The US shows a front of business as usual yet it too, like Europe, is facing an economic crisis. The money spent in the USA on politics, spin, propaganda, conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, and more gives an impression of prosperity, but like many other western countries, it waves a false flag. There is still wealth in the USA, but now there are less people feeling any benefit.Take Detroit
Early in March Detroit was in the news as it looked set to become insolvent or bankrupt. Wednesday it is back in the news as its economic woes continue.
Detroit is the largest city in the state of Michigan. Once known as the world's automotive center the city has fallen on hard times in recent years. Gone is the busy manufacturing hub that was once Detroit. Look at wikipedia
online and you will see Detroit was once a vibrant city with an impressive history, but sadly its future does not look so bright.
The United States faced a fiscal cliff in early 2013, but Detroit is facing its own financial crisis. In March there were reports that Kevyn Orr, an emergency financial manager, had been appointed on a temporary contract to turn the city's finances around. He faced a huge task. According to Sky News: The city is struggling beneath a $327m (£217m) budget deficit and more than $14bn (£9.3bn) in long-term debt. Unemployment is twice the national average, and a quarter of a million people have left the city in the last decade. Its population has halved since its heyday in the 1950s, and it has the highest crime rate in the US. The city is being hollowed out, block by block. The decay and disintegration spreads over miles, but begins just a few streets from the city centre.
The city faced bankruptcy unless Mr Orr could turn the situation around. Many cities in western countries have run-down and dilapidated buildings but the extent of the problem in Detroit has led to its knickname of "Baby Iraq".
Home to Ford and the hub of the US automotive industry, Detroit was a living example of the American Dream, offering steady, well-paying union jobs and upward mobility to US workers. But not any more. It now portrays the American nightmare. Locals report that the city has declined in the last year or two with schools and buildings closing and being vandalized.
As crime increases and locals feel less safe, many are leaving the city permanently. Time to move on, for those who can. Detroit's problems simply increase as those with incomes leave the area though.
This week Russia Today
has reported that Detroit is just days away from running out of money. On Sunday Kevyn Orr released the first report to show his findings over the past month and a half, and his assessment painted a picture of a city in far worse shape than many thought.
Orr claims that without restructuring of debt the city is finished. By the end of April the city was holding onto $64 million cash, but was obligated to the tune of roughly $226 million.
A no win situation.
Kevin Orr has limited time to change the finances of Detroit around. If he fails Detorit will go bankrupt. Will it be the only US city in the economic doldrums to face bankrupcty?
Time for American politicians to get to grips with troubles at home as a matter of priority.Sources: Sky News Russia Today
Related reading: Detroit police accused of 'kidnapping' homeless people, leaving them outside city limit
David Beckham has announced his retirement from football a week after his former Manchester United boss
announced he was retiring as the club's manager. David Beckham
may have not been England's finest football player ever, but he is perhaps the UKs most famous player. News that he is about to hang up his boots and retire from football has attracted a great deal of attention. Becks is known as much for his hairstyles down the years, his marriage to Victoria formerly Posh Spice, his skills as a Dad, his tattoos and his brand. David may be retiring from football but "brand Beckham" is set to continue.
As the Daily Mail
reports "The former Man United star shone brightly at top of the game for 20 years". As captain of the England squad he won a record 115 caps but sadly never led the team to victory in competitions such as the World Cup. He had much better success with Manchester united. Beckham told the MailOnline
'I’m fortunate to have realised my dreams,' adding: 'Now is the right time at end my career, playing at the highest level'.
Tributes have poured in as Becks remains a much loved and respected player in the UK
even though he has played abroad in recent years. He has however had his "down" moments during his long career.
An alleged spat with manager Sir Alex Ferguson left Becks with a gash on his forehead. An angry Sir Alex was accused of kicking a football boot in anger, in the dressing room, which found its mark on Becks. Sir Alex refused to apologise and Becks made sure the world and its wife knew about his injury. A headband held back his then long hair and a band-aid marked the spot.
At the time Becks, aged 27, had limped off the field with a leg injury. A substitution was made by Ferguson but the game was lost 0-2 at home to Arsenal, and Manchester United were out of the FA Cup. The incident appeared to tarnish both men's working relationship and Becks moved on to pastures new, leaving behind huge boots to fill.
Still the public loved David, didn't they? Well not all of the time. Remember World Cup '98? Becks petulantly kicked out at a player, was sent off and he was blamed for England's lack of success in yet another competition. For a time Becks was persona non grata
in the UK as the media and football fans went overboard on lambasing Beckham.
Just like all superstars, especially those who found fame at a young age Becks was prone to his tantrums and petulant outbursts in the heat of the game.
