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Heart - Black

Iraq: Fallujah Babies: Under a New Kind of Siege

Fallujah
© EPA
Congenital abnormalities have mushroomed in the wake of devastating US sieges in Fallujah in 2004
Doctors and residents blame US weapons for catastrophic levels of birth defects in Fallujah's newborns.

Fallujah, Iraq - While the US military has formally withdrawn from Iraq, doctors and residents of Fallujah are blaming weapons like depleted uranium and white phosphorous used during two devastating US attacks on Fallujah in 2004 for what are being described as "catastrophic" levels of birth defects and abnormalities.

Dr Samira Alani, a paediatric specialist at Fallujah General Hospital, has taken a personal interest in investigating an explosion of congenital abnormalities that have mushroomed in the wake of the US sieges since 2005.

"We have all kinds of defects now, ranging from congenital heart disease to severe physical abnormalities, both in numbers you cannot imagine," Alani told Al Jazeera at her office in the hospital, while showing countless photos of shocking birth defects.

As of December 21, Alani, who has worked at the hospital since 1997, told Al Jazeera she had personally logged 677 cases of birth defects since October 2009. Just eight days later when Al Jazeera visited the city on December 29, that number had already risen to 699.

Crusader

US: New York Pastor Arrested in Connection with Myrtle Beach Area Robbery

Image
© unknown
Anthony Lee Drumgoole
A Rochester, N.Y., pastor who was arrested Friday at his church will also face charges in Horry County stemming from a November robbery at the Carolina Forest Buffalo Wild Wings, police said

Upon his return to Horry County, Anthony Lee Drumgoole, 23, will be charged with kidnapping and robbery and four counts of financial transaction card fraud, according to Sgt. Robert Kegler of Horry County police. He has family ties in the city of Conway.

On Nov. 27, Drumgoole allegedly robbed a patron at knifepoint in the restaurant's bathroom and forced the victim to strip in order to keep him from giving chase.

Family

US: Number of Homeless Students Surges, Putting Strain on Schools

homeless family staying at Madonna House
© Richard A. Chapman~Chicago Sun-Times
Regenia Nelson and her children, Jarvis, 15, and Janiyah, 18 months, are a homeless family staying at Madonna House, a shelter in the Lakeview community.
At 15, Jarvis Nelson should be in high school and even thinking about college.

Yet Jarvis is in seventh grade, and doesn't know where he'll go to high school - or even where he will be living - when he graduates from junior high, hopefully next year.

That's because Jarvis has attended three different schools in the past four months. He's lived in three different places on the North and South Sides of the city - including his most recent home, a temporary shelter in Lake View.

Jarvis, like thousands of other students in Chicago Public Schools, is homeless.

He is just one of more than 10,660 students who were homeless at the beginning of the school year. That's 1,466 more than at the same point in the previous school year, according to a CPS tally.

Sheriff

Canada: Sex on Duty Costs Saskatoon Police Officer

Image
© CBC News
Saskatoon police officer Collin Reddekopp was suspended for 30 days and demoted in rank for one year.
A Saskatoon police officer who had sex with a member of the public while he was on duty, has been suspended for 30 days and demoted.

The officer, Cst. Collin Reddekopp, was the subject of an investigation by Saskatchewan's Public Complaints Commission, which oversees local municipal police departments.

"It's pretty straightforward," Saskatoon's chief of police, Clive Weighill, told CBC News when asked to provide more information about the case.

"Officer meets girl. Officer has affair. Officer has sexual encounter one day on duty," Weighill explained.

According to Weighill, the officer met the woman in April when he was assigned to investigate her concerns about receiving a number of annoying telephone calls.

Weighill said that after dealing with the woman's case, Reddekopp started a relationship with her.

Vader

Breaking: NYPD Silencing Protesters From Informing Public NDAA passed

Protester went to Grand Central Terminal NYC to inform the Public that NDAA passed but was met with arrests.


Heart - Black

UK: 15-year-old boy 'murdered over witch claim'

Eric Bikubi and Magalie Bamu
© BBC News
Eric Bikubi and Magalie Bamu deny murder
A 15-year-old boy was tortured and drowned by his sister and her boyfriend because they believed he was a witch, the Old Bailey has heard.

Kristy Bamu, from Paris, was found dead in Newham, east London, on Christmas Day in 2010.

The boy had 101 injuries and died from being beaten with a metal bar and drowning, the court heard.

