Society's ChildS


Surprise surge for hard left could scramble French election results

french elections 2012
© UnknownAn opinion poll published yesterday put Mr Mélenchon, 60, in third place with 15 per cent of the vote
Three weeks from the first round of voting, a surge in support for the hard-left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon threatens to scramble forecasts for the French presidential elections.

An opinion poll published yesterday put Mr Mélenchon, 60, in third place with 15 per cent of the vote - the highest for a candidate of the anti-capitalist left since the heyday of the French Communist party 30 years ago.

The rise of Mr Mélenchon, a kind of Gallic George Galloway who fulminates eloquently against the mainstream élites of both centre-right and centre-left, has relegated Marine Le Pen's far right National Front into fourth position. For President Nicolas Sarkozy and his principal challenger, the Socialist candidate François Hollande, the emergence of Mr Mélenchon is a double-edged sword - helpful but dangerous.

Yesterday's poll by LH2 for Yahoo! showed Mr Hollande retaining a narrow lead of 28.5 per cent to Mr Sarkozy's 27.5 per cent in the first round on 22 April. Other recent polls have suggested that Mr Sarkozy, boosted by his hard-right rhetoric and exploitation of the Toulouse murders, has taken a one or two-point first-round lead.

All polls still show Mr Hollande winning the two-candidate run-off on 6 May by a 10-to-six point margin.

But two factors threaten to throw the machinery of electoral strategy and political forecasting into a spin: the growing disenchantment of the French electorate with all mainstream politicians and a campaign that has failed to grapple convincingly with national, European and global economic crises.

Cell Phone

George Zimmerman Was Not The One Crying for Help to 911, Experts Say

George Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin
© unknownGeorge Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin
A forensic voice identification expert who analyzed the recordings said "without a doubt" that Trayvon Martin was the one screaming.

George Zimmerman, the man who shot and killed 17-year-old teen Trayvon Martin in Florida last month, was not the one screaming for help on the 911 tapes of the incident, according to two forensic experts who analyzed the evidence.

Trayvon Martin's family has insisted from the beginning that their son was the one heard screaming on the recordings, though Zimmerman's family disagreed, Slate reported. Zimmerman has claimed he shot Martin as an act of self-defense, and told police he was the one screaming for help.

Tom Owen, a forensic consultant and chair of the American Board of Recorded Evidence, used voice identification software to analyze the tapes at the Orlando Sentinel's request. Ed Primeau, a Michigan-based audio engineer and forensics expert, also examined the 911 recordings using different techniques. Both experts concluded that the voice calling for help is not Zimmerman, according to the Sentinel.


Parents in shock as priest displays gay porn images

Northern Ireland - A priest has denied knowing how gay porn images appeared on a screen during a presentation he was giving to parents of children preparing for First Communion.

Fr Martin McVeigh was setting up the PowerPoint display when the explicit sex scenes flashed up on the screen.

He was about to give a talk to the parents of First Communicants but abandoned the presentation after the pornographic images appeared.

One of those present said the pictures appeared on the screen after the priest put a USB memory stick into the computer at St Mary's School in Pomeroy, Co Tyrone.

"There were plenty of shocked faces. There's a lot of parents very angry about it."


Chinese Woman Giving Baby Away Online Outrages Everyone

© MinyanvilleAs is.

Last week, Time Magazine reported on a study out of China and the University of Toronto that attempted to quantify babies' cuteness. Apparently, kids stop being cute -- or at least "drop whatever you're doing to coo at them" cute -- at around four and a half years old.

With puberty impending, it's all pretty much downhill from there.

Perhaps having heard about the study, and not wanting to miss the window, a new mother in China has put her two-month-old child up for adoption on a second-hand goods website. To be clear, the second-hand goods carried on the site are not usually babies.

The Atlantic reports that the baby is listed as a "99 percent new, 100 percent free item." There's also a pretty cute picture but so far, no takers.

Although it sounds like a joke -- especially the 99 percent new part -- at this point the evidence suggests that this mother is real. According to the story, the woman, who is from Guangzhou, is in the middle of a divorce and does not feel capable of raising a child on her own. Lawyers contacted by Sina News have pointed out that she cannot give the baby away without its father's permission.

Eye 1

Drones coming to a sky near you as interest surges

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) - Sharp-eyed dog walkers along the San Francisco Bay waterfront may have spotted a strange-looking plane zipping overhead recently that that looked strikingly like the U.S. stealth drone captured by Iran in December.

drones in US skies
© Eric Risberg/APIn this March, 28, 2012, photo, Mark Harrison, right, and Andreas Oesterer, left, prepare their drones for a flight over a waterfront park in Berkeley, Calif.
A few key differences: The flying wing seen over Berkeley is a fraction of the size of the CIA's waylaid aircraft. And it's made of plastic foam. But in some ways it's just like a real spy plane.

The 4 1/2-foot-wide aircraft, built by software engineers Mark Harrison and Andreas Oesterer in their spare time, can fly itself to specified GPS coordinates and altitudes without any help from a pilot on the ground. A tiny video camera mounted on the front can send a live video feed to a set of goggles for the drone's view of the world below.

"It's just like flying without all the trouble of having to be up in the air," Harrison said.

