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US: Kansas City Girl, 5, May Face Murder Charges in Drowning

A 5-year-old girl could face murder charges in the recent drowning of a toddler in a bathtub, police said on Thursday.

Kansas City police are waiting for a medical examiner's report on how Jermane Johnson Jr., died, but have investigated the death as a homicide, spokesman Darin Snapp said Thursday.

"I've been in law enforcement for 20 years and it's the youngest suspect I can remember," Snapp said. "It's extremely rare."

Johnson, 18 months old, was in a Kansas City house on June 3rd with other children, but the 16-year-old girl who was supposed to be looking after them fell asleep, Snapp said.


US: Tennessee Law Bans Posting Images That "Cause Emotional Distress"

A new Tennessee law makes it a crime to "transmit or display an image" online that is likely to "frighten, intimidate or cause emotional distress" to someone who sees it. Violations can get you almost a year in jail time or up to $2500 in fines.

The Tennessee legislature has been busy updating its laws for the Internet age, and not always for the better. Last week we reported on a bill that updated Tennessee's theft-of-service laws to include "subscription entertainment services" like Netflix.

The ban on distressing images, which was signed by Gov. Bill Haslam last week, is also an update to existing law. Tennessee law already made it a crime to make phone calls, send emails, or otherwise communicate directly with someone in a manner the sender "reasonably should know" would "cause emotional distress" to the recipient. If the communciation lacked a "legitimate purpose," the sender faced jail time.

The new legislation adds images to the list of communications that can trigger criminal liability. But for image postings, the "emotionally distressed" individual need not be the intended recipient. Anyone who sees the image is a potential victim. If a court decides you "should have known" that an image you posted would be upsetting to someone who sees it, you could face months in prison and thousands of dollars in fines.

Cell Phone

Text Messaging is Dying, Report Shows

The gig is up: American cellphone users are quickly abandoning text messaging plans that make wireless companies bundles in profit, reports the Wall Street Journal. Americans sent and received over 1 trillion text messages in the second half of 2010, shows a study from wireless industry watcher CTIA. While that may sound high, it's actually only an 8.7 percent increase from the six months prior - the lowest jump to date.

Until recently, texting was a must-have feature for many cell phone users. Because of this, wireless companies have been able to charge obscene amounts of money for the service, about $0.20 per message or around $20 per month for unlimited texting plans. According to UBS analysts, this brought wireless companies about $0.80 of profit for ever $1 charged to a consumer. For voice and data services, the profit margin is much lower - about $0.35 per $1. In other words, text messages are a giant rip-off.


US: Paradise parents get prison in slaying

A Paradise couple convicted of whipping an adopted daughter to death and injuring two other children were sentenced Friday to upper terms in state prison.

Butte County Superior Court Judge Kristen Lucena sentenced Kevin Paul Schatz, 48, to serve at least 22 years of two life terms for second-degree murder and torture. Elizabeth Hazel Schatz, 44, was sentenced to serve 13 years, four months for voluntary manslaughter and infliction of unlawful corporal punishment.

Both Schatzes were also sentenced to six months county jail for misdemeanor cruelty to a child. They were credited for time served.

Comment: The article makes no mention of Michael and Debi Pearl, conservative Christian ministers who position themselves as experts in the "biblical" parenting and recommend flogging young children to train obedience. The Schatz family followed Pearl's disciplinary system.

Cell Phone

Evidence Mounts that Electronic Interference May Affect Airplane Safety

© Getty Images
In 75 instances between 2003 and 2009, electronic interference was cited as a possible cause of airplane dysfunction, according to a report by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Seasoned travelers, and even travelers who fly more than once or twice a year, sometimes find themselves jaded by the rules of the air: required safety demonstrations, buckle your seatbelt whenever you're seated, and turn off electronic devices such as cell phones and smartphones. But the IATA report, obtained by ABC News, provides some evidence that heeding that last rule, about electronic devices, would be to everyone's benefit.

According to the confidential study, in a survey spanning six years with respondents from 125 airlines, there were 75 documented incidents in which airline pilots and crew believed that possible electronic interference affected flight controls and navigation systems. In 26 of those instances, autopilot, autothrust and landing gear were disturbed, while 13 of the incidents produced electronic warnings, including "engine indications." In four out of ten of the events documented, the suspected cause was a cell phone.


