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Sick!! US Army 'kill team' in Afghanistan posed with photos of murdered civilians

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© Associated Press
The Afghanistan 'kill team' photos of murdered civilians could be more damaging than those from Abu Ghraib, say NATO commanders.
Commanders brace for backlash of anti-US sentiment that could be more damaging than after the Abu Ghraib scandal

Commanders in Afghanistan are bracing themselves for possible riots and public fury triggered by the publication of "trophy" photographs of US soldiers posing with the dead bodies of defenceless Afghan civilians they killed.

Senior officials at Nato's International Security Assistance Force in Kabul have compared the pictures published by the German news weekly Der Spiegel to the images of US soldiers abusing prisoners in Abu Ghraib in Iraq which sparked waves of anti-US protests around the world.

They fear that the pictures could be even more damaging as they show the aftermath of the deliberate murders of Afghan civilians by a rogue US Stryker tank unit that operated in the southern province of Kandahar last year.

Comment: More about 'trophy kills' and the role prescribed antipsychotic drugs may play.


Arrow Down

US: Department Of Justice to White Male Bullying Victims: Tough Luck

The viral video sensation showing a bullying incident at an Australian school has brought the issue of bullying back into the spotlight. Here in the United States, the Obama administration has made school bullying a federal issue. Last week, President Barack Obama addressed an anti-bullying conference with First Lady Michelle Obama at his side. The administration's anti-bullying campaign has been ongoing since the beginning of Mr. Obama's term. The Department of Justice announced in December 2010 its intention to hold liable school districts that fail to protect students that are bullied.

DOJ's website states:
The Civil Rights Division and the entire Justice Department are committed to ending bullying and harassment in schools, and the video highlights the Department's authority to enforce federal laws that protect students from discrimination and harassment at school because of their race, national origin, disability, religion, and sex, including harassment based on nonconformity with gender stereotypes.
The statement later says:
The enforcement of the Equal Protection Clause, Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 in school districts is a top priority of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division. Additional information is available at the Civil Rights Division's Educational Opportunities Section website at www.justice.gov/crt/edo/.
Here is the catch. DOJ will only investigate bullying cases if the victim is considered protected under the 1964 Civil Rights legislation. In essence, only discrimination against a victim's race, sex, national origin, disability, or religion will be considered by DOJ. The overweight straight white male who is verbally and/or physically harassed because of his size can consider himself invisible to the Justice Department.

Handcuffs

Ohio to charge inmates $1 per month for electricity

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© Unknown
Columbus - Ohio inmates paying their debt to society also will have to pay $1 per month for electricity and deal with less variety at meal time, including fewer beverage choices, under prisons department spending cuts intended to help the state close an expected $8 billion budget hole.

The new electricity fee and the changes in meals will be implemented in July and are among $30 million in moneysaving measures being adopted from suggestions made by Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction employees, department spokesman Carlo LoParo said Friday. Administrators sought the staff's input and received thousands of ideas, he said.

Dropping noncarbonated flavored drinks, currently offered with inmate lunches and dinners, will trim $2 million in costs over two years, LoParo said. Another $3 million will be saved with more repeats at mealtime - serving the most popular and least expensive foods more often.

"There's certainly no hardship," LoParo said. "I'm sure any change is difficult. However, we're asking our staff to endure substantial change throughout the organization and substantial cost-cutting measures, and we feel it only appropriate that the inmates participate in our cost savings as well."

Chalkboard

Unemployment rises in nearly all metro areas

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Washington - Unemployment rose in nearly all of the 372 largest U.S. cities in January compared to the previous month, mostly because of seasonal changes such as the layoff of temporary retail employees hired for the holidays.

The Labor Department said Friday that the unemployment rate rose in 351 metro areas, fell in only 16, and was unchanged in 5. That's worse than December, when the rate fell in 207 areas and increased in 122.

Other seasonal trends, such as the layoff of construction workers due to winter weather, also contributed to the widespread increase.

Nationwide, the unemployment rate dropped to 9% in January from 9.4% the previous month. It ticked down to 8.9% in February. But the national data is seasonally adjusted, while the metro data isn't, which makes it more volatile. The metro data also lags the national report by one month.

The report shows that metro areas hit hard by the housing crisis are still struggling with high unemployment. At the same time, a strong recovery in the manufacturing sector, particularly among U.S. auto companies, has bolstered many smaller cities in the Midwest.

Attention

Rubber Bullets Fly at Anti-Obama Protest In Rio

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© unknown
Some socialist anti-Obama protests in Rio de Janeiro. Police scattered the crowd with rubber bullets on Friday. More protests are scheduled by political groups during Obama's two day trip to Brazil.
A molotov cocktail was launched in front of the US consulate in Rio de Janeiro late Friday in protest of the arrival of President Barack Obama, the O Globo newspaper in Rio reported. Military police reacted by firing rubber bullets into the gathering of 200 at around 18:30 local time. A CBN news reporter suffered a minor injury from the shots and traffic was blocked.

