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Woman Accused of Witchcraft Killed

Santa Barbara, Colombia -- A woman from northwestern Colombia was beaten to death and set on fire after she was accused of being a witch, officials said.

The woman was found dead in her home in a rural area about 10 miles from Medellin, police said.

Investigators said her killers beat her to death, then poured gasoline on her body and set it afire, Colombia Reports said Sunday.

The mayor of a community in the area condemned the killing and spoke out against an "abhorrent intolerance that resembles the days of the inquisition."

Residents said the woman was accused of casting a spell on a local boy, but police said a search of her home Friday found no indication she practiced witchcraft, Colombia Reports said.

The mayor said another woman was killed in the village six years ago after she was accused of being a witch.

Arrow Down

Jobs growth slows to a snail's pace in August


Job creation slipped further into the doldrums last month, heightening worries about the state of the recovery and adding to the hurdle President Barack Obama needs to leap to win re-election in November.

The Labor Department reported Friday that the economy created a tepid 96,000 jobs in August, well below the 125,000 expected by economists and a far stretch from the plus-250,0000 needed to show robust growth. The unemployment rate slid to 8.1 percent from 8.3 percent as more Americans gave up looking for work.

The data was further evidence of a Goldilocks economy -- not too hot, not too cold, but not just right either -- that could prompt the Federal Reserve to take new steps to boost growth.

"This weak employment report, in jobs, wages, hours worked and participation is probably the last piece the Fed needs before launching another round of quantitative easing [QE] next week. QE will boost equities, damage the dollar and do little for the economy, but what else can an activist Fed do? " said Joseph Trevisani, chief market strategist at Wordwide Markets.

Arrow Up

Unemployment in Greece hits 24% - jobless Greeks clean toilets in Sweden

Image
© Casper Hedberg/Bloomberg
Tilemachos Karachalios works as a janitor in Stockholm, forced from his home by Greece’s economic crisis.
As a pharmaceutical salesman in Greece for 17 years, Tilemachos Karachalios wore a suit, drove a company car and had an expense account. He now mops schools in Sweden, forced from his home by Greece's economic crisis.

"It was a very good job," said Karachalios, 40, of his former life. "Now I clean Swedish s---."

Karachalios, who left behind his 6-year-old daughter to be raised by his parents, is one of thousands fleeing Greece's record 24 percent unemployment and austerity measures that threaten to undermine growth. The number of Greeks seeking permission to settle in Sweden, where there are more jobs and a stable economy, almost doubled to 1,093 last year from 2010, and is on pace to increase again this year.

"I'm trying to survive," Karachalios said in an interview in Stockholm. "It's difficult here, very difficult. I would prefer to stay in Greece. But we don't have jobs."

Greece is in its fifth year of recession, with the economy expected to contract 6.9 percent this year, the same as in 2011, according to the Athens-based Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research. Since 2008, the number of jobless has more than tripled to a record 1.22 million as of June, out of a total population of 10.8 million.

Light Saber

Springfield, Massachusetts to pay $575,000 to victim of police brutality


The city of Springfield has reached a $575,000 settlement with a man who was severely beaten by a police officer during a traffic stop.

City attorney John Liebel made the settlement public yesterday following a two-day mediation in U.S. District Court.

Melvin Jones III sued the city and police for civil rights violations, negligence and assault in connection with the beating in November 2009 by Officer Jeffrey Asher. Asher was subsequently fired and sent to jail for 18 months on an assault and battery conviction.

Jones was beaten unconscious with a flashlight, blinded in one eye and had broken bones and teeth. The beating was caught on video.

Asher has said he thought Jones was reaching for another officer's gun.

Source: The Associated Press

Handcuffs

Suspect in Deadly Canada Election Shooting Faces 16 Charges

Richard Henry Bain
© The Associated Press
Sept. 5, 2012: A masked gunman wearing a blue bathrobe opened fire during a midnight victory rally for Quebec's new premier, killing one person and wounding another.
Montreal - The suspect in a deadly shooting at a rally following the election of Quebec's new separatist premier was arraigned Thursday on 16 charges, including murder, attempted murder and possession of explosives.

Richard Henry Bain, 61, of La Conception, Quebec, made his first appearance in court behind protective glass after being accused of opening fire outside the midnight victory rally Tuesday for Pauline Marois of the Parti Quebecois. Prosecutors said that after the shooting, Bain used a flare to light a small fire.

The heavyset Bain, wearing a white T-shirt, appeared calm and alert during his appearance in the highly secured courtroom. He spoke briefly with his court-appointed lawyer but did not address the court, and there was no plea. Bain is scheduled to return to court Oct. 11.

The shooting killed Denis Blanchette, 48, and wounded a 27-year-old just outside a Montreal theater. The suspect's gun jammed after the initial shots were fired, a Quebec police official said Thursday, possibly saving lives.

Prosecutor Elaine Perreault said outside the courtroom that Bain had two weapons on him and three more in his car nearby. She said the weapon used in the shooting was a legally registered long gun.

