Society's ChildS


Amanda Knox appeal hears witness was offered sex change cash for evidence

© Franco Origlia/Getty ImagesAmanda Knox sits in Perugia's court of appeal during her appeal with Raffaele Sollecit against their convictions for murdering British flatmate Meredith Kercher in 2007.
Hectic scenes in Italian appeal by two of Meredith Kercher's convicted killers as lawyers swap claims of corrupt evidence

The appeal by Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito against their convictions for killing British student Meredith Kercher has taken a surreal turn with two prosecution witnesses accusing a defence lawyer of offering to pay for a witness's sex change.

In a hectic session, Rudy Guede - the Ivorian already convicted for his role in the 2007 killing - started proceedings by accusing Knox and Sollecito for the first time in court of killing Kercher, prompting Knox to rise and tell the court she was "shocked and anguished" by his accusation. "He knows we were not there and were not involved," she said.

Guede was called from Viterbo jail, where he is serving 16 years, to respond to claims by a fellow inmate that he had confided that Knox and Sollecito had played no role in the murder of Kercher, whose throat was cut in the flat she shared with Knox in Perugia.


U.S. military spends a cool $20billion on air conditioning annually in Iraq and Afghanistan

The U.S. military forks out a whopping $20.2billion a year on keeping troops in Iraq and Afghanistan cool, it has emerged.

The alarming figure is more than Nasa's entire annual budget and trumps the amount the G-8 has pledged to aid Egypt and Tunisia.

It's even more than the clean up cost of BPs Gulf oil spill.


Facebook Hires Hacker George Hotz, iPhone And PlayStation 3 Jailbreaker

george Hotz
© Youtube
If you can't beat 'em, join 'em--or, in Facebook's case, hire 'em full time.

According to TechUnwrapped, Facebook now employs George Hotz, the young hacker who has drawn the legal ire of tech giants Apple and Sony. Hotz, who also goes by the online handle "Geohot," is said to be working at Facebook, possibly on a secretive new iPad app.


US: 23 Hurt as Pennsylvania School Bus Overturns on Interstate

© The Associated Press / Ric DuganA child is taken to an ambulance after a bus and automobile were involved in a crash on Interstate 81 in Chambersburg, Pa.
A school bus transporting children to camp overturned on a rural Pennsylvania interstate Sunday afternoon, injuring nearly two dozen people and closing the northbound highway lanes for hours.

Pennsylvania State Police said the bus from Cumberland Valley Christian School in Chambersburg collided with a passenger vehicle on Interstate 81 at about 4:40 p.m. near Chambersburg.

All of the occupants of both vehicles were taken to hospitals.

State police said 17 adults and children were taken to Chambersburg Hospital, and six other patients were taken to Waynesboro Hospital.

Summit Health spokeswoman Jessica Walter gave slightly conflicting numbers of victims, saying 18 adults and children from ages 9 to 12 were taken to Chambersburg Hospital, and seven other patients were taken to Waynesboro Hospital.

Troopers and Walters said all were reported to be in stable condition and there were no life-threatening injuries. The injuries were described as "minor to moderate."


Mail could resume within days as back to work bill for Canada Post passes

© The Canadian Press / Andrew VaughanA locked out Canada Post employee pickets outside the main postal facility in Halifax on Saturday, June 25, 2011. Canada Post locked out its employees on June 14, after the Canadian Union of Postal Workers held 12 days of rotating strikes. Debate on back-to-work legislation for Canada Post workers, Bill C-6, continues in the House of Commons.
Mail service should resume within days after weary members of the House of Commons ended a 58-hour marathon filibuster by passing back-to-work legislation for locked-out Canada Post employees.

The Conservative benches erupted in cheers and back-slapping as the final vote was held Saturday night, signalling that the official Opposition New Democrats had folded their tent on a decision the party's deputy leader called "pre-ordained."

Prime Minister Stephen Harper emerged from the chamber with Labour Minister Lisa Raitt to say his government had prevailed in the court of public opinion.

"We know what side the public was on and I think today members of Parliament on the other side finally started to get that message," said Harper.

