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Sat, 16 Oct 2021
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In God we trust, maybe, but not each other

Bart Murawski
© 2011 AP/Shannon DeCelle
Bart Murawksi, 27 poses at a coffee shop Tuesday, Nov. 26 2013, in Troy, NY. You can take our word for it: Americans don't trust each other anymore. An AP-Gfk poll conducted last month found that Americans are suspicious of each other in everyday encounters. Less than a third expressed a lot of trust in clerks who swipe their credit cards, drivers on the road, or people they meet when traveling. "I'm leery of everybody," said Murawski. "Caution is always a factor."
You can take our word for it. Americans don't trust each other anymore.

We're not talking about the loss of faith in big institutions such as the government, the church or Wall Street, which fluctuates with events. For four decades, a gut-level ingredient of democracy - trust in the other fellow - has been quietly draining away.

These days, only one-third of Americans say most people can be trusted. Half felt that way in 1972, when the General Social Survey first asked the question.

Forty years later, a record high of nearly two-thirds say "you can't be too careful" in dealing with people.

An AP-GfK poll conducted last month found that Americans are suspicious of each other in everyday encounters. Less than one-third expressed a lot of trust in clerks who swipe their credit cards, drivers on the road, or people they meet when traveling.

"I'm leery of everybody," said Bart Murawski, 27, of Albany, N.Y. "Caution is always a factor."

Does it matter that Americans are suspicious of one another? Yes, say worried political and social scientists.

Eye 2

Sexual Psychopath? Colorado teen who dismembered 5th-grader gets life in prison

© AP Photo, Denver Post
Austin Sigg sits in district court in Golden, Colorado, on Monday, Nov. 18, 2013, during his sentencing. Sigg, 18, pleaded guilty last month to kidnapping and killing Jessica Ridgeway in Westminster in October 2012.
A psychologist described him as sadistic, and prosecutors said he methodically killed and dismembered the 10-year-old girl he grabbed on her way to school.

But lawyers for Austin Sigg said Tuesday the 18-year-old was still a child himself, he might have suffered trauma before and during birth, and he had anxiety, a learning disability and an emotionally distant mother.

Judge Stephen Munsinger rejected that image and the defense argument that Sigg should be eligible for parole in 40 years. He instead ordered the teen to serve a life sentence for killing Jessica Ridgeway plus 86 years for other offenses, including sexually assaulting her and trying to attack a jogger a few months before. The sentence ensured Sigg will never be released.

Jessica's disappearance last fall put the Denver suburbs on edge as police, aided by an army of volunteers, searched for her and then her killer. While people now know how Jessica was killed, Munsinger said they might never know why.

Heart - Black

'And Wammmmmm': Florida teens randomly target, beat up senior citizens

Elderly man being assaulted
An elderly man was kicked from behind while he was weeding his garden Tuesday.
A Fort Myers, Fla., teen was arrested this week for attacking senior citizens. Traveshia Blanks is charged with two counts of battery in the seemingly random and senseless attacks, according to WBBH-TV. One 72-year-old victim told the news station he was weeding his garden Tuesday when he was kicked from behind. The victim fell to the ground and said he saw a woman walking away laughing, joining a group of people.

"I was in shock. Who would expect anything from out of the blue to happen like that. There's no reason had I done something or said something," the victim told WBBH. "I didn't hear anything. There was nobody in the area at all. It was very quiet [when] all of a sudden I felt a blow to my hip and I was on the ground. I turned around to see what happened and there was a girl standing there laughing," he said.


Indian teams hunt for tiger after 3 Bandipur deaths


There are about 1,700 tigers in the wild in India
Forest officials in the southern Indian state of Karnataka are searching for a tiger which they say has killed three villagers in the past week.

Teams have gone deep into Bandipur tiger reserve with orders to shoot the "man-eater" with tranquilisers.

A fourth fatality in recent days is being blamed on another tiger.

Meanwhile, angry locals demanding compensation for the families of those killed have set fire to two jeeps belonging to forest officials.

The villagers also want a permanent solution to the man-animal conflict in the region.

The first fatal attack took place on 27 November, when a man called Basavaraju was killed. Two days later, a second victim, Cheluva, fell prey to the same tiger, officials believe. They say the animal was last spotted on 30 November.

Its latest presumed victim, 60-year-old farmer Shivamallappa Basappa, was found by his son on Tuesday night close to the forest in Mysore district. Only parts of his leg and skull remained.

