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Stormtrooper

At Least 18 Killed as South African Police Open Fire on Thousands of Striking Miners

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© Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko
A policeman gestures in front of some of the dead miners after they were shot outside a South African mine in Rustenburg, 100 km (62 miles) northwest of Johannesburg, August 16, 2012.
At least 18 bodies were seen lying bloody and motionless on the ground after local police opened fire on striking miners, a South African news agency reports. Some of the protesters were allegedly armed with machetes and spears.

­The incident is believed to have occurred after police, in the process of laying down barricades of barbed wire, were outflanked by a crowd of 3,000 demonstrators.

Nine people had been killed prior to Thursday's clashes in a spate of protest in the mining town, located northwest of Johannesburg. The platinum mine, owned by Lonmin PLC, has been the focal point of protests over wage disputes since last Friday.

Fighting intensified over the weekend when two police officers were killed. Striking workers and local security guards have also been caught up in the violence.

Heart - Black

US Army Suicides Doubled in July

soldier, PTSD
Suicides among active-duty soldiers in July more than doubled from June, accelerating a trend throughout the military this year that has prompted Pentagon leaders to redouble efforts to solve this problem.

The Army, which is the only branch of the military that issues monthly press statements on suicides, said 26 active-duty soldiers killed themselves in July, compared to 12 in June. The July total was the highest for any month since the Army began keeping such statistics, according to Lt. Col. Lisa Garcia, an Army spokeswoman.

The Marine Corps had eight suicides in July, up from six in June. The July figure was its highest monthly total of 2012 and pushed its total for the year so far to 32 - equal to the Marines' total for all of 2011.

The Air Force said it had six in July, compared to two in June. The Navy had four in July but its June figure was not immediately available.

Handcuffs

Federal Air Marshals Face Assault Charges after Drunken Bar Fight in Grand Rapids

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Matthew Davids
At least one, possibly two federal air marshals are reportedly facing assault charges in Kent County following a drunken bar fight in downtown Grand Rapids earlier this summer.

Matthew Carl Davids of Manchester, Mich., whom WZZM 13 reports is a five-year veteran of the Transportation Security Agency, is awaiting arraignment on misdemeanor assault charges in 61st District Court in Grand Rapids.

Court records show that Davids, 34, turned himself into authorities on Aug. 6 and posted bond the same day, following a Grand Rapids Police investigation into a late night drunken brawl on June 6 at the corner of Ionia Ave and Weston Street SW.

The fight happened at 2:15 a.m. and a victim who alleges he was kicked in the groin, said the incident happened when one of the marshals shoved a woman near a hot dog cart and then punched another man who tried to help her, reported WZZM.

The station reports that a second marshal, Jon Holdsworth, is also facing a similar assault charge, although no court records are immediately available on Holdsworth.

Che Guevara

Robin Hood: Spanish Mayor Stages Grocery Store Robberies to Feed the Poor

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Juan Manuel Sanchez Gordillo (center), a Spanish mayor, has become a cult hero after stealing groceries and giving them to Spain's poor.
Madrid - A Spanish mayor who became a cult hero for staging robberies at supermarkets and giving stolen groceries to the poor sets off this week on a three-week march that could embarrass the government and energise anti-austerity campaigners.

Juan Manuel Sanchez Gordillo, regional lawmaker and mayor of the town of Marinaleda - population 2,645 - in the southern region of Andalusia, said food stolen last week in the robberies went to families hit hardest by Spain's economic crisis.

Seven people have been arrested for participating in the two raids, in which labour unionists, cheered on by supporters, piled food into supermarket carts and walked out without paying while Sanchez Gordillo, 59, stood outside.

He has political immunity as an elected member of Andalusia's regional parliament, but says he would be happy to renounce it and be arrested himself.

"There are people who don't have enough to eat. In the 21st century, this is an absolute disgrace," he told Reuters this week in an interview in the Atocha train station in Madrid, tugging on his greying Fidel Castro-style beard.

Star of David

Israeli School Textbooks Brainwash Children into Hatred and Contempt of Palestinians and Arabs

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At the height of Israel's brutal 2008-09 assault on the Gaza Strip, then-foreign minister Tzipi Livni claimed that "Palestinians teach their children to hate us and we teach love thy neighbor" (232).

The first part of this myth is propagated by people like US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and more recently Newt Gingrich, who both spread the baseless claim that Palestinian schoolbooks teach anti-Semitism. This calumny originated with anti-Palestinian propagandandists such as Israeli settler Itamar Marcus and his "Palestinian Media Watch."

In an important new book, Palestine in Israeli School Books, Israeli language and education professor Nurit Peled-Elhanan buries the second part of Livni's myth once and for all.

Peled-Elhanan examines 17 Israeli school textbooks on history, geography and civic studies. Her conclusions are an indictment of the Israeli system of indoctrination and its cultivation of anti-Arab racism from an early age: "The books studied here harness the past to the benefit of the ... Israeli policy of expansion, whether they were published during leftist or right-wing [education] ministries" (224).

