Society's ChildS


Pope Accused of Crimes Against Humanity

pope benedict
© Agence France-Presse/Getty ImagesPope Benedict XVI
The Pope and top Vatican cardinals have been accused of possible crimes against humanity for sheltering guilty Catholic priests, in formal complaints to the International Criminal Court.

The Centre for Constitutional Rights, a New York-based non-profit legal group, requested an ICC inquiry on behalf of the Survivors Network, arguing that the global church has maintained a "long-standing and pervasive system of sexual violence" despite promises to swiftly oust predators.

The Vatican said it had no immediate comment on the complaint.

The complaint names Pope Benedict XVI, partly in his former role as leader of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which in 2001 explicitly gained responsibility for overseeing abuse cases; Cardinal William Levada, who now leads that office; Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Vatican secretary of state under Pope John Paul II; and Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who now holds that post.


Another mysterious foreigner death in Fiji

A Japanese woman has become the fourth foreigner to die in unexplained circumstances since July in Fiji's tourist belt.

Two of the deaths have been of New Zealanders.

News of the death of Mami Nakamura, 27, has been kept out of the censored Fiji media since her body was found a week ago, but has now been disclosed as anti-military government blog sites revealed it.

Deaths of foreigners are subject to tight censorship as the Voreqe Bainimarama regime fears it will damage their multi-million tourist industry.

Former Greymouth hotelier Tony Groom was badly beaten in Nadi on July 8 and died eight days later. News of his death was suppressed until revealed in New Zealand, but Fiji police concluded he died of natural causes.


US: Small Cities Struggle to Pay for 9/11 Memorials

© AP Photo/Wilfredo LeePeople gather to mark the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks and to unveil a 9-11 memorial, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011 in Pembroke Pines, Fla.
The memorial started with a steel beam salvaged from the World Trade Center - a small piece of the terrorist attacks that the city of Pembroke Pines, Fla., was determined to honor in its own way.

Nobody from this Fort Lauderdale suburb died on Sept. 11. But plans for its memorial grew ever more elaborate - at one point projected to cost more than $1 million - as the years passed.

"It was a glass-enclosed, air-conditioned house," recalled the city's mayor, Frank Ortis. "With a reflection pool and water running down, hurricane-resistant glass. Obviously we couldn't do that."

Hundreds of small memorials to Sept. 11 have bloomed across the country in the 10 years since the attacks. But in many towns, what began as a simple tribute to the dead turned into an expensive headache as the cost of building such memorials ballooned and the economy deteriorated.

Heart - Black

US: Chicago Teen charged with beating his parents to death

© Cook County Sheriff's Dept via APJohn Granat, 17, of Palos Park, Ill., was charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of his parents.
A high school student in suburban Chicago has been charged with killing his parents, who were found beaten in their home on Sunday morning.

John Granat, 17, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder in connection with the beating deaths of his parents, Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart said Tuesday.

The Cook County medical examiner on Monday ruled that 42-year-old Maria Granat and 44-year-old John Granat died after suffering multiple blunt force injuries. Maria Granat was also stabbed. They were pronounced dead early Sunday in their southwest suburban Chicago home.

Early Sunday morning, Granat called 911, bringing police to the family home, the Chicago Tribune reported. He's scheduled to appear in court Tuesday morning.

Arrow Down

Bus-Train Crash Kills 7, Injures 162 in Argentina

© AP Photo/Rodolfo PezzoniA wounded passenger is carried out a train after it crashed in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2011.
A train slammed into a bus trying to beat it across the railroad tracks during rush hour Tuesday, ramming the vehicle into a platform and then striking another locomotive head-on. At least seven people were killed and more than 160 injured, authorities said.

The bus driver was among those killed, Argentine Transportation Secretary J.P. Schiavi said.

The force of the arriving train reduced the bus to a fraction of its width as it became wedged against the station platform. The front of the train then slammed into another train that was preparing to leave the Flores station in the opposite direction on the Sarmiento line, which connects the suburb of Moreno to the Once station downtown.

Schiavi said children also were among those injured in the accident, which happened at 6:15 a.m., just when many parents use public transportation to take their children to school.

