Society's ChildS


Sudan Investigates "Mysterious" Air Attack

© Unknown
Sudanese authorities said they began investigating the targeted bombing of a car late Tuesday night in the coastal city of Port Sudan on the Red Sea. The incident in the east of the country led to the death of two people.

A police statement quoted by the official Sudanese news agency conveyed that the missile struck a car on the main highway, 15 km south of Port Sudan, killing two people who were traveling the car.

According to the statement it immediately after the incident, security forces rushed to the scene and set up an operation room in order to determine the source of the attack.


Yemen protests: fresh clashes in Taiz

Tens of thousands demonstrate against President Ali Abdullah Saleh in the southern town a day after 15 people were killed
Yemeni protesters
© ReutersYemeni protesters run from teargas fired by police in Taiz.
Fresh clashes have broken out in Taiz in southern Yemen as security forces and armed men in civilian clothes fired on protesters a day after 15 people were killed.

Witnesses told Reuters that several people had been hurt after hundreds of troops attacked tens of thousands of demonstrators. Men believed to be plainclothes police wielded bats and daggers as protesters responded by throwing rocks.

Al-Jazeera reported that hundreds of protesters were wounded in the clashes, with dozens taken to hospital in the capital, Sana'a, 120 miles away.

Amid continuing violence against the 32-year rule of the president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, the Gulf Co-operation Council, the regional security group, invited government and opposition representatives to talks in Saudi Arabia, at a date yet to be set. Abubakr al-Qirbi, the acting foreign minister after Saleh sacked his government two weeks ago, said the government would agree to talks in Riyadh. "We welcome the GCC invitation and the government is ready to discuss any ideas from our Gulf brothers to solve the crisis," Qirbi said.


Canada: Sled dog slaughter leads to tougher British Columbia laws

B.C. will bring in tough new animal cruelty laws - including $75,000 fines and two-year jail terms - following the alleged slaughter of 100 dogs by a Whistler company last spring, Premier Christy Clark announced Tuesday morning.

Clark made the announcement based on the recommendations of a special task force set up to investigate the recreational industry after news broke that the dogs were slaughtered by an employee at a Whistler tour company after the Olympics.

B.C.'s existing laws limit fines for animal cruelty to $10,000 and six months in jail.

"British Columbians have said clearly that cruel or inhumane treatment of sled dogs or any other animal is simply not acceptable," Clark said Tuesday morning at the Vancouver headquarters of the B.C. SPCA.

"That's why we are acting on all of the recommendations of the Sled Dog Task Force and sending a strong message that those who engage in that type of behaviour will be punished under tough new laws."

The task force was led by Liberal MLA Terry Lake, who is a veterinarian, and included representation from the BC SPCA and the Union of B.C. Municipalities.

"I can confidently say the recommendations include what I believe, as a veterinarian and animal lover, will help animals be well cared for," Lake said.

"Through our work the task force identified the need for the development of best practice guidelines for sled dog operations and improved animal cruelty laws overall."


US: Man With Anti-Obama Sign Attacked In San Francisco

© David Lienemann/Getty ImagesAn Obama supporter holds up a sign.
A man who set up a table with political literature and a sign opposing President Barack Obama was attacked in San Francisco's North Panhandle neighborhood, police and witnesses said Tuesday.

Initial police accounts had indicated that the man had a sign supporting Obama, but witnesses later said it was an anti-Obama sign with a Hitler mustache drawn over the president's face.

The attack happened around 11:30 a.m. Monday in the 1200 block of Fell Street, where the victim, a 29-year-old Daly City man, had set up his table, said Capt. Denis O'Leary of the SFPD's Park Station.

A man and woman approached the victim, tore the sign and shook the table, causing the political literature to fall to the ground.

The attackers also kicked the man in the hand, O'Leary said.

The SFPD captain said he did not know whether the victim was a supporter or opponent of Obama, but a witness who was in the area Monday said the victim was a supporter of Lyndon LaRouche, a left-wing political activist who opposes the president.


Indian 'living god' in critical condition: hospital

© Agence France-Presse/ Tekee TanwarFile photo of Indian guru Satya Sai Baba (C) greeting followers. Sai Baba is in a critical condition in the intensive care unit of a southern hospital where thousand of devotees have gathered, local officials said Tuesday.
One of India's best-known spiritual leaders, famous for his apparent miracles and long list of influential followers, is on life support in a southern hospital, officials said on Tuesday.

Satya Sai Baba, 85, who has devotees in more than 100 countries, was admitted to a hospital funded by his organisation in the town of Puttaparthi with lung and chest congestion on March 28.

His condition has since deteriorated and he is now on a ventilator and is receiving kidney dialysis, the most recent health bulletin from the hospital said on Tuesday.

He remains "critical," although his "level of consciousness has considerably improved" and his vital systems are "stable", said the update from the Sri Satya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences.

Thousands of followers have begun arriving in Puttaparthi, home to Sai Baba's ashram in the southeastern state of Andhra Pradesh, with many agitated by conflicting information given out by local authorities.

Government officials have sought to play down the seriousness of his condition, while police are preventing groups from gathering in the town, according to local reports.


