Society's ChildS

Che Guevara

Hundreds of thousands march against austerity in Portugal

A woman protests during a demonstration in downtown Lisbon on March 2, 2013.
Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of Lisbon and other Portuguese cities Saturday to protest against the government's austerity measures aimed at rescuing the debt-hit eurozone nation.

The rallies were organised by a non-political movement which claimed 500,000 marched in the country's capital and another 400,000 in the main northern city of Porto. There have been no official estimates of the crowds.

But the mood of the crowd was clearly political, calling for new elections with banners declaring "Portugal to the polls!" and "If you fall asleep in a democracy, you wake up in a dictatorship".

Another banner showed a picture of centre-right Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho with the caption: "Today I am in the street, tomorrow it will be you."

Portugal was granted a financial rescue package worth 78 billion euros ($103 billion) in May 2011, in exchange for a pledge to straighten out its finances via austerity measures and economic reforms.


'I am one of the Fukushima fifty': One of the men who risked their lives to prevent a catastrophe shares his story

They displayed a bravery few can comprehend, yet very little is known about the men who stayed behind to save Japan's stricken nuclear plant. In a rare interview, David McNeill meets Atsufumi Yoshizawa, who was at work on 11 March 2011 when disaster struck.

Workers amid the damage wrought by the tsunami and explosions at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in 2011
It was, recalls Atsufumi Yoshizawa, a suicide mission: volunteering to return to a dangerously radioactive nuclear power plant on the verge of tipping out of control.

As he said goodbye to his colleagues they saluted him, like soldiers in battle. The wartime analogies were hard to avoid: in the international media he was a kamikaze, a samurai or simply one of the heroic Fukushima 50. The descriptions still embarrass him. "I'm not a hero," he says. "I was just trying to do my job."

A stoic, soft-spoken man dressed in the blue utility suit of his embattled employer Tokyo Electric Power Co., (Tepco) Mr Yoshizawa still finds it hard to dredge up memories of fighting to stop catastrophe at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. Two years later, debate still rages about responsibility for the planet's worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, and its impact. Fish caught near the plant this month contained over 5,000 times safe radiation limits, according to state broadcaster NHK.

A report this week by the World Health Organisation says female infants affected by the worst of the fallout have a 70 per cent higher risk of developing thyroid cancer over their lifetimes, but concluded that overall risks for the rest of the population are "low". Over 160,000 people have been displaced from their homes near the plant, perhaps permanently, and are fighting for proper compensation. Stress, divorce and suicides and plague the evacuees.


Suspect in Toronto subway stabbing ordered held in custody

Cassim Cummings
© Toronto PoliceCassim Cummings is charged with attempted murder and aggravated asault.
Canada, Toronto - Cassim Cummings, the man accused of stabbing a passenger on a TTC subway train on Wednesday, made a brief court appearance on Saturday morning.

Cummings, who is facing a number of charges including attempted murder, was brought into court at Old City Hall at about 10:30 a.m.

On Wednesday night, just after 10 p.m., Cummings, 20, allegedly stabbed a male passenger on a southbound train as it approached Davisville station. The passenger was trying to get Cummings to stop bothering other riders.

Photos taken by another passenger show the victim bleeding on the floor of the train as paramedics arrive to help.

Cummings fled the scene.

Police found him on Friday morning in an apartment at 250 Davenport Road.


Chaos! - Mystery fumes cause panic in Kingston

The island's environmental management agency was last night still trying to determine the source of noxious fumes that resulted in more than 50 persons, some of whom collapsed, being rushed to hospital in Kingston.

The mystery fumes also caused discomfort to many more persons in the vicinity of the Central Sorting Office (CSO) on South Camp Road, plunging the area into chaos for a few hours.

Several businesses in the area were forced to close, classes were suspended at nearby schools, and persons were evacuated from the CSO building as the police restricted traffic movement from East Queen Street to South Camp Road in an effort to protect people from potential harm.

At the same time, firefighters, medical personnel and National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) officials tried to find the source of the fumes.

"The report that we received is that at about 10:00 am workers (from the CSO) raised an alarm after several of their colleagues started to complain that they were having difficulty breathing," Post Master General Michael Gentles said as police tried to restore calm and provide quick help for affected individuals.

That, however, did not prevent people from panicking as CSO workers and curious onlookers began to collapse.

"Jesus Christ, what is happening? Somebody tell us what is going on, nuh!" screamed one woman as her colleague fainted.

Bizarro Earth

Flashback Only 14, Bangladeshi girl charged with adultery was lashed to death

Darbesh Khan and his wife, Aklima Begum, had to watch their youngest daughter being whipped until she dropped.
Hena Akhter's last words to her mother proclaimed her innocence. But it was too late to save the 14-year-old girl.

Her fellow villagers in Bangladesh's Shariatpur district had already passed harsh judgment on her. Guilty, they said, of having an affair with a married man. The imam from the local mosque ordered the fatwa, or religious ruling, and the punishment: 101 lashes delivered swiftly, deliberately in public.

Hena dropped after 70.

Bloodied and bruised, she was taken to hospital, where she died a week later.

Amazingly, an initial autopsy report cited no injuries and deemed her death a suicide. Hena's family insisted her body be exhumed. They wanted the world to know what really happened to their daughter.

