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Sat, 02 Dec 2023
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Vermont, US: The Mysterious Disappearance of Bill and Lorraine Currier

© Essex police/Associated Press
Essex police are looking for Bill and Lorraine Currier, who were last seen June 8, 2011 by their respective co-workers in Burlington, Vermont
It's been nearly a week since Bill and Lorraine Currier mysteriously vanished from their small town in Vermont.

"The fact that they've completely disappeared, none of it seems to make any sense," Essex police Lt. Robin Hollwedell told ABCNews.com. "When two good people disappear from town with seemingly no explanation, that's a concern for us."

The couple was last seen by coworkers on Wednesday, June 8, around 5 p.m. They were reported missing by Bill Currier's sister, Diana Smith, the following day.

Smith told ABCNews.com today, "We're praying for their safe return."

Bad Guys

China: Hong Kong "gay cure" doctor defends his role

© Agency France Presse/Mike Clarke
Supporters of gay rights advocacy group Rainbow Action in a protest on Friday accuse the Hong Kong social welfare department of being homophobic by offering so-called "gay conversion" therapy.
A Hong Kong psychiatrist who claims homosexuals can be "cured" defended his role Sunday, after he was hired to train government counsellors in a move that outraged gay rights activists.

Critics said it could be the world's first government-sponsored session on gay conversion therapy.

But psychiatrist Hong Kwai-wah said his three-and-a-half hour training session for more than 60 social welfare staff on Friday did not emphasise gay conversion.

"The main point is not about gay conversion therapy," the 56-year-old doctor told AFP in a telephone interview, saying he was "surprised and disappointed" over the attacks by activists.

"The main point is how to pay attention and give guidance to same-sex attracted youths and their parents, to understand their struggle and their needs," said Hong, who specialises in "treating unwanted homosexuality".

Bizarro Earth

US: Minnesota Shutdown Threatens Weddings, Much More

© Associated Press/Jim Mone
In this June 8, 2011 photo, Crystal Morales and Derek Cloutier are shown outside Fort Snelling Memorial Chapel in Minneapolis where they plan to wed in July. However, their wedding location might be in jeopardy if there is a government shutdown in Minnesota.
Fort Snelling State Park - After enduring a 15-month deployment together in Iraq and more than a year living in separate states, Crystal Morales and Derek Cloutier can't wait to get married next month in their dream location, a historical military chapel on the bluffs above the Mississippi River in Minnesota.

One big problem: Fort Snelling State Park and its chapel may close July 1 if the Minnesota government shuts down. Morales calls the spot "my whole image of what I always wanted, like a castle."

"I can't even imagine really getting married anywhere else because of how perfect it is," she said on a breezy June day outside the chapel.

Their July 16 wedding is just one of many plans that could be snarled by a second potential government shutdown in six years in Minnesota, brought on by another political impasse over taxes and spending.

Minnesota's looming shutdown is the latest and most frantic example of a state dealing with the recession's lingering effects, a fiscal crisis and polarized politics. Across the border in Wisconsin, where one party controlled power, the combination led to swift, sweeping change and then backlash from those opposed to reforms affecting public workers and schools. In Minnesota, a divided state government has led to stubborn brinksmanship with no progress for months on how to fix a $5 billion deficit.

Heart - Black

US: 'Bizarre' Former Marine Gets Life in Prison for Killing Girlfriend's 2-YEAR-OLD Daughter With 'Ultimate Wrestling Moves'

© Police Photo
Sentenced: Benjamin James George, 30, got life in prison for the violent death of a toddler
  • Benjamin James George, 30, of Medford, Oregon sentenced
  • Admitted choking and body slamming toddler in 2010
  • Defence argued mental impairment; judge not swayed
A 230-pound former Marine has been sentenced to life in prison for killing his girlfriend's 2-year-old daughter in a brutal wrestling match, in which he threw the child across a bed and into a wall.

