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Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Here's what big oil has in the pipeline if Keystone fails

Keystone XL

© AP Photo/Tyler Morning Telegraph, Sarah A. Miller

In a Dec. 5, 2012, photo, foreman Javier Garcia works with his crew as they lower a section of pipe along the TransCanada Keystone XL Pipeline section two near Winona, Texas.

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TransCanada Corp., the company seeking to build the Keystone XL pipeline, has teamed up with the world's largest public relations firm to promote a proposed alternative pipeline that's entirely in Canada.

Greenpeace Canada obtained documents that the US public relations firm Edelman drafted for TransCanada that outline a campaign to promote Energy East, the company's proposed 2,858-mile pipeline that would transport crude oil from the Alberta tar sands to the east coast of Canada. The company filed an application to build the Energy East pipeline last month - a project that has been described as an "oil route around Obama" amid political wrangling over Keystone XL in the United States.

Greenpeace says the documents show a company increasingly concerned about the fate of Keystone XL, which would connect the tar sands with Gulf Coast refineries. TransCanada's Energy East also faces increasing opposition, as does a proposed pipeline to the west, Enbridge's Northern Gateway. Enbridge got approval from the Canadian government to build Northern Gateway, but work has been delayed, in large part because of opposition from First Nation communities along the pipeline route.

"TransCanada has been saying, 'If you don't let us build Keystone, we will build to the east,'" said Keith Stewart, the climate and energy campaign coordinator for Greenpeace Canada. "These documents show that they're clearly worried about the Energy East pipeline as well. It's going to face just as rough a ride as Keystone or Northern Gateway."

The Energy East documents outline plans to create a "grassroots" advocacy campaign on behalf of TransCanada, recruit outside voices backing the company, and investigate environmental groups seen as threats to the project.

Stewart said the documents show Edelman and TransCanada "systematically organizing what we'd call a dirty tricks campaign" typical in the US, but not in Canada. "We're nice, we don't do things like that," Stewart said.

A campaign organization document, dated Aug. 5, details what it calls a "Promote, Respond, Pressure approach" to "respond to allegations and protect the company." The plan includes typical public relations work, such as promoting the "positive message" on the project and responding to "unfavorable coverage, charges, or negative attacks." It also includes a plan to "work with third parties" to pressure opponents (emphasis theirs):

We cannot allow our opponents to have a free pass. They will use any piece of information they can find to attack TransCanada and this project - attacks are part of a larger, modern oppositional effort to silence those on the other side...This point should particularly be made in communication to supportive third parties, who can in turn put the pressure on, especially when TransCanada can't.

The campaign organization document proposes a "research profile" of Canadian environmental groups, like the Council of Canadians, Equiterre, Ecology Ottawa and David Suzuki Foundation, as well as the international group Avaaz. Another document on digital advocacy describes campaigns targeting labor groups, farmers, landowners and people interested in national security in order to recruit "grassroots" supporters.

Many of the documents appear to be part of a pitch to get TransCanada to hire Edelman for the project, while others are action plans. TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline awaits a final decision in the US after years of delays and strong pushback from environmental opponents.

Edelman spokesman Michael Bush declined to respond to questions about the firm's work for TransCanada. "We do not talk about the work we do for clients," he said via email.

Shawn Howard, a spokesman for TransCanada, confirmed that the documents Greenpeace obtained were recommendations Edelman had prepared for TransCanada on Energy East. He said Edelman has not done work for TransCanada on Keystone XL.

"While the versions you have are not the latest, we have moved forward with implementing certain components of the strategy," said Howard. He pointed to the site EnergyEastPipeline.com and a pro-Energy East petition as part of that campaign (both of which are clearly labeled as TransCanada-sponsored).

"We have been working with Edelman for several months now and appreciate the support they have provided in helping us better engage in the public conversation, both in Quebec and the rest of Canada," said Howard. "Edelman was chosen because of their presence in Quebec and their ability to understand the culture. This is an important component for TransCanada's communications outreach as we move forward with this project."

Howard said the company has not implemented all of the recommendations in the documents, but is "focused on the pieces that support a coordinated and organized communications program to ensure communities, landowners, First Nations and all Canadians have the facts to make an informed decision about Energy East."

This type of campaign work is not new for Edelman. A "Grassroots Advocacy Vision Document" dated May 15, 2014, describes Edelman's previous work on "mobilization" for energy interests. It includes the "Energy Citizens" campaign that Edelman ran on behalf of the American Petroleum Institute - a campaign designed to look like it came from ordinary citizens, but was in fact run by oil lobbyists.

"Companies like ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell and Haliburton (and many more) have all made key investments in building permanent advocacy assets and programs to support their lobbying, outreach and policy efforts," Edelman wrote. "In launching a program like this, TransCanada will be in good company with a strong roadmap to follow."

In a document focusing on its plan for the province of Quebec, Edelman outlines identifying and recruiting "third-party voices" that can help "build an echo chamber of aligned voices." That document notes that Edelman's general manager for digital public affairs, Mike Krempasky, would serve as the senior counsel for the TransCanada work. Krempasky, co-founder of the conservative blog Red State, was also involved in a previous Edelman campaign that enlisted bloggers to promote Wal-Mart without disclosing that the company was paying them.

Edelman faced pushback earlier this year after and published stories pointing out that the company had done work for interests that deny climate change. In a blog post responding to those stories, CEO Richard Edelman wrote, "We do not work with astroturf groups and we have never created a website for a client with the intent to deny climate change."

While the TransCanada documents predate Edelman's August blog post, they include descriptions of work that some may consider "astroturf" work. "If astroturf is using artificial grassroots to support a corporate agenda, this is clearly it," said Kert Davies, executive director of the Climate Investigations Center, which has been investigating the role of public relations firms in energy and climate campaigns.

Davies said the documents aren't that surprising, but it's not often you see the "full battle plan" for an industry PR effort. "This is a small window into the type of campaigns that oil companies and the American Petroleum Institute have been running for many years to try to affect the political arena."

More images and video from the massive "Snow-pocalypse" snowstorm that hit Buffalo

© Twitter/@foxandfriends

NY State Thruway in Buffalo this morning

People who live in the northern states are used to being hit with snowstorms in winter. However, it's not often that a town gets more snow in one day than some cities receive in an entire year.

NY State Thruway in Buffalo this morning! #BuffaloSnow http://ift.tt/1uaGKv9

- FOX & Friends (@foxandfriends) November 19, 2014

The relentless snowstorm currently battering the region could eventually total more than seven feet of the fluffy white stuff.

CNN's Jennifer Gray posted this report last night:

Here's what it's like in the middle of the #BuffaloSnow storm: http://t.co/89A11glAL3 via@JenniferGrayCNN #gothere https://t.co/YkJB4cP9Xt

- CNN (@CNN) November 19, 2014

The bands of snow were so well formed that they appeared to be a wall.

Buffalo, NY was hit by snow so intense it looked like a wall, leaving up to 60 inches (1.5 meters). #BuffaloSnow http://ift.tt/1uaGNqy

- JRehling (@JRehling) November 19, 2014

© Twitter/@JRehling

The snow wall was easily spotted from planes and helicopters:

Check out what the Buffalo Pro/Angle customers are dealing with...in the crosshairs of a wall of snow. #BuffaloSnow http://ift.tt/1uR8Yju

- Pro/Angle (@ProAngleOhio) November 19, 2014

A sixteen second time-lapse video shows the wall of snow coming into Buffalo off the lake.

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A Canadian radio station tweeted this photo showing a group of Buffalo area firefighters carrying a patient more than a mile in the drifting snow.

