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Rich Keep Raking it in While the 99.9% Struggle: Net Worth of America's 400 Richest Grows to $1.7 trillion

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The United States may be in crisis, but the rich keep getting richer. The net worth of the Forbes 400 richest Americans grew by 13 per cent in the past year to $1.7 trillion, as the gap between rich and poor continues to widen at a staggering rate.

The average net worth of the 400 wealthiest Americans shot up by $400 million to a record $4.2 billion, Forbes said, serving to underscore glaring wealth inequality in America.

Bill Gates, the chairman of Microsoft Corp, is one year shy of topping the list for two decades straight with $66 billion, a massive $7 billion hike from the previous year.

Warren Buffet, the American investor who likely became infamous amidst the uber-rich for proposing a tax hike on the wealthy, somewhat ironically trailed Gates with $46 billion. Larry Ellison, the cofounder and CEO of Oracle, clinched third with $41 billion - up $8 billion from last year. Charles and David Koch, the energy and chemical magnates notorious for bankrolling scores of right-wing advocacy groups, came in fourth and fifth respectively with $31 billion each.

The top five remain unchanged from last year, though collectively they are much richer: all five men are worth $34 billion more than in 2011.

Bizarro Earth

1 shot, 11 injured in California Prison Riot

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A riot Wednesday at a California prison holding many of the state's most hardened criminals left 11 inmates hospitalized, including one who was shot by correctional officers.

The disturbance inside a yard at the California State Prison, Sacramento in Folsom involved an unknown number of inmates after it broke out shortly after 11 a.m., said Terry Thornton, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

In addition to the inmate who was shot, at least 10 were either stabbed or slashed during the riot, Thornton said. Their conditions have not been released and no other injuries have been reported.

Prison officials still don't know how many inmates were involved nor a possible motive, Thornton added.

It is at least the second known incident within a year at the 2,800-inmate maximum-security facility that opened in 1986 commonly known as New Folsom, due to its proximity to the more well-known Folsom State Prison, located 20 miles east of Sacramento.

Newspaper

Aurora Movie Massacre: Ten New Charges Sought Against James Holmes

Batman-Schütze James Holmes
Denver - Prosecutors have filed a motion to add 10 new charges against accused Colorado gunman James Holmes, arrested following the July movie theater shootings that killed 12 people, and have asked to amend 17 others, the Denver Post reported on Wednesday.

The judge in the case has ordered nearly all court filings be sealed, and it was not clear what the additional charges were from a register of court actions, the Denver Post reported.

The newspaper did note that a separate motion was filed to amend 16 counts of attempted murder and one count of crime-of-violence sentence enhancement against Holmes, although it did not reveal how they would be amended.

Holmes, a former neuroscience graduate student, is accused of opening fire on July 20 at a midnight screening of the Batman movie The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, a Denver suburb. Twelve people were killed and 58 were wounded in the attack.

Reporting by Keith Coffman

Pistol

Police Brutality: Police Officer Shoots and Kills Non-Threatening Chocolate Lab

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I am really getting sick and tired of hearing these kinds of stories. What makes this one worse is that it happened in my backyard of Cobb County, Georgia. A Cobb County police officer shot and killed a chocolate lab when responding to a call about a burglary. The problems with this are so numerous it is hard to know where to begin.

First off, there was no burglary. The owner of the home was nervous and in a rush to get to the hospital to see his first grand-kid being born. He was on the phone with the alarm company, but couldn't remember his password to turn it off so he decided to wait for police to arrive. When police did arrive, one officer went around to the back door (apparently proper procedure for a burglary call) and met the "aggressive" chocolate lab named Luke. Luke, based on personal experience with labs, was very excited to see the new person! He barked loudly in excitement and rushed to the officer to play. Instead of playing, he was shot dead.

Second off, the police report contains falsified material! Apparently, the police questioned the sister of Luke's owner who told the police a story about how a chihuahua had bitten her in the past, and explained that Luke would never bite someone under any circumstances. The police report though, states that she said that Luke had bitten her recently, which is absolutely false, yet it helped close the case file as a justifiable shooting.

