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US soldier jailed for 10 years for South Korea rape

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© Agence France-Presse
A South Korean court on Tuesday jailed a US soldier for 10 years for raping a teenager, Yonhap news agency reported, in a case which prompted an apology from a top US diplomat. Visiting Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell (pictured) last month offered an apology to the Korean people for "the tragic and inexcusable rape"
A South Korean court on Tuesday jailed a US soldier for 10 years for raping a teenager, Yonhap news agency reported, in a case which prompted an apology from a top US diplomat.

The private was sentenced for raping the 18-year-old multiple times in Dongducheon, which hosts the US Second Infantry Division base and is near the border with North Korea.

The US military handed him over to South Korean authorities.

Visiting Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell last month offered an apology to the Korean people for "the tragic and inexcusable rape".

Stop

US North Carolina: Homeless Man Assaults Occupy Asheville Protesters

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© Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images
Demonstrators with Occupy Wall Street continue their protest at Zuccotti Park in New York on Oct. 21, 2011.
The Occupy Asheville movement may be faced with a new opponent that represents a different kind of 1 percent - homeless people.

On Friday, a homeless man threatened to fight members of Occupy Asheville, harassing women with inappropriate comments and also spraying a soda at protesters before being arrested. The Asheville Citizen-Times reports that the man was arrested for assault and making threats.

Asheville police responded to the scene around 5:30 a.m. Friday, arresting the homeless man for the alleged assault. Protesters accuse the homeless man of keeping Occupiers up for six straight hours when they were attempting to sleep, even bragging about a bike he allegedly stole from the camp. It does not appear the man was a part of the Occupy Asheville movement.

The incident came just days after Asheville leaders forced the Occupiers to move from their original protesting position, which led them to a spot in front of the Federal Building. Asheville Police Lt. Wallace Welch told CBS Charlotte that although he doesn't know if the arrest will be an isolated incident, the group's presence could determine if there will be future interactions.

Black Cat

US: Accident?? 17 Yr. Old in Critical Condition after Getting Tangled in Noose at Haunted House

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Accident: The girl, who was working as an actress at the attraction in St Louis, Missouri, was found unconscious with the prop around her neck
A 17-year-old girl is in a critical condition after she became tangled in a noose at a Halloween haunted house.

Police said the girl, who was working as an actress at the attraction in St Louis, Missouri, was found unconscious with the prop around her neck.

The girl is thought to have fallen off a bathtub at Creepyworld where she had been working for two weeks.

Arrow Down

US: Second Energy Department-backed Company Goes Bankrupt

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A Massachusetts company that received a $43 million Energy Department loan guarantee last year filed for bankruptcy Sunday, a step certain to fuel criticism of federal green energy financing in the wake of the solar company Solyndra's collapse.

Beacon Power Corp., which develops energy storage systems, filed for bankruptcy protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware.

Beacon Power had received a federal loan guarantee to help build an energy storage plant in Stephentown, N.Y., that began operating in January. The Treasury Department's Federal Financing Bank provided the loan.

Beacon sought bankruptcy protection two days after the White House ordered an independent 60-day evaluation of the Energy Department's loan programs aimed at ensuring effective management and monitoring.

Dollar

MF Global: Likely Among the 10 Biggest Bankruptcies Ever

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© anunews.net
MF Global, the brokerage run by former Goldman Sachs chief Jon Corzine, today filed for bankruptcy protection, becoming one of the highest-profile U.S. victims of bad bets on European government debt.

With the Chapter 11 filing, MF Global also is likely to be added to the ignominious list of the 10 largest bankruptcies in U.S. corporate history. Here is that list, according to research firm BankruptcyData.com, and based on the value of each company's assets before its bankruptcy filing.

Arrow Up

US: People Power! Libraries Stand up to Rahm Budget Cuts



Library workers aren't gonna take it. No, they ain't gonna take it anymore.

Chicago librarians, clerks and pages on Monday filed petitions to Mayor Rahm Emanuel in opposition to cuts outlined in his proposed 2012 city budget.

Dubbed "Story Time at City Hall," library employees read Halloween books to children outside the mayor's office in City Hall. They presented thousands of signatures against reducing library staff by more than 550 positions and against cutting hours that would close branches for two half-days per week.

"They are trying to cut $10 million from the libraries, but a prior appropriation already put $11 million in library building and renovations," said Anders Lindall, a representative of AFSCME. "They're going to have nicer libraries with less services and less stuff

Wolf

US: Political Posturing - The Very Angry First Lady Michelle Obama

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© SodaHead
Michelle's back, and she's madder than ever. She was already pretty angry, seemingly unhappy with just about everything. As her husband wrapped up the Democratic nomination in 2008, she let fly her real feelings: "For the first time in my adult lifetime, I'm really proud of my country." A few months into her job as first lady, her French counterpart asked how she liked the gig: "Don't ask!" she reportedly spat. "It's hell. I can't stand it!"

She even seems to be mad at her silver-tongued husband. When the two were to set off on a luxurious 10-day vacation to Martha's Vineyard, she left early - four hours early - and flew up alone. And those private vacations. She's traveled to some of the world's most plush resorts, taking 42 days off in the past year - that'd be eight weeks of vacay time if she held down a normal job.

