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Thu, 08 Dec 2022
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Suspect in Dismembering Says He Met Woman Online

© The Associated Press/Butler County Sheriff Department
This undated file photo provided by the Butler County Sheriff Department shows Matthew Puccio. Puccio, 25, is one of five people arrested after the body of 21-year-old Jessica Rae Sacco was found Friday, March 30, 2012 in her Urbana, Ohio apartment. Puccio, who lived with Sacco, is accused of killing her.
US: Urbana, Ohio - A man suspected of stabbing, suffocating and dismembering his girlfriend told a newspaper that he met her through Facebook while looking for new friends and that he met two of his alleged accomplices at a library just three days before the killing.

Matthew Puccio, 25, is among five people charged in connection with the death of 21-year-old Jessica Rae Sacco, whose remains were found in the bathtub of their Urbana duplex apartment in late March, about a week after police believe she was killed. A couple from Fenton, Mich., and two people from Urbana are accused of failing to intervene in the killing and helping Puccio cut off or transport limbs that were dumped in southern Ohio and Kentucky, about 70 to 85 miles away.

In an interview, Puccio said he met Urbana residents Sharon Cook and Christopher Wright at a local library days before the killing, then contacted them afterward and was stunned that they helped him cover it up instead of calling the police, the Springfield News-Sun reported Sunday.

"It shocked the hell out of me," Puccio said. "I figured they'd be the first to call the cops on me."

Puccio said he had met Sacco through Facebook while he was living in Texas. Puccio said Sacco provided support he needed after his former fiancée left him and took two of his children.

Puccio said he and Sacco argued often and that their relationship became more stressed because she didn't get along with Andrew Forney and his wife, the Michigan couple who began living at the home shortly after Puccio moved in last fall.


India Rebels Warn of 'Extreme Steps' Over Italian Captive

© Agence France-Presse
Undated photo shows Italian tour guide Paolo Bosusco (C) posing with tribal women at an undisclosed location in India.
Maoist rebels holding an Italian tour guide hostage in India have threatened "extreme steps" unless their demand for the release of their jailed comrades is met by Tuesday.

The rebels in the eastern state of Orissa did not specify in a tape recording sent to media late on Friday what they might do, but in the past Maoists have mutilated and killed their captives.

It is however the first time that the rebels have targeted foreigners.

"We want a clear-cut written commitment from the government concerning our demands. We won't release the Italian national until then," rebel leader Sabyasachi Panda said in the audio message received by AFP.

Otherwise, he said, they may take "extreme steps".

The Orissa state government has said it will free 27 prisoners in exchange for tour guide Paolo Bosusco and a local lawmaker who is being held in another part of the state by a separate branch of the rebels.

But the Maoists have rejected the list of prisoners the government has offered to free, saying the names do not include those insurgents the group wants released.


Ban on Gideon Bible Handout at Public Schools Sparks Torrent of Hate Mail

A stack of New Testament Bibles
© Darren Calabrese/Guelph Mercury
A rural Ontario public school board's decision to ban distribution of Gideon Bibles to its young students has unleashed a torrent of threatening calls and hateful emails directed at trustees.

Some messages to the Bluewater District School Board express racist sentiment and question trustees' patriotism.

"When are you 'politically correct' idiots, with your heads buried in the sand, going to realize that every action you take to destroy Canadian heritage ...?" one email began.

"Allowing newcomers to Canada the ability to walk all over our heritage has got to stop before they carry us into the realm of a warring nation like the one they often left behind," another writer said.

The invective has unnerved some trustees as they prepare to formalize the ban on distribution of all noninstructional religious materials prompted by a parent's complaint about the decades-old tradition of offering free Gideon Bibles to Grade 5 students.


Hi-Tech Scams Target Superannuation

© Adelaide Now
Superannuation investment scams have cost Australians $113 million in just one year.
A new wave of highly sophisticated superannuation investment scams has conned more than 2400 Australians out of $113 million in just one year.

Authorities have warned the growing threat - in which hi-tech fraudsters are convincing people on the verge of retirement to invest their savings - is unprecedented in its professional nature.

Individual losses have ranged from $35,000 to more than $4 million, with some victims losing all their retirement funds.

The scammers pose as legitimate investment companies, setting up call centres, professional websites and business structures.

The Australian Crime Commission has formed a national joint agency taskforce to target the scams after they were uncovered in South Australia last April.

SA Police identified five SA victims and notified the ACC, which says the sophisticated structures are able to trick even the most experienced of investors.

