Society's ChildS

Bizarro Earth

Psych student dies of drug OD while celebrating new job aiding drug users

A 27-year-old woman in England who was in training to be a psychologist and had already published articles in a medical journal, died of a drug overdose while she was celebrating her new job - working with drug users.

A coroner's inquest in South Manchester found this week that in July, Jennifer Whiteley had nine different drugs in her system, including a so-called "legal high" known as Benzo Fury, when she broke into profuse sweats and collapsed with a rapid heartbeat at her parents' home in Greater Manchester while partying with her 29-year-old boyfriend, Andrew Tunnah.

In addition to ingesting Benzo Fury - and amphetamine-like "designer drug" which Whiteley reportedly purchased over the internet before it was outlawed in the U.K. - she had been drinking vodka and snorting cocaine.

The day before, she was offered a job with a division of Britain's National Health Service - the country's government-run health care system - where she would help patients who abused drugs and also those who suffered from depression.


Dozens hospitalized in Las Vegas with mystery illness

© Lightspring / Shutterstock
Dozens of children and adults who are in Las Vegas for the National Youth Football Championships have been hospitalized after coming down with a mystery illness.

The mystery disease shows flu-like symptoms, including vomiting. ABC News Chief Health and Medical Editor Dr. Richard Besser says "norovirus" may be the cause.

"Norovirus is the largest cause of outbreaks of gastroenteritis stomach flu in the United States-- 20 million cases a year," Dr. Besser said. "This is the peak season."

"It's one of the nastiest germs around, 'cause it spreads from person to person through contact. It spreads through food, and also spreads from contaminated surfaces, so it's one of the most contagious ones we see," Besser said.


Healthcare nightmare: Doctors rebelling against Obamacare, hospitals and health insurance providers declining to join

© ThinkstockObamacare applicants across the country are finding their premiums are tripling, their favorite doctors aren't available, the physicians they can see are often far away and many prestigious hospitals offering specialized care are off-limits to them, according to a Washington Examiner survey of health insurance agents and brokers across the country
We talked with insurance agents across the country to hear how Obamacare is affecting their areas. Click a city to see which insurance companies, doctors and hospitals agents say are in and out of the Obamacare exchange in their areas. Insurance companies who have chosen not to be part of the exchanges are highlighted in red

Obamacare applicants across the country are finding their premiums are tripling, their favorite doctors aren't available, the physicians they can see are often far away and many prestigious hospitals offering specialized care are off-limits to them, according to a Washington Examiner survey of health insurance agents and brokers across the country.

Agents associated with the National Association of Health Underwriters were contacted in 16 cites across the country.

The agents were all certified by state insurance regulators to sell health insurance policies within and without the Obamacare exchanges.

Their responses provide an alarming picture of the profound changes Obamacare is forcing on patients and health care providers.

In parts of California, for example, low reimbursement rates have resulted in a doctor rebellion, as nearly seven out of 10 doctors refuse to participate in the exchanges.

San Diego broker Neil Crosby told the Examiner that "65 to 70 percent of the providers have declined the reimbursement schedules the carriers are offering. They will not be providers in the exchange marketplace."

Similarly, agent David Fear in Sacramento said, "Roughly a third of the doctors are going to be accepted in the networks. I'm finding very few specialists in either the Anthem or Blue Shield networks."

Larry Harrison, an agent in Las Vegas, said the "lion's share" of doctors there are staying away from the exchanges.

Che Guevara

Wage strikes planned at fast-food outlets to demand living wages and right to unionize

© Fabrizio Costantini for The New York TimesProtesters outside a Taco Bell in Warren, Mich., in July. Many fast-food restaurant workers say they earn too little to live on.
Seeking to increase pressure on McDonald's, Wendy's and other fast-food restaurants, organizers of a movement demanding a $15-an-hour wage for fast-food workers say they will sponsor one-day strikes in 100 cities on Thursday and protest activities in 100 additional cities.

As the movement struggles to find pressure points in its quest for substantially higher wages for workers, organizers said strikes were planned for the first time in cities like Charleston, S.C.; Providence, R.I.; and Pittsburgh.

The protests have expanded greatly since November 2012, when 200 fast-food workers engaged in a one-day strike at more than 20 restaurants in New York City, the first such walkout in the history of the nation's fast-food industry.

Comment: The fast-food industry and stores like Walmart pay their employees so little that many of them must rely on public assistance because these companies are not paying a living wage. Recently donation boxes were installed in Walmart stores for employees because they earn so little, they cannot even afford to buy food and necessities from Walmart!
Fast-food workers protest for living wages in NYC
Walmart sales dropping thanks to low Walmart wages
Ohio Walmart held an employee food drive...for less fortunate employees


5 Ways our lives are being violated by corporate greed

Congress' response to all this? They would like SNAP and Social Security recipients to go find a job.

We already pay dearly for energy, medicine, banking, and telecommunications services. But a little research reveals that we're paying more -- much more -- in a variety of ways that our business-friendly mainstream media won't talk about.

1. Drug Companies: The Body Snatchers

A report by Battelle Memorial Institute determined that the $4 billion government-funded Human Genome Project (HGP) will generate economic activity of about $140 for every dollar spent. Although that estimate iscontroversial, drug industry executives say it's just a matter of time before the profits roll in.

Big business is quickly making its move. Celera Genomics was first, as the company initiated a private version of the genome project, incorporating the public data into their work, but forbidding the public effort to use Celera data. Abbott Labs is developing products based on the HGP. Merck's automated biotechnology facility was made possible by the HGP. Two-thirds of the products at Bristol-Myers Squibb have been impacted by the HGP. Pfizer is starting to make big profits from its genome-based cancer treatments.

