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Texas becomes first state to ban 'intrusive' TSA security pat downs

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Humiliating: A man endures a pat-down at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in front of a crowd
Texas has become the first state to ban intrusive airport security pat downs.

The bill, passed late last night, aims to make touching travellers in an 'inappropriate' way during searches a criminal offence.

The measure makes it illegal for anyone conducting pat-downs to touch 'the anus, sexual organ, buttocks, or breast of another person' including through clothing.

MIB

Melons now a Monsanto "invention"

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US corporation awarded a European patent on conventionally bred melons.

Recent research conducted by the coalition No Patents on Seeds! shows that in May 2011, the US corporation Monsanto was awarded a European patent on conventionally bred melons (EP 1 962 578). Melons have a natural resistance to certain plant viruses. It is especially evident in melons grown in India. Using conventional breeding methods, this type of resistance was introduced to other melons and has now been patented as a Monsanto "invention".

"This patent is an abuse of patent law because it is not a real invention. It contravenes European law excluding patents on conventional breeding. Further, it is a case of bio-piracy, since the original and most relevant plants come from India," says Christoph Then, a spokesperson for No Patents on Seeds!. "Patents like this are blocking access to the genetic resources necessary for further breeding, and basic resources needed for daily life are subordinated to monopolisation and financial speculation."

Megaphone

U.S.: Middle-Class Warriors Storm JP Morgan Chase Meeting in Ohio

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© National Peoples Action
Robin Hoods cross the moat surrounding JPMorgan Chase building.

Hundreds of protesters greeted JP Morgan Chase bank shareholders at their annual meeting in Columbus, Ohio, on Tuesday to tell the big bank that it's time for Wall Street pay up for its part in the financial and foreclosure crisis that has cost residents in Ohio cities $1.6 billion in property values since 2009.

The protest was held as regulators and state attorneys generals continue to investigate the lending practices of big banks like Chase, Wells Fargo and Bank of America that are suspected of committing foreclosure fraud during the economic and housing crisis.

Organizers say 800 clergy, homeowners and union members from across Ohio and the Midwest gathered to protest the Chase shareholders meeting at corporate park outside Columbus. Heather McMahon, an organizer with the Mahoning Valley Organizing Collaborative, said 15 people entered the Chase building and held the floor during the shareholders meeting for 20 minutes despite a heavy police presence.

Family

US: Cheating is epidemic, counselors say

Tampa - An extra-marital affair can tear a family apart. In Palm Harbor, relationship coach Diana Journy says she's not surprised by the revelation that former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger fathered a child outside of his marriage to Maria Shriver, a former broadcast journalist.

"I think it's an epidemic, actually. I think it's huge," Journy said. "We see it all the time. We talk to people daily. Daily."

Journy and her husband Tim Journy counsel couples dealing with infidelity. They've been there. In 2007, 31 years after they said "I do", Tim had an affair. There was no child, but Diana felt just as betrayed.

Shortly after the affair, the Journys traveled all the way to Vancouver, Canada for a three-day healing seminar. There, they met Anne and Brian Bercht, directors of the International Beyond Affairs Network, which was holding the seminar.


Evil Rays

Ukrainian weather woman creates a storm

A Ukrainian weather forecaster has created a storm of her own by taking a swipe at Ukraine's leadership during a live radio broadcast.

Lyudmila Savchenko, head of the forecasting section of Ukraine's meteorological service who has become a well-known voice on national radio with her daily weather reports, put her own spin on why the country was enjoying a spell of blissful weather.

"One cannot remain indifferent to this beauty which shows in the tender scent of lilac and lily of the valley and the melodious trilling of the birds," she said lyrically on Ukraine national radio.

She went on: "At times it seems that such miraculous days are a gift from nature to compensate us for the chaos, lawlessness and injustice which reigns in our country."

"It is simply incomprehensible that anyone can dislike this paradise on earth, this country, the Ukrainian people so much that they treat it so badly," she said.

Ukrainska Pravda online newspaper quoting a national radio source said that following Savchenko's remarks a decision had been taken to end live broadcasts from the weather center.

There was no immediate word on whether any action would be taken against Savchenko. Parliamentary speaker Volodymyr Litvyn said parliament would support an opposition move to ask national radio not to sack her.

Video

'Unlawful Killing' Trailer - Princess Diana Documentary Set to Cause Controversy at Cannes

This week, the 64th Cannes International Film Festival kicks off and you'll no doubt see more trailers and posters for movies screening there as the week progresses. One such movie is 'Unlawful Killing' a documentary directed by Keith Allen looking in depth at the death of Princess Diana on the year that she would mark her 50th birthday.

