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US: Record Number of Americans Are Unmarried

Newly Weds
© Blend Images, Shutterstock
Wedding bells were less frequent in 2010, a Pew Research Center analysis finds.

Barely half of American adults are married, a record low for the country, a new analysis of Census data finds.

Following that same trend, the median age at first marriage is older than ever for both men and women, with the median age of marriage for women at 26.5 and the median age for men at 28.7.

Nonetheless, the majority of Americans will still experience marriage at some point in their lives. Although only 51 percent of American adults are currently married, 72 percent have been married at least once.

It's not clear from the analysis whether Americans are shunning marriage altogether or simply delaying it, although the proportion of never-married American adults has increased from 15 percent in 1960 to 28 percent today. Age at first marriage is on the rise in a number of nations across the globe, particularly in developed nations. According to the United Nations' 2009 World Fertility Report, the median age at first marriage for women in developed countries rose from 22.3 years old in the 1970s to 29.4 years old in the 2000s. The age of first marriage rose for men, as well.

Heart

Conjoined twins separated in televised 18-hour surgery

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© Associated Press
Chilean doctors separated 10-months-old conjoined twins Maria Paz and Maria Jose Paredes Navarrete who were joined at the chest, stomach and pelvis.
Santiago, Chile - Doctors successfully separated conjoined twin girls early Wednesday after a marathon 18-hour surgery widely followed in the South American country on television and the Internet.

The 10-month-old twins Maria Paz and Maria Jose are in stable condition even after losing a lot of blood and they are resting in the intensive care unit at Luis Calvo Mackenna Hospital, chief surgeon Francisco Ossandon said.

Parents Jessica Navarrete and Roberto Paredes kept an anxious vigil at the hospital in Santiago as doctors separated the twins at the thorax, stomach and pelvis. It was the seventh and most complex operation yet for the twins.

"Both were successfully separated," Ossandon said at a news conference. "We had a number of difficulties during the surgery, there were some surprises, but we were able to fix, solve the problems."

V

US: Occupy 2.0: Persisting In A Police State

"No government can exist for a single moment without the cooperation of the people, willing or forced, and if people withdraw their cooperation in every detail, the government will come to a standstill."
- Gandhi
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© Dustin Slaughter
Occupy Philadelphia marches in early morning hours after eviction.

The Occupy movement is now a genie that cannot be put back in its bottle.

And while it has certainly gone through growing pains, and will continue to do so, the adversity faced has only forced the movement to adapt and refocus.

After their first eviction, Occupy San Francisco decided to occupy sidewalks around the downtown financial district (the original strategy for Occupy Wall Street before 17 September, I should add.) Can't have an encampment? Adapt and take public sidewalks. There is now a nationwide movement to also throw the gauntlet at major banks like Bank of America, and re-occupy foreclosed homes for families thrown out by the financial criminal class. The move has even prompted Bank of America to fire out an email to its employees. And yes, the email's existence has indeed been confirmed by a Bank of America representative.

Wolf

US: Bizarre South Florida child rape case now in Miami federal court

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© unknown
Randy Jerome Pozdol

The federal government is now prosecuting Randy Jerome Pozdol, the Miami man accused of raping two apparently drugged children and videotaping the heinous acts.

Pozdol's case was unusual because one video discovered at his Miami house allegedly also depicted him attacking the two children's sedated mother - who died of a drug overdose in November 2006, a case initially ruled as accidental.

Investigators are reviewing the case to see whether Pozdol played any role in her death. His defense attorney insists that Pozdol had nothing to do with her overdose.

Until now, Pozdol had been facing state child porn possession charges in Miami-Dade, and capital rape charges in Broward.

He will be arraigned Tuesday in federal court in Miami. Last week, records show, a federal grand jury issued an indictment against Pozdol, 67, for producing child pornography and distribution of the illicit material.

Heart - Black

US Soldier Rapes Teenage Korean Girl

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© Press TV
South Koreans protest against US troops stationed in the country.
South Korean prosecutors say an American soldier has been charged with raping a South Korean teenager at her residence in the capital Seoul.

Pvt. Kevin Robinson was accused of raping the 18-year-old girl in her rented room in Mapo in the early hours of the morning on September 17, Yonhap news agency reported.

The 21-year-old private allegedly broke into the girl's room while she was sleeping and sexually assaulted her before leaving with her laptop computer.

US 8th Army spokesman Col. Andrew Mutter said the suspect was transferred to the custody of South Korean authorities.

The soldier has reportedly denied the charges, but prosecutors said they have secured DNA evidence of the rape.

Light Saber

Palestinian Flag Raised at UNESCO

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© unknown
The Palestinian flag flies for the first time next to the UNESCO flag in Paris, December 13, 2011.
The Palestinian flag has been raised at the headquarters of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for the first time, Press TV reports.

Acting Palestinian Authority (PA) chief Mahmoud Abbas, who attended the event in Paris on Tuesday, said that joining the UNESCO has been "an important step for Palestinians."

In addition, Abbas said in a press conference after the ceremony that Israel has to "stop its settlement activities in the occupied West Bank."

The PA chief added that there should be "peace in the Gaza Strip and the whole occupied territories."

