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New Zealand's Ministry of Health Encourages Casual Attitude to Suicide

Say No to Suicide
© webpages.scu.edu
Media release from CASPER

Suicide Prevention group CASPER has criticised the report on suicide released by the Ministry of Health yesterday.

The numbers show some alarming patterns in suicides which are ignored or downplayed by the Ministry of Health in a way that can only be described as deliberately misleading, according to CASPER CEO Maria Bradshaw.

An analysis of the data released yesterday shows a 95% increase in female youth suicides in the past decade and a 132% increase in Maori female suicides in the same period.

The 2010 figures show the Maori youth suicide rate is 263% higher than that of non-Maori. A shocking 71% of the 10-14 year olds who killed themselves in 2010 were Maori.

Instead of communicating a sense of urgency to New Zealanders in relation to the need to take strong action to address this crisis, the Ministry of Health selectively uses data to downplay the figures. Rather than taking one year of data as a baseline for comparisons, the Ministry cherry-picks years that suit the spin they have chosen to put on the figures. Male suicide rates in 2010 are compared with those in 1995 while female suicide rates are compared with those in 1948.

The international comparison data is even more unscientific. The New Zealand 2010 rates are compared to rates from Korea in 2009, Canada in 2004 and Slovakia in 2006. CASPER was easily able to source 2010 suicide data from a range of more appropriate OECD comparator countries and uses those countries most likely to have similar cause of death determination systems, similar social environments and cultural beliefs in relation to suicide to make comparisons. New Zealand's male youth suicide rate is 70% higher than that of Australia while our female youth rate is over 300% higher.

Heart - Black

Nurse Who "Saw Everything" At Hospital After Suspicious Batman Shooting Found Dead at 46

Jenny-Gallagher
Jenny Gallagher, a nurse who treated victims of the highly suspicious "Batman" shooting in Aurora, Colorado last month, is dead at age 46. The reported cause of death: drowning.

"She worked the morning after the Batman massacre in a very busy unit of the hospital - so she saw everything really, some really bad injuries," her husband Greg reportedly told Ireland's Herald earlier today.

The mass-shooting, which left 12 dead and 58 more injured at a midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises at Century theater, is widely suspected to have been a black operation (akin to Columbine or the Sikh Temple shooting) based on the available evidence, numerous inconsistencies and implausibilities in the "official story", the timing, and the way the event has been framed (some would say exploited) by certain powerful interests in the media and political arena. See for example...

Obama Seeks US Congressional Ratification of UN Global Gun Control Treaty, Susanne Posel (July 16)
Colorado Batman shooting shows obvious signs of being staged, Natural News (July 20)
James Holmes Batman shooting to justify UN small arms treaty gun grab?, Mike Adams (July 21)
Eyewitness: Second Shooter in Batman Massacre, YouTube, (July 21)
Witness: Someone let gunman inside Colorado movie theater, CNN/PrisonPlanet.com (July 22)
Colorado University Had Identical Drill On Same Day As 'Batman' Massacre, Paul Joseph Watson (July 23)
Shooter James Holmes and DARPA Weird Science, Kurt Nimmo/Wayne Madsen (July 24)
Fox News Channel Questions Narrative Of 'Batman' Massacre, Infowars/WXIX-Fox19 (July 25)
Gun Owners of America President Larry Pratt: Batman Shooting Could be Staged (July 27)
James Holmes Is Behaving Like Sirhan Sirhan, Paul Joseph Watson, (July 27)
Why Are Republicans Calling To Disarm The American People?, Paul Joseph Watson, (July 30)
The Batman op expands: you shot those people, Jon Rappoport (Aug 3)

Wine

Italy's tax hunters target super-rich and their yachts off the Sardinian coast

Austerity and ecology make life a misery for pleasure-seekers as coastguards use helicopters to enforce the law.

