- Signs of the Times Archive for Wed, 12 Dec 2007 -

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U.S. News
Truly Pathological! Suspect in wife's disappearance seeks $$$

Associated Press
2007-12-12 10:38:00

BOLINGBROOK, Illinois - A former police officer suspected in his wife's disappearance has set up a Web site to ask for financial help with his legal defense.

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News flash: Donald Trump sells Brooklyn Bridge, and other media lies

David Sarno
Los Angeles Times
2007-12-12 05:35:00

It was right after he left that $10,000 tip at Santa Monica's Buffalo Club that was reported so widely in the blogosphere.

Did you hear that Donald Trump recently left some Santa Monica waiter a $10,000 tip?!

Oh, yeah? Where did you hear it from?

Because if it was anywhere in the giant asteroid belt that is the celebrity blogosphere, or even at FoxNews.com, Defamer, E! Online or the Huffington Post, you might want to check your sources.

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Update: 6 shot after leaving Las Vegas school bus

Ryan Nakashima and Kathlenn Hennessey
Associated Press
2007-12-11 22:58:00

Six young people were shot Tuesday after they got off a school bus that left a high school, following a fight over a girlfriend earlier in the day that resulted in three arrests by school police, authorities said. An 18-year-old remained in critical condition with gunshots to the torso.

"It appears at this time that the motive for the shooting was a fight at Mojave High School earlier today," said Sheriff Doug Gillespie.

Gillespie said later the fight appeared to be over a girlfriend and did not appear to be gang- or race-related.

Two individuals are suspected in the shooting in northeast Las Vegas, which occurred just before 2 p.m. The suspects remained at large, Gillespie said.

"I think the number one question on many minds tonight is, 'Is it safe to send my kids to school tomorrow?'" Gillespie said. "The answer is yes. I am a father, I have a daughter and she will be attending school tomorrow."

The three people arrested after the fight were about 16 years old, said school district police Lt. Ken Young.

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Six school children shot in Las Vegas

2007-12-11 19:45:00

Las Vegas police say several junior high or high school students were shot today after getting off their school bus.

Six people have been taken to area hospitals. Four have minor gunshot injuries and two are in critical condition.

Authorities say there are at least two suspects. Police are not saying whether the shooting suspects were on foot or in a vehicle. Police are investigating whether gangs may be involved.

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UK & Euro-Asian News
Italian truckers defy back-to-work order

Associated Press
2007-12-12 13:32:00

Italian truck drivers defied a government order and continued to strike Wednesday, blocking highways and borders in a protest that idled factories, left gasoline pumps dry and grocery shelves bare.

©Alberto Berti / Reuters
An aerial view of trucks blocking a highway toll booth during a transport strike on the outskirts of Rome on Wednesday.

The Transport Ministry had ordered the drivers back to work by midnight Tuesday - but the truckers, on the third of a five-day walkout protesting high gasoline prices, long working hours and foreign competition, showed no sign of heeding it.

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Fire kills at least 19 in China apartment block

2007-12-12 03:12:00

BEIJING - A fire in a ground-floor flower shop in east China spread into a block of apartments above on Wednesday killing at least 19 people, media said.

"Hundreds of residents" were trapped when the fire broke out in the 28-storey building in Wenzhou in the coastal province of Zhejiang, the China News Service said on its Web site.

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Around the World
Nigerian ex-oil governor arrested for corruption and money-laundering

Alex Last
2007-12-12 16:41:00

Nigeria's anti-corruption agency has arrested former Delta State Governor James Ibori, over allegations of corruption and money-laundering.

The head of the agency, Nuhu Ribadu, said Mr Ibori would be charged in the federal high court on Thursday.

Mr Ibori is also under investigation by the Metropolitan police in the UK.

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Canadian RCMP should restrict taser use immediately

Brodie Fenlon
Globe and Mail
2007-12-12 13:39:00

The RCMP should immediately restrict the use of tasers to only the most serious encounters with people who are combative or pose a risk of "death or grievous bodily harm," the head of the force's public complaints commission says.

©The Canadian Press
RCMP public complaints commission chairman Paul Kennedy made 10 recommendations Wednesday in the wake of the death of a man at Vancouver's airport this fall after he was tasered by officers.

The recommendation is among 10 made by commission chairman Paul Kennedy in an interim report released Wednesday.

