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Michigan farmer faces $700,000 in fines for raising "wrong" breed of pigs

Exotic Swine
© Associated Press/John Flesher
Mark Baker poses with his exotic swine on his farm near McBain, Michigan.
Pigs can be unpleasant, vicious creatures, especially in groups. They are omnivorous, will destroy anything and frequently attack innocent people when given the opportunity. But that is just their nature. Remember the scene from the Wizard of Oz, where Dorothy falls into the pig pen and everyone around her practically has a heart attack? That's because they knew she could have easily been pig food. Pig farmers know how difficult the animals can be and take great care to not be in compromising situations including staying on the other side of the fence from them.

It's no wonder, then, that the state of Michigan, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), specifically, takes issue with feral swine running rampant throughout the state. (I think there would be general consensus on that point: let's not have horribly destructive animals free to roam the state and victimize helpless people. Oh wait...back to feral pigs...)

There are effectively no feral swine in Michigan. Oddly though, the DNR issued a declaratory ruling effective back in April of 2012 that all feral pigs had to be destroyed. In their description of feral pigs, they included characteristics often found in domesticated pigs, like having a curly tail or a straight tail or having hair or not having hair...you get the idea. For a full list, please visit here or here. The DNR's description of feral swine fits every pig in the US; probably the world. Nowhere in this list of characteristics was there actually a requirement that the pigs be feral. Feral, as in, living outside of fences.

So why such a broad definition? The DNR admitted that the language for the declaratory ruling came from the pork industry and that they created a broad definition that effectively targeted the heritage breeds of pig being raised on family farms.


Its all about profit, who cares about saving lives: Pharmaceutical chief tries to stop India replicating its cancer treatment

© Reuters.
Bayer CEO Marijn Dekkers said one of his firm's drugs was for 'western patients who can afford it'

The CEO of pharmaceutical giant Bayer has sparked fury after announcing one of the firm's drugs was for 'western patients who can afford it'.

Marijn Dekkers made the inflammatory comments after the Indian company Natco Pharma Ltd. were granted a government licence to produce a copy of Bayer's cancer drug Nexavar which they will sell for 97 per cent less than the original product.

Under Indian law the government grants compulsory licenses to domestic firms to produce copies of drugs if the original isn't available locally at a reasonable price, regardless of whether they are under patent.

Mr Deekers, who has previously described India's patent laws as 'essentially theft', said: 'We did not develop this medicine for Indians. We developed it for western patients who can afford it.'

Treasure Chest

Sixty victims of loan sharks in UK witness protection program

Tony Quigley
© Dale Martin/BPM
Borrower are paying at least £700m a year to loan sharks, says Tony Quigley, pictured with some of the weapons and tally books confiscated on their raids.
Scale of misery exerted by criminals emerging now more people coming forward, says head of Illegal Money Lending Team

Sixty victims of loan sharks are in witness protection, according to the country's leading official tasked with breaking the cycle of fear, intimidation and violence trapping families who have borrowed money from illegal lenders.

Tony Quigley, head of the Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) in England, revealed that, across Britain, borrowers were paying at least £700m a year to predatory extortionists. The figure is equivalent to a third of the legal short-term payday loan market, which the Office of Fair Trading last year estimated to be worth £2.2bn.


Scarlett Johansson in partnership with Israeli company built on stolen Palestinian land

Scarlet Johanson
"To be an active member of the community, to be a responsible citizen and to engage politically have always been part of my awareness and part of my life."
- Scarlett Johansson, before SodaStream became part of her life

"If you already have the spotlight shining on you, it's great to direct that toward a cause you believe in and that you can stand behind. It's nice to be a voice for people who don't have a voice."
- Scarlett Johansson, before she got paid to be the voice of SodaStream

"I'm not here to be diplomatic ... All causes worth fighting for are going to be controversial."
- Scarlett Johansson, speaking on causes she is not paid to fight for

Scarlett Johansson has finally issued a statement in response to criticisms over her new role as "global ambassador" for the Israeli settlement - produced SodaStream.

Yet her statement, at 259 words, does not directly address any of the criticisms against her. And though she expresses pride in being an Oxfam ambassador, she does not acknowledge recent statement made by Oxfam concerning


Violence breaks out in Brazil as anti-World Cup protesters swarm Sao Paulo


Violent: Radicals attacked police vans in the street as they chanted
  • More than 2,000 demonstrators calling for government to prioritise health
  • First in a series of protests planned against football tournament
  • World Cup set to start this June in stadiums across the country
More than 2,000 protesters clashed with police in Sao Paulo as tension mounts over the World Cup later this year.

It is the first in a series of demonstrations planned against the tournament, which locals fear will drain public funds needed for the ailing health and education services.

Waving flags, carrying banners and chanting 'there will be no Cup', the crowds swarmed the streets of Brazil's second city.


