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Boat

Boat sinks off Hong Kong after collision; 36 dead

Image
© The Associated Press/Vincent Yu
Officials check on a half submerged boat after it collided Monday night near Lamma Island, off the southwestern coast of Hong Kong Island Tuesday Oct. 2, 2012.
Hong Kong - A boat packed with revelers on a long holiday weekend collided with a ferry and sank off Hong Kong, killing at least 36 people and injuring dozens in the deadliest accident to strike the Chinese territory in years.

The boat was carrying utility company workers and their families to famed Victoria Harbour to watch a fireworks display in celebration of China's National Day and mid-autumn festival. The two vessels collided Monday night near Lamma Island off the southwestern coast of Hong Kong Island.

The government said 36 bodies had been recovered as of Tuesday morning and the search was made difficult by low visibility and obstacles on the boat. Details about the victims were not given, though local outlet RTHK reported some of the dead were children.

More than 100 people were rescued and sent to hospitals, and nine had serious or critical injuries, the government's statement said. At least one person appeared to be missing, according to government figures.

Handcuffs

New York college student held without bail in murder of 18-year-old coed

Image
© Rochester Photagraphy
Clayton Whittemore, 21, was arrested Saturday and confessed to killing Alexandra Kogut, an 18-year-old freshman communications major.
A New York college student has been charged with second-degree murder in the beating death of his 18-year-old girlfriend, who was found brutally assaulted in her dorm room, police said.

Alexandra Kogut, of New Hartford, N.Y., was found dead in her room at The College at Brockport by university police at about 2:45 a.m. Saturday. The cause of death was blunt force trauma, Monroe County Sheriff's Office Cpl. John Helfer told FoxNews.com.

Kogut's boyfriend, Clayton Whittemore, 21, was later arrested at a rest stop roughly 100 miles away and confessed to killing Kogut, a freshman communications major whose relatives remembered her as a "bright, beautiful" young woman excited to begin her college life.

Whittemore, also of New Hartford, had apparently visited Kogut during the weekend. The student at Utica college helped his high school hockey team with consecutive state titles in 2009 and 2010, WKTV reports.

Whittemore, who pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder during his arraignment Saturday, has nevertheless confessed to killing Kogut, Helfer said.

Arrow Down

Hungry hogs eat Oregon farmer in grisly scene

Pig Farm
© KCBY
Pig farm near Riverton, Oregon, where 700-pound hogs are believed to have eaten their 70-year-old owner.
A family member of an Oregon pig farmer discovered his relative's body parts scattered across the pen - a gruesome find leaving authorities to believe it was a case of hog eating human.

A pathologist couldn't immediately determine whether the pigs were the actual cause of 70-year-old Terry Garner's death, but a forensic expert at the University of Oregon will conduct further tests, CBS affiliate KCBY reported Monday.

"What a way," someone who answered the phone at Garner's home told NBC News.

Investigators aren't ruling out the possibility another person could have been involved.

"Due to the unusual circumstances, the Sheriff's Office is investigating to determine if foul play may have resulted in the death of Mr. Garner," District Attorney Paul Frasier told KCBY.

Garner was at his farm near rural Riverton last Wednesday, when a family member went looking for him, according to The Register-Guard.

Stop

Woman lynched for 'witchcraft' in Hazaribag, India

A tribal woman, Dhani Murmu (45) was lynched on Thursday for allegedly practising witchcraft at village Churchu under Churchu police station of Hazaribag district by her brother-in-law and three relatives.

Surendra Ravidas, officer-in-charge of the Churchu police station said on Friday that wife of Nanku Charhe, brother-in-law of the victim was ill for quite for sometime and was not responding to treatment. When all efforts failed, Nanku was compelled to approach 'ojhas and tantriks' to understand the reason behind this and seek ways for speedy recovery. The latter visited Nanku's house and said it was due to the witchcraft by Dhani Murmu that Nanku's wife was not recovering and unless she is eliminated, condition of Nanku's wife will not improve.

