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Muffin

Food fraud report reveals rise in manufacturers' cost-cutting measures

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© Photograph: Suzanne Plunkett/Reuters
This tea could contain lawn cuttings or saw dust. And who knows what manner of diluted spices were used in those biscuits?
US organisation tracks increasing reports of watered milk, diluted olive oil and other dangerous substitutes in the food chain.

Some fine wines are complimented for their grassy aroma, but if your cup of tea has that earthy, sweet scent it might be because the tea manufacturer put lawn cuttings in it.

The practice is known as food fraud, and it is used as a cost-cutting measure by food manufacturers. US Pharmacopeial Convention (USP), an independent science non-profit, announced Wednesday that its updated database showed incidences of food fraud increasing dramatically in 2011 and 2012.

This means the instances of food manufacturers doing things such as adding lawn grass and fern leaves to tea is much greater than originally thought.

The database's creator and lead analyst, Dr Jeffrey Moore explained that the database was crafted to help food manufacturers, regulators and others improve the safety of the food supply.

Pistol

The tragic outcome we know Obama's gun control moves will bring

child prisoner
© unknown
School to Prison
The 18th Executive Order signed by President Obama is to provide incentives (and funding) for schools to have police oversee the children. This will create results. Of all the other items concerning background checks and manufacturing specifics for future guns, there is no clear indication that there will be any tangible differences. Gun violence will continue with the 300 million guns in America, and millions more throughout the world. Some people who legally bought guns and have no criminal record or mental health issues will lose their mind and commit a crime. Whether we consider this an acceptable number or not depends as much on the media frenzy as on actual statistics.

School police, known as "Resource Officers" (perhaps for easier digestion) have been key builders of the School to Prison Pipeline. The fistfights and the joint in the bathroom do not result in detention or suspension anymore: now they are imprisonment, expulsion, and an often insurmountable mountain to climb towards any "normal" adult lifestyle. A 2011 report by Justice Police Institute, Education Under Arrest: The Case Against Police In Our Schools, would lead one to believe that the overall damage to a community is not justified by the vague possibility that the school is safer. In fact, there are indications that the police actually lead to increased violence in schools.

Fortunately, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the Advancement Project, and others are mounting a campaign to let the President know what he is doing.

Heart - Black

Afghan rape victim 'attacked again by government workers protecting her'

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© Photograph: Omar Sobhani/Reuters
Hamid Karzai has sent a delegation to investigate the alleged rape in Afghanistan's Daikundi province.
Girl aged 15 says she was raped by employees and security guard at provincial women's affairs department.

A teenage Afghan rape victim who secured a rare conviction of her attacker has said she was assaulted this month for a second time, by a group of government employees tasked with protecting her.

The 15-year-old schoolgirl, from Daikundi province in Afghanistan's freezing, poor central highlands, was first raped four months ago while she was on her way to school, said Nowruz Ali Ataee, head of the provincial criminal investigation department.

In an unusual move for a young girl in conservative rural Afghanistan, where a rape is often considered to bring shame on an entire family, she reported the attack. Equally unusually, for a country that passed a law banning violence against women four years ago but has been slow to implement it, police found and arrested her rapist. He was recently jailed for 16 years and an accomplice was given a five-year sentence.

Pistol

California school district buys 14 military-grade weapons to defend against shootings

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Fontana schools get 14 Colt 6940 rifles
A California school board is being criticized following reports that it approved the purchase of 14 high-caliber rifles to be issued to school police officers responding to campus shootings.

KTLA-TV reported on Wednesday that the Fontana Unified School District bought 14 Colt 6940 rifles at $1,000 apiece to store on campuses around the district. The semi-automatic weapons are used by both law enforcement and U.S. Special Forces.

The purchase was approved by district Superintendent Cali Olsen-Binks last October. According to the Fontana Herald News, school officers received the weapons last month and received 40 hours of training over the winter break to learn how to use them.

Officials said the rifles will be stored in a safe on their respective campuses and will only be used to respond to attacks like the one on Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut last month.

USA

Voice of 'Charlie Brown' charged with stalking

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© Flickr CC
The actor who provided the voice for Charlie Brown in several classic "Peanuts" cartoons was arrested on an outstanding warrant at the U.S.-Mexico border.