Benjamin James George, 30, of Medford, Oregon was sentenced Thursday after he was convicted of murder by abuse in the death of Kacy Sue Lunsford, the Mail Tribune reported.

The girl died at a Portland hospital in June 2010, five days after the assault.

Prosecutor David Hoppe said previous episodes of abuse culminated in one night of 'ultimate wrestling moves' that left the 30-pound child with collapsed lungs, a lacerated liver, internal bleeding and massive head wounds.

Kacy's family cried quietly during the hearing, but they made no statement in court, and left the building immediately.

Mr Hoppe said: 'Hopefully the verdicts will bring a small measure of solace to Kacy's family'.

Jackson County Circuit Judge Lorenzo Mejia also sentenced George to 7 1/2 years for assault, to run concurrently with the life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years.

George showed no reaction and expressed no remorse during his sentencing.

Murder by abuse applies when a person, recklessly or with extreme indifference to the value of human life, causes the death of a child younger than 14 through a pattern of abuse, torture or neglect.


Food Price Explosion 'Will Devastate the World's Poor'

© Reuters / David Gray
Boats stranded by drought in central China last month; experts say this year's global harvest is in a 'critical' condition.
After a 40% rise in global prices over the past year, droughts and floods threaten to seriously damage this year's harvest

Food prices will soar by as much as 30% over the next 10 years, the United Nations and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development have predicted.

Angel Gurría, secretary-general of the OECD, said that any further increase in global food prices, which have risen by 40% over the past year, will have a "devastating" impact on the world's poor and is likely to lead to political unrest, famine and starvation. "People are going to be forced either to eat less or find other sources of income."

The joint UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and OECD report predicted that the cost of cereals is likely to increase by 20% and the price of meat, particularly chicken, may soar by up to 30%.

World food prices are already at a near-record high as droughts and floods threaten to seriously damage this year's harvest. The report said the global harvest is in a "critical" condition and warned that prices will continue to rise until depleted stocks are rebuilt.

Global food prices hit a record high in February, prompting demonstrations across the world. The last extreme food price rise in 2008 led to riots in 20 countries across three continents.


Fire Hits Riot-Wracked Venezuelan Prison

© The Associated Press
Streams of tear gas fired by national guardsmen fall over El Rodeo I, bottom, and El Rodeo II prison in Guatire, Venezuela, Sunday June 19, 2011. Thousands of National Guard troops stormed the Venezuelan prison Friday seeking to disarm inmates days after a bloody riot, setting off gunfights with resisting inmates that left at least one inmate and two soldiers dead, and more than 18 wounded. On June 12, 2011, there was a clash between inmates in El Rodeo I that killed 21 prisoners and a visitor.
Fire ripped through a prison where thousands of Venezuelan troops struggled to put down a revolt by inmates on Sunday as dozens of horrified relatives tried to watch the fighting.

Officials gave few descriptions about the progress of the three-day battle at the Rodeo I prison and did not say if more people had been killed or injured beyond the three dead and 18 wounded reported on the first day of the clash. Gunfire continued to rattle from the compound.

Deputy Justice Minister Nestor Reverol told state television the pre-dawn fire was caused by a short circuit, and that inmates had been evacuated before flames engulfed a building. Some relatives outside said that prisoners with cell phones had told them troops started the blaze.

Evelyn Rodriguez, 27, climbed a nearby hill for a view and gasped when she peered through binoculars to see the prison blacked by the fire.

"My husband and my brother were inside that building," Rodriguez said, trying to hold back tears. "I have no idea what has happened to them."


Gunmen in Mexico Kill 8 After FIFA Tournament Opens

© Agence France-Presse
Police man a checkpoint during a security operation against crime in Monterrey, Mexico, in February 2011. At least eight people were killed in a pair of attacks in northern Mexico, authorities said Sunday, including a shooting at a bar in Monterrey just hours after the opening of soccer's Under-17 World Cup
At least eight people were killed in a pair of attacks in northern Mexico, authorities said Sunday, including a shooting at a bar in Monterrey just hours after the opening of soccer's Under-17 World Cup.

