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Anxiety over upcoming test of US emergency system

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© Agence France-Presse
A traffic light illuminates green in front of the US Capitol building in Washington, DC in August 2011. It's only a test, but nerves are somewhat frayed over the first nationwide exercise of the system designed to alert Americans of national emergencies.
It's only a test, but nerves are somewhat frayed over the first nationwide exercise of the system designed to alert Americans of national emergencies.

The test occurs at 1900 GMT Wednesday, November 9, and may last over three minutes -- longer than the typical 30 seconds or one minute for most broadcast test messages.

According to a message being circulated by local school and government officials, there is "great concern in local police and emergency management circles about undue public anxiety over this test."

"The test message on TV might not indicate that it is just a test," according to one email being circulated by a Washington area school district.

"Fear is that the lack of an explanation message might create panic. Please share this information with your family and friends so they are aware of the test."

Info

US, California: Bay Area Woman Trapped in Airport for Eight Days - All for Lack of a $60 Baggage Fee



Sure, hurricanes and unseasonal blizzards can create major delays in air travel. And the ordinary air traveler faces plenty of exasperation via the heightened, and not always rational, security measures of the Transportation Safety Administration.

But Terri Weissinger, a native of Sonoma County, Calif., has suffered a new scale of airport indignity: Seeking to start a new life in Idaho, Weissinger was condemned to eight days in the limbo of the San Francisco International Airport--because she was unable to pay the fee her airline assessed for an additional piece of checked baggage.

As Michael Finney, a correspondent with the local ABC news affiliate KGO, reports, Wessinger, "was broke" when she left for the airport. (You can watch Finney's report in the video clip above.)

"She had nothing but an airline ticket and $30 in her pocket," Finney notes. She also hadn't traveled by air in the last five years--meaning that when she stepped to the ticket counter to check her bags, she was in for a serious case of sticker shock. The U.S. Airways agent checking her in told her that it was cost $60 to check both her bags. Weissinger offered to pay the fee when she arrived in Idaho, but the agent declined. She also offered to leave one bag there at the San Francisco Airport. That, the agent explained, would be in violation of security regulations.

Heart - Black

China Busts Baby Trafficking Ring

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© Agence France-Presse
Police in eastern China have broken up a human trafficking gang that bought babies from poor families and sold them on for as much as $8,000, state media said Friday
Police in eastern China have broken up a human trafficking gang that bought babies from poor families and sold them on for as much as $8,000, state media said Friday.

Authorities in Shandong province last month detained 15 members of the gang who had paid women from other parts of China to bear children which they then sold to others, including couples unable to conceive and those wanting sons.

In a microblog posting, police in Zoucheng city -- where the trafficking ring was uncovered -- said boys were sold for up to 50,000 yuan ($8,000) while girls could fetch up to 30,000 yuan.

The state-run Global Times newspaper said authorities had tracked down 13 children but were still searching for four other missing infants.

"Working as migrant workers here, the families mainly came from poverty-stricken areas. Husbands went out to work and wives sold their babies to raise money," police investigator Chen Qingwei was quoted as saying.

Question

Faked Study: Disordered Environments Promote Stereotypes and Discrimination

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UPDATE: Diederik Stapel, who led this study, has been accused of fabricating data and has been suspended from his post. It is not clear which of his papers are at stake, but until further details emerge, it would probably be best to take this paper and post with a pinch of salt.

In February 2010, cleaners working at Dutch railway stations went on strike for several weeks. Their stations quickly fell to dirtiness and disarray, but most people didn't mind; public support for the strike was high. But two scientists - Diederik Stapel and Siegwart Lindenberg from Tilburg University - were particularly delighted. In the growing chaos of the stations, they saw an opportunity to test an intriguing concept - that disorderly environments promote stereotypes and discrimination.

Black Cat

The Euro and the EU Were a Mistake

The Greek bailout has the potential to put the global economy into a recession. Some critics say that Greece isn't getting bailed out but the actual banks that own the Greek debt are. Many say the banking establishment needs to go and shouldn't be bailed out as a risky deal goes bad. Lew Rockwell, chairman at the Ludwig Von Mises Institute, gives us his thoughts on the Eurozone debt crisis.

People

US: 1 in 15 Americans Now Rank as Poorest Poor

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© AP
Miguel Lopez hauls a load of plastic bottles and aluminum cans for recycling in Los Angeles, Sept. 14, 2011. Lopez earned $68 for the load.
The ranks of America's poorest poor have climbed to a record high -- 1 in 15 people -- spread widely across metropolitan areas as the housing bust pushed many inner-city poor into suburbs and other outlying places and shriveled jobs and income.

New census data paint a stark portrait of the nation's haves and have-nots at a time when unemployment remains persistently high. It comes a week before the government releases first-ever economic data that will show more Hispanics, elderly and working-age poor have fallen into poverty.

CBS News correspondent Jim Axelrod reports the Midwest is the region with the fastest growing poverty rate, up 79 percent. And Youngstown, Ohio, has the highest concentration of poverty, having been hit hard by the loss of steel jobs.

