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Racist jokes prompt dismissal, 2 probes in Ferguson Police Dept.

RT -

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles made the announcement at a Wednesday evening press conference and the decision came after the US Justice Department tagged the three specifically for having made racist remarks in city emails.

The fallout comes as the Justice Department issued a 100-page report that found systematic racial discrimination by the Ferguson police officials and the court system against African Americans. Mayor Knowles said the city “must do better”to address racism.

We must do better not only as a city but as a state and a country. We must all work to address issues of racial disparity in all aspects of our society,” he said.

Knowles said the two city workers on administrative leave were under investigation.

Ferguson mayor: Racist emails 'will not be tolerated': http://t.co/JRXKjoFfCV pic.twitter.com/Ot5UM9yRMY

— SpeedReads (@SpeedReads) March 5, 2015

The DOJ report cited racist emails exchanged by Ferguson city employees as examples of a culture that supported discriminatory behavior.

Our review of documents revealed many additional email communications that exhibited racial or ethnic bias, as well as other forms of bias. Our investigation has not revealed any indication that any officer or court clerk engaged in these communications was ever disciplined,” the report said.

READ MORE:‘ Searing’ DOJ review finds ‘distrust and hostility’ between police & Ferguson residents

There were no accounts of senior officials asking others to stop sending the emails or any indication of reports being made about inappropriate emails.

– A November 2008 email about Barack Obama, then the president-elect, wondered “what black man holds a steady job for four years.”

– One March 2010 email mocked African Americans through speech stereotypes, using a story involving child support. One line from the email read: “I be so glad that dis be my last child support payment! Month after month, year after year, all dose payments!”

– An April 2011 email depicted President Barack Obama as a chimpanzee.

– Meanwhile, a June 2011 email described a man seeking to obtain “welfare” for his dogs because they are “mixed in color, unemployed, last, can't speak English and have no frigging clue who their Daddies are.

– Another email, from October 2011, included a photo of a bare-chested group of dancing women apparently in Africa, with the caption, “Michelle Obama's High School Reunion.”

– A December 2011 email included jokes that are based on offensive stereotypes about Muslims.

According to the DOJ report, each of these email exchanges involved supervisors of the Ferguson patrol and court operations.

A DOJ official told reporters that some of the emails were sent by people still involved in helping to negotiate a settlement with the agency. The DOJ declined to identify them.

READ MORE: DOJ won't charge Wilson with civil rights violations in Ferguson shooting

Regarding the discoveries made by federal officials, Attorney General Eric Holder said that a “highly toxic environment” existed between Ferguson police officers and the city's African American residents even before the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown. The unarmed teenager was killed by Officer Darren Wilson in a confrontation that set of weeks of protests locally and nationwide.

“It's not difficult to imagine how a single tragic incident set off the city of Ferguson like a powder keg,” Holder said.

He added that excessive force was overwhelmingly used against African American residents, noting that only African Americans were bit by police dogs. Holder said there was “no alternative explanation” except racial bias exists to explain it.

READ MORE: 85% of Ferguson police force targets are black - DOJ

Holder also said Ferguson's police department violated residents’ First Amendment rights to record the activities of officers, regularly conducted illegal searches, unlawfully detained citizens and competed with each other to “see who can issue the largest number of citations in a single stop.”

He said the city’s municipal courts and local government “relies on the police force to serve essentially as a collection agency.”

​Libya declares force majeure at 11 oil fields in midst of ISIS crisis

RT -

The announcement follows attacks on Al-Bahi and Al-Mabrouk fields by alleged Islamic State affiliates earlier this week, and a brief capture of a third one at Al-Dahra, a spokesman for the Libyan oil industry’s security service told AFP.

In Dahra the attackers engaged with the guards and managed to blow up residential and administrative buildings before retreating from the oil facility. “They surrounded the site from three different directions, and when guards ran out of ammunition, they stormed the place, looted everything and then bombed the buildings, leaving them in ruins,” Mashallah al-Zewi, the oil minister in the Tripoli-based government told AP.

Attacks lead Libya's state oil company to halt activity http://t.co/3Gux1OTjTSpic.twitter.com/TJ14xh7b35

— Lσℓα (@Ndunke) March 5, 2015

The Libyan military however managed to regain control of the oilfield that lies some 500 kilometers southeast of Tripoli. “When we arrived, the field was completely empty,” Col. Hakim Maazab, who heads the brigade tasked with guarding oil fields in central Libya, told The Wall Street Journal.

While the Islamists were in control of the oil compound, they had inflicted heavy damage – destroying oil tanks and the control room. “Dash (ISIS) blew up a lot of equipment,” Maazab explained.

http://t.co/cLiifB716a AFP: Libya declares force majeure at 11 oil fields after attacks pic.twitter.com/8zHrqhXiRC

— CyberNewsUK (@CyberNewsUK) March 4, 2015

Both Mabrouk and Bahi oilfields were empty during the latest raid, following the attacks last month, but in their raid on Dahra the militants killed at least nine guards. Bahi and Dahra fields are operated jointly by US oil companies Marathon Oil Corp. , Hess Corp. and ConocoPhillips.

