Society's ChildS

Bad Guys

Himalayan massacre spells end for Pakistan mountaineering

Hospital staff and rescue workers
© Reuters/Mian KhursheedHospital staff and rescue workers move the body of one of the nine foreign tourists killed by unidentified gunmen near the Nanga Parbat peak, from an ambulance to a hospital morgue in Islamabad June 23, 2013.
Islamabad - Pakistan's once thriving mountaineering industry is reeling from the killing by militants of 10 foreign climbers, a massacre likely to drive away all but the hardiest adventurers from some of the world's tallest and most pristine peaks.

A tour company present during the attack said gunmen dressed as police ordered tourists out of tents at the 4,200-meter (13,860-foot) base camp of Nanga Parbat, the country's second highest peak, late on Saturday night, then shot them and a Pakistani guide.

The attack on the last peak over 8,000 meters (26,400 feet) in the western Himalayas has been claimed by both the Pakistani Taliban and a smaller radical Islamist group.

The foreign victims included two citizens from China, one from Lithuania, one from Nepal, two from Slovakia, three Ukrainians, and one person with joint U.S.-Chinese citizenship.

Manzoor Hussain, president of the Alpine Club of Pakistan, said at least 40 foreigners including citizens from Serbia, Italy, Ireland, Denmark and the United States, among several other nationalities, were evacuated from a higher camp.

A group of Romanians is believed to be scaling the mountain from another side. Some other groups booked for climbs this summer have already cancelled, one company said.

Hussain said the attack was a "fatal blow" for his efforts to attract more climbers to the Hindu Khush, Karakoram and western Himalayan ranges, home to many unexplored summits.

Star of David

Collision course - plan to displace tens of thousands of Bedouin passes first Knesset vote

The implementation of the Prawer Plan for unrecognized villages in the Negev has become a major policy objective for the Netanyahu government.
© ActivestillsRiot Police face a Bedouin during an evacuation of the unrecognized village Al-Araqib
Following one of the most heated debates the Israeli parliament has seen in recent years, the Knesset approved the Prawer-Begin Plan for the Arrangement of Bedouin-Palestinian Settlement in the Negev yesterday (Monday). Commonly referred to as the Prawer Plan, the new legislation will allow the government to destroy dozens of so-called "unrecognized" villages in the South and remove between 30-40,000 Bedouin from their homes.

According to the plan, those Bedouin citizens who have registered land claims will be offered monetary compensation or land in an area designated for resettlement.

Following demands from the right-wing Jewish Home party, a new article was added to the bill at the last minute, stipulating that the government's compensation offer will expire after a certain period of time; failure to comply with the process will not only result in forced removal to the relocation zones but also a loss of monetary compensation or land, which would have previously been offered.

This is the largest attempted eviction of a native Palestinian population by Israel in decades. At the end of the process, all remaining Bedouin land claims will be erased from the state record.

During the Knesset debate, several Palestinian members of Knesset tore the bill before leaving the room. Due to opposition to the bill from the Right - settler groups object to giving any land rights to the Bedouin - none of the Likud ministers were willing to defend the bill in the name of the government. The offer ended up passing in a very narrow vote, 43-40, thanks to the support of Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid party, which also sent one of its ministers to defend the law.

Bizarro Earth

Crazed man found naked and bloody outside school after ripping off part of his genitals while high on 'magic' mushrooms

A 41-year-old man from Ohio has been found naked and bleeding profusely on the grounds of a Michigan school after police say he ripped off a part of his genitals while high on drugs.

The bizarre incident took place at around 1am Tuesday when Washtenaw County sheriff's deputies responded to a report of a burglary at Ypsilanti Middle School at 105 North Mansfield street.

Officers who arrived on the scene discovered a naked man kneeling outside the school and covered in blood from the waist down, with his penis partially detached, according to Sgt. Geoff Fox.

Under the influence: A 41-year-old man found naked a bleeding after partially cutting off his genitals told police in Michigan that he got high on hallucinogenic mushrooms
According to police, the 41-year-old was near death when he was discovered outside of school due to extensive blood loss and shock.

An initial toxicology test performed on the man's blood did not turn up evidence that the mushrooms were laced with another substance, reported. Police say the 41-year-old does not have a history of mental illness.

According to the officer, the 41-year-old was screaming and making incoherent statements before being taken to a local hospital along with his mangled privates, according to the Detroit Free Press.

'He mutilated his genitals with his bare hands,' Fox said, adding that the suspect had no recollection of what happened.

The man, who has not been named, later told investigators that he ingested some 'magic' hallucinogenic mushrooms earlier in the day while visiting friends in town.

Sgt. Fox said that the suspect later broke a window to get inside the middle school, setting off an alarm, but he did not steal anything. He is now facing a burglary charge.

