Society's ChildS

Health

Mexico City officials blame pack of wild dogs for string of gruesome deaths

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© Photo: Wolf via Shutterstock
Official explanation of marauding wild dogs for deaths of five people found with horrific flesh injuries prompts public backlash

Crime scene tape strung between trees in a hilly park in the working class Mexico City suburb of Iztapalapa marks the place where a teenage couple were found dead last weekend, the flesh torn from their bones.

A week earlier, a young mother and her baby were found similarly mutilated. A cuddly toy and solitary, deflating gas balloon are the only remaining signs of the grim discovery.

It might all look depressingly familiar in the context of Mexico's drug wars, in which tortured bodies dumped in the dust no longer even shock. But in these cases the Mexican authorities have discounted human depravity and are instead blaming a marauding pack of stray dogs, conjuring up a different kind of horror - and a new furore.

Bad Guys

DEA agents arranged prostitute for Secret Service agent

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© Manuel Pedraza / AFP - Getty Images fileView of the Hotel Caribe in Cartagena, Colombia, where a prostitution scandal involving U.S. Secret Service agents erupted in April 2012.
Two U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents "facilitated a sexual encounter" between a prostitute and a U.S. Secret Service agent days before President Barack Obama visited Colombia for a summit meeting in April 2012, according to a Justice Department investigation obtained exclusively by NBC News.

A summary of the findings of the investigation, included in a Dec. 20 letter from the Justice Department's Office of the Inspector General to Sens. Joseph Lieberman and Susan Collins, indicated that a third DEA agent present on the night of the incident was not involved in procuring the prostitute for the Secret Service agent.

"While DEA agent #3 was present for a dinner that took place earlier that evening with the USSS agent and the other two DEA agents, he was not present in the residence when the sexual encounter took place and played no role in facilitating it," the summary said.

All three DEA special agents admitted that they had paid for sexual services of a prostitute, the investigation also found, and "used their DEA Blackberry devices to arrange such activities." In addition, the report says the agents tried to destroy incriminating information or initially lied to investigators about the incidents. All three agents have high-security clearances.

Attention

Over a quarter of U.S. kids on food stamps

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© Reuters / Jessica RinaldiKatie Busker and her family eat dinner. Busker, who receives food stamps and is unemployed due to a disability, stays home and watches the kids.
American health is in decline as new data finds that one in four US kids are on food stamps as of fiscal year 2011 and the younger generation is more prone to death and poorer health levels compared to their counterparts in other developed nations.

Almost 20 million children out of 73.9 million under the age of 18 were in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps, in 2011, according to data from the United States Department of Agriculture and US Census Bureau.

Moreover, children accounted for 45 per cent of aid receivers.

Ambulance

17 injured in Swiss train collision

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© Reuters / Arnd WiegmannSwiss rescue personnel stand beside a demolished RE 440 train after a train crash in the northern Swiss town of Neuhausen am Rheinfall January 10, 2013.
Seventeen people have been injured after two passenger trains collided in northern Switzerland, local police report.

The collision occurred early morning near Neuhausen Station in the canton of Schaffhausen, Tages-Anzeiger daily reports.

One train's engine derailed and rammed the side of the other train, causing bad damage to both. But it was less than it could have been because the trains were traveling relatively slowly at the moment the collision occurred.

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© Reuters / Arnd WiegmannSwiss rescue personnel stand beside a demolished RE 440 train after a train crash in the northern Swiss town of Neuhausen am Rheinfall January 10, 2013.
Dozens of ambulances, as well as firefighters and police cars, have been dispatched to the site.

Some of the people injured in the incident had to be taken to hospital, Police spokeswoman Anja Schudel said. Others were treated at the scene and allowed to go. The trains were carrying some 280 passengers when the incident happened, she said.

Pistol

Toddler, father shot in Brooklyn Park

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A toddler was shot in the arm and his father was hit in the hand in a targeted shooting at a Brooklyn park Thursday afternoon, authorities said.

The 38-year-old father was at Herbert Von King Park on Lafayette Avenue in Bed Stuy at about 2 p.m. with his son, who turned 2 years old Thursday, when he was approached by two men, NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said. The father overheard one of the men saying, "That's him."

The father ran into a community center inside the park as gunshots were fired at him, according to Browne. Two shots were fired as he entered the center, and another shot was fired while he was inside.

