Society's ChildS


UK mortgage rise will plunge a million homeowners into 'perilous debt'

© Guardian
More than a million homeowners will be at risk of defaulting on their mortgages and losing their properties in the wake of even a small rise in interest rates, a bombshell analysis reveals. Borrowers who have failed to pay down their mortgages when interest rates have been at record low levels now face being overwhelmed by "perilous levels of debt" when the inevitable hike comes.

Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, warned of a "financial ticking timebomb": "The rising cost of energy, food and travel has been absorbing any spare income people may have. This means that in some cases there is little or nothing left to cope with larger mortgage repayments."

According to a new report from an influential thinktank, the Resolution Foundation, even in the most optimistic scenario - in which interest rates rise slowly to 3% by 2018 and economic growth is strong and well-distributed between the rich and poor - 1.12 million homeowners will be spending more than half of their take-home pay on mortgage repayments - this is a widely accepted indicator of over-indebtedness.


General Mills heiress slain at luxury spa

© ABC NewsNedenia Post Dye
The great-granddaughter of General Mills heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post was found stabbed to death in her luxury Honduras spa, law enforcement officials told the Associated Press.

Nedenia Post Dye, 46, was found stabbed in her spa on the resort island of Roatan, Honduras on Dec. 22.

Lenin Roberto Arana, 25, was arrested and charged with Dye's murder, police officials told The Associated Press.

Arana allegedly said he and Dye were romantically involved, but police said Dye was trying to help Arana quit drugs, according to the AP.

"She was a good woman who worked with young people at risk, drug addicts and alcoholics," Roatan police chief Alex Madrid told the AP.

Roatan police did not respond to ABC News' attempts to contact them.

Madrid said Arana, a local singer who goes by the stage name "Canary," was soaked in blood when police stopped him in Dye's car. Arana told local reporters that he is innocent.

Dye's great-grandmother, Marjorie Merriweather Post, was a businesswoman and socialite, who inherited the cereal company that would go on to become General Mills.


2013: 2-in-3 call it a 'bad year,' 4-in-10 a disaster for their family

Overshadowed by the bungled debut of Obamacare and congressional gridlock, most Americans in a new poll dubbed 2013 a bad year that will be quickly forgotten. For more than four-in-10, the perils of 2013 hit home hard.

"Put simply, most Americans are happy to see 2013 go," said the latest Economist/YouGov Poll.

- 54 percent called 2013 a "bad year" for the world. Another 15 percent called it a "very bad year," with just 3 percent calling it a "very good year" and 29 percent a "good year."
© YouGov
- Only 13 percent of Republicans say 2013 has been a good year for the world.

Gold Coins

Overstock CEO: Plans to accept Bitcoin

© Taylor Hill/Getty ImagesOverstock CEO Patrick Byrne, which sells everything from bedding to dinnerware online, recently announced it would accept bitcoin as early as June, making it the first U.S. retailer to use the virtual currency. Still in its experimental phase, bitcoin has fluctuated from as low as $13 in January to more than $1,200 in December.

And while it has had a wild ride, Overstock's (OSTK) plans to accept bitcoin as payment shouldn't be read as another bet that the currency will soar higher, says CEO Patrick Byrne.

Fortune caught up with Byrne over telephone on Monday from his office in Utah. The executive is known to be a doomsdayer, siding with the likes of former libertarian U.S. Congressman Ron Paul, who has argued that the U.S. should return to the gold standard and that the Federal Reserve should be abolished.

Byrne thinks bitcoin could be a helpful addition to the payment system, but even he has mixed feelings about the currency. Here's an edited version of our chat:

Heart - Black

Already affecting 71% of U.S. female military personnel by 2004, reported sexual assaults jumped 50% higher in 2013 alone

© AFP Photo / Ahmad Al-Rubaye
Reported sexual assaults in the US military increased by over 50 percent in 2013, new data reveals. The boost punctuates a year filled with damning disclosures of a culture that has failed to protect the enlisted from systemic levels of sexual violence.