First aid: The man was rushed to St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Superior Township along with his mutilated privates for treatment
The 41-year-old was initially treated at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Superior Township and was later transferred to University of Michigan Health System, where he is listed in stable condition.

According to police, the 41-year-old was near death when he was discovered outside of school due to extensive blood loss and shock.

An initial toxicology test performed on the man's blood did not turn up evidence that the mushrooms were laced with another substance, reported. Police say the 41-year-old does not have a history of mental illness.

Eye 1

Our boys in Syria: 'I saw rebels execute my boy for no more than a joke'

Nadia Umm Fuad watched her son being shot by Islamist rebels in Syria after the 14-year-old referred to the Prophet Mohammed as he joked with a customer at his coffee stall in Aleppo. She speaks to Richard Spencer.

© Will WintercrossNadia Umm Fuad who watched her son being shot by Islamist rebels in Syria after the 14-year-old referred to the Prophet Mohammed as he joked with a customer at his coffee stall
Mohammed Katta's mother witnessed the execution of her son in three stages.

She was upstairs at home when she first heard the shouting. The people of the neighbourhood were yelling that "they have brought back the kid", so she rushed out of her apartment.

"I went out on my balcony," Nadia Umm Fuad said. "I said to his father, they are going to shoot your son! Come! Come! Come! I was on the stairs when I heard the first shot. I was at the door when I heard the second shot.

"I saw the third shot. I was shouting, 'That's haram, forbidden! Stop! Stop! You are killing a child.' But they just gave me a dirty look and got into their car. As they went, they drove over my son's arm, as he lay there dying."

Mohammed was 14 when he was killed, earlier this month, prompting international condemnation. He has become a symbol of the fears many Syrians have for the future of a country where jihadists are vying with the regime for control.


Soldier's last words: "I am sorry that it has come to this"

Daniel Somers was a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was part of Task Force Lightning, an intelligence unit. In 2004-2005, he was mainly assigned to a Tactical Human-Intelligence Team (THT) in Baghdad, Iraq, where he ran more than 400 combat missions as a machine gunner in the turret of a Humvee, interviewed countless Iraqis ranging from concerned citizens to community leaders and and government officials, and interrogated dozens of insurgents and terrorist suspects. In 2006-2007, Daniel worked with Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) through his former unit in Mosul where he ran the Northern Iraq Intelligence Center. His official role was as a senior analyst for the Levant (Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, and part of Turkey). Daniel suffered greatly from PTSD and had been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury and several other war-related conditions. On June 10, 2013, Daniel wrote the following letter to his family before taking his life. Daniel was 30 years old. His wife and family have given permission to publish it.

The fact is, for as long as I can remember my motivation for getting up every day has been so that you would not have to bury me. As things have continued to get worse, it has become clear that this alone is not a sufficient reason to carry on. The fact is, I am not getting better, I am not going to get better, and I will most certainly deteriorate further as time goes on. From a logical standpoint, it is better to simply end things quickly and let any repercussions from that play out in the short term than to drag things out into the long term.

You will perhaps be sad for a time, but over time you will forget and begin to carry on. Far better that than to inflict my growing misery upon you for years and decades to come, dragging you down with me. It is because I love you that I can not do this to you. You will come to see that it is a far better thing as one day after another passes during which you do not have to worry about me or even give me a second thought. You will find that your world is better without me in it.

I really have been trying to hang on, for more than a decade now. Each day has been a testament to the extent to which I cared, suffering unspeakable horror as quietly as possible so that you could feel as though I was still here for you. In truth, I was nothing more than a prop, filling space so that my absence would not be noted. In truth, I have already been absent for a long, long time.

Black Magic

Witchcraft suspected in mysterious pony attack

Shetland Pony
© Siobhan Boyle Elicia Curtis with Shetland pony Tyrone. Her hopes of putting him into shows have been dashed.
Witchcraft is suspected in the mysterious cutting of a Shetland pony's mane.

Little Elicia Curtis was devastated to find the animal she has been grooming had had its mane cut off by an unknown attacker.

The 11-year-old had been helping out with the horses on a farm near Wroughton after her own pony, Muffin, had to be put down last year.

The police suspect it may have been done as part of a rite or spell, but a local Druid has put the blame on New Age Travellers rather than witches.

Elicia had been training the unbroken Shetland, called Tyrone, and was hoping to enter him into shows this summer. That hope has now been dashed by the criminals who came on the night of Sunday, June 16 and cut the five-year-old horse's flowing mane.

The Wroughton Junior School pupil said: "I'm really shocked someone would come in and hurt him.


How mass protests around the globe have become the 'new social network'

The demonstrations in Brazil began after a small rise in bus fares triggered mass protests. Within days this had become a nationwide movement whose concerns had spread far beyond fares: more than a million people were on the streets shouting about everything from corruption to the cost of living to the amount of money being spent on the World Cup.

