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Stormtrooper

Vigil for teen found shot in police car ends with tear gas, arrests

police-Durham
© YouTube
An image grab taken from a video uploaded on YouTube by user@leelaura1 on December 19, 2013
A vigil meant to commemorate the memory of a teenager who was fatally shot in the head while in police custody last month turned to panic Thursday night when police in full riot gear deployed tear gas to disperse the mostly peaceful crowd.

Jesus Huerta, 17, died of a gunshot wound to the head on November 19 in Durham, North Carolina. The police department has said that Huerta shot himself, an assertion that has become a subject of outrage in the community because Huerta was at the time handcuffed in the backseat of a patrol car when he was shot. The vehicle was parked behind a police building at the time of his death.

A police report filled out by Officer Samuel Duncan noted that Huerta had been searched at the time of his arrest, and no gun was found on him. Huerta is the third minority man to be killed in shootings involving city police within the past four months.

USA

Florida couple forced to uproot their 17-year-old organic garden

florida garden
© AFP Photo / Justin Sullivan
After 17 years of managing an organic vegetable garden in their front yard, a Miami Shores, Florida couple was forced to remove it due to a zoning violation.

Now, Hermine Ricketts and Tom Carroll are fighting back, suing the village after being threatened with a daily $50 fine.

"We are already feeling the impact of shopping for overpriced organic food," Ricketts said to the Miami Herald.

Village officials were not fans of the garden for a very simple reason: It was placed in the couple's front yard instead of the back, violating a local zoning ordinance. Despite the fact that the garden had been around for close to two decades, Ricketts and Carroll were told to dig it up by August 31 or face fines.

With the help of the nonprofit libertarian group Institute for Justice, the couple's lawsuit against argues that the new zoning codes violate the state Constitution, which gives residents the right to "acquire, possess, and protect" private property.

Document

Theater roof collapses in London's West End - injures more than 80 people injured

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apollo theater collapse
© Sang Tan/Associated Press
Firefighters inspect the roof of the Apollo theatre following the collapse.
Seven people seriously hurt after part of Shaftesbury Avenue theatre ceiling collapses on to balcony during performance

More than 80 people were injured on Thursday night when part of a theatre in London's West End collapsed on to the audience during a performance.

Fire crews rescued people from the Apollo theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue, which was showing The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. There were more than 700 people in the audience.

London ambulance service said there were 88 casualties, seven of whom were seriously injured, but none are thought to have life-threatening injuries. The Metropolitan police said they were not aware of any fatalities.

Some people were initially trapped inside the theatre, but all were rescued from the building soon after the collapse.

The wounded were taken into the foyer of the nearby Queen's theatre, which was turned into a makeshift treatment centre. Some were taken from there to hospital on board a red London bus, with a police escort.

Firefighters inspect the roof of the Apollo theatre following the collapse. Photograph: Sang Tan/AP

The collapse of part of the ceiling, which then brought down sections of a balcony, occurred at about 8pm. Part of the balcony started creaking before the collapse, and some audience members assumed that the noise was part of the show.

People were escorted out of the building covered in dust and debris, while others left crying, coughing and helping each other away.

Photographs from inside the theatre showed heavy beams and wood strewn across seats, which were coated in debris and dust. There were reports that after a storm earlier, water had begun dripping through cracks in the ceiling before it fell in, but this was not confirmed by authorities. A Westminster council surveyor was inspecting the building overnight to assess whether it was safe enough for a full inspection. The surveyor was expected to deliver a preliminary report on Friday morning.

Heart - Black

Named but unashamed - the top ten greediest Americans for 2013

top 10 greediest americans
The headlines haven't been particularly kind to America's most relentlessly greedy over the past year. In just the last month alone, the world's two most visible religious leaders - Pope Francis and the Dalai Lama - have once again dramatically denounced our global concentration of income and wealth. And the world's most powerful political leader, Barack Obama, has chimed in, too.

The impact on America's super rich - and super-rich wannabees? Not much. They haven't even deigned to slow their grabbing.

