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Cut

Toilet paper restrictions imposed on schoolchildren in Spain in latest austerity cuts

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© Alamy
The latest edict issued by the region’s ministry of education instructs state schools to cut “excessive consumption” of toilet roll among pupils and limit the quota to a maximum of 25 meters per child per month
Schoolchildren in Catalonia are the latest victims of austerity cuts with authorities instructing them to limit their use of lavatory paper in a bid to save money.

The northeastern region has been ordered to rein in its deficit and has embarked on a series of stringent austerity cuts.

The latest edict issued by the region's ministry of education instructs state schools to cut "excessive consumption" of toilet roll among pupils and limit the quota to a maximum of 25 metres per child per month.

This most recent penny saving measure comes amid widespread cuts to education budgets across Spain that has led to regular protests in the streets by teachers.

Airplane

US: Women kicked off airplane at PBIA claim unruly flight attendant was to blame

Passengers claim attendant was 'a bully'


Three women were escorted off a New York bound flight at Palm Beach International Airport Monday afternoon by airline staff and Palm Beach County Sheriff's deputies. The women claim they did not do anything wrong and that a flight attendant on board was the only one behaving poorly.

The women -- a lawyer, a therapist and a retired travel agent -- were complete strangers until they were seated near one another on AirTran Flight 1451 to White Plains, New York. They were buckled in and ready to take off when they said a male flight attendant began mishandling some overhead luggage.

Syringe

California, US: Couple Badly Injured After Bodybuilder Attack

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© Unknown
Colton - Police say a naked, 300-pound bodybuilder savagely beat a Southern California couple at their home, leaving them in critical condition.

The Sun of San Bernardino says 22-year-old Ruben Arzu apparently was under the influence of steroids and other drugs, and it took four police officers, two stun gun blasts and four sets of handcuffs to restrain him.

Police say the couple came home late Saturday to find Arzu naked on the front porch of their home in Colton.

When Arzu was confronted by the 35-year-old husband, police say the bodybuilder attacked the man, causing major head trauma.

The man's wife called 911. Police say Arzu then picked her up and threw her around, causing facial injuries and multiple cuts to her head.

Arzu was booked on suspicion of attempted homicide.

Phoenix

US: Facebook Unfriending Sparked Iowa Arson Attack, Cops Say

A Des Moines, Iowa, woman has been arrested in an arson attack on the home of a former friend who had quarreled with her and unfriended her on Facebook, according to a published report.

Jennifer Christine Harris, 30, of Des Moines, is being held Thursday at Polk County Jail on $100,000 bond on a charge of first-degree arson, a jail spokeswoman said.

She was arrested after the Oct. 27 fire at the Des Moines home of Jim and Nikki Rasmussen. The early-morning fire broke out in the garage of the Rasmussen's home, police and neighbors said, and led to the collapse of the garage roof.

Attention

Anxious Greeks Emptying Their Bank Accounts

Greek Bank
© Agence France-Presse
A branch of the Greek central bank. Bank deposits are falling rapidly.

Many Greeks are draining their savings accounts because they are out of work, face rising taxes or are afraid the country will be forced to leave the euro zone. By withdrawing money, they are forcing banks to scale back their lending -- and are inadvertently making the recession even worse.

Georgios Provopoulos, the governor of the central bank of Greece, is a man of statistics, and they speak a clear language. "In September and October, savings and time deposits fell by a further 13 to 14 billion euros. In the first 10 days of November the decline continued on a large scale," he recently told the economic affairs committee of the Greek parliament.

With disarming honesty, the central banker explained to the lawmakers why the Greek economy isn't managing to recover from a recession that has gone on for three years now: "Our banking system lacks the scope to finance growth."

He means that the outflow of funds from Greek bank accounts has been accelerating rapidly. At the start of 2010, savings and time deposits held by private households in Greece totalled €237.7 billion -- by the end of 2011, they had fallen by €49 billion. Since then, the decline has been gaining momentum. Savings fell by a further €5.4 billion in September and by an estimated €8.5 billion in October -- the biggest monthly outflow of funds since the start of the debt crisis in late 2009.

The raid on bank accounts stems from deep uncertainty in Greek households which culminated in early November during the political turmoil that followed the announcement by then-Prime Minister Georgios Papandreou of a referendum on the second Greek bailout package.

Papandreou withdrew the plan and stepped down following an outcry among other European leaders against the referendum, and a new government was formed on Nov. 11 under former central banker Loukas Papademos. That appears to have slowed the drop in bank savings, at least for the time being.

Attention

US: Scandals Reveal Sex Offender Laws' Limits

In Hand Cuff's
© iStockPhoto

Sex crimes against children have been in the news recently, most prominently accusations against former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky and Syracuse assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine.

Claims that the men abused boys for years made the news largely because they are affiliated with high-profile college athletics. But the accused men are very typical of most sex offenders in one important way: neither appears on any sex offender registry (required by legislation known as Megan's Law) because they are not convicted sex offenders.

