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Welcome to the Overnight News Digest (OND) for Tuesday, September 10, 2013.

OND is a regular community feature on Daily Kos, consisting of news stories from around the world, sometimes coupled with a daily theme, original research or commentary.  Editors of OND impart their own presentation styles and content choices, typically publishing near 12:00AM Eastern Time.

Creation and early water-bearing of the OND concept came from our very own Magnifico - proper respect is due.

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This diary is named for its "Hump Point" video: Short Skirt, Long Jacket by Cake

News below Aunt Flossie's hairdo . . .

Please feel free to browse and add your own links, content or thoughts in the Comments section.

Any timestamps shown are relative to each publication.

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Top News
3 states stand alone in defying Pentagon order on same-sex benefits

By Curtis Tate
. . .

Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi are the only states to decline to process applications for such benefits at state-run National Guard facilities, citing state laws and constitutional amendments that ban gay marriage.

. . .

More than a dozen states with similar laws have elected to follow the Pentagon’s policy, including North Carolina, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Missouri, Idaho and Alaska. “It is not in conflict with our state constitution or state laws,” said Lt. Bernie Kale, a spokesman for the Alaska National Guard.

. . .

The Pentagon and the Internal Revenue Service have adopted the “place of celebration” standard for determining eligibility for spousal benefits. As long as a couple was legally married in any state, country or jurisdiction where gay marriage is legal, the marriage is valid for benefits purposes, no matter where the couple lives.

. . .

Joshua Block, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union who works on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues, said that as more socially conservative states adopted the Pentagon policy, it would pressure others.“It just goes to show how uncontroversial this should be,” Block said. “Maybe these states will reconsider.”

Dust Bowl Worries Swirl Up As Shelterbelt Buckles

By Joe Wertz
In the 1930s, the Dust Bowl ravaged crops and helped plunge the U.S. into an environmental and economic depression. Farmland in parts of Texas, Kansas, Nebraska and the Dakotas disappeared.

After the howling winds passed and the dust settled, federal foresters planted 100 million trees across the Great Plains, forming a giant windbreak — known as a shelterbelt — that stretched from Texas to Canada.

. . .

Now, drought threatens to sully the experiment's track record. As Oklahoma weathers a third year of drought, many of the trees that helped save the state decades ago are dying. Husks of trunks line the side of the highway.

. . .

Tom Lucas of the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service says government budgets are as tight as farm budgets, so a modern version of the New Deal-era program is unlikely. The national focus has shifted, but Lucas says the attitudes of Great Plains farmers have changed, too.

"They look at that and say, 'There's several acres out here because of the windbreak, and I need to put those into production,' so they may do away with the windbreak to try to get more return out of the land," he said.

Delhi rape: how India's other half lives

By Jason Burke
It was a Sunday evening routine: heavy drinking, some rough, rustic food, and then out in the bus, cruising Delhi's streets looking for "fun". . .

However, this Sunday evening was to end not with a "party", as one of the men later called their habitual outings, but with the gang-rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman. The incident was to prompt a global outcry and weeks of protests in India, and to reveal problems often ignored by those overseas who are perhaps too eager to embrace a heartwarming but simplistic narrative of growing prosperity in the world's biggest democracy.

If sympathy lay, naturally, with the 23-year-old physiotherapist who was the victim of the attack, fascination focused on her assailants. These were not serial sex criminals, psychopaths or brutalised men from the margins of society. Their backgrounds were, perhaps more worryingly, like those of tens of millions of Indian men.

. . .

One of the most striking elements of the Delhi gang-rape case is the similarity in the backgrounds of the victim and of her killers. The family of "J" – it is illegal under Indian law to name a rape victim – were, like those of her assailants, from close to the bottom of India's still tenacious caste hierarchy. Her father, Badri Nath, like the Singh brothers' father, had left his remote ancestral village for the capital in search of a better life. In 1982, a bus took him from his village on the banks of the Ganges in the middle of India's northern plains to a station where he bought a ticket for an overnight train to a city he had never seen. "I didn't want to leave," he said simply.

. . .

The trial has now ended. Ram Singh, the ringleader in the attack, hanged himself in his cell in Tihar prison in mid-March. J's family angrily cried that they had been denied justice. "It is wrong that he should be able to choose the timing of his death," said her brother. The other four adults who have been convicted are likely to be hanged after all appeals are exhausted. No one is quite clear what will happen to Raju, the juvenile, though he may have to be released after three years' time in a juvenile reform home.

