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Mon, 01 Mar 2021
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Chavez Emptying Bank of England Vault as Venezuela Brings Back Gold Hoard

gold
© Kerem Uzel/Bloomberg
In all, Venezuela has 365.8 metric tons of gold reserves, according to the World Gold Council.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez ordered the central bank to repatriate $11 billion of gold reserves held in developed nations' institutions such as the Bank of England as prices for the metal rise to a record.

Venezuela, which holds 211 tons of its 365 tons of gold reserves in U.S., European, Canadian and Swiss banks, will progressively return the bars to its central bank's vault, Chavez said yesterday. JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), Barclays Plc (BARC), and Standard Chartered Plc (STAN) also hold Venezuelan gold, he said.

"We've held 99 tons of gold at the Bank of England since 1980. I agree with bringing that home," Chavez said yesterday on state television. "It's a healthy decision."

X

One in five American children now living in poverty according to new report

* 14.7million children in families with income less than $21,756 a year
* Child poverty increased in 38 states from 2000 to 2009
* Mississippi is state with highest level - 31 per cent
* New Hampshire is state with smallest level - 11 per cent

child poverty US

One in five in poverty: 14.7million - or 20 per cent - of children in the U.S. live in families with incomes below the federal poverty level

Karla Washington worries how she will afford new school uniforms for her five-year-old daughter.

Washington, an undergraduate student, earns less than $11,000 a year from a part-time university job.

The salary must cover food, rent, health care, child care and the occasional splurge on a Blue's Clues item for her only child.

'My biggest fear is not providing my daughter with everything that she needs to be a balanced child, to be independent, to be safe, to feel like she is of value,' said Washington, 41.

Blackbox

Wishful Thinking: Silicon Valley billionaire reveals plan to launch floating 'start up country' off San Francisco

Seastead Ayn Rand Paypal
© Unknown
'Big ideas start as weird ideas': An artist conception of a Seastead city.
PayPal-founder Peter Thiel was so inspired by Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand's novel about free-market capitalism - that he's trying to make its title a reality.

The Silicon Valley billionaire has funnelled $1.25 million to the Seasteading Institute, an organization that aspires to launch a floating colony into international waters, freeing them and like-minded thinkers to live by Libertarian ideals.

Mr Thiel recently told Details magazine that: 'The United States Constitution had things you could do at the beginning that you couldn't do later. So the question is, can you go back to the beginning of things? How do you start over?'

The floating sovereign nations that Thiel imagines would be built on oil-rig-like platforms anchored in areas free of regulation, laws, and moral conventions.

The Seasteading Institute says it will 'give people the freedom to choose the government they want instead of being stuck with the government they get.'

Dollar

US: Alaska Bank Employee Charged with Stealing $4.3M

money
© unknown
An Anchorage bank employee embezzled more than $4 million the old-fashioned way - by carrying it out of the building, according to federal prosecutors.

Gerardo Adan Cazarez Valenzuela, 26, is charged with stuffing $4.3 million into computer boxes and wheeling them out of a KeyBank vault on a rolling cart. He was arrested in Mexico on Aug. 1 and indicted Wednesday by a grand jury in Anchorage, the U.S. attorney's office said.

Valenzuela, also known as Gary Cazarez, remained in Mexico on Thursday.

Details of the case were revealed in an affidavit filed by FBI agent Susan Cusack based on bank surveillance equipment, interviews with employees and admissions by Valenzuela.

According to Cusack, Valenzuela entered the vault at 6:39 p.m. July 29 - a Friday - with three computer-size boxes on a rolling cart. He turned out the vault light and filled the boxes with cash.

Coffee

US, Texas: Starbucks Pays $75K in Suit filed by Woman with Dwarfism

Starbucks
© The Associated Press
The Starbucks Coffee Company has paid $75,000 to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to settle a lawsuit for unlawfully denying a reasonable accommodation to a woman with dwarfism, according to a press release.

The lawsuit was filed by the commission on behalf of Elsa Sallard, who claimed she was fired from her job as a barista because she is a dwarf.

According to a press release from the commission, Sallard told employers during a training that she could use a stool or stepladder to do her job.

"The manager at the El Paso Starbucks location disregarded Sallard's request," the release said. "On the same day that Sallard requested the accommodation, Starbucks terminated her employment, claiming that she would pose a 'danger' to customers and employees."

