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Muslim Employee's Suit Accuses Disney of Bias Over Head Scarf

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© Mel Melcon/ Los Angeles Times / August 13, 2012
Imane Boudlal, a former Disneyland Resort employee, discusses her civil rights lawsuit during a news conference Monday.
Imane Boudlal charges that she was harassed after she began wearing a hijab in 2010 while working as a cafe hostess.

Imane Boudlal got a job two weeks after moving to California, a hostess position at a Disneyland Resort cafe.

She didn't log many hours at first - it was April, the slow season - but as the summer of 2008 progressed, the 24-year-old worked more frequently as the Grand Californian Hotel & Spa's Storyteller's Cafe drew more tourists.

It was also, Boudlal alleges in a lawsuit filed Monday, when her co-workers began taunting her, calling the Moroccan-born Muslim a "terrorist," a "camel" and someone who learned how to make bombs at her mosque. She complained to her managers verbally and in writing, she said, with no results.

Now, Boudlal is suing Walt Disney Corp. in federal court, saying that she was discriminated against and harassed for her religious beliefs. She also alleges that she unfairly lost her job in 2010 after refusing to remove her head scarf at work.

"It's been hard," Boudlal said in an interview. "I thought it was just a matter of complaining and a few days, and it wouldn't affect my life, but it turns out ... nothing has been done."

The lawsuit charges that Boudlal, who is a naturalized U.S. citizen, decided to wear her hijab full time in 2010, about eight months after she began wearing it publicly. She contacted her supervisors at Disneyland to request an exemption to the company's "look" policy - general appearance guidelines that, according to a Disney website, touch on items ranging from contact lens color and visible tattoos to personal hygiene.

Attention

Riots engulf troubled district of northern France

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Months of tension between police and young people in a troubled district of northern France exploded on Tuesday, with dozens of youths facing off against riot officers in a night of violence. Sixteen officers were injured, a pre-school and public gym were torched, and at least three passing drivers in Amiens were dragged from their cars.

While the identity of the rioters and the immediate cause is unclear, the economic picture of the area in question is not. Unemployment skews higher in northern France and among the country's youth. Less than two weeks ago, the French government declared Amiens among 15 impoverished zones to receive more money and security.

The eruption of violence shows how little relations have changed between police and youths in France's housing projects since nationwide riots in 2005 raged unchecked for nearly a month, leaving entire neighborhoods in flames in the far-flung suburbs.

At the height of the latest confrontation, 150 officers - both local and federal riot police - faced off against the young men who fired buckshot and fireworks at them, skirmishing through the neighborhood in the city about 75 miles (120 kilometers) north of Paris. There were no arrests.

"The confrontations were very, very violent," Amiens Mayor Gilles Dumailly told the French television network BFM. Dumailly said tensions had been building for months between police and the impoverished residents, whom he described as "people who are in some difficulty."

Cell Phone

Motorola to cut 4,000 jobs in Google restructure

Aliling handset maker says it could face severance costs of up to $275m as it begins reorganisation under new owner.
google
© Kevin Lamarque/Reuters
Google has begun the process of reshaping itself into a handset manufacturer capable of taking on Apple by announcing that 4,000 jobs - a fifth of the workforce - will be cut at Motorola Mobility, the formerly dominant and now ailing mobile handset maker it acquired a year ago.

Two-thirds of the job losses will be from outside the US, and a third of Motorola's 94 worldwide offices will be closed. In a regulatory filing, Google said the severance costs could be up to $275m (£175m) in the two quarters to the end of the year and that there will also be "significant" other restructuring costs as it tries to restore the phone business to profitability.

Unveiling his plans for Motorola, Google's former Americas boss, Dennis Woodside, who was placed in charge of the hardware company in March, promised to cut the number of devices from the 27 released last year to just a few. He said the new phones would have batteries that last for days, sharper cameras and the ability to recognise who is in a room by their voice.

They are being developed by a team of metal scientists, acoustics engineers and artificial intelligence experts implanted like a Silicon Valley startup into the body of what was once the largest company of its kind. It was assembled by former Pentagon research boss Regina Dugan, whose arrival was announced in March.

Pistol

Shooter near Texas A&M campus in custody

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© KHOU
Police respond to the shooting in College Station, Aug. 13, 2012.
Two people, including a police officer, are dead and as many as five others, including three officers and a female civilian, were wounded in a shooting near the Texas A&M campus in College Station on Monday, police and university officials say.

According to the College Station Police Department, the shooter was shot by police, but the extend of the suspect's injuries were not released. At a press briefing, a police spokeswoman said that there is "no longer a danger to the public."

According to WFAA-TV, the shooting began when officer "attempted to serve an eviction notice." Brian Bachmann, a 41-year-old sheriff's deputy, was fatally wounded in the shooting that occurred shortly after noon about a block away from the school's campus.

The wounded officers are being treated for non-life-threatening injuries, police said. The female civilian underwent surgery Monday; her condition was not released.

According to the College Station Medical Center, three people were admitted with gunshot wounds.

"It appears that the shooter [was] shooting from a house with automatic weapons," KBTX-TV said.

Texas A&M issued an alert on its website just before 12:30 p.m. local time on Monday warning of an active shooter near Kyle Field, the campus football stadium, according to the Associated Press.

The shooting occurred near Highlands and Fidelity Streets in College Station, just south of the George Bush Drive and east of the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum.

