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Health

Smog at extremely hazardous levels in Shanghai

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© AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko
A building under construction is covered with haze in Shanghai, China, Friday, Dec. 6, 2013. Shanghai authorities ordered schoolchildren indoors and halted all construction Friday as China's financial hub suffered one its worst bouts of air pollution, bringing visibility down to a few dozen meters and obscuring the city's spectacular skyline
Shanghai authorities ordered schoolchildren indoors and halted all construction Friday as China's financial hub suffered one of its worst bouts of air pollution, bringing visibility down to a few dozen meters, delaying flights and obscuring the city's spectacular skyline.

The financial district was shrouded in a yellow haze, and noticeably fewer people walked the city's streets. Vehicle traffic also was thinner, as authorities pulled 30 percent of government vehicles from the roads. They also banned fireworks and public sporting events.

"I feel like I'm living in clouds of smog," said Zheng Qiaoyun, a local resident who kept her 6-month-old son at home. "I have a headache, I'm coughing, and it's hard to breathe on my way to my office."

Megaphone

7 things Nelson Mandela believed that most people won't talk about

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© AP
In the desire to celebrate Nelson Mandela's life - an iconic figure who triumphed over South Africa's brutal apartheid regime - it's tempting to homogenize his views into something everyone can support. This is not, however, an accurate representation of the man.

Mandela was a political activist and agitator. He did not shy away from controversy and he did not seek - or obtain - universal approval. Before and after his release from prison, he embraced an unabashedly progressive and provocative platform. As one commentator put it shortly after the announcement of the freedom fighter's death, "Mandela will never, ever be your minstrel. Over the next few days you will try so, so hard to make him something he was not, and you will fail. You will try to smooth him, to sandblast him, to take away his Malcolm X. You will try to hide his anger from view."

Compass

Sandy Hook benefit concert canceled due to low ticket sales

A Chicago benefit concert to help first responders to last year's Sandy Hook massacre was canceled due to low ticket sales, it was announced Wednesday.

The event, scheduled for Sunday at Untitled, 111 W. Kinzie St., was set to feature performances by local musicians and the Chicago Children's Choir and a silent auction.

"It is with great sadness that we have to cancel the Chicago Musicians Care Performance & Benefit event ... due to low ticket sales," read a Facebook post from organizer Chicago Musicians Care, which was created in response to the shooting.

One of the goals of the music project, Founder Kevin Tenbrunsel said in a YouTube video, was "to send a message to the people of Sandy Hook that this city has not forgotten, and still grieve the tragedy of that day."

Arrow Down

Charity claims its been targeted for feeding the homeless

© John Moore / Getty Images / AFP
A church group in Olympia, Washington is blasting proposed City Council changes it claims are intended to stop an outreach mission that feeds hundreds of homeless residents every week.

Twice a week for the last two years, the nondenominational Christian group Crazy Faith Ministries has gathered at a public parking lot to feed the city's homeless population. The program has become increasingly popular since it began, but complaints about mounting vehicle traffic in the area and concern for pedestrian safety resulted in the city informing Crazy Faith it would not be allowed to continue its activity.

Ben Charles, the leader of Crazy Faith, argued his organization has the right to assemble and feed the homeless, however, and declined to comply with the order given in October, saying no laws were being broken. Now, City Hall is considering changes to its parking ordinances that would require anyone using public parking lots to acquire a permit, ranging in price from $50 to $187. Failure to do so could result in a fine of up to $1,000 or 90 days in jail, though Deputy City Attorney Darren Nienbar suggested a $50 fine would be most likely.

During a City Council meeting on Tuesday, December 3, the proposal was passed on to a second reading by a vote of 6-1. Another meeting is scheduled for December 10.

Eye 1

DC cop suspected of running prostitution ring

© Mark Wilson/Getty Images/AFP
A police officer in Washington, D.C. is currently under investigation for possibly running a prostitution ring out of this apartment, where a 16-year-old missing girl was found on Tuesday evening The unnamed officer has yet to be to charged with a crime, though the Metropolitan Police Department has placed him on paid leave while it wraps up the investigation.

According to the Washington Times, the teenage girl told investigators that she met the officer in question two weeks ago. The officer allegedly took nude photos of her in glossy shoes and arranged a meeting with another man who would pay her $80 for sex. The officer would reportedly get a $20 cut of the bill, though it's not clear if the meeting ever occurred.

Additionally, the teenage girl told authorities that six other women were working for the officer, and advertisements for the operation were posted on a website called backpage.com.

Comment: Define 'few', please.


Bad Guys

Rapist jailed for identical attack


David Brierley, who raped a teenage girl just four months after being released from prison for an identical attack, has been jailed for life.
A psychopathic rapist who raped a teenage girl just four months after being released from prison for an identical attack was jailed for life today. David Brierley, 34, repeatedly raped the 18-year-old victim during a horrific assault in Swindon town centre in February this year. Swindon Crown Court heard the victim thought she was going to die and begged Brierley to stop his violent attack but he ignored her pleas and carried on raping her.

