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Tue, 07 Feb 2023
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Bizarro Earth

Tensions flare in France over full-face veil ban

© Frank Perry/Getty Images
French police block Lies Hebbadj, who is wearing full-face veil, from entering the court of justice in Nantes
Though it was almost midnight, streets were full of Muslim families taking a stroll after breaking the Ramadan fast with a late dinner. As two police officers drove by a storefront recycled as the Grand Sunna Mosque, they noticed a woman wearing flowing black robes and a full-face veil.

The police officers alighted from their patrol car and challenged the woman about her veil, which has been illegal in France since April 2011. After an angry exchange, police said later, the woman shouted that she would not abide by the anti-veil law, and a youth told police that they had no business patrolling the neighborhood and accosting its predominantly Muslim residents.

The confrontation quickly escalated into a shoving match, with several dozen young bystanders joining in and carloads of police reinforcements speeding up to lend a hand. Before long, it erupted into what was described in the National Assembly in Paris as a riot, during which a female police officer was bitten on the arm and two of her male colleagues were bashed and bruised.

Bad Guys

Parents Duct Tape "Demon Possessed" Children

Lawrence, KS - Two parents who admittedly duct taped their children inside an SUV in a Walmart parking lot said they did so because they were "demon possessed."

During Tuesday's court hearing, the judge dropped five felony counts of aggravated child endangerment against both parents. The couple still faces three felony counts.

A police officer testified in court that the couple's 12-year-old daughter said her two youngest siblings, ages seven and five, were occasionally tied up with their faces and eyes covered with duct tape to keep the demons out.

Adolfo Gomez, 52, and Deborah M. Gomez, 43, were arrested June 13 in a Walmart parking lot in Lawrence, Kan., after a customer saw two children bound with tape. They have been charged with two counts of child abuse and five counts of child endangerment.


'Online firestorm' erupts after Progressive Insurance defends woman's killer

The insurance company Progressive is facing what "CBS This Morning" called on Thursday an "online firestorm," after a man's blog post describing how Progressive defended his sister's killer sent throngs of angry customers to the company's social media sites.

Appearing on "CBS This Morning" on Thursday, Fisher explained that the other driver was under-insured, but that his insurance company, Nationwide, paid up immediately. However, since his sister Katie had a $100,000 policy with Progressive, he says they decided to defend her killer and try to blame the wreck on her.

"The guy who, for better or worse, killed my sister had more than one attorney," Fisher told CBS. "He had two attorneys and one of them identified himself at the beginning of the case as an employee of Progressive."

Light Saber

U.S. Loses Fight to Keep Tight Hold on Megaupload Evidence

kim dotcom
© David Rowland/dpa
Kim Dotcom
New Zealand's High Court has upheld a ruling ordering the U.S. to turn over material to Megaupload's legal team.

The U.S. government lost a bid on Thursday to withhold some evidence in advance of the extradition hearing for four Megaupload defendants charged with criminal copyright infringement.

The U.S. had asked for a judicial review following a New Zealand District Court ruling on May 29 ordering it to turn over some evidence to allow the four -- Kim Dotcom, Finn Batato, Mathias Ortmann and Bram Van Der Kolk -- to prepare for the hearing.

In a ruling released Thursday, Justice Helen Winkelmann upheld the earlier court's decision, writing that "the person sought is entitled to adduce evidence" related to the extradition hearing.

"Without disclosure, the person sought will be significantly constrained in his or her ability to participate in the hearing, and the requesting state will have a significant advantage in terms of access to information," Winkelmann wrote.

Although Megaupload was not granted all of the evidence it wanted, it is a significant amount of material. The District Court ruled that the U.S. should turn over all documents that support the allegation that Megaupload "willfully" infringed copyrighted material.

The court also ordered the release of all documents related to charges of money laundering, racketeering and wire fraud.


Texas Jury Sees Video of Teacher Allegedly Having Sex with 4 Students

© MyFoxDFW.com
Brittni Colleps, 28, is charged with several counts, including deviate sex and improper relationship between educator and student.
A Fort Worth high school teacher is accused of having group sex with four teenagers while another student videotaped the act, MyFoxDFW.com reported.

Brittni Colleps, 28, a mother of three and former English teacher, used text messages to pursue five male students, prosecutors say. One teen said he and Colleps exchanged 100 text messages in one day during the spring of 2010. The messages got more heated and they eventually agreed to meet for sex, prosecutors charge.

"She said that she craved... that I had something that she wanted," the teen said. The teen said on one occasion, there were four teens and the teacher. The teens are considered adults, but the law protects students from a relationship with someone in a superior position.

Better Earth

Witchcraft-Based Child Abuse: Action Plan Launched

Witchcraft Abuse
© BBC News
Perpetrators sometimes believe they are driving out evil spirits possessing a child.
The government has launched an action plan to tackle child abuse linked to witchcraft or religion in England.

