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California, US: Just in Time for Presidents Day - Here Comes $4.00 Gas in Los Angeles

© Debbie Noda/The Modesto BeeThis Chevron in Modesto was right at the edge of hitting $4 for a gallon of regular gasoline. The $4-a-gallon barrier is likely to be broken this weekend in Southern California.
Just in time for Presidents Day: get ready for the long holiday weekend's highest prices ever in Southern California as $4 gasoline is expected to arrive in Los Angeles, Long Beach, and probably Orange County, too.

That's what energy analysts are predicting as the average price of a gallon of gasoline in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area reached $3.996 a gallon overnight, up nearly 2 cents since Thursday. That was also a jump of 15.9 cents a gallon since last week.

That's according to the AAA Fuel Gauge Report, a daily record of credit card receipts compiled from more than 100,000 service stations around the U.S. by the Oil Price Information Service in New Jersey and by Wright Express.

Not far behind the L.A. area: San Diego is also on the brink at $3.992 a gallon, up 16.2 cents since last week, according to the report. Orange County was also on the cusp, rising 16.2 cents a gallon in the past week to an average of $3.989 a gallon.

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Colorado, US: Dead Body Found in Movie Theater Bathroom 5 Days After Death

© WCSH6George DeGrazio
Colorado police are investigating after the body of a Loveland man went unnoticed for five days in a Fort Collins movie theater bathroom.

66-six-year-old George DeGrazio's family reported him missing last Monday, the same day he'd gone to see a movie without telling them, and the same day - according to the coroner - he had a heart attack.

It happened inside a single-person bathroom that locks from the inside, according to the Larimer County Coroner's office.

"We didn't have any ideas," Dylan DeGrazio, George's son, said on Monday.

A missing person's report went out.

Days passed.


Mysterious 'She' Who Troubled Princess Diana Before Her Marriage

She was referred to by Diana, the Princess of Wales as the "third person" in her marriage to the Prince of Wales.

© Press AssociationDiana, the Princess of Wales, spoke of a mysterious 'she' who was the reason she planned to travel to Australia the following month
Now a letter suggests that the Princess might have been worried about the Duchess of Cornwall before her wedding.

The letter shows that two weeks before the Prince proposed, she spoke of a mysterious "she" who was the reason she planned to travel to Australia the following month.

The handwritten letter was sent to Countess Spencer, known as Raine, her father's second wife, on Jan 18, 1981.

"Thinking back to 'she'(!) of our conversations I think it's so right for me to go to Australia and not long, 2½ weeks will do both of us good," the Princess wrote.

"I only hope that in the end we will all be able to smile."


Miviludes and the Pharmaceutical Lobby

Georges Fenech, head of the Miviludes, stated when issuing the 2010 report of his Mission: "Anything natural is suspect as a front for cult abuses". This strange orientation may be easier to understand if one knows that Fenech is also one of the founding members of Momagri, a pro-GMO (genetically modified organisms) lobby involving major companies in the food processing industry and the pharmaceutical industry (Limagrain, Pierre Fabre and others).

The head of the Miviludes is also president of the Echanges Franco-Tunisiens Association [French-Tunisian Exchanges]. Far from using this position to make every effort to introduce more democracy in the country, Fenech constantly advocated for the authoritarian regime of former President Ben Ali, ignoring the repeated violations of human rights in this country. On January 17, 2011, on LCP TV, he admitted that "we were late to condemn Ben Ali's ferocious repression".

Fenech has been a close ally of the regime. The EFT association was established by Hosni Djemmali, a French-Tunisian businessman and media tycoon, regarded as Ben Ali's media spokesperson in France. Djemmali is a close friend of Fenech, who has frequently been invited, along with his wife and other VIPs, to the Tunisian hotels owned by Djemmali, for meetings to help French companies expand their investments in Tunisia.


Miviludes: Still in the Past

In contrast to this landmark ruling [of the European Court of Human Rights in the Jehovah's Witnesses vs. Russia case], the French Miviludes (Interministerial Mission to fight against sectarian abuses), a governmental body, continues its discriminatory and Inquisition-like methods. Not only does the Miviludes neglect to encourage dialogue with family members, it does not seek to learn the truth upon receiving recriminating letters from individuals who are unwilling to accept their relatives' choice to live as members of a religious minority. With no further investigation or analysis, but solely on the basis of such accusations of family break-up, MIVILUDES labels various religious groups such as Jehovah's Witnesses "sectarian," thus violating the standards established by the European Court of Human Rights.


US: Seattle Officer Threatens to Make up Evidence After Arrest of Innocent Men

A Seattle police officer has been caught on tape talking about "making up" evidence while two wrongly arrested men sit in jail. It's the latest shocker uncovered by a KOMO 4 Problem Solver investigation into the Seattle Police Department's vanishing dashcam videos.

