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UK government cuts hitting poorest areas hardest, figures show

Street in Liverpool
© Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
A street in Liverpool, the most deprived area.

The most deprived communities in the country are bearing the brunt of government cuts while more affluent areas are escaping relatively unscathed, according to an analysis of official figures.

Labour said the data showed that the government was hitting the poorest communities the hardest and failing to live up to its commitment to ensure that those with the broadest shoulders bear the largest burden.

Councils in the 10 most deprived areas of England are facing cuts averaging 25.3% in the financial years 2010-11 to 2015-16, compared with 2.54% in the 10 least deprived areas.

The figures were drawn up by Paul Woods, the veteran treasurer of Newcastle city council. Woods took government figures on the level of cuts to the 326 local authorities in England and compared them with the multiple indices of deprivation issued by the Department of Communities and Local Government.

Liverpool city council, with the highest deprivation score of 43.45, is suffering cuts of 27.1%. Hart district council, with the lowest deprivation score of 4.47, is facing cuts of 1.5%.

Roses

New Mexico judge affirms right to 'aid in dying'

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© Desdemona Burgin/Compassion & Choices
“I don't think anyone should be required to suffer at the end of their lives,” said Aja Riggs, a cancer survivor and one of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit that challenged a New Mexico law prohibiting assisted suicide.
Aja Riggs, 50, thought a lot about dying after she was diagnosed with uterine cancer.

She endured surgery in October 2011, then underwent aggressive chemotherapy that made her feel as if her skin was burning. She was constantly tired. Then doctors found a second tumor, which they treated with two different types of radiation.

"It was a pretty darn rough winter, actually," said Riggs of Santa Fe, N.M. "I thought to myself, I don't know if I want to go all the way to the end with a death from cancer." She considered "what I needed to do if I would like to perhaps have a more peaceful and gentle death."

Now, a New Mexico judge has ruled that terminally ill patients like Riggs have the right to "aid in dying" under the state constitution. "Such deaths are not considered 'suicide' under New Mexico's assisted suicide statute," ruled Judge Nan G. Nash of the 2nd District Court in Albuquerque last week.

The state's assisted suicide law classifies helping with suicide as a fourth-degree felony.

Aid in dying refers to doctors prescribing a fatal dose of drugs so patients can "achieve a peaceful death and thereby avoid further suffering," Nash wrote.

Magnify

USDA shut down New Jersey slaughterhouse over calf treatment - Investigation Launched

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© Provided by Humane Society of the United States
A still from a Humane Society of the United States undercover investigation video of the Catelli Bros. slaughterhouse in Shrewsbury.(Photo:
Slaughterhouses aren't places for the squeamish, but a secret video taken last year of calves at a Catelli Bros. plant was enough for federal regulators to draw the line.

The U.S Department of Agriculture, after reviewing the Humane Society's video, suspended the Collingswood, N.J.-based company's operations in Shrewsbury and started an investigation into the company's treatment of cattle, the animal rights group said Monday.

"We commend USDA for taking action to shut down the operation at Catelli Bros.," said Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States. But he also called on regulators to close a loophole "that perpetuates continuing cruelty to young calves."

Catelli Bros. says it is one of the nation's biggest veal and lamb companies, with about 250 employees. It supplies both grocery stores and restaurants.

Spokesman Tony Catelli said the firm is "deeply concerned" about the allegations and is "cooperating fully" with federal regulators. "Any mistreatment of animals at our facility is unacceptable," he said in a statement.

Bomb

Little Psychopath: Middle School student accused of pouring bleach in opposing team's Gatorade cooler

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A basketball player at Gaffney middle school allegedly admitted to pouring bleach into his opponents' Gatorade cooler last week. Cleveland Smith, whose son plays on the Granard Middle School basketball team, said something wasn't right with his the team's Gatorade after his son complained about not feeling well.

"He [Smith's son] said once he came out of the game and started putting it to his lips said his mouth started burning but no one knew anything then," Smith said. The next day, Smith said his son complained that his stomach hurt. Rumors reportedly began swirling about a student possibly tampering with the Gatorade. Smith said his son received a text message explaining what had happened: "He told me somebody text him and told him they put bleach in the Gatorade."

According to Smith, his son drank four cups of the tainted Gatorade. It wasn't clear how much bleach was dumped into the cooler, but in a statement to police, the suspect said he did not meant to harm anyone.

Students and staff from both schools drank the Gatorade, the police report states.

As of Friday, no charges have been filed but the case remains under investigation, according to Cherokee County Schools Superintendent Dr. Quincie Moore. Several eighth grade students have been disciplined, according to Moore.

Eye 2

Psychopath? Ex-Bronx principal fired from Pennsylvania Catholic school after identity revealed

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© DUBOIS AREA CATHOLIC SCHOOL VIA FACEBOOK
While using the name Mario Bella, Frank Borzellieri, second person from right, was welcomed in December to the DuBois Area Catholic School in Pennsylvania in an official letter, far right, and by clerics who didn’t know of his bigotry-espousing past.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel School's former leader Frank Borzellieri - who considered Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 'anti-American' and warned against rising black and Hispanic populations - got the boot Friday after his new bosses at the Diocese of Erie, Pa., found out he lied on his application.

