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Voice of Elmo on leave from Sesame Street after he was accused of having 'sexual relationship with underage boy'

  • Kevin Clash, 52, is on leave after the programme's lawyers were contacted by a 23-year-old man
  • Accuser claims he had a sexual relationship with the puppeteer seven years ago, when he was aged 16
Kevin Clash, Sesame Street, Elmo
© The Associated Press
Allegations: Kevin Clash, the voice and movements behind Sesame Street's Elmo has taken leave amid allegations he had a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old boy
The man who voices the puppet of Elmo on Sesame Street has taken leave amid allegations he had a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old boy.

Kevin Clash, 52, has taken a leave of absence from the popular children's show after the programme's lawyers were contacted by a 23-year-old man who claims he had a sexual relationship with the puppeteer seven years ago, when he was aged 16.

TMZ, who reported the allegations, said that Mr Clash had admitted he had a relationship with the man, but only after the accuser was an adult and said the accusations were both false and defamatory.

Arrow Up

Support the Troops?

Troop Support_1
© EricPetersAuto
I'd like to - and would - if "the troops" were actually defending "our freedoms" - rather than stomping the freedoms of people across the globe. Us included, I hasten to add. Because you can't expect "the troops" who brutalize people abroad to not come home and abuse the people here. The mindset - and the precedents set - cannot be compartmentalized.

Brutality - contempt for other human beings - cannot be turned off and on. The transformation of Andy Griffith into Officer 82nd Airborne is no random happenstance.

It has happened for a reason.

The casual bloodlust of the average American - safely cocooned in front of his TeeVee (probably watching fuuuuuuhhhhhhhtttttball) also has consequences. Osama was right. You send troops to other people's countries, topple their leaders, drop bombs on them from afar. It tends to annoy those people. Some will try to hit back. We call it "terrorism."

Just as the British of King George III's era called the insurrectionist colonists who dared to fight back "terrorists." Just as Reinhard Heydrich's SD thugs called the partisans in the occupied east a few generations later. Just as we - "we" being the comfortable couch potatoes watching "the game" - call anyone who dares object to the American Imperium - and its imperial storm troopers.

No one wants to hear this, of course.

The troops are "fightin' fer freedom," god bless 'em. Just exactly as the legions of the Wehrmacht had belt buckles stamped Gott mit uns - and fought for freiheit, too. Or so they were told.

As we are told today.

The problem is one of separating sympathy for the idealistic kid from StumpJump, West Virginia from revulsion at what the kid from StumpJump, West Virginia, will do in my name. With my tax dollars.


'Virgin Mary' draws hundreds of Malaysian Catholics

© Agence France-Presse
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - Hundreds of Catholics have gathered in prayer and worship outside a Malaysian hospital after seeing an image said to resemble the Virgin Mary on one of the windows.

Pictures of the image have gone viral among local Christians on Facebook and large crowds have gathered at the Sime Darby Medical Centre just outside Kuala Lumpur.

Those assembled Sunday maintained they can now also see an image of an adult Jesus Christ just two windows away from His mother.

Nearly 100 Catholics were still at the hospital Sunday, lighting candles, singing hymns and saying prayers. Several tourist buses added to the congestion.

Some have come from as far as Singapore, over 300 kilometers (187 miles) away, to see the image on a seventh-floor window, which they describe as a miracle.


'Doomsday Preppers' get ready for Apocalypse

Doomsday Preppers
© National Geographic Channels
Big Al is featured on the second season of Doomsday Preppers and fears that the Russians might send a nuclear missile toward the U.S. at any moment. Here he is photographed with a spent fuel tank made of thick metal (good for blocking gamma rays from an atomic blast) that will serve as an add-on to his current underground bunker.
Big Al will not drink his own urine. He's very clear about that. But he does spend three months of every year in his underground bunker because he fears that the Russians might send a nuclear missile toward Uncle Sam at any moment.

His bunker, buried 10 feet (3 meters) underground in an undisclosed location, will protect him from the gamma rays of an atomic bomb. But the temperature outside his bunker dips to minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 40 degrees Celsius) in the winter, so he stores 10,000 pounds (4,536 kilograms) of wood inside to keep him warm using his wood-burning stove (which curiously seems to lack a chimney), and a one-year supply of "bunker stew." He is also a music producer, and has lately turned to writing country songs about preparing for the apocalypse.

Big Al (who declined to give his last name) is just one person featured in the second season of Doomsday Preppers, a show on the National Geographic Channel that profiles extreme survivalists who believe the world as we know it may soon end. The show's first season was the highest-rated on the network at the time. The second season debuts Tuesday (Nov. 13) at 9 p.m. ET.


Gunman killed in Veterans Day shootout at police station was troubled vet

The gunman who walked into a Michigan police station and opened fire on Veterans Day was a 64-year-old military veteran in poor physical health and struggling with "internal issues," police said Monday.

Harold Joseph Collins, of Southfield, Mich., was killed in a shootout with officers at police headquarters in Southfield on Sunday afternoon, authorities said. An officer was wounded in the exchange.

