Society's ChildS


Spain's Socialists routed in elections

© Emilio Naranjo/EPAFrom left: The mayor of Madrid, Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón, People's party president, Mariano Rajoy, and president of the region of Madrid, Esperanza Aguirre, celebrate.
The opposition People's party hopes to turn local and regional poll momentum into victory at a national level

Spain's ruling Socialists have suffered stinging losses in local and regional elections and now face a balancing act between voter anger over high unemployment and investor demands for strict austerity measures.

A week of protests by Spaniards fed up with the stagnant economy and the EU's highest jobless rate preceded Sunday's elections, which left the Socialists out of power in most of the country's cities and almost all the 17 autonomous regions.

Pressure could now grow from inside and outside the Socialist party for the prime minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, to call early elections, although he vowed on Sunday night to hang on to the end of his term in March next year.


Judgment Day No Show

© UnknownUS pastor Harold Camping spent millions on billboard posters announcing Judgment Day.
SINCE you're reading this, you'll know a prediction that civilisation was due to end last night failed to come true.

US pastor Harold Camping, 89, spent millions on billboard posters announcing Judgment Day.

He said the end would come as the clock struck 6pm in the world's various time zones.

Camping explained the time was exactly 7,000 years since the flood in the biblical story of Noah's Ark.

He added 200 million would ascend to heaven and the Earth would finally be consumed by a fireball on October 21.


Doomsayer confused as world doesn't end

© Angel ChevresttAPOCALYPSE NO! Amid guffaws, Doomsday "prophet" Robert Fitzpatrick (center), who spent $140,000 on Rapture get-the-word-out ads, counts down the seconds to the realization that it isn't over till it's over -- and it's NOT over!

That's a Wrapture.

When the world did not end at precisely 6 p.m. yesterday, Doomsday prophet Robert Fitzpatrick's fragile grasp on reality crumbled.

"I don't understand why nothing is happening," said Fitzpatrick, flipping through his Bible for clues to why Rapture failed to show up on time.

"It's not a mistake. I did what I had to do. I did what the Bible said," he said, looking increasingly disheveled and confused as he stood in Times Square before mocking crowds.

A kooky Christian cult predicted that corpses would line the streets and deadly earthquakes would swallow up sinners beginning at 11:59 p.m. Jerusalem time on May 21, 2011.

Bizarro Earth

Apocalypse? Not now, despite all the signs

© Jean-Pierre Mestanza/Jersey JournalGroup predicts May 21, 2011 as Judgment Day
At 6 p.m. today, several things happened in New Jersey: a car accident in Edison, rain in Sparta. A PATH train pulled into Newark Penn Station.

But the world did not end.

"Nope," said State Police Sgt. Stephen Jones. "We're still here."

He added that no unusual activity had been reported.

May 21 had been long predicted as the day the world would begin coming to an end by Christian evangelist Harold Camping, an 89-year-old retired civil engineer who has built a multimillion-dollar nonprofit ministry and radio network based on his apocalyptic prediction.

Camping predicted that some 200 million people would be saved and ascend to heaven while those left behind would die in earthquakes, plagues and other calamities until Earth is consumed by a fireball on Oct. 21.

In New Jersey, none of this came to pass.


US: FBI and CIA Ordered to Release Documents in Mysterious Death of Kenney Trentadue

© UnknownJesse Trentadue with a portrait of his brother Kenney
Sixteen years after the death of convicted felon Kenney Trentadue, the FBI and CIA have been ordered to turn over documents about the man whose family believes he was wrongfully murdered by the federal government after the Oklahoma City bombing.

Trentadue's brother, attorney Jesse Trentadue, has sought information from the federal agencies for five years, filing multiple Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. The government continued to avoid turning over records to Jesse Trentadue, leading to his filing a lawsuit in a Utah federal court.

Judge Clark Waddoups ruled last week that CIA and FBI officials must comply with the FOIA requests. Waddoups added that the agencies must provide evidence that computer drives and other files at an evidence control center in Oklahoma City and the FBI's crime lab have been thoroughly searched.

On June 10, 1995, Kenney Trentadue was arrested at the Mexican border for drunk driving. The convicted bank robber was held in a Southern California prison for several weeks. Because of parole violations in Oklahoma, on August 18 he was transferred to a federal detention facility in Oklahoma City, where, four months earlier, Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols had blown up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, killing 168 people.


Turkey: Professor may be tried over scientific report

Istanbul - Research showing that mother's milk and babies' excrement contain traces of heavy metals, leading to increased risk of cancer, has put experts against officials in the northwestern province of Kocaeli. While both district and city mayors file a complaint against the professor leading the study, the professor claims that the officials are trying to prevent scientific research. 'People will protect the values of Dilovası, as the awareness has been created," professor says.
© DHA photoProfessor Hamzaoğlu is accused of threatening to incite fear and panic among the population.