As the situation on the ground continues to deteriorate, the UN special envoy Bernadino Leon warned the United Nations Security Council that the Islamic State militants would “stop at nothing” to strengthen their positions in Libya.

READ MORE: ISIS will ‘stop at nothing’ to strengthen presence in Libya – UN

“I have no doubt that terrorists groups, such as Islamic State, will stop at nothing in their bid to play on existing political divisions... to consolidate their own presence and influence in Libya,” Leon said, urging the 15-member council for support in tackling the threat.

Libya wants the Security Council to remove the 2011 arms embargo in order to reinforce “the abilities of the Libyan air force so that it may be able to monitor Libyan territory and borders and prevent the terrorists from breaching oil fields and oil facilities and so that it can protect the fortunes and the wealth of the country,” according to UN Ambassador Ibrahim Dabbashi.

Various militant groups are tearing Libya apart in the worst wave of violence since the uprising that overthrew the country’s leader Muammar Gaddafi. After the Libya Dawn group captured Tripoli last year, two de facto governments are currently acting in the country, both trying to export oil.

Major change in the #Libya|n conflict: Alleged Photo showing Hilal Oil Field after the airstrikes by "Fajr Libya". pic.twitter.com/IzutpRvFp2

— archicivilians (@archicivilians) March 3, 2015

To address the stakeholders, Libyan National Oil released a statement saying that any allegations of theft and illegal oil exports in the country are “false and not true,” declaring that “no incidents of such smuggling have been registered.”

“This news is intended to cause confusion within the local community and affect people’s confidence in the official institutions. These institutions are very keen to maintain the Libyan people’s wealth and resources, and manage and invest them in accordance with the applicable laws and regulations,” the statement reads.

Libya, a member of OPEC, which has Africa’s largest proven oil reserves at about 48 billion barrels, was exporting 1.6 million barrels per day before Gaddafi was overthrown. Since then oil production fell from an average of just 430,000 barrels per day in 2014 to an average of 350,000 barrels per day in January 2015.

North Korea threatens ‘pre-emptive nuclear strike’ over US-South Korea drills

RT -

The remarks by Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong were made during a speech at the UN Conference on Disarmament on Tuesday. He said the joint military exercises being staged by South Korea and the United States are “unprecedentedly provocative in nature and have an especially high possibility of sparking off a war.

North Korea threatens US, says it has the power to deter its 'ever-increasing nuclear threat' http://t.co/2zvxF22GWT pic.twitter.com/63AWMhbyWD

— TODAY (@TODAYonline) March 3, 2015

The DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) cannot but bolster its nuclear deterrent capability to cope with the ever-increasing nuclear threat of the US,” he told the Geneva forum, according to Reuters. “Now the DPRK has the power of deterring the US and conducting a pre-emptive strike as well, if necessary.”

His speech drew a rebuke from US Ambassador Robert Wood, who urged Pyongyang to stop making threats and rid itself of nuclear weapons. Wood said the exercises had been held for 40 years and were “transparent and defense-oriented.”

We call on the DPRK to immediately cease all threats, reduce tensions and take the necessary steps towards denuclearization needed to resume credible negotiations,” Wood said, referring to six-party talks that collapsed in 2008, according to Reuters.

READ MORE: North Korea holds missile and artillery live firing drill

North Korea already fired two short-range missiles off its eastern coast on Monday, according to South Korean officials, as a response to the annual US-South Korean military exercises. North Korea regularly denounces the drills, claiming they are preparations for war. The missiles landed in the sea between Korean Peninsula and southern Japan.

Takashi Uto, Japan’s parliamentary vice-minister for foreign affairs, told the forum the missile firing was a “clear violation” of UN Security Council resolutions.

Would You Need a License To Drive a Self-Driving Car?

Slashdot -

agent elevator writes Not as strange a question as it seems, writes Mark Harris at IEEE Spectrum : "Self-driving cars promise a future where you can watch television, sip cocktails, or snooze all the way home. But what happens when something goes wrong? Today's drivers have not been taught how to cope with runaway acceleration, unexpected braking, or a car that wants to steer into a wall." The California DMV is considering something that would be similar to requirements for robocar test-driver training." Hallie Siegel points out this article arguing that we need to be careful about how many rules we make for self-driving cars before they become common. Governments and lawmakers across the world are debating how to best regulate autonomous cars, both for testing, and for operation. Robocar expert Brad Templeton argues that that there is a danger that regulations might be drafted long before the shape of the first commercial deployments of the technology take place.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Chemical fire at Vancouver port prompts hazmat response, evacuations (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

RT -

Residents are advised “to stay inside and close windows,” as hazardous material burns out of control. “The chemical can irritate the eyes and lungs,” said Vancouver Coastal Health spokeswoman Tiffany Akins, referring to trichloroisocyanuric acid, a respiratory irritant.

