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Florida, US: Animal carcasses found behind Tampa pizzeria still mystery

Veterinarians this week will examine 11 skinned animal carcasses found in a trash container Saturday to determine what kind of animals they are.

An employee found the carcasses that had been skinned, decapitated and had their feet cut off in a trash container behind a pizza restaurant on Bruce B. Downs Boulevard about 4:30 p.m.

The animals were taken to Hillsborough County Animal Services and stored in freezers, said spokeswoman Marti Ryan. Veterinarians will conduct their examination after the Memorial Day weekend, she said.

This isn't the first time animal carcasses have been found in the county, and they may be tied to religious ceremonies that involve animal sacrifice, she said.

Question

US: Mysterious Heiress Leaves Behind $100 Million Estate in Santa Barbara


The death of a mysterious and reclusive 104-year-old heiress has many wondering what's to become of her $100 million mansion in Santa Barbara.

Huguette Clark died Tuesday at a New York City hospital, where she had been for more than 20 years. She inherited her fortune as the daughter of a Montana copper tycoon. Her Santa Barbara Mansion sits on a bluff overlooking the ocean, but she hasn't been there in decades.

Her estate is called Bellosguardo--Italian for "beautiful view." It's located on a bluff between the Santa Barbara Zoo and the Santa Barbara Cemetery. . .23 acres valued at $100 million.

"It's probably the most beautiful estate here in Santa Barbara at least along the beach," said Chris, who lives in Santa Barbara. At one time, Clark lived in the 22,000 square foot mansion. Growing up, a private rail car would bring the family there each winter. You can still catch a glimpse through the trees.

"Occasionally, there's some people sitting over here by the house. I don't even know if they belong to the house, but they're sitting out there," Chris said.

This is as close as we could get to Clark's 23 acre property and she really didn't get much closer either. In fact recent reports indicate she hasn't set foot here in at least 50 years.

But to this day, it is still staffed and well-maintained. Dan has been the grounds keeper for the last three years. He wouldn't speak on camera but said hardly anybody visits the vacant property.

Light Saber

US: Wisconsin Judge Strikes Down Anti-Union Law

wisconsin protests
Since taking office on January 3, Republican Governor Scott Walker waged war on public workers and their unions, aiming to restrict collective bargaining rights to wage negotiations before ending them altogether.

He also demanded draconian health insurance and pension contribution increases, doubling them for state employees during hard times when they're already strapped to make ends meet. Doing so called for pay cuts ranging from 8 - 20% ahead of more planned reductions coming.

On March 9, a protracted Senate battle ended when hard-line Republicans violated Wisconsin's open meetings law, requiring 24 hours notice prior for special sessions unless giving it is impossible or impractical.

At issue was passing an old-fashioned union-busting law with no Democrats present, brazen politicians and corrupted union bosses selling out rank and file members for self-enrichement and privilege, complicit with corporate CEOs.

Heart - Black

Kate Middleton's Dress Came from a Romanian Sweatshop

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© unknown
Kate Middleton, or Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge as she is now known, speaks to Michelle Obama wearing a Reoss dress stitched by women earning a little over $1 an hour.

  • Outfit costs $270 but made for less than $23
  • Seamstresses earn just $1.54 per hour
  • Dress now advertised on eBay for $926
Costing £175 ($270) on the high street, it helped Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, outshine America's First Lady.

But the Reiss dress (left) that made such an impression when the pair met last week was produced by women paid only 99p an hour in a poor suburb of the Romanian capital, Bucharest.

The camel-coloured "Shola" design was made for less than $23 by seamstresses earning $1.54 an hour less than the average salary for textile workers in the eastern European nation.

British fashion chain Reiss is one of the Duchess's favourite brands. After she wore the dress to meet Barack and Michelle Obama, demand for it surged, causing the company's website to crash and the dress to sell out within 24 hours.

It has been advertised for $926 on eBay. Yesterday, Reiss said it would re-release the dress in five to six weeks.

Handcuffs

Thailand Arrests American for Alleged King Insult

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© Apichart Weerawong
In this Dec. 5, 2010 file photo, Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej is assisted while leaving Siriraj Hospital as he makes his way to the Grand Palace to attend a ceremony celebrating his 83rd birthday in Bangkok. Thai authorities said Friday, May 27, 2011, they arrested an American citizen on charges he insulted the country's monarchy by posting a link on his blog four years ago to a banned book about the Southeast Asian nation's ailing king.
Thai authorities said Friday they arrested an American citizen on charges he insulted the country's monarchy, in part by posting a link on his blog four years ago to a banned book about the Southeast Asian nation's ailing king.

The man is also suspected of translating, from English into Thai, portions of The King Never Smiles - an unauthorized biography of King Bhumibol Adulyadej - and posting them online along with articles he wrote that allegedly defame the royal family, said Tharit Pengdith, who heads the Department of Special Investigation, Thailand's equivalent of the FBI.

The American has denied the charges, according to the Thai-language prachatai.com news website, which tracks cases of lese majeste, as the crime of insulting the monarchy is known.

The 54-year-old Thai-born man lived in the U.S. state of Colorado for around 30 years before returning recently to Thailand for treatment for high blood pressure and gout, the website said. If the allegations are true, the infractions would have been committed while he lived in America - where they are legal - raising concern about the reach of Thai law and how it is applied to Thai nationals and foreign visitors.

