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Sat, 07 Dec 2019
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US: Gay Buffalo, New York Teen Commits Suicide on Eve of National Bullying Summit


Jamey Rodemeyer sent out many signals on social networking sites that he was struggling with his sexuality, and although he encouraged others on YouTube (shown above) to fight off the bullies, things didn't get better.

The Buffalo, N.Y., boy, 14, killed himself this weekend after posting an online farewell.

Hourglass

Georgia, US: Troy Davis Has Been Executed

Image
© T&G Staff/Tom Rettig

Behind Worcester City Hall today, a vigil was held for death row inmate Troy Davis. The event was organized by the Worcester branch of the NAACP.
Vigil held at Worchester City Hall

Jackson - Georgia executed Troy Davis on Wednesday night for the murder of an off-duty police officer, a crime he denied committing right to the end as supporters around the world mourned and declared that an innocent man was put to death.

As he lay strapped to a gurney in the death chamber, the 42-year-old told relatives of Mark MacPhail that he was not responsible for his 1989 slaying. "I did not have a gun," he insisted.

"All I can ask ... is that you look deeper into this case so that you really can finally see the truth," he said.

He asked his friends and family to "continue to fight this fight." Of prison officials he said, "may God have mercy on your souls. May God bless your souls."

Davis was declared dead at 11:08 p.m. The lethal injection began about 15 minutes earlier, after the Supreme Court rejected an 11th-hour request for a stay.

"Justice has been served for Officer Mark MacPhail and his family," state Attorney General Sam Olens said in a statement.

Heart

"To All" - A message from Troy Anthony Davis

Troy Davis
© Unknown
Troy Davis

To All:

I want to thank all of you for your efforts and dedication to Human Rights and Human Kindness, in the past year I have experienced such emotion, joy, sadness and never ending faith. It is because of all of you that I am alive today, as I look at my sister Martina I am marveled by the love she has for me and of course I worry about her and her health, but as she tells me she is the eldest and she will not back down from this fight to save my life and prove to the world that I am innocent of this terrible crime.

As I look at my mail from across the globe, from places I have never ever dreamed I would know about and people speaking languages and expressing cultures and religions I could only hope to one day see first hand. I am humbled by the emotion that fills my heart with overwhelming, overflowing Joy. I can't even explain the insurgence of emotion I feel when I try to express the strength I draw from you all, it compounds my faith and it shows me yet again that this is not a case about the death penalty, this is not a case about Troy Davis, this is a case about Justice and the Human Spirit to see Justice prevail.

Hourglass

US: Troy Davis Execution Delayed

Troy Davis' execution was delayed tonight as the Supreme Court weighed arguments by Davis' legal team and the state of Georgia over whether he deserves a stay.


At 7:05 p.m., five minutes after his scheduled death, Davis' supporters erupted in cheers, hugs and tears outside the jail in Jackson, Ga., as supporters believed Davis had been saved from the death penalty. But Davis was granted only a temporary reprieve as the Supreme Court considers the decision.

The warrant for Davis' execution is valid until Sept. 28. The Georgia Resource Center, part of Davis' legal defense team, said it was unsure how long the delay would last.

Davis was convicted of the 1989 murder of Savannah, Ga., policeman Mark MacPhail, and had his execution stayed four times over the course of his 22 years on death row, but multiple legal appeals during that time failed to prove his innocence.

Public support grew for Davis based on the recanted testimony of seven witnesses from his trial and the possible confession of another suspect, which his defense team claimed cast too much doubt on Davis' guilt to follow through with an execution.

Camera

4% of All Photos Ever Taken Are On Facebook

Facebook
© Minyanville

So this is why people are intensely creeped out by Facebook's facial-recognition database.

In a historical overview of consumer photography from the Kodak Brownie to Instagram, the photo-sharing site 1000memories' company blog estimated that humans have taken 3.5 trillion pictures so far -- and Facebook's servers host 140 billion of them. That's 4% of all photos taken ... ever.

Pretty incredible for a social network that's only been around since 2003. But it makes sense when you consider just how central Facebook is to online life, and the sheer volume of photos people take today.

With smartphone adoption growing like gangbusters since the iPhone's introduction in 2007, it's increasingly the norm to have a decent camera in your pocket at all times. And with flash memory prices at an all-time low (remember when you had to watch to make sure you wouldn't fill up the 128-megabyte card on your dedicated digital camera?), trends like taking photos of all one's meals have become convenient, if cringe-inducing.

