Retired bishop arrested on suspicion of child sex offences

Detectives investigating complaints of sexual abuse in the Church of England have arrested a retired bishop on suspicion of eight sexual offences against eight boys and young men ranging in age from 12 to early 20s.

Officers from the Sussex police serious crime directorate involved in a six-month investigation into historic allegations at the diocese of Chichester arrested the Rt Rev Peter Ball, former bishop of Lewes and later bishop of Gloucester, on Tuesday morning at his home address near Landport, Somerset.

Ball is thought to be the most senior figure in the church to be arrested in connection with a sex abuse investigation. The bishop, now 80, has connections to Prince Charles, whom he has described in the past as “a loyal friend”.

Police also arrested a 67-year old retired priest at his home address near Haywards Heath on suspicion of two separate sexual offences against two teenage boys in East Sussex between 1981 and 1983.

Detectives carried out a “comprehensive and painstaking” three-month analysis of two reports from Lambeth Palace, “which contain reviews of church files relating to certain child safeguarding issues within the Chichester diocese from between 20 and 25 years ago”. They also reviewed internal church files containing details of clergymen’s careers in the diocese, including Ball’s.

A spokeswoman for a group representing the survivors of abuse by clergy said the arrests were “historic in terms of the seniority of the people being looked at“. “This is the first bishop we have seen arrested over abuse allegations,” said Ann Lawrence, of the Ministry and Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivors Group…

Overdue, of course. That portion of any investigation must not be overlooked in the prosecution of the charges currently laid at the Bishop’s feet. When all is over and done – someone needs to determine how and why this took decades to come to police attention.

Tech developed to recycle scrap rubber into high-quality plastic

It’s reckoned that most of the 22 million tons of rubber that is processed every year worldwide goes into making vehicle tires and that once rubber products reach the end of their useful lives, for the most part they end up being incinerated. Even when the rubber residues are reclaimed and re-used to make new products, the lack of techniques for producing high-quality materials means that the recyclables are relegated to secondary products such as arena or playground floor coverings or padded doormats.

Looking for new ways to optimize the recycling of rubber waste, researchers have developed a material called EPMT that has the desired material properties and characteristics for use in the manufacture of high quality products such as wheel and splashguard covers, handles, knobs and steerable castors.

Holger Wack, Damian Hintemann and Nina Kloster from the Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology UMSICHT in Oberhausen, Germany, have so far developed three basic elastomer powder modified thermoplastics (EPMT) recipes and have formed a new company named RUHR Compounds to bring EPMT to market…

Machines currently used by the researchers are capable of producing up to 350 kg (770 pounds) of EPMT every hour and individual material properties like elasticity, breaking strain and hardness can be modified according to the need of the customer…

The new compounds can contain up to 80 percent residual rubber and the researchers claim that EPMT can be easily processed in injection molding and extrusion machines. EPMT used in the manufacture of new products can itself be recycled again when those products reach the end of their useful life.

Scrap tires are the bane of arroyos and vacant land in rural America. There have been so few useful schemes which consume these leftovers of our fossil-fueled society, there is always some slothful creep dumping worn-out tires someplace they hope won’t be noticed for a while.

If re-use is possible on an economic scale through this process – every rubber-tired nation will benefit.

UPS drops gifts to Boy Scouts over bigotry

The philanthropic arm of shipping giant UPS said it will no longer give money to the Boy Scouts of America as long as the group discriminates against gays, the second major corporation to recently strip funding from the scouts.

The UPS Foundation made the change Thursday after an online petition protesting its annual grants to the Boy Scouts attracted more than 80,000 signatures. UPS, based in Atlanta, follows computer chip maker Intel in withdrawing corporate support for the Boy Scouts…

UPS spokeswoman Kristen Petrella said groups applying for the foundation grants will have to adhere to the same standards UPS does by not discriminating against anyone based on race, religion, disability or sexual orientation.

“We promote an environment of diversity and inclusion,” Petrella said Monday. “UPS is a company that does the right things for the right reasons.”

