Society's Child

Heart - Black

'A generation cast aside': Child poverty on rise in world's richest countries

UNICEF report finds erosion of social safety nets has fueled child poverty crisis. (Image courtesy of UNICEF report)
Children remain "the most enduring victims" of the recession in the world's wealthiest nations, where 2.6 million children have fallen below the poverty line since 2008, a new report from UNICEF reveals.

The annual study, Children of the Recession: The impact of the economic crisis on child well-being in rich countries, was released Tuesday in Rome. It finds that in the 41 richest countries at least 76.5 million children live in poverty.

"Many affluent countries have suffered a 'great leap backwards' in terms of household income, and the impact on children will have long-lasting repercussions for them and their communities," said Jeffrey O'Malley, UNICEF's Head of Global Policy and Strategy.

Comment: One billion about half of the two billion children on the planet live in poverty, 22,000 dying each day due to dire living conditions, meanwhile a small number of rapacious wealthy "elite" amass billions, enough to end the suffering of children four times over.

$240 billion amassed by 100 richest people enough to end extreme poverty four times over: Oxfam

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Deep undercover: Police officer in UK fathered a child with an activist as part of an investigation

Court settlement raises new questions about ethics of police infiltration
UK Metropolitan Police
© CGP Grey
Metropolitan police officer Bob Lambert’s mission was to work his way into the “intensely furtive, hard-core wing of the animal rights movement.
What are the limits - if any - to undercover policing? At what point is a moral, ethical, or legal threshold crossed when an undercover operative insinuates himself into a targeted group or the lives of its members?

Last Thursday British media reported that the UK's Metropolitan Police would pay £425,000 (about $686,000) in a settlement with a woman, known only as Jacqui, who was conned by a man who fathered her first child, said that he loved her, and then one day disappeared. She knew him as Bob Robinson. His real name, as she would learn 25 years later, was Bob Lambert. He was an operative with the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS), a special unit within the British police that infiltrated a host of environmentalist groups to gather intelligence. In several cases the operatives, almost always men, established long-term intimate relationships with women in order to gain access to the world of underground animal rights or environmental activists.

Jacqui's was 22 when she first met Lambert. He was more than ten years older than her, and had already been a member of the Metropolitan police for several years. He went undercover in 1983 not long before he met Jacqui. As Rob Evans and Paul Lewis explain in their book Undercover, Lambert's mission was to work his way into the "intensely furtive, hard-core wing of the animal rights movement: the Animal Liberation Front." Having a girlfriend who was already trusted and well connected within activist circles was one of the easiest ways to become a "deep swimmer," a phrase used by members of the SDS to describe spies who completely immersed themselves in the groups they were monitoring. In addition to Jacqui, Lambert is known to have had romantic relationships with three other women during his career as an undercover operative. Seven other women have also filed charges against the Metropolitan police.

Diplomacy on the human level: Ukrainians and Novorussians sit down and talk


Alexey Mozgovoi.
Something fantastically interesting has happened in Novorussia: two senior Novorussian commanders, Igor Bezler and Alexei Mozgovoi have attempted to communicate with those Ukrainians who are on the other side.

Though I am not sure about the exact dates of the events (all I have is the dates of the posting on YouTube), this apparently began when Igor Bezler agreed to be interviewed by three TV crews at the same time: a Russian one, a Novorussian one, and a Ukrainian one. The big news here was, of course, that a Ukrainian journalist was given access to the city of Gorlovka, currently surrounded by Ukrainian forces, and that she got to speak with the local people, including combatants and then that she was given access to Bezler himself. Since all the journalists were more or less openly accusing each other of "filtering the truth" all parties agreed that the full recording, unedited, would be made available on YouTube. Now please keep in mind that in Banderastan, Russian journalists are blacklisted, Russian TV stations banned, and that the people in the junta controlled Ukraine are told that the other side are terrorists and Russian soldiers. Oh, and the Ukrainian media is the most disgusting, sold out, subservient, propagandistic you can imagine. And then suddenly, at least one Ukrainian TV crew agrees to show the face of one of the most feared Novorussian commanders and he gets to speak his mind.

