Caught in ‘women only’ train carriage – men forced to do sit-ups

A group of male commuters travelling in a women-only carriage on New Delhi’s metro system were ordered to do sit-ups on the platform by the furious female passengers.

At least one carriage is reserved for women on every metro train in the Indian capital, where female residents and tourists have complained about sexual harassment on public transport for decades.

The metro has also become severely congested with the lines expanding into the suburbs over the last year and most regular carriages packed to capacity.

Police on Saturday led a crackdown of men using women’s carriages at a station in Gurgaon, a satellite development on the outskirts of Delhi, after a series of complaints – and women passengers joined in the action.

The offending commuters were made to pay a fine of 250 rupees while angry women slapped some of them and forced them to do sit-ups.

Har! That’s a genuine “Gotcha!”

Mexico is cornering the U.S. meth market

Exploiting loopholes in the global economy, Mexican crime syndicates are importing mass quantities of the cold medicines and common chemicals used to manufacture methamphetamine – turning Mexico into the No. 1 source for all meth sold in the United States, law enforcement agents say.

Nearly three years ago, the Mexican government appeared on the verge of controlling the sale of chemicals used to make the drugs, but the syndicates have since moved to the top of the drug trade.

Cartels have quickly learned to use dummy corporations and false labeling and take advantage of lax customs enforcement in China, India and Bangladesh to smuggle tons of the pills into Mexico for conversion into methamphetamine. Ordinary cold, flu and allergy medicine used to make methamphetamine – pills banned in Mexico and restricted in the United States – are still widely available in many countries…

For the cartels, the great thing about meth is it is not bound by geography,” a senior U.S. law enforcement agent with direct knowledge of the Mexican drug syndicates who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of security concerns. “You can buy the precursor chemicals off the shelf. You can order them on the telephone.”

You don’t succeed with any distributive crime without aid from coppers and politicians who are made comfortable with a share of the spoils.

No new laws are needed. No reforms, no modernization needed if governments make it worthwhile for honest men and women to do their job. And provide sanctions to fit the crime.

RTFA. More than the usual gory details that accompany Mexican crime you will learn about drug cartels that out-manage and out-perform the government and police – both sides of the border.

Scientists reverse the ageing process in mice – are we next?

Scientists claim to be a step closer to reversing the ageing process after rejuvenating worn out organs in elderly mice. The experimental treatment developed by researchers at Harvard Medical School turned weak and feeble old mice into healthy animals by regenerating their aged bodies.

The surprise recovery of the animals has raised hopes among scientists that it may be possible to achieve a similar feat in humans – or at least to slow down the ageing process…

“What we saw in these animals was not a slowing down or stabilisation of the ageing process. We saw a dramatic reversal – and that was unexpected,” said Ronald DePinho, who led the study, which was published in the journal Nature.

“This could lead to strategies that enhance the regenerative potential of organs as individuals age and so increase their quality of life. Whether it serves to increase longevity is a question we are not yet in a position to answer…”

The Harvard group focused on a process called telomere shortening. Most cells in the body contain 23 pairs of chromosomes, which carry our DNA. At the ends of each chromosome is a protective cap called a telomere. Each time a cell divides, the telomeres are snipped shorter, until eventually they stop working and the cell dies or goes into a suspended state called “senescence”. The process is behind much of the wear and tear associated with ageing…

Repeating the trick in humans will be more difficult. Mice make telomerase throughout their lives, but the enzyme is switched off in adult humans, an evolutionary compromise that stops cells growing out of control and turning into cancer. Raising levels of telomerase in people might slow the ageing process, but it makes the risk of cancer soar…

DePinho said none of Harvard’s mice developed cancer after the treatment. The team is now investigating whether it extends the lifespan of mice or enables them to live healthier lives into old age.

Bravo! Another step forward for medicine, science, for human beings.

Rent-a-coppers dress as baby Jesus to catch thieves

Store detectives at Christmas Markets in Austria are being disguised as the baby Jesus in an attempt to catch shoplifters and pick pockets.

In the German speaking world the Christ child is usually played by young women and is also the traditional bringer of Christmas gifts.

Actors have been replaced by the undercover detectives to stop criminals taking advantage of the crowds to steal items from the stalls and shoppers’ bags at the events which are popular tourists attractions.

Church officials have criticised the idea of using staff employed to play the role as the Christ child to also catch thieves.

