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Mario Monti warns Germany it must show more support for austerity measures or face increased hostility from Italy

Italy's Premier Mario Monti has warned his country is becoming increasingly hostile to Germany because painful austerity measures it has adopted are not being recognised.

Mr Monti, who met in Berlin today for talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, said Italy's economic reforms do not receive the recognition they deserve.

And he warned Italians could turn their back on Germany and the rest of the EU if they do not see austerity measures lead to progress in the country's financial situation.
Disgruntled
© Unknown
Disgruntled: Italian PM Mario Monti is given a military honour guard as he meets Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin this morning

German Support
© Rueters
Support: Mr Monti told Die Welt newspaper Italian would become increasingly hostile to Germans if painful austerity measures were not recognised

Newspaper

Parties unite to fight Scots independence

David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband join forces against Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond

Alex Salmond
© Unknown
A deal to head off a constitutional crisis over plans for a referendum on Scottish independence was emerging last night as the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats joined forces to oppose the break-up of the United Kingdom. The Government may allow Alex Salmond, the First Minister and leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP), to hold a referendum on independence at his preferred time of autumn 2014 in exchange for a straight Yes or No question on the ballot paper.

Mr Salmond would be forced to drop his planned third option which would allow for the devolution of all powers, except foreign and defence policy, from London to Edinburgh. Known as "devo max", it is seen as an insurance policy if full independence is rejected by the Scottish people. In London, ministers said the devo max question was a "red line" they would not cross. They will insist on a ballot in which Scots would choose between independence and remaining in the Union, even if this means a protracted legal wrangle which may have to be resolved by the Supreme Court in London.

One government source said last night: "You can't have a 'maybe' on the ballot paper. It could be a recipe for chaos. What happens if 51 per cent of Scots vote for full independence but 71 per cent back more devolution?"

Although pro-Union politicians would prefer to see the referendum held next year to end the uncertainty about Scotland's future, ministers are ready to show flexibility over the date if Mr Salmond abandons the devo max option. Senior Labour and Liberal Democrat figures believe David Cameron was "inept" at the weekend in the way he demanded a vote "sooner or later", thereby allowing Mr Salmond to accuse London of trying to hijack the process.

Eye 1

US: Magazine Editorial Reveals Shocking Disparity Between Sizes of Models and Real Women

Plus Size and Standard Model
© nsfw
The high fashion model on the left looks like an inmate of a concentration camp.
A size 6 is now plus size in the fashion world, and most runway models meet the physical criteria for anorexia, according to a report that offers shocking insight into the disparity between models and the real-life women they are purporting to represent.

In the January issue of PLUS Model Magazine, plus size model Katya Zharkova and a straight size model are seen in the nude in an attempt to "open the minds of the fashion industry," which is stepping further away from reality, according to PLUS founder and editor-in-chief, Madeline Figueroa Jones.

The magazine reveals that some of today's plus size models are wearing the same size as models Christie Brinkley, Paulina Porizkova and Cindy Crawford at the height of their fame in the 1990s. Zharkova, 28, wears a size 14.

The photos appear alongside statistics about today's sometimes dangerously thin straight size models and the continuously shrinking frames of plus size models. Among the revelations: "Twenty years ago the average fashion model weighed 8 percent less than the average woman. Today she weighs 23 percent less" and "most runway models meet the Body Mass Index physical criteria for Anorexia."

Heart - Black

Children 'dumped in streets by Greek parents who can't afford to look after them any more'

Image
© Alamy
Abandoned: Children are being dumped on Greece's streets by their poverty-stricken families who cannot afford to look after them any more
  • Youngsters abandoned as parents struggle
  • 4-year-old found clutching note: 'I can't afford her'
  • Country also running out of medicine
  • Aspirin stocks low as austerity measures bite
Children are being abandoned on Greece's streets by their poverty-stricken families who cannot afford to look after them any more.

Youngsters are being dumped by their parents who are struggling to make ends meet in what is fast becoming the most tragic human consequence of the Euro crisis.

It comes as pharmacists revealed the country had almost run out of aspirin, as multi-billion euro austerity measures filter their way through society.

Sheriff

Mexico police ticket 6-year-old boy, impound his toy motorcycle after crash with SUV

Image
© EFE
Gael Santiago, 6, watches with his mother Karla Noriega, after receiving a traffic ticket for hitting an SUV with his toy motorcycle.
Police in this border city repented Thursday over ticketing a 6-year-old boy for reckless driving, driving without a license and not having his vehicle registered after he drove his miniature motorcycle into an SUV.

The boy's mother, Karla Noriega, said police impounded the miniature gasoline-powered motorbike that her son got for Christmas after he crashed into an SUV on Dec. 27.