"In many cases, victims of these investment scams have a high financial awareness, are well educated and have invested before," the ACC said in a statement.


Greek protesters hit news anchor with eggs and yogurt live on air


Any television anchor would be hard pressed to find a more unfortunate experience than one endured by a Greek anchor Friday evening, as a group of protesters broke on set and fired eggs at him during a live telecast.

According to GreekReporters.com, anchor Panagiotis Bourchas was pelted with eggs and yogurt by protesters upset over him hosting a spokesperson from the far-right political organizations Golden Dawn.

Amazingly enough, Bourchas showed no signs of panic despite the barrage, calmly taking all the eggs thrown at him while remaining on set. The anchor talked to his viewers before signing off.

Heart - Black

10 Unbelievably Appalling Things America Does to Homeless People

homeless eviction
© Unknown
No population has their human and civil rights so casually and routinely trampled as do homeless Americans.

For decades, cities all over the country have worked to essentially criminalize homelessness, instituting measures that outlaw holding a sign, sleeping, sitting, lying (or weirdly, telling a lie in Orlando) if you live on the street.

Where the law does not mandate outright harassment, police come up with clever work-arounds, like destroying or confiscating tents, blankets and other property in raids of camps. A veteran I talked to, his eye bloody from when some teenagers beat him up to steal 60 cents, said police routinely extracted the poles from his tent and kept them so he couldn't rebuild it. (Where are all the pissed-off libertarians and conservatives at such flagrant disrespect for private property?)

In the heady '80s, Reagan slashed federal housing subsidies even as a tough economy threw more and more people out on the street. Instead of resolving itself through the magic of the markets, the homelessness problem increasingly fell to local governments.

"When the federal government created the homelessness crisis, local governments did not have the means of addressing the issue. So they use the police to manage homeless people's presence," Jennifer Fredienrich told AlterNet last year. At about the same time, the arrest-happy "broken windows theory," which encourages law enforcement to bust people for "quality of life" crimes, offered ideological support for finding novel ways to legally harass people on the street.


The Pagan Origins of Easter


The Goddess Ostara by Johannes Gehrts
Though it is one of the most sacred days on the Christian calendar, the trappings of Easter are derived from pagan practices.

To the casual observer, the two aspects of Easter seem somewhat incongruous. On the one hand is the secular holiday, where children hunt for brightly colored eggs in the grass and receive candy and toys in baskets brought by an anthropomorphic rabbit. On the other hand is the religious observance, where the Christian faithful mark the miraculous resurrection of their savior. While the two sides seem to have nothing at all in common, they begin to make greater sense when one considers the pagan roots of the holiday.

Fertility Goddesses

The word Easter itself is likely derived from Eostre, the Saxon mother goddess, whose name in turn was adapted from Eastre, an ancient word for spring. The Norse equivalent of Eostre was the goddess Ostara, whose symbols were an egg and a hare, both denoting fertility. Festivals honoring these goddesses were celebrated on or around the vernal equinox, and even today, when Easter has supposedly been Christianized, the date of the holiday falls according to rather pagan reckonings, i.e. on the Sunday following the first full moon after the vernal equinox.

Bunnies, Eggs and Lilies

Rabbits, of course, are a potent symbol of fertility due to their prodigious output of young. Eggs, likewise, have always been considered representative of new life, fertility, and reincarnation. Painted eggs, thought to imitate the bright sunlight and gaily colored flowers of spring, have been used in rituals since the days of the ancient Egyptians and Babylonians. Lilies were also seen as fertility symbols because of their perceived resemblance to male genitalia. Even hot cross buns, associated with Lent, derive from the ancient Greeks and Romans, who baked "magic" wheat cakes with crosses scored in the top; two of these cakes were discovered in the ruins of Herculaneum, which was destroyed by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 CE.


Kashmir on Strike after US Sentences Accused Agent

Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai
© STR/AFP/Getty Images
Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai
Srinagar, India - Shops and businesses have been shut in Indian Kashmir during a strike to protest the U.S. prison sentence given to a Kashmir-born man accused of working for Pakistan's spy agency to influence Washington policymakers.

A court in the state of Virginia sentenced Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai of the Kashmiri American Council to two years in prison on March 30. He admitted he concealed financial links to Pakistan's spy agency while he presented himself as an independent voice on Kashmir's behalf.

Saturday's strike was called by a top Kashmiri separatist leader. Syed Ali Shah Geelani called the U.S. court decision unfortunate and extreme.

