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Mon, 25 Oct 2021
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India reels from another horrific gang rape case in wave of sexual violence

Tribal elders ordered a 20-year-old woman to be raped in public by up to 12 men for an 'unauthorised' relationship, police say

Image
© Louis Dowse/Demotix/Corbis
A protest against sexual violence in Delhi.
A 20-year-old woman has been raped in public by as many as 12 men on the orders of tribal elders in a village in eastern India, according to local police.

The attack, in Birbhum district about 120 miles from Kolkata, was a punishment for an "unauthorised" relationship with a man from another village and the woman's subsequent failure to pay a 50,000 rupee (£490) fine, local media reports said.

"According to the woman, the [village head] summoned her and her [lover] on Monday and detained them through the day and night. After her family said they could not pay the fine, the [head] allegedly ordered the mass rape on Tuesday," police superintendant C Sudhakar told The Hindustan Times newspaper.

Eleven men have been arrested so far, including the village head. The victim remains in hospital. She has told local reporters she lost count of her attackers, who appear to have included several of her neighbours.

India has been hit by a wave of sexual violence - particularly gang rapes - in recent years. Last week a 51-year-old tourist in Delhi was raped by at least five men while walking back to her hotel. Several other similar attacks on foreigners had hit headlines over previous months.

House

Utah is ending homelessness by giving people homes

homlessPerson
© Unknown
Housing the homeless is cheaper than jail.
Earlier this month, Hawaii State representative Tom Bower (D) began walking the streets of his Waikiki district with a sledgehammer, and smashing shopping carts used by homeless people. "Disgusted" by the city's chronic homelessness problem, Bower decided to take matters into his own hands - literally. He also took to rousing homeless people if he saw them sleeping at bus stops during the day.

Bower's tactics were over the top, and so unpopular that he quickly declared "Mission accomplished," and retired his sledgehammer. But Bower's frustration with his city's homelessness problem is just an extreme example of the frustration that has led cities to pass measures that effective deal with the homeless by criminalizing homelessness.

City council members in Columbia, South Carolina, concerned that the city was becoming a "magnet for homeless people," passed an ordinance giving the homeless the option to either relocate or get arrested. The council later rescinded the ordinance, after backlash from police officers, city workers, and advocates.

Last year, Tampa, Florida - which had the most homeless people for a mid-sized city - passed an ordinance allowing police officers to arrest anyone they saw sleeping in public, or "storing personal property in public." The city followed up with a ban on panhandling downtown, and other locations around the city.

Comment: Solutions based on compassion and empathy, then, are both ethically and economically superior, while "solutions" borne of the mind of psychopaths, such as Tom Bower, only serve to further the misery of humanity.


Question

Why do some Americans speak so confidently when they have no clue what they're talking about?

Image
© Shutterstock.com / alterfalter
The Harvard Business School information session on how to be a good class participant instructs, "Speak with conviction. Even if you believe something only 55 percent, say it as if you believe it 100 percent," Susan Cain reported in her bestselling book Quiet. At HBS, Cain noticed, "If a student talks often and forcefully, then he's a player; if he doesn't, he's on the margins."

Cain observed that the men at HBS "look like people who expect to be in charge.... I have the feeling that if you asked one of them for driving directions, he'd greet you with a can-do smile and throw himself into the task of helping you to your destination - whether or not he knew the way."

Alarm Clock

U.S. railroad oil spills in 2013 surpassed previous four decades combined

US Oil spill
© Reuters / Athit Perawongmetha
Newly unveiled federal data indicates that more crude oil was spilled in US railway incidents in 2013 than in the prior 37 years combined, inspiring lawmakers to push for new safety standards that could avoid similarly devastating incidents in the future.

Altogether, 800,000 gallons spilled from US railroads in the years from 1975 to 2010. That data, which comes from the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration, does not include records of Canadian spills, some of which are thought to surpass one million gallons spilled on their own.

In part because of major derailments in Alabama and North Dakota, over 1.15 million gallons of crude oil seeped from train cars.

