Society's ChildS


Russia: Unidentified hooligan tries to blind pilot at Moscow airport

© RIA Novosti. Dmitriy PetrochenkoThe captain of the A320 plane flying from Moscow to Kemerovo said an intense green light was shone into his face at an altitude of 600 meters
Moscow police said they were searching for a person who tried to blind a passenger jet pilot with a powerful pen laser when the aircraft was taking off from Vnukovo International Airport in Moscow.

"The captain of the A320 plane flying from Moscow to Kemerovo said an intense green light was shone into his face at an altitude of 600 meters," a police source said.

The hooligan had allegedly been located in Moscow's Novo-Peredelkino district.


RFID Implants Won't Rescue the People Kidnapped in Mexico

© Associated Press/Diario de Nuevo Laredo
Kidnappings in Mexico have worsened in the last 5 years, sky-rocketing by 371%. So too have the demand for those RFID implants that were said to allow authorities to find the victims. Except for one thing: they don't work.

The main problem is that the technology, for a number of reasons, couldn't have worked in the first place. For one, the implants are much too small for a satellite to pick up. And that's without taking into account the barriers the implant's signal would have to overcome - that is, metal, concrete, and the water of the human body. For another, the implants can't be trusted to broadcast a signal without losing its teeny tiny charge.

And even if the police did manage to pick up the signal, there'd be no time to mount a raid to save you. All told, you're probably only about 1% less screwed.

Cow Skull

USA Becomes Food Stamp Nation but is it Sustainable?

Food stamp family
© Reuters/Lucy NicholsonThelma Zambrano eats lunch with her husband Jesse Torres and daughter Vida Torres, 2, at their home in Santa Ana, California, December 10, 2009.
Genna Saucedo supervises cashiers at a Wal-Mart in Pico Rivera, California, but her wages aren't enough to feed herself and her 12-year-old son.

Saucedo, who earns $9.70 an hour for about 26 hours a week and lives with her mother, is one of the many Americans who survive because of government handouts in what has rapidly become a food stamp nation.

Altogether, there are now almost 46 million people in the United States on food stamps, roughly 15 percent of the population. That's an increase of 74 percent since 2007, just before the financial crisis and a deep recession led to mass job losses.

At the same time, the cost doubled to reach $68 billion in 2010 -- more than a third of the amount the U.S. government received in corporate income tax last year -- which means the program has started to attract the attention of some Republican lawmakers looking for ways to cut the nation's budget deficit.

Evil Rays

Sri Lanka: Police Officer Killed in 'Grease Devil' Riot

Angry Sri Lankans killed a police officer in the latest outbreak of violence sparked by a fear of nocturnal prowlers known popularly as "grease devils" that has gripped rural areas in the island nation over the past two weeks.

Another officer and five other people were hurt in two separate incidents in the north-western town of Puttalam after residents gave chase to a suspected grease devil, police and witnesses said.

Traditionally, a grease devil was a thief who wore only underwear and covered his body in grease to make himself hard to grab, but the modern iteration has a far more sinister reputation as a prowling attacker of women.

Five people have died in outbreaks of violence related to the grease devil panic so far, including Sunday's incident.


Canada: Tributes Pour in Following the Death of NDP Leader Jack Layton

© unknownNDP Leader Jack Layton smiles during an interview with Lisa LaFlamme on budget day 2011. Layton, the beloved NDP leader, died Monday after a battle with cancer.
Jack Layton was remembered Monday as a regular guy and terrific political leader that everyone liked, as friends and political foes alike paid tribute to the New Democrat leader hours after learning that he had succumbed to cancer.

On the quiet side street where Layton lived with his politician wife Olivia Chow, friends and area residents stopped by, some bearing flowers.

"He was someone you could have a beer with," said neighbourhood resident Ted Hawkins, who laid a single red rose on the doorstep "as a little bit of a tribute" to the longtime political presence.

"He was a very down-to-earth person."

Sarah Hastie, a longtime area resident who also delivered a flower to his home, said she had hoped Layton would somehow beat the disease that forced him to step aside last month from his party-leader duties.

"Jack was such a fighter, and I was just always keeping my fingers crossed that this might be a battle that he would win," Hastie said.

"It's a terrible thing for his family but it's an even greater loss for the country."

A family friend emerged briefly from the home to request privacy.

Layton, 61, died early Monday barely three months after an election campaign in which he gamely led his New Democrats to Official Opposition status in the Commons.


