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Blind man keeps his old guide dog after it loses its sight... and then gets a new one who now leads them both around

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© Albanplx
Walkies! Graham Waspe, who is registered blind, with his blind guide dog Edward (left) and his new guide dog Opal (right) who now guides both of them on walks


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© Alex Fairfull
Best buddies: The Waspes say the two dogs have got on fine since they came together, with Opal taking Edward to all his old haunts


After six years of loyal service, Graham Waspe was devastated when his guide dog Edward was left blind after developing cataracts.

But his devastation turned to joy when his replacement Opal turned out to be a real gem.

Mr Waspe's new dog is not just aiding his owner to carry out everyday tasks, but also helping Edward to get around.

Mr Waspe, of Stowmarket, Suffolk, received his new dog last November after Edward developed the inoperable problem which resulted in him needing both eyes removed.

And the two-year-old bitch has stepped in where Edward left off as they tour their old haunts together.

Info

Canada: British Columbia Vulnerable in Giant Quake: Experts


Seismic upgrading of public buildings in Vancouver has increased the chance that people and structures would survive a catastrophic earthquake like the one that hit Japan, but the city's mayor says more has to be done.

"There's more vulnerability than I certainly would like," Gregor Robertson told CBC News on Friday.

"We've been ... seismically upgrading schools and city owned buildings, provincially owned buildings for the last a number of years, but they're not all done yet," Robertson said. "There are still vulnerable buildings."

Skyscrapers were seen swaying ominously in downtown Tokyo in videos taken during Japan's 8.9 quake that struck mid-afternoon local time Friday.

None of the buildings toppled, although thousands of smaller structures were destroyed north of Tokyo and closer to the quake's undersea epicentre. Many of the buildings were swept away by the huge tsunamis that swept ashore.

But it's not certain that all tall buildings in B.C.'s largest urban area would fare as well as Tokyo's.

Ambulance

Bronx Bus Crash Kills 13 in New York

At least 13 people have died after a tour bus overturned on a highway in the Bronx, New York, early this morning, authorities said.


The accident happened at about 5:30 a.m. after a tractor trailer clipped the Worldwide Tour bus from behind on the New England Thruway at the Hutchinson River Parkway, according to the driver, who survived. The truck failed to stop after it hit the bus, police said.

The bus was heading southbound when it flipped on its side. It then skidded into the support post for a large highway sign. The post sliced through the length of the bus at the passenger seat level, officials said.

Control Panel

Emergencies declared at 5 Japan nuclear reactors

Tokyo - Japan declared states of emergency for five nuclear reactors at two power plants after the units lost cooling ability in the aftermath of Friday's powerful earthquake. Thousands of residents were evacuated as workers struggled to get the reactors under control to prevent meltdowns.

Operators at the Fukushima Daiichi plant's Unit 1 scrambled ferociously to tamp down heat and pressure inside the reactor after the 8.9 magnitude quake and the tsunami that followed cut off electricity to the site and disabled emergency generators, knocking out the main cooling system.
Story: How a nuclear plant works

Some 3,000 people within two miles (three kilometers) of the plant were urged to leave their homes, but the evacuation zone was more than tripled to 6.2 miles (10 kilometers) after authorities detected eight times the normal radiation levels outside the facility and 1,000 times normal inside Unit 1's control room.


The government declared a state of emergency at the Daiichi unit - the first at a nuclear plant in Japan's history. But hours later, the Tokyo Electric Power Co., which operates the six-reactor Daiichi site, announced that it had lost cooling ability at a second reactor there and three units at its nearby Fukushima Daini site.

The government quickly declared states of emergency for those units, too, and thousands of residents near Fukushima Daini also were told to leave.

Control Panel

Japan battles to contain nuclear crisis after huge quake

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© AP/Kyodo News
Firefighters watch smoke from burning buildings in Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture.
Fukushima, Japan - Japan scrambled on Saturday to reduce pressure in two nuclear plants damaged after a massive earthquake and tsunami struck its northeast coast probably killing at least 1,300 people.

A day after the biggest quake on record in Japan, the government said it was still too early to grasp the full extent of damage or casualties. The confirmed death toll so far is almost 300, though media reports say it is at least 1,300.

"Unfortunately, we must be prepared for the number to rise greatly," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told reporters.

The tremor, with a magnitude of 8.9, was so huge that thousands fled their homes from coastlines around the Pacific Rim, as far away as North and South America, fearful of a tsunami.

Most appeared to have been spared anything more serious than some high waves, unlike Japan's northeast coastline which was hammered by a 10-meter high tsunami that turned houses and ships into floating debris as it surged into cities and villages, sweeping aside everything in its path.

"I thought I was going to die," said Wataru Fujimura, a 38-year-old sales representative in Koriyama, Fukushima, north of Tokyo and close to area worst hit by the quake.

Heart - Black

US: Lawmaker advocates eugenics

A 91-year-old state representative told a constituent that he believes in eugenics and that the world would be better off without "defective people."

Barrington Republican Martin Harty told Sharon Omand, a Strafford resident who manages a community mental health program, that "the world is too populated" and there are "too many defective people," according to an e-mail account of the conversation by Omand. Asked what he meant, she said Harty clarified, "You know the mentally ill, the retarded, people with physical disabilities and drug addictions - the defective people society would be better off without."

Harty confirmed to the Monitor that he made the comments to Omand. Harty told the Monitor the world population has increased dramatically, and "it's a very dangerous situation if it doubles again." Asked about people who are mentally ill, he asked, apparently referring to a lack of financial resources, "Can we afford to bring them through?"

Harty said nature has a way of "getting rid of stupid people," and "now we're saving everyone who gets born."

