Category Archives: Travel

Algiers-to-Paris plane turned around because enraged man urinated on fellow passenger

Here’s another item for your “End of Civilization” folder.

Chris Kitching reports for the Daily Mail, Feb. 9, 2016, that yesterday afternoon, Air Meditarranee Flight ML2673, en route from Algiers to Paris, was forced to divert to Lyon when a passenger urinated on another traveler, sparking a massive brawl on board.

Flight ML2673 was halfway through its 90-minute journey when one of its 166 passengers, who at some point took off his shirt, went into a rage because he wasn’t allowed to smoke or drink alcohol on board. So he peed on a fellow passenger.

Passengers described a scene of chaos as the plane’s crew fought with the unnamed shirtless man, eventually overpowering and pinning him down. The man was then detained by flight attendants.

For safety reasons the pilot decided to land the Airbus A321 at Lyon’s international airport, where police escorted off the aircraft pee-man and a second man who was involved in the fight. The plane eventually took off again and passengers arrived at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport three hours behind schedule.

The flight had originated in Algiers, the capital of Algeria — a Sunni-Muslim country in North Africa with a population of 40.4 million, 99% of whom are Arab-Berber. So draw your conclusion as to the ethnic/religious identity of pee-man. I put my money on Muslim!

man who peed on passenger held down

Even more bizarre is the fact that similar disturbances have occurred in the recent past.

Jeff RubinIn September 2015, 27-year-old Jeff Rubin was arrested at Portland International Airport in Oregon after he allegedly urinated on fellow passengers on a JetBlue flight from Anchorage, Alaska.

Rubin, who had been sleeping for most of the flight, stood up and began urinating through the space between the seats in front of him. Then he lost his balance and fell backwards, spraying urine on other passengers, seats and luggage. Rubin was charged with second-degree criminal mischief and offensive littering.

Gérard_Depardieu_Cannes_2015In 2011, French actor Gérard Depardieu was kicked off a CityJet flight from Paris to Dublin after he urinated in the aisle while the plane was taxiing to a runway.

Depardieu needed to use the toilet, but was told he would have to wait until the plane was airborne and the seat belt sign was turned off. The actor responded by leaving his seat and peeing in the aisle. The plane promptly returned to the gate and Depardieu was ordered to disembark.

~Eowyn

Zika virus epidemic: What you should know

There is a new epidemic, a disease that no one has ever heard of, which may cause a terrible birth defect that few people have heard of. Nevertheless, this new disease quickly has become a health emergency on a par with Ebola, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The disease is caused by the Zika virus — a mosquito-borne disease that, like Ebola, originated in Africa, but is rapidly spreading in Latin America.

Active Zika transmission areas

Symptoms

4 out of 5 people who are infected won’t even have symptoms. Others have only mild flu-like symptoms — a rash, fever, joint pain, and red eyes — which last several days to a week. But in 1 of 5 cases, Zika virus infection can lead to:

  1. Guillain–Barré syndrome, that causes temporary or permanent nerve and muscle damage.
  2. Microcephaly birth defect: babies born with abnormally small heads, who may be severely disabled, both physical and mental, as well as a shorter life span.

Why World Health Organization is concerned

Public health officials are concerned about the fast-spreading Zika virus. WHO director-general Margaret Chan, MD, said, “The level of alarm is extremely high” for four reasons:

  1. The virus has been tied to severe birth defects, such as brain damage, in babies of infected women.
  2. The yellow-fever (or Aedes) mosquito that carries the virus is found in nearly every country in North and South America except Canada and Chile.
  3. People in these countries have never been exposed to the virus before, so there’s very little natural immunity to the virus in the general population.
  4. There is no vaccine that can prevent the infection, very few tests available to detect it, and no treatments for it.

WHO says the virus is spreading “explosively” in the Americas. Assistant director-general Bruce Aylward, MD, expects there will be 3 million to 4 million Zika infections in the Americas over the next 12 months.

Zika in the U.S.