UK: Man woke on Deal beach with amnesia

© UnknownThe man told police he could not remember anything
Police are trying to identify a man who woke up on a beach in Kent apparently suffering from amnesia.

The man, in his late 50s or 60s, walked into the Victoria Hospital, Deal, on 18 August, complaining of head pains but does not have any obvious injuries.

He was moved to hospital in Margate but he has told police he cannot recall any personal details.

The man was wearing black jeans, a white T-shirt and beige walking boots, and had sunglasses and a walking stick.

Not reported missing

A Kent Police spokesman said: "The man says he doesn't have any memory of himself, his family, home or any other personal details.


Atlanta, US: Amateur Sleuth Jessica Maple Saw Clues Police Missed and Confronts Robbers

A 12-year-old amateur sleuth beat police at their own game by cracking the case of who ransacked her late great-grandmother's home last month.

Jessica Maple honed her detective skills at a Junior District Attorney camp in Atlanta this summer, sponsored by the Fulton County DA's office.

Police told Jessica, and her mother Stephanie, that whoever robbed the home would have had to have entered with a key, since such large items were stolen and there were no signs of forced entry, Jessica said.

But the curious 12-year-old knew something wasn't right. Her parents were the only two people who had keys.

Arrow Down

Working-Class Americans Retreating from Church

© stock.xchng
Despite stereotypes to the contrary, Americans with only a high school diploma are dropping out of church faster than their more-educated counterparts.

In the 1970s, a new study finds, half of white Americans with a high school education attended church at least monthly. Now only 37 percent do. In contrast, 46 percent of highly educated white Americans attend church, only a 5 percent drop from the 1970s.

"There is a retreat from religion in what you'd call middle America, or working-class America," said study researcher W. Bradford Wilcox, a University of Virginia sociologist. Wilcox presented the work Sunday (Aug. 21) at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association in Las Vegas.


US: Tased From Above! New Robot Copter To Begin Patrolling Our Skies

The new, heavily-armed ShadowHawk can track perpetrators using normal or infrared light.
Forget the idea that weaponized unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are only for military operations in wars fought in far off lands. Soon they'll begin setting their sights on criminals within our borders. And they'll be packing heat, not the long-range missiles of the X-47B, but with up close and personal stun guns, 12-gauge shotguns and, believe it or not, grenade launchers.

The ShadowHawk is the seven-foot, 50-lb copter that is the toy-sized dealer of destruction from Texas-based Vanguard Defense Industries. The copter is the result of three years of development. If being tased from above sounds frightening to you, I suggest you cease all criminal activities now (simply staying indoors is an option). There's a good chance ShadowHawk's spine tingling buzz could be heard approaching a city near you. As a sign of new law enforcement tactics to come, the Sheriff's Office of Montgomery County, Texas was recently awarded a grant by the Department of Homeland Security for a squadron of ShadowHawks. Montgomery County's Chief Deputy Randy McDaniel is psyched. "We are very excited about the funding and looking forward to placing the equipment into the field. Both my narcotics and SWAT units have been looking at numerous ways to deploy it and I absolutely believe it will become a critical component on all SWAT callouts and narcotics raids and emergency management operations."

The Department of Homeland Security grant is just the latest indication that the US is taking the military's lead - with over 7,000 drones in the skies of Iraq and Afghanistan - and using drones as a key tactical tool. In 2009 a surveillance drone called the Wasp was used during a SWAT raid in Austin, Texas. The Wasp climbed to 400 feet and beamed realtime video of a house in which an armed drug dealer was hiding. After the team had confirmed that there were no unforeseen dangers lurking in the backyard, they stormed the house and arrested the suspect. Drones are also helping the US to secure its borders against illegal immigration and drug trafficking. Just a few months ago the Obama administration began sending drones to Mexico to gather intelligence and help in the country's war on drugs.


UN peacekeeping force: Israeli forces crossed Egyptian border by land

israeli soldier
© Reuters

Israeli troops crossed into Egypt by land on Thursday, which prompted Egyptian security personnel to clash with them, said a report issued Saturday by the UN peacekeeping force in Sinai.

Media reports had said an Israeli helicopter crossed the border to pursue suspected militants and then fired at Egyptian border guards, killing five and injuring two.

The peacekeeping force said that the Egyptians had not been targeted by an aircraft, however, and that Israeli forces in fact entered Sinai by land before clashing with the police unit at border point 79 and causing the deaths.