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Heart - Black

Strauss-Kahn Concedes 'Error' in Sexual Encounter With Maid

Dominique Strauss-Kahn
© Francois Guillot
Dominique Strauss-Kahn during his TV interview Sunday.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn said Sunday that his sexual encounter with a New York City hotel chambermaid was "an error" and "a moral failure" he would regret his whole life, but not a criminal act.

In his first interview since his May 14 arrest on charges of attempted rape, Mr. Strauss-Kahn was uncomfortable, intermittently angry and sounded bitter, saying that he had wanted to run for the French presidency and had missed his "appointment with the French people" because of his own actions.

"I wanted to be a candidate. I thought I could be useful. All that is behind me," he said.

He accused the maid, Nafissatou Diallo, of lying about what happened between them, and accused a Paris novelist, Tristane Banon, of lying about what she said happened between them in 2003, which she has described as an attempted rape - a case still being investigated by the Paris prosecutor.

Arrow Down

First-Ever National Survey Shows as Many as 3,000 Cases of Forced Marriage in Immigrant Communities in the United States

Forced Marriage
© Unknown
Today, the Tahirih Justice Center (Tahirih) released the results of a groundbreaking national survey, which identified as many as 3,000 known and suspected cases of forced marriage in the United States, in 47 states, among immigrant communities from 56 different countries. The survey is the first of its kind conducted in the United States and was designed to understand the scope and nature of forced marriage in immigrant communities.

Key findings of Tahirih's survey include:

500 service providers, community advocates, educators, medical/mental health professionals, law enforcement officers, religious leaders, and others from 47 states reported as many as 3,000 known and suspected forced marriage cases that they have encountered in just the last 2 years.

Some families are willing to go to great lengths to ensure that the marriage takes place and may send a young woman back to the family's country of origin until she submits, cut her off from financial support, withhold food and medical care, or limit a young woman's contact with those outside the family. Respondents also reported kidnapping, death threats, and even murder attempts.

Wall Street

The Federal Debt As Criminal Scam, The Federal Reserve As Criminal Syndicate

federal reserve,skull,dollar
© Unknown

Is the Federal debt a criminal enterprise, enabled by a criminal syndicate? Read on before you pass judgment.

Correspondent Doug laid out a compelling case that the Federal debt is fundamnentally a criminal scam, operated by the criminal syndicate of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve:
The Federal Reserve is a criminal syndicate buying debt that the government eagerly creates and sells for spending money that dumps the debt on us civilians. What perplexes me is that the scam is so simple and all the intellectuals either don't get it or are handcuffed by mega-corporate media owners.

Heart - Black

Oakdale, Minneapolis deaths are double murder, suicide

Oakdale deaths
© Kyndell Harkness
Members of the Bureau of Criminal house where three people were found dead in Oakdale, Thursday.
The couple's children will live with memory of bloody scene all their lives, a trauma expert says.

A man and two women found dead in an Oakdale house each died of a single gunshot wound to the head in an apparent double murder-suicide, the Ramsey County medical examiner's office ruled Friday.

The shooting scene at the blue split-level house, which involved two parents and a babysitter, left other victims as well. A 6-year-old girl returning home from school Thursday found the bodies and ran screaming into the street with blood on her hands. She and her two brothers, ages 3 and 8, were left orphaned.

"When I heard the child found the bodies it really did break my heart," said Washington County Attorney Pete Orput, who expects the county might be asked to help with foster care. "I don't know what it would be like walking in to see your mom and dad dead. That's something that child will never get out of her head, ever."

The dead were identified as Cintia Guadalupe Ornelas Bustos, 28; Jaime Anival Almaras Velasquez, 32, and babysitter Angela Uscanga Gonzalez, 43.

Police declined to say who was responsible for the shooting because the investigation is not complete. But the medical examiner's office has determined that Velasquez committed suicide, said officer Michelle Stark.

Family

California Bans Unvaccinated Children from Class

classroom
© NA

If your child hasn't received the whooping cough vaccine, he or she is now banned from attending class at many California schools. Despite legitimate religious or personal health reasons for rejecting the whooping cough vaccine, your child simply cannot attend class. Due to a law that requires all students entering grades seven through 12 be vaccinated, the San Francisco school district has begun sending home children who do not have proof of receiving the whooping cough vaccination.

Proof of vaccine ineffectiveness

Why are schools afraid of unvaccinated children spreading the disease to vaccinated children if the whooping cough vaccine is truly effective? How could an unvaccinated child spread the disease to someone who has already received the whooping cough vaccine?