On hearing this, Nanku and three other relatives dragged her out of the house and started beating her with lathis due to which she fell unconscious. Her husband Mohan Charhe was out when the incident occurred.

On receiving information about the assault on Dhani, her brother Mantik Murmu rushed to the spot and informed the Churchu police about the incident. The police then removed Dhani from the house and shifted her to a hospital where she succumbed to her injuries.

Later Mantik lodged an FIR against Nanku and three others in the Churchu PS. The Churchu police arrested Nanku and three others- all women for killing Dhani. The people of the locality said Dhani was innocent and had nothing to do with witchcraft.

Clock

Experts meet to discuss Maya calendar, debunk end-of-world stories

Mayan Calender
© Fox News
Mexico City - As the clock winds down to Dec. 21, experts on the Mayan calendar have been racing to convince people that the Mayas didn't predict an apocalypse for the end of this year.

Some experts are now saying the Mayas may indeed have made prophecies, just not about the end of the world.

Archaeologists, anthropologists and other experts met Friday in the southern Mexico city of Merida to discuss the implications of the Mayan Long Count calendar, which is made up of 394-year periods called baktuns.

Experts estimate the system starts counting at 3114 B.C., and will have run through 13 baktuns, or 5,125 years, around Dec. 21. Experts say 13 was a significant number for the Mayans, and the end of that cycle would be a milestone - but not an end.

Fears that the calendar does point to the end have circulated in recent years. People in that camp believe the Maya may have been privy to impending astronomical disasters that would coincide with 2012, ranging from explosive storms on the surface of the sun that could knock out power grids to a galactic alignment that could trigger a reversal in Earth's magnetic field.

Mexican government archaeologist Alfredo Barrera said Friday that the Mayas did prophesize, but perhaps about more humdrum events like droughts or disease outbreaks.

Comment: The 2012 Collective Shift & the Secret History of End-Times Prophecies


Info

Six Florida counties investigating 'hundreds' of cases of suspected voter fraud allegations



Election officials in six Florida counties are investigating what appears to be "hundreds" of cases of suspected voter fraud by a GOP consulting firm that has been paid nearly $3 million by the Republican National Committee to register Republican voters in five key battleground states, state officials tell NBC.

But the veteran GOP consultant, Nathan Sproul, who runs the firm, strongly defended his company's conduct, saying it has rigorous "quality controls" and blamed the alleged fraud on the actions of a few "bad apples," workers who were hired to register Republican voters for $12 an hour and then tried to "cheat the system."

The allegations of suspected voter fraud committed by Strategic Allied Consulting of Tempe, Arizona spread Thursday to counties throughout Florida. At the same time, the Republican National Committee said it had severed its ties to the firm altogether.

Eye 2

Jimmy Savile accused of being a sexual predator by five women who claim he abused them when they were underage schoolgirls

  • Jimmy Savile
    © UPPA Ltd.
    'Untouchable': Rantzen said Savile was made into a 'god-like figure'
    Alleged victim says: 'There was a little sort of couch and he would have me lie down on it and just do the sex act'
  • Woman tells TV documentary he raped her in his dressing room
  • 'We colluded with him as a child abuser, claims broadcaster Esther Rantzen
  • She says people in TV 'blocked our ears' to rumours... Savile was made into a 'god-like figure'
  • Sir Jimmy's nephew 'disgusted and disappointed' about allegations
  • Personal assistant of 40 years claims accusers are starstruck fantasists
Five women have branded Sir Jimmy Savile a sexual predator who allegedly raped and abused them when they were underage schoolgirls.

The explosive sex grooming allegations are made in a documentary to be aired on national TV on Wednesday night.

