Sometimes Warnings Are There For A Reason

Common sense is not a flower that grows in everyone’s garden. When someone warns you about something, they may actually know something you do not.

Yesterday The Gateway Pundit posted an article about bloggers Jolie King and Mark Firkin. They announced in 2017 that they would be going on an international trip to “try to break the stigma around travelling to countries which get a bad rap in the media.” What could possibly go wrong?

Last Thursday, the BBC reported:

Two Australian citizens detained in Iran have been identified as Jolie King and Mark Firkin.

Ms King, who also holds a UK passport, and Mr Firkin were blogging their travels in Asia and the Middle East.

They were reportedly arrested 10 weeks ago near Tehran but news of the arrest, and that of another British-Australian woman, came to light on Wednesday.

Australia said it had repeatedly raised their cases with Tehran, including in a meeting between officials last week.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne said she had lobbied on their behalf in a meeting with her Iranian counterpart.

She described the detentions as “a matter of deep concern” on Thursday, and confirmed that assistance had been offered to the families of the three detainees.

“[We] hope to see Mark and Jolie safely home as soon as possible,” their families said on Thursday.

The situation comes amid growing tensions between the West and Iran.

Several dual nationals have been detained in Iran in recent years, including the British-Iranian woman Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

Relations between the UK and Iran have also been strained in recent months by a row over the seizure of oil tankers in the Gulf.

I guess maybe the media discourages people from traveling to certain places for a reason. We need to remember that not every country in the world plays by the same rules.

 

Would You Really Trust This Person Out On Bail?

Yesterday CNBC posted an article about Jeffrey Epstein’s lawyers negotiating bail for their client. Jeffrey Epstein is willing to post bail as high as $100 million. Would you take that deal?

The article notes a few things that might cause someone to hesitate before agreeing to the deal:

“We know they have found photos of young women in his home,” Farmer (Annie Farmer, one of his accusers) noted, referring to what prosecutors have said was a “vast trove” of lewd photos of young women or girls that investigators discovered in Epstein’s New York residence.

Before the accusers spoke, Assistant U.S. Attorney Alex Rossmiller said that a number of other witnesses contacted authorities after Epstein was recently indicted, and that prosecutors are trying to corroborate their allegations against him.

Rossmiller also revealed that investigators found in Epstein’s $77 million Manhattan townhouse a locked safe containing “piles of cash” and “dozens of diamonds,” as well as an expired passport dating to the 1980s from another country that has Epstein’s photograph on it — but with a different name and a stated residence of Saudi Arabia.

Rossmiller also said that “many, many photographs” of young-looking girls were found in the safe, and that the prosecutors have identified at least one person among them who claims to be a victim of Epstein’s.

Fake passports, diamonds, piles of cash…would you trust this person out on bail?

The Mystery Deepens

The world is searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. The Diplomat posted an interesting story yesterday about the flight. There were at least two passengers on the plane with stolen passports.

The article notes:

“The counterfeiting of all sorts of identifications is very widespread, particularly out of Thailand,” Steve Vickers, a Hong Kong-based risk consultant, told The Wall Street Journal. “It’s pretty easy to pick up a stolen or a counterfeit passport.”

…“Any flight of that size in Asia would be carrying a couple of people with false passports,” said Clive Williams, a counter-terrorism expert at Macquarie University in Australia. “When you think about the number of passports that have been stolen or gone missing around the world, it could be related, but it is probably not.”

This morning, Malaysia’s Transport Minister Hishamuddin Hussein said that a total of four passengers are being investigated: the two impersonating Kozel and Marald, as well as two other travelers with European passports described as “possibly Ukrainian.”

There are a lot of theories as to what has happened to the plane. One commenter on the article in The Diplomat explained how an empty fuel tank could have exploded. While that explanation is as feasible as any other, it doesn’t explain why the plane would have changed direction and dropped below the radar. I would also wonder if there are any old World War II airfields in the area that could be used without raising suspicion. But what would be the purpose of stealing an airplane? Why has no one demanded ransom or claimed credit?

It is also somewhat odd that we have not heard stories from anyone who is relieved that by some chain of events that they missed the plane. Usually after a plane crash, at least one person comes forward explaining that they got caught in traffic and missed the plane. I personally know a soldier who was coming home from Iraq and had to change planes in an American airport and missed at least three flights because kind, patriotic Americans kept on buying him drinks!

Like everyone else, I really have no clue as to what has happened.

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A Great Weekend Story

Yesterday Yahoo News posted a story that reminds us that compassion is still a part of our world. Inbar Chomsky of Rehovot, Israel, was on her way to Camp Simcha in Glen Spey, New York, a camp for children who suffer from cancer and other hematologic illnesses. As she was seated on the plane in Israel, preparing for the flight to New York, the flight attendants could not find her passport. After an extensive search, her passport was not found, she was taken off the plane and her mother was called to pick her up. The plane prepared for take off and headed for the runway.

As the plane approached the runway, someone located Inbar Chomsky’s passport. The plane turned around, picked up the child and headed for New York.

The article reports:

Although Yahoo! Shine could not reach an El Al spokesperson for comment, the airline sent a statement to the Times of Israel that read, “Planes rarely return to the gate after departing. The plane was on its way to the runway, when the passport was found on the plane. After consulting with El Al crew on the plane and El Al staff at the airport the decision was made and the plane returned to pick up Inbar. El Al was honored and proud to help Inbar’s dream to go to the camp in the USA come true. We wish Inbar full recovery and health.”

What a fantastic story!

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