According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 31 people in the United States ( in 11 states and D.C.) are infected by the Zika virus. All had recently returned from travel in Zika-infected places.

At present, there are no signs that mosquitos in the continental U.S. have the virus. But officials expect local spread of the virus will eventually happen in the U.S., probably in areas that have also seen locally passed dengue fever infections, like the southern tips of Florida and Texas. Dengue is carried by the same species of mosquito that also carries the Zika virus.

Even if Zika does take root in the U.S., we are told it’s not likely to cause widespread misery the way it has in Brazil, in part because Americans use air conditioners and screens on their windows and doors.

Warning for pregnant women

The CDC has issued a travel warning for women who are pregnant or want to become pregnant covering 24 nations and territories in Central and South America, and the Caribbean. Pregnant women are advised to postpone traveling to Zika-infected regions. Those who must travel or live in an affected area are urged to undertake protection against mosquito bites by wearing long sleeves and long pants, and using a mosquito repellent like DEET, which is safe to use during pregnancy.

ZIKA virus can be transmitted through sex

Alarmingly, the CDC just confirmed a first case of the Zika virus that was transmitted by sexual contact in Dallas County.

The patient was infected with the virus after having sexual contact with an ill individual who returned from a country where Zika virus is present.

Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS) director Zachary Thompson said that “Zika virus can be transmitted through sex” and counsels the use of condoms or abstinence as the best prevention method against Zika and any sexually-transmitted infections.

Zika virus mosquito is genetically modified?

A clinical psychologist named Kathy J. Forti claims that the Zika virus, which has been detected in 18 of the 26 states in Brazil, is transmitted by the genetically-modified Aedes mosquito, developed by the British biotech company Oxitec to battle dengue fever.

Since 2011, Oxitec has been producing 2 million genetically-modified mosquitoes a week in its factory in Campinas, Brazil.

Oxitec is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The Aedes aegypti mosquito, also called yellow fever mosquito, is the world’s most dominant variety of mosquito that is commonly found throughout the subtropical and tropical Americas. The only two countries in the Americas that don’t have this mosquito are Chile and Canada.

A vaccine, not Zika virus, causes Brazil’s microcephalic babies?

Since late October, Brazil has seen more than 4,000 cases of microcephaly, 6 cases of which have been definitely linked to Zika, leaving the cause of the other cases still under investigation.

microcephaly

Dr. Forti maintains that it is the Tdap vaccine, not the Zika virus, that causes microcephaly birth defects in Brazil, because:

  • Only a small number of Brazilian babies with birth defects who died, had the Zika virus in their brain or in the mother’s placenta. This means a large number of the babies who died had no Zika virus in their brain.
  • Zika has been around since before 1948 and has never been known to cause birth defects and/or death.
  • Brazilian mothers who gave birth to microcephalic babies had received a newly-formulated untested vaccine, Tdap, when they were pregnant because in late 2014, the Brazilian government made it mandatory for all expectant mothers to get a Tdap shot.
  • The Tdap shot, which combines the Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis (whooping-cough) vaccines into a single jab, has never been proven safe for use during pregnancy, but is classified by the FDA as a Class C drug, which means it is NOT safe during pregnancy. And yet, in 2011, the CDC saw fit to recommend pregnant women receive the Tdap shot at 20 weeks gestation.

In 2015, the Vanderbilt Vaccine Research Program received a $307,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to study the immune responses of pregnant women who had received the Tdap vaccine.

Sources: CDCWebMD, ABC13; Trifinity8

H/t FOTM‘s MomOfIV

In a speech at the 2010 TED conference, Bill Gates made a Freudian slip that belies the philanthropic purpose of his Foundation’s push for vaccines. In his speech, Gates was on the subject of how to reduce global warming by lowering the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) from Earth’s atmosphere, that a major way to do that is to reduce the world’s population. Beginning at the 1:03 mark in the video below, Gates said:

“The world today has 6.8 billion people. That’s headed up to about 9 billion. Now if we do a REALLY great job on new vaccines, health care, reproductive health service, we could lower that by perhaps 10 to 15 percent.”

