Society's ChildS


US: USPS posts $3.1 billion loss in Q3, warns of default

mail carrier
Washington - The U.S. Postal Service posted a net loss of $3.1 billion in its third quarter and warned again it would default on payments to the federal government if Congress did not step in.

Total mail volume for the quarter that ended June 30 fell to 39.8 billion pieces, a 2.6 percent drop from the same period a year earlier, as consumers turn to email and pay bills online.

The mail carrier, which does not get taxpayer funds, has struggled to overhaul its business as mail volumes fall. It has said personnel costs weigh heavily and is facing a massive retiree health benefit prepayment next month.


Bizarre Details Emerge in Australia Teen's Neck Bomb Hoax Horror

Man seen running from victim's home; ransom note bore name of sinister fictional character

© EPAMadeleine Pulver, 18, had a suspected bomb attached to her after a masked man entered her family's home in Sydney on Wednesday.
A bizarre ransom note bearing the name of a fictional character was left by a ski-mask-clad man who broke into a suburban Sydney home and chained a fake bomb to the 18-year-old daughter of a wealthy Australia businessman, officials close to the case said Thursday.

The man apparently was spotted running away from the home in the suburb of Mosman by a neighbor and her driver, who told police he leapt into a car driven by a woman who had been "driving up and down the street, looking nervous," sources told the Daily Telegraph.

After telling police the car sped away, the neighbor, champion racehorse trainer Gai Waterhouse, took to her blog to chastise the "crazy person" who sparked a 10-hour ordeal Wednesday as police removed the bomb-like device from Madeleine Pulver.


Carlos Slim World's Richest Man Loses $8 Billion in Four Days

carlos slim
© Fernando Castillo/LatinContent/Getty ImagesCarlos Slim, the world’s richest man, lost about $8 billion this week.
Carlos Slim, the world's richest man, lost about $8 billion this week.

The Mexican billionaire's stock portfolio, measured in U.S. dollars, has dropped about 11 percent since July 29, before today, and is valued at about $63 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That compares with a 7.1 percent slide in the Standard & Poor's 500 Index.

Slim, 71, has taken a hit as Mexico's benchmark IPC index dropped 7.4 percent and the peso slid 2.5 percent against the dollar on concerns that the flagging U.S. economy will hurt demand for assets in its southern neighbor. The removal of three of Slim's companies from the IPC index has made matters worse for the billionaire.

"He's been particularly hurt by those companies leaving the IPC," said Leon Cabrera, a trader at Mexico City-based Vanguardia Casa de Bolsa. "It reflects the nervousness out there. It's part of being in the market."

Eye 1

What if the Oslo terrorist was Ahmad Breivik?


If the Oslo terrorist suspect Anders was Ahmad, the blame game would have revealed a double standard.

Right-wing ideologues and hate peddlers both in Europe and Australia have hastily ducked for cover and denounced Anders Breivik as a deranged psychopath. They have tip-toed away from the crime scene, insisting that there is no blood on their hands.

By contrast, Muslim leaders step up to the podium, denounce acts of violence and assume a position of responsibility when any misguided Muslim commits a crime in the name of Islam. Rather than shy away, they face the press gallery, even if the criminal is a psychopath. They are cornered to be accountable, with a microphone and camera pointing to their head, as if there is something intrinsically evil about their creed.

Bad Guys

Anders Behring Breivik: Mad or bad?

© UnknownBreivik got the limelight he sought

Anders Behring Breivik - who admitted killing 76 people in twin attacks in Oslo and Utøya - is a chancer. Narcissistic, full of his own self-importance and a control freak with an unhealthy interest in politics.

Janne Kristiansen, director of the Norwegian Police Security Service - Norway's M15 - told the BBC she did not believe he is insane, but calculating and evil, and someone who sought the limelight. Likewise, Peter Svaar, childhood friend and now successful TV journalist, challenged the insanity theory: "He is cold, clever and calculating. My biggest fear now is that he's still playing us - the media and public opinion - like a piano."

Breivik used the internet to attempt to spread his evil ideas (he wouldn't have got anywhere just a few years ago) and, naturally, the media are whooping it up. A number of individuals with equally repulsive views about immigrants and/or Islam have climbed on the bandwagon and used the internet to do likewise. Again, full of their own self-importance.


