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US: White House asked California paper to take out unflattering remark about first lady

A small weekly paper in California claims that a White House official asked it to remove a sentence from a "benign" feature about Marine One because it reflected poorly on first lady Michelle Obama.

In an email to The Daily Caller, Gina Channell-Allen, president of the Pleasanton Weekly in Pleasanton, California, said that her paper "received a call from the White House asking us to take out part of the story because it reflected poorly on the First Lady."

The story in question was a soft feature about Marine One titled, "Inside Marine One, President Obama's helicopter," that ran in the paper on April 20. Pleasanton staffer Amory Gutierrez "didn't get to ride in 'Marine One,'" she wrote in her story, "but I did get the VIP tour and took photographs of the otherwise unseen aircraft."

She also wrote a sentence that the White House thought made FLOTUS look snooty.

Handcuffs

US: Four looting suspects arrested in Pleasant Grove posing as relief workers

Image
© Special/Jefferson County Sheriff's Office
The Pleasant Grover looting suspects are, from top left, Anthony Haislip and Christopher Elmore, from bottom left, Christopher Ramsey and Jon Berube.
Four Florida men posing as relief workers have been arrested and charged with looting in Pleasant Grove, authorities said.

Shortly before noon today, a person in Pleasant Grove alerted Jefferson County Sheriff deputies after seeing the men taking property from houses and loading it into a truck. The witness gave the deputies a description of the suspects and their vehicle.

Jefferson County deputies, along with Baldwin County deputies, went to the area where the suspects were reported to be in the 800 block of 5th Street in Pleasant Grove.

Taken into custody were: Anthony Dale Haislip , 31, Sarasota, Fla.; Christopher Don Elmore, 36, Bradenton, Fla.; Jon Robert Berube, 24, Sarasota, Fla.; and Christopher Bryant Ramsey, 21, Sarasota, Fla.

Newspaper

US: New Rules Don't Stop Newspaper Circulation Fall

Image
© Chappatte

Circulation fell at most of the largest U.S. newspapers compared with a year ago, despite new rules that give publishers more flexibility to boost their totals.

The figures released Tuesday, for the six months ending in March, mark the first time that newspapers have calculated circulation under the looser guidelines from the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

Among other things, the changes allow publishers to include free copies given to newspaper employees and local schools; before copies had to be bought to be counted. The changes also make it easier for newspapers to lump separate editions under different titles into one total.

Newspaper circulation has been falling as readers shift from the printed newspaper to free websites and mobile services. The electronic alternatives have become even more tempting as newspapers charge more for their print editions. Some of the falling circulation stemmed from publishers' decisions to shrink their delivery areas to save money.

Circulation is important because it affects advertising rates. Print advertising has long been the main source of revenue for newspapers, but it has been falling because of the uncertain economy and a shift by advertisers to free and cheaper options on the Internet.

Info

Needle Found in Ex-South Korea President's Lung

Image
© Reuters/Korea Amnesty
Former South Korean president Roh Tae-woo steps out of a limousine to talk to the press at the gate of the Seoul Detention House in Seoul December 22 shortly after being released from serving a prison sentence. Roh was originally sentenced to 22 1/2 years but was given a special government pardon after serving a little over a year of a sentence for mutiny, treason and corruption.
Former South Korean president Roh Tae-woo was admitted to hospital with a bad cough and ended up on the operating table to remove an acupuncture needle from his right lung.

Local media reports said Roh, 78, was released from Seoul National University Hospital on Monday after surgery to remove the 6.5 cm needle.

Doctors are puzzled how the needle ended up in his lung, and acupuncturists say that none of their procedures involved penetrating the lung.

"I can't figure out how the needle got into there," Dr Sung Myung-whun was quoted as telling reporters at the hospital after the operation. "It is a mystery for me, too."

Roh, who served as president from 1988 to 1993, has been in poor health since 2002 when he received surgery for prostate cancer.

Source: Reuters

Eye 1

UK: Police powers are out of control

What gives the police the right to arrest a person who has not committed a crime and wasn't planning to commit any crime?

Yesterday, long-time activist and professional thorn-in-the-side-of-the-establishment Chris Knight was pre-emptively arrested by the police (video below).

The crime? Planning a 'zombie wedding' stunt that featured a mock execution of Prince Andrew with a guillotine. Not the nicest of stunts, I'll grant you, but an arrestable offence?

Keep in mind that a Channel 4 film crew were with the trio who got arrested, filming for the 'Unofficial Royal Wedding' Some of their equipment was also confiscated.

The 'Zombie Wedding' was billed as a "right royal orgy" with "rumpy pumpy and guillotines" and explicitly stated, "this is a totally non-terrorist event". What did the police say? This:
This evening, 28 April, officers arrested three people - two males aged 68 and 45, and a 60-year-old woman - in Wickham Road, SE4 on suspicion of conspiracy to cause public nuisance and breach of the peace.
Unbelievable. Watch the video:


Heart - Black

US: Texas Teacher Suspended After Telling Muslim Student 'I Bet You're Grieving'

Image
© ABC

A Texas high school teacher has been placed on administrative leave following an incident where he allegedly told a 9th grade Muslim girl in his algebra class "I bet that you're grieving" on Monday following the death of Osama bin Laden.

