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Tue, 30 May 2023
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Heart - Black

French man in debt kills family, himself

A retired elderly French man under severe financial debt pressure has killed himself after ending the lives of his wife, daughter, and mother.

The 62-year-old killed his family with a knife before ending his own life, leaving a suicide note, which explained his cause of his actions citing thousands of euros of consumption debts, local media reported on Wednesday.

According to France 24, the man's body was found hanging in his residential yard shortly after the discovery of the three bodies. The body of his 90-year-old mother was also found in her flat in Amiens.

The mayor of Pont-de-Metz Gerard Arlacon, an usher, and a policeman discovered the bodies after they went into the house to make an inventory of equipment before a referral.

Light Sabers

Police clash with protesters in Athens over proposed border fence with Turkey

© Unknown
A protestor holding a Greek flag looks towards police forces in the neighborhood of Agios Panteleimonas in Athens.
Athens police clash with demonstrators who were protesting against a planned fence on the Greek-Turkish border to stop illegal immigration.

Around 3,000 left-wing activists gathered in the city to demonstrate against xenophobia, when police clashed with rival groups for and against immigration in the Agios Panteleimon area, which has a large immigrant population.

Protesters carried banners reading, "Kick out the IMF (International Monetary Fund) and the EU (European Union), not migrants," and "No to racist attacks."

Extreme-right protesters, members of the Chrysi Avgi, or Golden Dawn also attended the protest.

Some left-wingers fled into a local church after throwing stones at the police. Officers reacted to the move by firing tear gas inside the church.


Feds say Wash. dairy cows had unlawful drug residues

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Seattle - Federal authorities have sued a northwest Washington dairy that they claim has a long history of selling cows for slaughter even though their tissues contained drug residues deemed unsafe to eat.

The 850-cow Rhody Dairy LLC of Sumas was charged civilly in U.S. District Court in Seattle this week with violations of the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

The complaint says that seven times in the past decade, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has issued letters to the dairy warning that cows it offered for sale tested positive for illegal levels of antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medications or other drugs.

The Justice Department said that despite the warnings, the dairy administered the drugs to its cattle in unapproved dosages or without prescriptions, or that it failed to observe proper drug withdrawal times before offering the cows for slaughter. They also say the dairy refused to keep treatment records for the animals.

"Defendants' poor record-keeping and improper drug administration practices constitute insanitary conditions whereby the food (edible tissues of their animals) may have been rendered injurious to health," the complaint said.


Thousands Demonstrate Against Hungary Censorship Law - test case for EU?

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Hungarian protesters tape their mouths in protest against the new media law.
Thousands of people protested against Hungary's controversial new media law on Friday, demanding the legislation -- which has come under widespread fire internationally -- be withdrawn.

The rally, organised via online social networks and blogs, was the second such protest to be held in front of the Hungarian parliament in three weeks,

Many of the demontrators had their mouths taped over in protest against what they see as restrictions on media freedom.

Budapest has come under fire from media and rights groups, as well as European governments, for the legislation, which came into force on January 1, just as Hungary took over the presidency of the European Union.

Under the legislation, a new authority -- headed by a close ally of Prime Minister Viktor Orban -- has the right to impose major fines on media outlets and force journalists to reveal sources on issues related to national security.

Orban and his centre-right government has rejected the criticism, insisting the law conforms to European norms.


Global food chain stretched to the limit

© Prakash Singh / AFP/Getty Images
Protest against food price increase in India
Strained by rising demand and battered by bad weather, the global food supply chain is stretched to the limit, sending prices soaring and sparking concerns about a repeat of food riots last seen three years ago.

Signs of the strain can be found from Australia to Argentina, Canada to Russia. On Friday, Tunisia's president fled the country after trying to quell deadly riots in the North African country by slashing prices on food staples.

"We are entering a danger territory," Abdolreza Abbassian, chief economist at the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), said last week.

The U.N.'s fear is that the latest run-up in food prices could spark a repeat of the deadly food riots that broke out in 2008 in Haiti, Kenya and Somalia. That price spike was relatively short-lived. But Abbassian said the latest surge in food stuffs may be more sustained.


US: Mother Accused of Playing on Facebook While Baby Died

Cafe World facebook
© zynga
Facebook game Cafe World
An American mother who told police her 13-month-old son drowned in the bathtub while she was playing a game on Facebook was charged on Friday with child abuse resulting in death.

Shannon Johnson, 34, of Colorado was advised of the charge against her via a video hookup from the jail where she is being held on a $100,000 bond, said Jennifer Finch, spokeswoman for the Weld County District Attorney's Office.

Johnson requested a public defender during the brief hearing and another hearing was set for later in the month, Finch said.

Under questioning by police after the boy died at a Denver-area hospital last September, Johnson admitted she placed the baby in the bathtub and went into another room to play the Facebook game Cafe World.

She also checked in with friends and watched videos on the site while the boy bathed alone, according to an affidavit filed in the case.

Heart - Black

US: Michigan Father Kills Wife, Sons 4 and 6, Self: police

A Michigan man was believed to have killed his wife and two young sons before committing suicide, police said on Saturday.