North Dakota crude, the type of oil examined in the government research, tends to have very low density, which means it is made of more volatile compounds that could increase its flammability and make the crude more difficult to clean up.

Stock Down

Actual U.S. unemployment is 37.2%, not "6.7%", record number of households on food stamps in 2013

girl pays for her mother's groceries using Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) tokens
© Andrew Burton/Getty Images/AFP
A girl pays for her mother's groceries using Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) tokens, more commonly known as Food Stamps, at the GrowNYC Greenmarket in Union Square on September 18, 2013 in New York City.
As the White House proclaims a recovery is occurring, and the stock market has a head of steam, millions of Americans and their dependents are being left out of the recovery, according to a set of economic indicators.

Perhaps the most worrying yet least reported aspect of the so-called US recovery involves the national labor picture. Although the official US unemployment rate is 6.7 percent, this figure obscures the reality, according to an influential Wall Street adviser.

In a leaked memo to clients, David John Marotta calculates the actual unemployment rate of Americans out of work at an astronomic 37.2 percent, as opposed to the 6.7 percent claimed by the Federal Reserve.

"The unemployment rate only describes people who are currently working or looking for work," he said.

"Unemployment in its truest definition, meaning the portion of people who do not have any job, is 37.2 percent. This number obviously includes some people who are not or never plan to seek employment. But it does describe how many people are not able to, do not want to or cannot find a way to work," he and colleague Megan Russell reveal in their client report, which was leaked to the Washington Examiner.

Nuke

Fukushima radiation more than 10 times the normal level is detected on California beaches

Multiple independent tests have confirmed that levels of nuclear radiation are being detected on California beaches that are more than 10 times the normal level. Many believe that this is the result of highly radioactive water from Fukushima that has crossed the Pacific Ocean and is now washing up on California beaches. Others are blaming the radiation spikes on "natural sources", but they can never seem to identify what those natural sources actually are.

If this radiation is from Fukushima, it is only going to get worse over time. Every single day, another 300 tons of highly radioactive water gets released into the Pacific Ocean at Fukushima. Some of these radioactive elements have half-lives of about 30 years, so the total amount of radioactive material in the Pacific is continually growing and it will be with us for a very long time. As this highly radioactive water hits the west coast of the United States, a lot of that nuclear material will end up being deposited on our beaches. As you will see below, there is evidence that this is already happening.

Scientists all over the world have told us to expect a radioactive ocean plume from Fukushima to hit our shores at some point in 2014. For example, check out what researchers at the University of South Wales are saying...
The first radioactive ocean plume released by the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster will finally be reaching the shores of the United States some time in 2014, according to a new study from the University of New South Wales - a full three or so years after the date of the disaster.
The following graphic comes from that study...

Fukushima Radiation
© The Truth Wins

Arrow Down

Man receives the creepiest letter ever from OfficeMax

Creepy Letter
© io9
It sounds like something out of a horror movie. Mike Seay, whose daughter died last year in a car accident, received a piece of junk mail from Office Max addressed to "Mike Seay, Daughter Killed In Car Crash." How did OfficeMax have this information? The more he investigated, the more the story became science fiction.

As the Los Angeles Times' Matt Pearce reports:
Seay appears to be the victim of some marketing gone horribly wrong.

"I'm not a big OfficeMax customer. And I wouldn't have gone there and said anything to anybody there about it [the car crash]. That's not their business," Seay, 46, told the Los Angeles Times in a phone interview Sunday.

In a statement, OfficeMax said the mailing "is a result of a mailing list rented through a third-party provider" and offered its apologies to Seay. A spokeswoman told The Times on Sunday that the company was still gathering information about what had happened.
So apparently some kind of bug caused a machine to print the wrong information in the address box as the letter made its way through OfficeMax's junk mail assembly line.

Alarm Clock

Ukraine's Prosecutor General warn protesters to halt "mass rioting", a crime against the state

Image
© AP/Sergei Grits
A police officer beats a protester during clashes in central Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014. Police in Ukraine's capital on Wednesday tore down protester barricades and chased demonstrators away from the site of violent clashes, hours after two protesters died after being shot, the first violent deaths in protests that are likely to drastically escalate the political crisis that has gripped Ukraine since late November.
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych on Monday warned bloody clashes between protesters and police threatened all of Ukraine as new fighting rocked the capital Kiev.

