Society's ChildS


New record: 15 percent of Americans on food stamps

© Joe Raedle / Getty Images / AFP
Government dependability is continuing to rise, with a record-breaking number of Americans enrolled to receive food stamps. The latest USDA report shows that 47.8 million Americans, which make up 15 percent of the country, are receiving the benefits.

The US Department of Agriculture has announced that 47.79 million people were enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in December, which is up from the 46.61 million who were enrolled at the end of 2011.

Most of these individuals lived in Texas - the state with the highest average of monthly participants, which was 4.04 million in 2012. California had 3.96 million participants and Florida had 3.35 million. The numbers are high, but reasonable, since those states are among the top four most populated in the US. But Washington, DC has the highest ratio of food stamp users. With a population of 617,996 and 141,147 SNAP participants, about 23 percent of city residents were dependent on food stamps in 2012. Texas falls close to the national average, with 15.5 percent of its residents eligible to receive the assistance.


Accused Delhi gang rape leader dead in apparent suicide

© AFP Photo
Ram Singh, accused of leading five others in fatal attack on woman, has been found hanged in jail cell

The man accused of leading five others in the brutal gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old physiotherapist in Delhi in December 2012 has been found dead in the high-security prison where he was being held during his trial.

The attack in the Indian capital prompted global outrage, protests across India and calls for deep legal and policing reforms. It also led to a fierce debate over attitudes to women as a factor contributing to the wave of sexual violence against women that has hit the country in recent years.

Ram Singh, 34, was on trial with five others at a specially established fast track court in Delhi and faced the death sentence. The trial opened in February but there have recently been delays. Singh was found hanged by his own clothes and a prison blanket at 5am, officials at Delhi's Tihar jail have said. An inquiry is under way.

There was shock in India at the news and fierce criticism of prison authorities. Relatives of the victims said they were disappointed that Singh, a bus driver with a history of hard drinking, had apparently been allowed to take his own life.


Thousands of Dutch girls abused by priests since 1945: Report

priest catholic abuse
File photo shows the scene of a protest against Pope Benedict XVI following his involvement in the cover up of child abuse by Catholic priests.
Thousands of Dutch girls have suffered sexual and physical abuse by Roman Catholic Church officials since 1945, a report says.

An independent investigative commission, funded by the Dutch Bishop's Conference and mandated by the government, reported on Monday that the girls were molested by members of the clergy in their homes or in churches.

According to the report, they suffered physical abuse and intimidation at the hands of nuns at young women's homes.

The committee said around 40 percent of the girls interviewed in the study, led by former Hague mayor Wim Deetman, had been raped by priests or deacons.

In December 2011, the preliminary results of the investigation mainly focusing on children estimated that up to 20,000 of them were harassed at Catholic boarding schools between 1945 and 2010, and "several tens of thousands" faced abuse of some kind.


5 ways privatization is poisoning America

© A.Wurker
We all live better lives when the common good is not for sale. March 10, 2013 |

It gets more maddening every day. Essential human needs are being packaged into products to be bought and sold. The right to food and water, education, health care, public spaces, and unrestricted speech shouldn't be based on who can pay the most, or on who can generate profits with the slickest marketing pitch.

The free-market capitalism that drives our economy is a doctrine of individuals pursuing profit. Nothing else matters. An executive for Roche, a healthcare company, said "We are not in the business to save lives, but to make money."

With privatization of the common good we risk losing both our heritage and our humanness.

Alarm Clock

Walmart sued after it mistakes child's bath photos for child porn

An Arizona couple is seeking justice after they were accused of using their three young daughters for child pornography.

The incident occurred in 2008 after A.J. and Lisa Demaree sent a memory stick full of photos to their local Walmart to get them developed. Eight of the 150 photos were of the girls - then ages 5, 4 and 1 ½ - during bath time, which a Walmart worker mistook for child porn and reported to the police. The police, in turn, reported the photos to child services.

"Some of the photos are bathtime photos," Lisa Demaree told ABC News at the time of the incident, "but there are a few after the bath. Three of the girls are naked, lying on a towel with their arms around each other, and we thought it was so cute."


Two men lose their legs after drunk driver rams into them outside strip club

Los Angeles police said that two men needed their legs amputated after being hit and pinned between two cars outside a local strip club following an argument.

KCBS-TV reported on Sunday that the two victims, both Hispanic males, were attacked around 3:30 a.m. following a racially-motivated argument inside the club. Authorities did not identify the victims, a 24-year-old man and a 57-year-old man, but said one needed both his legs amputated above the knee, while the other required a similar procedure for his right leg. Police are deciding whether to treat the incident as a hate crime.

Evil Rays

Half-naked man with assault rifle shoots up bar, killing one in Pennsylvania

A man with at least four weapons - including a military-style M4 assault rifle - is in police custody after he allegedly killed at least one while shooting up a bar in North Fayette, Pennsylvania.

Allegheny County police said that the shooter may have been talking on the phone to his girlfriend at the Fort Pitt Inn before briefly leaving. He later returned to the bar with three weapons and opened fire, according to KDKA.

The station reported that one of the two men who were shot in the neck and head died from his injuries. The other man was at a local hospital in critical condition.


Tennessee 3-year-old shoots self with handgun left out

© Shutterstock
A 3-year-old boy from Manchester, Tennessee was left in critical condition over the weekend after being shot while handling a small gun that an adult left sitting on a nearby counter-top.

Police told NBC affiliate WSMV-TV in Nashville that the child's aunt set her .380 handgun down to tend to her son and simply forgot it, leaving the bathroom while the toddler sat on the floor and his older sister filled a tub for him.

Bizarro Earth

Eleven people shot on D.C. street corner overnight

The Metropolitan Police Department has released surveillance video capturing an early morning drive-by shooting in Northwest D.C. on camera. Eleven people were injured when gunmen opened fire in front of a crowd outside an apartment building.
A drive-by shooting early Monday on a D.C. street corner that has frequently been touched by violence left 11 people wounded, one of them seriously, police said.

Gunmen in two cars opened fire about 2:45 a.m. on a crowd of people outside Tyler House, an eight-story, subsidized residential building on the south side of New York Avenue at North Capitol Street.

The wounded - the youngest of whom was 17 - were struck mostly in the arms and legs, D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said. Assistant Police Chief Peter Newsham said the seriously injured victim was wounded in the back. None of the injuries are considered life-threatening.

Lanier said detectives believe that one of the vehicles involved in the shooting may have been a dark-colored BMW, and the other a may have been a light gray or silver sedan.

Eye 1

Manhunt on for Michael Boysen, Washington man, suspected in his grandparents' murder, police say

© King County Sheriff's Office via KIRO-TVMichael Boysen
Police are searching for a Washington man suspected of double homicide after his elderly grandparents were found dead in their home, CBS affiliate KIRO-TV reports.

King County Sheriff's detectives said 26-year-old Michael Boysen is considered to be "an extreme danger to the public and police" after he allegedly killed his 82-year-old grandfather and 80-year-old grandmother in their Renton home late Friday or early Saturday.

Authorities said Boysen may be seeking to obtain firearms because he was searching for gun shows on the Internet.