Mark Schons, 39, was found dead in his sports utility vehicle in a parking lot on Friday, two hours after police discovered the bodies of his wife and children in their home, authorities said.

Police went to the house in Novi, Michigan after a friend of the family notified authorities that the two children, Tynan, 6, and Camden, 4, did not show up for school and their mother, Jennifer Schons, 38, had missed an appointment.

Jennifer Schons had suffered multiple "sharp force injuries" and the boys had been asphyxiated with neck compressions, suggesting they were strangled, William Presley, Oakland County Medical Examiner's Office investigator, said on Saturday.


Japanese government: Young men losing interest in sex

© na

Young Japanese men are losing interest in sex, according to a study commissioned by the government, in a further warning sign for a nation notorious for its low birth rate, a doctor said Friday.

The survey also found that more than 40 percent of married people said they have not had sex in the past month, said Kunio Kitamura, head of the clinic of the Japan Family Planning Association, who took part in the survey.

"This is directly linked with falling birth rate. Policy actions are necessary," Kitamura told AFP.

Star of David

Vera Macht Reports from Gaza

Children in Gaza
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Children in Gaza look for food in a garbage dump.
The air is filled with the noise of the Israeli F-16s, which are flying so low that it's almost like the air is trembling. You can positively feel the bombs before they fall, before they explode with a horrendous bang, that is unmistakable, with a pressure wave that breaks the windows of the houses in the whole surrounding area, and makes the walls shake miles away.

And even if you know rationally that you are not in an immediate danger, this bang triggers a primal fear, the feeling of vulnerability, of being absolutely exposed. "We people of Gaza die hundreds of times", a young Palestinian woman said. "In our thoughts, we are buried every night under the rubble of our crumbling house, we are shot every morning by a sniper on a carelessly chosen path, we may starve to death every day, because no more food is coming in."

This night four bombs fall, three in the middle area of Gaza Strip, one in Khan Younis. All places have been declared "terrorist targets" in the official statement of the Israeli military, including a Navy police building.

They fly overhead for about an hour, and you try to ignore the noise by focusing on something else, on your laptop, the text before you. The people of Gaza might watch TV, but the images are constantly disturbed by dozens of drones in the sky above. Their pervasive, never-ending buzz can drive you crazy, not to mention the prospect of how they record every single detail of each house, each car and each movement of the people, of yourself. Always aware of how they can transform into a deadly weapon at any moment. And perhaps their bombs aren't aimed at yourself, but at the car next to you, the person behind you, or at the friend on the motorcycle seat in front of you. This happened yesterday afternoon in Khan Younis, as a resistance fighter was executed in broad daylight as he rode his motorcycle with a friend.

Whoever writes about Gaza, whoever writes about the buffer zone without writing about the rockets, which are shot from there to Israel, is accused of writing only half the truth. Half of the truth about farmers being killed, stone collectors who are shot at, and bombs in the night. The other half of the truth would then be the approximately 20 mortar shells and missles that have landed in Israel since the beginning of the year, the Israeli soldier who died by "friendly fire", which was actually aimed at a Palestinian, and the Thai workers, who were injured by fragments of a missile. The whole truth would then be a mutual terror, incited on both sides, and in which both parties would be equally responsible for the spiral of violence.


Sick Gulf Residents Beg Officials for Help

oil spill cleanup crew
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New Orleans, Louisiana - In an emotionally charged meeting this week sponsored by the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, fishermen, Gulf residents and community leaders vented their increasingly grave concerns about the widespread health issues brought on by the three-month-long disaster.

"Today I'm talking to you about my life," Cherri Foytlin told the two commissioners present at the Jan. 12 meeting. "My ethylbenzene levels are 2.5 times the 95th percentile, and there's a very good chance now that I won't get to see my grandbabies...What I'm asking you to do now, if possible, is to amend [your report]. Because we have got to get some health care."

Ethylbenzene is a form of benzene present in the body when it begins to break down. It is also present in BP's crude oil.

"I have seen small children with lesions all over their bodies," Foytlin, co-founder of Gulf Change, a community organisation based in Grand Isle, Louisiana, continued.

"We are very, very ill. And dead is dead. So it really doesn't matter if the media comes back... or the president hears us, or... if the oil workers and the fishermen and the crabbers get to feed their babies and maybe have a good Christmas next year... Dead is dead...I know your job is probably already done, but I'd like to hire you if you don't mind. And God knows I can't pay you. But I need your heart. And I need your voice."

"We hear what you are saying," said Beinecke. "We will take these health issues and concerns back to the president."

The commission, appointed by President Barack Obama, released its final report this week after a six-month investigation into the nation's worst-ever oil disaster.

The report recommended a massive overhaul of the oil industry's failed safety practices in the Gulf, as well as the creation of a new independent agency to monitor offshore drilling activity.

However, most of the 250 people at the meeting here focused on the health crisis that has exploded in the wake of the April 2010 disaster, leaving former BP clean-up workers and Gulf residents alike suffering from ailments they attribute to chemicals in BP's oil and the toxic dispersants used to sink it.