Arrow Down

Girl Brain-Damaged After Eating KFC Twister Dragged Back to Court as Fast Food Giant Fights $8 Million Ruling

KFC
© Medical Daily
In an ill-advised PR move, fast-food chain Kentucky Fried Chicken is taking a 14-year-old brain-damaged girl and her family back to court. The restaurant wants to get out of paying the family the $8.3 million it was ordered and for their legal bills to be covered.

Monika Samaan's saga began seven years ago. In 2005, she and her family visited a local KFC restaurant near their home in Sydney, where Samaan had a KFC chicken twister. Samaan and her family became ill with salmonella poisoning but she was the only one who did not recover. Samaan's illness was so severe that she slipped into a coma and was hospitalized for several months. Seven years later, the disease has left Samaan unable to speak and confined to a wheelchair.

In April, an Australian court ordered the chicken establishment to pay the family 8 million Australian dollars, or over $8.3 million in damages. As Supreme Court justice Stephen Rothman said in April, Samaan will not be able to have the normal life that it was believed that she would have.

The family, who lives in a modest home in the Sydney suburb of Yagoona, says that Samaan's disability has already depleted their limited resources. Their lawyer said that they are finding it difficult to lift their daughter and care for her basic needs, as well as devote attention to their other children.

Arrow Down

Mother-Of-Three Discovers Her Dead Husband Was Actually Her Father

Rings
© Medical Daily
Imagine the horror a mother-of-three would feel if she found out that her late husband was actually her biological father.

Valerie Spruill of Doylestown, Ohio, said that she only made the devastating discovery through a DNA test after her husband Percy had died, according to the Akron Beacon Journal.

The 60-year-old woman who has three children and eight grandchildren says that she is now telling her story in an effort to find her other sibling from her father.

"It needs to be told, because children need to know where they come from," she said, according to the Akron Beacon Journal. "And I know it hurts, because I have been devastated by this."

Spruill had been raised by her grandparents from 3-months-old and at 9-year-old she found out that the man she thought was her father was actually her grandfather and that a woman named Christine, who had been identified as a "family friend," was actually her mother.

Spruill said that it was revealed to her until later that her mother, who died in 1984, was of three "night ladies" who testified in a 1980 trial of Summit County Probate Judge James Barbuto who was convicted of sex charges.

Info

Gay Party Bad for Feng Shui?

Greene and Eng
© Jena Cumbo/New York Daily News
Newlyweds Barrett Greene and Thomas Eng are suing a restauranteur in the West Village because they say their plans were canceled because they are gay.
The owner of a small chain of Asian restaurants - two in Greenwich Village, of all places - canceled a same-sex wedding party after saying gay and feng shui don't go together, a lawsuit charges.

Newlyweds Barrett Greene and Thomas Eng say the owner violated their civil rights. Greene, 50, is a plumbing contractor from upstate New York, and Eng, 38, is a Manhattan-based computer professional.

They met on a cruise ship in 2004 and had a jet-setting romance before deciding to make it official with a wedding this summer.

They decided to have a rehearsal dinner at Amber Village, and also have their big day catered by the Asian fusion joint at Sixth Ave. and 10th St.

On March 23, Greene met with manager Tommy Ho to plan a rehearsal dinner for 40 and reception food for 200 guests, court papers say. Ho took a $750 deposit for the dinner, charging it to Greene's American Express card.

Exactly a week later, Ho called to say the event might have to be moved to to Amber, a sister restaurant on Christopher St. - a short stroll from the birthplace of the gay pride movement.

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Faith Healing in Oregon Resulted in Son's Death

Brandi and Russel
© Brian Davies/The Register-Guard
Brandi Bellew and her husband Russel Bellew leave a Lane County courtroom Tuesday in Eugene.
Nine months after their teenage son died of an infection from a burst appendix, a Creswell couple who chose prayer over medical care for the boy admitted criminal responsibility for his death.

Russel and Brandi Bellew each pleaded guilty on Tuesday in Lane County Circuit Court to charges of criminally negligent homicide, as part of an agreement with prosecutors.