According to one parent at Clear Brook High School in Houston who spoke about the incident to a local ABC affiliate, the teacher also said, "I heard about your uncle's death."

The parent said the student "understood that he was referring about Osama bin Laden being killed and was racially profiling her."

Evil Rays

Only gullible Americans believe Bin Laden killing, says UK journalist

Image
© IRNA
London, May 3, IRNA - British broadcaster and journalist Yvonne Ridley is sceptical about reports of the US assassination of Osama bin Laden, which comes at a time when President Barack Obama is plagued over questions about his birth certificate and rated so lowly in the polls.

"Only a gullible section of Americans are falling for this nonsense while the rest of the world is maintaining a healthy disbelief over the news that the al Qaida leader was killed in a compound in Abbottabad," Ridley said.

"What I would like to know is why did they dump the body at sea, thereby eliminating every bit of vital evidence?" she asked.

"This has only served to feed the many conspiracy theorists out there and those who no longer believe anything coming out of The White House since we were all lied to over the whereabouts of WMD in Iraq," she said.

The British journalist, who has extensive experience travelling around the Middle East, was expressing her doubts about the reports in an exclusive interview with IRNA.

Heart - Black

US: Attackers tattooed "RAPEST" on forehead of Oklahoma man

Stetson Johnson
© AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki
Stetson Johnson, 18, holds back his hair to show a tattoo on his forehead in his home in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, May 4, 2011. The bar code on his forehead hides the word "rapest" which Johnson said Wednesday that attackers forcibly tattooed on his forehead, and he had the bar code tattooed over it in an attempt to hide it. The numbers are three 7s for lucky 7 and 10 for 2010.

Del City - Two men and two women are accused of pinning down a man who has learning disabilities, tattooing the word "RAPEST" on his forehead and shocking his genitals with a stun gun before beating him unconscious with a baseball bat, police said Wednesday.

The accused told police they attacked Stetson Johnson, 18, because he tried to have sex with one of them, according to a police spokesman. Detectives found no evidence to support their claims, he said.

Johnson, of Oklahoma City, said he is acquainted with all four but has never tried to hurt any of them. He said the April 17 attack began when he was thrown to the ground and kicked in the face "dozens of times" by two men while two women took turns using a stun gun on his genitals. He said the attackers yelled obscenities at him.

Cow Skull

Global poverty at mercy of corn harvest

Woman selling corn
© Dr. M. Ashaq Raza
Woman selling corn in Godief, Asmara
"If we have any kind of weather problem in the northern hemisphere, we don't have enough corn."

This was the alarming verdict of Alberto Weisser, chief executive of Bunge, during last Thursday's presentation of first quarter results for the US agribusiness and food multinational.

Whilst the motive of questions posed by financial analysts on the Bunge conference call was related to profit forecasts, low corn stocks have also been a concern amongst agencies monitoring global food security.

"We do need good weather," repeated Weisser, without mentioning that the northern hemisphere already has a weather problem.

Parts of Europe are experiencing unusually high temperatures and shortage of rain. The UK Met Office has warned that both March and April could be the driest for 50 years. This may be too early to affect the corn crop cycle but does not augur well for a stable summer season.

More commonly known as maize in the southern hemisphere, corn influences the price of other grains and food commodities traded on world markets. Its cost and availability impact the volume of food aid that major humanitarian donors are able to source from the US and elsewhere.

Other developments shortly before and after the Bunge press conference illustrate the stark contrast between the ability of rich and poor regions of the world to cope with rising food prices.

Heart - Black

You are NOT allowed to commit suicide: Workers in Chinese iPad factories forced to sign pledges

Factories making sought-after Apple iPads and iPhones in China are forcing staff to sign pledges not to commit suicide, an investigation has revealed.

At least 14 workers at Foxconn factories in China have killed themselves in the last 16 months as a result of horrendous working conditions.

Many more are believed to have either survived attempts or been stopped before trying at the Apple supplier's plants in Chengdu or Shenzen.

Chinese Workers Ipad Suicide
© Bloomberg via Getty Images
Appalling conditions: An investigation by two NGOs has found new workers at Foxconn factories in China are made to sign a 'no suicide' pledge
After a spate of suicides last year, managers at the factories ordered new staff to sign pledges that they would not attempt to kill themselves, according to researchers.

And they were made to promise that if they did, their families would only seek the legal minimum in damages.

An investigation of the 500,000 workers by the Centre for Research on Multinational Companies and Students & Scholars Against Corporate Misbehaviour (Sacom) found appalling conditions in the factories.