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Update! Australia rape prosecutor suspended

Al Jazeera
2007-12-12 06:14:00

The Australian prosecutor involved in the controversial trial of nine males found guilty of gang raping an Aboriginal girl has been suspended from duty amid widespread anger over the fact they were not jailed.

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Very convenient "al-Qaeda" bombs in Algeria

Hassane Meftahi, AP
New York Post
2007-12-12 05:23:00

ALGIERS, Algeria - Truck bombs exploded minutes apart yesterday in central Algiers, heavily damaging UN offices and partly ripping the facade off a government building.

At least 26 people were killed, including UN workers, and dozens were wounded, officials said.

©New York Post

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Peru's Fujimori sentenced to six years for abuse of power

Agence France-Presse
2007-12-12 03:04:00

LIMA - A Peruvian court Tuesday sentenced former president Alberto Fujimori to six years in prison for abusing his powers by ordering an illegal search in the dying days of his 1990-2000 rule.

The punishment -- which his lawyer immediately moved to appeal -- was handed down in a case heard separately from a trial that opened Monday against Fujimori, 69, for alleged human rights violations.

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Big Brother
Ask.com Allows Users to Erase Search Queries

Jaikumar Vijayan
2007-12-12 09:31:00

In what's likely to be seen as a privacy-friendly move, IAC Search & Media's Ask.com search engine Tuesday announced a new feature called AskEraser that deletes a user's search activity data from the company's servers.

When enabled by the user, the feature will completely delete search queries and associated cookie information from Ask.com servers -- including IP addresses, user IDs, session IDs and the text of queries made, according to the company. In most cases, the deletion will take place within a few hours of the time a search is completed, the company said.

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Axis of Evil
Bush sought War Whore Rice's advice on Iraq war

Anne Gearan, Diplomatic Editor
2007-12-11 18:32:00

Washington - Alone in the Oval Office three months before the U.S. led-invasion of Iraq, President Bush asked Condoleezza Rice whether she believed war was the proper course, a new book about the close presidential adviser said.

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Mossad mission: Murder Iraqi scholars

Press TV
2007-12-12 13:28:00

More than 500 Iraqi scientists and professors have been murdered by Israel's Mossad intelligence agency, an Iraqi newspaper reports.

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Flashback: Phoenix, Assassination and Blowback in Iraq

Douglas Valentine
2004-04-08 13:37:00

On Monday, April 5th, as thousands of US Marines surrounded Fallujah and prepared to pacify it, Senator Edward Kennedy predicted that Iraq would be to Bush what Vietnam had been to Nixon.

Given that Nixon won a resounding reelection in 1972, this means that Bush will also win reelection in 2004. Hence the the dangers of making analogies between Vietnam and Iraq.

Having said that, similarities do exist. Primarily, as the violence spreads and the body count rises, it becomes increasingly obvious that Bush's prissy proconsul in Baghdad, Paul Bremer (a former managing director of Kissinger Associates) has badly underestimated the strength of the resistance in Iraq, just as Nixon and his national security chief, Henry Kissinger, badly underestimated their enemy in South Vietnam.

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Flashback: Hersh: children raped at Abu Ghraib; Pentagon has videos

2004-07-15 09:10:00

From Daily Kos' partial transcript of a video (link to REAL stream) of Seymour Hersh speaking at an ACLU event. He says the US government has videotapes of children being raped at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

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CIA Destroyed Tapes Despite Court Orders

Matt Apuzzo
Associated Press
2007-12-12 12:18:00

The Bush administration was under court order not to discard evidence of detainee torture and abuse months before the CIA destroyed videotapes that revealed some of its harshest interrogation tactics.

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New poll reveals how unrepresentative neocon Jewish groups are

Glenn Greenwald
2007-12-12 09:26:00

A new survey of American Jewish opinion, released by the American Jewish Committee, demonstrates several important propositions: (1) right-wing neocons (the Bill Kristol/Commentary/ AIPAC/Marty Peretz faction) who relentlessly claim to speak for Israel and for Jews generally hold views that are shared only by a small minority of American Jews; (2) viewpoints that are routinely demonized as reflective of animus towards Israel or even anti-Semitism are ones that are held by large majorities of American Jews; and (3) most American Jews oppose U.S. military action in the Middle East -- including both in Iraq and against Iran.

