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21 June 2011 Last updated at 06:29 ET

At least 28 children in India's Bihar state have died in the past week from an unidentified illness, officials say.

Officials said that all of the children were between two and eight years. They died in Muzaffarpur town, 80kms (50 miles) from the state capital, Patna.

Bihar Health Minister Ashwani Choubey told the BBC that a team of doctors from Delhi is visiting Muzaffarpur on Tuesday to diagnose the disease.

Local doctors say the symptoms are similar to Japanese encephalitis.

But, they say, an important symptom of Japanese encephalitis is a stiffening of the neck, which is absent from the Bihar cases.

On Sunday, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar told reporters that the disease had not been identified yet.

"Without identifying the disease how can we say what is killing the children there? The local doctors are giving treatment only on the basis of symptoms," he said.

Officials said blood samples of some of the ill children have been sent to the National Institute of Virology in Pune and National Institute of Communicable Diseases in Delhi for test and identification.

Meanwhile, local TV channels say a number of sick children are being admitted to hospitals across northern Bihar.

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BBC News - Uttar Pradesh

Posted by xmm_plot on 2011.06.20 at 13:12
20 June 2011 Last updated at 05:01 ET

Over the past year, there have been numerous violent attacks on women in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Correspondents say Uttar Pradesh is one of India's most lawless states where women are accorded a very low status.

Earlier this year, the head of the National Commission for Women, Girija Vyas, said Uttar Pradesh was at the top of the list when it came to violent crimes against women.

State authorities have been criticised in recent years after several attacks on women and girls were reported.

In recent months, however, the region has been targeted for aid by national and international organizations that have worked from the ground up to help women rebuild their lives and reduce the lawlessness that has lead to these crimes. Law enforcement is on the rise as is the status of women thanks to new education programs. It is early to say, but the results have been dramatic, with a drastic fall in crime rate.

OOC: Again, our world is not as awesome and that link might be particularly rage-making. BUT WE CAN PRETEND THINGS ARE BETTER IN PRETEND LAND.

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Government 'may have hacked' IMF

Posted by xmm_plot on 2011.06.13 at 19:47
13 June 2011 Last updated at 17:08 ET

Hackers who broke into the International Monetary Fund's computer system may have been backed by a nation state, according to security experts.

They point to the sophisticated nature of the attack and the resources needed to develop it.

Malicious software, designed to steal confidential files, was installed on at least one IMF computer.

Although government involvement is widely suspected, the IMF has not released enough details to be sure. (More Information.)

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Bahrain Protests: 47 Doctors and Nurses Released

Posted by xmm_plot on 2011.06.07 at 10:21
BBC News Middle East

6 June 2011

Dozens of doctors and nurses who treated injured protesters in Bahrain have been released before a scheduled court appearance where they were due to be charged with attempting to topple the monarchy.

They have been held since March, when Bahrain declared an emergency law, which was only lifted last week.

Bahrain's mainly Shia protesters have been calling for democratic reforms and more rights for the country's Shia majority in the Sunni-ruled kingdom.

Hundreds of opposition supporters have been detained since March, when Bahrain's rulers called in military support from its Gulf Arab neighbours - mostly Saudi Arabia and the UAE - to suppress the protests. Many have since been released, and the monarchy's position is unstable as they make continuing concessions to the protestors.

More than 20 people were killed during the government's campaign to stifle the demonstrations. Two people have been sentenced to death for their part in the protests. Four have died in police custody.

OOC: Alas, our world is not the same.

US defence firms Lockheed Martin and Stark Industries say they have come under a significant cyber-attack, which took place last week.

Few details were available, but both companies said its security teams had detected the threat quickly and ensured that none of their programmes had been compromised.

The Pentagon said it is working to establish the extent of the breach.

OOC: Yes. I am completely copying and pasting a real-world thing.

watching you

Journal Meme

Posted by xmm_alden on 2011.05.19 at 22:01
Journal Meme the III

Having decided that there should be more journal meme, I am posting this here. I am not doing prizes, but there is always the satisfaction of completing the meme. And who knows, maybe someone will do prizes, but mine would suck.