© Twitter/@DenmannSr

http://ift.tt/1AixNrT @TheBuffaloNews @newsradio930 @wkbw Buffalo firefighters carrying a patient 10 blocks to mercy hospital

- d mann (@DenmannSr) November 19, 2014

There were also reports of "opportunists" taking advantage of trucks that were stuck in the snow:

© Twitter/JeremyGlobalTV

!!! MT @JeremyGlobalTV: I just saw several men stealing chips from inside this abandoned Doritos truck. #BuffaloSnow http://ift.tt/1yT5r3q

- Michael Rusch (@weeddude) November 19, 2014

Trapped by the snow, some folks showed their innovative side. Witness the "snow fridge":

© Twitter/@zackgreenwx

When life gives you lemons (or lake-effect snow)! #BuffaloSnow http://ift.tt/11tlBFA

- Zack Green (@zackgreenwx) November 19, 2014

Not every snow picture exposed the beautiful or clever side of the blizzard. This home's front door could not withstand the pressure of the blowing snow:

© Twitter/@nyhobbyclub

This just happened a couple of streets away from me. #BuffaloSnow #snowvember http://ift.tt/1uR90YJ

- Drew (@nyhobbyclub) November 19, 2014

TheBlaze's Oliver Darcy retweeted this image showing a house that "appears to enjoy the snow."

This house appears to enjoy the snow... RT @confusedcaboose: #WGRZsnow http://ift.tt/1uR8YzW

- Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) November 19, 2014

YouTube user "RealQuickChris" from Buffalo ventured out on Tuesday to show the three feet of snow that had piled up on his property.

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And finally, one YouTube user says he captured some really cool drone footage out of Seneca, NY:

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The shadow medical government

Over the last 50 years, tireless researchers have uncovered and revealed the existence of various elites that control governments and populations:

Banks, super-banks, the military-industrial complex, intelligence agencies, psyop propagandists, Wall Street, and so forth and so on.

For some reason, these researchers, many of them, have a blind spot when it comes to the ongoing operations of a shadow medical government.

Blind spot. And also fear. Fear of criticism and ridicule for exposing sacred sacraments of society - like vaccination.

Like psychiatry.

Like (phony) epidemics.

This tells you how strong and pervasive the pro-medical propagandists are. How much media power they wield. How much science they can fabricate. How thoroughly they can discredit and exile their critics, when those critics cut too close to the bone and expose too much truth.


For example: by conservative assessment, the US medical system kills 225,000 people a year like clockwork. Which comes out to 2.25 million American killings per decade. (Barbara Starfield, , July 26, 2000, "Is US health really the best in the world?")

For example: for the 300 official mental disorders, there is not a single definitive physical diagnostic test to confirm the disorder. There are only the highly toxic drugs used to treat patients.

For example, none of the heralded so-called epidemics of the past 15 years have panned out. They were all duds. But much fear (and compliance) was generated.

For example: contrary to assurances that vaccines are remarkably safe, the system for counting severe adverse reactions is irretrievably broken. Using rational guidelines for the US, an independent estimate of between 100,000 and 1.2 million severe reactions per year has been made. (Barbara Loe Fisher, National Vaccine Information Center)

The story that emerges from these and other factors has a distinct shape. It is a story of sustained war against the population.

The story that emerges from these and other factors has a distinct shape. It is a story of sustained war against the population.

It's long past the time for the perpetrators to claim innocence or ignorance.

And when researchers rightly claim, for instance, that the real aim of the Surveillance State is control of the population, they should begin to understand that the medical shadow government has the same goal - except that it engages in direct and widespread killing and maiming.

Its agenda involves putting every person on the planet inside a cradle-to-grave system of medical compliance and highly toxic treatment.

This system has an additional effect: as a cover story, through disease invention, it obscures actual environmental causes of illness and death - corporate pollution, sustained generation-to-generation malnutrition and starvation, contaminated water supplies and a general lack of basic sanitation, to name a few.

And as for surveillance, universal medical ID packages and patient treatment records (including psychiatric) are fertile territory, to say the least.

Medical shadow government: a casebook on how to weaken, debilitate, confuse, and kill populations.

Walmart workers worldwide call out world's richest greedy family for 'shameful' labor practices

© Masaud Akhtar

Hundreds of Walmart workers and street vendors protested outside the corporation's headquarters in Gurgaon, India.

Calling out one of the world's richest families for perpetuating global inequality while reaping the benefits, Walmart workers in more than ten different countries are uniting on Wednesday in a global day of action for decent wages and respect at work.

With coordinated demonstrations planned in Mexico, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, South Africa, the United Kingdom, India, Zambia, Hong Kong, and the United States, workers and allies are teaming up with international trade union UNI Global Union to expose Walmart's bad labor practices throughout their stores, warehouses, and global supply chain.

"I'm working to build the profits of the richest family on the globe, while putting my safety at risk just to go into work," said one unnamed supply chain worker in a press statement. "The Waltons need to see and hear what they are doing to families around the globe. It's shameful."

The demonstrators are calling on the Walton family - which own over 50 percent share of Walmart and are estimated to be worth a combined total of $152 billion - to publicly commit to paying the company's 2.2 million retail workers and countless more supply chain employees a living wage.

Walmart has repeatedly come under fire from both workers and labor watchdog groups for paying poverty wages, forcing workers into part-time positions, bullying workers over scheduling issues, retaliating against those who speak out, and even coaching employees to take advantage of government social programs in lieu of worker benefits. In many states, Walmart employees are the largest group of Medicaid recipients. Further, as the world's largest private employer, the company is also charged with perpetuating income inequality by establishing a low baseline for wages and worker benefits.

"The Waltons are at the center of the income inequality problems that are hurting the global economy and all of our families," said Emily Wells, a Walmart worker in the U.S.

Among the actions on Wednesday, more than 200 people are expected to protest at the Walmart headquarters in Mexico City to denounce the company's handling of recent corruption allegations; in Gurgaon, India hundreds of street vendors blocked the Walmart headquarters' gates calling on the retailer to respect their rights by ensuring fair competition.

The demonstrations come a day after members of the OUR Walmart labor coalition briefed a congressional committee, including Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and U.S. Congressman George Miller (D-Calif.), on how the employer is creating an economic crisis for American working families. Workers charge systemic abuse, including "low pay, manipulation of scheduling and illegal threats to workers have created a new norm across industries that makes it nearly impossible for workers to hold down second jobs, arrange child care, go to school or manage health conditions."

On November 28, known widely as "Black Friday," Walmart workers at over 2,200 stores across the U.S. are holding demonstrations calling for $15 dollars an hour wages and full-time work.

Also Wednesday, UNI Global Union nominated Walmart for the Public Eye Award's "Lifetime Worst Corporation Award," which is presented by Greenpeace and the Switzerland-based Berne Declaration, citing the retailer's continuing refusal "to take responsibility for its supply chain" and for further "undermining effective industry reform," even going so far as to argue in court that it should not be held legally accountable if suppliers violate its own internal labor standards.

Agriculture began the gradual degradation of the human species and nearly destroyed ancient civilization


Roughly 9,000 years ago, humans had mastered farming to the point where food was plentiful. Populations boomed, and people began moving into large settlements full of thousands of people. And then, abruptly, these proto-cities were abandoned for millennia. It's one of the greatest mysteries of early human civilization.

The dawn of the age of agriculture falls during the "Neolithic," also known as the late stone age. At that time, about 12,000 years ago, people had already developed incredibly sophisticated stone tools, weapons, and clay vessels for cooking and storage. And when they found seeds that grew into particularly delicious plants, they took them along on their treks, planting them in river valleys on their route, so that they would have a tasty harvest the following year. Once these informal farms had gotten a little bigger, it started to seem less advantageous to keep roaming when there was so much food in one place. In the Levant area along the eastern Mediterranean, nomadic groups who had once lived by hunting and gathering began settling down in small villages for part of the year.