The public widely believes that Megan's Laws protect children by alerting parents and teachers to those individuals most likely to abuse children, but the opposite is true. The fact is that the vast majority of people who physically and sexually abuse children are not convicted sex offenders and therefore are not covered under public notification laws.

There's simply no evidence that Megan's Laws work -- and considerable evidence that they don't.

Bomb

Nearly 60 killed in rare attacks on Afghan Shiites

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© AP/Ahmad Jamshid
An Afghan man is comforted by relatives outside of a hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011.
Kabul - A suicide bomber struck a crowd of Shiite worshippers at a mosque in Kabul on Tuesday, killing at least 55 people in the deadliest of two attacks on a Shiite holy day - the first major sectarian assaults since the fall of the Taliban a decade ago.

Four other Shiites were killed in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif when a bomb strapped to a bicycle exploded as a convoy of Afghan Shiites was driving down the road, shouting slogans for the festival known as Ashoura. Health Ministry spokesman Sakhi Kargar gave the death toll and said 21 people also were wounded in that attack.

The Kabul bomber blew himself up in the midst of a crowd of men, women and children gathered outside the Abul Fazl shrine to commemorate the seventh century death of the Prophet Muhammad's grandson Imam Hussein. Some men were beating themselves in mourning and food was being distributed.

The shrine, which is near the presidential palace, was packed with worshippers and dozens more were crammed into the courtyard. One witness said the bomber was at the end of a line and detonated his explosives near one of the gates to the shrine.

Bodies of the dead lay on top of one another where they fell to their deaths. Survivors with blood-smeared faces cried amid the chaos.

Comment: Why is terror so rampant in areas where the U.S. (Western) Empire attempts colonization?




V

US: Occupy LA Arrest Scandal Update: A Visit to the Raided Camp, Freed Protesters Speak and Bad News About Our Legal Situation

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© The Associated Press/Mark Boster/Poo
Los Angeles Police inspect a tent with guns drawn at the Occupy Los Angeles encampment at Los Angeles city hall on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011.
On Friday, December 2, the Los Angeles Police Department finally decided to release most of 200+ Occupy LA protesters who had been held in detention for more than 48 hours. Many of them were expected to show up at the General Assembly scheduled for 7:30 p.m on the south steps of City Hall. So I cruised down to see what I could find out...

I parked two blocks away and walked to City Hall on foot. It was almost unrecognizable. The park/square in front of the building, as well as the grassy areas running along the perimeter, were now completely blocked off with concrete barriers and a high chain-link fence. It was an eerie sight. What had been filled with tents, people and activity just a few days ago was now empty and scrubbed clean. The area looked condemned.

And there were cops everywhere. Some stood in packs around their police cars, others patrolled the fenced-off perimeter on foot while motorcycle cops circled the block in pairs. There were reinforcements outside LAPD's massive headquarters, conveniently located across the street from City Hall. Cops eyed me suspiciously as I walked by, and there were at least a half-dozen uniformed cops perched on the stairs above the assembly, listening to the GA proceedings. It was as if the city expected a surprise guerrilla raid.

Hourglass

Julian Assange Wins Right to Pursue Extradition Fight

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© PA
The judges refused Wikileaks founder Julian Assange permission to appeal
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has won the right to petition the UK Supreme Court in his fight against extradition to Sweden.

He lost a High Court battle last month to be extradited over alleged sex offences, which he denies.

Judges refused Mr Assange permission to appeal directly to the Supreme Court - but said his case raised "a question of general public importance".

He can now directly ask the Supreme Court to look at his case.

However, Mr Assange, who was at the London court to hear the judges' ruling, still has no automatic right to be heard by the highest court in the UK.

He was cheered by supporters as he left the Royal Courts of Justice and, alluding to an MPs' debate later on calls for the renegotiation of extradition rules, he said there were "many aggrieved families in the UK and other countries and in Europe struggling for justice".

Speaking of his own case, he said: "I think that is the correct decision, and I am thankful. The long struggle for justice for me and others continues."

Holly

'Twelve Days of Christmas' for TSA screeners as they confiscate two machetes, six grenades, and 23 loaded guns in last week of holiday travel

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© TSA
TSA baggage screeners found the grenades while X-raying a woman's checked luggage

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© blog.tsa.gov
Shoe bomb: A 6th inert grenade was found stuffed in a sock and then stuffed in shoe at the Greenville South Carolina airport
Five grenades were discovered inside a Newark Liberty Airport passenger's bag Saturday but that was just the start of the security administration's surprising list.

The grenades were found to be 'inert,' by the Transportation Security Administration, carried by a Belgium-bound woman who surrendered her items, according to TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein to the Associated Press.

A sixth grenade, found bundled in a sock that was stuffed in a shoe, was also discovered in a South Carolina airport and was mutually inert, according to a report by TSA Social Media Analyst Bob Burns.