Society's ChildS


12-Year-Old Girl to be Sentenced for Arson

© CBC NewsThe blaze at the Canada Games Centre in Whitehorse in June 2011 destroyed much of the wall in the back of the centre's Olympic-sized ice arena and caused smoke, soot and water damage throughout the facility.
Canada, Yukon - The lawyer for the second of two young girls to be sentenced for setting fire to the Canada Games Centre in Whitehorse last year says she should never have been charged.

Malcolm Campbell, the 12-year-old girl's lawyer, said at her sentencing hearing Thursday that prosecutors have blown the case out of proportion, and a stern warning or reprimand from a judge would have sufficed for his client.

The 12-year-old girl and a 13-year-old girl both pleaded guilty last fall to charges of arson in relation to the fire which caused $7 million in damage to the sports facility. The girls cannot be named under the terms of the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

Campbell's client had just turned 12 last June when she was out on a Friday night with friends. They engaged in "horseplay" with lighters and set some speed skating mats on fire.


Grass Seeks to Quell Controversy Over Israel Poem as Iran Applauds

Guenter Grass
© The Associated Press/Jens MeyerGerman writer and Nobel Prize laureate for literature Guenter Grass
Berlin - German Nobel literature laureate Guenter Grass, under fire for a poem that sharply criticized Israel, said he was singling out the Jewish state's government, not the country as a whole.

The poem drew sharp rebukes at home and from Israel, including accusations of being anti-Semitic, but Grass received praise from a senior Iranian official Saturday.

In the poem published in European dailies Wednesday, the 84-year-old German author criticized what he described as western hypocrisy over Israel's nuclear program and labelled the country a threat to "already fragile world peace" over its belligerent stance on Iran.

In an interview published Saturday by the daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Grass said he sought foremost to single out Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government, whose policies "are creating ever more enemies of Israel, and are ever more increasing the country's isolation."

"The man who damages Israel the most at the moment is in my opinion Netanyahu - and I should have included that in the poem," Grass was quoted as saying.

The left-leaning Grass established himself as a leading literary figure with "The Tin Drum," published in 1959, and won the Nobel Prize in 1999. He urged fellow Germans to confront their painful Nazi history in the decades after the Second World War.


Asahi TV: "Unbelievable"- If Unit 4 pool gets a crack from quake and leaks, it would be end for Tokyo

The end could come sooner rather than later for Japan
Most discussion of the No. 4 spent fuel pool has focused on an earthquake causing the pool to collapse. This video is different because it reveals:
  1. A crack, rather than the collapse of the pool itself, can be the end of Tokyo
  2. The quake that could put a crack in the pool and be the end of Tokyo does not have to be a large one
  3. The sense of shock when people in Japan are made aware of this information for the first time


Artifacts Worth $3.2 Million Stolen from UK Museum

© unknownChinese artifacts have been stolen from Durham University’s Oriental Museum.
British police say two Chinese artifacts with an estimated combined value of 2 million pounds ($3.2 million) have been stolen from Durham University's Oriental Museum.

Durham police said Saturday that two men and a woman from the West Midlands area have been arrested in connection with the theft.

The police did not further describe the artifacts, which were stolen Thursday night from the museum in northern England, but said they have not yet been recovered.

Light Saber

Poland to Completely Ban Monsanto's GM Corn

Poland will soon implement a total ban on growing the MON810 genetically modified strain of corn made by Monsanto on its territory, according to Agriculture Minister Marek Sawicki.
Poland will impose a complete ban on growing the MON810 genetically modified strain of maize made by US company Monsanto on its territory, Agriculture Minister Marek Sawicki said Wednesday.

"The decree is in the works. It introduces a complete ban on the MON810 strain of maize in Poland," Sawicki told reporters, adding that pollen of this strain could have a harmful effect on bees.

On March 9, seven European countries - Belgium, Britain, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Ireland and Slovakia - blocked a proposal by the Danish EU presidency to allow the cultivation of genetically-modified plants on the continent.

