Society's ChildS


Afghan militants drag female author out of her home, shoot her dead

Sushmita Banerjee
© SEBASTIAN D'SOUZA/AFP/GETTY IMAGESAuthor Sushmita Banerjee, writer of the novel "Kabuliwala's Bengali Wife" based of her life, poses at a press conference announcing the launch of the movie "Escape From Taliban" in Bombay, Dec. 17, 2002.
Suspected Taliban militants in Afghanistan on Thursday shot dead an Indian woman whose memoir about marrying an Afghan and life under the Islamist militia was made into a Bollywood movie, officials said.

The killing of Sushmita Banerjee was the latest in a string of attacks on prominent women in Afghanistan, adding to fears women's rights in a country where many are barely allowed outside the house will recede even more after U.S.-led foreign forces fully withdraw in 2014.

The militants arrived before dawn at Banjerjee's residence in eastern Paktika province, which lies in Afghanistan's east - a region where the Taliban are especially influential.

Her husband, Jaanbaz Khan, answered the door, only to be quickly bound and blindfolded, provincial police chief Gen. Dawlat Khan Zadran told The Associated Press.


3 arrested at Wal-Mart protests that extent in 15 cities and demand better wages

walmart protests
© forrespect.orgWal-Mart has been criticized for keeping employees on part-time status and paying low wages
In the latest worker protest to raise hourly wages, activists rally against Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart workers and supporters launched protests in at least 15 cities Thursday, urging the world's largest retailer provide higher wages, better jobs and the right to unionize.

OUR Wal-Mart, a coalition including Wal-Mart workers, community organizers and the United Food & Commercial Workers organized day-long protests, urging Wal-Mart to pay full-time wages of $25,000 a year, or $12 an hour. It says many of Wal-Mart's 1.3 million associates are part-time employees averaging just $8.80 an hour.

The Wal-Mart protests - which follow last week's broader, widespread strikes among fast-food industry workers seeking $15 an hour wages from fast food chains - were scheduled for Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City, Seattle, Chicago, Denver, Boston, Orlando, Minneapolis and Washington D.C., where Wal-Mart is threatening to cut expansion if it's required to pay a city mandated "living wage" of at least $12.50 an hour.

Comment: Wal-mart is a giant human-crashing corporation that has been caught many times bullying and closing down small businesses, tax evading and money laundering, while being the "largest recipient of public aid" in the US. Do not support this monster.

Cardboard Box

90,473,000 people not in labor force in the US - up almost 10 million under Obama

job seeker
© Reuters/Mark MAkelaA job-seeker completes an application at a career fair in Philadelphia in July
The number of Americans who are 16 years or older and who have decided not to participate in the nation's labor force has pushed past 90,000,000 for the first time, according to data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The BLS counts a person as participating in the labor force if they are 16 years or older and either have a job or have actively sought a job in the last four weeks. A person is not participating in the labor force if they are 16 or older and have not sought a job in the last four weeks.

In July, according to BLS, 89,957,000 Americans did not participate in the labor force. In August, that climbed to 90,473,000--a one month increase of 516,000.

Light Saber

Voters explode on John McCain: "We didn't send you to make war for us"

don't bomb syria
© Associated PressA crowd member holds up signs against military action in Syria as John McCain speaks with constituents during a town hall meeting at the Burton Barr Central Library on Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013, in Phoenix
A number of Sen. John McCain's constituents are not happy with the Arizona Republican's support of President Barack Obama's plan to take military action against Syria. Voters made that much perfectly clear when they confronted him at a town hall in Phoenix on Thursday.

"We didn't send you to make war for us. We sent you to stop the war," one man said to applause, CNN reports.

Another man told McCain Congress is ignoring its duty to represent voters.

"This is what I think of Congress," he said, holding a bag of marshmallows in his hand. "They are a bunch of marshmallows. That's what they are. That's what they've become. Why are you not listening to the people and staying out of Syria? It's not our fight."

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday afternoon passed a new use-of-force resolution that, if passed by the Senate, will give Obama authority to carry out military strikes. It also includes a loophole that may leave room for placing troops on the ground.

The resolution only prohibits "the use of United States Armed Forces on the ground in Syria for the purpose of combat operations." The language seems to leave open the possibility of deploying troops for non-combat operations, such as securing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's chemical weapons.

Comment: Syrian-American woman rips into McCain at town hall meeting over his support for bombing Syria

Arrow Down

Eight in ten Brits 'lie to appear more intelligent'

Appear Intelligent
© stock.xchng
Eight out of ten Brits have admitted to lying to appear intelligent, according to the results of a new study.

62% admitted to lying about having read 'classic' novels such as Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace and George Orwell's 1984, Metro reports.

Meanwhile, 53% said that they have changed their appearance and 26% have purposely corrected other people's grammar.

