Society's ChildS


US, Arizona: SWAT Team's Shooting of Marine Causes Outrage

© The Associated Press/Matt YorkIn this photo taken June 9, 2011, a portrait of Marine Jose Guerena Ortiz sits on display in the window of his home in Tucson, Ariz. Guerena was shot and killed on May 5, 2011, by the Pima County Sheriff's Department. The Sheriff's Department said its SWAT team was at the home because they suspected Guerena of being involved in a drug-trafficking organization that specialized in ripping off smugglers. The SWAT team fired 71 times, riddling Guerena 22 times, while his wife and child cowered in a closet.
Jose Guerena Ortiz was sleeping after an exhausting 12-hour night shift at a copper mine. His wife, Vanessa, had begun breakfast. Their 4-year-old son, Joel, asked to watch cartoons.

An ordinary morning was unfolding in the middle-class Tucson neighborhood - until an armored vehicle pulled into the family's driveway and men wearing heavy body armor and helmets climbed out, weapons ready.

They were a sheriff's department SWAT team who had come to execute a search warrant. But Vanessa Guerena insisted she had no idea, when she heard a "boom" and saw a dark-suited man pass by a window, that it was police outside her home. She shook her husband awake and told him someone was firing a gun outside.

A U.S. Marine veteran of the Iraq war, he was only trying to defend his family, she said, when he grabbed his own gun - an AR-15 assault rifle.

What happened next was captured on video after a member of the SWAT team activated a helmet-mounted camera.

The officers - four of whom carried .40-caliber handguns while another had an AR-15 - moved to the door, briefly sounding a siren, then shouting "Police!" in English and Spanish. With a thrust of a battering ram, they broke the door open. Eight seconds passed before they opened fire into the house.

And 10 seconds later, Guerena lay dying in a hallway 20-feet from the front door. The SWAT team fired 71 rounds, riddling his body 22 times, while his wife and child cowered in a closet.

"Hurry up, he's bleeding," Vanessa Guerena pleaded with a 911 operator. "I don't know why they shoot him. They open the door and shoot him. Please get me an ambulance."


US: County places obese Cleveland Heights child in foster care

© Plain Dealer fileEven though the state health department estimates more than 12 percent of third-graders statewide are severely obese -- that could mean 1,380 in Cuyahoga County alone -- this is the first time anyone in the county or the state can recall a child being taken from a parent for a strictly weight-related issue.

Cleveland, Ohio -- An 8-year-old Cleveland Heights boy was taken from his family and placed in foster care last month after county case workers said his mother wasn't doing enough to control his weight.

At more than 200 pounds, the third-grader is considered severely obese and at risk for developing such diseases as diabetes and hypertension.

But even though the state health department estimates more than 12 percent of third-graders statewide are severely obese -- that could mean 1,380 in Cuyahoga County alone -- this is the first time anyone in the county or the state can recall a child being taken from a parent for a strictly weight-related issue.


CNN: Hypno-programmed RFK assassin Sirhan Sirhan seeks prison release

Sirhan Sirhan
© CNNSirhan Sirhan is taken into custody after the fatal shooting of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy in 1968
Sirhan Sirhan, convicted of the 1968 assassination of presidential candidate Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, should be freed from prison or granted a new trial based on "formidable evidence" asserting his innocence and "horrendous violations" of his rights, defense attorneys said in federal court papers filed this week.

In a U.S. District Court brief, Sirhan's lawyers also say that an expert analysis of recently uncovered evidence shows two guns were fired in the assassination and that Sirhan's revolver was not the gun that shot Kennedy.

Attorneys William F. Pepper and Laurie D. Dusek also allege that fraud was committed in Sirhan's 1969 trial when the court allowed a substitute bullet to be admitted as evidence for a real bullet removed from Kennedy's neck.

The attorneys further assert that Sirhan was hypno-programmed to be a diversion for the real assassin and allege that Sirhan would be easily blamed for the assassination because he is an Arab. Sirhan, 67, is a Christian Palestinian born in Jerusalem whose parents brought him and his siblings to America in the 1950s.

Sirhan "was an involuntary participant in the crimes being committed because he was subjected to sophisticated hypno programming and memory implantation techniques which rendered him unable to consciously control his thoughts and actions at the time the crimes were being committed," court papers said.

Comment: For an in-depth analysis of the RFK assisination read:
The assassination of Robert Kennedy, Part 1
The assassination of Robert Kennedy, Part 2 - Thane Eugene Cesar
The assassination of Robert Kennedy, Part 3 -- The woman in the polka dot dress
The Assassination of Robert Kennedy, Part 4 -- Deeper Down the Rabbit Hole
The Assassination of Robert Kennedy, Part 5 - Sirhan Sirhan


US, Illinois: Four People Killed in Plane Crash in Suburban Chicago

© The Associated Press
Four people were killed when a small plane crashed Saturday morning near Crystal Lake, Illinois, a northwest suburb of Chicago, officials said.

The accident happened at around 10:30 a.m. local time, according to Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory. The Marion Pilots Club Inc. in Marion, Indiana is the registered owner of the plane, according to the FAA registry.

The FAA is still determining the point of departure and the intended destination. All four people on board were killed, Cory said.

