Society's ChildS

Sherlock

Long Island, US murder mystery: New body parts found; now 11 victims

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© James Carbone / PoolPolice search for human remains
A murder mystery that is haunting Long Island has taken a new twist with the discovery of more human remains, bringing to at least 11 the number of possible slaying victims found since a woman's disappearance in May 2010 indicated a serial killer was on the loose.

The remains of the missing woman, Shannan Gilbert, a prostitute who advertised on Craigslist, were discovered in December in a marshy area of Long Island near Oak Beach, where she was last seen alive. Police eventually concluded she probably was not murdered but drowned after falling into a swamp, perhaps while fleeing in the dark from her last customer.

The months of searching for her remains, however, uncovered several other bodies or parts of bodies, and police speculate that one or more serial killers-- have for years used the woods, dunes and other isolated areas of eastern Long Island to dump victims.

Igloo

Swedish man says he survived two months in snow-buried car

Driver stuck since December hibernated 'a bit like a bear', doctors say

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© Scanpix Sweden/ReutersA snowed-in car in the woods north of Umea in northern Sweden, in which a middle-aged Swedish man was found alive on Friday.
Stockholm - A Swedish man was being treated in hospital Sunday after being dug out alive from his snow-buried car in which he had survived for two months with no food, according to police and local media.

The 45-year-old from southern Sweden was found on Friday, emaciated and too weak to utter more than a few words.

The BBC reported the temperature in the area had recently dropped to -22F (-30C).

He was found not far from the city of Umea in the north of Sweden by snowmobilers who thought they had come across a car wreck until they dug their way to a window and saw movement inside.

The man, who was laying in the back seat in a sleeping bag, said he had been in the car since December 19.

Bad Guys

Riot Police Beat Students in Spain Protest: Witnesses

Spain protest
© AFP
Baton-wielding riot police charged, beat and arrested several demonstrators at a student protest against spending cuts in the Spanish city of Valencia on Monday, reporters at the scene said.

The clashes broke out in the mid-afternoon after students protesting against education budget cuts, which they say have left classrooms without heating, demonstrated outside a school and came up against police barricades.

Photographs and videos from the scene showed youths with bleeding faces and baton-wielding police in helmets and body armour chasing, beating and dragging people along the ground as the clashes continued after nightfall.

El Pais newspaper said on its website that police fired rubber bullets, and media reported numerous injuries.

Valencia regional police chief Antonio Moreno said police used "proportionate physical force" in comments to reporters broadcast on Spanish radio.

People

A good week for the smiting of the ungodly

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© Rex FeaturesEmbattled professor:Richard Dawkins
The anger last week against the smug anti-religion brigade was quite startling.

Atheism has had a bad week. First there was the contest between the Church and the unbelievers' Vicar on Earth which ended with a score of God 1, Richard Dawkins 0. Then the equality commissar, Trevor Phillips, came along with a stunningly inept analogy between Christian observance and sharia law - and got so resoundingly pilloried that he had to be carried off the field. Make no mistake: it was atheism that was on manoeuvres here. It may have marched under the banner of "secularism" but that was a deliberately misleading and, as it turned out, not very successful tactic. As Professor Dawkins himself said in one of his broadcasting appearances, secularism and atheism are different things.

You bet they are. Secularism as understood, for example, in the United States - the most famously successful secular society in history - is no enemy of religious belief. The separation of church and state enshrined in the American Constitution is designed to guarantee the freedom of worship: to protect the observance of all faiths from oppression or interference by the state. It is the ultimate acknowledgement of the importance - in effect, of the sacrosanct nature - of religious belief and practice, regarding it as one of the "unalienable" human rights.

This principle has been revisited just recently in a spectacular clash between President Obama and the Roman Catholic Church over the matter of whether Church institutions should be obliged by federal statute to provide free contraception. There can be no question of where the Constitution stands on this issue: if a case should ever come to the Supreme Court, it is the Church that will win.

MIB

Chinese newspaper accuses west of provoking civil war in Syria

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© Sana/ReutersSyria's president, Bashar al-Assad, meets the Chinese vice foreign minister, Zhai Jun, in Damascus.
People's Daily says demands for Bashar al-Assad to step down could start war that would require foreign intervention

A leading Chinese newspaper has accused western countries of stirring up civil war in Syria, where police and militia patrols have clamped down on a district of the capital to prevent further demonstrations against the president, Bashar al-Assad.

After almost a year of protests against Assad's 11-year rule, the uprising has moved to his centre of power in Damascus, where the security police surrounded a funeral of a young protester on Sunday to ensure there was no repeat of some of biggest demonstrations in the capital.

China's Communist party mouthpiece, the People's Daily, said in a front page commentary that the west's support of the opposition and its demands for Assad to step down could provoke a "large-scale civil war" that might demand foreign intervention.