Noriega decided to go to the media and make the case public after finding out she would have to pay what she called a "ridiculous" $183 in fines to recover the toy motorbike.

City council Secretary Hector Arceluz said Thursday that authorities had dropped the fines, released the motorbike and would punish the police officers for having acted improperly.

Noriega's son Gael was happy to get his minibike back, but said it no longer works after the accident.

Source: The Canadian Press

Info

French Parents Win Case Over Son's 'Demonic' Name

Image
© unknown
A court in France on Thursday rejected a prosecutors' request for a couple to be barred from naming their son Daemon after a character in television series The Vampire Diaries.

Prosecutors had brought Lionel and Blandine Defontaine, from Busigny in northern France, to court under a French law that prevents parents from giving names that would be "contrary to the interests of a child".

The parents, both fans of the series, had chosen to name their son, born on November 3, after the vampire character Damon -- adding the "e" to produce a French version of the name.

They said they simply liked the sound of the name and denied it had any Satanic connotation.

The same law had previously been used in 1999 to try to prevent parents Alain and Sophia Renaud from naming their daughter Megane, with prosecutors saying the name sounded too much like that of a popular French car, the Renault Megane.

An appeals court in 2000 allowed the girl to keep her name.

Heart - Black

US: Millionaire CEO breaks waiter's finger for "bad service"

waiter
© yupedia.com

Excuse me, waiter. There is a fractured proximal phalanx bone in my soup.

A wealthy CEO is finding himself in hot water after he allegedly snapped at his waiter while dining at a swanky Florida county club - and then snapped the server's finger until it broke.

John Castle, the 76-year-old CEO of the Castle Harlan equity firm, could be facing charges after a waiter at the posh Palm Beach, Florida establishment Club Colette made claims that Castle went berserk after he brought him the check.

Bizarro Earth

US: Parents Furious Over Apparent Use Of 'Scream Rooms' Inside Elementary School

Farm Hill Elementary School
© CBS 2
Farm Hill Elementary School
Middletown, Conn. - Parents in a Connecticut suburb are outraged over disturbing disciplinary actions at a local elementary school.

They claim students are being locked in unsupervised "scream rooms," where some children have harmed themselves, reports CBS 2's Hazel Sanchez.

The Middleton School District is on the hot seat as furious parents are demanding to know what's going on behind closed doors at Farm Hill Elementary School.

"My daughter is telling me that there's kids being taken out in ambulances, by stretcher," parent Sean Archer told CBS 2's Hazel Sanchez on Wednesday.

Disturbing allegations have surfaced of teachers locking students in closet-sized concrete "scream rooms" for punishment.

"Kids come home and they cry, because they're afraid to go to school. And it's often," parent Brian Robillard said.

Star of David

EU on Verge of Abandoning Hope for a Viable Palestinian State

Palestinians wait to pass a checkpoint
© EPA
Palestinians wait to pass a checkpoint outside the West Bank city of Ramallah.
Israel's foreign ministry denied that Israeli settlers were taking water resources from the West Bank.

The Palestinian presence in the largest part of the occupied West Bank - has been, "continuously undermined" by Israel in ways that are "closing the window" on a two-state solution, according to an internal EU report seen by The Independent.

The report, approved by top Brussels officials, argues that EU support, including for a wide range of building projects, is now needed to protect the rights of "ever more isolated" Palestinians in "Area C", a sector that includes all 124 Jewish settlements - illegal in international law - and which is under direct Israeli control. It comprises 62 per cent of the West Bank, including the "most fertile and resource rich land".

With the number of Jewish settlers now at more than double the shrinking Palestinian population in the largely rural area, the report warns bluntly that, "if current trends are not stopped and reversed, the establishment of a viable Palestinian state within pre-1967 borders seem more remote than ever".

Die

US: Principal Charged After Hypnotizing Students Who Committed Suicide

students being hypnotized
© William Thomas Cain/Getty Images
North Port, Florida- North Port police have charged the town's high school principal with two counts of second-degree criminal misdemeanors after students he hypnotized ended up committing suicide.

Over six months, the North Port Police Department conducted around 70 interviews with students claiming to have been hypnotized by Dr. George Kenney and 100 adults either from among the school's staff or parent community after receiving a complaint from the Florida Department of Health Services.

In documents provided to CBS Tampa detailing the Sarasota School Department's internal investigation, Kenney routinely hypnotized students in one-on-one sessions and in group settings. They often involved the school athletics teams or ROTC programs.

Kenney told investigators it allowed students to relax, improved their performance in tests and helped some with anger issues.

Documents show, however, that Kenney occasionally raised tempers and eyebrows within the school's community.