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Colosseum in Rome is Leaning, Officials Say

Experts say ancient building has started to tilt, with south side 40cm lower than north, and may need urgent repairs.
© Ray Tang/Rex Features
The Colosseum in Rome
The ancient Colosseum in Rome is slanting about 40cm lower on the south side than on the north, and authorities are investigating whether it needs urgent repairs.

Experts first noticed the incline about a year ago and have been monitoring it for the past few months, Rossella Rea, director at the 2,000-year-old monument, said in the Italian daily Corriere della Sera.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa, another of Italy's most popular attractions, was reopened in 2001 after being shut for more than a decade as engineers worked to prevent it from falling over and to make it safe for visitors.

Rea has asked La Sapienza University and the environmental geology institute IGAG to study the problem and report back in a year.


Summer of So Many Sad Goodbye's

© sassywire.wordpress.com
The news of Alexander Cockburn's death went through me like an arrow Saturday morning. Some deaths you're prepared for, the whispers are on the wing before the final word arrives. This wasn't one of them. He bore his illness under a cloak of stoic all-is-well. It was only with the announcement from Jeffrey St. Clair, Cockburn's co-editor at Counterpunch, the radical website and newsletter, that we learned that Alex had been racked by cancer these last few years. Alex and I had been in light contact over the last few years and there was no hint of his condition in his emails. But then I wouldn't have expected any. He was not one given to personal divulgence, certainly not with a long-lost colleague like myself, and not someone you would describe as an emotional "sharer." That wasn't his style, any more than it is, say, Gore Vidal's.

Heart - Black

Wisconsin Sexual Assault Victims Charged Up To $1,200 For Cost Of Rape Kits

rape victim
© PA
For years, hospitals in northeastern Wisconsin have billed sexual assault victims as much as $1,200 for the cost of their examinations, according to a new investigation.

The Post-Crescent newspaper found that, despite the availability of government funds to cover the cost of sexual assault examinations, many hospitals were sending the bill to victims. The AP has more:
When someone is sexually assaulted, the process of collecting forensic evidence can include taking pictures of bruises, swabs of sexual fluids or hair. Other expenses, which can include a pregnancy test, antibiotics and medical supplies, can bring the final price tag to about $1,200. [...]

For example, hospitals in the ThedaCare system used to absorb the cost for years as part of their charity care, said Jean Coopman-Jansen a program coordinator at Appleton Medical Center. After a change to comply with the health system's billing rules, some victims last year were forced to pay the costs themselves, she said.


New wave of Anaheim protests: 9 arrested as police disperse crowds

A protester is taken into custody by Orange County Police Officers during a demonstration to show outrage for the several recent officer involved shootings on July 29, 2012 in Anaheim, California. (Jonathan Gibby/Getty Images/AFP)

At least nine people have been arrested by Orange County Police as they pushed protesters back during a street rally in outrage over the recent officer-involved shootings that left two locals dead.

­More than 200 people have gathered outside Anaheim police headquarters chanting slogans condemning the police and taking over a parking lot, where they drew outlines of bodies.

"The whole system is guilty" and "Am I next?" the angry crowds were chanting in rage, says the LA Times.
Anaheim protest
© Jonathan Gibby/Getty Images/AFP

Comment: Although the article makes no mention of it, it is interesting to see a military uniform in the last picture. Is the US military now actively being used to supress dissent?


Judge defends breaking rules to support Amanda Knox, despite allegations of misconduct

Amanda Knox

Amanda Knox
King County Superior Court Judge Michael Heavey, who became a staunch defender of Amanda Knox from the bench, says in Yakima that he was willing to break a few rules in order to see justice served.

Standing in front of a large crowd at the Yakima Convention Center, he told Downtown Rotary members Thursday how he was compelled to support what he considered to be the wrongfully convicted murder suspect Knox from his Superior Court office, and that despite allegations of misconduct for doing so, he did the right thing.

"I always felt and still feel this way, is that I did the right thing - imperfect at times - but still the right thing," he said.

Knox, now 26, made national headlines when she and her boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, were accused of cutting the throat of her roommate, Meredith Kercher, in Italy where she was a student. After serving four years - she was sentenced to 26 years, while he was sentenced to 25 years - their convictions were overturned Oct. 3, 2011.

