Society's ChildS


Dog shot and killed by police officer in front of owner and her 2-Year-old son

© Gabrielle Stropaki
A pet dog was shot dead in front of its owner and her two-year-old son by a police officer in Boise, Idaho.

Owner Gabrielle Stropaki and her son Hayden loved the dog, named Kita, dearly and are heartbroken that she was killed. Police say that they were responding to a report of theft in the neighborhood when the dog ran up to them. They say they felt threatened.

"In about five seconds he pulled his weapon, asked whose dog it was, and shot her in the back of the head," said Stropaki.

Neighbors who witnessed the incident also claimed that the dog gave a couple of barks at the officer, but that the dog wasn't trying to attack him. Stropaki maintains that she had let the dog out of the house to go to the bathroom without a leash and that she was watching him, along with her 2-year-old son. She says that her son witnessed the shooting as well.

Now the family is outraged and says that the officer acted irrationally.

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Revealed: Mafia's prime role in human-trafficking misery

Mafia and Human Trafficking
© The Independent, UK
The role of Italian mobsters in human trafficking - of the kind that saw more than 350 African migrants perish off the coast of Lampedusa in a single boat disaster earlier this month - has been laid bare by police.

Members of Mafia organisations work with crime syndicates in Egypt to charge would-be illegal immigrants for the dangerous voyage from Africa to Italy - and then hold them prisoner in horrendous conditions, to extort more money from the migrants and their families, according to police reports carried by La Repubblica.

Dramatic video evidence has emerged of one of the worst cases, which occurred on 23 September 2011. After paying an Egyptian crime clan to be taken by boat to Sicily, 22 Egyptian men were seized when they landed in the port of Rutta e Ciauli, near Syracuse, and locked in a dark basement for eight days without food or water. Their captors refused to release them until their families wired more money to their captors.

After police freed them on 30 September, the migrants said they had only managed to survive by drinking rainwater that dripped into the dungeon.

In video footage of the moment in which police break into their prison, one policeman told the reporter: "They were herded like rats... the smell was nauseating."

Better Earth

17 years later, man repays Nevada City school $300 he stole as a student

Nevada City - A man wracked by the guilt of robbing a school when he was 12 years old made amends with a letter and an envelope full of money.

It was 17 years ago when he broke into a classroom at Grizzly Hill Elementary School. He stole $300 that was supposed to be for a field trip.

Principal James Berardi says after break-ins, stolen items never make their way back to the small school outside of Nevada City.

"We're out in the country, and things disappear out here, because there's not a lot of people here," he said.

But this last weekend, money that went missing almost 20 years ago showed up in a blue envelope with a note:


As National Guard claws back recruitment incentives, soldiers feel pain

national guard
© The Sacramento BEE
When Staff Sgt. Troy Torres and his wife, Sgt. Lori Torres, joined the California National Guard more than five years ago, they were stirred by patriotism and persuaded by something more tangible - the prospect of paying down some student loans.

Each was promised $20,000 in loan repayments over six years, an enticement for recruits. Now, the Guard is asking for it back.

Fraud and wrongdoing in the incentive program were exposed in a 2010 Sacramento Bee investigation, and since then the Guard has revisited the program to clean it up. The Guard had approved applications improperly. Now, pending payments have been suspended, and checks garnished. That means many soldiers, including some who served tours in Iraq or Afghanistan, have learned that they weren't qualified for the incentives.

"We have been vilified, like we have done something wrong and must be punished," after having accepted fully approved incentive payments in good faith, Troy Torres, 52, said. "Neither of us have committed a crime nor violated U.S. Army regulations."

He called the situation "a financial nightmare for our family."

Torres, a medic, said he and his wife, who have three children - Alec, 16, Ethan, 13, and Olivia, 11 - struggle to pay food and utility bills. They had to seek help from relatives to pay for a long-awaited educational trip to Washington, D.C., for Ethan, on top of costs for Olivia's music lessons and science camp.

The couple have fallen behind on the mortgage for their Galt home. A slip in their credit rating could jeopardize Torres' security clearance - required for his job.

"Lori is in Afghanistan today, at great personal risk," in part, because soldiers in combat zones earn more money, and they needed to compensate for their garnished wages, Torres said. "We live paycheck to paycheck like everyone else," he said. "When you take $1,500 out of my paycheck, you can't budget that." Torres takes home $2,100 twice a month.

Cell Phone

New Jersey woman charged with manslaughter after texting while driving accident

A New Jersey woman is charged with vehicular homicide after authorities say she caused a deadly accident while texting and driving.

Jennifer Sahoye, 35, of Rahway, is now the first person charged with homicide in Essex County in connection with a texting-while-driving incident.

Prosecutors say Sahoye was driving in the express lanes of Route 1 & 9 in Newark on October 10 when she crossed into the local lanes and hit a pickup truck driven by 58-year-old Carlos Carvalho.

Authorities say they have proof that Sahoye, who was also driving with a suspended license, was texting at the time of the crash.

Comment: Werner Herzog's paralyzing case against texting while driving

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600 kids go missing in Navi, Mumbai every year

Missing Children
© DNA, India
If your child ventures out alone in the afternoon to play in a nearby ground, you have reason to be worried. He or she could be one of the 600 children, from Navi Mumbai, who never return home, each year.

According to the Navi Mumbai police records, around 50 children go missing from the city every month. While a small percentage of these are found by thepolice, and some make their way back on their own, a majority of them are lost without a trace.

