Society's ChildS


US, Washington: Guard fired after nabbing child who ate from box

A grocery store security guard was fired after he told the father of a 4-year-old girl that she would face criminal charges for eating from a dried fruit package, a TV station reported.

The child's mother, Alissa Jones, said the father wasn't looking when the girl grabbed the package, ate a few pieces of fruit then returned it to a shelf at a Safeway store in Everett, Wash., KOMO reported Wednesday.

Safeway previously faced widespread criticism when a Honolulu couple were arrested over stolen sandwiches and had their 2-year-old daughter taken from them briefly by state officials.

In Washington, the guard took the 4-year-old and her dad to a room and said the girl would face charges and be banned from the chain, Jones said, adding the guard had the girl sign a paper acknowledging she wasn't allowed to enter any Safeway stores.


US: Intense 'Twilight' Scene Triggers Seizure Reports

A local man says the latest movie in the popular Twilight franchise triggered a seizure, and similar incidents have been reported in theaters around the country.

Brandon Gephart and Kelly Bauman said they were watching Breaking Dawn: Part One at a theater Friday night when Brandon sudden began convulsing during a graphic birthing scene.

Brandon said he doesn't remember anything until he woke up on the theater floor, but Kelly said he was, "convulsing, snorting, trying to breathe."

"He scared me big time," she added. Paramedics transported the man to the emergency room and the theater had to cancel the rest of the movie for that showing.


US: New City Signs at Occupy Los Angeles Draw Mixed Reactions From Protesters

© Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times Park hours have been posted outside L.A. City Hall, reminding Occupy protesters of existing city codes.
Signs warning against staying overnight at Los Angeles City Hall drew mixed reactions from Occupy L.A. protesters and others camped outside the downtown landmark, with some saying they feared eviction and others insisting they were determined to stay unless forced out.

"It's created fear and panic through the entire community," said Melissa Balin, who said she has been living at the 1.7-acre park since the start of the protest nearly two months ago.

Another woman, however, said she was unconcerned, noting that protesters had never sought permission when they erected tents on the site.

"This is an occupation," said the woman, who gave her name as Zeeva International, as she photographed police officers putting up signs on the north side of City Hall.

Che Guevara

US: Occupy Los Angeles Says City is Offering Incentives to Move

© Ed RampellOccupy L.A.
City officials have offered Occupy L.A. protesters 10,000 square feet of indoor space and other incentives to vacate the City Hall lawn they have camped on for over seven weeks, a lawyer for the group said on Tuesday.

The proposal emerged from two days of talks between city officials and 12 Occupy L.A. representatives, including Jim Lafferty, an advocate for the protesters who is executive director of the National Lawyers Guild's Los Angeles chapter, he said.

A 50-member "city liaison group" began debating the plan on Tuesday evening, and many expressed deep suspicions about the city's proposal.

"It's called co-option -- you become part of the system when you make a deal with them," said Mike Saulenas, 60, a member of the group.

The Los Angeles encampment is among the oldest and largest established on the West Coast by anti-Wall Street activists aligned with a two-month old nationwide movement protesting economic inequality in the country and corruption in the U.S. financial system.


Philippine Reporter Shot After Criticizing Police

© unknown
A radio reporter was shot and wounded in the southern Philippines after using a broadcast program to accuse police of being in cahoots with drug dealers.

Cagayan de Oro city police chief Gerardo Rosales said James Licuanan of DXIF radio was shot in the chest as he was heading home on a motorcycle after his radio program late Thursday.

He fell off the bike and was shot again before taking shelter in a nearby fire station. The gunmen then fled the scene on motorcycle.

A Philippine media watchdog says that 123 journalists have been killed in the country since 1986.

Heart - Black

Prominent US-Egyptian columnist alleges police sexually abused her in detention

© The Canadian Press / The Associated Press / Mona EltahawyMona Eltahawy, 44, from New York City, is seen with both arms in casts after being released by Egyptian security forces in Cairo, Egypt, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2011. A prominent Egyptian-born U.S. columnist said uniformed police sexually assaulted, beat and blindfolded her after she was detained Thursday near Tahrir Square during clashes, leaving her left arm and right hand broken and in casts.
A prominent Egyptian-born U.S. columnist said local police sexually assaulted, beat and blindfolded her after she was detained Thursday near Tahrir Square during clashes, leaving her left arm and right hand broken and in casts.

Mona Eltahawy, 44, lives in New York and is a prominent women's rights defender, a lecturer on the role of social media in the Arab world and a former Reuters journalist. Eltahawy describes herself as a liberal Muslim who has spoken publicly in the U.S and other countries against violent Islamic groups, particularly in the wake of 9-11. She is known as a scathing critic of the former Egyptian regime.

Eltahawy arrived in Egypt Wednesday evening and went straight to Tahrir Square, getting close to the front lines of clashes between protesters and the police at the nearby Interior Ministry. She was detained outside the ministry in the early morning hours of Thursday and released about 12 hours later.

"They hit me with their sticks on the arms and head. They sexually assaulted me, groping my breasts and putting their hands between my legs," she told The Associated Press. "For a moment I said 'this is it. No one is around. I am finished.'" As she struggled, shouting: "No! No," her attackers dragged her by her hair from the street to the Interior Ministry, cursing her.

