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Heart - Black

Death of U.S. teen by neighbourhood watch captain prompts outrage

© Reuters/Handout
An undated handout photo released by the Martin family public relations representative shows 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
US: Orlando, Florida - Responding to an international petition, celebrity tweets, and spreading public outrage, the Justice Department opened an investigation on Monday into the shooting of a black teenager by a neighborhood watch captain who escaped arrest.

More than 435,000 people, many alerted by tweets from celebrities like movie director Spike Lee and musician Wyclef Jean, signed a petition on Change.org, a social action website, calling for the arrest of the shooter, George Zimmerman.

The Justice Department's Civil Rights Division and the FBI announced they have opened an investigation into the February 26 shooting in Florida of an unarmed 17-year-old, Trayvon Martin.

"The department will conduct a thorough and independent review of all of the evidence and take appropriate action at the conclusion of the investigation," the department said.

The campaign to draw attention to the case is the third largest in Change.org's history, and surpassed a petition of about 300,000 signatures credited last year with persuading Bank of America to drop plans for a $5 debit card fee, said Megan Lubin, a Change.org spokeswoman.


Woman arrested after seven-month-old baby found abandoned behind Manitoba school

© Robin Dudgeon / QMI Agency
Portage Emergency Services responded to a call of an abandoned child at about 3:45 a.m. Saturday behind Fort La Reine School. The 28-year-old mother was arrested and is due to appear in provincial court at a later date.
Canada - Manitoba RCMP say a seven-month-old baby girl was abandoned outside a school in the middle of the night before being found by a passerby.

The lightly dressed baby was left in some leaves near the school's steps early Saturday and spent about two hours alone before a man came by on a bicycle and heard a faint cry, Cpl. Miles Hiebert said.

"He heard a sound that he thought at first was a cat," Hiebert said Monday. "He went by, and then decided on second thought to return and check it out, and it actually turned out to be this baby.

"Luckily, this gentleman did find her and prevented a real tragedy."

The baby was taken to hospital and treated for exposure, and is reported to be doing well, Hiebert said.

Police officers discovered a stroller nearby and later found the mother, who police say had been drinking.


Wave of bombs kills dozens in 12 cities across Iraq

© Ako Rasheed/Reuters
Iraqi security forces inspect the site of a bomb attack in Kirkuk on Tuesday. A car bomb exploded near a police headquarters, killing seven people and wounding 30, police and health sources said.

At least 39 people were killed and 188 wounded as car and roadside bombs exploded in at least 12 cities and towns across Iraq Tuesday, police and hospital sources said, extending a spate of violence ahead of next week's Arab League summit in Baghdad.

The meeting is seen as the country's debut on the regional stage following the withdrawal of U.S. troops in December and Iraq's government is anxious to show it can reinforce security to host its neighbors. Tuesday is the ninth anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion.

The AFP news agency reported that while violence in Iraq was down from the peak in 2006 and 2007, a total of 150 Iraqis were killed last month.

The deadliest attack on Tuesday occurred in the southern Shiite Muslim holy city of Kerbala, where twin explosions killed 13 people and wounded 48, according to Jamal Mahdi, a Kerbala health department spokesman.

"The second explosion caused the biggest destruction. I saw body parts, fingers, hands thrown on the road," 23-year-old shop owner Murtadha Ali Kadhim told Reuters.

Magic Wand

Inside The LC: The Strange but Mostly True Story of Laurel Canyon and the Birth of the Hippie Generation Part XXI

"Why people even said Dr. Crandon committed illegal operations on little children and murdered them."

Mina/Margery Crandon
Houdini's Chinese Water Torture Cell
© houdinez.tripod.com
On April 29, 1911, Houdini debuted his famed Chinese Water Torture Cell escape in Southampton, England, though he had perfected and copyrighted the act well over a year earlier. The inherently dangerous stunt caused quite a sensation: "Just the sight of the apparatus was enough to give you shivers and make you believe, as one critic noted, that you were about to witness a ritual sacrifice."

