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Mon, 28 Nov 2022
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Haiti Earthquake Camps Clearing Out; Problems Now Become Hidden

Many Haitians displaced by the 2010 earthquake are moving to crowded homes or slums. Others fare better with a rental subsidy, but it's temporary.
© Dieu Nalio Chery, Associated Press
Charles Kerby, 6, walks through what remains of the St. Therese camp, set up for people displaced by the 2010 earthquake, in Petionville, Haiti, last month.
Port-au-Prince, Haiti - Facing the crumpled remnants of the national palace, an expansive plaza is punctuated by trees, benches and statues of Haitian heroes. Students read in the shade, women gossip, children play soccer.

This serene picture in Port-au-Prince's central square might seem ordinary, but it is not. After a massive earthquake devastated Haiti's capital on Jan. 12, 2010, about 5,000 displaced people took shelter on the square, turning it into a crowded and dangerous new neighborhood.

Now, 2 1/2 years later, the plaza known as Champs de Mars has been cleared, save for a few straggling tents.

The number of displaced Haitians has dropped from 1.5 million to just under 400,000, according to the International Organization of Migration, changing the look of a capital whose landscape was defined for many months by piles of rubble and fraying tent encampments.

But the progress is largely cosmetic. Although a few camps have benefited from aid programs, a grave underlying housing shortage means that the majority of those who left the camps have disappeared into the overcrowded homes of relatives or constructed precarious shacks in hillside slums.


Vermont State Police Trooper Arraigned for Felony Pay Padding, but no charges for Corrupt Banks!

© Vermont State Police
James Deeghan

The Vermont State Police sergeant who allegedly defrauded the state of thousands of dollars in overtime faces two felony charges of false claims greater than $500, with a possible sentence for each of up to five years in prison or $10,000 in fines.

Chittenden County State's Attorney TJ Donovan, whose office is prosecuting the case, said it went beyond Deeghan simply claiming to work when he wasn't.

"It's not just padding a paycheck. It's fabricating events that did not occur," Donovan said.

An affidavit submitted to the Chittenden County District Court arraignment Friday allege that former Sgt. James Deeghan, 49, who has been a State Police officer since 1990, fraudulently claimed 63 hours of overtime between June 3 and June 30. A state police investigation suggests Deeghan made up entire incidents, such as three traffic tickets, two car accidents and a building alarm.

The fraudulent timesheet claims add up to $3,023.28 for the month of June, according to a report submitted by Lt. James Cruise of the State Police. Since the fraud in question took place over two separate pay periods, the state was able to bring two felony counts against Deeghan.


State Trooper Charged with Drunken Driving While on Duty

Pennsylvania - A state trooper was arrested Thursday night and charged with drunken driving while behind the wheel of his police cruiser, police said.

Kevin Daniel Wackley, 47, of Tamaqua, was on duty at the time of his arrest at 8 p.m. on old state Route 22 near Reservoir Road in Windsor Township, Berks County, a news release states.

Police said they received information that Wackley may be intoxicated and determined that he had been drinking, the release states.

Police did not provide Wackley's blood-alcohol level.

Wackley has been suspended pending the disposition of the investigation, state police said.

Charges against Wackley will be filed via summons, police said.

Source: MCT Information Services


LAPD Clashes with Occupy Protesters at Art Walk, 19 Arrested

© Reuters / Sam Mircovich
California - Police have clashed with crowds in downtown Los Angeles, where the monthly Art Walk event was being held. Officials say 4 policemen were treated for minor injuries.

The Los Angeles Times said 19 people have been arrested after a skirmish, according to local authorities.

The otherwise peaceful party night apparently turned violent, as police wearing riot gear tried to disperse members of the Occupy movement. Some 200 Occupiers joined the festivities and were writing protest slogans in chalk.


Anti-Smoking Fascism: Californian City Extends Smoking Ban to Include Apartments

© unknown
The ability to light up a cigarette in Santa Monica is about to go up in smoke for many residents of the coastal town outside of Los Angeles. The city's board voted this week to soon impose a ban inside the homes of local tenants.

If you rent or lease your residence in Santa Monica, things could soon be very different. Tuesday's 4-2 vote means that a smoking prohibition across the city will be extended to include all newly condos and apartments for new tenants. Additionally, the legislation includes a provision that will force property owners to designate their homes as either smoking or non-, letting them decide if even their current residents - even those who have spent their life in certain properties - can continue to smoke.

"Under the proposed law, current occupants of apartments and condominiums would be able to choose either smoking or non-smoking status for their dwelling unit," city officials explain. "If a unit is designated non-smoking, then smoking would thereafter be prohibited in that unit. If a unit is vacated (including a smoking unit), the unit's designation would be non-smoking for the next occupant and thereafter."

Comment: The dangers of smoking have been overstated in the media and the benefits all but ignored. For more information read:
Let's All Light Up!
First They Came for the Smokers... And I said Nothing Because I Was Not a Smoker
Study finds smoking wards off Parkinson's disease
Nicotine helps Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Patients
Nicotine Lessens Symptoms Of Depression In Nonsmokers
Scientists Identify Brain Regions Where Nicotine Improves Attention, Other Cognitive Skills
Can Smoking be GOOD for SOME People?


Tragedy: 3-Year-Old Indiana Boy Accidentally Shoots, Kills Father

Salem, Indiana - A father is dead after police said he was shot by his 3-year-old son.

