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Texas, US: Mystery surrounds death of Aryan Brotherhood boss

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© (Texas Department of Criminal Justice
Frank E. Roch Jr., 54, was found dead in his truck beside Highway 59 the night of May 19.
The death of Frank E. Roch jnr has been a mystery for US police from the moment Houston officers found the heavily tattooed man dying slumped in his pick-up truck that had crashed beside a Houston freeway.

First, there were all of the different identification cards he had on and around him - so many, in fact, that investigators had trouble identifying him. Indeed, it would be hours before they learnt the man had headed the largest faction of one of Texas's most infamous criminal gangs.

Roch, 54, commanded about 1500 members of the white-supremacist Aryan Brotherhood of Texas inside prisons and outside, investigators said.

Black Cat

Texas, USA: Despite tip-off from psychic about mass grave, police raid turns up no bodies

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© Nick De La Torre/AP
Texas police outside a house in Hardin after receiving an anonymous tip, reportedly from a psychic, that multiple dismembered bodies were buried there. Police later confirmed no bodies had been found.
Woman faces false reporting charges after police, FBI and dog search of rural home beamed live to millions ends in red faces

Police in Texas are investigating whether a tip-off from a woman claiming to be a psychic that sparked a hunt for a mass grave of dismembered bodies, including children, was a hoax.

Officers raided a rural farmhouse in Hardin, north-east of Houston, after receiving a report that up to 30 bodies were hidden inside. But, hours later, after nothing untoward had been found, police gave up the search.

"There's no crime scene," said Liberty County judge Craig McNair as deputies, Texas Rangers and FBI agents ended their fruitless search that was beamed live to millions on national TV.

Captain Rex Evans, spokesman for the Liberty County Sheriff's Office, said the woman, who twice called in the tip, would now be investigated for making a false report.

Passport

US: Cruise passengers tell of seven-hour security 'revenge' nightmare

cruise ship
© ALAMY
Setting off from Southampton on April 12, the cruise has taken in stops in Europe, the Caribbean, Central America, crossing the Panama Canal to travel up the west coast of the United States to Alaska

Elderly passengers on board a luxury cruise have criticised US immigration officials after they endured a seven-hour security check.

It was billed as a chance to taste the "glitz and glamour" of Hollywood or enjoy VIP treatment in some of the most exclusive shopping areas in the world.

But when a group of 2,000 elderly British cruise ship passengers docked at Los Angeles for a short stop-off during a five-star cruise around America it was, in the words of one of them, more like arriving at Guantanamo Bay.

During their £10,000, two-and-a-half month "Alaska Adventure" tour from the Arctic to the Caribbean, the passengers on the luxury P&O liner Arcadia had become more than accustomed to passing US immigration with little formality.

By the time they docked at Los Angeles on May 26, for a one-day visit it was their 10th stop on US soil.

Stop

Not a Bathroom: US City Shuts Off Fountain Because People Were Using it as Toilet, Shower

Officials in New London, Connecticut, turned off the water at the city's new waterfront fountain over the weekend, because people have been using it as a toilet.

The fountain was activated last month and features a sculpture of a whale's tail with water spilling over it, which visitors are encouraged to run through.

City Councilor Michael Buscetto III tells The Day of New London that since the fountain opened, police have responded to calls of people urinating, defecating and showering in the fountain water. He said some people who have cut themselves have also used the fountain to rinse off blood.

City Manager Denise Rose says police are developing a plan to better keep an eye on the area.

Source: The Canadian Press

Attention

Canada: Scotiabank Loses CDs with Customer Bank Accounts, Social Insurance Numbers

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© The Canadian Press / Kevin Frayer
A logo is seen outside Scotiabank headquarters in the financial disitrict in Toronto Tuesday, December 3, 2002.
Scotiabank says it will use digital locks on data discs after three CDs containing unencrypted information, such as customer social insurance and account numbers, were lost in its internal mail system.

The bank said a "small percentage" of customers are affected, but it is warning clients as a precaution so they can monitor accounts for any fraudulent activity.

The Bank of Nova Scotia (TSX:BNS) says the loss is a rare incident and believes its clients are not at risk because the CDs are lost internally. It said it has changed its processes so future CDs will be encrypted, which means data will be scrambled unless a user has the correct computer key to open it.

"Scotiabank has very strict processes and procedures in place to protect customer privacy and confidentiality. This is a responsibility we take very seriously," the bank said in a statement.

The information on the discs was not encrypted, and was set to be transferred to the Canada Revenue Agency as part of the bank's requirements to report the information.

