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Food prices jump to six-month high as dairy costs rise

World food prices rose in September to the highest in six months as dairy and meat producers passed on higher feed costs to consumers, the United Nations' Food & Agriculture Organization said.

An index of 55 food items tracked by the FAO rose to 215.8 points from a restated 212.8 points in August, the Rome-based agency reported on its website today. Dairy costs jumped the most in more than two years.

Livestock breeders and dairy farmers are passing on the higher cost of feed, after grain prices jumped in June and July, according to Abdolreza Abbassian, an economist at the FAO in the Italian capital. Higher prices don't mean a food crisis is imminent, he said today by phone.

"Despite a very difficult market, the fundamentals that suggest a food crisis are just not there," Abbassian said. "Market sentiment is now accepting high prices more as a rule than as an exception."


World food prices near crisis levels


Food protest in Mexico in 2008
Prices driven higher by US drought along with production problems in Russia and other exporting countries

World food prices rose in September and are moving nearer to levels reached during the 2008 food crisis.

The United Nations food agency reported on Thursday that the worst drought in more than 50 years in the United States had sent corn and soybean prices to record highs over the summer, and, coupled with drought in Russia and other Black Sea exporting countries, raised fears of a renewed crisis.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation's (FAO) price index, which measures monthly price changes for a food basket of cereals, oilseeds, dairy, meat and sugar, rose 1.4% in September, mainly due to higher dairy and meat prices.

"It's highly unlikely we will see a normalisation of prices anytime soon," said FAO senior economist Abdolreza Abbassian.


U.S. indicts 11 in alleged technology theft for Russia

© David J. Phillip/Associated Press
The FBI and Houston police at work outside Arc Electronics Inc. in Houston. The strip mall business was allegedly used to send sensitive U.S. technology to the Russian government.
Radar, surveillance and weapons technology was reportedly sent through a business in a Houston strip mall.

Houston, Texas - Eleven alleged members of a clandestine procurement network have been indicted in connection with what prosecutors say was a $50-million conspiracy designed "to steal American technologies for the Russian government."

The grand jury indictment was unsealed Wednesday in federal court in Brooklyn, N.Y., but many of the defendants were arrested in Texas. One, Alexander Posobilov, appeared before a U.S. magistrate in Houston as prosecutors began seeking defendants' transfers to Brooklyn for trial.

Federal prosecutors said the ringleader is Alexander Fishenko, 46, the owner of U.S. and Russian companies. He immigrated to this country in 1994 and became a U.S. citizen nine years later. He is accused of acting as an unregistered agent "on behalf of the Russian government" to oversee shipments to Russia of radar and surveillance systems, weapons guidance systems and detonation triggers.

"These microelectronics had applications in a wide range of military systems, including radar and surveillance systems, weapons targeting systems and detonation triggers," the indictment says. Prosecutors say the equipment wound up with Russia's domestic intelligence agency, the Federal Security Service.

Much of the equipment is unavailable in Russia, and it is illegal to ship it out of this country. The crime can draw more than 20 years in prison.

Black Cat

Seventh-grader beat up on bus while classmates film video instead of helping him

© nydailynews.com
Seventh-grader Parker Brockman was recently beat up on a bus while returning home from Sunrise Middle School in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Instead of helping Brockman, other kids on the bus started recording the attack by two brothers, reports the NY Daily News.

Brockman told KNXV-TV that one of the brothers "was insulting me, cussing at me, saying 'hit me.' He was literally telling me to punch him the whole time. After a while I swung a few punches."

After goading him into a fight, the unidentified brothers started hitting him.

Brockman said: "They were basically on top of me trying to punch my face."

Finally, the bus driver stopped the vehicle and broke up the fight.


Senator calls for undercover investigation of TSA theft

Reacting to an ABC News investigation into theft by Transportation Security Administration officers, Senator Charles Schumer (D-New York) today called on the agency to do random sting operations on its employees "to test whether TSA agents are acting in a trustworthy manner to protect passenger property."

Schumer's request came in a letter to TSA head John Pistole and also proposed that the TSA randomly screen its employees at the end of the work day.

"Most TSA agents are very good, hard-working and conscientious, but there are a few bad apples that spoil the bunch," Schumer told ABC News today. "We have to find them."

Last week an ABC News investigation revealed that 381 TSA officers have been fired since the TSA was formed a decade ago for allegedly stealing from passengers. As part of the investigation, ABC News tracked an iPad that was purposefully left behind at an airport security checkpoint to the home of a TSA agent who was later fired for the alleged theft.

Another former TSA employee, Pythias Brown, served three years in prison for theft and said he stole approximately $800,000 worth of cash and merchandise from travelers before he was caught.

"It was very commonplace, very," Brown told ABC News. "It was very convenient to steal... [TSA agents] didn't think it was okay, but they did it and said, 'I don't care. They ain't paying me. They're treating me wrong.' But when people started seeing they could profit off of it, then it became massive."

