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Martians Landing or Putin's New Bomb? Mysterious Flash in the Sky Sparks Conspiracy Theories in Moscow

The Russian web was ablaze with bizarre theories today at an extraordinary explosion seen by thousands of commuters in St Petersburg.

It must have seemed like the end of the world was nigh when motorists driving along this busy motorway saw a huge flash light up the night sky on the horizon.

So far, conspiracy theories of martians and bomb-testing have emerged to explain the astonishing sight. However, the reality was far less exciting.

Image
© Russia Today
The calm before the electric storm: Unsuspecting motorists were driving along this motorway when the huge flash appeared on the horizon in front of them.

Dollar

US, California: Los Angeles County OKs $1,000 Fine For Throwing Football, Frisbee On Beaches


When you head down to the beach for a little fun this summer, county officials want you to leave the pigskin at home.

The Board of Supervisors this week agreed to raise fines to up to $1,000 for anyone who throws a football or a Frisbee on any beach in Los Angeles County.

In passing the 37-page ordinance on Tuesday, officials sought to outline responsibilities for law enforcement and other public agencies while also providing clarification on beach-goer activities that could potentially disrupt or even injure the public.

Laptop

US, Washington: Seattle Library Lets Man Watch Porn in View of Children

xxx, porn
© unknown
A Seattle librarian refused to force a man watching hardcore porn on a computer to move to a more discreet location, even after a woman with two children complained, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

The Lake City librarian reportedly could see the screen, and sympathized with the woman's position, but maintained that the library "doesn't censor content" and could not "be in the business of monitoring what their patrons are doing at any given computer."

According to newspaper, the woman isn't the first person to speak up. Several parents and teachers have complained about library patrons watching graphic pornography while children are present, the paper said.

"Now I don't let my kids wander the aisles at our branch," one mother told the newspaper.

This isn't the first time this issue of whether porn and other obscene materials should be allowed in public libraries has come up. In 1998, a U.S. District Court ruled that a Virginia county library could not force website-blocking software on their adult patrons.

Green Light

US: New Illinois Law Allows Motorcyclists to Drive Through Red Lights

Image
© CBC News
Have you ever sat at a red light, watching the seconds tick by wondering if the light will ever turn?

Well, motorcyclists and bicycle riders in Illinois no longer have that problem. A new law now allows them to ride through red lights if the light doesn't turn green within a "reasonable period of time." But, according to the Chicago Daily Herald, not everyone thinks it's a good idea.

The law was changed because proponents said motorcycles and bicycles aren't heavy enough to activate the road sensors that make lights change.

Brian Wenholt, a legislative officer for Will County ABATE, said riders have wanted this law for a while.

"It's something I've been complaining about, and a lot of members have too, for years and years," he said to the Orland Park Patch. ABATE stands for A Brotherhood Aimed Toward Education and tries to "preserve the universal right to a safe, unrestricted motorcycling environment," reads their website.

Laptop

Facebook Photos Still Viewable After Users Delete Them, Website Finds

facebook
© dpa
Three years after the issue first came to light, it appears photos on Facebook that users have deleted aren't actually off the server, a website has learned.

Writers at the technology blog Ars Technica found that even when they deleted photos, the image file stayed on Facebook's server and was still available, if another user had a direct URL to the image. In effect, all that deleting a photo had accomplished was removing it from Facebook's main interface.

Since Ars Technica first learned of this flaw in Facebook's system back in 2009, the social networking giant has responded to say that it is working with its content delivery network (CDN) partner to resolve the issue and reduce the amount of time it takes for a photo to be deleted.

Heart - Black

New Poll Suggests Majority of Canadians Support the Death Penalty

The death penalty debate in Canada resurfaced last week, when Senator Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu suggested that murderers be given a rope in their cells "to make a decision about his or her life."

It turns out, the majority of Canadians have the same sentiments as Boisvenu.


Attention

1 in 10 Doctors Admit Lying in the Past Year

Doctor + Patient
© MyHealthNewsDaily

Everybody lies - even doctors.

A new study finds 11 percent of doctors say that they have told a patient or a child's guardian something that was not true in the past year, and about 20 percent say they have not fully disclosed a mistake to a patient because they were afraid of being sued.

The results also show 34 percent of doctors surveyed did not "completely agree" that physicians should disclose all significant medical errors to affected patients. Instead, these doctors said they only somewhat agreed, or disagreed.

"Our findings raise concerns that some patients might not receive complete and accurate information from their physicians," the researchers write in the February issue of the journal Health Affairs. The findings also question whether patient-centered care - which is a philosophy of medicine that respects the preferences, needs and values of patients - is possible without more openness and honesty, the researchers from Harvard Medical School said.

While the ultimate effect of such untruths is not known, they could make patients "less able to make health care decisions that reflect their values and goals," the researchers said.

To be fair, the researchers acknowledged not knowing the circumstances under which physicians lied, and communication regarding health issues can be complex. Physicians must often wade through conflicting and confusing information as a case goes on. Telling a patient something that turns out to be wrong might not be helpful, the researchers said.

More research is needed to better understand when and why physicians feel justified in a lapse of honesty.

Newspaper

MSNBC Poll: Nearly 75% Oppose Israeli Strike on Iran


Info

UK: "Bored" Clerk Caught Watching Porn During Rape Trial

Image
© unknown
"He said that he watched a lot of internet porn," prosecutor says.

A veteran London court clerk caught surfing porn sites during a rape trial said he did so "because he was bored."

Debasish Majumder, 54, pleaded guilty to a charge of misconduct in public office and five counts of possession of indecent images, the U.K. Daily Mail newspaper reported.

The prosecution alleged Majumder viewed about 30 images between Dec. 9 and 10 during a rape trial. The judge sitting behind him said he noticed the filthy photos as the victim in the case was testifying.

Arrow Up

Canada: Gas Prices Could Leap by Up to 20 Cents a Litre

Image
© Reuters/Frank Polich
When Canadians head out on road trips this spring and summer, they can expect gas prices to take a bigger bite out of their wallets. But energy experts on this side of the border are divided over whether these hikes will be as high as U.S. motorists are bracing for.

Media reports Monday out of the U.S. were suggesting gas prices could rise in some areas this spring by up to 60 cents per gallon (roughly equal to 15 cents per litre). But Calgary-based petroleum industry analyst Michael Ervin sees nothing to suggest hikes of that magnitude in Canada.

Instead, he's predicting "modest" increases of about five to 10 cents per litre - "much much less than what we had become accustomed to seeing prior to the slump in the North American and global economy."

Every year, gas prices tend to rise when warmer weather and school vacations lure more people onto the highways and energy experts are expecting the same pricing habits this spring and summer.