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Flashback: Reaching the Receivers

David Neiwert
2003-08-30 08:43:00

©David Neiwert
Scene at the Freemen standoff in Jordan, Montana, in winter of 1996.

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Call for cannon fodder! Gates says NATO must fill gaps in Afghan force

Andrew Gray and David Morgan
2007-12-12 03:16:00

WASHINGTON - U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Tuesday other NATO states must fill gaps in the alliance's Afghan mission, as the top U.S. military officer said America's main focus had to be on Iraq.

Gates said he would press for more resources, particularly to train Afghan security forces, at a meeting in Scotland this week with NATO defense ministers who have troops in Afghanistan's violent South.

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Middle East Madness
UPDATE: Iraq triple car bombing kills 39, 125 wounded

2007-12-12 14:59:00

Three car bombs have exploded in the southern Iraqi city of Amara, killing at least 39 people and injuring more than 100, police say.

Two bombs exploded in a car park packed with labourers waiting to travel to work, and a third detonated as people gathered to inspect the damage.

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5 murdered, 70 kidnapped as Israeli storm troopers invade Gaza

Mu Xuequan
2007-12-12 11:20:00

Five Palestinian militants were killed and four Israeli soldiers wounded during a large-scale Israeli military operation in southern Gaza Strip, Palestinian medics and Israeli army said Tuesday.

A wounded Palestinian is carried to a hospital after an Israeli air strike in the southern Gaza Strip Dec. 11, 2007.

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Iraq bombs kill 20, wound 25

Agence France-Presse
2007-12-12 09:48:00

Baghdad - At least 20 people were killed and 25 wounded in car bomb attacks in the southern Iraqi city of Amara on Wednesday, the interior ministry's operation director Brigadier General Abdel Karim Khalaf told AFP.

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Army general killed in Lebanon blast

Agence France-Presse
2007-12-12 03:04:00

BEIRUT - An army general was among at least four people killed on Wednesday in a roadside bomb that also injured seven others in a Christian suburb on the outskirts of Beirut, a security source told AFP.

"General Francois El Hajj was killed in the blast and several other people were injured, including his driver," the source, who did not wish to be identified said.

Comment: The foreign fighters, Al-Ciada and Al-Mossada are busy at work as usual.

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Christians in Basra told not to celebrate to protest 2 deaths

Leila Fadel and Ali al Basri
McClatchy Newspapers
2007-12-11 21:05:00

The Christian archbishop of Basra on Tuesday canceled the celebration of Christmas in that southern city to protest the deaths of a brother and sister, both Christians, as bombings and mayhem struck at cities throughout Iraq.

Archbishop Imad al Banna said Christians in Basra should still pray to mark Christmas, but should forgo such celebratory trappings as trees, gift-swapping and family gatherings to protest the deaths of Maysoon Farid, a 30-year-old cashier at a local pharmacy, and her brother Osama, 33. The two were found dead Monday night, dumped in a neighborhood controlled by the Shiite Muslim Mahdi Army militia.

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FREE GAZA! Gaza Makes an Appeal to YOU

Ramy Abdu
Peace Palestine Blog
2007-12-11 20:56:00


About 60 years have passed since our Palestinian catastrophe (Nakba). Palestinian people have passed through and tasted several sufferings and calamities, and the Gaza Strip, which includes about 1.5 million people, 75% of them refugees, got a big share of this suffering.

By the start of the 2nd Intifada in 2000, Israeli Occupation violated all the taboos international conventions and has tortured Palestinians severely.

In the meantime, the harsh siege imposed on the Gaza Strip has been continuing for the past seven months, but with more cruelty. The siege hinders the freedom movement for people and goods into and out of the Gaza Strip. Therefore, the humanitarian situation has severely deteriorated and the fragile Gaza economy is dying out. That economy was already weak due to Occupation procedures is now on its knees. Accordingly, the Gaza Strip has turned into a big "Ghetto". All Gaza houses carry stories of pain and suffering!

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Iraq rejects permanent U.S. bases

Peter Graff
2007-12-11 18:15:00

Iraq will never allow the United States to have permanent military bases on its soil, the government's national security adviser said, calling the issue a "red line" that cannot be crossed.