Yachts 01
© Hemis /Alamy
Yachts at anchor in the harbour at Poltu Quatu in Sardinia’s Olbia Tempio province, on the Emerald Coast.
There used to be a time when Italy's super-rich gravitated to the smartest enclaves of Sardinia for a summer of relaxation and luxury. Not any more. In an increasingly austerity-conscious country, the yacht-owning classes are coming under increasing and unwelcome scrutiny, some of which would not look out of place in a scene from the film Apocalypse Now.

"We first spotted the targets with the helicopter's radar and closed in to identify about 50 boats off the two islands," said Italian coastguard captain Pietro Mele, describing a recent raid on yachts suspected of straying too close to the coast. Swooping in, the helicopter crew barked orders to the plush pleasure craft through a loudspeaker, telling them to move on from the protected Sardinian islands of Soffi and Mortorio, where anchoring is strictly forbidden.

Arrow Down

Americans Increasingly Super-Sizing Their Churches

Megachurch
© Glenda M. Powers, Shutterstock
Even though megachurches have at least 2,000 members, congregants say they feel a strong sense of belonging, new research reported Aug. 19, 2012, suggests.
Denver - More and more Americans are spending their Sundays at megachurches, enormous churches with congregations numbering in the thousands. Despite the size of these churches, members don't get lost in the crowd, new research finds.

In fact, a new study of 12 representative megachurches spread across the country finds that the size of these churches is a major part of their appeal. Members report that the experience of worshiping with thousands is intoxicating, the researchers find.

"It's an addicting experience, it's so large, it's so huge," said study researcher Katie Corcoran, a graduate student in sociology at the University of Washington. "One respondent said you can look up to the balcony and see the Holy Spirit go over the crowd like a wave in a football game."

Eye 1

White Supremacist Plot Alleged in Spree

Image
© Anonymous/The Associated Press/SF
David 'Joey' Pedersen
Portland, Oregon - A young couple accused of killing four people in a multistate crime spree last fall have been indicted on federal racketeering charges alleging the rampage was part of a campaign to "purify" and "preserve" the white race, the U.S. attorney for Oregon said Friday.

A grand jury handed up the indictment Thursday against David "Joey" Pedersen, 32, and Holly Ann Grigsby, 25, prosecutor Amanda Marshall said in a statement. Grigsby will be arraigned Monday in Seattle. Pedersen's arraignment in Portland hasn't been scheduled.

"The indictment in this case alleges horrendous crimes were committed as part of defendants' white supremacist campaign to kidnap and murder targets on the basis of race, color, religion and perceived 'degenerate' conduct," Marshall said.

They are charged in the killing, kidnapping and robbery of four people last fall: Pedersen's father, David "Red" Pedersen, and stepmother, Leslie "DeeDee" Pedersen, on Sept. 26 in Everett, Wash.; Cody Myers, a 19-year-old from Oregon on Oct. 1; and Reginald Clark, 53, of Eureka (Humboldt County) on Oct. 3.

Airplane

Two United Airlines Flights Forced to Return to Newark Airport in Two Days

Image
Last night, a United flight carrying 173 Berlin-bound passengers was forced to return to Newark Liberty Airport after one of the plane's engines became overheated and caught on fire. The Boeing 757 circled the airport for around two hours (to burn off fuel) before landing safely, but that wasn't the end of the airline's Newark-based troubles this weekend: This morning, another United flight - this one headed to Seattle - came back to the airport after the crew reported smelling smoke in the cabin and cockpit. Again, the plane landed without incident or any injuries, though we can say that we do feel a little better about not getting out of town this weekend.

Card - MC

Canadians Crowd Costco, Stores Near Border - But Not Everyone Minds

Image
© The Seattle Times / Ken Lambert
British Columbia license plates are a common sight in the Fairhaven district of Bellingham as many Canadians go there to shop.
Canadians taking advantage of lower prices at U.S. stores cause merchants, shoppers to take sides.

The city of Burlington welcomes Canadian shoppers. It says so on Facebook.

The page hailing Canadians is Burlington's effort at damage control now that national attention has shone on another Facebook page that complains about overcrowding at Costco Wholesale and other big-box stores in nearby Bellingham.

