020 07:14 AM PST
At a celebration of the Russian Orthodox New Year on Tuesday, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev chose a grim message, the sarcasm of which left his audience on edge. But, then, Medvedev probably knew what Wednesday would bring—the resignation of his entire government—and the audience did not.Putin’s Power Play: Shuffle the Cabinet But Keep CommandOn national television, the prime minister read at length from Anton Chekhov’s story “A Night in the Cemetery,” which suggests with ironic wit that celebrating the coming of the New Year is a foolish pursuit, unworthy of a properly functioning mind, since “every coming year is as bad as the previous one,” and the newest year is bound to be even worse. Instead of celebrating the New Year, Chekhov wrote—and Medvedev read—one should suffer, cry and attempt suicide. Every new year brings you closer to death, makes you poorer, your bald spots larger and your wife older, he said.Medvedev’s sour greetings brought on some awkward laughs and sparse applause from confused Russian bureaucrats in the studio audience, most of whom remained stone-faced. The prime minister seemed nervous and almost dropped his papers at the end of the speech.Then Wednesday dawned, and Russian President Vladimir Putin in his annual state of the nation address proposed a constitutional overhaul. It supposedly is designed to boost the powers of parliament and the cabinet, but more likely is intended to give Putin, 67, a firm grip on the country for many more years, even decades, to come. A few hours later, Medvedev submitted his resignation, and his entire cabinet submitted theirs as well. And while some of them may stay on, Medvedev, who once served a term as Putin’s placeholder president, will move to a previously nonexistent post.Putin offered the prime minister slot to Mikhail Mishustin, the head of the Russian Tax Service, who has been described as “the taxman of the future,” digitally acquiring receipts of every transaction in Russia within 90 seconds. It’s unclear whether Mishustin will be a placeholder technocrat or assume other responsibilities currently known only to Putin. But in his annual address, Putin articulated the need to identify any persons with current or former double citizenships and foreign holdings, eliminating them from government service. Mishustin might become instrumental in such a reshuffling of Russia’s power elites, who are perceived to be unpatriotic by maintaining residences or bank accounts abroad. The added pressure will also give Putin further leverage over them. In the past, Putin and Medvedev have choreographed moves that allowed Putin to remain in charge under different titles, swapping places to circumvent term limits.This time around, Medvedev will assume a newly created position as the Deputy Chairman of the Security Council and all current ministers will remain in an acting capacity until a new government is appointed.Meanwhile, the leader of Chechnya in Russia’s volatile North Caucasus region, Ramzan Kadyrov has declared himself to be “temporarily incapacitated,” relegating his duties to the current prime minister of Chechnya, Muslim Khuchiyev.Putin’s sweeping changes are widely interpreted as designed to weaken his successor, reshaping Russia’s power structure in order to create additional opportunities for Putin’s continued control over the government, even after the conclusion of his fourth presidential term in 2024. Putin proposed amending the Russian constitution to expand the powers of the legislative branch and investing additional powers in the State Council, leading to speculation Putin is contemplating his future return at the helm of a newly empowered Parliament, after the expiration of his current presidential term.Commentary on the Russian president’s likely intention to carve out a new position for himself has been skillfully avoided by the Russian state media. Instead, Kremlin-controlled news outlets chose to focus on promised subsidies for families with young children, designed to address Russia’s demographic crisis by boosting the birth rate, and the general claim that Putin has, as it were, made Russia great again.On the Russian state television show, The Evening with Vladimir Soloviev, the host proclaimed, “The greatness of the country is indisputably tied to the name of Putin.” Soloviev argued that the Russian president “restored respect” towards their country globally. His take was echoed by the State Duma Deputy Chair Irina Yarovaya, who pontificated that Putin, having achieved his foreign policy and national security objectives, could now move on to his domestic agenda. Yarovaya said, “We remember statements by [U.S. President Barack Obama] in 2014—very recently—that Russia is a regional power of minor importance. We remember all of that. We remember how the sanctions started. We remember how we weren’t invited to the G8. And today there is a line of world leaders waiting just to talk to our president over the phone…”The sanctions started and Russia was disinvited after it seized and annexed the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea in 2014, then incited and abetted a separatist war in Ukraine’s east. They were intensified after Russia’s flagrant interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections.Russian state media also highlight Putin’s promises of socioeconomic largesse and his prediction that “Russia’s economy will grow faster than the global average in 2021.” During the last decade, the Russian leader has promised in vain that Russia will become the world’s fifth largest economy by 2024. It is currently ranked as the 11th largest economy in the world, with a smaller GDP than that of California. President Putin’s current growth prediction is much more modest. It’s still not realistic, but such promises had to be made as Russia’s declining standards of living have led to political unrest and mass protests.Without providing any direct answers as to his own plans, the Russian leader—who has now been in power for 20 years—created new venues for his continued reign in yet-to-be-revealed future capacities.Amid all the uncertainties, maybe it shouldn’t surprise us that Medvedev was reading Chekhov’s story about a blind drunk civil servant who stumbles out of a New Year’s celebration only to get lost in a graveyard—and then discovers in the morning he was somewhere else entirely.Russia Loves the Impeachment Hearings Because GOP Is Parroting Kremlin PropagandaRead more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
A Boeing 737 Max crash killed my daughter. Boeing's board and CEO don't inspire optimism.
