Archive | April 12, 2017

Inside Syria Life Goes on*

Inside Syria Life Goes on*

By Andre Vltchek

Palestinian girls in school in Damascus

All Photos by: Yayoi Segi

Ms. Yayoi Segi is based in Beirut, Lebanon, and she has worked in Syria for almost 3 years. She is extremely passionate about the country, which she admires and tries to support in her position as an accomplished specialist in national education development.

She agreed to share her collection of personal photos from Damascus, Homs and Aleppo.

I asked about her impressions regarding Syria and its people, and she replied, frankly:

Ancient eatery at Hamdieh Souk in Damascus 

“Syria is not what the mainstream media wants us to believe it is. One has to see it, to understand. Seeing is believing! It is an extraordinarily exceptional country. All that we have been told about Syria and its people is a lie.”

And what is the war doing to the country?

“The war… it is devastating the country. Life is of course tough now, but it never stopped; it definitely goes on. Electricity is cut often and water supplies are limited, but still life goes on. People endure; they even socialise. Syrians are very humble, very caring, warm and gentle people. They like to joke. They believe in their nation, in themselves; they are truly remarkable.”

English lesson at a Palestinian school


Yayoi has been literally dedicating her life to the Syrian nation. She is ‘building schools’ there, and she is defending the nation whenever she goes. She is drawn to the Syrian people and she admits that she is philosophically close to them. She says:

“It is extremely important, what goes on in Syria, especially on the ideological front in highly politicised field of education, because ideology shapes education, and vice versa.”

“Even in the time of crises that was implanted from outside, the Syrian people still maintain tremendous sense of solidarity towards those whose lives have been shattered for decades, mainly Palestinians.”

She recounts her practical experience, which clearly illustrates the big heart of the Syrians:

“In Damascus, there is a waiter working in my favorite teashop. He is a Palestinian refugee who has been living in Damascus for a very long time. Every time I meet him, he gives me the most beautiful smile. I ask him how is he doing? And he says, “Alhamdulillah, all is fine”. He has three kids, all have enough to eat, and all are going to school, thanks to the help from the Syrian people.”

Learning together at Palestinian school in Damascus


All this is happening despite the war.

Ms. Segi is greatly impressed by how educated and confident the nation is:

“Syrians are the most hospitable, gentle people. When we meet, we never talk about the war, the conflict. It is a tremendous civilization… They always talk about their life, the future. They discuss their poets and their thinkers. People in Syria are very well educated. They know what is going on, on our Planet. Despite what some parts of the world have done to them, they are extremely respectful and polite to everybody. I never heard them speaking ill of others. They appreciate that you come and work with them, and they are confident.”

Foreigners, some foreign organizations and certain powerful countries are often bossing around Syria. As if terrible damage done by the outsiders would not be enough. Ms. Segi is enraged about this fact:

“There have been so many seminars, conferences and meetings on Syria, yet the Syrian people are very rarely invited. All these events are ‘about them’ but without even inviting them, and without listening to them.” 

Daily life for the people of East Aleppo


But Syria is standing, and in the field of education, as in the several other fields, it is progressing and even improving, despite the hardship and devastation that is injuring this proud nation. Ms. Segi recalls:

“Once the Minister of Education told me: ‘we are not some nation of beggars. We never beg!’ The Minister and three other top educationalists are true intellectuals, and all of them were educated in the former Soviet Union and the Eastern block countries.”

School in Aleppo – still smiling despite the pain


 “On the education front, the system was one of the best in the region, before the crisis began. Now, despite more than 6 years of horrendous war, the system is still standing and strong. Syrians know exactly what they want, and they have the capacity to implement their aspirations. Like in Aleppo; after the victory, the government immediately moved in and began opening schools.”

Young Syrian kids on a guided tour through streets of Old Damascus on a weekend


The people of Damascus stand strong with messages of solidarity


About the authors:

Yayoi Segi is a Japanese education policy and planning specialist with close to 20 years of international experience working for a multilateral organization. Since 2014, Yayoi has been involved in education sector humanitarian and development work, in the Arab region with focus on Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.


