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Rising Food Prices Push Millions Into Poverty, Study Says

food poverty
© unknown

A sharp rise in food prices since June has pushed 44 million people in developing countries into extreme poverty - having to live on less than $1.25 a day - according to a new study by the World Bank.

The bank's price index soared 29 percent from January 2010 to January 2011 (15 percent just from October to January). Wheat, maize, sugar and edible oils have seen the sharpest price increases in the last six months, with a relatively smaller increase in rice. The rising prices have increased the vulnerability of economies, particularly those that import a high share of their food and have limited capacity for government borrowing and spending.

"In the immediate term, it is important to ensure that further increases in poverty are curtailed by taking measures that calm jittery markets and by scaling up safety net and nutritional programs," the World Bank said in the report, released Tuesday. "Investments in raising environmentally sustainable agricultural productivity, better risk-management tools, less food intensive biofuel technologies, and climate change adaptation measures are all necessary over the medium term to mitigate the impact of expected food price volatility on the most vulnerable."

Snowman

Relations between France and Mexico turn icy over Florence Cassez's jail sentence

The French woman imprisoned in Mexico for being part of a kidnapping gang has lost her final appeal against her sentence. Judges have decided to uphold the 60 year sentence given to Florence Cassez in 2006, despite several requests by French President Nicolas Sarkozy to let her return to her home country. As a result, relations between France and Mexico are becoming increasingly strained.


Attention

Iraqi: I'm proud my WMD lies led to war in Iraq

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Al-Janabi: "I'd do it again"
London - An Iraqi man whose testimony the United States used as a key evidence to build a case for war in Iraq says he is proud that he lied about his country developing mobile biological warfare labs.

The Guardian newspaper published an interview Wednesday with Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi, who has been identified as the informer called "Curveball," whose claims about weapon labs formed part of then-U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell's speech to the U.N. Security Council in 2003, shortly before the war began.

The Guardian quoted al-Janabi as saying: "I had the chance to fabricate something to topple the regime. I and my sons are proud of that."

Although some intelligence agents were skeptical of Curveball's story, the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee reported in 2004 that the Central Intelligence Agency "withheld important information about Curveball's reliability" from analysts dealing with the case.

People

Iraqi protesters set fire to government offices

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© Jaafer Abed/Reuters

Baghdad - About 2,000 demonstrators attacked government offices in a southern Iraqi province, ripping up pavement stones to hurl at a regional council headquarters in a protest over shoddy public services that left dozens of people injured, officials said.

The demonstration was among the most dramatic since Iraqis began venting their anger about dysfunctional government at all levels in relatively small protests across the country - an echo of the tumult happening across the Arab world. Unlike protesters in other countries demanding democracy or regime change, however, demonstrators in Iraq have focused on unemployment, corruption and a lack of electricity.

The top medical official in Wasit province, Diaa al-Aboudi, said 55 people were injured - including three critically - in the protests in the city of Kut, 100 miles (160 kilometers) southeast of Baghdad. He said some of them were shot by police while others were hit by stones or suffered burns.

Syringe

Is It Ethical to Kill Children to Save Children?

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New York -- Should the government promote a medical intervention that undeniably causes death and serious injury to a minority in order to save the lives of the majority?

Vaccines are credited with saving the lives of millions of people from many diseases, but they have also taken lives. In Vaccine Epidemic: How Corporate Greed, Biased Science, and Coercive Government Threaten Our Human Rights, Our Health, and Our Children, authors Louise Kuo Habakus and Mary Holland explain that the current vaccine program stakes the life of one child over another. No parents should be compelled to take actions that could cause their child to live a life of suffering, or even die.

Bill Gates recently stated on CNN that people who question the safety of vaccines are liars who are killing children: "So it's an absolute lie that has killed thousands of kids... the people who go and engage in those anti-vaccine efforts -- you know, they, they kill children." In reality, it is the people who fail to question the safety of the current vaccine program who may be allowing innocent infants and children to suffer serious injuries, and even death. Could some of these injuries and deaths have been avoided?

Comment: Flu Shots put children in the hospital


Wolf

Florida: Father confesses he drove to PBC to set himself on fire with son, dead daughter in truck

West Palm Beach - The western Miami-Dade County pest exterminator found Monday on the side of the road, his acid-splashed adopted son in the front seat of his pickup and an acid-soaked corpse in the truck bed, has confessed to police that he placed his dead daughter in the bag and drove to Palm Beach County with plans to kill himself, according to a West Palm Beach Police report.