The UPS Foundation distributed $45.3 million in grants last year. Petrella said she was not aware of any other current grant recipients who would be affected by the new policy.

Petrella said the company had been concerned about discrimination by the Boy Scouts before the petition drive.

The Boy Scouts said this summer it was sticking with the divisive, long-standing policy of excluding openly gay youth and adults as members and leaders.

UPS and Intel changed course after Zach Wahls, an Eagle Scout and founder of the group Scouts for Equality, began online petitions this fall at Change.org calling for corporations to end their financial support of the Boy Scouts. That call has been echoed by such groups as the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, which has highlighted the case of an Ohio mother barred from volunteering with her son’s Cub Scout pack because she is a lesbian.

“Corporate America gets it better than most: policies that discriminate aren’t simply wrong, they’re bad for business and they’re hurting the scouting community,” Wahls said Monday. “You would think that after all the Boy Scouts have lost as a result of this policy, they would understand that.”

The holier-than-thou-crowd continue to specialize in hypocrisy. For decades, the Boy Scouts of America kept track of staff and volunteers who sexually abused boys – and just as thoroughly skipped reporting abusers to local coppers.

Nice to see that UPS still responds quickly – when social injustice is pointed out to them. In one of my earliest actions against institutionalized racism, I was part of a group that confronted UPS for lily-white hiring policies in the northern industrial city where I lived. It took just the one meeting for them to reverse the program and reach out to the Black and Hispanic community.

Of course, that was 50 years ago. You’d think they might have gotten beyond needing a nudge, by now?

Republican wife drives over husband for not voting


No truth to rumor Governor Brewer forms defense fund for Holly

An Arizona woman, in despair at the re-election of Democratic President Barack Obama, ran down her husband with the family car in suburban Phoenix on Saturday because he failed to vote in the election…

Holly Solomon, 28, was arrested after running over husband Daniel Solomon following a wild chase that left him pinned underneath the vehicle.

Daniel Solomon, 36, was in critical condition at a local hospital, but is expected to survive, Gilbert police spokesman Sergeant Jesse Sanger said.

Police said Daniel Solomon told them his wife became angry over his “lack of voter participation” in last Tuesday’s presidential election and believed her family would face hardship as a result of Obama winning another term.

Witnesses reported the argument broke out on Saturday morning in a parking lot and escalated. Mrs Solomon then chased her husband around the lot with the car, yelling at him as he tried to hide behind a light pole, police said. He was struck after attempting to flee to a nearby street.

Obama won the national election with 332 electoral votes compared with 206 for Republican challenger Mitt Romney. Arizona’s 11 electoral votes were won by Romney.

Those wacky freedom-loving Arizona Republicans…take their civic responsibilities seriously.

Egypt’s Mohamed Morsi prepares for first trip to U.S. as president

Egypt is keen to strengthen its “strategic relations” with the US, and work is currently underway to prepare for the first official visit by President Mohamed Morsi to Washington, the Egyptian ambassador to the US, Mohamed Tawfik, told Ahram Online.

In an interview given to Ahram Online by phone from his office in the US capital, Tawfik, who took up his ambassadorial post in September, said that the recent re-election of US President Barack Obama could ” help keep a good pace for the upgrading of relations between the two countries” given that the current US administration, despite expected changes, is well aware of the details of Cairo-Washington ties and of the demands that Egypt has made to the US.

“Ultimately Egypt and the US do have strategic ties and ultimately it is in the interest of the US as a world power and Egypt as the central Arab state to pursue cooperation on issues of common interest; but certainly continuity is useful at this point in time,” said Tawfik.

Cairo, according to its ambassador in Washington, is going to pursue the immediate processing of an economic aid package that the US promised in the first quarter of 2011.

“The transfer of an aid package of $450 million is a priority that we are currently working on; this is the first instalment of a wider aid package that the US has promised,” Tawfik said. He added that action is already being taken and that the US administration is working with the US Congress to finalise the matter soon…

However, as Tawfik stresses, there is more than simply aid at stake.