Around that same time, Houdini was, for reasons unknown, busily buying mothballed electric chairs at auctions across the country.

In 1913, Houdini's beloved mother passed away, which apparently resulted in Harry learning some deep family secret. Following her death, Houdini sent the following cryptic note to one of his brothers: "Time heals all wounds, but a long time will have to pass before it will heal the terrible blow which Mother tried to save me from knowing." The meaning of this rather provocative note remains a mystery. Houdini, by the way, was in Denmark when his mother died, and he requested a delay of her funeral to allow himself time to return to the States. Despite strict prohibitions in Jewish law, the entertainer's request was, of course, granted.

In December 1914, just a few months after the staged provocation that allegedly triggered World War I, Houdini was summoned to the nation's capitol for a private audience with then-President Woodrow Wilson. It is anyone's guess what business the two men discussed, but it probably had little to do with stage tricks.
Houdini's Straightjacket Escape
© Prairie Ghost.com
Houdini became known as the "Handcuff King" but he also perfected the straitjacket escape, which would earn him worldwide fame.

A year-and-a-half later, on that most notorious of dates, April 20, an estimated 100,000 people gathered in Washington, D.C. to watch Houdini perform a straightjacket escape. Other than for a presidential inauguration, it was said to be the largest crowd ever assembled in downtown Washington. One year later, in April 1917, the US declared war on Germany.

For the duration of the United States' involvement in the war, Houdini spent a considerable amount of time aiding the war effort, both through fundraising and by frequently visiting the front lines, where he ostensibly went from camp to camp providing entertainment for the troops.

Houdini's Hollywood career also began just as the US was entering the war. It has often been said that one of his first credits was as a special-effects consultant on the Mysteries of Myra cliffhanger serial, though others have claimed that Houdini had no involvement in the production. Curiously, the real consultant for the project is said to have been occultist/intelligence asset Aleister Crowley.

Che Guevara

Cuba's Ladies in White warned public protests no longer allowed

© Reuters
Members of dissident group The Ladies in White march during their weekly protest in Havana.
The women said that state security told them that they can attend mass in Havana, but cannot march outside. The action comes a week before Pope Benedict XVI arrives for three-day visit.

Cuba's Ladies in White say the secret police have told them that they will shut down the only public protests allowed by the government anywhere on the island - the marches staged by the women after Sunday masses in Havana's Santa Rita church.

The threat came as police arrested more than 70 group members over the weekend and dissidents stepped up their activities as Cuba prepares for Pope Benedict XVI's three-day visit to Havana and the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba, starting Monday.

The Ladies in White have been generally allowed to protest outside the Santa Rita church since mid-2010, when Cardinal Jaime Ortega interceded with the government after the women were accosted, sometimes lewdly, several times by mobs of government supporters.

Their Sunday marches after mass at Santa Rita, where many churchgoers are foreign residents of Havana, along the grassy median of Fifth Avenue in the western neighborhood of Miramar have been the only such regularly occurring protest in Cuba.

Police have cracked down harshly, however, when women tried to launch similarly peaceful marches elsewhere, including the cathedral in the city of Santiago de Cuba and the Basilica of Our Lady of Charity in El Cobre, both in eastern Cuba.

Heart - Black

Israeli settlers taking over Palestinian springs: UN report

Israeli settlers spring
© AFP/File, Jaafar Ashtiyeh
Israeli settlers shovel the ground to divert water from a spring in the West Bank village of Karawa Bani Hassan
Israeli settlers have taken over dozens of natural springs in the West Bank, limiting or preventing Palestinian access to much-needed water sources, a United Nations report said on Monday.

The report produced by the UN's Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said at least 30 springs across the West Bank had been completely taken over by settlers, with Palestinians unable to access them at all.

In most instances, the report said, "Palestinians have been deterred from accessing the springs by acts of intimidation, threats and violence perpetrated by Israeli settlers."


