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Heart - Black

US: Texas man dumps 4-year-old son by highway

Saginaw
© AP Photo/Saginaw Police Dept.
This booking photo provided by the Saginaw Police Department shows 22-year-old Carlos Rico. Police say Rico abandoned his 4-year-old son along a West Texas highway, and the injured boy spent several hours alone in the dark before a passing motorist picked him up.

Sweetwater - A father abandoned his 4-year-old son along a West Texas highway, and the injured boy spent several hours alone in the dark before a passing motorist picked him up, police said.

Carlos Rico, 22, stopped his car along a cactus-lined stretch of Interstate 20 near Sweetwater at about 3 a.m. Tuesday and "threw the boy out of the car like a bag of garbage," Sweetwater police Chief Jim Kelley told the Abilene Reporter-News on Tuesday.

The boy was picked up about three hours later by the local high school basketball coach and taken to a hospital, where doctors removed at least 500 cactus spines from the child's body, Kelley said. The boy was in the state's custody on Wednesday.

Binoculars

Saudi Arabian woman challenges male guardianship laws

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© Getty Images
Guardianship rules severely restrict the freedom of women in Saudi Arabia
When she was a little girl, Samia* would practice medical procedures on watermelons.

Back then, her dream was to become a successful surgeon and to marry a good man.

"I started to dream of the [wedding] gown when I was 10 or 11 years old. I dreamed of forming a small family - having a kid like my mum and to be a surgeon at the same time".

More than 30 years on, Samia is a fully-qualified doctor.

But in a country where the guardianship system means a woman's life is not her own, her dreams of a happy marriage - with a man of her own choosing - have been taken away from her.

Yoda

In Burma, a woman's inner freedom, unbroken by fear

Aung San Suu Ky
© Unknown
Burma's Aung San Suu Kyi reveals in a BBC lecture the source of her spiritual strength in surviving as an isolated dissident and as a champion of democracy.

Many a visitor to Burma (Myanmar) who sees the headquarters of Aung San Suu Kyi's political party calls it a "cowshed." The ramshackle structure is hardly a symbol of her great ability to keep alive the people's hopes for democracy in a country run by despots.

So where does Ms. Suu Kyi's strength lie in leading a dissident movement despite being isolated for 15 years, either in prison or under house arrest?

The answer can be found in a talk recorded in secret for the BBC's Reith Lectures, just months after her release. The tapes were smuggled out of Burma for broadcast this week and next (click here).

Suu Kyi's insights about her inner strength build on the works and writings of previous freedom fighters, such as Vaclav Havel. But they are unique to her experience as the daughter of modern Burma's founder, someone raised in a Christian school but who lives in a Buddhist country that has been in simmering revolution since 1988.

These lectures could not be better timed to inspire the faltering Arab Spring - as well as the Burmese.

She says a basic human right is freedom from fear, something that Arabs learned quickly after Tunisia's revolution in January. For her, living under a repressive regime, "fear is the first adversary we have to get past when we set out to battle for freedom, and often it is the one that remains until the very end."

Bizarro Earth

Nuclear experts killed in Russia plane crash helped design Iran facility

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© Associated Press
The wreckage of Tu-134 plane, belonging to the RusAir airline, is seen on a highway near the city of Petrozavodsk Tuesday, June 21, 2011.
The five Russian scientists were among 44 killed earlier this week; no official investigation of foul play has been opened, though Iranian nuclear experts have in the past been involved in similar accidents.

The five nuclear experts killed in a plane crash in northern Russia earlier this week had assisted in the design of an Iranian atomic facility, security sources in Russia said on Thursday.

The five Russian experts were among the 44 passengers killed when the Tupolev-134 plane broke up and caught fire on landing outside the northern city of Petrozavodsk on Monday.

Bandaid

US: Federal Appeals Court Rules Health Care Reform Bill is Constitutional

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Lawmakers surround President Barack Obama as he signs the health care legislation in March 2010 at the White House.
The political and legal future of the sweeping health care reform bill received a big boost Wednesday after a federal appeals court in Cincinnati ruled in favor of the Obama administration and Congress, concluding a key provision in the landmark legislation was constitutional.

The "individual mandate" requiring nearly all Americans to purchase health insurance by 2014 or face financial penalties -- was challenged in federal courts by a large number of individuals and groups, who said people should not be forced to purchase a product like medical coverage. A partially divided U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit disagreed.

"We find that the minimum coverage provision is a valid exercise of legislative power by Congress under the Commerce Clause," said the three-judge panel on Wednesday, in a 64-page opinion.

Bad Guys

U.S. Navy Welcomes Partners, Kicks Off FRUKUS 2011

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© US Navy
Sailors assigned to the guided-missile destroyer USS James E. Williams (DDG 95) catch lines from the Russian navy destroyer Admiral Chabanenko (DDGHM 650) as it prepares to dock at Naval Station Norfolk.
Norfolk, Virginia - Ships from Russia, France and the United Kingdom arrived at Naval Station Norfolk to participate in FRUKUS 2011 with the U.S. Navy off the coast of Virginia, June 20.