Briefcase

Bankers are the Dictators of the West

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Writing from the very region that produces more clichés per square foot than any other "story" - the Middle East - I should perhaps pause before I say I have never read so much garbage, so much utter drivel, as I have about the world financial crisis.

But I will not hold my fire. It seems to me that the reporting of the collapse of capitalism has reached a new low which even the Middle East cannot surpass for sheer unadulterated obedience to the very institutions and Harvard "experts" who have helped to bring about the whole criminal disaster.

Let's kick off with the "Arab Spring" - in itself a grotesque verbal distortion of the great Arab/Muslim awakening which is shaking the Middle East - and the trashy parallels with the social protests in Western capitals. We've been deluged with reports of how the poor or the disadvantaged in the West have "taken a leaf" out of the "Arab spring" book, how demonstrators in America, Canada, Britain, Spain and Greece have been "inspired" by the huge demonstrations that brought down the regimes in Egypt, Tunisia and - up to a point - Libya. But this is nonsense.

The real comparison, needless to say, has been dodged by Western reporters, so keen to extol the anti-dictator rebellions of the Arabs, so anxious to ignore protests against "democratic" Western governments, so desperate to disparage these demonstrations, to suggest that they are merely picking up on the latest fad in the Arab world. The truth is somewhat different. What drove the Arabs in their tens of thousands and then their millions on to the streets of Middle East capitals was a demand for dignity and a refusal to accept that the local family-ruled dictators actually owned their countries. The Mubaraks and the Ben Alis and the Gaddafis and the kings and emirs of the Gulf (and Jordan) and the Assads all believed that they had property rights to their entire nations. Egypt belonged to Mubarak Inc, Tunisia to Ben Ali Inc (and the Traboulsi family), Libya to Gaddafi Inc. And so on. The Arab martyrs against dictatorship died to prove that their countries belonged to their own people.

Handcuffs

US: A Dangerous Woman - Indefinite Detention at Carswell

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Some things are unforgivable in a democracy. A bill moving through Congress, authorizing the military to imprison American citizens indefinitely, without a trial or hearing, ranks right at the top of that list.

I know - I lived through it on the Patriot Act. When Congress decided to squelch the truth about the CIA's advance warnings about 9/11 and the existence of a comprehensive peace option with Iraq, as the CIA's chief Asset covering Iraq, I became an overnight threat. To protect their cover-up scheme, I got locked in federal prison inside Carswell Air Force Base, while the Justice Department battled to detain me "indefinitely" up to 10 years, without a hearing or guilty plea. Worst yet, they demanded the right to forcibly drug me with Haldol, Ativan and Prozac, in a violent effort to chemically lobotomize the truth about 9/11 and Iraqi Pre-War Intelligence.

Critically, because my legal case was controlled by civilian Courts, my Defense had a forum to fight back. The Judge was an independent arbiter. And that made all the difference. If this law on military detentions had been active, my situation would have been hopeless. The Patriot Act was bad enough. Mercifully, Chief Justice Michael B. Mukasey is a preeminent legal scholar who recognized the greater impact of my case. Even so, he faced a terrible choice - declaring me "incompetent to stand trial," so my case could be killed - or creating dangerous legal precedents tied to secret charges, secret evidence, secret grand jury testimony and indefinite detention - from the Patriot Act's arsenal of weapons against truth tellers - that would impact all defendants in the U.S. Courts.

Mail

U.S. Postal Service Puts 5-month Pause on Closings

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© The Associated Press
Letter carrier Felipe Raymundo moves a tray of mail to his truck to begin delivery Monday, Dec. 5, 2011, at a post office in Seattle.
The U.S. Postal Service has agreed to a five-month moratorium on closures of post offices and processing facilities while lawmakers hammer out legislation to overhaul the cash-strapped mail carrier, a group of U.S. senators said on Tuesday.

The Postal Service was studying about 3,700 money-losing post offices for possible closure starting in February 2012, and considering closing hundreds of processing centers in April.

The senators said USPS officials agreed to push back the closures to give lawmakers time to pass legislation that would help get the Postal Service back on track before the end of fiscal year 2012, when the mail carrier has said it could shut down.

The Postal Service, which does not receive taxpayer money to fund its services, lost more than $5 billion in fiscal year 2011 and says it needs to shed about $20 billion in annual costs by 2015. The Postal Service has argued that facility closures will help it adjust to falling mail volumes as consumers turn to the Internet to communicate and pay bills.

Better Earth

Canada's Kyoto Withdrawal Under Fire from China


Canada's historic decision to withdraw from the Kyoto protocol provoked heavy criticism from China on Tuesday, with Beijing saying the move went against international efforts to combat climate change.

Canada on Monday became the first country to declare it was formally exiting the pact, a reversal that will save it billions of dollars in fines, and poured scorn on the landmark treaty for hampering attempts to tackle pollution.

The decision reflected the reality of Canada's rising greenhouse gas emissions.

The Kyoto protocol, adopted in 1997, is the only global treaty that sets down targeted curbs in global emissions, but those curbs apply only to rich countries, excluding the United States, which refused to ratify the accord.

"We are invoking Canada's legal right to formally withdraw from Kyoto," Environment Minister Peter Kent said after returning home from a marathon UN climate conference in South Africa, at which nations agreed to a new roadmap for worldwide action.