 

See also:

~Eowyn

London Parliament to debate banning Trump from entering UK

This is friggin’ unbelievable.

On January 18, the British Parliament is scheduled to debate whether Donald Trump should be barred from entering the UK.

CNN reports (via Q13Fox), Jan. 5, 2016, that an online citizen’s petition to ban Trump from the UK had garnered more than 568,000 signatures, which is well above the 100,000 threshold required for a measure to be considered for a Parliamentary debate.

The petition says that since the UK has banned entry to people for “hate speech” before, “the same principles should apply to everyone who wishes to enter” the country, including Donald Trump.

The petition was precipitated by Trump’s proposal to temporarily halt the immigration of Muslims into the United States. The proposal prompted UK Prime Minister David Cameron to call Trump “stupid” and “three times a loser.”

Nota bene: I propose that Congress pass a resolution banning David Cameron from entering the U.S.A.

Obama & David Cameron play table-tennis at Globe Academy in South London 2011 (Source)

Obama & David Cameron play table-tennis at Globe Academy in South London 2011 (Source: Daily Mail)

Last week, the UK government released a statement stating that Home Secretary Theresa May has the power to “exclude a non-European Economic Area national from the UK if she considers their presence in the UK to be non-conducive to the public good” and that “The Home Secretary has said that coming to the UK is a privilege and not a right. She will continue to use the powers available to prevent from entering the UK those who seek to harm our society and who do not share our basic values.”

Trump owns a golf course in Aberdeen, Scotland, UK.

See also:

~Eowyn

Muslims risk their lives protecting Christians from al-Shabaab jihadists in Kenya

Not all Muslims are bad. Some are even heroic, risking their lives to protect Christians.

Joseph Akwiri reports for Reuters that on Dec. 21, 2015, as is their wont, Islamic militants of al Shabaab attacked a bus traveling in Mandera in northeast Kenya, spraying the bus with bullets, killing two people and wounding four.

Mandera, Kenya

Abdi Mohamud Abdi, a Muslim who was among the passengers in Monday’s incident, told Reuters that more than 10 al Shabaab militants boarded the bus and ordered the Muslim passengers to identify the Christian passengers by splitting away from the Christians.

But the Muslims defied the order and, in so doing, put their own lives in jeopardy.

Abdi said:

“We even gave some non-Muslims our religious attire to wear in the bus so that they would not be identified easily. We stuck together tightly. The militants threatened to shoot us but we still refused and protected our brothers and sisters. Finally they gave up and left but warned that they would be back.”

In previous attacks, al Shabaab has often killed both Muslims and non-Muslims. A year ago, al Shabaab gunmen stormed a Nairobi-bound bus in the same area and killed 28 non-Muslim passengers execution-style.

Members of al Shabaab in Mogadishu, Somalia, September 3, 2011. (Photo: Reuters/Feisal Omar)

Members of al Shabaab in Mogadishu, Somalia, September 3, 2011. (Photo: Reuters/Feisal Omar)

Julius Otieno, the deputy county commissioner, confirmed Abdi’s account, saying that the militants “were trying to identify who were Muslims and who were not,” and that the Muslim passengers had refused to help.

Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, al Shabaab’s military spokesman, told Reuters in a statement that his group had fired shots at the bus: “Some of the Christian enemies died and others were injured.”

The 2014 bus attack shocked Kenya and led to a shake-up of security ministers. Since then, buses carrying passengers from Mandera have been given police escorts, but Kenya Police spokesman Charles Owino said that had not happened in this case because the bus had bypassed a police roadblock.

Al Shabaab has said northeastern Kenya should be part of Somalia, and that it will continue its attacks on Kenya until Nairobi withdraws troops from an African Union force fighting the militants in Somalia.

Kenya’s long northeastern border with Somalia is widely considered a security weak spot. Factors include poor coordination between security services, and a culture of corruption that allows anyone prepared to pay a bribe to pass unchallenged.

