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Christian Megachurch Founder Diverts Sg$23m from Charitable Projects to Launch Music Career

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© Getty
The church, which has affiliates in neighbouring Malaysia and other countries, is famous for services that resemble pop concerts
The founder of one of Singapore's richest churches has been arrested on allegations he misused at least £11.5 million in donations from his congregation of more than 30,000.

Pastor Kong Hee and four senior executives of the City Harvest Church - a Christian group registered as a charity - were arrested by Singapore's Commercial Affairs Department, a police unit set up to fight financial crime.

Officials said they were suspected of diverting at least Sg$23 million earmarked for charitable projects and spent money on a bid by the pastor's wife, Ho Yeow Sun, to launch an evangelical music career in the United States.

The church, which has affiliates in neighbouring Malaysia and other countries, is famous for services that resemble pop concerts.

Blackbox

Oldham - Houses Damaged In Large 'Gas' Explosion


Stunned residents told of their horror yesterday as a massive explosion ripped through a street, killing a toddler and leaving a father of six fighting for life. Little Jamie Heaton, two, died as the suspected gas blast demolished two terraced homes and severely damaged three others.

And last night detectives were treating his death as "suspicious" as they probed a theory that the explosion may have been caused deliberately. Jamie was the youngest of three children who lived with parents Michelle and Kenny next door to where police suspect the blast happened.

Neighbour Anthony Partington, 27, was airlifted to hospital, where he was said to be critically ill with 20% burns. He is believed to have been at home with the youngest of his six children when disaster struck at 11.15am.

Sheriff

NYPD Cops Keep Jobs After Leaving 14 Year Old Stripped and Stranded in Swamp

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© silive.com
Rayshawn Moreno
For allegedly stripping a 14-year-old boy half-naked, forcing him to lay face-down in a swamp and then beating him before leaving him for dead, two NYPD officers are paying $5,000 each in reparations.

Officers Richard Danese and Thomas Elliassen of the New York Police Department will have to pay no more than $5,000 each to settle a federal lawsuit stemming from a 2007 incident that ended with Rayshawn Moreno, at the time only 14, wading alone through a dark Staten Island swamp after the authorities decided to dish out some under-the-table treatment to reprimand the teen.

Five years ago, the officers say they apprehended Moreno for allegedly throwing eggs at passing cars on Halloween night. Rather than returning the suspect to his parents, however, the cops took matters into their own hands. According to the boy, the officers placed him in their patrol car, drove him to a swamp and then stripped him of most of his clo[thes] before assaulting him and driving away.

Dollar

Malicious Software Programme used to Siphon 60m Euro from Banks

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The code is believed to have attacked more than 60 financial institutions
Some 60m euro is stolen from bank accounts in a massive cyber raid, after fraudsters raid dozens of banks around the world.

Sixty million euro has been stolen from bank accounts in a massive cyber bank raid after fraudsters raided dozens of financial institutions around the world.

According to a joint report by software security firm McAfee and Guardian Analytics, more than 60 firms have suffered from what it has called an "insider level of understanding".

"The fraudsters' objective in these attacks is to siphon large amounts from high balance accounts, hence the name chosen for this research - Operation High Roller," the report said.

"If all of the attempted fraud campaigns were as successful as the Netherlands example we describe in this report, the total attempted fraud could be as high as 2bn (£1.6bn)."

Dollar

Alternatives to Capitalism Do Exist

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© Vincent West/Westphoto
Dani Martinez, innovation director at Orbea bicycles, part of Mondragon Co-operative Corporation, in Mallabia, 2011.
Why are we told a broken system that creates vast inequality is the only choice? Spain's amazing co-op is living proof otherwise.

There is no alternative ("Tina") to capitalism?

Really? We are to believe, with Margaret Thatcher, that an economic system with endlessly repeated cycles, costly bailouts for financiers and now austerity for most people is the best human beings can do? Capitalism's recurring tendencies toward extreme and deepening inequalities of income, wealth, and political and cultural power require resignation and acceptance - because there is no alternative?

I understand why such a system's leaders would like us to believe in Tina. But why would others?

Of course, alternatives exist; they always do. Every society chooses - consciously or not, democratically or not - among alternative ways to organize the production and distribution of the goods and services that make individual and social life possible.

Modern societies have mostly chosen a capitalist organization of production. In capitalism, private owners establish enterprises and select their directors who decide what, how and where to produce and what to do with the net revenues from selling the output. This small handful of people makes all those economic decisions for the majority of people - who do most of the actual productive work. The majority must accept and live with the results of all the directorial decisions made by the major shareholders and the boards of directors they select. This latter also select their own replacements.

Capitalism thus entails and reproduces a highly undemocratic organization of production inside enterprises. Tina believers insist that no alternatives to such capitalist organizations of production exist or could work nearly so well, in terms of outputs, efficiency, and labor processes. The falsity of that claim is easily shown. Indeed, I was shown it a few weeks ago and would like to sketch it for you here.

Heart - Black

Xavius Scullark-Johnson, Prisoner, Dies After He's Denied Health Care

Xavius Scullark-Johnson
© Olivia Scullark
A prisoner was left in his urine-soaked cell to die after a nurse turned away an ambulance, even though he had suffered several seizures, according to documents obtained by the Star Tribune.