But the industry is going beyond profits, to the actual privatization of our bodies. One-fifth of the human genome is privately owned through patents. Strains of influenza and hepatitis have been claimed by corporate and university labs, preventing researchers from using the patented life forms to perform cancer research.

As if to mock us while taking over our public research, some of the largest drug companies haven't been paying much in taxes. Pfizer had 40% of its 2011-12 revenues in the U.S., but declared almost $7 billion in U.S. losses to go along with $31 billion in foreign profits. Abbott Labs had 42% of its sales in the U.S., but declared a loss in the U.S. along with $12 billion in foreign profits.


Massive gas pipeline explosion rocks Pettis County, Missouri

An overnight explosion at the Panhandle Eastern Pipeline Company near Hughesville, Mo., in Pettis County lit up the sky for miles early Friday morning. Fox 4 viewers from more than 30 miles away reported seeing the fireball in the sky.

A spokesperson from Panhandle Eastern says a 30-inch pipeline ruptured just before midnight, causing the explosion. Panhandle Eastern Pipeline Co. is about 90 miles from Kansas City.

No injuries were reported. Three homes were evacuated, but by mid-morning on Friday, the residents had been allowed back in.


Ryanair responds to customers: cuts fees and boosts baggage

Ryanair is getting rid of some of its most annoying practices with a pledge to be more flexible on cabin baggage, stop excessive charges for fixing minor spelling mistakes and reissuing boarding cards, halve late baggage fees and junk noisy adverts during early-morning and late-evening flights.

The low-cost champion says it has reacted to customer complaints as it aims to increase its passenger number from the 80million this year to 110m in five years.

Boss Michael O'Leary said: "We are actively listening and responding to our customers so that they can continue to expect low fares and on-time flights on Ryanair, but will now enjoy easier website access, 24 hour grace periods, a 2nd small carry-on bag, reduced airport bag fees and quiet flights.

"We hope that our passengers will enjoy these service improvements, while still enjoying Ryanair's low fares and on-time flights."

People 2

Snowy standoff in New Brunswick, Canada, as anti-fracking protesters fight for 'next seven generations'

New Brunswick fracking protest
© via Twitter: Stormy Ravenhawk /‏@StormyRavenhawk

'I think the community is standing up for the environment, and the police are protecting the company, and that's not right.'

A snowy standoff took place in New Brunswick between Canada's Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and anti-fracking protesters on Sunday as Elsipogtog community members and their allies continue the fight to protect their land from shale gas exploration.

Twitter users captured a lineup of "protectors" facing police along Highway 11 where energy company SWN Resources has trucks conducting seismic testing for shale gas.

A similar protest on Highway 11 on Friday blocked the road for hours, and several protesters were arrested for breaching a court injunction by SWN. CBC reports:


Yet another home is completely obliterated in the U.S., this time a ranch in Johnson County, Texas - One person dead, debris strewn across wide area

© Bryan Titsworth / WFAAThere is a wide debris field surrounding a rural home in Johnson County that exploded on November 30, 2013.
Johnson County emergency managers said a home that exploded late Saturday night is a total loss, and the search for its owners has yielded one body.

According to Sheriff Bob Alford, authorities in Johnson County first received calls about the explosion at about 10:58 p.m.

"The main thing is to locate the owners of the property," he told News 8, identifying them as Gary Wagner and Wanda Buckley Davis.

At a briefing Sunday afternoon, Alford confirmed that a body believed to be Davis, 62, was located in the rubble around noon.

"Sweet... caring... loving," is how niece Melanie Broyles described Davis. "She'd give you the shirt off her back."

Comment: How common is it for houses to completely explode in the U.S.? Let's look back at a few this past year...

"I thought a plane hit": Another massive explosion obliterates house, this time in Connecticut - 17 September 2013

Massive explosion obliterates house in Ohio and kills 2- Debris scattered up to quarter-mile away, 17 September 2013

Corpus Christi, Texas house explosion injures 3 - 'damaging homes as far as three blocks away', 12 July 2013

More exploding houses? Westminster, Colorado house explosion linked to natural gas, 14 Jun 2013

Explosion levels house in Texas, 13 Jan 2013

Two killed, homes destroyed in huge Indianapolis explosion, 11 Nov 2012

Connecticut house explosion kills one, injures two, 30 Aug 2012

Eye 2

Arizona couple held three teen daughters captive, tortured and filmed them for two years in yet another 'house of horrors'

Sophia Richter, 32, and Fernando Richter, 34
Police in Arizona are investigating a "house of horrors" where three teenage girls were imprisoned for two years and abused by their mother and stepfather.

The three girls, aged 17, 13 and 12, were locked in their bedrooms, subjected to torture and fed only once a day. Described as malnourished and "extremely filthy" by police, they had not taken a bath for around four to six months, they told officers. They were forced to listen to intolerably loud music or white noise and were only allowed to go to the toilet if they had permission, which was not always granted. In order not to raise suspicion, their bedrooms and the whole house had been sound-proofed.

The girls escaped the house when the 12- and 13-year-old broke out of their bedroom window early on Tuesday morning and ran to a neighbour's home.

"We heard our doorbell ringing wildly and frantically and heard somebody knocking on our windows," one of the neighbours, who gave her name as Alice, told NBC news.

The girls, who Alice described as "distraught and hysterical", said they had run away from home because their stepfather had kicked in their bedroom door and was trying to assault them with a knife.