Extra Extra : October 2011

To escape U.S. justice, just flee the country

"Chicago Tribune reporters found eight Chicago-area fugitives during an 18-day trip to Mexico -- five wanted for murder, two for raping or molesting children and one for shooting a man. Growing numbers of criminal suspects flee the U.S. each year to evade trial for murder, rape and other serious felonies. Breakdowns in the criminal justice system allow the suspects to escape, then cripple efforts to bring them to justice, the Tribune found in an investigation based on new Justice Department data as well as sealed warrants and other government records on 129 border-crossing fugitives from northern Illinois."

Boston area markets caught mislabeling fish

After a five-month Boston Globe investigation into the mislabeling of fish, it was found that many upscale restaurants, grocery stores and seafood markets advertise one type of fish but sell you another.

The Globe hired a laboratory in Canada to conduct DNA testing on fish samples purchased from 134 shops across the Boston region. “Analyses by the DNA lab and other scientists showed that 87 of 183 were sold with the wrong species name – 48 percent.”

The Globe did state the mislabeling “happens for a range of reasons, from outright fraud to a chef’s ignorance to the sometimes real ...

Read more ...

4 million cubic yards of radioactive waste in CO town’s backyard

Cotter Corp.’s uranium mill near Cañon City, CO has the state’s backing to permanently dispose of radioactive waste in its tailings ponds, despite state and independent reports over a 30-year period showing the ponds’ liners leak.”

However, the Denver Post reports that in "a 2004 internal state health department memo, it went so far as to describe the site as “unusable” for hazardous- waste disposal under state regulations.” Nevertheless, state regulators say the leak does not pose an immediate threat to residents because they no longer drink well water; despite the fact that the state cannot tell ...

Read more ...

Local government pays employees thousands for accrued time

“While private employers are consolidating sick and vacation time and limiting the amount of leave workers can collect, governments continue to be more generous with such benefits, said Jeffrey Keefe, a Rutgers University professor.”

The Virginian-Post reports that "since January 2010, South Hampton Roads cities collectively paid more than $7.7 million in such payments to departing employees, mostly for unused vacation and sick time. Local government employees generally enjoy more generous vacation and sick time accrual policies than private-sector workers, and they can get hefty payouts when they leave their jobs.”

Former student leader linked to murder/corruption in Mexico

The Gazette reports that "a former University of Iowa student leader believed to have fled the country after criminal charges in the early 1990s has been linked to murder and corruption in Mexico.

Juan Jose Rojas-Cardona — known as Pepe in West Liberty, where he spent his youth — is accused in a U.S. Consulate document made public in August of orchestrating the assassination of a rival casino owner in Monterrey, Mexico, and having ties to powerful Mexican drug cartels.”

Police in Milwaukee circumvent the law

At least 93 Milwaukee police officers – ranking from street cop to captain – have been disciplined for violating the laws and ordinances they were sworn to uphold, a Journal Sentinel investigation found.

Their offenses range from sexual assault and domestic violence to drunken driving and shoplifting, according to internal affairs records. All still work for the Police Department, where they have the authority to make arrests, testify in court and patrol neighborhoods.

Officers who run afoul of the law often aren’t fired or prosecuted, the newspaper found.”

FEC-Cain used campaign money to buy autobiography from Co. he owns

“Jonathan D. Salant and Joshua Green of Bloomberg News reported that Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain used campaign funds to buy books he wrote from his own company.”

“’All candidates publish books and they offer them as premiums to donors, but most candidates aren’t buying them from their own companies’, Bill Allison, editorial director at the Washington-based Sunlight Foundation, a nonpartisan group that tracks political money said. ‘It raises the question of his campaign contributions ending up in his own pocket.’”

News Corp.’s U.S.-based subsidiary allegedly spies on competitors

A CNN investigation into the practices of a News Corp. subsidiary in the U.S. finds allegations of unfair and illegal business practices against competitors. CNN obtained videotaped depositions that show how the subsidiary, News America Marketing, has operated. News America Marketing has paid out more than $650 million to settle lawsuits by competitors.”

Undercover police in UK give false identities in court

In a report by The Guardian, it has been revealed that a covert unit of Scotland Yard has been posing as activists and taking part in various protest groups. Even after being arrested and prosecuted, the undercover officers maintained their false identity as an activist while under oath.

“Revelations about the deployment of police spies in protest groups have provoked controversy this year, but the latest allegations may be the most damaging. Police chiefs now stand accused of authorising their undercover officers to give false identities in a deliberate manipulation of the legal system.”

Ohio schools rely heavily upon student fees to pay for sports programs

A report by The Plain Dealer reveals that Cleveland State University charges its students “about $600 a year for intercollegiate sports, even if you do not attend a single game.” However, the school is not the only university in Ohio to rely heavily upon student fees to support their sports program.

"As students and parents face college bills increasing faster than inflation, and as the state’s share of the higher education costs have been shrinking, does this investment in sports make sense?”