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The Shocking Secret Behind China's Gutter Oil Crackdown

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© Unknown
What are these guys really up to?

Under the guise of a public health program, the Chinese government is currently engaged in a crackdown of the gutter oil (地沟油) industry. However, as more information leaks out, troubling questions are being asked about the real reasons why used cooking oil is being seized.

A recent report in the Beijing News (translation courtesy of Global Times) relates the official story:
Local police authorities in Zhejiang, Shandong, and Henan provinces arrested 32 suspects for making and selling illegal cooking oil in mid-July. The police found hundreds of tons of illegal cooking oil, collected from oil already used in restaurants and scraped from the gutters. The nationwide crackdown reveals that the processing of "gutter oil" has formed an industrial chain.

The police operation was an unprecedented success as it seized colossal amounts of illegal oil and many suspects. More importantly, it is the first time for the police to dismantle a nationwide illegal cooking oil ring, which confirms the rumors that many restaurants in China use gutter oil to cook food.

Pills

'Casey or someone she was with gave it to her': George Anthony stuns his wife by claiming Caylee died of a drug overdose

george anthony
© Dr. Phil
Shocking claim: George Anthony, the father of Casey Anthony, believes his daughter or someone with her drugged his granddaughter thereby causing the youngster's death

The father of Casey Anthony believes his daughter - or someone with her - drugged his two-year-old granddaughter thereby causing the girl's death.

He made the shocking claim in front of his stunned wife during a TV interview aired yesterday.

His daughter was acquitted in July of murdering her daughter, Caylee, in a case that gripped America. The verdict caused national uproar with people venting their fury over social media as well as on radio and TV.

Megaphone

Australia: Birds of the Bush Talk of the Town - Entire Flocks are Learning to Talk

cockatoos
© PerthNow
Corellas are among the wild birds which have begun to talk.
Entire flocks of wild galahs, cockatoos and corellas are learning to talk.

The wild birds are being taught by pet birds that have escaped or been released by their owners and joined the flocks.

"We have had people call us thinking they are going mad or had something put into their drink because they've gone out to look at the flock of birds in their backyard and all the birds have been saying something like: 'Who's a pretty boy then'?" the Australian Museum's naturalist, Martyn Robinson, said yesterday.

Mr Robinson said Sydney was home to large numbers of galahs, sulphur-crested cockatoos and corellas that had fled New South Wales' far west during the decade-long drought.

"They've decided to stay and even begun to breed in the city, and if a pet bird of their species escapes their cage or is released because their owner's moving or whatever, they naturally join the wild flocks," he said.

Dollar

US: Income Slides to 1996 Levels

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Median Household Earnings Fall for Third Year, Census Says

The income of the typical American family - long the envy of much of the world - has dropped for the third year in a row and is now roughly where it was in 1996 when adjusted for inflation.

The income of a household considered to be at the statistical middle fell 2.3% to an inflation-adjusted $49,445 in 2010, which is 7.1% below its 1999 peak, the Census Bureau said.

The Census Bureau's annual snapshot of living standards offered a new set of statistics to show how devastating the recession was and how disappointing the recovery has been. For a huge swath of American families, the gains of the boom of the 2000s have been wiped out.

Earnings of the typical man who works full-time year round fell, and are lower - adjusted for inflation - than in 1978. Earnings for women, meanwhile, are a relative bright spot: Median incomes have been rising in recent years and rose again last year, though women still make 77 cents for every dollar earned by comparably employed men

People

PLO official: Palestinians, Israelis must be totally separated

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© Associated Press
The West Bank settlement of Ariel
Commenting on the subject of minority rights in the potential Palestinian state, PLO envoy to the U.S. says past experience shows the two people should be 'totally separated.'

The future independent Palestinian state will not include a Jewish minority, a top Palestinian official told USA Today on Wednesday, adding that it was in the best interest of both peoples to "be separated."