A Bellingham resident posted the first page a month ago, calling for the local Costco to create special hours just for U.S. shoppers.

"The lines are crazy. The overcrowding is causing some to be rude," that page says.

Burlington's response: "We do not want our Canadian friends and neighbors to feel unwelcome in Northwest Washington," said city administrator Bryan Harrison, who said the welcome page was Mayor Steve Sexton's idea. "Some activities lately on Facebook have sent the wrong message that folks aren't welcome. Here in Burlington, you are welcome."

Arrow Down

Muti 'Protected' Miners

Rioting Miners
© Times Live, South Africa
Tragic Aftermath: Police check on casualties after firing on striking Lonmin mine workers. Locals believe muti prevented many more from being killed.
A mystery sangoma is believed to be behind the foolish courage displayed by striking miners during Thursday's deadly standoff.

Undeterred by water cannons and tear gas, the miners crept through the bushes towards the police and charged straight into a heavy line of fire.

The surviving miners are not talking, but union officials, residents of Marikana and the police confirmed the presence of the unidentified sangoma, who carried out rituals on the hill and dished out muti where workers had gathered throughout the week.

It is said the man, who is from the Eastern Cape, had provided muti to the protesters and made them believe it would make them invincible.

Senzeni Zokwana, president of the of National Union of Mineworkers, said the strikers had to fork out R500 before being sprinkled with ntelezi.

He said the workers were cut with razor blades and then had the muti smeared on their bleeding wounds.

Several of the strikers the Sunday Times spoke to yesterday were reluctant to talk about the sangoma, and some even denied his existence.

"I heard about that, but I don't want to talk about it," said one before walking away.

Another, who had camped on the hilltop for three days, did not deny the presence of the medicine man.

"I'd rather not respond to that one, please," he said.

Stormtrooper

Wannabe Navy SEALS Offered Chance to 'Kill Osama'

Image
© facebook.com/Sealed Mindset
Ever wanted the chance to assassinate a notorious terrorist? A former Navy SEAL is offering anyone with $325 the opportunity to do just that as part of the 'Navy Seal Adventure' mission.

­The Minnesota-based Sealed Mindset Firearms Studio, an industrial center-turned-paintball range in New Hope, allows participants to recreate the assassination raid on Osama Bin Laden's hideout.

During the two-hour reenactment, anyone can pretend to be a US special forces soldier, proprietor and former Navy SEAL Lawrence Yatch said. Participants are given an 'intelligence briefing' before suiting up and firing live rounds from an AR-15 for practice, and to get the bloodlust flowing.

The trigger-happy shooters are then armed with paintball rounds and loosed into a 10,000 square-foot studio to seek out 'Osama Bin Laden.' The operation culminates with their bursting into a room where they are met by none other than the terrorist mastermind, or rather, a man dressed to look like him, sporting a fake beard and body armor.

Sun

Meet the 'Face-Kini', the latest craze to hit China's beaches as bathers wear masks to beat the sun's harmful rays

  • The name describes a protective head mask that is being used along Shandong province's East China Sea coast
  • Used by beach-goers who want to protect their skin from the sun
  • The colourful masks sell for 15 to 25 yuan (£1 to to £2.50)
Image
© Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
Stay away from the sun: Chinese beachgoers wearing body suits and protective head masks, dubbed 'face-kinis' by Chinese netizens, on a crowded public beach in Qingdao, northeast China's Shandong province
One way to avoid the dangerous rays of the sun is to stay indoors, another is to apply a healthy layer of sun cream and slap on a wide-brimmed hat.

If you're in China, however, there is a third option - a 'Face-Kini' complete with a body suit.

The name describes a protective head mask that is being used in Shandong province's East China Sea coast by beach-goers who want to protect their skin from the sun.

They are selling factory-made Face-Kinis for 15 to 25 yuan (£1 to to £2.50) each.

They are also extremely effective at repelling insects and jellyfish.