Society's ChildS


California again leads the way in anti-smoking laws: San Mateo County proposes banning people from smoking in their own homes

Smoking inside apartments, condominiums and other multiple housing units soon may be a no-no in unincorporated San Mateo County.

Following a study session discussion that touched on the evils of second-hand smoke, the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday directed staff to return with a proposed smoking ban by this summer.

A draft of the potential ordinance already had been outlined in a March 7 memo by Health System Chief Jean Fraser and Family Services Director Brian Zamora to the board.

The proposed ban on indoor smoking was suggested by Supervisors Carole Groom and Adrienne Tissier and drew the support of their board colleagues.

"I'm pleased that we're going to look at it," Tissier said. "Having grown up with a smoker in the family and subjected to second-hand smoke, it would be a pleasure not to have that done to others."

During the meeting, Stanford researcher Neil Klepeis explained how cigarette smoke drifts between housing units through vents, ducts, cracks and gaps. A person living next door to a smoker is exposed to high levels of smoke particles, he said.


U.S. Senate trying to limit First Amendment rights by defining 'journalist' - bloggers don't count

citizen journalist
Journalists have to be employed to be called journalists in Chuck Schumer's eyes.

After the revelation that the Department of Justice had taken phone records from Associated Press journalists as part of a leak investigation, members of Congress reintroduced the Free Flow of Information Act, also known as the federal media shield law. The basic purpose behind the law is to protect journalists from having to reveal confidential sources to the government.

The bill's chief sponsor, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), claims it has wide support in his chamber, and has identified five Republicans who would vote to support it. It is expected to come up for a vote in April.

But the devil here is in the details. While the law does extend certain protections to some journalists, it is very particular about who exactly it covers. The Associated Press's Donna Cossata explains:
"The bill's protections would apply to a 'covered journalist,' defined as an employee, independent contractor or agent of an entity that disseminates news or information. The individual would have to have been employed for one year within the last 20 or three months within the last five years.

"It would apply to student journalists or someone with a considerable amount of freelance work in the last five years. A federal judge also would have the discretion to declare an individual a 'covered journalist' who would be granted the privileges of the law.

"The bill also says that information is only privileged if it is disseminated by a news medium, described as 'newspaper, nonfiction book, wire service, news agency, news website, mobile application or other news or information service (whether distributed digitally or otherwise); news program, magazine or other periodical, whether in print, electronic or other format; or thorough television or radio broadcast ... or motion picture for public showing.'"
Not protected by the proposed law? Bloggers and people who post on social media. In other words, the law almost naturally privileges journalists whose organizations have most money - like print media - rather than the most accessible forms of media that anyone can use to disseminate information quickly.

Che Guevara

2014 Worldwide Wave of Action: MLK's spirit rises for truth, justice and freedom

The 2014 Worldwide Wave of Action (and here) begins ~April 4 on the anniversary of Martin King's assassination by the US government (civil court trial verdict), with this operation completing ~July 4.

Purpose of this operation


Madeline McCann: Former resort employee and suspect 'died in 2009'?

© PAMadeleine McCann
A suspect in the Madeleine McCann case who may have sexually assaulted five British girls in the Algarve up to 10 years ago died in 2009, according to a source close to Portuguese investigators into the disappearance of the three year-old.

The source also said there had been another so far unpublicised incident in which another British girl on holiday with her parents was sexually abused, although he did not go into when this came to light nor where or when it took place.

The revelations came the day after the Metropolitan police in Britain appealed for information on a total of 12 incidents in which an intruder entered holiday accommodation in three resort areas including one where Madeleine, then three, went missing in May 2007. Four of these cases, between 2004 and 2006, involved assaults on girls aged seven to 10 and one involved two children, according to Scotland Yard, although police in both countries have looked at incidents up to 2010, three years after Madeleine vanished.

The Guardian's source was careful to say the police had come to "no definitive conclusions" about the Cape Verdean national Euclides Monteiro, who died, aged 40, in a tractor accident. His name previously emerged in Portugal as a possible suspect in November although the interest of Portuguese and UK authorities in any connection to sexual assaults had not been made public at that time.

Cell Phone

French telecom Orange investigates second wave of suicides among staff - 'explicitly related' to jobs

© Balint Porneczi/Bloomberg
Ten people at telecoms giant have killed themselves this year, most over what company says are 'work-related' reasons

The French telecoms company Orange is on "serious alert" after reports of a fresh spate of work-related suicides.

Since the beginning of the year, 10 of its employees have killed themselves - most for reasons "explicitly related" to their jobs, according to the company's own stress and mental health watchdog.

Orange was formerly the state-owned France Telecom, which reported a similar wave of deaths between 2008 and 2009. The number of suicides so far this year is almost as high as for the whole of last year, when 11 workers took their own lives.

Of the 10 deaths this year - three women and seven men, the youngest aged 25 - eight have been directly linked to work, according to the observatory for stress and forced mobility, which is responsible for monitoring work conditions at the company.

On Wednesday the French health minister, Marisol Touraine, called the new deaths worrying. "The company has to take the necessary measures. I know that the company and the unions are alert to this ... we cannot leave the situation as it is," she told French radio.