~Eowyn

Narcissistic social media induce envy, depression and low self-worth

Users of social media like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram now number in the hundreds of millions:

  • Facebook has 1.49 billion active users per month;
  • Twitter has 316 million active accounts;
  • Tumblr 230 million;
  • Pinterest has 47.66 million unique visitors from the US alone and is the fastest-growing independent site in history.

Social media users typically post pictures of themselves which present a glossy image of their lives. There are 80 million photos posted in Instagram in just a day. But those images are inducing feelings of depression, loneliness, and low self-worth in people who compare themselves to the seemingly-glamorous lives of their friends.

As an example, I know a woman who “married rich” and uses her Facebook account to post only photos of herself standing in front of this or that landmark while vacationing around the world — in Grand Canyon in the U.S., Greece, Japan, Australia, Russia…. Her college friends who did not marry rich would click “like” on her photos, but there is no engagement — she never inquires how they are. In other words, this woman uses her Facebook account not to keep in touch with her friends, but to show off.

Maureen Callahan reports for the New York Post, October 11, 2015, that in 2013, scientists at two German universities monitored 584 Facebook users and found that one out of three felt worse after checking what their friends were up to — especially if those friends had just posted vacation photos. The scientists wrote:

“Overall, shared content does not have to be ‘explicitly boastful’ for feelings of envy to emerge. In fact, a lonely user might envy numerous birthday wishes his more sociable peer receives on his Facebook wall. Equally, a friend’s change in the relationship status from ‘single’ to ‘in a relationship’ might cause emotional havoc for someone undergoing a breakup.”

Chelsea Fagan, 26, has a website, The Financial Diet, that covers the impact of social media on young women. She writes: “There’s this weird arms race now where everything has to be a moment, no matter how private. We always get a lot of responses with weddings and engagements — women spend a lot of money to look ‘Pinterest perfect.’

But it’s not just weddings or special events. Social-media users spend exorbitant amounts to look like their daily, everyday lives are spent eating the finest food, wearing the most on-trend designs, and living a stylish, well-appointed life devoid of problems.

Among the Millennials (those born between the 1980s and early 2000s), a 2014 survey conducted by the Manhattan-based marketing agency Current found that 61% of millennial moms were rattled by the pressures of social media. Current executive Amy Colton told Adweek, “There is an anti-social media movement on the horizon. Moms, especially young moms, are feeling pressured to present a perfect life . . . and starting to feel overwhelmed and annoyed.”

Studies show that young people, no matter how accomplished, are the most vulnerable.

University of Houston post-doc Mai-Ly Nguyen Steers, who led a study of how Facebook usage is linked to depression which was published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology last year, said the idea for the study was prompted “when my little sister, who was 16, wasn’t invited to a school dance. She told me about logging on to Facebook the very next day and seeing all these pictures of her friends at the dance, and that actually made her feel worse than not being invited.”

The envy and depression induced by social media are the latest manifestation of what social psychologist Leon Festinger in 1954 called “social comparison theory,” the idea that we measure ourselves in relation to others’ failures and successes.

The irony is that people’s online lives can be very different from their real lives. Below are three examples:

1. Artist Zilla van den Born: Last year, she uploaded a monthlong series of photos taken on her travels in Southeast Asia — scuba-diving, praying in a Buddhist temple, sampling local cuisine — then revealed those images were all the work of Photoshop. She had hid in her apartment the entire time, duping even friends and family. Van den Born told The Washington Post: “My goal was to prove how easy it is to believe in a distorted reality. I wanted to make people more aware that the images we see are manipulated, and it’s not only the models in the magazines but also our friends on social media who contribute to this fake reality. We should be more careful about what we believe, and ask ourselves why a photo is made — how and by whom and with which intention.”

2. “Jasmine”: In a recent article for Fagan’s Financial Diet website, titled “My ‘Perfect’ Life on Social Media is Putting Me in Debt,” Jasmine confesses that “my ‘real’ life” is actually pretty boring,” but her 5,000 followers would never know it. “I have a side of my apartment that I photograph, and it’s perfect. The other side is always a mess. I buy a lot of things to maintain my image . . . I even consider it important to always have a fridge full of La Croix and coconut water for my pictures. Writing this makes me realize just how insane it all is.” Jasmine is $3,400 in credit-card debt.