Families made their semi-permanent homes by digging shallow, round pits for the floor, lining it with smooth stones, and constructing domed walls out of mud and grass. They stored grain in similar structures, in bins that they placed on elevated floors made from wooden beams balanced on rocks. If water leaked in and flooded the granary, their food stores would stay dry. Soon, these wandering people began living in villages for whole seasons, and finally they settled down for good.

© Michael E. Smith, et. al., in the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research

The Rise and Fall of the Mega-Village

As people accumulated more food stores, women began giving birth to more children. Nomadic groups of 20 or 30 people became villages of 200. And some of those villages, like Çatalhöyük in the region today known as central Turkey, grew to a few thousand people.

It's hard to say what, exactly, Çatalhöyük was. Was it a city or just some kind of bizarre, outsized village? We know it lasted for millennia, with thousands of people living there continuously from about 7500 BCE to 5700 BCE. Perhaps we might say that was the closest thing to a city in the Neolithic, since hundreds more people lived there than in typical villages nearby. But it had none of the features we associate with the grand, walled cities that emerged thousands of years later in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.


Image of Çatalhöyük by Dan Lewandowski. It's important to remember that in real life, probably many of these buildings would have been broken down and abandoned, used as trash heaps.

There were no palaces, no massive ziggurats or pyramids dedicated to the gods, and no signs of class distinction. Every family had a small, slightly rectangular one-room home with a hearth. Each home was roughly the same size. Streets didn't exist in Çatalhöyük - homes were erected next to each other, honeycomb-style, and people just walked over each other's roofs to get home through doors in their ceilings. Though there was art, there was no writing. And there was little in the way of specialized labor. Unlike in ancient Uruk or Mohenjo-Daro, there were no cottage industries in bead-making or weapons production. Families lived by hunting, but mostly by keeping farms and small herds of animals like goats in the nearby hills.

Maybe Çatalhöyük didn't look much like cities as we know them, but it and other mega-sites were the most developed forms of settlement anywhere in the world at that time. They were the urban developments of their age, sheltering huge populations and fostering technological progress like cooking with dairy and making fired pottery (both were major high tech inventions in the Neolithic).

Here's where things get weird. In the mid-5000s BCE, Çatalhöyük was suddenly abandoned. The same thing happened to several other outsized village-cities in the Levant. Their populations drained away, and people returned to small village life for thousands of years. Below, you can see a graph showing how the size of settlements dropped dramatically about 7,000 years ago (5000 BCE).

© Ian Kuijt, in Journal of Anthropological Archaeology

Even more mysterious is the fact that we see a similar pattern - intensification of farming, booming population, growing settlements, and abandonment - elsewhere in the world. Farming came later to Western Europe and England, so we see this cycle starting roughly 5,000 years ago (around 3,000 BCE) in many European regions and in England.

What happened?

The Trouble with Settling Down

Settled life may have meant more food and less hiking around, but it wasn't easy. Once there's a large population dependent on a few local food sources, humans become vulnerable in ways that we never were as hunter-gatherers on the road all the time. A season of bad weather can wreck the entire food supply. And it's not easy to hike to another place when you've got a population of 1,000 people or more, who are accustomed to settled life.

In the Levant, climate change seems to be an obvious culprit in the dissolution of mega-sites. Çatalhöyük was once surrounded by gushing rivers; today they have run dry. As Harvard paleontologist Ofer Bar Josef has argued for most of his career, it seems certain that favorable climate conditions allowed agriculture to flourish in the Levant. But in the late Neolithic, the weather cooled down and dried out. A place like Çatalhöyük could no longer sustain itself on locally-grown crops and famine may have become a major issue. Scattering into smaller villages gave people a chance to have the comforts of settled life without depending on massive crop yields to feed everyone.

But archaeologists who study the population drops in Europe suggest another explanation. University College London archaeologist Stephen Shennan and his team found that there was no correlation between climate shifts and population drops in Europe. They suggest that what appears to be abandonment of megasites may actually be population drops due to disease. One of the major downsides to life in a large settlement is that diseases spread like wildfire - especially given that sanitation was minimal. Mostly, people dumped their trash right next to their homes.

Still, there are plenty of cities that have endured plagues and famines in the past several thousand years - and then rose again. Why did people abandon the proto-city designs of large Neolithic settlements, never to build them again?

Agriculture is often dubbed the "neolithic revolution," so University of Notre Dame anthropologist Ian Kuijt dubs these collapses "failure of the neolithic experiment." He describes the expansion and abandonment of a mega-village called Basta, located in what is now Jordan. Like Çatalhöyük, Basta grew larger than other villages around it. To cope with growing populations, the people of Basta invented two-story architecture, and began sub-dividing their living spaces into smaller and smaller rooms. Many homes contained specialized areas for living and for food storage.

© Kuijt

But Kuijt doesn't believe people abandoned Basta because its population outstripped its resources. Instead, its population outstripped its belief systems.

Old Beliefs and New Technologies

The problem is that people in Neolithic mega-villages had inherited a system of social organization and spirituality from their nomadic forebears. Because nomadic life requires everyone in the group to share resources to survive, these groups would develop rituals and customs that reinforced a very flat social structure. Certainly there would be families that had more prominent positions in a hunter-gatherer group or small village, but if they ever started hoarding resources too much that would be bad for the entire group. So people would strongly discourage each other from ostentatious displays of social differences.

You can see this set of beliefs reflected in the built environment of Çatalhöyük, where everyone's house is roughly the same size. Some houses have a lot more stuff in them - more pieces of art, or more ritual objects - but as I said earlier, nobody is living in the Neolithic equivalent of a mansion.

All of this works nicely in a small community, where you know all of your neighbors and only share with people whose lives are bound to yours (even if you don't like them very much). But once you have a thousand people living together, it's harder to have a flat social structure. People need local representatives to stand in for them, and perhaps even a system of writing to keep track of everyone and what they own. Some people start to do specialized tasks, and social differentiation begins.

But the ideology of these Neolithic people in mega-villages, Kuijt speculates, may have treated any kind of social differentiation as taboo. As soon as somebody took enough power to be a representative or proto-politician, other people would rail against them. He believes that major conflicts may have grown out of this tension between a belief in flat social organization and the need to create social hierarchies in larger societies. It's an intriguing hypothesis, especially when you consider that when cities re-emerge in the 4,000s BCE, they have rigid social hierarchies with kings, shamans, and slaves. Plus, they have writing, which is primarily used to tally up who lives where and owns what.

An artist's reconstruction of the ancient city of Uruk, with its monumental structures making social differentiation visible in its architecture.

It's possible that the mega-village model of life wasn't sustainable because it was propped up by belief systems that could only exist in small communities where everybody shared resources. That would explain why people abandoned these sites for smaller villages that never grew beyond about 200 people.

In a sense, agriculture was a technology that came before human civilization was ready. It gave humans the means to grow into large settlements and proto-cities. But we'd spent tens of thousands of years as nomads before that, and weren't yet ready to abandon our ancient beliefs that no family should ever accumulate more than its neighbors. As a result, our earliest experiment with urbanism ended in failure. When the going got rough, with bad harvests and disease, humans preferred to abandon their nascent urban creations because we had not yet developed a social structure that would allow us to cope with the difficulties of city life.

It was a near miss. We almost didn't have the world of cities that we have today. If we hadn't come to terms with the agricultural revolution, it's possible that humans would never have been able to sustain communities larger than a village.

6 high school football players alleged to have raped girl in woods near school arrested


Police in Winter Springs said they have arrested six teens in connection to the alleged rape of a student last week.

Those arrested Wednesday were identified as Tywuan Johnson, 17, Torreano Batton, 18, Jose Sims, 17, Deoante Stewart, 17, and Tolbert Alexander, 16, all of Sanford; and Marquis Pierre, 16, of Winter Springs.

