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Sat, 03 Jun 2023
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Kyrgyzstan MPs sacrifice rams to banish "evil spirits"

Members of Kyrgyzstan's divided parliament slaughtered seven rams before their morning session on Thursday, in a sacrifice they hope will banish "evil spirits" disrupting their work.

Kyrgyzstan elected a new legislature in October in a bid to build the first parliamentary democracy in former Soviet Central Asia, a region otherwise run by authoritarian presidents.

But the fragile governing coalition has come under threat after weeks of bitter recriminations and disputes in parliament, leading a senior government member to resign temporarily.

Kyrgyzstan, which lies on a drug trafficking route out of Afghanistan and hosts both Russian and U.S. military air bases, saw its president toppled by a violent revolt last April. More than 400 people were killed in ethnic riots in June.

"We decided to resort to popular customs, in order for this building not to see bloodshed anymore," member of parliament Myktybek Abdyldayev told Reuters after the rams were sacrificed on a green lawn in front of the government headquarters.


US: Discovery of Barnes' body could yield new leads

© AP/Baltimore Police Department
After months of searches and appeals to the public, authorities confirmed Thursday, April 21, 2011, that a body found in a northeast Maryland river was that of Barnes, a North Carolina teen who went missing while visiting relatives in Baltimore over the Christmas holidays.
North Carolina teen vanished from Northwest Baltimore in December

As the desperate search for missing honors student Phylicia Barnes came to a heartbreaking end Thursday, police said the discovery of her body in the Susquehanna River could be "instrumental" in hunting down new leads in a 4-month-old case that has yielded painfully few clues.

"We're at stage one of a new phase of the investigation," said Baltimore Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III. "Finding her body is really going to be instrumental in giving us an opportunity to bring closure to the family. ... It gives investigators a real opportunity."

The North Carolina native was 16 years old when she disappeared Dec. 28 from her half sister's Northwest Baltimore apartment, touching off the Baltimore Police Department's most extensive missing-person investigation in years.


Japan earmarks first $50 billion for post-quake rebuild

© Reuters/Toru Hanai
Members of the Japan Self-Defense Force remove debris as they search for victims in a damaged house at an area devastated by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, in Sendai, Miyagi prefecture, April 21, 2011.
Japan's cabinet approved on Friday almost $50 billion of spending for post-earthquake rebuilding, a down payment on the country's biggest public works effort in six decades.

The emergency budget of 4 trillion yen ($48.5 billion), which is likely be followed by more reconstruction spending packages, is still dwarfed by the overall cost of damages caused by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, estimated at $300 billion.

"With this budget, we are taking one step forward toward reconstruction ... and toward restarting the economy," Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda told reporters after a cabinet meeting.

The magnitude 9.0 earthquake and 15 meter tsunami that followed caused Japan's gravest crisis since World War Two, killing up to 28,000 people and destroying tens of thousands of homes.

It also smashed a nuclear power plant which began leaking radiation, a situation the plant's operator says could take all year to bring under control.


Helen Caldicott: Fukushima is many orders of magnitude worse than Chernobyl

Helen Caldicott, M.D., is a physician, speaker and author who has campaigned tirelessly against the dangers of nuclear power. Although thousands of fellow physicians have supported her through decades of campaigning, no one who really mattered when it comes to life or death decisions over the masses of people would listen to her.


Massive blast kills 16 in Pakistan

© unknown
Police examine evidence at a bomb blast site in a gambling building in Karachi on April 21, 2011.
At least 16 people have been killed and over 30 others injured after a massive explosion ripped through Pakistan's southern port city of Karachi.

The powerful blast targeted the Liyari area of Karachi on Thursday, Xinhua reported.

No one has claimed responsibility for the bombing, but police suspect that the attack may have been the result of feuding gangs.

Most of the injured have been taken to the city's hospital.

Hospital sources said the death toll would continue to rise as some of those wounded in the incident are in critical condition.


US: Michigan jury to weigh mosque protest bid

© Reuters/Rebecca Cook
Controversial Florida pastor Terry Jones sits in the courtroom of the 19th District Dearborn Court for a hearing in front of Judge Mark Somers about Jones' right to protest in Dearborn, Michigan April 21, 2011.
A Dearborn, Michigan jury will consider on Friday whether a controversial Florida pastor will have to post a "peace bond" before a planned demonstration in front of the largest mosque in the United States.

District Court Judge Mark Somers issued a preliminary ruling on Thursday in favor of prosecutors who have sought the bond on the grounds that the appearance by Terry Jones would require heavy police protection to prevent violence.

A six-person jury will hear the case on Friday morning.

Dearborn, which includes one of the largest Muslim American communities in the United States, has denied Jones and a handful of his supporters a permit to protest outside the Islamic Center of America.

