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Wed, 12 May 2021
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US Social Crisis: 25 Million Unemployed and Underemployed

unemployment line
© n/a
Although America's 25 million unemployed and underemployed could be a powerful force for social change, they aren't combining in any effective way to protest, an eminent business authority writes.

"Activism has given way to acquiescence," writes Louis Uchitelle, even though "unemployment is once again stubbornly high in the aftermath of a recession that has left the economy persistently weak."

Worse for the jobless, unemployment is no longer seen as "a failure of the nation's employers to generate enough demand for workers. That was and still is the reason, but it failed as an explanation and as a prod to action," Uchitelle writes. Instead, "the unemployed are persistently blamed for their own unemployment, which eases pressure on government to help them."

Uchitelle, who covers economics for The New York Times, writes that the commonly held belief about unsuccessful job-seekers today is "if only they acquired enough education and skill" they would be hired.


US, Massachusetts: Man viewed child porn on US flight

© unknown
Police say a man who was viewing child pornography on a domestic airline flight from Salt Lake City to Boston has been arrested.

Massachusetts State Police say 47-year-old Grant Smith was sitting in first class Saturday afternoon when a fellow passenger saw the pornographic images on Smith's laptop and alerted the flight crew.

When the Delta flight landed at Boston Logan International Airport just after 4 p.m., troopers interviewed Smith and subsequently arrested him.

He has been charged with possession of child pornography, and police say additional charges could follow. His bail is set at $15,000. He is scheduled to be arraigned Monday.

Smith was in police custody Saturday night and couldn't immediately be reached for comment.


Chavez brings first shipment of gold to Venezuela from foreign vaults as global economy slides


In August Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez announced that he would be repatriating the foreign-held gold reserves in American and European banks and they received the first shipment of gold from European countries on Friday.

The Venezuelan central bank reports that about $300 million in gold was brought in to Caracas by plane and they plan to bring 160 tons held abroad back to Venezuela. The president of the central bank, Nelson Merentes said that the first shipment came from "various European countries" by way of France and called the arrival of the gold bullion a "historic" moment for his country, according to the Wall Street Journal.


Canada: Occupy Edmonton protestors not giving up

© Evan Klippenstein / CTV News
Occupy Edmonton protesters clear their belongs from a park in downtown Edmonton on Friday, Nov. 25, 2011.
Despite being evicted from a downtown park, Occupy Edmonton protestors said they still have plenty of ideas to get their voices heard.

"Definitely going to move more into action plans," protestor Mahad Mohammad told CTV News.

Mohammad said they had about 40 more action ideas to keep the movement alive.

"Even if it does break apart I still think we did good things for this city," he added.

On Saturday afternoon some of the activists met outside the park to consider their next move.

They had originally planned to clean up the site but the company that owns the park, Melcor, has fenced it off and added security guards.


Medvedev Suggests Prosecution for Russia Space Failure

© Reuters/Mikhail Klimentyev/Ria Novosti/Kremlin
Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev speaks to a group of Russian regional journalists in the Gorki residence outside Moscow, November 26, 2011.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev raised the prospect of criminal prosecution for space mishaps on Saturday following a series of failed launches that have embarrassed Russia.

Earlier this month, a probe designed to bring back soil samples from the Mars moon Phobos got stuck in Earth's orbit, leaving Russia's first interplanetary mission in years with almost no chance of success.

The probe failure came less than three months after a cargo ship carrying food and fuel to the International Space Station burned up in the atmosphere shortly after launch.

"Recent failures are a strong blow to our competitiveness. It does not mean that something fatal has happened, it means that we need to carry out a detailed review and punish those guilty," Medvedev told reporters in televised comments.


US: Occupy Los Angeles, Philadelphia Prepare for Evictions

© David Mcnew/Reuters
A man packs his personal belongings next to his tent Saturday in anticipation of a police raid to evict the Occupy LA encampment outside City Hall in Los Angeles. The deadline to vacate is 12:01 a.m. PST Monday.
Anti-Wall Street protesters appear to be taking few steps to vacate their Occupy encampments in Philadelphia and Los Angeles despite fast-approaching deadlines to move out.

Few broke down tents at the Occupy LA spread Saturday on the City Hall lawn - and most said they didn't intend to.