Bomb

War Wounds

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© Daniel Borris for The New York Times

Maj. Ben Richards, who suffered repeated head injuries in Iraq, sums up his future: "It comes to failure."
It would be so much easier, Maj. Ben Richards says, if he had just lost a leg in Iraq. Instead, he finds himself losing his mind, or at least a part of it. And if you want to understand how America is failing its soldiers and veterans, honoring them with lip service and ceremonies but breaking faith with them on all that matters most, listen to the story of Major Richards.

For starters, he's brilliant. (Or at least he was.) He speaks Chinese and taught at West Point, and his medical evaluations suggest that until his recent problems he had an I.Q. of about 148. After he graduated from West Point, in 2000, he received glowing reviews.

"Ben Richards is one of the best military officers I have worked with in 13 years of service," noted an evaluation, one of many military and medical documents he shared with me.

Yet Richards's intellect almost exacerbates his suffering, for it better equips him to monitor his mental deterioration - and the failings of the Army that he has revered since he was a young boy.

Document

More Than 100 Million Americans Are On Welfare

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© Activist Post
A new chart set to be released later today by the Republican side of the Senate Budget Committee details a startling statistic: "Over 100 Million People in U.S. Now Receiving Some Form Of Federal Welfare."

"The federal government administers nearly 80 different overlapping federal means-tested welfare programs," the Senate Budget Committee notes. However, the committee states, the figures used in the chart do not include those who are only benefiting from Social Security and/or Medicare.

Food stamps and Medicaid make up a large--and growing--chunk of the more than 100 million recipients. "Among the major means tested welfare programs, since 2000 Medicaid has increased from 34 million people to 54 million in 2011 and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or food stamps) from 17 million to 45 million in 2011," says the Senate Budget Committee. "Spending on food stamps alone is projected to reach $800 billion over the next decade."

Wine

Intoxicated Homeland Security employee caught naked in ocean

Around 4 a.m. Saturday, Myrtle Beach police arrested Michael Worth Calfee, 35, of North Carolina after officers found him nude in the ocean near 29th Ave. North, according to a police report. Once officers arrived and told Worth to get out of the water, he found his clothes and got dressed, according to the report.

Police say Worth had slurred speech, red-glossy eyes and was unsteady on his feet. In the report, officers said they noticed a strong smell of alcohol coming from Worth's body.

Worth was charged with public intoxication and disorderly conduct (nudity).

The police report states Worth is employed with Homeland Security.

Eye 2

Psychopathology may have had role in Penn State pedophile scandal

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Jerry Sandusky, pedophile. Psychopath too?
Now that Jerry Sandusky has been found guilty of over 50 and crimes against children over the course of many years at Penn State University and the NCAA has announced its sanctions on Penn State, several huge questions remain.

Two such questions are how and why. For Penn State and the rest of the world, the question of how something like this can take place and be concealed without proper intervention for so long still lingers. In addition, the question of why did these crimes take place and why did seemingly good men cover them up also remain a mystery. Many people have their theories; was it greed, reputation, good ol' boys or even naiveté. Here is one more theory to consider.

Let me tell you a story about a group of people estimated to make up to 1 percent to 4 percent of the population. They are called psychopaths. The term psychopath is very controversial and complicated; however, in a nutshell, it is thought that psychopaths are characterized by the inability to care about others, no concerns whatsoever with any other person's wants, needs, goals or dreams. Psychopaths don't feel shame, guilt or remorse for their actions, and thoughts of morality, honesty, honor, respect and ethical practices are replaced with words like collateral damage, deception and the ends justify the means. They have no problem placing money, success or even winning over human life. People are tools to them and their only value lies in how they can be used.

Phoenix

Large fire in London as Olympics come to a close


More than 200 firefighters have tackled a blaze described by London Fire Brigade as the biggest seen in the capital for several years.

The brigade was called at about 13:15 BST when flames took hold at a recycling centre in Dagenham, east London.

Smoke was visible for miles as the single-storey building burned, but there were no injuries.

The brigade said fire cover at Olympic venues had not been affected.

There were initial reports that people could see the smoke from the Olympic Park, approximately six miles away.

Arrow Down

Revealed: Shocking Figures Show one Scottish Child in 10 is Living with an Alcoholic Parent

Alcoholic Parent
© Daily Record and Sunday Mail
Little girl cuddles into drunken dad in doorway.
One youngster in 10 is living with an alcoholic parent in Scotland, shocking figures reveal. The research shows that up to 93,000 youngsters under the age of 16 are living with one or more parents with a drinkproblem.

Experts warned yesterday that kids were being raised in unstable, chaotic homes plagued by emotional and physical abuse.

Yesterday, kids' protection charity Children 1st said more needed to be done to protect youngsters from abuse, violence or neglect caused by their parents' boozing.

Anne Houston, the charity's chief executive, said: "Up to 93,000 children in Scotland - or one in 10 - could be bearing the brunt of our nation's attitude to alcohol. That should give us all cause for concern.

"From our work helping children recover from the trauma of violence fuelled by alcohol misuse, we know that many of them feel those negative effects for years, with some suffering from depression, anxiety and low self-esteem.

"Too many children are missing out on their childhoods because of their parents' drinking and we all have a responsibility to stop this from happening."

The latest figures were calculated from Scottish Government health surveys. They reveal that between 72,000 and 93,000children at are risk of harm from their parents' drinking.

SNP MSP Marco Biagi said: "We've known for some time that children often bear the brunt of our nation's attitude to alcohol but these figures reveal the scale of the problem.

"Key to addressing the issue is reducing the amount of alcohol adults consume.

"That is exactly what the Scottish Government is focused on doing, through its framework for action on alcohol, investment in health interventions and, most recently, in introducing a minimum price for alcohol. All these measures give us a real chance of changing the culture around alcohol and ensuring that children get the best start in life."