The women, now in their fifties, claim Sir Jimmy was at the peak of his fame when he is said to have molested them in his Rolls-Royce, at a hospital, a school and the BBC Television centre
Jimmy Savile
© photoshot/Retna
Luxury car: Sir Jimmy is said to have taken schoolgirls for rides in his Rolls-Royce

Heart - Black

BBC 'buried Savile sex abuse claims to save its reputation'

The BBC shelved a Newsnight investigation into allegations that Sir Jimmy Savile sexually abused a teenage girl in his dressing room at Television Centre, it has emerged.
Jimmy Savile
© PA
Sir Jimmy Savile was accused of using his role as a BBC presenter to groom girls
The woman claimed that the presenter molested her when she was 14 or 15 after inviting her to recordings of Clunk Click, his 1970s BBC family show.

Newsnight tracked down several other women who claimed that Savile used his role on the programme to groom and abuse teenage girls.

Reporters on the current affairs programme were also told of claims that two other celebrities, both still alive, sexually abused girls at Television Centre in the 1970s.

The BBC had hoped to broadcast the Newsnight report in December, two months after Savile's death, but bosses ordered that the investigation be dropped.

Instead, the corporation screened two tribute programmes celebrating Savile's lengthy BBC career as presenter of Jim'll Fix It and Top of the Pops, and also as a Radio 1 DJ.

USA

California bans sexual orientation change efforts for children

Updated at 12:34 p.m. ET: California has become the first state in the nation to ban therapy that tries to turn gay teens straight.
Image
© Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press file
California state Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, sponsored the bill to ban a controversial form of psychotherapy aimed at making gay youth straight.
Gov. Jerry Brown announced Sunday that he has signed Senate Bill 1172, which prohibits children under age 18 from undergoing "sexual orientation change efforts." The law, which goes into effect Jan. 1, prohibits state-licensed therapists from engaging in these practices with minors.

"Governor Brown today reaffirmed what medical and mental health organizations have made clear: Efforts to change minors' sexual orientation are not therapy, they are the relics of prejudice and abuse that have inflicted untold harm on young lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Californians," Clarissa Filgioun, board president of Equality California, said in a press release.

Kate Kendell, executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, added: "Governor Brown has sent a powerful message of affirmation and support to LGBT youth and their families. This law will ensure that state-licensed therapists can no longer abuse their power to harm LGBT youth and propagate the dangerous and deadly lie that sexual orientation is an illness or disorder that can be 'cured.'"

Cow Skull

Hunger on the rise: Spain recoils as its hungry forage trash bins for a next meal

hunger in Spain
© Samuel Aranda / New York Times
In Spain, the unemployment rate is over 50 percent among young people.
Madrid - On a recent evening, a hip-looking young woman was sorting through a stack of crates outside a fruit and vegetable store here in the working-class neighborhood of Vallecas as it shut down for the night.

At first glance, she looked as if she might be a store employee. But no. The young woman was looking through the day's trash for her next meal. Already, she had found a dozen aging potatoes she deemed edible and loaded them onto a luggage cart parked nearby.

"When you don't have enough money," she said, declining to give her name, "this is what there is."

The woman, 33, said that she had once worked at the post office but that her unemployment benefits had run out and she was living now on 400 euros a month, about $520. She was squatting with some friends in a building that still had water and electricity, while collecting "a little of everything" from the garbage after stores closed and the streets were dark and quiet.

Such survival tactics are becoming increasingly commonplace here, with an unemployment rate over 50 percent among young people and more and more households having adults without jobs. So pervasive is the problem of scavenging that one Spanish city has resorted to installing locks on supermarket trash bins as a public health precaution.

A report this year by a Catholic charity, Caritas, said that it had fed nearly one million hungry Spaniards in 2010, more than twice as many as in 2007. That number rose again in 2011 by 65,000.

As Spain tries desperately to meet its budget targets, it has been forced to embark on the same path as Greece, introducing one austerity measure after another, cutting jobs, salaries, pensions and benefits, even as the economy continues to shrink.

Most recently, the government raised the value-added tax three percentage points, to 21 percent, on most goods, and two percentage points on many food items, making life just that much harder for those on the edge. Little relief is in sight as the country's regional governments, facing their own budget crisis, are chipping away at a range of previously free services, including school lunches for low-income families.