18% have dropped famous quotes into conversations and 14% have claimed to have better knowledge of a foreign language.

Behavioural psychologist Jo Hemmings said that the study shows that "being intelligent has never been more sexy and that the vast majority of us are working hard to appear smarter than we actually are".

She continued that it proves that people want to embrace "their inner geek", partly because of the popularity of sci-fi based TV and drama shows.

"From expertise in literature and wine to a penchant for correct grammar and art-house or foreign language films, wannabe geeks are exaggerating their worldly qualities in order to appear more nerdy," she added.

The study was carried out to tie in with the release of The Big Bang Theory season six on DVD.


French oppose Syria action by two-thirds margin, poll finds

More than two-thirds of French people are against the country taking part in international military action in Syria, according to a newspaper poll published Saturday.

The survey for French daily Le Figaro showed the country's opposition to military action against the Damascus regime has increased markedly since the end of August.

Asked whether they would be in favour of French participation -- which President Francois Hollande strongly supports -- 68 percent of respondents said no.

That was an increase of nine percentage points on a survey published on August 29.

The survey also showed that 64 percent oppose all international military action in Syria -- irrespective of French involvement -- compared with just 45 percent on August 29.

France is the only international power to have vowed to join any US military action in Syria, which Russia strongly opposes.

Grey Alien

Alien-themed promotion for Alabama radio station leads to concern over school safety

War of the Worlds
© All AlabamaTuscumbia police compared concern over an alien-themed promotion by a Shoals-area radio station to H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds.
Florence, Alabama - A radio promotion spoofing aliens hacking into an Alabama radio station spooked students into believing schools would be attacked.

It was all a mysterious misunderstanding, a Shoals area radio official said, that has no logical explanation. Still, law enforcement in the area beefed up security at schools to calm fears from parents.

"It's a very innocuous promotion that got blown out of proportion," said Brian Rickman, program director for Shoals Radio Group.

To bring attention to a format change at Star 94.9 - which is owned by Shoals Radio Group - Rickman said the station on Monday began airing conversations between aliens.

"We came up with what we thought was a really fun storyline and that would be that these aliens or star people were hacking into the radio station," Rickman said. "The concept being that they heard our frequency several light years away, they didn't like Justin Bieber and the pop music we were playing and they were going to take over the radio station and adjust the format.

"We thought it was clever."


Drone-hunting permits on hold - Colorado town to let voters decide in November

ShadowHawk drone
© Vanguard Defense Industries via Associated PressSWAT team members are posted next to a ShadowHawk drone in Texas. Worried about violations of civil liberties, at least 19 states are considering limits on how the unmanned craft can be used.
For the people of Deer Trail, Colo., November elections usually are reserved for electing town board members and state and federal lawmakers.

But in November, residents of the small town will decide whether to license the nation's first official "drone hunters."

On Tuesday night, the town board split evenly, with three members voting "yes" and three voting "no," on an ordinance that would have made it legal for residents to apply for licenses and then shoot unmanned aerial vehicles out of the sky in exchange for a $100 cash reward.

The controversial measure now will appear on the November ballot, leaving the decision up to voters in the town of about 550 people.

Some Deer Trail officials and residents - along with many others across the nation - fear that the rapid rise of domestic drones poses grave new threats to personal privacy. Echoing the concerns of privacy groups, civil liberties activists and many state and federal lawmakers, those pushing the Deer Trail ordinance argue that citizens must resist the unprecedented surveillance capabilities brought by drones.

2 + 2 = 4

Michelle Obama takes credit for 'cultural shift' in US eating habits (Video)

Michelle Obama credited her anti-obesity program with bringing about a "cultural shift" in the way Americans eat.

"Make no mistake about it. We are changing the conversation in this country. We are creating a cultural shift on how we live and eat. And our efforts are having an impact on our children's lives."

The first lady touted the success of her Let's Move anti-obesity program during a visit on Friday to Orr Elementary School in Washington, D.C.

Obama said when she first began her signature initiative, she couldn't imagine a time when fast-food commercials advertised for breakfast sandwiches made with egg whites. And she praised restaurants like Red Lobster and Olive Garden for offering healthy choices.

Bad Guys

The perils of homeschooling: German police storm home, seize four children

Wunderlich family
© HSLDA WebsiteWunderlich family
In Darmstadt, Germany, police officers armed with guns and a battering ram stormed a home and seized four children because the family living there had defied a national ban on homeschooling. The officers were accompanied by a throng of social workers and special agents.

The terrifying team of about 20 government officials forcibly removed all four of the family's children at around breakfast time on Thursday morning, according to a press release from the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA).

The sole reason for the brutal abduction of the children is that the parents, Dirk and Petra Wunderlich, have defied the German government's ban on home education. There are no claims of mistreatment or neglect.

The children range in age from seven to 14.