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Best of the Web: New York Times Covers for Police Dirty Tricks!

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Light Saber

Occupy Wall Street protests spread across U.S


Thousands rally against Portugal's austerity plans

protest, portugal

Lisbon - Tens of thousands of people rallied in Portugal Saturday against the government's austerity measures, protest organisers said, amid projections that the economic situation was far worse than expected.

Government and private sector workers demonstrated in Lisbon and Porto, following a call by the country's largest trade union federation to speak out against policies it says threaten "jobs, workers, pensions and social rights."

Rally organisers claimed 130,000 people demonstrated in Lisbon and 50,000 turned out in Porto. Portugal's police did not provide an estimate of the crowd, but local media's tallies said the figures were inflated.


US: Benefits Shut Off for 41,000 Michigan Welfare Recipients

On Saturday, Oct. 1, 41,000 Michigan welfare recipients will lose cash benefits in the amount of approximately $515 each. Gov. Rick Snyder capped maximum welfare payments at 48 months. Several Michigan recipients filed a class action lawsuit to overturn the four-year cap.

Five years was the original cap on cash assistance for welfare. In some cases, extensions were available for those in need. The lawsuit says that the welfare cap violates the due process clause of the 14th amendment. They claim that the cutoff notices were vague and generic. The plaintiffs are asking a federal judge to issue a temporary restraining order against the cap.

Exemptions are available for those with disabilities that make them unable to work. Those over 65, caring for a disabled spouse or child, who don't qualify for social security or who receive low benefit payments may also get an extension.

There is some concern among taxpayers about what qualifies a person as unable to work. Chronic alcoholism, drug addicts and obesity are three problematic disabilities. These don't qualify specifically as handicaps, but some of the resulting health conditions do qualify them. There is also concern about how welfare payments, especially food stamps, are spent.

Che Guevara

US: Dozens Arrested at Bank of America Offices

© Saul Loeb/Getty ImagesA Bank of America sign is seen outside a bank branch in Arlington, Virginia.
Police have arrested two dozen protesters for trespassing during a demonstration against Bank of America's foreclosure practices at the banking giant's offices in downtown Boston.

The Boston Herald reports that the event was an act of civil disobedience that the organizers intended to send the message that the lender's practices were unfair.

"They wanted to be arrested, and we obliged," Boston police Commissioner Edward F. Davis told the newspaper.

Organizers say about 3,000 people joined the protest.


US: Oregon couple convicted in faith-healing trial

© AP Photo/Jamie Francis, PoolDale Hickman and his wife Shannon embrace after Dale's testimony, Sept. 27, 2011 at Clackamas County Circuit Court in Oregon City, Ore.
A couple who prayed and rubbed olive oil on their sick infant rather than seek medical care for the dying boy was convicted Thursday of manslaughter, becoming the latest members of an Oregon faith-healing church to be blamed in their child's death.

Dale and Shannon Hickman, both 26, are members of the Followers of Christ Church, which has a history of rejecting medical care for congregants' children and relying instead on techniques such as prayer and anointing the sick with oils.

Five other church members have been convicted in Clackamas County for crimes related to the rejection of medical care for their children, said Greg Horner, chief deputy district attorney.

The Hickmans' conviction on second-degree manslaughter charges typically requires a mandatory minimum sentence of six years in prison. But because of a religious exemption in state law at time of the crime, the couple likely will face no more than 18 months in prison and a $250,000 fine, The Oregonian reported.


US: More than 500 arrested in Wall Street protest

Police reopened the Brooklyn Bridge on Saturday evening after more than 500 anti-Wall Street protesters were arrested for blocking traffic lanes and attempting an unauthorized march across the span.

The arrests took place when a large group of marchers, participating in a second week of protests by the Occupy Wall Street movement, broke off from others on the bridge's pedestrian walkway and headed across the Brooklyn-bound lanes.

"More than 500 were arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge late this afternoon after multiple warnings by police were given to protesters to stay on the pedestrian walkway," a police spokesman said.

Heart - Black

Heartless Israeli Settlers uproot Palestinian olive trees

uprooted olive trees
File photo shows Israelis uprooting Palestinian olive trees
Israeli settlers have once again targeted the Palestinian economy by uprooting about 200 olive trees near the West Bank villages of Hawara and Ein Nabus.

The Saturday attack comes after another such incident occurred on Wednesday and Israeli settlers destroyed about 40 olive trees near the city of Hebron, AFP reported.

Israeli settlers have on numerous occasions targeted Palestinian olive trees. Olive oil is regarded as the backbone of the Palestinian economy.

Palestinian farmers plant 10,000 olive trees in the occupied territories annually.


Explosion kills 3, injure 2 in Syria

syria explosion
Syrian military and ambulance personnel clear the victims of an explosion in the neighborhood of Douma in Damascus, Syria, September 30, 2011
An explosive device in the neighborhood of Douma in Damascus has taken the life of three Syrian military explosive technicians and injured another two.

Local police sources said the device had been planted in an area, expected to be the scene of a large protest following Friday prayers, Syria's state Arab News Agency (SANA) reported.

After detecting the explosive, authorities immediately summoned military technicians to dismantle the device before the end of the prayers.

The device, however, went off while the technicians were operating on.

Arrow Down

Small Plane Crashes Into Ride During Festival in Australia

Plane Crashes into Ferris Wheel
© Frank Palfreyman/European Pressphoto AgencyA pair of children on the Ferris wheel and two people in the plane were trapped, but there were no serious injuries.

Sydney - A small plane smashed into a Ferris wheel at a festival north of Sydney on Saturday, trapping a pair of children on the ride and two people in the aircraft, which dangled from the top of the ride for hours.

The crash brought an early end to the day's festivities, but it caused no serious injuries.

The plane, a superlight Cheetah S200 carrying two passengers, crashed into the carnival ride amid poor weather on the first morning of an annual two-day festival in the town of Old Bar, about 220 miles north of Sydney on Australia's eastern coast, local media reported.

Two children, ages 9 and 13, were trapped in a compartment close to the point of impact for about 90 minutes, the local police said. The plane's pilot and passenger were also stuck inside the battered aircraft, which was tangled in the giant wheel and suspended more than 30 feet in the air for almost three hours, the police said.

The pilot, Paul Cox, 53, said he had not seen the Ferris wheel before his plane collided with it.