Society's ChildS


Secular group: 27 secret atheists in Congress

© Flickr/Andrew HechtCongressman Pete Stark
The president of a secular group says that there are 28 members of Congress who do not believe in God, but only one of them feels comfortable revealing his lack of faith.

Secular Coalition of America (SCA) president Herb Silverman told The Guardian that his group was aware of many members of Congress who weren't ready to make their non-beliefs known.

"Privately, we know that there are 27 other members of Congress that have no belief in God," Silverman claimed. "But we don't 'out' people."

That number is up from 2006, when SCA determined that there were there were 22 atheists in Congress.

"At the time, twenty-two of them told me they didn't believe in a god," SCA Advisory Board Chairman Woody Kaplan told the Humanist in 2008. "Twenty-one of them said, 'You can't tell anybody.' One of them said you could: Congressman Pete Stark."


US: Woman assaults two Seattle, Washington cops at accident scene

A woman who was apparently angry that Seattle police had blocked a street to investigate a traffic accident assaulted two officers early Sunday morning.

Police had blocked traffic to investigate a hit-and-run accident in the 1600 block of 15th Avenue West when two women drove up in a cab around 3 a.m.. When the cab was blocked from continuing on, the two women got out and walked down the middle of 15th Avenue West, police said.

Police said one of the women repeatedly screamed obscenities at the officers. The two women started to walk toward the crash scene when they were told by a detective that they needed to get on the sidewalk.

One of the women complied, but the other woman continued to scream obscenities while ignoring the detective's order. Another officer stopped the woman and tried to explain that a criminal investigation was underway. The officer pointed out another route she could take to get around the crime scene, according to police.

Heart - Black

US: Judge Says He Will Deny Union Request to Block Use of Drivers

A Manhattan federal judge said he will deny the request by a transit workers' union to stop New York police from forcing bus drivers to abandon their routes and transport arrested Wall Street protesters.


US: New York Police Can't Use Bus Drivers in Protest Arrests, Union Says

Police should be barred from forcing New York transit workers to abandon their routes and transport anti-Wall Street demonstrators arrested for disorderly conduct, an employees' union told a federal judge.

The Transport Workers Union Local 100, which said last week that it's supporting the protests, asked U.S. District Judge Paul Engelmayer to prohibit the New York City Police Department and the New York City Transit Authority from requiring drivers to transport such protesters.

A court hearing is set for today on the request, said Jim Gannon, a spokesman for the union, which represents 38,000 members, including about 9,000 city bus drivers. Drivers were ordered on Oct. 1 to convey some of the 700 demonstrators arrested over the weekend during anti-Wall Street protests in lower Manhattan.

"The actions of the NYPD on Oct. 1, 2011, amounted to a seizure of the bus drivers," Arthur Schwartz, a lawyer for the union, said in court papers. The police department "deprived the drivers of their liberty without due process of law," he said.


Murders and Forced Evictions: Honduran Deaths Trigger EU Carbon Credit Clash


The deaths of 23 Honduran farmers involved in land disputes with UN-approved palm oil plantations are raising an international outcry against alleged "human rights abuses." EurActiv reports members of the European Parliament (EP) are planning an investigative mission to Honduras this month while others are calling for a ban on carbon credits to the plantations under the EU's Emissions Trading System (ETS). Additionally, it says the UN Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is weighing its validation process which originally accredited the plantations, a process critics call "only rudimentary, completely unregulated and badly documented."

Protests erupted in July when six international human rights advocacy groups presented a report to the EP detailing what they called murders and forced evictions of peasants in El Bajo Aguán Valley of northern Honduras. The International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH) report accuses UN-sanctioned palm oil mills of stealing farmland from Honduran natives and killing or wounding them when they attempt to defend their property. It says the companies, acting with government impunity, regularly target members of local land-rights movements who end up murdered in feigned car accidents or hunted down and shot by private security guards.

Examples of the violence are gruesome. Security guards ambushed 15-year-old Rodving Omar Villegas near his village and shot him to death with an AK-47. A car ran down and killed 60-year-old Juan Ramon Mejia. And José Leonel Guerra Álvarez was murdered inside his home in front of his wife and children by armed assailants firing from outside the house.

Wall Street

US: Nader, Paul, Kucinich & Chomsky: "End The Left-Right Delusion, Corporatism Is The True Enemy"

Wars cost the U.S. $30 million per hour..."

Heart - Black

US: Pennsylvania - Scranton police seek city couple after diaper-clad boy, 7, tells of abuse

Scranton police said they are searching for a city couple after a diaper-clad 7-year-old boy told officers harrowing stories of abuse last week when they found him in a dark, bug-infested basement.

"Are you here to help me?" the frightened child said as he hugged one officer who entered the 823 Raines St. home on Sept. 26, according to an affidavit filed Friday.

"I am hungry and I didn't get dinner yet," he reportedly told another officer who asked why he was crying.

According to the affidavit, the child said he had been locked in a coffin in the basement and also duct-taped to a chair in the home, which has been condemned by the city.

Felony counts of endangering the welfare of a child and unlawful restraint were filed Friday against Lori Gardner, 26, and Brian Sleboda, 31, both of 823 Raines St.

City police were still searching for the pair Monday night, Chief Dan Duffy confirmed.

"It's a very sad case," Chief Duffy said. "That's pretty much all I can say."

Police said the boy told them the couple put him in the home's basement "often" to punish him, and told him ghosts lived there. They would even "pick up chains and drop them to scare him," arrest papers said.


US: Intermittent outages hit major websites

Major websites from Gmail to Facebook and the New York Times went down completely for short periods of time Tuesday.

The sources of the outages - which in some cases lasted minutes, some longer - weren't immediately known.

The DownRightNow website reported Facebook as having a "likely service disruption," and Gmail as "possible service trouble."

© DownRightNow website

Che Guevara

Anti-cuts march in Manchester: More than 35,000 attend

More than 35,000 people have taken part in a march through central Manchester protesting against government cuts.

The TUC organised the March for the Alternative to coincide with the Conservative Party conference. Many protesters wanted tax avoidance tackled and spending to encourage growth.

On the eve of the conference, David Cameron pledged no U-turns on cuts and dismissed calls for extra spending.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said no arrests had been made during the march.

'People are angry'

A post-march rally was held at Number One First Street close to the conference centre.

About 200 protesters from the anti-cuts group Occupy broke away from the main march and positioned themselves in Albert Square, where they said they intended to stage a sit-in.

GMP said that some people had initially covered their faces, but were asked to remove hoods and scarves.


Egypt to substantially raise price of gas to Israel: report

Egyptian natural gas pipeline
© AFPEgyptian natural gas pipeline
Egypt will substantially raise the price of its gas exports to Israel, which have stopped after militants blew up a Sinai desert pipeline, an Egyptian newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Oil minister Abdullah Ghurab said there would be "a large increase in the price" after the revision which would be announced soon, the state-owned Al-Ahram newspaper reported.

The sale of gas to Israel, which signed a peace treaty with Egypt in 1979, has always been controversial in the most populous Arab country.

Former president Hosni Mubarak, on trial for allegedly ordering the shootings of protesters during a revolt that ousted him in February, also faces charges of exporting the gas at cheap prices.