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Parents of UK Girl Found Guilty in So-Called Honour Killing

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© The Associated Press
This is an undated Cheshire Police handout photo of murdered teen-ager Shafilea Ahmed. A British court on Friday Aug. 3, 2012 found a mother and father guilty of murdering their teen-age daughter Shafilea Ahmed in a so-called honor killing.
The girl was murdered by her Pakistani parents for her Western ways. And it was her little sister who bravely told jurors how her mother and father suffocated the 17-year-old with a plastic bag - gripping testimony that led to her parents' murder conviction on Friday.

Justice Roderick Evans sentenced Iftikhar, 52, and Farzana Ahmed, 49, to life in prison for killing their daughter, Shafilea, in 2003. The couple - first cousins from the Pakistani village of Uttam - were ordered to serve a minimum of 25 years in prison.

"She was being squeezed between two cultures - the culture and way of life that she saw around her and wanted to embrace, and the culture and way of life you wanted to impose on her," Justice Evans said during the sentencing at the Chester Crown Court in northwest England.

In Britain, more than 25 women have been killed in so-called "honour killings" in the past decade. Families have sometimes lashed out at their children on the belief that they have brought their household shame by becoming too westernized or by refusing a marriage.

Shafilea was only 10 when she began to rebel against her parents' strict rules, according to prosecutor Andrew Edis.

Arrow Down

The U.S.Housing Market is a Black Hole

foreclosure
© Press TV
We have reached a profound point in economic history where the truth is unpalatable to the political class - and that truth is that the scale and magnitude of the problem is larger than their ability to respond - and it terrifies them...Bad things are going to happen. - Hugh Hendry on CNBC
Once again we're going through another wash, rinse, repeat cycle with the housing market fairy tales. People who bother to pay attention to the news woke up this morning to a report from the Commerce Dept that housing starts rose the highest level since 2008 in June. I'm not sure why that would be considered good news, since 2008 is when the bottom really fell out of the housing market. The other anomaly that contradicts this Government-compiled data is that mortgage purchase applications continue to decline on a weekly basis. Note: the mortgage application data is compiled and released by a private, free enterprise organization so we can safely assume that the data report is infinitely more reliable than that of the Government's Commerce Department.

The other myth being propagated by the media and the economic wizards is that the housing inventory is declining. In fact, this housing inventory has largely been converted to rentals. In particular Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been unloading their foreclosed inventory into institutional investors using Taxpayer money to subsidize the transactions. Interestingly and anecdotally, I was perusing the home rental listings in the Denver area for a friend who may be moving to Denver and I noticed that rents had decreased by about 10% from just 6 months ago, when I was looking for a new rental. If in fact the total housing inventory, for sale + rentals, was declining then we would expect that rents would be stable or increasing.

So where's the black hole disconnect? For one, the data is highly suspect, especially since mortgage purchase applications do not correlated with sales and starts. To be sure, I'm sure home builders are taking advantage of near-zero interest rates and borrowing as much as they can to build. But, as Zerohedge crunched this morning's housing starts numbers, the number of homes actually completed is well below the run-rate of starts. A form of "channel stuffing" for home builders is to start a lot of homes but take a long time to complete them, since the stock market and investors only care about the headline "starts" data.

Heart - Black

Drew Peterson Threatened to Kill Wife, Wanted to Hide Blood, Sister Claims

Drew Peterson told his third wife Kathleen Savio he would kill her six months before she was found dead in a bathtub, Savio's sister testified in Peterson's murder trial today.


Anna Doman said on the stand today that her younger sister, Kathleen, had talked to her about threats Peterson made in which he warned Savio he would kill her, according to ABC News affiliate WLS. When asked whether Doman ever told anyone about Savio's statements, she said that she had not.

"No one would listen," she said. "No one would listen. I tried."

Peterson, 58, was arrested for the murder of Savio, his third wife, in 2007, after investigators exhumed her body and reexamined it as part of the investigation into the disappearance of Peterson's fourth wife, Stacy Peterson. A new forensic report ruled that Savio's death was a homicide, not an accident as originally thought.