His sister Magalie Bamu and her boyfriend, Eric Bikubi, both Congolese and aged 28, of Newham, deny murder.

Prosecutors told jurors of acts they described as "depraved", "wicked" and "cruel".

People

Top Syrian general defects with 50 troops

Image
© Bassem Tellawi/AP
Investigators inspect the bomb scene at a Midan neighborhood, the explosion ripped through a busy intersection in the capital Friday.
Beirut - As Arab League monitors prepared a report on Syria's compliance with its agreement to halt violence against protesters, a senior general reportedly said on live TV he was defecting from the regime's army with up to 50 of his soldiers.

Colonel Afeef Mahmoud Suleiman made the announcement live on Al-Jazeera's Arabic News channel on Saturday, the news organization reported.

Flanked by a group of his soldiers, Suleimen said he wanted to keep protesters safe. Al-Jazeera English translated his remarks from Arabic.

"We are from the army and we have defected because the government is killing civilian protesters," he said. "The Syrian army attacked Hama with heavy weapons, air raids and heavy fire from tanks."

Al-Jazeera reported that Suleiman was in the air force logistics division.

The announcement came a day after an explosion rocked an intersection in downtown Damascus, killing 26 people. The Syrian government blamed it on a suicide bomber.

Handcuffs

Afghan commission: US military abused detainees

Image
© Rahmat Gul/AP
A wounded man talks with a security guard at the scene of a bomb explosion in Jalalabad, Nangarhar province, Afghanistan on Dec. 29, 2011.
Kabult, Afghanistan - An Afghan investigative commission accused the American military Saturday of abuse at its main prison in the country, repeating President Hamid Karzai's demand that the U.S. turn over all detainees to Afghan custody and saying anyone held without evidence should be freed.

The demands put the U.S. and the Afghan governments on a collision course in an issue that will decide the fate of hundreds of suspected Taliban and al-Qaida operators captured by American forces. Members of the Afghan investigation said U.S. officials told them that many of those militant suspects were taken based on intelligence that cannot be used in Afghan courts.

The escalating controversy and demands by Karzai appeared to be the most recent in a series of exercises in political brinksmanship, as the president tries to bolster his negotiating position ahead of renewed talks for a Strategic Partnership Document with America that will determine the U.S. role in Afghanistan after 2014, when most foreign troops are due to withdraw.

Among the conditions that Karzai has set is an end to night raids by international troops and complete Afghan control over detainees.

Comment: Strange that a U.S. puppet is fighting for the rights of detainees/prisoners, with a country (USA) that pretends to be all about freedom, democracy and human rights.


Question

Mystery of disappearing 3.5 ton underwater statue off Italian coast

Image
© Unknown
The statue was securely embedded in concrete 95ft beneath the surface of the sea
Italian police are trying to solve the mysterious disappearance of a 3.5 ton statue of a saint which has stood on the seabed off the coast of Calabria since 2007.

Authorities are baffled as to who - or what - could have removed the bronze statue of St Francis of Paola, which stands 7.2ft high and was securely embedded in concrete 95ft beneath the surface of the sea.

The hooded figure, with one arm raised in supplication, is one of several saintly statues which dot the Italian coastline and are meant to protect fishermen and scuba divers.

Police and the Coast Guard are investigating a few theories, including the possibility that the statue was mistakenly snagged by the net of a large fishing boat.

If the crew of the boat were fishing in the area illegally, that would explain why the incident has not been reported.

Black Cat

Pageant Mom Pathology - Are Toddlers and Tiaras mothers DOPING their daughters?

Viewers of Toddlers and Tiaras were left in shock yesterday after a pageant mother described the means they use to get their children ready for the stage.

Six-year-old Alana Holler, and her mother June, from McIntyre, Georgia, are the subjects of this week's show.

Mrs Holler, a self-proclaimed 'Coupon Queen' told producers that she has tried various products to excite her daughter, including feeding her with Pixie Stix - tubes of powdered sugar referred to as 'pageant crack' - but an unidentified 'special juice' is her new secret weapon.


Comment: Sugar is a highly addictive and dangerous substance. Parents who feed kids large amounts need to know they are priming their children for potential obesity, diabetes and a host of other diseases. See:

Sugar Addiction is Real
The Links Between Sugar and Mental Health
Is America Too Sweet On Sugar?
A Spoonful of Sugar... Is Toxic?