Society's ChildS


Iraq's First New Church Opens Under US Occupation

© unknownThe Mar Bulos (Saint Paul's) church stands in Kirkuk. Mar Bulos, which opened on Friday in a poor Christian neighbourhood of the northern city, is Iraq's first new church since the 2003 US-led invasion.
Iraq's first new church under the US occupation opened its doors in the northern city of Kirkuk, the region's Chaldean archbishop told AFP.

The opening of Saint Paul's Church comes despite a deep decline in the number of Christians in Iraq; last All Hallows Eve, Al-Qaeda assaulted a Syriac Catholic church in Baghdad, killing 44 worshippers, two priests and seven Iraqi security officers. As a result, many Christians have fled the capital.

Before the 2003 US assault that toppled Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, the number of Iraqi Christians went from an estimated one million to less than half that number; the remaining Christians now live in Kirkuk, Mosul and Iraq's Kurdistan region.

During St. Paul's opening ceremony, Louis Sako, Chaldean Archbishop of the northern province of Sulaimaniyah and Kirkuk, said Christians and Muslims still need one another.


Greece set to default on massive debt burden, European leaders concede

© Orestis Panagiotou/EPAGreece is likely to default on its massive debt burden, European leaders have conceded. Greek indignados participate in the people's general assemply in central Syntagma square in Athens.
Bailout fund may be used to buy back Greek debt, markets in turmoil amid escalating anxiety

European leaders bowed to the inevitable and conceded that Greece is likely to default on its massive debt burden, which would be a first among the 17 countries using the euro.

They also abruptly shifted tack in the eurozone debt crisis by raising the possibility of using the eurozone's bailout fund to buy back Greek debt on the markets, meaning sizeable losses for Greece's private investors and reduced debt levels for Athens.

Following 12 hours of fraught negotiations in Brussels haunted by the risks of contagion in the eurozone spreading to Italy, now being targeted by the financial markets for the first time in the 18-month crisis, the 17 governments of the eurozone pointedly failed to rule out a sovereign debt default by Greece.

Comment: At last the Eurocrats are beginning to get towards the root of the fiscal crisis. It is entirely manufactured and it is designed to maintain the US dollar's pre-eminence as the world's reserve currency for as long as such tactics can hold out.

Greece has debts measured in the billions, the US has debt measured in the TRILLIONS... which economy, if it were to default, do we really think would cause systemic rupture?

Bizarro Earth

Northern Ireland: Night of violence casts a shadow over the Twelfth

© Jonathan Porter/ PressEye.comBelfast - Northern Ireland - 10th July 2011 - Overnight trouble in Ballyclare between loyalist rioters and the PSNI. The trouble started late on Saturday night and continued into Sunday morning with a number of vehicles being highjacked and burnt out. Burnt out cars pictured in the Grange Estate off the Doagh Road where most of the trouble occurred.
Six police officers injured and cars burnt out after a bust-up over flags explodes into riots and thuggery

A dark shadow hangs over the beginning of the Twelfth period today after serious violence engulfed a number of towns across Northern Ireland.

Fears of further rioting were high after simmering tensions erupted into ugly scenes in Ballyclare, Carrickfergus and Newtownabbey in a row sparked by flags.

Crisis talks were held between politicians, police and loyalist representatives yesterday in a bid to quell fears of more trouble in Co Antrim.

The severe disruption started in Ballyclare on Saturday night before spreading to other towns, leaving six police officers injured and several vehicles hijacked and burnt out.

Violence broke out in the Doagh Road and Grange Estate areas of the town at 11.30pm on Saturday, when it is understood between 70 and 100 loyalists protested after officers removed flags.

During the worst of the disturbances, officers came under fire with petrol bombs and missiles in the early hours of yesterday.


General Accounting Office: Pentagon Center for Brain Injuries Failing Vets

The investigative arm of Congress has released a report saying that the Pentagon center for research about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and other traumatic brain injuries is so dysfunctional that it hasn't carried out its mission.

A recent Government Accountability Office report on the Defense Centers for Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCOE) said that the center has been unable to define and justify its mission before Congress, making it hard to allocate funding for the center. Data showing the DCOE's findings and progress aren't readily available to Congress, making it that much harder for members to understand the center.

"[DCOE was] not able to explain to us in any clarity what they're about, what they intend to do in the future, how much it's going to cost and what value will come out of that spending," Denise Fantone, a GAO director who helped supervise the investigation, told NPR.

Comment: To learn more about the many cases of undiagnosed and untreated PTSD in veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and how the military is ultimately failing wounded vets read the following articles:

More Than 60,000 Iraq, Afghanistan Vets Diagnosed With PTSD
Epidemic: Over 400,000 Traumatic Brain Injuries for Vets Coming from Iraq and Afghanistan
Traumatic Brain Injuries Linked to Long-Term Health Issues for Iraq Vets
Soldiers' Traumatic Brain Injuries Cause Dementia, Aggression, Depression and Relationship Problems

Heart - Black

US: Woman 'sacked for having grey hair'

 Sandra Rawline
© Houston Chronicle/APSandra Rawline with her lawyer Robert Dowdy.