Display

US Missile Defense Staff Put Security on the Line - to Watch Porn

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© unknown
US Missile Defense staff put security on the line - to watch porn
Employees of the Missile Defense Agency have been warned to quit using their workplace computers to watch porn online. Their actions do not only waste time, but could also put defense networks at risk of malware infection.

The agency's executive director, John James Jr., wrote in a memo obtained by Bloomberg News that a number of employees and contractors were caught "engaging in inappropriate use of the MDA network."

"There have been instances of employees and contractors accessing websites, or transmitting messages, containing pornographic or sexually explicit images," James wrote in the July 27 memo. "These actions are not only unprofessional, they reflect time taken away from designated duties, are in clear violation of federal and DoD and regulations, consume network resources and can compromise the security of the network though the introduction of malware or malicious code."

James warned that staff members caught breaking the rules could risk losing their security clearance and could eventually end up getting suspended or fired from federal service.

He also reminded personnel that the agency's network systems were subject to monitoring "at all times."

Nuke

U.S. Nuclear Bomb Facility Shut after Activists Breached Security

Washington - The U.S. government's only facility for handling, processing and storing weapons-grade uranium has been temporarily shut after anti-nuclear activists, including an 82-year-old nun, breached security fences, government officials said on Thursday.


WSI Oak Ridge, the contractor responsible for protecting the facility at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, is owned by the international security firm G4S, which was at the center of a dispute over security at the London Olympic Games.

Officials said the facility was shut down on Wednesday at least until next week after three activists cut through perimeter fences to reach the outer wall of a building where highly enriched uranium, a key nuclear bomb component, is stored.

The activists painted slogans and threw what they said was human blood on the wall of the facility, one of numerous buildings in the facility known by the code name Y-12 that it was given during World War Two, officials said.

While moving between the perimeter fences, the activists triggered sensors that alerted security personnel. But officials conceded the intruders were still able to reach the building's walls before security personnel got to them.

Ellen Barfield, a spokeswoman for the activists who called themselves "Transform Now Plowshares," said three were arrested and charged with vandalism and criminal trespass.

Pistol

Homeless Man Found With Cache of Weapons, Ammo and List of Politicians' Names

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© San Francisco Police Dept.
Robert Johns
San Francisco Police displayed an array of high power weapons and ammunition Wednesday that were found in a homeless man's car last month in Golden Gate Park.

Officers had prior contact with the man, but Chief of Police Greg Suhr ended up defending his department even though the suspect got past them with a large amount of weapons.

When police found a huge cache of guns, knives, a shotgun, 5,800 rounds of ammunition and camouflage gear in Robert Johns' car on July 21st it was thought they may have diverted some kind of planned attack.

Also in that vehicle was a list of names of political leaders, reportedly including President Barack Obama.


Beer

Olympics: Drunk Australian Rower Arrested after Shop Front Damaged

An Olympic rower for Australia was arrested by police after a shop front was damaged, officials said today.


Joshua Booth, 21, then fainted and hit his head while at the local police station and had to be taken to hospital for a check-up.

Booth, who it is believed may have been drinking, competed in the men's eight rowing event yesterday, but his team failed to win a medal.

He was arrested early today following the incident in Egham, Surrey. Booth must return to the police station tomorrow.

Nick Green, Australia's Olympic Commission chef de mission was called from the police station at 3.30am with the news that one of his team's athletes was under arrest.

Mr Green, speaking at a press conference in the Olympic Park, said: "At about 3.30 last night I had a phone call, we had an unfortunate incident.

Comment: Let the orgies begin! Athletes come clean on Olympics debauchery
Olympic Athletes Leak Village's Sex, Drinking and Drug Secrets


Toys

Teddy Bears Get the Drop on Belarus, Bring Down Two Generals

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© The Associated Press/Gero Breloer
Swedish Tomas Mazetti, left, and Hannah Frey, right, show a teddy bear on a parachute as they pose for a photo in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2012. The slogan on the paper fixed to the bear reads "We support the Belarusian struggle for free speech". Mazetti and Frey intruded Belarus' airspace with a Swedish light plane and dropped in hundreds of such teddy bears decked out in parachutes and slogans supporting human rights. Belarus' authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko has sacked the nation's air defense chief and the head of the Border Guards service after this action.
It's probably the first time in history that teddy bears have defeated generals.

