Society's ChildS


Special forces raid BP's Moscow office

© Associated PressHeadquarters of BP's Russian operations in downtown Moscow
BP's troubled relationship with Russia sank to a new low yesterday after special forces raided its Moscow office and its partners in a joint venture escalated their campaign against the company.

The raid came a day after BP suffered the humiliation of being usurped by ExxonMobil in a landmark alliance with the Kremlin-controlled Rosneft, a deal that BP had claimed as its own.

Police armed with assault rifles searched for documents relating to the dispute between BP and a minority shareholder in its Russian joint venture TNK-BP.

The shareholder, Andrei Prokhorov, claims that BP harmed TNK-BP's interests by failing to include the joint venture in its proposed alliance with Rosneft and is seeking $US3 billion in damages as a result.


Libya commander: 50,000 dead in uprising

© Associated Press
Military commander with Libya's interim ruling council estimates revolution has so far claimed 50,000 lives

An estimated 50,000 people have been killed since the beginning of Libya's uprising to oust Muammar Gaddafi six months ago, a military commander with the country's interim ruling council said on Tuesday.

"In Misrata and Zlitan between 15,000 and 17,000 were killed and Jebel Nafusa (the Western Mountains) took a lot of casualties. We liberated about 28,000 prisoners. We presume that all those missing are dead," he said.

"Then there was Ajdabiyah, Brega. Many people were killed there too," he said, referring to towns repeatedly fought over in eastern Libya.

"About 50,000 people were killed since the start of the uprising," Colonel Hisham Buhagiar, commander of the anti-Gaddafi troops who advanced out of the Western Mountains and took Tripoli a week ago, told Reuters.

Heart - Black

UK: Queen's guard at Windsor Castle and his primary school teacher wife appear in court charged with 'raping pre-teenage girl'

A soldier who guards the Queen at Windsor Castle and his primary school teacher wife have appeared in court charged with raping a pre-teenage girl.

Simon Davies, 37, and wife Fiona, 44, were held by police after a video of the alleged incident was found during a raid on a London home.

Police swooped on the house as part of an investigation into a child porn ring. It is believed the footage was being circulated online by paedophiles.

windsor castle
© AlamyCharged: A soldier who guards the Queen at Windsor Castle has been arrested and charged, alongside his primary school teacher wife, with raping a pre-teenage girl


Shocking footage shows girl, four, driving car down motorway

girl 4, drives car
© Snip

A girl of four has been filmed driving down a busy main road while her dad shouts instructions from the back seat.

The incredible footage, apparently shot by the girl's mother, shows her speeding along a four-lane motorway, calmly overtaking other cars as she goes.

In the background, her parents can be heard reminding the youngster - who is not wearing a seatbelt - to look ahead and not be distracted.


Iranian Commander Predicts "Military Rule" in Major US Cities

© Unknown
A senior Iranian commander said that the US plans massive deployments of police forces in major cities fearing the eruption of popular protests similar to the recent developments in the Middle East, the Arab world and the European countries.

The Deputy Head of Iran's Armed Forces Joint Chiefs of Staff Brigadier General Massoud Jazayeri described the deployment of US police forces in cities as "military rule," which basically aims at a quick crackdown on political unrest in the country under a "threadbare" pretext of preventing terror attacks in the US.

He noted how incumbent US President Barack Obama has followed in the path of his predecessor, George W. Bush, in inflicting huge costs on US taxpayers through the continuation of the Bush-era war policies.

Difficult living conditions, unemployment, an increasing suicide rate among US troops and the Americans' inability to pay off their mortgages are among other hardships the Obama administration has brought about for the people in the United States, Jazayeri added.

Cowboy Hat

US govt tunes out legendary guitar firm over 'illegal' wood from India

© UnknownJimi Hendrix with his restrung Gibson flying V.
Washington: George Harrison played 'While my guitar gently weeps' on the instrument manufactured by them. Eric Clapton sang his paean to Layla and laid down Sally on their storied equipment. Jimi Hendrix generated Midnight Lightning and Jerry Garcia took a long strange trip - all on legendary Gibson guitars.

But contemporary musicians, especially guitarists, are fretting that they will soon be playing a different tune. Uncle Sam says it has the wood on Gibson, the legendary American guitar maker whose instruments were used by the above musicians and whose products are considered the last word in the west's most popular instrument.