"The body of the third farmer who was killed has been found. We have seen the pug marks of the tiger. It is moving around somewhere close by," HC Kantharaju, conservator of forests in Bandipur tiger reserve, told BBC


South Korea: Surge in 'digital dementia'

Digital Dementia
© Getty Images
Doctors in South Korea are reporting a surge in 'digital dementia' among young people who have become so reliant on electronic devices.
Doctors in South Korea are reporting a surge in "digital dementia" among young people who have become so reliant on electronic devices that they can no longer remember everyday details like their phone numbers.

South Korea is one of the most digitally connected nations in the world and the problem of internet addiction among both adults and children was recognised as far back as the late 1990s.

That is now developing into the early onset of digital dementia - a term coined in South Korea - meaning a deterioration in cognitive abilities that is more commonly seen in people who have suffered a head injury or psychiatric illness.

"Over-use of smartphones and game devices hampers the balanced development of the brain," Byun Gi-won, a doctor at the Balance Brain Centre in Seoul, told the JoongAng Daily newspaper.

"Heavy users are likely to develop the left side of their brains, leaving the right side untapped or underdeveloped," he said.

The right side of the brain is linked with concentration and its failure to develop will affect attention and memory span, which could in as many as 15 per cent of cases lead to the early onset of dementia.


Argentina: Monsanto protester beaten, threatened with death at world's largest GMO farm

sofia gatica monsanto

Sofia Gatica holds a container of toxic chemicals.
Sofia Gatica, a leading Argentine campaigner against Monsanto's agrochemical spraying on GM soy and winner of the Goldman Prize, received a death threat from a suspected Monsanto mercenary who held a gun to her. A few days later, Sofia was attacked and beaten up near her place of work.

Protesters in Argentina continue to block construction of what is planned to be the biggest Monsanto plant in Latin America. They have occupied the construction site in Malvinas, Argentina for about two months now and Monsanto stands accused of resorting to intimidation tactics to try and remove them.


'Tips for Jesus': Massive mysterious tips are being left at pubs across the country in God's name

© TipsForJesus on Instagram
In today's day and age, generosity isn't always heralded or highlighted, but some inspirational stories of late show that goodness and kindness are still alive and well.

Take, for instance, the "TipsForJesus" movement, an anonymous individual - or a group of individuals - who continuously leave massive tips at pubs, restaurants and other establishments.

An Instagram account with the username "TipsForJesus" is continuously documenting these escapades, including images of receipts from each good deed and some of the elated faces of individuals receiving these gifts.

While those behind the tip giving effort remain a mystery, a mission statement is present on the aforementioned Instagram account: "Doing the Lord's work, one tip at a time."

Heart - Black

Catholic hospital sent home woman enduring dangerous, prolonged miscarriage, suit claims

A Michigan woman said she was denied proper medical treatment three times by a Catholic hospital because it would have conflicted with the church's teachings.

Tamesha Means said she was only 18 weeks pregnant in 2010 when her water broke prematurely, and she went to Mercy Health Hospital in Muskegon - the only hospital within a half-hour of her home.

A lawsuit filed Nov. 29 by the ACLU claims health care providers did not tell Means that she had little chance of successfully continuing the pregnancy or that her own health was at risk if she tried to continue the pregnancy.

Instead, the suit claims, Means was simply sent home.

But Means returned to Mercy Health the following day, bleeding and in pain, and the suit claims she was again sent home without being told about the risks of continuing her pregnancy.

Means came back a third time - now suffering a serious infection - and the suit claims health care providers intended to send her home yet again when she went into premature labor.

Bizarro Earth

Starving rebels eat lion from a Damascus zoo


Pictures of a lion reportedly killed for food were posted online
A graphic picture has emerged which appears to show Syrian rebels so desperate for food they have killed and butchered a lion.

Parts of Damascus have been under siege by the Syrian army for more than six months, causing food to become scarce as winter draws near.

The picture, which has not been independently verified, appears to show a visibly emaciated lion.

It is though to have been captured from Al-Qarya al-Shama Zoo, in east Ghouta.

Last month, clerics issued a fatwa, or religious order which allowed staving Syrians to eat cats and dogs if food supplies became desperate.

Stock Down

New low for Congress: Just 6 percent approve, finally lower than car salespeople

The public's approval rating for Congress has finally hit rock bottom: For the first time, America has a higher opinion of car salespeople.

A new Economist/YouGov.com poll put the approval rating of Congress at a historic low of 6 percent. A December 2012 Gallup poll comparing Congress' approval ratings to other occupations had car salespeople at the bottom at 8 percent and Congress at 10 percent. Now Congress is the cellar dweller.

The nation's bad opinion of Congress, impacted by inaction, budget fights and the battle over the filibuster, has also spread to Senate leaders. Just 19 percent approve of Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell while 54 percent disapprove. Democratic leader Sen. Harry Reid's ratings are 52 percent unfavorable, 25 percent favorable.