Police said all six are football players, and have been charged with sexual battery and false imprisonment.

Investigators said a 16-year-old Winter Springs High School student reported that she had been raped by a group of teens in a wooded area across from the school late Thursday afternoon.

According to investigators, the girl told them that she knew two of the attackers. Investigators said that over the weekend, they tracked down the accused juveniles in an effort to piece together what happened.

Winter Springs Police Chief Kevin Brunelle said they have plenty of evidence against the suspects, which was being reviewed by his team and the State Attorney's Office over the last week.

"This is a case where we were presented with information that is very complex and that required us to make sure we do a thorough, thorough investigation," said Brunelle.

There are questions surrounding how the alleged victim made her way to the wooded area in the first place, in which the chief said the details will all come out in court.

"At some point between the interaction of these individuals, the subjects and the victim, the victim indicated that she no longer wanted to participate in the activities and she wanted to go back to the school, and she was not allowed to," said Brunelle.

Because Batton is 18, he's being held in the Seminole County Jail. The others are being held in juvenile detention, but their names were released because they are accused of a felony.

"They have somewhat been cooperating," said Brunelle. "We have had some resistance from one or two of them, but we will deal with that in the courts."

Seminole County Public Schools released the following statement:

"School officials have been notified by the Winter Springs Police Department of the arrest of several young men.

"We cannot be specific as to any action taken by the school due to student confidentiality.

"Additionally, the school system has appropriate programs in place to meet the needs of any affected students."

Despicable: 11-year old child in critical condition after father uses her as cocaine drug mule

cocaine capsules

Drugs mule: The 11-year-old was rushed to a hospital in Santiago de Cali, Colombia, after a cocaine capsule burst in her stomach, where doctors found 104 capsules during surgery

An 11-year-old Colombian girl is in critical condition after one of more than 100 cocaine capsules her father had made her swallow as part of a drug mule operation, burst in her stomach.

The girl was rushed to hospital in Santiago de Cali, Colombia, where doctors removed nearly 1.2lbs of cocaine during surgery.

Police are now hunting for the schoolgirl's father, who is accused of forcing her to swallow 104 cocaine capsules so he could use her as a drug mule for a flight to Spain.

The schoolgirl underwent a life-saving operation after her father and another relative had rushed her to a hospital in Santiago de Cali early on Monday morning.

The father and the relative then disappeared after leaving the 11-year-old with medics.

The unnamed youngster was hours away from taking a flight to Madrid with her father, after which the two would have continued to the Canary Islands, police said.

CCTV images from the hospital she was taken to showed a man rushing towards the A&E ward carrying her in his arms.

He is later seen talking to a second man in a corridor outside, before leaving the building by the door they had come through minutes earlier.

Detectives were last night quizzing the youngster's mother while they hunted for her husband.

Cali police chief Hoover Penilla said: 'The girl underwent emergency surgery because of the risk to her life and 104 capsules that appear to be cocaine capsules were removed from her body.

'Everything is pointing to the fact this youngster was going to be used in a twisted way by adults as a drugs mule to transport drugs from Colombia to another country.'

He added: 'They had flights reserved to travel from Cali to Bogota and then an onward connection Bogota to Madrid with a final destination of Gran Canaria.

Snowstorm: The 11-year-old schoolgirl from Santiago De Cali was hours away from taking a flight to Madrid with her father, after which the two would have continued to the Canary Islands, police said

Jhon Arley Murillo, a spokesman for the Colombian Family Welfare Institute which will now take temporary care of the schoolgirl, added: 'A case like this is horrific because it puts the life of an 11-year-old girl at risk.

'We are going to take steps to offer her protection and remove her from her harmful family environment.'

Detectives investing the drama have already discovered her parents applied for a visa for her at the start of the year so she could travel abroad.

They are understood to have told her school last week she would be away for a fortnight.

The girl's mum has told police she and her husband were estranged but detectives say they believe she may be lying after searching the family home and finding evidence they still lived together.

A passport in her name and the plane ticket to Spain were found during the search.

Tests on the capsules removed from her stomach were expected to confirm today they contained cocaine.

The youngster remains in intensive care at Cali's Valle del Lili Hospital, although her life is not said to be at risk.

It is thought to be the first time the girl was going to be used as a drugs mule and police say they have never seen the tactic employed before by drugs trafficking gangs.

A local TV station reporting on the case branded the adults involved as 'savages.'

Colombia, alongside Peru, is known as one of the world's top exporters of cocaine.

Police at Madrid Airport have in the past stopped drugs traffickers carrying cocaine sewn into the underside of wigs, hidden inside false plaster casts and stashed inside the arms of wheelchairs.

The city of Cali became synonymous with cocaine in the eighties and nineties.

The Cali Cartel, a drug cartel based around the city and the Valle del Cauca department, was once renowned and compared to the Russian KGB by the American Drugs Enforcement Agency which called it 'the most powerful crime syndicate in history.'

At the height of its reign, they were said to have control over 90 per cent of the world's cocaine market.

The Ice Age begins while warmists blither on

Buffalo snow

© Office of the Governor

NY Thruway near Buffalo.

This is the face of rapid global cooling, which will change life on our planet more quickly than anyone is yet prepared to acknowledge. All 50 states will see freezing temperatures on Tuesday and Wednesday with millions of Americans facing another bitter blast of unseasonably cold air.

A ferocious storm dumped massive piles of snow on parts of upstate New York, trapping residents in their homes and stranding motorists on roadways, as temperatures in all 50 states fell to freezing or below. Even hardened Buffalo residents were caught off-guard Tuesday as more than 4 feet fell in parts of the city. Authorities said snow totals by Wednesday afternoon could top 6 feet in the hardest-hit areas south of Buffalo, with another storm expected Thursday. The snow has gotten so bad in Western New York that Gov. Cuomo has called out the troops.

Bone-chilling nights will be followed by frosty cold days with highs struggling to reach the 20-degree mark over the regions on Monday and Tuesday. Some locations in the Central states are forecast to stay below 20 F until Wednesday afternoon.

This is what happened to home electricity bills last year. Economic contraction was in evidence as well. The cruel monetary-policy-nullifying devil of Polar Vortex 2.0 has arrived in all 50 states (yes even Hawaii) will see temperatures drop below freezing.

electric bill polar vortex

Global warming is gasping in death throes but that does not stop its staunch believers from trying to warm people with words. Does not work! The headlines still ring, "GLOBAL warming could be making parts of the world colder." You did not know it but "Global warming is worsening. It seems that new reports appear with increasing frequency emphasizing the worsening of global warming due to increased accumulation of man-made greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere."

Climate activists claim the "science is settled" and that "global warming is real" yet their predictions have proven blatantly false. Global warmers still have a fantasy about artic ice melting but we are now seeing record-breaking ice formation at both poles. Bottom line is that we now have the most snow cover on record for this date across the United States. A little over 50% of the country is now covered in snow. Global warmers obviously will never stop believing in fairy tales.

The dream of global warming dies hard in some people. In Australia they are saying, "The bottom line here is that a few cold outbreaks in the USA, no matter how severe, don't mean the world isn't warming. The world definitely is warming, according to just about every reputable science body, including our own Bureau of Meteorology, which says Australia's climate has warmed by 0.9°C since 1910, with more extreme heat and fewer cool extremes."

The reputable science referred to above does not exist. It is fictional man made up stuff, a grand illusion deliberately hatched by a select few men and woman who had nothing better to do than play with computer models that are proving to have nothing to do with reality.

global warming chart

The Arctic ice extent is now at its highest for this date in 10 years according to the Danish Meteorological Institute. That black line shows quite clearly that global warming has been turned upside down at the North Pole.

What we are seeing are temperatures as much as 30-50 degrees below normal across the Rockies and Plains this week, from Wyoming and Colorado all the way south into Texas. "This is exceptional cold," AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Henry Margusity said. "It's the coldest air we've seen in decades during November."

