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Fri, 30 Oct 2020
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Economic Depression Continues to Spur on Suicides in Europe

Europe Crisis
© Care2
Greece and Italy are normally associated with beautiful sea views, earthy food and vibrant culture. In the last few years, however, these countries have also experienced some of the worst economic hardships as the European and global economies have weakened.

Last month a retired Greek man, Dimitris Christoulas, shot himself in a public square in Athens. In a report issued by CBS News, the retired pharmacist committed suicide due to the debt crisis in Greece and the resultant austerity measures that have brought many Greek families to the brink of ruin. The number of suicides increased by about 40 percent in the second half of 2011 and has continued to pose a problem in Greece. NPR has stated that about 30 percent of Greek families live below the poverty line.

Christoulas' suicide sparked a number of protests in the streets in Greece. He became an icon of the severity that has plunged so many families into poverty.

Italy has also been at the front of headlines recently for a rash of suicides intimately connected with economic problems. Just this week, three people committed suicide, leaving tragic notes that revealed their despair at their inability to find new employment. There have been 34 suicides related to economic hardships in Italy since January, according to NBC News.

The Italian government owes many entrepreneurs up to $90 million and "some have been waiting to be paid for up to two years." And these suicides are often committed by businessmen who have watched their businesses fail, or male family members who have lost a significant source of income.


Time Breastfeeding Cover Sparks Controversy

© Time
The May 21, 2012, cover of Time
This week's Time magazine cover features Jamie Lynne Grumet, a 26-year-old woman breastfeeding her three-year-old son. Grumet was one of four mothers photographed by Time for a cover story on "attachment parenting," an approach--outlined by 1992's The Baby Book by Dr. Bill Sears--that recommends extended breast-feeding, co-sleeping and "baby wearing." Time's cover line for the May 21 issue asks, "Are You Mom Enough?"

The provocative cover, published online Thursday, was met with the predictable Twitter jaw-drop.

"Love the Time cover," AllThingsD.com's Peter Kafka wrote. "In the cringiest way possible."

"Anybody else slightly slack-jawed over this week's Time cover?" The Atlantic Wire's Adam Clark Estes asked rhetorically.

"Breastfeeding your 3-year-old is one thing," the Daily News' Bill Hammond wrote. "But putting a picture of him doing it on the cover of Time?"

"The kid on the cover of this week's Time magazine is really going to hate middle school," Gavin Purcell observed.

"Heads up, parents!" John Cannon warned. "If you're planning to take your kids grocery shopping, you will have to explain this Time mag cover."


Bizarre Baby Tossing Ritual in India

In a bizarre ritual, Hindu priests in the south Indian state of Karnataka toss babies from the rooftop of a temple onto a cloth held by waiting men, believing that this will make them grow stronger.
Mother N Baby
© NYDailyNews.com
On Monday, large crowds of devotees gathered at the Marutheshwara temple near Mudhol town in Bagalkot district to observe the ritual, locally known as 'Okali'.

Eager parents presented their babies, who were between the ages of three months and two years, to priests at the temple who tossed them from the temple roof onto a cloth borne by a group of men standing below.

Though the ritual often evokes criticism, it is defended by devotees and priests, who feel that their belief necessitates a ritual that places babies at such huge risk.

A trustee of the Marutheshwara temple, Basavaraj, said that the ritual was an age-old one and it was important that it be respected.

"This is a ritual that we have been observing from ancient times. The important thing is for us to have the spirit of worship in our hearts, because true worship is from the heart," he said.

Heart - Black

Romney's classmate says bullying incident was "like Lord of the Flies."


No remorse
A classmate who remains anonymous said that there are "a lot of guys" who went to Cranbrook who have "really negative memories" of Romney's behavior in the dorms, behavior this classmate describes as "like Lord of the Flies."

One of Mitt Romney's closest friends and a high school classmate has been asked by the Romney campaign to come out and offer "supporting remarks" in defense of the candidate following a Washington Post article that described pranks at the Cranbrook School in the 1960s that focused on a student who was "presumed" to be gay. Romney has denied that the pranks were targeted.