Eye 1

Ohio mom wrapped duct-tape around son's face and head, court

© AFP/Getty ImagesAn Ohio mom pleaded not guilty to two charges of child endangerment after allegedly wrapping duct-tape around two children's faces.
An Ohio mom faced court Friday charged with child endangerment after it was alleged she wrapped duct-tape around two children's faces and heads.

Police said Tiffany Ennis, 31, of Sandusky, Ohio, took a photo of her son, 8, wrapped in the tape and sent it in a text message to the boy's father, Rudy Yado, on February 18, ABC News reported.

The photo showed his forehead, eyes and mouth covered in tape.

Arrow Down

80 percent of South African meat mislabeled

© Shilova Ekaterina/Shutterstock
A new study has pointed out some serious flaws in meat labeling in some South African grocery stores.

Researchers working with game meat in South Africa suggested in the journal Investigative Genetics that DNA barcodes should be used to help identify even closely related species.

The authors wrote after the study about how the labeling of game meat in South Africa is very poor, with different species being substituted nearly 80 percent the time in food packaging. Game meat in South Africa is a large business, with nearly 10,000 wildlife farms. The meat is considered to be "healthier" than beef because it is both lower in fat and cholesterol, and perceived to be lower in additives.

By using mitochondria COI BNA barcoding and cytb sequencing, researchers analyzed samples of game meat from supermarkets, wholesalers and other outlets, comparing them to known samples and library sequences.

Researchers found that out of the 146 samples taken from these markets, 100 of them had been mislabeled. They reported that all of the beef samples were correctly labeled, but 92 percent of meat labeled kudu was inaccurately labeled.

According to the study, only 24 percent of springbok and ostrich biltong was actually labeled correctly. The rest of the mislabeled meat included horse, impala, hartebeest, wildebeest, waterbok, eland, gemsbok, duiker, giraffe, kangaroo, lamb, or beef.


Adopted Russian boy's death ruled accidental in Texas

© FacebookMax Shatto was adopted from an orphanage in north-west Russia last year by Laura Shatto and her husband.
The death of an adopted 3-year-old Russian boy has been ruled an accident in Texas, just a week after Russian officials accused the boy's adopted parents of killing the child.

Authorities said today that Max Shatto, who had been adopted by Laura and Alan Shatto in November, died of a self-inflicted wound on Jan. 21.

An investigation into the boy's death was opened after he was rushed to Medical Center Hospital's emergency room shortly before 5 p.m. on Jan. 21 and later died.

Today's announcement carried contradicted a top Russian official who accused the boy's mother of murder last week.

Pavel Astakhov, Russia's children's rights commissioner, started wrote on Twitter last week: "An adoptive mother has killed a three-year-old Russian child in the state of Texas. The murder occurred at the end of January."

"The boy died before an ambulance called by his mother arrived. According to a report by medical examiners, the boy had numerous injuries," he added.

The tweets were later deleted, but Astakhov continued to blame the boy's adoptive parents for his death. On Thursday, he said he was told by a Texas social worker that the mother was responsible for the boy's death.


U.S. budget cuts to hit military school districts first

© The Associated Press/Killeen Independent School District/Todd MartinStudents move through the halls of Meadows Elementary School in Fort Hood, Texas.
Fort Hood, Texas - Public schools everywhere will be affected by the government's automatic budget cuts, but few may feel the funding pinch faster than those on and around military bases.

School districts with military ties from coast-to-coast are bracing for increased class sizes and delayed building repairs. Others already have axed sports teams and even eliminated teaching positions, but still may have to tap savings just to make it through year's end.

But there's little hope for softening any future financial blows.

"Next year is scarier than this year," said Sharon Adams, chief financial officer for Muscogee County schools in Georgia. The district serves the U.S. Army's Fort Benning and could lose $300,000 in federal funding out of its $270 million in general funds before the end of the school - and more than four times that in 2013-2014.

The schools' losses will come from cuts to a federal program known as "Impact Aid" that supplements local property tax losses for districts that cover federal land, including military posts and Indian tribal areas. About 1,400 school districts serving roughly 11 million children nationwide - including nearly 376,500 students from military families - benefit from the aid, said Jocelyn Bissonnette, director of government affairs for the Washington-based National Association of Federally Impacted Schools.

Eye 1

Sequester could cut more than $400,000 in the fight against Domestic Violence in New York State

The Violence Against Women Act has been in affect since 1994. The United States House of Representatives authorized to re-new the act yesterday, but the good news for victims of domestic violence may be short lived. The sequester is expected to cut $20 million in funding for victims nationwide. The effects will be felt through out the state, and right here in Rochester.

This morning, dozens gathered at The College at Brockport for the 14th annual legislative breakfast on domestic violence.

"Her very worse fears are realized. For those of you who don't know how the story ends, her husband Vince shot Amy in the head at close range, killing her instantly," said one supported of the Violence Against Women Act.

It's stories like these that pushed congress to re-new the Violence Against Women Act.

"Funding for non residential services should not be taken out of the New York State budget. There are more people like me with no where to turn and no answers," said a victim of domestic violence.

On the heels of this event, news of sequester cuts threaten some of the most vulnerable people in our community. The state could lose more than $400-thousand in funding that aid victims of domestic violence. That means 1,600 abuse victims won't receive much needed help.

The numbers trouble those who see the affects of domestic violence every day, like Jaime Saunders, the CEO of Alternatives for Battered Women.