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Thu, 19 Sep 2019
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US: City Flushes 8M Gallons After Man Caught Urinating in Reservoir

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© unknown
Because a 21-year-old man was caught on a security camera urinating into a city reservoir, Oregon's biggest city is sending 8 million gallons of treated drinking water down the drain.

Portland officials defended the decision Monday, saying they didn't want to send city residents water laced, however infinitesimally, with urine.

Public health officials say, however, that urine is sterile in healthy people and that the urine in the reservoir was so diluted - perhaps a half pint in millions of gallons - that it posed little risk.

Some people in the city, in the suburbs and around the world called the flush an overreaction, especially since animals such as ducks contribute waste routinely and, sometimes, die in the water.

Bad Guys

Brazilian Soldiers and Police Raid Slums Overrun by Drug Trafficking Gangs as they Clear the Way for 2014 Football World Cup

Hundreds of Brazilian soldiers and police officers have swooped on a crime-ridden slum this morning as part of an operation to rid Rio De Janeiro of gangs ahead of the 2014 World Cup.

A group of marines, backed by helicopters and armoured vehicles, were joined by around 800 armed police and other officers during the raid in the Mangueria neighbourhood, one of Rio de Janeiro's most populous neighborhoods.

The shantytown is a key part of the city as the Maracana stadium located nearby will host both the 2014 World Cup final and the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2016 Olympic Games.

The operation is an attempt to drive from the area the drug traffickers that have held sway there for decades, Brazilian officials said.

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© Reuters
Swoop on the slums: Policemen prepare for the operation against drug dealers at Mangueira favela

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© Reuters
Bulldozing their way in: Brazilian Navy soldiers in an armoured vehicle prepare to take over the heavily populated neighbourhood in Rio de Janeiro

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© Reuters
Forcing their way in: Policeman and Brazilian Navy soldiers met little resistance as they charged into the shantytown

Handcuffs

No Automatic Right to Lawyer in US Civil Cases: Court

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Photo illustration of a courtroom in California. The US Supreme Court ruled that states did not have an automatic duty to provide counsel in civil courts in the case of a divorced father who was jailed for failing to pay child support.
The US Supreme Court ruled that states did not have an automatic duty to provide counsel in civil courts in the case of a divorced father who was jailed for failing to pay child support.

By a majority 5-4 vote, the justices found that while the South Carolina father's rights had been violated because he was not given free counsel, US states did not have to provide such advice in all civil contempt cases.

The case was being highly watched and had become emblematic of what civil rights groups have called a trend towards "debtors' prisons" in America.

In the case before the Supreme Court, Michael Turner had been ordered to pay $51.73 a week in child support. But he had regularly fallen behind, and spent short spells in prison.

On his fifth infraction, the South Carolina family court sentenced him to six months in jail. But on his release he was $5,728 in arrears, and was then sentenced to 12 months in jail.

Turner appealed arguing his constitutional rights had been violated as he had not been given access to free counsel -- as is normal in criminal cases -- to argue that he had been unable to pay the funds due during his jail term.

In Monday's majority decision, the court ruled that a constitutional amendment "does not automatically require the State to provide counsel at civil contempt proceedings to an indigent noncustodial parent who is subject to a child support order, even if that individual faces incarceration."

Heart - Black

US: Concord Dogs Killed By Poisoned Meatballs, Police Say

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© CBS
Concord Police say DJ, a black Scottish terrier (left) and Coco were poisoned with tainted meatballs
Two dogs belonging to a Concord woman were found dead after police said they ate poisoned meatballs. A disgruntled neighbor is accused in the case.

On June 4th, DJ, the woman's black Scottish terrier was suffering from seizures. Despite a visit to the vet, the dog died the same day. Two days later, the owner's second dog, Coco, died.

Tom Tarbill lives next door to the victim and believes the suspect may have gained access to his neighbor's yard through his backyard.

"I was pretty shocked," he said. "This guy, apparently, he just doesn't like dogs for one, and that kind of reflects on his character, I believe."

The owner of the dogs, who is currently out of town and did not want her identity revealed, told CBS5 by phone that she found four meatballs in her yard, and had received three threatening letters this year.

Smoking

US: Anti-Smoking Campagin Strikes Again: FDA to Issue New Graphic Cigarette Warning Labels

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© FDA
The FDA will select the graphic images to be put directly onto the cigarette packaging itself, by June 22, 2011.
Coming to a store near you: nine more reasons not to smoke.

The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday is set to release nine new graphic health warning labels for U.S. cigarette packs, representing the most significant change to cigarette packs in more than 25 years.

The new labels will take up half of a pack of cigarettes and also will appear on advertisements. Cigarette makers have until the fall of 2012 to comply.

Mandates for new warning labels were part of a 2009 law giving the FDA authority to regulate tobacco. The announcement follows reviews of scientific literature, public comments and results from a study of 36 labels proposed last November.

The U.S. first mandated warning labels in 1965. Current warning labels were put on packs in the mid-1980s.

Source: The Associated Press

Bomb

US: Evanston Man Planted Bomb, Tried to Get Reward for Tip

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© stockbyte
A 19-year-old Evanston man is accused of planting a bomb at an Evanston police station - and then calling in a tip about the device to the police and asking for a reward.

Sergio Chaves left the bomb in a garbage can outside the station at 633 Howard, next to an apartment building, officials said Monday.

