Society's Child


Putin says Russia to help Palestine become independent state

© Sputnik/ Aleksey Nikolskyi
Russia will help Palestine in achieving its goal of becoming an independent state with the capital in East Jerusalem, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Saturday in his address to the Arab League summit participants.

"Russia will continue contributing to the attainment of this goal [Palestine's independence], working through bilateral channels and through multilateral channels, including in the 'Quartet' of international mediators," Putin said.

Comment: Notice the Quartet excludes Israel.

Arrow Down

Homelessness in London soars by 79% since 2010 - report

© Reuters/Dylan Martinez
The number of people sleeping rough on the streets of London has risen by over one-third in the past year, new government figures reveal. The crisis has prompted homelessness charities to call for sweeping reforms.

Data from the Department for Communities and Local Government found that levels of homelessness in the capital rose by 37 percent between 2013 and 2014. The rest of the country also saw rises, averaging at 14 percent.

The figures are an embarrassing failure for London Mayor Boris Johnson, who has always publicly claimed to put homelessness at the top of his agenda. He previously pledged to eradicate the problem by as long ago as 2012.

The report said that there were nearly 750 people sleeping rough on the streets of London, which accounts for 27 percent of the total national figure. Some 46 percent of the capital's homeless were UK nationals, while others were Polish, Romanian, Irish, Portuguese, African and Asian nationals.

Ministers have said that despite the implementation of a homelessness prevention scheme, the figures are a cause for concern.

The report's findings have prompted homeless charities to call for legal reforms.

Cell Phone

AAA study finds distracted driving a huge factor in teen driver crashes

Car crashes are the leading cause of death for American teenagers, and an Automobile Association of America study released Wednesday finds that distracted driving plays a much bigger role than we knew.

AAA analyzed 1700 teenage car accidents, all of them captured on video tape.

And in clip after clip, watch how the eyes of the driver are so attached to their phones...they leave the road on the right -- or cross the center line to the left, often without realizing what's happening.

Comment: It is interesting that we need a study to prove the obvious.


Another huge blaze in Manhattan's East side as fire rips through residential building

© Reuters / Brendan McDermid
Firefighters contain huge blaze in NY on 66th & 1st
A huge fire started on 66th Street and 1st Avenue in New York, witnesses reported, posting pictures of the blaze on Twitter. Locals tweet that a newly-renovated Dunkin' Donuts was located in the building.

Firefighters managed to put out the blaze that started at the sixth floor of a residential building. Flames could be seen coming out of the top floors. No possible causes of the fire have yet been given, or any information as to casualties.

Comment: See this article describing the fire that occurred yesterday in Manhattan:

Explosion rocks Manhattan - people trapped in collapsed and burning building

Bizarro Earth

10 Hindu pilgrims die in stampede during Bangladesh ritual


A woman performs ritual bathing in the Brahmputra river during the Astami Snan religious festival at the Hindu pilgrimage spot of Langalbandh, southeast of Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka, on April 18, 2013.
Apparent crowding at a religious ritual near Bangladesh's capital has led to a stampede, killing at least 10 Hindu pilgrims.

The accident took place in Langalbandh, a Hindu pilgrimage spot on the banks of the Brahmaputra river, 20 kilometers (12 miles) southeast of the capital, Dhaka, local police chief Mazrul Islam said.

The fatalities in the Friday incident, seven women and three men, were caused when Hindus swarmed the river in their thousands to perform annual ablutions.

Comment: Are the Hindu pilgrims getting desperate with world events heating up?


Invasion: China to invest $15bn in Ukraine housing and infrastructure

© RIA Novosti / Alexandr Kryazhev
China is going to provide Ukraine with $15 billion in loans over 15 years to support construction of affordable housing, said Ukraine's Ministry of Regional Development. The interest rate will be minimal and the loan could be extended.

"The Chinese CITIC Construction Co., Ltd is ready to invest $15 billion in Ukraine's construction market, which will help solve the problem of affordable housing in the country..." the ministry said Thursday in a statement.

The project is aimed at meeting the country's public housing policy, of forming a social housing fund and building affordable homes and improving the infrastructure.

Ukraine will implement a pilot $1 billion project to build affordable housing where CITIC will act as the general contractor.

Comment: Uh oh, China invading Ukraine.


Germanwings co-pilot had 'medical excuse' on day of crash

© Reuters / Wolfgang Rattay
Candles and flowers are placed outside the Germanwings headquarters in Cologne Bonn airport March 27, 2015.
Police have found a torn sick leave note for the date of the crashed Germanwings flight in the home of Andreas Lubitz, suspected of voluntarily bringing the plane down, Dusseldorf prosecutors say.

Prosecutors believe Lubitz could have been concealing his illness from the company.

"Documents with medical contents were confiscated that point towards an existing illness and corresponding treatment by doctors," said the Prosecutors' Office in Dusseldorf, Reuters reports.

"The fact there are sick notes saying he was unable to work, among other things, that were found torn up, which were recent and even from the day of the crime, support the assumption based on the preliminary examination that the deceased hid his illness from his employer and his professional colleagues," it said.

It was not specified what medical condition exactly prompted Lubutz's doctor to issue him a medical certificate.


Netherlands suffers major power outage

© Reuters / Susana Vera
Large areas of the Netherlands have been left without electricity. The north of the country has been mainly affected, with the Dutch electricity network operator saying the outage has been caused by a power grid overload.

The capital Amsterdam has been hit, along with the area around Schiphol Airport. Twitter has reported that some hospitals in Amsterdam have been left without power, while the tram and metro networks are also not running in the capital. Thousands of people have been stuck on public transport because the doors will not open as they are controlled electronically.


What's going on? Amsterdam major power outage cancels flights at Schiphol Airport

All flights to and from Amsterdam's Schiphol airport were cancelled on Friday following a major power outage in the Dutch capital and surrounding region, an airport spokeswoman said.

She said all incoming flights to Europe's fourth largest airport were being diverted to other regional airports. "We are experiencing a lot of problems due to the outage," she said.

Frankfurt airport operator Fraport said two flights due to depart for Amsterdam were delayed until further notice. A spokesman said the operator had not yet had any requests to take diversions from Schiphol.

The power cut hit the Dutch capital Amsterdam and surrounding areas on Friday, as Dutch grid operator TenneT reported an overload on its power lines.

The ANP news agency said the outage, which covered large parts of the province of North Holland including the nearby broadcasting centre of Hilversum, was caused by a fault at a high-voltage electricity substation in the Amsterdam suburb of Diemen.

Comment: This major power outage brings up several possible causes:


Explosion rocks Manhattan - people trapped in collapsed and burning building

© Scott Westerfeld
As many as 30 people are injured in Manhattan's East Village after an explosion and partial building collapse.

Flames are shooting high into the sky from two buildings as the New York Fire Department attempts to prevent the fire from spreading to other structures.

So far, up to 30 people were hurt in the collapse, law enforcement officials told the New York Post.

The raging fire has been upgraded to a four-alarm call at the mixed-occupancy building that the fire department called "a major building collapse" in a tweet. There are 25 units in the building, according to the New York Times, and 100 firefighters were immediately dispatched to the scene.

At least one person was removed from the area on a stretcher, WABC reported, noting that the building appeared to be a total loss.

The "smoke is overwhelming" at the scene, Allie Yang tweeted. In a follow-up tweet, she said that the fire department is closing of the area around 7th St and 2nd Avenue.