Society's ChildS

Heart - Black

Baby rescued from toilet sewer pipe in China

Chinese firefighters have rescued a newborn boy from a sewer pipe below a squat toilet, sawing out an L-shaped section and then delicately dismantling it to free the cocooned baby, who greeted the rescuers with cries.

A tenant heard the baby's sounds in the public restroom of a residential building in Zhejiang province in eastern China on Saturday and notified authorities, according to the state-run news site Zhejiang News. A video of the two-hour rescue that followed was broadcast widely on Chinese news programs and websites late Monday and Tuesday.


Flashback Howard Zinn on Memorial Day

Another Memorial Day. Another war. Yes, let's honor those who died in the nation's many wars. But if we do not want to keep adding to the soldiers' graves, let's also ask why they died.

We know our political leaders will speak solemnly to the nation while the flags are unfurled and the bugles blow, and they will say, as they always do, "They gave their lives for their country."

And that is supposed to satisfy the families of the dead, supposed to satisfy all of us whose children and grandchildren may be called upon to serve in future wars.


Glitch in widely used polygraph can skew results

© John J. Kim/MCTDonny McGee was arrested for murder in 2001 after a Chicago police officer and a detective fabricated a polygraph result and false confession and spent three years in prison before being acquitted in a jury trial in 2004. McGee plays with his children in Bourbonnais, Illinois.
Washington - Police departments and federal agencies across the country are using a type of polygraph despite evidence of a technical problem that could label truthful people as liars or the guilty as innocent, McClatchy has found.

As a result, innocent people might have been labeled criminal suspects, faced greater scrutiny while on probation or lost out on jobs. Or, just as alarming, spies and criminals may have escaped detection.

The technical glitch produced errors in the computerized measurements of sweat in one of the most popular polygraphs, the LX4000. Although polygraphers first noticed the problem a decade ago, many government agencies hadn't known about the risk of inaccurate measurements until McClatchy recently raised questions about it.

The manufacturer, Lafayette Instrument Co. Inc., described the phenomenon as "occasional" and "minor," but it couldn't say exactly how often it occurs. Even after one federal agency became concerned and stopped using the measurement and a veteran polygrapher at another witnessed it repeatedly change test results, the extent and the source of the problem weren't independently studied nor openly debated. In the meantime, tens of thousands of Americans were polygraphed on the LX4000.

The controversy casts new doubt on the reliability and usefulness of polygraphs, which are popularly known as lie detectors and whose tests are banned for use as evidence by most U.S. courts. Scientists have long questioned whether polygraphers can accurately identify liars by interpreting measurements of blood pressure, sweat activity and respiration. But polygraphers themselves say they rely on the measurements to be accurate for their daily, high-stakes decisions about people's lives.


Mistakes of teens will stay with them forever by way of the internet

© BFvsGF/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET) When you search "teens do stupid things" on YouTube, you get a treasure trove.
Speaking at a festival in the U.K., Google's executive chairman offers that the things teens do now will stay with them forever, by way of the Web. He also suggested some people are sharing too much online.

It must be peculiar for children of the Internet age.

They are the first to have a complete record of their whole lives. They are the first who'll be able to offer concrete proof of every one of their days, friends, and actions.

Eric Schmidt worries, however, that they'll be the first who'll never be allowed to forget their mistakes.

As the Telegraph reports, Schmidt spoke Saturday at the Hay Festival in the U.K. and offered some sobering thoughts for those addled by online life.

He said: "There are situations in life that it's better that they don't exist. Especially if there is stuff you did when you were a teenager. Teenagers are now in an adult world online."

Some days, you could hardly describe most of what happens online as "adult." Still, Schmidt says he believes the online world has gone too far in forcing teens to never forget.

In bygone times, he said, they were punished, but allowed to grow beyond youthful indiscretions.

Bad Guys

Prosecutor in Italy launches Facebook investigation after bullying results in girl's suicide

Before taking her life, Carolina wrote: 'Forgive me if I am not strong. I cannot take it any longer'
An Italian prosecutor has launched an investigation into how Facebook allowed the publication of insults and bullying posts aimed at a teenager, who later leapt to her death from her third floor bedroom window.

Carolina Picchio, 14, from Novara in northern Italy, committed suicide in January after a gang of boys circulated video on Facebook of her appearing drunk and dishevelled in the bathroom at a party.