Related Topics:

Rothschild Demands Western Nations Invade Syria*

White Helmets Killing Babies in PR Stunt to Start War in Syria*

Public Buses in Aleppo take to the Streets after 5 Years of U.S.’s ISIS war on Syria*

Aid Shipments Arrives in Lattakia from Armenia and Syrian Communities in Italy*

Syrian Education Ministry Launches the Psychological and Social Support Guide*

USD 8 million is the Value of Syrian Fruit and Vegetable Exports to Belarus in Past 3 months*

Priceless Ancient Seed Bank Saved from Destruction in Syria*

Clean Water Returns to Damascus as Syria Reclaims Key Water Source from Terrorists*

Nationwide Truce Reached Between Syria Army, Opposition Groups*

Syrian Soldier Breaks Down In Tears Upon Reunification With His Family in Aleppo*

When Syria, Palestine and Egypt were there for Europeans in their Time of Need*

Civilians help Syrian Army Drive out Terrorists from Damascus*

U.S. Veterans Call for End of U.S. Military Intervention in Syria*

What we saw in Syria goes against everything we read in the United States*

Syrian Export to Russia Increases*

Syrian Athletes at the Olympics are Categorized as “Refugees”*

Syrian Children Fight Back Against Carpet Bombing*

25,000 Free Ramadhan Meals for Syrians Chechen Leader Promises*



IMF Issue Working Paper on Eliminating Cash*

IMF Issue Working Paper on Eliminating Cash*

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington has published a Working Paper on “de-cashing” the economies and the implications. This paper clearly demonstrates that this is the direction we are headed into. It provides advice to governments who want to join in the latest thing – abolishing cash. IMF-Analyst Alexei Kireyev recommends in his conclusions:

“Although some countries most likely will de-cash in a few years, going completely cashless should be phased in steps. The de-cashing process could build on the initial and largely uncontested steps, such as the phasing out of large denomination bills, the placement of ceilings on cash transactions, and the reporting of cash moves across the borders. Further steps could include creating economic incentives to reduce the use of cash in transactions, simplifying the opening and use of transferrable deposits, and further computerizing the financial system.

The paper does not advocate eliminating cash. It merely goes through the plus and minus to such a policy. While governments are pressing this using terrorism as the excuse, you do not eliminate the entire monetary system of the world to even catch 100 terrorists and their camels. This is all about the collapse in socialism and the desperate need to raise money.

IMF De-Cashing Paper


Related Topics:

India’s Cashless Villages not Really There Yet, But the Nightmare Has Begun*

E.U. Desperate to Raises Taxes Starts Cashless Society Project November 2017*

Greece Bans Cash*

India: Millions Rise Up Against New World Order Ban on Cash*

A New Digital Cash System was Just Unveiled at a Secret Meeting for Bankers In New York*

The Global ‘War on Cash’: A Country by Country Guide*

Bank of Ireland Bans “Small” Cash Withdrawals*

Ban Cash to Help Central Banks stinks of Total Control – NWO’s Cashless Society*

Why Central Banks HATE Cash and Will Begin to Tax It Shortly*

Cash Banned in Louisianna*

Chinese Firm Halves Worker Costs by Hiring Army of Robots to Sort out 200,000 Packages a Day*

Chinese Firm Halves Worker Costs by Hiring Army of Robots to Sort out 200,000 Packages a Day*

A viral video showing an army of little orange robots sorting out packages in a warehouse in eastern China is the latest example of how machines are increasingly taking over menial factory work on the mainland.

The behind-the-scenes footage of the self-charging robot army in a sorting centre of Chinese delivery powerhouse Shentong (STO) Express was shared on People’s Daily’s social media accounts on Sunday.

The video showed dozens of round orange Hikvision robots – each the size of a seat cushion – swivelling across the floor of the large warehouse in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province.

A worker was seen feeding each robot with a package before the machines carried the parcels away to different areas around the sorting centre, then flipping their lids to deposit them into chutes beneath the floor.

Comment: Wait till the robots malfunction, and see what the cost is then!


