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Less again: Food stamp recipients will see payment cut in November

Officials in Brunswick County are trying to get the word out about changes that will affect food stamp recipients nationwide: Though benefits will go up in October, they will drop in November.Summary
Facts - Rise, then fall

Though social services employees cannot determine how much any individual will receive after food stamp benefit changes, they estimate the cuts for those receiving the maximum benefits as follows:

Household size Prior to Nov. 1 After Nov. 1 Difference
1 $200 $189 $11
3 $526 $497 $29
4 $668 $632 $36
5 $793 $750 $43
6 $952 $900 $52
7 $1,052 $995 $57
8 $1202 $1,137 $65
Each additional member $150 $142 $8

Source: Brunswick County government
In October, the program's annual cost-of-living adjustment will provide an increase in the amount of benefits program recipients see, effective Oct. 1. Reductions will follow in November as a result of the loss of funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which was put in place in 2009, Brunswick officials said.

"In other words, people will see an increase in benefits in October, but then see a reduction in November," said Cathy Lytch, Brunswick County's social services director, in a statement. "We know this reduction will create a hardship, which is why we want people to be aware that there will be a decrease, so they can plan ahead."

According to estimates, the change will cut a family of three receiving the maximum benefit by $29 a month, from $526 to $497.

Despite the cost-of-living boost some recipients will see this month, all will see cuts in November, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services.

Che Guevara

Russell Brand on the revolution of consciousness: "This is the time for us to wake up"

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British comedian, actor, writer and activist Russell Brand in the spotlight
But before we change the world, we need to change the way we think.


When I was asked to edit an issue of the New Statesman I said yes because it was a beautiful woman asking me. I chose the subject of revolution because the New Statesman is a political magazine and imagining the overthrow of the current political system is the only way I can be enthused about politics.

When people talk about politics within the existing Westminster framework, I feel a dull thud in my stomach and my eyes involuntarily glaze. Like when I'm conversing and the subject changes from me and moves on to another topic. I try to remain engaged but behind my eyes I am adrift in immediate nostalgia; "How happy I was earlier in this chat," I instantly think.

I have never voted. Like most people I am utterly disenchanted by politics. Like most people I regard politicians as frauds and liars and the current political system as nothing more than a bureaucratic means for furthering the augmentation and advantages of economic elites. Billy Connolly said: "Don't vote, it encourages them," and, "The desire to be a politician should bar you for life from ever being one."

Che Guevara

Stop Watching Us: Largest privacy rally in U.S. history hits D.C.

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© Reuters / Jonathan Ernst
Demonstrators carry signs at "Stop Watching Us: A Rally Against Mass Surveillance" march near the U.S. Capitol in Washington, October 26, 2013.
Thousands are marching on the National Mall in Washington, DC to protest covert NSA surveillance operations on the anniversary of the Patriot Act. The organizers are planning to present Congress with a petition which has acquired over 570,000 signatures.

Stop Watching Us is a collective of 100 public advocacy groups, among them the American Civil Liberties Union, Freedom Works, as well as individuals like Chinese artist/activist Ai Weiwei and Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who worked with Edward Snowden to expose many of the NSA's surveillance procedures. The began at 11:30 am local time on October 26 - the 12th anniversary of the US Patriot Act.


Arrow Down

Diet pills containing human flesh seized in South Korea

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Two Chinese students who sold diet pills containing human flesh in the Jeju Province, have been arrested by Chinese police.

The Digital Journal has run several features on the risks associated with diet pills, but none so worrying and bizarre as this. The two students were studying in South Korea when they bought 3,000 diet pills and 500 detox pills off a Chinese website, according to Korea Times.

The two began selling the pills to other students. The two spent 20,000 won for each bottle of 30 pills, then sold each bottle for 60,000 won, a three-fold increase in profits.

When Jeju Maritime Police found and confiscated the pills at China's National Forensic Service, it was found that the pills contained human flesh. The Daily Mail notes that the pills also contained some nasty chemicals: sibutramine and phenolphthalein. Sibutramine is an oral anorexiant. It has been associated with increased cardiovascular events and strokes and has been withdrawn from the market in most countries and regions. Phenolphthalein is used in a test to identify substances that are thought to be, or to contain, blood. It is not suitable for human consumption.

Only the surnames of the two students have been revealed: a woman called Mo, aged 26, and man called Ahn, aged 21. As yet the story of how the pills came to contain human flesh is remains unknown. An even uglier side to this is the possibility that the flesh has been taken from babies.

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French traffic cops must issue tickets or lose Christmas days off

French Police Car
© Wikimedia Commons
Paris - A senior police officer, in charge of a road traffic division in the Paris area, has allegedly told his traffic officers to issue at least three tickets for driving offenses every day, or lose out on days off over the Christmas period.

According to a leaked document (in French), dated October 7th and published by AFP this week, the senior officer has allegedly told his officers to "be less lenient" with motorists.

