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Heart - Black

Japan's disturbing child porn addiction

japan sex shop
© Alamy
A sex shop in the Kabukicho red light area of Tokyo
A nation that openly sexualises youngsters has become the world hub for a dark, booming industry. Now police have decided to tackle the culture of abuse.

It was a shocking find: crudely made DVDs with images of grown men having sex with children as young as 12. Until this year, the men who bought those images faced little more than a slap on the wrist. But police in Kyoto, Japan's ancient capital, decided for the first time during the summer to pursue criminal charges against three male customers in a country widely seen as much too lenient on child pornography.

The police campaign is largely the work of Kyoto's prefectural Governor, Keiji Yamada. During his fight for office two years ago, Mr Yamada pledged to roll out an ordinance banning the buying and possession of child porn - still legal under Japanese law, unless there is proven intent to sell or distribute. Even if the makers are arrested, the images circulate for years on the internet and in secondary markets.


A second Greek man has been found dead since the emergence of 'The Lagarde List'

© flickr / MEDEF
Christine Lagarde
The so-called "Lagarde List" - the name given by the Greek press to a list containing 1,991 names of wealthy, Swiss-bank-account-possessing Greeks who are being investigated for corruption and tax evasion - is causing a major stir in Greece right now.

Since Friday, two men suspected to be on the list have turned up dead in apparent suicides.

Here is what has happened in the past few days.

Last Tuesday, October 3, the "Lagarde List" was passed to Greek prime minister Antonis Samaras from PASOK party leader and former finance minister Evangelos Venizelos.

Apparently, it had been "missing," according to a Financial Times article from a few days prior, and current finance minister Yannis Stournaras had vowed to track it too.


Zombie bees today -- Are zombie people next?

Zombie Bees
© Unknown
Sounds like a science fiction horror story, but it is what is happening. Today, I heard about Zombie Bees being found now in Washington State, and a new swarm sighted in British Columbia. What?

It is thought these bees are infected with a parasitic fly causing them to erratically fly at night until death. An adult fly infects the bees by injecting eggs into the bee's body. The bee is eaten from the inside as the maggots hatch. Zombie bees have been confirmed in Oregon, Washington state, California, South Dakota, British Columbia, and were first discovered in 2008.1 There's even a website called Zombeewatch.org.

The 'colony collapse disorder' that is also killing bees might be related, but it is not known yet. Bees are vital for pollination, and sustainable agriculture. It is thought that pesticides might play a role in the declining bee population.2 According to Steve Sheppard, Washington State University chairman of the entomology department, his research has shown that chemical accumulation shortens the insect's lives. Pesticides once again may be creating more damage than intended.

Arrow Down

Mother reunited with baby stolen from womb

Stolen Baby
© Medical Daily
A young mother who had her unborn child stolen from her womb has now been reunited with her baby.

Brazilian Odete Barreto, 22, was 37 weeks pregnant when her friend, Daiana dos Santos, 21, lured her to her house with the promise of free baby clothes. However, once Barreto was inside the house, Santos knocked her out by hitting her over the head with a wooden plank and then used a razor blade to slice open Barreto's belly before tearing out the baby and leaving the mother for dead.

Santos took the baby into the street and claimed that it was hers. Shocked neighbors had rushed inside the house and found Barreto in a pool of blood and frantically called emergency services. She was then rushed to the hospital where she stayed for 15 days in intensive care in Manaus, Brazil.

Authorities said that Santos became desperate when doctors told her on September 27 that she wasn't pregnant as she had believed. Santos had met Barreto at the same health clinic where she had been given the bad news and convinced her victim to come back to her house.

"Doctors told her that she wasn't pregnant but that her bump was actually a myoma," Police Chief Adriano Feliz said, according to The Sun. Santos became hysterical and wanted to get a child any way she could.

"She was terrified that her husband would leave her when he discovered she wasn't expecting after all," Feliz said.

Barreto saw her baby for the first time on Wednesday when they were both released from the hospital and Santos is now in isolation in Manaus' Anisio Jobin women's prison. Santos is being charged with attempted murder.

Black Magic

Zimbabwe: Govt will not protect people who use witchcraft

© Clerical Whispers
Government will not protect people who use witchcraft and other supernatural powers to harm others, a Cabinet Minister has said. Justice and Legal Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa said any person who could provide evidence to show that one was a witch could escape criminal prosecution.

The minister said this yesterday in the Senate while responding to inquiries from Mutasa-Nyanga Senator Patrick Chitaka (MDC-T) who had asked why the Government was not repealing the Witchcraft and Suppression Act considering that the practice was rampant in the African culture.

The question was posed when Minister Chinamasa was steering for the ratification of a Swakopmund Protocol that seeks to protect traditional knowledge and medicine.

The minister said the Witchcraft and Suppression Act was repealed a long time ago and replaced by the Criminal Codification and Reform Act.

"Clearly if you point out that someone was a witch, it is defamatory.

"But if you can prove it that someone was found with a human hand that is enough proof," he said.

"If you can open a grave and eat its contents, that's enough proof."

Minister Chinamasa said witchcraft allegations have in the past divided families.

Hardworking and wealthier families, he said, have usually been the target of such allegations.

The usual allegations, he said, were that these wealthier families were using poor families to work in their fields at night.

"If you can prove that, then it is witchcraft.

