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Thu, 23 Mar 2023
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Family in Court Over Violent Bethnal Green Exorcism

A woman was whipped with a walking stick during a brutal exorcism organised by members of her own family, a court heard.

Asma Hussain was also said to have been tied to a bed and covered with holy water after relatives became convinced she was possessed by a demon.

Her husband Ahmed, 60, summoned the local Muslim preacher to carry out the ceremony and encouraged him to hit his wife harder, Snaresbrook crown court heard.

Mrs Hussain's back was described as "one massive bruise" and she also suffered injuries to her face and hands.

Ahmed Hussain, his son Mohammed, 28, daughter Salma, 22, daughter-in-law Halima Khatun, 28, and son-in-law Mohammed Azia, 21, are all on trial accused of false

imprisonment and assault occasioning actual bodily harm. They are said to have believed "black magic" had been cast on their victim.

"It appears that members of Asma Hussain's family believed that she was possessed by demons," said prosecutor Babatunde Alabi.

"As a result of this belief, it is alleged they kept her captive in her own home, tying her to a bed in the living room. They also arranged for an imam to carry out an exorcism on her.

"During the course of the exorcism, she was held down, had water poured all over her and was beaten with a cane."


Alberta Aboriginal Rock Etchings Defaced with Drill, Power Washer, Acid

Defaced Ancient Drawings_1
© National Post
One of two spots where drills were used to eradicate images that were carved into rock.
Historians are comparing it to the Taliban's destruction of massive Buddhist statues in Afghanistan: Ancient aboriginal pictograms and petroglyphs on an Albertan rock formation have been systematically destroyed by cultural vandals using a rock drill, acid and a power washer.

The obliteration of the etchings on the Glenwood Erratic near Pincher Creek in southern Alberta was discovered last week, just as an historian was about to photograph and test the markings.

"The site is part of the earliest heritage of Canada," said Michael Dawe, Curator of History at Red Deer Museum. "It looks like an ancient ceremonial/religious site at Glenwood, Alta., was deliberately destroyed. If true, this is a shocking and appalling incident."

The carvings formed a large face on the top surface of the stone, facing the sky, and also included evidence of early syllabic writing, said Stanley Knowlton, head of interpretive services at Head Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, a Unesco World Heritage Site.

"It is almost like someone wants to block this kind of research," said Mr. Knowlton, who discovered the destruction. The attack is a mystery, he said.

"Why? Well, that's the big question. If you find out why, you might be able to find out who."

He wonders if someone wants to destroy evidence suggesting the Blackfoot First Nations had a written language before European migration. The damage is the latest destruction of aboriginal pictograms and petroglyphs in Alberta, he said.

No Entry

West Virginia Coal Mine Closes, Cutting 1,200 Jobs

Morgantown, West Virginia - Coal producer Alpha Natural Resources said Tuesday it was cutting production by 16 million tons and eliminating 1,200 jobs companywide, laying off 400 workers immediately by closing mines in Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

The mine shutdowns start Tuesday, while the rest of the layoffs will be completed by the end of the first quarter after Alpha fulfills current sales obligations, Chief Executive Officer Kevin Crutchfield said. In all, the layoffs amount to nearly a tenth of Alpha's 13,000-person workforce.

Alpha said it was closing four mines in West Virginia, three in Virginia and one in Pennsylvania. They are a mix of deep and surface mines, and all are non-union operations.

Company spokesman Ted Pile said most of the displaced workers may eventually be rehired, either assigned to new jobs in other locations or replacing outside contractors. Only 150 workers in West Virginia and three in Pennsylvania will not have any other employment opportunities with the company, he said.

Though some miners will stay on to seal the operations, most will either be reassigned or laid off immediately.

Support positions will also be cut proportionally as Alpha reduces its operating regions from four to two, Crutchfield said, and two executives will retire Nov. 1.

It wasn't immediately what other states would be affected by the still looming layoffs.


Burning Body Found in South Los Angeles Street

The burning body was discovered near 94th Street and Grand Avenue

A body was found burning in a South Los Angeles street Monday night, according to fire officials.

The woman was pronounced dead at the scene in the 300 block of West 94th Street between Broadway and Grand Avenue (map), said Brian Humphrey with LAFD. The initial report from a passer-by was received at about 10 p.m., said LAPD Lt. Gerald Woodyard.

Aerial video showed a charred body in the road not far from the sidewalk.

Anyone with information can call 213-485-4341.


Chicago Public Schools Teachers' Strike Over

The Chicago teachers' strike is over.

The Chicago Teachers Union's House of Delegates voted Tuesday to end its strike after seven days, meaning classes will be in session Wednesday for 350,000 Chicago Public Schools students.

"Everybody is going back to school," said Jay Rehak, a delegate from Whitney Young High School.