What is happening outside is that temperature records are falling left and right across the northern hemisphere. Temperatures at the Boise Airport bottomed out at 6 degrees Monday morning, breaking a 134-year-old record of 7 degrees set on Nov. 17, 1880. Record lows from Idaho to Nebraska and Iowa south to Texas and east through the Great Lakes. The eastern 2/3 of the US will shatter decades long and in some cases, century-long records.

The cold will reach down into areas that rarely see this kind of cold even in the dead of winter. What we are seeing in the United States is sub-freezing temperatures all the way down to the 30°N range. That is the same latitude as northern Africa.

US cold temperatures

Temperatures this low can make it dangerous for outdoors activities if you are not wearing the proper clothing. Parents should be advised and be aware of medical approaches to treating kids for cold conditions.

Special Note: With limited time still in power, President Barack Obama is staking his final two years on climate change, pushing the issue to the front of his agenda as he seeks to leave an imprint on the world that will endure after he's gone. Not knowing what else to do after his prospects for realizing his goals on education, wages and immigration all but evaporate as voters handed his party a stinging rebuke in the midterms, he is drumming the global warming drums even as we enter the next ice age. This will leave everyone with a lasting impression on how insincere of a president he is and has always been.

By design: Children found to be more vulnerable to advertising when watching programs with action or violence

A study by a University of Wisconsin-Madison journalism researcher has found that children who watch television shows with action or violence are more susceptible to messages in the advertisements shown during the programs.

Eunji Cho, a graduate student in UW-Madison's School of Journalism and Mass Communication, says the excitement of a violent show causes children to be focused and attentive, an effect that carries over to commercial breaks.

To perform this study, Cho returned to her native South Korea and observed four different kindergarten classes. Each class was randomly assigned to watch either "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" or "A Dog of Flanders," a calm Japanese program. The kids were then shown an ad for chocolate at commercial breaks.

Afterward, the children were asked to choose which candy bar they wanted - the one advertised in the commercials or a generic brand. Cho found that students who watched the violent show overwhelmingly favored the advertised product, while those who watched the calm show were indifferent about which candy bar they chose.

She also discovered that children who watched "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" remembered the details of the advertisement better than those who watched "A Dog of Flanders." They exhibited a higher brand preference and purchase intention than those who watched the nonviolent program.

Cho says the study shows how important it is for children to be defensive when it comes to advertising.

"We have to teach children what is advertised here. Sometimes they get confused between TV programs and advertising," Cho says. "When they watch advertising, they have to be ready."

Cho hasn't always been on the research side of advertising. After getting a bachelor's degree in communication and media from Seoul Women's University, she worked for Diamond Ogilvy Group, the Korean branch of worldwide ad company Ogilvy & Mather. She spent three years there as an accounting executive, planning global advertising campaigns for clients such as Nike and LG Mobile.

Wanting to learn more and see advertising from the other side, Cho left the industry to attend graduate school. Upon getting her master's degree from the University of Texas at Austin, Cho began working toward her doctorate at UW-Madison in 2010.

It was here that her perspective changed.

"I was really on the marketing side," Cho says. "I would always think about how we sell more products, what can be better strategies to attract more people."

Cho developed a special interest in how mass media affects youth through advertising thanks to a course taught by Karyn Riddle , an associate professor at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Riddle later became Cho's advisor on her research.

"The fact that (Cho) did this project on her own (was) really ambitious," Riddle says. "A lot of grad students (will) wait until their advisor initiates a study, but she initiated this."

In collaboration with Seung-Chul Yoo, an assistant professor of digital advertising at Loyola University in Chicago, Cho published her findings earlier this fall in the

Ebola update video: Mali under quarantine, misdiagnoses and false positives

The Ebola outbreak is once again, branching off into a new direction. Both here in the U.S., and overseas. In West Africa, another country is on high alert. Mali's government ordered a massive quarantine, forcing more than 600 people to leave their family and friends. While here in the US, we're learning the second patient to die from Ebola could have actually have been misdiagnosed. One man we've talked to throughout this whole story saw this coming months ago. He told us about the Ebola tests and the likelihood of false positives. Today, we welcome Robert Scott Bell back to the broadcast, to catch up to speed on the Ebola story.

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Surprise! U.S. personal freedom ranking falls under Obama

© Pocketfullofliberty.com

Americans' assessments of their personal freedom have significantly declined under President Obama, according to a new study from the Legatum Institute in London, and the United States now ranks below 20 other countries on this measure.

The research shows that citizens of countries including France, Uruguay, and Costa Rica now feel that they enjoy more personal freedom than Americans.

As the reported this morning, representatives of the Legatum Institute are in the U.S. this week to promote the sixth edition of their Prosperity Index. The index aims to measure aspects of prosperity that typical gross domestic product measurements don't include, such as entrepreneurship and opportunity, education, and social capital.

The freedom scores are based on polling data from 2013 indicating citizens' satisfaction with their nation's handling of civil liberties, freedom of choice, tolerance of ethnic minorities, and tolerance of immigrants. Polling data were provided by Gallup World Poll Service. The index is notable for the way it measures how free people feel, unlike other freedom indices that measure freedom by comparing government policies.

"This is not a good report for Obama," Legatum Institute spokeswoman Cristina Odone told the

In the 2010 report (which relied on data gathered in 2009), the U.S. was ranked ninth in personal freedom, but that ranking has since fallen to 21st, with several countries, including France, Germany and the United Kingdom passing the U.S.

The nation's overall personal freedom score has declined by 17 percent since 2009, with a 22 percent drop in combined civil liberty and free choice contributing to that decline.

Of the eight categories in the index, personal freedom was America's second lowest performance relative to other countries. The U.S. had its lowest ranking when it came to safety and security (a broad measure of how threatened citizens feel in instances such as walking late at night, or expressing their opinions) - ranking 31st out of 142 countries.

The cross-country comparisons in the index should be taken with a grain of salt. The perception of what freedom means in New Zealand, which has the highest personal freedom ranking, may vary from how Americans measure their own personal freedom. But regardless of how the U.S. compares to other countries, there is no denying that Americans felt less free in 2013 after four more years of Obama's presidency. And so now he faces the embarrassment of being the president that made Americans feel less free than the French.

Putin: U.S. wants to subdue Russia, but will never succeed

© RIA Novosti / Alexey Druzhinin

The US has no plans to humiliate Russia, but instead wants to subdue it, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said, adding that no one had ever succeeded in doing so - and never will.

Speaking at a forum of the All-Russia Peoples' Front in Moscow on Tuesday, the Russian leader said that history was not about to change, and that no one would manage to suppress the country.

"Throughout history no one has ever managed to do so toward Russia - and no one ever will," Putin said.

Responding to a question about whether America was trying to humiliate Russia, Putin disagreed, saying that the US wanted "to solve their problems at our expense."

He said that people in Russia really like the Americans, but it's the US politics that are not accepted so well. "I think America and its people are more liked than disliked by people here [in Russia]. It's the politics of the ruling class [in the US] that is likely negatively viewed by the majority of our citizens," he said.

The Russian leader said the US had managed to subordinate its allies to its influence - with such countries "trying to protect foreign national interests on obscure conditions and perspectives."

One of the means of changing the balance of power in the world to eventually subdue Russia was NATO's gradual approach to its borders, which made Russia "nervous", Russian presidential spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told BBC.

Russia needs a "100% guarantee that no-one would think about Ukraine joining NATO," Peskov added.

The Russian president has last met with his American counterpart last week, while attending the G20 summit in Australia. Despite the focus on the world economy, the crisis in Ukraine was one of the hottest topics at the G20. Talking about the summit's results at a press conference, US President Barack Obama did not announce any significant changes in his country's approach to Russia.