People

US: Elizabeth Warren Tells It Like it Is: "No One in This Country Got Rich on his Own"

Someone anonymous put together this home-brewed video of Elizabeth Warren speaking at what looks like a supporter's house. It consists of two awesome excerpts: One on how we got into so much debt (two words: George Bush), and one on why libertarians are idiots (that would be my own interpretation of her remarks, by the way. Listen for yourself).

My prediction is if she continues to "Tell It Like It Is", Senator Brown is going to find himself a very ex-Senator, pining for the fjords of 2010, come November, 2012. Go Warren!

Here's my attempt at a transcript (fortunately, the video is short!)

Family

Is this one of America's worst miscarriages of justice?

Image
© Associated Press
Troy Davis, the convicted murderer at the centre of one of the most protracted and controversial death penalty cases in US history
Death row inmate Troy Davis' last-ditch plea rejected

The life of Troy Davis, a convicted murderer at the centre of one of the most protracted and controversial death penalty cases in US history, has entered what is expected to be its final hours, after a panel in Atlanta rejected his last-ditch plea for clemency.

At around 7pm local time (midnight GMT) tomorrow, 42-year-old Davis will be escorted to an execution chamber at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison outside the city of Jackson. He is scheduled to be killed by lethal injection.

The execution comes after Georgia's five-man Board of Pardons spent Monday hearing a plea for his sentence to be commuted. Supporters argue that Davis's conviction for the murder of off-duty police officer Mark MacPhail in 1989 was deeply flawed.

The Board heard submissions from several jurors who found Davis guilty but have since changed their mind, along with a selection of key prosecution witnesses who have recanted the evidence they gave at his trial in 1991. A spokesman refused to elaborate on why the board rejected his latest plea, or by what majority the decision was reached.

Pistol

Gunmen dump 35 bodies on busy street in Mexico

Image
© Reuters
Police and members of a forensic team stand around bodies on a motorway in Boca del Rio, on the outskirts of Veracruz Sept. 20.
Mexico City - Masked gunmen blocked traffic on a busy avenue in a Gulf of Mexico coastal city Tuesday and dumped the bodies of 35 slaying victims as horrified motorists watched, authorities said.

Veracruz state Attorney General Reynaldo Escobar Perez said the bodies were left piled in two trucks and on the ground of an underpass near a shopping mall in the city of Boca del Rio.

Police had identified seven of the victims so far and all had criminal records for murder, drug dealing, kidnapping and extorsion and were linked to organized crime, Escobar said. He didn't say to what group the victims belonged to.

The Gulf and Zetas drug cartels have been locked in a bloody war for control in Veracruz state over the last year.

Family

US: Couple Accused of Stealing Millions Intended for Preschoolers' Meals

Image
© Uli Seit/The New York Times
Joanna Fan, left, and Ziming Shen, center, at federal court in Brooklyn, where he got into a scuffle with Dan Shapiro, a photographer for The New York Post.
A Staten Island couple stole at least $2.5 million in federal funds meant for nutritious meals for preschoolers, prosecutors asserted in a criminal complaint unsealed on Friday.

The complaint accused the couple, Joanna Fan and her husband, Ziming Shen, of siphoning money over five years from accounts at the nonprofit Red Apple Child Development Center preschool chain, of which Ms. Fan, also known as Xiao Ping, is the executive director. The complaint accused the couple of using the money to make mortgage payments on several Manhattan condominiums and to benefit their private business interests, which include Preschool of America Inc., a chain of about a dozen for-profit preschools in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.

The couple surrendered to agents of the United States Agriculture Department on Friday morning and were arraigned before Magistrate Judge James Orenstein of United States District Court in Brooklyn. They pleaded not guilty and posted bail of $750,000 each.

The judge restricted their movement to parts of New York and ordered them to surrender their passports.

Rocket

A Future for Robot Drones: Automated Killing

Image
© Boeing
One afternoon last fall at Fort Benning, Georgia, two model-size planes took off, climbed to 800 and 1,000 feet, and began criss-crossing the military base in search of an orange, green and blue tarp.

The automated, unpiloted planes worked on their own, with no human guidance, no hand on any control.

After 20 minutes, one of the aircraft, carrying a computer that processed images from an onboard camera, zeroed in on the tarp and contacted the second plane, which flew nearby and used its own sensors to examine the colorful object. Then one of the aircraft signaled to an unmanned car on the ground so it could take a final, close-up look.

Target confirmed.

This successful exercise in autonomous robotics could presage the future of the American way of war: a day when drones hunt, identify and kill the enemy based on calculations made by software, not decisions made by humans. Imagine aerial "Terminators," minus beefcake and time travel.