He further ordered them to not "hesitate to give out more penalties." Europe 1 radio (in French) said on Friday that allegedly the police chief fixed an exact target of at least three PVE's (electronically processed fines) per officer, per day.

The officer is then alleged to have stated that the decision on the allocation of year-end holidays would be made depending on the "activities" of the unit, as well as any resulting drop in the number of accidents in the area.

Stormtrooper

Texas woman strip-searched and put to jail for overdue ticket

 Sarah Boaz
© North Richland Hills Police Department

A Richland Hills, TX woman was arrested, forced to strip down for a search, and jailed because she failed to pay a traffic ticket on time.

In August, Sarah Boaz was cited for running a stop sign, only to lose the ticket shortly afterwards. Two months later, the Richland Hills City Marshal was waiting for her at home with handcuffs.

Boaz acknowledged that it was wrong for her to wait so long to pay the ticket, but expressed frustration over what happened next: She was cuffed by the marshal, taken to jail, and told to remove her clothing for a search by a female police officer.

According to the local CBS 11 News station, Boaz recalled the officer saying, "'I'm going to need you to undress. I'm going to need you to stand against the wall. Please don't step in front of this white box, or I'll take that'... aggressive toward me."

As the article points out, a statement by the Richland Hills Police Department to CBS 11 News explained that stripping down individuals brought to jail was standard procedure, and that it does not consider the practice a strip search.

"She was given a dress out," the statement read. "Before they go into the cell they are taken by a detention officer of the same sex to a private room with no cameras. They have to remove all clothing and they are given a jumpsuit. The officer searches their clothes, at no time does the officer touch them."

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Some Florida police are using data to predict crime

FLPD
© Elvert Barnes
Well, the Fort Lauderdale Police Department isn't using an oracle yet, but it is getting one step closer to Minority Report-style crime predicting. The department has become the latest agency to use big data analytics and data mining to prevent crime by staying one step ahead of criminals.

According to IBM, the company has entered into a partnership with the Fort Lauderdale PD to integrate new data and analytics tools into everyday crime fighting. The new projects will use pattern recognition and anomaly detection tech on existing records like 911 calls, crime records, and building permit activity.

"We're entering a new era of police work where advances in technology are providing us with an additional tool to use in our crime prevention efforts," said Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Frank Adderley in a release. "Integrating advanced data analysis into our operational strategies will help us maximize resources and stay one step ahead of the criminals." The data generated by the new software package is designed to help, among other things, generate new patrol routes and redeploy officers to areas that have more crime activity.

IBM also emphasized that using data cuts costs for police departments and helps them provide the same level of service during a time when they may have fewer resources. The company is one of the leading providers of specialized software for law enforcement.

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Pets in Iowa poisoned by tainted meatballs


Prairieburg - Linn County Sheriff's deputies are investigating after someone poisoned six pets in town.

Pet owners say eight to ten meatballs laced with the poison strychnine were placed inside kennels and left outside some homes on East Main Street.

"[Veterinarians] said it was a former rat poison that's fast acting. It can hit in ten minutes to two hours," said dog owner, Bryce Plower.

Plower's dog, Gucci, was killed by the tainted meat early Thursday morning. His other dog, Beckett, was also showing symptoms and being monitored.

"It causes their muscles to stop working. Then it causes their diaphragm to go into a nervous shock. It causes them to breathe heavy and make their heart race," said Plower.

People 2

Scorned husband smashes up own house with his car

A man in the US flies into a rage and drives his car into his own front room after allegedly discovering his wife had been unfaithful


The footage shows three people standing on the grass in front of the house while the white car spins in the front garden.

The car then makes a beeline towards the house, crashing through the side of it and becoming trapped.

The video was posted on YouTube by Annahill3001 who claims a furious husband did it in response to finding out about his wife's affair.

He wrote: "caught this on the way home from work. Word is the man caught his wife cheating on him and he decided to take things into his own hands bulldozing his own home! CRAZY! THIS GUY IS A MORON!"

The video has provoked a flurry of comments from YouTube users sympathetic to the man's plight.

The video has already been watched over a million times.

DarthKaine666 wrote "well she destroyed his world, so he was helping her finish it ..." while 1320crusier commented "she was gonna get the house in the divorce anyway".

Pistol

UK Police are using high-voltage Tasers on children as young as 11 almost every day, new figures reveal

  • New figures have been released under Freedom of Information laws
  • They show that 323 under-18s were fired on in 2011
  • It was also revealed that in 2010, 74 children were threatened by having the Taser's sights trained on them without firing the weapon
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Widespread: In 2011 Tasers were used 323 times against under-18s

Tasers are being used by police against children as young as 11 almost every day, figures have revealed.

Armed officers discharged, targeted or threatened to use the 50,000-volt weapons against youngsters more than 320 times a year - an 11-fold increase from the first year they were cleared for use against under-18s in 2007.

It emerged earlier this year that a girl aged just 12 had been shot by police with a Taser device in St Helens. Other children aged 11 have been threatened by officers with the weapons, forced have admitted.