Maen Areikat, PLO Ambassador to the United States, made the comment just as the Palestinian Authority, led by President Mahmoud Abbas, was preparing to offer up Palestinian statehood to a vote in the United Nations General Assembly later this month.

Answering a question about the legal status of a Jewish minority in the future state, Areikat apprently rejected the issue, saying: "I believe, I still believe that as a first step we need to be totally separated," adding "I think we can contemplate these issues in the future."

Binoculars

US: Jacqueline Kennedy's Antiquated Views "Horrified" Grandkids

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© Agence France-Presse/Getty
Former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis relaxes in a chair in December 1960, a few weeks after John F. Kennedy won the presidential election.
New York: Caroline Kennedy says her daughters were "horrified" listening to taped interviews of grandmother Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis' old-fashioned views on the role of women.

In the 1964 interviews with Arthur Schlesinger Jr., the young widow described her marriage as "a rather terribly Victorian or Asiatic relationship" and said she got all her opinions from her husband, President John F. Kennedy.

Caroline Kennedy said Wednesday on ABC's Good Morning America that her two daughters were "absolutely horrified" when they listened to that portion of the tapes.

Arrow Down

US: Huge Surge in Bank of America Foreclosures

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© Getty Images
Bank of America is ramping up its foreclosure processing, sending out far more notices of default to borrowers in August than in previous months, well over 200 percent more month-to-month.

A notice of default is the first stage of the foreclosure process in non-judicial foreclosures states, that is, where foreclosures do not go before a judge.

The notice of default is usually sent when a borrower is 90 days or more overdue in payments, but that timeline has been extended significantly during this housing crisis, due to the so-called "robo-signing" processing scandal and the sheer volume of troubled loans.

Hourglass

US: Obama Declares 'National Emergency' for Action on Jobs Plan

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© AP Photo Close
'We've been grappling with a crisis for three years,' Obama told the crowd in North Carolina.
President Barack Obama opened the sixth day of his jobs push Wednesday with a campaign-style rally at North Carolina State University, saying the country is in the midst of a "national emergency" that requires Congress to act swiftly on his $447 billion plan.

Against the backdrop of more negative poll numbers and two special-election losses for Democrats, Obama called on thousands of college students assembled in the steamy Reynolds Coliseum to mobilize behind the plan, a mix of tax cuts and government spending on infrastructure, jobs programs and construction projects.

The 26-minute speech before a crowd of more than 9,000 echoed his remarks in previous days, with a slightly sharper critique of congressional Republicans for suggesting that they don't want to give Obama a political "win" and pass his proposal.

Dollar

US: President Obama's Tax On Soup Kitchens

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© The Hindu
Yesterday, it was announced that an astounding 1 in 6 Americans are living in poverty. President Obama's response? To demand a tax on donations to soup kitchens and other charities that help people desperately in need. The President's proposal will impact approximately 40% of all the tax deductible contributions, and essentially penalize soup kitchens, hospitals, and churches that provide essential services to those who need them most. It's no wonder this tax hike has been rejected on both sides of the aisle.

Stormtrooper

UK: Internet Troll Jailed After Mocking Deaths of Teenagers

Sean Duffy targeted Facebook tribute pages and posted videos on YouTube taunting the dead victims and their families

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© Press Association
Natasha MacBryde and Jordan Cooper, two of the teenagers whose deaths were mocked by Duffy.
An internet troll who posted videos and messages mocking the deaths of teenagers, including a girl hit by a train, has been jailed.

Sean Duffy, 25, targeted Facebook tribute pages and posted videos on YouTube taunting the dead and their families.

Among his victims was Natasha MacBryde, 15, who died instantly when hit by a passenger train near her home in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire.

The day after Natasha's death in February, Duffy posted comments including "I fell asleep on the track lolz" on the Facebook tribute page created by her brother James, 17.

Four days later he created a YouTube video called "Tasha the Tank Engine" featuring her face superimposed on to the front of the fictional engine.

Duffy, who is unemployed and did not know any of his victims, pleaded guilty to two counts of sending malicious communications relating to Natasha.