Society's ChildS


Canada: Tributes Pour in Following the Death of NDP Leader Jack Layton

© unknownNDP Leader Jack Layton smiles during an interview with Lisa LaFlamme on budget day 2011. Layton, the beloved NDP leader, died Monday after a battle with cancer.
Jack Layton was remembered Monday as a regular guy and terrific political leader that everyone liked, as friends and political foes alike paid tribute to the New Democrat leader hours after learning that he had succumbed to cancer.

On the quiet side street where Layton lived with his politician wife Olivia Chow, friends and area residents stopped by, some bearing flowers.

"He was someone you could have a beer with," said neighbourhood resident Ted Hawkins, who laid a single red rose on the doorstep "as a little bit of a tribute" to the longtime political presence.

"He was a very down-to-earth person."

Sarah Hastie, a longtime area resident who also delivered a flower to his home, said she had hoped Layton would somehow beat the disease that forced him to step aside last month from his party-leader duties.

"Jack was such a fighter, and I was just always keeping my fingers crossed that this might be a battle that he would win," Hastie said.

"It's a terrible thing for his family but it's an even greater loss for the country."

A family friend emerged briefly from the home to request privacy.

Layton, 61, died early Monday barely three months after an election campaign in which he gamely led his New Democrats to Official Opposition status in the Commons.


UK: Man woke on Deal beach with amnesia

© UnknownThe man told police he could not remember anything
Police are trying to identify a man who woke up on a beach in Kent apparently suffering from amnesia.

The man, in his late 50s or 60s, walked into the Victoria Hospital, Deal, on 18 August, complaining of head pains but does not have any obvious injuries.

He was moved to hospital in Margate but he has told police he cannot recall any personal details.

The man was wearing black jeans, a white T-shirt and beige walking boots, and had sunglasses and a walking stick.

Not reported missing

A Kent Police spokesman said: "The man says he doesn't have any memory of himself, his family, home or any other personal details.


Atlanta, US: Amateur Sleuth Jessica Maple Saw Clues Police Missed and Confronts Robbers

A 12-year-old amateur sleuth beat police at their own game by cracking the case of who ransacked her late great-grandmother's home last month.

Jessica Maple honed her detective skills at a Junior District Attorney camp in Atlanta this summer, sponsored by the Fulton County DA's office.

Police told Jessica, and her mother Stephanie, that whoever robbed the home would have had to have entered with a key, since such large items were stolen and there were no signs of forced entry, Jessica said.

But the curious 12-year-old knew something wasn't right. Her parents were the only two people who had keys.

Arrow Down

Working-Class Americans Retreating from Church

© stock.xchng
Despite stereotypes to the contrary, Americans with only a high school diploma are dropping out of church faster than their more-educated counterparts.

In the 1970s, a new study finds, half of white Americans with a high school education attended church at least monthly. Now only 37 percent do. In contrast, 46 percent of highly educated white Americans attend church, only a 5 percent drop from the 1970s.

"There is a retreat from religion in what you'd call middle America, or working-class America," said study researcher W. Bradford Wilcox, a University of Virginia sociologist. Wilcox presented the work Sunday (Aug. 21) at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association in Las Vegas.


US: Tased From Above! New Robot Copter To Begin Patrolling Our Skies

The new, heavily-armed ShadowHawk can track perpetrators using normal or infrared light.
Forget the idea that weaponized unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are only for military operations in wars fought in far off lands. Soon they'll begin setting their sights on criminals within our borders. And they'll be packing heat, not the long-range missiles of the X-47B, but with up close and personal stun guns, 12-gauge shotguns and, believe it or not, grenade launchers.

The ShadowHawk is the seven-foot, 50-lb copter that is the toy-sized dealer of destruction from Texas-based Vanguard Defense Industries. The copter is the result of three years of development. If being tased from above sounds frightening to you, I suggest you cease all criminal activities now (simply staying indoors is an option). There's a good chance ShadowHawk's spine tingling buzz could be heard approaching a city near you. As a sign of new law enforcement tactics to come, the Sheriff's Office of Montgomery County, Texas was recently awarded a grant by the Department of Homeland Security for a squadron of ShadowHawks. Montgomery County's Chief Deputy Randy McDaniel is psyched. "We are very excited about the funding and looking forward to placing the equipment into the field. Both my narcotics and SWAT units have been looking at numerous ways to deploy it and I absolutely believe it will become a critical component on all SWAT callouts and narcotics raids and emergency management operations."