Badri Nath, his wife and two sons have now moved to a new flat with running water, electricity and two bedrooms, a gift from the Delhi authorities. The family has also received "compensation payments", in the cold language of the bureaucrats, worth £40,000: more than Badri Nath could have ever hoped to have earned, let alone saved, in his working life. His sons are getting coveted government jobs. In a recent interview with the Guardian, he repeated one phrase: "I console myself by saying she was a good soul, set free in death."

International
Kenya water discovery brings hope for drought relief in rural north

By Martin Plaut
Two vast underground aquifers, storing billions of litres of water, have been discovered in the poorest and least developed area of Kenya.

. . .

The UN scientific and cultural organisation, Unesco, backed a France-based company, Radar Technologies, founded by Alain Gachet, which began the search for the water in November. Gachet, who cut his teeth as an exploration geologist in the oil industry, developed the Watex technology to interpret radar and oil exploration data in order to explore for water.

. . .

But getting the water to the scattered people of Turkana will be no easy matter. This is among the most remote and lawless regions of Kenya. There are sporadic raids from neighbouring Uganda, Sudan and Ethiopia. Drought and disputes over livestock have plagued the area for generations. The Turkana, Samburu and Pokot people have traditionally engaged in cattle raids, but in recent years these have increased in intensity, leaving many dead.

Oxfam gave a cautious welcome to the finds. McSorley believes the real test will be whether the infrastructure will be installed to allow the water to reach local people. He has been working at the giant Dadaab refugee camp in north-eastern Kenya for years. This lies close to another giant aquifer, but getting access to the water is not easy.

In China, too many retweets could land you in prison

By Benjamin Carlson
. . .

On Monday, China's top court issued new guidelines stating that anyone who posts "false information that is defamatory or harms the national interest" could go to prison for up to three years if their post is viewed 5,000 times or retweeted 500 times. Repeat offenders can also be deprived of their political rights, according to the Supreme People's Court.

. . .

The new penalties, which went into effect Tuesday, are the latest sign of the severity of Beijing's effort to take control of China's freewheeling social media, which has exposed corrupt officials and eroded the public's trust in the Party.

. . .

And the new system potentially is open to new kinds of abuse. Beijing commentator Bill Bishop noted in his Sinocism newsletter that "given how easy it is to manipulate social media activity, people will need to be very careful about what they post, as anyone with a grudge or an agenda could quickly and cheaply push a target's message over those thresholds."

Garment makers to discuss Bangladesh compensation

By (BBC)
Some of the world's major garment makers are to meet to discuss compensation for workers injured and killed in accidents in Bangladesh.

They are to work out details of damages for those affected by accidents including the collapse in April of the Rana Plaza building.

More than 1,200 people died and 2,500 were injured in the disaster.

. . .

Bangladesh's garments export industry is the second biggest in the world after China's.

USA Politics, Economy, Major Events
NSA violations led judge to consider viability of surveillance program

By Spencer Ackerman
. . .

Judge Reggie Walton, now the presiding judge on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (Fisa) court, imposed a significant and previously undisclosed restriction on the NSA's ability to access its bulk databases of phone records after finding that the agency repeatedly violated privacy protections.

. . .

In 2009, Walton wrote that since the NSA had accessed phone records metadata in an unauthorised manner "on a daily basis". The judge said that Alexander's explanation of the NSA's "non-compliance with the court's orders," which centered around an apparent misunderstanding by the NSA of what data was governed by privacy protections, "strains credulity".

. . .

In a statement, two leading Senate critics of the NSA's bulk phone records collection said the Fisa court's 2009 restriction of the agency's ability to access the databases showed the bulk collection ought to be ended.

. . .

"We have said before that we have seen no evidence that the bulk collection of Americans' phone records has provided any intelligence that couldn't be gathered through less intrusive means and that bulk collection should be ended. These documents provide further evidence that bulk collection is not only a significant threat to the constitutional liberties of Americans, but that it is a needless one."

