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The US is killing more civilians in Iraq and Syria than it acknowledges

ISTANBUL, Turkey — In almost a-year-and-a-half of bombing Iraq and Syria, the United States admits to killing just 22 innocent people. That number is impossibly low.

A GlobalPost investigation has unearthed a disturbing truth about the US military campaign against the Islamic State: Many more civilians are dying in American airstrikes than the US government acknowledges. People in Iraq and Syria can see what is happening. And so can the enemy. The Islamic State portrays the conflict as a war on Sunnis and a war on Muslims. When the coalition kills civilians — and does not investigate and apologize — the Islamic State fills the void with propaganda. 

According to the US Department of Defense: “No other military on Earth takes the concerns over collateral damage and civilian casualties more seriously than we do.” Yet our investigation found there has been no honest official estimate of how many civilians the United States has killed in Iraq and Syria. Even if civilian casualties are an inevitable part of war, the American public is being fed the comforting illusion that this war can be fought without shedding much innocent blood.

And that is simply not the case.

Read the full story here.

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Latest In the News video piece on the proposed bill to raise New York State’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.00.

A journalist’s scoop is rewarded with life in prison in Turkey

by @washingtonpost editorial board

TURKEY’S PRESIDENT Recep Tayyip Erdogan has rounded another bend in his quest to become tyrant of the Bosphorus. Turkish prosecutors, responding to his complaint, have sought life terms in prison for two prominent journalists jailed for revealing what appears to be the government’s clandestine shipment of arms into Syria. The prosecutors asked an Instanbul court to sentence Can Dunbar, editor of the newspaper Cumhuriyet, and Erdem Gul, the paper’s Ankara correspondent, each to one aggravated life sentence, one ordinary life sentence and 30 years in jail.

The severity of the proposed punishment is shocking. An aggravated life sentence means tougher conditions, including fewer leisure hours. Such sentences might be appropriate for violent crimes, but in this case, Turkey’s president appears determined to make journalism a terrible crime. In the process he is further leading Turkey, a NATO ally, away from democracy and into the abyss of authoritarianism and ignorance.

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poynter.org
Newspaper can’t have more gun permit data, county says, after publishing names, addresses outraged community | Poynter.

The Journal News published names and addresses of gun owners in two counties in New York.  A third county is refusing to provide the information to the paper, citing dozens of calls from angry community members.

Outraged readers and conservative commentators published the names and addresses of journalists at The Journal News in retaliation. After receiving multiple threats, the paper has even hired armed security guards to staff their headquarters through today at least, reports The Rockland County Times.

Read more on Poynter

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"The gun owner next door: What you don't know about the weapons in your neighborhood,"

(W) Thoughts? A New York newspaper is under criticism for publishing the names and addresses of local gun owners on Monday.

In a piece titled, “The gun owner next door: What you don’t know about the weapons in your neighborhood,” the Journal News requested the names and adresses of local residents who are licensed to own handguns through Freedom of Information Law requests…    

 

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globalnews.ca
Here are all the newspapers in B.C. that have shut down this decade
At the beginning of this decade, there were 38 daily newspapers in British Columbia. Now, there are 13.
By Justin McElroy

Another month, another community in British Columbia losing its largest newspaper.

The Nanaimo Daily News printed its last edition on Friday, ending 141 years in business.

At the beginning of this decade, there were 38 daily newspapers in British Columbia. Now, there are 13.

Here’s a full list of the daily newspapers to have been eliminated or reduced publication in this province since 2010. We’ll continue to update this list as need be.

Daily papers eliminated or downgraded

2010

  • Prince Rupert Daily News
  • Nelson Daily News

Black Press purchased both newspapers from Glacier Media in 2010 – but then quickly shut them down, opting to continue publishing the competing weekly paper they already owned in both cities.

2011

  • Abbotsford News Daily
  • Courtenay Comox Valley Record Daily
  • Kamloops This Week
  • Kelowna Capital News
  • Parksville Qualicum News Daily
  • Terrace-Kitimat-Prince Rupert Northern Daily
  • Penticton Western News Daily
  • Squamish Today
  • Maple Ridge Tri-City News Daily
  • Surrey Leader Daily
  • Whistler Today

While no paid daily newspapers shut down in 2011, many free papers owned by Black Press either merged (the Maple Ridge and Langley papers became the “Golden Ears Daily”) or decided to publish less regularly (including Kamloops This Week and Kelowna Capital News).