Employee sues for discrimination claiming she was fired over her refusal to dye her silver locks

Sandra Rawline's hair turned grey when she was in her early 20s. She stuck with it, proudly displaying her shoulder-length locks with their natural silver streaks. "This is who I am," she said.

But it seems that who she was, when it comes to grey hair in the workplace, was not satisfactory to her Texan employer. In August 2009 her boss approached her and told her to confect a more "upscale image" to go with her real estate firm's move from the Houston outskirts into a central commercial area.


Propaganda! UK Terror threat is down but attack could occur at any moment says Home Secretary

threat level
© flickr/billypalooza
Britain has lowered the threat level from international terrorism less than a year after the last attempted attack.

The level has been reduced from "severe," meaning an attack in highly likely, to "substantial" meaning an attack is a strong possibility, but the Home Secretary stressed that a terrorist attack might occur without further warning.

The threat, which is at the third level of a five point scale, is now at the same level as the threat from Irish terrorism on mainland Britain.

Theresa May, the Home Secretary, said: "This means that a terrorist attack is a strong possibility and might well occur without further warning.

"The change in the threat level to substantial does not mean the overall threat has gone away - there remains a real and serious threat against the United Kingdom and I would ask the public to remain vigilant."

The decision to change the threat level is taken by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre, part of MI5, independently of ministers and is based on the latest intelligence.

Che Guevara

Thousands camp out in major Egyptian cities

Tens of thousands of angry protesters have camped in city squares across Egypt, calling for the sacking of the former regime's remnants, including the head of Egypt's Military Council.

Tents set up in Cairo, Alexandria, Suez as well as several smaller cities, remained in place on Sunday.

The demonstrators blocked traffic and formed picket lines outside the government complexes in central Cairo on Sunday.

"We managed to convince many of the employees not to go to work," AFP quoted a human rights activist as saying.

They have launched an open strike in Cairo and other big cities, threatening to escalate their protests unless their demands are met.

The protesters are demanding public trials for ousted president Hosni Mubarak and those behind the killing of hundreds of protesters during the revolution.

Star of David

Tunisians protest prospect of Israel ties

Protesters demonstrate against Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali in Tunis in January 2011
Hundreds of people have taken to the streets of the Tunisian capital calling on their government to refrain from establishing diplomatic ties with Israel.

"Death to all Tunisians attempting to normalize relations with Israel,"..."We will denounce them and publish their names," AFP quoted Ahmed Kahlaoui, who chairs a committee opposing the normalization of ties between the countries.

Earlier this month, the authority in charge of political reform following the ouster of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, adopted a "republican pact" meant to form the basis of a new constitution.

The pact rules out the normalization of ties with Israel but some of the body's members reportedly preferred to exclude the issue from the document.

Sunday's demonstrators say they can no longer trust the current government and threatened to oust leaders who support the normalization of ties with Israel.


Romance Novels Bad For Women's Health and Psyche, Psychologist Says

Romance Novels
© Live Science

Romance novels can be a bad influence on women and lead them to make poor health and relationship decisions, says a British psychologist.

The novels give women unrealistic views about what to expect out of a relationship because they, well, romanticize love, said Susan Quilliam, a relationship psychologist based in Cambridge.

"They offer an idealized version of romance, which can make some women feel bad about themselves because their relationships aren't perfect," Quilliam said.

And in some cases, they might lead women to make poor health decisions, including not to use a condom during sex - a scenario often portrayed in the novels.

However, Quilliam stressed, she is not saying women are gullible and don't understand the difference between fiction and reality. Nor is she saying there is no place for romance novels in our culture.

But the novels add to an underlying view in society that in women, emotions and passions trump reason and solid decision-making, Quilliam said. Women should not try to follow their emotions at all costs, but instead balance them with reason.

"The thing that's going to make relationships last is a mix of romance and common sense," Quilliam said.

Quilliam wrote about her views in the July issue of the Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care.


US: Oak Park, Michigan Resident Julie Bass Faces 93 Days In Jail For Vegetable Garden

© UnknownOak Park, Mich., resident Julie Bass faces misdemeanor charges for refusing to remove a garden from her front yard.
This isn't your typical, garden-variety crime.

After a warning, a ticket and now a misdemeanor charge, an Oak Park, Mich., woman faces up to 93 days in jail for refusing to remove a vegetable crop from her front lawn.

Julie Bass says that she thought it would be "really cool" for the neighbors and kids to see a frontyard garden, but some community members don't appreciate the vegetable plot.

"I think it's sad that the City of Oak Park that's already strapped for cash is paying a lot of money to have a prosecutor bothering us," she told My Fox Detroit.

Bass has since started a blog -- Oak Park Hates Veggies -- to chronicle her battle with the authorities.

"We now find ourselves in a storm of controversy worthy of some high level mischief. Seriously?" she wrote in an entry. "It's a GARDEN. It's not a high crime or treason or murder. IT'S VEGETABLES. And yes, we did throw in a few flowers."