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Thu, 30 Nov 2023
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Nebraska police chase down man video recording their abuse while second man video records it all

Arrow Down

Fewer people have toilets than cellphones, according to the UN

© Clive Chilvers/Shutterstock
More people worldwide own a cellphone than have access to toilets or latrines, United Nations (UN) Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson revealed as part of what the global governing body has deemed "a call for urgent action to end the crisis of 2.5 billion people without basic sanitation."

According to statistics released by the UN on Thursday, six billion of the world's seven billion people have mobile phones, but only 4.5 billion can get to clean restroom facilities when they need them. The remaining 2.5 billion, most of whom live in rural areas, do not have proper sanitation.

Furthermore, Mashable's Zoe Fox reports more than one billion people are forced to defecate out in the open. That practice is prevalent in countries with the highest rate of fatalities amongst children under the age of five, as well as elevated malnutrition and poverty rates and other significant health issues, Fox added.

"While that might seem like an apples to oranges comparison, the contrast is interesting and somewhat alarming," explained Gizmodo's Leslie Horn, adding "in Indonesia, for example, it's pretty normal to see someone in a metal roofed shack without a bathroom checking Facebook on a phone. And though many countries' governments aren't responding to basic needs in terms of infrastructure, tech companies will damn well get phones in people's hands."


Second New York cop confirms illegal 'quota' system

nypd police
© Stuart Monk / Shutterstock.com.
A second New York Police Department officer confirmed Wednesday that the department's management continued using a system of quotas for arrests and citations even after the legislature explicitly banned the practice.

Appearing in court to give testimony in a class action lawsuit against the NYPD, officer Pedro Serrano, 43, said he was labeled a "rat" for refusing to bring in the 20 citations and one arrest per month required of him.

"They said, 'Hey, this is the way it is, you can't fight a losing battle,'" he said on the witness stand, according to The New York Daily News.

Heart - Black

"Castrate them!" "Burn them!" "Bullet in the head!": Facebook Israelis react to photo of Palestinian kids

boys in tent
© Shadi Hatem

An image of three Palestinian boys sparked an outpouring of violent and sadistic fantasies after it was reposted to an Israeli Facebook page
Having regularly documented the horrifying racism and violent fantasies frequently expressed by Israelis on Facebook or Instagram, I thought I had seen everything.

But this may be the worst yet. On Wednesday, the picture above of three Palestinian boys in a tent was posted on a popular Facebook page titled in Hebrew "We are all in favor of death to terrorists." Under the picture is the following caption:
Arab boys in the illegal Arab outpost established near Maale Adumim. What should the Israeli army do to them?
This is an apparent reference to the peaceful "Bab al-Shams" encampment established by Palestinians near Jerusalem to protest Israel's plans to seize more land for settlements. The protest was timed to coincide with the visit of US President Barack Obama.
"Run the tent over with a truck/Merkava tank/a bus/ whatever it takes to crush and kill these children," suggested Facebook user Lidor Swisa.

Gold Bar

Fort knox of Texas: Texas takes step toward secession with Rick Perry's plan to hoard gold

Rick Perry
© Unknown
Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) and freshman state Rep. Giovanni Capriglione have a plan to create a "Fort Knox of Texas" so that the state can start hoarding gold.

Giovanni has filed a bill to establish a Texas Bullion Depository to store the $1 billion worth of gold bars that are owned by University of Texas Investment Management Co. (UTIMCO), which are currently being housed by the U.S. Federal Reserve.

Speaking to conservative radio host Glenn Beck on Tuesday, Perry said that lawmakers were in the process of "bringing gold that belongs to the state of Texas back into the state." Beck has been a longtime paid spokesperson for the precious metal seller Goldline, which agreed to refund up to $4.5 million to former customers last year after being sued for marking up gold more than 50 percent.

"If we own it, I will suggest to you that that's not someone else's determination whether we can take possession of it back or not," Perry told Beck.

Former Rep. Ron Paul on Thursday explained to The Texas Tribune that the gold would be safer in the hands of Texans.

"If you think gold is a hedge, or a protection, you always want it as close to the individual and the entity as possible," Paul said. "Texas is better served if it knows exactly where the gold is rather than depending on the security of the Federal Reserve."

For his part, Capriglione said that he had gotten the idea while attending a tea party rally with Perry in Tarrant County earlier this year


Third teen charged in Torrington High School sexual assault investigation

A third student has been charged in the Torrington High School sexual assault investigation, and police say even more charges could be on the way.

