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Measles epidemic spreads in Quebec

Image
© David McNew/Getty Images
File photo: A child reacts to a Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccination (MMR) as his father comforts him in 2002.
254 cases; disease leapfrogged from Europe

Montreal - Quebecers travelling to Europe this summer should make sure their immunizations are up to date, as France battles a measles epidemic, health officials warned Monday.

An outbreak of measles - a highly contagious respiratory disease that's jumped here from Europe - has affected 254 people in Quebec, and officials expect more as the virus spreads among people who have not been vaccinated.

Waves of the vaccine-preventable disease have been reported in the United States, England, Wales and France. The disease's rise is often cited as a legacy of a now-discredited study by a British autism guru who scared parents from immunization.

It's not known whether vaccine rates in Quebec are decreasing as the province does not keep a formal register. But increasingly, doctors are spending more time with parents answering questions about immunization fears, said Montreal pediatrician Richard Haber, director of the pediatric consultation centre of the Montreal Children's Hospital. Controversies over measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccines have eroded public confidence in vaccination and threaten herd immunity, he said.

Sherlock

US: Casey Anthony trial continues: Cadaver dog handler tells court he was 'overwhelmed' by smell of death in trunk of Anthony's car

A sniffer dog trained to detect human corpses homed in on the boot of Casey Anthony's car and on a patch of grass in front of her dead daughter's playhouse, a court in Florida heard today.

Gerus, a German Shepherd dog working with Orange County Sheriff's Department K-9 unit during the search for missing toddler Caylee Anthony in July 2008, indicated that he could smell human death in the back of Anthony's Pontiac Sunfire car, and at a spot in the garden of her home in Orlando.

The canine detective, who is trained only to hunt for human remains and to ignore distractions such as food and other odours, twice gave his handler an indication known as a 'final trained alert' to indicate that it had pinpointed a scent source.

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© Associated Press
On trial: Casey Anthony sits in the courtroom before the start of court on the 12th day of her murder trial at the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando today

Sherlock

US: Home owner shocked after FBI, sniffer dogs and a helicopter scour his property in pointless hunt for 30 dead children...all on a tip from one deluded psychic

The man whose property was at the centre of a massive - but utterly pointless - FBI and police hunt for 30 dead children has told reporters he is 'no killer'.

The home of Joe and Gena Bankson was raided by FBI agents, 15 car loads of local police, sniffer dogs and a helicopter last night - all acting on the tip of a local psychic the couple later referred to as 'mentally unstable'.

Earlier in the day, investigators had found blood and a 'foul odour' at the Hardin house where the 'psychic' woman claimed the dismembered remains of dozens of children were buried.

But while news teams gathered to report the shocking discovery, it emerged the 'odour' was rotting garbage, the blood belonged to a family friend's failed suicide attempt and the 'psychic' tipster was - unsurprisingly - wrong.

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© EPA
Fruitless: Quiet Liberty County became the scene of a huge search before officers abandoned their investigation

Laptop

US: FBI Busts Man Duped In Facebook Ploy

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© unknown
Former wife posed as 17-year-old in online scheme

Embroiled in a contentious child custody fight, an Indiana woman decided last month to pose on Facebook as a comely teenage girl in a bid to surreptitiously extract damaging information from her ex-husband.

The scheme proved so successful, in fact, that FBI agents last Friday arrested Angela Voelkert's former spouse on a felony charge for allegedly installing a listening device in her vehicle, according to court records.

Voelkert's Facebook plot--detailed by FBI Agent Robert Dane in a sworn affidavit filed in U.S. District Court in South Bend--began in late-May when she opened a Facebook account in the name of "Jessica Studebaker."

The purported 17-year-old's profile--which remains online, but locked--includes the photo of "Studebaker" seen at right. The true identity of the girl seen in the photo is unknown, nor is it clear where Voelkert got the image.

Voelkert, 29, used the bogus Facebook profile to "friend" her former husband David, 38. Angela Voelkert then asked a pal to e-mail her former spouse through the Facebook account since she was concerned that he might recognize her "style of writing." Voelkert though, Dane noted, "monitored the emails on 'Jessica Studebaker's' Facebook account."

Cell Phone

US, Pittsburgh: Local High School Teacher Accused Of Sexting Students


A Steel Valley high school teacher is accused of sexting her male students.

Many of the messages 29-year-old Jennifer Smith is accused of sending to students are just too graphic to outline.

Police say she asked the five male students to erase the photos and the messages.

The evidence and accusations are substantial, but her attorney, David S. Shrager, shed no light on her side of the story.