"We would prefer a Russia that is fully integrated with the global economy," the US president told a news conference, adding that his country was "also very firm on the need to uphold core international principles."

Before leaving Brisbane, Putin said that a solution to the crisis in Eastern Ukraine was possible. "Today the situation [in Ukraine] in my view has good chances for resolution, no matter how strange it may sound," he said, as quoted by Reuters.

The Russian leader also said he was satisfied with both the results and atmosphere of the meetings.

Australian authorities created an exceptionally friendly atmosphere for discussing solutions to economic challenges at the G20 summit in Brisbane, the Russian president said, dispelling rumors there were any confrontations.

© AFP Photo / Steve Holland

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin (L) shaking hands with members of his motorcycle escort at the airport in Brisbane as he leaves the G20 Summit

"Our Australian partners created an exceptionally friendly working atmosphere, very heartfelt, I should say, that was conducive to finding solutions to the challenges faced by the global economy," Putin said at a forum of the All-Russian People's Front, adding that it was a pleasant surprise for him to see the warm reception of the Russian delegation from Australian citizens on the streets of Brisbane.

Answering a question about Abbott's idea to "shirtfront" Putin over the downing of the MH17 jetliner, the Russian president said no such confrontation took place at the Brisbane summit.

"We had very constructive discussions of not only the themes that had brought us together, but some very grave issues involving the Malaysian Boeing. We discussed that in every detail. I can assure you that everything was decent and rather friendly," said the Russian leader.

Though many media outlets speculated that Putin had left the summit early, skipping a Sunday working breakfast because of an icy welcome at the G20, the Russian leader reiterated on Tuesday that practically all work had been finished by that time. "I addressed all sessions," Putin said, adding: "Our stance was heard."

New devices in development could improve communications as well as free people from government internet control

internet, tastatur, keyboard, computer

© Gow27 / Shutterstock

If there is anything good to be said about mass surveillance, overcharging and monopolization by telecom/ISP companies, and government censorship including cell phone and Internet shutdowns as they see fit, it is that these heavy-handed measures only create a desire for freedom.

For many in the modern world, open access to the World Wide Web is being viewed as an essential human right - it is a gateway to knowledge, peer-to-peer communication, innovation and economic opportunity. Basically: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. For the 5 billion people who still do not have access, it represents the universal dream of self-determination.

There are several devices in various stages of development that aim to rectify the gaps in knowledge and communication which keep large portions of humanity enslaved and threaten freedom for the rest of us if the restrictions mentioned above are permitted to flourish. It is clear that some, if not all, of what is mentioned below carry various hurdles and challenges that might be difficult to overcome if widespread adoption is a goal. However, the ideas are there to be expanded upon - and as we know: "There is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world, and that is an idea whose time has come."

1. Lantern - Lantern has officially adopted the term for its mission of providing free data anywhere in the world. It's the perfect antithesis to the expanding move to exert control over the IN-ternet.

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2. goTenna - This device enables off-grid communication between any goTenna-connected smartphones, but without the need for cell towers, Wi-Fi, or satellites. It's like a walkie-talkie on steroids.

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3. Cryptocurrencies - Within an Outernet framework cryptocurrencies like could become even more powerful. We can imagine one more layer put between their use and the regulators who continue to seek ways to eradicate this powerful peer-to-peer form of economic empowerment.

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4. OpenBazaar - A peer-to-peer marketplace with no central server susceptible to shut down or seizure by authorities. By running a program on your computer, you can connect directly to other users in the OpenBazaar network and trade with them. No mandatory fees, and your trade is censorship-resistant. OpenBazaar uses Bitcoin cryptocurrency, and is an open source project, which means the code is publicly available, can be reviewed, and anyone can join the project and suggest changes. This system is in beta testing right now and is expected to be fully released in 2015.

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5. Mesh Networks - Authoritarian governments around the world (including the U.S.) have considered implementing full communications shutdowns during protest. P2P chat apps like FireChat were used by Hong Kong democracy protesters to end-run a potential Internet shutdown and/or cell tower jamming. Similar local-range solutions could be instrumental during natural disasters as well, facilitating community organization, as well as search and rescue when traditional networks might be overloaded. Texting is the first useful app for mesh networks, but imagine combining it with goTenna and Lantern technology as well as P2P markets and the current way we access the Web may soon change altogether.

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'Westminster pedophile ring may have murdered my 8yo son' - ex-magistrate

Home of some of the finest scum on Earth

The father of an eight-year-old boy who died in the 1980s has alleged that his son may have been abducted and murdered by members of a Westminster pedophile ring. He claims Scotland Yard were complicit in "covering up" the crime.

Vishambar Mehrotra, a retired magistrate, said he recorded a male prostitute saying in a telephone call that Mehrotra's son Vishal may have been abducted in the notorious Elm Guest House in southwest London in 1981.

Mehrotra also said despite playing the recording for police officers, they refused to investigate allegations that high-profile judges and politicians were involved in the kidnapping of his son.

Vishal Mehrotra was abducted as he walked home in Putney after watching the wedding procession of Prince Charles and Princess Diana in July 1981. According to newspaper reports at the time, Mehrotra's home was less than a mile from the Elm Guest House, where witnesses said a party was being hosted.

According to Mehrotra, he received a phone call from the unidentified male prostitute months after the disappearance of his son. The prostitute said Vishal had been abducted by "highly placed" pedophiles operating from the guest house.

Part of Vishal's skeleton was found in 1982 in woodlands in West Sussex. According to coroners' reports, there was no trace of his legs, spine or clothing.

Elm House was raided in June 1982 and dozens of men with high public profiles were questioned. Although none were implicated, it is believed the raids were connected to the disappearance of Vishal, as well as another boy, 15-year-old Martin Allen.

"I was contacted by a young man who seemed to be in his 20s. He told me he believed Vishal may have been taken by pedophiles in the Elm Guest House near Barnes Common," Mehrotra told the Telegraph.

"He said there were very highly placed people there. He talked about judges and politicians who were abusing little boys."

"At that time I trusted the police. But when nothing happened, I became confused and concerned. Now it is clear to me that there has been a huge cover-up. There is no doubt in my mind."

The statements come as the UK parliament prepares its own inquiry into allegations of historic child abuse that took place in the 1970s and 80s, involving a number of high-profile politicians, judges and media figures.

According to whistleblowers, as many as 40 British MPs and peers could have been involved in instances of child abuse over that period.

Earlier this month, a former schoolboy claimed that he was drugged and assaulted by a minister currently serving in parliament when he was 14. The man, who wished to remain anonymous, said the police had not acted on the claims because of the politician's position in the government.

Happy World Toilet Day! 2.5 billion people in the world have no cause for celebration

Indian toilet

© flickr

An estimated 2.5 billion people lack access to proper sanitation around the world, and more than a billion defecate openly. Some 4 billion cases of diarrhea each year lead to more than 2 million deaths, mainly among children. That's more than AIDS and malaria combined.

In India, where 550 million people practice open defecation, 45 percent of children are stunted. The culprit in most cases is poor sanitation and lack of access to clean water. Studies show that lack of toilets and the resulting spread of disease is literally making Indian children shorter.

"When people don't use any form of toilet, they go into fields, roadside ditches or along railroad tracks," Thorsten Kiefer, founder and CEO of Wash United, a German NGO that works to increase access to sanitation, told VICE News. "It means it's impossible to effectively separate human beings from their own shit. People step in their own shit and carry it in their house, flies land on their shit - people end up eating and drinking each other's shit."

Kiefer is blunt, but the problem is as basic as it is widespread. In sub-Saharan Africa, the UN estimates that a quarter of the population still defecates in the open, mostly in rural areas. Urbanization has increased access to proper toilets, but increased population densities can magnify disease. In May, authorities in Nigeria's Lagos State urged police to arrest people for going to the bathroom in the open.

