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Sat, 27 Nov 2021
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Thousands Demonstrate Against Hungary Censorship Law - test case for EU?

© Unknown
Hungarian protesters tape their mouths in protest against the new media law.
Thousands of people protested against Hungary's controversial new media law on Friday, demanding the legislation -- which has come under widespread fire internationally -- be withdrawn.

The rally, organised via online social networks and blogs, was the second such protest to be held in front of the Hungarian parliament in three weeks,

Many of the demontrators had their mouths taped over in protest against what they see as restrictions on media freedom.

Budapest has come under fire from media and rights groups, as well as European governments, for the legislation, which came into force on January 1, just as Hungary took over the presidency of the European Union.

Under the legislation, a new authority -- headed by a close ally of Prime Minister Viktor Orban -- has the right to impose major fines on media outlets and force journalists to reveal sources on issues related to national security.

Orban and his centre-right government has rejected the criticism, insisting the law conforms to European norms.


Global food chain stretched to the limit

© Prakash Singh / AFP/Getty Images
Protest against food price increase in India
Strained by rising demand and battered by bad weather, the global food supply chain is stretched to the limit, sending prices soaring and sparking concerns about a repeat of food riots last seen three years ago.

Signs of the strain can be found from Australia to Argentina, Canada to Russia. On Friday, Tunisia's president fled the country after trying to quell deadly riots in the North African country by slashing prices on food staples.

"We are entering a danger territory," Abdolreza Abbassian, chief economist at the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), said last week.

The U.N.'s fear is that the latest run-up in food prices could spark a repeat of the deadly food riots that broke out in 2008 in Haiti, Kenya and Somalia. That price spike was relatively short-lived. But Abbassian said the latest surge in food stuffs may be more sustained.


US: Mother Accused of Playing on Facebook While Baby Died

Cafe World facebook
© zynga
Facebook game Cafe World
An American mother who told police her 13-month-old son drowned in the bathtub while she was playing a game on Facebook was charged on Friday with child abuse resulting in death.

Shannon Johnson, 34, of Colorado was advised of the charge against her via a video hookup from the jail where she is being held on a $100,000 bond, said Jennifer Finch, spokeswoman for the Weld County District Attorney's Office.

Johnson requested a public defender during the brief hearing and another hearing was set for later in the month, Finch said.

Under questioning by police after the boy died at a Denver-area hospital last September, Johnson admitted she placed the baby in the bathtub and went into another room to play the Facebook game Cafe World.

She also checked in with friends and watched videos on the site while the boy bathed alone, according to an affidavit filed in the case.

Heart - Black

US: Michigan Father Kills Wife, Sons 4 and 6, Self: police

A Michigan man was believed to have killed his wife and two young sons before committing suicide, police said on Saturday.

Mark Schons, 39, was found dead in his sports utility vehicle in a parking lot on Friday, two hours after police discovered the bodies of his wife and children in their home, authorities said.

Police went to the house in Novi, Michigan after a friend of the family notified authorities that the two children, Tynan, 6, and Camden, 4, did not show up for school and their mother, Jennifer Schons, 38, had missed an appointment.

Jennifer Schons had suffered multiple "sharp force injuries" and the boys had been asphyxiated with neck compressions, suggesting they were strangled, William Presley, Oakland County Medical Examiner's Office investigator, said on Saturday.


Japanese government: Young men losing interest in sex

© na

Young Japanese men are losing interest in sex, according to a study commissioned by the government, in a further warning sign for a nation notorious for its low birth rate, a doctor said Friday.

The survey also found that more than 40 percent of married people said they have not had sex in the past month, said Kunio Kitamura, head of the clinic of the Japan Family Planning Association, who took part in the survey.

"This is directly linked with falling birth rate. Policy actions are necessary," Kitamura told AFP.

Star of David

Vera Macht Reports from Gaza

Children in Gaza
© n/a
Children in Gaza look for food in a garbage dump.
The air is filled with the noise of the Israeli F-16s, which are flying so low that it's almost like the air is trembling. You can positively feel the bombs before they fall, before they explode with a horrendous bang, that is unmistakable, with a pressure wave that breaks the windows of the houses in the whole surrounding area, and makes the walls shake miles away.

And even if you know rationally that you are not in an immediate danger, this bang triggers a primal fear, the feeling of vulnerability, of being absolutely exposed. "We people of Gaza die hundreds of times", a young Palestinian woman said. "In our thoughts, we are buried every night under the rubble of our crumbling house, we are shot every morning by a sniper on a carelessly chosen path, we may starve to death every day, because no more food is coming in."

This night four bombs fall, three in the middle area of Gaza Strip, one in Khan Younis. All places have been declared "terrorist targets" in the official statement of the Israeli military, including a Navy police building.