He threw himself wholeheartedly into the game after such incidents and came back out on top. He is a fighter. When he was "on the money" though Becks played like the best of the best. He flew around the field sending seemingly rocket propelled balls into the back of net. David has matured well as a person and a player. He had his 38th birthday on May 2 though and knows his time at the top of the game is gone. His playing skills will wane with age but he may still be able to use his knowledge as a coach or manager.
As Chris Moyes
moves into Sir Alex Ferguson's role as boss of Man U could Becks move into the one he is vacating at Everton? No, but then you never know. In january
David and Victoria's son Brooklyn tried out for Chelsea in January so maybe Beck's future lies with this son and the rest of his children? One certainty is that whatever role he takes on he will be successful. Becks is a winner, through and through.
Ariel Castro, 52, the man believed to have held three young girls prisoner for more than a decade in Cleveland, Ohio, intends to deny all charges even though the three girls, now women, display the signs of enforced captivity. Sexually abused and beaten the women had barely set foot outside of the house during their long incarceration. There were vague reports of neighbours contacting the police after claims of sightings of a naked girl on all fours in the garden, wearing nothing but a dog collar and lead, but no more outings.The house belonged to the man, he lived there with the girls held in different rooms so how can he even consider pleading not guilty to all charges?According to headlines on Karoo "Craig Weintraub and Jay Schlachet told a US TV station that Ariel Castro has been portrayed as a "monster" in the media, and after meeting with him they do not see him that way
. Mr Weintraub says it was unfair and offensive that "the media and the community want to demonise this man before they know the whole story. Mr Schlachet said details of Castro's innocence "will be disclosed as the case progresses."Claims that Mr Castro dearly loves the six-year-old child he fathered with victim Amanda Berry do nothing to soften the public's perceptions of this man. It is difficult to imagine what he will be able to turthfully reveal in couirt that will clear his name and lead a jury to find him innocent. That said there should be no trial by the media and justice must run its course. Here at TEK we shall keep an eye on this story and update in due course.For now, let the proper trial begin and stop the speculation. Lurid reports splashed all over the Internet are damaging to the case and the girls as they try to pick up the pieces of their young lives.Sources:KarooRelated reading
:Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro makes his first court appearanceThree American women missing for 10 years found alive in Cleveland
In Japan, during the Second World War, many women were forced to become "sex slaves" for the military. The women and girls came from China South Korea, the Philippines, Indonesia and Taiwan. It was classed as enforced prostitution and the women were called "comfort women" by some but in reality it was nothing more than rape.
Using a carefully sanitized phrase such as comfort women does nothing to show the pain and abuse these women suffered. Across the world and in Japan most people now accept that the abuse of these women was a war crime and a serious breach of human rights. Most people do but not all. On Monday
Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto said that the "comfort women" gave Japanese soldiers a chance "to rest" and were "necessary". Tuesday most Japanese ministers have tried to remove themselves from his words and not commented but ministers in the women's home countries have expressedr dismay and anger at his words.
Mr Hashimoto is not a member of a mainstream Japanese political party. He has already shown that he is a reactionery, declaring that Japan needs a dictatorship, presumably with him at the helm. He is a fairly young man though which is also worrying. It seems reactionery and offensive views are held by young people also.Opinion:Just when you think mankind is making some headway you read or hear of a story like this. The man may truly believe the women offered some help to battle weary troops but does he not understand the implications of his words. So in his eyes the women were nobodies, who meant nothing. They were insignificant and nothing more than a weapon or tool of war. The suffering they endured at the time and following does not matter as they were necssary to make the troops feel good. And what about the troops? If they were well aware of the "sex slaves" status" did they not feel any guilt? Do or did their actions haunt them for years?
Around 200,000 women in territories occupied by Japan were forced to become sex slaves for the Japanese military. You only need a full-scale war to find out the mettle of a person or a nation and it seems that Japanese soldiers soon sunk to the depths of humanity.Although the women received an apology from Japan in 1993 lately Ministers have been back pedalling on that one. Thiis means that Hasimoto's words were very badly timed. However that should not matter and if truth be known the women should have received justice through a war crimes court years ago.Source: BBCWikipedia
Menorca memoriesAnother breathtakingly hot day in Menorca left us undecided what to do. We stayed back to wave off a charming couple we had met, from Guernsey. Del Almirante is one of those hotels where friendships are easily made. With so many lovely people it would be hard not
to.By 10am, as they left the hotel it was already 28 degrees. A little Menorcan cloud had drifted in but seemed as if it would just as easily drift out. What to do when it was going to be so hot? We opted in the end for a stroll into Mahon in order to enjoy a trip on the Yellow Catamaran.