A complaint has been filed over a report published by an expert saying a high amount of heavy metals, including mercury and arsenic, were detected in mother's milk and babies' excrement in Turkey's northwestern Kocaeli province. The professor is accused of threatening to incite fear and panic among the population.

Mothers' milk and babies' excrement samples from residents in the Dilovası district were found to contain high amounts of mercury and arsenic, according to an eye-opening report released Jan. 8 by Onur Hamzaoğlu, head of the Public Health Department at Kocaeli University.

Both the Kocaeli mayor and the Dilovası mayor have filed a complaint against Hamzaoğlu and the court case files have been sent to the university's rector's office, daily Milliyet reported Friday.


Turtles wait in suitcase pending Turkish court decision

© AA photoThe turtles have been kept in a suitcase filled with water for two weeks because a Turkish court has been unable to reach a decision about what to do with the driver who was allegedly trying to smuggle them.
Time is running out for more than 400 turtles being kept in a water-filled suitcase as a court deliberates about what to do with a bus driver caught allegedly trying to smuggle them across the border two weeks ago.

A.N.T., the driver of a bus caught allegedly trying to enter Bulgaria with 438 turtles, was stopped during border checks at the Kapıkule border on March 15. The man allegedly intended to sell the turtles in Bulgaria although Turkey prohibits the export of the creatures.

When the police detained the driver, the turtles were placed in a trusteeship situation and taken to the İzzet Arseven Forest in the northwestern province of Edirne. However, the turtles were then put into suitcases as there was no appropriate pool in the forest for them.

Nurhan Kalender, head of the Edirne Nature and Animal Protection Association, or EDHAYKO, said they had been taking care of the turtles. "We would buy an aquarium, but we were informed that they could poison themselves with their urine because there are so many of them," said Kalender.

If a court decision to convict A.N.T. of animal trafficking comes too late, the animals could die, Kalender said, noting that the turtles will be released into the driver's care if he is acquitted. "A solution should be implemented fast."

Ahmet Kemal Şenpolat, head of the Animal Rights Federation, or HAYTAP, said officials often put animals seized during border control operations into trusteeship, but most animals die in the process. "It would be more appropriate if they decide to put the animals up for adoption, at least until the end of the legal procedures."

Bad Guys

US: More than 20,000 People Turned Down by FEMA in Alabama

Birmingham - The Federal Emergency Management Agency said Friday it has provided grants to about 15 percent of the more than 72,000 people who sought assistance after tornadoes killed hundreds across Alabama last month, but twice as many were turned down for aid after an initial review.

The agency, which released the statistics in response to a request from The Associated Press, said many of the more than 20,000 applicants who received letters saying they were ineligible for assistance still could receive money or other aid after submitting additional information, like insurance documentation.

But Gov. Robert Bentley said he was worried that the letters FEMA is sending people are too full of government jargon and would discourage many people from pursuing assistance.

"The first line should not say, 'You have been turned down by FEMA.' That's my concern," Bentley said. He asked to personally review a rewritten version of the letters before more go out in the state.


Anxiety keeps the super-rich safe from middle-class rage

Why aren't we more angry? Why isn't blood running, metaphorically at least, in the streets? Evidence of how the rich prosper while everyone else struggles with inflation, public spending cuts and static wages arrives almost daily. The Institute for Fiscal Studies reports that last year incomes among the top 1% grew at the fastest rate in a decade. According to the Sunday Times Rich List, the top 1,000 are £60.2bn better off this year than in 2010, bringing their collective wealth close to the record pre-recession levels.

Now comes a report this week from the High Pay Commission, set up by the Labour pressure group Compass. It reveals that FTSE 100 chief executives are on average paid £4.2m annually, or 145 times the median wage - and on current trends will be paid £8m, or 214 times the median, by 2020. In the financial sector, even the CEO can seem modestly rewarded: this year, the top-paid banker at Barclays will get £14m, nearly four times the chief executive's earnings and 1,128 times more than the lowest-paid employee receives.


US: Public Programs Keep Millions Out of Poverty, New Study Shows

public spending
With anti-poverty programs under serious attack in Washington, here's something to keep in mind: a major new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) finds that public programs keep one in six Americans out of poverty - primarily the elderly, disabled, and working poor - and that the poverty rate would double without these programs.

Without the cash and non-cash income provided by programs such as Social Security, SNAP (formerly food stamps), and the Earned Income Tax Credit:
* The share of Americans below the poverty line in 2004 ($19,307 for a family of four) would have more than doubled, from 13.5 percent to 29 percent. That is, 45 million more Americans would have been poor.
* The share of Americans in "deep poverty," with incomes below half the poverty line, would have more than tripled, to 21 percent.
* The share of Americans who are poor or near-poor, with incomes below one-and-a-half-times the poverty line, would have risen to about 40 percent.