2012

  • No closures.

2013

  • Campbell River/Comox Valley Daily
  • Fraser Valley Daily
  • Cowichan Valley News Leader Pictorial Daily
  • Golden Ears Daily
  • Victoria News Daily

The consolidated newspapers that Black Press created for many regions in Metro Vancouver and Vancouver Island were eliminated in 2013, but the smaller weekly or biweekly papers in the individual markets remained.

2014

  • Kamloops Daily News
  • Dawson Creek Daily News
  • Nanaimo News Bulletin Daily
  • Peace Arch News Daily
  • Vernon Morning Star Daily

Glacier Media announced the closure of the Kamloops Daily News and the consolidation of the Dawson Creek Daily News into the Alaska Highway News early in 2014. After purchasing all the newspapers in Nanaimo, Black Press shut down the Nanaimo News Bulletin in March. Black Press also turned the Peace Arch and Vernon newspapers into twice-a-week operations.

2015

  • Alberni Valley Times

Black Press purchased every newspaper Glacier Media owned on Vancouver Island (with the exception of the Times Colonist) in December 2014, and they shut down the Alberni Valley Times (and two other Island papers) the next year.

2016

  • Nanaimo Daily News

One of the papers Black Press purchased was the Nanaimo Daily News, which was shut down in January.

Daily papers remaining

The Province
The Vancouver Sun (the two papers, both owned by Postmedia, will be merging their newsrooms)
Times Colonist
The Kelowna Courier
Penticton Herald
Prince George Citizen
Alaska Highway News (covering the Peace River region)
The Trail times
Cranbrook Daily Townsman
The Daily Bulletin (a paper in Kimberley, which is published in conjunction with the Cranbrook Daily Townsman

Other smaller B.C. newspapers that have completely closed since 2010

Quesnel Advisor (2010)
100 Mile House Advisor (2010)
Abbotsford Times (2013)
South Delta Leader (2014)
North Shore Outlook (2014)
Burnaby News Leader (2015)
New Westminster News Leader (2015)
Tri-Cities Now (2015)
Richmond Review (2015)
Oceanside Star (2015)
Campbell River Courier-Island (2015)
Harbour City Star (2015)
Cowichan News Leader (2015)

In all of these cases, the closures have come shortly after Glacier Media or Black Press purchased the rival newspaper in the community from the other company.

Ralphie May

Comic makes it big

Chris Serico • The Journal News • Feb. 27, 2009

One of the best and most successful comedians to make a name for himself on “Last Comic Standing,” Ralphie May is big - big guy, big laughs, big ticket. With platinum comedy albums, appearances on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and Comedy Central specials - including “Prime Cut,” “Girth of a Nation” and “Austin-Tatious” - May has become one of the hottest stand-up comedians in the country.

May comes to Tarrytown Music Hall tomorrow night.

Chris Serico: In your act, you celebrate the FeMullet, mullets worn by women. Have you ever dated someone with a FeMullet?

Ralphie May: No, I have not. That’s hilarious that you ask. I have known buddies that have, and we do not let them forget about it. … I haven’t yet. I’ve dated some big-ol’-hair girls; I’ve dated some black girls with crazy ghetto hair, but I’ve never danced that way, you know what I mean, with the FeMullet. I’m a classy white trash (guy).

CS: You lost to Dat Phan in the finals of “Last Comic Standing.” What do fans of the show most often say when they recognize you?

RM: That I should’ve won. They think it’s an outrage that I lost. And people get really vocal and vehement about it, and it’s actually sort of odd.

CS: You’re a Southern boy and champion that fact in your stand-up. How are crowds different north of the Mason-Dixon?

RM: It’s weird, because the people all over the country are basically the same except for the five boroughs and Los Angeles and San Francisco and maybe Boston and maybe D.C. But the rest of America is so homogenous … it’s pretty universal for everybody. They want the same thing everybody else does, so it’s really not that hard.

CS: You swam in Saddam Hussein’s pool. I assume he was no longer ruling Iraq at the time.


RM: No, no, no. I wasn’t kicking it with the dictator of Iraq while he was in power, Sunni style. … I was there during a USO tour. When we got there, we came in from being shot at in a helicopter, and it was 120-something degrees. And they’re like, “Hey, you’re all staying in front of the palace. You want to go swimming in the pool?” What? Are you kidding me? … I didn’t even put on my swimsuit or nothin’. I just got out of my clothes and jumped in.