Ron Paul: 'Super Congress' created by debt deal is 'monstrous'

Thursday on the Fox Business Network, Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) described the 12 member bipartisan special joint committee of Congress created by the Budget Control Act of 2011 as "unconstitutional" and "monstrous."

"It looks to me like with this 'Super Congress' and committee, if we don't vote for what they recommend, the [Office of Management and Budget] gets a lot of power, and that's part of the executive branch," he told Fox Business host Lou Dobbs. "And who knows? That's the area where I think that they may be raising revenue, closing loopholes. Who knows what they might be doing? But it is not a good sign for constitutional government."

Paul, who voted against the debt ceiling agreement, is currently running for President of the United States.

Bizarro Earth

Spain's baby market

The story of a lost generation and the anguish of those searching desperately for their loved ones.


US, Connecticut: Man Placed Hidden Cameras in 3 Starbucks Bathrooms

© unknown
Paul Deveau admitted to placing them and apologized.

The man accused of filming men in the bathroom of Starbucks on Albany Avenue in West Hartford admitted to placing the camera there several times, as well as in other men's bathrooms, and apologized for it, according to the recently released court documents.

One video file showed a man adjust the camera, which was pointed at the toilet in an open bathroom with no stall and police used that to identify a suspect.

Police arrested Paul Deveau, 51, of Hartford, on July 27, after Starbucks employees identified the man in the file as "Paul," a frequent customer who works as a graphic designer at Hartford Hospital, according to court documents.

Deveau told police he was gay and would hide cameras in men's rooms, not women's rooms, according to court documents. He admitted to placing hidden cameras in the Starbucks men's room "between 10 and 20 times" as well as in the men's rooms at a Starbucks at 852 Cottage Grove Road in Bloomfield and a Route 66 gas station in Hebron.


US, California: TSA Staff at LAX Undergoing Transgender Training

© The Associated Press / The Canadian Press / Damian DovarganesAshley Yang, a transgender woman poses for a photo at Los Angeles International Airport, (LAX) on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2011, in Los Angeles. Yang was fired from her Transportation Security Administration, passenger screener job at LAX for using the women's room. She recently received a five-figure settlement, back pay and mandatory transgender sensitivity for TSA managers at the LAX airport.
Transportation Security Administration managers at Los Angeles International Airport are undergoing mandatory sensitivity training after a transgender employee alleged she was ordered to dress like a man, pat down male passengers and use the men's restroom.

Ashley Yang, 29, who spent two years as a security checkpoint screener at LAX, was fired last summer after co-workers observed her using the women's room, according to a copy of her termination letter obtained by The Associated Press. She contested the firing, resulting in a settlement that mandated the training.

"Ashley lives her life as a woman. Her co-workers recognized her as a woman. Passengers recognized her as a woman. But her employer didn't," said attorney Kristina Wertz of the San Francisco-based Transgender Law Center, which helped her file a civil rights complaint. "She was asked to hide who she was just in order to earn a living."

The settlement, reached in December and completed last month, also called for Yang to receive five months of back pay and a five-figure award for pain and suffering.

TSA spokesman Nico Melendez said Thursday he could not discuss details of the case because of privacy rules. But he confirmed that the required training of managers started this summer and was ongoing.

Cell Phone

UK: 60% of Teens 'Addicted' to Cellphones

© Daniel Law/PAOfcom says one in three adults and most teenagers classify themselves as highly addicted to their smartphones such as iPhones, Blackberrys and Androids.
Britons' appetite for Facebook and social networks on the go is driving a huge demand for smartphones - with 60% of teenagers describing themselves as "highly addicted" to their device - according to new research by the media regulator, Ofcom.

Almost half of teenagers and more than a quarter of adults now own a smartphone, with most using their iPhone or BlackBerry to browse Facebook and email.

The study, published on Thursday, also shows that smartphones have begun to intrude on our most private moments, with 47% of teenagers admitting to using their device in the toilet. Only 22% of adults confessed to the same habit. Unsurprisingly, mobile-addicted teens are more likely than adults to be distracted by their phones over dinner and in the cinema - and more would answer their phone if it woke them up.

Separate figures shared exclusively with the Guardian show that, for the first time, smartphone sales outstripped sales of regular mobiles in the first half of this year as the enormous demand continues to rise. Just over half of the total 13.6m mobile sales from January to June 2011 were smartphones, according to research by GfK Retail and Technology UK.