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The problem is most severe in India. In April, as part of UNICEF's Poo2Loo campaign, the government released an animated video featuring a "fecal mascot" that urged Indians to use toilets. Shortly after he was elected Prime Minister, Narendra Modi beseeched the country to improve sanitation, telling them "toilets before temples."

Millions have gotten the message, but not as many understand the science that makes toilets so important. A single gram of human feces can contain as many as 10 million viruses, 1 million bacteria, and 100 parasite eggs.

The Indian government has built toilets for decades, and they are often utilized. But they can just as easily end up as chicken coops, bicycle sheds, or a place to store fertilizer - just not the fecal kind.

"People often see defecating in the open as something that is more pleasant and more comfortable and enjoyable than using the confines of the small toilet," said Kiefer. "There's a whole culture around open defecation, there are age old traditions that need to be opened up to get people to want to have a toilet and fundamentally change the norms in society."

Pooping in public doesn't just spread disease. It can also put women in danger.

"When girls and women have to leave their village to defecate behind a bush, they render themselves more fragile and vulnerable to attacks," Catarina de Albuquerque, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Water and Sanitation, told VICE News.

Out of a total of 870 rape cases that took place in 2012 in the Indian state of Bihar, police say the vast majority occurred when women went out to defecate or urinate.

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"Lack of sanitation has a very negative impact on women's rights and girl's rights," de Albuquerque said.

De Albuquerque was careful not to single out individual countries for fear of hindering the UN's efforts, but she noted that the Indian government has not allowed her to carry out an investigation in the country.

"Since 2008, I have been asking for a fact-finding mission India," de Albuquerque said. "I ask almost every year, and send a letter restating my will, and I always met with ambassadors to India, but the government never allowed me to enter the country."

Though it is widely viewed as a problem that is unique to the developing world, some industrialized countries are actively backtracking on the issue of toilet access. As cities in the United States and Europe close public restrooms, homeless populations have no choice but to defecate outdoors.

De Albuquerque said "there is a policy of systematically shutting down public toilets so as to get rid of homeless people," in some countries, which "poses enormous problems in terms of dignity and privacy and makes them prone to attacks."

Modi says he wants to rid India of open defecation by 2019. In August, he began a cleanliness drive and ordered government officials to clean their office buildings and toilets.

Kiefer is optimistic, but he knows that India's problem with open defecation is a stubborn one.

"It's not just building the toilets but getting the people to use them," he said.

Bus carrying Niagara University women's basketball team stranded during Buffalo snowstorm

This photo provided by Chelsea Andorka, the Niagara University women’s basketball team spokeswoman, shows the team holding a sign while their bus was snowbound near Lackawanna, N.Y., Nov. 18, 2014.

Residents in upstate New York remain trapped inside their homes, with motorists stranded as a deadly snowstorm continues to dump snow across the region.

A lake-effect snow warning has been issued for the rest of the week in Erie County, and the New York National Guard was deployed to help the Buffalo area dig out.

The storm is blamed for the deaths of at least six people. Three of the people who died in the storm suffered heart attacks, and two of those were shoveling snow at the time, officials said.

Another person in Erie County was pinned by a car while trying to push it out of the snow, while another was found buried in his car, authorities said at a news conference today. In Genesee County, an employee died while operating a snowblower, authorities said.

Dozens of vehicles, including a bus carrying the Niagara University women's basketball team, were stranded, and even snow plows got stuck in the deep snow.

"It started to get bad fast at about 2 a.m. [Tuesday morning] and we came to a dead stop and haven't moved since," Niagara coach Kendra Faustin told The Associated Press in a phone interview Tuesday night. "It was a rough weekend for us on the court and it just won't end."

The coach, who took over at Niagara in 2007, said everyone was OK and the team was in good spirits. Players were running low on food, but local officials dropped off snacks and drinks. There were 25 players and coaches aboard the bus, as well as Faustin's 1-year-old son.

"We have snacks, some granola bars and pretzels," Faustin said. "We found six bottles of water and have been rationing it. We thought we'd be here for a couple hours and a couple of hours turned into 12 hours. It's now 24 hours."

Before the supplies arrived, the team actually turned some of the snow into water. Faustin described snow drifts higher than 6 feet that covered cars. Other motorists came aboard the bus seeking shelter and bonded with the team.

The team's bus finally started moving early today, with the players eventually able to leave the bus after being stranded for more than 24 hours.

OFFF the bus and safe ?????? http://ift.tt/1HkEKe6

- Focused. (@sylvoslice24) November 19, 2014

The Purple Eagles players were all smiles at the end of their ordeal.

We are safe at toll plaza. Making our way to police station and then to campus. http://ift.tt/1qW5eYW

- Kendra Faustin (@kfaustin) November 19, 2014

Some residents were literally snowed in, with a wall of snow completely blocking them from leaving their homes.

In this photo provided by Patrick Bryne, his dog, Bonnie, sniffs a door blocked with snow, Nov. 18, 2014, in South Buffalo, N.Y.

The storm has dumped more than 4 feet of snow in places and has been accompanied by high winds creating bone chilling conditions and thick drifts.

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There is no relief in sight, weather experts warned. The snowfall is forecast to continue today and the hardest hit areas could end up with 6 feet of snow.

The snow came down at a rate of 4 to 5 inches an hour as a result of what is known as lake effect snow, or when moisture-rich air blowing off the Great Lakes dumps precipitation when it reaches land. Buffalo residents said this is the worst storm in recent memory.

A house is obscured by wind-blown, lake-effect snow, Nov. 18, 2014 in Buffalo, N.Y.

Another characteristic of lake effect snow is that it is not distributed over a wide area. While the town of Alden had 48 inches, areas a few miles away, including downtown Buffalo, had just a couple of inches.

A commuter walks along Philadelphia's Market Street in freezing temperatures, Nov. 18, 2014.

Cold weather enveloped the entire country Tuesday, leading to record-low temperatures more familiar to January than November. Racing winds and icy roads caused accidents, school closings and delays in municipal operations from the Midwest to the South even where snowfall was low or mercifully absent.

Father claims Scotland Yard covered up son's murder by Westminster paedophiles

Vishal (left) and his father Vishambar Mehrotra

The father of murdered eight-year-old Vishal Mehrotra says police ignored a tip-off that the boy may have been abducted by a VIP paedophile ring

The father of an eight-year-old boy murdered in the 1980s claims that his son may have died at the hands of a Westminster paedophile ring - and that Scotland Yard helped "cover up" the crime.

Vishambar Mehrotra, a retired magistrate, recorded a male prostitute saying in a telephone call that his son may have been abducted and taken to a now notorious guesthouse in 1981.

He took the recording to police at the time but claims they refused to investigate an allegation implicating "judges and politicians". Mr Mehrotra said it had been a "huge cover-up".

The Metropolitan Police announced last week that they were investigating possible murders linked to the Elm Guest House in Barnes, south-west London. The new inquiry began when an alleged victim came forward claiming to have witnessed three boys being killed, including one allegedly strangled by a Conservative MP during a depraved sex game.

He claimed that high-profile paedophiles abused children at locations in London in the 1970s and 1980s.

Mr Mehrotra's son Vishal was abducted as he walked home to Putney after watching the Prince of Wales and Diana Spencer ride to their wedding in a carriage on July 29 1981.

He had gone ahead of other family members for the last few hundred yards. He was last seen less than a mile from the guesthouse.

Mr Mehrotra claims he received an anonymous call from a male prostitute in the months following. A man he guessed to be in his 20s told him Vishal may have been abducted by "highly placed" paedophiles operating from the Elm Guest House, Mr Mehrotra said.