Related Topics:

U.S. House Bill Would Allow Employers to Demand Genetic Information from Workers*

Chicago Workers Took over a Window Factory Three Years ago, and They’re Thriving*

More Subcontract Workers Go On Strike at West Coast Ports*

Venezuelan President Calls for Workers to Take on Economic Policy*

A Reminder Why South African Mineworkers have a Right to Strike*

Not Only French Workers Protest Attacks on Pensions*

Verizon Workers Strike

Tribal Members in Oklahoma Defeat Natural Gas Pipeline Company*

Tribal Members in Oklahoma Defeat Natural Gas Pipeline Company*

Federal court orders removal of natural gas pipeline in Oklahoma for trespassing on original Kiowa Indian lands

By Kristin Eaton

The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma has ordered a natural gas pipeline operator to cease operations and remove the pipeline located on original Kiowa Indian lands Anadarko.

The ruling in Davilla v. Enable Midstream Partners,, L.P., issued at the end of March, found that Enable Midstream was continuing to trespass on the land and ordered the company to remove the pipeline within six months.

The plaintiffs are 38 enrolled members of the Comanche, Caddo, Apache, Cherokee and Kiowa Tribes of Oklahoma. Additionally, the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma has an interest in the land. The interests vary from nearly 30% to less than 9/10th of a percent.

“It’s very significant,” said plaintiffs’ lawyer David Smith.

David Klaassen, a spokesman for Enable, said the company doesn’t comment on active legal issues.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs approved an easement across the land in 1980 for Enable’s predecessor, Producer’s Gas Company, to construct and install a natural gas pipeline. The original easement expired in 2000, according to court documents. By 2002, the company had changed to Enogex, Inc., and had submitted a right-of-way offer to the BIA and the plaintiffs for another 20 years. The majority of the landowners rejected the offer.

In 2008, the BIA’s interim superintendent of the Anadarko Agency approved Enogex’s application to renew the easement for 20 years. The plaintiffs appealed the decision in 2010, and the BIA vacated the opinion.

“The BIA determined that it did not have authority to approve the right-of-way without the consent of plaintiffs or their predecessors in interest and that the price offered by defendants was unreasonable,” according to court documents. “The BIA remanded the case for further negotiation and instructed that if approval of a right-of-way was not timely secured that Enogex should be directed to move the pipeline.”

A new right-of-way has not been granted and the natural gas pipeline continued to operate, according to the court documents. The plaintiffs filed a trespassing violation and sought preliminary and permanent injunction in November 2015.

According to the court documents, Enable argues that written consents from five landowner tenants for renewal of the easement shows they are not trespassing. The defendants also argued Oklahoma’s two-year statute of limitations applies.

“While defendants do not dispute that they are operating a natural gas pipeline across plaintiffs’ property without an easement, defendants assert that there is no trespass in the case because under Oklahoma law consent forms a complete defense to trespass and they obtained five written consents to the renewal of the easement,” according to the court documents. But the Court found that the Oklahoma law was inconsistent with federal statutes, meaning the Oklahoma law could not be used as a defense in the case.

The Court noted that the tenants-in-common who gave written consent for the renewal of the easement owned less than a majority of the tract – around less than 10 percent.

Because of this, the Court found that the easement based upon the written consents was not valid.

Smith said the judge agreed with the tribal members that federal law applies and that there can be an accounting for the money made off the land during the period deemed a trespass, which is 17 years.

Smith said there are similar issues all across Indian country.

“And we see them all the time – there are easements to which landowners have never been paid,” Smith said.

“There are easements which have simply expired and the BIA simply has no records of them or taken any action to enforce the trespass.”

The decision, Smith said, shows that landowners can take on such cases on their own land and that the remedies can be significant: not only removal of the power line, gas line or oil pipeline, but recovery of profits as well.

Smith, who worked on the $3.4 billion Cobell settlement case, said he anticipates more such lawsuits in the future. He noted that one issue on appeal at the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals is whether a utility can condemn allotted land in which a tribe has an interest. Federal districts courts in Oklahoma and New Mexico ruled they can’t, and the issue is now before the appeals court.


