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Ohio to charge inmates $1 per month for electricity

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© Unknown
Columbus - Ohio inmates paying their debt to society also will have to pay $1 per month for electricity and deal with less variety at meal time, including fewer beverage choices, under prisons department spending cuts intended to help the state close an expected $8 billion budget hole.

The new electricity fee and the changes in meals will be implemented in July and are among $30 million in moneysaving measures being adopted from suggestions made by Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction employees, department spokesman Carlo LoParo said Friday. Administrators sought the staff's input and received thousands of ideas, he said.

Dropping noncarbonated flavored drinks, currently offered with inmate lunches and dinners, will trim $2 million in costs over two years, LoParo said. Another $3 million will be saved with more repeats at mealtime - serving the most popular and least expensive foods more often.

"There's certainly no hardship," LoParo said. "I'm sure any change is difficult. However, we're asking our staff to endure substantial change throughout the organization and substantial cost-cutting measures, and we feel it only appropriate that the inmates participate in our cost savings as well."

Chalkboard

Unemployment rises in nearly all metro areas

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Washington - Unemployment rose in nearly all of the 372 largest U.S. cities in January compared to the previous month, mostly because of seasonal changes such as the layoff of temporary retail employees hired for the holidays.

The Labor Department said Friday that the unemployment rate rose in 351 metro areas, fell in only 16, and was unchanged in 5. That's worse than December, when the rate fell in 207 areas and increased in 122.

Other seasonal trends, such as the layoff of construction workers due to winter weather, also contributed to the widespread increase.

Nationwide, the unemployment rate dropped to 9% in January from 9.4% the previous month. It ticked down to 8.9% in February. But the national data is seasonally adjusted, while the metro data isn't, which makes it more volatile. The metro data also lags the national report by one month.

The report shows that metro areas hit hard by the housing crisis are still struggling with high unemployment. At the same time, a strong recovery in the manufacturing sector, particularly among U.S. auto companies, has bolstered many smaller cities in the Midwest.

Attention

Rubber Bullets Fly at Anti-Obama Protest In Rio

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© unknown
Some socialist anti-Obama protests in Rio de Janeiro. Police scattered the crowd with rubber bullets on Friday. More protests are scheduled by political groups during Obama's two day trip to Brazil.
A molotov cocktail was launched in front of the US consulate in Rio de Janeiro late Friday in protest of the arrival of President Barack Obama, the O Globo newspaper in Rio reported. Military police reacted by firing rubber bullets into the gathering of 200 at around 18:30 local time. A CBN news reporter suffered a minor injury from the shots and traffic was blocked.

"They came after us with clubs and tear gas and attacked," according to protestor Thiago Hastenheiter. "They chased us through the streets and started firing rounds of rubber bullets."

Police major Fabio Alessandro of the 13th Batallion of Rio's military police said that the protestors, all left leaning social movements associated with the Socialist Workers Party, PSTU, did not have a permit to protest near the consulate along Avenida Rio Branco and had refused to disperse from the area. They wore the ubiquitous Che Guevera T shirt and carried American flags that said Go Home Obama. Most of the protests had been peaceful until two home-made molotov cocktails were let loose in the direction of the Consulate. A guard at the Consulate was partially burned and was sent to the emergency room at Souza Aguiar Hospital.

Fourteen protestors have been arrested.

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Japan mulls ban on Fukushima area food products

Japan has confirmed the presence of radioactive iodine contamination in food products from near a crippled nuclear plant and is considering whether to order a halt to the sale of such products from the area, the U.N. nuclear body said on Saturday.

Ambulance

A miracle tale of survival: Grandmother and boy pulled from rubble NINE DAYS after tsunami smashed city

  • Rescuers found them after responding to their shouts
Extraordinary news emerged from the tsunami coast today when police reported they had found an 80-year-old woman and a 16-year-old boy still alive under rubble in a tsunami-smashed city.

The report was greeted with scepticism at first following claims on Saturday that a young man had been found alive in his house after clinging to life for eight days - when in fact he had returned to his home from a shelter.

But police in the Mikako prefecture were insisting that there was no mistake about the two people found alive under rubble today.

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© EPA
Rescuers help 80-year-old Sumi Abe. She and her 16-year-old grandson Jin were pulled from the rubble in the city of Ishimaki after nine days

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© EPA
The teenager his hooked up before being airlifted to hospital. He and his grandmother were found buried in the kitchen of their home

Family

Behaviour drugs given to four-year-olds prompt calls for inquiry

Child taking a pill
© Murdo MacLeod
Children as young as four have been prescribed Ritalin-style drugs in breach of NHS guidelines.

Children as young as four are being given Ritalin-style medication for behavioural problems in breach of NHS guidelines, the Guardian has discovered, prompting the leading psychological society to call for a national review.

Family-based therapy is recommended for treating children with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), with prescription drugs used only for children over six years old and as a last resort.

