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ACLU Finds U.S. Police Using Cell Phone Tracking, Sometimes Warrantless

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© hurriyetdailynews.com
The ACLU got its hands on 5,500 pages of internal records from 205 police departments all over the country

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has obtained documents that show that federal agencies aren't the only ones using cell phone tracking -- it has become a regular practice for both small and large police departments throughout the U.S. as well.

The ACLU got its hands on 5,500 pages of internal records from 205 police departments all over the country. The documents show that many police departments are putting cell phone tracking to major use with little safeguards, but they're not talking about it. Wireless carriers are in on it too, making a pretty penny by offering surveillance fees to police departments that want to collect information like a cell phone's location, or trace phone calls or texts.

Some specific examples from the internal documents include Gilbert, Arizona, which spent $244,000 on its own tracking equipment; Ogden, Utah, where the Sheriff's Department leaves it up to the cell carrier to collect information on a cell phone; California, where state prosecutors suggested that local police get carriers to duplicate a phone and download the test messages when it is turned off, and certain cities in states like Nevada and North Carolina have managed to get carriers to track cell phone signals back to cell towers in non-emergency situations in an effort to determine which callers are using a specific tower.

Beer

Teen Alcohol and Illicit Drug Use and Abuse Starts Earlier Than You Might Think

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© wellsphere.com
Alcohol affects the teen brain differently because of the critical brain development occurring from ages 12 through 20, often until age 25.
A survey of a nationally representative sample of U.S. teenagers suggests that most cases of alcohol and drug abuse have their initial onset at this important period of development, according to a report published in the April issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, a JAMA Network publication.

Alcohol and drugs use patterns in adolescence are increasingly seen as indicators of later substance abuse, the authors write in their study background.

Joel Swendsen, Ph.D., of the University of Bordeaux, France, and colleagues examined the prevalence, age at onset and sociodemographic factors related to alcohol and illicit drug use and abuse by U.S. adolescents. Their cross-sectional survey included a nationally representative sample of 10,123 adolescents ages 13 to 18 years.

Their study results indicate that by late adolescence, 78.2 percent of teenagers reported having consumed alcohol; 47.1 percent having reached regular drinking levels of at least 12 drinks within a year; and 15.1 percent having met the criteria for lifetime abuse. The opportunity to use illicit drugs was reported by 81.4 percent of the oldest adolescents, drug use by 42.5 percent and drug abuse by 16.4 percent.

House

Foreclosures Slow Detroit's Rebirth, Razes Historic Homes and All

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© Krishnan Anantharaman/Wall Street Journal
Mitt Romney's boyhood home is among 3,000 derelict structures Detroit plans to demolish by the end of September as it attacks blight and crime.
Detroit riddled with repossessions from height of housing meltdown

More than a quarter of homes whose loans failed at the height of the foreclosure crisis in 2006 and 2007 have already been razed or are on the demolition list, becoming a huge obstacle to the city's rebirth, a Detroit News analysis shows.

In neighborhoods on the far west side and the northeast corner of the city, as many as two-thirds of the properties that went into foreclosure just five years ago are in the city's crosshairs or already on the ground. The worst-hit areas almost mirror perfectly parts of the city where the most subprime mortgages were issued before they helped trigger the collapse of the banking industry.

And more vacancies could be on the way: Although the rate has slowed, lenders have foreclosed on 28,000 more homes since 2007, according to records from RealtyTrac.

Dominoes

Surprise surge for hard left could scramble French election results

french elections 2012
© Unknown
An opinion poll published yesterday put Mr Mélenchon, 60, in third place with 15 per cent of the vote
Three weeks from the first round of voting, a surge in support for the hard-left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon threatens to scramble forecasts for the French presidential elections.

An opinion poll published yesterday put Mr Mélenchon, 60, in third place with 15 per cent of the vote - the highest for a candidate of the anti-capitalist left since the heyday of the French Communist party 30 years ago.

The rise of Mr Mélenchon, a kind of Gallic George Galloway who fulminates eloquently against the mainstream élites of both centre-right and centre-left, has relegated Marine Le Pen's far right National Front into fourth position. For President Nicolas Sarkozy and his principal challenger, the Socialist candidate François Hollande, the emergence of Mr Mélenchon is a double-edged sword - helpful but dangerous.

Yesterday's poll by LH2 for Yahoo! showed Mr Hollande retaining a narrow lead of 28.5 per cent to Mr Sarkozy's 27.5 per cent in the first round on 22 April. Other recent polls have suggested that Mr Sarkozy, boosted by his hard-right rhetoric and exploitation of the Toulouse murders, has taken a one or two-point first-round lead.

All polls still show Mr Hollande winning the two-candidate run-off on 6 May by a 10-to-six point margin.

But two factors threaten to throw the machinery of electoral strategy and political forecasting into a spin: the growing disenchantment of the French electorate with all mainstream politicians and a campaign that has failed to grapple convincingly with national, European and global economic crises.

Cell Phone

George Zimmerman Was Not The One Crying for Help to 911, Experts Say

George Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin
© unknown
George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin
A forensic voice identification expert who analyzed the recordings said "without a doubt" that Trayvon Martin was the one screaming.

