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Mon, 10 May 2021
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Snakes in Suits

Former aide to Canadian PM fired after child porn comment

Tom Flanagan
© Larry MacDougal/The Canadian Press
Professor Tom Flanagan in his office at the University of Calgary's Department of Political Science.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and Prime Minister Stephen Harper's office quickly distanced themselves from former Harper aide Tom Flanagan on Wednesday after the political commentator said viewing child pornography did not harm others.

Flanagan was a campaign manager and chief of staff for Harper or the Conservative Party at various times before the Conservatives took power in 2006, and has long been a commentator for CBC.

At a seminar at Alberta's University of Lethbridge on Wednesday, he took issue with the Conservative "jihad" on child pornography.

The CBC dumped him as a political commentator and Harper spokesman Andrew MacDougall said his remarks were repugnant and did not reflect the Conservative government's view.

"...you know a lot of people on my side of the spectrum, a certain side of the spectrum, are bent on kind of a jihad against pornography and child pornography in particular, and I certainly have no sympathy for child molesters, but I do have some grave doubts about putting people in jail because of their taste in pictures," Flanagan, a political scientist at the University of Calgary, told the seminar on Wednesday night.

He said there was a real issue as "to what extent we put people in jail for doing something in which they do not harm another person."

Flanagan apologized, but not before the CBC fired him and Alberta's conservative Wildrose Party, for which he was campaign manager last year, said he would have no future role.

Map

Another Newfoundland village set to join hundreds of other abandoned settlements

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Battle Harbour Labrador, in July 2009
Canada - One of the bittersweet aspects of living in Newfoundland is that while people cherish their communities, they're often forced to leave them.

It's always been that way and it marks Newfoundland and Labrador's history deeply.

As the National Post reports, the village of Little Bay Islands now finds itself wrestling with a tough decision: agree to a provincially funded resettlement plan that would pay remaining residents tens of thousands of dollars to leave, or stay to watch their economically bereft community inevitably die.

Despite the riches that offshore oil and gas development have brought in recent years, life on The Rock remains tenuous. Governments have struggled with the issue since before it joined Confederation in 1949.

Wolf

Owner: Dog may have been poisoned at Westminster Kennel Club show

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© The Associated Press
Questions surround the death of three-year-old Samoyed, Cruz.
New York - A dog owner says she thinks there's a chance her prized pet was deliberately poisoned while competing at the Westminster Kennel Club show, causing it to die several days later.

"It is in the realm of possibility," Lynette Blue told The Associated Press on Thursday.

Blue co-owns a 3-year-old Samoyed named Cruz, and said he probably swallowed poison at Westminster earlier this month. Four days after competing, the dog died, on Feb. 16, while at a show in Colorado.

Blue has worked since the 1970s with Samoyeds, a sturdy, medium-sized breed. She said that while there was no evidence foul play was involved, certain symptoms were consistent with dogs who ingest rat or mouse poison. That was the reason she said she decided against a necropsy - an autopsy for animals.

"The timeline adds up. There's no other scenario we can come up with other than poison," she said.

Asked if she thought it was intentional, she said: "I don't think we'll ever know."

The dog's death was first reported by The New York Times.

Blackbox

Living in a box: The desperate workers forced to live in tiny 'coffin' apartments of Tokyo - which still cost up to £400 a month to rent

  • Japanese capital is one of the most crowded cities in the world
  • 'Geki-sema' or share houses are mainly used by young professionals
  • No windows and enough room for one person and a few possessions
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© alfalfa.com
Tight squeeze: A Tokyo local shows a Japanese news crew around her tiny 'coffin apartment'
They are barely large enough for a single person to squeeze into at all, let alone swing a cat.

But incredibly these tiny 'coffin' apartments in central Tokyo still command rents of up to £400 a month.

The Japanese capital is one of the most crowded cities in the world, and to cash in on the chronic housing problem, landlords have developed what are known as 'geki-sema' or share houses.

They are little more than cupboards, tiny cubicles stacked on top of each other with just enough room for one person and a few of their possessions.

Eye 2

New York man charged with killing and dismembering his mother appears in court wearing trash bag

Bahsid McLean, Tanya Byrd
New York - A man charged with killing and dismembering his mother and dumping her body parts in the trash appeared in court Thursday dressed in a garbage bag and said he'd done nothing wrong - even though detectives say they found a cellphone photo of him holding her severed head.

Bahsid McLean, 23, was charged with murder, hindering prosecution and criminal possession of a weapon. According to a criminal complaint, he stabbed Tanya Byrd and then cut up her body with help from an accomplice, William Harris, 26.

Byrd, a 45-year-old home health aide, was last seen alive Monday. Her remains were found a day later stuffed in four plastic garbage bags and scattered along four blocks, police said.

Detectives said they recovered an image on McLean's phone of him holding his mother's severed head.

"I didn't do anything wrong," McLean said during court.

McLean's attorney for the arraignment, Jerry Iannece, said his client wore the bizarre covering because he had been urinating on himself. The shorts he had been wearing were soaked through, so court personnel gave him the trash bag to wear, Iannece said.

Iannece said his client was off his medication but didn't say what type. McLean was held without bail, was placed on suicide watch in protective custody and was undergoing a psychiatric evaluation.

"Everybody's innocent until proven guilty," Iannece said. "Obviously this is a troubling case, but we will investigate and defend it thoroughly."