This no doubt controversial documentary is set to screen on Friday 13th May in Cannes - mixes candid interviews with recreations of some of the key moments from the official inquest. The questions the film asks, as it seeks to uncover the truth about the world's most famous car crash, could shake the public's perceptions of how Diana and her partner Dodi Fayed died - and where responsibility ultimately lies for this apparent Establishment cover-up perpetrated by "Dark Forces".

Below is the trailer for the documentary which shows interviews with some of Diana's friends and you can make of it what you will. I guess the title in itself suggests what sort of angle the makers of the movie will take.


Blackbox

Diana's Inquest Samples Switched

Diana's post-mortem samples were switched with those from another woman, an explosive new book claims. Adding weight to "cover-up" theories, it says samples were swapped prior to toxicological testing. According to documents uncovered for the book, published this week, the toxicologist at London's Charing Cross Hospital received the samples of another female and tested them in the belief that they were from Princess Diana.



In his latest volume in a series about the Diana inquest, author John Morgan believes he has discovered the truth of what occurred in the 24 hours following the deaths of the Princess and Dodi Al Fayed in a Paris car crash on August 31, 1997. "There is a lot of evidence which points to the toxicology testing being carried out on samples that did not come from the body of Princess Diana," he said last night, pointing out that the documents were, along with others, withheld from the inquest jury.

Mr Morgan said he had uncovered a litany of conflicting evidence, inconsistencies, mis-labelling of body samples, cover-ups, evidence and witnesses who were never called to give evidence at the ­inquest.

Gear

US: 22 injured as elevator plummets 3 stories in Manhattan

'They were just going up ... and then suddenly they said it just came down,' New York fire official says
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© Unknown

New York - Nearly two dozen people were injured when an elevator plummeted three stories in New York City on Wednesday, officials told NBC News.

"The elevator, it fell down," one injured man told a CBS affiliate. "It felt like we were jumping."

Authorities were notified of an elevator malfunction in a building on 6th Avenue in the Flatiron district of Manhattan at around 7 a.m. ET, NBC New York reported.

The freight elevator dropped from either the third or fourth floor to the basement, fire department Deputy Chief Jackie Sullivan told NBC New York.

Sullivan said that 22 people were injured. Nine were taken to local hospitals. None of the injuries were considered life-threatening.

"We don't know the cause," Sullivan told reporters. "They were just going up ... and then suddenly they said it just came down."

Fox News reported that the building dates to the late 19th century when it was the Siegel Cooper Dry Goods Store. It has reportedly been used as a commercial building since the 1990s after previously serving as a warehouse.

People

X-rays reveal 513 US-bound migrants crammed in trucks

'We were suffering, it was very hot and we were clinging to the ropes'
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© Alejandro Estrada/AP
Chiapas authorities say they rescued 513 migrants: 410 of the migrants were from Guatemala, 47 from El Salvador, 32 from Ecuador, 12 from India, six from Nepal, three from China and one each from Japan, the Dominican Republic and Honduras.

Tuxtla Gutierrez, Mexico - Police in Mexico's southern Chiapas state found 513 migrants on Tuesday inside two trailer trucks bound for the United States, and said they had been transported in dangerously crowded conditions.

Chiapas state police discovered the migrants while using X-ray equipment on the trucks at a checkpoint in the outskirts of city of Tuxtla Gutierrez.

Some of the immigrants were suffering from dehydration after traveling for hours clinging to cargo ropes strung inside the containers to keep them upright as the trucks bounced along from the Guatemalan border, and allow more migrants to be more crammed in on the floor.

The trucks had air holes punched in the tops of the containers, but migrants interviewed at the state prosecutors' office said they lacked air and water. The trucks were bound for the central city of Puebla, where the migrants said they had been told they would be loaded aboard a second set of vehicles for the trip to the U.S. border.

X

US: Mystery Maine Boy May Have Been Dumped by Military Member

Police believe the person who dumped a little boy's body on a rural Maine road may have connections to the military, and they've enlisted the help of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service to help identify the boy.


The eyewitness who spotted a woman driving a blue Toyota Tacoma pickup truck on Dennett Road the day the boy's body was found spotted a Navy insignia embossed in or around the truck's license plate.

"We're really starting to wonder if the individual involved with this truck is a member of the military," said Maine State Police Lt. Brian McDonough. "We're starting to think that way because we just got no information from any neighbors, any family members. ... Maybe these people are ... assigned a temporary duty in the military and aren't that well known or embedded into the community and again would have family outside of the state or outside of the region."

Police are alerting Navy Reserve centers and have also brought Interpol into the investigation as they continue to search for the owner of the blue truck.