Society's ChildS


Eye 2

Indian one-horned rhino poached on reserves

Image
© Denis Gray/Associated PressTourists at the Kaziranga National Park take an early morning ride to view one-horned Indian rhinos in the mist in Assam’s tea country in Kaziranga, India, December 3, 2012.
Animals' horns supply a medicine in China that's pricier than gold.

Kaziranga, a refuge to more than 2,200 endangered Indian rhinoceros, and one of the world's best-protected wildlife reserves, rangers follow shoot-to-kill orders. Poachers are laying siege to "Fortress Kaziranga," attempting to sheer off the animals' horns to supply a surge in demand for purported medicine in China that's pricier than gold. At least 18 rhino fell to poachers in and around the park in 2012, compared to 10 in all of India in 2011.

Insurgents eager to bolster their war chests in India's Assam state are also involved, according to police. Authorities are investigating a recent news report that a Chinese company offered two rebel groups a deal: weapons in exchange for horns and body parts of the one-horned species whose scientific name is rhinoceros unicornis.

Treasure Chest

U.S. Officials: China refuses to help stop investment scams

Image
© Zhang Duo/Xinhua/LandovChinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan (R) meets with Mary Schapiro, chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), in Beijing, capital of China, July 2, 2012.
The Chinese government snubbed a U.S. request for help in cracking down on a string of alleged investment frauds that have cost Americans billions, outgoing Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Schapiro told ABC News.

The lack of cooperation has stymied efforts to recoup investor losses, she said, in one of the largest sprees of alleged financial crimes in recent memory -- one that has gone largely unnoticed by most Americans.

"The consequence is it's very much more difficult for us to prove our cases," Schapiro said in one of her final interviews before leaving the post, which will be broadcast tonight as part of an ABC News investigation airing on "World News with Diane Sawyer" and "Nightline."

More than 100 China-based companies have now been de-listed, have left the NASDAQ and New York stock exchanges, have been denied listing, or have withdrawn applications, all following allegations of fraud or accounting irregularities, the ABC News investigation found.

Not every Chinese company was implicated -- many continue to thrive. But experts estimate that Americans -- everyone from small investors to hedge-fund titans -- have lost tens of billions of dollars in the suspect Chinese investments. Prosecutors in the Bernie Madoff case calculated that his investors lost about $20 billion in his decades-long Ponzi scheme.

Pistol

Fox News' Ben Swann demonstrates why gun control isn't the issue

Over the past few weeks the argument over gun control has raged. Among those demanding stricter gun laws is CNN host Piers Morgan.

There is one particular stat that Morgan has been citing for weeks, and it was the center of his argument while debating radio show host Alex Jones on Monday night.

Tonight, Ben investigates the truth behind it in Reality Check.


Comment: So if gun control isn't the real issue, and is in fact being used to distract people from the real issue, what is the real issue?

The Sandy Hook Massacre: Unanswered Questions


Pistol

Two 'injured' at school shooting in California before police take gunman into custody

Image
© GoogleShooting: Two people were reported as being shot at Taft Union High School outside of Bakersfield in California
At least two people were shot in a California high school on Thursday morning and police have taken the shooter into custody. The shooting took place at Taft Union High School just outside of Bakersfield, California though no official statements have been released.

The local ABC affiliate received two separate calls from people who were hiding in closets during the incident which began around 9.20am. As of 11am, officials from the Kern County Sheriff's Department were still checking each room in the school.

The public school was originally opened in 1912 and has no known history of similar violent incidents. The sheriff confirmed that one student was shot and had to be airlifted to Kern Medical Center with undisclosed injuries. The second person reported only minor injuries and refused medical treatment at the scene.

Red Flag

Mayan documentary filmmaker breached contract, committed fraud

Image
© Credit: The WrapRaul Julia-Levy
In September 2011, we reported on a documentary film titled Revelations of the Mayans 2012 and Beyond that was scheduled for release sometime in 2012. The film's producer, Raul Julia-Levy, made the incredible claim that the documentary would provide evidence that the Mayans had contact with extraterrestrials. But in April 2012, Julia-Levy suddenly stopped production, fired the crew, terminated an agreement with a post-production company, and ran off with the footage. And now, an arbitrator has reportedly concluded that Julia-Levy is guilty of breached contracts and fraud.

