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30,000 Croatians protest against war crime verdicts

© Agence France-Presse
A Croatian veterans' leader told the rally "We do not recognise The Hague court"
Tens of thousands of Croatian war veterans staged protests in main cities Saturday, a day after a UN court handed down heavy war crimes sentences for two ex-generals, seen by many Croats as heroes.

On the central square in a rainy Zagreb up to 30,000 protesters gathered around a central stage to listen to fiery speeches condemning both the verdicts and the Croatian government.

"We do not recognise The Hague court and its ruling, those who bear guilt for such verdicts are here", veterans' leader Mario Slavicek told the crowd.

The war veterans and their supporters who gathered to show their outrage at Friday's verdict blame present and previous governments for handing over the generals to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

They chanted "traitors" and "Jadra get out" in reference to current Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor.

Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac were jailed for 24 and 18 years respectively after the court in The Hague found they had conspired with the Croatian wartime leadership to commit crimes against ethnic Serbs.


Canada: West Edmonton bodies ID'd as missing couple

Two bodies found in a west Edmonton field on Wednesday have been identified as a missing city couple.

A man riding an ATV found the bodies of Perry Kit Wong, 72, and his common-law wife Eloise Fendelet, 71, at a sprawling construction site near the Lewis Estates subdivision at about 5:20 p.m. MT.

Edmonton police said Friday that autopsies have determined the manner of death to be homicide, but the cause of death isn't being released.

The couple lived in the downtown area and ran their own dental business. A friend last saw them on Dec. 27, 2010.


Morgan Stanley fund fails to repay debt on Tokyo property

Tokyo - A Morgan Stanley property fund failed to make $3.3 billion in debt payments by a deadline on Friday, handing over the keys to a central Tokyo office building to Blackstone (BX.N) and other investors, the largest repayment failure of its kind in Japan.

It marks the latest fallout from a series of highly leveraged investments by Morgan Stanley (MS.N), one of the most aggressive investors in worldwide property markets before the global financial crisis.

The $4.2 billion MSREF V real estate fund missed its April 15 deadline to repay 278 billion yen($3.3 billion) worth of debt packaged in commercial mortgage-backed securities on the 32-storey Shinagawa Grand Central Tower, a property which has seen its value plunge, two people involved in the transaction said.


US: Police use Assault Weapons and Tank against Home School Mom wanting to protect daughter from Dangerous Medications

© Brian Kaufman/Detroit Free Press

According to the Detroit News, a 56-year-old woman faces multiple felony charges and is being held on $500,000 bond after a 10-hour standoff with police, claiming she was protecting her 13-year-old daughter from unnecessary medication. The story which led to this incident, as reported in the Detroit News and The Voice of Detroit, is quite disturbing.

Maryanne Godboldo's daughter was born with a defective foot that required amputation of her leg below the knee, which led to Maryanne becoming a stay-at-home mother after her birth. Maryanne and her sister Penny now run a dance school in Detroit. Penny Godboldo reported in the Detroit News her niece's confidence grew, and despite her handicap, she swam, sang, danced and played the piano. However, as she approached middle school age, she apparently wanted to start attending school, and therefore had to "catch up" on required immunizations.

As the Detroit News reports:
"We believe she had an adverse reaction to her immunizations," Penny Godboldo said.

"She began acting out of character, being irritated, having facial grimaces that have been associated with immunizations."

Evans said Maryanne Godboldo sought help for her daughter from The Children's Center, an organization that helps families with at-risk children, where a medical and mental health treatment plan was developed. Godboldo told relatives the medications ordered by the doctor worsened symptoms, including behavioral problems.

"It is an undiagnosed condition, but the doctor had given her psychotropic drugs that caused a bad reaction, made things worse," said the girl's father, Mubuarak Hakim. "Maryanne's decision to wean her from that was making a difference, making her better, helping her to be a happy kid again."


US: American Idol Contestant Brutally Beaten By Gang Of Girls

Administrators at Brooklyn Academy High School in Bedford-Stuyvesant canceled Friday's talent show in the wake of a all-girl gang assault on one of the student contestants, PIX 11 has learned.

According to authorities, 17-year-old Shacara McLaurin was brutally attacked by at least five other students on April 1st, one of them hitting her in the face with a padlock wrapped in a sock.

"Yo, b--ch, I got a lock," one of the teen suspects allegedly shouted, as she pummeled McLaurin with the weapon.