Black Cat

US: On Freedom of Information Act, Obama Wants a License to Lie

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© seetell.jp
It's not often that the liberal American Civil Liberties Union and conservative Judicial Watch agree on anything, but the Obama administration's lack of transparency has brought the two together. Obama's Justice Department has proposed a regulatory change that would weaken the Freedom of Information Act. Under the new rules, the government could falsely respond to those who file FOIA requests that a document does not exist if it pertains to an ongoing criminal investigation, concerns a terrorist organization, or a counterintelligence operation involving a foreign nation.

There are two problems with the Obama proposal to allow federal officials to affirmatively assert that a requested document doesn't exist when it does. First, by not citing a specific exemption allowed under the FOIA as grounds for denying a request, the proposal would cut off a requestor from appealing to the courts. By thus creating an area of federal activity that is completely exempt from judicial review, the proposal undercuts due process and other constitutional protections. Second, by creating a justification for government lying to FOIA requestors in one area, a legal precedent is created that sooner or later will be asserted by the government in other areas as well.

Smoking

US: Firms to Charge Smokers, Obese More for Healthcare

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© Reuters/Lucas Jackson
A pair of smokers stand outside of an office building in the Times Square region of New York April 1, 2009.
Like a lot of companies, Veridian Credit Union wants its employees to be healthier. In January, the Waterloo, Iowa-company rolled out a wellness program and voluntary screenings.

It also gave workers a mandate - quit smoking, curb obesity, or you'll be paying higher healthcare costs in 2013. It doesn't yet know by how much, but one thing's for certain - the unhealthy will pay more.

The credit union, which has more than 500 employees, is not alone.

In recent years, a growing number of companies have been encouraging workers to voluntarily improve their health to control escalating insurance costs. And while workers mostly like to see an employer offer smoking cessation classes and weight loss programs, too few are signing up or showing signs of improvement.

So now more employers are trying a different strategy - they're replacing the carrot with a stick and raising costs for workers who can't seem to lower their cholesterol or tackle obesity. They're also coming down hard on smokers. For example, discount store giant Wal-Mart says that starting in 2012 it will charge tobacco users higher premiums but also offer free smoking cessation programs.

Tobacco users consume about 25 percent more healthcare services than non-tobacco users, says Greg Rossiter, a spokesman for Wal-Mart, which insures more than 1 million people, including family members. "The decisions aren't easy, but we need to balance costs and provide quality coverage."

Comment: It should be clear by now that the US has become a fascist state than ever before. Make no mistake, this has nothing to do with concern for the health of others - if that was the case, they wouldn't be paying people slave wages and selling poisonous food. With the economic crisis worsening, the fat cats at Wal-Mart and elsewhere want more for themselves and less for everybody else. They won't stop at raising healthcare costs for obese people and smokers. We're all in their sights.

Consider the fact that the US currently has the highest level of obese populace in the world. And the fact that most people who smoke aren't smoking organic tobacco (which has proven to be beneficial for some). The underlying health problems of people who happen to smoke commercial cigarattes are caused by off-the-charts stress levels from living in a world dominated and controlled by psychopaths.

This is another sign of a totalitarian takeover by rich psychopaths who only care about filling their pockets. And a sure sign that the US's reign as a so called "first world country" is coming to an end.


Attention

Spain's town hall meltdown

Madrid protest
© AFP/Getty
Plans to reform the pension system has led to protests in Madrid
Cuts are now biting deep into civic life. One council has even bet its budget on the lottery

If Carmen Martinez Gomez, a nurse, wants to see the effects of the dramatic spending cuts Spain is currently enduring, all she has to do is glance down from her seventh-floor balcony at the building work below on the Metro, Granada's first underground line.

It is less than 10 miles long, but the Metro has already been five years in the making. And with its workers unpaid since January, its inauguration has just been put back again, reports said last week, until 2013. "It feels as if it's never going to be finished," Ms Martinez says. "The whole of Camino de Ronda" - three miles long and one of Granada's main arterial streets - "looks as if a bomb hit it. Shops are going out of business because there's virtually no through traffic, and for the elderly and disabled it's very difficult to cross the road. The project has split the city in two."

The reason for the interminable delays in Granada's Metro is simple: no money - and it's a grimly familiar story. As early as this summer, Pedro Arahuete, mayor of Segovia and president of the country's federation of municipalities, said that 40 per cent of Spain's town halls or ayuntamientos were in severe economic difficulties, or, as he graphically put it, being "financially strangled". And all across Spain, ayuntamientos and regional councils such as Andalusia's Junta, which is financing the Granada Metro's construction, are in the process of making massive cuts, with about €5bn due to be pruned from budgets across Spain in 2012's last quarter alone.

But with a total town hall debt government figures show to be nearly eight times that amount - €37bn - the cuts are far from being the last notch set to be tightened on Spain's collective belt. They are largely designed to bring a public deficit into line with EU ceilings of 3 per cent of GDP in 2013 at a painfully fast pace. The most dramatic steps to try to balance the books are being taken in the village of Cacabelos in Castile. With his village facing debts of €1m, the mayor's brainwave was to bet the annual budget on the national lottery. Their number did not come up.