We broke our walk at the bar overlooking the steps down to the harbour. An early beer for hubby and coffee for me. Then down the impressive steps to the Catamaran ticket office.The catamaran cost 11 euros each for adults. Children's tickets cost 5 euros but small children travel free. The trip lasts one hour and the guides speak in Spanish, English and German, meaning every one on board was catered for. (prices correct at time of writing)
A small bar offers refreshments and there are also toilet facilities. We started the trip on the outer top deck which was hot and offered no shade from the searing sun. As you reach the entrance to the estuary the Catamaran turns so that you can view below the waves from the glass sides below deck. It is called a glass bottom boat but in reality it is not.
It was fun to watch the sea bed with shoals of fish swimming by and tiny jellyfish blowing past. Then it was back to the harbour. The journey is accompanied by a commentary about the relevant sights you pass.The trip was well worth the cost.
Back in the harbour the steps were not so appealing walking back up. It was time for Tapas and Salad for lunch before the mooch back to base. An afternoon by the pool with a good book and a beer seemed to fit the bill. We decided that tomorrow an earlier start would be needed so that we were not walking during the hottest part of the day.
Our two week stay in Menorca last year was taken the last two weeks of October. Perfect for hubby's 60th birthday celebration but not ideal for good weather. We had a great holiday and a mixed bag of weather.
The Island of Menorca closes its doors to tourists at the end of October and there are no direct flights to the UK for six months. Those who work in the tourist trade on Menorca have to make enough money in six months to last the year. These days many do not. The weak Euro and poor financial climate in the UK has deterred some visitors.
Last year one memorable day was spent at Fornells on the northern side of Menorca. It was memorable especially for its high winds, stormy seas and cold weather. Would we fare better this year?
Menroca's tourist timetable of bus services changes on September 15. This means that after September 15 until the next year's season the buses are less frequent. Although we were a month earlier the buses were still less frequent. Some places such as Es Grau have no bus links at all in Winter. Fornells is still accessible but with limited times available. this year our visit to Fornells was brief.
Why? Yes, it was just too hot!
There was still some wind but the sea was calm and flat. The bright blue sky had cloud streams etched across it. The blue and turquoise waters looked inviting. Near the mouth of the estuary, looking out to the Med, a row or starched lookng white boats bobbed gently along helped by the wind.
We walked up to the shrine and old tower. By this time we were out of puff, hot and sticky. It was worth the walk though. We took the short cut back down via the rough path.
Fornells pristine white houses looked bright in the dazzling sunshine.In spite of its tourists Fornells remained quiet and peaceful. It is perfect for a little shopping, walking, lunch by the water or a long cold drink.
The journey back to Mahon takes in pretty scenery and coastal views but one minute I was awake and the next minute I awoke in Mahon.Guess I will just have to visit again.
Information: Car hire is easy in Menorca.
The main bus station in Mahon has timetables available. Prices vary. Two to Fornells was 5.80 euros, for each way.
At the opposite end of the Island is Cuitadella the old capital. Some services operate out of here to other parts of the island.
Arriving on the Balearic Island of Menorca on there were few surprises. We had enjoyed a two week vacation on this small and charming Spanish Island in October 2010 and have returned back more than once. Once back the interval melts away into nothing.
Our flight out of Doncaster airport was plain sailing, or should that be flying? A fairly event free flight with just the odd bumps of turbulence meant we arrived on time. We had chosen for once not to pay the extra for the in-flight meal.Such a brief flight meant that this was not a problem except for one thing. The lack of hydration. If you do the same remember to have some fluids available.
We touched down around 12.30pm and it was a sunny day, with a temperature of 27 degrees C. An interrupted baggage carousel left most passengers, including Hubby and I, melting as we waited impatiently for our luggage to appear. Some had been claimed hastily by other passengers and then the carousel ground to a halt. We all stood like sweating marathon runners for 20 minutes or so. Finally the dance of the luggage resumed.
As they say S**t Happens.
Once our luggage arrived we were soon off in a mini van to travel the short distance to our accommodation. The tiny female driver had hurled our heaviest luggage into the back as if it was full of feathers. Alighting we saw that this case had a small split and clothes were pushing out. Had her throw caused the problem? Had our luggage encountered a problem on the carousel and caused the stoppage? Who knows? As they say s**t happens and a new piece of luggage was at the top of our vacation shopping list.
By now the temperature was a hot 34 and we needed to climatise and take on board hydration. An afternoon at nearby Cala Fonts fitted that bill perfectly. Picturesque views, jazz music and ice cold drinks sipped slowly as we sprawled outside a harbour café.
But as I have already said poop happens and the first few days were not to be totally hassle free.
Sunday it was Mother's Day in the USA. Britain pays homage to its Mothers in March but the date varies around the world. Wherever, and whenever, Mother's Day celebrations take place it is a time for smiles and laughter but sadly in New Orleans, Sunday, it was a time for shooting.
