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Women and children among 89 killed in Madhya Pradesh temple stampede

Temple Stampede
© PTI photoA scene after a stampede at the Sindhu River bridge through which pilgrims were heading towards the Ratangarh temple in Datia district of Madhya Pradesh.
A stampede at a temple in Madhya Pradesh, where tens of thousands of devotees had assembled to celebrate Navratri on Sunday, killed 89 people and left more than 100 others injured.

Most of the victims of the tragedy at the Ratangarh temple in Datia district, 70 km off Gwalior, were women and children, police said.

"At least 89 people, including 31 women and 17 children, have died and more than 115 injured," said deputy inspector general (DIG) Chambal range, DK Arya.
The incident in Datia brought back memories of a similar stampede at the same place in 2006, when at least 20 devotees had died. It also put the spotlight on poor crowd-control planning by the authorities that have made stampedes a recurrent feature at religious congregations.


Iran holds trial of suspected Israeli 'spies'

© Unknown
A group of supposed Israeli spies went on trial in Iran on Saturday. The group led by three people was charged with recruiting 60 Iranians and plotting against the government of the Islamic republic, said a judge as quoted by a local news agency.

The accused allegedly acted against Iran's security, collected information transferring it outside the country and assisting anti-religious establishments, Judge Dadkhoda Salari was quoted on Saturday by the Mehr News Agency as saying.

Salari added that many of those charged confessed during interrogation and many documents testifying to their guilt have been confiscated. The judge provided no further details of the trial.

Meanwhile, the semi-official Mehr news agency reported that Iranian authorizes arrested four men for planning to sabotage nuclear sites on October 6.


American James Henry found dead in Egyptian jail after apparent suicide

© Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP/Getty Images
An American detained in Egypt for more than a month has been found dead in his prison cell after allegedly committing suicide. His death comes one day after his detention for violating a curfew was extended.

Egyptian security officials said on Sunday that the body of American James Henry, who told authorities he was a "retired officer," was found at noon at Ismailiya Awal police station.

Henry's death has come one day after his detention period was extended. The man was in custody for violating the curfew imposed by Egypt's military-backed government, state media reported Sunday.

A report from the prosecutor's office said Henry had hanged himself with a belt.


Edward Snowden on receiving the 2013 Sam Adams Award in Moscow: NSA surveillance programmes 'hurt our country'

Video clips posted to WikiLeaks website show former NSA analyst speaking for the first time since July asylum plea

In short video clips posted by the WikiLeaks website on Friday, Snowden said that the NSA's mass surveillance, which he disclosed before fleeing to Russia, "puts us at risk of coming into conflict with our own government".

A US court has charged Snowden with violating the Espionage Act, for disclosing the programmes which he described as a "dragnet mass surveillance that puts entire populations under sort of an eye that sees everything even when it's not needed".

"They hurt our economy. They hurt our country. They limit our ability to speak and think and live and be creative, to have relationships and to associate freely," Snowden said.
Ed Snowden receiving the Sam Adams Award in Moscow, 11 October 2013

Comment: The Wikipedia entry for the Sam Adams Award tell us that:
The Sam Adams Award is given annually by the Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence, a group of retired CIA officers, to an intelligence professional who has taken a stand for integrity and ethics. It is named after Samuel A. Adams, a CIA whistleblower during the Vietnam War, and takes the physical form of a "corner-brightener candlestick".


Peru bus crash: At least 51 killed, 14 children among dead

Peru bus crash
A makeshift bus carrying 51 people back from a party in south-eastern Peru has plunged off a cliff into a river, killing everyone on board including 14 children.

The crash was the third such incident nationwide this month, all occurring in the southern Andean region of the country and killing a total of 80 people."

During rescue operations, we found two more bodies," Fedia Castro, mayor of La Convencion province where the crash took place, was quoted as saying by the Andina official news agency.

Local prosecutor Juan Carlos Valverde said none of the truck's occupants survived. A previous toll had put the number of dead at 49.

The victims included at least 14 children, and officials were investigating whether the driver, who died with his wife and children, was drunk at the time of the accident.

People often travel by truck in the region due to a shortage of buses, Castro said.The truck tumbled 300 meters (985 feet) in a remote area near the town of Suyucuyo and was carrying revelers.

Deadly crashes are commonplace in Peru, where poorly maintained roads zigzag up and down the towering Andes.

Worsening the problem, drivers are often inexperienced and buses are known to break down frequently.

In the last week, two other deadly crashes in southern Peru took 19 and 10 lives, respectively.

More than 4,000 people were killed in traffic accidents in 2012, according to official statistics.