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The Loan Gunmen
Central banks act on credit fears

2007-12-12 20:56:00

The Federal Reserve, European Central Bank and central banks from the UK, Canada and Switzerland are to jointly help banks deal with the credit crunch.

They have each announced that they will provide billions in loans to banks in order to lower interest rates and ease the availability of credit.

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U.S. Trade Gap Widened in October as Crude Oil Rose

Joe Richter
2007-12-12 13:47:00

The U.S. trade deficit widened in October as the value of imported crude oil rose to a record.

The gap grew 1.2 percent to $57.8 billion from a revised $57.1 billion in September, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. The median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News was $57.4 billion. Imports, exports and the deficit with China were the biggest ever.

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Conergy cuts 2007 guidance, to shed 500 jobs

2007-12-12 04:37:00

German solar energy group Conergy will cut 500 jobs as it sells non-core businesses and repositions itself as an integrated supplier, the company said on Wednesday, chopping its earnings guidance.

"In yesterday's meeting, the new board of management agreed on a revised earnings forecast for the financial year 2007. The board now expects an EBIT in a range of -150 to -200 million euros," it said.

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Fed Lowers Rate by a Quarter Point to 4.25 Percent

Craig Torres
2007-12-11 21:08:00

The Federal Reserve lowered its benchmark interest rate by a quarter point to 4.25 percent, while signaling officials are open to further cuts if the housing slump and credit squeeze worsen.

Stocks fell and Treasury notes surged after the decision, which some economists said fell short of what's needed to spur lending and avert a recession. The central bank also pared the discount rate by a quarter point to 4.75 percent, counter to speculation among investors that the Fed would make a deeper reduction.

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The Roots of the Lending Crisis Run Through Wall Street

Nomi Prins
The Nation
2007-11-30 20:41:00

Behind every great bubble and its subsequent bust lies the power of Wall Street's trading operations. In the case of our national housing market saga and toxic subprime fallout, it's true that banks and specialist lending institutions rapaciously extended credit to ill-equipped borrowers.

But that's not the whole story. Housing value fluctuations weren't just caused by lending run amok, but by the trading that enabled the lending and made a precarious situation even worse.

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The Living Planet
Caribbean hit by tropical storm

2007-12-12 19:40:00

Tropical storm Olga, a rare December cyclone, has caused major floods and landslides in the Caribbean, killing at least eight people, officials say.

Hardest-hit was the Dominican Republic, where at least seven died and thousands were forced to flee their homes. One person died in Puerto Rico.

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"Madman" sees weekend "Superstorm"

Frank Roylance
Baltimore Sun
2007-12-12 14:13:00

Five days before the first flake falls, AccuWeather's Henry "Madman" Margusity has already loosed the words "blizzard" and "Superstorm" in connection with this weekend's storm. The extreme-weather blogger has even posted a snowmap that gives Baltimore 3 to 6 inches by Monday morning, while western counties sink beneath 6 to 12. He knows it's way too early to be that smart. But he posted it anyway.

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Malaysian flood death toll rises, thousands more evacuated

2007-12-11 23:09:00

The death toll from widespread floods in Malaysia has risen to six and the number of people evacuated to relief centres increased sharply as heavy rains continued to fall, officials and reports said Tuesday.

A 15-year-old boy is thought to have drowned after he went swimming in a canal in north eastern Kelantan state, the official Bernama news agency reported.

Bernama on Sunday had reported five dead and three missing in the floods, which have hit three states in the peninsula.

More than 15,000 people in total are now housed in relief centres, compared with about 10,800 on Monday, Bernama said Tuesday.


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Health & Wellness
Disturbing! Fish-Flavored Fish

Charlie Foster
The New York Times
2007-12-11 21:23:00

As stocks of ocean-caught fish dwindle in the face of overfishing and environmental changes, farmed fish has flooded the market, helping to meet our growing appetite for seafood. But one sector of the seafood industry has remained elusive. Fast-food restaurants, which serve hundreds of millions of deep-fried-fish sandwiches every year, have always chosen wild species over farmed ones, because the flavor is better.

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Science & Technology
Florida: Fuzzy object spotted in night sky was a fuel dump

Sun Herald
2007-12-11 05:24:00

It wasn't a plane. It wasn't a bird. It certainly wasn't Superman (or even Tim Tebow).