De Blasio First in Mayoral Primary; Unclear if He Avoids a Runoff

By DAVID M. HALBFINGER and DAVID W. CHEN
Bill de Blasio, whose campaign for mayor of New York tapped into a city’s deepening unease with income inequality and aggressive police practices, captured far more votes than any of his rivals in the Democratic primary on Tuesday, according to exit poll results.

. . .

 Mr. de Blasio’s vow to make a clean break from the values and policies of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg struck a chord with Democratic voters worried about jobs and schools. Though most still approved of the mayor, roughly three in four wanted his successor to move the city in a different direction after 12 years, the exit poll found.

. . .

 Mr. de Blasio, a white Brooklynite who frequently showcased his biracial family, built a broad coalition of support among nearly every category of Democratic primary voters on Tuesday, according to the exit poll by Edison Research. Men and women, blacks, whites and Hispanics, and residents of all boroughs except the Bronx favored Mr. de Blasio.

Guantánamo judge makes secret ruling on secret motion in secret hearing

By Carol Rosenberg
During a secret hearing at Guantánamo, the military judge in the 9/11 death-penalty case ruled against a secret government request to withhold information from defense lawyers for accused Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed and his four alleged co-conspirators, according to a partially redacted transcript released Tuesday.

 The hearing, held Aug. 19 at the U.S. Navy base in Cuba, was the first closed pre-trial hearing of the Sept. 11 capital case. The subject matter was so secret that the judge cleared the court of the public and the five men who, if convicted, could be executed for conspiring in the worst attack on U.S. soil, including 2,976 counts of murder.

. . .

Retired Air Force Col. Morris Davis, who was chief prosecutor when the 9/11 accused were brought to Guantánamo in 2006, questioned what needed to be kept secret in the case a decade after Mohammed’s capture. Declassified CIA documents have already disclosed that agents waterboarded him 183 times.

. . .

In this case, because of the national security court being run by the Obama administration, some discovery will be shown to the accused Sept. 11 plotters’ attorneys, who have security clearances, but not the men being put on trial.

Congress honors girls who died in ’63 Birmingham church bombing

By Sarah Sexton
Congress on Tuesday presented the nation’s highest civilian award to a representative of four girls who were killed during one of the pivotal moments of the civil rights movement, the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala.

 Denise McNair, Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson and Cynthia Wesley died in the explosion of a bomb that members of the Ku Klux Klan had planted in the church fewer than 20 days after the March on Washington and as public schools in the region worked toward integration. McNair was 11 years old, the others 14.

. . .

 Carole Robertson’s niece, Carole Copeland, sat in the second row. Copeland’s mother was pregnant when her sister was killed.

 “My mom named me for her, for Carole, and being here today is very emotional,” Copeland said. “It’s a beautiful memorial, and I’m so happy for my mom and for the other families. To see this acknowledgement and the memorial for my aunt and the other girls, it’s a wonderful thing.”

Dow Jones index drops Bank of America, Alcoa and HP in shakeup

By Kaitlin Funaro
. . .

The 30-member stock index is to drop Bank of America, Alcoa and Hewlett-Packard in its biggest shakeup in a decade.

. . .

The Dow Jones is considered the "Main Street" view of how well the stock market is performing, but is less significant than the broader Standard & Poor's 500, which institutions use as a benchmark.

It's price weighted, which means the higher a company's stock price the more influential it is on the index.

Welcome to the "Hump Point" of this OND.

News can be sobering and engrossing - at this point in the diary, an offering of brief escapism:

Random notes related to this video:
. . .

CNN: Your first single from "Comfort Eagle" is "Short Skirt/Long Jacket." The somewhat unconventional video is getting a good bit of play on MTV. What can you tell us about it?

John McCrea: We wanted to make a video that didn't just consist of five white guys lip-syncing in an urban-decay setting. So we thought we would turn the camera around and look at actual people listening to our song - - which is what we did. ... A lot of people are just more entertaining than actual celebrities, and I'm starting to feel that way more and more.

CNN: Talk some more about "Short Skirt/Long Jacket." Is it about girls? Good times-bad times?

McCrea: It's really just about prosperity and depression and what happens to the human mating ritual when you have population booms and then things start to lag in every way. So I was not really writing about a woman in short skirt/long jacket as much I was writing about humans and how strange our behavior is.

Vincent di Fiore: It doesn't really seem anyone ever gets what they really want, and life ends up being not about what you end up obtaining, but about the yearning and longing. I think it's a snapshot of that moment of feeling which ends up being your whole life anyway.