In Turkey, it was a similar story. A protest over the future of a city park in Istanbul - violently disrupted by police - snowballed too into something bigger, a wider-ranging political confrontation with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which has scarcely been brought to a close by the clearing of Gezi Park.

If the scenes have seemed familiar, it is because they shared common features: viral, loosely organised with fractured messages and mostly taking place in urban public locations.

Unlike the protest movement of 1968 or even the end of Soviet influence in eastern Europe in 1989, these are movements with few discernible leaders and with often conflicting ideologies.

Their points of reference are not even necessarily ideological but take inspiration from other protests, including those of the Arab Spring and the Occupy movement.

The result has been a wave of social movements - sometimes short-lived - from Wall St to Tel Aviv and from Istanbul to Rio de Janeiro, often engaging younger, better educated and wealthier members of society.

What is striking for those who, like myself, have covered these protests is how discursive and open-ended they often are. People go not necessarily to hear a message but to take over a location and discuss their discontents (even if the stunning consequence can be the fall of an autocratic leader such as Egypt's Hosni Mubarak).

If the "new protest" can be summed up, it is not in specifics of the complaints but in a wider idea about organisation encapsulated on a banner spotted in Brazil last week: "We are the social network."

Snakes in Suits

Photographer who witnessed celebrity chef Nigella Lawson being strangled by husband, advertising mogul and patron of the 'arts' Charles Saatchi, says abuse lasted half an hour

© APNigella Lawson has been spotted without her wedding ring after an incident involving a scuffle with her husband.

The photographer who took pictures of Nigella Lawson being assaulted by her husband says the attack lasted for "27 minutes of madness" but he didn't intervene because he feared being arrested himself.

Snapper Jean-Paul says the incident outside a London restaurant shouldn't be brushed under the carpet and the celebrity chef Lawson was "properly abused" by art collector husband Charles Saatchi.

"What I witnessed was 27 minutes of madness," Jean-Paul wrote in the British tabloid Sunday People, which first published his shocking pictures last weekend.

"That's how long the abuse lasted from start to finish so it was most definitely not a fleeting moment."

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg came under fire last week for suggesting Saatchi's clutching of his wife's throat could have been "just a fleeting thing".

Comment: Charles and his brother Maurice Saatchi were instrumental in selling Margaret 'The Witch' Thatcher to the people of Britain in 1979.

The toxic influence of such nasty people really does permeate everything:

The Plot Against Art

Spitting Mad Jews and Angry Artists

Heart - Black

Greedy Africans are starving our cars

US politicians and bureaucrats have less compassion and common sense than an average Londoner

"You've heard of Live Aid? Well, this is Drive Aid," an ardent young man says, as he approaches London pedestrians. "Greedy people in developing nations are eating huge amounts of food that could easily be turned into biofuel to power our cars. African acreage the size of Belgium is being used for food, and we're saying it should go to cars here in the UK. Can we have your support?"

Londoners reacted with disbelief and outrage, the ActionAid UK video shows, and refused to sign his mock petition. The amusing stunt drove home a vital point: Biofuel programs are turning food into fuel, converting cropland into fuel production sites, and disrupting food supplies for hungry people worldwide. The misguided programs are having serious environmental consequences, as well.

Why, then, can't politicians, bureaucrats and environmentalists display the common sense exhibited by London's citizenry? Why did President Obama tell Africans (many of whom are malnourished) in July 2009 that they should refrain from using "dirty" fossil fuels and use their "bountiful" biofuel and other renewable energy resources, instead? When will Congress pull the plug on Renewable Fuel Standards?

Ethanol and other biofuels might have made some sense when Congress passed the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and established mandates (or "standards") requiring that refiners and consumer purchase large quantities of ethanol and other biofuels. Back then, despite growing evidence to the contrary, many people thought we were running out of oil and gas, and believed manmade global warming threatened the planet. But this is not 2005. Those rationales are no longer persuasive.


Anger mounts after Facebook's 'shadow profiles' leak in bug

© Annette Shaff/
Facebook said Friday it fixed a bug that exposed contact info for over six million accounts. The admission revealed its 'shadow profile' data collection activities, and users are furious.

Friday Facebook announced the fix of a bug it said inadvertently exposed the private information of over six million users when Facebook's previously unknown shadow profiles accidentally merged with user accounts in data history record requests.

According to Reuters, the data leak spanned a year beginning in 2012.

Sunday, June 23, 8:15 PM PST: Updated at page bottom to reflect response statements from Facebook.

The personal information leaked by the bug is information that had not been given to Facebook by the users - it is data Facebook has been compiling on its users behind closed doors, without their consent.

A growing number of Facebook users are furious and demand to know who saw private information they had expressly not given to Facebook.