Calling the three days of round-the-clock debate in Parliament "a completely unnecessary delay," Harper said he was "nevertheless pleased that soon Canadians will again have access to their postal service, particularly small businesses and charities."

A special sitting of the Conservative-dominated Senate is expected to give the bill Royal Assent by late Sunday afternoon. It was not immediately clear how soon the mail would start moving as Canada Post would not comment because the bill was still before Parliament.


Canada: Doctor could have licence revoked for second round of alleged sex assaults

An Ontario doctor could have his licence revoked for a second time for allegedly sexually abusing a patient four months after his licence was reinstated following other sexual allegations.

Monday will mark the third time Dr. David Stuart Lambert has appeared before the Ontario medical college's disciplinary committee. In 1991, his licence was suspended for six months after the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario found he made "a series of derogatory and demeaning comments of a sexual nature to patients."

Then in 2002, his licence was revoked after the college found Lambert sexually abused one female patient, made sexual remarks to two others and acted unprofessionally with another by trying to sell her skin care products.


Rare Billy the Kid photograph sold for $2.3 million

© ReutersBilly the Kid is pictured in an undated handout photograph
The only authenticated photograph of infamous Wild West gunslinger Billy the Kid was auctioned off to Florida billionaire William Koch for an $2.3 million on Saturday night.

Koch, an energy company executive and well-known collector of art and American West artifacts, placed the winning bid in person before stunned onlookers at Brian Lebel's annual Old West Auction in Denver.

Lebel said at an auction preview that he expected the tintype image to sell for between $300,000 and $400,000.

Koch told Reuters after the auction that he plans to allow some small museums to display the piece, and after that he will "just enjoy" the iconic piece.

"I love the old West," he said. "This is a part of American history."

The metallic photo, taken outside a Fort Sumner, New Mexico, saloon in late 1879 or early 1880, depicts the outlaw gripping the upright barrel of a Winchester carbine, with a Colt 45 pistol strapped to his hip.


46 Injured After Gas Explosion in Southern Russia

An official says a gas canister explosion at a wedding reception in southern Russia has injured 46 people.

An Emergencies Ministry official in the province of North Ossetia said 11 people are in critical condition after Saturday's blast ripped through a courtyard where guests were assembling.

Ministry spokesman Alexander Andreyev told The Associated Press that the worst cases would be flown to Moscow for treatment.

Russian news agencies said the gas was being used to fuel an outdoor grill.

There was no suspicion of foul play.


Mother Adds Human Face to Wiki Drama

© James Croucher / The AustralianValerie Bader and Darren Weller rehearse for Stainless Steel Rat.
Christine Assange hasn't read the script for the world's first "wikiplay" about her son but she has firm views about its subject matter. "Every piece of misinformation that goes out is another nail in Julian's coffin," she says.

Stainless Steel Rat, by Melbourne playwright Ron Elisha, focuses on eight months in the life of WikiLeaks's Julian Assange.

The central character is played by Darren Weller. Other figures portrayed include Barack Obama, lawyer Geoffrey Robertson and Julian's son, Daniel.

Christine Assange asked, at the urging of her son, to see the script. "Creative objectivity" was the reason she was knocked back. But that's not why she will not be among the audience when the play has its premiere in Sydney next week. "I'm too busy trying to save his life," she says.

Assange is on bail in Britain awaiting the outcome of his appeal against extradition to Sweden, where he faces sexual assault allegations. His mother is certain Sweden would hand him over to the US.


US: Beware of uncivil servants with arms?

© Unknown
Get used to bureaucrats bearing firearms.

The U.S. Department of Education made headlines recently for sending a team of armed agents to execute a search warrant on a Stockton, Calif., man's home in a criminal investigation involving financial aid fraud.

Kenneth Wright was removed from the house in his boxer shorts and handcuffed. His three children were placed in a squad car while agents searched for information regarding his estranged wife, who didn't even live there.

Seemed like heavy-handed behavior for an agency that exists primarily to cultivate a nation of bookworms. But the Department of Education's having at its disposal what amounts to a SWAT team is just one of the vagaries of post-9/11 society.

Believe it or not, Education is one of more than two dozen federal agencies that were granted police powers in a little-known provision of the Homeland Security Act.