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Dozens die as blaze engulfs overnight train in India


A fire swept through a train car packed with sleeping passengers in southern India on Monday, killing at least 47 people and sending panicked survivors rushing for the only clear exit once the train stopped, officials said.

Investigators found charred remains of victims still in their sleeping berths and were struggling to identify them.

A railway station worker noticed the burning coach as the overnight train from New Delhi to the southeastern city of Chennai passed through the town of Nellore at about 4 a.m. local time, official B. Sridhar said. Nellor is nearly 310 miles south of Hyderabad, the capital of Andhra Pradesh state.

Once the alarm was raised, the train was stopped and the passenger car detached from the rest of the train to prevent the blaze from spreading.

The Indian Railways is a vital national transportation grid for the country's 1.2 billion people, cramming 18 million people a day on to ageing trains.

Footprints

Madonna Faces Lawsuit Over Swastika Imagery During Concert

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© unknown
Madonna has come under fire for using a controversial in-concert video that features an image shown of Front National (FN) leader Marine Le Pen layered in a montage with a swastika superimposed on the singer's forehead (video below).

After a few seconds, the videos reveals an Adolf Hitler look-alike.

Madonna premiered the video in Israel, causing Le Pen to say "If she does that in France, [we will] be waiting for her."

Not surprisingly, Madonna screened it in front of 70,000 attendees at her Stade de France concert near Paris.

Heart - Black

Teen Gang Members Murder Grandfather Delfino Mora, Post Killing Video on Facebook

Chicago police say that gang members robbed and murdered 62-year-old Delfino Mora, a disabled man. They allegedly recorded the attack on a cell phone and posted it to Facebook, last Tuesday.

Mora's family told NBC Chicago that the grandfather of 12 was collecting cans that he sells for cash when the teens confronted him.

The gang members involved in the fatal assault allegedly include Nicholas Ayala, 17, and Anthony Malcolm, 18, who were both charged with first-degree murder and robbery. Malik Jones, 16, was charged with first-degree murder and was held without bail on Sunday.

Police said Jones handed his friends his cell phone to start filming, then demanded money from Mora and punched him in the jaw.

Newspaper

Why the Mainstream Media Remains Ignorant to the Working Class

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© Photo: David Scull / The New York Times
The writer Barbara Ehrenreich in Washington on September 8, 2006.
Best-selling author Barbara Ehrenreich - probably best known for her 2001 book Nickel and Dimed - has long been on the forefront of promoting stories about working people in an often hostile media environment. Recently, she has been heading the Economic Hardship Reporting Project. An endeavor inspired in part by the Federal Writers Project of the 1930s, the initiative aims "to force this country's crisis of poverty and economic insecurity to the center of the national conversation."

I spoke with Ehrenreich about this crisis of economic insecurity, about the invisibility of working people in the mainstream media, and about the current state of journalism.

That working people are chronically underrepresented in the media - even in times of economic downturn - is a sad reality readily apparent to anyone who has surveyed the American news landscape. Given this, I asked Ehrenreich if she thought this problem has been a constant, or if has it gotten worse in recent years.

Bizarro Earth

Wisconsin Oil Spill: Enbridge Energy Reports Incident

oil spill
© Reuters
FILE - In this July 30, 2010 file photo, crews clean up oil, from a ruptured pipeline, owned by Enbridge Inc, near booms and absorbent materials where Talmadge Creek meets the Kalamazoo River as in Marshall Township, Mich.
* Some 1,200 barrels spill from pipeline in Wisconsin

* Spill is two years after another major Enbridge spill

* Canadian company already battling safety concerns on its line

Washington - The U.S. pipeline safety agency launched an investigation on Saturday into an oil spill in Wisconsin on Enbridge Inc's network that forced the partial shutdown of a main artery carrying light sweet Canadian crude to Chicago-area refineries.

Enbridge's 318,000 barrel per day Line 14 pipeline, part of the Lakehead system, was shut after an estimated 1,200 barrels of oil were leaked. This happened almost two years to the day after another major spill in a different section of the line, in Michigan.

Enbridge Energy Partners said on Friday there was not yet a time frame for when flows would resume, and the cause of the spill had not yet been determined.

