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Residents describe 'scary' China riots

Zengcheng - Residents of a southern Chinese town on Wednesday described frightening scenes of overturned cars engulfed in flames and armed police out in force after days of violent clashes.

A heavy security presence remained on the streets of , which is part of the greater Guangzhou area -- a bustling city in China's industrial heartland packed with migrant workers that lies near the border with Hong Kong.

The clashes, sparked by rumours spread on the Internet that police had beaten a street hawker to death and manhandled his pregnant wife, have so far led to 25 arrests.

"It was very scary -- the scariest thing I have encountered since I was born," said Chao, a 27-year-old owner of a denim shop in Xintang, a garment district in Zengcheng, which is about 90 minutes by car from central Guangzhou.

Chao said at one point in the melee, there were a "few thousand rioters" facing off against a massive police force, adding: "They burnt down one of the buildings."

Beaker

Illegal Spread of GM Rice Alarms Chinese Officials

rice
© AFP
Genetically modified rice has been spreading illegally for years in China, officials have admitted, triggering a debate on a sensitive aspect of the food security plan in the world's most populous nation.

Two strains of GM rice were approved for open-field experiments but not commercial sale in 2009. In January, the agriculture ministry said "no genetically modified cereals are being grown in China" outside the test sites.

But in April, an environment ministry official told the weekly Nanfang Zhoumo that a joint investigation by four government departments had found that "illegal GM seeds are present in several provinces because of weak management".

The agriculture ministry did not respond to an AFP request for clarification.

Arrow Down

US: Two Refugio Women Sue Sheriff, Deputies Over Illegal Strip Search

Image
© unknown
Two Refugio women have filed a lawsuit against Refugio County Sheriff Robert Bolcik and two of his deputies over claims that the officers illegally strip searched them on the side of the highway in plain view of oncoming traffic.

Plaintiffs Brittah Williams and Jessica Mascorro claimed Bolcik, who was elected sheriff in November 2008, along with deputies Jeff Raymond and Shelley Haertig, both of whom are named as defendants in the lawsuit along with Bolcik, violated the plaintiffs' Fourth Amendment rights, which guard against unreasonable searches and seizures.

Refugio County also is named as a defendant.

The lawsuit was filed June 8 in federal court.

Bolcik, who received a copy of the lawsuit Monday via email, did not respond to messages left by The Advocate for comment.

Both Refugio County Judge Rene Mascorro and County Auditor Diana Moss said they were unaware of any lawsuit pending against the county, and therefore could not comment.

Crusader

US: Woman Accused of Stealing from Another's Purse at Church


Police say there's a woman stealing from purses in the middle of church services all over the Houston area and some people may not even realize they've fallen victim to her.

One of the churches hit by the thief is Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in northwest Houston, say police. But it's the video from another church that investigators want you to watch closely.

Sheriff's deputies believe she has targeted victims across the city and as far away as Galveston -- and in a place those victim's least expected it.

Cynthia Gonzalez, 43, also known as Cynthia Martinez, is not new to the criminal justice system. Her rap sheet goes back 20 years. But the doors she's suspected of passing through now are even surprising to investigators.

"It's rare that you see this type of surveillance video," Harris County Sheriff's Office Spokeswoman Christina Garza said.

Handcuffs

UK: Plot to 'Rob and Murder' Joss Stone Foiled as Police Swoop on Two Men Armed with Swords, Rope and a Body Bag Near Her Home

Image
© PA
Plot: International soul singer Joss Stone was the target of an alleged robbery and murder plan
  • Pair were caught with plans to the star's home
Two men armed with swords have been arrested over an alleged plot to rob and murder soul singer Joss Stone at her home in Devon.

The pair were caught in a car near her home with weapons - thought to be swords - along with a body bag, plans to her house and rope.

Police said the two men, aged 30 and 33, were arrested in Cullompton, Devon, at about 10am yesterday.

Detectives said the men were initially arrested for possession of offensive weapons and being equipped to steal.

Officers found swords, rope and a body bag when they arrested the men near the 24-year-old star's isolated country home, the Sun reported.

The men also had detailed maps and aerial photos of her rural property, it was reported.

A Devon and Cornwall Police spokesman said: 'Police attended an address in Cullompton yesterday morning after alert residents notified officers about a suspicious-looking vehicle.

'Officers attended the area at around 10am and subsequently arrested the occupants of a red Fiat Punto.

