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Food Price Explosion 'Will Devastate the World's Poor'

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© Reuters / David Gray
Boats stranded by drought in central China last month; experts say this year's global harvest is in a 'critical' condition.
After a 40% rise in global prices over the past year, droughts and floods threaten to seriously damage this year's harvest

Food prices will soar by as much as 30% over the next 10 years, the United Nations and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development have predicted.

Angel Gurría, secretary-general of the OECD, said that any further increase in global food prices, which have risen by 40% over the past year, will have a "devastating" impact on the world's poor and is likely to lead to political unrest, famine and starvation. "People are going to be forced either to eat less or find other sources of income."

The joint UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and OECD report predicted that the cost of cereals is likely to increase by 20% and the price of meat, particularly chicken, may soar by up to 30%.

World food prices are already at a near-record high as droughts and floods threaten to seriously damage this year's harvest. The report said the global harvest is in a "critical" condition and warned that prices will continue to rise until depleted stocks are rebuilt.

Global food prices hit a record high in February, prompting demonstrations across the world. The last extreme food price rise in 2008 led to riots in 20 countries across three continents.

Phoenix

Fire Hits Riot-Wracked Venezuelan Prison

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© The Associated Press
Streams of tear gas fired by national guardsmen fall over El Rodeo I, bottom, and El Rodeo II prison in Guatire, Venezuela, Sunday June 19, 2011. Thousands of National Guard troops stormed the Venezuelan prison Friday seeking to disarm inmates days after a bloody riot, setting off gunfights with resisting inmates that left at least one inmate and two soldiers dead, and more than 18 wounded. On June 12, 2011, there was a clash between inmates in El Rodeo I that killed 21 prisoners and a visitor.
Fire ripped through a prison where thousands of Venezuelan troops struggled to put down a revolt by inmates on Sunday as dozens of horrified relatives tried to watch the fighting.

Officials gave few descriptions about the progress of the three-day battle at the Rodeo I prison and did not say if more people had been killed or injured beyond the three dead and 18 wounded reported on the first day of the clash. Gunfire continued to rattle from the compound.

Deputy Justice Minister Nestor Reverol told state television the pre-dawn fire was caused by a short circuit, and that inmates had been evacuated before flames engulfed a building. Some relatives outside said that prisoners with cell phones had told them troops started the blaze.

Evelyn Rodriguez, 27, climbed a nearby hill for a view and gasped when she peered through binoculars to see the prison blacked by the fire.

"My husband and my brother were inside that building," Rodriguez said, trying to hold back tears. "I have no idea what has happened to them."

Pistol

Gunmen in Mexico Kill 8 After FIFA Tournament Opens

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© Agence France-Presse
Police man a checkpoint during a security operation against crime in Monterrey, Mexico, in February 2011. At least eight people were killed in a pair of attacks in northern Mexico, authorities said Sunday, including a shooting at a bar in Monterrey just hours after the opening of soccer's Under-17 World Cup
At least eight people were killed in a pair of attacks in northern Mexico, authorities said Sunday, including a shooting at a bar in Monterrey just hours after the opening of soccer's Under-17 World Cup.

Gunmen stormed the bar in Mexico's third largest city late Saturday and "executed three people," wounded another, and kidnapped a security guard at the bar who was later found dead, an official of Nuevo Leon state's investigation agency told AFP.

Four other people, 18-25 years old, were killed Sunday morning in Guadalupe, a city adjacent to Monterrey.

"The victims were gathering in front of one of their homes when armed men showed up in several vehicles and shot them," the official said.

Heart

US: Hundreds march in Seattle 'SlutWalk' demonstration

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© Unknown
Seattle - Hundreds of people - some in provocative clothing - marched Sunday in a demonstration known as a "SlutWalk."

Local organizers said the intent of the march from Pine Street to Westlake Center was "to fight the sexist social acceptance of rape in our culture, and reclaim the word 'slut."

Marchers chanted slogans, such as "No means no" and "We love sluts."

Demonstrations held across Canada and the U.S. were sparked by a Toronto police officer's remark that "women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized."

Lissa Cunneen was 19 in 1982 when she was raped by a stranger in a University of Washington dorm. She was wearing jeans, a red sweatshirt, boots, a scarf and pearl earrings.

She recreated the outfit as she joined the march, carrying a sign saying "This is what I was wearing."

"Rapers are going to rape and it doesn't matter what you're wearing," she said.

And she said using the word "slut" is important.

"We are taking it back it's a lot like taking back the word 'queer," she said. The day after she was attacked someone wrote "slut" on her dorm room door.

"It has nothing to do with what you're wearing or where you are or how much you've have to drink or who you are what you do for a living ... it's always the rapist's fault."

People

Tens of Thousands March Against Euro Pact in Spain

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© Agence France-Presse/Pedro Armestre
Madrid - Tens of thousands of Spaniards abandoned their customary quiet day with families and friends on Sunday to march against the so-called "Euro Pact" and the handling of the economic crisis.

In Madrid, marches began at six locations around the city, one at 6 a.m. from Leganes, 13 kilometres from the centre, before convening at the Neptune plaza in front of the Prado art museum, a stone's throw from parliament.

