Society's ChildS


Tsunami Survivors: We Didn't Understand the Threat

© USGSWave heights from the Japanese earthquake.

By talking with survivors of the devastating tsunami that hit Japan earlier this year, scientists may now have a better idea as to how to help prevent fatalities from such events in the future.

The catastrophic magnitude 9.0 quake that hit Japan in March killed 19,508 people. The resulting tsunami reached heights of up to 100 feet (30 meters) along the coast of northeastern Japan.

In the 115 years before the disaster, a trio of tsunamis hit the region, with one causing 22,000 deaths. In response, many efforts were undertaken to protect against further tsunamis, such as numerous breakwaters - that is, coastal barriers - as well as annual tsunami evacuation drills. Still, the March tsunami claimed many lives, causing up to about 20 percent of deaths from the quake in some areas, said researcher Masataka Ando, a seismologist at Academia Sinica in Taipei, Taiwan.

To understand why the waves killed so many people despite the precautions, researchers interviewed 112 survivors at public evacuation shelters in six cities in Japan in April and June. The aim was to see why many did not immediately evacuate areas endangered by the tsunami.

Red Flag

Iranian Protesters Storm British Embassy

Iranian protesters
© Atta Kenare / AFP - Getty ImagesIranian protesters gather outside the British embassy as some break into it and bring down the British flag in Tehran on November 29, 2011. More than 20 Iranian protesters stormed the British embassy in Tehran, removing the mission's flag and ransacking offices.
Iranian protesters stormed two British Embassy compounds in Tehran Tuesday, smashing windows, hurling petrol bombs and burning the British flag in a protest against sanctions imposed by Britain, live Iranian television showed.

Iran's semi-official Mehr news agency said protesters took six British diplomatic staff hostage from an embassy compound in the north of the city but it withdrew the story from its website minutes later without giving any explanation.

The attacks followed the rapid approval by Iran's Guardian Council of a parliamentary bill compelling the government to expel the British ambassador in retaliation for the sanctions. A lawmaker had also warned Sunday that angry Iranians could storm the British Embassy as they did the U.S. mission in 1979.

Several dozen protesters broke away from a crowd of a few hundred protesters outside the main embassy compound in downtown Tehran, scaled the embassy gates and went inside.


GMO Crops Continually Banned Around the World in Display of Health Freedom

gmo apples
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Colorado's Boulder County was the latest health freedom hotspot to stand up against Monsanto and genetically modified produce, with Boulder County advisory committees announcing plans to phase out GMO crops on open space in pursuit of sustainable and ethical farming practices.

The county joins a long list of other political bodies that have banned, condemned, and even uprooted GMO crops across the globe.

Both the Food and Agriculture Policy Council and the Parks and Open Space Advisory Committee of Boulder Country voted 5-4 to phase out GMOs in an economically viable way. The transition proves that it is possible to be environmentally conscious, preserve the health of citizens, and still maintain economic stability.

Genetically modified corn has been growing on around 16,000 acres of cropland owned by the county for around a decade. In 2009, public concern over the consequences of GMO crops sparked public debate within the county. Citizens demanded that GMO crops be banned after 6 local farmers asked permission to plant sugar beets that were engineered to resist the herbicide Roundup.


US: California demographic shift: More people leaving than moving in

© Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times High housing prices--too high for many struggling Californians despite a burst housing bubble--have played a role in California's population shift.
More people are moving out of the state than are moving in. It's the economy, of course, especially housing costs.

For a clue to why California is losing its allure as a place to settle down, just ask Jennifer McCluer, who moved out of California in 2007 after she obtained her license in skin care.

Unable to afford Orange County's sky-high rents, she opted for Portland, Ore. "A big motivator was that I lived with roommate after roommate after roommate," said McCluer, 30. "Friends said you could probably live on your own up here. The rent was a huge deal for me."

McCluer would like to move back, but it's still too expensive. "It's really difficult," McCluer said. "I've given myself 11/2 to two years to save money."

Recent census figures show the state is losing more Californians like McCluer than it is attracting from other parts of the U.S. And the trend toward out-migration is looking less like a blip than a long-term condition.


Stalin's Daughter Lana Peters Dies at 85

© Agence France-Presse/Getty ImagesUndated and unlocated picture of Joseph Stalin holding in his arms his daughter Svetlana.
Soviet dictator Josef Stalin's daughter, whose defection to the West during the Cold War embarrassed the ruling communists and made her a best-selling author, has died. She was 85.

Lana Peters -- who was known internationally by her previous name, Svetlana Alliluyeva -- died of colon cancer Nov. 22 in Wisconsin, where she lived off and on after becoming a U.S. citizen, Richland County Coroner Mary Turner said Monday.

Her defection in 1967 -- which she said was partly motivated by the poor treatment of her late husband, Brijesh Singh, by Soviet authorities -- caused an international furor and was a public relations coup for the U.S. But Peters, who left behind two children, said her identity involved more than just switching from one side to the other in the Cold War. She even moved back to the Soviet Union in the 1980s, only to return to the U.S. more than a year later.