3. Madison Holleran: Holleran, a beautiful Ivy League student, star athlete and all-around popular girl, is a tragic example of living double lives (online vs. real). Her Instagram account only underscored her perfect image: parties, friends, track meets, her dad cheering her on. On Jan. 14, 2014, Madison posted a photo of trees strung with lights, bulbs glowing against the twilight. An hour later, she leapt to her death from the 9th floor of a parking garage.

Madison Holleran posted a photo of Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia to Instagram (right) an hour before jumping to her death.

Maidson was 19 years old.

Her family has kept her Instagram account up as a reminder, especially for teens, that a life online may bear no resemblance to one actually lived. One of Madison’s favorite quotes, posted to her feed a year before her suicide was:

“Even people you think are perfect are going through something difficult.”

Increasing numbers of Millennials are not content with digital retouching of their photos, but are resorting to plastic surgery in order to look good in their selfies. 

WCBS New York reports, Oct. 12, 2015, that plastic surgeons say selfies are actually boosting their businessDr. Nicholas Nikolov said, “I see a lot more people coming to my office and the answer to the question, ‘What bothers you, and why did you decide to come and see me?’ surprising enough is, ‘I saw a selfie of myself and I hated it, I have to fix it.’”

Nikolov is currently consulting with 23-year-old model Candice Wurster, who said she hates the shadows under her eyes in her selfies.

See also:

~Éowyn

In 3½ months, residents of 5 states must use a passport to board domestic flights

Here’s yet another way our feral [sic] government is using the “War on Terror” to restrict our freedom.

On May 11, 2005, exploiting Americans’ fear of terrorism after 9/11, Congress and the Bush administration enacted the Real I.D. Act in the name of national security. (See “National ID card for every American)

Real I.D. is an effective National ID card. All 50 constituent States in America are required to federalize their driver’s licenses by making them conform to national federal standards. Even non-drivers will be issued an ID card, thereby putting the lie to Real ID being just a driver’s license. That ID card contains all sorts of information on you which are entered into a national database and accessible and shared by the 50 state authorities. The information includes:

  • Information that’s on your driver’s license now: birthdate and address;
  • Your Social Security number;
  • Proof of citizenship or immigration status;
  • Reportedly, biometric security features and RFID (radio-frequency identification) chips.

Nevada's Real ID card

But if you live in New York, Wisconsin, Louisiana, Minnesota and New Hampshire, beginning January 1, 2016, that is in 3 months 12 days, you will need a passport to board a commercial airplane, even for domestic flights. All other states will still be able to use their state-issued driver’s licenses and IDs, at least for now.

John Vibes reports for AntiMedia, Sept. 18, 2015, that the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Border Protection have declined to comment on why those 5 states have been singled out. Presumably, it is because those states’ driver’s licenses do not meet the Real ID requirements, although it is unclear just what those requirements actually are.

According to DHS’s guidelines on enforcement of the Real ID Act:

Secure driver’s licenses and identification documents are a vital component of our national security framework. The REAL ID Act, passed by Congress in 2005, enacted the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that the Federal Government ‘set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses.’ The Act established minimum security standards for license issuance and production and prohibits Federal agencies from accepting for certain purposes driver’s licenses and identification cards from states not meeting the Act’s minimum standards.  The purposes covered by the Act are: accessing Federal facilities, entering nuclear power plants, and, no sooner than 2016, boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft.

The Real ID act has been controversial since its initial proposal over ten years ago and is seen by many as a massive violation of privacy. One of the primary reasons it has taken the government so long to roll this program out is because the program is wildly unpopular and creates heavy backlash every time it appears in the news.

~Éowyn

Would you fly if airlines weigh you?

Passenger airlines already are charging fees for checked-in luggage and have become more restrictive about carry-on luggage.