Arrow Down

United Airlines Cares Only About Its Image - Loses Ten-Year-Old Girl and Refuses to Help Until Media Gets Involved

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United Airlines has put two parents through the wringer after their 10-year-old child went missing in a Chicago airport on her way to camp. The girl was supposed to be under the supervision of an unaccompanied minor service, but no one helped her board her next flight.

According to a story published on gawker.com and an account given on Work Matters, Annie and Perry Klebahn sent off their daughter, Phoebe, to camp in Grand Rapids. The trip involved a flight from San Francisco to Chicago.

The Klebahn's only found out about her missing status when the camp called to inform them of her absence.

More stress ensued after the parents called United Airlines wanting to know where she was, and the airline was repeatedly uncooperative. No one was able to find out information and no one seemed concerned.

Gear

Sick Propaganda! Circumcision, Declining in U.S.May Get Boost from Pediatric Association

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© outfrontonline.com
When Tamar Jacobs became pregnant, she found herself hoping for a girl, mainly because she was dreading a difficult rite of passage that often comes with the birth of a boy - circumcision.

Growing up Jewish in Baltimore, "I never really questioned it," she said, but the more she read and thought about it, the more "unnecessary and even cruel" circumcision seemed. By the time the grainy 20-week sonogram showed the outward sign of an XY chromosome, she knew she could not go through with it.

"It seemed like such a severe, out-of-this-time thing to do," she said.

The 32-year-old fiction writer and community college professor is part of a new wave of parents who are questioning not just an ancient Jewish tradition but a long-entrenched American one.

More than 1.2 million infant boys undergo the surgery each year, making the United States one of the industrialized world's leading producers of circumcised men. But the once ubiquitous practice, in which the foreskin is removed from the penis, is waning.

From a high of about 80 percent in the 1960s, the portion of baby boys leaving hospitals with petroleum-jelly-covered wounds in their diapers dropped to 56 percent in 2008, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (The figures do not include those circumcised in outside clinics or by religious providers.)

Comment: Circumcision is horrific ritualized child abuse:
Circumcision - Conditioning the Adult by Torturing the Child
Circumcision Fight: Profit, Pleasure, or Population Control?
Infant Died After Contracting Herpes Through Circumcision
Severe Complications Of Circumcision: An Analysis Of 48 Cases


Pistol

South Africa Mine Shooting: Police Fire At Striking Mine Workers

police mine shooting south africa
© AP Photo
Bodies of striking miners lay on the ground after police opened fire on a crowd at the Lonmin Platinum Mine near Rustenburg, South Africa, Thursday, Aug. 16, 2012.
Johannesburg - South African police opened fire Thursday on a crowd of striking miners that charged a line of officers trying to disperse them, killing some and wounding others in one of the worst shootings by authorities since the end of the apartheid era.

Police declined to offer casualty figures after the shooting at the Lonmin PLC mine near Marikana, a dusty town about 70 kilometers (40 miles) northwest of Johannesburg. However, police ministry spokesman Zweli Mnisi acknowledged late Thursday some of the miners there had been killed as more police and soldiers surrounded the hostels and shacks near Lonmin's shuttered platinum mine.

The shooting happened Thursday afternoon after police failed to get the striking miners to hand over machetes, clubs and other weapons.

Dollar

Businesses in UK City queue up to join local currency scheme

bristol
© Getty
Businesses can pay local taxes in Bristol pounds and the council has offered its 17,000 staff the option of receiving part of their pay in the currency
As Britain loses faith in its banks and feels shockwaves from the euro crisis, one city is trying to keep local wealth in local pockets with the launch of its own currency.

The Bristol pound - usable only with member businesses in the city in southwest England - is to launch in September, and organisers are deluged with local firms wanting to sign up.

"The perception of banking and money is that it's a very ruthless system: people are out for what they can get," co-founder Ciaran Mundy told AFP.

"This is about saying yes to something new. It's tapping into a different set of values about money."

The scheme has "captured people's imaginations", he added, in a recession-hit year when British banks have been beset by scandals and ministers talked openly of a possible euro collapse.

Hundreds of businesses have joined, from the acclaimed Arnolfini arts centre to the Chandos deli chain, and the launch had to be postponed from May to September 19 because of the level of interest.

Bizarro Earth

Tensions flare in France over full-face veil ban

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© Frank Perry/Getty Images
French police block Lies Hebbadj, who is wearing full-face veil, from entering the court of justice in Nantes
Though it was almost midnight, streets were full of Muslim families taking a stroll after breaking the Ramadan fast with a late dinner. As two police officers drove by a storefront recycled as the Grand Sunna Mosque, they noticed a woman wearing flowing black robes and a full-face veil.

The police officers alighted from their patrol car and challenged the woman about her veil, which has been illegal in France since April 2011. After an angry exchange, police said later, the woman shouted that she would not abide by the anti-veil law, and a youth told police that they had no business patrolling the neighborhood and accosting its predominantly Muslim residents.

The confrontation quickly escalated into a shoving match, with several dozen young bystanders joining in and carloads of police reinforcements speeding up to lend a hand. Before long, it erupted into what was described in the National Assembly in Paris as a riot, during which a female police officer was bitten on the arm and two of her male colleagues were bashed and bruised.