High-profile cases include the murders of Kristy Bamu and Victoria Climbie but experts fear much more abuse is hidden.

The key aims are to raise awareness and set out "urgent practical steps to identify and protect children at risk".

Children's Minister Tim Loughton said: "Child abuse is appalling and unacceptable wherever it occurs and whatever form it takes.

"Abuse linked to faith or belief in spirits, witchcraft or possession is a horrific crime, condemned by people of all cultures, communities and faiths - but there has been a 'wall of silence' around its scale and extent.

"There can never be a blind eye turned to violence or emotional abuse or even the smallest risk that religious beliefs will lead to young people being harmed."

The government says that cases of adults inflicting physical violence or emotional harm on children they regard as witches or possessed by evil spirits occur across the world, often in sub-sects of major religions, such as Christianity.

The action plan follows the murder of 15-year-old Kristy Bamu in Newham in December 2010 for which his sister Magalie and her boyfriend Eric Bikubi were convicted.

Kristy, was accused by Bikubi of practising "kindoki" or witchcraft and casting spells, during a visit over Christmas. He suffered appalling abuse and torture for three days before drowning in a bath.


Research Shows Rise in Child Suicide Rates in Ireland

While still rare, suicide rates among Irish children have increased, especially among 15- to 17-year-olds, research published yesterday shows.

Researchers from University College Dublin and St Vincent's University Hospital, Dublin, analysed age and sex-specific suicide mortality data from 1993-1998 and compared it with similar data from 2003-2008 for those aged 18 and under.

The results, published in the current issue of the Irish Medical Journal, show that overall suicide rates in both males and females have increased.

Suicide in children under 15 was extremely rare in both decades, with average overall rates of 1.6/100,000.

Suicide occurred significantly more often in boys, and more commonly between ages 15 and 17 in both sexes.

Commenting on the research, lead author Prof Kevin Malone said, "A wave of young people is currently moving through Irish society where suicide rates amongst their peers have increased substantially from those of their parents . . . Yet mental health services in Ireland are currently under-developed for the children within this age group [16- to 18-year-olds] transitioning from child to adult support."


Doctors Call on Ottawa to Reject 'Backdoor' Attempt to Recriminalize Abortion

© Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press
Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth takes part in the March For Life rally on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on May 10, 2012. Mr. Woodworth is pushing for legislation to have fetuses declared persons.
Canada's doctors have sternly rejected what they see as a stealth attempt to recriminalize abortion.

At the general council meeting of the Canadian Medical Association on Wednesday, delegates called on the federal government to reject attempts by a Conservative backbench MP to amend the Criminal Code so that a fetus is defined as a human being.

"This constitutes the criminalization of abortion or any form of contraception," said Dr. Geneviève Desbiens, a urologist from Valleyfield, Que.

"This change could even prevent a pregnant woman from travelling or taking certain drug treatments," she said.

Dr. Desbiens also warned that doctors who counsel or provide abortion services could become criminals.


The Practice of Female Circumcision To Be Revived in The Name of Religion in Egypt

Female Circumcision
© PreventDisease.com
Egyptian human rights groups and female activists are alarmed at renewed parliamentary calls to revive the practice of female circumcision. They appeal to the authorities to stop advocating what was officially banned in 2007.

Female circumcision, performed on as many as 3 million girls each year, complicates childbirth later in life and causes higher mortality among their babies, the World Health Organization (WHO) has stated.

Women who had undergone the practice, also known as female genital mutilation, were up to 70 percent more vulnerable to potentially fatal hemorrhage after delivery than those who had not.

A study involving some 28,000 women at obstetric centers in six African countries where the practice is common, said babies born to circumcised women were as much as 55 percent more likely to die during or immediately after childbirth.

The removal of the clitoris and labia--is promoted and continues to be advocated in some Muslim and African countries to control women's sexuality.

Ignorant traditionalists in Egypt are under sharp criticism for their continued ascribed religious beliefs and cultural traditions involving horrific forms of female genital mutilation (FGM, which they defend as a form of "female circumcision"). Many well-meaning people are also confused about the actual nature of the scientific evidence and the religious prescriptions regarding all sorts of practices involving any form of cutting in the genital areas.

Alarm Clock

Teenager Kills 5-year-old niece With a Scythe

© Family Handout
Jada Beth Williams, 5.
Matthew Kaleb Pierson, 18, admitted to leaving Jada Beth Williams beaten and blooded in the garage of the girl's grandmother's house, police say.

An Ohio teenager is in jail on $500,000 bond after he confessed to brutally killing his 5-year-old niece with a scythe, WXIX-TV reported.

Jada Beth Williams' body was found lying in a pool of blood in the garage of a home in Jackson Township.

Tina Williams, the little girl's grandmother, made the gruesome discovery and called 911, telling the dispatcher that Jada "was here with the guy I live with and my grandson, and she is dead."

In a recording of the call, obtained by the Fayette Advocate, Williams says the girl is "covered in blood."