But the next event was even more amazing. Alexei Mozgovoi agreed to a videoconference with not only Ukrainian journalists, but with actual field commanders of the Ukrainian military. To see Mozgovoi and the Ukrainians speak directly to each other was absolutely amazing. And here I have to apologize. I will not ask our translators to translate and subtitle the full thing. First, there were not one, but two such videoconferences. Then, we are talking about three long videos, see for yourself:

Bezler interview: Published on Oct 21, 2014 (length: 2 hours 17 min)

Comment: "Both sides have much more in common than what separates them." Isn't that the truth! We've been saying it for years: the problem is psychopaths. Until both sides realize that they face a common enemy, one that they vastly outnumber, there will never be peace. But that means SEEing the objective reality here: the psychopaths here are the neo-Nazis plaguing Ukraine, the oligarchs, the CIA masters. Once that vast gulf of difference in terms of humanity is seen, the differences between Ukrainians and Novorussians pale in comparison. It provides the contrast necessary for making real diplomacy possible: an acceptance of normal, cultural differences, and the humanity that unites people in all cultures, with which psychopaths share virtually nothing in common.


New video shows what it's like for a woman to walk around NYC being harassed by men for 10 hours

A new video by filmmaker Rob Bliss and the advocacy group Hollaback shows the kind of street harassment often hurled at women in New York City, Mashable reported.

The video, "10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman," shows Shoshana B. Roberts silently walking through Manhattan behind Bliss, who is filming her with a camera hidden inside a backpack. Though she does not engage with anyone, she is "complimented," told to "smile," and leered at by men.

"What's up girl? How you doing?" one man says early on. "Somebody's acknowledging you for being beautiful. You should say thank you more."

Other men are shown following Roberts without her consent, including one who tails her for five minutes.

"Maybe the guys who see this and don't understand may still think there's nothing wrong with this," Bliss told Think Progress. "But at least for the first time, they got to experience a little bit of what it's like to go through a day of getting harassed."

According to another advocacy group, Stop Street Harassment, 65 percent of U.S. women have experienced street harassment.

"Street harassment is a new term for an old phenomenon. It can include stalking, groping, verbal and physical assault that happens in public space," Hollaback states on its website. "Even though there are no population level studies, smaller city-wide studies in the US, Canada, Egypt, and India indicate that it is a pervasive and serious problem."

Roberts, who became part of the project after answering a classified ad, said the video captured "really just a day in the life for me."

Watch the video, as posted online on Tuesday, below.


Chicago school evacuated and 9 students hospitalized over gas leak

Harper High School
As many as nine people were taken to hospitals Wednesday morning, after high carbon monoxide readings were detected at a West Englewood high school.

Around 10 a.m., firefighters conducted a hazardous materials response at Harper High School, at 65th and Wood, due to high carbon monoxide levels. The school was evacuated, and will be closed for the rest of the day.

People's Gas spokeswoman Bonnie Johnson says Peoples Gas "is supporting [the Chicago Fire Department] in their investigation into a foreign odor at Harper High School."

Chicago police said nine students were hospitalized as a precaution, although the Fire Department said six students and one teacher were hospitalized.

Students who weren't sick were being bused to other schools.

Officials said a construction crew was relining sewers in the area, and vapors from the sewer might have seeped into the school, raising carbon monoxide levels, and making some people feel ill.

Gunman in North Carolina shoots and injures two men in front of courthouse

© AP Photo/The Rocky Mount Telegram, Adam Jennings
The North Carolina State Highway Patrol works at the scene of a shooting on Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014 at the Nashville courthouse in Nashville, N.C
A gunman opened fire on two men in front of the courthouse in this small North Carolina town on Tuesday, sending panicked lunchtime shoppers ducking into shops along the normally quiet main drag.

