Society's ChildS


Iraq eyes F-16 buys on road to new air force

© fotoajans.comAn F-16 Falcon
Dubai - Iraq is planning to expand its fleet of aerial reconnaissance planes "in the near future" and is hoping to sign a deal for a second batch of F-16 warplanes by next year, the country's air force chief said on Saturday.

The moves, laid out by Lt. General Anwer Amin on the sidelines of a conference ahead of Sunday's Dubai Airshow, are part of Iraq's efforts to move gradually away from dependence on U.S. air support.

"We have projects to buy UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) in the near future," Amin told reporters on the sidelines of the air marshals conference.

He said the Iraqi air force was looking into several options.

"One of the leading countries in the region is the United Arab Emirates, there is also the United States," he said.

The United States will withdraw its remaining 40,000 troops in Iraq by the end of this year, but Iraqi officials say it will take years before they are able to defend their airspace.

Comment: Physically the United States is not a leading "country in the region", though the Empire has a strong presence.


Accidental blast at Iranian arms depot kills 17

© Associated PressIn this image taken from amateur video smokes rises from an accidental explosion at a Revolutionary Guard ammunition depot outside Bidganeh village,west of Tehran which killed at least 17 people on Saturday Nov. 12, 2001, officials said.
Tehran - An accidental explosion at a Revolutionary Guard ammunition depot west of Tehran killed at least 17 soldiers on Saturday, Iranian officials said.

The explosion occurred while military personnel were transporting munitions at a base, said Guard spokesman Gen. Ramazan Sharif. The site is located outside Bidganeh village, 25 miles (40 kilometers) southwest of the capital.

The Guard is Iran's most powerful military force.

"My colleagues at the Guard were transporting ammunition at one of the depots at the site when an explosion occurred as a result of an accident," Sharif said.

At least 17 Guard members were killed, state TV reported. The broadcast said 16 other soldiers were injured and hospitalized. Sharif said some of them were in critical condition.

Earlier, Sharif had said incorrectly that 27 soldiers were killed but later retracted his statement, explaining that the error was due to an illegible fax from officials at the site of the blast.

Among those killed was Hasan Moghaddam, a senior Guard commander.

Lawmaker Parviz Soroori ruled out sabotage.

"No sabotage was involved in this incident. It has nothing to do with politics," Soroori was quoted as saying by the parliament's website,

Arrow Down

US: Pennsylvania State May Be Downgraded by Moody's in Wake of Abuse Scandal

Penn State University had its Aa1 revenue-bond rating placed on review for possible downgrade by Moody's Investors Service amid the investigation into a child sex-abuse scandal.

Moody's said it will examine the reputational and financial risk arising from the probe, after the Penn State football team's former defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky, was charged with sexually assaulting eight boys from 1994 to 2009.

About $1 billion of rated debt would be affected by a downgrade, according to the statement. The company said it will take several months to monitor events, including possible lawsuits, weaker student demand, decreased philanthropic support, changes in its relationship with the state and management moves. Aa1 is Moody's second-highest rating.


Mexico's interior minister killed in helicopter crash

Francisco Blake Mora
© AP Photo/Eduardo VerdugoFrancisco Blake Mora, 45, started his political career in the mid-1990s
Mexico's war against brutal drug cartels suffered a devastating blow on Friday night after a helicopter crash killed the country's top security official in charge of the fight against cartels.

Interior Secretary Francisco Blake Mora's helicopter came down on the outskirts of the capital, Mexico City, with at least seven other people on board.

He became the second interior minister to be killed in an aviation crash in just over three years after his predecessor, Juan Camilo Mourino, was killed in a small aeroplane crash in a November 2008.

Television images showed the scattered wreckage on a hillside south of the city. There were no survivors.


Greek Economic Crisis a Boon to Private Security Industry

Greece Security
© Minyanville

The Greek manufacturing sector saw one of its sharpest declines in history last month. Auto sales in October were at their lowest point since 1985. And retail stores, according to the New York Times, are "closing by the day."

But private security firms?

Hiring spree.

Like Sakis Tsaoussis is the president and CEO of Athens-based Pyrsos Security. Like an investor who shorted the euro six or so months ago, Tsaoussis isn't complaining. He tells Der Spiegel that the company's "services for private clients have increased by up to 50 percent in recent months and he has responded to demand by adding 100 new employees to his 1,000-person firm in the past year."

Murders have doubled since 2006. Home break-ins are "on track to set new records."


Great Pyramid Shut Down After Rumors of 11/11/11 Rituals

© DreamstimeThe Great Pyramid at Giza is both the oldest ancient wonder and the only one still standing today. It was built as a mausoleum for the pharaoh Khufu around 2650 BC and for over 4,000 years remained the world's tallest structure.
Amid rumors of mysterious groups planning to hold 11/11/11 ceremonies at the Giza pyramids, Egyptian officials closed the largest pyramid of Khufu until Saturday morning, the Associated Press reported today (Nov. 11).

The closure is for routine maintenance, according to Egypt's antiquities authority, but online chatter and local media reports have focused on rumors that "Masonic" or "Jewish" rites were planned on the site at 11:11 a.m. local time on Nov. 11, 2011. According to the AP, Egyptian officials said nothing out of the ordinary happened at 11:11.

