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Bacon n Eggs

Food price hikes predicted in 2013

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© News services file photo
With several forecasts predicting food prices increasing anywhere from 1.5 per cent to 3.5 per cent in 2013, consumers will have to rethink how they will spend their hard-earned discretionary income, writes University of Guelph professor Sylvain Charlebois.
But competition among food retailers could provide some relief in the near term

With several forecasts predicting food prices increasing anywhere from 1.5 per cent to 3.5 per cent in 2013, consumers will have to rethink how they will spend their hard-earned discretionary income, writes University of Guelph professor Sylvain Charlebois. News services file photo

Last year, Canadian consumers enjoyed modest increases in food prices. In fact, not only did food prices barely increase, but prices of fruits and vegetables decreased by more than eight per cent.

Unfortunately, 2013 will be a different story. Several forecasts predict food prices will go up anywhere from 1.5 per cent to 3.5 per cent, likely exceeding our national inflation rate.

In other words, consumers will have to rethink how they will spend their hard-earned discretionary income. Indeed, meat and poultry lovers will be especially hard hit as prices for meats will likely increase by more than 4.5 per cent.

Dollar

Deepwater Horizon owner Transocean settles gulf spill case for $1.4 Billion

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© Photo: Rex Features
BP has already paid or agreed to pay $4.5bn in criminal penalties, including $1.3m in fines over the 2010 disaster
The driller whose floating Deepwater Horizon oil rig blew out in 2010 to cause the nation's biggest oil spill has agreed to settle civil and criminal claims with the federal government for $1.4 billion, the Justice Department announced Thursday.

The Deepwater Horizon exploded, burned and sank in April 2010. Eleven men were killed and millions of gallons of oil flowed into the Gulf of Mexico and fouled the shores of coastal states. The well, known as Macondo, was owned by British oil giant BP, which settled its own criminal charges and some of its civil charges in November for $4.5 billion.

While this settlement resolves the government's claims against Transocean, that company and the others involved in the spill still face the sprawling, multistate civil case, which is scheduled to begin in February in New Orleans. In a deal filed in federal court in New Orleans, a subsidiary, Transocean Deepwater, agreed to one criminal misdemeanor violation of the Clean Water Act and will pay a fine of $100 million. Over the next five years, the company will pay civil penalties of $1 billion, the largest ever under the act.

As part of the criminal settlement, Transocean also agreed to pay the National Academy of Sciences and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation $150 million each. Those funds will be applied to oil spill prevention and response in the Gulf of Mexico and natural resource restoration projects. The agreement will be subject to public comment and court approval. The company agreed to five years of monitoring of its drilling practices and improved safety measures.

Network

Teen jokes about his drunken hit-and-run on Facebook, gets busted by cops

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For most people, Facebook is a place to share your thoughts, boast about your accomplishments and show off pictures of you, your friends and your family.

But for one Astoria man, it was also a place to share his crime - a crime he had yet to be caught for, until now.
"Drivin drunk ... classsic ;) but to whoever's vehicle i hit i am sorry. :P"
That is what Jacob Cox-Brown, 18, of Astoria, posted on Facebook. That post was soon sent to Astoria Police Officer Nicole Riley by one of Cox-Brown's friends. Another friend soon called in the same thing to Sgt. Brian Aydt.

"Astoria Police have an active social media presence," a press release from Astoria Police read Wednesday. "It was a private Facebook message to one of our officers that got this case moving, though. When you post ... on Facebook, you have to figure that it is not going to stay private long."

Green Light

1 in 24 drivers admit nodding off behind the wheel

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© Credit: Flickr Creative Commons
The study also found drowsy driving was more common in men and people ages 25 to 34.

This could give you nightmares: 1 in 24 U.S. adults say they recently fell asleep while driving.

And health officials think the number is probably higher. That's because some people don't realize it when they nod off for a second or two behind the wheel.