Life Preserver

Russia Supports Palestinian Bid to Win UN Statehood: Envoy

© European Press Association
Russia supports the Palestinian bid to win UN statehood despite resistance from Israel and the United States, Moscow's ambassador to the United Nations said on Monday.

"We will, of course, be voting for any of the Palestinians' proposals," Russia's UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency. "We are saying that whatever you decide to do, we will support you."


Iranian Nuclear Plant Steps Up Operations

© Unknown
Tehran - Iran's first nuclear power plant stepped up operations Monday after more than a decade of delays, pumping out electricity at up to 40 percent capacity and marking a major step forward in the Islamic Republic's nuclear program.

The Bushehr nuclear plant - which officials say could begin full-power operations in December - is also a cornerstone of Iran's drive to become a technological leader among Muslim nations with efforts such as a space program and long-range missile development.

The U.S. and its allies accuse Iran of using its civilian nuclear program as a cover to develop nuclear weapons. Iran denies the claim and says it only seeks reactors for energy and scientific research.

Senior Iranian and Russian officials attended celebrations for the official launch of the 1000-megawatt Bushehr plant on the Gulf. It began to generate between 350 to 400 megawatts of electricity, equal to 35 to 40 percent of the reactor's full capacity.

The Russian-built plant was connected to the national power grid for a test run Sept. 4, generating 60 megawatts.


Jordan's Abdullah: Israel's Situation Today More Difficult Than Ever

© Associated PressKing Abdullah (right) and Abbas
King says 'Jordan and the future Palestine are stronger than Israel is today. It is the Israeli who is scared today'

The king described a recent conversation he held in the US with "one of the Israeli intellectuals" who commented on events in the Arab world, arguing that they were good for Israel. "I replied and said that it was the opposite and that Israel's situation today is more difficult than ever before."

Abdullah reiterated that his country would not serve as an "alternative homeland to the Palestinians."

According to the Jordanian leader, "Jordan is Jordan and Palestine is Palestine. We support all Palestinian rights and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state - our policy hasn't changed. The subject of an alternative homeland must not be part of the discussion. It is unacceptable."


Malaysia: Smoking Ape Taken from Zoo, Forced to Quit Cold Turkey

© The Associated Press/The Canadian PressIn this photo taken Monday, Jan. 25, 2010, an orangutan, called Shirley, smokes at Johor Zoo in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. The captive orangutan often spotted smoking cigarettes given to her by zoo visitors is being forced to kick the habit, a Malaysian wildlife official said Monday, Sept. 12, 2011.
A captive orangutan often spotted smoking cigarettes given to her by zoo visitors is being forced to kick the habit, a Malaysian wildlife official said Monday.

Government authorities seized the adult ape named Shirley from a state-run zoo in Malaysia's southern Johor state last week after she and several other animals there were deemed to be living in poor conditions.

Shirley is now being quarantined at another zoo in a neighbouring state and is expected to be sent to a Malaysian wildlife centre on Borneo island within weeks.

Melaka Zoo Director Ahmad Azhar Mohammed said Shirley is not being provided with any more cigarettes because "smoking is not normal behaviour for orangutans."

"I would say she is not addicted ... but she might have formed a habit after mimicking human beings who were smoking around her," Ahmad told The Associated Press.


Facebook Voted More Necessary to Britons than Having a Flushable Toilet

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Facebook's ever-growing popularity and pervasiveness seems to be changing our priorities in today's society, according to one British survey.

The Daily Mail reports that a survey of 3,000 adults found people prioritized Facebook above having a stove, a flushing toilet and a shower.

The survey, conducted by One Poll for London's Science Museum, was originally part of the museum's new exhibition on the necessity of fresh water. Each participant was asked what they couldn't live without. The results of the study were a bit of a shock, prompting the museum's Exhibition Manager, Sarah Richardson, to describe the results as 'crazy.'

"Brits are obsessed by the weather, so it's not surprising sunshine was rated as the top thing we couldn't live without," said Richardson in The Daily Mail. "But to say you can't live without material things over drinking water is crazy."