At "Too Much", the Institute for Policy Studies weekly on excess and inequality, we've been taking names. Lots of them. The greediest of them all? We think we can make a good case for the ten below. We hope you'll find some useful insights from our choices - and maybe even some new incentive to help make our world a more equal place.

10. Angela Spaccia: Pint-Sized Pilfering

We start this year's top ten with garden-variety greed, the sort that inevitably grows in the shadows of escalating grand fortunes. In that shade, people in positions of modest power and authority regularly - and clumsily - try to emulate the avaricious high and mighty they see all around them.

In Bell, a small Los Angeles County working class community, that modest power and authority once belonged to Angela Spaccia. As Bell's assistant city manager for a seven-year span that ended in 2010, Spaccia helped stuff hundreds of thousands of dollars into the pockets of the city's top officials, including herself. Spaccia in one year alone took in $564,000.

Prosecutors eventually caught up with Spaccia and her pals. Her boss, the Bell city manager, cut a plea deal in October to 69 corruption charges. He pulled in $1.18 million in his most lucrative year. Spaccia chose to go to trial instead, claiming she did nothing illegal. "Everyone's greedy," her defense attorney argued in November. "There's no crime in taking too much money."

Jurors disagreed. Last week, they found Spaccia guilty on multiple counts of criminal behavior, including one misappropriation of public funds designed to pump $15.5 million in pension checks to Spaccia and her boss.

Heart - Black

Apartheid-era doctor who made germs to kill Africans found guilty of unprofessional conduct

Wouter Bosson
© Unknown

Wouter Bosson also known as Dr. Death was head of the apartheid governments chemical and biological program
Family members of victims of Wouter Basson have expressed relief that the apartheid-era doctor has been found guilty after a six-year trial.

Wouter Basson was found guilty on Wednesday of unprofessional conduct for acting unethically as a medical doctor during his time as the leader of the apartheid-era chemical and biological programme Project Coast and later Delta G in the 1980s.

Basson was not present at the hearing as he had an emergency with one of his patients in Cape Town, said his legal team.

However, the family members of his victims attended the judgment hearing.

Lizzie Sofolo's husband was abducted, drugged, tortured and killed in the late 1980s - with the use of drugs made by Basson.

"Today the truth has prevailed, it is clear that he used his knowledge as a doctor to kill innocent people," she said.

Maria Ntuli's son, Jeremiah, was one of 10 Mamelodi youths who left home to join the ANC's armed wing, Umkhonto weSizwe, in 1987.

In 1996 the Truth and Reconciliation Commission heard that the group was drugged and put into a Kombi that was crashed into a tree and exploded.

"We just want this case to be over with now. It has been dragging on for years now, why doesn't it just end?" said Ntuli.

Bulb

Cuba to allow auto purchases without state permission

Image
© Bloomberg
A car sits outside the old Capital building in Havana, Cuba, in June 2012. The Cuban state still maintains a monopoly on the retail sale of cars.
For the first time since the 1959 revolution, Cubans will have the right to buy new and used vehicles from the state without government permission, official media announced on Thursday, another step toward greater economic freedom on the communist-led island.

Under a reform introduced two years ago, Cubans can buy and sell used cars from each other, but must request authorization from the government to purchase a new vehicle or second-hand one, usually a relatively modern rental car, from State retailers.

The Communist Party newspaper, Granma, said the Council of Ministers approved new regulations on Wednesday that "eliminate existing mechanisms of approval for the purchase of motor vehicles from the state."

As a result, Granma said, "the retail sale of new and used motorcycles, cars, vans, small trucks and mini buses for Cubans and foreign residents, companies and diplomats is freed up."

Bizarro Earth

New Twist! Lesbian boss 'fired me for being straight'

Image
© Victor Alcorn
Gregory Kenney claims he was axed by Trinity athletic director Pat Krieger, inset, for being a straight, married dad.
A married, heterosexual gym teacher at a tony Upper West Side private school was fired because his lesbian supervisor disapproved of his "traditional family status," the canned teacher claims in a new Manhattan lawsuit.