Bomb

Pakistan bombings kill at least 100

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© Photograph: Banaras Khan/AFP/Getty ImagesPeople search for the victims of two bomb attacks in a snooker hall in Quetta, south-west Pakistan
Attacks in city of Quetta, including two bombs in ten minutes at snooker club, come at time of heightened political tension.

A vicious double bombing of a snooker club capped one of the bloodiest days in Pakistan for many months on Thursday, leaving more than 100 people dead and hundreds injured in three different attacks.

The death toll was shockingly high even by the bloody standards of Pakistan, which is beset by separatist insurgencies and Islamic militants at war with the state.

The surge in violence comes at a time of heightened political tension as the preparations of the coalition government to step down and fight elections have been threatened by a religious cleric who plans to bring a massive protest march to the capital on Monday.

Tahir-ul-Qadri's march, which the religious leader says will turn Islamabad into Tahrir Square, is billed as a protest against corruption and a demand for clean elections, but many politicians fear the real purpose is to find a pretext to delay the polls.

On Thursday Quetta, the south - east city that is home to the leadership of the Afghan Taliban and groups fighting for the province of Baluchistan to become an independent state, was rocked by two attacks.

Health

Three Kurdish activists shot dead in Paris

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© European Pressphoto Agency Members of the Kurdish community demonstrated in Paris Thursday.
Three Kurdish women, including a founding member of the militant Kurdistan Workers Party were shot dead in Paris in execution-style killings that could be aimed at derailing peace talks to end a three-decade war with the Turkish government.

French police said on Thursday that the killings, which took place on Wednesday afternoon in a Kurdish community center in central Paris, appeared to be targeted assassinations. The antiterrorist department of the Paris prosecutor's office said it had launched an investigation.

One of those killed was Sakine Cansiz, a founding member of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, the Turkish government said. The PKK took up arms against the Turkish state three decades ago with the aim of securing self-rule for the estimated 15 million Kurds in southeast Turkey.

Camcorder

Men touting rifles walk through Portland to 'educate'

Two men carrying assault rifles on their backs said they were simply exercising their Second Amendment right, but police said they scared plenty of people.Calls started coming in to 911 dispatchers shortly before 2 p.m. Wednesday. Callers said two men with guns strapped to their backs were walking through the area of Southeast Seventh Avenue and Spokane Street in Portland's Sellwood neighborhood.

Officers arrived in the area and contacted both 22-year-old men. They were carrying rifles openly on their backs and were valid concealed handgun license holders in Oregon.

The men told officers they were hoping to educate the public about gun rights.

Officers explained that they were likely to continue generating 911 calls from alarmed people in the area, which would require a police response. Officers reported neither man seemed interested in those concerns.

"Exercising my rights with a rifle to try to decrease the demonizing of peacefully exercising your rights in public," one of the men told Fox 12. He said his name is Warren, but did not want to provide a last name.

Airplane

Snake on a plane: Qantas passenger spots python on wing during flight

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Qantas had its own dramatic ''snakes on a plane'' episode when a three-metre python joined passengers on an early morning flight to Papua New Guinea.

But unlike Samuel L. Jackson's 2006 fictional Hollywood blockbuster in which a nest of vipers causes death and destruction on a jet, this reptile was concerned only with self-preservation.

QF191 was about 20 minutes into its 6.15am flight from Cairns to Port Moresby on Thursday when a woman pointed outside the plane and told cabin crew: ''There's a snake on the wing ... There's its head and if you look closely you can see a fraction of its body.''


Target

Car explodes in apparent mob-linked attack in Tel Aviv, at least seven hurt

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© Photo by Tomer AppelbaumFirefighters extinguishing the car hit in a bombing in Tel Aviv on January 10, 2012.
Police believe blast was assassination attempt on criminal kingpin Nissim Alperon; bomb appears to have been detonated by a motorcylist nearby.

A car exploded in central Tel Aviv early Thursday afternoon, after a bomb was apparently detonated by a motorcyclist nearby. At least seven people were lightly wounded, and were being treated by paramedics at the scene.

An initial investigation indicated that the explosion on the corner of Begin Streets was an assassination attempt targeting criminal kingpin Nissim Alperon.

The black Mazda was moving at the time of the blast, and burst into flames. A nearby bus apparently empty of passengers was also hit in the explosion. Alperon was reportedly sitting in the car just before the blast, but managed to escape unscathed.

If this was indeed an assassination attempt, it will have been the eighth targeting Alperon over the last 12 years.