George Zimmerman, the man who shot and killed 17-year-old teen Trayvon Martin in Florida last month, was not the one screaming for help on the 911 tapes of the incident, according to two forensic experts who analyzed the evidence.

Trayvon Martin's family has insisted from the beginning that their son was the one heard screaming on the recordings, though Zimmerman's family disagreed, Slate reported. Zimmerman has claimed he shot Martin as an act of self-defense, and told police he was the one screaming for help.

Tom Owen, a forensic consultant and chair of the American Board of Recorded Evidence, used voice identification software to analyze the tapes at the Orlando Sentinel's request. Ed Primeau, a Michigan-based audio engineer and forensics expert, also examined the 911 recordings using different techniques. Both experts concluded that the voice calling for help is not Zimmerman, according to the Sentinel.

Cult

Parents in shock as priest displays gay porn images

Northern Ireland - A priest has denied knowing how gay porn images appeared on a screen during a presentation he was giving to parents of children preparing for First Communion.

Fr Martin McVeigh was setting up the PowerPoint display when the explicit sex scenes flashed up on the screen.

He was about to give a talk to the parents of First Communicants but abandoned the presentation after the pornographic images appeared.

One of those present said the pictures appeared on the screen after the priest put a USB memory stick into the computer at St Mary's School in Pomeroy, Co Tyrone.

"There were plenty of shocked faces. There's a lot of parents very angry about it."

Attention

Chinese Woman Giving Baby Away Online Outrages Everyone

Baby
© Minyanville
As is.

Last week, Time Magazine reported on a study out of China and the University of Toronto that attempted to quantify babies' cuteness. Apparently, kids stop being cute -- or at least "drop whatever you're doing to coo at them" cute -- at around four and a half years old.

With puberty impending, it's all pretty much downhill from there.

Perhaps having heard about the study, and not wanting to miss the window, a new mother in China has put her two-month-old child up for adoption on a second-hand goods website. To be clear, the second-hand goods carried on the site are not usually babies.

The Atlantic reports that the baby is listed as a "99 percent new, 100 percent free item." There's also a pretty cute picture but so far, no takers.

Although it sounds like a joke -- especially the 99 percent new part -- at this point the evidence suggests that this mother is real. According to the story, the woman, who is from Guangzhou, is in the middle of a divorce and does not feel capable of raising a child on her own. Lawyers contacted by Sina News have pointed out that she cannot give the baby away without its father's permission.

Eye 1

Drones coming to a sky near you as interest surges

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) - Sharp-eyed dog walkers along the San Francisco Bay waterfront may have spotted a strange-looking plane zipping overhead recently that that looked strikingly like the U.S. stealth drone captured by Iran in December.

drones in US skies
© Eric Risberg/AP
In this March, 28, 2012, photo, Mark Harrison, right, and Andreas Oesterer, left, prepare their drones for a flight over a waterfront park in Berkeley, Calif.
A few key differences: The flying wing seen over Berkeley is a fraction of the size of the CIA's waylaid aircraft. And it's made of plastic foam. But in some ways it's just like a real spy plane.

The 4 1/2-foot-wide aircraft, built by software engineers Mark Harrison and Andreas Oesterer in their spare time, can fly itself to specified GPS coordinates and altitudes without any help from a pilot on the ground. A tiny video camera mounted on the front can send a live video feed to a set of goggles for the drone's view of the world below.

"It's just like flying without all the trouble of having to be up in the air," Harrison said.

Heart - Black

Ohio Woman Stabbed, Suffocated, Dismembered, and Parts of Remains Taken to Kentucky.; 5 Arrested

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© unknown
From left, Matthew Starr Puccio, Andrew Peter Forney, Kandis Jenniene Forney, Christopher Wright and Sharon Cook have been arrested in connection to the brutal murder of Jessica Rae Sacco
US: Urbana, Ohio - Five people have been arrested in connection with the death of an Ohio woman who police said was stabbed, suffocated and dismembered in a bathtub before some of her remains were taken to Kentucky.

Jessica Rae Sacco, 21, was found dead Friday in her apartment in Urbana, about 40 miles northwest of Columbus. Authorities arrested five people Saturday, including a 25-year-old man who lived at the same address as Sacco. He's charged with murder, assault, abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence.

"We believe that he stabbed her, and then subsequently suffocated her by placing a bag over her head," police Chief Matt Lingrell told WDTN-TV. The station said police described the murder suspect as Sacco's on-again-off-again boyfriend. His bond is more than $530,000.

He was arrested in Hamilton along with a man and woman from Fenton, Mich. Felony charges against the Michigan couple and a man and woman from Urbana allege they failed to intervene during the killing or helped to hide it, police said.

Handcuffs

Willie Brigitte arrested in French terror crackdown

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© unknown
Willie Brigitte
A man convicted of plotting to attack the Lucas Heights nuclear research facility outside Sydney is among 17 people arrested in a French crackdown on suspected Islamist networks.

Willie Brigitte was deported from Australia in 2003 after being convicted of the attempted attack.

Brigitte was sentenced to nine years in jail, but allowing for time already spent in custody, he was freed in 2009.

When police raided his suburban home in Paris on Friday morning they did not find any weapons, but they did confiscate his computer and a mobile phone.

France's domestic intelligence unit says those arrested are French nationals involved in "collective war-like training, linked to a violent, religious indoctrination".