Interestingly enough, scientists have found that vaccinating against the whooping cough is actually an ineffective waste of money. In fact, widespread vaccination of adults against whooping cough (pertussis) would do almost nothing to reduce infection rates among unvaccinated children according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Michigan and published in the journal Science.

Passport

First versions of Canada's new electronic passport carry hefty price tag

Image
© The Canadian Press / Tom Hanson
A passenger holds his Canadian passport before boarding a flight in Ottawa, Ont. in this Jan 23, 2007 photo.
The first version of Canada's new electronic passport carries a hefty price tag - an ominous sign that the general version being issued late next year might cost triple or more what Canadians pay today.

Since January 2009 the federal government has issued 40,000 so-called ePassports to senior government officials and diplomats.

The secure document has a computer chip that stores key personal data, including an image of the bearer, that can be accessed with a scanner.

Passport Canada, which is required to run a break-even operation, has not yet announced what Canadians will pay for the more complex, high-tech document.

But an expense claim filed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper indicates the cost of the diplomatic version is far more than the $87 that adult Canadians pay now.

Harper purchased four diplomatic ePassports for himself, his wife and two children late last year, at $225 each, for a total bill of $900.

The cost was picked up by taxpayers through his department, the Privy Council Office, according to documents obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act.

Stop

World's biggest sperm bank, Cryos, tells redheads: We don't want your semen

alg_sperm
© Getty/Getty Images/3D4Medical.com
The world's largest sperm bank is telling redheads to keep their semen.

Demand for ginger-haired donors is so low that Cryos International says they needn't bother donating.

"There are too many redheads in relation to demand," Ole Schou, the director of Cryos, told the Danish newspaper, Ekstrabladet, according to London's Telegraph.

Men with scarlett manes sell "like hot cakes" in Ireland, Schou said, but that's about it.

Light Saber

US: Wall Street protests continue, several arrested

wall street, protests
© Michael Nagle/Getty Images
People protesting the economic system walk down a sidewalk in the financial district as office workers head to work on September 19, 2011 in New York City. Organizers said the protests, which began Saturday, could last for weeks.

New York - At least five people were arrested on the third day of protests in New York's Financial District, spearheaded by a coalition of groups rallying against the influence of corporate money in politics.

Beginning on Saturday - on what was called a U.S. Day of Rage - several groups of activists vowed to occupy Wall Street, to express their anger over a financial system they say favors the rich and powerful, and about a democratic process they deem to be corrupt.

Organizers of the "Occupy Wall Street" demonstration have called for 20,000 people to "flood into lower Manhattan, set up tents, kitchens, peaceful barricades and occupy Wall Street for a few months."

Eagle

Washington, US: Tacoma Could Replace Striking Teachers, Says Judge

Image
© King5 News
A Pierce County Superior Court judge says he's considering giving the Tacoma school district the option to hire replacement teachers while regular teachers remain on the picket line.

"I'm seriously willing to consider that," said Judge Bryan Chushcoff. "I don't like doing that, but I will do that if it is necessary."

The attorney for the teachers union said he would argue the judge does not have the authority to do that. A spokesperson for the union doubted the district could find enough replacement teachers to resume class.

Chushcoff met with lawyers for both the Tacoma teachers union and Tacoma Public School District Monday morning to determine the penalties teachers faced for defying his court order to return to work last week.

Stormtrooper

US: Retiree Benefits for the Military Could Face Cuts

retired veteran
© Colin Hackley for The New York Times
Steve Griffin left the Army after five years and thus receives no pension. But he believes the system provides incentives for recruitment and rewards retirees who have endured great hardship.
As Washington looks to squeeze savings from once-sacrosanct entitlements like Social Security and Medicare, another big social welfare system is growing as rapidly, but with far less scrutiny: the health and pension benefits of military retirees.

Military pensions and health care for active and retired troops now cost the government about $100 billion a year, representing an expanding portion of both the Pentagon budget - about $700 billion a year, including war costs - and the national debt, which together finance the programs.

Making even incremental reductions to military benefits is typically a doomed political venture, given the public's broad support for helping troops, the political potency of veterans groups and the fact that significant savings take years to appear.

But the intense push in Congress this year to reduce the debt and the possibility that the Pentagon might have to begin trimming core programs like weapons procurement, research, training and construction have suddenly made retiree benefits vulnerable, military officials and experts say.

Comment: And there you have it. "The cost of the criminally minimal support we give to the used-up cannon fodder we like to call 'our troops' is really putting a crimp into all our plans for future wars."