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Mass Protests in Hong Kong Over China's 15-Year Rule

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© unknown
More than 100,000 residents took the streets
More than 100,000 Hong Kong residents marched through the streets yesterday to protest against Chinese rule on the 15th anniversary of the former British colony's return to Beijing.

The protest was designed as a message of defiance to the visiting Chinese premier Hu Jintao, who was greeted by Hong Kong's new chief executive Leung Chun-ying ((below left, with Mr Hu), that Hong Kong values its autonomy and does not want to be a puppet of Beijing.

"Hong Kong has freedoms and we have the right to protest. Why do you stop us from walking?" said a councillor and democracy activist, Lee Cheuk-yan. During Mr Hu's speech, a heckler who called for an end to one-party rule and dictatorship in China was led away by police.

Wall Street

Middle-class Americans, Suddenly Homeless and Living in their Cars

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© Mark Seliger
Janis Adkins lives in her van at the Goleta Community Covenant Church in Santa Barbara.
Every night around nine, Janis Adkins falls asleep in the back of her Toyota Sienna van in a church parking lot at the edge of Santa Barbara, California. On the van's roof is a black Yakima SpaceBooster, full of previous-life belongings like a snorkel and fins and camping gear. Adkins, who is 56 years old, parks the van at the lot's remotest corner, aligning its side with a row of dense, shading avocado trees. The trees provide privacy, but they are also useful because she can pick their fallen fruit, and she doesn't always­ have enough to eat. Despite a continuous, two-year job search, she remains without dependable work. She says she doesn't need to eat much - if she gets a decent hot meal in the morning, she can get by for the rest of the day on a piece of fruit or bulk-purchased almonds - but food stamps supply only a fraction of her nutritional needs, so foraging opportunities are welcome.

Prior to the Great Recession, Adkins owned and ran a successful plant nursery in Moab, Utah. At its peak, it was grossing $300,000 a year. She had never before been unemployed - she'd worked for 40 years, through three major recessions. During her first year of unemployment, in 2010, she wrote three or four cover letters a day, five days a week. Now, to keep her mind occupied when she's not looking for work or doing odd jobs, she volunteers at an animal shelter called the Santa Barbara­ Wildlife Care Network. ("I always ask for the most physically hard jobs just to get out my frustration," she says.) She has permission to pick fruit directly from the branches of the shelter's orange and avocado trees. Another benefit is that when she scrambles eggs to hand-feed wounded seabirds, she can surreptitiously make a dish for herself.

Red Flag

17 Reasons To Be Extremely Concerned About The Second Half Of 2012

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© John on Flickr
What is the second half of 2012 going to bring? Are things going to get even worse than they are right now? Unfortunately, that appears more likely with each passing day. I will admit that I am extremely concerned about the second half of 2012. Historically, a financial crisis is much more likely to begin in the fall than during any other season of the year. Just think about it.

The stock market crash of 1929 happened in the fall. "Black Monday" happened on October 19th, 1987. The financial crisis of 2008 started in the fall. There just seems to be something about the fall that brings out the worst in the financial markets. But of course there is not a stock market crash every year. So are there specific reasons why we should be extremely concerned about what is coming this year? Yes, there are.

The ingredients for a "perfect storm" are slowly coming together, and in the months ahead we could very well see the next wave of the economic collapse strike. Sadly, we have never even come close to recovering from the last recession, and this next crisis might end up being even more painful than the last one.

The following are 17 reasons to be extremely concerned about the second half of 2012....

Black Cat

Clinton-Bush Haiti "Reconstruction" Fund Used to Build Five Star Hotels

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As some 500 000 Haitians still live in displaced camps, five star hotels are being built amid shanty towns.

As part of the country's "Reconstruction", The Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund recently invested $2 million in the Royal Oasis Hotel, a deluxe structure to be built in a poverty-stricken metropolitan area "filled with displaced-persons camps housing hundreds of thousands". Royal Oasis belongs to a Haitian investment group (SCIOP SA) and will be managed by the Spanish chain Occidental Hotels & Resorts.

AP reported in April that funds raised by the former US Presidents to help the neediest Haitians are now being used to build a hotel for "rich foreigners" including tourists as well many foreign NGO "aid workers" currently in Haiti. (Daniel Trenton, AP: New hotels arise amid ruins in Haitian capital, Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, April 29, 2012)

Heart - Black

Penn State president agreed not to report Sandusky abuse, emails suggest

Jerry Sandusky
© Zuma/Corbis

Jerry Sandusky. CNN said it had seen emails in which Spanier discusses with two other officials a 2001 incident of alleged abuse.
Graham Spanier allegedly failed to report abuse claims despite knowing that inaction could leave Penn State 'vulnerable'

A former president of Penn State University failed to report allegations of child sex abuse against Jerry Sandusky despite knowing inaction could leave the college "vulnerable", according to emails seen by several news organisations.