Public transport was off the roads and schools were closed in Srinagar, the main city in Kashmir.


Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness- Part III: The Corruptibility of Ideology

After having read Part I and Part II of this three part series, the reader may be under the impression that I am somehow suggesting that in order to get things back on track for the world economy, politics, society, and the environment, etc., that we must return to good-old-fashioned values, like those that our forefathers so eloquently proclaimed and sacrificed to achieve. If you've come to that conclusion, I'd say that is to be expected. After all, we are all looking for the answer to the riddle of the times, and we are all turning to what we've been conditioned by societal life to admire: namely those good-old-fashioned ideals - or at least good "new" ideals that reflect our societally established values.

For instance: the ideals propounded in the US Declaration of Independence were no less than glorious! And most Americans naturally feel great pride when reminded of them. Indeed, it's a marvelous document, complete with some of the greatest and most attractive ideals ever put to parchment. The problem isn't the beautiful Truth expressed; the problem is that it was a lie! That's right! You've been tricked, we all have, for well more than two centuries now! We were spoon-fed a fantastic truism whose exemplification was found only in the illustrious patriotism of folklore. The myth of the American Dream was predicated foremost on the promise of humankind's natural, unalienable equality and freedom. It was a Truth never delivered, paralleled in deceit only by its utter impudence.
"America began with the invasion of a populated continent, and the genocide of its people. Once entrenched, it embraced enslavement of another race. With those pillars of State in place it declared itself an independent nation in a testament that proclaimed the equality of all mankind. In that monumental act of hypocrisy, America's myth had its genesis." ~Paul F. Edwards & Lanny Cotler, ClassWarFilms
But this series of essays isn't really about the failure of the US to uphold it's founding ideals, nor is it an attempt to expound the problems caused as a result, or the solutions to those problems. I know it may seem that way with just a quick read through Part I and Part II, and what you have read here so far, but if I may rouse the reader to take a closer look, to contemplate the hard ground of what I'm getting at, you will see that what I am really saying is that our problems (not just the big ones; not just the impending global nightmare we face)
essentially stem from our inability to distinguish Truth from our ideas - even our very best ideas. This series is about our deeply embedded attachments to the ideas and ideals that provide comfort and solace in an otherwise uncertain, unfamiliar, and thereby, disagreeable reality - enabling us to ignore the most obvious, underlying constructs of our Reality (including, but certainly not limited to, our unalienable Right to Liberty, Equality and Happiness). It's about peeling back the felicitous yet fundamentally untrue veil disguising who we really are. As such, I am not here to present you with "new" or "better" ideas to worship and identify with; I am here to burst your bubble, to show you why the ideas are unreliable to begin with - always have been, always will be.

What do I mean? Well, observe that all we have to do to have peace and harmony on Earth is to agree with each other. If we can only agree, we'll be just fine!

Now I've got you laughing good and hard, right? You see? We can't agree with one another because we all have different ideas of how things should be - irrespective of how they actually are. The world is what it is; Truth IS what it IS; it's just our ideas about the world and about Truth that are different. Unless we all have exactly the same idea, we can't seem to coincide in thought. We can agree that up is up and down is down; that the sky is blue and the grass is green, but get anymore complex than that and worlds collide. We could fill the heavens with the breath wasted on the senseless bickering originating from differing opinions both vast and subtle. Even folks who basically believe the same thing can't see eye to eye on grounds as trivial as rudimentary semantics or who's interpretation ought to be considered "official". Observe, for example, that there are roughly 38-thousand different denominations of Christianity - one idea, 38-thousand "official" ways of seeing it.


Nigeria Bombing Near Church 'Kills 20'

© Agence France-Presse/Aminu Abubakar
Residents speculated that the explosives were placed in a badly-mangled car.
Kano, Nigeria - A large bomb exploded near a church in the northern Nigerian city of Kaduna as Easter Sunday services were being held, killing at least 20 people, a rescue official said on condition of anonymity.

"Now we have 20 dead from the twin explosions," said the official who was not authorised to speak publicly.

Residents suggested the explosion was caused by a car bomb parked outside the church, in a stark reminder of Christmas Day attacks in Nigeria that left dozens dead.

A spokesman for the national emergency management agency said most of the victims appeared to be motorcyle taxi drivers who were in the area at the time.

Police confirmed the explosion was a bomb, but did not comment further.

"We have a bomb explosion. We are trying to sort things out," police spokesman Aminu Lawal told AFP.