Heart - Black

Connecticut court sets accused rapist free, says handicapped victim did not resist

A Connecticut court has set an accused rapist free, saying there wasn't sufficient evidence to prove that his severely disabled victim resisted the attack, reports say.

According to NBC, Richard Fourtin Jr. was found guilty in 2008 of sexually assaulting a woman who has severe cerebral palsy.

His victim, who was 26 at the time of the assault, reportedly cannot speak and has little body movement. The Connecticut Post notes the woman, known in court by her initials L.K., "is so physically restricted that she is able to make motions only with her right index finger."

She also is said to have the "intellectual functional equivalent of a 3-year-old," NBC Connecticut notes.

Fourtin, 28, was convicted of attempted sexual assault and sentenced to six years in prison.

However, in a 4-3 ruling on Tuesday, the state Supreme Court overturned the conviction, saying there isn't enough evidence to prove victim resisted Fourtin's advances.


Police Brutality: Police union defends Philadelphia cop who punched woman

A police union is coming to the defense of the Philadelphia cop who has been targeted for dismissal after he was caught on video punching a woman in the face.

It was originally announced that Lt. Jonathan Josey would be suspended for a month pending an Internal Affairs investigation. But less than two days later, Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said he was taking "Commissioner's Direct Action" against Josey and that the officer would be dismissed.

A video posted on YouTube shows Josey punching a woman in the face and knocking her to the ground before she is led off bloodied and handcuffed.

The Fraternal Order of Police in Philadelphia is angered with the decision and how quickly it was made.

"I think it stinks," John McNesby, president of the Fraternal Order of Police in Philadelphia, told ABC News' Philadelphia station WPVI. "It sends a bad message to the police out there on the streets."

The Fraternal Order of Police is a U.S. labor union made up of law enforcement officers.


Top 10 astonishing U.S. police brutality videos caught on surveillance cameras

© ThisCantBeHappening
We saw NYPD brutality against Occupy, but there is much more
The internet is full of videos exposing police officers' use of excessive physical force when trying to apprehend or detain "potential criminals". Every year in fact there seems to be an increase in YouTube video uploads, video views, and news stories depicting this type of injustice.

Much of this increase is due to the rising number of security cameras, which allow us to witness events that otherwise may have never been publicized at all, and to the widespread use of cellphones, which almost all have video capability.

All these videocams mean police now face added transparency and accountability (where before we only had "internal" accountability... which typically has meant a slap on the wrist).

As it so happens, I work with a security camera company called 2MCCTV, so I thought it fitting to increase awareness of police brutality by showcasing videos that happened to be captured from security cameras (not from our own cameras from around the country). There would be too many to choose from if we included other countries --especially were I to include China, South Africa, Brazil, etc., as they house some of the most brutal police forces on the planet. The secondary reason for limiting this to American footage is because I think many people mistakenly still believe that the US is the one place where police brutality is not an issue, or at least not prevalent.

This top 10 list is controversial, and not for the faint of heart. These unnerving videos include police officers and their unwarranted BEAT-DOWNS of the following: a special-ed kid, a grandmother trying to pay her bills at a Hooters, a homeless man with schizophrenia, and a woman already handcuffed and at the police station who had just gotten in a car wreck (no alcohol involved)... to name a few. Do these cops truly believe they are above the law? You decide:

Cloud Lightning

Met Office threatened with legal action over 'pessimistic' forecasts

Weather Forecast
© APS Blog
A tourist attraction boss in the UK says he is considering legal action against the Met Office after "a series of overly pessimistic" forecasts he says are threatening to bring the tourist industry to its knees.

Rick Turner, who runs The Big Sheep animal attraction in north Devon in southwest England, said he had contacted lawyers with a view to possibly suing the Exeter-based Met Office for damages.

"My issue is about the medium-term forecasts the Met Office have been doing always being incredibly pessimistic," Mr Turner said.

"Over the August bank holiday weekend, I remember they forecast a whole weekend of rain with heavy rain on the Saturday. We did not have a drop and were enjoying sunshine and blue sky all day.

"This will have cost the tourism industry here in the South West millions of pounds and my business thousands.

"I have been seeking legal advice and am looking to get a group of other tourism businesses to go with me in taking a group action against the Met Office for losses incurred as a result of their pessimistic forecasting."

The UK has endured one of the worst summers on record, and the wettest for more than 100 years, with many days blighted by downpours.


The Kissing Sailor, or "The Selective Blindness of Rape Culture"

Most of us are familiar with this picture. Captured in Times Square on V-J Day, 1945, it has become one of the most iconic photographs of American history, symbolizing the jubilation and exuberance felt throughout the country at the end of World War II.

For a long time, the identity of the pair remained a mystery. It certainly looks passionate and romantic enough, with many speculating that they were a couple - a sailor and a nurse, celebrating and sharing their joy. This year, however, historians have finally confirmed that the woman is Greta Zimmer Friedman, a dental nurse at the time, and George Mendonsa, a sailor.