Heart - Black

America's official child abuse: Kids in jail routinely subjected to solitary confinement

jail cell bars
© Vincent O'Byrne/Alamy
One teen who participated in the Human Rights watch report wrote that being in isolation felt like 'a slow death from the inside out'.
Thousands of teenagers, some as young as 14 or 15, are routinely subjected by US prisons to this psychological torture

Molly J said of her time in solitary confinement:
"[I felt] doomed, like I was being banished ... Like you have the plague or that you are the worst thing on earth. Like you are set apart [from] everything else. I guess [I wanted to] feel like I was part of the human race - not like some animal."
Molly was just 16 years old when she was placed in isolation in an adult jail in Michigan. She described her cell as being "a box":
"There was a bed - the slab. It was concrete ... There was a stainless steel toilet/sink combo ... The door was solid, without a food slot or window ... There was no window at all."
Molly remained in solitary for several months, locked down alone in her cell for at least 22 hours a day.

No other nation in the developed world routinely tortures its children in this manner. And torture is indeed the word brought to mind by a shocking report released today by Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union. Growing Up Locked Down documents, for the first time, the widespread use of solitary confinement on youth under the age of 18 in prisons and jails across the country, and the deep and permanent harm it causes to kids caught up in the adult criminal justice system.

Comment: Yet nothing will happen - polls show that a majority of the American public now accept and support the use of torture. A society dehumanized to such a point, cheered on by authoritarians and their followers, will willingly accept measures that inflict pain and suffering on the 'others' without giving it a second thought.

Murder by drone without trail or the need to produce any evidence, routine killing of civilians as 'acceptable losses', isolation and torture of children at home, and the highest prison population anywhere on the planet. All are accepted without a word of protest from the majority in the U.S.


Study: 41% of Americans have been arrested by the time they're 23

"Those are alarmingly high numbers. There are social, economic, educational and family risks associated with arrests. And we all have to be worried about that."
~Dr. Eugene Beresin, a child psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital and professor at Harvard Medical School.


Police Brutality: Police beat Puerto Rican woman in Philadelphia

© Workers World/Joseph Piette
With only two days of organizing, close to 100 people rallied in front of the Philadelphia City Hall on Oct. 5 to protest police brutality against the Puerto Rican community.

The attack occurred on Sept. 30, during a celebration in the community at the end of the Puerto Rican Day Parade. The parade itself was held on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, in an area near the Philadelphia Museum of Art, far from North Philadelphia's Puerto Rican community, but close to a community where gentrification displaced hundreds of Puerto Rican families in the early 1980s.

In a video that went viral, taken by Gisela Valentín, a cop is shown hitting Aida Guzmán in the face and in the back of her head, so hard that she fell to the ground. Several other police were surrounding the area while she was being hit, preventing anyone from getting through and allowing the attack to continue. Adding insult to injury, Guzmán, bleeding from the injury, was then handcuffed and arrested on charges of disorderly conduct. The case against her was eventually dropped.

This act of police brutality against a woman has outraged many in the city and particularly Puerto Rican women, who complained about the silence from city public figures and elected officials. Only one, Puerto Rican Councilperson María Quiñones, complained about the attack and demanded an investigation. It took several days and several views of the video, which showed that Guzmán did nothing to provoke the attack, for the police commissioner and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter to issue a statement. Had it not been for the video, the attack would have been ignored completely. It wasn't until Oct.5 that Nutter offered an apology to Guzmán.


Father whose daughter died at Narconon shocked by Scientology belief

Stacy Murphy
© Russell Mills
Tulsa, Oklahoma - An Owasso man whose daughter died of an apparent drug overdose while at a drug treatment facility says he wants the place fixed or shut down and he wants the world to know about its roots in the Church of Scientology and what that organization's beliefs entail.

Robert Murphy's daughter, Stacy Dawn Murphy, died at Narconon Arrowhead July 19.

The facility claims it has medical personnel "on staff" 24 hours a day but what they don't say is that "on staff" does not mean "on site," Murphy says.

"You believe they have a 24-hour physician in the building and all these nurses in the building, (that's) what you hear when they say they have a 24-hour staff. Well in actuality they have'em on staff, but they're not in the premises," he says.

Murphy's death is listed as "unattended," which would back up Robert Murphy's contention that his daughter was left in a room alone where she passed away from what appears to have been a drug overdose.

The "on staff" medical personnel were apparently never notified.

"They had her for ten-plus hours where they knew she was in an OD (overdose) situation and nobody did anything. No monitoring of her, no physician was called, no 911, didn't call her parents, nothing. Just put her in a room and left her to die," he told KRMG.

Prior to Stacy's admission to Narconon Arrowhead, the family had been desperate for help and Narconon boasts an incredible 76 percent success rate, roughly three times the success rate of traditional treatment programs.

"It sounds so appealing, a 76 percent success rate," Murphy told KRMG. "But in reality there's no clinical study to back it up."

But they didn't know that at the time and they decided on Narconon despite the extremely high cost.

"You're drawn to this '76 percent' and you're willing to believe it. You think you're getting more by paying more...what parent wouldn't pay whatever it takes to get results that work?" Murphy asks, rhetorically.

Then, even as the shock of her death set in, Robert began taking a closer look at Narconon's underlying roots in the Church of Scientology.

Arrow Up

Forced evictions on the rise in China

© Agence France-Presse
Huang Sufang (C) attempts to protect her home as workers move in for demolition orders in Yangji village, Guangzhou, south China's Guangdong province on March 21, 2012.
Beijing- Land seizures in China are becoming the greatest source of public dissent spurring social unrest in many parts of the country, according to rights watchdog Amnesty International.

Amnesty International says acceleration in forced evictions and land grabbing is largely due to growing pressure on provincial and city governments to stimulate the economy.

"Forced evictions are currently the biggest source of public discontent in China today," said Nicola Duckworth, who authored the Amnesty report.