At a press conference Monday, Southfield Police Chief Eric Hawkins outlined the sequence of events that led to the shootout.

He said Collins, brandishing a .380-caliber handgun, walked into the lobby of the police station with a blank stare on his face; without warning he tried to shoot an officer behind bulletproof glass.

"The suspect approached the front desk officer and simply stared at the officer. The suspect appeared to be staring into the distance and not a word was said," Hawkins said.

Eye 1

British police arrest teenager for posting a picture of burning poppy on Facebook

Police in Kent have arrested a m
burning poppy
© Twitter.com/@Kent_999s
Tweet from Kent Police displaying the Facebook post
an after a picture of burning poppy was posted on a social networking site.

The force said in a short press release posted on its website that the man, from Aylesham, had been arrested on suspicion of "malicious telecommunications".

"This follows a posting on a social network site of a burning poppy," said the statement on Sunday, which added that he was in police custody awaiting interview. Police provided no other details of the incident, which comes as the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is preparing to release interim guidelines for prosecution of offences on social media.

Padraig Reidy, of Index on Censorship, which campaigns on freedom of expression issues, said: "News of this arrest is very worrying. Index hopes that when the CPS issues its guidelines on free speech later this month, due regard will be given to free speech online."

Comment: The Guardian fails to mention the 'man' is in fact just 19 years old. Under the headline "Chilling freedom of speech, one poppy arrest at a time", Big Brother Watch writes:
Kent Police need to urgently release this man and drop an utterly ridiculous investigation into something that has harmed no-one.

It is not illegal - and nor should it ever be - to offend people and, however idiotic or insensitive the picture may have been.

The incident is certainly not worthy of arrest and highlights the urgent need to reform a law that poses a serious risk to freedom of speech after several ludicrous prosecutions in recent months.


Southwest jet slides off taxiway at Denver airport

A Southwest Airlines jet slid off a taxiway at Denver International Airport on Saturday amid light snowfall and freezing temperatures.

DIA spokeswoman Jenny Schiavone confirmed that the aircraft slid off the taxiway shortly after 5 p.m. There were no reports of injuries.

Schiavone says passengers of Flight 1905 were bused from the taxiway to the concourse.

The Denver-bound Boeing 737 had departed Saturday afternoon from Metropolitan Oakland International in California.

Schiavone says flight schedules and overall DIA operations were not disrupted following the incident.

Further details were not immediately available.

Source: The Associated Press


Court martial for Calgary reservist begins after fatal training accident in Afghanistan

Darryl Watts
© The Canadian Press/Jonathan Hayward
Capt. Darryl Watts speaks during a interview with The Canadian Press in Calgary Wednesday, Dec 8, 2010.
The lawyer for a Canadian soldier charged after a landmine explosion killed a colleague on a training range in Afghanistan says his client isn't guilty of a crime.

But the prosecution contends that Maj. Darryl Watts's supervision of the range on the day in question was negligent to the point that criminal charges are justified.

Watts, a Calgary reservist, faces a court martial this week on a charge of manslaughter and five other offences.

Cpl. Joshua Baker, 24, died on Feb. 12, 2010 at a range four kilometres northeast of Kandahar city when an explosive Claymore mine packed with 700 steel balls raked a Canadian Forces platoon. Four other soldiers were wounded.

Watts is also charged with one count of negligent performance of a military duty and four counts of unlawfully causing bodily harm.

Treasure Chest

Kuwait spends £10million to put on the biggest firework display of all time for golden jubilee celebrations

For the paltry sum of just £10million Kuwait earned a place in the Guinness Book of Records last night as it celebrated the golden jubilee anniversary of its constitution in style by laying on the biggest fireworks display of all time.

A dazzling array of colours illuminated the skies above the country's capital of Kuwait City as a staggering 77,282 fireworks were launched over the period of an hour.

Exploding fireworks illuminate the sky over Kuwait City, Kuwait, last night, during celebrations on the occasion of the 50th Constitution Day jubilee
A representative of Guinness World Records announced the achievement on Kuwait television at the end of the display which had been watched by tens of thousands of Kuwaitis and expatriates on the Arabian Gulf Road by the sea.

The visual presentation marked 50 years to the day since the late emir Sheikh Abdullah al-Salem al-Sabah announced that Kuwait had become the first Arab state in the Gulf to issue a constitution and have a parliament.

Before the festivities Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah pledged the government's continuing commitment to democracy and made a plea for national unity as the wealthy Gulf state struggles with a political crisis.


Pack of teens grope jogger in Central Park

New York - Police say a woman jogging in New York City's Central Park was confronted by a group of teenagers who asked her for a kiss, and 1 of them groped her when she rebuffed them.

Police were seeking the accused groper Saturday. He's believed to be about 14.

Police say the 24-year-old woman was running near the northern edge of the park around 8:30 p.m. Friday when five teens approached her seeking a kiss. Officers say one teen then touched her groin and ran off.

Women's safety in the iconic park has been a hot-button subject since an investment banker was raped while running there in 1989. Her ordeal became known as the "Central Park jogger" case.

This September, a man was charged with raping a 73-year-old birdwatcher in the park.