Related Topics:

BNP Paribas Latest Bank to Dump Dakota Access Pipeline*

E.U., Israel Agree to Develop Eastern Mediterranean Gas Pipeline*

Judge Orders Removal of Gas Pipeline from Native American Property*

Canadian First Nations Battle Pipelines on Ground, in Court*

Louisiana Pipeline Explodes, Injuring 2 Workers and Leaving 1 Missing*

DAPL Approved a Week After Co-Owner’s Pipeline Spilled 600,000 Gallons of Oil in Texas*

Buffet, Gates Foundation, Bono’s RED and the Dakota Access Pipeline

Trump Team Tied to Atlantic Coast Pipeline Now Being Pushed by White House*

Jury Refuses to Convict Activist for Shutting Down Pipeline*

Two Major Pipelines Spill the Same Week Trump Advances KXL, DAPL*

Products of Genome Editing, Synthetic Biology are GMOs – German environment minister*

Products of Genome Editing, Synthetic Biology are GMOs – German environment minister*

Minister Dr Barbara Hendricks’ assurance will come as blow to GMO industry and its allies


The products of synthetic biology and organisms generated by genome editing are GMOs and fall under E.U. GMO law, says Dr Barbara Hendricks, the German federal minister for environment, nature conservation, building and nuclear safety. As such, Hendricks is convinced that they must be subjected to a risk assessment within the framework of that law.

The minister’s assurance will come as a blow to the GMO industry and its allies, who are attempting to get the products of the new genome editing techniques exempted from the E.U.’s GMO regulation and labelling requirement.

Hendricks’ view was set out in a letter to the research organisation Testbiotech from Dr Elsa Nickel, director of the ministry, which is known in Germany as the BMUB. Dr Nickel was asked by Dr. Hendricks to respond to Testbiotech’s questions about the new GM techniques.

Dr. Nickel adds in her letter, “Although we have some criticism of the environmental risk assessment in some areas and need to be continually adapted to new challenges, I believe that the genetic engineering regulation is a suitable tool to regulate these new techniques and, if necessary, to ban them if a risk to the environment is established.

“The BMUB will continue to apply genetic engineering legislation for the classification of genome editing and further new breeding procedures. The BMUB is also committed to the further development of risk assessment in the approval process.”


Related Topics:

New Gene Editing Technique on Human Embryos*

160 Global Groups Call for Moratorium on New Genetic Extinction Technology at U.N. Convention*

Genetic Engineering to Clash with Evolution, Naturally*

Genetically Modified Human Embryos Allowed in U.K.*

U.S. Experts Call for Ban on Genetic Modification of Children*

Powerful DNA Editing Has Arrived*

Biotech’s Dark Promise of Involuntary Cannibalism for All*

“Ashamed” United Airlines CEO Vows to No Longer Use Police to Forcibly Remove Passengers*

“Ashamed” United Airlines CEO Vows to No Longer Use Police to Forcibly Remove Passengers*

By Tyler Durden

In the latest apology since the forced deplaning scandal broke, United CEO Oscar Munoz said his airline will no longer use law enforcement officials to remove passengers from overbooked flights following the uproar over a viral video showing a passenger being violently dragged from a plane.

“We are not going to put a law enforcement official to take them off,” Munoz said in an interview with ABC on “Good Morning America” Wednesday.

“To remove a booked, paid, seated passenger, we can’t do that.”

Munoz said he felt “shame” when he initially saw the viral video, and apologized to the passenger and family of David Dao, who remains hospitalized and is currently contemplating a legal challenge against the airline.

As reported previously, United initially offered passengers up to $800 before selecting passengers to remove from the flight. It was not clear why it didn’t keep ratcheting the offer higher until it found a clearing price instead of resorting to what eventually became the worst PR scandal in United’s recent history.

Munoz called the incident, in which police officers were eventually brought on board the plane to help remove Dao – who refused to deplane – a “system failure.” One security officer has reportedly been placed on leave.

“We have not provided our frontline supervisors and managers and individuals with the proper procedures that would allow them to use their common sense,” he said.

“This is on me. I have to fix that, and I think that’s something we can do.”

Meanwhile, an online petition calling for Munoz to resign following the incident has nearly 50,000 signatures as of Wednesday morning, but the top executive told ABC he has no plans to step down.


Related Topics:

United Airlines Stocks Plummet by over $800mn after Passenger Thrown off Plane*

So you think you can secure your Mobile Phone with a Fingerprint?*

So you think you can secure your Mobile Phone with a Fingerprint?*

Similarities in partial fingerprints may be sufficient to trick biometric security systems on smartphones

Smartphones typically capture a limited portion of the full fingerprint using small sensors. Multiple partial fingerprints are captured for the same finger during enrollment. The figure shows a set of partial fingerprints (b) extracted from the full fingerprint (a). Credit: Image courtesy of NYU Tandon School of Engineering


No two people are believed to have identical fingerprints, but researchers at the New York University Tandon School of Engineering and Michigan State University College of Engineering have found that partial similarities between prints are common enough that the fingerprint-based security systems used in mobile phones and other electronic devices can be more vulnerable than previously thought.