The rules:

- Average a journal a day over 30 days. That means 30 journals in 30 days, but it does not have to mean every day or every log.
- Count is kept per player, not per character, so if you want to do half on one character and half on another, that's fine.
- Journals, scenelets, and personal-type IC communication (not mission communication) such as email all count.
- There are no length requirements. There are no quality requirements. Just write, and you win.
- Because this is an average and not a per-day requirement, you can join at any time.


- If after 30 days you have 30 journals, you win! Honor system, as usual.

So! Rather than flood LJ with the list, if you consider yourself a participant, leave a comment here. Tomorrow is the first day of this challenge, which makes the last day June 20th.

Good luck!

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Presidential Announcement

Posted by xmm_plot on 2011.05.03 at 19:33
In an unexpected televised address at 9:00 PM EST Tuesday evening, President Stockton announced to the nation that Osama bin Laden had been killed in a US raid on a compound in Pakistan.

"The United States conducted an operation that has changed the world forever. Osama bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaeda, is dead."

President Stockton's announcement prompted a spontaneous outpouring of reaction across the country.

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ABA Lawyer: The Changing Face of Mutant Court

Posted by xmm_plot on 2011.04.28 at 11:29
Since New York's Code of Psionic Crime was enacted in 2008, the legal community throughout the 50 states and indeed throughout the world has been watching to see how it and its enforcement mechanism would function. Thus far, almost no cases have been dismissed under the telepathic affirmative defense provision; the courts are simply disinclined to alleviate criminal responsibility on the grounds that some unknown telepath was responsible. (See State of New York v. Burke, 1119 N.Y.2d 342, 42 (2011)). But after 75 felony and misdemeanor cases filed against alleged mutants in New York State over the course of two years, with 49 convictions and 4 trials, there is little question that the law has been effective in protecting citizens from mutant crime.

With this effective example in place, other states have begun to follow suit. The State of Washington's Citizens' Protection Privacy Act was signed into law in 2010 creating a cause of civil action of psionic "damage, mental or emotional" with a specific provision including punitive damages, which are generally disallowed in Washington State. The Ohio Telepathic Crimes Act was just signed into law by Governor Cleary on March 1, 2011, its legal language copied directly from that of the New York Code of Psionic Crime -- although without any of the implementation provisions authorizing telepathic "cops". The California legislature is currently debating a bill that would do the same.

Several states seem to be indulging in the polite fiction that mutants are not a legal problem and that if they were, the best course would be to ignore them as much as possible. Texas, Oklahoma, New Hampshire and Vermont have all passed laws over the past year expressly disallowing any psionic evidence from ever being presented in the courtroom.

Other states have chosen more restrictive or punitive measures against mutant offenders. The hotly contested Mutant Crimes Act in Illinois would permit juries to enhance sentences beyond the normal range of punishment for "any crimes committed by any means unavailable to the genetically unenhanced," a tortured bit of language that detractors insist will prove ultimately unconstitutional under the void for vagueness doctrine, and which seems to us at the Lawyer to be an invitation to the political comedy circuit.

The aptly named Arizona Telepathic Protection Act, introduced on the House floor on April 18, 2011, would outlaw all telepathy within the boundaries of the state, "benign, accidental or otherwise."

What's next? The ABA Evidentiary Commission is currently reviewing the Federal Rules of Evidence to make a recommendation to Congress in the coming year as to what, if anything, alterations need be necessary to accomodate the mutant problem. Dr. James Kielgar of the University of Washington School of Law has stated that, "We are a changing people, but there are authentication problems."

From this writer, you said it, Dr. Kielgar.

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BBC News Middle East

Posted by xmm_plot on 2011.04.28 at 09:27
Six Bahraini protesters sentenced to death
A court in Bahrain has convicted six demonstrators and sentenced them to death over the killing of two police officers during pro-democracy protests. Two others were sentenced to life in prison.

Bahraini authorities have responded harshly to protests that began in February, following uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt. Hundreds of people have been detained for taking part in protests, many unable to communicate with family.

The eight defendants were tried behind closed doors on charges of premeditated murder of government employees - allegedly running two police officers over in a car. They pleaded not guilty to the charges and were represented by international legal counsel led by a Bahraini expatriate from NYC. Despite public and international support and more than a month of protests, the sentence was handed down yesterday.

Bahrain blames Iran for fomenting the protests, an accusation Iranian officials deny. Analysts point to long-simmering tensions between the ruling Sunni minority and Shia majority.

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