The group, aged between 15 and 17, were said to be friends of Miss Picchio's ex-boyfriend. He had allegedly insulted her on Facebook when she left him days earlier, although he claims to have later apologised.

"Isn't what you have done to me enough? You have made me pay too many times," Miss Picchio wrote in a note to the boy which was found in her room by investigators.

Before taking her life, she wrote on Facebook: "Forgive me if I am not strong. I cannot take it any longer."

The Italian Parent's Association has already filed a criminal complaint in Rome directly against Facebook for allegedly having a role in the instigation of Miss Picchio's suicide.

"This is the first time a parent's group has filed such a complaint against Facebook in Europe," said director Antonio Affinita. "Italian law forbids minors under 18 signing contracts, yet Facebook is effectively entering into a contract with minors regarding their privacy, without their parents knowing."

Francesco Saluzzo, the Novara prosecutor, said he did not rule out placing Facebook staff under investigation.

Mr Saluzzo told The Daily Telegraph he was probing how the videos had stayed online "for days", even after Miss Picchio's friends requested their removal.

"There is a procedure for asking for the removal of messages that break rules," he said. "This is an open investigation without named suspects, as yet. Facebook itself is not under investigation. But we could theoretically investigate employees of Facebook who failed to respond to these requests."

Red Flag

Draconian Shadow Justice: Secret UK courts break up families

A secret court in the UK has put some people behind bars just for trying to take care of their own relatives. One woman whose father was pronounced 'mentally ill' was locked away. But since the hearings are behind closed doors, it's hard to know why.


Female suicide bomber attacks police headquarters in Dagestan, Russia

A female suicide bomber has blown herself up in Russia's Dagestan region, injuring 11 policemen and passers-by.

dagestan suicide bomber
The latest attack comes days after two car bombs in Makhachkala killed four people and injured dozens more on May 20th
Dagestan, an ethnically mixed, mostly Muslim region between Chechnya and the Caspian Sea, has become the most violent province in the North Caucasus, where insurgents say they are fighting to carve out an Islamic state out of southern Russia.

The bomb was detonated after police stopped the car to check the driver's documents, 100 metres from the regional police ministry in the centre of Makhachkala, the regional capital.

The city is where Boston bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev's family came from, and the 26-year-old returned there to visit last year. American authorities are currently in the city to investigate Tsarnaev's possible jihadist connections there.

Police sources told local media on Saturday the only person killed in the suicide attack was the bomber, whom they identified as the former wife of two militants.

It is not unusual for women to carry out suicide bombings in the region, and they are often the widows of militants.


Crane collapses and crashes into flats in Russia

Residents in a Russian apartment block describe the moment the massive structure came crashing into their homes.

A huge construction crane has collapsed onto a block of flats in Kirov, Russia, smashing through several floors of the nine-storey complex.

Around 250 people live in the building, including 37 children, but despite extensive damage to the outside there were no reports of injuries.

Witnesses described hearing a loud noise and seeing the several ton crane rolling towards them, before it crashed into their flats.

Tenants reportedly ran into the hallways for shelter as the crane tore through balconies at the front of building.

Seven cars parked outside were badly damaged, one was said to have been crushed into a "shapeless heap of metal".

One resident told reporters: "We were in the kitchen and heard a loud rattle.


Pope Francis 'performs first exorcism'

According to TV2000, a Catholic television channel, the act was carried out in St Peter's Square after Mass on Sunday.

Smiling broadly, the Pope initially shook the man's hand, but the South American pontiff's expression changed dramatically after a priest from the Legionaries of Christ, a conservative order, leaned in close and spoke a few words to him.


Gambian parents jailed in Spain for circumcising daughters

Gambian parents have been sentenced to 12 years in prison in Spain for circumcising their two daughters in a landmark case pitting Spanish law against African tradition.
© Agency France Presse
Female circumcision is not a culture. It is mutilation and discrimination against women' said the written judgement.
In what is believed to be the toughest sentence in Europe to date for parents who allowed genital mutilation on their daughters, Binta Sankano and her husband Sekou Tutay, were sentenced to six years for each crime against their young daughters.

A panel of judges at the Provincial Court in Barcelona ruled that the parents, both of Gambian nationality and resident in Spain for 20 years, were criminally responsible for the clitoridectomy performed on both their daughters.

"The couple deliberately mutilated their young daughters either directly or through a person of unknown identity," said the written judgement. "Female circumcision is not a culture. It is mutilation and discrimination against women."