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Heart - Black

Touching off limits for kids at Mt Martha Primary School in Victoria

School principal Judy Beckworth
© Andrew Batsch
School principal Judy Beckworth.
A primary school has banned pupils from touching each other. Those caught giving high fives, hugging, playing tag, basketball or football are punished with "counselling sessions".

Mt Martha Primary School in Victoria is refusing to back down over the policy, despite opposition from parents and child psychologists who have called the policy "ridiculous", "over the top" and "crazy".

Parents did not get a memo about the policy until told by upset children this week.

But principal Judy Beckworth said the community had overreacted, adding: "I don't see what we have done as unreasonable."

Green Light

Pick-Up Truck Spills Dead Bodies on Highway

© unknown
China - Police thought they'd stumbled on a serial killer when a pick-up truck overturned on a motorway - and 16 bodies tumbled onto the tarmac.

Police sealed off the road in Luozhou, Sichuan province, China, but abandoned a murder hunt when the driver turned out to be a professor from the city's medical school who'd bought the bodies for his students to use in class.

"They began to go off pretty quickly once they were stretched out in the sun. The smell was sickening," said one motorist.

Police summoned ambulances from a nearby morgue to take the bodies to their their final resting place - in the college fridge.

Now the college is facing furious public criticism for carrying bodies "without dignity" on the back of a truck.

A spokesman for the Luozhou Medical School said:"We bought the bodies legally and fairly.

"They are the remains of unclaimed murder victims, street people who have died and criminals who have been executed."


Bizarre Burning and Cutting Ritual on Kids Lands Florida Woman in Jail

© Facebook
Charged: Police say Danielle Harkins, 35, told half a dozen teens that they had demons inside them

St. Petersburg - Danielle Harkins told the kids they needed to rid their bodies of demons as the group gathered before dusk Saturday around a small fire near the St. Petersburg Pier. They should cut their skin to let the evil spirits out, police said she told the children. Then, they needed to burn the wounds to ensure that those spirits would not return.

Some kids got cut, police said. Some kids got burned. Harkins got arrested.

Harkins, 35, a literacy teacher at Lealman and Asian Neighborhood Family Center, was booked in jail Tuesday morning on child abuse charges in connection with the bizarre ritual. She was held in jail Tuesday night on $55,000 bail.

Police said the ritual was attended by seven teenagers, all of Asian ethnic background, whom Harkins had taught a few years ago in her job at the center. At least two were injured, police said.

"Obviously, it's very strange," said St. Petersburg police spokesman Mike Puetz. "The motivations for the ritual are very unknown to us."


China Confirms Forced Abortion Case After Uproar

© Agence France-Presse
A woman cycles past a billboard encouraging couples to have only one child in a suburb of Beijing.
Chinese authorities confirmed Thursday that a woman was forced to abort seven months into her pregnancy, several days after her plight came to light when images of her baby's corpse were posted online.

Rights groups have blamed authorities in north China's Shaanxi province for forcing Feng Jianmei to abort her pregnancy because she failed to pay a hefty fine for exceeding China's strict "one-child" population control policy.

The Shaanxi provincial government said in a statement that a preliminary probe had confirmed the case was "basically true", and the investigators have recommended action be taken against the perpetrators.

"This is a serious violation of the National Population and Family Planning Commission's policies, jeopardises the population control work and has caused uneasiness in society," the provincial government said on its website.

The government did not pinpoint exactly who the perpetrators were, but vowed to avoid a repeat of such a case, which it said was against regulations in effect since 2001 banning late-term abortions.


Alberta No Longer Classifies Homosexuality as a Mental Disorder

gay rights
© unknown
Alberta has taken another little step away from the redneck stereotype, especially when it comes to homosexuality.

The province many other Canadians dismiss as populated by oil industry roughnecks and horny-handed ranchers is in fact increasingly cosmopolitan and multicultural.

Now the Alberta government has scrapped the part of its medical services billing codes that classified gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered patients as suffering from mental disorders in the same class as bestiality and pedophilia.

The code has been reworded to eliminate language that treats homosexuality as a mental illness, the Edmonton Journal reported.

"The old version did say (homosexuality) was a mental disorder, so patients who were seeking treatment for whatever reason ... were being classified as having a mental disorder," Health Minister Fred Horne told the Journal, noting the change came into effect at the end of May.

"Under our billing system, it is no longer classified as a mental disorder."

