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US, Wisconsin: State Fair Melees Produce 11 Injuries, 31 Arrests

© Jeff SainlarExtra security officers guard the Wisconsin State Fair on Friday. Witnesses and police reported two separate incidents of mobs of unruly youths on Thursday night, resulting in at least 11 injuries and 31 arrests. Seven of the injured were police officers, and two were hospitalized.

Unprecedented violence on the opening night of the Wisconsin State Fair by rampaging youths prompted extraordinary measures Friday: The head of the fair implemented new rules to keep unattended teens off the grounds at night, and Gov. Scott Walker ordered the State Patrol to help keep order.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Police Chief Ed Flynn, meanwhile, promised Friday to beef up policing at this weekend's major public events around the city to limit any chance of the State Fair events being repeated.

The violence left workers and patrons of the fair in West Allis shaken and reminded many of the mob-like disturbances that occurred over the Fourth of July weekend in Milwaukee.

The trouble at the fair started around 7 p.m. Thursday in the midway area, where amusement rides are located, when fights broke out among black youths, said Tom Struebing, chief of the State Fair Police. Those fights did not appear to be racially motivated.

Then around the closing time of 11 p.m., witnesses told the Journal Sentinel, dozens to hundreds of black youths attacked white people as they left the fair, punching and kicking people and shaking and pounding on their vehicles.

At least 31 people were arrested - many for disorderly conduct - in connection with the incidents on the fairgrounds and on the streets outside. At least 11 people, seven of them police officers, were injured, officials said. Twenty-four people were arrested within the fairgrounds by State Fair Police. West Allis police arrested seven people, five of them juveniles, outside the fairgrounds.


Israel: Tel Aviv's 'tent city' protesters dig in to demand social justice

A Tel Aviv 'tent city'
© Uriel Sinai/GettyA Tel Aviv 'tent city'. Similar areas have appeared in 40 towns across Israel, and there have been countless small demonstrations.

Grassroots campaign calling for social justice emerges in Israel as thousands protest against cost of living

Tent villages are to be pitched in up to a dozen Israeli-Arab towns on Friday as momentum behind Israel's grassroots campaign for social justice continues to build and unite disparate sections of society. Taxi drivers blocked a major road in Tel Aviv on Thursday protesting over the cost of diesel, and parents planned "stroller protests" in the early evening demanding the cost of childcare and baby equipment be reduced.

On Wednesday dairy farmers, army reservists, animal rights activists and West Bank settlers all held separate protests in Tel Aviv's Rothschild Boulevard, the centre of the nationwide movement. In Jerusalem, protesters blocked roads leading to the Knesset (parliament). Further demonstrations have been called across the country for Saturday following last week's marches, which attracted around 150,000 people, almost unprecedented in a country with a population of 7 million.

Protesters are uniting over the high costs of housing, rearing children, fuel, electricity and food but the dominant slogan has been: "The people demand social justice."

"The protest is still growing," said Stav Shaffir, 26, one of the leaders. "Every day I get phone calls from new tent cities." Shaffir, a masters student, was one of the first to pitch a tent three weeks ago in protest at the high rents.


S&P Downgrades US Credit Rating to AA-Plus

triple a
© Michele Constantini | PhotoAlto | Getty Images

The United States lost its top-notch triple-A credit rating from Standard & Poor's Friday, in a dramatic reversal of fortune for the world's largest economy.

S&P cut the long-term U.S. credit rating by one notch to AA-plus on concerns about growing budget deficits.

"The downgrade reflects our opinion that the fiscal consolidation plan that Congress and the administration recently agreed to falls short of what, in our view, would be necessary to stabilize the government's medium-term debt dynamics," S&P said in a statement.


US: Matt Damon Slams Reporters While Defending Teachers

© http://www.mattdamonfan.netMatt Damon
What can make one of the most popular actors in America furious? Apparently it's disrespect towards teachers.

The Good Will Hunting actor attended the Save Out Schools rally in Washington DC on Sunday with his mother, a teacher, and appeared offended when a reporter from Reason TV asked him if he thought teachers receiving tenure did not have the incentive to give their job their all. The reporter suggested Damon might work harder than teachers, since his job does not necessarily come with a guaranteed security. Teachers with tenure, however, know that they will always receive compensation.
"You think job insecurity makes me work hard?" questioned Damon. "A teacher wants to teach. Why else would you take a shitty salary and really long hours and do that job unless you really love to do it?"
Damon then fired back at a cameraman who lobbed a statistic that 10 percent of teachers were "bad." When Damon asked him where he got that figure, the cameraman responded "I don't know."


US, California: Who cut the cheese? Police Raid Raw Dairy Producers in L.A., Destroy Inventory

A yearlong sting operation involving a multitude of state and federal agencies brought to justice Wednesday a dangerous ring of raw dairy enthusiasts in California.