"They came after us with clubs and tear gas and attacked," according to protestor Thiago Hastenheiter. "They chased us through the streets and started firing rounds of rubber bullets."

Police major Fabio Alessandro of the 13th Batallion of Rio's military police said that the protestors, all left leaning social movements associated with the Socialist Workers Party, PSTU, did not have a permit to protest near the consulate along Avenida Rio Branco and had refused to disperse from the area. They wore the ubiquitous Che Guevera T shirt and carried American flags that said Go Home Obama. Most of the protests had been peaceful until two home-made molotov cocktails were let loose in the direction of the Consulate. A guard at the Consulate was partially burned and was sent to the emergency room at Souza Aguiar Hospital.

Fourteen protestors have been arrested.

X

Japan mulls ban on Fukushima area food products

Japan has confirmed the presence of radioactive iodine contamination in food products from near a crippled nuclear plant and is considering whether to order a halt to the sale of such products from the area, the U.N. nuclear body said on Saturday.

Ambulance

A miracle tale of survival: Grandmother and boy pulled from rubble NINE DAYS after tsunami smashed city

  • Rescuers found them after responding to their shouts
Extraordinary news emerged from the tsunami coast today when police reported they had found an 80-year-old woman and a 16-year-old boy still alive under rubble in a tsunami-smashed city.

The report was greeted with scepticism at first following claims on Saturday that a young man had been found alive in his house after clinging to life for eight days - when in fact he had returned to his home from a shelter.

But police in the Mikako prefecture were insisting that there was no mistake about the two people found alive under rubble today.

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© EPA
Rescuers help 80-year-old Sumi Abe. She and her 16-year-old grandson Jin were pulled from the rubble in the city of Ishimaki after nine days

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© EPA
The teenager his hooked up before being airlifted to hospital. He and his grandmother were found buried in the kitchen of their home

Family

Behaviour drugs given to four-year-olds prompt calls for inquiry

Child taking a pill
© Murdo MacLeod
Children as young as four have been prescribed Ritalin-style drugs in breach of NHS guidelines.

Children as young as four are being given Ritalin-style medication for behavioural problems in breach of NHS guidelines, the Guardian has discovered, prompting the leading psychological society to call for a national review.

Family-based therapy is recommended for treating children with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), with prescription drugs used only for children over six years old and as a last resort.

The figures, based on data from 479 GPs, show prescription rates were highest for children aged six to 12, doubling to just over eight per 1,000 in the five years up to 2008. Children aged 13 to 17 had the second highest rate at six per 1,000, while those aged 25 and over had less than one per 1,000.

Concern is greatest over children under six who should not be receiving drugs at all, says the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice).

X

Canada: Twin Protests Between Neo-Nazis and Anti-racists Kept Apart by Police

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© The Canadian Press/Larry MacDougal
A police line holds back white supremacist during a white power rally in downtown Calgary on Saturday, March 19, 2011. Police kept them apart from another group holding an anti-racist demonstration nearby.

There was plenty of anger but no violent confrontation after a moving cordon of police kept neo-Nazi and anti-racist groups apart at parallel rallies in downtown Calgary on Saturday.

About 200 members of Anti-Racist Action Calgary gathered at Calgary city hall after word that the neo-Nazi group, Blood of Honour, was planning a march.

"We're here to celebrate our diversity - the things that make us the same and different at the same time. We're also here to protest racism, discrimination in its different forms and most explicitly in this case the violent neo-Nazi gangs that exist within our city," said Jason Devine, a spokesman for ARA Calgary.

But the 16 members of Blood of Honour, chanting "White Pride Worldwide" found their paths blocked by Calgary Police officers, including riot squad members, who cordoned off several streets in the downtown.

"Charge me. Arrest me. It would be false imprisonment. Just do it," shouted one of the Blood of Honour group to a police officer.

Star of David

Helen Thomas to Playboy: Jews 'own the White House'

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© Unknown
Helen Thomas
Helen Thomas is not sorry, nor were the comments that ended her career accidental.

"I knew exactly what I was doing - I was going for broke," she told Playboy in the magazine's April interview. "I had reached the point of no return. You finally get fed up ... I finally wanted to speak the truth."

Thomas, of course, left her perch as the dean of the White House press corps last year after telling a rabbi and blogger that Jews should "get the hell out of Palestine" and "go home" to "Poland, Germany and America and everywhere else." Her family is Lebanese and she grew up in the Detroit area, home to one of the country's densest populations of Arab Americans.