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US: Personal Bankruptcies, Especially Among Elderly, Surge in Massachusetts

Kathleen Kane of Quincy
© Gary Higgins/The Patriot Ledger
Personal bankruptcy cases are on the rise in Massachusetts. Bankruptcy attorney Kathleen Kane of Quincy in her office at Spillane Law Offices in Quincy.
Personal bankruptcy filings have risen to their highest levels since bankruptcy reform legislation was enacted in 2005, spurred by widespread job losses, underemployment and a stagnant real estate market.

The bankruptcy epidemic has affected a wide variety of households, from people in their prime earning years who are struggling after layoffs to retirees who are no longer able to pay their mortgages.

In Massachusetts, the total number of Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 personal bankruptcy filings rose to nearly 23,000 last year, up 16 percent from 2009. Nationally, personal bankruptcy filings rose 9 percent over the same time.

Take 2

Lawrence O'Donnell and Condi Rice at Loggerheads in Testy Interview

On last night's Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, Condoleezza Rice stood firm on the Bush administration's actions in Iraq. The discussion got quite heated at points with Rice repeatedly threatening to end the interview and O'Donnell accusing her of evading his questions.

Watch the video, from MSNBC, below:


Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Arrow Down

West Virginia: Man High on Bath Salts Kills Neighbor's Goat, Police Say

Mark Thompson
© The Charleston Gazette
Mark Thompson, 19, of Alum Creek, is charged with animal cruelty
Police say an Alum Creek man high on bath salts killed his neighbor's pygmy goat and that neighbors found him in his bedroom, dressed in a bra and panties, next to the dead animal, said Lt. Bryan Stover of the Kanawha County Sheriff's Department.

Mark Thompson, 19, of Greenview Road, is charged with animal cruelty after police got a call from a woman who said he stole her goat at about 3:15 a.m. Monday, Stover said.

Lisa Powers said she bought the goat on Friday as a gift to her 4-year-old grandson. They named the male goat Bailey after a female character on the Disney Channel television show The Suite Life on Deck.

"The baby just loved him," she said.

Powers' nephew, Joshua Pollis, got a call from a neighbor early Monday morning, she said.

"They told him that my goat was wandering around in Mark's house and he'd better come and get it," she said. "They called my nephew because he'd been there before."

Pollis and two women walked into Thompson's house looking for the goat, according to the criminal complaint filed in Kanawha County Magistrate Court.

The three entered the house and made their way to Thompson's bedroom door when Thompson spoke to them, Powers said.

Comment: In case readers are wondering what "high on bath salts" means, check out this article:

Officials fear bath salts becoming the next big drug menace


Beaker

Officials fear bath salts becoming the next big drug menace

Bath Salt
© Unknown

When Neil Brown got high on bath salts, he took his skinning knife and slit his face and stomach repeatedly. Brown survived, but authorities say others haven't been so lucky after snorting, injecting or smoking powders with such innocuous-sounding names as Ivory Snow, Red Dove and Vanilla Sky.

Law enforcement agents and poison control centers say the bath salts, with their complex chemical names, are an emerging menace in several U.S. states where authorities talk of banning their sale. Some say their effects can be as powerful as those of methamphetamine.

From the Deep South to California, emergency calls are being reported over exposure to the stimulants the powders often contain: mephedrone and methylenedioxypyrovalerone, also known as MDPV.

Sold under such names as Ivory Wave, Bliss, White Lightning and Hurricane Charlie, the chemicals can cause hallucinations, paranoia, a rapid heart rate and suicidal thoughts, authorities say. In addition to bath salts, the chemicals can be found in plant foods that are sold legally at convenience stores and on the Internet. However, they aren't necessarily being used for the purposes on the label.

Mississippi lawmakers this week began considering a proposal to ban the sale of the powders, and a similar measure is being sought in Kentucky. In Louisiana, the bath salts were outlawed by an emergency order after the state's poison center received more than 125 calls in the last three months of 2010 involving exposure to the chemicals.


Ambulance

Indonesia plane crash kills at least 17

A passenger plane carrying 27 people plunged into the ocean on Saturday as it approached an airport in bad weather in Indonesia's eastern province of West Papua, killing at least 17.