CNN: Let's talk about the consistency of the cover art on your albums.

McCrea: Our cover art is very dependable. It's sort of like the cover on the outside of a can of dog food or shampoo or ...

Di Fiore: Fast-food soft drinks.

McCrea: That's right. What we're saying with our cover art is that music is just another product and we are really just purveyors of that product. We are music workers and we have jobs similar to everyone's jobs. There's nothing really so special about it. It's just saying: we make -- music.

Back to what's happening:
Environment and Greening
Desperate U.K. Turns to Shale Gas

By Peter Fairley
Proposed U.K. government policies to encourage hydrofracking of natural gas ignited a firestorm of protest this summer, with critics complaining that they were not consulted and that rules will restrict local planners’ authority. But the country appears to have few other options. The United Kingdom is in an energy quagmire that is forcing it to turn to shale gas.

The country’s aggressive carbon emissions goals call for the U.K.’s power supply to be virtually carbon-free by 2030. But the government had been planning to slash emissions with low-carbon power strategies—new nuclear reactors and carbon capture and storage systems on existing power plants—that remain too expensive to build. And conventional natural gas from the North Sea that could buy time for the scale-up of renewable power is dwindling.

. . .

If the U.K. can’t find an affordable supply of natural gas via hydrofracking of its shale deposits, it might have to restart mothballed coal-fired power plants to keep the lights on in future decades. “One way or another, we’ll muddle through,” says George Day, economic strategy manager at the Loughborough-based Energy Technologies Institute, a partnership between industrial firms and the U.K. government. “Whether we’ll hit our carbon targets is another question,” says Day.

One weird trick to fix farms forever

By Tom Philpott
. . .

Brandt farms 1,200 acres in the central Ohio village of Carroll, pop. 524. This is the domain of industrial-scale agriculture – a vast expanse of corn and soybean fields broken up only by the sprawl creeping in from Columbus. Brandt, 66, raised his kids on this farm after taking it over from his grandfather. Yet he sounds not so much like a subject of King Corn as, say, one of the organics geeks I work with on my own farm in North Carolina. In his g-droppin’ Midwestern monotone, he’s telling me about his cover crops – fall plantings that blanket the ground in winter and are allowed to rot in place come spring, a practice as eyebrow-raising in corn country as holding a naked yoga class in the pasture. The plot I can see looks just about identical to the carpet of corn that stretches from eastern Ohio to western Nebraska. But last winter it would have looked very different: While the neighbors’ fields lay fallow, Brandt’s teemed with a mix of as many as 14 different plant species.

“Our cover crops work together like a community – you have several people helping instead of one, and if one slows down, the others kind of pick it up,” he says. “We’re trying to mimic Mother Nature.” Cover crops have helped Brandt slash his use of synthetic fertilizers and herbicides. Half of his corn and soy crop is flourishing without any of either; the other half has gotten much lower applications of those pricey additives than what crop consultants around here recommend.

. . .

Those are big promises, but standing in the shade of Brandt’s barn this June morning, I hear a commotion in the nearby warehouse where he stores his cover-crop seeds. Turns out that I’m not the only one visiting Brandt’s farm. The Natural Resources Conservation Service – a branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture that grew from Dust Bowl-era efforts to preserve soil – is holding a training for its agents on how to talk to farmers about cover crops and their relationship to soil.

. . .

For the agency, whose mission is building soil health, Brandt has emerged as a kind of rock star. He’s a “step ahead of the game,” says Mark Scarpitti, the NRCS state agronomist for Ohio, who helped organize the training. “He’s a combination researcher, cheerleader, and promoter. He’s a good old boy, and producers relate to him.” Later, I find that the agency’s website has recently dubbed Brandt the “Obi-Wan Kenobi of soil.“

Science and Health
Innovative 'Pay for Performance' Program Improves Patient Outcomes

By (ScienceDaily)
Paying doctors for how they perform specific medical procedures and examinations yields better health outcomes than the traditional "fee for service" model, in which everyone gets paid a set amount, according to new research conducted by UC San Francisco and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

. . .

The innovative "pay for performance" model they tested rewarded physicians for every single patient who did well, and paid extra for "high-risk" patients who were difficult to treat based on co-morbidities such as diabetes or coronary artery disease or socioeconomic factors (uninsured and Medicaid patients).