Belarus' authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko has sacked two of the nation's top defense officials after two Swedish advertising agency employees piloted a light plane into the country's heavily guarded airspace, dropping 879 teddy bears decked out in parachutes and slogans supporting human rights.

Officials in the ex-Soviet state denied the July 4 incident until Lukashenko called a meeting last week to scold authorities for allowing such a "provocation."

The Belarusian ruler nicknamed "Europe's last dictator" on Tuesday fired the nation's air defense chief and the head of the Border Guards service and reprimanded several other top security officials, his office said Wednesday.

Thomas Mazetti and Hannah Frey, the two Swedes behind the stunt, said they wanted to show support for Belarusian human rights activists and embarrass the country's military, a pillar of Lukashenko's power.

"Hopefully, we've made people more aware in the world and that there will be more people supporting Belarusian people," Frey said.

Bizarro Earth

Vacant Detroit Becomes Dumping Ground for the Dead

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© The Associated Press/Carlos Osorio
In a July 31, 2012 photo, a trashed strewn street is seen in east Detroit. Abandoned lots, alleys and neglected parks in Detroit used to be a favorite destination for discarded tires and trash. But over the past few months they have become dumping grounds for the dead.
From the street, the two decomposing bodies were nearly invisible, concealed in an overgrown lot alongside worn-out car tires and a moldy sofa. The teenagers had been shot, stripped to their underwear and left on a deserted block.

They were just the latest victims of foul play whose remains went undiscovered for days after being hidden deep inside Detroit's vast urban wilderness - a crumbling wasteland rarely visited by outsiders and infrequently patrolled by police.

Abandoned and neglected parts of the city are quickly becoming dumping grounds for the dead - at least a dozen bodies in 12 months' time. And authorities acknowledge there's little they can do.

"You can shoot a person, dump a body and it may just go unsolved" because of the time it may take for the corpse to be found, officer John Garner said.

The bodies have been purposely hidden or discarded in alleys, fields, vacant houses, abandoned garages and even a canal. Seven of the victims are believed to have been slain outside Detroit and then dumped within the city.

It's a pattern made possible by more than four decades of urban decay and suburban flight. White residents started moving to burgeoning suburbs in the 1950s, then stepped up their exodus after a deadly 1967 race riot. Detroit's black middle class followed over the next two decades, leaving block after block of empty homes.

Bulb

General anatomy Of a power outage

Power Grid
© Stephanie Carter/Illustration Works/Corbis
What happened in India is still sketchy. India's power minister cited excess demand on the system, while a former electricity regulator told the New York Times that the problem was political interference in the operation of the grid.
With a giant swath of India losing power in the largest blackout in history, we look at exactly how these utilities work.

The blackout that blanketed India earlier this week was one of the largest of its kind in history. Some 670 million people went without power in an area stretching across northern India.

Details are still sketchy, but the incident has raised questions about whether a similar event could happen in the United States.

The U.S. electrical grid is pretty robust. Nobody expects power to go out on a regular basis. But there are still situations that can cause major failures, and the interconnected nature of the electrical grid means a problem in one place can be far-reaching.

"Our grid is just one big machine," said Steven Greenlee, a spokesman for the California Independent System Operator Corporation, which manages power distribution across most of the state.

The total amount of energy on a network is constant, and the voltage and current are related. They also have to be kept at certain levels. Another wrinkle in alternating current systems is that generators all have to run in sync with each other.

All this means that the loads on the equipment transmitting power have to be balanced. Too much demand in one area pulls more current through the system and drops the voltage. But running more current has another effect: Equipment heats up. The power lines, substations and everything else that make up the grid are all designed to operate up to a certain temperature.