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Rising Food Prices Continue to Climb, with Prices Up 10% in July Alone

Rising Food Prices
© Natural Society
Food prices are rising, and consumers are feeling it. Rising food prices aren't only hitting America, they are happening around the world. Costs have gone up 10 percent between June and July alone, with corn, soybeans, and wheat reaching record prices. This outpaces the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization's estimate of a 6 percent increase.

Rising Food Prices and Vulnerable Populations

While we may all see small changes in the grocery store and in grocery bills, World Bank president Jim Yong Kim says countries reliant on imported grains, especially "Africa and the Middle East are particularly vulnerable."

The World Bank attributes the price jump mainly to the American heatwave and drought in Eastern Europe, which has hurt corn and soy in the US and wheat in Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan. Use of corn in the production of ethanol in the U.S. - accounting for up to 40 percent of corn crop - has also been blamed for the price jump.

But of course this isn't the beginning of rising food prices. Costs have been going up for some time now; you can see a food price index we covered around just last Thanksgiving. The food index count, which is an overall score reflecting the total price of the top 6 food commodities, rose to 215 in December of 2010 - up from 90 in the year 2000. Sugar spearheaded the spike, hitting only 2 points away from the 400 mark in December of 2010.

Rice is the only staple that has actually decreased in price (by 4 percent).

Eye 1

Jacksonville Woman Strips Naked and Goes on Knife-Wielding Rampage

© mugshots.com
Cheri Dana
With a yell of "God is here, I'm going to repent," a woman swung a butcher knife Wednesday afternoon at someone inside Teen Challenge at 3333 Philips Highway, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

She next stabbed a table before stripping down and attacking two cars. She had chased children with the blade before a Taser stopped her rampage, police said.

Cheri Dana, a 42-year-old transient, has been jailed on charges of aggravated assault and criminal mischief. She remains in the Duval County jail on $90,000 bail, according to jail records.


TSA at Houston Airport Kicks Woman off Flight Over Attitude

A TSA screener admitted to a woman traveling through Houston Airport that she was prevented from boarding her flight for retaliatory reasons as punishment for a bad attitude rather than any genuine security threat, after the woman refused to allow TSA agents to test her drink for explosives.

The audio and video in the clip above is scratchy, but the woman is heard saying, "Let me get this straight, this is retaliatory for my attitude, this is not making the airways safer it's retaliatory."

"It pretty much definitely is," the TSA screener responds.

The incident began when the woman refused to allow TSA agents to carry out a controversial policy where they test drinks for explosives that are purchased by passengers after they have already passed through security.

"This was inside the terminal at the Houston airport," the woman writes on her You Tube channel. "I was not allowed to board a plane (even though I had already been through airport security) because I drank my water instead of letting the TSA "test" it. The TSA agent finally admitted that it wasn't because they thought I was a security risk - it was because they were mad at me!"

The new policy, which as we highlighted is completely pointless and unnecessary, was back in the headlines earlier this week after the Drudge Report posted an Infowars story featuring a video which showed TSA screeners testing drinks in the departure lounge at Columbus Ohio Airport.

Source: Infowars


Chicago Police Making Plans If Students Miss School Due To Strike

© CBS News
Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy
The Chicago police superintendent says he'll be ready if police have to deal with the sudden exodus of students from the classroom to the street - in case there's a strike.

The Chicago Public Schools will have some schools open for half a day, if there's a strike.

And that in itself is an issue for Police Supt. Garry McCarthy.

"We do have concerns and we're working with CPS to ensure that rival gang members are not put into the same places," McCarthy said.

"The fact is, we just came out of the summer where those kids were not in school for the most part anyway," he said. "So it's really just going to extend exactly what we're doing."

He says he's working with the Chicago Public Schools to make sure rival gang members aren't placed in the same school.

McCarthy says police resources will be concentrated well into the early morning hours.

"If the kids aren't in school, the likelihood is they're going to be awake later and perhaps out on the street," he said.

2 + 2 = 4

Chicago Braces for First Teacher Strike in a Generation

© The Associated Press/Sitthixay Ditthavong
Members of the Chicago Teachers Union hold an informational picket outside Willa Cather Elementary School on Monday in an effort to call attention to ongoing contract talks with the city's Board of Education.
Chicago - The vice president of the Chicago Teachers Union said Saturday the city school district's latest offer in contract negotiations was disappointing and that the wrangling would continue throughout the weekend, as tens of thousands of teachers readied to walk off the job on Monday.

Chicago teachers say they're prepared to walk off the job for the first time in 25 years over issues that include pay raises, classroom conditions, job security and teacher evaluations. A strike would cause massive disruptions in the nation's third-largest school district, which has 400,000 students.

Both sides met Saturday to try to close the remaining gaps, but union Vice President Jesse Sharkey told reporters about an hour into the talks that there was more work to be done because the district's latest proposal fell short.

"The offer they came back with was disappointing to say the least and frankly there's not enough pieces of the puzzle there yet to make a picture," he said. "We're going to go back tomorrow."

A spokeswoman for Chicago Public Schools would not comment on Saturday's talks.

Meanwhile, hundreds of teachers stopped by the strike headquarters the union opened Saturday to pick up picket signs and T-shirts.

Here is a closer look at the situation:


$1M Bond for Man Accused in Kentucky Homeowners Shooting

Mahmoud Hindi
© The Associated Press/Louisville Metro Corrections
Mahmoud Hindi
Louisville, Kentucky - A Louisville man accused of opening fire at a homeowners association meeting, killing one and critically wounding another, was ordered held on a $1 million bond Saturday at an initial court hearing where a prosecutor called him "the epitome of danger to the community."

A not guilty plea was entered on behalf of 55-year-old Mahmoud Yousef Hindi to charges of murder, assault and wanton endangerment in the Thursday evening shooting at a church.