He told The Telegraph: "I was contacted by a young man who seemed to be in his 20s. He told me he believed Vishal may have been taken by paedophiles in the Elm Guest House near Barnes Common.

"He said there were very highly placed people there. He talked about judges and politicians who were abusing little boys." Mr Mehrotra, a solicitor who was a JP at Wimbledon magistrates' court until retiring in 2006, claims the man said he had already informed police about activities at the guesthouse, but had received no response.

He added: "I recorded the whole 15-minute conversation and took it to police. But instead of investigating it, they just pooh-poohed it and I never heard anything about the tape again. The whole thing went cold.

"At that time I trusted the police. But when nothing happened, I became confused and concerned.

"Now it is clear to me that there has been a huge cover up. There is no doubt in my mind."

In February 1982, part of Vishal's skeleton was found in woodland in West Sussex. There was no trace of his legs, pelvis or lower spine, nor of his outer clothes, his sleeveless vest or his Superman underpants.

At the inquest into his death, the West Sussex coroner Mark Calvert Lee recorded an open verdict but said "foul play" was likely.

Police said 20,000 people had been interviewed, half of them in nearby Putney, and 6,000 properties checked.

Mr Mehrotra, now 69 and living in West Molesey near Hampton Court, said he had "hardly been contacted" by police in the intervening years.

He said he had not been spoken to in recent months despite the alleged witness reporting the murder of three boys at the time Vishal vanished.

Mr Mehrotra said: "This guesthouse was right next to where Vishal disappeared. There were predatory people there who were taking young boys and abusing them.

"It seems to me that it all adds up, so I can't understand why the police have again failed to get in contact with me. I think the revelations of Savile and others in recent months have opened up a Pandora's box. Hopefully everything will all come out soon."

In June 1982, four months after Vishal's remains were found, police raided the Elm Guest House.

Dozens of men were questioned, reportedly including at least 30 who were prominent in public life and business. It was widely reported at the time that the raids were linked to Vishal's disappearance. The Times reported that the investigation had included the disappearance of another boy, Martin Allen, 15, missing since Guy Fawkes Night, 1979, whose body has never been discovered. The son of the chauffeur to the Australian High Commissioner, he was last seen waving goodbye to a school friend at King's Cross Underground station.

Police at the time dismissed the reports as "nonsense". Soon afterwards, lawyers acting on behalf of the guesthouse threatened newspapers with legal action if they continued reporting on its alleged activities.

Martin's brother said on Tuesday that police should reopen the investigation into the teenager's disappearance. Kevin Allen, 51, said he had always suspected a cover-up after police told him all the case files had been lost in a freak flood.

He said: "I think it's a new lead. Anything to ensure these people don't get away with it. I think there are powerful forces involved in this. Years ago I was warned by a policeman that if I looked too deep into this then I might get hurt. I've never forgotten that.

"We have barely heard anything for 20 years, but there are other missing cases where the police barely stopped looking.

"My dad died never knowing what happened to Martin. We would love to have an answer for my mother before she passes away."

In May 1983, as police wound up the inquiry into Vishal Mehrotra's death, Carole and Harry Kasir, the owners of the Elm Guest House were fined £1,000 each and given suspended nine-month sentences at the Old Bailey for "running a disorderly house". They were found not guilty of living off immoral earnings and having obscene films.

Five years later Carole told child protection officers that children from the council-run Grafton Close Children's Home had been supplied to the brothel. She provided names of people who had frequented the guesthouse.

The Liberal MP Cyril Smith, now dead, has been widely alleged to have abused children from Grafton Close at The Elm.

At an inquest into her death in 1990, members of The National Association of Young People in Care said that Kasir had lived in fear of her life since the hotel was exposed. Christopher Fay said: "The reasons for her death are all tied up in this child pornography ring at the hotel.

"She was hounded and harassed by police and security services. She knew all the top people who had been involved in the ring at the hotel."

Scotland Yard launched Operation Fairbank two years ago to look into suggestions that high profile political figures had been involved.

Officers have set up a new strand of the inquiry, Operation Midland, after being passed information about the three alleged murders.

The allegations emerged when a man in his 40s came forward claiming to have been one of around 15 boys who were abused by a powerful paedophile network 30 years ago.

Some of the abuse allegedly took place at flats in the Dolphin Square development in Pimlico, where a number of politicians have had London homes.

According to the man, a 12-year-old boy was strangled by a Conservative MP at a town house in front of other victims.

On another occasion, a boy of around 10 was deliberately run down and killed by a car being driven by one of his abusers, the man claimed.

Fire chief refuses to help black family stranded after accident: 'We ain't taking no n*ggers here'

Southeast Bullitt County Fire Chief Julius Hatfield speaks to WDRB

A Kentucky fire chief is being criticized for racist comments after he refused to help a family of stranded motorists because they were black, and then suggested that an Asian-American television reporter did not understand English.

In a Bullitt County Sheriff's deputy's body camera recording obtained by WDRB, Southeast Bullitt County Fire Chief Julius Hatfield can be heard discussing a car accident on I-65 in September.

Hatfield first goes out of his way to provide assistance to Loren Dicken, who is white.

"You got a jack, ain't you?" Hatfield asks the driver. "If you show me where them things is at, I'll get my guys to start changing the tire for you."

At first, Dicken turns down the offer, but Hatfield insists, saying, "It will save you a bill."

Firefighters working for Hatfield even picked Dicken up from the hospital and took him back to the firehouse, where his car was ready and waiting.

But Hatfield treats the family of four black motorists completely differently.

"Well, I've got a family of four from Cincinnati, I got to do something with," the Bullitt County deputy tells Hatfield over the radio.

"We ain't taking no n*ggers here," Hatfield replies, laughing.

Instead of offering to help driver Chege Mwangi, the deputy recommends that he call the AAA motor club.

Mwangi told WDRB that he noticed that the firefighters had provided assistance to other motorists, but his family wasn't injured so he didn't think much of it. However, he said that the sheriff's department was helpful.

And when WDRB's Valerie Chinn attempted to ask Hatfield about the financial management of Southeast Bullitt Fire Department at a town meeting, he suggested that she didn't understand English, and threatened to have her arrested.

"Do you understand English darling?" he says in video recorded at the public meeting by WDRB cameras. "Do you understand English?"

"Turn that camera off," Hatfield barks. "I've asked you that in a nice way. Buddy, call the cops and get them here."

"I asked you once tonight if you understand English," the fire chief adds after Chinn presses the issue. "I'm speaking English."

Hatfield later told Chinn over the phone that he did not recall the remarks he made while responding to the accident on I-65 in September, but he was sure that it was a slip of the tongue. Chinn said that he also apologized for the way that he treated her at the town meeting.

Elementary school teacher arrested for sending "sexual" photos to student

© Lee County Sheriff's Office

A Lee County elementary school teacher is charged with Cruelty Towards a Child/Transmitting information harmful to minors, according to the sheriff's office.

Tara Milton Roberts, 28, taught at River Hall Elementary School in Alva and is at the Lee County Jail being held without bond. She was arrested for sending photographs of herself scantily clad to a student through the KIK application , according to LCSO.

The messages started off as friendly but soon turned into more sexual in nature - the student knew it was Tara Roberts because he recognized her white iPhone, according to the sheriff's office.

The school district confirmed Roberts taught 5th grade, but the victim was not a student in her class. According to the investigation, Roberts told the student not to tell anyone because she would get in trouble.

According to a Lee County School District spokesperson, Roberts was in her first year of teaching and was on probationary status. She will not be returning to the district.

River Hall parents were notified of the arrest around 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday - and a substitute teacher will be working with the 5th grade team until a qualified teacher can be placed.

Parents were also told the incident involved one student and the use of social media.

At her first appearance Wednesday morning, Roberts only said a few words. She is being held on a $20,000 bond and can have no unsupervised contact with minors.