The National Transportation Safety Board is leading the investigation into the crash, Cory said.

The Cirrus-SR20 plane was flying by "visual flight rules" or VFR, which means looking out the window, so the pilot was not talking with air traffic control, Cory said.

Cory said further information about the crash would come from the McHenry County coroner's office, which was not immediately available for comment.


US Social Crisis: 25 Million Unemployed and Underemployed

unemployment line
© n/a
Although America's 25 million unemployed and underemployed could be a powerful force for social change, they aren't combining in any effective way to protest, an eminent business authority writes.

"Activism has given way to acquiescence," writes Louis Uchitelle, even though "unemployment is once again stubbornly high in the aftermath of a recession that has left the economy persistently weak."

Worse for the jobless, unemployment is no longer seen as "a failure of the nation's employers to generate enough demand for workers. That was and still is the reason, but it failed as an explanation and as a prod to action," Uchitelle writes. Instead, "the unemployed are persistently blamed for their own unemployment, which eases pressure on government to help them."

Uchitelle, who covers economics for The New York Times, writes that the commonly held belief about unsuccessful job-seekers today is "if only they acquired enough education and skill" they would be hired.


US, Massachusetts: Man viewed child porn on US flight

© unknown
Police say a man who was viewing child pornography on a domestic airline flight from Salt Lake City to Boston has been arrested.

Massachusetts State Police say 47-year-old Grant Smith was sitting in first class Saturday afternoon when a fellow passenger saw the pornographic images on Smith's laptop and alerted the flight crew.

When the Delta flight landed at Boston Logan International Airport just after 4 p.m., troopers interviewed Smith and subsequently arrested him.

He has been charged with possession of child pornography, and police say additional charges could follow. His bail is set at $15,000. He is scheduled to be arraigned Monday.

Smith was in police custody Saturday night and couldn't immediately be reached for comment.


Chavez brings first shipment of gold to Venezuela from foreign vaults as global economy slides


In August Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez announced that he would be repatriating the foreign-held gold reserves in American and European banks and they received the first shipment of gold from European countries on Friday.

The Venezuelan central bank reports that about $300 million in gold was brought in to Caracas by plane and they plan to bring 160 tons held abroad back to Venezuela. The president of the central bank, Nelson Merentes said that the first shipment came from "various European countries" by way of France and called the arrival of the gold bullion a "historic" moment for his country, according to the Wall Street Journal.


Canada: Occupy Edmonton protestors not giving up

© Evan Klippenstein / CTV NewsOccupy Edmonton protesters clear their belongs from a park in downtown Edmonton on Friday, Nov. 25, 2011.
Despite being evicted from a downtown park, Occupy Edmonton protestors said they still have plenty of ideas to get their voices heard.

"Definitely going to move more into action plans," protestor Mahad Mohammad told CTV News.

Mohammad said they had about 40 more action ideas to keep the movement alive.

"Even if it does break apart I still think we did good things for this city," he added.

On Saturday afternoon some of the activists met outside the park to consider their next move.

They had originally planned to clean up the site but the company that owns the park, Melcor, has fenced it off and added security guards.


Medvedev Suggests Prosecution for Russia Space Failure

© Reuters/Mikhail Klimentyev/Ria Novosti/Kremlin Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev speaks to a group of Russian regional journalists in the Gorki residence outside Moscow, November 26, 2011.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev raised the prospect of criminal prosecution for space mishaps on Saturday following a series of failed launches that have embarrassed Russia.

Earlier this month, a probe designed to bring back soil samples from the Mars moon Phobos got stuck in Earth's orbit, leaving Russia's first interplanetary mission in years with almost no chance of success.

The probe failure came less than three months after a cargo ship carrying food and fuel to the International Space Station burned up in the atmosphere shortly after launch.

"Recent failures are a strong blow to our competitiveness. It does not mean that something fatal has happened, it means that we need to carry out a detailed review and punish those guilty," Medvedev told reporters in televised comments.


US: Occupy Los Angeles, Philadelphia Prepare for Evictions

© David Mcnew/ReutersA man packs his personal belongings next to his tent Saturday in anticipation of a police raid to evict the Occupy LA encampment outside City Hall in Los Angeles. The deadline to vacate is 12:01 a.m. PST Monday.
Anti-Wall Street protesters appear to be taking few steps to vacate their Occupy encampments in Philadelphia and Los Angeles despite fast-approaching deadlines to move out.

Few broke down tents at the Occupy LA spread Saturday on the City Hall lawn - and most said they didn't intend to.

Protesters were abuzz with activity, but nearly all of it was aimed at how to deal with authorities come Monday's 12:01 a.m. PST deadline.

Some handed out signs mocked up to look like the city's notices to vacate, advertising a Monday morning "eviction block party."

Dozens attended a teach-in on resistance tactics, including how stay safe in the face of rubber bullets, tear gas canisters and pepper spray.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced on Friday that despite his sympathy for the protesters' cause, it was time for the camp of nearly 500 tents to leave for the sake of public health and safety.

The mayor said the movement is at a "crossroads," and it must "move from holding a particular patch of park to spreading the message of economic justice."