Sandusky, a former assistant football coach at Penn State, is currently awaiting sentencing after being found guilty of 45 counts of sexually assaulting underage boys over a 15-year period.

But with Sandusky now behind bars - potentially for the rest of his life - attention is turning to whether there was a cover-up at the university, one that may have allowed Sandusky to carry on with his abuse for many years. Two of Sandusky's former colleagues, athletic director Tim Curley and finance official Gary Schultz, have already been charged with perjury and failing to alert authorities to one act of sexual abuse.

Attention

The Poison Beneath: How Toxic Waste from Injection Wells Could be Endangering the U.S. Water Supply for Years to Come

Over the past several decades, U.S. industries have injected more than 30 trillion gallons of toxic liquid deep into the earth, using broad expanses of the nation's geology as an invisible dumping ground.

No company would be allowed to pour such dangerous chemicals into the rivers or onto the soil. But until recently, scientists and environmental officials have assumed that deep layers of rock beneath the earth would safely entomb the waste for millennia.

There are growing signs they were mistaken.

Records from disparate corners of the United States show that wells drilled to bury this waste deep beneath the ground have repeatedly leaked, sending dangerous chemicals and waste gurgling to the surface or, on occasion, seeping into shallow aquifers that store a significant portion of the nation's drinking water.

Ambulance

Mother Who Questions Vax at Hospital Has Newborn Taken Away

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© Unknown
The Healthy Economist - by Sarah I am having a great deal of trouble typing this post. I am so upset and outraged over what was done to Jodi Ferris and her baby at the Penn State Hershey Medical Center in Pennsylvania shortly after she gave birth that I am having difficulty staying composed enough to write a coherent story.

If you recall, this is the same area of the state where officials allowed a serial child molester like Jerry Sandusky, former Penn State assistant football coach, to go free for decades and continue to abuse children unfortunate enough to come across his lecherous path while a mother who gives birth in a government hospital has her baby taken away for questioning whether vaccination with Hep B is truly necessary.

Does something seem very very wrong with this picture?

Bad Guys

US Police Brutality: Cop Beats 17 Year Old Girl Leading To Her Miscarriage


Candle

US student fighting for life after chimpanzee attack

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© ALAMY
Chimpanzee.
The man had been studying chimpanzee behaviour at the South African reserve of renowned British primatologist Jane Goodall when two of the animals dragged him for almost a kilometre, under a fence and almost a kilometre into their enclosure.

Paramedics said the man had been left in a critical condition after the "frenzied" assault, in which he suffered serious wounds and multiple bites.

Colleagues at the Jane Goodall Institute Chimp Eden near the city of Nelspruit in eastern South Africa said last night that they were "very upset" by the attack, the first in their six years of operation.

The centre was set up to rehabilitate chimpanzees rescued from circuses, zoos and the bushmeat trade across Africa.

It is presently home to 33 chimpanzees who are kept in large enclosures where they can be visited by tourists who pay £10 to join one of three daily tours.

Heart - Black

Tom Cruise 'deeply saddened' as Katie Holmes files for divorce and 'seeks sole custody of Suri'

Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, the Hollywood couple whose marriage never quite convinced the sceptics, are to divorce after five years.
Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes
© Reuters
Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes pose for their official wedding picture in 2006
Holmes, 33, filed for divorce in New York yesterday citing "irreconcilable differences", announcing the split via a statement to People magazine.

Cruise, 49, said he was "deeply saddened" by the news. The couple have a six-year-old daughter, Suri.

Holmes is asking for sole legal custody of Suri, according to the US website TMZ, setting up the couple for a high profile legal battle if Cruise chooses to contest her claim.

The pair signed a prenuptial agreement before their wedding in November 2006, which guarantees Holmes a yearly sum. However, legal experts said the actor could be prepared to give up a larger slice of his £160 million fortune in return for Miss Holmes remaining silent about the details of their marriage.

Such a deal would echo that of Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren in 2010. While they had a prenuptial agreement giving Miss Nordegren an annual sum, Woods is believed to have given her a settlement of close to £100 million in order to avoid an "ugly" public dispute.