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Russia Prepared for Possible Economic Meltdown - Putin

Putin
© RIA Novosti/Alexey Nikolskiy
The Russian economy is prepared for a possible economic meltdown as a result of the slowing of global growth and the escalating eurozone debt crisis, President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday.

At a meeting with regional ombudsmen, Putin said the situation was complex both in the European and global economies.

"In the United States, the engine of the world economy, the situation looks better but macroeconomic indices that are vital for the economy's sustainability are no better than in Europe. Their debt state [in the United States] is 104 percent [of U.S. GDP]," he said.

Aside from this, the U.S. financial system is burdened with mortgage loans issued against state guarantees, he said.

"All these factors cause certain alarm. Now news is coming that China's economic development rates have slightly slowed and declined and China is one of the world's largest consumers. These are, no doubt, alarming signals. Let us hope that these concerns do not transform into a full-blown crisis," Putin said. "Let us hope for the better but prepare for the worse," Putin added.

USA

90 Million Americans Can't Be Wrong

I voted?
Those who vote in presidential elections often describe the action as being part of their civic duty; it's something every good citizen must do. Others consider voting to be a right, and elections are something which every American should participate in. After all, they remind us, not everyone has this right in other countries. Still, there are others who see voting as both a duty and a right, as if it could be both at the same time.

So when voter turnout was abysmally poor during last week's primaries in Kansas and Missouri, many were upset. Talk radio hosts, Internet pundits, and members of the media all commented on the low participation rate, and quite a few were disturbed by the numbers. Kansas City, Missouri for instance, had a voter turnout of only 15%. Now, it's generally understood that primaries and midterms have lower voter participation rates than presidential election years, so this ought not to surprise anyone, but there is some hope this year's elections will have the lowest turnout of the last fifty.

When asked by USA Today and Suffolk University why they're not planning to vote this November, respondents answered that: "They're too busy. They aren't excited about either candidate. Their vote doesn't really matter. And nothing ever gets done, anyway." All are excellent reasons, especially the last two, for they lay bare the great lie that elections solve anything. The results of the poll indicate that some 90 million Americans have no intention to vote in this year's presidential election; let's hope that number swells over the coming months.

Radar

Navy Thwarts Attempted Hijack of 2 Iranian Cargo Ships

Image
© Fars News Agency
The Iranian Navy fleet deployed in the Gulf of Aden thwarted massive pirate attacks on two Iranian cargo ships near Bab-el-Mandeb Strait.

Lieutenant Commander of the Iranian Navy Rear Admiral Seyed Mahmoud Moussavi said that the Iranian vessels were attacked twice by a total number of 50 Somali pirate speedboats 15 and 26 miles Northwest of the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait.

Moussavi stated that the Iranian naval forces' swift action and their heavy fire forced the pirates to flee the scene.

The Iranian Navy has dispatched several fleets of warships to the Gulf of Aden and North of the Indian Ocean to protect the country's cargo ships and oil tankers against pirates.

The Iranian Navy has been conducting anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden since November 2008, when Somali raiders hijacked the Iranian-chartered cargo ship, MV Delight, off the coast of Yemen.

According to UN Security Council resolutions, different countries can send their warships to the Gulf of Aden and coastal waters of Somalia against the pirates and even with prior notice to Somali government enter the territorial waters of that country in pursuit of Somali sea pirates.

The Gulf of Aden - which links the Indian Ocean with the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean Sea - is an important energy corridor, particularly because Persian Gulf oil is shipped to the West through the Suez Canal.

Arrow Down

Five Ways Privatization Degrades American Life

Abandoned factory infrastructure
© Unknown
Abandoned factory
A grand delusion has been planted in the minds of Americans, that privately run systems are more efficient and less costly than those in the public sector. Most of the evidence points the other way. Private initiatives generally produce mediocre or substandard results while experiencing the usual travails of unregulated capitalism -- higher prices, limited services, and lower wages for all but a few 'entrepreneurs.'

With perverse irony, the corruption and incompetence of private industry has actually furthered the cause of privatization, as the collapse of the financial markets has deprived state and local governments of necessary public funding, leading to an even greater call for private development.

As aptly expressed by a finance company chairman in 2008, "Desperate government is our best customer."

The following are a few consequences of this pro-privatization desperation:

Cheeseburger

Missouri Republican Candidate Calls to Halt Federal School Lunch Program

Todd Akin
© R-MO
Rep. Todd Akin
Sen. Claire McCaskill's (D-MO) Republican opponent says that the federal government should stop helping to feed needy children with the school lunch program.

Speaking to reporters about the farm bill on Thursday, Senate candidate Todd Akin called to cut off the federal funds used to feed about 650,000 children in Missouri each school day.

"Is it something the federal government should do?" Akin said. "I answer it no. ... I think the federal government should be out of the education business."