Ten French employees of Orange have committed suicide this year
Why France has such a high rate of suicides


Man released after 15-year prison sentence robs same store

© Toms River policeChristopher M. Miller
A day after being released following a 15-year stay in state prison for robbing a Toms River shoe store, a 40-year-old man allegedly committed the same crime at the same business, authorities said today.

When Christopher M. Miller woke up Friday morning, he was on the verge of being freed from South Woods State Prison in Bridgeton. A little more than 24 hours later, he returned to the scene of his crime - the Stride Rite shoe store on Hooper Avenue in Toms River - and demanded cash from the store's two employees, police said.

Miller took the cash register containing $389 but the workers refused his demand to turn over their car keys, authorities said. Instead, Miller took cellphones belonging to a 17-year-old boy and a 43-year-old woman before fleeing on foot.

"He was not armed but just made a verbal threat," police spokesman Ralph Stocco said. He said that Miller became agitated when the employees did not move as quickly as he liked.

Black Magic

Dogs bite master: Turkish sponsored Syrian terrorists injure 3 Turkish policemen in Istanbul

Turkish terrorists ISIL
© Unknown
Three policemen are injured in the Turkish city of Istanbul in a gun battle with suspected members of an al-Qaeda-linked terrorist group fighting the Syrian government.

According to reports on Wednesday, the incident took place when Turkish police and special units raided the Umraniye district of the city to arrest armed members of the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) on Tuesday night.

Two militants were reportedly injured and arrested in the raid.

The police operation was launched after it was announced that the terrorist group was behind a deadly attack on security forces in central Turkey last week.

On March 20, three people, including one police officer, were killed in a shooting attack in the province of Nigde. The incident, in the town of Ulukisla, occurred when gunmen armed with long-range shotguns opened fire on security forces from a truck.

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned the attack and described the shooting as a "vile act of terror."

Turkey, a fierce opponent of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government, is seen as one of the major regional supporters of foreign-backed militants fighting government forces in Syria, along with Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Heart - Black

Police: Woman performs C-section on dog, uses glue to close incision

 police car
© Joe Raedle/Getty ImagesFile photo of a police car.

Tampa Florida - Police arrested a woman after she performed a cesarean section on a dog and used glue to close the incision.

Candace Patricia Hauser is facing one charge of aggravated cruelty to animals after removing two of the 14 puppies from the dog she cut open and then closing the incision with non-medical glue, the Brandenton Herald reported.

The pregnant Mastiff, Nadia, was brought to Hauser's home on March 4 by the owner Brenda Hines. Hauser told the woman she could help deliver puppies, investigators said.

The Mastiff began having trouble giving birth to the last two puppies, so the 31-year-old woman performed a C-section on the dog without anesthesia.

Hauser does not have a veterinarian license.

Roughly 12 hours after the C-section, Hines took her dog to Veterinary Healthcare Associates saying she believed that the dog was dying, but the veterinarian told her that the Mastiff was already dead.

Arrow Down

Foreign farm workers in Italy are 'treated like slaves'

Farm Workers
© Mario Laporta/AFPFarm workers in south-east Italy. Immigrant workers often earn less than €25 a day.

Farm workers in Italy face "disastrous" working conditions, with many living off two meals a day in abandoned buildings, the coordinator of a doctors' association said on Tuesday.

Alberto Barbieri, the general coordinator of Doctors for Human Rights (Medici per i diritti umani, MEDU), said the situation for workers "continues to be disastrous".

He was speaking during a press conference on Italy's seasonal in Rome on Tuesday morning.

Following a MEDU project in Italy's southern Calabria region, Barbieri said a third of agricultural labourers treated by doctors live on just two meals a day and work up to ten hours a day.

Farm workers, the majority being young men from West Africa, are housed together in abandoned buildings without running water or heating. They are often paid €25 a day or less, without contracts, Barbieri said.

"The working conditions and treatment of immigrants remains disastrous, incompatible with the principles of a country in which respect for fundamental rights should always be guaranteed," he said during a press conference on Tuesday morning at Italy's parliament.

While Barbieri focused on the Calabria project, he said similar conditions existed across Italy.


Virginia Christian school bans 8-year-old girl - tomboys aren't 'biblical'

girl not biblical
© WSET News
An 8-year-old girl in Virginia has been told that she can not return to her Christian school because she defied "biblical standards" by looking like a boy.

Doris Thompson told WSET that her granddaughter, Sunnie Kahle, was forced to enroll in public school and has been refused admission for the next school year until she can express the proper gender identity.

"You're probably aware that Timberlake Christian School is a religious, Bible believing institution providing education in a distinctly Christian environment," a letter from Timberlake Christian School's principal said.

According to WSET, the letter said that school rules said that students could be banned for "condoning sexual immorality, practicing a homosexual lifestyle or alternative gender identity."

"We believe that unless Sunnie as well as her family clearly understand that God has made her female and her dress and behavior need to follow suit with her God-ordained identity, that TCS is not the best place for her future education," the principal wrote.

Doris Thompson, who has adopted and raised her granddaughter, said that Sunnie is now in public school, and she "cries every morning to get on the bus, she cries when she comes home because she wants to go back to Timberlake Christian with her friends."

"How do you label a child, eight years old, or discriminate against an eight year old child?" grandfather Carroll Thompson asked. "It just don't happen."

Comment: The inmates are definitely running the asylum.