Tuesday, Jan 27th

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Slaves freed from SKorean salt farms face misery in shelters

S Korean slaves freed from salt minesLife as a salt-farm slave was so bad Kim Jong-seok sometimes fantasized about killing the owner who beat him daily. Freedom, he says, has been worse.

In the year since police emancipated the severely mentally disabled man from the remote island farm where he had worked for eight years, Kim has lived in a grim homeless shelter, where he has been preyed upon and robbed by other residents. He has no friends, no job training prospects or counseling, and feels confined and deeply bored.


German anti-Muslim protesters rally despite Merkel plea

German anti Muslism marchProtesters marched in several German cities on Monday against higher levels of immigration and what they see as the growing influence of Islam, in defiance of an appeal from Chancellor Angela Merkel to spurn rallies she views as racist.

The rallies, organized by a new grassroots movement known as PEGIDA, or Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West, have become an almost weekly event in the east German city of Dresden in recent months.


Methane plume over western US illustrates climate cost of gas leaks

methane gas cloudThe methane that leaks from 40,000 gas wells near the desert trading post of Cuba, New Mexico, may be colourless and odourless, but it’s not invisible. It can be seen from space.

Satellites that sweep over the north of the energy-rich state can spot the gas as it escapes from drilling rigs, compressors and a pipeline snaking across the badlands. In the air it forms a giant plume: a permanent methane cloud, so vast that scientists questioned their own data when they first studied it three years ago. “We couldn’t be sure that the signal was real,” said Nasa researcher Christian Frankenberg.


A Nuclear Plant Leaked Oil Into Lake Michigan For Two Months Straight

nuclear plant leaked oilA cooling system attached to a nuclear power plant in southwest Michigan was steadily spilling oil into Lake Michigan for about two months, the Detroit Free Press reported Saturday.

Approximately 2,000 gallons of oil from a cooling system at the Donald C. Cook Nuclear Plant leaked into the lake last year, according to an event notification posted on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission website. The leak started on October 25, and was isolated on December 20, the report said. Plant officials reportedly notified the State of Michigan of the leak on December 13.


Cleveland mayor does not trust state to handle Tamir Rice investigation

Cleveland mayorCleveland’s mayor says he doesn’t trust the state of Ohio to investigate why police shot and killed a 12-year-old black boy because he doesn’t think they handled a previous investigation properly.

“I don’t think the state attorney general handled the east Cleveland shooting properly,” mayor Frank Jackson told reporters for Northeast Ohio Media Group on Sunday, referencing a November 2012 police shooting. “It wasn’t done in a way that I think gave me confidence that this would have been done properly. So that’s why we turned to the county.”


Teens with mental health problems often have access to guns, study finds

Teens access to gunsA new study finds teens with mental health problems in the United States report having easy access to guns.

Just under 41 percent of teens noted in the study reported having easy access to a firearm at home, and the researchers found no change in that percentage for teens who have a history of mental health problems and suicidal tendencies. The researchers used data from the National Comorbidity Survey–Adolescent Supplement, a national survey of 10,123 U.S. teens.

TVNL Comment: Read this disturbing report in JAMA here.


3,000 unexploded Second World War bombs may be buried in Berlin

Unexploded WWII bombs in BerlinThere are still some 3,000 unexploded bombs left over from the Second World War buried underground in Berlin, according to city authorities.

No one is really sure how much unexploded ordnance is buried under the German city, but a new estimate by the Berlin senate put the figure at 3,000, BZ, a local newspaper, reported.


Why Israel may list this hard-line Jewish group as a terrorist organization

Lehava banned in IsraelIn November, a bilingual Arabic and Hebrew school in Jerusalem was set on fire and vandalized by a group of right-wing hard-liners. The arsonists scrawled slogans such as "Death to Arabs," "You can't coexist with cancer," and "Enough with assimilation" on the walls of a classroom in the school, which strives to set an example for Israeli-Palestinian coexistence.

In the weeks that followed, Israeli authorities detained 21 suspects connected to the Lehava extremist group on charges of incitement to hatred. Three youths, two 18-year-olds and a 20-year-old, have been charged with carrying out the act. Now, after remarks by Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, it appears that the government is considering listing Lehava as a terrorist group and banning it.


Judge agrees to hear arguments over release of Garner grand jury records

Garner grand jury arguments to be heardThe mother of Eric Garner, the 43-year-old Staten Island man who died after a New York police officer put him in an unlawful chokehold, on Monday called for the resumption of weekly protests after a judge said he would hear oral arguments over whether to unseal the grand jury transcript in connection with the case.

Speaking on the steps of Richmond County courthouse in Staten Island, Gwen Carr and a lawyer said rallies over the deaths of black men at the hands of police had been suspended out of respect for the families of two NYPD officers who were shot dead in Brooklyn on 20 December. With funeral services for the officers having been held, protests will resume on Tuesday, on the steps of the Staten Island courthouse, to demand a release of the grand jury transcript.


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