When she left the Soviet Union in 1966 for India, she planned to leave the ashes of her late third husband, an Indian citizen, and return. Instead, she walked unannounced into the U.S. embassy in New Delhi and asked for political asylum. After a brief stay in Switzerland, she flew to the U.S.

Peters carried with her a memoir she had written in 1963 about her life in Russia. Twenty Letters to a Friend was published within months of her arrival in the U.S. and became a best-seller.


US, California: Oakland shootout leaves 8 injured

© CBS NewsEvidence tags are visible on the ground at the scene of a shooting in Oakland, Calif. which left eight people, including a young boy, injured, Nov. 28, 2011.
A hail of gunfire along an Oakland street has left eight people wounded, including a 1-year-old boy who authorities say was taken to the city's Children's Hospital in critical condition.

The gunfire broke out Monday evening in a liquor store parking lot after a crowd had gathered, police said. The victims were transported to local hospitals by others at the scene before officers arrived to find dozens of bullet casings.

The 1-year-old's father, who also was shot, drove his son to the hospital, where surgeons were trying to relieve swelling on his brain, relatives told KTVU-TV.

"We are aware of a 1-year-old boy who was shot - possibly in the head - in critical condition right now," Oakland Police Lt. Robert Chan told the station. The hospital declined to release any details about the victim.


US: Police hold off on eviction of Los Angeles Occupy camp

Throngs of anti-Wall Street activists hunkered down in their Los Angeles camp for another night of uncertainty early on Tuesday as police stayed largely on the sidelines 24 hours after a deadline to vacate passed.
© Reuters/David McNewThe Occupy Los Angeles encampment at City Hall Park is seen before the midnight deadline for eviction from City Hall Park passes in Los Angeles, November 27, 2011.

But crowds that had swelled to more than 2,000 at their peak late on Sunday as protesters from outside the City Hall encampment streamed in to help forestall a raid had dwindled to a core group of several hundred by late Monday night.

Compared with the raucous atmosphere at the encampment a day earlier, the mood was subdued on Tuesday, with campers milling about or playing drums and other instruments.

Police in riot gear had closed in on the Occupy LA compound early on Monday as protesters started blocking traffic, but a force of about 300 officers stopped short of clearing the camp and withdrew once they reopened streets for Monday commuters.


US, Ohio: 'Craigslist killings' suspect is innocent of murders, says his mother

Yvette Rafferty says her son was exploited by his mentor, 52-year-old pastor Rich Beasley

The teen charged in connection with a spate of Ohio "Craigslist killings" is innocent and being exploited by his mentor, his mother says.

Yvette Rafferty told ABC's Good Morning America that her son Brogan, 16, was not involved in the murders of at least three men who were found dead after responding to a Craiglist ad purporting to seek laborers for a cattle farm.

She claims her son simply "made a bad decision hanging around the wrong person," 52-year-old pastor Rich Beasley, who was also taken into custody when cops discovered at least three bodies in shallow Ohio graves.

"Brogan looked up to Chaplain Rich Beasley," Yvette Rafferty said. "For 10 years now he's been taking the church and Bible studies...I know one thing, my son told me that he didn't do it. And I believe it. There is a monster here. But it's not my son.


Egypt's Voters Begin Historic Ballot

Day One of Post-Mubarak Election Goes Smoothly After Days of Unrest

Egyptians turned out in large numbers for the first round of what are expected to be the freest elections so far in their lifetimes, to launch what many have hoped to be a new era following the autocratic rule of President Hosni Mubarak.

Despite numerous organizational snafus in the parliamentary poll, there were few reports of violence or widespread vote rigging that characterized most past Egyptian elections.

But a week of protests against military rulers, arguing the election process is deeply flawed, has left 42 people dead and more than 3,000 injured. Egypt remains divided, between Islamist parties and more secular and liberal parties - and between powerful military leaders and a protest movement calling for an immediate end to their rule.

There is also a long way to go before the elections can be declared a success for democracy. Elections for both houses of Parliament aren't due to wrap up until March; presidential elections are slated to be held before July. And it remains uncertain how much say the incoming Parliament will have in Egypt's governance.

Heart - Black

US: Georgia Woman Claims 13-Year Affair with Herman Cain

Ginger White's exclusive interview with the I-Team

An Atlanta businesswoman is breaking her silence, claiming she has been involved in a 13-year-long affair with Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain.

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, FOX 5 senior I-Team reporter Dale Russell sat down with Ginger White, who had a story to tell.

"I'm not proud," White told Russell. "I didn't want to come out with this. I did not."

White was worried a political tsunami was headed her way. So, she decided to head it off, by confessing she was involved in a 13-year-long affair with presidential hopeful Herman Cain.

"It was pretty simple," White said. "It wasn't complicated. I was aware that he was married. And I was also aware I was involved in a very inappropriate situation, relationship."