Society's ChildS

Brick Wall

US: California Must Cut Prison Population by 33,000

© Michael Macor / The ChronicleCorrections officers, lead prisoners back to their housing inside San Quentin State Prison, on Friday Mar. 4, 2011, in San Quentin, Ca. California State prison guards and their supervisors, have racked up an astounding 33 million hours of vacation, sick and other paid time off, which could amount to as much as a $1 billion liability for the state. A Senate report warned, a year ago, that mandatory furloughs at a 24-7 agency, would lead to such future burdens.
The U.S. Supreme Court ordered California on Monday to reduce the population of its jammed prisons by more than 30,000 in two years to repair a health care system that lower courts found was defying constitutional standards and endangering guards as well as inmates.

Federal judges rightly found that overcrowding in a prison system that has held nearly twice its designed capacity for more than a decade was the main cause of "grossly inadequate provision of medical and mental health care," the court said in a 5-4 ruling.

"Needless suffering and death have been the well-documented result," Justice Anthony Kennedy said in the majority opinion.

He cited evidence from two decades of litigation: mentally ill prisoners waiting up to a year for treatment, suicidal inmates held for 24 hours in phone booth-sized cages without toilets, waiting lists of 700 inmates for a single doctor, and gyms converted into triple-bunked living quarters that breed disease and violence victimizing guards and inmates alike.


Canada: Dispute Between Quebec Police Officers Leaves 1 Dead

© Jean-Philippe Cipriani/CBCPolice erected a security perimeter around the apartment where the shootings involving two Sûreté du Québec officers took place, on Corbusier Street in Brossard, Que.
A domestic dispute on Montreal's South Shore may have been at the root of a shooting involving two provincial police officers that left one dead and the other wounded.

The incident happened at about 10:30 p.m. ET Saturday at an apartment on Corbusier Street in the city of Brossard.

Const. Martin Simard with Longueil police said officers were called to the address after someone reported hearing gunshots.

He said when officers arrived they found a man and a woman in the apartment; both had been shot.

One theory being investigated is that the man, 45, shot the woman in the leg before taking his own life.


Canada: Three people injured, two seriously, in chopper crashes in Alberta

Three people have been injured, two of them seriously, in two helicopter crashes in Alberta and Quebec.

One helicopter crashed about 2 p.m. on Monday north of Montreal.

Ann Mathieu, a spokeswoman for Quebec provincial police, says two people were critically injured in the crash and have been taken to hospital.

Mathieu says she doesn't know whether other people were inside the helicopter. The cause of the crash in not known.

In northern Alberta, a pilot was injured when a transport helicopter crashed north of Calling Lake Monday morning.


US: Mother battles Michigan over daughter's medication

Maryanne Godboldo forced medication
© AP Photo/Paul SancyaThis May 12, 2011 photo shows Maryanne Godboldo in Detroit. Godboldo is locked in a battle with Michigan's Department of Human Services over her right to determine whether her physically impaired daughter should continue taking the anti-psychotic drug Risperdal, since she claims the girl has responded better to holistic treatment.
Frustration over her physically impaired daughter's medical care led Maryanne Godboldo to lash out at what she considered state interference and into a 12-hour standoff when Detroit police came to take the girl away.

When it ended, the unemployed mother was in handcuffs; her daughter placed in a psychiatric hospital for children.

Godboldo now is locked in a bitter battle with Michigan's Department of Human Services over her right to determine whether the girl should continue taking the anti-psychotic drug Risperdal and the government's responsibility to look after the child's welfare.

Godboldo doesn't trust doctors much - she blames some of the girl's past medical problems on possible physician negligence and complications from childhood immunizations, but did not name the doctors or release her daughter's medical records to The Associated Press. She claims the girl has responded better to holistic treatment that does not include Risperdal.

But the state is not budging on its assertion that without the proper medication, Ariana is at risk.

"Our mandate is to go into court and prove there is medical neglect," said Human Services Director Maura Corrigan, who declined to speak directly about Godboldo's case due to the ongoing court proceedings.

"Is there harm to the child? That's what we are trying to assess," Corrigan told the AP in a recent interview.

A defiant Godboldo still believes she was right to defy police, despite five days in jail and criminal charges, including discharge of a firearm, three counts of assault with a dangerous weapon and resisting officers.