Romney's older brother Scott called White, asking him to act as a surrogate for Romney on their high school years.

White, in an interview with ABC News, said that he is "still debating" whether he will help the campaign, remarking, "It's been a long time since we've been pals." While the Post reports White as having "long been bothered" by the haircutting incident," he told ABC News he was not present for the prank, in which Romney is said to have forcefully cut a student's long hair and was not aware of it until this year when he was contacted by the Washington Post.

According to White, he knows of several other classmates that have also been approached by the campaign to counter the article. White declined to name the fellow classmates.

Heart - Black

Mitt Romney bullied gay boy in prep school


Cranbrook School
BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. - Mitt Romney returned from a three-week spring break in 1965 to resume his studies as a high school senior at the prestigious Cranbrook School. Back on the handsome campus, studded with Tudor brick buildings and manicured fields, he spotted something he thought did not belong at a school where the boys wore ties and carried briefcases. John Lauber, a soft-spoken new student one year behind Romney, was perpetually teased for his nonconformity and presumed homosexuality. Now he was walking around the all-boys school with bleached-blond hair that draped over one eye, and Romney wasn't having it.

"He can't look like that. That's wrong. Just look at him!" an incensed Romney told Matthew Friedemann, his close friend in the Stevens Hall dorm, according to Friedemann's recollection. Mitt, the teenage son of Michigan Gov. George Romney, kept complaining about Lauber's look, Friedemann recalled.

A few days later, Friedemann entered Stevens Hall off the school's collegiate quad to find Romney marching out of his own room ahead of a prep school posse shouting about their plan to cut Lauber's hair. Friedemann followed them to a nearby room where they came upon Lauber, tackled him and pinned him to the ground. As Lauber, his eyes filling with tears, screamed for help, Romney repeatedly clipped his hair with a pair of scissors.

The incident was recalled similarly by five students, who gave their accounts independently of one another. Four of them - Friedemann, now a dentist; Phillip Maxwell, a lawyer; Thomas Buford, a retired prosecutor; and David Seed, a retired principal - spoke on the record. Another former student who witnessed the incident asked not to be identified. The men have differing political affiliations, although they mostly lean Democratic. Buford volunteered for Barack Obama's campaign in 2008. Seed, a registered independent, has served as a Republican county chairman in Michigan. All of them said that politics in no way colored their recollections.

"It happened very quickly, and to this day it troubles me," said Buford, the school's wrestling champion, who said he joined Romney in restraining Lauber. Buford subsequently apologized to Lauber, who was "terrified," he said. "What a senseless, stupid, idiotic thing to do."


Muslim Baby Ordered Off Plane For Being On No Fly List

'Threat': Airline staff at Fort Lauderdale Airport in Flordia claimed 18-month-old Riyanna
© wpbf.com
'Threat': Airline staff at Fort Lauderdale Airport in Florida claimed 18-month-old Riyanna was on a Transport Security Agency no fly list and was escorted off the plane, her parents said

An 18-month-old girl and her parents were pulled off a JetBlue flight Tuesday because the child was on the no-fly list, reports WPBF 25 West Palm Beach.

Riyanna and her parents had just boarded the flight at the Ft. Lauderdale airport, when they were approached by an airline employee telling them the TSA wanted to speak with them.

Her parents, who asked to remain anonymous, think their little girl was singled out because the family is of Middle Eastern descent. Both parents were born and raised in New Jersey.

Comment: Paraphrasing Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892 - 1984)...
First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews Muslims,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew Muslim.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.


Florida Supreme Court Hears Landmark Foreclosure Suit

© Reuters/Carlos Barria
An auction sign for a property is seen at the front garden of a foreclosed house in Miami Gardens, Florida September 15, 2009.
The Florida Supreme Court heard arguments on Thursday in a landmark lawsuit that could undo hundreds of thousands of foreclosures and open up banks to severe financial penalties in the state where they face the bulk of their foreclosure-fraud litigation.