Detroit area clergy and community activists have rallied against the planned protest by Jones in recent days, calling him a divisive figure who practices hate speech.


US: Bright, Careful and Sadistic: Profiling Long Island's Mystery Serial Killer

© Robert Stolarik for The New York Times
Dozens of officers with cadaver dogs searched for more human remains this month off Ocean Parkway. The remains of as many as 10 people have been found.
He is most likely a white male in his mid-20s to mid-40s. He is married or has a girlfriend. He is well educated and well spoken. He is financially secure, has a job and owns an expensive car or truck. He may have sought treatment at a hospital for poison ivy infection. As part of his job or interests, he has access to, or a stockpile of, burlap sacks.

And he lives or used to live on or near Ocean Parkway on the South Shore of Long Island, where the police have found as many as 10 sets of human remains.

In interviews with serial-killer experts and criminologists, including a former F.B.I. profiler, a portrait emerges of the man who investigators on Long Island believe is responsible for several of the bodies they have discovered in the brush off Ocean Parkway since December. For the moment, he is known in law enforcement jargon only as Unsub, or unknown subject. No arrests have been made, and no suspects have been identified by the Suffolk County Police Department, which is leading the investigation.

Profiling serial murderers is far from a precise science. There are nearly three million people on Long Island, and the man who killed at least four prostitutes who advertised for clients on Craigslist is perhaps but one.

And the experts interviewed are sketching out a possible suspect based only on details of the case that have been publicly revealed, like the burlap sacks that the four women's bodies were found in and the series of taunting phone calls that the killer is believed to have made to one victim's relatives.


US: Five accused of luring Florida teen to his death

© AP Photo / Marion County Sheriff's Office
From left, Michael Bargo, 18; Charlie Ely, 18; James Havens III, 37; and Justin Soto, 20.
Seath Jackson, 15, was brutally beaten, shot several times and burned to ashes in a backyard fire pit. Detectives say he was lured by his ex-girlfriend to a house where she, her brother and friends were waiting.

At the beginning of March, 15-year-old Seath Jackson adored Amber Wright.

He posted on Facebook that he loved Wright, also 15, and noted on one peaceful afternoon that he was spending time with her and her brother, 16-year-old Kyle Hooper. Weeks later, the young couple had broken up.

Now Wright is accused of luring Jackson to his death with text messages.

Marion County Sheriff's Office detectives say Wright, Hooper and three older friends planned a deadly encounter during which Jackson was beaten and shot several times, then burned to ashes. They have been charged with first-degree murder.

Bizarro Earth

Japan's Disaster and the Manufacturing Meltdown


As U.S. auto assembly lines grind to a halt for want of components that usually come from now-disabled factories in northeastern Japan, business strategists may be forced to rethink the way globalized companies do business.

The effects of Japan's March earthquake and tsunami are being felt far beyond the shattered region around Sendai and Fukushima. As U.S. auto assembly lines grind to a halt for want of components that usually come from now-disabled factories in northeastern Japan, business strategists may be forced to rethink the way globalized companies do business. The result could well be a retreat from current manufacturing methods -- sourcing key components from a single supplier and running "lean" factories without stocks of supplies on hand -- whose main goal is to minimize costs. Now, management may also pay close attention to risks.

Such a change would represent a reversal of course for major international companies, potentially transforming the way that many of the world's industrial giants have functioned for the past two decades. Whereas companies used to run separate operations in many countries, each serving a given national market, in the 1980s multinational corporations started to run their affairs with diminishing attention to national borders. Today, a single plant or research center will often take worldwide responsibility for a particular product or business area. And whereas factories once manufactured their own components or purchased them nearby, now even some small plants have supply lines that stretch across the globe. Almost every manufacturer, from your local maker of wedding dresses to Boeing and Caterpillar, is a global company, because its production relies critically on parts or other inputs made or designed outside its home country.

The globalization of manufacturing is responsible for much of the boom in international trade over the past two decades. Around half of the maritime shipping containers that arrive in the Los Angeles and New Jersey ports, for example, contain not products for retail sale but "intermediate goods," products partially manufactured in one location and destined for further processing somewhere else. Similarly, a large proportion of airfreight consists of high-value components, such as semiconductors and optical lasers, rather than finished consumer goods.


BP sues Cameron and Deepwater Horizon owner Transocean


An inquiry found the blowout preventer had snagged on a piece of drill pipe

BP is suing Transocean, the owner of the oil rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico last year, for $40bn (£24.37bn) in damages.

BP said safety systems on Transocean's Deepwater Horizon rig had failed.

Separately, BP also sued the maker of the rig's blowout preventer, alleging the device failed to stop the huge oil spill that followed the explosion.