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Tue, 30 May 2023
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Decline and Fall of the American Empire

Great Depression
© Bettmann/Corbis
Dust-bowl refugees walk towards Los Angeles during the Great Depression. House prices have now fallen further than in the 1930s.
The economic powerhouse of the 20th century emerged stronger from the Depression. But faced with cultural decay, structural weaknesses and reliance on finance, can the US do it again?

America clocked up a record last week. The latest drop in house prices meant that the cost of real estate has fallen by 33% since the peak - even bigger than the 31% slide seen when John Steinbeck was writing The Grapes of Wrath.


Indonesia: One Hundred Mysterious Coffins Sent to Media Offices

One hundred mysterious coffins, each one-meter long, have been sent to media offices and companies.

Most of the coffins were sent to media and communication companies as well as bloggers, including radio and TV presenter Farhan, blogger and author Raditya Dika, the CEO of Fastcomm Ipang Wahid, the CEO of Bubu Shinta Dhanuwardoyo, Indopacific Edelmen senior consultant Vida Parady, and PT Saling Silang managing director Enda Nasution.


Japan: Fishermen tells us - I'm finished

© Jim Seida/msnbc.com
Tadashi Onodera in Kesennuma on Monday, June 6, 2011.
I saw Tadashi Onodera from a distance. He was sitting in a field of debris as far as the eye could see in Kesennuma. Hulks of homes, cars, remnants of everyday life jammed the landscape.

Onodera, a 63-year-old fisherman, returned from one year's work at sea on May 26 to a new 'normal.' He comes down here often now, saying he wants to see what's happening. His house is fine, but he pointed to the skeleton of his in-laws blue-colored home in the distance.

"It's extremely frightening," he said of the landscape.

"It's impossible to know what's going to happen with this whole area," he added, noting it was a question of whether the government would buy it from people or if they would be able to build on it.

Onodera, who stood alongside a rice paddy that couldn't be used since it had been swamped by the tsunami and the debris it carried, said he thought the rebuilding would take at least ten years. He said the government had to revive the fishing industry there.

"That's what this whole town lives on ... without that, if they can't bring that back, then there's nothing," he said.

But Onodera said he would not be joining his fellow fishermen.

"I'm finished. I'm 63. ... I've had enough," he said. "If I had the chance, if it was still here, I'd be out there. I'd love to work."

Bizarro Earth

Syrian Internet Restored, Dramatic Footage Emerges

Internet intelligence firm Renesys reports that Syrian Internet services are now operational again. But these dramatic clips of Syrians rising up against their government, shot on June 2, were allegedly sent out of the country via satellite phone.


US: 12-year-old who 'punched baby brother to death' could become America's youngest to spend life in prison

© Police Handout
Charged: If convicted, Cristian Fernandez, 12, could become the youngest American to face life in prison

Prosecutors want to lock a 12-year-old boy up for the rest of his life - to stop him from killing again.

Cristian Fernandez could become America's youngest ever 'lifer' after being charged as an adult over the murder of his two-year-old brother.

Prosecutor Angela Corey said: 'We have to protect the public from this young man'. She recommended that he face trial as an adult.

Ms Corey said the public had a 'right to be protected' from him.

If Fernandez were charged as a juvenile and convicted he would be free by the time he is 21.

Fernandez is alleged to have beaten his younger brother David Galarriago to death at their home in Jacksonville, Florida, in March.


Greece Austerity Protests Grow

Demonstrators gather Greece
© AP/Dimitri Messinis
Demonstrators gather during a peaceful rally outside the Greek Parliament in Athens, on Sunday, June 5, 2011. Thousands of protesters have gathered for a 12th consecutive day to protest at fiscal austerity measures and demand that Greece stop paying its debtors. They have also denounced politicians of all stripes as incompetent and corrupt.
Tens of thousands Greeks rallied in central Athens on Sunday to denounce politicians, bankers and tax dodgers, as the government prepared to inflict another bout of austerity demanded by its international lenders.

"Thieves - hustlers - bankers," read one banner as more than 50,000 people packed the main Syntagma square outside parliament to vent their frustration over rising joblessness as austerity bites, blaming the crisis on political corruption.

Turnout was the biggest so far in a series of 12 nightly rallies on the square inspired by Spain's protest movement.

Amidst a sea of splayed hands waved at the parliament building -- an offensive gesture for Greeks -- one demonstrator raised a placard reading "Bravo Yemen", whose president underwent surgery in Saudi Arabia for injuries suffered in a rocket attack on his palace.


Malta: Star The Miracle Dog, Shot 40 Times And Buried Alive, Survives

It seems some animals can overcome even the most gruesome of fates.

These stories of survival are simply incredible, like this dog, who survived over 3 dozen gun shots from a pellet gun and a burial, according to TIME. The stray dog, named Star by her rescuers, was found buried up to her snout in sand in Malta.

It seems to be a miracle in and of itself that authorities were actually able to find her. According to the New York Daily News she was also well hidden.


US: Cops taser a couple of teens, did they go too far?

© Unknown

Lorain County, Ohio -Two girls were hitting and pulling each others hair.

No one had a weapon and no one attacked an officer so why were both teens tazed? That's the question being asked.

It happened in Lorain County outside Whittier Middle School.

13-year old Stephanie Reese was one of the victims.

"Just a rush going through my body. I couldn't move my hands. I couldn't move my body. I was just going crazy," said Stephanie Reese.

Reese admits she was fighting with another girl when a police officer decided he needed to use force to break it up.


US: Family Furious After Queens Woman Leaves Nearly $250K to Doomsday Prophet

© unknown
Wilful Donation: Queens widow Doris Schmitt in her will left $250,000 to "Rapture" guy Harold Camping.

The family of a lonely Queens widow is outraged after she left nearly a quarter-million dollars in her will to the bogus doomsday prophet who led his flock to falsely believe that the world would come to an end on May 21.

"If the money had gone to any other charity in the world my family would be fine with it," Schmitt's great-nephew, Chris Heuwetter, told The Post.

"But it's going to this kooky preacher and that's why we're upset."

Doris Schmitt, 78, died alone in her Rosedale home just weeks before May 21 -- the date that wacky radio preacher Harold Camping claimed the world would end.


US: 13 injured when bounce houses go airborne in New York

A heavy gust of wind blew away inflatable bounce houses with children inside at a New York soccer event, leaving 13 people injured, authorities said late Saturday.

The Oceanside United Soccer Club in Long Island was hosting a tournament Saturday afternoon when three bounce houses started floating away, said Eric Evensen, a Nassau County police officer.

"As children were inside, a heavy gust of wind blew across the field, raising them off the ground and sending them airborne," he said. "Once they hit the ground, they began rolling and struck several people on the ground."

Lara Rhatigan said she was about to enter a ride when her neck got hooked by a rope connected to a bounce house.