They fly overhead for about an hour, and you try to ignore the noise by focusing on something else, on your laptop, the text before you. The people of Gaza might watch TV, but the images are constantly disturbed by dozens of drones in the sky above. Their pervasive, never-ending buzz can drive you crazy, not to mention the prospect of how they record every single detail of each house, each car and each movement of the people, of yourself. Always aware of how they can transform into a deadly weapon at any moment. And perhaps their bombs aren't aimed at yourself, but at the car next to you, the person behind you, or at the friend on the motorcycle seat in front of you. This happened yesterday afternoon in Khan Younis, as a resistance fighter was executed in broad daylight as he rode his motorcycle with a friend.

Whoever writes about Gaza, whoever writes about the buffer zone without writing about the rockets, which are shot from there to Israel, is accused of writing only half the truth. Half of the truth about farmers being killed, stone collectors who are shot at, and bombs in the night. The other half of the truth would then be the approximately 20 mortar shells and missles that have landed in Israel since the beginning of the year, the Israeli soldier who died by "friendly fire", which was actually aimed at a Palestinian, and the Thai workers, who were injured by fragments of a missile. The whole truth would then be a mutual terror, incited on both sides, and in which both parties would be equally responsible for the spiral of violence.


Sick Gulf Residents Beg Officials for Help

oil spill cleanup crew
© n/a
New Orleans, Louisiana - In an emotionally charged meeting this week sponsored by the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, fishermen, Gulf residents and community leaders vented their increasingly grave concerns about the widespread health issues brought on by the three-month-long disaster.

"Today I'm talking to you about my life," Cherri Foytlin told the two commissioners present at the Jan. 12 meeting. "My ethylbenzene levels are 2.5 times the 95th percentile, and there's a very good chance now that I won't get to see my grandbabies...What I'm asking you to do now, if possible, is to amend [your report]. Because we have got to get some health care."

Ethylbenzene is a form of benzene present in the body when it begins to break down. It is also present in BP's crude oil.

"I have seen small children with lesions all over their bodies," Foytlin, co-founder of Gulf Change, a community organisation based in Grand Isle, Louisiana, continued.

"We are very, very ill. And dead is dead. So it really doesn't matter if the media comes back... or the president hears us, or... if the oil workers and the fishermen and the crabbers get to feed their babies and maybe have a good Christmas next year... Dead is dead...I know your job is probably already done, but I'd like to hire you if you don't mind. And God knows I can't pay you. But I need your heart. And I need your voice."

"We hear what you are saying," said Beinecke. "We will take these health issues and concerns back to the president."

The commission, appointed by President Barack Obama, released its final report this week after a six-month investigation into the nation's worst-ever oil disaster.

The report recommended a massive overhaul of the oil industry's failed safety practices in the Gulf, as well as the creation of a new independent agency to monitor offshore drilling activity.

However, most of the 250 people at the meeting here focused on the health crisis that has exploded in the wake of the April 2010 disaster, leaving former BP clean-up workers and Gulf residents alike suffering from ailments they attribute to chemicals in BP's oil and the toxic dispersants used to sink it.


Fishkill in Lapu-Lapu: Residents Gather, Eat Dead Fish Floating in Barangay Ibo

Maribel Mori asked her teenage son to fetch water yesterday morning.

Michael John came back with a pail of fish locally known as "potpot."

He and other residents had collected the fish, which were floating dead along the coastal waters of barangay Ibo, in Lapu-Lapu City.

A few hours after eating the fish, which was cooked with vinegar as inun-onan for breakfast, Maribel was at the barangay health center complaining of nausea, vomiting and headache.


Poul Thorsen is Still In Charge of Public Danish Autism Registers

The scandalised danish autism researcher, Dr. Poul Thorsen, who once was chief of the now defunct research unit Nanea at Aarhus University is still in a powerful position as an autism researcher.

Seemingly unaffected by the suspicions of financial fraud surrounding him and by the charges raised by danish police for coarse tax evasion, Poul Thorsen is still in charge as "data responsible" for three danish public registers.

One of these registers is the "National Register for Autism Spectrum Disturbances". Another is "Biomarkers Associated with the Development of Autism." The third register concerns "Identification of biologic/biochemical markers for preterm birth." The research is classified as "Private research."

This can be checked by anybody who wish to do so, at the homepage of the danish authority, Datatilsynet.

Bizarro Earth

US - 'Toddlers & Tiaras' Mom Forces 5-Year-Old To Get Eyebrow Wax (VIDEO)

© Styleite.com
Another week, another episode of Toddlers & Tiaras, and another horrifying act of child cruelty. While there were no cone bras this time, there was an absolutely terrified five-year-old whose mother forced her to get her eyebrows waxed.

Honestly, this video is actually quite difficult to watch. While it's absolutely understandable that a child wouldn't want hot wax poured onto her face and then ripped off by an uber-coiffed salon worker, in this case, the young girl had actually experienced a traumatizing wax prior to this incident, in which the wax was too hot and actually tore off her skin. Her mother admits this to the cameras while her daughter (who is screaming and shaking) is being cajoled by the salon worker with a bag of candy. "Normally I woulda just held her down and ripped it off," she adds.

That said, the most terrifying part of this clip might be the end, when the mother turns to her daughter and says, "There! Doesn't that look pretty?"