. . .

"The numbers are meaningful because the rates of blood pressure control were so low to begin with, for instance, only 10 to 16 percent of patients with diabetes had normal blood pressure control, so an improvement of even 5 percent of patients is relatively quite large," Bardach said. This is a high-risk population for heart attack and stroke and so getting their blood pressure under control will make a difference."

Study suggests men with smaller testicles make better fathers

By (UPI)
U.S. researchers say there may be a link between the size of a father's testicles and how active he is in a parenting role bringing up his children.

. . .

However, he cautioned, the findings may not be as straightforward as suggesting men with smaller testicles are destined to become better fathers, noting that economic, social and cultural factors could also influence a father's level of caregiving.

"We're assuming that testes size drives how involved the fathers are, but it could also be that when men become more involved as caregivers, their testes shrink," Rilling said. "Environmental influences can change biology."

New HIV Cases Spotlight Adult Film Industry's Testing System

By Mandalit del Barco
Adult film production in California is now suspended after a number of performers tested positive for HIV. Four cases have been reported in the past few months, including one on Monday.

If ever there was an "I told you so moment" for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, it's now. The organization has been campaigning for condoms to be mandatory during porn shoots. Last year, it sponsored a measure in Los Angeles County to that effect, which voters approved.

. . .

The system Weinstein is referring to is run by the porn industry itself. Performers are tracked and regularly tested for sexually transmitted diseases "every 28 days at the very minimum, but most folks test every 14 days," says Diane Duke, head of the Free Speech Coalition, which advocates for the adult film industry.

Duke confirms the first new case happened in July, after which filming shut down for six days while performers were retested. She called for a new moratorium on Friday when the third person said they contracted HIV. Duke says this proves the system works.

There’s arsenic in your rice, but don’t worry about it, says FDA

By John Upton
. . .

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration tested 1,300 samples of rice and rice-based products and found that they all contained very low levels of arsenic.

. . .

In the short term, the FDA says . . . “These amounts of detectable arsenic are not high enough to cause any immediate or short-term adverse health effects,” the agency wrote on its website. In the long run? Nobody’s really sure. “The FDA intends to conduct a risk assessment considering how much arsenic is consumed from rice and rice products, and whether there are variations in health effects for certain segments of the population.”

. . .

The rice industry said Friday that it is working with the FDA and is encouraged by the results of the study. The industry has been conducting several of its own studies to try to figure out how to reduce arsenic levels, including investigating different ways to manage the water in which rice is grown and looking at processing and rinsing methods to see if there are ways to reduce arsenic levels.
Technology
Major Computing Entities as Public Goods

By Greg Laden
. . .

So, what is the difference between roads and mail service on one hand and Twitter and Google on the other? The former are public goods, funded publicly and regulated by the government. Similar projects exist in most countries around the world and they integrate across national boundaries. The latter are projects of private companies that have every right to change their services, restrict use, or even shut down entirely.

Amazon is similar. Over time, Amazon has become one of the major, if not the major, supplier of two things one does not usually associate with a book store: Servers and cash registers. If you use a service that requires computer servers and/or storage of data, such as Netflix, you may well be using Amazon indirectly because they provide servers for a gazillion clients. When a bunch of Amazon servers go down, the Internet can choke majorly, though fortunately this happens rarely. Similarly, when you make an on line purchase at any on line company other than Amazon, there is a reasonable chance that you are using Amazon indirectly, as they provide the on line purchasing system to a lot of other vendors. And, now and then, you might even buy a book from Amazon.

. . .

Twitter, Amazon, Google, and similar things are like the railroad, mining, and lumber companies of yore, run by a small number of highly influential individuals who happen to be in charge by a combination of luck and whatever else makes you one of those people. The thing is, these corporations effectively serve as public goods, just like our roads, our power grid, our water and sewage systems, our public mail service, our fire departments, etc. but they are not public entities.

Young man with autism turns to photography for communication

By (dpreview.com)
For some of us, photography is a hobby. For others, it's a way to make a living. For Forrest Sargent, a 22-year-old with autism who is unable to speak, it's a veritable lifeline. His communication is limited to spelling out words using a letter board, a method which allowed him a much-needed way to express himself.