CS: You have lost more than 100 pounds since you appeared on “Celebrity Fit Club.” Do you still picture drill instructor Harvey Walden IV shouting at you when you’re working out these days?

RM: You know what? I love Harvey Walden. I think he’s great. I wish I could work out with him more. It’s so weird because when he was out here pushing his book (on radio shows), I would call in. … Everybody always had this misconception that I hated Harvey, or something like that. I actually really liked him. I thought he was cool as hell. I get along with brothers all day long and half the night, you know what I’m sayin’? So, Harvey, being straight up with me and trying to help me out, was awesome.

CS: What are the last three songs you remember listening to on your iPod?

RM: “Hurt” by Johnny Cash. Um, I’ve got it right here, hold on. The, uh, (starts singing “Higher Ground” by Stevie Wonder), “people, keep on workin’!” And Snoop Dogg - “there’s so much drama in the LBC/It’s kinda hard bein’ Snoop D-O-double-G.”

CS: You appeared on the show “Celebrity Blackjack” with Sarah Rue, Warren G and Carnie Wilson. When the camera’s off, what’s your card game of choice and which celebrities would you most like to play against?

RM: Well, I like blackjack. I wanna play with people I want to talk to. … So, I guess Bono, Angelina Jolie and Tom Cruise - but not for the reasons that anyone else would. I want to talk to (Jolie) because she’s a parent, a responsible parent. … Tom Cruise, I want to talk to you, not about acting at all. I heard you’re a nice guy. I want to talk to you about Scientology. … And then, you know, a great musician like Bono, I just want to take him because he’s Irish. You know, I’m Irish. I’m a dirty (guy) from Cork County. I think that’d make a great three.

CS: So, I gotta know: What are your thoughts on the Snuggie?

RM: On the Snuggie? I don’t see the big deal. It looks like a fat guy’s robe. When did this become special? You know what? That’s not even near my favorite infomercial. I’m a ShamWow (guy). Or the portable fireplace made by the Amish. Are you (kidding) me? Who wouldn’t want to have a nice conversation starter like a portable fireplace made by the genuine Amish. Come on, man. It’s made by dudes with beards! Made by Malakai and Abraham and Ezekiel. That’s what I’m talkin’ about.

CS: At 17, you won a talent show and got to open for Sam Kinison, who told you it was the “funniest thing I’ve ever seen in my life.” Is that the greatest comedy compliment you’ve ever received?

RM: No, the greatest compliment I ever had was— I was having lunch at the L.A. Friars Club with Jeffrey Ross, Milton Berle, Buddy Hackett, Jan Murray and I want to say Sid Caesar. I was the youngest one at the table. And one old guy started busting my (chops) and I started going around the table and doling it out. And they’re dyin’ laughing. … They were like, “Come here.” Milton Berle took off his watch and gave it to me and hugged me and gave me a kiss. Buddy Hackett made me come sit by him; he made me an honorary Jew. … That’s the greatest comedy compliment I ever had. Sam Kinison was a phenomenal legend, but he wasn’t a legend for 50 years. He didn’t star in sitcoms like Milton Berle. He didn’t star in films and stuff the way Buddy Hackett did. He wasn’t part of “Your Show of Shows” with Sid Caesar. It was a huge compliment, but it was nothing compared to (those at the Friars Club).

CS: If you had the chance to do a comedy show with three comedians, living or dead, who would they be?

RM: I would have to go with Richard Pryor, Buddy Hackett and probably Bill Hicks. I’d be the emcee. I’d be the fat guy nobody knew. Or perhaps they wouldn’t know Bill Hicks, but they’d love him a lot more than me. He’s better than me. Comedians are very cocky, and we don’t easily throw that around, but those guys are funnier than me. It’d be a hell of a show, wouldn’t it?

Growing fears as more Afghan journalists and media workers come under the gun

The fatal shooting of senior Afghan broadcast journalist Mohammad Zubair Khaksar on Friday and the beating of freelance reporter Yahya Jawahari on Sunday further raise concerns for the safety of Afghan journalists, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The attacks follow a suicide bombing attack on employees of the Kabul station Tolo TV that killed at least seven people.

Read more.

Image:  The brother of a journalist killed in a suicide attack on Kabul television station weeps at his funeral, January 26, 2016 (Reuters/Ahmad Masood).