In a government study released Thursday, a little over 4 percent of U.S. adults said they fell asleep while driving at least once in the previous month. Some earlier studies reached a similar conclusion, but the survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was far larger.

Pistol

Three women killed in Swiss village shooting

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© Olivier Maire / EPA / January 3, 2013
Police officers men walk in the village of Daillon, Switzerland, where three people were shot and killed.
Three women were shot and killed and two men were wounded before police in southern Switzerland disabled the gunman by shooting him in the chest, officials said Thursday.

Police said the alleged assailant, an unemployed 33-year-old who had been treated for psychiatric problems in the past, was arrested and hospitalized after the rampage late Wednesday in the village of Daillon.

The man began firing from his apartment down toward the street and through the windows of other houses before coming outside and continuing to fire, police in the Swiss canton of Valais said in an online statement.

The three women killed, identified as 32, 54 and 79 years old, were all struck at least twice, police said.

"It's inexplicable. It's just unbelievable," local government leader Christophe Germanier told reporters after the shooting, according to a recording from World Radio Switzerland.

Prosecutor Catherine Seppey told the station the alleged gunman had previously broken Swiss drug law; Valais police identified the crime as a marijuana offense.

Officials said it was unclear how the suspect obtained the two guns used in the killings, one a 20th century military rifle historically used by Swiss militiamen. Police confiscated his weapons when he went into a psychiatric ward in 2005; records show no weapons owned by the man since, authorities said.

USA

Inmate ordered retried in 1980 'waiting ever since'

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© Photo: Michael Graczyk / AP
In this Dec. 11, 2012 photo, Jerry Hartfield speaks from a visiting area at the Hughes Unit of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice outside Gatesville, Texas. Hartfield remains in the middle of a legal dispute between the Texas attorney general's office, which insists he's being legally held, and a federal appeals court that says he's been wrongly imprisoned for 30 years. Hartfield was convicted in 1977 of killing a woman in Bay City, Texas.
Jerry Hartfield was still a young man when an uncle visited him in prison to tell him that his murder conviction had been overturned and he would get a new trial.

Not long afterward, he was moved off of death row.

"A sergeant told me to pack my stuff and I wouldn't return. I've been waiting ever since for that new trial," Hartfield, now 56, said during a recent interview at the prison near Gatesville where he's serving life for the 1976 robbery and killing of a Bay City bus station worker. He says he's innocent.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals overturned Hartfield's murder conviction in 1980 because it found a potential juror improperly was dismissed for expressing reservations about the death penalty. The state tried twice but failed to get the court to re-examine that ruling, and on March 15, 1983 - 11 days after the court's second rejection - then-Gov. Mark White commuted Hartfield's sentence to life in prison.

At that point, with Hartfield off death row and back in the general prison population, the case became dormant.

"Nothing got filed. They had me thinking my case was on appeal for 27 years," said Hartfield, who is described in court documents as an illiterate fifth-grade dropout with an IQ of 51, but who says he has since learned to read and has become a devout Christian.

Handcuffs

ICE agents arrest 245 alleged pedophiles; 44 children rescued

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© Alex Wong/Getty Images
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director John Morton (R) speaks as National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) CEO John Ryan (L) listens during a news conference on Jan. 3, 2013 at the ICE headquarters in Washington, DC.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents announced today they have rescued 44 children from sexual abuse as part of a child pornography investigation that netted 245 arrests over five weeks late last year.

Agents have identified an additional 79 individuals who have been abused as children including 24 victims who now may be adults and are seeking the public's help to identify individuals who are alleged to be sexually abusing young children, with the images posted on the Internet.

"Many times, our investigations into people who possess and trade child pornography reveal new material that points to the ongoing sexual abuse of children. In these cases, our primary objective is to rescue the victim from their horrific situation. And our next step is to arrest and seek prosecution for their abusers," said ICE Director John Morton in a statement.

