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A ban on owning farm animals? Michigan is considering it

Kelly VanderKley
© MLive.com
Keeping even one "farm animal" in residential neighborhoods could soon be illegal in Michigan. That's because a proposed change to state regulations could strip property owners of the right to keep and raise small numbers of poultry or livestock.

Michigan's Right to Farm Act currently extends to all property owners in the state, including those in areas zoned residential or commercial. The state Agricultural Commission is considering a change to the regulations - called Generally Acceptable Agricultural And Management Practices (GAAMPS) - that would strip property owners of that right.

"It would exclude a whole bunch of people who are seeking Right to Farm protection," Randy Buchler of the Michigan Small Farm Council said of the proposal, "and strip the small farmers of their right to be protected by a state law."

The change would allow local governments to bar people from keeping small numbers of animals such as one cow or pig or a flock of chickens on their property. The law does this by labeling certain kinds of property, such as lots in subdivisions or small homesteads, as unacceptable for livestock.

Heart - Black

Woman jailed for small amount of marijuana dies two days later

jail
© Unknown
Two sisters returning to Kansas from a trip to Colorado were pulled over on Monday for speeding. After being stopped, the Kansas police officer found a small amount of marijuana in the car. As will surely happen to many people in the near future, the sisters purchased marijuana legally in Colorado but made the mistake of bringing it across state lines.

The officer arrested the sisters, named Brenda Sewell and Joy Biggs, and put them in jail. While in jail, Sewell was unable to take her medications. She had the pills in a daily pill container rather than in their original prescription bottles. County officials say they were unable to determine what each pill was, and, because of this, could not allow Sewell to take her medications. She'd been taking medicine for hepatitis C, fibromyalgia, and thyroid problems for over a decade.

On Wednesday, after being off her medications for two days, Sewell fell ill in her jail cell. She was reportedly foaming at the mouth before passing out. Biggs and another inmate alerted authorities of the emergency while trying to revive her.

Alarm Clock

Oil field fumes so painful, Alberta families forced to move

Alberta oil
© A. Labrecque
Severe headaches, dizziness, rashes and loss of memory: all symptoms reported to a new hearing examining health effects of Alberta's rapidly expanding heavy oil industry

Northwest Alberta grain farmer Alain Labrecque recalls the first winter in 2011 when the fumes from oil tanks near his home in the Peace River area seemed to trigger terrible health effects for himself, his wife and two small children.

"I started getting massive headaches. My eyes twitched. I got dizzy spells. I often felt like I was going to pass out."

"Next thing I knew, my [3-year-old] girl had trouble walking. She had no balance. She would sit at the table, and she would just fall off her chair."

"My [4-year-old] son - he was really black under his eyes all the time, and had big time constipation."

"Then my wife fell down the stairs while carrying a laundry basket."

"We went through a weird winter like that," Labrecque told the Vancouver Observer by phone Sunday.

Labrecque, his family, and neighbours are part of a group of rural home owners now giving testimony to an unprecedented Alberta hearing, examining the health effects of the odour and emissions from bitumen extraction. About 75 people packed the conference centre, each day of the first week of proceedings.

USA

Arizona Cops shoot and kill unarmed man with his hands in the air


Video of a police standoff contradicts the initial Pinal County Sheriff's Office description of the chain of events that led to the shooting death of a suspected car thief. The man had led police and sheriff's deputies on a chase through Casa Grande and Eloy for nearly an hour, before deputies immobilized the car he was driving.

Control Panel

Ukraine protesters declare eight-hour truce as talks with government continue

Image
© Pochuyev Mikhail/ITAR-TASS Photo/Corbis
Vitali Klitschko speaks at a rally organised by Ukraine's opposition.
After declaring truce, opposition politician Vitali Klitschko said he would return to barricades later to announce results of talks

An eight-hour truce has been declared by protesters in Kiev after a day of violence in which at least three people died and an opposition leader said he was willing to face "a bullet in the forehead" if Ukraine's president, Viktor Yanukovych, did not launch snap elections.

The truce was announced by opposition politician and former heavyweight boxer Vitali Klitschko at midday Kiev time, as negotiations between opposition leaders and Yanukovych were expected to continue.

On Thursday afternoon Yanukovych called a special parliament session for next week to discuss the crisis, but there was no indication that this represented an inclination to compromise with the opposition.

On Wednesday, a three-hour meeting between the sides ended without a deal, leaving the capital braced for intensified violence.