Gunmen stormed the bar in Mexico's third largest city late Saturday and "executed three people," wounded another, and kidnapped a security guard at the bar who was later found dead, an official of Nuevo Leon state's investigation agency told AFP.

Four other people, 18-25 years old, were killed Sunday morning in Guadalupe, a city adjacent to Monterrey.

"The victims were gathering in front of one of their homes when armed men showed up in several vehicles and shot them," the official said.


US: Hundreds march in Seattle 'SlutWalk' demonstration

© Unknown
Seattle - Hundreds of people - some in provocative clothing - marched Sunday in a demonstration known as a "SlutWalk."

Local organizers said the intent of the march from Pine Street to Westlake Center was "to fight the sexist social acceptance of rape in our culture, and reclaim the word 'slut."

Marchers chanted slogans, such as "No means no" and "We love sluts."

Demonstrations held across Canada and the U.S. were sparked by a Toronto police officer's remark that "women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized."

Lissa Cunneen was 19 in 1982 when she was raped by a stranger in a University of Washington dorm. She was wearing jeans, a red sweatshirt, boots, a scarf and pearl earrings.

She recreated the outfit as she joined the march, carrying a sign saying "This is what I was wearing."

"Rapers are going to rape and it doesn't matter what you're wearing," she said.

And she said using the word "slut" is important.

"We are taking it back it's a lot like taking back the word 'queer," she said. The day after she was attacked someone wrote "slut" on her dorm room door.

"It has nothing to do with what you're wearing or where you are or how much you've have to drink or who you are what you do for a living ... it's always the rapist's fault."


Tens of Thousands March Against Euro Pact in Spain

© Agence France-Presse/Pedro Armestre
Madrid - Tens of thousands of Spaniards abandoned their customary quiet day with families and friends on Sunday to march against the so-called "Euro Pact" and the handling of the economic crisis.

In Madrid, marches began at six locations around the city, one at 6 a.m. from Leganes, 13 kilometres from the centre, before convening at the Neptune plaza in front of the Prado art museum, a stone's throw from parliament.

At 1200 GMT, police put estimates in Madrid at between 35,000 and 45,000 protestors, with no reports of violence, according to national radio.

"I'm here because this is a con," said Juanjo Montiel, 26, one of four blind protestors in Madrid, who works in Information Technology for around 1,000 euros a month.

"I'm lucky enough to have a job, but many don't and have no chance. And on top of that, the politicians want to make more cuts. This is not our fault, it's the system."


Chicago, US: Newly disclosed account surfaces in 1966 Valerie Percy murder case

© Tribune archive photo, Chicago Tribune
Valerie Percy, shown in a 1964 photo with her father, Chicago industrialist Charles Percy, a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate from Illinois, was found stabbed to death Sept. 18, 1966, in her Kenilworth home.
Doctor's written report sheds some light, raises some questions.

Nydia Hohf sleeps in the same bedroom where she awoke to a siren sounding from her neighbor's house almost 45 years ago. She walks on her lawn overlooking the expanse of Lake Michigan she surveyed then. She gazes down at the crashing waves she thought were so beautiful that morning.

And still, she wonders what happened that day, on what her husband called that "cloudy, dismal morning."

All this time, Hohf kept in a file cabinet - and in the back of her mind - - a detailed account of a notorious North Shore murder scene.

The document, written by her late husband - the doctor who first examined the victim - describes the aftermath of the brutal attack on Valerie Percy, the 21-year-old daughter of then-Senate candidate Charles Percy.

Valerie Percy was killed in her bed on Sept. 18, 1966, in her family's estate on Lake Michigan in Kenilworth, two doors away from the Hohfs. The crime made national news but was never solved.

The newly revealed account, police say, does not significantly change the evidence in the case, but provides details never before publicized, shedding light on those involved just after the slaying.