Society's ChildS


Minnesota, US: Apple Valley Firefighters Respond to Sewer Line Explosion in Burnsville

© Carle KennedyAuthorities are blocking off areas of a Burnsville neighborhood near River Hills Drive and Hwy. 13 East, after residents reported there seemed to be some type of underground explosion around 1 p.m. Friday.
Authorities are still seeking the cause behind increased carbon monoxide levels that caused the explosion, sending three manhole covers flying into the air.

Apple Valley firefighters on Friday responded to an apparent underground explosion in a Burnsville neighborhood of which authorities still were still seeking the cause on Friday night.

Nobody was hurt in the blast that shook a neighborhood in northeast Burnsville on Friday afternoon, but at least 100 residents were evacuated from the neighborhood near River Hills Drive and Hwy 13 East after an underground sewer line erupted, sending three manhole covers flying between eight and 12 feet in the air.

"Those manholes weigh 100 pounds a piece," said Fire Marshal Lee LaTourelle. "That's a lot of force."

The source of the blast remains unknown. LaTourelle said many residents complained of a distinct smell of gasoline shortly before and after the explosion. On arrival, emergency workers found high levels of carbon monoxide in the sewer lines - up to 1,000 to 1,200 parts per million.

"That's really explosive," LaTourelle said. "We still don't know quite what happened."

Bizarro Earth

France Becomes First Country to Ban Extraction of Natural Gas by Fracking

The French parliament voted on June 30 to ban the controversial technique for extracting natural gas from shale rock deposits known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the web sites of Le Monde and other French media reported.

The bill had already passed the National Assembly, the country's lower chamber, on June 21, and on June 30 a Senate vote of 176 to 151 made France the first country to enact such a ban, just as New York State is preparing to lift a moratorium on the same method.

The vote was divided along party lines, with the majority conservative party voting in favor and the opposition voting against the bill, according to Le Monde. The Socialist Party, in particular, opposed the bill because it did not go far enough. The bill's critics said that it left open possible loopholes and that in particular it does not prevent the exploitation of oil shale deposits by techniques other than fracking. An earlier version of the bill, which the Socialists had supported, would have banned any kind of development of the deposits, Le Monde reported.

Eye 2

Singapore: An epidemic of corpses

murders singapore
© Singapore Straits Times / Asia News NetworkWater tragedy: Police removing the body of an Indonesian maid who was found in a water tank on the roof of a flat in Singapore on 16 May.
In recent days, parts of this law-and-order city, whose murder rate ranks as low as Japan's, resembled scenes from the American TV series Crime Scene Investigation.

Against its staid nature, seven gruesome bodies have been found in various parts of the island since July 1, unrelated to each other - at a rate of one a day.

In fact, the grisly spate had begun earlier, from around mid-April when a decomposed body was found in a luggage bag at the casino resort of Sentosa.

A month later, an Indonesian maid's body was discovered submerged in a rooftop tank that supplies drinking water to nearly 200 residents at Woodlands. Her Bangladeshi boyfriend had been arrested.

Since then a total of 13 bodies have turned up, prompting shocked citizens to ask: "What has become of Singapore?"

Police investigators and pathologists - as well as sociologists - are working overtime to probe this epidemic of corpses. Most were believed to be murder or suicide victims.

Until a clear picture emerges, people are blaming it on the rapid intake of foreigners, as well as the presence of two casinos, or possibly both.

As a result, the second most densely-populated city in the world (next to Monaco) is now also poised to overtake Las Vegas as the second largest gaming destination as well.

These two factors have pushed economic growth sky-high but few ordinary citizens are celebrating.

Families are extremely concerned about the social impact they may bring - including crime, family stress and suicides.


An Actionable Plan for 9/11 Truth


As each anniversary of 9/11 rolls by, the import of this tragedy looms ever larger in our history. Especially looming like storm clouds on the horizon of American politics are the unanswered questions about these events. And as new evidence and new whistleblowers come forward seemingly every week, the import of the 9/11 truth movement multiplies in historic significance. All of this points to the urgent need for a new, independent investigation with subpoena and other grand jury powers - a citizen's commission that is truly free of partisan political interference.