But something was there in the early evening night sky over our area Monday night. It was far bigger than a star, fuzzy like a comet, seemingly moving only with the slow rotation of the earth.

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Energy Source of Northern Lights Found

Associated Press
2007-12-11 23:16:00

SAN FRANCISCO - Scientists think they have discovered the energy source of the spectacular color displays seen in the northern lights. New data from NASA's Themis mission, a quintet of satellites launched this winter, found the energy comes from a stream of charged particles from the sun flowing like a current through twisted bundles of magnetic fields connecting Earth's upper atmosphere to the sun.

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Boeing Completes Key Space Based Space Surveillance System Tests

2007-12-11 23:02:00

Boeing has successfully completed a series of Space Based Space Surveillance (SBSS) system tests as part of the development of a new operational sensor for the U.S. Space Surveillance Network. Tests of the SBSS system's visible sensor, payload electronics and high speed gimbal further validate that the enhanced capability of SBSS will be twice as fast, substantially more sensitive and 10 times more accurate than the capabilities currently on orbit, resulting in improved detection of threats to America's space assets.

"The visible sensor on the SBSS satellite will be used to provide critical information vital to the protection of U.S. military and civilian satellites," said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Robert Erickson, squadron commander for the SBSS, Space Superiority Systems Wing.

"The end result is that SBSS will significantly enhance the nation's space situational awareness," added U.S. Air Force Col. J.R. Jordan, group commander for the Space Situational Awareness, Space Superiority Systems Wing.

Boeing has overall responsibility for the SBSS system and is developing the SBSS ground segment while working with Ball Aerospace to develop the spacecraft and visible sensor.

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Brain 'irrelevance filter' found

2007-12-11 22:14:00

Scientists believe they have located a new brain area essential for good memory - the "irrelevance filter".

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Our Haunted Planet
Burning Debris Shower Eastern North America With Strange Fireballs

Paul Icamina
All Headline News
2007-12-12 11:06:00

Bangor, Maine - Frantic calls from New Hampshire to Canada about strange lights in the sky had police scrambling to look for unidentified flying objects only to find out the fireballs coincided with Monday evening's launch from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

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UK: UFO sighting over Bolton?

The Bolton News
2007-12-12 05:09:00

Members of the Bolton UFO Society are investigating a possible sighting of an unidentified flying object (UFO) above the town.

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Sighting draws UFO research

Ellen Ast
Albany Democrat-Herald
2007-12-10 04:50:00

Lacomb - One clear evening last September, Raye and Derral Laufer spotted what they thought were strange objects in the sky above their home on Moran Lane in Lacomb.

They reported the incident to the National UFO Reporting Center, and the
Democrat-Herald reported on their experience in October.

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NASA forced to turn over files on '65 UFO

Sean D. Hamill
Chicago Tribune
2007-12-10 04:01:00

A federal ruling requires the space agency to turn over any records it might have related to a 1965 incident in a small Pennsylvania town

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Don't Panic! Lighten Up!
Amazing escape of fish

2007-12-12 15:27:00

©Dennis Bright

The owners of a trout farm were amazed a photographer caught their fish making an extraordinary escape on camera.

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The 10 Most Insane Medical Practices in History

Nathan Birch
2007-12-12 07:38:00

Have you ever been left with the impression after a thorough poking, prodding and testicular cupping at the doctor's office that perhaps they don't always know what's best? The thought is usually pushed from your mind, after all these people had to go through years of school and thousands of dollars of their wealthy parents' money to get where they are! If you can't trust them about your health, who can you trust?

Here's the thing though, doctors have a long storied background of not knowing what the hell they're doing. History is filled with stories of hilarious medical ineptitude, and in all likeliness, today's medical practices will be similarly snorted at 100 years down the road. In other words, if you're looking to justify your medical phobia so you can rationalize not getting that ever-growing lump on your neck checked out, you're in the right place.

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Hmm. How Does My Hair Look, Mr. Robber?

Associated Press
2007-12-11 23:49:00

ELMWOOD PARK, N.J. - When a robber started taking cash from his register over the weekend, Dunkin' Donuts employee Dustin Hoffmann fought back by clobbering the man with a ceramic mug. But Hoffmann admits he was less worried about the stolen cash than how he might look on the video-sharing site YouTube.

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