Society's ChildS

Heart - Black

US, California: Social networking pioneer who took on Facebook commits suicide at age 22

© New York TimesPioneer: llya Zhitomirskiy believed he could change the world by giving users more privacy and more control in social networking
  • One of four friends from NYU who launched Diaspora* site, meant to protect users' privacy
  • Group raised more than $200,000 in donations
  • Mark Zuckerberg praised his project
  • A 22-year-old social networking pioneer and Internet privacy advocate who dared to challenge Facebook and Google is dead.

    Ilya Zhitomirskiy died Saturday after San Francisco police were summoned for a reported suicide, police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza said.

    Mr Zhitomirskiy was one of the founders Diaspora*, a new social networking service meant to give users more control of their information online, and sought to lure people away from bigger sites like Facebook, Google and Twitter.

    Police would not release other details of his death and a medical examiner's report could take weeks before it becomes public.

    Mr Zhitomirskiy and three friends, Daniel Grippi, Maxwell Salzberg, and Raphael Sofaer, launched a trial run of Diaspora* last year that attracted the attention of The New York Times and National Public Radio and left the tech world buzzing.

Heart - Black

US, Ohio: Caught by his mom and dad: Boy, 13, faces trial for 'raping girl aged FIVE in McDonald's play area' after parents recognise him on police film

  • Teenager denies raping girl on October 22 in Anderson Township, Ohio
  • Police say he inappropriately touched him and got her to do the same to him
  • He faces trial for assault from next Tuesday after entering plea on Saturday
A 13-year-old boy who allegedly inappropriately touched a five-year-old girl in the play area of a McDonald's restaurant will be tried for raping her after his parents handed him in to police.

The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, denied sexually assaulting her following the incident on October 22 in Anderson Township, Ohio, in a court hearing in Cincinnati on Saturday.

But authorities claim the boy touched the girl before making her touch him in an inappropriate way and then walked out of the McDonald's as the victim burst into tears and went to her grandmother.
© unknownSuspect: The boy, who is just 13, was brought in to police last Thursday by his parents and charged with rape


Breaking News! US: Occupy Wall Street: New York police raid Zuccotti Park

© unknown
New York City police began raiding the Occupy Wall Street encampment in Lower Manhattan's Zuccotti Park early Tuesday.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's office ordered the protesters out of the park but said they would be able to return, the Associated Press reported.

The Occupy group's website carried the headline "NYPD is raiding Liberty Square," the former name of the park, while video streaming on the site showed police encountering demonstrators.

Heart - Black

Briton: Boy, 10, 'snatched from the street by paedophile' is found tied to radiator in flat

  • Youngster pleaded 'please help, I've been kidnapped' after being taken
  • Police arrest three men on suspicion of kidnap
  • Family move out of the residential block
A boy of ten suspected to have been kidnapped by a paedophile was rescued after he was seen banging on a flat window shouting 'please help, I've been kidnapped'.

He had been snatched off the street 300 yards from his home.

He was found naked and tied to a radiator with a white sheet in the empty flat two hours later after shouting to a passing woman for help.
© unknownConcerned: Neighbours and members of community gather outside Gravity Mews, Oldbury, where the boy was allegedly found


US: Christmas Tree Tax: Ho, Ho, No

snow, christmas tree
© unknown
Most people probably agree that the venerable Christmas tree doesn't need any help with its classic, holiday image.

But not if you happen to work for the Obama administration.

In one of the looniest - if not Grinchiest - proposals ever to come out of Washington's chimney stack in recent years, President Obama's Agriculture Department actually proposed a new 15-cent charge on all fresh Christmas trees.

Fortunately, someone in the administration had the good sense this week to ax this goofy idea.

But really?

Taxing Christmas trees?

Say it ain't so, Mr. Scrooge.


US, New York: MTA Plans Unprecedented Overnight Subway Shutdowns

The pilot program begins on the Lexington Avenue line in January.

The MTA revealed Monday that it plans to shut down entire sections of subway lines overnight for several different periods to complete track work and maintenance, rather than do the repairs in pieces on weekends.

Transit officials plan to pilot the unprecedented program on the Lexington Avenue line between Grand Central Terminal and Atlantic Avenue starting Jan. 9 by shutting down parts of the 4, 5 and 6 trains between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. for several days in a row.

During the shutdown, crews would repair tracks and signals, and perform a "thorough cleaning" of the roadbed, according to the MTA.

