Society's ChildS


Spain train crash driver freed on bail - Colleagues and workers' union describe Garzón as 'responsible and cautious'

Questions should now be asked of the train company, RENFE
Francisco Garzón was freed on bail after a closed-door hearing at which his passport was taken away

The driver of the train involved in Spain's worst rail disaster in almost 70 years was freed on bail on Sunday night after reportedly admitting to a judge that he had behaved recklessly.

Police on Friday formally accused 52-year-old Francisco Garzón of manslaughter caused by recklessness.

During the closed-door hearing, Judge Luis Aláez took away Garzón's passport and ordered him to report weekly to the court, according to local media. The driver, accompanied by his lawyer, was questioned for around two hours.

The reports, citing police and judicial sources, said Garzón had admitted reckless behaviour. But it was not clear whether the judge had laid charges against the driver or, if so, whether they were the same as those levelled by police.

Garzón arrived at the court handcuffed and wearing dark glasses. He had a visible bruise on his forehead - the result of a gash that he sustained in the crash and which required nine stitches.

Comment: Indeed, it's starting to look like this was not the drivers' fault. In addition, we now have a possible motive for blaming driver - and as usual, it involves big money.

Why the two-hour delay before a state of emergency declared, leaving local residents to carry out rescue operations?

Why did the driver call the operator to tell them the train was going too fast and that it was about to derail moments before the crash?

Questions are starting to pile up for the Spanish authorities.


I'm lovin' it! Debauched British drink and drug-fueled 'youth culture' invades and occupies Crete

© John Alevroyiannis /Trinity MirrorBritish Tourists 'partying' in Malia, Crete
UK women are spending their holidays worrying about sex attacks amid claims that three have been raped in the past seven days.

With its countless bars flogging cheap booze and all-night party ­lifestyle, it's easy to see why Malia is a magnet for young Brits wanting to have fun in the sun.

But the mix of free-flowing alcohol and girls in skimpy clothing is also attracting a more sinister sort to the crowded resort - rapists.

And UK women are now spending their holidays worrying about sex attacks amid claims that three have been raped in the past seven days.

The hedonistic party town on the Greek island of Crete is still reeling from the brutal knife murder of British ­holidaymaker Tyrell Matthews-Burton during a brawl.

But on a night out this weekend, the Mirror discovered the fear of violence was being outweighed by that of rape - as it is in other popular seaside resorts across the Mediterranean.

Locals claim police are turning a blind eye to the attacks, leading to vigilante justice, and many victims do not even bother to report attacks or were too drunk to remember the details. Londoner Nikki Howarth, who manages Malia's Candy Club bar, is warning girls to stick together.


At least 37 dead after coach plunges into ravine in Southern Italy

© Reuters
(Link to video: Dozens dead in Italian bus crash)

Coach carrying a group of tourists near town of Avellino careered off a viaduct and plunged down a steep slope.

At least 37 people died and many others were injured when a coach carrying a group of tourists through southern Italy crashed into several vehicles, careered off a viaduct and then plunged down a steep slope.

As emergency workers contended with the dark and highly precarious terrain to try to pull bodies from the wreckage, firefighters said most of the bodies had been found inside the coach and a few more beneath the vehicle.

Eleven people - including three children - were injured and taken to hospitals in the surrounding area, the Ansa news agency reported. Two were reported to be in critical condition. State radio quoted Avellino police as saying the bus driver was among the dead.

Heart - Black

Disabled man Baraka Kanaan 'forced to crawl off Delta Airlines flight'

Baraka Kanaan was left without the use of his legs
© Facebook Baraka Kanaan was left without the use of his legs following a car accident in 2000.
DELTA Airlines is being sued after a disabled man claimed he was forced to crawl across the tarmac multiple times after the carrier refused to help him on and off the plane.

Baraka Kanaan, a former philosophy professor who now heads a not-for-profit, was scheduled to fly from his home in Hawaii to Nantucket Island in Massachusetts last July to attend a conference.

Mr Kanaan was left unable to walk after car crash in 2000 but claimed he contacted the airline weeks in advance to tell them of his disability.

According to the Huffington Post, Mr Kanaan said he was assured by Delta staff "that he would be received and given reasonable accommodation for his disability."

Yet when his flight touched down in Massachusetts there was no equipment to help him off the airplane and to his wheelchair. When he asked what could be done, a flight attendant allegedly told him, "I don't know, but we can't get you off the plane."

According to a law suit filed by Mr Kanaan this month, he said he was left with no option but to crawl in his best suit "hand over hand through the main cabin and down a narrow flight of stairs and across the tarmac to his wheelchair".

Cow Skull

Living the American Dream: 4 in 5 in U.S. face near-poverty, no work

US poverty chart
© Washington University in St. LouisChart shows cumulative economic insecurity by age

Four out of 5 U.S. adults struggle with joblessness, near poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives, a sign of deteriorating economic security and an elusive American dream.

Survey data exclusive to The Associated Press points to an increasingly globalized U.S. economy, the widening gap between rich and poor and loss of good-paying manufacturing jobs as reasons for the trend.

The findings come as President Barack Obama tries to renew his administration's emphasis on the economy, saying in recent speeches that his highest priority is to "rebuild ladders of opportunity" and reverse income inequality.