Now, a Central Asia airline, Uzbekistan Airways, will begin weighing passengers.

Uzbekistan Airways

Soo Kim reports for the UK Telegraph, Aug. 12, 2015, that Uzbekistan Airways passengers will be directed to a “special weighing machine” at the departure gate, to determine each person’s average weight with their hand baggage.

The airline said that individual passengers’ weights would not be disclosed, and “full confidentiality of results is guaranteed.” The company said in a statement, “According to the rules of International Air Transport Association, airlines are obliged to carry out the regular procedures of preflight control passengers weighing with hand baggage to observe requirements for ensuring flight safety.”

The airline has not made it clear whether heavier passengers will be charged a fee, or excluded from flights on smaller planes. It is also not known what measures would be taken should the total weight of the passengers and their hand luggage exceeds an aircraft’s weight limit and guidelines.

According to the World Health Organization, in 2008 more than 44% of Uzbekistanis 20 years and older were overweight; nearly 15% were obese. The percentage of obese is expected to increase to 13% of men and 20% of women by 2020.

Note: If current trends continue, by the year 2030, in 15 years, more than 4 of every 10 (42%) Americans may become obese and 11% severely obese.

Uzbekistan Airways is not the first airline to keep an eye on passengers’ weights. In 2013, Samoa Air became the world’s first airline to charge passengers by their weight rather than per seat, in a bid to raise obesity awareness and improve public health. The Pacific island nations served by Samoa Air have some of the world’s highest rates of obesity.

Samoa Air weighs passengers on scales at the airport. Passengers do not pay for a seat but pay a fixed price per kilogram, which varies according to the length of the route. Head of Samoa Air Chris Langton said the system was fairer and that some families with small children would pay substantially cheaper fares. In the same year, the airline also introduced a special “XL class” — a wider row in its aircraft for passengers weighing more than 286 pounds.

airline-seats-obesity

In 2012, an Australian man, James Bassos, 38, sued Etihad Airways in the District Court in Queensland, claiming that he suffered a permanent back injury from being seated next to an obese man on a 14-hour flight from Abu Dhabi to Sydney.

Bassos claims that the person “of large body mass” seated next to him spilled into his chair and frequently coughed and expelled fluid from his mouth, forcing Bassos to spend hours twisting and contorting his body to avoid touching him. After five hours, he felt marked pain and discomfort in his back and asked flight crew to move, but was told the plane was full. When the pain got worse he asked again and was allowed to move to a crew seat at the back of the plane. However, Bassos twice had to return to his original seat, including for the final 90 minutes before landing, after a staff member invoked a security procedure.

The Emirates-based interior designer says he now suffers back pain on exertion and after prolonged sitting and standing. His sleep and concentration has allegedly been affected and he has been forced to take time off work. Bassos’ lawsuit claims more than $227,000 for medical expenses, lost earnings and superannuation.

If U.S. airlines begin weighing and charging passengers by the pound, I can just hear the protests about unfairness and discrimination. Already people who think of themselves as “big-boned” complain that BMI charts are unfair, although experts say a larger frame accounts at most for an extra 2 pounds. Wouldn’t there be a gender difference since the average man weighs more than the average woman?

Then there are the racial/ethnic differences. In 2013, 63.8% of U.S. adults were overweight or obese, but there are decided racial/ethnic differences: (Source)

  • 72.7% of Blacks were overweight/obese.
  • 68.4% of Hispanics were overweight/obese.
  • 68.1% of American Indians were overweight/obese.
  • 62.8% of Whites were overweight/obese.
  • 41.3% of Asians-Pacifics were overweight/obese.

Telegraph has a poll, “Would you get on a flight if you had to be weighed first.” I am incredulous that most people approve of Uzbekistan Airways’ intrusion into the privacy of passengers. So far, with 4,982 votes, the polling results are:

  • Yes it’s a great idea – 57%
  • No way – 33%
  • Only if I was confident of confidentiality – 10%

Sound off in our poll!

~Éowyn