Heart - Black

Ohio Woman Stabbed, Suffocated, Dismembered, and Parts of Remains Taken to Kentucky.; 5 Arrested

© unknownFrom left, Matthew Starr Puccio, Andrew Peter Forney, Kandis Jenniene Forney, Christopher Wright and Sharon Cook have been arrested in connection to the brutal murder of Jessica Rae Sacco
US: Urbana, Ohio - Five people have been arrested in connection with the death of an Ohio woman who police said was stabbed, suffocated and dismembered in a bathtub before some of her remains were taken to Kentucky.

Jessica Rae Sacco, 21, was found dead Friday in her apartment in Urbana, about 40 miles northwest of Columbus. Authorities arrested five people Saturday, including a 25-year-old man who lived at the same address as Sacco. He's charged with murder, assault, abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence.

"We believe that he stabbed her, and then subsequently suffocated her by placing a bag over her head," police Chief Matt Lingrell told WDTN-TV. The station said police described the murder suspect as Sacco's on-again-off-again boyfriend. His bond is more than $530,000.

He was arrested in Hamilton along with a man and woman from Fenton, Mich. Felony charges against the Michigan couple and a man and woman from Urbana allege they failed to intervene during the killing or helped to hide it, police said.


Willie Brigitte arrested in French terror crackdown

© unknownWillie Brigitte
A man convicted of plotting to attack the Lucas Heights nuclear research facility outside Sydney is among 17 people arrested in a French crackdown on suspected Islamist networks.

Willie Brigitte was deported from Australia in 2003 after being convicted of the attempted attack.

Brigitte was sentenced to nine years in jail, but allowing for time already spent in custody, he was freed in 2009.

When police raided his suburban home in Paris on Friday morning they did not find any weapons, but they did confiscate his computer and a mobile phone.

France's domestic intelligence unit says those arrested are French nationals involved in "collective war-like training, linked to a violent, religious indoctrination".


Three Bombs in Thailand's South Kill at Least 14

© Sumeth Panpetch/Associated PressThai fire fighters and soldiers walk at the site of the car bomb attack in Yala province, in southern Thailand, Saturday. Suspected Muslim insurgents set off co-ordinated bomb blasts as shoppers gathered for lunch Saturday in a busy hub of Thailand's restive south.
Three car-bomb attacks Saturday in southern Thailand, which killed at least 14 people and wounded hundreds of others, are propelling a long-simmering Muslim insurgency to a fresh crisis point after years of brutal attacks.

The blasts singled out weekend shoppers and vacationers in bustling commercial zones, a move security analysts said shows that Thailand's southern militants are modifying their targets by searching out higher-profile targets, and turning a low-intensity campaign into a much more dangerous conflict.

National police chief Priewpan Damapong early Sunday confirmed a third car bomb, which triggered a fire at a hotel in Hat Yai city, killing at least three people and badly damaging a McDonald's restaurant.

Security officials blamed the attacks on Muslim rebels seeking to break away from the control of the national government of this predominantly Buddhist nation.

Authorities said the first set of explosives were planted in a parked pickup truck and tore through a street of restaurants and stores in Yala city, the main commercial area in Thailand's three Muslim-majority southern provinces.


Trayvon Martin Case Exposes Worst in Media

Trayvon martin and George Zimmerman
Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman
The Trayvon Martin case has exposed some of the media's worst tendencies--selective editing, rushing to judgment, stoking anger for ratings and page views--and it's taken more than fake photos, the incendiary stumbles of Geraldo Rivera and Spike Lee and verbal clashes between Piers Morgan and Toure to shine a light on them.

Here are three recent, troubling examples:
  1. After ABC News aired surveillance video of George Zimmerman, Martin's shooter, entering a police precinct without any apparent injuries, the Daily Caller treated the tape like a Zapruder film, enhancing still images from the video and concluding that it found "what may be an injury to the back of his head." The site's photo "analysis" of the back of Zimmerman's head--replete with yellow Photoshopped arrows--"indicates what appears to be a vertical laceration or scar several inches long."

    Keep in mind, this is the same Daily Caller that published 152 pages of what the conservative site claims were Martin's tweets--which, if they were, prove that Martin was a pretty typical high school male, preoccupied with girls, sex and getting out of class early.

Cell Phone

Students Face School Punishment for Facebooking, Tweeting

© Agence France-Presse
Philippine girl banned from graduation, Indiana student expelled for using social media outside of school

We've all been cautioned about bosses or potential employers looking at our social media activity, but now some schools are taking drastic steps after students post items they don't like.

A 16-year-old girl in the Philippines is being banned from her graduation ceremony for posting pictures on her Facebook page. In the photos she posed in a bikini while holding a cigarette and a liquor bottle. The girl, who attends the St. Theresa's College High School in central Cebu City, will graduate, but she can't take part in the ceremonies, reports the Associated Press.

The mother is suing the private school and calling the punishment "too harsh" and "unjust," according to Asia One.

But it isn't just Facebooking outside of school that can land students in trouble. A high school senior in Indiana has been expelled for using swear words in an off-school hours tweet. Yahoo! News describes the tweet as "non-threatening," but it did drop a number of F-bombs. The school discovered the late-night tweet because its computer system tracks the students' social media presence.