The Bellews - who are members of a church that generally believes in using prayer instead of modern medicine to treat illnesses - avoided jail in the plea deal, but will spend the next five years on probation. During that time, they will be required to contact a doctor whenever any of their six surviving children suffer from an ailment that causes them to miss school for more than one day.

The Bellews were arrested in February after an autopsy revealed that 16-year-old Austin Sprout had died two months earlier from an infection that resulted from a ruptured appendix. The teen was Brandi Bellew's biological child and Russel Bellew's stepson.

The exact cause of Sprout's death had not been publicly disclosed before Lane County prosecutor Erik Hasselman detailed the case in court on Tuesday.

Sprout, who was a junior at Creswell High School, had been sick with a variety of cold- and flu-like symptoms for about 1½ weeks before he died, Hasselman said.

"The family, through their reliance on faith, ended up praying for his recovery," Hasselman said.

He added that the Bellews and their surviving children - who attend the General Assembly and the Church of the First Born in Pleasant Hill - told investigators that Sprout did not want a doctor to diagnose his illness.

"It appeared that (Sprout) wanted to respect his faith and the manner in which he was brought up," Hasselman said.

But under Oregon law, a person must be 18 or older to make decisions regarding his or her own medical care.

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Man 'Used Witchcraft to Traffic Children' for Prostitution

No Voodoo
© The Consummate Wordpress
An alleged people trafficker cut the chest of a vulnerable 14-year-old girl with a razor during a series of "juju" witchcraft rituals aimed at terrifying young recruits into silence before selling them into prostitution across Europe, a court heard yesterday.

Osezua Osolase recruited and raped impoverished young Nigerian orphans and forced them to undergo West African rituals in which hair, nails and blood were removed to "cast a spell" over them and ensure their obedience, Canterbury Crown Court was told.

Mr Osolase, a Nigerian living in Northfleet, Kent, told one of three young victims - who overheard him trying to sell her off for €70,000 - that he had been bringing girls into Britain for 15 years, the court heard.

The 42-year-old then used a series of fake identities, addresses and falsified passports for the trafficked girls and escorted them on budget airlines to cities in Europe to work in the vice trade, said Ms Sarah Ellis, prosecuting.

The court heard that Mr Osolase, posing as a man named Victor, picked up one homeless 16-year-old girl sleeping rough in Lagos and took her to a "place of witchcraft" in the city to establish his control over her.

The teenager - who had been promised an education in Britain - was given a mixture consisting of what appeared to be blood and cloth and told to bathe in it and wrap the cloth around her. As "Victor" watched, a man cut hair from her armpits, some of her finger and toenails and took blood from her hand, said Ms Ellis.

Book

Young Persons Called to Private Grand Jury for Owning Books

Just a few weeks ago, an FBI task force raided a home* in Portland, Oregon very early in the morning. They broke down the front door with a battering ram and threw in a stun grenade, which is non-lethal but produces a very loud and disorienting noise and a blinding bright light. The team locked down the building and secured the sleepy, compliant occupants. The operation was one of several which also occurred in Olympia, WA and Seattle, WA, involving some 60-80 officers.

Just who were these dangerous criminals, these domestic terrorists whose threat level is so high that an FBI team with stun grenades, battering rams, and assault rifles needed to burst into their homes in the wee hours of the morning?

Why, it's these two young folks,

Leah-Lynn Plante:
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and Matt Duran:

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Reportedly, the FBI search warrant was for black clothing, paint, sticks, computers and cell phones, and 'anarchist materials or literature.' According to an FBI Domestic Terrorism guide published by greenisthenewred.com, "anarchists are criminals seeking an ideology to justify their actions," and are "not dedicated to a particular issue." Common meeting places are "college campuses, underground clubs, coffee houses/ internet cafes." The implication is that owning "anarchist" literature is enough to indicate to the FBI that one is a criminal - even if that person happens to be a student studying political thought. Or maybe particularly if you are a student - the FBI document states that anarchists are "educated persons of various backgrounds, often students."