Legal experts say the lawsuit is one of the most important foreclosure fraud cases in the country and could help resolve an issue that has vexed Florida's foreclosure courts for the past five years: Can banks that file fraudulent documents in foreclosure proceedings voluntarily dismiss the cases only to refile them later with different paperwork?

The decision, which may take up to eight months, could influence judges in the other 26 states that require judicial approval for foreclosures.

The case at issue, known as Roman Pino v. Bank of New York Mellon, stems from the so-called robo-signing scandal that emerged in 2010 when it was revealed that banks and their law firms had hired low-wage workers to sign legal documents without checking their accuracy, as is required by law.

If the state Supreme Court rules against the banks, "a broad universe of mortgages could be rendered unenforceable," said former U.S. Attorney Kendall Coffey, author of the book, "Foreclosures in Florida."

One issue in Pino's case was an allegedly fraudulent mortgage assignment, the legal document that binds a loan to a lender.


Civil Rights Lawsuit Filed Against Arizona Sheriff

Joe Arpaio
© The Associated Press/Matt York
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio
US, Phoenix - As defiant as ever, get-tough Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio faces a federal court showdown over charges that deputies on his trademark immigration patrols racially profiled Latinos in violation of civil rights law.

After months of negotiations failed to reach a settlement over the allegations, the U.S. Justice Department took the rare step Thursday of suing.

"We have invariably been able to work collaboratively with law enforcement agencies to build better departments and safer communities," Assistant U.S. Attorney General Thomas Perez said.

Arpaio and his department "have been a glaring exception," said Perez, who heads the civil rights division.

The main issue that caused talks to break down last month was federal officials' insistence that Arpaio agree to a court-appointed monitor for the department. Arpaio objected, saying it would undermine his authority.

"I am not going to surrender my office to the federal government," a visibly angry Arpaio said at an afternoon news conference. "I will fight this to the bitter end."

The lawsuit means that a federal judge will decide the escalating, long-standing dispute.


First newly built Russian passenger jet since 1990 crashes mysteriously in Indonesia

© Achmad Ibrahim/AP
Indonesian soldiers in the search for the missing Russian plane.
Wreckage of Sukhoi Superjet-100 found on the side of a mountain in Indonesia after it disappeared on Wednesday

Search and rescue teams have found the wreckage of a Russian-made passenger plane on a mountain after it disappeared during a demonstration flight in western Indonesia. The fate of the 48 people on board is not known.

Helicopters had resumed a search halted earlier because of bad weather. They saw the wreckage of the plane along a cliff on the mist-shrouded mountain, Major Ali Umri Lubis, of Atang Sanjaya air base, told Metro TV.

"The helicopter just informed us that they spotted the wreckage about 10 minutes ago," Lubis said. "It was at about 5,000ft. The condition of the wreckage is still unclear."

The Sukhoi Superjet-100, Russia's first new passenger jet since the fall of the Soviet Union two decades ago, left Halim Perdanakusuma airport in Jakarta on Wednesday afternoon for what was supposed to be the second demonstration flight of the day. Potential buyers and journalists were on board.


Corporate Corruption Is a Global Epidemic

© Dreamstime
U.S. businesses aren't alone in their struggle to curb corruption in the workplace. A new poll shows nearly two in three adults worldwide believe fraudulent activity is widespread in their country's businesses.

The study by Gallup revealed that while 60 percent of U.S. and Canadian residents consider corruption common in the workplace, the numbers are even higher in developing nations, such as sub-Saharan Africa, where 76 percent of residents feel nefarious activity is going on in their business community.

The research shows developing nations may suffer more because corruption can stymie financial development and foreign investments while also fostering income inequality.

In several regions, results vary widely across countries that are in different stages of development. In Asia, just 13 percent of residents in highly developed Singapore perceive corruption as widespread, while nearly nine in 10 in neighboring Indonesia believe it's a problem.