Ambulance

US: Girl, 7, is Beaten Unconscious by a Man Who Tried to Steal Her Bike

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© My Space
Byron Edward Syvinski, 32, was arrested for beating a seven-year-old girl unconscious
A 7-year-old girl was beaten unconscious by a man after she refused to give him her bicycle.

Byron Edward Syvinski, 32,from Anchorage, Alaska, tried to steal the little girl's bicycle in broad daylight and then punched her so hard on the head she was knocked unconscious, according to police.

Witnesses then claim that he punched her several more times when she was lying on the ground and went through her pockets.

The girl, who was not named, was hospitalized in critical but stable condition at Providence Alaska Medical Center with head trauma, said Marlene Lammers, a police spokeswoman.

People

California, US Circumcision Ban: Proposal Gains Support

circumcision ban
© Unknown

San Francisco voters won't be able to vote on a proposed ban on circumcision until November. But anticircumcision activists hail the fact that the bill even exists on the ballot as a sign the so-called "intactivist" movement is picking up steam.

The MGM Bill, which stands for "male genital mutilation," calls for the circumcision of boys under the age of 18 to be deemed a misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum of one year in prison and a $1,000 fine. It was drafted by the MGM Bill group, an advocacy organization that has written similar legislation for 46 states.

In order to get the bill on the ballot in San Francisco, supporters had to gather more than 7,000 signatures -- and The New York Times reported a similar effort underway in Santa Monica.

"We believe that it is an utterly justifiable position to ask for a legal ban on the genital cutting of boys," said Georgeanne Chapin, executive director of Intact America, one of the largest intactivist groups in the U.S. The non-profit did not have a hand in pushing for the legislation, but Chapin said she applauds the measure, calling circumcision both medically unnecessary and cruel, regardless of religious customs.

Handcuffs

US: 3 New Jersey Women Arrested For Stealing 380 Grave Markers, Flower Urns From Local Cemetery


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Three New Jersey women are behind bars for a crime, that is becoming more and more common according to police. Authorities say they stole brass markers from the graves of veterans at local cemeteries, and sold the stolen markers to a scrap yard. Authorities tell Eyewitness News the suspects needed drug money.

"You need money that bad, you have to start desecrating a grave?" said Sgt. Bill Covert with the Cinnaminson Police Department. Covert, who's a veteran himself, said the we was floored to learn that someone would sink that low.

Inside an old shed at Lakeview Memorial Cemetery in Cinnaminson is where officials are keeping the stolen markers. Authorities say the women they arrested are responsible for stealing 380 grave markers and flower urns from local cemeteries including St. Mary's in Bellmawr and Lakeview.

Heart - Black

US: Voodoo Mom Sentenced to 17 Years in Prison for Burning Daughter

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© Ellis Kaplan
Marie Lauradin
A monster mom tried to soften her tale of setting a six-year-old daughter on fire in a voodoo ritual even as she pleaded guilty to the "barbaric" crime today - but a Queens judge would have none of it as he coaxed the truth from her and then sentenced the woman to 17 years behind bars.

Marie Lauradin, 29, pleaded guilty to assault last month for setting little Frantzcia Saintil on fire in a ritual called "Loa." But in a pre-sentencing report she changed her story, saying she was merely "rubbing [Frantzcia] down with alcohol because she was sick with fever when a nearby candle fell and set her on fire."

"I'm giving you another opportunity to tell the truth," Queens Supreme Court Justice Richard Buchter quickly scolded as Lauradin began to tell another lie.

"Did you douse your child with accelerant and light her on fire?" the judge said as he began to quiz Lauradin about what happened to the little girl.

"Yes," she said through an interpreter.

Ambulance

"Foreskin Man" Takes On Genital Mutilation

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© MGMBill
'Foreskin man' in action
Even though they'd be a great medium for it, comic books aren't known for tackling sensitive social, religious or cultural topics in an overt way. People who read comic books are looking for fantasy and escapism rather than intellectual stimulation - just like people who read men's magazines. Maybe that's why a new comic produced by Matthew Hess, the president of MGMBill, an organisation that has authored a bill that has been submitted to the US congress to ban Male Genital Mutilation (hence MGMBill), has made the headlines recently.

Unashamedly titled Foreskin man, the comic book series features a blonde superhero doing battle with the evil 'Mohel' (Mohel being the Hebrew word for a Jewish person trained in the practice of Brit milah or Bris (circumcision).

I have to admit that my first reaction on hearing about the comic was 'what a good idea!', but when I saw the comic and the reaction it had received from certain quarters, my reaction was more along the lines of 'this the best idea since anti-Vegetarian man!'

It seems a little weird to me that I would actually have to write this but, I'm not exactly a fan of genital mutilation, regardless of the justification, hence my appreciation of Foreskin Man.

So circumcision, what's it all about?