Mail

Canada: Government Considers Back to Work Order as Canada Post Locks Out 48,000 Workers

Image
© The Canadian Press / Trevor Hagan
A Canadian Union of Postal Workers member pickets in front of the main post office on Graham Avenue in Winnipeg, Manitoba on Friday June 3, 2011. Winnipeg's postal workers will continue to walk the picket lines as their union representatives meet with senior Canada Post management officials later Friday.
Canada Post's lockout of 48,000 unionized workers on Wednesday has prompted Labour Minister Lisa Raitt and her officials to reconsider whether to order an end to service disruptions that began nearly two weeks ago.

With Canada Post deciding Tuesday night to lock-out the workers and suspend all mail service in urban centres, Raitt said the situation has fundamentally changed - although she wouldn't say back-to-work legislation was certain.

Raitt has previously called for the two sides to negotiate a settlement, with the help of a federal mediator, but several major issues remain unresolved after months of bargaining.

"Today we now have a lockout so there's a cessation of mail delivery, that's different than rolling strikes, that's different than cutting back on the mail service," she told reporters Wednesday morning.

"It's time to go back and take a look at the effect on the Canadian public, Canadian businesses and indeed on the national economy."

On Tuesday, Raitt tabled intent to order about 3,800 striking workers at Air Canada (TSX:AC.B) back on the job, citing the impact on a fragile economy.

Canada Post's decision to lock out members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers may leave lasting scars.

Laptop

UK: Facebook Chat Leaves Juror Facing Jail

Image
© Agence France-Presse
Joanne Fraill arrives at the High Court in London. Fraill was warned by a judge that she faces jail for contacting a defendant on the social networking site Facebook, causing the collapse of a major drugs trial
A juror was warned by a judge on Tuesday that she faces jail for contacting a defendant on the social networking site Facebook, causing the collapse of a major drugs trial.

In what is believed to be the first case of its kind in Britain involving the Internet, juror Joanne Fraill admitted contempt of court at the High Court in London for chatting online with Jamie Sewart during a trial last year.

Lord Chief Justice, Igor Judge, said Fraill's sentence would be announced on Thursday, but warned the sobbing woman he did not think there were any circumstances under which she could avoid jail.

Fraill, 40, faces a maximum of two years in prison.

The judges also found that Sewart -- who ended up being acquitted during the trial last August -- had also committed contempt by asking Frail for details of the jury's deliberations.

But the judges ruled the 34-year-old would receive a suspended sentence because she had suffered a lengthy separation from her baby during the earlier trial.

Che Guevara

Massive strike to paralyze Prague, Czech Republic

cz strike
© www.dpmj.cz
Prague - From Madrid to Athens, EU governments are currently seeing mounting opposition of some social sectors against austerity reforms.

On Monday 13 June, this protest wave will flood the Czech Republic, and above all its capital, with massive strike and blockades planned by the country's labor unions on the same day. The capital is expected to be totally paralyzed - it is likely that even the subway will not operate.


Comment: Tthe strike was to take place on Monday June 13. After the Prague municipal court ruled it illegal, arguing that the organizers had failed to announce the protest three working days in advance it was moved to Thursday June 16 .

Read more: Czechs protest austerity in largest strike in 20 years
Read more: Czech Rep: Only EU state to increase deficit in 2011?

The strike will be probably the largest protest against the center-right government established approximately one year ago and the austerity reforms it plans. However, rather than by popular protests, the coalition is currently threatened above all by its own internal rupture, and it is increasingly uncertain whether it will be able to complete its full term.

Pistol

US: Louisvillian Charged in Shooting of 12-Year-Old Boy


A 56-year-old man charged with attempted murder in the shooting of a 12-year-old Glenmary boy Monday night was described by a neighbor as "low key."

"I'm shocked," said Ida Buffat, who lives on Hall Farm Drive just down the street from Michael Bishop, who was arrested and charged with shooting the boy.

Police said the boy had been playing a game with other children in which they would run up to a home, ring the doorbell or knock, and then run away.

The boy, whose name is not being released because of his age, suffered a possible buckshot injury from a shotgun, said Dwight Mitchell, a Louisville Metro Police spokesman. He said police are still investigating what kind of ammunition was used.

Arrow Down

Canada: Woman's Lawn Goes Missing

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© Denise Thompson, globaltvedmonton.com
A north-end homeowner is puzzled about her disappearing lawn
Denise Thompson had a beautiful front lawn, thick and green. It was where her four children and two dogs played, and where she drank coffee on sunny mornings.

Then someone stole it. They didn't even leave a note.

"Now my place looks like I'm a farmer who just plowed and is ready to put their seeds down," she said Monday.

Thompson and her children went to visit her husband in Stettler Friday morning. They returned to their Kilkenny neighbourhood home Sunday afternoon. The family entered through the back door and everything seemed fine.

Then Thompson opened the blinds on the large picture window in the front room.

"Oh my God," she thought. "Where is my grass?"