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US: Eugene probation officer pleads guilty to sex assault of woman he supervised

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© Multnomah County Sheriff's Office
Mark John Walker
A former federal probation officer pleaded guilty this morning to a felony count of aggravated sexual abuse, admitting that he forced a woman that he supervised to have sex with him.

Mark John Walker, 52, of Eugene also pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Ralph Beistline to four misdemeanor counts stemming from his fondling and kissing four other female offenders under his supervision. He admitted that he willfully deprived the women of their constitutional right to bodily integrity.

Assistant U.S. attorney Pamala Holsinger said that if a trial were to proceed the government was prepared to show evidence that Walker singled out women with mental health problems or histories of sexual abuse. He often arranged to visit the women he was supervising when they were home alone, would make sexual comments and in several instances, touched their buttocks and breasts and kissed them.

People

Japanese drop their traditional politeness over nuclear crisis

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© Kyung-hoon/Reuters
Protesters in the Japanese capital hold an anti-nuclear rally in front of the headquarters of Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator of the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
Fishermen, students, workers and small-town officials publicly blame Tepco and the government.

Kenji Kadota long followed the dual credo drilled into him during childhood: Hide your anger and trust the powers that be.

Yet in the wake of last month's triple whammy of earthquake, tsunami and radiation release, the 55-year-old construction chief has thrown all such cultural lessons out the window.

Kadota faults the firm that runs the crippled Fukushima Daiichi power plant for its mishandling of the nuclear crisis that has followed the March 11 natural disasters. He believes dithering public officials have compounded the public's anxiety by withholding information about the true dangers facing people who live near the plant.

So for the first time in his life, Kadota is speaking up. He's joined a growing chorus of college students, ruddy-faced fishermen, small-town mayors and even a combative prefecture governor voicing dissatisfaction in a manner highly uncommon in a nation known for taking politeness to the extreme.

"Japanese are raised to keep their feelings to themselves, but now that's impossible," said Kadota, who complained that officials failed to deliver water and emergency supplies to his hometown of Iwaki, not far from the stricken plant. "We've been abandoned. And I am angry."

Cowboy Hat

US: Governor Rick Perry Says Obama Leaving Texas in the Dust

Rick Perry

Texas Governor, Rick Perry
Texas Governor Rick Perry criticized the Obama administration on Thursday for not responding to a request for a disaster aid for the parched state, where wildfires have scorched nearly 2 million acres.

"You have to ask, 'Why are you taking care of Alabama and other states?' I know our letter didn't get lost in the mail," Perry, a Republican and frequent critic of the federal government, said after addressing a Texas emergency management conference.

President Barack Obama declared a state of emergency for Alabama, where storms -- including a tornado that ravaged Tuscaloosa on Wednesday -- killed nearly 200 people this week.

The White House said Obama will visit the state on Friday.

"There is a point in time where you say, 'Hey, what's going on here?'" Perry said.

Info

US: WikiLeaks suspect to be housed with other inmates

Bradley Manning
© EPA
Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, in an undated file photo.
The Army private accused of passing classified documents to WikiLeaks was cleared Thursday to live alongside other inmates at a military prison, a dramatic change from his previous quarters in a brig where he spent 23 hours a day alone in his cell.

Army Pfc. Bradley Manning passed the lengthy physical and psychiatric evaluation given to new inmates at the Fort Leavenworth prison and received final clearance just before a mid-day media tour of the facility, its commander Lt. Col. Dawn Hilton said.

Manning was transferred there last week from the Marine Corps brig in Virginia, where he had been held for the eight months since his arrest.

At Quantico, Manning had to surrender his clothes at night in favour of a military-issued, suicide-prevention smock. Manning's attorney and supporters said that was unnecessary and argued his living conditions, including his isolation from other inmates, were inhumane.

Jeff Paterson, a member of the Bradley Manning Support Network, said Thursday he was "heartened" by the news that Manning's conditions were improving.

Heart - Black

US: Massachusetts Police Investigate Bizarre Power-Saw Murder-Suicide

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© David Lohr
Police in Plymouth, Mass., suspect Keith Lincoln killed himself and his wife, Jettie, with a circular saw - similar to the one pictured.
Authorities on Massachusetts' South Shore are investigating an apparent bizarre murder-suicide with a power saw that left a husband and wife dead.

The alleged crime was revealed at approximately 10 p.m. on Monday, when police officers in the historic town of Plymouth, located about 40 miles south of Boston, were dispatched to a residence on Farmhurst Road. Out-of-state family members had been unable to reach the residents, Keith Lincoln, 49, and his wife, Jettie, 46, for several days and requested a well-being check.

Upon arrival, officers announced their presence at the door. When they peered through a window of the home they were able to see Keith Lincoln standing in the living room area. It was at that point, the Plymouth District Attorney's office said, that officers observed Lincoln "pick up a power circular saw, inflicting serious injury to one of his legs."

The officers immediately forced entry into the home and provided first-aid to Lincoln. When paramedics arrived on the scene, they transported him to Jordan Hospital in Plymouth, where he was pronounced dead, police said.

The full extent of the horrific scene became evident to police when they conducted a cursory search of the home, at which time they located a deceased female, believed to be Jettie Lincoln, as well as two deceased dogs.