Among those arrested: Bradley Vaine from Fresno, Calif., who was allegedly abusing a 7-year-old girl who suffered from mental disabilities. Also arrested was Samuel Gueydan from Clovis, Calif., who allegedly had over 1.2 million images and 7,000 videos of child pornography on his computer, ICE said.

The investigation was dubbed Operation Sunflower to commemorate the anniversary of a case where agents discovered evidence that a child was in imminent danger of being raped by a relative. According to ICE, the tip initially came from Dutch investigators who found Internet postings suggesting the girl was in imminent danger.

Pistol

The U.S. has averaged more than 18 gun deaths every day since the Newtown School shooting

Hand Gun
© AlterNet
There have been more than 400 guns deaths since the Newtown massacre on December 14, according to a new interactive project between Slate.com and the anonymous twitter user @gundeaths.

The two launched the project because, as Slate writes, there are few real-time chronicles of daily gun deaths in the United States, despite the daily mention of firearms and gun politics in the media since the shooting. In fact, the onslaught of reporting on guns has been so intense, The Huffington Post published an article this morning with the headline "So You're Bored of the Newtown Massacre?"

Gun deaths have been a daily reality since the Newtown massacre less than three weeks ago, with an average of 18 people dying each day as a result of a fatal shooting, according to the data compiled by @gundeaths. Six of those deaths have been children under the age of 13, and another 21 were youths under the age of 17.

Laptop

California teens drug parents' milkshakes, sneak web time: police

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Daughter described family's Internet policy as "too strict," say investigators

Two Northern California teenage girls are accused of spiking milkshakes with prescription sleeping medicine to knock out the parents as part of an alleged conspiracy to skirt the family's ban on home Internet use after 10 p.m., according to police.

The incident happened on the evening of Dec. 28 in Rocklin, Calif., a city of about 60,000 people approximately 21 miles northeast of Sacramento.

"The 16-year-old daughter and her (15-year-old) friend were at a house in Rocklin and they say, 'hey mom and dad, how about we get you some milkshakes?' They go to a local fast food restaurant and get some milkshakes," Rocklin Police Department Lt. Lon Milka said Thursday.

The teens then allegedly spiked the shakes with some sort of anti-anxiety medicine, Milka said.

The parents finished about a quarter of the milkshakes -- which "tasted funny" and had a "gritty feel" -- before pouring them out, Milka said.

Heart - Black

Psychopaths in our midst: Indian politician beaten by villagers after 'entering a woman's home and raping her at 2am'

Pictures have emerged of a leading Indian politician being beaten by villagers after allegedly raping a woman in her home at 2am.

Congressman for Assam's ruling party Congress, Bikram Singh Brahma, allegedly raped a woman at Santipura village in lower Assam's Chirang district before being caught by villagers today.

It is another shocking sex crime against a woman in a country that is trying to come to terms with the gang rape and death of a 23-year-old student last week, for which six men currently face trial.

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Member of Assam's ruling Congress party Bikram Singh Brahma is attacked following rape allegations.
'People raised an alarm late last night after Congress leader Bikram Singh Brahma allegedly raped a woman,' Chirang Superintendent of Police Kumar Sanjeev Krishna told the Deccan Chronicle.

He is said to have been visiting the village of Santipur on the Bhutan border when he entered a woman's house and raped her.

Brahma, who is the Baksa district Congress Committee chairman and Congress coordinator of Bodoland Territorial Council, was then beaten up by men and women who ripped his clothes off.

He was later handed over to the police who arrested him,Superintendent Krishna said.

Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, said anyone found guilty of the heinous crime 'would not be spared, whether he is Congressman or not.'

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© AP
Police said Brahma was visiting the village of Santipur on the Bhutan border when he entered a woman's house and raped her at 2am.
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© AP
In a sign that attitudes might be changing since the rape of a 23-year-old woman in New Delhi, who died of severe internal injuries over the weekend, police have arrested Brahma.