"In terms of talking about what the potential defense is, is premature for me to talk about it," he told reporters. "At this point in time, we've just had an arraignment and a waiver of the preliminary hearing."

Bizarro Earth

Giant rats eat two babies in South Africa townships in separate attacks

Child attacked by Rat

Lunathi Dwadwa, three, was the victim of a giant rat attack

'I can't forget how ugly my child looked after her eyes were ripped out' says dead baby's mother
The rats can grow up to three-foot long


Giant rats as big as cats have killed and eaten two babies in separate attacks in South Africa's squalid townships this week.

Lunathi Dwadwa, three, was killed as she slept in her parent's shack in the Khayelitsha slum outside Cape Town and another girl was killed in Soweto township near Johannesburg the same day.

Little Lunathi was sleeping on a makeshift bed on the floor of her family's breeze block and corrugated iron home on Sunday night when she died. Her puzzled parents didn't even hear her scream.

When her mother discovered her lifeless body, she saw that her daughter's eyes had been gouged out.

Stormtrooper

US Police State: Memory card in mouth saves police shooting video

A police shooting of a man in Miami Beach on Memorial Day was terrifying, but when it was over, officers turned their attention to a man filming the violent scene with his cellphone. They demanded the device, smashed it and probably thought that was that; no video anymore. It was not: Narces Benoit had had the presence of mind to pull the phone's memory card with the video on it from his cellphone and put the card in his mouth.


That action saved the video you see above, showing the police shooting dead a suspect at the end of a chase, and some of what happened to Benoit. It was after the shooting ended that police turned their sights on Benoit, who had been darting behind trees and stop signs, filming with his HTC Evo phone.

At about 1:38 into the video, we see and hear a police officer turn to Benoit and shout: "Gimme the phone now!"

Dollar

Bank Not Responsible for Letting Hackers Steal $300K from Customer

A judge in Maine has ruled that a bank that allowed hackers to steal more than $300,000 from a customer's online account isn't responsible for the lost money, saying the customer should have done more to protect the account credentials.

Magistrate Judge John Rich sided with Ocean Bank in recommending that the U.S. District Court in Maine grant the bank's motions for a summary dismissal of a complaint filed by Patco Construction Company. The ruling was reported Monday by BankInfoSecurity.

The case raises questions about how much security banks and other financial institutions should be reasonably required to provide commercial customers and could set a precedent for liability in circumstances where customer systems are hacked and banking credentials are stolen. Small and medium-sized businesses around the U.S. have lost hundreds of millions of dollars in recent years to such activity, known as fraudulent ACH (Automated Clearing House) transfers.

Bizarro Earth

US: Random Attacks Cause Concern in Chicago

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© Stacey Wescott, Chicago Tribune
Portrait of Krzysztof Wilkowski outside his home in a Northwest suburb of Chicago on Monday. Wilkowski was one of the men mugged by a mob of teens this weekend near the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.
Mob attacks create a sensitive issue for city officials eager to boost tourism and convention business

No one was seriously hurt in the flurry of five random attacks by a mob of young men on Chicago's lakefront over the weekend.

But the feeling among many visitors and residents that the popular Near North Side stretch where the attacks occurred is safe for strolling on a summer night may have taken a hit.

"I think it reflects badly on Chicago," said Dr. Jack Singer, 68, a Seattle oncologist who was one of two victims in town for a convention of cancer specialists at McCormick Place. "I've been coming to the convention every year, and this is the first time I've felt threatened downtown."

The outbreak of random violence along a busy stretch of Chicago Avenue and the lakefront creates a sensitive issue for city officials eager to boost tourism and convention business.

"No matter what, we have to remember this isn't just about downtown residents, but our tourism economy," said Ald. Brendan Reilly, whose 42nd Ward encompasses most of the downtown business district. "Perception is reality in tourism world. There are economic consequences if people think downtown isn't safe."

X

Texas, US: Mystery surrounds death of Aryan Brotherhood boss

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© (Texas Department of Criminal Justice
Frank E. Roch Jr., 54, was found dead in his truck beside Highway 59 the night of May 19.
The death of Frank E. Roch jnr has been a mystery for US police from the moment Houston officers found the heavily tattooed man dying slumped in his pick-up truck that had crashed beside a Houston freeway.

First, there were all of the different identification cards he had on and around him - so many, in fact, that investigators had trouble identifying him. Indeed, it would be hours before they learnt the man had headed the largest faction of one of Texas's most infamous criminal gangs.

Roch, 54, commanded about 1500 members of the white-supremacist Aryan Brotherhood of Texas inside prisons and outside, investigators said.