Society's ChildS


San Francisco plane crash: Asiana pilot says he was blinded by bright light

© Benjamin Levy, APPassengers from Asiana Airlines flight 214, many with their luggage, on the tarmac just moments after the plane crashed at the San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco on July 6.
Federal crash investigators revealed Wednesday that the pilot flying Asiana Airlines Flight 214 told them that he was temporarily blinded by a bright light when 500 feet above the ground.

Deborah Hersman, chairwoman of the National Transportation Safety Board, said it wasn't clear what could have caused the problem. Asked specifically whether it could have been a laser pointed from the ground, Hersman said she couldn't say what caused it.

"We need to understand exactly what that is," Hersman said. "It was a temporary issue."

Her comments came during a daily press briefing on the Saturday crash of Asiana Flight 214 that left two dead and 168 others injured.

Federal crash investigators previously said that pilots recognized they were too low and not lined up precisely with the runway while still 500 feet from the ground. At 500 feet, pilots recognized that they were low as the Boeing 777 was going 134 knots and was 34 seconds from impact. They continued to make adjustments until hitting the seawall at the end of the runway at San Francisco International Airport.

Evacuation of the plane didn't begin immediately. Airlines must certify that they can evacuate fully loaded planes within 90 seconds. But in this case, a pilot told flight attendants not to begin the evacuation immediately when the plane came to rest.

But after about 90 seconds, a flight attendant near the second door reported seeing fire outside a window in the middle of the plane. He relayed that information to the cockpit and the evacuation began.


What's in a name? It can influence everything from school grades and career choice to marriage partners and where you live

As Prince William and wife Catherine mull over names for their royal offspring, they would do well to heed mounting evidence that a name can influence everything from your school grades and career choice to who you marry and where you live.

Someone named Jacqueline or Steven will generally fare better in life than Latrina or Butch, say researchers, who also point to a phenomenon whereby the world's fastest man is called Bolt, a TV weather forecaster Sarah Blizzard, and the local librarian Mrs Storey.

"Your name can influence the assumptions that other people make about your character and background, and thus the chances you are given in life," says Richard Wiseman - a case in point, he's a professor of psychology at the University of Hertfordshire.

"It can also be a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy. If your name sounds intelligent, successful and attractive, you are more likely to act those things."

A flurry of studies in recent years have examined names as predictors of success.

'Most unfortunate names' revealed
Baby names predictions for 2013 - 5 trends that will shock you

Heart - Black

Human trafficking charges brought against Saudi Arabian princess in California

Meshael Alayban
A Saudi Arabian princess was arrested Wednesday and charged with human trafficking in Santa Ana, California for allegedly holding up to five women against their will and forcing them to work for several families in an Orange County condominium complex. According to CBS News, police arrested 42-year-old Meshael Alayban, one of the six wives of Saudi Prince Abdulrahman bin Nasser bin Abdulaziz al Saud, and charged her with one count of human trafficking, a charge that could send her to prison for up to 12 years if convicted.

Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said that Alayban was arrested after a 30-year-old Kenyan woman contacted police saying that she was a victim of human trafficking. The woman, carrying a suitcase, flagged down a bus in Santa Ana on Tuesday night. She told the driver and fellow passengers that she was trying to escape a situation where she was being held against her will. The passengers urged her to contact police.

The woman said that she had been hired in Kenya in 2012 to work for Alayban's family. When she arrived in Saudi Arabia, she was stripped of her passport and forced to work more than double the amount of hours she agreed to for less than half the money.

Arrow Down

India's poor 'duped' into clinical drug trials

Big Pharma
© AFP Photo/STRIndian heart patient Niranjan Lal Pathak (R) poses with his wife Bhankali Pathak at his residence in Indore. Many poor people in India like Niranjan are unwittingly taking part in clinical trials for drugs by Indian and multinational pharmaceutical companies.
New Delhi: Niranjan Lal Pathak couldn't believe his luck initially. When a doctor at a hospital in central India offered the factory watchman free treatment for a heart complaint, he jumped at the chance.

It was five years ago and the family of the 72-year-old says he didn't realise that the Maharaja Yashwantrao Hospital in the city of Indore was about to enroll him in a trial of an untested drug.

"We were told that our uncle will be treated under a special project," his nephew Alok Pathak told AFP over the phone from Indore, the largest city of Madhya Pradesh state.

"The doctor said we wouldn't have to spend a penny. There was only one condition placed before us -- that we should not approach local chemists if we ever ran out of his medicines but go straight to the doctor," he said.

A petition filed by the family in India's Supreme Court alleges that the drug tested on him was Atopaxar, developed by Japan-based pharmaceutical company Eisai and supposed to treat anxiety disorders.

His family and health rights group Swasthya Adhikaar Manch (Health Rights Platform) say that he would never have enrolled for the trial had he known that an untested drug would be administered.