So where does India fit into this story? The US government says Gibson has been illegally importing tropical hardwoods such as ebony, rosewood, and mahogany, used in making guitars, from India, in violation of American laws that bar import of endangered plants and woods. Not true, says Gibson, arguing that its imports are legal and New Delhi itself has not made an issue of it.


Condoleezza Rice fires back at Cheney memoir

condelezza rice
© NACondoleezza Rice

Washington - Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Wednesday she resented what she viewed as an attack on her integrity by former Vice President Dick Cheney in his just-published memoir.

Speaking in an interview with Reuters, Rice rejected Cheney's contention that she misled President George W. Bush about nuclear diplomacy with North Korea.

"I kept the president fully and completely informed about every in and out of the negotiations with the North Koreans," Rice said in her first public comments on the matter. "You can talk about policy differences without suggesting that your colleague somehow misled the president. You know, I don't appreciate the attack on my integrity that that implies."


US: Unsuspecting Firedrill? Mystery package sends 3 to hospital; 14 decontaminated at Scott Air Force Base

© Derik Holtmann/BNDExterior of the post office at Scott Air Force Base.
Three people were taken to the hospital and another 14 were decontaminated after workers in the Scott Air Force Base post office suffered nearly simultaneous skin and respiratory reactions at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.

After what was termed an exhaustive investigation, investigators were not able to determine what caused the workers to become ill, Scott Air Force Base spokeswoman Karen Pettit said Wednesday night.

Investigators found nothing suspicious and no trace of a chemical or an odor, Pettit said. Whatever caused the workers' illnesses may have dissipated enough that it wasn't detected, she said.

"They couldn't determine it came from one specific package," Pettit said.

Earlier Wednesday, Col. Michael Hornitschek had said investigators isolated the source to a particular bin of mail which they were going through methodically.

Comment: The very last sentence of this article certainly sheds light on what may have really happened.


UK: Children's School Lunch Price Rises, Sparking Fears Over Health

Children will have to pay up to 17 per cent more for their school dinners this year compared to last year, a survey has found.

Consumer watchdog Which? also said the quality of school meals needs to improve to encourage more children to eat them and keep costs down after finding that the price is rising in two-thirds of schools across the country in the coming term.

This is leading to concern that it could start to undo the progress made in recent years towards improving children's access to healthier meals.

The research found that parents would rather give their children packed lunches as they believe them to be cheaper, and because their children do not like the food on offer at schools.

Meal prices have risen on average by around 2.5 per cent on last year but some local authorities have increased prices by far more.

School dinners managed by Poole Borough Council are the most expensive in the country at an average of £2.50 this September.

Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council has increased prices by 17 per cent to between £1.70 and £2 a meal while Lewisham Borough Council has risen by 14 per cent, so that school dinners will cost from £1.40 to £1.60.

The local authority with the biggest increase was Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council at 25 per cent, although its prices still remain the lowest in the country at £1.25.

It is estimated that in order to keep costs down, 55 per cent of students would need to take school meals. However, the research found that just 45 per cent of school pupils in England currently have them.

Bad Guys

Best of the Web: US: A Tip for Joe the Machinist and All Who Labor, Watch Your Back!!

© Kheel Center / Flickr
A Labor Day reflection: Corporate America no longer even pays lip service to the importance of encouraging hard work and skill.

You work hard. You do good work. You loyally stick with your employer through good times and bad. Do you have a right to a paycheck that rises over time?

On any Labor Day over the last 50 years, the answer - from labor and management alike - would be obvious: Of course!

But that answer doesn't seem to hold any more. Earlier this year, a trio of top business consultants openly challenged the notion that good employees doing valuable work deserve to see their paychecks steadily increase. This past July, the Harvard Business School circulated their challenge throughout corporate America's upper echelons.

This remarkably brazen assault on core American workplace values originated at Booz & Co., one of the nation's most prestigious corporate consulting firms. America's corporations, Booz analysts advised earlier this year, need to start attacking the "exorbitant" paychecks now going to their most prized, "steady and reliable" veteran workers.

The Booz analysts offer an example of the "significantly overpaid" worker they have in mind. They call him Joe the Machinist, "a stellar employee who knows the ins and outs of the organization, the result of his many years on the job."