Foreign Adoptions Plummet After Rising for Decades


Originally posted on U.S.:

Overseas adoptions are slowing globally, due to greater regulations and growing opposition in countries like China and Russia.

The number of foreign adoptions nearly halved over the last decade, leading to long waiting times for families hoping to adopt children, particularly infants, CNN reports. The trend has prompted concerns that millions of orphans are set to remain in institutional care.

However, some argue that adopted children are often not orphans at all. They say families in developing countries are at risk of being exploited by traffickers keen to profit from demand in the West.

Meanwhile, the number of U.S. children being adopted by families overseas is rising, and most are black or mixed-race infants. Birth mothers are drawn to foreign families and believe their offspring will have a better chance of avoiding racism abroad.

[CNN]

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Germany’s Elections: Merkel, Europe’s Most Important Leader, Faces a Complex Challenge


Originally posted on World:

Europe is quiet. You might not have noticed as European governments maintain a flurry of diplomacy over Syria, but the big discussions over Europe’s future — about how to return to prosperity, save the euro, whether to move into a closer embrace or break away — all these existential questions have been put on hold. This isn’t because Europe’s crisis is over. Although the E.U. has crept out of recession, the combined economies of 27 of its member nations registering tepid GDP growth of 0.4% in the second quarter of 2013, the outlook in many of those countries is anything but rosy. (A 28th member, Croatia, joined the E.U. on July 1, too late for its 0.7% Q2 contraction in GDP to register in the combined total.)

Greece is expected to need a third package of financial support. Spain’s public debt has soared to record levels, while its…

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Man Prepares Dungeon for Kids, Gets Locked Away


Originally posted on U.S.:

Pleading guilty to online chats about his desire to kidnap, rape, kill and eat children, George Portway of Massachusetts will receive a long prison-term at his sentencing in federal court on Tuesday.

Besides the chats, which were recovered from Portway’s computer, authorities have found a dungeon, homemade coffin, butchering kit and other tools in the basement of his home.

Portway’s lawyer makes his case for a sentence of 18 years, arguing that no child was touched or photographed by the defendant. Prosecutors, however, argue that 27 years is more appropriate for the 40-year-old.

“In the chats, Portway becomes tired of people engaged in role play or fantasy, telling no less than 15 chat partners he is serious about wanting to kill and eat a child,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Stacy Dawson Belf wrote in a sentencing memo.

[AP]

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Tumblr of the Week: Men Taking Up Too Much Space on the Train


Originally posted on NewsFeed:

If you’re a frequent rider of public transportation, you’ve likely got a long and carefully detailed list of pet peeves and grievances. (See NewsFeed’s own list of punishable subway behaviors here.) Now, some of these pet peeves may be pretty specialized, but chances are we can all agree on at least one general principle: people need to stop taking up so much space. Or, more specifically, men need to stop taking up so much space, according to a new Tumblr that documents this problematic phenomenon.

Men Taking Up Too Much Space On The Train” collects photographs of what the site’s curator deems “a classic among public assertions of privilege.” As the Huffington Postpoints out, “the men photographed in this Tumblr aren’t doing anything malicious, but it’s an interesting visual representation of the way that men feel totally empowered to take up a lot of public…

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U.S. Lauds U.N. Probe on Syria Poison Gas Attack, Russia Denies Culprit Identified


Originally posted on World:

Following U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon’s confirmation on Monday that chemical weapons were used in Syria late last month, the bloc’s U.S. envoy said the report verified that Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces were solely responsible for deploying sarin poison gas. However, Russia’s envoy was quick to counter that the investigation failed to pin responsibility for the attack on the Syrian government.

(MORE: U.N. Report Confirms Chemical Weapons Were Used in Syria)

Following Monday’s briefing, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power said the investigators’ documentation of the use of surface-to-surface rocket systems in the deployment of sarin gas proved that troops loyal to Assad were behind the attacks.

“We have reviewed thousands of open source videos related to the current conflict in Syria and have not observed the opposition manufacturing or using this style of rocket,” she said.

Russia’s envoy fired back that the dossier…

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Sorry Iran, No Tweets for You!


Originally posted on World:

After less than 24 hours of blissful access to Facebook and Twitter, Iranian authorities laid down the law once again on Tuesday.

According to officials, the free access to the networking sites that began on Monday night was caused by a “technical glitch.” Outside of the brief lapse, the country’s hardline conservatives continue to block the site, despite the fact that both President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif have official Twitter accounts.

The government began blocking the popular social media platforms after protesters utilized the sites to organize massive anti-government rallies that were later ruthless crushed after elections in 2009.

[AP]

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