“Upgrading trade relations, especially through granting Egyptian products better access to American markets, and encouraging direct US investment in Egypt, are also matters that we would like to pursue actively with the US,” he added.

Economy, Tawfik insisted, is a top priority in Egyptian-American relations, given that it is clearly a priority for the Egyptian state at this point in time. But this economic interest, he added, does not undermine the political cooperation between Cairo and Washington, especially in relation to regional issues – the Arab-Israeli issue being a permanent priority.

Xenophobes, the whole range of nutballs that spawned birthers in the Republican Party will suffer exploding bowels over a visit from Egypt’s new president. Democratic elections have little or nothing to do with their ideology. Middle Eastern nations that have their first democratic election in decades are still expected to rejoice over Israeli’s apartheid politics, stand hat-in-hand waiting patiently for whatever largesse Congress deems appropriate.

The new era of global relationships, in fact, isn’t run as an exclusive American-controlled club. There are dozens of other free and independent nations waiting for the United States to participate in commerce as equals – or get out of the way.

Abroad with Obama 2.0

It’s over. After a year-long campaign costing $2.5-6 billion…President Barack Obama has won a second four-year term, with 49 states reporting their results on election night (Florida, for the second time in four presidential elections, did not). Obama now has a chance to define the United States’ role in the international system for years to come.

Second terms can often be productive times for US foreign policy, largely because presidents cannot seek a third. George W. Bush, for example, used his second four years in office to fix mistakes made during his first (his second-term team was busy).

Presidents in their second terms often apply old-fashioned American pragmatism to tough issues, which they often cannot do during their first terms, when reelection is their first priority. Obama’s infamous open-mike remark to Russian Prime Minister Dimitri Medvedev that he would have more flexibility after the election may have shocked some, but, for most foreign-policy experts, he was stating the obvious. The president’s challenge is to use his new freedom of action quickly, before the perception sets in (as it inevitably does) that he is a lame duck…

US policy in Asia requires a steady hand, and, in Obama, the US has just that. But it also needs effective communication that makes clear to the American people that the relationship with China truly is too big to fail and thus requires a long-term process of thoughtful engagement. Such messages must be issued more often by the president himself, and not only by officials several bureaucratic layers below. American policy in Asia in general, and toward China in particular, has enjoyed consistent bipartisan support. When a US president has bipartisan support on any issue, he should flaunt it.

There is no question that dealing with China, which is in an anxious mood of its own, has become increasingly difficult. But the way to address China’s internal tensions and emerging nationalism, and the resulting strains in its relationships with its neighbors, is not to put the region’s countries in the position of having to choose between China and the US. The right approach is to be constant, to stress long-term commitments, and to speak in a calm and measured way, understanding that good China policy is about relationships, not transactions. No one does that better than this president…

No president in recent decades has had a better temperament and a clearer vision for facing the world’s challenges than the one that Americans have just reelected. Obama now has an opportunity to put that talent to work in ways that he could not in his first term.

RTFA for the broader range of issues and question Christopher Hill includes in this article. Between his career in foreign service to the United States and his understanding of education and administration – his present gig at the University of Denver – he brings a boatload of common sense to one of America’s most anachronistic political venues.

Boy takes his parents’ savings, $4,000 – spends it on candy

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy spent nearly $4,000 on candy in several days, the money coming from his parents’ savings hidden in a couch.

“The disappearance [of the money] was first spotted by his father. He opened the stash and saw it was empty,” said Tatyana Kushnerova of the Konotop, Ukraine police department.

After an argument, the son admitted taking the money during his autumn school holiday, $3,300 in U.S. cash and about 600 euros, converting it to Ukrainian hryvnas with the help of an adult acquaintance and spending it on candy, which he shared with friends…

He should be sick for a year. Which is OK – it’s likely to be that long before his family lets him back in the house.