Data obtained by AP shows there were more than 5,000 sexual assault reports during the 2013 fiscal year, which ended on Sept. 30. By contrast, there were 3,374 incidents reported in 2012.

Of the total reports in 2013, around 10 percent involved incidents that happened before the victim was officially in the military - up from 4 percent in 2012. The increase in cases has led military officials to suggest there is more confidence among service members in reporting incidents of sexual assault than in the past.

"Given the multiple data points, we assess that this is more reporting," said Col. Alan R. Metzler, deputy director of the Pentagon's sexual assault prevention and response office, according to AP. Metzler said that more victims are stepping up to make official complaints instead of simply seeking medical care while avoiding formal accusations.

Comment: See also:

'One third of US military women raped':
Back in 2003, a survey of female veterans suggested that 30 percent of the women serving had been raped, while a study conducted in the following year on veterans seeking treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder indicated that 71 percent of the women said they had been sexually assaulted or raped while serving.
At this point in America's descent into oblivion, it's a safe bet that the vast majority of female personnel in the U.S. military have been - or will be - raped or sexually assaulted.


In the wealthiest area of the U.S. 7 homeless people have frozen to death this winter

Joe White
Joe White, a homeless man who died during a Bay Area cold snap last weekend, in a photograph with his mother Mary Archuleta
Joe White was this close to making it.

A 50-year-old California man described by relatives as a "loving father and a doting grandfather," White had been living on the streets of Hayward for years. He wanted to work and was able to find odd jobs here and there, but it was never much or consistent enough to afford a place to live. Hayward has no emergency shelter with beds for single men, so White slept outside.

But things were looking up. Last Saturday, White was second on a long list to get permanent supportive housing in Hayward. He had been waiting in line for months and it seemed as though he might finally catch a break.

White died on Sunday.


'Nazi America', The Spaceman: Chaos featuring John Trudell

A free awareness video to kind of put into perspective the direction the United States is heading in.


Follow the leaders: 600 people brawl outside movie theatre

Florida Theater Parking Lot Brawl with 600-Plus Involved Results in 5 Arrests

Police in Jacksonville, Fla., say made five arrests after more than 600 people got into a brawl in the parking lot of a movie theater.

The fight broke out in the Regal River City Marketplace theater parking lot around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, WJXT-TV, Jacksonville, reported.

Eye 1

Good Samaritan dog guards dead pal on busy road in China

Pictures of a dog faithfully watching over his canine companion who had been killed by a car in China have become a hit on the internet.

The sandy-coloured 'Good Samaritan' pooch stayed by his friend's side, despite his pal's body lying in the middle of a busy road.

And he refused to move for a whole night as temperatures plummeted to low as -13C.

Some people who live and work nearby saw the pair and decided to put a stool next to the animals to alert drivers and avoid a second dog death after the first accident on December 22.

Passers-by took pictures and put them online, and the images have been re-posted many times.

One woman called Ma Hongyan said: "It is our stool. A kind-hearted woman put it next to the dogs to protect them from being hit again by another car."

Shopping Bag

The Rage Grows: Hundreds of teens trash mall in wild flash mob

A wild flash mob stormed and trashed a Brooklyn mall, causing so much chaos that the shopping center was forced to close during post-Christmas sales, sources said Friday.

More than 400 crazed teens - who mistakenly thought the rapper Fabolous would perform - erupted into brawls all over Kings Plaza Shopping Center in Mill Basin on Thursday at 5 p.m., sources said.

The troublemakers looted and ransacked several stores as panicked shoppers ran for the exits and clerks scrambled to pull down metal gates.

"I was begging them to stop. There were a lot of kids, hundreds of kids . . . [Security] would chase them out one door and they would come back in another door," said Abu Taleb, 31, a clerk at the kiosk Candy Plaza 2. "I've been here seven years, and I have never seen anything like this before."