Shootings in Toulouse and Montauban: What we know


Sarkozy is personally overseeing the investigation. In the middle of an election campaign too. Hmmm...
Three gun attacks which left seven people dead and two wounded have sparked a security alert in south-western France, with fears that the same killer could be at work.

In each case the attacker is said to have been a gunman on a moped, using the same gun, striking in broad daylight.

All of the attacks took place within a radius of about 50km (30 miles), between the city of Toulouse and town of Montauban.

The first two shootings saw soldiers targeted but the third took place at a school.

What the victims have in common is that they belong to, or are associated with, ethnic or religious minorities - North African, Caribbean and Jewish.

Comment: Helmeted assassins on motorbikes?

Iranian nuclear scientist killed in motorbike attack

Iranian chemist killed by motorbike assassins

Israel Helped Train Those Motorcycle Assassins in Iran

Eye 1

Browne Says Bales Wasn't Drunk and Can't Remember

John Henry Browne
© unknown
John Henry Browne
US: Fort Leavenworth, Kansas - The defense of accused murderer Sgt. Robert Bales began Monday when he spent more than seven hours with three of his lawyers, including defense attorney John Henry Browne.

At their meeting, Bales did not confess to the crime.

"He has no memory of...he has an early memory of that evening and he has a later memory of that, but he doesn't have memory of the evening in between.," Browne said.

Witnesses describe Bales as going deliberately from room to room in several houses while killing people, not in some kind of berserk attack. Browne said that despite the descriptions of his apparently deliberate actions, Bales remembers none of what happened.

Browne also said reports of his being drunk that night were not really true.


Lawyer Describes Talk with Afghan Killings Suspect

Robert Bales
© unknown
Staff Sgt. Robert Bales during an exercise at the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California
US, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas - A Seattle lawyer who is defending an Army staff sergeant suspected of killing 16 Afghans, including nine children, met Monday with the soldier for the first time at Fort Leavenworth, a conversation the attorney described as emotional.

Lawyer John Henry Browne said he met for more than three hours with Robert Bales, a 10-year Army veteran who is being held in an isolated cell at the military prison.

"What's going on on the ground in Afghanistan, you read about it, I read about it, but it's totally different when you hear about it from somebody who's been there," Browne told The Associated Press by telephone during a lunch break. "It's just really emotional."

Bales, 38, and Browne are expected to meet again Monday afternoon.

Bales has not been charged yet in the March 11 shootings, which have endangered relations between the U.S. and Afghanistan and threatened to upend American policy over the decade-old war. Formal charges are expected to be filed within a week.

Post spokeswoman Rebecca Steed said earlier that Bales would be able to meet Browne in what is described as a privileged visit. Along with medical visits, such meetings are generally more private than others conducted in the prison.

Bales is "already being integrated into the normal pre-trial confinement routine," Steed said.

Comment: The reader is encouraged to read the Sott Focus US Marines Look Deep Inside Their Souls - Find Vacuum - Decide To Kill Afghan Villagers by Joe Quinn for a better understanding of the situation involving this 'lone gunman'.


Dutch Roman Catholic Church 'castrated at least 10 boys' in the 1950s!

© omroepbrabant
The NRC Handelsblad newspaper identified Henk Heithuis who was castrated in 1956
At least 10 teenage boys or young men under the age of 21 were surgically castrated "to get rid of homosexuality" while in the care of the Dutch Roman Catholic Church in the 1950s.

Evidence of the castrations has emerged amid controversy that it was not included in the findings of an official investigation into sexual abuse within the church last year.

The NRC Handelsblad newspaper identified Henk Heithuis who was castrated in 1956, while a minor, after reporting priests to the police for abusing him in a Catholic boarding home.

Joep Dohmen, the investigative journalist who uncovered the Heithuis case, also found evidence of at least nine other castrations. "These cases are anonymous and can no longer be traced," he said. "There will be many more. But the question is whether those boys, now old men, will want to tell their story."