A spokesman for the city council in Weitra, Austria, which is one of those to employ the Christ child detectives said: “They are in among the crowds all day long and they are perfect for keeping an eye out for petty crooks.”


How NY TIMES readers chose to fix the deficit

Reduce the size of the military rather than reduce pay for noncombat members of the military. Impose a millionaire’s tax rather than cut deductions for high-income households. Cap the growth of Medicare spending rather than raise the eligibility age.

These were among the choices made by readers who completed the online you-fix-the-deficit puzzle that accompanied a Week in Review article last Sunday. Since the puzzle went online, there have been more than one million page views, and more than 11,000 posted Twitter messages about the puzzle, most including their own solution. The Times analyzed those solutions, each of which cut at least $1.345 trillion from the 2030 deficit, to get a sense of readers’ choices…

The single least popular choice was allowing the expiration of the Bush tax cuts on income below $250,000 a year. Fewer than 10 percent of the solutions included that option. But when it came to tax cuts for incomes above $250,000, people’s opinions appeared to diverge according to their political views. Those who preferred spending cuts — a conservative group, in all likelihood — generally wanted this tax cut to remain in place. Among those who closed the deficit mostly with tax increases — probably a liberal group — the expiration was the single most selected policy.

The most popular option among all respondents? Reducing the military to less than its size before the Iraq war — included in about 80 percent of the solutions posted to Twitter. But cutting pay and benefits for the military was a choice of only 40 percent.

Given that Twitter users skew young, one arguable surprise was the reluctance to raise the eligibility age for Social Security (above 67, as is now scheduled) or Medicare (above 65). The four options that would have increased those ages, to either 68 or 70, were all among the 10 least popular. Making other changes to those programs — like reducing Social Security benefits for high earners and capping Medicare growth by cracking down on high-cost hospitals and doctors — received more support.

The puzzle remains online, and version 2.0 may lie in the future. Comments continue to be welcome. Given how far Congress seems from enacting any deficit-reducing proposal, this debate will probably be around for a long time.

At a minimum, the cost to American taxpayers to support members of the armed services is cut in half when they’re inside our borders instead of stationed in some other nation. The real number is probably more like a two-thirds’ saving. If – as our governments have continually prated – they are for our national defense, then, bring them all back home where they belong.

The excuses our Congress-critters make for kissing the wealthiest butts in the world should have worn thin a century ago. The promises of job creation are a crock. They have never come through. They don’t build factories or businesses with it. They sit on it.

Unemployed held hostage by conservatives and copouts, again

It is hard to believe, as the holidays approach yet again amid economic hard times, but Congress looks as if it may let federal unemployment benefits lapse for the fourth time this year.

Lame duck lawmakers will have only one day when they return to work on Monday to renew the expiring benefits. If they don’t, two million people will be cut off in December alone. This lack of regard for working Americans is shocking. Last summer, benefits were blocked for 51 days, as senators in both parties focused on preserving tax breaks for wealthy money managers and other affluent constituents.

This time, tax cuts for the rich are bound to drive and distort the debate again. Republicans and Democrats will almost certainly link the renewal of jobless benefits to an extension of the high-end Bush-era tax cuts. That would be a travesty. There is no good argument for letting jobless benefits expire, or for extending those cuts…

Nor do jobless benefits bust the budget. Just the opposite. They do not add to dangerous long-term deficits because the spending is temporary. And because they support spending and jobs, they contribute powerfully to the economic growth that is vital for a healthy budget. Extending the Bush high-end tax cuts would be budget busting, because they are likely to endure, adding $700 billion to the deficit over 10 years. Tax cuts for the rich provide virtually no economic stimulus, because affluent people tend to save their bounty…

President Obama should pound the table for a clean, yearlong extension of unemployment benefits, and should excoriate phony deficit hawks — in both parties — who say that jobless benefits are too costly, even as they pass vastly more expensive tax cuts for the rich.

As we move into the next 2-year cycle of corruption, lies and deception that defines our Congress, the lack of bi-partisanship between cowards and crooks, political hacks governed by the golden rule of “what must I now do to get re-elected” – we all get to witness how little these thugs care for working people. Especially the unemployed.

Take the time to Google your way through and other sites that track the day-by-day record of America’s only native criminal class. Remember who the crucial offenders are in your own neck of the prairie. Call ’em out on their failures and faux accomplishments.