The family also claims that the side-effects of the drug left Pathak suffering from dementia.

"He barely recognises us. His life is finished and so are our hopes to see him healthy and happy again," Alok told AFP, his voice choked with emotion.

Heart - Black

Muslim bashing: Fox News host wants to ban new Mosques

Fox News host Bob Beckel wants to ban all new mosques, "until we got it worked out who is not a terrorist."

Beckel appeared on "The Five" on Tuesday and discussed the deadly "muslim gang" attack at Nigerian school last weekend.

"They are a bunch of thugs, murderers and they go after schools, Christian schools," Beckel said. "They've done this, they've burned them down. We don't do that here. If we burned down your mosque here, you'd be really upset."

At least 28 people were killed at a boarding school in Nigeria on Saturday. Suspected gunmen are believed to be members of Islamic Jihadist group Boko Haram, whose name translates to "Western education is sinful."

"Now, I've already got enough mail from you all, that you don't like what I say about not letting your students come here," Beckel said on "The Five." "If it were up to me, I would not have another mosque built in this country until we got it worked out who was not a terrorist."


Self-styled 'Robin Hood' jailed for 70 months

© Robin Hood: Corey Donaldson caught on CCTV.
A US judge has handed down a nearly six-year prison sentence to an Australian man who says he robbed a bank so he could give money to the homeless.

The Wyoming judge sentenced 40-year-old Corey Donaldson to 70 months for bank robbery.

Donaldson claimed that he was justified in robbing more than US$140,000 from the US Bank in Jackson on New Year's Eve.

He has likened himself to Robin Hood and claims he gave much of the money to the homeless and staged the robbery to call attention to problems with the banking system.

In his closing address, he admitted he robbed the bank but asked the jury to find him not guilty because "it is the patriotic thing to do" and it was time to make a stand against banks.

His advice fell on deaf ears. The jury took just 50 minutes to convict him.


Criminal investigation opened into Canadian unmanned runaway oil train

© AP Wrecked oil tankers and debris from a runaway train remain in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, Canada.
CANADIAN authorities say they have opened a criminal investigation into the fiery wreck of a runaway oil train in the small town of Lac-Megantic as the death toll climbed to 15, with dozens more bodies feared buried in the burned-out ruins.

Quebec police Inspector Michel Forget said investigators have "discovered elements" that have led to a criminal probe. He gave no details but ruled out terrorism.

The death toll rose with the discovery of two more bodies on Tuesday. About three dozen more people were missing. The bodies that have been recovered were burned so badly they have yet to be identified.

Investigators zeroed in on whether a fire on the train a few hours before the disaster set off a deadly chain of events that has raised questions about the safety of transporting oil in North America by rail instead of pipeline.


British public wrong about nearly everything, survey shows

Research shows public opinion often deviates from facts on key social issues including crime, benefit fraud and immigration

A new survey for the Royal Statistical Society and King's College London shows public opinion is repeatedly off the mark on issues including crime, benefit fraud and immigration.

The research, carried out by Ipsos Mori from a phone survey of 1,015 people aged 16 to 75, lists ten misconceptions held by the British public. Among the biggest misconceptions are:

- Benefit fraud: the public think that £24 of every £100 of benefits is fraudulently claimed. Official estimates are that just 70 pence in every £100 is fraudulent - so the public conception is out by a factor of 34.


Psychopathy in action: Michigan woman organises hit on her husband

Julia Charlene Merfeld, 20, of Muskegon, Michigan, is filmed arranging for her husband to be killed by a hitman, in reality an undercover policeman. Merfeld agrees the time, price and method of the killing in the two filmed conversations, released to media after she pleaded guilty to solicitation for murder. At one point Merfeld says killing her 27-year old husband Jacob to cash in his $400,000 life insurance policy is easier than divorcing him. She is due to be sentenced on 30 July.


Brazilian student sells her virginity for $780,000 online

A Brazilian student has sold her virginity in an online auction for $780,000 as part of a documentary organised by an Australian filmmaker, according to reports.
© SAMBA NEWSCatarina Migliorini
Catarina Migliorini, 20, was the subject of 15 bids, with a Japanese man named only as Natsu winning on Wednesday night, Australian media reported.

They said Miss Migliorini would be "delivered" to her buyer on board a plane to Australia and that she would be interviewed before and after losing her virginity at a secret location.

Filmmaker Jason Sisely, who reportedly began his project in 2009 and caused outrage when he put posters up in Sydney and Melbourne saying "Virgins Wanted", said Miss Migliorini was ecstatic and had not expected such a high level of interest.

"The auction closed last night and Catarina is extremely excited. She was speaking to her family in Brazil online and they were extremely happy for her," he told Australian online news site Ninemsn.

"But I guess they didn't expect her to do something like this."