"I wasn't able to open my jaw. I wasn't able to talk. I wasn't able to sing," the victim told the New York Daily News.

One of McLaurin's fellow classmates, Jacky Alcine, told PIX 11 he had heard McLaurin rehearse for the talent show and knew she was a favorite to win.

"She has a great voice," he said. "It fills the room."


US: Facebook mom in toddler drowning gets 10 years

© Weld County Colo. Sheriff/Greeley Tribune/Associated Press)
Shannon Johnson was playing a game on Facebook while her 13-month-old son drowned in a full bathtub. She was sentenced Friday to 10 years in prison.
A northern Colorado woman who was playing a game on Facebook while her 13-month-old child drowned in a full bathtub was sentenced Friday to 10 years in prison.

Shannon Johnson, 34, of Fort Lupton, cried as District Judge Thomas Quammen told her he didn't think she was a bad person or that she killed her son on purpose, the Greeley Tribune reported.

But, he added, that doesn't mean her action wasn't criminal.

"You left this little boy in a bathtub so you could entertain yourself on the computer by playing games," Quammen said. "And you left that 13-month-old human being, little Joseph, incredibly for those reasons."

Johnson pleaded guilty in March to negligently causing the death of her child. The charge carried a sentencing range of four to 12 years, but it also left open the possibility she could receive community service or probation. Authorities rejected both of those options, saying they didn't want to play down the seriousness of her crime.


US: Valpo sixth-grader handcuffed over spilled milk

A 12-year-old faces two counts of resisting law enforcement for his alleged actions when he refused to clean up spilled milk in the Ben Franklin Middle School cafeteria.

A police officer was helping supervise the lunch period on Tuesday, because both the principal and assistant principal were in a meeting, and the boy got into a confrontation with a school staff member.

After refusing to wipe up the mess, according to the police report, the sixth-grader refused to sit and wait for the other students to return to class so the staff member could deal with him individually.


US: Woman sues Match.com after 'she was raped by a man she met on the dating site who had convictions of sexual battery'

© unknown
Alan Paul Wurtzel allegedly raped a woman he met through match.com
A woman who claims she was raped by a man she met on Match.com, who she later found out had convictions for sexual battery, is suing the dating website.

The woman, an entertainment executive from California, is demanding that the website screens all its members for sexual predators.

Her lawyer Mark L. Webb is asking for a temporary injunction barring the site from signing up more members until his client's demands are met.

He said: 'They are a very powerful and successful online dating service, and they have the means to do this.'

He described his client, known in the lawsuit as Jane Doe, as an Ivy League graduate who works in film and television.

She met her her alleged assailant, Alan Paul Wurtzel, last year at a cafe in West Hollywood.

She said he seemed charming and so agreed to see him again. After the second date, however, he allegedly followed her home and forced himself on her.

Mr Wurtzel's attorney has described the incident as 'a consenting sexual encounter.'


Japanese emperor pays first visit to disaster zone

© Kyodo News/AP
Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko speak to evacuees in Asahi city.
Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko meet evacuees in Asahi city, where 13 people died in the earthquake and tsunami

Japan's emperor has made his first trip to the disaster zone since last month's earthquake and tsunami.

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko visited two evacuation shelters in Asahi city, near the Pacific coast. They knelt on mats and spoke quietly with evacuees, who bowed deeply. Some wiped tears from their eyes.

Thirteen people died in the city and 3,000 homes were damaged or destroyed. The emperor and empress plan additional visits to other tsunami-affected areas in coming weeks.

More than 26,000 people are believed to have died in the disaster. About 11,250 bodies have been recovered so far.


Whatever Happened To The Anti-War Movement?

© Associated Press
A crowd of demonstrators gather at the Washington Monument for a rally to protest the Vietnam War on Nov. 15, 1969.
The United States is knee-deep in at least three international military conflicts at the moment - in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.

American lives are being lost. Innocent civilians are being killed. Several of the engagements appear to be primed for protraction. The wars are expensive in other ways, too.

At least since the stormy 1960s, whenever America has gotten involved in deadly combat on foreign soil, large crowds of peace-promoting citizens have gathered in Washington and other cities to demonstrate against war.

It happened in 2007, when tens of thousands congregated on the National Mall and heard actors Sean Penn, Jane Fonda and Danny Glover speak out against President George W. Bush and the war in Iraq. It happened in 1991, when throngs rallied against U.S. involvement in the first Gulf War. And it has happened more than a dozen other times since the March on Washington for Peace in Vietnam in 1965.