19 people sustained injuries during a shooting incident at a Mother's Day parade in North Villere Street in the 7th Ward neighborhood of New Orleans at around 1:45 p.m. The injured includes two children but non of the injuries are life-threatening. According to the BBC "10 men, seven women, a 10-year-old boy and a 10-year-old girl were wounded by gunfire".
Three people were observed running away from the incident and one is described as a man between the ages of 18 and 22. Police are currently working on the assumption that three men were involved using at least two different types of weapon.
The shooters struck the second line parade, which often follows a brass band in the city of New Orleans. The parade was two blocks long and involved between 200 and 400 people The normal police presence in attendance. Officers said New Orleans is a city renowned for its many parades, and they occur frequently.
The incident reportedly only lasted a matter of seconds but that does not diminsh its severity. The number of casulaties could have been much worse of course. NBC
Mayor Mitch Landrieu said the shooting was part of "the relentless drum beat of violence" on the streets of New Orleans.
"It’s a shame and its got to stop," he told The Times-Picayune from outside New Orleans' Interim LSU Public Hospital. "You see it cascading across the country but we have more of it than anyone else."
The incident has been categorised as street violence and not terror. Does that make the situation any better?
America is struggling with its conscience as far as gun ownership goes. The powerful and money-making NRA, national rifle association, want to maintain the status quo or increase the amount of guns in the hands of citizens.
President Obama and his team continue to attempt to reduce the number of guns in circulation but they are prevented at every opportunity by the opposition, the Republicans and the gun lobby. The GOP and NRA stance is hidden beneath rhetoric about the American constitution when in reality it is all about money.
Did the current gun laws help those participtaing in the Mother's Day parade? Did they help the victims of the Boston bombers?
Those who support gun ownership will use these incidents to advocate more guns, which would inevitably turn the USA back centuries to the days of the wild-west with gun toting citizens and rough justice meted out on the streets. It would, in my opinion, be a slippery slope into chaos.
Sources: BBC NBC
In the past we have written about a few acts of sexual depravity by man against animal. These included shocking animal brothels in Germany
. This latest report is equally shocking and is difficult to believe, let alone understand. It concerns David Beckman, 63, of the Chicago suburb, Roselle, and the sexual abuse of a peacock.
Authorities in Illinois are investigating the abuse following their discovery of the dead bird in the man's garage. Police learned of the abuse of Phyl, the peacock ,when they were investigating "an alleged case of indecent solicitation of a child" reports the Huffington Post
. He is accused of various drug related offences, the offence against a child and animal cruelty.Details of the animal abuse have not been revealed at this time. They form part of the child case against Beckman and no doubt will be revealed in due course.
Sadly the man's alleged crimes against the peacock are only classed as a misdemeanor. Once again mankind puts little worth on the life of an animal.Phyl was Beckman's pet. How often it suffered is not known. Peacock's are beautiful birds which should be treasured, but so are all creatures. Peacock's however are feisty and will usually resist human contact. Was the poor bird tethered as it was abused? What sick sort of individual behaves in such a way? If a person does behave in such a way against a creature are they safe in society as a whole?Source
s:NBC NewsHuffington Post
Work in progress
The Island of Menorca has an interesting past and many places worth a visit. Some are not easily accessible. One such place in Isla Del Rei, once called Bloody Island, situated in the estuary which leads into Mahon, the Island's capital.We did not realise that access was available at all but it is. Each Sunday morning a boat takes visitors the brief journey
across the water from Es Castell to the Bloody Island. For us it was a short walk into Es Castell which as usual was lengthened when we lost our way. Doubling back we thought we might miss the boat but as we discovered today was to be a bumper day for visitor's to Bloody Island.
The boat across is a large motorised dinghy. Passengers have to stand or sit on the edge of the boat. The journey lasts less than 5 minutes. The first boat leaves around 8.45 am. Once on the island there are guides for each nationality to follow. As it was a busy Sunday when we visited the din from the many different speaking groups was overpowering at times.There is a lot to see and we plan to return and walk around the island ourselves. However the guided tour is best for a first time visit.
The British occupied Menorca more than once and even at one time claimed it for themselves. With its strategic position it was useful to say the least. When they gave up Menorca for the last time it was as a done deal for Gibraltar.
The island buildings were in very bad disrepair until a few years ago. Then a concerted effort was made to restore the old hospital buildings and grounds. Although there is still a lot of work to do the photos on the island show how much has been achieved in a short space of time.
The island has received a small amount of government funding but most of the work has been by way of volunteers and donations. The visit included "breakfast" and there is a souvenir shop. There is no set fee for the visit but donations are welcomed.
If you visit give generously as it would be a good value for money visit.
The staff on the boat and island are all volunteers. Our guide told us that skilled people who are unemployed are also utilised, Read more of the island's history here