Xavius Scullark-Johnson, 27, was three months away from getting out of prison when he died in June 2010. He was serving a five-month sentence for a probation violation stemming from a second-degree assault conviction. Now his mother, Olivia Scullark, is suing two nurses employed by the Minnesota Department of Corrections at the Rush City prison, as well as other medical staff and corrections officers, according to the Pioneer Press.

Scullark told The Huffington Post she filed the lawsuit because that's what her son, who suffered from schizophrenia and a seizure disorder, told her to do if he didn't make it out of the prison alive.

"My son has written me a lot of letters," Scullark said. "His seizures got worse there. He said if he doesn't get out of there, I should sue them."

X

Olympism Profiteering, Exploitation and Corruption: The movement is fraudulent and corrupt

olympic handcuffs
© unknown
Olympism is more about profiteering, exploitation, and cynicism than sport.

Helen Jefferson Lenskyj knows it well. More on her writings below.

For over a century, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) hypocritically advanced notions of peace, unity, friendship, and sport the way it's meant to be.

The Olympic Movement's Charter states:

The IOC's mission "is to promote Olympism throughout the world and to lead the Olympic Movement."

It's "to encourage and support the organisation, development and coordination of sport
and sports competitions."

It's "to oppose any political or commercial abuse of sport and athletes."

Overall, the Charter features a high-minded laundry list concealing Olympism reality. Truth and full disclosure belie deceptive hyperbole.

Lenskyj is a University of Toronto Professor of Sociology. She's studied Olympism for years. Her book "Inside the Olympic Industry: Power, Politics and Activism" exposes its dark side, exploitive culture, disturbing corruption, hidden costs, and complicity of major media scoundrels.

Far from promoting good will, open competition, and fair play, Olympism's more about profiteering, marginalizing the poor, other disenfranchised groups, affected communities, sticking taxpayers with the bill, and providing nothing in return but hype and the illusion of amateur international sport at its best.

Handcuffs

FBI rescues 79 child sex slaves in massive three-day prostitution sweep across the US

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© FBI
Arrests: The sting operations across 57 cities led to 104 arrests of alleged pimps
The FBI has rescued 79 teens held against their will and forced into prostitution from hotels, truck stops and stores during a three-day swoop on sex-trafficking rings across the country.

The sex slaves were aged between 13 and 17, although one said she had been involved in prostitution since she was just 11, authorities said.

During the sting operations across 57 U.S. cities - including Atlanta, Sacramento and Toledo, Ohio - 104 alleged pimps were arrested.

The teenagers, who are all U.S. citizens, were handcuffed and held in police custody until they could be placed with child welfare organisations.

Of those rescued in 'Operation Cross Country', 77 were girls and two were boys.

Attention

Widening sex scandal rocks Texas Air Force base

From a chapel pulpit on Lackland Air Force Base, where every American airman reports for basic training, Col. Glenn Palmer delivered his first order to nearly 600 recruits seated in the pews: If you're sexually harassed or assaulted, tell someone.

"My job is to give you a safe, effective training environment," Palmer said firmly.

What the colonel did not mention directly in his recent address was a widening sex scandal that has rocked the base, one of the nation's busiest military training centers. Allegations that male instructors had sex with, and in one case raped, female trainees have led to criminal charges against four men. Charges against others are possible.

The most serious accusations surround an Air Force staff sergeant scheduled to face a court-martial in July on charges that include rape and mult
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© AP Photo/John L. Mone
In this June 22, 2012, image made from video, female airmen march during graduation at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio.
iple counts of aggravated sexual assault. The other three defendants were charged with lesser crimes ranging from sexual misconduct to adultery. All of the defendants were assigned to turn raw recruits into airmen in eight weeks of basic training.

A two-star general is now investigating alongside a separate criminal probe, which military prosecutors say could sweep up more airmen. Advocates for female service members and members of Congress have started taking notice.

"It's a pretty big scandal the Air Force is having to deal with at this point," said Greg Jacob, a former Marine infantry officer and policy director of the Service Women's Action Network. "It's pretty substantial in its scope."

Heart - Black

Israel subjecting Palestinian children to 'spiral of injustice'

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© Abed Al Hashlamoun/EPA
Israeli soldiers stand guard over Palestinian children arrested in the West Bank city of Hebron.
A belief that every Palestinian child is a potential terrorist may be leading to a "spiral of injustice" and breaches of international law in Israel's treatment of child detainees in military custody, a delegation of eminent British lawyers has concluded in an independent report backed by the Foreign Office.

The nine-strong delegation, led by the former high court judge Sir Stephen Sedley and including the UK's former attorney-general Lady Scotland, found that "undisputed facts" pointed to at least six violations of the UN convention on the rights of the child, to which Israel is a signatory. It was also in breach of the fourth Geneva convention in transferring child detainees from the West Bank to Israeli prisons, the delegation said.

Its report, Children in Military Custody, released on Tuesday, was based on a visit to Israel and the West Bank last September funded and facilitated by the Foreign Office and the British consulate in Jerusalem.