As we approach 9/11's tenth anniversary, we are reminded - each time we pick up a newspaper - that the government's "official 9/11 story" resulted in three interminable wars: Afghanistan, Iraq, and the War on Terror. The official line also conveniently set the stage for the Patriot Act that abridged so many of our liberties and civil rights, plus a long list of other abuses such as egregious torture of "terror suspects" in the name of national security. Our dilemma ten years later reminds me of a prescient statement made by James Madison: "If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy."

The U.S. government's investigations that culminated in the 911 Commission Report purported to set the record straight about the perpetrators of terrorism on our soil and the mistakes made by those whose sacred task is to defend our shores. But this 2004 report has since been called into question by a very long list of credible voices, not only within the United States, but throughout the world. Even the co-chair of the Commission, Governor Thomas Kean, admitted failure: "We think the Commission, in many ways, was set up to fail. Because we had not enough money, we didn't have enough time, and we [were] appointed by the most partisan people in Washington."


Assange's £850,000 Book Deal Collapses 'Over Fears US Government Could Use Them Against Him'

© unknownCollapse: Julian Assange has pulled out of his 'ghost-written' memoirs
An £850,000 book deal signed by Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to write his memoirs has collapsed over fears the U.S. Government could use them for extradition hearings.

He has said he is unhappy with his 'ghost-written' book and that he never actually wanted them written.

Mr Assange, who will appear before the High Court on July 12 for an appeal against his extradition on sex assault allegations, said he had only agreed to the memoirs because he was in financial straits.

He received an advance of £500,000 for his book from publishers Alfred A Knopf of Random House with a further £350,000 coming from Canongate, according to the Guardian.

It is believed that Mr O'Hagan could still write a book based on his six months of interviews with Mr Assange and that could recoup some of the losses if he cannot be persuaded to let publication to go ahead.

Assange has been under house arrest since December last year, and is obliged to report to the police station every day as well as wear an electronic tag.

He is currently staying at Ellingham Hall, the 10-bed home of journalist Vaughan Smith, in Norfolk.


Justice Demands Julain Assange Should be Extradited

Julian Assange
© WikicommonsJulian Assange
Julian Assange is apparently wavering over writing his autobiography as he prepares to take his fight against extradition over rape allegations to the Royal Courts of Justice next week.

But if the potential loss of his near £1 million fee for the book is bad news, the WikiLeaks founder should expect worse once the hearing that will determine whether he is sent to face justice in Sweden concludes.

We'll doubtless hear much from celebrity fans such as Jemima Khan and Ken Loach about how he's the innocent victim of a politically driven "honeytrap" conspiracy designed to ensure his eventual prosecution in the US for posting secret files on the net.

There will also be attacks on the European Arrest Warrant system - which Sweden is using to secure his extradition - and the way it allows suspects to be handed over without testing the allegations against them.


The Essential Rules Of Liberty


There is nothing worse in this world than an enslaved man who naively believes himself free, except, perhaps, trying to explain to that same man his predicament. You can lay truth after truth before his feet. You can qualify your every position with cold hard irrefutable data. You can plead and scream and raise veritable hell, but before he will ever listen, he must first become aware of his own dire circumstances. As long as he views himself as "safe and secure", as long as he imagines his chains to be wings, he will see no reason to question the validity of the world around him, and he will certainly never invest himself into changing his own deluded destiny.

Unfortunately, there are many such men crawling and scraping about here in what was once a land graced with a self sufficient and independently minded public majority. The great lie that has been perpetuated in this country over the past several decades is that we can defer our responsibilities of vigilance and place our well being and our futures into the hands of others for the sake of "collective efficiency", or leisure. We have been conditioned to live in a state of constant indifference, a society which prizes compromise over principle and steadfast resolve. Those who refuse to compromise that which is honorable for the sake of ease and comfort are indicted as "extremist" or even criminal. The idea of personal revolution is treated with discomfort, and all we claim to stand for becomes muddled in a fog of inaction and cynicism. As Americans, we have forgotten what it means to earn and protect our own freedoms. We have forgotten that in liberty, there are standards that must be defended.