Thousands Stage Anti-Nuclear Protests in Tokyo as Reports Reveal Radiation Leaks from Stricken Plant are Worse than Thought

Buddhist monks
© AP
Concerns: Buddhist monks take part in an anti-nuclear march in Tokyo three months after a devastating earthquake and tsunami triggered one of the world's worst atomic disasters
Protesters in Tokyo have staged mass demonstrations against the use of atomic power just three months after a powerful earthquake and tsunami triggered one of the world's worst nuclear disasters.

Crowds of people banging drums and shouting anti-nuclear slogans poured through the streets of the capital and descended on the head offices of Tokyo Electric Power Co, which operates the stricken Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant.

The magnitude-9 earthquake which struck off Japan's north-east coast on March 11 caused a huge tsunami that knocked out power and cooling systems at Fukushima.

The huge wave set off explosions, fires and large radiation leaks at the facility, around 140 miles north-east of Tokyo.


Italy: Priest Sex-Abuse Case Hits Church of Pope's Adviser

Pope Benedict XVI
© Alessandra Tarantino / AP
Pope Benedict XVI
This post is in partnership with Worldcrunch, a new global news site that translates stories of note in foreign languages into English. The article below was originally published in the leading Italian daily La Stampa.

The latest sex-abuse case to rock the Catholic Church is unfolding in the archdiocese of an influential Italian Cardinal who has been working with Pope Benedict XVI on reforms to respond to prior scandals of pedophile priests.

Father Riccardo Seppia, a 51-year-old parish priest in the village of Sastri Ponente, near Genoa, was arrested last Friday, May 13, on pedophilia and drug charges. Investigators say that in tapped mobile-phone conversations, Seppia asked a Moroccan drug dealer to arrange sexual encounters with young and vulnerable boys. "I do not want 16-year-old boys but younger. Fourteen-year-olds are O.K. Look for needy boys who have family issues," he allegedly said. Genoa Archbishop Angelo Bagnasco, who is the head of the Italian Bishops Conference, had been working with Benedict to establish a tough new worldwide policy, released this week, on how bishops should handle accusations of priestly sex abuse.

Che Guevara

100,000 Protesters Hit the Streets in Yemen

Nearly 100,000 Yemenis protested Friday in a main square of the capital, demanding the president's ouster in the biggest rally since Ali Abdullah Saleh left for Saudi Arabia after he was wounded in an attack on his palace.

U.S. officials told NBC News on Friday that the attack on Saleh last week was an "inside job" or assassination attempt using an explosive device and not a rocket attack as earlier reported. The officials said, however, there was "no evidence" an attempted coup."

Saleh was wounded in a blast that hit a mosque where he was praying in his presidential palace on June 3. Badly burned, Saleh was rushed to Saudi Arabia for treatment along with a number of top officials from his regime who also were wounded in the blast.

Officials told NBC News they based their conclusion in part on the serious wounds Saleh suffered, severe facial burns and large shard of wood that went through his chest and punctured his lung. There is speculation the wood came from a lecturn, NBC News reported.

Saleh's evacuation for medical treatment has thrown Yemen into a dangerous political standoff, with opponents insisting he now be pushed completely out of power and his allies seeking to preserve his rule.

But the president's allies say he could return within days and have been resisting U.S. and Saudi pressure to start now on a handover of power. Saleh, who has ruled for nearly 33 years, has held out against a wave of daily protests since late January demanding his removal, throwing the country into turmoil. Before he was wounded, opposition tribesmen rose up and battled for two weeks with government forces in fighting that shook the capital.


Walk away from your mortgage ?

Should you keep paying your mortgage on a home that's dwindling in value?

No way, say an increasing number of underwater homeowners who are voluntarily choosing to "walk away" from their home loans, a practice known as "strategic default."

Jon Maddux, CEO of YouWalkAway.com, reports 10% more clients this year to his company, which advises people how best to handle the walk away process.

Charles Gallagher, a real estate attorney in St. Petersburg, Fla., has also seen an uptick.

Heart - Black

Economic Crisis Will Lead to Civil Unrest