The court heard that the burly monster had been jailed for eight years at Warwick Crown Court in 2001 for repeatedly raping and assaulting an 18-year-old girl in a Stratford upon Avon churchyard the previous year but had only finally been released from prison in October 2012 after being recalled for breaching his licence.

Brierley had been living in Birmingham and had moved to Swindon just two days before he attacked his latest victim, the court was told. He had been living under an assumed name in the Culvery Court hostel, on Harding Street - but on the night of the rape had been refused entry as staff believed he had been drinking. Tattooed Brierley, who is 5ft 10in tall and weighs 19 stone, had met the victim on the evening of February 23 in a takeaway in the town and bought her some food.

Eye 1

Men impersonating cops robbing people,were just cops robbing people

© AP
Two police officers, one of the Detroit department and one of St. Clair shores, have been taken into custody in connection with a robbery at a gas station on Detroit's east side, Detroit Police Chief James Craig said Monday, July 29, 2013.

A good Samaritan with a camera helped in catching an off-duty Detroit Police Officer and his former DPD accomplice, who were involved in a pistol-whipping and robbery outside a Citgo gas station. It was originally thought that the men conducting the robbery were impersonating police officers. Then, according to DPD Chief James Craig, "Several unidentified police officers were working this particular robbery case, recognized one of the suspects in the photographs as being a member of the Detroit Police Department."

According to WJBK, now under arrest are two police sergeants, a 47-year-old officer and 20-year veteran of the Detroit Police Department and his 42-year-old buddy from the police academy, who is a former DPD cop and 17-year veteran of the St. Clair Shores Police Department. The latter recently received a distinguished service award.

"In fact, they were police officers, just not working on-duty at the time," Craig said. One of the alleged victims identified the St. Clair Shores sergeant from a photo lineup.

Comment: It's becoming a lot more difficult to discern good guys from bad guys these days, isn't it?


Bulb

Why employers demanding Facebook passwords from applicants is now illegal In New Jersey

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© Shutterstock
Add New Jersey to the list of states where employers demanding passwords to Facebook and other online services from employees or applicants is now illegal, as a law took effect Sunday in the Garden State, The Record reported.

According to The Record, the new law does not cover social media accounts used for business purposes, and employers can still access all information that has been made public, as well as investigate harmful actions on social media sites, such as sharing confidential company information or harassment.

The first violation will result in a $1,000 fine, rising to $2,500 for further violations, The Record reported, adding that the bill was signed by Gov. Chris Christie Aug. 29.

Employers Association of New Jersey Head John Sarno told The Record:
The employer can't coerce or require an employee to give up a password for a privacy-protected personal website.

House

Man moves into home while family is away and claims he now owns it

© Harry Engels/Getty Images
Imagine going out of town to visit a dying relative only to come home and find a complete stranger living in your house; and worse, that stranger now says he legally owns that house.

WLWT-TV reported that Robert Carr moved into a house, changed the locks, and emptied the house.

Carr says he is able to claim the property through something called a "quiet title." He says the family abandoned the house and gave up their rights.

Carr wants to keep the home and not have to pay a penny.

"What he's looking for is full title and ownership of the home," Alison Warner, the family's attorney, told WLWT. "He's in their home. They don't know when he's there. He can be there now."

The family has charged Carr with breaking and entering but he is even fighting that charge.

Comment: More on the story, courtesy of WLWT:




Arrow Down

Michigan police shoot dog 8 times after barking complaint

© WXYZ.com
Brittany Preston’s dog, Lexie.
Saint Clair Shores - When a man with dementia accidentally left a dog outside all night, neighbor's called police to silence the dog's barking. Police obliged by firing 8 rounds into the dog in its front yard.

Brittany Preston left her puppy, Lexie, in the care of her grandfather as she went to work an overnight shift.

Unfortunately her grandpa's mild dementia caused his memory to be impaired. During the evening he let the dog into the yard to go to the bathroom, and forgot to let the dog back in.

Hours went by. The dog waited by the door, barking for its owner's attention. Preston's grandfather failed to hear the barking or remember his mistake.

Neighbors, tiring of the noise, called the police. Sometime after 7:00 a.m., police arrived and surrounded the dog in the yard. Preston's grandfather was awake now, and opened the door to usher the dog back into the house. But the dog continued to bark at police instead of going inside.

Police asked if he was the owner of the dog. Fumbling the question, he said he was not. Of course, his granddaughter was, but he did not make this clear. Police made the assumption the dog didn't belong there.

Saint Clair Shores Police spent some time trying to lasso the dog with a dog stick, but were ultimately overcome by "fear for their lives," a common malady in police work.

According to the police report, police officers opened fire when the dog "charged" at them. Eight rounds were fired into Lexie.