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Netherlands - Gunman Kills Six in Amsterdam Shooting

Amsterdam Shooting
© EPA
Policemen arrive at the shopping mall 'De Ridderhof' in Alphen aan den Rijn.

A lone gunman in the Netherlands killed six people after he stormed a shopping centre and opened fire with a machine gun.

Witnesses told how the man, in his mid 20s, began shooting people in the car park before walking calmly through the shopping centre, shooting his victims "in cold blood".

His victims included a woman in a motorised wheelchair, who was shot in the head. A number of children had been shot, but it was unclear whether they were among the dead.

"I saw a woman I know walking at the other side. She wanted to enter a shop when a tall young man approached and shot her in cold blood. He walked calmly and shot through the windows of the shop where I was hiding," said Marjolein Nieuwland.

"I also saw a woman in her motorised wheelchair shot in the head, and at the Albert Heijn (grocery store) there was a young man. Also dead. Later I heard that was the shooter."

The gunman, who was known to local police, later turned a gun on himself. Ten others were wounded in the attack on the Ridderhof mall in the town of Alphen aan den Rijn, 13 miles southwest of Amsterdam.

Nuke

Poll: Few Confident US Ready for Nuclear Emergency

Fukushima nuclear plant
© AP
Damaged Fukushima nuclear plant seen from the air
Most Americans doubt the U.S. government is prepared to respond to a nuclear emergency like the one in Japan, a new Associated Press-GfK poll shows. But it also shows few Americans believe such an emergency would occur.

Nevertheless, the disaster has turned more Americans against new nuclear power plants. The poll found that 60 percent of Americans oppose building more nuclear power plants. That's up from 48 percent who opposed it in an AP-Stanford University Poll in November 2009.

The Associated Press-GfK poll comes as Japan continues to struggle with a nuclear crisis caused by a March 11 earthquake and tsunami. The crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant has leaked radiation into the environment and radioactive water gushed into the Pacific Ocean. Japan was rattled by a strong aftershock and tsunami warning Thursday, but officials reported no immediate sign of new problems.

Nuke

Chernobyl's Tragic Legacy

Chernobyl victim
© Paul Fusco/Magnum
BELARUS. 1997. Children's Home No. 1, Minsk. An attendant bathes a 4-year-old with multiple sclerosis.
"I want people to see," said photographer Paul Fusco. "For Lida, it has to be as painful as possible." Lida is the mother of Aleysa Beoia, a seventeen-year-old girl who Fusco watched die in 2000, as he was shooting a collection of work called Chernobyl Legacy.

His photographs show horror in black and white: An intelligent, lively four-year-old with almost no lymphatic system, his limbs swollen into monstrous trunks; a toddler whose torso blossoms into a tumor that cannot be removed, since his kidneys are contained within it; a baby born with its brain outside its body; children slithering around the floor, wordless pack animals, groaning and rolling, eating from bowls like dogs.

Fusco spent many months, over three visits, exploring state-run facilities dedicated to taking care of children damaged by radiation. They receive suitable care and affection, but no education. Many were born years after the 1986 accident and handed over at birth by devastated parents.

Handcuffs

School official defends cops who pepper-sprayed boy


It needed to be done. That was the message from a Jefferson County Schools superintendent Tuesday after 9NEWS reported that police used pepper spray on a second grader.

"He was violent, he was verbal, he was abusive," Community Superintendent Peg Kastberg said. "The police were very thoughtful and thorough about the actions that they took."

A Lakewood Police report details 8-year-old Aidan's violent temper tantrum in a classroom at Glennon Heights Elementary in Lakewood on Feb. 22.

According to the report, Aidan "was climbing the cart and spitting at teachers, he also broke wood trim off the walls and was trying to stab teachers with it."

"I wanted to make something sharp if they came out because I was so mad at them," Aidan said. "I was going to try to whack them with it."

The report goes on to say Aidan "was holding what looked like a sharpened one foot stick and he screamed 'get away from me you f---ers.'"

Lakewood Police officers ordered the 8-year-old to "drop the stick." When he refused, they sprayed him with pepper spray twice until he dropped the piece of wood and was handcuffed.

Handcuffs

US: Man Stole Judge's Gavel From Courtroom

Image
Surveillance camera captured out-of-order thief's pilferage

Earlier this week, Magistrate Daniel Cook, who handles small claims cases in Lorain, Ohio, was on the bench when he reached for his gavel and discovered it was missing. After checking "every possible place it could be," police reported, Cook concluded that someone had actually stolen his gavel.

Court personnel then reviewed surveillance video from days earlier and spotted an unknown male stealing the wooden gavel. The alleged thief, staffers realized, was accompanied by a second man who "was in court on that day trying to get his license back," according to a Lorain Police Department report.