The suspect was caught by late afternoon after a manhunt that included dozens of armed officers canvassing the woods along a state highway with a police helicopter flying overhead. A second suspect was still on the loose. Authorities didn't offer a motive but believe the victims were targeted. Both were expected to survive.

The shooting shattered the calm of the sunny lunch hours along Nashville's main street, which is flanked by the courthouse on one side and one-story shops across the street. Witnesses on the strip that includes a flower shop, cafe and furniture store said violence is unusual in the town of about 5,500.

"We heard gunshots, like: Pow! Pow! Pow! Pow! Pow!" said Judy Winstead, who works at a real estate office across from the court. "It was very loud, and when we came out we even smelled gunpowder."

Washington's official story on Ebola arouses suspicions of darker motives

Soldiers conduct training before their deployment to West Africa, at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
The federal government has announced that thousands of additional US soldiers are being sent to Liberia. General Gary Volesky said the troops would "stamp out" ebola. The official story is that combat troops are being sent to build treatment structures for those infected with ebola.

Why combat troops? Why not send a construction outfit such as an engineer battalion if it has to be military? Why not do what the government usually does and contract with a construction company to build the treatment units? "Additional thousands of troops" results in a very large inexperienced construction crew for 17 treatment units. It doesn't make sense.

Stories that don't make sense and that are not explained naturally arouse suspicions, such as: Are US soldiers being used to test ebola vaccines and cures, or more darkly are they being used to bring more ebola back to the US?

I understand why people ask these questions. The fact that they will receive no investigative answer will deepen suspicions.

Smog couture: Models parade face masks at China's fashion week

© Reuters/Stringer
A model wearing a mask presents a creation at the QIAODAN Yin Peng Sports Wear Collection show during China Fashion Week in Beijing, October 28, 2014.
China's smog problem has infiltrated haute couture. One fashion designer has embraced the country's ongoing problems with pollution, incorporating the need for face masks into their Spring/Summer 2015 sportswear collection.

Yin Peng's collection was paraded at China Fashion Week, currently being held in Beijing, with models parading down the catwalk wearing face masks.

The models looked determined not to let the conditions of the city in which the fashion show was held get to them.

The masks varied from full-face cover, as with a fencing mask, to angular lightweight mouth-covering designs to compliment running gear.
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New York woman beheaded by man who then jumped in front of train

© Reuters
A man in his 30s beheaded a woman in her 60s on New York's Long Island and then jumped in front of a moving commuter train in an apparent murder-suicide, media reported on Wednesday.

The body of a woman who was "the victim of an apparent homicide" was found in Farmingdale at about 7:55 p.m. local time on Tuesday, Nassau County Police Officer Steve Zacchia told Reuters on Wednesday.

About 25 minutes later, Metropolitan Transit Authority Police reported that the body of a man who had been struck by a Long Island Rail Road train was found about 1,000 feet away, Zacchia said.

He declined to confirm media reports that the woman had been decapitated by the man, who then leaped in front of the train.
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Russian deliver space station cargo after US flop

The company behind the dramatic launch explosion of a space station supply mission promises to find the cause of the failure and is warning residents to avoid any potentially hazardous wreckage.

Orbital Sciences Corp.'s unmanned Antares rocket blew up just moments after liftoff Tuesday evening from the Virginia coast.

Meanwhile, early Wednesday, the Russian Space Agency launched its own cargo vessel from Kazakhstan and the spacecraft arrived at the International Space Station six hours later with 3 tons of food. The smooth flight was in stark contrast to the Orbital Sciences' failed launch, and had been planned well in advance of the accident.

The Orbital Sciences rocket was carrying a Cygnus capsule loaded with 2 1/2 tons of space station experiments and equipment for NASA. No one was injured when the rocket exploded moments after liftoff, shooting flaming debris down onto the launch area and into the ocean.

Ground crews were ready to access the fire-stricken area of NASA's Wallops Flight Facility at daybreak Wednesday to search for accident debris.