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Woman conned by 'spiritual healer' out of 'blessed' jewellery

Conned Women
© The Balmoral
Balmoral: The woman was taken to the hotel to meet the healer.
A Chinese woman has been conned out of thousands of pounds of jewellery and cash by a "spiritual healer" who said she would bless the valuables.

The 64-year-old Buddhist was approached by two Chinese women at around 3pm in the St James Centre, Edinburgh on Tuesday January 15. They asked if she wanted to meet with a spiritual healer.

The victim then went to meet a third Chinese woman, who claimed to be a healer, in the Balmoral Hotel. She was told her family's valuables and cash could be blessed.

The woman went home and gathered up large quantities of jewellery and money before placing them in a red bag and meeting the three women on the corner of West Register Street.

The bag was taken and "blessed" and the woman was told not to open the bag for a few weeks to allow the charm to work. However, she opened the bag a few days later and found her items had been swapped for junk.


Oxford professor says genetically altering unborn babies personalities a moral obligation

© The Telegraph, UK
Genetically screening our offspring to make them better people is just "responsible parenting", claims an eminent Oxford academic, The Telegraph reports.

Professor Julian Savulescu, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Medical Ethics, said that creating so-called designer babies could be considered a "moral obligation" as it makes them grow up into "ethically better children", this based on a few genetic links to 'personality disorders'.

He said that we should actively give parents the choice to screen out personality flaws in their children as it meant they were then less likely to "harm themselves and others".

Studies show that the child's upbringing, including parenthood and schooling methods are the root causes of many 'personality flaws'. Other studies give strong evidence that nutrition, meditation and exercise greatly influence behavioural patterns and emotional well-being. This entire theory is also blind to the side effects of many medicines, vaccines, food additives and (some) GMO foods that have been proven to affect psychological behaviour, and this isn't even touching on the possible beneficial use of marijuana and other substances for those with undesired personality traits.


Blast at African sorcerer's house kills 5

Police in Zimbabwe say they are investigating a massive explosion at a tribal sorcerer's house outside the capital, Harare.

Police officials said on Tuesday the blast killed five people.

The sorcerer, often known in the West as a witchdoctor, and a man seeking to improve his failing finances, were among the dead, witnesses said.

The explosion damaged 12 nearby houses in the Chitungwiza township.

Witnesses said crowds began sprinkling salt on nearby streets and footpaths afterward, a traditional belief to ward off evil spirits.

Army bomb disposal experts told neighbours they found no remnants of a bomb or petrol or gas containers.

In Zimbabwe superstition, sorcerers can use lightning, common during current rain storms, to eradicate enemies. Neighbours told reporters they feared a "lightning manufacturing process" was being carried out Monday.

People 2

Unemployment soars worldwide, with youth the most vulnerable

© AFP Photo / Mario Tama)
Applicants wait to meet potential employers at a Manhattan job fair in New York City
Global unemployment is at a record high in the wake of the financial crisis, says a UN report. A rise in joblessness of 5.1 million is expected in 2013, impacting the world's youth hardest in a climate of stifling austerity and economic instability.

UN agency, the International Labor Organization (ILO) released its annual report on worldwide employment on Tuesday, marking a significant worsening in unemployment trends.

The report states that approximately 197 million people were out of work in 2012, a rise of 4.2 million. Guy Ryder, director-general of the ILO, stated at the press conference accompanying the release of the report that "inadequacy of policy to counter" unemployment was largely to blame for the slump in investment and hiring.

Heart - Black

BigPharma giant Amgen given two-year regulations delay worth hundreds of millions

H.R. 8, the bill that averted the fiscal cliff, included a section that granted the drug company Amgen a two-year delay in regulations of its drugs, even though Amgen recently pleaded guilty in a federal fraud case.

The bill will give Amgen two years to sell Sensipar without government price regulations, which means hundreds of millions of dollars in profit for Amgen.

Sensipar is an expensive prescription drug used by kidney dialysis patients. It is projected to cost Medicare up to $500 million over the next two-year period, since the legislation delays Medicare price restraints of End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) drugs, reports the New York Times.

The bill does not specify Amgen by name, but it mainly affects the sale of Sensipar, costing the government hundreds of millions while allowing Amgen to keep its prices unregulated.