The MTA says the plan was created as a way to minimize its weekend disruptions, while also saving more than $1 million.

Heart - Black

Beating Babies For Jesus?

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There is a brutal movement in America that legitimizes child abuse in the name of God. Two stories recently converged to make us pay attention. Last week, a video went viral of a Texas judge brutally whipping his disabled daughter. And on Monday, the New York Times published a story about child deaths in homes that have embraced the teachings of To Train Up a Child, a book by Christian preacher Michael Pearl that advocates using a switch on children as young as six months old.

What many people may not realize is that in the evangelical alternative universe of the home school movement, tightly knit church communities and the following of a number of big-time leaders and authors, physical punishment of children has been glorified for years.

As the Times illustrates -- Preaching Virtue of Spanking, Even as Deaths Fuel Debate -- the books of Michael Pearl and his wife Debi have been found in the homes where several children were killed.

Che Guevara

US, New York: 'Occupy' protesters plan to shut down Wall Street

Stage set for clashes with cops; marches planned to mark two-month anniversary of movement

© Joe Marino / New York Daily NewsThe Occupy Wall Street camp in Zuccotti Park is entering its 2nd month. Zuccotti Park remains a tent city, here a camper was grooming himself earlier in the morning.

Occupy Wall Street protesters are going all out for Thursday's two-month anniversary of their movement, vowing to "shut down Wall Street" and hold marches, strikes and rallies all over town - even underground.

Cops say they're ready.

The ambitious day of action, billed as getting them "Out of the Park and into the Streets," is likely to set up new confrontations with the police.

If necessary, the NYPD will activate a mobilization plan that would throw 400 cops who work in headquarters into action, a source said.

The day is to start with an early morning "street carnival" outside the Stock Exchange - highly symbolic real estate that has been zealously guarded by the NYPD.

The group promises "a block party the 1% will never forget."

Black Cat

Norway court stops gunman talking to victims' families

© AFPPeople hold banners reading "We will never forget the July 22 massacre, crush fascism" and "No podium for fascists" in front of a court house in Oslo. Right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik, the confessed killer of 77 people in a July rampage in Norway, has made his first public court appearance
Anders Behring Breivik, who confessed to the massacre of 77 people in Norway in July, tried in vain to make a show of his first public court appearance Monday, but was blocked from addressing the families of his victims.

The Oslo district court ruled that Behring Breivik would remain in custody until February 6, when a new custody extension hearing will be held, and announced a possible trial start-date of April 16.

The 32-year-old rightwing extremist, wearing a dark suit, white shirt and light blue tie and sporting a narrow beard, asked judge Torkel Nesheim if he could speak to the families "for five minutes," but was turned down.

It was the first court hearing open to survivors, victims' family members, the media and the general public since the July 22 killing spree.

After the hearing, his lawyer Geir Lippestad, who had asked that his client be set free, said Behring Breivik had prepared a short note, but that he did not know what he had planned to say.

Better Earth

US, Nebraska: TransCanada says it will reroute planned oil pipeline to avoid environmentally sensitive area

© The Lincoln Journal-Star/Eric Gregory/Associated PressSpeaker of the Legislature Mike Flood announces from the floor of the legislature in Lincoln, Neb., Monday, Nov. 14, 2011, that TransCanada has agreed to voluntarily move the Keystone XL pipeline project away from the Ogallala aquifer.
Canadian pipeline developer TransCanada will shift the route of its planned oil pipeline out of the environmentally sensitive Sandhills area of Nebraska, two company officials announced Monday night.

Speaking at a news conference at the Nebraska Capitol, the officials said TransCanada would agree to the new route, a move the company previously claimed wasn't possible, as part of an effort to push through the proposed $7 billion project. They expressed confidence the project would ultimately be approved.

Alex Pourbaix, TransCanada's president for energy and oil pipelines, said rerouting the Keystone XL line would likely require 30 to 40 additional miles of pipe and an additional pumping station. The exact route has not yet been determined, but Pourbaix said Nebraska will play a key role in deciding it.

The announcement follows the federal government's decision last week to delay a decision on a federal permit for the project until it studies new potential routes that avoid the Sandhills area and the Ogallala aquifer as the proposed pipeline carries crude oil from Canada to Texas Gulf Coast refineries.

Debate over the pipeline has drawn international attention focused largely on Nebraska, because the pipeline would cross the Sandhills - an expanse of grass-strewn, loose-soil hills - and part of the Ogallala aquifer, which supplies water to Nebraska and parts of seven other states.