Jorge Barahona, 53, who is in police custody but still hospitalized this morning, told police he was "distraught over the death of his daughter and intended to commit suicide" by setting himself on fire, the report said.

Barahona, who's still at Columbia Hospital in West Palm Beach, is charged with felony aggravated child abuse in the attack on his adopted son, Victor, who doctors say suffered "severe internal reactions," police spokesman Chase Scott said Tuesday night.

Family

Florida: Neighbors shocked at gruesome I-95 discovery

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© Ana Valdes/Palm Beach Post
Outside the Miami home of Jorge and Carmen Barahona.

Residents of the quiet neighborhood in western Miami-Dade County where Jorge and Carmen Barahona lived with their adopted children have spent the last two days wondering how a couple who seemed so quiet and orderly could be involved in a multicounty criminal investigation.

A woman who identified herself as Norma and who lives next door to the Barahona family said Tuesday she hasn't slept since Miami-Dade police officers knocked on her door at 10 a.m. Monday asking for Jorge and Carmen's telephone number.

Jorge Barahona, 53, and his 10-year-old son Victor, were found about 7 a.m. Monday by the side of northbound Interstate 95, between Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard and 45th Street in West Palm Beach, in a truck covered in dangerous chemicals. A body in a bag was also found on the bed of the truck. Father and son remained hospitalized, according to police.

Heart - Black

US: Jilted ex-boyfriend brutally stabs, kicks woman he met on Match.com after break-up, murders another

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© Police Photo
Wade Mitchell Ridley alleged attacked one ex-girlfriend in Las Vegas, and is suspected in the murder of another in Phoenix, police say.
It was a "Match" made in hell.

A man was so angry at the woman he'd met on an online dating service for breaking up with him, he brutally stabbed and beat her outside her Las Vegas home, police said.

Wade Mitchell Ridley was charged Tuesday after allegedly confessing to trying to kill Mary Kay Beckman last month.

The 53-year-old told police he "wanted to kill her," according to a police report obtained by ABC 13 Action News in Las Vegas. "He wanted her to pay for how she mistreated him."

The 49-year-old woman's daughter told police her mother and Ridley had only been together for only a short time before she ended the "patchy" relationship. The two met via Match.com, an online dating service.

Handcuffs

US: Woman Who Answered Craigslist Ad Held As Brooklyn Sex Slave For 8 Days

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© Craigslist graphic (AP)
A 27-year-old Wisconsin woman said she answered an apartment ad she saw on Craigslist and wound up being held captive as a sex slave in Brooklyn for more than a week.

John Hopkins, 45, has been arrested. The alleged victim said Hopkins held her in his East Williamsburg apartment on Humboldt Street for eight days. Hopkins faces a series of charges, including rape, assault and unlawful imprisonment. His bail was set at $350,000.

The Brooklyn district attorney said Hopkins told the woman on the telephone she could live with him for free if she cooked and cleaned. Hopkins allegedly paid for her plane ticket to fly to New York and picked her up at the airport. However, when she arrived at his home on Feb. 4, Hopkins allegedly told her she was his slave and forced her to call him "master."

The woman told police that she was handcuffed to a radiator, beaten, bound, gagged and raped repeatedly. She said she was allowed out at least once, but handcuffed again when she returned.

Che Guevara

Bahrain people rise up: Clashes protesters and security forces

Bahrain protest
© Hamad I Mohammed/Reuters
Thousands of protesters gathered at Pearl Roundabout in Manama, Bahrain. A man was killed in clashes at a rally earlier.
Manama -- Bahrain -- Thousands of demonstrators poured into this nation's symbolic center, Pearl Square, late yesterday in a raucous rally that again demonstrated the power of popular movements that are transforming the political landscape of the Middle East.

In a matter of hours, this small, strategically important monarchy experienced the now familiar sequence of events that has rocked the Arab world. What started as an online call for a "Day of Rage'' progressed within 24 hours to demonstrators cheering, waving flags, setting up tents, and taking over the grassy traffic circle beneath the towering monument of a pearl in the heart of the capital city.

The crowd grew bolder as it grew larger, and, as in Tunisia and Egypt, modest concessions from the government only raised expectations among the protesters, who by day's end were talking about tearing the whole system down, monarchy and all.