Bizarro Earth

Major blackout hits northern Indian cities- 370 million powerless in sweltering heat

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© Altaf Qadri/The Associated Press
Stranded commuters wait for their trains to arrive at a train station in New Delhi, India, Monday, July 30, 2012. Northern India was plunged into darkness Monday after a supply grid tripped because of overloading, officials said.
Northern India's power grid crashed Monday, halting hundreds of trains, forcing hospitals and airports to use backup generators and leaving 370 million people - more than the population of the United States and Canada combined - sweltering in the summer heat.

The blackout, one of the worst to hit India in a decade, highlighted the nation's inability to feed a growing hunger for energy as it strives to become a regional economic power.

The country's northern grid crashed about 2:30 a.m. because it could no longer keep up with the huge demand for power in the hot summer, officials in the state of Uttar Pradesh said. However, Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said he was not sure exactly what caused the collapse and had formed a committee to investigate it.

The grid feeds the nation's breadbasket in Punjab, the war-wracked region of Kashmir, the burgeoning capital of New Delhi, the Dalai Lama's Himalayan headquarters in Dharmsala and the world's most populous state, the poverty stricken Uttar Pradesh.

By late morning, 60 percent of the power had been restored in the eight northern states affected by the outage and the rest was expected to be back on line by the afternoon, Shinde said. The grid was drawing power from the neighboring Eastern and Western grids as well as getting hydroelectric power from the neighboring mountain kingdom of Bhutan.

Handcuffs

Iran sentences four to death over banking scandal

An Iranian court has sentenced four people to death for their roles in a billion-dollar banking fraud scandal that forced bank executives out of their jobs and tainted the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, state media reported on Monday.

The embezzlement case, discovered in September 2011, revolved around forged documents allegedly used by the directors of an Iranian investment company to secure loans totaling $2.6 billion to buy state-owned enterprises.

Thirty-nine people were tried for their involvement in the fraud.

"We are typing their sentences now and according to the sentence that was issued, four of the accused in this case were sentenced to death," judiciary spokesman Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejei told the IRNA state news agency.

He did not name the individuals sentenced to death.

Two others were sentenced to life imprisonment and others received sentences ranging from 25 years and down, Mohseni-Ejei was quoted as saying.

Che Guevara

Occupy the Dam: Brazil's Indigenous Uprising

In the Amazonian backcountry, tribes are challenging construction of the world's third-largest dam - by dismantling it. Here's what they can teach us about standing up to power.
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© Photos courtesy of International Rivers
Indigenous tribesmen stand firm near the Belo Monte Dam.

Last month, hundreds of indigenous demonstrators began dismantling a dam in the heart of Brazil's rainforest to protest the destruction it will bring to lands they have loved and honored for centuries. The Brazilian government is determined to promote construction of the massive, $14 billion Belo Monte Dam, which will be the world's third largest when it is completed in 2019. It is being developed by Norte Energia, a consortium of ten of the world's largest construction, engineering, and mining firms set up specifically for the project.

The Belo Monte Dam is the most controversial of dozens of dams planned in the Amazon region and threatens the lives and livelihoods of thousands of Amazonian people, plants, and animals. Situated on the Xingu River, the dam is set to flood roughly 150 square miles of already-stressed rainforest and deprive an estimated 20,000 people of their homes, their incomes, and - for those who succumb to malaria, bilharzia, and other diseases carried by insects and snails that are predicted to breed in the new reservoir - their lives. Moreover, the influx of immigrants will bring massive disruption to the socioeconomic balance of the region. People whose livelihoods have primarily depended on hunting and gathering or farming may suddenly find themselves forced to take jobs as manual laborers, servants, and prostitutes

Telephone

Bomb threats lead to evacuation of 8 Walmarts, 2 in Kansas City area

US, Missouri - At least eight Walmarts across Missouri have been evacuated Friday evening after bomb threats.

Two of the stores are in the Kansas City area.

Two and a half hours after the threats were called in, police declared the scenes as safe.


Bizarro Earth

Mississippi church refuses couple's wedding because they are black

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© ABC News
Te'Andrea and Charles Wilson were denied a wedding at Crystal Springs church in Mississippi
A Jackson, Miss., couple's dream of exchanging vows in the church they had been attending was dashed last week when the church pastor told them that some members had complained about the black couple getting married in the predominantly white First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs

Charles and Te'Andrea Wilson said it was devastating to move their wedding to another church only days before the July 21 wedding. Invitations and the printed program had the date and the church's name on them.

Church insiders say five or six members went to the Rev. Stan Weatherford after seeing the couple's wedding rehearsal two days before their Saturday wedding.

The church pastor said he was surprised by the reaction of some church members.