Hardship is particularly on the rise among whites, based on several measures. Pessimism among that racial group about their families' economic futures has climbed to the highest point since at least 1987. In the most recent AP-GfK poll, 63 percent of whites called the economy "poor."

Comet 2

Meteor-encrusted medals up for grabs at Sochi 2014

Sochi Olympic champions that happen to win their medals on February 15, 2014 - one year after the meteor crashed in the Urals - will receive special medals inlaid with tiny pieces of the celestial object.

A select few athletes lucky enough to win gold medals on a specific date at the upcoming Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics will be awarded an extra set of medals with bits of the meteor embedded in them; this is being done for the first anniversary of the fall of the Chelyabinsk meteor, the Ministry of Culture of the Chelyabinsk Region reported.

Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee President Dmitry Chernyshenko presented the medals of the 2014 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games to the public. The Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee showed a video presenting the medals and telling about their main idea. "The medals embody the idea of the brand and the contrasting effects of our country, where Europe meets Asia, where pristine nature comes in touch with a metropolis, and where innovations neighbor the richest culture of Russia," the presentation video says.
The medals will be crafted at an arms factory in the Urals, the report indicated, citing the region's Minister of Culture Alexei Betekhtin. Apparently, the medals, which have yet to be designed, will be awarded to athletes on February 15, 2014, marking exactly one year since the meteor crash. "We will award our medals to all athletes who win gold medals on that day, because the meteor, just like the Olympic Games, is an event of global significance," Betekhtin said.

According to a spokesperson for the regional Ministry of Culture, the meteor-inlaid medals will be awarded in addition to the regular set of Olympic prizes. The medals will most likely be gold-plated.

The meteor, dubbed "Chelyabinsk," crashed in Chelyabinsk Region on February 15, 2013, causing a powerful shock wave that damaged buildings and smashed windows in Chelyabinsk, and injured over 1,600 people.

First published in Russian in RIA Novosti.


Best of the Web: It's time to start taking this global food riot model seriously

Global Food Riot
© Motherboard
You should already know the name Yaneer Bar-Yam. He's the founding president of the New England Complex Systems Institute and made news for a 2011 paper tying global food prices to 2008 and 2011 riot outbreaks in Africa, and the general theory that above a certain benchmark food price, the conditions for rioting become prime.

It's not a strict cause and effect relationship - if value x, then riots - simply an observation that the probability of riots spikes at a certain point. Other things, like, say, Mohamed Bouazizi setting himself on fire, might be the actual trigger, but day-to-day survival as it pertains to food is what allows the gun to fire.

Bar-Yam's model has another "success," according to a paper posted on the arVix pre-print server last week. Rioting that occurred last year during a platinum miner's strike in South Africa - in which 34 strikers were killed by government forces - coincided neatly with a spike in the global price of maize. Stagnant wages matched with spiking food costs yields unrest. It matches well with a similar spike in 2008 that resulted in another series of riots in the country.


American tourist in Greece kills and eats rare six-legged octopus

© SWNSLabros Hydras with his daughter Areti and son Arion with the six legged octopus or hexapus.
Labros Hydras, 49, pulled the 'hexapus' from the sea while snorkelling in Greece, and following local tradition he smashed it against a rock to kill it before taking it to a nearby tavern to cook.

But after the chef refused to cook the rare animal, the father-of-two fried it for himself before doing some research and realising what he had done.

Mr Labros, a mechanical engineer living in Washington DC, said he was "horrified" when he found out what he had eaten.

"I wanted to find out more, but there was no internet where we were", Mr Labros said.

"I then called my friend who is a biologist and he told me it was true and I was horrified.

Stock Down

Extreme fear is reasonable: Economic collapse is inevitable

© Monty Pelerin's World
It is nearly impossible to convince people that an economic collapse is likely, perhaps inevitable. It is beyond anything they have seen or can imagine. I attribute that to a normalcy bias, an inherent weakness of experiential learners.

For many, accepting something that has not occurred during their time on the planet is not possible. The laws of economics and mathematics may shape history but they are not controlled by history.

The form of cataclysm and its timing is indeterminable. Political decisions continue to shape both. The madmen who are responsible for the coming disaster continue to behave as if they can manage to avoid it.

Violating Einstein's definition of insanity, they continue to apply the same poison that caused the problem. These fools believe they can manage complexities they do not understand. We are bigger fools for providing them the authority to indulge their hubris and wreak such damage.


Useless NYPD: Cops had 'no special duty' to protect man they watched being slashed while trying to stop subway serial killer


Joseph Lozito
He's a bona-fide hero who stopped the so-called "Butcher of Brighton Beach" at the end of a 28-hour city killing spree - but a Manhattan judge yesterday said a father of two is entitled to zero from the city for his injuries in the harrowing 2011 subway encounter.

Joseph Lozito sued the NYPD in January 2012, claiming police officers did nothing to help him as he confronted violent madman Maksim Gelman on a packed No. 3 train.

But Judge Margaret Chan tossed the case yesterday, saying that while she lauded Lozito's bravery, cops did not have a specific charge of saving him from Gelman.

Because "no direct promises of protection were made to Mr. Lozito," the police had "no special duty" to protect him.