Protesters were abuzz with activity, but nearly all of it was aimed at how to deal with authorities come Monday's 12:01 a.m. PST deadline.

Some handed out signs mocked up to look like the city's notices to vacate, advertising a Monday morning "eviction block party."

Dozens attended a teach-in on resistance tactics, including how stay safe in the face of rubber bullets, tear gas canisters and pepper spray.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced on Friday that despite his sympathy for the protesters' cause, it was time for the camp of nearly 500 tents to leave for the sake of public health and safety.

The mayor said the movement is at a "crossroads," and it must "move from holding a particular patch of park to spreading the message of economic justice."


Canada: Blast in Innisfail, Alberta Kills Disabled Mother

© Tara Weber/CBC News
RCMP responded to an explosion that killed a woman in Innisfail.
Police are investigating after a 23-year-old mother was killed Friday in an explosion at a townhouse in Innisfail, Alta.

The death of the Vicky Shachtay, who used a wheelchair, is being investigated as a homicide, police said.

Her six-year-old daughter Destiny is now with family.

The woman's caregiver - a woman in her 30s - suffered minor injuries.

A package was delivered to the residence shortly before the explosion, RCMP said. It was left at the door, rather than delivered by a courier or postal worker.

Arrow Down

Busy bridge collapses in central Indonesia, killing at least 4 people, leaving scores missing

© The Associated Press/The Canadian Press
The remains of Kutai Kertanegara bridge is seen after it collapsed, in Tenggarong, East Kalimantan, Indonesia, Saturday, Nov. 26, 2011. The busy bridge collapsed Saturday in central Indonesia, killing at least three people and injuring 17 others as a bus, cars and motorcycles crashed into the river below, police and witnesses said.
Rescue teams searched for survivors Sunday after a busy bridge collapsed in central Indonesia, sending a bus, cars and motorcycles crashing into the river below. Four people were killed and scores more were missing.

Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman for the country's disaster management agency, said the sprawling concrete bridge on the remote island of Borneo was being repaired when Saturday's accident occurred.

Workers were tightening screws and bolts when a steel support cable snapped and the bridge, which was less than 10 years old, came smashing down.

Four bodies were pulled from the Mahakam river, including a 6-month-old baby, and 19 people were rushed to the hospital with injuries, said police Capt. Syafii Nafsikin.

Heart - Black

I was viciously raped on this Barbados beach but local police cared more about protecting tourism, says brave British grandmother

© Howard Walker
Bruised and swollen: Diane Davies the day after her attack
Sitting in her immaculate three-bedroom bungalow on Anglesey, Diane Davies thinks every day of her holiday in Barbados last winter. But she wishes she could forget it.

For this 62-year-old grandmother of nine, holiday memories don't mean happy images of a paradise island with palm trees, white sand and warm seas.

Instead, she relives over and over the brutal rape she suffered in broad daylight in one of the island's most exclusive areas.

Her anguish over this horrific attack is compounded by her treatment by the local police and victim-support personnel, which, at best, could be characterised as breathtakingly incompetent and, at worst, as callously indifferent.

Indeed, Diane, a widow, believes that the island's authorities are more concerned about protecting the lucrative tourist industry than they are about seeking justice. It is for this reason, one year on, she has decided to break her silence and talk about her ordeal.


Scientists Brace for Media Storm Around Controversial Flu Studies

bird flu virus
© Matthias Kulka/Corbis
The bird flu virus.
Rotterdam, the Netherlands - Locked up in the bowels of the medical faculty building here and accessible to only a handful of scientists lies a man-made flu virus that could change world history if it were ever set free.

The virus is an H5N1 avian influenza strain that has been genetically altered and is now easily transmissible between ferrets, the animals that most closely mimic the human response to flu. Scientists believe it's likely that the pathogen, if it emerged in nature or were released, would trigger an influenza pandemic, quite possibly with many millions of deaths.

In a 17th floor office in the same building, virologist Ron Fouchier of Erasmus Medical Center calmly explains why his team created what he says is "probably one of the most dangerous viruses you can make" - and why he wants to publish a paper describing how they did it. Fouchier is also bracing for a media storm. After he talked to Science Insider yesterday, he had an appointment with an institutional press officer to chart a communication strategy.