Society's ChildS

Pills

Murder by Breastfeeding? 8-month-old died of fatal cocktail of prescription medications, court documents reveal

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© Lezlie SterlingSarah Ann Stephens is arraigned Friday at the Sacramento County jail. She is accused of giving her baby drugs through her breast milk.
Baby Ryder was 8 months old when he overdosed on Xanax, methadone and the painkiller Opana - a fatal cocktail knowingly administered to him through his mother's breast milk, according to police allegations detailed in Sacramento County court documents.

Ryder Salmen died in September, five months after Sarah Ann Stephens had been warned to stop breastfeeding because of high levels of methadone found in her baby's bloodstream, according to court documents.

Stephens, 32, was charged with murder and two felony counts of child endangerment when she appeared before a Sacramento Superior Court judge Friday. She did not enter a plea and is scheduled to appear in court again Aug. 30.

Her privately retained attorney, Michael Sganga, did not return a phone call seeking comment Friday.

Snakes in Suits

Feds move to terminate Nevada psychiatric hospital's Medicare funds

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© Sacramento Bee photograph by Phillip ReeseThe Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas on May 2, 2013

A federal agency is moving to terminate Medicare funding for Nevada's embattled state psychiatric hospital, which has been under fire for sending hundreds of patients on buses to states across the nation for the past five years.

In a letter to state health officials issued late Friday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said that recent surveys of Las Vegas' Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital have concluded that it is not in compliance with certain conditions required to receive payment for patients covered by Medicare.

As a result, "we are initiating a process which could result in termination of the hospital's Medicare provider agreement," said the letter.

Display

Loophole shows that, yes, NSA has 'authority' to spy on americans - directly in contrast with public statements

Right, so remember that claim yesterday from Barack Obama about how there is no domestic surveillance program? And remember in our post we noted that such a statement might come back to bite him, seeing that Snowden had leaked somewhere between 15,000 to 20,000 more documents to Glenn Greenwald and somewhere in there, it seemed like there was a decent chance there was evidence that Obama was lying? Right, so, funny story... this morning, James Ball and Spencer Ackerman over at the Guardian have published the details of a neat little loophole that does, in fact, give the NSA "authority" to run searches on Americans without any kind of warrant. This is due to a "rule change" in 2011.

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Bizarro Earth

'Evil' seagulls held us hostage

Jim and Penny Freeman
© Jerome EllerbyLiving in Fear: Jim Fudge and Penny Freeman in their garden in Bridlington.
A brother and sister say they were too scared to leave their home because of "evil" seagulls.

Penny Freeman, 69, and her brother, Jim Fudge, 67, claim they could not leave their Bridlington home for four days due to two aggressive seagulls guarding their chick. Mrs Freeman, of Vernon Road, said: "I was held hostage in the house, too afraid to go out for four days.

"It was absolutely terrifying for us. I felt like a prisoner in my own home."

The seagulls' chick had fallen into Mrs Freeman's garden from their nest on her roof. She says they would squawk and behave aggressively whenever she or her brother stepped into the garden.

USA

Americans giving up passports jump sixfold as tougher rules loom

US Passport
© Victor J. Blue/BloombergThe stamps in a U.S. passport are displayed for a photograph in New York.

Americans renouncing U.S. citizenship surged sixfold in the second quarter from a year earlier as the government prepares to introduce tougher asset-disclosure rules.

Expatriates giving up their nationality at U.S. embassies climbed to 1,131 in the three months through June from 189 in the year-earlier period, according to Federal Register figures published today. That brought the first-half total to 1,810 compared with 235 for the whole of 2008.

The U.S., the only nation in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development that taxes citizens wherever they reside, is searching for tax cheats in offshore centers, including Switzerland, as the government tries to curb the budget deficit. Shunned by Swiss and German banks and facing tougher asset-disclosure rules under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (Fatca), more of the estimated 6 million Americans living overseas are weighing the cost of holding a U.S. passport.

