Society's ChildS


Cuba to Pardon Some 3,000 Prisoners

© Agence France-Presse/Marcelino Vazquez Cuban President Raul Castro (R) and his grandson and bodyguard Raul Dominguez Castro attend the second annual session of the National Assembly, on December 23, at the Conventions Palace in Havana. Castro has unveiled plans to pardon some 3,000 prisoners for "humanitarian reasons" and "gradually" reform onerous laws restricting foreign travel.
Cuban President Raul Castro has unveiled plans to release some 3,000 prisoners in the largest mass pardon in the regime's history, but an American held for two years is not among them.

The pardons include 86 foreigners from 25 countries, and will take place "in the coming days," Castro said in an address to the National Assembly Friday in which he vowed to "gradually" reform laws limiting foreign travel.

The United States said Saturday that it was "deeply disappointed" that State Department contractor Alan Gross, 62 -- held since December 2009 and convicted on espionage charges -- was not included in the release.

Castro said factors that played into the pardon decision included requests from the Catholic Church and various Protestant churches, and the visit of Pope Benedict XVI in 2012.

The pardon is the largest ever under the communist regime, much larger that the 299 prisoners released ahead of the visit of then-pope John Paul II in January 1998.


US: Copper Thieves Leave Hundreds Without Phone Service In Florida

© Spencer Platt/Getty ImagesFile photo of metal scavenger taking copper.
Authorities say about 300 residents in southwest Florida are without phone service after thieves pulled copper from telephone utility boxes.

The Charlotte County Sheriff's Office says customers within a square mile area of the theft from utility boxes in a Port Charlotte lot were affected. Repairs were continuing Saturday.

Sheriff's Office spokesman Bob Carpenter says it's the fifth copper theft from phone equipment boxes in the last several days.

Anyone with information about these copper thefts is urged to call the sheriff's office at 941-639-2101 or Crime Stoppers at 800-780-TIPS

Source: The Associated Press


US: 2 Dead, 1 Hurt After Small Plane Crash in Ohio

Authorities say two people were killed and a third was flown to a hospital after a single-engine plane crashed near a small airport in rural southeastern Ohio.

Elizabeth Isham Cory of the Federal Aviation Administration said the crash occurred around 1:50 p.m. Saturday near the Vinton County Airport, about 50 miles southeast of Columbus.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol early Sunday identified the two people killed as 78-year-old Eudora Byers of Mansfield, Ohio, and 50-year-old Siobhan Reynolds of New Mexico. Authorities say the pilot, 54-year-old Kevin Byers of Baltimore, Ohio, remains in critical condition.

Vinton County coroner's investigator Steve Huston said the plane apparently was approaching the runway but ended up along a road parallel to the airport. The FAA was gathering details on the plane's route.


US, California: Soldier Shot at Welcome Home Party May be Paralyzed

© Gabriel Luis Acosta / San Bernardino SunSuzanne Sullivan holds a photo of her son Christopher Sullivan, a soldier, outside her home in San Bernardino.
Christopher Sullivan, 22, was at a friend's home in San Bernardino when he intervened in an argument between his brother and another man, who shot him in the neck.

A soldier who served in Afghanistan was shot and seriously injured in San Bernardino during a welcome home party in his honor, police said.

Christopher Sullivan, 22, was on leave from the Army for the holidays and attending a party Friday night when his brother and another man began arguing over football a little before midnight, said San Bernardino police Lt. Gwendolyn Waters.

The gunman, in his 20s, punched Sullivan's brother, Waters said. Sullivan stepped in and the man pulled a gun from his waistband and fired at least three shots, Waters said. Two shots hit Sullivan, one in the neck and the other in the buttocks.

About 30 to 40 people attended the party, which was held at the home of one of Sullivan's friends, Waters said. The shooting occurred in the side yard.


Bomb in Nigerian Church Causes Deaths at Christmas

© Agence France-Presse
A bomb exploded in a Catholic church on the outskirts of the Nigerian capital Abuja during Christmas prayers Sunday and emergency services said they did not have enough ambulances available to evacuate all the dead and the wounded.

The precise number of dead and wounded in the blast was not immediately available.