Tharit said the man's Thai name was Lerpong Wichaikhammat. Walter M. Braunohler, the U.S. Embassy spokesman in Bangkok, identified the American as Joe Gordon and said a consular officer visited him on Friday morning. He declined comment further, saying only that officials were following the case "very closely."

Toys

US: Grieving Mothers Adopt Life-like Dolls

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© Agence France-Presse
'Reborn babies', dolls which are made to look just like real babies, are displayed at the reborn babies fair in Brentwood, east of London, in February 2011. Weighing five kilos, with perfectly combed hair and her eyes closed in sleep, Abby looks like a baby girl. But she is a doll, adopted by a grieving mother to help come to terms with the loss of a child
Weighing five kilos (11 pounds), with perfectly combed hair and eyes closed in sleep, Abby looks like a baby girl. But she is a doll, adopted by a grieving mother to help come to terms with the loss of a child.

"She reminds me of my daughter as an infant," said Eve Hasty, a 57-year-old American who bought Abby from a British company for 300 dollars (210 euros).

The retired driver who lives in Oklahoma lost her daughter to leukaemia when she only seven.

She has a surviving son in his 30s who has provided her with an eight-year-old granddaughter, but she finds the doll -- which she acquired in 2009, three decades after losing her daughter -- comforting.

"I just get a type of serenity about me when I hold her, I change her clothes," she told AFP.

Hasty has bought Abby a wardrobe full of outfits, including a tiny pair of Nike trainers that she could never have afforded to give her children.

Pistol

Canada: 3 Men Shot in Kensington Market

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© Google Street View
Police set up a command post at this building on Augusta Avenue in Kensington Market after a shooting nearby early Sunday morning.
Three men were shot early Sunday morning outside an after-hours club in Toronto's Kensington Market, police said.

Emergency personnel were dispatched to an area on Augusta Avenue near Denison Square around 4:30 a.m.

Paramedics said they took one person to hospital with a minor gunshot wound, but police later said three people had been shot and injured, all minor.

Patrons at the club were held on a transit bus for questioning but were subsequently let go, according to reports.

Police have made no arrests so far.

Augusta Avenue was closed from College Street south to Dundas Street as officers investigated. It was scheduled to be closed anyway for all of Sunday afternoon for the monthly Pedestrian Sunday in Kensington event.

Mail

Canada Post Union Readies Members for Possible Strike

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© The Canadian Press
The postal union says several issues, including excessive workload, have not been addressed in seven months of negotiations.
The union representing Canada Post workers has told its members to prepare for a strike amid stalled negotiations with the Crown corporation.

However, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUP-W) says it did not plan to submit a 72-hour strike notice Sunday and said there will be no strike action on Wednesday.

The union's national committee said in a message on its website that it was meeting Sunday to "evaluate the situation" and to plan its next move.

USA

Army Chief Highlights Suicide Risk

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© msnbc.msn.com
Marking Memorial Day on Sunday, Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Chiarelli discussed the effect that 10 years of conflict in the Middle East has had on veterans of the armed forces, including the increased prevalence of suicide and post-conflict mental health disorders.

"We've been fighting for a decade, and I don't think we as a nation know the total effect of a decade of war," Chiarelli said on CNN's "State of the Union." "And I think that's what we're seeing."

Chiarelli said that the Army has seen 162 suicides in the last year out of a force of nearly three quarters of a million, but he declined to call it an "epidemic."

Comment: 'The total effect of a decade of war' has increased suicide among the armed forces, read the following articles for more information:

More U.S. Soldiers Killed Themselves Than Died in Combat in 2010
Record High Army Suicides Prompt Action
Female Soldiers Face Sharp Suicide Risk
Suicide Syndrome: Are VA Protocols Behind Iraq Soldier Suicides?
Army To Report Rise In National Guard, Reserve Suicides
Soldier Suicides - Tragedy strikes at home
US Soldier's Tragic Suicide Just One of Dozens
Fort Hood, Army suicides hit record mark
Veterans Affairs chief labels vet suicide 'chronic problem'
Marine suicide rate up, prompting more prevention training


Life Preserver

Hundreds of Palestinians cross reopened Gaza-Egypt border

Image
© Amr Nabil/AP
A Palestinian boy holds his father's passport at Egypt's Rafah crossing yesterday
Post-revolution move is hailed as 'first step towards breaking the siege', but Israel voices concerns

Egypt has opened its border with Gaza, letting Palestinians leave the blockaded territory, in a move seen as indicating a more supportive policy since February's revolution.

Hundreds of people laden with luggage gathered at the Rafah crossing in the south of Gaza before the border opened at 9am. Around 300 crossed in the first hours and officials said they expected up to 1,000 to leave Gaza by the end of the day. Women, children and men over the age of 40 will be permitted free travel from Gaza to Egypt, but men under 40 will be required to apply for and be granted a visa. A large proportion of Gaza's 1.5 million population is aged between 18 and 40.

The crossing will open for eight hours a day, six days a week. In the four years since Hamas took control of Gaza, 18 months after winning elections, and Israel imposed a stringent blockade, the Rafah border has opened intermittently and only students, businessmen and people needing medical treatment have been allowed through.