"With the looming deadline for Fatca, more and more U.S. citizens are becoming aware that they have U.S. tax reporting obligations," said Matthew Ledvina, a U.S. tax lawyer at Anaford AG in Zurich. "Once aware, they decide to renounce their U.S. citizenship."

Fatca requires foreign financial institutions to report to the Internal Revenue Service information about financial accounts held by U.S. taxpayers, or held by foreign entities in which U.S. taxpayers hold a substantial ownership interest. It was estimated to generate $8.7 billion over 10 years, according to the congressional Joint Committee on Taxation.

Arrow Down

Chinese doctor detained over baby trafficking

Beijing - Local authorities have detained nine people, including an obstetrician, on suspicion of baby trafficking at a hospital in northwestern China, state media reported.

Three government officials and three hospital managers at Fuping County Maternal and Child Health Care in Shaanxi province were also fired over the baby trafficking scandal, the official Xinhua News Agency reported late Friday.

Among the detained suspects is Zhang Shuxia, an obstetrician at the hospital who abducted newborns by sometimes falsely claiming the infants were born with congenital problems, it said. Xinhua said police had received 55 reports of child abductions and that Zhang allegedly was involved in 26 of them.

It said police had rescued twin baby girls and located a third child, all taken from the Fuping hospital.

Despite severe legal punishments, including the death penalty, child trafficking is a big problem in China. It is very profitable for the traffickers, and demand is strong, driven partly by the traditional preference for male heirs, a strict one-child policy and ignorance of the law.

Source: Associated Press

Hiliter

Best of the Web: DOT officials trying to stop 9/11 graffiti on bridges, overpasses

Some graffiti popping up on highways has a lot of people talking, and the state isn't too happy about how a group of vandals are trying to get their message across.


Handcuffs

Cops out of control in America: Shocking surveillance video captures cop brutally beating female shoplifter


An Iowa mother is being advised by a civil rights organization after surveillance video recently emerged of her being viciously beaten by a police officer, apparently without provocation.

Brandie Redell admits that she was trying to shoplift around $388 of women's clothing from the Von Maur department store in Davenport on February .

Yet when she was caught and questioned by police she says that Officer Scott Crow repeatedly punched her, leaving her hospitalized with an eye swollen shut and vision that is now 70 per cent impaired. Crow remains in his job and Redell is planning legal action.

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Damage: The punches left Redell needing hospital treatment and she says permanent impairment to her vision

Hourglass

Americans renouncing citizenship surge 66%

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A massive 1,131 individuals renounced their US citizenship last quarter, according to data that has yet to be officially released (though I was able to procure an advanced copy).

This is a HUGE jump.

Compared to the same quarter last year in which 188 people renounced their US citizenship, this year's number is over SIX TIMES higher.

Not to mention, it's 66.5% higher than last quarter's 679 renunciations.

This brings the total number of renunciations so far this year to 1,810.

While still embryonic, it's difficult to ignore this trend - more and more people are starting to renounce their US citizenship.

Apple Red

Signal Mountain's mystery bowl of fruit piques drivers' interest

Bowl of Fruit
© John RawlstonA bowl of fruit and dried beans rests atop a rock alongside Signal Mountain Boulevard.
Alert: An abandoned bowl of apples and oranges has been found on the edge of the highway coming down from Signal Mountain.

If you know the owner or why the fruit is sitting so neatly inside a wok perched precariously high on a rock between the two-laned road and a deadly drop of several hundred feet to the Tennessee River below, please reveal yourself.

Were they left for the birds? Was it a teenage prank? Or some kind of cult sacrifice? Was it left by a bargainer shopping at the world's longest yard sale?

Just spill the beans. The mystery is maddening for some mountaintop residents.

Sure, there are more important things to fret about than fruit. But you have to understand: On Signal Mountain, people usually know what's going on. And they know it fast.

"Nobody knows how it got there," said Pam Morrison, who lives in Walden. "A lot of people have seen it and nobody knows anything about it."