US: Man gets prison for New York self-help speaker's death

© The Associated Press / jefflocker.comIn this undated file photo, motivational speaker Jeffrey Locker is shown. The man who stabbed the debt-ridden motivational speaker in what he said was an assisted suicide was sentenced to prison Monday, April 4, 2011 for murder. Kenneth Minor yelled an expletive after he received a 20-years-to-life sentence for Jeffrey Locker's July 2009 death.
A man convicted of murdering a debt-ridden motivational speaker was sentenced Monday to at least two decades in prison in a case that tested the bounds of assisted suicide.

Speaking publicly for the first time about Jeffrey Locker's July 2009 death, Kenneth Minor said his own life had "ended that day" that he accepted Locker's offer to pay to be killed in a seeming robbery so his family could collect millions of dollars in insurance money.

"In the end, Mr. Locker is where he wanted to be," said Minor, 38, his voice sometimes breaking as he spoke. "I'm no animal, and I ain't got no malice in my heart."

"In the end, a life is a life. And I ask your forgiveness," he concluded - before yelling an expletive on hearing his 20-years-to-life sentence. He plans an appeal that will likely note a juror's statement that she felt compelled to convict him because of the judge's legal instructions.

The case was unusual for broaching the concept of assisted suicide in the context of strangers staging a seeming street crime.

Locker approached Minor on an East Harlem street to ask for help staging his death, both prosecutors and Minor had said. Minor didn't testify at his trial but told his account to police when he was arrested.


Germany: Knut's Berlin zoo suffers another death

© The Associated PressShaina Pali, left, a six-year-old Indian elephant, has died unexpectedly at the Berlin Zoo, the same zoo where Knut, right, a four-year-old polar bear, suffered the same fate.
Another young animal has died unexpectedly at the Berlin Zoo, only two weeks after celebrity polar bear Knut passed away.

Spokeswoman Claudia Bienek said six-year-old Indian elephant Shaina Pali died at the zoo early Tuesday morning. Elephants can live up to about 80 years in captivity.

The zoo's veterinarian thinks the elephant died of an infection, Bienek said, but a necropsy is being performed to determine the exact cause of death.

Knut, a four-year-old polar bear, died March 19 at the zoo after collapsing in his enclosure's moat. Experts said his collapse was caused by a swelling of his brain brought on by an infection.

Bienek said the two deaths are unrelated: "It's simply very, very sad."


Canada: Nurse accused of sexually assaulting senior

© Toronto Police ServiceLeonid Kozlov, 45, had worked at the home at 351 Christie St. for five years
Toronto police have charged a male nurse employed at a city-run long-term care facility with sexually assaulting a 70-year-old resident.

Leonid Kozlov, 45, who works at Castleview Wychwood Towers, near Christie and Dupont streets, was arrested Monday.

A woman was allegedly assaulted as she lay in her bed at about 3 a.m. ET on Monday, police said.

Another staff member reported the assault.

Kozlov has worked at the home for five years, police said.

"I felt a little sick to my stomach," said a resident who did not want to be identified because staff told her not to talk to the media.

She said she was shocked when she saw a picture of Kozlov.

"He's kind, he's nice. Never, never would I ever suspect him."


Netherlands: Police arrest father of 12-year-old who gave birth

© unknown
Dutch police on Tuesday arrested the father of a 12-year-old girl who gave birth last month while on a school excursion, saying he is suspected of sexually abusing his daughter.

Prosecutors said they have "serious suspicions" the 52-year-old man abused his daughter, resulting in her pregnancy.

"We don't know what exactly happened. That is why we arrested this man -to hear his side of the story," prosecutor's office spokeswoman Kirsten Smit told The Associated Press.

The arrest added another shocking twist to a case that already had stunned the nation when news emerged last month that the girl gave birth during a school trip without having realized she was pregnant. The girl and her healthy baby daughter were taken into foster care shortly after the birth.

Smit said the arrest followed analysis of the DNA of the man and the baby girl by Dutch forensic scientists that showed there is a "considerable" chance he is the father. The man gave a DNA sample last week at the request of police.

Smit said it was difficult to be absolutely certain of whether the father of the 12-year-old also fathered her baby because of their close relationship.


How Ayn Rand ruined my childhood

© Salon
My dad saw objectivism as a logical philosophy to live by, but it tore my family apart

My parents split up when I was 4. My father, a lawyer, wrote the divorce papers himself and included one specific rule: My mother was forbidden to raise my brother and me religiously. She agreed, dissolving Sunday church and Bible study with one swift signature. Mom didn't mind; she was agnostic and knew we didn't need religion to be good people. But a disdain for faith wasn't the only reason he wrote God out of my childhood. There was simply no room in our household for both Jesus Christ and my father's one true love: Ayn Rand.

You might be familiar with Rand from a high school reading assignment. Perhaps a Tea Partyer acquaintance name-dropped her in a debate on individual rights. Or maybe you've heard the film adaptation of her magnum opus Atlas Shrugged is due out April 15. In short, she is a Russian-born American novelist who championed her self-taught philosophy of objectivism through her many works of fiction. Conservatives are known to praise her for her support of laissez-faire economics and meritocracy. Liberals tend to criticize her for being too simplistic. I know her more intimately as the woman whose philosophy dictates my father's every decision.

What is objectivism? If you'd asked me that question as a child, I could have trotted to the foyer of my father's home and referenced a framed quote by Rand that hung there like a cross. It read: "My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute." As a little kid I interpreted this to mean: Love yourself. Nowadays, Rand's bit is best summed up by the rapper Drake, who sang: "Imma do me."