Category Archives: PND News

Cryptocurrency prices plunge

Source: CBS News

“Bitcoin and other digital currency prices plunged after South Korea’s top financial policymaker said Tuesday that a crackdown on trading of crypto currencies remains a possibility. Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon said in an interview with local radio station TBS that banning trading in digital currencies was ‘a live option.’ … Last week, the South Korean justice minister’s remark that the country will ban bitcoin and other digital currencies triggered big sell-offs and a public outcry. The presidential office then said that no final decision had been made.” [editor’s note: Banning cryptocurrency, or even trying to control it, will be even less effective than alcohol prohibition was. In fact, I predict that within the next decade, at least one regime will be brought down for trying it – TLK] (01/16/18)

CT: Army vet sues VA over scalpel found in his body years after surgery

Source: USA Today

“An Army veteran who says someone left a scalpel inside him after surgery is suing a veterans affairs hospital. Bridgeport resident Glenford Turner says the scalpel was discovered years later after he suffered from long-term abdominal pain. He sued the VA in U.S. District Court last week, seeking unspecified compensatory damages. Court papers say Turner had surgery at the VA hospital in West Haven in 2013. Nearly four years later, he went back to the VA with dizziness and severe abdominal pain. An X-Ray showed there was a scalpel inside his body. Turner had to undergo surgery to remove the scalpel. His lawyer, Joel Faxon, said doctors confirmed it was the same one. Faxon called it ‘an incomprehensible level of incompetence.’ The VA said Monday it doesn’t typically comment on pending litigation.” (01/16/18)

Palestine: PLO Central Council recommends suspension of recognition of Israel

Source: CNN

“Palestinian [Arab] leaders have called on the Palestin[e] Liberation Organization (PLO) to suspend its recognition of Israel just days after Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas urged the group to ‘revise’ its agreements with the Jewish state. … A PLO Central Council statement on Monday called on the organization to suspend its recognition of Israel, first affirmed by the Palestinian body in 1993, until Israel recognized the state of Palestine, based on borders that existed before the Six-Day War of 1967.” (01/16/18)

Tattoos lead Thai police to arrest Japanese gang member

Source: San Francisco Chronicle

“Thai police said they have arrested a 74-year-old fugitive Japanese gang member who was recognized when photos of his full-body tattoos were circulated online. A police statement said Shigeharu Shirai was arrested Wednesday in a province north of Bangkok where he has been hiding for over 10 years to evade murder charges in Japan in connection with the death of a rival gang member. His arrest apparently came after photos of him sitting around a checkers table were posted on Facebook in August last year by a Thai who was impressed by the man’s tattoos. The post was shared over 10,000 times and some users identified the former gang member.” (01/16/18)

Chile: Pope begs foregiveness for “irreparable harm” from sex abuse

Source: Columbia Basin Herald

“Pope Francis begged for forgiveness Tuesday for the ‘irreparable damage’ done to children who were raped and molested by priests, opening his visit to Chile by diving head-first into a scandal that has greatly hurt the Catholic Church’s credibility here and cast a cloud over his visit. Speaking to Chile’s president, lawmakers, judges and other authorities, Francis said he felt ‘bound to express my pain and shame’ that some of Chile’s pastors had sexually abused children in their care.” (01/16/18)

UK: Frozen food powerhouse commits to ban on plastic packaging


Source: CNBC

“Leading U.K. supermarket Iceland, which specializes in frozen food, has made a commitment to eliminate plastic packaging from its own brand products by the end of 2023. In an announcement Tuesday, the retailer said it had already removed disposable plastic straws from its own label range. It added that its new food ranges would use paper-based food trays instead of plastic ones.” (01/16/18)

Venezuela: Regime forces launch deadly assault, capture rebel police officers

Source: Miami Herald

“Venezuelan special forces on Monday captured five members of a band led by a rebel police officer who has been on the run for six months. The capture followed a deadly early-morning assault in a village outside Caracas that ended with at least two officers killed and five injured, the government reported. It was not clear if the rebel group’s leader Oscar Perez survived the assault, but CNN reported — citing a high government source — that he had been killed. … The assault was made public early Monday by Perez himself, who posted video snippets on social media, including one in which he appears with a bloodied face. ‘They are firing at us with RPG, grenades and grenade launchers, snipers,’ Perez says in one video. ‘There are civilians in here. We told them that we’re going to turn ourselves in and they don’t want to let us surrender. They want to kill us.'” (01/15/18)

Lavrov: Russia will not support US bid to change Iran nuclear deal

Source: Reuters

“Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday Moscow will not support attempts by Washington to modify the Iran nuclear deal, arguing such a move could also complicate diplomacy over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. Lavrov spoke days after U.S. President Donald Trump said he would waive nuclear sanctions against Iran for the last time to give Washington and its European allies a chance to fix the ‘terrible flaws’ of the 2015 nuclear deal. ‘We will not support what the United States is trying to do, changing the wording of the agreement, incorporating things that will be absolutely unacceptable for Iran,’ Lavrov told a news conference in Moscow.” (01/15/18)

Cotton hits Durbin for claims of Trump’s “sh*thole countries” comment

Source: The Hill

“Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) on Sunday reiterated that he didn’t hear President Trump call Haiti, El Salvador and African nations ‘sh*thole countries,’ suggesting Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) misrepresented the president’s comments. ‘I certainly didn’t hear what Sen. Durbin has said repeatedly. Sen. Durbin has a history of misrepresenting what happens in White House meetings, though, so perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised by that,’ Cotton said on CBS’s ‘Face The Nation.’ Pressed on whether he didn’t hear the comment or if it wasn’t said, Cotton said, ‘I didn’t hear it. And I was sitting no farther away from Donald Trump than Dick Durbin was, and I know what Dick Durbin has said about the president’s repeated statements is incorrect,’ Cotton added.” [editor’s note: I continue to maintain that without recorded evidence of what Trump actually said, the WaPo has simply become another rumor-mongering TMZ offshoot, like ESPN has – SAT] [additional editor’s note: Deciding whether to disbelieve Tom Cotton or to disbelieve Dick Durbin is a tossup. I’ll have to go with Trump’s previously displayed temperament and language to settle the matter. Which means he probably said it – TLK] (01/14/18)

Canada: Toronto police say hijab-cutting incident didn’t happen

Source: NBC News

“Toronto police are disputing an 11-year-old girl’s claim that her hijab was cut by a scissors-wielding man as she walked to school last week. Toronto Police spokesman Mark Pugash said Monday an extensive investigation was conducted and police concluded it did not happen. … Pugash declined to say whether the girl acknowledged it didn’t happen. He said police wouldn’t take a step like this unless they were absolutely confident.” [editor’s note: On the one hand, there seem to be a lot of hoaxes of this variety. On the other hand, if it’s anyone’s word versus the police department’s, I know which side I default to absent a good reason to think otherwise … – TLK] (01/15/18)