Society's ChildS

Bizarro Earth

Shallow Gulf well is source of mysterious oil sheen near Grand Isle, state official says

A large sheen of oil that has confounded the Coast Guard and state officials for days has been traced to a well-capping accident about 20 miles southwest of Southwest Pass, a state official said.

© The Times-Picayune
Meanwhile, environmentalists reported new, unconfirmed sightings Tuesday of what appeared to be surface oil over several miles in Chandeleur Sound, all the way on the other side of the Mississippi River's delta.

A state official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of a continuing Coast Guard investigation, said the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries traced the emulsified oil on the west side of the river to its apparent source at West Delta Block 117. He said tests by a state-contracted lab confirmed that was the source of the oil.

Three discharges of oil from Anglo-Suisse Offshore Partners' Platform E facility were reported to the Coast Guard, records show. The first came Friday, with a report of a "downed platform" and half a gallon of spilled crude during operations to plug and abandon the well.


Strange Smoke Rises From Reactor

Tokyo - A top Japanese official urged residents of the nation's capital not to hoard bottled water Wednesday after Tokyo's government found that radioactive material in tap water had exceeded the limit considered safe for infants.

"We have to consider Miyagi and Iwate and other disaster-hit areas," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said. "I'd like to again urge consumers not to purchase more bottled water than they need."

Earlier Wednesday, Tokyo government officials advised residents not to give tap water to infants or use it in formula after tests at a purification plant detected higher levels of radioactive iodine.

The city's water agency said the spike was likely caused by problems at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, located 240 kilometers (150 miles) away.

Still Tokyo residents made a dash for bottled water.


Japan: Neutron beam observed 13 times at crippled Fukushima nuke plant

Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Wednesday it has observed a neutron beam, a kind of radioactive ray, 13 times on the premises of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant after it was crippled by the massive March 11 quake-tsunami disaster.

TEPCO, the operator of the nuclear plant, said the neutron beam measured about 1.5 kilometers southwest of the plant's No. 1 and 2 reactors over three days from March 13 and is equivalent to 0.01 to 0.02 microsieverts per hour and that this is not a dangerous level.

The utility firm said it will measure uranium and plutonium, which could emit a neutron beam, as well.

Heart - Black

Soldier faces trial in 'sport killing' case

* Spc. Jeremy Morlock faces a maximum sentence of life in prison
* He is part of a larger case involving several soldiers
* They are accused of a conspiracy to kill and cover up, prosecutors say
* Photos were published of what appears to be Morlock posing over dead Afghan civilians

The trial of a soldier accused of killing Afghan citizens for sport is scheduled to begin Wednesday at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington.

Spc. Jeremy Morlock is charged with three counts of murder. He is accused of killing one Afghan civilian in January 2010 with a grenade and rifle; killing another in May 2010 in a similar manner; and shooting a third to death in February 2010.

Morlock is one of two U.S. soldiers who are scheduled to be tried at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Pfc. Andrew Holmes is also facing charges in the case but a start date for his court martial has not been publicly announced.

Both are part of a larger case that involves several other soldiers, all accused of similar killings.


US: 13 Illegal Immigrants Arrested in California Wearing U.S. Marine Uniforms

Border Patrol agents recently arrested 13 illegal immigrants disguised as U.S. Marines and riding in a fake military van, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Tuesday.

The illegal immigrants were clad in Marine uniforms when they were apprehended at the Campo Border Patrol Westbound I-8 checkpoint at 11 p.m. on March 14 near Pine Valley, Calif., border officials said. Two U.S. citizens in the van also were arrested.

After the suspicious white van was subjected to secondary inspection, it was determined that the driver of the vehicle and its front seat passenger were U.S. citizens who were attempting to smuggle 13 illegal immigrants into the United States. All of the vehicle's occupants wore U.S. Marine uniforms, reportedly emblazoned with the name "Perez."

"This effort is an example of the lengths smugglers will go to avoid detection, and the skilled and effective police work and vigilance displayed everyday by Customs and Border Protection personnel," the agency said in a written statement.

The van used in the smuggling attempt, according to California's El Centro Border Intelligence Center, was a privately owned vehicle registered out of Yucca Valley, Calif., and was bearing stolen government plates that had been defaced. The center digit -- 0 -- was altered to read as an 8. Further research through multiple government agencies determined that the plate belonged to a one-ton cargo van registered to the U.S. Marine Corps.

Bad Guys

Nigeria: Trafficking in Human Beings

The Italian ambassador to Nigeria recently claimed that Nigerians constitute one of the largest African migrant groups in his country. In fact, according to various research findings, Nigerian women in particular account for about 90 per cent of all African women in Italy, the vast majority of who are engaged in prostitution. It is uncertain how many of these women are coerced into the trade by bogus claims of well-paid jobs on the part of the traffickers and how many are aware of what they are letting themselves in for, although the increasing publicity surrounding this shameful practice by the federal government on the one hand, and non-governmental organisations on the other, would suggest that the majority are very much in the know.