Padlock

Gunman in New York officer's death gets 45 years to life

Lamont Pride
© The Associated Press
Lamont Pride
New York - A man convicted of firing the shot that killed a policeman during a botched robbery was sentenced Thursday to 45 years to life in prison after the slain officer's loved ones described how he would never walk his four daughters down the aisle or meet his grandchildren.

Lamont Pride, 28, was convicted this month of second-degree murder and manslaughter in the death of Officer Peter Figoski; he was acquitted of a more serious murder charge. But state Supreme Court Judge Alan Marrus sentenced him to the maximum time allowed under the law.

"I want to make it crystal clear," he said, "that it is my intention that the defendant serve this sentence and never get out of prison."

The courtroom was packed with Figoski's family and fellow officers, many of whom wept as the family spoke. The assembled also included relatives of other officers lost in the line of duty: the father and sister of Alain Schaberger, who was shoved to his death while answering a domestic violence call in 2011, and the mother of Russel Timoshenko, who was shot during a 2007 traffic stop.

"When our father died, a part of us died, too," said 15-year-old Corinne Figoski, who spoke through tears along with her three sisters.

"Our dad was our world, our everything," she said. "Nothing will ever be the same again. We lay in bed, in the dark, at night, thinking about all the ways things have changed."

Her sister, Caitlyn, 19, said they'll miss being walked down the aisle by him, "something every father and every daughter dream of."

"Our father will never see us grow into the strong, independent women he wanted us to be," she said.

Heart - Black

Jody Arias weeps as testimony turns to killing of lover

Jodi Arias
© The Associated Press
Jodi Arias walks off the witness stand during the Jodi Arias trial at Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013.
Phoenix - Jodi Arias sobbed uncontrollably Thursday, burying her face in her hands as a prosecutor relentlessly questioned her about the day she stabbed and shot her lover to death then methodically went about covering her tracks.

"Ma'am, were you crying when you were shooting him?" prosecutor Juan Martinez snapped.

"I don't remember," Arias replied, weeping.

"Were you crying when you were stabbing him?" Martinez asked.

"I don't remember," Arias said softly.

"How about when you cut his throat, were you crying then?" the prosecutor asked loudly.

It was the most dramatic day of testimony in the widely watched death penalty trial that has captured headlines nationwide for weeks with salacious tales of raunchy sex, betrayal and a bloody killing.

Arias, 32, is charged in the June 2008 death of her lover in his suburban Phoenix home. She says she was forced to fight for her life after Travis Alexander attacked her, but police say she planned the killing in a jealous rage. Arias initially told authorities she had nothing to do with Alexander's death, then later blamed it on masked intruders before settling on self-defense.

Testimony resumes next week after Martinez concluded his cross-examination Thursday.

Cloud Grey

States of mind: 10 most depressing states in the U.S.

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On its own, where you live isn't enough to make you depressed. Personal circumstances and genes also play an important role in mental health, so an area that feels like a downer to one person may be home sweet home to another.

That said, mental distress is unusually and persistently common in some states, whether due to economic troubles, lack of access to health care, or other factors.

Syringe

'Disabled children cost too much and should be put down': Calls for UK councillor to stand down after outrageous rant

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Councillor Collin Brewer's remarks were described as 'depraved' but he is refusing to quit
  • Cllr Collin Brewer refuses to quit and has apologised to Disability Cornwall
  • Told BBC radio that the timing wasn't good because of upcoming elections
  • Charity says his apology was an insult and he should quit his post
  • Defended himself by saying he was 'hot under the collar' after a meeting
  • Mr Brewer forced to write apology a year and a half after offensive remark
  • 97 per cent of people in local paper poll say Mr Brewer should resign
  • Katie Price tweeted 'How would you like to dispose of my son Harvey???'
  • Cornwall Council distanced itself from Mr Brewer's 'ignorant' comment
A councillor told a charity worker who helps youngsters with special needs that 'disabled children cost the council too much money and should be put down'.

Collin Brewer, 68, an independent councillor at Cornwall Council, has refused to stand down after making the 'depraved' remark to the member of a charity during an information event.

What he said has received wide-spread condemnation including that of Katie Price whose son, Harvey, is severely disabled.

Mr Brewer admitted that he made the comment to 'provoke a reaction' and has now been forced to apologise in writing for the offensive remark.

Wolf

Animal obesity a growing problem in the U.S.


  • Los Angeles - Much like their human owners, animals have to deal with unwanted weight, too.

    KCAL9's Sibila Vargas reported that animal obesity is an epidemic across the country with more than 50 percent of pets now overweight.

    Natasha, who owns an adorable dog named Colonel, said she knows her furry friend has overindulged in food.

    "Every time he goes up the stairs, he expects a treat. You spoil them and then you don't realize what you're doing," she said.

    For the past few months, Natasha has been working with Dr. Jeff Werber, a Los Angeles veterinarian, to help her dog lose those stubborn extra pounds.

    Werber said cutting calories is the key.

    Comment: Animal obesity is a serious issue, but one that is easily solvable by switching your furry friend's diet to an all-meat diet. Contrary to popular belief fruits, veggies, grains, and other additives that are put in brand name pet food are very harmful to animals. Those harmful ingredients go against the animal's carnivorous nature. They need meat, much like us humans! For more information on all-meat diets for your furry friend, please read:
    Feeding Your Cat: Know the Basics of Feline Nutrition
    Doctor J.com for information on Canine nutrition
    and
    Raw Meaty Bones.com