Beyond that, he communicates with a gift from his parents bought for his 19th birthday: a camera. His photos capture family and landscapes, and perhaps most importantly, open up another avenue of expression to him. In his own words, photography gives him 'a way to show my feelings and my real mind'.

. . .

Some of Forrest Sargent's images might look like little more than snapshots, but his work is a welcome reminder that for some people, photography is about a lot more than learning techniques and collecting expensive gear.

America's First Supersonic Interceptor Was a Flying Bottle Rocket

By Andrew Tarantola
. . .

Developed in 1948 by the USAF in direct response to the the Tu-4 threat, the Starfire is the direct descendent of America's very first jet fighter, the F-80 Shooting Star (though some inspiration also came from the later T-33A Shooting Star). In fact, the Starfire's design is based on the two-seat trainer iteration of the F-80, and early F-94's shared three-quarters of the same parts, which made converting them a simple matter and drastically reduced production costs.

The first prototype of the F-94, dubbed the YF-94A, replaced the existing F-80's engine with an 5,400 lbf (6,000 lbf with afterburning) Allison J33-A-33 jet engine. The subsequent two F-94 iterations, A and B, both utilized this engine, making the F-94 the first full-production US aircraft to feature afterburners. In addition, the early F-94s were equipped with a pair of .50 cal, fuselage-mounted Browning machine guns, and could swap their 165 gallon wingtip fuel tanks for 1,000-pound bombs, turning them into supersonic bombers, though this didn't happen often and only 109 such bombers were ever produced. The F-94A entered service in 1951, in all 356 F-94A/B's were produced.

. . .

Despite all of the F-94's revolutionary technologies, it fell victim to a quickening Cold War arms race. By the mid-1950s, guided air-to-air missiles were clearly the future of aerial combat, capable of locking onto and chasing down enemy craft while the F-94's rockets only flew in a straight line. Luckily, we never had to find out if these could indeed take out a wing of nuke-toting Superfortress ripoffs.

Cultural
What Do Liberals and Conservatives Look for in a Date?

By (ScienceDaily)
Liberals and conservatives are looking for the same thing when they join online dating websites, according to new research co-authored by University of Miami political scientist Casey Klofstad. The study, published in Political Behavior, shows that both liberals and conservatives are looking for a partner who is like themselves.

. . .

Conservative daters are more likely to be males and are less likely to belong to a racial or ethnic minority group. Liberals are younger, less likely to have been married, and less likely to have children. While liberal daters are better-educated than conservatives, this does not translate into any detectable income disparities between the two groups.

By and large, liberals and conservatives do not differ in their tendencies to seek out a partner that shares their characteristics. There are some notable exceptions, however. Overall, conservatives appear to be somewhat less accepting of dissimilarity. For example, conservatives are more likely than liberals to desire a date who shares their current relationship status, and conservative males are more likely than liberal males to want to date a female of their own race.

Getting my mugger to explain why

By Tom Symonds
. . .

One dark night in March 2012, I was walking home after a long day at work when a stocky young man with a hood, mask, and knife came from behind me and demanded my phone and wallet.

. . .

Eighteen months later, we are to meet again. Working my way through the patdown and dog search necessary to go behind bars, I ponder my role as The Victim.

. . .

Tony Walker, from Restorative Solutions, is facilitating the meeting on behalf of Why me?, a charity promoting restorative justice. He tells me of one elderly victim of crime who is too terrified to open her door, even to him. But meeting her offender made a difference.

. . .

He promises to restart voluntary work postponed by his prison sentence. He promises his parents he'll do the right thing.

But in the end, it's three middle-aged people trying to change the path of a young man in his early 20s. I can't help thinking that we have no real idea what's in his mind.

Delhi rape: how India's other half lives

By Jason Burke
China has always had matchmakers but none quite like Gong Haiyan, who set up the country's largest online dating website as a graduate student, 10 years ago. It now has nearly 100 million users.

. . .

Over 27? Unmarried? Female? In China, you could be labelled a "leftover woman" by the state.

. . .

Gong was bluntly informed that she was "not particularly beautiful or charming" and that "successful men couldn't possibly be interested" in her.

. . .

Ten years on Jiayuan.com, which means beautiful destiny, has nearly 100 million users and offices in several Chinese cities.

. . .

But arguably Gong's most important victory was when she found her husband-to-be on the website.

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