Heart - Black

Retired Quebec Judge Found Guilty of Killing His Wife

Jacques Delisle
© CBC News
Jacques Delisle
A retired Quebec judge has been found guilty of murdering his invalid wife.

Jacques Delisle is believed to be the first Canadian judge tried for murder in Canadian legal history.

A jury came down with the first-degree murder verdict this afternoon at the Quebec City courthouse. It had been deliberating since Tuesday.

The retired Quebec Court of Appeal justice was accused of first-degree murder in the slaying of his wife, Marie-Nicole Rainville, on Nov. 12, 2009.

Eye 1

Authors of Report Calling Norway Killer Insane Defend Findings, Deem Him Delusional

 Anders Behring Breivik
© unknown
Anders Behring Breivik
Oslo - The psychiatrists who have faced intense criticism for deeming Anders Behring Breivik - the self-confessed killer of 77 people in Norway last year - too mentally unfit to go to prison defended their stance Thursday, calling him delusional.

Torgeir Husby and Synne Soerheim, who concluded that Breivik suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, stuck to their findings when presenting their 239-page report on the right-wing extremist's mental health to the court. They insisted he is driven by delusions rather than political conviction, saying he resembled people who believe they are the new Napoleon.

"One doesn't go collecting expertise in historical facts if a new Napoleon is admitted (to a clinic), not even if he arrives in full uniform," Husby said.

Their report came under fire for lacking knowledge of right-wing terminology and for interpreting Breivik's political explanations for his rampage as symptoms of schizophrenia. The court then ordered a second evaluation by other psychiatrists, who came to the opposite conclusion, deeming him sufficiently mentally competent to go to prison.

Breivik's sanity is key to the case and is still an unresolved issue. If found guilty and sane, the 33-year-old Norwegian would face 21 years in prison, although he could be held even longer if deemed a danger to society. If declared insane, he would be committed to compulsory psychiatric care.


Election apocalypse: Greek bank-runs and hoarding canned food

© Getty
A woman walks past a family begging on a street in Athens.
Nervous Greeks are withdrawing up to 800 million euros ($1.01 billion) a day and stocking up on canned food as they fear the country will be forced to leave the eurozone after this Sunday's election.

Greek citizens fear the ramifications of a return to the country's previous currency, the drachma, if the radical left-wing party and strong election contender SYRIZA wins this weekend.

Bankers said daily withdrawals from the major banks were hitting €500-€800 million ($631.8 million-$1.01 billion), Reuters reported.

Meanwhile, retailers say consumers are stocking up on non-perishable foods like pasta and canned goods.

Comment: Much of the rhetoric regarding a possible 'Grexit' seems to be targeted towards scaring the Greek population into voting in politicians who will sacrifice Greece to the beurocratic Brussels technocrats and the corrupt ponzi banking system. The human impact on the general Greek population is deteriorating rapidly.

The effect of Sunday's election results is spooking the markets and unprecidented action is underway:From Oanda
The decision to halt trading is very much tied to the uncertainty in Europe and in particular, the Greek election. Given these events, there is the potential for extreme exchange rate volatility at a time when global currency markets are closed. OANDA's concern is that exchange rates could undergo significant fluctuations as the exit polls are being made public.dfgdfg


Children found blindfolded, bound at Walmart

Police say two children from suburban Chicago who were found bound and blindfolded outside a Kansas Walmart are in temporary protective custody.

Lawrence police spokesman Trent McKinley says the presumed parents of the children have been arrested on suspicion of child abuse and endangerment and will appear in court Thursday.

Police found a 5-year-old boy Wednesday sitting beside a large SUV with his hands tied and a blindfold over his eyes. A bound and blindfolded 7-year-old girl was inside the vehicle, along with three other children, ages 12, 13 and 15. All are in protective custody.

The family, from Northlake, Ill., was heading to Arizona when the vehicle broke down Monday in Lawrence.

McKinley says officers are working with Illinois social services to determine where to send the children.

Wall Street

Nokia to cut 10,000 jobs by end of 2013


All the profits for us and none for you
Nokia will lay off 10,000 jobs globally and close plants by the end of 2013 in a further drive to cut costs, the company said on Thursday.

The cuts mean that it will close some research and development projects, including in Ulm in Germany and Burnaby in Canada.

The Finnish phone-maker said it would also close the manufacturing plant in Salo, but would keep its research and development operations there.

The company also confirmed the sale of its luxury phone business, Vertu, to the private equity firm EQT.

Nokia, which will retain a 10% minority shareholding in Vertu, said the sale was the best option for the business.