According to Indiana State Police, around 9:55 p.m. Friday Michael Bayless, 33, was found dead in a home in the 3600 block of Vincennes Trail.

Bayless' wife, his three children and another child related to the family were home when investigators found his body.

  • Detectives and crime scene investigators stated after a preliminary investigation they believe Bayless was watching television with two of the children when the 3-year-old found Bayless' loaded handgun and accidentally shot him.

    Indiana State Police Sergeant Jerry Goodin said, "There's a lot of things we're still asking questions about and we've still go to get some answers. But, right now, really the only thing that we know is the child was able to gain access to [sic] the handgun. The handgun did discharge. It did strike Michael Bayless causing a fatal wound to him."


    Woman Convicted of Battery for Protesting TSA Pat-Down

    © unknown

    A Florida woman has learned that being a TSA agent isn't all just fun, games and genital grabbing - it can actually be quite costly. For demonstrating on an agent just how invasive those pat downs are, Carol Jean Price has been convicted of battery.

    Price, 59, was charged earlier this year after she used a hand-on approach to show a Transportation Security Administration supervisor just how intrusive the screening she had just received was. Now a jury has convicted her of battery and she is being forced to pay $500 and has received six months of probation.

    According to Price, she was stopped while attempting to fly to Cleveland, Ohio on April 20 to attend her brother's funeral when she was forced to undergo a bit too rigorous of a screening. Price says of all people, she should know - she used to work for the TSA.

    "(The screener) dug into my bra strap coming down," Price told the jury. "She also swiped the palm of her hand down the front of my breast."

    Arrow Up

    Shocking Discovery: Records of the Japanese Sperm Donors Destroyed!

    Sperm Donor
    © The Japan Daily
    A survey of Japanese fertility clinics found about 30 percent of information on sperm donors has been destroyed, officials said.

    Under the Medical Practitioners Law, such clinics are required to keep donor records for five years, The Yomiuri Shimbun reported.

    However, the Japan Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology advises fertility clinics keep records a longer period of time, as children conceived via artificial insemination by a donor, or AID, may try to find their biological fathers when they are older.

    A survey conducted by the newspaper in June of 23 registered medical institutions found 12 clinics that provide AID said they keep all clinical records of the couples who have done the procedure, including information on the sperm donors.

    Six other institutions said they do not keep clinical records that contained information to identify donors. One clinic said it disposes of the records, but keeps other relevant documents. Four clinics surveyed said they did not do AID.


    Ancient China Business Scam With A New Hollywood Twist

    Chinese company emails US company about buying a few million dollars of the US company's product. The terms of the deal are quickly worked out and the Chinese company suggests the American company go to China to sign the contract and celebrate the consummation of the deal.

    The American gets to China (usually some fairly out of the way city in China) and is treated to what appears to the American to be a really expensive meal at which the contract is signed. At which point, the American company is told that Chinese custom requires that it buy the Chinese CEO an expensive gift and pay the notarization fee.

    The American is then either taken to purchase a nice piece of jade and requested to pay a couple of thousand dollars for the notarization fee. Sometimes the American just gives the Chinese company people cash to go off and buy the gift on the American company's behalf.

    It isn't until weeks later that the American learns that there is no deal and, in fact, there is no Chinese company either. The big lure of this scam is that nobody wants to fly all the way to China, have a great meal at someone else's expense, and then be too cheap to spend less than $10,000 more to seal the deal.

    This China business scam was really popular four or five years ago, but it seemed to have really declined since then, presumably because word had spread among American manufacturers.

    It appears China has found a new set of victims.


    Parents Make a Dash for Vaccination Cash

    Vaccination Jab
    © Jamie Hanson/The Sunday Mail (Qld)
    Anika deKroo gets her 12-month shot.
    Parents who refuse to vaccinate their children are pocketing thousands of dollars in Federal Government immunisation incentives.

    Opponents to childhood vaccines say it is unfair to be denied Federal Government cash because of their beliefs, and are exploiting a loophole to claim more than $2000 a child after registering as "conscientious objectors".

    In July, the Gillard Government scrapped the $129 Maternity Immunisation Allowance, a specific payment to encourage parents to have their children immunised.

    In an attempt to boost immunisation rates, it has now linked vaccination incentives to Family Tax Benefit A $2100 to be paid over three immunisation "check points" once children are fully immunised at ages one, two and five.

    While parents have been warned they will lose their payment and the childcare benefit if they do not fully immunise their children, they are also being told exemptions will be given to objectors.

    All they have to do to still receive the money is fill out a form supplied by the Federal Government.

    The Federal Government's Department of Human Services website outlines the immunisation requirements.

    It reads: "To meet the immunisation requirements, children will need to be fully immunised, be on a recognised immunisation catch-up schedule, or have an approved exemption."

    The exemption forms are available from the Department of Human Services website.They require signatures of the parent/guardian of the child and recognised immunisation provider a GP or family doctor.

    Independent Senator Nick Xenophon said it was a bizarre policy.

    "This is a case of everyone wins a prize. It's a bit like getting the Baby Bonus without having a baby," Senator Xenophon said.

    "Anti-vaxers", as they call themselves, are now joining parenting forums to encourage others not to be bullied by the Government and to give tips on how to get objection forms lodged quickly.