Gregory Kenney, 50, taught gym at the Trinity School on W. 91st St. for 16 years before he was let go in June 2012.

Kenney, who lives with his wife and three young children in LI, says he was a well-liked employee at the elite institution that counts Truman Capote, Ivanka Trump and Eric Schneiderman as alumni, until a gay athletic director named Pat Krieger took over in 2009.

Krieger allegedly forced him to coach three sports, even though his contract only required him to join two teams, according to his reverse discrimination suit. When he complained that the extra responsibilities interfered with his family obligations Krieger allegedly told him, "We all make choices," the suit says.

Dominoes

Ponerization of society: Children arrested in alleged 'knockout' attacks

Image
© DNAinfo/Sonja Sharp
Congresswoman Yvette Clark, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, and Brooklyn DA-elect Ken Thompson joined other elected officials and community leaders in calling for an end to alleged "knockout game" attacks in Brooklyn.
Police have arrested four children in connection with a string of alleged "knockout game" attacks in Brooklyn, the NYPD said.

A 14-year-old girl and three other children, aged 10 and 11, were arrested in connection with three assaults that took place between October and November.

The victims included an 11-year-old boy who was punched on President Street, a youth who was hit with a rock while walking home from school and a youngster who was "mushed" in the face with a plastic bag, said Deputy Inspector George Fitzgibbon, the 71st Precinct's new commanding officer.

"Kids are kids - when you're talking 10 and 11 year olds getting involved in these type of things, sometimes they don't realize the magnitude of what they're doing," Fitzgibbon said.

While the NYPD's Hate Crimes Task Force worked on the investigation as well, police determined that the attacks were not motivated by bias.

Book 2

William Powell: I wrote the Anarchist Cookbook in 1969. Now I see its premise as flawed

Image
© Scott Olson/Getty Images
'The continued publication of the Cookbook serves no purpose other than a commercial one for the publisher.'

Forty-four years ago this month, in December 1969, I quit my job as a manager of a bookstore in New York City's Greenwich Village and began to write the Anarchist Cookbook. My motivation at the time was simple; I was being actively pursued by the U.S. military, who seemed single-mindedly determined to send me to fight, and possibly die, in Vietnam.

I wanted to publish something that would express my anger. It seems that I succeeded in ways that far exceeded what I imagined possible at the time. The Cookbook is still in print 40 years after publication, and I am told it has sold in excess of 2m copies.

I have never held the copyright, and so the decision to continue publishing it has been in the hands of the publisher.

I now find myself arguing for it to be quickly and quietly taken out of print. What has changed?

Unfortunately, the source of my anger in the late 60's and early 70's - unnecessary government-sanctioned violence - is still very much a feature of our world. The debacle of the U.S. invasion of Iraq is yet another classic example. It still makes me very angry. So my change of heart has had less to do with external events than it does with an internal change.

Pistol

South Sudan: UN peacekeepers from India killed

Image
© Reuters
South Sudanese civilians crowd at the United Nations mission in Bor.
Deaths blamed on gang who invaded base where civilians were sheltering, while Obama calls for end to violence

Three United Nations peacekeepers from India were killed when a base sheltering civilians in South Sudan was stormed on Thursday, officials have said.

The compound of the UN mission in Akobo was besieged by local youths from the Nuer community intent on revenge for alleged targeted killings of their kinsmen in the capital, Juba.

Witnesses in Akobo, in South Sudan's restive Jonglei state, said the perimeter was overrun and civilians, government officials from the country's most populous tribe, the Dinka, and UN peacekeepers were among the casualties.

India's UN ambassador, Asoke Mukerji, said three of his country's troops were killed. It was the first announcement of UN fatalities from this week's upsurge of ethnic-based violence.

In Washington, Barack Obama issued a statement saying the conflict threatened to derail progress South Sudan has been making since gaining independence. "Inflammatory rhetoric and targeted violence must cease," the US president said. "All sides must listen to the wise counsel of their neighbors, commit to dialogue and take immediate steps to urge calm and support reconciliation."