Comment: What a shame that Judge Heavey cannot extend the same level of support and scrutiny to those caged without charge or trial for over a decade in Guantanamo Bay. Who equally may under torture may have told "what the interrogator wants to hear" and who equally suffer at the hands of psychopaths that control the system.


Modern-Day Noah Opens Doors Of Ark Creation

© Sky News
A faithful reproduction of Noah's ark, using the dimensions in The Bible, has just opened to the public in The Netherlands.

It was constructed by the Dutch creationist and millionaire building contractor Johan Huibers, after he dreamt that Holland would be flooded once again.

He used the ancient measurement of the cubit - the length of a man's arm from the elbow to the fingertips - to build the craft according to Biblical proportions.

In Genesis the ark is described as being 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide, and 30 cubits high so the mammoth effort took him and his team of five just over four years to finish.

Using Mr Huiber's arm, the craft, which is moored in the southern Netherlands town of Dordrecht, is just over 450 feet in length, dwarfing buildings along the waterfront.


Dozens die as blaze engulfs overnight train in India

A fire swept through a train car packed with sleeping passengers in southern India on Monday, killing at least 47 people and sending panicked survivors rushing for the only clear exit once the train stopped, officials said.

Investigators found charred remains of victims still in their sleeping berths and were struggling to identify them.

A railway station worker noticed the burning coach as the overnight train from New Delhi to the southeastern city of Chennai passed through the town of Nellore at about 4 a.m. local time, official B. Sridhar said. Nellor is nearly 310 miles south of Hyderabad, the capital of Andhra Pradesh state.

Once the alarm was raised, the train was stopped and the passenger car detached from the rest of the train to prevent the blaze from spreading.

The Indian Railways is a vital national transportation grid for the country's 1.2 billion people, cramming 18 million people a day on to ageing trains.


Madonna Faces Lawsuit Over Swastika Imagery During Concert

© unknown
Madonna has come under fire for using a controversial in-concert video that features an image shown of Front National (FN) leader Marine Le Pen layered in a montage with a swastika superimposed on the singer's forehead (video below).

After a few seconds, the videos reveals an Adolf Hitler look-alike.

Madonna premiered the video in Israel, causing Le Pen to say "If she does that in France, [we will] be waiting for her."

Not surprisingly, Madonna screened it in front of 70,000 attendees at her Stade de France concert near Paris.

Heart - Black

Teen Gang Members Murder Grandfather Delfino Mora, Post Killing Video on Facebook

Chicago police say that gang members robbed and murdered 62-year-old Delfino Mora, a disabled man. They allegedly recorded the attack on a cell phone and posted it to Facebook, last Tuesday.

Mora's family told NBC Chicago that the grandfather of 12 was collecting cans that he sells for cash when the teens confronted him.

The gang members involved in the fatal assault allegedly include Nicholas Ayala, 17, and Anthony Malcolm, 18, who were both charged with first-degree murder and robbery. Malik Jones, 16, was charged with first-degree murder and was held without bail on Sunday.

Police said Jones handed his friends his cell phone to start filming, then demanded money from Mora and punched him in the jaw.


Why the Mainstream Media Remains Ignorant to the Working Class

© Photo: David Scull / The New York Times
The writer Barbara Ehrenreich in Washington on September 8, 2006.
Best-selling author Barbara Ehrenreich - probably best known for her 2001 book Nickel and Dimed - has long been on the forefront of promoting stories about working people in an often hostile media environment. Recently, she has been heading the Economic Hardship Reporting Project. An endeavor inspired in part by the Federal Writers Project of the 1930s, the initiative aims "to force this country's crisis of poverty and economic insecurity to the center of the national conversation."

I spoke with Ehrenreich about this crisis of economic insecurity, about the invisibility of working people in the mainstream media, and about the current state of journalism.

That working people are chronically underrepresented in the media - even in times of economic downturn - is a sad reality readily apparent to anyone who has surveyed the American news landscape. Given this, I asked Ehrenreich if she thought this problem has been a constant, or if has it gotten worse in recent years.