"Everything is normal," Giza complex director Ali al-Asfar told the news agency.


Missouri, US: Woman Found Fused to Recliner in Home

© Basset
Kansas City - A suburban Kansas City woman was left sitting in a vinyl recliner for so long that her skin had fused to the chair and she had to be pried out to be taken to a hospital after suffering an apparent stroke, authorities said.

Carol F. Brown's adult son told a state official he had left his 74-year-old mother in the chair for five days without helping her get up to use the bathroom or bathe because he was honoring her wishes to die in her Independence home, according to court documents that described the woman as a "rotting corpse that was still breathing." Brown later died.

"It is an incredible story to me," Independence police spokesman Tom Gentry said Wednesday.

Police were contacted after Brown was taken to a hospital Oct. 27 and found to have a maggot infestation inside an open wound around her ankle, according to the court documents that said Brown's home was "filthy with a heavy smell of bodily fluids and feces."

Comment: While it can be said that a person, if able, has a right to die at their own choosing, it's also possible that there are underlying motives such as loneliness, depression or other, that are actually cries for help. Every situation is different and there are no one-size-fits-all solutions.

Heart - Black

US, Colorado: Woman Survives Attack by Killer Who Stored Body in Freezer

© Tillman Family; Fort Collins Police Dept/The Associated PressLydia Tillman survived a brutal attack by Travis Forbes, seen in right photo, who killed another woman months earlier.
"I can talk," said Lydia Tillman with pride and great effort. For a woman who spent over five weeks in a coma after being sexually assaulted, strangled and doused in bleach, this is no small feat.

"I'm tough," said Tillman, an acclaimed sommelier and a seasoned world traveler.

At a 4th of July fireworks celebration in downtown Fort Collins, Colorado, Tillman, 30, met a stranger who returned with her to her apartment, sexually assaulted and strangled her, beat her head, shattered her jaw, and left her for dead. To cover his crime, police say the man then poured bleach on her body and throughout her apartment, then started a fire.

Despite the physical trauma, Tillman found the strength to survive by leaping out of her second-story window and running into an ambulance that had just arrived. When the medics asked whether she knew the assailant, Tillman repeatedly told them "No, no, no" before suffering a stroke that left her in a coma for over five weeks.

Tillman would later learn that police had already been building a case against her attacker for an assault on another woman -- an assault that ended in murder.

After 19-year-old Kenia Monge went missing in downtown Denver on April 1, police questioned Travis Forbes, 31, a local entrepreneur, after Monge's step-father found a text message from Forbes on Monge's cell phone.


US: American soldier gets life sentence for conviction in thrill-killings of Afghan civilians

© Polaris / EyevineOn trial: Staff Sergeant Calvin Gibbs, accused of killing three unarmed Afghan civilians, walks through a field on his way into a village in Kandahar province
A U.S. military jury sentenced an Afghan war veteran to life in prison after the Army staff sergeant was convicted of murder, conspiracy and other charges in the deaths of civilians, in one of the most gruesome cases to emerge from the conflict.

Staff Sgt. Calvin Gibbs, of Billings, Montanta, was accused of exhorting his bored underlings to slaughter three Afghan civilians for sport.

The jury for the court martial at Joint Base Lewis-McChord south of Seattle sentenced Gibbs Thursday to life in prison, but he will be eligible for parole in less than nine years.

The 26-year-old soldier was the highest ranking of five soldiers charged in the deaths of the unarmed men during patrols in Kandahar province early last year.

At his seven-day court martial, he acknowledged cutting fingers off corpses and yanking out a victim's tooth to keep as war trophies, "like keeping the antlers off a deer you'd shoot." But he insisted he wasn't involved in the first or third killings, and in the second he merely returned fire.

Prosecutors said Gibbs and his co-defendants knew the victims posed no danger but dropped weapons by their dead bodies to make them appear to have been combatants.


US, California: Man dies after being shot on plaza near Occupy Oakland protest encampment

© The Associated Press / The Canadian Press / Ben MargotAn Occupy Oakland protestor sits beside candles at the scene if a shooting Thursday, Nov. 10, 2011, in Oakland, Calif. A man was shot and killed Thursday outside the Oakland encampment that anti-Wall Street protesters have occupied for the last month, but an organizer for Occupy Oakland said the attack was unrelated to the ongoing protest of U.S. financial institutions.
A man was shot and killed Thursday just outside the Oakland encampment that anti-Wall Street protesters have occupied for the last month, causing a scream-filled commotion in the City Hall plaza where the camp stands and turning a planned anniversary celebration into a sombre, candlelit memorial.

With opinions about Occupy Oakland and its effect on the city having become more divided in recent days, supporters and opponents immediately reacted to the homicide - the city's 101st this year.

Camp organizers said the attack was unrelated to their activities, while city and business leaders, cited the death as proof that the camp itself either bred crime or drained law enforcement resources from other parts of the Oakland.

Mayor Jean Quan, who has been criticized by residents on both sides for issuing mixed signals about the local government's willingness to tolerate the camp, issued a statement Thursday providing a clear eviction notice.

"Tonight's incident underscores the reason why the encampment must end. The risks are too great," Quan said. "We need to return (police) resources to addressing violence throughout the city. It's time for the encampment to end. Camping is a tactic, not a solution."