Grave Problem: Nothing is rotting in the State of Norway

Oslo's funeral director has long wrestled with the particularly morbid job of dealing with Norway's longtime insistence on "plastic graves." Now, she is using technology to fight back.

Shortly after World War II, Norwegians began a three-decade-long practice of wrapping their dead in plastic before laying them to rest in wooden caskets, believing the practice was more sanitary. Hundreds of thousands of burials later, gravediggers realized the airtight conditions kept the corpses from decomposing.

"The priest says 'ashes to ashes,' but we ain't got no ashes on the other end," Margaret Eckbo, Oslo's director of funerals, said while walking around Grefsen cemetery on a hill overlooking the city.

"From ashes to plastic doesn't sound all that good," she said.


Sign of the times: Oklahoma newspaper apologizes for reporting factually accurate, investigative journalism

newspaper retraction
On Sunday, The Oklahoman newspaper published a front-page news story about the apparently totally legal, but highly ethically questionable business dealings of two public officials. The two are exploiting a tax loophole that exempts them from paying property taxes on commercial property they own by leasing it to non-profit entities.

However, within two days after the well-researched story was published despite its accuracy, it was mysteriously pulled off the frontpage and publisher Chris Reen issued a large apology and withdrawal for its "poor decision" to print the story, The Lost Ogle reported.

"Many judgment calls go into this daily equation, and we are hopeful that more often than not our judgment is sound. But it wasn't Sunday morning when we gave front-page billing to the story about two elected officials and tax exemptions for property owners who lease to nonprofit entities ... Our placement on the first page of Sunday's edition did not comport with the worthiness of the story and we have no one to blame but ourselves," the apology read as reported by Jim

Why exactly they issued an apology for a factually-accurate newsworthy investigative piece of journalism remains unclear but it is suspected that perhaps the story did not sit too well with the Oklahoma bigwigs or "Good Ole' Boy Network" - who the publication has gone out of it way to protect for the 110 years that it has been around, according to


Teacher slams French education in suicide note

france education
© Cali4beach/FlickrAn empty space. Colleagues have been shocked by the death of a dedicated teacher in Marseille, whose suicide note contained criticisms of France's education system.
Colleagues and politicians have reacted with shock and sadness after a dedicated school teacher in Marseille killed himself on the eve of the new school year. Pierre Jacque left a suicide note containing fierce criticisms of France's education system.

The 55-year-old teacher of electronics at the Lycée Artaud in the southern city killed himself at his home on Sunday, just two days before the beginning of the new school year in France.

The suicide was "completely linked to the exercise of his profession," according to a joint statement by Jacque's colleagues, who called him "the father of a family, with great professional integrity and limitless erudition."

In his suicide letter, Jacque condemned France's education system in particular the "panic" and "roughness" of reforms by previous education minister Luc Chatel, as well as the policy of the current government, which he described as "an infamy."


Why France has such a high rate of suicides
French farming hit by a suicide every 2 days

Chart Pie

Why France has such a high rate of suicides

france suicide
© Stavros/flickrFrance's suicide rate is well above the European average.
Alarming figures released this week revealed that France has a much higher suicide rate than the European average, and double that of the UK and Spain. One expert in the field tells The Local the problem stems from France's history and economic model.

Everyday in France an average of 21 men and eight women take their own lives and around 700 attempt it.

Stories about many of these suicides, some of them particularly shocking such as the despairing unemployed man who set himself on fire outside a job centre recently, end up in the French press on a regular basis.

And the latest figures published this week to coincide with World Suicide Prevention Day on Tuesday, revealed that France does have an acute problem with suicide, and charities are demanding the government gives the issue its full attention.


French farming hit by a suicide every 2 days
Teacher slams French education in suicide note


French farming hit by a suicide every 2 days

french farmers
© Agence France Presse/Miguel MedinaFrench cattle farmers protest in Paris at the high costs of rearing farm animals. Financial strife is said to be the main reason for the high suicide rate among farmers.
In France, a farmer commits suicide every two days. That's the shocking statistic quoted in a new report released on Thursday, which will set alarm bells ringing in France's Ministry of Agriculture, which is struggling to revitalize the flagging sector.

Suicide is the third-highest cause of death among French farmers, after cancer and cardio-vascular diseases, a report by the French health institute INVS revealed on Thursday.

In a three year period between 2007 and 2009, 485 farmers took their own lives, which represents a suicide every two days on average. The rate of suicides among farmers is 20 percent higher than among the French population as a whole.

In total, 417 men and 68 women ended their lives during this period, with the mortality rate highest among cattle farmers aged between 45 and 64-years-old.


Teacher slams French education in suicide note
Why France has such a high rate of suicides