"I was in my home. Why should I come out? They were invading my home," Godboldo said.

Heart - Black

Malaysia: Sexual violence has reached epidemic levels

All Women's Action Society (Awam) notes with concern The Malay Mail's front page story (May 19) on the alarming rate of sex crimes statistic saying that 10 women become victims of rape every day and that in average every two-and-a-half-hours one woman gets raped, according to latest statistics released by Bukit Aman.

However, we'd like to add that while these police statistics are alarming, they don't convey the true scale of the crime. Applying the general rule of thumb that only one in 10 cases of rape is reported, the more accurate picture is approximately one rape happens every 15 minutes in this country.

Heart - Black

El Salvador Sees Epidemic of Violence Against Women

El Salvador violence against women
A rise in brutal killings of women, known as "femicides," in El Salvador can be blamed on various factors, from gender inequality to organized crime to a society hollowed out by gang culture, features common to many parts of Central America.

Non-governmental organization Salvadoran Women for Peace (Organizacion de Mujeres Salvadoreñas por la Paz - ORMUSA), which tracks violence against women, reported that, according to police statistics, there were 160 such murders committed in the country in the first three months of the year. This would put the country on track for a record 640 such killings in 2011 - higher than any year since the organization began to track the issue in 1999.


Why Privacy Matters Even if You Have 'Nothing to Hide'

© Unk.
When the government gathers or analyzes personal information, many people say they're not worried. "I've got nothing to hide," they declare. "Only if you're doing something wrong should you worry, and then you don't deserve to keep it private."

The nothing-to-hide argument pervades discussions about privacy. The data-security expert Bruce Schneier calls it the "most common retort against privacy advocates." The legal scholar Geoffrey Stone refers to it as an "all-too-common refrain." In its most compelling form, it is an argument that the privacy interest is generally minimal, thus making the contest with security concerns a foreordained victory for security.

The nothing-to-hide argument is everywhere. In Britain, for example, the government has installed millions of public-surveillance cameras in cities and towns, which are watched by officials via closed-circuit television. In a campaign slogan for the program, the government declares: "If you've got nothing to hide, you've got nothing to fear." Variations of nothing-to-hide arguments frequently appear in blogs, letters to the editor, television news interviews, and other forums. One blogger in the United States, in reference to profiling people for national-security purposes, declares: "I don't mind people wanting to find out things about me, I've got nothing to hide! Which is why I support [the government's] efforts to find terrorists by monitoring our phone calls!"


Japan: Total 250 tons of radioactive water leaked into sea early May

Fukushima plant
© n/a
Highly contaminated radioactive water that leaked into the sea in earlier May from a pit near a seawater intake of the No. 3 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant totaled 250 tons and contained an estimated 20 terabecquerels of radioactive substances, Tokyo Electric Power Co said Saturday.

The estimated amount of radioactive substances from the plant, crippled by the March 11 earthquake and ensuing tsunami, is about 100 times the annual allowable limit for release outside the plant, said TEPCO.


Spain's Socialists routed in elections

© Emilio Naranjo/EPAFrom left: The mayor of Madrid, Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón, People's party president, Mariano Rajoy, and president of the region of Madrid, Esperanza Aguirre, celebrate.
The opposition People's party hopes to turn local and regional poll momentum into victory at a national level

Spain's ruling Socialists have suffered stinging losses in local and regional elections and now face a balancing act between voter anger over high unemployment and investor demands for strict austerity measures.

A week of protests by Spaniards fed up with the stagnant economy and the EU's highest jobless rate preceded Sunday's elections, which left the Socialists out of power in most of the country's cities and almost all the 17 autonomous regions.

Pressure could now grow from inside and outside the Socialist party for the prime minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, to call early elections, although he vowed on Sunday night to hang on to the end of his term in March next year.


Judgment Day No Show

© UnknownUS pastor Harold Camping spent millions on billboard posters announcing Judgment Day.
SINCE you're reading this, you'll know a prediction that civilisation was due to end last night failed to come true.

US pastor Harold Camping, 89, spent millions on billboard posters announcing Judgment Day.

He said the end would come as the clock struck 6pm in the world's various time zones.

Camping explained the time was exactly 7,000 years since the flood in the biblical story of Noah's Ark.

He added 200 million would ascend to heaven and the Earth would finally be consumed by a fireball on October 21.