"The problem with the Senate farm bill is the fact that you've got 80 percent of it that isn't a farm bill at all," the Republican noted.

Sherlock

FBI Probing Bomb Threat Linked to 'The Expendables 2' Called into Carmike Cinemas Headquarters in Georgia

Movie theaters in several states being combed for explosives; caller 'sounded like a disgruntled worker' police say.

Image

Carmike Cinemas in Columbus, Georgia receives bomb threat.
Columbus, Georgia - Movie theaters in several states were combed for explosives Friday after someone phoned in a bomb threat to the corporate headquarters of Carmike Cinemas, a spokesman for the chain said.

Carmike officials alerted the FBI after discovering the threat in a voicemail message Friday morning, said company spokesman Terrell Mayton. He said the call was placed after hours Thursday by someone claiming to work for a contractor that provides janitorial services to Carmike.

While Mayton wouldn't discuss specifics of the call, Columbus police said the person referenced the Sylvester Stallone movie, The Expendables 2, that opened Friday.

Padlock

Texas Teacher Brittni Colleps Gets 5 Years in Prison in Group Sex Scandal

A Texas high school teacher and mother of three was sentenced today to five years behind bars after a jury found her guilty of having sex with five male students, four of whom she had group sex with while being videotaped.


Brittni Colleps, 28, a former English teacher, was convicted of 16 counts of having improper relationships with students. Since the young men were all 18 at the time, she was not charged with statutory rape.

The jury did not recommend a fine or community supervision.

The case against Colleps has been filled with graphic testimony and cellphone video that allegedly showed Colleps having group sex with the four students in her home during April and May of 2011. The fifth student had a sexual encounter with Colleps on a separate occasion.

Prosecutors said the group sex occurred while her children and husband, an Army specialist, were away.

The video was shown to the jury this week.

Colleps's mother and husband both testified during the sentencing hearing after she was convicted.

Beer

Pennsylvania Lawmaker 'Choked, Wrestled and Beat Wife and then Drove Away Drunk'

Image

State Rep: Joseph Brennan allegedly choked and punched his wife on the porch of their Fountain Hill home on Wednesday afternoon and then drove away drunk
A Pennsylvania state lawmaker faces assault and other charges after police say he punched and choked his wife, then drove away drunk.

Democratic state Rep Joseph Brennan, 48, was arrested on Wednesday following a 911 call about a man hitting a woman outside their home in Fountain Hill, Lehigh County.

Norma Jane Brennan told officers her husband had choked, punched and wrestled her to the ground.

According to the police affidavit, Mrs Brennan had visible injuries to her left hand, knuckles, both feet and her left knee.

Joseph Brennan was pulled over a few blocks away, where police say a breath test found he had a blood-alcohol level more than twice the legal limit for drivers.

Brennan was arraigned and released on $7,500 bail.

He was charged with assault, harassment and drunken driving and was told to have no contact with his wife while he is out on bail.

Wolf

Angry Wedding Guest Brings Pit Bull To Reception, Orders It To Attack Bride in Denver

Image
© CBC News
A man is on the run from police and a dog is under quarantine at the Denver Animal Shelter after a shocking attack at a wedding party last weekend.

So far it's not clear why the man police say is Joel Neveraz, a wedding guest, encouraged his pit bull to attack the bride and also attacked the woman himself.

Neveraz allegedly got upset about something at Brittany Schults' wedding on Saturday in North Denver. He then left and came back later with his pit bull.

Schults told CBS4 Neveraz suffers from several mental illnesses and at one point spent time in a mental hospital.


Pistol

Pizza Franchise Creates 'Not After Dark' Delivery Rule In Detroit After Driver Shot

Jet's Pizza
US, Michigan - Has it come to this? Yes it has, according to Joan McKenna, whose son Tim McKenna, 19, was shot while delivering pizza in Detroit.

In the wake of the shooting, a Jets Pizza franchise in Dearborn ruled it will no longer deliver to Detroit after dark. Before the shooting, they sent two drivers to every nighttime Detroit delivery, one of whom was armed, Joan McKenna said.

"They usually send somebody with a guy ... who carries a gun," she said. "Usually they have two go into Detroit after dark, if they have a delivery ... One guy has a legal, he can carry a gun. That night, Timmy was the only one left, they had this one run to do, he said 'yeah, I'll do it.' He's a kid, he doesn't think anything's going to happen to him."

Tim McKenna was shot in the ribs, and the bullet hit a lung, but he survived and plans to return in the fall to Adrian College, where he plays football. Pizza delivery was his summer job.

"He can't play football right now, he's on the team at Adrian, it's really hard ... It went right in the chest, this guy shot him right in the chest," Joan McKenna said, adding, "It was a robbery, the guy wanted his money, he hit the gas and the guy went 'pop pop' and he was shot in the chest."

Her son had about $35 on him, which is what the drivers carry, McKenna said.