Posted: 17 Jan 2020 02:00 AM PST
Since the death of my daughter in the Ethiopian Airlines crash, I’ve learned more about aviation than I ever dreamed, and how Boeing let safety slip.
Renault, Nissan share 'real desire' to make alliance work – chairman
Posted: 16 Jan 2020 12:05 AM PST
Renault Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard said on Thursday there was a “real desire” within the top ranks of both companies for its alliance with Nissan to succeed, dismissing suggestions the partnership was on the rocks. Turmoil within the Franco-Japanese alliance, long dogged by internal rivalries, deepened following the November 2018 arrest in Tokyo of its architect and long-time boss Carlos Ghosn on charges of financial crimes, which he denies. Attempts to restore calm were dealt a fresh blow by Ghosn’s dramatic flight from Japanese justice and a series of no-holds-barred allegations he has made from his refuge in Lebanon, including that he was the victim of a plot to oust him and that the alliance is now a “masquerade”.
Germany's Air Force Has a Serious Problem
Posted: 17 Jan 2020 06:21 AM PST
And it’s running out of time to fix it.
Delta plane slides off taxiway amid winter storm; airlines issue travel advisories into weekend
Posted: 17 Jan 2020 09:03 AM PST
Airlines are issuing travel waivers on account of a winter storm headed for much of the northern U.S. this weekend.
A 'naked philanthropist' who says she raised $1 million for Australia's fires is now sending nudes to people who donate to Puerto Rico
Posted: 17 Jan 2020 02:06 PM PST
Kaylen Ward says she raised $1 million for Australia, sending nudes to people who donated. Now she is doing the same, raising money for Puerto Rico.
The United States' main allies are abandoning Trump as his threats to world leaders backfire
Posted: 17 Jan 2020 04:14 AM PST
European leaders are talking openly about loosening Europe’s alliance with the United States as President Donald Trump alienates long-standing allies.
Iranian general says officials lied about shooting down jet to defend national security
Posted: 16 Jan 2020 05:03 AM PST
An Iranian general defended his government’s decision to lie for days about whether it shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet, killing all 176 people onboard.
Hillary Clinton to 2020 Democratic voters: pick a winner
Posted: 17 Jan 2020 09:56 AM PST
Hillary Rodham Clinton has advice for Democratic voters faced with an unsettled field of presidential contenders: pick a winner. “This is an election that will have such profound impact, so take your vote seriously,” Clinton said. Voters must act thoughtfully “because Lord knows what will happen if we don’t retire the current incumbent and his henchmen, as (House Speaker) Nancy Pelosi so well described them,” the former first lady said.
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Big Brother, thy name is Automobile

Big Brother, thy name is Automobile

From this morning’s Toronto Globe and Mail
Your car knows all about you – your habits, where you like to go and when, and maybe even what sort of temperament you have. Cameras inside cars even track your eyes to see whether you’re watching the road.
If you spent as much time one-on-one with a friend as you do with your car, your friend would know an awful lot about you, too. The difference is that car companies, unlike friends, have a financial incentive for knowing things about you.
“Cars already collect a significant and growing amount of data,” says Teresa Scassa, Canada Research Chair in information law and policy at the University of Ottawa. The car itself is collecting driving data such as speed and braking patterns, but the built-in navigation and entertainment services are also collecting information of a more personal nature, she says. That could include location information, taste in music, voice commands, search history and so forth. Apps such as Waze, Apple CarPlay or Android Auto connected to the vehicle will also be collecting similar data.
New cars have more radar sensors and cameras than a typical smartphone, and the number and quality of those sensors will only increase as cars eventually become capable of driving themselves.