After the truce was announced, protesters began to extinguish the huge burning barricade, made of thousands of tyres, which has separated them from lines of riot police and been the focal point of clashes.

Klitschko said he would return to the barricades at 8pm local time (6pm GMT) to announce the results of negotiations.

Pocket Knife

Behind the Headlines: Surviving the Psy-pocalypse - Interview with Stefan Verstappen

Sott Talk Radio logo
Earlier this month we spoke with Stefan Verstappen, Canadian writer, artist, and martial arts expert. This world traveller is also one of the few people who understands that psychopaths rule our world. Creator of the viral YouTube video documentary 'Defense Against the Psychopath', based on his book The Art of Urban Survival: A Family Safety and Self Defense Manual, Verstappen has lots to share, not only about defending ourselves from the predators in our midst, but also about what we can do to prepare for natural disasters and social breakdown.

Running Time: 01:52:00

Download: MP3


Comment: Here's a link to the documentary Verstappen refers to in this interview:

Stress, Portrait of a Killer - Full Documentary (2008)


Handcuffs

Russian Foreign Ministry: Guantanamo must close during Obama's term

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© AFP Photo / Michelle Shephard
Guantanamo Bay.
Guantanamo Bay detention facility should be closed down while President Barack Obama is still in power, insists Russia's Foreign Ministry. A Russian delegation which recently inspected the facility witnessed grave violations of basic human rights.

"Our visit to Guantanamo has convinced us all over again that this so-called prison must be shut down at the earliest possible time," said the Russian Foreign Ministry's Commissioner for Human Rights, Konstantin Dolgov, at a media briefing in Moscow.

Bomb

Russian teenager arrested in Pennsylvania for building bombs

Vladislav Miftakhov
© Altoona Police Department
Vladislav Miftakhov was being investigated for growing marijuana in his home when police found bomb-making materials.
The Russian roommate of a Penn State student who has been charged with building a suspected bomb in his bedroom has said that the 19-year-old recently set off three "mini-bombs" just outside their apartment.

Andrew Leff told the Altoona Mirror that he warned Vladislav Miftakhov to get rid of the bomb-making materials. He called Miftakhov "dumb" and "crazy", but not dangerous.

Miftakhov was in jail on Sunday in Altoona, after being arrested on Friday and charged with possessing a weapon of mass destruction, risking a catastrophe and other counts. Court records do not list a lawyer for Miftakhov.

Police said they were investigating a reported marijuana growing operation at Miftakhov's apartment when they found and dismantled the suspected bomb. They also allegedly found a suitcase containing explosives-related material.

Health

Americans are flocking to Mexico to take advantage of its better healthcare system

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Another surprise about US/Mexican relations...

For years, thousands of Americans have been going to Mexico for medical procedures that would otherwise be too expensive in the US.

Now, some are ever taking advantage of Mexico's free health care.

Given the unfolding collapse of any semblance of competence, sanity and humanity in the US health care system, this trickle could easily become a flood.


Family

Polar vortex and food stamp cuts create perfect storm of hunger

Image
The freezing temperatures across the country mean higher heating costs for everyone. Many low-income families are struggling with this increase in prices. They are already under the strain of trying to afford food.

Last year 47 million hungry Americans lost food stamp benefits, and Congress may be bringing more cuts to the table. Needy families are placed in the awful situation of having to choose between heat or food.

The combination of this winter's "polar vortex" with the cuts in food stamps has created a perfect storm of increasing hunger in America.

Feeding America's CEO Bob Aiken says, "The high cost of heat this winter due to prolonged and brutal cold spells will strain many household budgets and send more people to food pantries, soup kitchens and other emergency-food charities."

In a study released prior to the cold spell, Feeding America said about 46 percent of its clients "report choosing between paying for food and paying for heating fuel or other utilities." With the massive drop in temperatures this winter, this figure is likely much higher.

In Cincinnati, Ohio, temperatures have been in the single digits or below zero multiple days this month. Sarah Cook of the Freestore FoodBank says, "We are seeing more people right now because of utility issues. "

However, the Freestore and other food banks across the country face dwindling donations following the holidays, making it tougher to keep up with any increase in demand. In addition, with the cuts in food stamps, hungry Americans are turning to food banks for more support than ever. Food banks, even with the generosity of its donors, cannot make up the difference for major cuts in federal food aid.