"Yes, I can confirm to you that there has been a bomb blast in a church in Madala (suburb)," National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) spokesman Yushau Shuaibu said by telephone.

"We are presently there, evacuating the dead and the injured, but unfortunately we don't have enough ambulances. Most of our ambulances have gone to operate on the major highways of the country," he added.

The blast in St Theresa's Church in Madala, an Abuja suburb blew out windows of at least one house nearby, a witness said.


Canada: U.S. Nuclear Sub Nearly Hit Freighter Near British Columbia

© Eli J. Medellin/U.S. navyA U.S. coast guard cutter escorts the strategic nuclear missile submarine USS Kentucky through Juan de Fuca Strait in 2003.
A freighter captain's keen eye helped avert a run-in with a nuclear-powered American submarine in Juan de Fuca Strait, a body of water that splits Washington state and B.C. coasts, according to a U.S. periodical.

The incident, which saw the freighter and submarine come within 800 metres of each other, took place in early October but is only coming to light this week, says the Navy Times, which calls itself "an independent source for news and information for the navy community."

The Navy Times says that at around 8 a.m. PT on Oct. 12, the USS Kentucky ballistic-missile submarine had its periscope above water, but was otherwise hidden below the surface when it turned onto a new course that was blocked by a cargo ship.

The submarine's commanding officer, concerned about a trawler, ordered a change of course, but neither he nor the officer of the deck looked through the periscope to check if the course was clear.


Happy Christmas, O Prisoners of the Little Town of Bethlehem

little town of bethlehem
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Stuart Littlewood reminds us of the utter misery in which Palestinian Christians will mark this Christmas as they have marked every Christmas under Israeli occupation.

O little town of Bethlehem

How still we see thee lie

Above thy deep and dreamless sleep

The silent stars go by

Yet in thy dark streets shineth

The everlasting light

The hopes and fears of all the years

Are met in thee tonight

While carving the turkey for your family and merrily quaffing mulled wine "midst happy laughter", remember that the romantic Little Town of Bethlehem at the centre of our childhood Christmases is now "an immense prison" in the words of Michel Sabbah, former Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, and entirely surrounded by Israel's ugly eight-metre-high separation wall bristling with machine-gun towers.


FEMA Manual: FEMA Makes Preparation For UFO Attack ?

News report showing FEMA manual which gives instruction to first responders for dealing with possible UFO attack.


EU Protests Israeli Occupation Policies

On December 23, Haaretz writer Barak Ravid headlined, "EU voices protest over Israeli policies in East Jerusalem, West Bank," saying:

"A day after four European Union members of the UN Security Council strongly criticized Israel's decision to speed up construction of settlements."

"EU ambassador to Israel Andrew Standley on Thursday submitted a formal protest to the Foreign Ministry over evacuating Bedouins and tearing down Palestinians' houses in the E1 area near" Ma'aleh Adumim settlement.

Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) Director Jeff Halper called it a major development, saying:

"The significance of this development is not only the creation of a greater Jerusalem that controls the center of the West Bank, but the emergence of Israeli Occupation territorial contiguity, that effectively eliminates the two state solution."

ICAHD's Co-Director Itay Epshtain added:

"ICAHD has long cautioned about the emergence of a greater Jerusalem linking the Judaization of East Jerusalem and displacement of Bedouins in E1, with the development of Ma'aleh Adumim, all the way to the Jordan Valley."


US Cop Murders: Florida Cops strip man naked then pepper spray him repeatedly until he died

Did Tampa-area police tie down, pepper-spray, and eventually kill a disturbed man who was arrested for public intoxication?

That's the account and accusation relayed by Over two years ago, 62-year-old Ohioan Nick Christie was detained for public intoxication while on a trip in the Tampa, Florida area.

The man's wife asked that he be taken to the hospital, but Lee County cops allegedly decided instead to "strip Christie naked, tie him to a chair, cover his face, and then pepper spray him repeatedly, until he died."

His death was ruled a homicide because he was restrained and repeatedly pepper-sprayed by law enforcement officers. But to this day, no one has been charged with a crime, and the state attorney cleared the sheriff's office of criminal fault in the case.