An Emergency Operations Centre has been established to coordinate the work of fire, police, ambulance, engineering, social services, transit and other agencies.

“We have evacuated the immediate area because the fire chief has advised we don’t know the substance. There is a risk of explosion. We are trying to get the word out to the public in the area that because of the cloud plume we want them to get indoors and close the doors and windows,” Vancouver city manager Penny Ballem told the Vancouver Sun. “There are identifiers on the containers in the port and we are trying very hard to get the manifest of what’s inside.”

The port released a statement saying they have received reports that a container was on fire at the Centerm container terminal at 1:40 pm. Initially at least eight fire trucks and more than two dozen firefighters responded. Fire boats were also dispatched from the north end of Centennial Pier.

Ladders fully extended. All hands on deck while crews battle hazmat situation at Port Metro Vancouver @News1130radio pic.twitter.com/PzG9RTIqt9

— Chad Dey (@chad_dey) March 4, 2015

“The Centerm container terminal and nearby port properties have been evacuated. All south shore of the Burrard inlet port operations have been shut down, including rail and truck access. Vancouver Fire and Vancouver Coastal Health are on-site and actively determining if any additional evacuations are required,” Port Metro Vancouver said. No injuries have been reported so far. Public transport has been disrupted by the accident.

Chemical fire at Port of Vancouver March 4 2015 pic.twitter.com/knM9vGL9bs

— Vancouver Sports Pic (@VancouverSport2) March 5, 2015

Vancouver police officers put on protection against a chemical fire raging at the Port of Vancouver. pic.twitter.com/ALfoDV2YmQ

— John Lehmann (@JohnLehmann) March 4, 2015

Smoke from fire at Port Metro Vancouver spreading across city. pic.twitter.com/h6mIgor2QZ

— CTV Vancouver (@CTVVancouver) March 4, 2015

Identity issues abound in Skid Row shooting case

RT -

The two LAPD officers are victims of what authorities call “doxxing”: Their private information, including their names, addresses and details about their kids’ schools, have been posted online. The police department will not confirm whether the targeted officers were involved in Sunday’s shooting of a homeless man on Skid Row, California-based radio station KCBS reported.

Doxxing is a technique made famous by Anonymous, a hacking collective of internet activists, during the Occupy Wall Street protests.

READ MORE: Video shows Skid Row man grabbed for gun that malfunctioned before being shot – LAPD

LA police officers ‒ including the LAPD chief ‒ have been doxxing targets before. In 2012, over 100 cops belonging to the Los Angeles County Police Canine Association had their addresses, names and phone numbers published, CNET reported. In 2013, LAPD Police Chief Charlie Beck’s financial information was leaked online, according to the Los Angeles Times.

But the LAPD officers are not the only ones involved in the case ‒ either directly or indirectly ‒ whose identities may be compromised.

READ MORE: CCTV footage of LAPD gunning down homeless man released

Police were responding to a robbery call around noon on Sunday on LA’s Skid Row when they started scuffling with two people. Video footage shows that, after two officers dragged one person away, others wrestled the second person to the ground. One of the officers is heard saying: “Drop the gun!” Approximately five shots can then be heard.

Police identified the man on Tuesday as 39-year-old Charley Saturmin Robinet, a French national, the Los Angeles Times reported, citing two sources familiar with the investigation. They used his fingerprints to connect him to a bank robbery in 2000 for which he was convicted. During the heist, Robinet pistol-whipped one of the tellers. He was subsequently sentenced to 15 years in a federal facility, but was released in May, according to online federal prison records.

However, witnesses said that the man, whom they called Africa, had recently been released from a psychiatric facility after spending 10 years there.

French authorities came forward Tuesday evening to deny that Africa and Robinet were the same person, saying that Robinet is a law-abiding citizen who is “alive and well in France,” the LA Times reported.

READ MORE: Protests over LAPD fatally shooting mentally ill homeless man

Africa, it seems, had stolen Robinet’s identity and used it to acquire a French passport in the 1990s, allowing him to enter the United States. The identity theft was discovered after the bank robbery, when officials began the paperwork to deport the man they believed to be Robinet, Axel Cruau, the French consul general in Los Angeles, told NYT. French officials notified US authorities, but did not appear to follow up on what happened with the identity thief.

Arnaud Guillois, the press counselor at the French Embassy in Washington, told ABC News that the homeless man killed on Skid Row “is not French.” French officials do not know the man’s nationality at this time, Guillois said.


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