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Sun, 01 Oct 2023
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Hong Kong food prices rise more than 100 percent since 2007

© Felix Wong
The prices of some common foods have surged by over 100 per cent across Hong Kong since 2007, according to a Labour Party survey.
The prices of some common foods such as rice and beef have surged by over 100 per cent across Hong Kong since 2007 - far outpacing the 18-per-cent growth in income of public housing residents in that period - a Labour Party survey has found.

The party said on Monday that its survey compared prices and income from 2007 to last month.

It found that one of the city's poorest areas - Tin Shui Wai - has the most expensive food, with pork and beef prices more than 50 per cent dearer than in other districts.

Tam Chun-yin, the party's community officer, called for the government to introduce a negative income tax to subsidise people earning below a certain amount, to help them survive amid high inflation.

Arrow Down

Bogus emergency alert message transmitted, warns of zombie apocalypse

Someone apparently hacked into the Emergency Alert System and announced on KRTV and the CW that there was an emergency in several Montana counties.

This message did not originate from KRTV, and there is no emergency.

Our engineers are investigating to determine what happened and if it affected other media outlets.

Alarm Clock

Worse than Obama's kill list? American support for it

© Reuters
Survey shows Obama has done little to rescue civil liberties from predecessor's damage and much to deepen concern

The headline introducing a new poll conducted on behalf of The Hill newspaper reads: Voters: Obama no better than Bush on security vs civil liberties.

But is that the real takeaway from the survey?

For long-time critics of Obama's handling of numerous policies left over from his predecessor George W. Bush, that assessment won't be especially shocking. From his failure to close the detention center in Guantanamo Bay, to his signing of the controversial National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and the recent alarm caused by a leaked "white paper" summarizing aspects of key Office of Legal Council memos that describe the legal basis for targeting individuals for assassination by drone (both foreign nationals and U.S. citizens), the Obama administration has little to boast about regarding its record on civil liberties.

Perhaps more troubling than the disappointment of once hopeful Obama supporters, however, is the degree to which the poll reveals how comfortable many US citizens are with some of the most aggressive techniques that the government now justifies as being necessary to fight the so-called and ongoing 'global war on terror.'


File under ridiculous: Perfume for babies

© thelostogle.com
The market for luxury baby products is on the rise, with sales of premium products for kids age 0 to 2 up 8.6 percent from 2000 to 2012, and projected to increase another 7.6 percent by 2016. While items like the $1500 Bugaboo stroller, the $300+ Tiffany rattle, and the price-available-on-request Hermes rocking horse may just be cause for an eye roll and a snort, the latest premium baby trend - baby perfumes - is slightly more concerning.

In the last year or so several baby perfumes have made their way to market, ranging from the $6-a-bottle Johnson& Johnson offering to the $58-a-bottle Bulgari eau de toilette. There's a Burberry option as well, and Dolce & Gabbana recently became the latest brand to launch a fragrance aimed at babies, claiming that its honey, citrus and musk scent will "accentuate" the naturally lovely smell of babies.

Plenty of media outlets have already commented on the ridiculousness of the trend and voiced concern over the marketing of luxury baby goods, but there's more to it than that. Fragrance typically contains a cocktail of various chemicals that can be problematic for children, particularly babies. And because of a nifty U.S. regulatory loophole, the manufacturers of fragrances - even those made for babies - do not have to disclose the ingredients of their products; they can invoke trade secret legislation that dates back to the days when old-school alchemists mixed flower extracts and essential oils to develop unique fragrances and there weren't high-tech labs around to reverse engineer any fragrance a company decided it wanted to duplicate.

Bad Guys

Dad charged with killing driver who killed his sons


David Barajas, 31, has been charged with murder
A Texas man whose two young sons were killed in a traffic accident has been charged with murder in the fatal shooting at the crash scene of a suspected drunken driver.

Brothers David Jr. and Caleb Barajas were helping their father push their broken-down pickup truck when a vehicle driven by 20-year-old Jose Banda plowed into them. The December accident happened just 50 yards away from the Barajas' rural Houston-area home.

Eye 2

Illinois inmate accused of murder-for-hire plot against 11-year-old girl and her family: police


Brian Thurman, 28, was denied bail Sunday after authorities charged him with an alleged murder-for-hire scheme against his victim and her family.
A Chicago-area man accused of sexually assaulting an 11-year-old girl faces new charges after police say he tried to hire a hitman to kill his victim and her family.

Brian Thurman, 28, was ordered held without bond Sunday after the Cook County Sheriff's Department charged him with murder for hire and solicitation of murder for hire.

Thurman, of Melrose Park, allegedly plotted to have someone murder the girl, her 16-year-old sister and their mom while he remains in custody at the Cook County Jail, where he was booked Jan. 13 on a predatory criminal sexual assault charge.

Eye 1

Male teacher accused of posing as female on Facebook to solicit nude photos from underage students

© mug shot via City of Irvine
An Orange County male teacher is accused of allegedly posing as a girl on Facebook and getting young boys into online relationships.

Officials say 30-year-old Zachary Reeder pretended to be a young girl and then convinced young men to send him sexually explicit photos of themselves.

Bizarro Earth

NYPD officer who sexually assaulted teacher beats rape conviction

© AFP Photo / Spencer Platt
A New York police officer who brutally sodomized and inflicted oral sex upon a schoolteacher at gunpoint has not been convicted of rape, despite DNA evidence and witness testimonies about the violent attack.

New York's state law excludes nonconsensual oral and anal sex from the definition of "rape", calling them "sexual assault" instead, the New York Daily News reports.

"New York lags behind such liberal bastions as South Dakota and Tennessee in how we define rape," said Assemblywoman Aravella Simolas, who last year introduced a bill that expanded the definition of "rape", which failed to get passed. "New York should be at the forefront to protect crime victims."

Lydia Cuomo, the 25-year-old schoolteacher who was victimized on the first day of her new job at a Bronx charter school, was sexually assaulted by off-duty police officer Michael Pena on Aug. 19, 2011. The cop asked her for directions to the subway at about 6:15 am, while she was waiting to be picked up by her principal.


Official: 5 suspects arrested in Mexico tourist rapes

Mexican authorities are holding five suspects in connection with the alleged rapes of six Spanish tourists in Acapulco, Guerrero state Gov. Angel Aguirre Rivero said Sunday.

The state attorney general has not yet released any information on the suspects or where they're being held, prompting demonstrations by family members concerned about their whereabouts.

Fifty investigators have been dedicated to the case.

The six women were among 14 people victimized by hooded gunmen who burst into a beach bungalow in the resort town before dawn February 4. There are seven suspects between the ages of 20 and 30, lead investigator Marcos Juarez said.


Number of dead at northern Russia mine soars to 18 - local police

© RIA Novosti
The entrance to the Vorkutinskaya mine
Eighteen people have been killed, and three others were injured in a blast at the Vorkutinskaya mine in the northern Russian Republic of Komi, according to the local police.

The bodies of 15 people have been identified.

One more person is reportedly missing in the mine, according to the local Emergencies Ministry.

A plane with the Head of Emergencies Ministry, doctors, and psychologists on board has flown from Moscow to Vorkuta. An additional aircraft carrying equipment to deal with the consequences of the blast is set to take off shortly.