TX: US border agents seize 15 giant snails

Source: BBC News [UK state media]

“Live snails, fresh leaves and a quarter-pound of beef were found this month — not on a plate or grocery store but inside luggage at a Texas airport. A passenger arriving from Nigeria initially disclosed the dried beef in her suitcase, before adding 15 giant African land snails to her declaration. The snails, which were handed over to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), can cause meningitis in humans. They are illegal to own in the US without a permit. Giant African land snails are among the most damaging snails in the world. They are native to West Africa, where they are considered a delicacy. But they’re also known to carry a parasite with a rather menacing name: rat lungworm. This parasite can cause meningitis, an inflammatory illness that affects the brain and spinal cord.” (07/22/21)


Madagascar: Police Arrest Six Over Alleged Plot to Kill President

Source: US News & World Report

“Police in Madagascar this week arrested six people, including one foreign citizen, suspected of plotting to kill the president following what officials in the Indian Ocean island nation said was a months-long investigation. …Officials did not give details on the extent of the plot or how far advanced it was when the suspects were apprehended. The attorney general’s statement did not specify the nationality of the foreign citizen allegedly involved.” (07/22/21)


Haiti: Violence overshadows memorial Mass for Moise

Source: WRAL News

“A priest told mourners at a memorial service Thursday for slain President Jovenel Moise that too much blood is being shed in Haiti as authorities warned of more violence ahead of his funeral. The Rev. Jean-Gilles Sem spoke to dozens of people wearing white T-shirts emblazoned with Moise’s picture. ‘The killings and kidnappings should stop,’ he said, noting that poor communities are the most affected. ‘We’re tired.’ The Mass at the cathedral in the northern coastal city of Cap-Haitien was about half-full as officials warned other events planned for later in the day could be canceled amid concerns over violence.” (07/22/21)


US DOJ to launch new victim disarmament operation

Source: Reuters

“The U.S. Justice Department this week is formally launching a new effort to crack down on firearms trafficking, in a strategy that involves the creation of five strike forces that will partner with local law enforcement to disrupt criminals selling guns used in crimes. The strike forces, which were first announced in June, will be concentrated in ‘significant gun trafficking corridors’ including New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. Justice Department officials said in a call with reporters on Wednesday that the plan entails a ‘long-term coordinated, multi-jurisdictional strategy’ to disrupt trafficking patterns. One department official said the new strategy differed from prior efforts to step up the prosecution of firearms offenses, noting it establishes ‘cross-jurisdictional coordination’ between the areas that supply the illegal [sic] firearms and those where the guns are used to commit crimes.” (07/22/21)


Monkeypox: More than 200 contacts tracked in US for rare disease

Source: BBC News [UK state media]

“More than 200 people in 27 US states are being tracked for possible rare monkeypox infections, health officials say. They fear people may have come in to contact with a Texas man who brought the disease in from Nigeria earlier this month. The man (believed to be the first monkeypox case in the US since 2003) was taken to hospital but is in a stable condition. So far, no new cases have been found. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says it is concerned passengers who were on board two flights the man made may have been exposed to the disease. He flew into Atlanta, Georgia from Lagos, Nigeria on 9 July, before taking a flight to Dallas, where he was hospitalised, the CDC said. It said it was working with the airlines to assess ‘potential risks to those who may have had close contact with the traveller.'” (07/22/21)


UK: Regime orders Ireland occupation officials to establish abortion service

Source: Belfast Telegraph [Ireland]

“The Northern Ireland Executive has been ordered to set up abortion services by March. The NI Secretary has also directed that immediate support be provided to sustain the interim services currently being offered by the health trusts. He warned that those services were ‘at risk of collapse.’ … The Executive has stalled on setting up a full service for women since Westminster passed laws to legalise abortion last year. MPs acted during the suspension of power-sharing. While the Department of Health has yet to commission a central service, health trusts have been offering an ad-hoc service.” (07/21/21)


Olympics opening ceremony director sacked for Holocaust joke

Source: BBC News [UK state media]

“The show director of the Olympics opening ceremony has been dismissed, one day before the event is due to be held. Footage of Kentaro Kobayashi from the 1990s recently emerged in which he appears to be making jokes about the Holocaust. Japan’s Olympic chief Seiko Hashimoto said the video ridiculed ‘painful facts of history.’ The dismissal is the latest in a string of scandals to hit the Games. … This latest scandal has seen former comedian Mr Kobayashi strongly criticised for a sketch he performed 23 years ago, in which he and another comedian pretend to be children’s entertainers. In the sketch Mr Kobayashi turns to his colleague, referring to some paper dolls, saying they are ‘the ones from that time you said ‘let’s play the Holocaust,” according to AFP news agency.” (07/22/21)


US House votes to evacuate more Afghan allies as US war ends [sic]

Source: San Francisco Chronicle

“The House voted overwhelmingly Thursday to allow in thousands more of the Afghans who worked alongside Americans in the Afghanistan war, citing the urgency of protecting those on-the-ground allies from Taliban retaliation as the U.S. military withdrawal enters its final weeks. Florida Republican and Vietnam war veteran Rep. Neal Dunn evoked the scenes of the U.S. military withdrawal from Vietnam, which left many Vietnamese who’d worked with American forces fearing (and sometimes meeting) death and detention. ‘We cannot do this again. We must not do this again. We must bring back … all the people who were so important to us in combat,’ Neal said, urging fellow lawmakers to vote for the bill. ‘Please do not abandon friends of America again.'” (07/22/21)


US Troop suicides rise; Pentagon source admits imperial overreach as cause

Source: Yahoo! News

“A ‘disturbing’ surge in suicide deaths among troops has alarmed senior Pentagon officials who say demands for U.S. troops around the world have grown unsustainable and are contributing to mental health problems. The increase in death by suicide, particularly acute in the Army, appears unrelated to Iraq and Afghanistan, where deployments have declined in recent years. Instead, the unpredictability of life in the military and the constant demand from commanders for overseas patrols by ships and warplanes, as well as the presence of ground troops, has frayed the force, according to a senior Defense Department official.” (07/22/21)


Boondoggle slush fund bill stalls in US Senate

Source: Politico

“Senate Republicans blocked moving forward on a bipartisan infrastructure bill that’s still being negotiated on Wednesday. Surprisingly, members of the group insist they’re unbothered. The vote amounted to a setback to a key priority of President Joe Biden, although members of both parties expect at least one more try in the coming days. GOP centrists say they may be willing to provide the votes as early as Monday, when they think discussions will conclude over a bill expected to provide nearly $600 billion. … The larger bipartisan group of senators gathered on Wednesday for a pivotal lunch as they labor to clinch a plan to spend nearly $600 billion in new money on roads, bridges and broadband.” (07/21/21)