Julia-Levy's partner on the documentary, Elizabeth Theriot, took him to arbitration at the Independent Film & Television Alliance. And as the Hollywood Reporter states, "The resulting decision wasn't very kind to Julia-Levy." The arbitrator, Gerald F. Phillips, concluded that termination of production required the mutual agreement of both Julia-Levy and Theriot. Because Julia-Levy acted without the consent of Theriot, the arbitrator found for Theriot on her breach of contract claims.

Heart - Black

Suspect in shocking Ohio rape case allowed to go on Californian vacation while under 'house arrest'

Image
Holiday: Ma'lik Richmond was freed from house arrest to go on vacation even though he was charged with the horrific rape of a 16-year-old girl after film emerged of him carrying her with his co-accused Trent Mays (above)
One of the accused in the Ohio rape case that has outraged America enjoyed a six day vacation in California and watch a football game while supposedly under house arrest, it emerged today. MailOnline has learned that Steubenville High School Football star Ma'lik Richmond was granted permission to travel between December 31 and January 5. Along with team-mate Trent Mays, Richmond is charged with raping a 16-year-old girl at a series of back to back High School parties last August.

Mays is also charged with disseminating photographs of a nude minor as images of the unconscious teenage girl were circulated on Instagram and in text messages.

Richmond, 16, travelled with his former legal guardians Greg and Jennifer Aggresta - with whom he continues to live - to watch their biological son, Johnny, compete in the prestigious All American Academic Football Bowl.

The decision has enraged members of this community in a case where many have alleged that football players in the economically deprived town operate according to different rules.

Speaking to MailOnline Fred Abdalla Jr, Chief Probation Officer at Jefferson County Juvenile Court said: 'Ma'lik Richmond's attorney asked the judge if Ma'lik could have permission to travel with the Agresta family between the dates of December 31 through January 5.'

House

Squatter lived under 73-year-old woman's home

Image
© Image Credit: KOMO/ABC News
Velma Kellen thought her furnace was broken, and got the shock of her life when a repairman told her a squatter had been living under her house and stealing her heat.

"I said, 'You've got to be kidding me!'" Kellen, 73, told ABCNews.com.

For months, there were mysterious signs - an unlatched gate and the inexplicable odor of smoke inside Kellen's three-bedroom home in Yelm, Wash., about an hour's drive south of Seattle.

"It was worse than cigarettes," Kellen said.

Kellen, a retired caregiver, said her home was cold before Christmas, so she bought a new furnace, but still had the problem.

Health

Study: Even wealthy Americans in worse health than western Europeans

Image
Americans are in worse health, die earlier and suffer from more disease than residents of other wealthy nations, according to a new study out Wednesday.

The disadvantage spans all ages from birth to 75, said the report, conducted jointly by the National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine.

Some details were surprising: even wealthier Americans and those with health insurance were not as healthy as counterparts in other prosperous nations, it found.

"We were struck by the gravity of these findings," said Steven Woolf, professor of family medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond and chair of the panel that wrote the report.

"Americans are dying and suffering at rates that we know are unnecessary because people in other high-income countries are living longer lives and enjoying better health. What concerns our panel is why, for decades, we have been slipping behind," Woolf stressed.

Attention

U.S. infant mortality rate higher than developed world's

Image
A new report from the Institute of Medicine took a long, hard look at the American healthcare system and found that we lead on healthcare spending but lag on patient outcomes.

But we knew this already. Many other reports have found the exact same thing.

There is, however, some striking - and troubling - new research in the report: Our infant mortality rate is nearly double the rate in countries like Japan and Sweden.

Dollar

High hay prices encourage more thefts from farms

Image
© Matthew Staver for The New York TimesConrad Swanson has had bales of hay stolen from his field in Wellington, Colo.
Across the heartland, ranchers, farmers and county sheriffs are grappling with a new scourge: hay rustling.

Months of punishing drought and grass fires have pushed the price of hay, grain and other animal feed to near records, making the golden bales an increasingly irresistible target for thieves. Some steal them for profit. Others are fellow farmers acting out of desperation, their fields too brown to graze animals and their finances too wrecked to afford enough feed for their cattle.

"It's the economics of the times," said Jack McGrath, the undersheriff in Colorado's Weld County, where hay thefts rose to 15 last year from 7 in 2011.

At Mark Reifenrath's farm in northern Colorado, the thieves struck at night. Two men driving a stolen pickup opened an unguarded farm gate by the side of the road, rolled into Mr. Reifenrath's alfalfa field and headed toward their quarry: 800-pound square bundles of freshly cut hay.