The Cook County sheriff's bomb squad rendered the device safe Saturday night.

Chaves faces federal charges of attempted bombing of public safety officials, said Tom Ahern, spokesman for the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

"It put a lot of people at risk, including the three officers in the police station at the time," Ahern said.

"We believe he was acting alone," Ahern said.

Ambulance

At Least 44 Killed in Russian Plane Crash

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© AFP / Dmitry Nikoforov
A Russian Tu-134 is seen in 2007
At least 44 people were killed when a passenger plane broke up and caught fire on coming into land in heavy fog in north-western Russia, an Emergency Ministry spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

The Tupolev-134 plane, carrying 43 passengers and nine crew, crashed near a road about 1 km (0.6 miles) from the runway at the Besovets airport outside the northern city of Petrozavodsk at about 11.40 p.m. local time (1940 GMT) on Monday.

"The preliminary information is that 44 people were killed," the spokeswoman said by telephone. "Eight people were injured." She said nine crew were on board; officials had earlier said there were five crew on board.

Photographs on the http://www.lifenews.ru Internet news website showed firemen battling with fires among the wreckage of the plane, which crashed about 700 km (430 miles) north of Moscow.

The news site, which posted a full list of the passengers, said a 10-year-old boy named Anton had survived the crash but gave no details about his condition.

Info

Convicted Murderer at Amanda Knox's Appeals Trial in Italy Claims He Can Clear Her

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© The Associated Press / Stefano Medici
Amanda Knox, second from left, walks past her lawyer Luciano Ghirga, as she arrives in court for the appeal trial in Perugia, Italy, Saturday, June 18, 2011. Knox was convicted of murdering her British roommate in Perugia, Meredith Kercher, and sentenced to 26 years in prison. Her co-defendant and ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito was also convicted and sentenced to 25 years. They both deny wrongdoing and have appealed the 2009 verdict.
A convicted child murderer testified Saturday at the appeals trial of Amanda Knox, saying that a fellow inmate had told him the American student had nothing to do with the killing of her roommate in Italy.

Mario Alessi, who is serving a life sentence for one of Italy's most shocking crimes, the kidnap-murder of an Italian toddler snatched from his home, was called by defence lawyers as a witness.

He was one of five witnesses heard Saturday, also including a police informant who testified from behind a cover and a Neapolitan mobster with a flamboyant attitude.

Knox was convicted of sexually assaulting and murdering British student Meredith Kercher in the house the two shared in Perugia, and sentenced to 26 years in prison. Her co-defendant and ex-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito of Italy, was also convicted and sentenced to 25 years. Knox and Sollecito, who both attended Saturday's session, deny wrongdoing and are appealing their convictions.

Rudy Hermann Guede, an Ivorian, was convicted in a separate proceeding. His conviction has been confirmed by Italy's highest criminal court. Guede also denies wrongdoing, but admitted being in Knox's and Kercher's apartment the night of the murder on Nov. 1, 2007.

Alessi is being held in the same prison as Guede. He testified that the Ivorian told him that Knox and Sollecito are innocent, speaking in prison conversations in November 2009. That was about a month before Knox and Sollecito were convicted in the first trial and while Guede had already been convicted and was appealing.

Arrow Down

Rude Behavior - Is There an Epidemic?

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Why do big trucks and fancy cars think it is their right to take up two spaces?
If the authorities on social graces, Emily Post and Miss Manners (Judith Martin), define manners and etiquette as:

-- "a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter which fork you use."

-- "a little social contract we make that we will restrain some of our more provocative impulses in return for living more or less harmoniously in a community."

Then I wonder if we are in the midst of an epidemic of rude behavior? Is there an increase in appalling behavior? Is it more prevalent in certain areas, like big cities, where accountability is improbable? How widespread is this affliction?

Are we, as a society, poised on the precipice awaiting an imminent descent into a boorish abyss? Or have we already plummeted over the edge, headfirst, into the mire of a Rude Behavior Crater?

Reflecting on some of my experiences and those of close friends, coupled with evidence posted on blogs and in articles, it appears common courtesy is in rapid decline and perhaps, even out of style. Maybe those of us who would love to eradicate this manners deficit epidemic should create a "Social Graces Secret Society" and continue to practice the "rituals" of gracious living. Would we have a chance of overcoming inconsiderate behavior?

Classic examples I have encountered, sometimes on a daily basis:
On the road: The guy/gal who isn't satisfied to go the speed limit and tries to hurry you along by tailgating. Someone zipping in and out of lanes without signaling, charging ahead like they're trying to outrun a raging fire. And the ongoing battle of who "owns the road" between cyclist and motorist. I notice this most in cities like Portland.

Padlock

City Government Demands All Keys to Properties Belonging to Cedar Falls Residents.

Ordinance #2740( An unfunded city-wide mandate) was passed with a resounding 6 to 1 vote, and it allows for the citizens of Cedar Falls to forcefully give the government keys to their comercial properties through universal 'lock boxes'. The intent of the program is to provide increased safety and protection to personal, private property which include businesses, apartments and some rental houses-- which by the way-- comes at the expense of furthering wayward erosion of fundamental constitutional rights.

**UPDATE** The plights and concerns of the citizens have fallen on deaf ears as the City of Cedar Falls has voted to pass the final ruling on mandatory lock boxes, again, with a 6-1 decision.