As cars become like two-ton rolling smartphones – always online, anticipating your needs, listening to your voice, tracking your movements and loaded with apps that have access to your credit card information – what your car knows about you and who has access to that data for what purpose could become an increasingly contentious issue.
“People should be aware that any connected devices – appliances, vehicles – come with massive collection of data, much of which will be personal data,” Scassa advises. “Now, this data also has an enormous commercial value, not just directly in relation to the services being provided, but in all kinds of other applications.”
For example, if you often drive to Second Cup, a Starbucks coupon could pop up on the car’s dashboard as you head to work. Or, if you’re searching for an independent garage to take your car in for maintenance, your dealer could catch on and give you a call.
This kind of behaviour wouldn’t be unique to the automotive realm. Smart-home devices from Amazon and others are spying on us, collecting enormous amounts of data from which these companies make tremendous profits, Scassa says. “So, there’s an interest in collecting as much as possible and seeing all the different things you can do with it. It’s a bit of a wild west in that sense.” Cars are just the latest frontier in the data gold rush.
WHAT YOUR CAR KNOWS
Right now, vehicles are collecting a lot of whatʼs known as “telematics” data, says J.D. Ney, director of J.D. Powerʼs automotive practice in Canada. “Black box” recorders log vital information such as speed, sudden braking and the position of a car. “That kind of information is being stored and, increasingly, being exported from the vehicle to the manufacturer as well,” he adds. This data could let the dealer know when your car’s due for an oil change, or give you an opportunity to lower your insurance rates.
In the event of a crash, police might also be interested in such data to determine who is at fault. But whether they are entitled to it is still being hashed out.
“There have already been legal skirmishes,” Scassa says, over whether the police need a warrant to acquire that data. The cases often turn on whether an individual has a “reasonable expectation to privacy in this vehicle data,” she says, which drivers often donʼt realize is even being collected. The results of those court cases have been mixed, Scassa says.
For most drivers, it will come as a surprise to learn that cars come with extensive privacy policies – just like Google or Facebook – which outline all the data about you and your car that manufacturers collect, how they collect it, who they share it with and how it is used.
In-car services – for example, General Motors’ OnStar or Mercedes Me Connect – can collect information to varying degrees. Though it can differ from manufacturer to manufacturer, services may collect data such as your credit card information, voice-command information, WiFi data usage and images from the car’s cameras.
That information may be used to collect outstanding debts, to target ads, to provide customer support, and to develop new products and services, among other things. That data can also be shared with third-party businesses, content providers, dealers, researchers, as well as law-enforcement agencies and the government, where required or permitted by law.
As for who owns the data generated when you drive your car, there isn’t an easy answer. “Everybody’s talking about ownership of data, but that’s a really complicated concept,” Scassa says. “We really have nothing but a kind of a complex mess of laws.”
The privacy policies of all major automakers seem very similar. By way of example, we asked Scassa to give us her opinion on the policies of a couple of Canadaʼs most popular automakers, General Motors and Toyota. The huge volume of data being collected didn’t surprise her, but two things stood out: the open-ended nature of the collection and need for customers to opt out (rather than opt in) to parts of these agreements.
With opt-out data collection, you’re enrolled automatically unless you take action. With opt-in collection, companies have to ask for permission, which you must actively grant.
“Iʼm certainly surprised by this: ‘The types of information may include but are not limited to,’ ” Scassa says, quoting from GM’s privacy policy. In other words, GM could collect any and all information it wants. “It seems to me that if youʼre going to give notice of collection, you have to actually say what youʼre collecting. … What exactly are you consenting to?”
Toyota’s privacy policy was similar, but slightly less open-ended, Scassa found. The Toyota policy allows customers to request to have their data deleted, but warns that after doing so, Toyota may not be able to supply a particular product or service.
The privacy policies of several automakers stated that these companies could keep your data as long as they deem necessary, which Scassa says is not a best practice. “Companies want to keep information for as long as possible because information has value for purposes that have yet to be discovered,” she explains.
Having all this personal, potentially sensitive and valuable data in cars and stored in the cloud opens up a Pandora’s Box of security concerns. Automakers have nearly 100 years of experience making cars physically safer, in the event of a crash, but relatively little experience making cars digitally secure, in the event of a hack. It’s an entirely new frontier.
We asked both GM and Toyota to comment about their data collection and usage policies. Both declined to comment.
Like it or not, cars are now part of a bigger discussion about data privacy, control and ownership. “There’s just massive amounts of data being collected, and if you want the service, you have to agree to it. And people do agree to it, and they have relatively little control over things,” Scassa says.

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