FRUKUS stands for the participating countries - France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States - and is a two-week interoperability exercise aimed to improve maritime security through open dialogue and increased training between the participating navies.

"FRUKUS 2011 provides the opportunity for personnel of all participating nations to engage in realistic and challenging maritime training to build experience, cooperation and teamwork," said U.S. Navy Capt. Peter Demane, commander, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 26.

FRUKUS consists of two phases: ashore and at-sea. While ashore, Sailors from each ship will participate in training areas including damage control, fire fighting and ship handling. The at-sea portion, which begins next week, will provide critical training in maritime domain awareness, anti-piracy and maritime interdiction operations. A shore-based multinational combined task group staff will provide command and control for the ships during the at-sea phase.

Bad Guys

US - Headed to the beach? Heads up for an invasion force

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© Agency Presse France/Getty
Beachgoers on the U.S. East Coast may see U.S. Marine Corps MV-22 Ospreys like these overhead next week.
Washington -- It's mid-June, a perfect time to visit the beach to watch porpoises play in the surf or seagulls strut the sand -- or you could watch a formation of Marine Corps warplanes darting over the shore at hundreds of miles per hour.

But don't worry -- the United States hasn't declared war on your family's beach house. It's just part of a major Marine Corps exercise called Exercise Mailed Fist (translation: armored fist).

The exercise is designed to test the capability of every type of Marine Corps aircraft, including MV-22 Ospreys and F/A 18 Hornets, as well as some Navy ships and Air Force planes.

The drill will stretch from Quantico Marine Base in northern Virginia to the Navy's Pinecastle Bombing Range in Florida.

With thousands of Marines and other service members involved, it's the biggest such drill ever on the U.S. East Coast.

Handcuffs

US Police State: Reporters in Washington arrested for filming public meeting


Video courtesy of Reason.tv

Two journalists were led out of a public meeting in handcuffs in Washington DC this week after using their cell phones to report on the hearing of the DC Taxicab Commission.

Peter Tucker of TheFightBack.org says two US Park Police officers cuffed him and dragged him away after he used his phone to take photos at the Commission meeting. Tucker has long been an advocate of independent taxi drivers and Washington Post columnist John Kelly reports that one taxi driver yelled, "We need the reporter here!" while the journalist was hauled off.

"You can't arrest me for reporting," demands Tucker.

"I can arrest you for not obeying an order," replies an officer.

As he was led out of the room, the packed house of drivers quickly emptied the room in protest.

Despite the hearing being a public meeting, the commission does not take kindly to being recorded, even if those at stake here - the drivers themselves - are for it. Following an account in May, Tucker writes that DC Taxicab Commission chairman Dena Reed told him "You cannot record the meeting unless the commission allows you to do so, it does not." When Tucker asked to be shown where the commission's rules say that, Reed responded: "I can't show you anything because it's not written in there."

Alarm Clock

Fox News Reports: 'U.S. Troops Reportedly Taking More Medication Than Ever'

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© Salem-News.org
Salem-News.com writer Dr. Phil Leveque, who as a physician treated generations of military vets with PTSD; says the dangerous hard drugs provided by the government lead to addiction, destruction of families, disaster and death.
Fox News reports that U.S. military troops are taking more prescription medication than ever. US troops Heavily Medicated on Prescription Drugs, the report warns.

The bottom line is that the men and women of the US armed forces are taking more addictive medication than they ever have in the past.

The Daily reported Wednesday, that the US Department of Defense doesn't keep track of those medical prescriptions doled out to service members in combat. This, despite ongoing pleas from federal officials to record the data. The military's 2012 budget report from the House Appropriations Committee, cited how the prescription of pain management drugs is not handled consistently, particularly in battle. According to The Daily, the report includes an ultimatum. The committee expects concrete information within two months of the budget's approval, detailing "the required steps and potential obstacles toward electronic transmission of prescription drug data."

Bizarro Earth

North Korea shuts down universities for 10 months

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© Associated Press
North Korea's "Dear Leader" Kim Jong-il.
North Korea has shut down its universities for the next 10 months and sent students to work in factories, agriculture and the construction sector as it struggles to rebuild its economy.

Pyongyang has told the North Korean people that the nation will have achieved its aim of becoming "a great, prosperous and powerful nation" in 2012, which marks the 100th anniversary of the founder of the reclusive state, Kim Il-sung.

In addition, Kim Jong-il will turn 70 in February and the "Dear Leader" hopes to be able to transfer his power and an economically stronger nation to his son and heir-apparent, Kim Jong-Un.

Reports in South Korea indicated that the government in Pyongyang on Monday ordered all universities to cancel classes until April of next year. The only exemptions are for students who will be graduating in the next few months and foreign students.

The reports suggested that the students will be put to work on construction projects in major cities while there are also indications that repair work may be needed in agricultural regions that were affected by a major typhoon recently.