Handcuffs

US: Husband, wife plead guilty in kidnapping, rape of girl held captive for 18 years in California

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© AP/Rich Pedroncelli/The Canadian Press
In this Feb. 3, 2011 file photo, kidnapping suspects Nancy and Phillip Garrido are seen before the start of hearing at the El Dorado County Court in Placerville, Calif. The attorney for the woman accused in the 1991 kidnapping of Jaycee Dugard says his client will plead guilty to charges in the case. Garrido and her husband, Phillip, were scheduled to appear in an El Dorado County courtroom Thursday for a settlement hearing. The hearing was scheduled with little notice.
A convicted sex offender and his wife pleaded guilty Thursday to kidnapping and raping a California girl in a surprise plea deal that will keep the now-grown victim and the two daughters she gave birth to during her 18 years of captivity from having to testify at a trial.

Under the hastily negotiated agreement, Phillip and Nancy Garrido are likely to spend the rest of their lives in prison after abducting Jaycee Dugard in 1991 and keeping her in a backyard compound of tents and sheds.

"I'm relieved that Phillip and Nancy Garrido have finally acknowledged their guilt and confessed to their crimes against me and my family," Dugard said in a statement released by her spokeswoman, Nancy Seltzer.

Phillip Garrido, 60, faces a maximum sentence of 431 years to life in prison after entering guilty pleas to 14 kidnapping and sexual assault charges, including six counts of rape and seven counts of committing lewd acts captured on video.

His wife, Nancy Garrido, 55, who originally faced the same charges as her husband and a sentence of 181 years to life, pleaded guilty to one count of kidnapping and one count of rape. She faces a maximum sentence of 36 years to life.

Cookie

US: Sugar versus corn syrup in false advertising lawsuit

San Francisco, California - Sugar producers think recent marketing efforts by manufacturers of high-fructose corn syrup aren't so sweet.

In a lawsuit filed last week, three sugar distributors say that equating HFCS with real sugar -- with slogans like "your body can't tell the difference" -- misleads consumers.

They accuse defendants, including Archer Daniels Midland Co (ADM.N) and Cargill [CARG.UL], of using the publicity campaign to offset growing customer concerns about obesity.

"This suit is about false advertising, pure and simple," said Inder Mathur, CEO of Western Sugar Cooperative, one of the plaintiffs.

Arrow Down

Kicking the U.S. economy when it is down

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© Associated Press
President Barack Obama
The wrong medicine: GDP growth slows to a crawl, in part because of cutbacks in government spending

So it turns out that Americans had a pretty good reason for thinking that the country is headed in the wrong direction: As judged in terms of GDP growth, they're right! The Bureau of Economic Analysis released its preliminary estimate of first-quarter GDP growth on Thursday: a universally disappointing 1.8 percent.

The number was not unexpected and doesn't automatically imply another recession is around the corner. In his press conference yesterday, Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke blamed the slowdown on "transitory factors" -- high gas prices, bad weather and an unexpected slump in defense spending. Most analysts seem to think economic growth began to accelerate again in March; one dismissed the first-quarter numbers as merely a "stutter."

But many of those same analysts think that the labor market is strengthening, and today's new jobless claim numbers -- a big jump up to 429,000, pushing the four-week moving average up above 400,000 for the first time in a couple of months -- may throw some doubt on assumption.

Light Saber

US: Westboro Baptist Church Goes To Mississippi - And Loses

Westboro Baptist protestor
© Unknown
Westboro Baptist is really more of an asylum than a church
On Saturday USMC Staff Sgt. Jason Rogers, who was killed in action in Afghanistan April 7, was buried in Brandon, Mississippi.

That, by itself, is a sadly unremarkable - though certainly noteworthy and solemn - occasion for us to mark.

And in fact when Sgt. Rogers' body returned to Brandon it was greeted by hundreds, or perhaps even thousands, of well-wishers who gathered at the roadside to honor the fallen American hero. The dashboard camera from Mississippi state trooper Elmo Townsend's cruiser gives an indication of the scene last Thursday.

What is most notable about Sgt. Rogers' funeral in Brandon, however, is what didn't happen.

You see, the troglodytes from Westboro Baptist Church had threatened to spew their poison at Sgt. Rogers' funeral.

But the Westboro mob wasn't on the scene, and Sgt. Rogers was laid to rest without incident - thank God.

Why weren't there protestors?

Planning ahead by the locals, as it turns out.

Comment: To give readers who may be unfamiliar with the Westboro Babtist Church a clear understanding of the pathology they represent and why taking extreme measures to prevent their 'protests' is necessary, here is a brief summary of a message the church put out earlier this year in praise of the Gabriel Giffords shooter, Jared Loughner:
THANK GOD FOR THE SHOOTER -- 6 DEAD!

...God appointed this rod for your sins! God sent the shooter! This hateful nation unleashed violent veterans on the servants of God at WBC--hoping to silence our kind warning to obey God and flee the wrath to come...Your federal judge is dead and your (fag-promoting, baby-killing, proud-sinner) Congresswoman fights for her life. God is avenging Himself on this rebellious house! WBC prays for your destruction--more shooters, more dead carcasses piling up, young, old, leader and commoner--all. Your doom is upon you! ...
Needless to say, while SOTT never condones violence in any situation, it applauds Brandon's creative use of passive resistance.

For further reading on other resistance activities against this so-called 'church' see:

Anonymous hacks Westboro Baptists during live interview

Jester claims credit for knocking Westboro Baptist Church offline

US: Oklahoma passes law to restrict Westboro Baptist protests


Bomb

Guantanamo leak reveals nuclear threat lurking in Europe

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© Unknown
A Guantanamo detainee at the detention facility
Secret files have revealed that terrorists claim to be hiding a nuclear bomb in Europe, according to WikiLeaks.

An al-Qaeda commander claims that a such a dirty bomb will apparently be detonated if Osama bin Laden is captured or assassinated.

The files also reveal only one in three detainees at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp was classed as a dangerous terrorist.

About half were foot soldiers and one in five was innocent.