Dressed in a blue jail outfit, Hindi showed no emotion and did not speak as he stood before a judge.

Afterward, defense attorney Todd Lewis called the case a "horrendous tragedy" and said the Hindi family's thoughts were with the victims' families. Lewis asked for patience in unraveling the case.

"We look forward to our day in court," he told reporters. "There's always another side to things."

What specifically sparked the attack wasn't clear.

Police say Hindi, a doctor educated in Jordan, had a history of disputes with the homeowners group revolving around a fence that the association said didn't meet its height or design requirements in the upscale neighborhood of Spring Creek.

The association's attorney says the organization brought the zoning violation charges to the city. Hindi wrote several letters to the attorney, expressing anger and contempt for the attorney.


New Age 'Medicine' of Serge Benhayon Leaves Trail of Broken Families

Serge Benhayon
© The Courier-Mail
Universal Medicine's founder Serge Benhayon claims to be Leonardo da Vinci reincarnated.
An alleged new-age cult, run by a former bankrupt who claims to be Leonardo da Vinci reincarnated, is expanding its multimillion-dollar enterprise with the help of Brisbane's medical mainstream.

Universal Medicine, whose practitioners offer controversial treatments to ward off cancer including "esoteric breast massage", is drawing a growing number of clients to its Brisbane clinic via referrals from eye and lung surgeons, rheumatologists and GPs.

UniMed Brisbane is based in a historic $1.75 million, 10-room former Fairfield homestead from the 1860s, now co-owned by Universal Medicine founder Serge Benhayon.

The one-time tennis coach founded the group, which has 2000 mainly female followers, after emerging from bankruptcy over an unpaid lease on a Sydney tennis centre in 1998.

He now boasts interests in property worth $7.4 million and an enterprise that turns over at least $2 million a year, extending from its NSW base in Goonellabah to north Queensland and Europe.

Mr Benhayon's supporters include Kenmore dentist Rachel Hall, whose "holistic" clinic, dotted with da Vinci illustrations, attracts Universal Medicine followers from as far as the UK and Germany.
Rachel Hall
© The Courier-Mail
Kenmore dentist Rachel Hall's clinic caters to Universal Medicine followers.
Universal Medicine, which teaches followers to avoid the "negative energy" in everything from cheese and alcohol to sleeping late, sells merchandise from books to pillow cases, holds concerts, Vietnam retreats and "relationship workshops" that gross up to $36,000 a session.

But the group has come under fire from family members of devotees, who say Mr Benhayon holds a Svengali-like sway over members' patterns of diet, sleeping, exercise, the music they listen to and sexual behaviour.

They claim Universal Medicine has led to the breakdown of at least 42 relationships.


Ex-prosecutor Claims O.J. Simpson 'Bloody Glove' was Tampered With

O.J. Simpson
A prosecutor in the O.J. Simpson murder trial said this week that he believes defense attorney Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. tampered with the famous "bloody glove" that was a key piece of evidence in the football star's acquittal.

During the celebrated murder trial, Simpson tried on bloody gloves and held up his hands in front of the jury box to let everyone see the leather bunched up around his broad palms. That demonstration became a powerful symbol for the defense, summed up by Cochran: "If it doesn't fit, you must acquit."

Johnnie L. Cochran Jr.

Johnnie L. Cochran Jr.
Several jurors cited the too-tight gloves as a key reason for voting to acquit Simpson. But this week, Christopher Darden, one of the prosecutors on the case, told Reuters news service and a law school audience that he believes Cochran manipulated the glove.

According to the news service:
On Thursday, during a panel discussion about the trial at Pace Law School in New York City, Darden, a member of the prosecution team, declared: "I think Johnnie tore the lining. There were some additional tears in the lining so that O.J.'s fingers couldn't go all the way up into the glove."

Darden said in a follow-up interview on Friday that he noticed that when Simpson was trying on a glove for the jury its structure appeared to have changed. "A bailiff told me the defense had it during the lunch hour." He said he wasn't specifically accusing anyone, adding: "It's been my suspicion for a long time that the lining has been manipulated."
The glove incident was seen as the pivotal moment in the 1995 trial.


A World of Hillbilly Heroin: The Hollowing Out of America, Up Close and Personal

© Fabio Berti/ Shutterstock.com
In a new book Chris Hedges and Joe Sacco explore the poorest pockets of the United States. In West Virginia they found communities ravaged by drugs.

During the two years Joe Sacco and I reported from the poorest pockets of the United States, areas that have been sacrificed before the altar of unfettered and unregulated capitalism, we found not only decayed and impoverished communities but shattered lives. There comes a moment when the pain and despair of constantly running into a huge wall, of realizing that there is no way out of poverty, crush human beings. Those who best managed to resist and bring some order to their lives almost always turned to religion and in that faith many found the power to resist and even rebel.

2 + 2 = 4

66 Students at Stuyvesant High School Now Face Suspension in Regents Exams Cheating Scandal

© Craig Warga/New York Daily News
City says it uncovered new evidence of misdeeds during last spring's standardized tests. Students texted one another answers during tests.

As part of Stuyvesant High School's continuing crackdown after a high-profile cheating scandal, 66 students are now facing suspension, the city announced Friday.

Over the summer, the city uncovered new evidence of misdeeds during last spring's standardized tests, officials said.

The massive cheating ring saw students texting one another answers during Regents exams, the Daily News first reported in June.

In July, just six students at the elite school were facing the most severe punishment. The bulk of the students who'd received text messages were stripped of their leadership positions and the privilege of leaving campus during lunch.

Stuyvesant's new principal, Jie Zhang - who took over after longtime principal Stanley Teitel's resignation this summer - announced she's working with students on the possibility of creating an honor code.