At 1200 GMT, police put estimates in Madrid at between 35,000 and 45,000 protestors, with no reports of violence, according to national radio.

"I'm here because this is a con," said Juanjo Montiel, 26, one of four blind protestors in Madrid, who works in Information Technology for around 1,000 euros a month.

"I'm lucky enough to have a job, but many don't and have no chance. And on top of that, the politicians want to make more cuts. This is not our fault, it's the system."

Sherlock

Chicago, US: Newly disclosed account surfaces in 1966 Valerie Percy murder case

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© Tribune archive photo, Chicago Tribune
Valerie Percy, shown in a 1964 photo with her father, Chicago industrialist Charles Percy, a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate from Illinois, was found stabbed to death Sept. 18, 1966, in her Kenilworth home.
Doctor's written report sheds some light, raises some questions.

Nydia Hohf sleeps in the same bedroom where she awoke to a siren sounding from her neighbor's house almost 45 years ago. She walks on her lawn overlooking the expanse of Lake Michigan she surveyed then. She gazes down at the crashing waves she thought were so beautiful that morning.

And still, she wonders what happened that day, on what her husband called that "cloudy, dismal morning."

All this time, Hohf kept in a file cabinet - and in the back of her mind - - a detailed account of a notorious North Shore murder scene.

The document, written by her late husband - the doctor who first examined the victim - describes the aftermath of the brutal attack on Valerie Percy, the 21-year-old daughter of then-Senate candidate Charles Percy.

Valerie Percy was killed in her bed on Sept. 18, 1966, in her family's estate on Lake Michigan in Kenilworth, two doors away from the Hohfs. The crime made national news but was never solved.

The newly revealed account, police say, does not significantly change the evidence in the case, but provides details never before publicized, shedding light on those involved just after the slaying.

Megaphone

Critics Blast Anti-Circumcision Comic for Its Grotesque Jewish Stereotypes

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© MGMbill/Associated Press
Some liken Foreskin Man's confrontation with Monster Mohel to 1930s Nazi propaganda.
San Diego - Fists clenched and muscles rippling beneath a tight blue suit, the yellow-caped character is poised to take on evil-doers.

But as his name suggests, Foreskin Man is not a typical comic-book superhero. Neither is his choice of adversaries: doctors who practice circumcision and Orthodox Jews who support the religious ritual.

San Diego activist Matthew Hess says he conceived the Internet comic series last year as a way to boost a national effort to outlaw circumcision, an effort that has led to a measure on San Francisco's ballot in November that would make it illegal in the city to perform a circumcision on a boy younger than 18.

Recently, though, the series has drawn criticism from those who deride Hess' imagery as anti-Semitic and liken Foreskin Man's confrontation with a sinister-looking Monster Mohel to 1930s Nazi propaganda.

In the comic's second issue, the mohel (a specialist in Jewish ritual circumcision) barges into a San Diego home, snatches a baby boy from his mother and proceeds to circumcise the infant on a pool table before being stopped by Foreskin Man.

Comment: For a "non-establishment" perspective on the horrors of this practice and more, take a look at "Foreskin Man" Takes On Genital Mutilation.


People

Bahrainis hold mass protest in Sitra

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Thousands of Bahraini anti-government protesters have poured into the streets in the island city of Sitra, following a call by the country's largest opposition group al-Wefaq.

The Friday rally was the second mass anti-government demonstration organized by al-Wefaq since the heavy mid-March government crackdown on protesters.

Witnesses say regime forces were closely monitoring the rally and a military helicopter was hovering over the city. But there were no reports of clashes or arrests.

The first protest rally was hold last Saturday under the banner "Bahrain, homeland for all" in the village of Sar 10 days after a state of emergency was lifted.

Al-Wefaq leader cleric Sheikh Ali Salman told protesters on Friday that the opposition was not against dialogue with the government if rights interlocutor and officials were involved.

"The success of dialogue, reform and transition to democracy need officials that believe in it. One of the problems of the past was that many officials did not believe in democracy and reform," AFP quoted Salman as saying to the crowds.

Similar protest rallies were also held in some other Bahraini villages and towns. Witnesses say regime forces fired teargas at protesters in Karzakan village, west of the country.

Bizarro Earth

Video of mad Vancouver riots: World Revolution is underway... but Canadian authoritarians are upset about a hockey score

Angry, drunken revellers ran wild on Wednesday night after the Vancouver Canucks' 4-0 loss to Boston in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals, setting cars and garbage cans ablaze, smashing windows, showering giant TV screens with beer bottles and dancing atop overturned vehicles. Later, looters smashed windows and ran inside department stores. There were no immediate indications of injuries, although images were shown on television of at least one woman mopping blood from her forehead. Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson praised the police and firefighters and asked people to stay away from the central downtown area. Tear gas mingled with the stench of acrid smoke and stale beer as riot police, truncheons drawn, moved in to quell the violence, pushing crowds away from the burning cars. Later, police cars also were set on fire.


Dollar

Nigel Farage: Bankers+politicians = 'unholy alliance' vs people

Renowned Eurosceptic and British Euro MP Nigel Farage says saving the banks is why politicians are so determined to bail out Greece and keep it in the Eurozone.