Windows were smashed as more than 2,000 people took to the streets of one of Brazil's biggest cities


Birds of pray: Doves released in the Vatican as a gesture of peace are immediately attacked by vicious seagull and crow


Go: Pope Francis is joined by two children who release doves during the Angelus Prayer in St. Peter's Square
  • Tens of thousands of people were watching in St Peter's Square
  • Seagull and a large black crow swept down on the doves today
  • They had been set free from open window of the Apostolic Palace
Two white doves released by children standing alongside Pope Francis as a peace gesture today were attacked by other birds.

As tens of thousands of people watched in St. Peter's Square, a seagull and a large black crow swept down on the doves right after they were set free from an open window of the Apostolic Palace.

One dove lost some feathers as it broke free from the gull. But the crow pecked repeatedly at the other dove. It was not clear what happened to the doves as they flew off.


Attack: Two white doves had been sent fluttering into the air as a peace gesture by Italian children


10 slave ships seized off Cape coast

slave ships
© Courtney Africa
Ten fishing vessels have been held in the harbour. An alert has been issued for two that have absconded
When a fisheries patrol vessel intercepted three foreign vessels fishing illegally off the coast they found "modern-day slaves" forced to live and work in appalling conditions.

Some of the crew, mainly Indonesian and Taiwanese, had been working on the tuna fishing vessels for between three and five years without being paid.

On Thursday, Ceba Mtoba, chief director of control and surveillance at the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, said in terms of the SA Maritime Safety Authorities regulations, the vessels were not fit to sail.

Comment: Who said that slavery ended? A large number of the world's population today is plagued by great poverty and psychopathic individuals will take advantage, use and abuse them as long as it satisfies their greed; from psychopathic governments to your garden-variety psychopath, the suffering caused is worldwide. Here are just a few recent examples:

Modern slavery, bread and circuses: Official records show 185 Nepalese workers died last year alone on stadium construction sites for Qatar for 2022 Soccer World Cup‏

Modern slavery: Gullah-Geechee people of Sapelo Island, Georgia being forced off by 600% property tax hike

How poverty wages for tea pickers fuel India's trade in child slavery

The Chocolate Wars: A bitter tale of greed and child slavery

Human Trafficking: Modern Day Slavery Affecting 30 Million Women and Children


One million 'illegal American aliens' live in Mexico: Spot the difference in how they're treated


Flag of Mexico

Just like the US, Mexico has immigration laws.

And it's not just some Mexicans breaking US laws, Americans are doing the same in Mexico, by overstaying their automatic six month visa without getting the proper permits to stay longer.

How many Americans are doing this?

No one knows, but the estimate is that there are at least 1 million Americans who have left the US to live in Mexico.

Net migration to the US from Mexico by Mexicans is now a negative number. More are leaving than are staying.

Interesting, huh?

And who is being treated humanly and sensibly in this transaction? And who is not?


Comics god Alan Moore sez today's adults' interest in superheroes is "potentially culturally catastrophic"

© Phil Fisk/Observer
Alan Moore: plans to quit engagements and 'let my work speak for me'.

Comics god Alan Moore has issued a comprehensive sign-off from public life after shooting down accusations that his stories feature racist characters and an excessive amount of sexual violence towards women.

The Watchmen author also used a lengthy recent interview with Pádraig Ó Méalóid at Slovobooks entitled "Last Alan Moore interview?" - to expand upon his belief that today's adults' interest in superheroes is potentially "culturally catastrophic", a view originally aired in the Guardian last year.

"To my mind, this embracing of what were unambiguously children's characters at their mid-20th century inception seems to indicate a retreat from the admittedly overwhelming complexities of modern existence," he wrote to Ó Méalóid. "It looks to me very much like a significant section of the public, having given up on attempting to understand the reality they are actually living in, have instead reasoned that they might at least be able to comprehend the sprawling, meaningless, but at-least-still-finite 'universes' presented by DC or Marvel Comics. I would also observe that it is, potentially, culturally catastrophic to have the ephemera of a previous century squatting possessively on the cultural stage and refusing to allow this surely unprecedented era to develop a culture of its own, relevant and sufficient to its times."


More than 300 people fall ill aboard cruise ship

Cruise ship Explorer of the seas
© AP
September 11, 2008: One of Royal Caribbean International's superliner cruise ships, Explorer of the Seas sits at Cape Liberty Cruise Port, the old Military Ocean Terminal in Bayonne, N.J.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are investigating how more than 300 people have fallen ill on board a ship cruising the Caribbean.

The CDC said Saturday that health officials would board Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas Sunday, when it is scheduled to dock at St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.

In all, 281 passengers and 22 crew members have reportedly fallen ill during the voyage, with most reporting vomiting and diarrhea. The CDC said it was not immediately clear what had caused the apparent outbreak. In response, the agency said that the ship's crew had stepped up its cleaning and disinfecting actions, encouraged passengers to report possible new cases, and prepared for new crew members to join the voyage midway through the journey.

Miami: Almost 70 passengers aboard Royal Caribbean cruise fall ill with vomiting bug as ship is forced to return to port
Norovirus outbreak scares cruise ship passengers in New Zealand