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Eurozone unemployment hits record high and reveals two-speed Europe

Eurozone unemployment has hit a record high, revealing further evidence of a two-speed Europe as increasing numbers of young people in Spain, Greece and Italy desperately seek work while Germany's jobless rate continues to fall.

Troubled eurozone states Greece and Spain are seeing youth unemployment rise, but Germany has seen a fall to 8.1pc in August
The eurozone unemployment rate was 11.4pc in August, up from 10.2pc last year. Data from the EU statistics agency Eurostat estimated that 25.5m men and women were out of work over the period, 18.2m of whom were in the eurozone.

Compared with the previous month the number of unemployed people in the EU rose by 49,000 and in the eurozone by 34,000.

The overall unemployment rate in Spain has reached 25.1pc, while the latest data from Greece for June shows a figure of 24.4pc. The outlook is far more optimistic in Germany, however, where just 5.5pc of people are out of work.


Early Halloween costume brings out San Mateo bomb squad

© CBS News
California - A man who decided to try out his costume and dress up ahead of Halloween prompted an explosives scare in downtown San Mateo Monday that resulted in the dispatch of a police bomb squad, authorities said.

Police received several calls about a man in a car front of a market along the first block of East 4th Street wearing what witnesses described as a full gas mask and army gear with several grenades hanging around his neck.

The San Mateo County sheriff's bomb squad responded and evacuated a half-block area about 9:30 a.m.

Police detained the costumed man and said an "inert grenade" was found in his car, but they also indicated there was "no current danger" to the public.


Moscow court postpones Pussy Riot hearing

pussy riot
© Reuters
Pussy Riot
Russia, Moscow - A Moscow appellate court postponed a hearing on Monday in the case of the punk protest band Pussy Riot after one of three defendants said that she wanted to fire her lawyers because of disagreements.

The three women, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, Yekaterina Samutsevich, 30, and Maria Alyokhina, 24, were convicted in August of hooliganism and sentenced to two years in a prison colony for staging a "punk prayer" in Moscow's main Russian Orthodox cathedral last February. They said the stunt was intended to protest against Vladimir V. Putin, who was running for president at the time, and to criticize support for Mr. Putin by the church patriarch, Kirill I.

The prosecution of the three women, two of them mothers of young children, became an international sensation, and prompted wide criticism of Russia over the suppression of political speech. The women received support from a number of major music stars, including Sting and Madonna, as well as many governments. On the day of their conviction and sentencing, supporters rallied in dozens of cities around the world, many wearing colorful balaclavas - Pussy Riot's trademark head gear.

But the judge who convicted the women, Marina Syrova, said that political comments were spliced into a video of the stunt later and that her verdict was based on the infiltration of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior and the women's behavior in front of the altar, which she said amounted to "the insult and humiliation of the Christian faith and inciting religious hatred."


At least 20 injured in California train crash

© The Associated Press/Gosia Woznicacka
Emergency personnel respond to the scene of a train derailment in Hanford, Calif., Monday, Oct. 1, 2012.
Hanford, California - Two cars and the locomotive of an Amtrak train carrying about 169 passengers derailed Monday after colliding with a big rig truck in California's Central Valley, authorities said.

At least 20 passengers suffered minor to moderate injuries, authorities said.

The 12:25 p.m. crash occurred when the driver of the tractor-trailer carrying cotton trash failed to yield and hit the train, authorities said. The impact pushed the two passenger cars and the locomotive off the tracks south of Hanford, a farming town.

The train traveled about 600 feet after the collision before hitting a switchback and derailing, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Scott Harris.

Officials have not determined how fast the train or the truck were going, but the average speed for Amtrak through the area is 70 to 80 mph, while the speed limit on the roadway where the truck was traveling is 55 mph, Harris said.

After the crash, metal pieces from the truck could be seen inside the train, which was covered by cotton seeds. Several pieces of luggage were also scattered around the area.


U.S. to contractors: No layoff notices

US, California - The White House took another big step Friday to discourage government contractors from warning employees - just before the November elections - that they could be laid off next year if Congress can't reach a compromise to prevent automatic across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration.

In a memo, the Office of Management and Budget said the government - i.e. taxpayers - would foot the bill if contractors lay off workers as a result of sequestration and get sued for failing to provide the layoff notices required by the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act.

William Gould, a Stanford Law School professor emeritus specializing in labor law, says the government's offer to pay for violations of the so-called Warn Act "so far as I'm aware is unprecedented."

The offer applies only to government contractors - not to employers who lay off workers because they lose other types of federal funding such as research grants, according to the OMB.

The Warn Act generally requires private-sector employers with 100 or more full-time employees to give workers at least 60 days' notice of plant closings and layoffs that exceed a certain threshold. If they don't, employees can sue to collect up to 60 days of back pay. There are exceptions, such as if the business can prove the layoff was the result of an "unforeseen business circumstance."


Boat sinks off Hong Kong after collision; 36 dead

© 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.


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

© 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.

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Hungry hogs eat Oregon farmer in grisly scene

Pig Farm
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.


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.


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