Los Angeles police yesterday arrested a farmer, one of her employers and the owner of a raw foods store on criminal conspiracy charges stemming from their allegedly illegal production and sale of unpasteurized milk, cheese and other nefarious dairy products.

Sharon Palmer, 51, James Cecil Stewart, 64, and Eugenie Victoria Bloch, 58, were all charged in a thirteen-count complaint, which includes "the felony crime of processing milk without pasteurization" and four counts of conspiracy. Arraignments were scheduled for today.

Stewart is the owner of Rawesome Foods, a private buying club that offers customers raw milk and cheese, in addition to other products. State agents raided his store yesterday and seized or destroyed his entire inventory.


Young woman recounts her escape from Israeli cult

© Olivier Fitoussi Cult leader D. during his arraignment earlier this week.
In mid-May, a young woman called the Israel Center for Cult Victims, asking that her identity be kept secret. "I live in a Jerusalem collective," she told center director Rachel Lichtenstein. "I'm not certain, but I think it's a cult."

That call led to the exposure of the Jerusalem cult whose ringleader, D., was indicted yesterday along with two other members.

In several meetings with center staffers, the caller, in her early twenties, revealed the story of her life in D.'s house. She later agreed to complain to the police. Her detailed testimony about the physical, sexual and emotional abuse inflicted on the household's women and children led to an investigation that ended with the police and welfare authorities raiding the house. The women and children were sent to shelters; D. and two others were arrested.

Now, according to her lawyer, Ami Savir, the complainant will be the key prosecution witness in the trial.

Arrow Up

A Sign of the Times? Edmonton, Canada: Officials Maintain Murder Rate an Anomaly

© UnknownPolice and firefighters continue to investigate at the scene of a fatal fire at the Bethany Senior Citizens Home, 9920 - 83 Ave
In the wake of what may be the city's 34th homicide of the year, city officials continue to maintain the spike in murders is simply an anomaly.

"This is an aberration, this is not indicative of what's to come," said Edmonton Police Association President Tony Simioni. "We have to consider this year a freak of nature."

Simioni said if police did see an emerging trend they would be actively implementing strategies to combat it.

"I don't think this is a new precedent for Edmonton, and I don't think it will last," he said. "For the average Edmontonian, this is still a safe place to live."

Many of the suspects and victims were people who knew each other and engaged in high-risk behaviour, he noted.


US: USPS posts $3.1 billion loss in Q3, warns of default

mail carrier
Washington - The U.S. Postal Service posted a net loss of $3.1 billion in its third quarter and warned again it would default on payments to the federal government if Congress did not step in.

Total mail volume for the quarter that ended June 30 fell to 39.8 billion pieces, a 2.6 percent drop from the same period a year earlier, as consumers turn to email and pay bills online.

The mail carrier, which does not get taxpayer funds, has struggled to overhaul its business as mail volumes fall. It has said personnel costs weigh heavily and is facing a massive retiree health benefit prepayment next month.


Bizarre Details Emerge in Australia Teen's Neck Bomb Hoax Horror

Man seen running from victim's home; ransom note bore name of sinister fictional character

© EPAMadeleine Pulver, 18, had a suspected bomb attached to her after a masked man entered her family's home in Sydney on Wednesday.
A bizarre ransom note bearing the name of a fictional character was left by a ski-mask-clad man who broke into a suburban Sydney home and chained a fake bomb to the 18-year-old daughter of a wealthy Australia businessman, officials close to the case said Thursday.

The man apparently was spotted running away from the home in the suburb of Mosman by a neighbor and her driver, who told police he leapt into a car driven by a woman who had been "driving up and down the street, looking nervous," sources told the Daily Telegraph.

After telling police the car sped away, the neighbor, champion racehorse trainer Gai Waterhouse, took to her blog to chastise the "crazy person" who sparked a 10-hour ordeal Wednesday as police removed the bomb-like device from Madeleine Pulver.


Carlos Slim World's Richest Man Loses $8 Billion in Four Days

carlos slim
© Fernando Castillo/LatinContent/Getty ImagesCarlos Slim, the world’s richest man, lost about $8 billion this week.
Carlos Slim, the world's richest man, lost about $8 billion this week.

The Mexican billionaire's stock portfolio, measured in U.S. dollars, has dropped about 11 percent since July 29, before today, and is valued at about $63 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That compares with a 7.1 percent slide in the Standard & Poor's 500 Index.

Slim, 71, has taken a hit as Mexico's benchmark IPC index dropped 7.4 percent and the peso slid 2.5 percent against the dollar on concerns that the flagging U.S. economy will hurt demand for assets in its southern neighbor. The removal of three of Slim's companies from the IPC index has made matters worse for the billionaire.

"He's been particularly hurt by those companies leaving the IPC," said Leon Cabrera, a trader at Mexico City-based Vanguardia Casa de Bolsa. "It reflects the nervousness out there. It's part of being in the market."