The third student is a 17 year old male who cannot be named due to his age, according to Fox affiliate WTIC-TV in Hardford, Connecticut. His charges follow the arrests of Edgar Gonzalez and Joan Toribio, two 18-year-old football players who are accused of sexually assaulting two 13-year-old girls in February, in a case that ultimately led to the girls being harassed by fellow students.

Gonzales and Toribio were both arrested in February. Police and school officials announced the arrests, along with the charges for the unnamed third individual, at a media briefing on Wednesday.

Speaking to reporters, Lt. Michael Emanuel cautioned that there may yet be more arrests forthcoming. "It's very complex, but [the case is] under control," he said, according to The Hartford Courant. "I'm not minimizing this."

Eye 1

Maryland cop probed for installing camera in boys' school bathroom

A police officer in Maryland has had his "police powers" suspended after he was accused of installing a camera in the boy's restroom at Glen Burnie High School.

A spokesperson for the Anne Arundel County Police on Thursday confirmed that the 14-year veteran had installed the camera, according to WJZ. Details of what had been recorded and why were being investigated.

Police said that a boy discovered the hand-held camera in the top corner of the restroom and reported it to school officials on Wednesday morning.

"We do not know that the officer's intentions were," Lt. T.J. Smith explained. "That's an important issue that we're trying to get to the bottom of."

An initial investigation determined that the Special Services Bureau officer purchased and installed the camera without getting permission from the department or school officials.


Los Angeles holds earthquake drill to prepare for the 'big one'

© AFP Photo
Emergency teams staged a mock operation to respond to a catastrophic 7.8-magnitude quake in Los Angeles, saying the West Coast megalopolis needs to be ready for an "overdue" Big One.

Some 300 people took part in the office-based drill on Thursday, organized by LA County's Office of Emergency Management, based in a center especially built to withstand a major earthquake, and serve as a hub to coordinate disaster services.

Los Angeles sits on the so-called "Ring of Fire," which circles the Pacific and has produced a number of devastating earthquakes, including Japan's March 2011 quake and tsunami that killed thousands of people.

But a Big One is overdue in California.

"It is not meant to scare people, but they need to prepare for this," said Margaret Vinci, head of the Office of Earthquake Programs.

Bizarro Earth

Drones eyed by paparazzi, journalism school teaching reporters how to fly them

© Jaime Cooke
Journalism students at the University of Missouri School of Journalism practice flying "J-Bots", or journalism drones, which are being used to gather coverage in news reporting.
Reporters looking to get close to a crime scene, take video footage of a raging wildfire, or chart the changes in an ecosystem may soon turn to drones, the little flying helicopters used mainly by the military.

In fact, the emergence of drone journalism is expected to become such a mainstay of the media industry in the next few years that undergraduate journalism students at the University of Missouri Journalism School, in Columbia, Mo., are now taking courses how to use drones to report stories.

"We have a class here of journalism students who are learning to fly J-bots, for journalism robots, or drones," said William Allen, a professor of journalism who pioneered the course.

"So they learn to fly them, and also do what reporters do: brainstorm ideas, go out and do reporting, do drone based photography and video. We're trying to see if this is going to be useful for journalism," he said.

The university course emerged from a growing interest in the variety of ways civilians can use drones, including farmers who want drones to spray pesticides or monitor crops and livestock on sprawling acres of land; cops who want to use drones to help search for suspects or missing chidlren; and energy companies who want to keep watch over oil or gas pipelines.

Bizarro Earth

Police: Georgia infant shot to death while mom pushed him in stroller; suspects between 10 and 15


Shot dead as he slept: Little Antonio Santiago was in his stroller near his home when the young robbers approached
A young boy opened fire on a woman pushing her baby in a stroller in a Georgia neighborhood, killing the 1-year-old boy and wounding the mother, police said.

The woman, Sherry West, told WAWS-TV that two boys approached her and demanded money Thursday morning. Brunswick Police Chief Tobe Green said the boys are thought to be between 10 and 15 years old.

West said she insisted she didn't have any money and tried to protect her son, Antonio, before shots rang out. She had been walking near her home in this coastal city about 80 miles south of Savannah.

"I put my arms over my baby and he shoves me, and then he shot my baby right in the head," West said.