The Department of Homeland Security grant is just the latest indication that the US is taking the military's lead - with over 7,000 drones in the skies of Iraq and Afghanistan - and using drones as a key tactical tool. In 2009 a surveillance drone called the Wasp was used during a SWAT raid in Austin, Texas. The Wasp climbed to 400 feet and beamed realtime video of a house in which an armed drug dealer was hiding. After the team had confirmed that there were no unforeseen dangers lurking in the backyard, they stormed the house and arrested the suspect. Drones are also helping the US to secure its borders against illegal immigration and drug trafficking. Just a few months ago the Obama administration began sending drones to Mexico to gather intelligence and help in the country's war on drugs.


UN peacekeeping force: Israeli forces crossed Egyptian border by land

israeli soldier
© Reuters

Israeli troops crossed into Egypt by land on Thursday, which prompted Egyptian security personnel to clash with them, said a report issued Saturday by the UN peacekeeping force in Sinai.

Media reports had said an Israeli helicopter crossed the border to pursue suspected militants and then fired at Egyptian border guards, killing five and injuring two.

The peacekeeping force said that the Egyptians had not been targeted by an aircraft, however, and that Israeli forces in fact entered Sinai by land before clashing with the police unit at border point 79 and causing the deaths.

Light Saber

Spain expresses support for independent Palestinian state

united nations
© ReutersThe United Nations Security Council meets at the UN Headquarters in New York, July 13, 2011

Foreign Minister says he hopes an upcoming summit of European Union foreign ministers will 'give Palestinians hope that a state could become reality.'

Spain hopes a meeting of European Union foreign ministers on Sept. 2 will bring progress toward the recognition of a Palestinian state, Minister of Foreign Affairs Trinidad Jimenez said.

"There's the feeling that now is the time to do something, to give the Palestinians the hope that a state could become reality," she said in an interview with El Pais newspaper published on Sunday.

Star of David

What Congress Won't See on Its Trip to Israel This Month

israel wall
© Unknown
Congressman Russ Carnahan joined nearly 20 percent of the United States House of Representatives in a trip to Israel this month. Paid for by an affiliate of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, these 81 representatives are supposed to represent our interests but are choosing to spend their recess in Israel -- and briefly in the occupied West Bank -- at a time when Americans are suffering and scared from high unemployment, a tanking stock market and a downgrade of our national bond rating.

I also recently traveled to the Holy Land, although I paid my own way. I was part of the "Welcome to Palestine" delegation. I was lucky. Most of my colleagues on the delegation were not allowed to join me. On July 8 over 120 people from Europe, North America and Australia were detained at Israel's Ben Gurion airport. They were then imprisoned by the State of Israel, most for over a week. Their only crime was that when Israeli custom officials asked what they were doing in Israel, they responded that they were planning to visit Palestinian friends in the Aida Refugee camp in Bethlehem. Three hundred other delegates who planned to visit Bethlehem and other places in the occupied West Bank were forced off their flights in Europe due to Israeli pressure.

During my time in the Holy Land, I had an opportunity to meet and talk with many Palestinians and Israelis. I learned about a system in Israel that discriminates against Palestinians on the basis of their ethnicity. In the West Bank, things are far worse. I observed an explicit system of racial segregation and ethnic cleansing, where Palestinians are separated from their own lands and water by walls, barbed-wire fences and machine-gun-wielding soldiers and Jewish settlers.


US: Social Security Disability on Verge of Insolvency

michael astrue
© AP Photo/Tony DejakSocial Security Commissioner Michael Astrue responds to questions at a hearing in Akron, Ohio.
Washington - Laid-off workers and aging baby boomers are flooding Social Security's disability program with benefit claims, pushing the financially strapped system toward the brink of insolvency.

Applications are up nearly 50 percent over a decade ago as people with disabilities lose their jobs and can't find new ones in an economy that has shed nearly 7 million jobs.

The stampede for benefits is adding to a growing backlog of applicants - many wait two years or more before their cases are resolved - and worsening the financial problems of a program that's been running in the red for years.

New congressional estimates say the trust fund that supports Social Security disability will run out of money by 2017, leaving the program unable to pay full benefits, unless Congress acts. About two decades later, Social Security's much larger retirement fund is projected to run dry as well.

Arrow Down

Jet Crashes in Canadian Arctic, 12 Killed

Twelve people were killed when a First Air jet crashed near Resolute Bay in the far north of the Canadian Arctic, but three people survived, the airline said on Saturday.

First Air, which flies to some of Canada's most remote communities, said the chartered Boeing 737-200 had been traveling from Yellowknife, capital of the Northwest Territories. It had 15 people aboard and it crashed just over a mile from the airport in Resolute Bay.

Resolute Bay, whose Inuit name, Quaasuittuq, means "place with no dawn," is one of Canada's most northerly communities, with sunless winter days and 24-hour sunlight in summer.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is set to visit the community next week as part of an annual tour of the Arctic region.

Transport Canada said members of the Canadian military, in the region for a military training exercise, were supporting emergency services there.