In all, the numbers underscore the breadth and scope by which the downturn has reached further into mainstream America. "There now really is no unaffected group, except maybe the very top income earners," said Robert Moffitt, a professor of economics at Johns Hopkins University. "Recessions are supposed to be temporary, and when it's over, everything returns to where it was before. But the worry now is that the downturn -- which will end eventually -- will have long-lasting effects on families who lose jobs, become worse off and can't recover."

Handcuffs

US: Uniform Code of Military Justice Charges Expected in Espionage Case

William Millay
© Facebook
Spc. William Millay is assigned to the rear detachment of the 164th Military Police Company, 793rd Military Police Battalion, 2nd Engineer Brigade, which deployed to Afghanistan earlier this year.
An Alaska soldier arrested on suspicion of espionage will face military charges, but he is not expected to be charged in federal criminal court, according to an Army spokesman.

Spc. William Colton Millay, a 22-year-old military policeman from Owensboro, Ky., is expected to be charged under the Uniform Code of Military Justice within the week, according to Lt. Col. Bill Coppernoll, a spokesman for U.S. Army Alaska.

"We are preparing to prefer charges against Spc. Millay," Coppernoll told Army Times.

Millay is assigned to the rear detachment of the 164th Military Police Company, 793rd Military Police Battalion, 2nd Engineer Brigade. The unit, known as the Arctic Enforcers, deployed to Afghanistan in the spring, leaving at Millay at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

Coppernoll said Millay was arrested at Elmendorf-Richardson on Oct. 29 as the result of an ongoing FBI and Army Counterintelligence investigation, but declined to explain the circumstances that led to Millay's arrest.

Che Guevara

30,000 people shut down 5th largest US port as Oakland, California goes on general strike

Police in Oakland use teargas on three separate occasions as tensions flare after protesters occupied building during protest


Police used teargas and non-lethal weapons to control Occupy Oakland protesters overnight after a general strike had effectively shut down the city's port and downtown areas.

There were three separate instances of police using teargas, all near to the Occupy camp, as tensions erupted when protesters occupied a disused building.

Earlier a thousands-strong march had closed down Oakland's port after a day of striking had seen streets closed in downtown and some banks damaged.

Police first used teargas on Broadway at 12.30am, following a day which had actually seen a light police presence.

Officers arrived on the street - the scene of the police clearout of Occupy Oakland on Tuesday 25 October which left Scott Olsen seriously injured - after protesters occupied a disused building on 16th Street.

Comment: Black Bloc Provocateurs Vandalize Property During Occupy Oakland's General Strike


Vader

Greek referendum and EU: A damnable contempt for democracy

Greece

Gloom: To those who cherish the legacy of the ancient Greeks, the plight of their modern-day inheritors is a tragedy
The derision over the Greeks' desire for a referendum betrays the EU's loathing of ordinary people

Some 2,500 years ago, the ancient Greeks coined a new word: 'democracy'. In the city of Athens, whose citizens were allowed to decide their future for themselves, a new political system was taking shape, based on the freedom of the individual.

Athens was the wonder of the age, a shining beacon of literature and philosophy. It could hardly have been more different from its 21st-century successor, sunk in economic gloom and scarred by months of riots and demonstrations.

To anyone who cherishes the legacy of the ancient Greeks, the plight of their modern-day inheritors is nothing less than a tragedy. And yet amid the appalling economic headlines, the flame of freedom still burns in the land that gave democracy to the world.

To most European leaders, the Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou's decision to submit the latest bailout to a national referendum is simply incomprehensible.

Brussels insiders have been queuing up to denounce his irresponsibility, insisting the future of the euro is simply too important to be decided by the ordinary men and women of Greece.

Yet despite all the consternation in the markets, it is easy to see why Mr Papandreou felt that he had no choice but to go to the people.

Pistol

Pirates Seize Oil Tanker, Kidnap Crew Near Nigeria

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© Unknown
Map of Nigeria
Lagos - Pirates seized an oil tanker off the coast of Nigeria's southern delta, kidnapping the crew in a bid to steal ship's cargo in the latest hijacking targeting the region, private security officials said Thursday.

Gunmen boarded the MT Halifax as it sat in waters off the coast of Port Harcourt, the main city in the oil-rich Niger Delta, the officials said.

The pirates took over control of the ship and sailed off into the waters of the Gulf of Guinea, and are holding onto the crew as they offload the crude oil in the ship's hold, the officials said.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press as they were not authorized to discuss the seizure with journalists.

It remains unclear how many crew members were taken or if any have been injured. The Halifax, registered in Malta, is managed by Ancora Investment Trust Inc. of Greece. An employee who answered a telephone call to the company's office in Athens declined to comment Thursday, saying someone would be able to discuss the hijacking Friday.

A profile of the ship on Ancora's company website identified the nationalities of those onboard as Filipino and Indian, with an Italian ship master.

Commodore Kabir Aliyu, a spokesman for Nigeria's navy, declined to immediately comment.