Question

Web Inventor Denies 'Off-Switch'

Sir Tim Berners-Lee
© Press Association
Web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee has denied the internet has an 'off-switch'.
The inventor of the world wide web has denied there is an "off-switch" which could turn off the internet across the globe.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, who launched the web on Christmas Day 1990, said the only way the internet could ever be entirely shut down is if governments all over the world co-ordinated to make it a centralised system.

It comes after moves by the Egyptian government last year to suppress use of the web led to speculation that the Hosni Mubarak regime had found a kill switch for the internet.

Speaking at the launch of the first ever global league table classifying countries which put the web to work best, the 57-year-old computer scientist said: "The way the internet is designed is very much as a decentralised system. At the moment, because countries connect to each other in lots of different ways, there is no one off-switch, there is no central place where you can turn it off.

"In order to be able to turn the whole thing off or really block, suppress one particular idea then the countries and governments would have to get together and agree and co-ordinate and turn it from a decentralised system to being a centralised system. And if that does happen it is really important that everybody fights against that sort of direction."

Sweden has topped the Web Index league table launched by the World Wide Web Foundation, followed by the US in second and the UK in third. Nepal, Cameroon and Mali were the bottom three of 61 countries measured using indicators such as the political, economic and social impact of the web, connectivity and use.

Info

Chinese woman claims to be 127-years-old

Oldest Women
© Rex Features
Survivor: Luo Meizhen, pictured with her son, claims to be a staggering 127 years old, an age that, if verified, would make her the oldest person to have ever lived.
A woman from the Guangxi province of China is claiming to be 127-years-old, a figure that would eclipse the world's verified oldest person by five years.

Luo Meizhen lives with her only son, who she reportedly gave birth to at the age of 61, says The Daily Mail.

She claims she was born on July 9, 1885 in the Chinese lunar calendar, which this year fell on August 25 in the international calendar.

At a birthday celebration held in her honour, Luo ate a bowl of rice, a piece of duck meat and chicken, two slices of pork and two pieces of cake.

Bama County is famous in China for the longevity of its residents.

The ratio of centenarians there is 30.8 per 100,000, far exceeding the international standard of 25 per 100,000 for 'hometowns of longevity' - centenarian-clustered areas recognised by the International Natural Medicine Society.

The 2000 census recorded 74 centenarians, a significant number considering the total population is only 238,000.

Lou's claim to be 127 is likely to be met with a degree of skepticism however.

The verified oldest person in the world turned 116 just last month.

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Despite the Olympics, Broken Britain is in the Grips of an Economic and Social Crisis

broken britain
© unknown
Against the backdrop of a glittering Olympics organised by the self congratulatory, back-slapping political classes, the UK was and continues to be in the grip of crisis. The welfare system is under sustained attack, workers' rights are being stripped away and wages continue to fall in real terms. At the same time in 'austerity Britain', however, there's always enough taxpayers' money to pour into the black hole of imperialist wars and the pockets of the profiteers that live off them, courtesy of David Cameron's government of millionaire ministers.

Capitalism, especially the neo-liberal variety, is moribund. It has reached its inevitable increasingly totalitarian dead end. In the 1980s, Britain outsourced much of its manufacturing to cheap labour economies in order to boost profits. To provide a further edge, trade unions and welfare rights were attacked. As wages stagnated (or decreased in absolute terms) and unemployment increased, the market for goods was under threat. The answer lay in lending people money and creating a debt ridden consumer society.

Boat

30 children among 60 dead after migrant boat sinks off Turkey

Image
© Associated Press/Hurriyet
Coast guards search for survivors after dozens of illegal immigrants drowned when a fishing boat carrying them sank off the coast near the Aegean city of Izmir, Turkey, on Thursday.
At least 60 migrants, most of them Palestinian and more than half of them children, died after their overcrowded boat sank just tens of meters off Turkey's western Aegean coast on Thursday, a district official said.

Tahsin Kurtbeyoglu, governor of the coastal district of Menderes in Turkey's western Izmir province, said an initial investigation showed the small vessel sank around dawn due to overcrowding.

Its destination was unclear but the small Turkish town of Ahmetbeyli from where it left is only a few kilometers from the Greek island of Samos. Greece is a common entry point for migrants trying to get into the European Union.

"The latest death toll we have is 60 people, including 11 men, 18 women and 31 children, including three babies," Kurtbeyoglu told Reuters by telephone.

Turkish media said the reason the death toll was so high was because the women and children were in a locked compartment in the lower section of the vessel, although there was no official confirmation of this.

Attention

Depressed Woman Jumps Into Crocodile Pit

A woman who was suffering from depression is believed to have fed herself to the crocodiles at a popular tourist attraction in Thailand.

The 36-year-old Thai woman told her husband that she was going to see a doctor and would then go to popular Crocodile Farm in Samut Prakarn just outside Bangkok.

She never returned home but she was caught on CCTV cameras entering the tourist attraction 20 miles south of the capital.
Image
© PA
A Thai woman is believed to have fed herself to the crocodiles at a popular tourist attraction in Samut Prakarn just outside Bangkok.