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Fri, 24 Mar 2023
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Buffoonish Toronto Mayor Rob Ford dares police chief: 'Arrest me'

Mayor Rob Ford
Long-simmering tension between Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and the city's police chief reached a new level of animosity with the mayor daring Chief Bill Blair on Thursday to "arrest me."

The mayor's comments - including a demand for the chief to apologize "to the taxpayers" - are the latest salvo after months of friction between Chief Blair and Mr. Ford and his brother, Councillor Doug Ford.

"I want to see how much money he spent on following me around," Mr. Ford said Thursday, when asked by reporters about remarks made by Chief Blair about a police investigation targeting the mayor. "If he's going to arrest me, arrest me. I have done nothing wrong and he's wasted millions of dollars."

On Thursday, Councillor Ford submitted a formal complaint against the police chief to a provincial watchdog, contending Chief Blair had mischaracterized an earlier complaint the councillor had submitted.

The Fords and Chief Blair have been publicly at odds since October, when the chief revealed police have a copy of a video that appears to show the mayor smoking crack cocaine. Chief Blair told reporters he was "disappointed" and police were investigating Mr. Ford. That investigation, called Project Brazen 2, resulted in the arrest of Mr. Ford's friend Alessandro Lisi for drug trafficking and extortion related to the crack video. In November, Mayor Ford admitted to smoking crack cocaine.


For the first time video emerges of U.S. Supreme Court proceedings

© AFP/Karen Bleier
The U.S. Supreme Court building
A video posted online Wednesday appears to be the first-ever footage of the US Supreme Court debating an issue to have gone public.

The court has long prohibited the use of cameras inside the chamber during court proceedings and the quality of the video published seems to be evidence of that strict policy. The video barely exceeds two minutes in length and is shaky throughout, with subtitles making up for the poor audio recording.

A group known as 99Rise, which describes itself as "a network of activists and organizers dedicated to building a mass movement to reclaim our democracy from the domination of big money," has taken credit for the video.

The short clip seems to contain snippets from two separate oral arguments. The first half of the video is made up of deliberations on McCutcheon v. FEC, a still-pending case that will determine whether limits on contributions to federally elected political candidates constitutes a "burden on speech and association."

The second half is footage from another oral argument in an unrelated patent case. At this point in the video a protester stands up and urges the court to overturn Citizens United, a polarizing 2010 decision that greatly increased how much money corporations are allowed to donate to candidates.


27 dead and 19 injured after gang of knife-wielding men attack train station in China


Horror: Photos shared on the Chinese micro-blogging site Weibo showed bodies strewn across the floor covered in blood. Initial reports suggest 27 people have been killed and another 109 were injured

* WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT: Distressing photos show bodies and blood

* Attack took place at the Kunming Railway Station in Yunnan province

* Death toll would make attack the deadliest in recent Chinese history

* Local TV station K6 said several of the attackers were shot by police

At least 27 people have been killed and 109 injured after a group of knife-wielding men attacked a major city train station in south-western China.

Distressing photos circulating online showed bodies, pools of blood and abandoned luggage scattered across the terminal floor at Kunming Railway Station in Yunnan province.

State TV has described the incident tonight as a 'violent terror attack'.


Carnage: The attack was described as a 'violent terror attack' by state television


Tim Lambesis pleads guilty to trying to hire hitman to kill wife

© Bill Wechter/AP
Tim Lambesis allegedly said: 'I don't ever want to see her again.'
Tim Lambesis, the frontman of Grammy-nominated metalcore band As I Lay Dying, has pled guilty to charges that he tried to hire a hitman to kill his wife. He faces up to nine years in jail.

Lambesis's wife, Meggan, filed for divorce in September 2012, claiming in the divorce documents that Lambesis was "obsessed with bodybuilding", neglected to properly care for their children, adopted from Ethiopia, and had spent thousands of dollars on tattoos. She also stated he had had multiple affairs during their marriage. The prosecution also alleged that he wouldn't get access to their children, and that Meggan would take a sizeable chunk of his money in the divorce, so Lambesis attempted to have her killed.

He first approached his personal trainer, Brett Kimball, who testified at a pre-trial hearing that Lambesis "wanted to know if maybe I could find someone to do it for him". Lambesis eventually met with an undercover agent posing as a hitman code-named Red who said Lambesis told him: "I don't want to see her ever again." When asked, "Do you want her dead?" Lambesis replied: "Yes, that's exactly what I want." According to prosecutors, he gave the agent $1,000 for expenses, pictures of Meggan, a code to get into their house and, to create an alibi, dates he would be looking after their children.


David Crosby: 'The FBI scare me more than Hell's Angels'

© Henny Ray Abrams/AP
The legendary David Crosby
Hello David, how are you?
I'm fine (1). I'm in California right now, out in the country, in a place called Santa Barbara.