The clashes, the worst in Kiev in recent times, marked a spiralling of tensions after two months of demonstrations against Yanukovych's refusal to sign a pact for closer integration with the EU.

Amid growing fears the police could act to violently disperse the protest, Ukraine's Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka warned protesters to halt "mass rioting", describing it as a crime against the state.

In a second day of clashes after 200 were injured in Sunday's fighting, thousands of Ukrainians braved temperatures of minus 10 degrees Celsius (14 degrees Fahrenheit) to take part in the standoff with police.

In the epicentre of the clashes outside the entrance to the iconic Dynamo Kiev football stadium in central Kiev, both sides hunkered down behind barricades.

The protesters lobbed stones dug up from the cobbled road, flung Molotov cocktails and threw fireworks over a 20-metre (65-foot) no-man's land at police lines.

Police responded by throwing stun grenades and occasionally using rubber bullets and tear gas.

"I am convinced that such phenomena are a threat not only to the public in Kiev but all of Ukraine," Yanukovych said in an address to the nation broadcast on state TV.

"I urge dialogue, compromise and calm in our native land," he said in his first public comments on the violence.

Showing increasing impatience with the events, he added: "I ask you not to follow those who urge violence, who are seeking to provoke a split between the state and society."

Eye 2

Mafia hitmen break 'code of honour' execute three-year-old boy

Image
© Nicola Campolongo
The remains of Nicola Campolongo were found in a burnt-out car - alongside him were the corpses of grandfather Salvatore Iannicelli and his lover Ibtissa Touss

Barbaric Mafia hitmen have hit a new low by breaking their own "code of honour" and murdering a boy aged three. The charred remains of toddler Nicola Campolongo were found in a burnt-out car on a farm. Alongside him were the corpses of grandfather Salvatore Iannicelli and the 52-year-old's Moroccan lover Ibtissa Touss, 27.

A 50 cent coin, left on the roof of the torched car was the assassins' message that the appalling slaughter in Cosenza was over debts owed by Mr Iannicelli. One of the world's most feared and powerful Mafia groups is believed to be behind the atrocity. The Ndrangheta, based in Calabria, southern Italy, have global connections and handle 80% of Europe's cocaine imports. Their combined interests bring in an estimated £40billion - 3.5% of the Italian economy.

Red Flag

Fewer Women attend World Economic Forum at Davos

Image
© Laurent Gillieron/AP
If you want to know who runs the world, you could do worse than check out the delegates at the World Economic Forum in Davos. The baffling news is that proportion of women attending has actually fallen.

If we want to know more about the kind of people who run the world, we could study those who run countries, corporations or colleges. Or we could just skip that and look at the delegate list for the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, the annual schmoozefest of the world's most powerful people, to find that men rule the world.


This may not surprise any of us, but the fact that their power is only becoming more entrenched does seem a bit surprising, not least because Davos's organisers have publicly tried to invite more women.


Two years ago WEF introduced a quota system to encourage female participation, which demanded that its 100 most important (ie generous) partners send one woman to the annual meeting for every four men. And yet somehow, since then, the proportion of women has fallen from 17% in 2011 to 15% of the 2,500 delegates for this year. So much for that ploy.


When the quota was introduced, it did seem as though progress was being made. For a start, there were a few more sessions about "women as the way forward" featuring Indra Nooyi and Sheryl Sandberg and lots of glamorous events with the likes of Nobel prizewinner Lleymah Gbowee.


But it was a different matter for the companies themselves, who avoided the quota altogether by sending four rather than five delegates. That's right - they would rather send fewer people to the top table than mix the all-male bias up a little. Add to that all the delegates who were exempt from the quota - businesses, universities, media outfits and charities who still haven't achieved gender parity - and the fact that the proportion of women has actually fallen seems less surprising.