The Associated Press reported on Wednesday that 56-year-old Peter Robbins is in custody on suspicion of one count of felony stalking and four felony counts of making criminal threats after being picked up when customs officials discovered Robbins was wanted by the San Diego County Sheriffs Department.

Bizarro Earth

Fox News host slams 'corrupt' climate scientists in argument with radio show caller

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Fox News host Brian Kilmeade
Fox News host Brian Kilmeade trashed climatologists on his radio show on Tuesday after a caller pointed out that the vast majority of climate scientists argue that global warming is, in fact, real.

"You mean the corrupt ones?" Kilmeade asked the caller, who called himself "John." "You mean the corrupt ones who admit they skew their findings?"

"I wish you could read my lips," John shot back. "Ninety-eight percent of the climatologists -"

"In your house," Kilmeade interrumpted. "How do they make their living, climatologists? Their industry has to be addressed. Believe me, for anyone, at the very least, to think it's settled science is a huge leap."

Arrow Down

Facebook apologizes for blocking Gay Marriage USA founder after posting photo of mixed-race couple

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© AFP Photo
Murray Lipp was unable to access service and received notification that photograph of a gay couple was 'offensive'.

Facebook has apologised after it blocked the operator of one of America's leading same-sex marriage campaigns from accessing the service when he posted a photograph of a mixed-race gay couple online.

Murray Lipp, the founder of the Gay Marriage USA Facebook page, which has 300,000 fans, received a notification that the photograph of a gay couple was "offensive". The photograph of the marriage of a bishop at a relatively small Pentecostal church movement with his husband resulted in a number of complaints.

In a message sent to Lipp by the Facebook administrators, he was told that he would be prohibited from posting content on to the Gay Marriage USA Facebook page for a week for breaking Facebook's "policies and community standards".

Airplane

'Prepare to die' t-shirt causes stir on flight

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FAMOUS LINE: Wynand Mullins wearing the T-shirt which caused a stir on a flight to Auckland. A flight attendant approached him saying some people felt intimidated by the words.
For many people it is just a famous, comical quote, but some passengers on a New Zealand-bound flight did not see the funny side in Wynand Mullins' T-shirt, which read "Prepare to die".

In hindsight, Mr Mullins says his T-shirt, with a popular quote from the fantasy film The Princess Bride, may not have been the best clothing choice for a flight, but he believes the reaction of Qantas was over the top.

Mr Mullins, a Kiwi living in Sydney, was one of the first to board his Auckland-bound flight on Sunday evening. While other passengers took their seats, Mr Mullins was approached by a flight attendant who said some people on board were intimidated by the words on his shirt.


Hotdog

Japanese eatery serves $110 dirt meals

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© ABC News
Next time you eat something that "tastes like dirt," it may very well be. Ne Quittez Pas, a Southern France-inspired restaurant in Japan, is now serving a $110 menu with dirt as the main ingredient.

RocketNews24 put the menu to the test, documenting each course. The menu includes a potato starch and dirt soup, a salad with dirt dressing, sea bass with dirt risotto, dirt gratin, dirt ice cream and dirt mint tea.

Dollar Gold

Woman conned by 'spiritual healer' out of 'blessed' jewellery

Conned Women
© The Balmoral
Balmoral: The woman was taken to the hotel to meet the healer.
A Chinese woman has been conned out of thousands of pounds of jewellery and cash by a "spiritual healer" who said she would bless the valuables.

The 64-year-old Buddhist was approached by two Chinese women at around 3pm in the St James Centre, Edinburgh on Tuesday January 15. They asked if she wanted to meet with a spiritual healer.

The victim then went to meet a third Chinese woman, who claimed to be a healer, in the Balmoral Hotel. She was told her family's valuables and cash could be blessed.

The woman went home and gathered up large quantities of jewellery and money before placing them in a red bag and meeting the three women on the corner of West Register Street.

The bag was taken and "blessed" and the woman was told not to open the bag for a few weeks to allow the charm to work. However, she opened the bag a few days later and found her items had been swapped for junk.