Hourglass

This Time We're Taking the Whole Planet With Us

I have walked through the barren remains of Babylon in Iraq and the ancient Roman city of Antioch, the capital of Roman Syria, which now lies buried in silt deposits. I have visited the marble ruins of Leptis Magna, once one of the most important agricultural centers in the Roman Empire, now isolated in the desolate drifts of sand southeast of Tripoli. I have climbed at dawn up the ancient temples in Tikal, while flocks of brightly colored toucans leapt through the jungle foliage below. I have stood amid the remains of the ancient Egyptian city of Luxor along the Nile, looking at the statue of the great Egyptian pharaoh Ramesses II lying broken on the ground, with Percy Shelley's poem "Ozymandias" running through my head:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
Civilizations rise, decay and die. Time, as the ancient Greeks argued, for individuals and for states is cyclical. As societies become more complex they become inevitably more precarious. They become increasingly vulnerable. And as they begin to break down there is a strange retreat by a terrified and confused population from reality, an inability to acknowledge the self-evident fragility and impending collapse. The elites at the end speak in phrases and jargon that do not correlate to reality. They retreat into isolated compounds, whether at the court at Versailles, the Forbidden City or modern palatial estates. The elites indulge in unchecked hedonism, the accumulation of vaster wealth and extravagant consumption. They are deaf to the suffering of the masses who are repressed with greater and greater ferocity. Resources are more ruthlessly depleted until they are exhausted. And then the hollowed-out edifice collapses. The Roman and Sumerian empires fell this way. The Mayan elites, after clearing their forests and polluting their streams with silt and acids, retreated backward into primitivism.

Alarm Clock

What Kind of Sick Culture Blames an 11-Year-Old for Being Gang-Raped?

Recent coverage of a young girl's rape in Texas reveals our twisted assumptions about sexual violence.

The memories have faded, but still they float to the surface at times: being 12, 13, 14 years old in an insular West Texas town where you could walk from one end of town to the other in half an hour. Most walks home from the store or school were uneventful, but a handful of times, young men in their late teens or early 20s would slow their cars down and lean out the window while you walked. "Hey, why are you walking? Don't you want a ride?" Faces full of concern they never seemed to have when dealing with young girls in any other setting.

I always said no. I was too young to have any inkling of what could happen if I accepted, but I figured it was not likely to be good.

But one 11-year-old girl in Cleveland, Texas, a rural town in the eastern part of the state, did say yes to the ride. And what allegedly was done to her is the sort of thing that begs for an explanation. She was taken to one house and then to an abandoned trailer. She was threatened with violence if she didn't comply. She was sexually assaulted by multiple men in their teens and 20s, some of whom recorded the event and posted it online. How could these young men allegedly do this?

Family

US: Eliminate the Regulators and Lawyers! Town in Maine Declares "Food Sovereignty"

Town hall in Sedgwick, Maine
© Deborah Evans
Town hall in Sedgwick, Maine
Maybe the citizens of tiny Sedgwick on the Maine coast were listening to the calls of Dave Milano, Ken Conrad, and others for more trust and community, and less rigid one-size-fits-all food regulation.

On Saturday morning, Sedgwick became likely the first locale in the country to pass a "Food Sovereignty" law. It's the proposed ordinance I first described last fall, when I introduced the "Five Musketeers", a group of farmers and consumers intent on pushing back against overly aggressive state food regulators. The regulators were interfering with farmers who, for example, took chickens to a neighbor for slaughtering, or who sold raw milk directly to consumers.

The proposed ordinance was one of 78 being considered at the Sedgwick town meeting, that New England institution that has stood the test of time, allowing all of a town's citizens to vote yea or nay on proposals to spend their tax money and, in this case, enact potentially far-reaching laws with national implications. They've been holding these meetings in the Sedgwick town hall (pictured above) since 1794. At Friday's meeting, about 120 citizens raised their hands in unanimous approval of the ordinance.

Citing America's Declaration of Independence and the Maine Constitution, the ordinance proposed that "Sedgwick citizens possess the right to produce, process, sell, purchase, and consume local foods of their choosing." These would include raw milk and other dairy products and locally slaughtered meats, among other items.

Comment: While we do not recommend the consumption of dairy products, we stand squarely behind the right of humanity to not have their food choices limited or dictated by Big Agro and its government toadies.


Laptop

Google's Tarnished Chrome

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© Unknown
The search and advertising company once seemed to do no wrong. Now members of Congress aren't so sure.

Reps. Edward Markey, D-Mass., and Joe Barton, R-Texas, cochairmen of the Bipartisan Privacy Caucus and longtime members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, don't agree on much. But after Google was caught last month collecting Social Security information from children who took part in its annual doodling contest, the lawmakers set aside their differences. In a scathing joint statement, they called the action "unacceptable."

The rebuke was just the latest in a series from lawmakers in both parties, and it highlights a deeper problem for the online giant: Its star is falling fast in Washington. Long the darling of the technology community, Google had carefully cultivated an image of corporate responsibility with its "Don't Be Evil" motto and its mission "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful." But in recent years, the company has distanced itself not only from the motto but also the principles behind it, say experts who monitor its business practices.

And members of Congress are noticing. In recent months, they've criticized Google for its proposed acquisition of an online travel-reservations company; a privacy breach involving the collection of unsecured wireless data; and its short-lived effort to circumvent tough new Internet regulations. "There is an awareness that Google just isn't exactly the warm, fuzzy, cuddly, little start-up that everybody loved [and] that we thought it was," said John Simpson, director of the Inside Google project for Consumer Watchdog, a Los Angeles-based non­profit and fierce critic of the company. "It's such an all-pervasive force in everyone's lives that it's coming under scrutiny - and deservedly so."