Commission officials said that the settlement not only compensates Sallard, but is an agreement that Starbucks will provide training in compliance with Americans With Disabilities Act.

Attention

Taser-related deaths in US accelerating

Image
© Unknown
The rate of deaths in Taser-related incidents is rising as police forces increasingly adapt the conducted energy weapons, a Raw Story analysis finds.

A 2008 report (PDF) from Amnesty International found 351 Taser-related deaths in the US between June, 2001 and August, 2008, a rate of just slightly above four deaths per month.

A database of Taser-related deaths maintained at the African-American issues blog Electronic Village counts 96 deaths related to the use of Tasers since January, 2009.

Assuming the statistics are correct, that indicates the death rate has increased to an average of five per month.

Electronic Village counts the 96th Taser-linked death as being that of Adam Colliers, a 25-year-old resident of Snohomish County, Washington, who was reportedly "running up and down" a street and causing a disturbance when he was Tased by two officers. He stopped breathing shortly afterwards, and was pronounced dead in hospital a short while later.

It was the second Taser-related death, and the fifth death in a police encounter, in the Seattle area over the past week.

Stormtrooper

UK: Bodybuilder Dies After Police Blast Him Three Times with Taser Gun

Dale Burns

Competitor: Bodybuilder Dale Burns is believed to be the first person to die from a police Taser
A bodybuilder is believed to be the first person in Britain to have died from a police Taser after officers shot him three times with the powerful 50,000-volt gun.

Father-of-two Dale Burns, 27, was confronted by up to eight officers after they were called to reports of a disturbance at his bedsit in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria.

He was arrested on suspicion of criminal damage but when he refused to calm down officers used pepper spray before one fired at him three times in quick succession.

His death reopened the debate on the controversial use of Tasers amid calls for a radical overhaul of their use.

Satellite

Evidence points to 3 Sudan mass graves

Image
© Unknown
Kenya Africa(Red)
Nairobi, Kenya - A U.S. group says new satellite imagery and eyewitness reports point to evidence of three new mass graves in a contested area of Sudan.

The Satellite Sentinel Project on Wednesday released images of what it says are two piles of corpses wrapped in body bags or tarps in Kadugli, the capital of South Kordofan, where Sudan's Arab military has been fighting black tribesmen loyal to the new state of South Sudan.

The group said an analysis of satellite images concluded that pro-government forces are trying to cover up a third mass grave beneath a water tank.

Activist John Prendergast says evidence is mounting of war crimes by Sudan's government.

The Khartoum government has denied carrying out atrocities.

Info

US: Air Force Discharging Sergeant Who Doubts Obama

Image
© birtherreport.com
Sgt. Daryn Moran
The Air Force said Wednesday it is discharging a hero of the so-called birther movement who refused to report to duty in Germany for a few days earlier this month because he doubts President Barack Obama's citizenship.

Staff Sgt. Daryn Moran expects to be discharged within the next week. Although the 41-year-old Nebraska man refused to report to duty and had called for Obama's arrest in statements on websites, several other things contributed to his discharge, including his opposition to Obama's decision to allow gays to serve openly in the military.

Moran, who has served nine years in the Air Force, drew the attention of the birther movement when he shared his views on Obama's citizenship on websites of groups that believe Obama was not born in the U.S. and therefore is not eligible to serve as president or commander in chief.

Obama released a copy of his detailed birth certificate from Hawaii in April in an attempt to quell the questions about whether he was born outside the U.S. But many birthers contend Obama's birth certificate must be a fake.

Stop

US, Massachusetts: Woman's Yard Sale to Pay Medical Bills Gets Shut Down


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Jan Cline
A woman fighting a terminal form of bone cancer is trying to raise money to help pay bills with a few weekend garage sales, but the city of Salem says she's breaking the law and is shutting her down.

Jan Cline had no idea, but the city of Salem has a clear law that states a person can only have three yard sales a year.

Cline has been selling her stuff in the backyard for a few weekends and said she thought she'd be fine by keeping the sale out of everyone's way.

"It's a struggle," Cline says. "It's a struggle for me because I'm very independent, used to taking care of myself."

She's run businesses and supported herself for years but this summer she was diagnosed with bone cancer.

"It's a bone marrow cancer that eats through the bones and causes holes in the bones so that just by walking I can break a bone," she says.