"What I experienced is just the tip of the iceberg of the brutality Egyptians experience everyday," she said, considering herself lucky because her dual nationality might have played a role in sparing her further abuse. "This is just the type of brutality that our revolution came about to fight."

Eltahawy is a vocal supporter of the Egyptian revolution and has visited the country at least twice since the January uprising. Known for her harsh criticism of the regime of the ousted President Hosni Mubarak, Eltahawy continued to denounce the new military rulers in post-Mubarak Egypt. She warned in public speeches that one Mubarak has been replaced with "1,800" others, in reference to the military council.


Civil Society at Ground Zero: You Can Crush the Flowers, But You Can't Stop the Spring

ows zucatti park
© Seth Wenig/APA sign in Zuccotti Park during an Occupy Wall Street protest in New York, 10 November 2011.
Introduction by Tom Engelhardt:

When it set up its campsite at Zuccotti Park, Occupy Wall Street was facing in only one direction: toward the financial heart of the planet two blocks away. The police, who promptly surrounded the encampment and organized their own occupation of the neighborhood, were in a sense facing in the other direction: toward Ground Zero, where new glass-sheathed towers were rising to replace those destroyed on September 11, 2001. The police, up-armored in full riot gear, with the sort of surveillance paraphernalia, helicopters, and high-tech cameras that were a far more minimal aspect of domestic policing before 9/11, were clearly thinking counter-terrorism.

They were the representatives not just of New York's billionaire mayor and the bankers and brokers who had previously made the area their own, but of the ever more militarized national security state that had blossomed like some errant set of weeds in the ruins of the World Trade Center towers. They were domestic grunts for a new order in Washington as well as New York that has, by now, lost the ability to imagine solving problems in a civil and civilian fashion.

They represent those who have ruled this country since 9/11 in the name of our safety and security, while they made themselves, and no one else, safe and secure. It is an order that has based itself on kidnapping, torture, secret prisons, illegal surveillance, assassination, permanent war, militarized solutions to every problem under the sun, its own set of failed occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the closest of relations with a series of crony capitalist corporations intent on making money off anyone's suffering as long as the going is good.


Bradley Manning's defence plans to call 50 witnesses

Bradley Manning
© EPAArmy Pfc. Bradley Manning, in an undated file photo.
Major legal battle pending ahead of next month's pre-trial hearing as aprepare to fight prosecution of WikiLeaks suspect

The defence team for WikiLeaks suspect Bradley Manning is planning to call 50 witnesses at next month's military hearing, promising to turn the proceedings into a detailed legal battle over the merits of the prosecution case against him.

The Bradley Manning support network, a group of sympathisers of the US soldier that has paid for the bulk of his legal fees so far, revealed that attorneys are preparing to launch a vigorous defence at the pre-trial hearing scheduled to take place at Ford Meade in Maryland on 16 December. Many legal angles will be pursued, with witnesses ranging from experts on whistle blowing to IT specialists who can comment on technical details relating to Manning's access to intelligence databases.

The strategy is unusual for such pre-trial hearings, known in the army as Article 32 proceedings. It is common at this stage for defence teams to limit their engagement to a minimum, in order to withhold from the prosecution elements of their approach that could be crucial in any eventual trial.

Heart - Black

Mexico: 26 bodies dumped in Guadalajara as mass slaying comes to site of Pan Am Games

© The Associated Press/Victor FernandezA soldier patrols as a vehicle that was discovered carrying bodies inside is taken away in Guadalajara, Mexico, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2011.
The bound and gagged bodies of 26 men were found dumped before dawn Thursday in the heart of the picturesque city of Guadalajara, a sign that full-scale war between drug cartels may have come to the metropolis that hosted last month's Pan American Games.

Law-enforcement officials said the men were found, shot execution-style, in two vans and a pickup truck abandoned near the Milennium Arches, one of the most recognizable landmarks in Mexico's second-largest city.

Best known as the home of mariachi music and tequila, Guadalajara also sits on the main highway running through western Mexico from the methamphetamine-producing state of Michoacan north toward the Pacific Coast state of Sinaloa. In recent months, security officials and analysts have worried that the city could become a target for the Zetas drug cartel, which has been using paramilitary-style tactics and headline-grabbing atrocities in a national push to grab territory from older organized crime groups.

"These acts of barbarism show how the war between cartels, and crime, is getting more brutal," Guadalajara's mayor, Jorge Aristoteles Sandoval, told reporters.

A message was found with the bodies in one of the vehicles, said Luis Carlos Najera, public security secretary for the state of Jalisco. He provided no details, but Mexican cartels frequently leave threatening messages with the bodies of their victims as a way of sowing fear and taking credit for their actions.


Thousands evacuated after China chemical plant blast

© Agence France-Presse View of the Chinese city of Guangzhou in 2005. Around 6,000 people have been evacuated after an explosion at a chemical plant near Guangzhou, state media reported
Around 6,000 people were evacuated Thursday after an explosion at a chemical plant near the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, state media reported.

The accident occurred early afternoon at the Futian Chemical Company in Panyu district, Xinhua news agency said, quoting the local government.

Residents were evacuated after "a small amount" of toxic hydrogen chloride gas was detected in the air following the blast, Xinhua said.

Industrial accidents are common in China and people who live close to industrial sites frequently express concern about the effect of hazardous pollutants on their health.

Fourteen workers were killed Saturday in an explosion at a chemical plant in east China.