The figures, based on data from 479 GPs, show prescription rates were highest for children aged six to 12, doubling to just over eight per 1,000 in the five years up to 2008. Children aged 13 to 17 had the second highest rate at six per 1,000, while those aged 25 and over had less than one per 1,000.

Concern is greatest over children under six who should not be receiving drugs at all, says the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice).

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Canada: Twin Protests Between Neo-Nazis and Anti-racists Kept Apart by Police

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© The Canadian Press/Larry MacDougal
A police line holds back white supremacist during a white power rally in downtown Calgary on Saturday, March 19, 2011. Police kept them apart from another group holding an anti-racist demonstration nearby.

There was plenty of anger but no violent confrontation after a moving cordon of police kept neo-Nazi and anti-racist groups apart at parallel rallies in downtown Calgary on Saturday.

About 200 members of Anti-Racist Action Calgary gathered at Calgary city hall after word that the neo-Nazi group, Blood of Honour, was planning a march.

"We're here to celebrate our diversity - the things that make us the same and different at the same time. We're also here to protest racism, discrimination in its different forms and most explicitly in this case the violent neo-Nazi gangs that exist within our city," said Jason Devine, a spokesman for ARA Calgary.

But the 16 members of Blood of Honour, chanting "White Pride Worldwide" found their paths blocked by Calgary Police officers, including riot squad members, who cordoned off several streets in the downtown.

"Charge me. Arrest me. It would be false imprisonment. Just do it," shouted one of the Blood of Honour group to a police officer.

Star of David

Helen Thomas to Playboy: Jews 'own the White House'

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© Unknown
Helen Thomas
Helen Thomas is not sorry, nor were the comments that ended her career accidental.

"I knew exactly what I was doing - I was going for broke," she told Playboy in the magazine's April interview. "I had reached the point of no return. You finally get fed up ... I finally wanted to speak the truth."

Thomas, of course, left her perch as the dean of the White House press corps last year after telling a rabbi and blogger that Jews should "get the hell out of Palestine" and "go home" to "Poland, Germany and America and everywhere else." Her family is Lebanese and she grew up in the Detroit area, home to one of the country's densest populations of Arab Americans.

Handcuffs

US: Anti-war Activists Arrested Near White House as They Mark 8th Anniversary of Start of Iraq War

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© The Associated Press / Jacquelyn Martin
Pat Loveless, right, of Takoma Park, Md., protests the 8th anniversary of the Iraq invasion, with other anti-war protesters during a rally near the White House in Washington, on Saturday, March 19,2011.

More than 100 anti-war protesters, including the man who leaked the Pentagon Papers, were arrested outside the White House on Saturday in demonstrations marking the eighth anniversary of the U.S.-led war in Iraq.

The protesters, some shouting anti-war slogans and singing "We Shall Not Be Moved," were arrested after ignoring orders to move away from the gates of the White House. The demonstrators cheered loudly as Daniel Ellsberg, the former military analyst who in 1971 leaked the Pentagon's secret history of the Vietnam War that was later published in major newspapers, was arrested and led away by police.

Similar protests marking the start of the Iraq war were also planned Saturday in Chicago, San Francisco and other cities.

The demonstration in Washington on Saturday merged varied causes, including protesters demanding a U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan as well as those supporting Bradley Manning, the jailed Army private suspected of giving classified documents to the website Wikileaks.

One chant that was repeated was: "Stop the War! Expose the Lies! Free Bradley Manning!"

There was little talk of the U.S. missile strikes against Moammar Gadhafi's forces in Libya on Saturday, part of an international effort to protect rebel forces.

Manning is being held in solitary confinement for all but an hour every day at a Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Virginia. He is given a suicide-proof smock to wear to bed and is stripped naked each night. On Sunday, a protest will be held in Quantico, outside the brig where Manning is being held.

Ellsberg has publicly defended Manning, calling him a "brother," and Wikileaks.

Crusader

Police: US man, 70, stoned to death by friend who said victim made unwanted sexual advances

A 70-year-old man was stoned to death with a rock stuffed in a sock by a younger friend who alleged the victim made unwanted sexual advances, authorities said.

According to the criminal complaint, John Thomas, 28, of a Philadelphia suburb, told police he killed Murray Seidman of nearby Lansdowne because the Bible refers to stoning homosexuals.

"I stoned Murray with a rock in a sock," Thomas told police, according to the criminal complaint. Thomas was arrested and charged with murder Friday.

According to the complaint, "John Thomas stated that he read in the Old Testament that homosexuals should be stoned in certain situations. The answer John Thomas received from his prayers was to put an end to the victim's life. John Thomas stated that he struck the victim approximately 10 times in the head. After the final blow, John Thomas made sure the victim was dead."

"He is a deeply religious man. Or so he says," said Lansdowne Police Chief Dan Kortan.