How was your recent solo gig?
Great. I was very nervous because the first set was the new album (2) and you just don't do that - nobody takes that kind of chance. Amazingly, it worked.

On Croz you sing about "antithesis", "cognitive dissonance", "consciousness". Have you been raiding the Scrabble box?
I do play Scrabble, but no, I just use words I feel like and don't worry if they go over people's heads.

Everyone knows you took a lot of drugs (3). Did they have any beneficial effects?
When we started out we were just smoking pot, and we thought that was a great way to blow ourselves loose from the 50s. Of course, because it was illegal we had to go to criminals to get it, and as soon as there was another drug that the criminals could sell us, they did. And the dealers turned us onto cocaine. They said: "Don't worry, it isn't addictive." [He laughs.] As soon as we started doing that stuff it seriously had a bad effect on our writing. We thought drugs would open our heads up but the writing went to hell. I don't think there were any positive effects at all.

Black Magic

'Blood Money': Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five-year-old daughter to death is released

© Independent
Lama al-Ghamdi and her father Fayhan al-Ghamdi.
A 'celebrity' Saudi preacher accused of raping, torturing and killing his five-year-old daughter has reportedly been released from custody after agreeing to pay 'blood money'.

Fayhan al-Ghamdi had been accused of killing his daughter Lama, who suffered multiple injuries including a crushed skull, broken back, broken ribs, a broken left arm and extensive bruising and burns. Social workers say she had also been repeatedly raped and burnt.

Fayhan al-Ghamdi admitted using a cane and cables to inflict the injuries after doubting his five-year-old daughter's virginity and taking her to a doctor, according to the campaign group Women to Drive.

Rather than getting the death penalty or receiving a long prison sentence for the crime, Fayhan al-Ghamdi served only a few months in jail before a judge ruled the prosecution could only seek 'blood money'.

Albawaba News reported the judge as saying: "Blood money and the time the defendant had served in prison since Lama's death suffices as punishment."


Want to change your Obamacare? Forget it: Enrollees 'finding it impossible to cancel their plans'

A Florida TV station reports that a man has spent 50-60 hours trying to cancel his Obamacare plan, and he still can't get off it:

"We are hearing about a new problem that involves the Affordable Care Act," said the anchor. "People who signed up for coverage are finding it impossible to cancel their plans. Channel 9's Lori Brown spoke with an Orlando man who has been trying unsuccessfully to cancel for more than six weeks now."

Black Cat 2

Residents explode on school superintendent making $660K

Jose Fernandez
A school superintendent in California came under fire this week after parents questioned his hefty salary
A school superintendent in California got an earful earlier this week when parents were given the chance during an emergency meeting to question his supposedly excessive salary.

"You should all step down and walk away from this! This is ridiculous! This is nuts, this is crazy! I give my wife everything! I do anything I can for my wife! I'm sleeping with her! Who are you sleeping with?" one man shouted during the meeting.

Jose Fernandez, who oversees the Centinela Valley Union High School District in Lawndale, Calif., reportedly earned $663,000 in 2013, according to KCAL-TV.

His district includes only three high schools with a combined total of 6,500 students.

The district also reportedly floated Fernandez a loan of more than $900,000 at 2 percent interest over 40 years. The loan was granted at a time when the superintendent had already declared bankruptcy.

Bad Guys

One-third of California town's police force arrested for stealing cars for profit from poor Hispanics

king city police
© Reuters / Michael Fiala
A six-month-long investigation in Central California culminated this week with the arrests of five members of the King City Police Department, the former police chief and the owner of a local towing company.

According to the Monterey County district attorney, for at least three-and-a-half years the city's top police officers participated in a scheme that took advantage of poor area Hispanics by essentially stealing their cars for profit.

Investigators say King City police ordered hundreds of vehicles to be impounded - most often those driven by Hispanic immigrants - and then either kept the cars for themselves or re-sold them for profit.

Arrow Down

'Shameful': World loses up to third of all food produced according to World Bank

© Spencer Platt / Getty Images / AFP
The world loses a staggering one-quarter to one-third of all food produced for human consumption, according to the World Bank's quarterly Food Price Watch report, with the developed world leading the wastage.

The world is losing 25 to 33 percent of the food it produces - nearly 4 billion metric tons - according to estimates from the World Bank, the Food and Agriculture Association (FAO) and the World Resources Institute.

In regions suffering from malnourishment, such as Africa and South East Asia, this translates as 400 to 500 calories per person per day and in the developed world up to 1,520 calories.

Cereals were highlighted as representing more than half food lost or wasted at 53 percent by calorie content, but by weight fruits and vegetables represent the largest share of global food loss at 44 percent.

Most of the wastage takes place at the consumption stage (35 percent), followed by production and handling and storage (both 24 percent).