A Bronx principal who was canned after being exposed as a bigot has been fired from another Catholic school in Pennsylvania after he was unmasked as a liar.

Frank Borzellieri, the former head of Our Lady of Mount Carmel School, got the boot Friday after his new bosses at the Diocese of Erie, Pa., found out who he really was.

"It came to our attention that it wasn't his real name, and the reason he was let go in New York was based on false information," Bishop Lawrence Persico told the Daily News. "He no longer works at the school, effective immediately."

Beer

Fox News has more viewers than CNN and MSNBC combined - Sad Commentary on American Intelligence

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Fox News Channel extended its cable news winning streak to 145 consecutive months with the release of January ratings. In overall audience FNC outstripped CNN and MSNBC combined in prime and in total day; it also led in the news demo, though by smaller margins.

With total viewers, FNC landed in the Top-5 among all cable networks in total day, while CNN and MSNBC settled for No. 38 and No. 29, respectively, and HLN clocked in at No. 47. In prime, FNC finished January at No. 7, CNN at No. 40, MSNBC at No. 30, and HLN at No. 46.

In primetime, only HLN grew year to year, in the demo - 6%, to 123,000 viewers. That said, FNC, at a leading 264,000 viewers, was down just 1% in the demo in primetime. CNN plunged 35% to 131,000 viewers in the age bracket, and MSNBC slid 2% to 231,000 viewers. In total day in the demo, HLN grew 11% to 101,000 viewers, besting CNN's 98,000 - a 27% drop. MSNBC fell 8% to 148,00 viewers, while FNC grew 5% to lead the pack with 220,000 viewers.

Handcuffs

Iceland says it has asked CPS why men are being tried for taking food from bins

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© Martin Godwin
Paul May, one of three men due in court after being found taking tomatoes, mushrooms and cheese from bins.
The chief executive of Iceland has said he has contacted the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to ask why three men caught taking food from bins outside an Iceland store are being taken to court, stating that the company did not seek their prosecution.

The men will stand trial next month after being caught taking some tomatoes, mushrooms and cheese from the dustbins behind a branch of Iceland.

"We are currently trying to find out from the Crown Prosecution Service why they believe that it is in the public interest to pursue a case against these three individuals," the company said in a statement.

Radar

Rand Paul to file NSA suit within days

Sen. Rand Paul
© AP
Sen. Rand Paul

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) will file his class-action lawsuit against the National Security Agency "hopefully within the next week," he said.

The vocal critic of the NSA told the State of the Net Conference on Tuesday that the complaint has already been written and predicted that the challenge would likely reach to the Supreme Court.

Paul has been working for months on the lawsuit against the NSA over its surveillance of Americans' phone and Internet records, which he plans to file as a private citizen. On Tuesday, he asked for the public to back the effort.

"I would like people on the Internet to go out and really support our lawsuit," he said on Tuesday.

Magnify

Dozens of boys' bodies discovered buried at Florida school of horrors

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© Tampa Bay Times
The men who ran the Florida School for Boys buried George Owen Smith quickly, without the dignity of a permanent headstone, before his family could drive up from Auburndale. Their official story was that the spry 14-year-old had crawled under a house nearby and died. His sister Ovell, 12 at the time, never believed it.

"None of that rang true," said Ovell Krell.

Seventy-three years later, she still wants to know what happened, and where he's buried.

Researchers from the University of South Florida are trying to help. They announced Tuesday they have exhumed the remains of 55 boys who died at the notorious state-run reform school in the Panhandle town of Marianna.

That's 24 more than the 31 the Florida Department of Law Enforcement found during a cursory investigation in 2009 on orders from then-Gov. Charlie Crist. The FDLE relied on incomplete school records and did not use ground-penetrating radar to map the cemetery.

The number even exceeds USF's earlier estimate of roughly 50, which was based on ground-penetrating radar.

Airplane

U.S. Federal judge rules in favor of Muslim woman on no-fly list

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© McManis-Faulkner law firm
Rahina Ibrahim, a mother of four with a doctorate from Stanford University, was waiting to board a flight from San Francisco to Hawaii en route to Malaysia in 2005 but was told she was on the no-fly list.
A Muslim woman now living in Malaysia struck a blow to the U.S. government's "no-fly list" when a federal judge ruled Tuesday (Jan. 14) that the government violated her due process rights by putting her on the list without telling her why.

Muslims and civil rights advocates say the no-fly list disproportionately targets Muslims, and they hope the ruling will force the government to become more transparent about the highly secretive program.

"Justice has finally been done for an innocent woman who was wrongly ensnared in the government's flawed watch listing system," Elizabeth Pipkin, a lawyer representing Rahinah Ibrahim, said in a statement.

Ibrahim, 48, a mother of four with a doctorate from Stanford University, was waiting to board a flight from San Francisco to Hawaii en route to Malaysia in 2005 but was told she was on the no-fly list. She was eventually cleared to fly to Malaysia, but her visa was revoked soon afterward and she could not return to Stanford. She was never told why she was put on the list, and in 2006 she sued the government to find out.

Government lawyers argued that Ibrahim, as a Malaysian citizen, had no standing in U.S. courts and that no-fly list information must be kept secret for security reasons. The government also asked U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup of the Northern District of California to seal his ruling.