The vulnerability lies in the fact that fingerprint-based authentication systems feature small sensors that do not capture a user’s full fingerprint. Instead, they scan and store partial fingerprints, and many phones allow users to enroll several different fingers in their authentication system. Identity is confirmed when a user’s fingerprint matches any one of the saved partial prints. The researchers hypothesized that there could be enough similarities among different people’s partial prints that one could create a “MasterPrint.”

Nasir Memon, a professor of computer science and engineering at NYU Tandon and the research team leader, explained that the MasterPrint concept bears some similarity to a hacker who attempts to crack a PIN-based system using a commonly adopted password such as 1234. “About 4% of the time, the password 1234 will be correct, which is a relatively high probability when you’re just guessing,” said Memon. The research team set out to see if they could find a MasterPrint that could reveal a similar level of vulnerability. Indeed, they found that certain attributes in human fingerprint patterns were common enough to raise security concerns.

Memon and his colleagues, NYU Tandon Postdoctoral Fellow Aditi Roy and Michigan State University Professor of Computer Science and Engineering Arun Ross, undertook their analysis using 8,200 partial fingerprints. Using commercial fingerprint verification software, they found an average of 92 potential MasterPrints for every randomly sampled batch of 800 partial prints. (They defined a MasterPrint as one that matches at least 4 percent of the other prints in the randomly sampled batch.)

They found, however, just one full-fingerprint MasterPrint in a sample of 800 full prints. “Not surprisingly, there’s a much greater chance of falsely matching a partial print than a full one, and most devices rely only on partials for identification,” said Memon.

The team analyzed the attributes of MasterPrints culled from real fingerprint images, and then built an algorithm for creating synthetic partial MasterPrints. Experiments showed that synthetic partial prints have an even wider matching potential, making them more likely to fool biometric security systems than real partial fingerprints. With their digitally simulated MasterPrints, the team reported successfully matching between 26 and 65 percent of users, depending on how many partial fingerprint impressions were stored for each user and assuming a maximum number of five attempts per authentication. The more partial fingerprints a given smartphone stores for each user, the more vulnerable it is.

Roy emphasized that their work was done in a simulated environment. She noted, however, that improvements in creating synthetic prints and techniques for transferring digital MasterPrints to physical artifacts in order to spoof a device pose significant security concerns. The high matching capability of MasterPrints points to the challenges of designing trustworthy fingerprint-based authentication systems and reinforces the need for multi-factor authentication schemes. She said this work may inform future designs.

“As fingerprint sensors become smaller in size, it is imperative for the resolution of the sensors to be significantly improved in order for them to capture additional fingerprint features,” Ross said.

“If resolution is not improved, the distinctiveness of a user’s fingerprint will be inevitably compromised. The empirical analysis conducted in this research clearly substantiates this.”

Memon noted that the results of the team’s research are based on minutiae-based matching, which any particular vendor may or may not use. Nevertheless, as long as partial fingerprints are used for unlocking devices and multiple partial impressions per finger are stored, the probability of finding MasterPrints increases significantly, he said.

“NSF’s investments in cybersecurity research build the foundational knowledge base needed to protect us in cyberspace,” said Nina Amla, program director in the Division of Computing and Communication Foundations at the National Science Foundation. “Much as other NSF-funded research has helped identify vulnerabilities in everyday technologies, such as cars or medical devices, investigating the vulnerabilities of fingerprint-based authentication systems informs continuous advancements in security, ensuring more reliable protection for users.”


Related Topics:

U.S. Marshals Biometric Scan Passenger Retinas to Board Flight: “Like Everyone Else, I Complied”*

NWO: Central Banks Imposing Biometric ID in Developing Countries First*

Biometric Identification Control: What Will You Do?

A Biometric Passport Can Be Easily Faked*

FBI Errors Lead to Discovery that DNA Evidence is not Reliable*