Delegate Mike Bochner said "an overwhelming majority" of delegates voted to suspend the strike on a voice vote.

"I'm really excited, I'm really relieved," said Bochner, a teacher at Cesar Chavez elementary.

At a press conference a short time after the vote, CTU President Karen Lewis said the vote was approved by a margin of "like 98 percent to 2."

"There are some people that are going to be die-hard hold-outs," she said.

" ... We said that it was time, that we couldn't solve all the problems of the world with one contract. And it was time to suspend the strike."

Chicago Public Schools wasted no time embracing the news. A banner went up on its website shortly after the vote.

"Information alert: CTU leadership has chosen to end the strike. All CPS schools will be re-open Wednesday, September 19," it read. "Chicago Teachers Union leadership has chosen to end the strike. All Chicago Public Schools will re-open on Wednesday, September 19, and all CPS students are expected to be back in the classroom."

Heart - Black

Disabled Mother Dies after Her 11-Year-Old Son Beat Her Up

California, Elk Grove - A disabled Elk Grove woman who was allegedly beaten by her 11-year-old son has died, according to Elk Grove police.

Police say 51-year-old Tracey Gipaya died of a pre-existing condition and they do not anticipate filing any new charges against the boy.

Investigators say the 11-year-old boy was arrested at his elementary school last week for allegedly beating his own mother so badly that she was hospitalized. He has been charged with assault with a deadly weapon and elder abuse.

"She did have injuries to her arms, to her legs, to her back and other areas that we believe were a direct result of her son causing the abuse," Elk Grove Police Officer Chris Trim said when the boy was arrested


Frustrated Chicago Parents Sending Kids To Charter Schools Due To Teachers' Strike

Public school parents frustrated by the length of the Chicago teachers' strike are looking for other educational options, and the city's charter schools have reported a record number of calls.

CBS 2's Dorothy Tucker some parents are just asking questions, but others are enrolling their children for classes at charter schools.

Five-year-old Anthony spent his first week of school at Jesse Owens Elementary Community Academy. But, after the Chicago Teachers Union went on strike, and the walkout dragged on several days, Anthony's mom got fed up and Anthony is now enrolled at Lloyd Bond Charter School.

"It was just very stressful for me, and I started to get angry, because I'm like 'Why is it lasting this long?" Leondra Smith said.

She is among nearly 30 parents who enrolled their children in charter schools since last week.

According to the Illinois Network of Charter Schools, 12 percent of Chicago students attend charter schools. That percentage is expected to grow, because calls to charter schools from frustrated CPS parents have jumped from an average of 10 a day to nearly 70.

Life Preserver

Australia Teaching Drones a New Trick: Playing Lifeguard

Aerobot Ring, drone

The Aerobot Ring
The use for unmanned drones increases every day. This time it's to keep an eye on the beaches of Queensland, Australia to look out for swimmers in trouble - and, of course, any sharks lurking too close.

Surf Life Saving Australia will be deploying the Aerobot Ring, a co-axial hexacopter, in a trial of the drones' effectiveness. The drones are roughly three feet wide and have a payload capacity of around 15 pounds for a flight time of 15 minutes. They'll carry cameras to keep an eye on the water, as well as life buoys to drop to those in distress. Plus, there's a siren to warn people of potential trouble before it happens.

Should the tests prove to be successful, Brett Williamson, head of Surf Life Saving Australia would like to see the trials expanded to patrol many of Australia's remote beaches unmanned by lifeguards.


Rhode Island School District Bans Father-Daughter, Mother-Son Events

© Getty Images
School attorneys find such activities are not exempt under state law banning gender discrimination.

A school district in Rhode Island has ended its traditional father-daughter and mother-son sanctioned events, saying they violate a state gender discrimination law.

The move came after a single mother complained that her daughter had not been able to attend her father-daughter dance.

The American Civil Liberties Union sent a letter to school officials on behalf of the mother, the Providence Journal reported.

School attorneys looked into the matter and found that national Title IX legislation exempts activities like father-daughter dances and mother-son ballgames. However, Rhode Island state law does not, the lawyers said.

The school then moved to ban such events.


Florida Man Used Dog to Beat Girlfriend


Michael Jones, 42, of Sanford.
Sanford, Florida - A Sanford man was arrested on allegations of beating his live-in girlfriend with her own dog.

Michael Wayne Jones, 42, was arrested Thursday on charges of domestic battery by strangulation, criminal mischief and animal cruelty.

According to Sanford police, Jones got into a fight with his girlfriend and she attempted to drive away.

ones, however, grabbed her dog and started swinging the animal in the air, said police, who added that Jones then beat his girlfriend with the dog.

Police said Jones also started choking his girlfriend before fleeing on a bike while carrying the dog. He was later located and arrested.

The woman, who police said had red marks on her neck, and the dog were not seriously injured.

Jones was booked into the Seminole County jail.