Seven days after that, France imposed a temporary ban on the MON810 strain.

Talks on allowing the growing of genetically-modified plants on EU soil are now deadlocked as no majority has emerged among the 27 member states.


Helen Caldicott: If Spent Fuel Pool No. 4 collapses I am evacuating my family from Boston (VIDEO)



Best of the Web: The Top Short-Term Threat to Humanity: The Fuel Pools of Fukushima

Greenpeace marks anniversary of the Fukushima disaster
The Greatest Single Threat to Humanity: Fuel Pool Number 4

We noted days after the Japanese earthquake that the biggest threat was from the spent fuel rods in the fuel pool at Fukushima unit number 4, and not from the reactors themselves. See this and this.

We noted in February:
Scientists say that there is a 70% chance of a magnitude 7.0 earthquake hitting Fukushima this year, and a 98% chance within the next 3 years.

Given that nuclear expert Arnie Gundersen says that an earthquake of 7.0 or larger could cause the entire fuel pool structure collapse, it is urgent that everything humanly possible is done to stabilize the structure housing the fuel pools at reactor number 4.

Tepco is doing some construction at the building ... it is a race against time under very difficult circumstances, and hopefully Tepco will win.

As AP points out:
The structural integrity of the damaged Unit 4 reactor building has long been a major concern among experts because a collapse of its spent fuel cooling pool could cause a disaster worse than the three reactor meltdowns.

Gundersen (who used to build spent fuel pools) explains that there is no protection surrounding the radioactive fuel in the pools. He warns that - if the fuel pools at reactor 4 collapse due to an earthquake - people should get out of Japan, and residents of the West Coast of America and Canada should shut all of their windows and stay inside for a while.

The fuel pool number 4 is apparently not in great shape, and there have already been countless earthquakes near the Fukushima region since the 9.0 earthquake last March.


Some of the Worst Abuse Ever Seen in a Private Prison

Some of the Worst Abuse Ever Seen

Following on the announcement of the removal of all juvenile prisoners in Mississippi from private prisons, the Department of Justice has just released a report of its findings in investigating the Walnut Grove Youth Correctional Facility, which is run by the GEO Group. Walnut Grove was the target of the lawsuit that resulted in the prohibition on sending juveniles to private prisons, and it turns out the state was more than justified in ordering such a removal. Juveniles incarcerated at the facility were subjected to ongoing sexual misconduct and other forms of abuse; the abuse was "among the worst that [the DOJ has] seen in any facility anywhere in the nation."


Police: Ex-teacher Arrested for Sex Abuse of Minor

© The Associated PressChristopher James Hooker
US: Modesto, California - A former California teacher who made national headlines when he left his job and family to move in with an 18-year-old student was arrested Friday on suspicion of sexually abusing a different student more than a decade ago, police said.

Christopher James Hooker, 41, was arrested for investigation of oral copulation with a minor.

Police said the case stems from a 1998 relationship he had with a 17-year-old student from Davis High School in Modesto, where he once taught.

Hooker appeared in court Friday. A judge set his bail at $50,000 and assigned him a public defender, the Modesto Bee reported.

Hooker requested that his bail amount be reduced, and the judge set a hearing next Tuesday to consider the matter.


Toronto Artist Arrested Based Only on Facebook Photo

© Ashton's blog
Canada - A Toronto artist was arrested, charged with assault and forced to pay $3,000 in legal bills because someone pointed to her photo on Facebook and told police she was the person who assaulted her.

Because of privacy settings, the photo couldn't have been bigger than a thumbnail.

It all started for Lizz Ashton, who tells the Toronto Star she has never been in a fight before, in January when she received an email from Toronto police asking her about an incident at the Piston bar on Bloor St. The incident reportedly took place in November.

Ashton called police who told her a woman was assaulted at the bar and identified her as the assailant after seeing a picture on Facebook. Ashton then went to the police station and showed the police text messages proving she wasn't at the bar when it occurred and said she was with her boyfriend later in the evening.