Image
© EPA
Parts of a plane wreckage lies on the ground after it crashed near Kaimana airport in Papua, Indonesia
Herry Bakti Singayuda, director general of Indonesian air transportation, said the Chinese-made Xian MA60 twin turboprop plane went down just before landing in Kaimana.

The flight, operated by state-owned Merpati Nusantara Airlines, originated in Sorong, another town in the province.

He said rescuers had recovered 17 bodies from the wreckage of the aircraft, which crashed into Kaimana Bay about 500 yards from the end of the runway. Searchers were hampered by heavy rain.

"Technically there was no problem with the plane," Mr Singayuda said.

He said the plane had only 615 flight hours and had been purchased in October.

Handcuffs

Canada: Arrest Made in York University Sex Assault

Toronto police have arrested a man suspected of assaulting a woman on the York University campus.

The alleged assault took place on Thursday at about 4 p.m. inside the Seneca College building on Finch Avenue West.

Police say the 20-year-old victim was walking to the building when she became aware of a man walking very close behind her.

When the woman entered the Seneca College building the man continued to follow her.

Once inside the main hall the man sexually assaulted the woman.

Handcuffs

Canada: Child worker gets 27 months on porn, voyeurism charges

Image
© CBC News
Jason Keough, shown outside court in 2008, was sentenced Friday to 27 months in prison
Former high-school counsellor and child protection worker Jason Keough was sentenced Friday to 27 months in prison for exploiting three young couples for sexual purposes.

Keough was convicted in January on two counts of possessing child pornography and one count each of making voyeuristic materials and voyeurism.

The sentence imposed by Justice Donald Manderschied is nine months longer than what the Crown had recommended and includes jail time for the voyeurism conviction. The judge said no court has ever imposed jail time for that offence.

Crown prosecutor Diane Hollinshead later explained to reporters that courts have been imposing conditional sentences or probation as a punishment for voyeurism, which is still a relatively new offence.

She welcomed the judge's decision to sentence Keough to prison on that count.

Alarm Clock

US: Brooklyn Toddler Dies After Circumcision

Jamaal Coleson Jr
© New York Post
Jamaal Coleson Jr., 2 years old, died after being circumcised.

New York City's Office of the Chief Medical Examiner is investigating the death of 2-year-old Jamaal Coleson, Jr. following a circumcision Tuesday at Manhattan's Beth Israel Medical Center.

"They gave him anesthesia, and after the circumcision he woke up he was fine," said Jabbar Coleson, Jamaal Jr.'s uncle, who lives in Jonesboro, Ga. "He asked to eat, he asked for something to drink, and then he started complaining about pain in his stomach."

Jabbar said his nephew was in the outpatient ward when doctors noticed something was wrong. But four hours passed before the toddler was rushed to the emergency room, he said.

Family

Discovery of Air France Body a 'Relief'

Air France body
© ITN
The father of a passenger from the Air France flight that plunged into the Atlantic Ocean in 2009 said the removal of a body from the sea provided some relief for victims' families.

Nelson Marinho, president of the Brazilian Association of Relatives of Victims of Air France Flight 447, was reacting to news of a remote-controlled submarine removing a body from the deep sea wreckage of the plane.

The body was still strapped into the seat, making the recovery difficult, according to a statement from French police.

Attention

US: Mysterious Powder Sparks Evacuation at Utah Federal Building

Field test negative for any radiological substances

Ogden - The James V. Hansen Federal Building was evacuated Thursday after an envelope addressed to the IRS was found to contain an unknown powder.

Approximately 200 employees were evacuated from the building at 324 25th St. and sent home. A handful were kept in the building and decontaminated by hazardous materials teams wearing hazmat suits with air tanks.

The FBI is in charge of the investigation.

Debbie Dujanovic Bertram, spokeswoman for the Salt Lake City FBI office, said in an email Thursday evening that a field test of the substance by the Ogden Fire Department was "negative for any radiological substances." Biological testing is being conducted at a lab, and no one in the area where the substance was found has experienced any symptoms.

The incident is the second of its kind in the area in a week. On Friday, a white powdery substance was found at an IRS building in Farr West. The substance turned out to be harmless.