In amongst all this it was also the case, at least until recently, that fully 80 per cent of these women came from Edo State. One of the main reasons given for this is that businessmen from that state developed links with Italian companies for purposes of trade when the economy was still buoyant, but as the value of the naira continued to slide and the economy worsened they gradually switched to trafficking women. Benin in particular is reputed to have the largest number of trafficking rings, most of which initially recruited young women from the city itself but have since broadened their net to encompass Delta State as well.

All in all, it is reckoned that there are upwards of 10,000 Nigerian prostitutes in Italy, although large concentrations also occur in Belgium, Holland and, to a lesser extent, France and Germany. The cost of trafficking a woman is put anywhere between $8,500 and $14,000. Once delivered, all their documents are seized and they are forced to pay back between $40,000 and $100,000, which can take up to three years. Failure to do so can lead to unpleasant consequences. In one particular case, a woman who escaped back to Nigeria was beaten so badly that she had to be hospitalised for three months. Additionally, her father's house was burnt down. That said, most women work out their time, either because, without papers, they fear deportation, or because they believe that harm will come to them as a result of the oath they were forced to take before they departed Nigeria.


Police arrest 35 outside U.S. military base where Bradley Manning is held

Among those taken away was Daniel Ellsberg, the former military analyst who leaked the Pentagon's secret history of the Vietnam War in 1971

Police in riot gear arrested 35 people yesterday during a demonstration at the U.S. base holding the soldier accused of leaking thousands of confidential memos to the Wikileaks website.

Hundreds of supporters had rallied outside the Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia wearing T-shirts and carrying signs bearing the smiling image of Bradley Manning.

Many sat underneath a yellow banner which read 'Caution: Whistleblower Torture Zone.'

Short scuffles broke out as dozens of officers attempted to push the protesters, some of whom were seated on the pavement, away from the road.

© Associated PressArrested: A women cries as she is handcuffed outside the Army base in Quantico - she was protesting at the treatment of Bradley Manning, the soldier accused of leaking thousands of confidential memos to the Wikileaks website


Letter cites dolphin deaths as part of a "criminal investigation"

Gulfport, Mississippi - The number of dead dolphins washing up along the Gulf Coast continues to climb.

As of Tuesday, 70 dolphins, including 52 calves, have died in Mississippi and Alabama waters. The cause of their deaths remains a mystery, and samples taken from dead animals still have not been tested.

WLOX News has now obtained a letter from NOAA, which we first told you about last week. The letter was sent to marine institutes and orders researchers to hold the samples they've taken until federal officials decide their next step.

The letter cites an active criminal investigation by the Justice Department against BP and others involved in the spill. It also details a civil lawsuit the department has filed, which seeks civil penalties under the Clean Water Act and the Oil Pollution Act.

Click here(PDF) to read the original letter from NOAA.


The Next Nagasaki - Nuclear Fears Stalk The World

A second Hiroshima is happening with the partial meltdowns at Fukushima 1 nuclear reactors. We can only hope the eventual toll in lives comes nowhere near close to that of the world's first atomic catastrophe.

The international community is now asking: Where will be the next Nagasaki?

In the US with its 23 aging reactors of identical design as Fukushima's GE Mark 1 reactors, along with another dozen more of slightly modified design?

In France, the world's most nuclear-dependent country?

Probably not in Germany or Venezuela, which are cutting back their nuclear programs, nor Britain, the world leader in conversion to offshore wind power. Or even China, a solar-energy paragon now scaling back plans for new nuclear plants.

Many people are also wondering: How can the only nation that ever experienced atomic bombings become so trusting in nuclear energy? The answer is both simple and complicated. In the modern economy, the energy to run machines is intertwined with national security, foreign policy and warfare.


Ex-Israeli president gets 7 years in rape case

© Ariel Schalit/APFormer Israeli President Moshe Katsav, center, arrives at a court in Tel Aviv on Tuesday. Katsav is the highest-ranking Israeli official ever convicted of a crime.
Tel Aviv, Israel - An Israeli court ordered former Israeli President Moshe Katsav to prison for seven years Tuesday following his rape conviction, rejecting his attorneys' request for leniency and making him the highest-ranking Israel official ever sent to jail.

The silver-haired Katsav broke down in tears and screamed at the judges: "You made a mistake! It is a lie! The girls know it is a lie!"

In December, the Tel Aviv Disctrict Court found Katsav, 65, guilty of raping a former employee and sexually harassing two other women who used to work for him. He also was convicted of indecent acts and obstruction of justice.

In sentencing the disgraced politician, the court said Katsav's record of public service would not be weighed in his favor, accusing him instead of exploiting his position to become a sexual offender.

The former president, who resigned under public pressure two weeks before his term was to end in 2007, went to trial after rejecting a plea bargain that would have kept him out of jail.

Comment: 7 years at a country club resort doesn't seem like Justice for such a predator. Perhaps he will be in a general population prison with the thousands of Palestinians who've been suppressed for the past five decades. That would be a better sentence.