Josh Lawson and Christopher Franklin filed a claim against the city Monday for excessive force and wrongful arrest.

The two were arrested at gunpoint on November 16, 2010 and said the incident changed their lives forever.

"I thought I was gonna die," Lawson said about that night.

Franklin said it was "the most terrifying thing I've ever experienced."

Both men said they suffered facial bruises and swelling after one was kicked and the other man-handled into the pavement while being arrested. But then listen to what an officer says on an audio recording after he takes the two to holding cells: "Well, you're going to jail for robbery that's all."

You then hear Franklin ask, "for robbery?" And the officer responds, "Yeah, I'm gonna make stuff up."

Franklin believed him.

"He showed me that he has the power to do whatever he wanted that night," he said. "He has a badge, and all we can do is nothing."


Obama, Democrats hail deal to slash unemployment benefits

In the midst of the deepest economic crisis since the Great Depression, with long-term unemployment at record highs, the Obama administration has forged a bipartisan agreement with the Republicans that will sharply reduce the duration of jobless benefits.

The deal reached Tuesday by members of a House-Senate committee would extend through December a payroll tax cut and continue emergency unemployment benefits. It includes provisions that will cut off the financial lifeline for hundreds of thousands of unemployed workers and their families.

Presented by the Obama administration and the media as a boon to hard-pressed working Americans, the measure is in reality a cruel and punitive assault on the working class - in the first instance, those most severely impacted by nearly four years of mass unemployment.

Bad Guys

Creeping Fascism: Ask the Cop on the Corner, Ask the Cop at Your Front Door

Police violence at Occupy Oakland
The list contines to grow. The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The essentially unprovoked police attacks on protesters, bystanders and journalists at Occupy protests around the nation. The continuing murder of (mostly young and black) men by police departments around the nation with few or no legal repercussions to the murderers. The growing surveillance state and the denial of basic freedoms via emergency legislation in cities facing political protest usually from the left. The permanence of that legislation even after the protests have ended. The continuing pursuit of "material support" charges against antiwar and solidarity activists involved in work against US and Israeli policies. The infant US police state is no longer learning to crawl; it has learned to walk and will soon be stomping its boots in a neighborhood near you.

Anyone following the Occupy protests since last fall is well aware of the response of the authorities. It can best be characterized as brutal and with little regard for civil liberties. This is the case even though many of the protesters were/are white-skinned and from middle class backgrounds. It is fair to say that this demographic fact gave the protesters more press coverage while it also prevented the police from carrying out even more brutal attacks. Young black and Latino men going about their daily lives generally have more to fear from the police than the Occupy protesters. That being said, it is useful to take a look at some recent comments regarding Occupy Oakland, the police attacks on the group and the response of officials and others.


Tasers Have Killed at Least 500 Americans

© Ethan Miller / Getty Images / AFP
The Taser, the non-lethal law enforcement weapon that is meant to incapacitate criminals without causing great harm, has killed at least 500 people last decade. The real number of casualties might be even higher.

In the period between 2001 and early 2012, the stun-gun Taser devices used by law enforcement across America have claimed the lives of 500 people.

Amnesty International, the worldwide advocacy group that condemns torture and human rights violations, delivered the news this week with a report released Wednesday. In it, they reveal that the recent death of a Georgia man who died as a result of a Taser blast puts the body count brought on by the device at 500 in barely a decades' time.

Despite being branded as a non-lethal alternative to firearms, hundreds of Americans have died from Taser blasts.

On Monday this week, law enforcement responded to a call of a drunk and disorderly person in Houston County, Georgia. When they arrived at a bar, the man in question, 43 year old Johnnie Kamahi Warren, was already on the ground. According to the local Dothan Eagle, a sheriff's deputy still deployed blasts from a Taser gun on the man. Twice. He died moments later and now the officer who fired those shots is being investigated, all while on paid administrative leave.

Eye 1

US: Exclusive: 2nd North Carolina Mother Says Daughter's School Lunch Replaced for Not Being Healthy Enough

© Associated Press
North Carolina officials have said there was a misunderstanding when a preschooler's homemade lunch was sent home for not meeting certain nutritional requirements, but now a second mother from the same school has come forward exclusively to The Blaze to say the same thing happened to her daughter.

Diane Zambrano says her 4-year-old daughter, Jazlyn, is in the same West Hoke Elementary School class as the little girl whose lunch gained national attention earlier this week. When Zambrano picked Jazlyn up from school late last month, she was told by Jazlyn's teacher that the lunch she had packed that day did not meet the necessary guidelines and that Jazlyn had been sent to the cafeteria.

Comment: To read about the first North Carolina incident, see this Sott link:

US, North Carolina: State Inspectors Searching Children's Lunch Boxes