This, however, does not mean we cannot yet again remember ourselves. The desire for freedom is as inborn and natural as our own heartbeat, as our own breath. It is instinct. It cannot be erased from within, only oppressed from without. The tide has always been against tyranny, always, though we may find that hard to believe. If liberty was not ingrained into our very DNA, humanity would have succumbed to bondage and self destructed long ago. This is not the case. Stretching under the surface of our superficial force-fed mainstream culture are the roots of something real, and honest. Simmering beneath our so called "civilized" veneer, many Americans are finally rediscovering their wild and defiant origins. In the recent past we have been taught to feel ashamed of our rebelliousness. Now, we are learning to hold it quite dear.


Is It Constitutional To Block WikiLeaks Payments?

There are many arguments against WikiLeaks and the actions that the company has taken towards transparency. One is that the actions are treasonous. That is nonsense. Nothing has been done to, to quote the constitution, "levy war". Another is that undercover US agents have been named and those people can not operate on foreign soil any more. That has some credence, but should not be mistaken for levying war. Another still is that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange actually cares little for moral reasoning - he is simply a media whore. That is almost certainly true.

Nobody seems to be able to decide whether Assange has actually done anything illegal or not with WikiLeaks. The knee-jerk cries of "anti-American", "traitor" and, of course the obligatory "communist" have been ringing around the country with a tone more shrill than Sarah Palin's laugh.

He is still facing extradition for charges of sexual assault, a far more serious issue. But that is an entirely separate matter, and it still has to go before a jury. Of course, he is fiercely claiming innocence.

So while Assange is a free man, what real reason does Mastercard (NYSE: MA), Visa (NYSE: V [FREE Stock Trend Analysis]) and Paypal have to block payments to WikiLeaks? They claim that they have a policy against dealing with criminals or in criminal activity, by which it obviously means drug deals and the like. But while WikiLeaks remains in operation in the open, is it constitutional to continue to refuse them service?


4 Reasons Why Bradley Manning Deserves a Medal

© The Associated Press
We still don't know if he did it or not, but if Bradley Manning, the 24-year-old Army private from Oklahoma, actually supplied WikiLeaks with its choicest material -- the Iraq War logs, the Afghan War logs, and the State Department cables -- which startled and riveted the world, then he deserves the Presidential Medal of Freedom instead of a jail cell at Fort Leavenworth.

President Obama recently gave one of those medals to retiring Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who managed the two bloody, disastrous wars about which the WikiLeaks-released documents revealed so much. Is he really more deserving than the young private who, after almost ten years of mayhem and catastrophe, gave Americans -- and the world -- a far fuller sense of what our government is actually doing abroad?

Bradley Manning, awaiting a court martial in December, faces the prospect of long years in prison. He is charged with violating the Espionage Act of 1917. He has put his sanity and his freedom on the line so that Americans might know what our government has done -- and is still doing -- globally. He has blown the whistle on criminal violations of American military law. He has exposed our secretive government's pathological over-classification of important public documents.

Here are four compelling reasons why, if he did what the government accuses him of doing, he deserves that medal, not jail time.


Collapsing Financials


These elites do not have a vision. They know only one word: more. They will continue to exploit the nation, the global economy and the ecosystem. And they will use their money to hide in gated compounds when it all implodes.
Chris Hedges

If you thought the global financial crisis of 2008 was difficult, wait till the sequel comes to your doorstep. Some investment professionals feel that the sky could soon be falling as recent events have led many to brace for the worst. The world and everyone in it should be preparing for some very difficult days ahead but that is not happening because most are drinking some kind of happy tea. An unprecedented financial storm of unknown scope and dimension is upon us but it is crushing certain people, cities, states and countries before others. Many are perceiving and reporting that the fundamental economic outlook has changed substantially over the last couple of weeks.

"There is a growing sense of despair in Brussels. Unlike previous attacks on the euro project, the latest downgrade of Portugal's debt by the ratings agency Moody's feels like the beginning of the end. Those economists and fund managers, who argued that a second bailout for Greece with private sector involvement would mean something similar for Portugal and most likely Ireland, are hitting their target. Like a 19th century battalion holding the line against oncoming hoards with depleted firepower and an officer class at war with itself, the euro's supporters are in a desperate situation," writes the Guardian.

A clear majority of the uncrushed are certain that there is nothing to worry about and go about their business as if life will continue on as it has these past few decades. But 100 percent of the crushed have no doubt that there is a civilization-scale catastrophe taking place and that there will be little or no recovery from it for as far as the eye can see into the future.