Mail

Blaming the Victims: Miramonte Scandal Prompts Rosewood Elementary Principal To Send Letter Home

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© AP
One LAUSD father is crying foul against the district after his daughters were sent home with a memo about the Miramonte School sex abuse scandal.

The letter to parents, which includes details about how Miramonte students were blindfolded and had cockroaches placed on them, was written by Rosewood Avenue Elementary Principal Linda Crowder and sent home with all her students on Monday for parents to read.

From the letter, which appears in full below:
As I reflect on the disturbing occurrences at Miramonte, I am more confused over the fact that the children did not report. How is it that the children did not believe that what the teacher was doing to them was wrong? How could being blindfolded, placed in a closet, and having cockroaches placed on them not be wrong? I believe that the teachers involved in these heinous acts preyed on the most vulnerable of the children; children of poverty, children of abuse, children with uninvolved parents, and children of undocumented parents.

Question

$6 Trillion in Allegedly Fake U.S. Bonds Seized

Fed Reserve Mother box
© BBC
Several news outlets are reporting that Italian prosecutors claimed to have seized a record $6 trillion in allegedly fake U.S. Treasury bonds from 1934 with a nominal value of $1 billion each.

The bonds were reportedly hidden in makeshift compartments of three safety deposit boxes in Zurich according to an emailed statement from Potenza-based Italian prosecutors.

Eight people were reportedly arrested due to the inquiry, which was codenamed "Operation Vulcanica" and the American embassy in Rome has already examined the bonds although embassy officials have yet to comment.

It gets really strange when we find out that, "The individuals involved were planning to buy plutonium from Nigerian sources, according to phone conversations monitored by the police."

Even more strange is that the bonds were reportedly held in crates marked as property of the Chicago Federal Reserve System, in fact the picture of the crate released by the BBC reveals that the boxes were Treaty of Versailles Mother Boxes.

Bomb

Thailand: Bomb Suspects 'Were Anti-Iran Exiles'

Scene of Bangkok blast
© EPAScene of Bangkok blast
Four Iranians suspected of involvement in a botched bomb plot targeting Israeli diplomats in Bangkok were members of an exiled Iranian opposition group which wanted the incident to reflect badly on Teheran, Syedsulaiman Husaini, Shia leader of Thailand, said on Sunday.

He claimed the four belonged to the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organisation (also known as MEK, MKO and the People's Mujahedeen Organisation of Iran, or PMOI) which aims to overthrow the current Iranian government.

The MEK has been on the US Department of State's list of foreign terrorist organisations since 1977.

Thai authorities and security agencies were not familiar with the group, said Mr Syedsulaima, who is also director of the Islamic studies centre at Al Mahdi Institute and former president of the Iran University Alumni Association.

The Islamic scholar said the bomb incident was unlikely to be the work of the Iranian government as speculated because Bangkok and Teheran have good bilateral relations.

A secret report by Iran's security agency also indicated that the Iran nationals linked with Bangkok's latest bomb plot were members of the MEK, reports said.

Formed in the 1960s, the organisation participated in Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution that replaced the country's pro-Western ruler, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, with a Shi'ite Islamist regime led by the Ayatollah Khomeini. The MEK, whose ideology mixes Marxism and Islam, was expelled from Iran two years later after trying to stage an armed uprising against Khomeini.

Red Flag

'Hundreds gather' in China after monk's self-immolation

China monks
© Flickr / Wonderlane
Hundreds of Tibetans gathered in China's southwest to hold a vigil for a young Buddhist monk who set himself on fire, a rights group said, in the latest self-immolation to hit the country.

The 18-year-old monk, identified as Nangdrol, set himself alight Sunday in Sichuan province's Rangtang county, where one Tibetan was reportedly shot dead by security forces last month, the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) said on Monday.

Citing exiled Tibetan sources with contacts in the area, ICT said Nangdrol had died and his body was taken back to a local monastery. The information was confirmed by the London-based Free Tibet.

Monks did not comply with police orders to hand over the body and more than 1,000 people gathered to hold a vigil on Sunday evening, ICT said.

Bad Guys

US: In labored clarification, Fox contributor castigates military's 'fake heroism'

Liz Trotta
© Screengrab via FoxNews.comFox News contributor Liz Trotta.
Appearing on the Fox News show America's News HQ, contributor Liz Trotta attempted to clarify remarks she made earlier this month that became fodder for The Daily Show, during which host Jon Stewart summarized that she did not want the military helping women who've been "raped too much."

Unfortunately for the former Washington Times editor, what she actually said isn't going to make the controversy go away - but then, that may have been the point.

After suggesting that the issue of women in military roles has "never gotten a fair and open hearing," Trotta went on to say: "The political correctness infecting the Pentagon has resulted in silly and dishonest fairy tales about female heroism," she said. "Has anyone forgotten the Jessica Lynch story?"

"There are countless other stories of fake heroism or exaggerated prowess in which women are the stars, many of them tailored for The New York Times and its agenda to promote militant feminism, no matter what the truth," Trotta added.