In short order, cops identified the suspect as Christopher Collins, and prosecutors issued an arrest warrant for the 47-year old. Collins, pictured in the mug shot at right, was then arrested at his residence, where he was questioned about the "whereabouts of the gavel."

Info

Bill Cosby: Donald Trump Is Full Of It

Bill Cosby does not have much patience for the Trump presidential campaign, which has thus far been like one of those really long movie trailers that gives away the plot of the entire film.

In an interview on NBC's Today show, Ghost Dad laid out some new rules for campaigning that should make the presidential primaries move along much more quickly, assuming he means to apply this standard to all presidential candidates:


2 + 2 = 4

US: Norfolk principal apologizes for mock auction of black students

The principal of Sewells Point Elementary School has apologized to parents for a teacher's classroom exercise last week that cast her black and mixed-race fourth-graders as available for sale.

The apology came after the teacher separated the students from their white classmates and auctioned them, division spokeswoman Elizabeth Thiel Mather said. The exercise was part of an April 1 class on the Civil War.

In an April 6 letter sent to parents of students in the class, Principal Mary B. Wrushen wrote: "I recently became aware of a history lesson that was presented to the students in Ms. Jessica Boyle's fourth grade class. Although her actions were well intended to meet the instructional objectives, the activity presented was inappropriate for the students.

"The lesson could have been thought through more carefully, as to not offend her students or put them in an uncomfortable situation," Wrushen wrote.

Wrushen said the exercise was not supported by the school or division. "I will follow up with the classroom teacher to ensure nothing like this ever occurs again," the letter said. "In addition, the guidance counselor is available to discuss any concerns your child may still have concerning this classroom lesson."

Wrushen declined to comment Friday. Boyle, who has been with the division since 2005, did not return a call to the school. She has taught at Sewells Point for three years, and before that was at Dreamkeepers Academy, according to the division website.

Eye 1

Canada: Dementia stealing Ralph Klein's voice; wife Colleen now in caregiver role

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© Calgary Herald
Dementia stealing Ralph Klein’s voice; wife Colleen now in caregiver role
In Ralph and Colleen Klein's cosy Lakeview living room, sadness and tears mingle with occasional laughter as Colleen finally tells the full story of the ex-premier's failing health.

Colleen does almost all the talking, because Ralph can't. The quickest tongue in Canadian politics is being silenced by a progressive form of dementia.

After months of uncertainty - and long delays in seeing specialists - the Kleins learned last Friday that Ralph, 68, suffers from what's called "frontal temporal dementia, consistent with primary progressive aphasia."

To the oddly vacant man sitting beside me, that means extreme difficulty in recalling and comprehending words, as well as reading and writing. His speech, once fluid and lightning-fast, is now limited to short words and set phrases.

"Good, good," he says several times, when asked how he's doing.

Soon he announces "I'm going to work out," and heads off to the gym in a cab already ordered by Colleen. On doctor's orders, she has taken away his car keys.

To anyone who's known Klein, either as target or fan of his wit, a vital piece of him seems to be missing. The native intelligence still flickers in his eyes, but somehow it can't emerge.

Megaphone

U.S. to Issue Terror Alerts on Facebook, Twitter

alert/facebook/twitter graphic
© itportal
DHS overhauls alert system and will start using social nets

The U.S. government may start issuing terror alerts using Facebook and Twitter, according to a news service report.

The Associated Press reported Thursday that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is working to overhaul the current color-coded terror alert system. The new system, according to the report, would have only two levels of alerts -- elevated and imminent.

Those alerts would be relayed to the public in part via social networking sites Facebook and Twitter .

The AP article is based on a 19-page draft of the plan that the news service obtained.

Cloud Lightning

Divorce: Earthquake or Volcano?

Each year millions of people suffer the crippling effects of a life-shattering event --breakup and divorce. Naturally they want to understand their predicament, grasp what has befallen them, or tell the world what they are going through.

Two natural disasters come to mind when people describe their relationship failure: "It's like an earthquake," or "Now I know what it's like to be under a volcano." According to the metaphors, you cannot mend the chasm in the earth or put the lava back in the crater. Yet despite their similarities, these two phenomena are different in crucial respects. The same is true for the patterns of breakup.

Comment: Life-shattering events are so stressful that they often lead to illness - but there is one proven technique that can assist you with reducing your stress, calming and focusing your mind, creating better links between body and mind and thus improving quality of life. It will help you to have improved overall health, a stronger immune system, better impulse control, reduced inflammation, etc. It will also help you to heal emotional wounds; anything that may hinder or prevent you from leading a healthy and fulfilling life.

Visit the Éiriú Eolas site or participate on the forum to learn more about the scientific background of this program and then try it out for yourselves, free of charge.