According to activists, there are two reasons to be anxious. Firstly, the Navi Mumbai police department never takes the issue seriously. As most parents of missing children are poor and uneducated, the police tend to ignore such cases and, at times, don't file an FIR, activists said.

Secondly, there are many active begging rackets in the city, which lost children fall victim to.

An RTI query filed by an NGO, Conscious Citizen Forum, revealed that the Navi Mumbai police has not taken any action under Bombay Prevention of Begging Act, 1959, in the last 10 years.

Maharashtra state home minister RR Patil recently wrote a letter to Navi Mumbai police commissioner AK Sharma, asking to take the menace seriously.


Profiting from the poor: Outsourcing social services puts most vulnerable at risk

In a story most in the media missed, protestors gathered under the dome at the Mississippi state capitol earlier this year to oppose a bill that would allow the state Department of Human Services (DHS) to privatize everything from child protective services to nutrition programs for the elderly.

The bill, HB 1009, which later passed, started out as a way to allow the Mississippi DHS to hire private contractors to collect child support payments -- something which Mississippi had flirted with in the past, with less than impressive results.

From 1995-2000, a wealthy but little known firm called Maximus, Inc. had been hired to collect overdue child support payments in Mississippi and, according to a joint legislative committee report, on average, had higher costs but collected less in payments than the state did during the same five-year period. During the February 2013 debate on the new bill in the state Senate, the Associated Press quoted Senator Hob Bryan as saying "I remember the disaster that Maximus was."

But memories of that failed experiment did not stop Republican lawmakers from expanding HB 1009 to include a broad provision to allow the Mississippi DHS to privatize any of its functions by contracting out to private companies.

"Outsourcing aid for people can't work. It's designed to make a profit," Mississippi state representative Jim Evans told CMD. Evans had joined other legislators to stop what they saw as the potential corporate takeover of a public agency providing essential services to vulnerable citizens.

Despite the now lengthy list of failed -- and often disastrous -- attempts at privatizing social services in states across the country, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed the bill into law this spring.

Black Cat

Leicester man's warning after stray cat attack

A man has told how he woke up covered in blood after being attacked by a stray cat as he slept in bed

© CatersPaul Goodrum said: "I thought I just had a runny nose but when I felt my face it was blood"
Paul Goodrum, from Leicester, said he thought he had a runny nose until he saw the cat in front of him.

The stray had clawed his face near his eye and bitten his nose.

Mr Goodrum, 26, said: "I thought I just had a runny nose but when I felt my face it was blood.

"I pushed the animal away and put on the light to see a very large white-grey cat. I chased it out of my bedroom and examined the damage on my face.

"The cat had scratched my eyelid and my cheek and forehead. There were also bite marks on either side of my nose. It was very frightening."

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Australia bushfires: Largest blaze 'was started by the military'

Bush Fire
© The Independent, UKRural Fire Service volunteers retreat after unsuccessfully try to save a house from a bushfire at Dragan north of Lithgow, Australia.
The largest of the wildfires wreaking havoc across New South Wales was started by the Australian military, investigators have found.

One man has died and more than 200 homes destroyed in the country's most populous state since Thursday as a result of more than 100 different fires.

Investigators were called after reports that the biggest of them, near the city of Lithgow to the west of Sydney, started at around the same time as the army was performing training exercises.

Today, the Rural Fire Service issued a statement which said the blaze "was started as a result of live ordnance exercises" at an army range.

Though it has not caused any deaths or injuries, as the single biggest fire it has burned through 47,000 hectares (180 square miles) of land and destroyed a number of homes. It was only downgraded from the highest emergency category this morning.

The Australian Defence Department said it would not comment further on the fire service investigators' findings, but it had previously confirmed it was engaged in exercises at the time and has been carrying out its own inquiries.

Gold Coins

Senior officer, NCIS agent are among those arrested in huge Navy bribery scandal

navy bribery scandal
© MC3 Devon Dow/U.S. Navy via APNavy Cmdr. Michael Misiewicz was greeted in 2010 by a long-lost relative upon his return to his native Cambodia as skipper of the USS Mustin
The U.S. Navy is being rocked by a bribery scandal that federal investigators say has reached high into the officer corps and exposed a massive overbilling scheme run by an Asian defense contractor that provided prostitutes and other kickbacks.

Among those arrested on corruption charges are a senior agent for the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and a Navy commander who escaped Cambodia's "killing fields" as a child only to make a triumphant return to the country decades later as the skipper of a U.S. destroyer. The investigation has also ensnared a Navy captain who was relieved of his ship's command this month in Japan.

The chief executive of the Singapore-based defense contractor, Glenn Defense Marine Asia, and another company official were arrested last month at a San Diego harborside hotel after federal investigators lured them to the United States by arranging a sham meeting with Navy officials, according to court records and people involved in the case.

The unfolding investigation is shaping up as the biggest fraud case in years for the Navy. Federal prosecutors allege that Glenn Defense Marine, which has serviced and supplied Navy ships and submarines at ports around the Pacific for a quarter-century, routinely overbilled for everything from tugboats to fuel to sewage disposal.

Investigators are still assessing the scope of the alleged fraud, but federal court records filed in San Diego cite a handful of episodes that alone exceeded $10 million. Since 2011, Glenn Defense Marine has been awarded Navy contracts worth more than $200 million. The company also services ships from several navies in Asia.

The U.S. military has never been immune from contracting scandals, but it is extremely rare for senior uniformed commanders to face corruption charges.