Red Flag

New York Hasidic leader gets 103 years for abuse

© AFP Photo
A leader of an Orthodox Jewish sect in New York was sentenced Tuesday to 103 years in prison for sexually abusing a young girl, capping a scandal that lifted the lid on the Hasidic group's parallel society.

Nechemya Weberman, a prominent figure in the ultra-strict Satmar branch of Hasidic Jews, was convicted of abusing the girl over the course of three years in the Brooklyn neighborhood where their community has a huge enclave and he worked as an unlicensed counselor.

Ahead of the judge's sentencing, the victim told the court that Weberman acted "without the slightest bit of mercy," leaving her as "a girl who didn't want to live in her own skin."

The case caused an uproar in the Satmar community, shattering a code of silence imposed by the group's insistence on dealing with matters internally and not going to the police.

"If there is one message to take away from this case, it is that this office will pursue the evil of sexual abuse of a child no matter where it occurs," District Attorney Charles Hynes said.

Eye 2

Los Angeles church files show how Cardinal Roger Mahony shielded pedophile priest, failed child victims

© Damian Dovarganes / AP
The entrance to the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, headquarters for Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, is seen Jan. 21.
Prosecutors who have been stymied for years in their attempts to build a criminal conspiracy case against retired Los Angeles Archdiocese Cardinal Roger Mahony and other church leaders said Tuesday they will review newly released internal priest files for additional evidence.

"The Los Angeles County District Attorney's office will review and evaluate all documents as they become available to us," spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said in a brief statement. She declined to comment further.

Thousands of pages from the internal disciplinary files of 14 priests made public Monday show Mahony and other top aides maneuvered behind the scenes to shield molester priests, provide damage control for the church and keep parishioners in the dark.

Some of the documents provide the strongest evidence to date that Mahony and a top aide worked to protect a priest who acknowledged in therapy to raping an 11-year-old boy and abusing up to 17 children, many of them the children of illegal immigrants.


Groupon to stop gun deals after deciding they are 'not a fit right now'

© Photograph: Scott Olson/Getty Images
Groupon is one of many companies that has distanced itself from gun sales in the wake of the Newtown shooting.
Groupon, the online discount coupon website, has ended its practice of offering gun deals.

Customers can no longer acquire a "conceal-and-carry course" for up to 63% off or a beginner's target lesson for $49.

"Groupon has been testing firearm-related deals like shooting ranges and concealed weapons courses for the last eight months," Groupon spokeswoman Julie Mossler said in a statement. "Based on performance and customer feedback, it's clear they're not a fit right now."

The Chicago-based company has not specifically said why it is no longer offering gun deals, but it is likely related to the increased call for gun control following the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut that left 28 people, including 20 children, dead.


Four-year-old girl dies after being shot in the head by another child

© Shutterstock
A young girl who was shot in the head by another young child died from her wound on Tuesday, the Kansas City Star reported.

Trinity Ross, 4, was shot on January 10 in her Kansas City home while her stepmother was babysitting three other children. All of the children were under six-years-old.


Mentally ill murderer gets weapons permit and buys arsenal of guns

© Image by KARE 11
Christian Oberender
Nearly 20 years after he was convicted of shooting his own mother to death, Christian Oberender of Minnesota is back behind bars for illegally owning a small arsenal of firearms.

Authorities became reacquainted with Oberender, now 32, late last year when a complaint was filed by someone who came across his Facebook page. When authorities examined the social networking account, they found photos of just a sampling of the man's extensive gun collection.

But upon first glance, the Carver County Sheriff's Office didn't see anything to spur intervention. An initial investigation found that there were no "disqualifiers" that would have prevented Oberender from owning any guns, Carver County Chief Deputy Jason Kamerud tells the Herald-Journal. When the leading law enforcement figure in the area came across the report shortly after, though, the agency started to become concerned.

Carver County Sheriff Jim Olson had reason to question the collection of guns - 17 years earlier he worked the case in which a teenage Oberender was convicted of killing his mother.

"The sheriff was one of the detectives on the case in 1995," Kamerud tells the paper. "He had a lot more knowledge of the case than the deputies who took the call."