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Syrian Protests Turn Deadly; 32 Reported Killed

militia
© AP Photo/Hussein Malla
Beirut - A mass protest calling for sweeping changes in Syria's authoritarian regime turned bloody Friday, with the government and protesters both claiming to have sustained heavy casualties as the country's three-week uprising entered a dangerous new phase.

Human rights activists and witnesses said Syrian security forces opened fire on tens of thousands of protesters in the volatile southern city of Daraa, killing 25 people and wounding hundreds. But state-run TV said 19 policemen and members of the security forces were killed when gunmen opened fire on them.

It was the first significant claim of casualties by the Syrian government, which has contended that armed gangs rather than true reform-seekers are behind the unrest - and it could signal plans for a stepped-up retaliation.

Protest organizers have called on Syrians to take to the streets every Friday for the past three weeks, demanding change in one of the most rigid nations in the Middle East. Protests were held in several cities across the country Friday as the movement showed no sign of letting up, despite the violent crackdowns.

Syria's National Organization for Human Rights said at least 32 people were killed nationwide on Friday. That lifts the death toll from three weeks of protests to more than 170 people.

Che Guevara

Egypt: Tahrir Square comes alive with protesters again

Military the target of Egyptian demonstrations as people demand more prosecutions against Hosni Mubarak-era ministers
Tahrir Square
© Amr Nabil/AP
Tahrir Square protesters called on the field marshall to meet the demands of the people.
Protesters have packed Cairo's Tahrir Square, piling pressure on the ruling military council to meet demands including the prosecution of Hosni Mubarak in one of the biggest demonstrations since he was ousted.

By early afternoon the protest had swollen to more than 100,000. Thousands waved red, white and black Egyptian flags in scenes reminiscent of the height of the protests that toppled Mubarak and helped ignite revolts in other Arab countries.

"Oh field marshal, we've been very patient!" chanted some of the protesters, gathered in the square that was the hub of protests that toppled Mubarak from the presidency and left the army, led by Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, in charge.

"Tantawi, Tantawi get your act together or do you want a pool of blood?" chanted some of the protesters.

The military has enjoyed broad support since it took control of the country on 11 February but frustrations have grown over the pace of reform. Attention is now focused on the perceived tardiness of legal steps against Mubarak and his entourage.

Sherlock

Russia sheds light on Gagarin death mystery

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© Agence France-Presse
Yuri Gagarin was killed when his MiG jet crashed outside Moscow on a training flight
Russia on Friday declassified documents that shed light on Yuri Gagarin's mysterious death in a training flight in 1968, saying his jet likely manoeuvred sharply to avoid a weather balloon.

Top Kremlin archives official Alexander Stepanov told a news conference that a Soviet-era commission -- whose conclusions had until now been classified -- has concluded that this was the most likely cause of his death.

"The conclusions of the commission are that the most likely cause of the catastrophe was a sharp manoeuvre to avoid a balloon probe," he said. Balloon probes are often used for weather-forecasting purposes.

But he indicated that the conclusions of the commission, whose documents were de-classified to mark the half century of Gagarin's voyage into space in April 1961, had given a second possible cause for the manoeuvre.

Bizarro Earth

Scientists link oil on dolphins to BP spill

dead dolphin
© newsbythesecond.com

Biloxi, - Scientists confirmed on Thursday that they have discovered oil on dead dolphins found along the U.S. Gulf Coast, raising fresh concerns about the effects of last year's BP oil spill on sea life.

Fifteen of the 406 dolphins that have washed ashore in the last 14 months had oil on their bodies, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists said during a conference call with reporters.

The oil found on eight of those dolphins has been linked to the April 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, scientists said.

Meteor

Air France wreckage could provide answers to mysterious crash, but don't hold your breath

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© Charles Platiau/Reuters
Jean-Paul Troadec (r.), head of the Investigation and Analysis Bureau (BEA), speaks to the media after a news conference at the BEA headquarters in Le Bourget, northern Paris, on April 4.
French authorities say they have found the engine and parts of the fuselage of the Air France plane that crashed in 2009 off Brazil's coast.

Nearly two years after an Air France plane plunged into the Atlantic off the coast of Brazil, killing everyone aboard, authorities say they may have found the most important discoveries yet.

The new findings have given fresh hope to victims' families - and to the aviation industry overall - that the cause of the crash might yet be determined and thus allow authorities to take steps to prevent future incidents. The Airbus 320-303 was en route to Paris from Rio De Janeiro on a night flight in June 2009 when it crashed, killing all 228 passengers and crew members.

"From the human aspect, there is obviously a desire for closure," says Robert Mann, president of R.W. Mann & Company, an aviation consultancy in Port Washington, N.Y. "And in this case, as in numerous others, there is a really pressing need to understand what happened."

France's investigating authority said today on local French radio that the engine and parts of the fuselage have been located, while the Environment Ministry said that bodies have also been found. Until now, despite using the high-tech equipment and unmanned submarines, significant wreckage had remained elusive in a deep sea area of steep mountain terrain.

Comment: What ever happened to The Airbus 320-303 was a big tragedy, and finding an explanation including providing a needed closure is a priority. But considering what we know about authorities' ability to either ignore or distort the available data, we are a bit skeptical if the highly probable cause will ever be seriously looked into, and especially announced. Meanwhile, time is running out for another similar disaster to occur.


Video

US: Glenn Beck ending daily Fox News show

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Fox News commentator Glenn Beck on the Glenn Beck show, Feb. 16, 2011.
Glenn Beck will no longer have a daily program on Fox News.

According to a joint release from Fox News and Beck's production company, Mercury Radio Arts, Beck "intends to transition" off the program at some point this year.

The release said the afternoon host will not be leaving the network entirely. It said that Fox and Beck's production company plan to "produce a variety of television projects" that will air both on Fox News Channel and other platforms, including Fox News' digital properties.

"Glenn Beck is a powerful communicator, a creative entrepreneur and a true success by anybody's standards," said Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes. "I look forward to continuing to work with him."

Beck said in the release that "America owes a lot to Roger Ailes and Fox News."

"I cannot repay Roger for the lessons I've learned and will continue to learn from him and I look forward to starting this new phase of our partnership," he said.

X

US: Government shutdown: What it means for you

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© CBS
With less than three days to go before the latest deadline to avoid a government shutdown, Congress appears far apart on a deal to fund the government for the next six months (through the end of the fiscal year). And while President Obama has made clear his desire to avoid such a possibility, a shutdown is starting to look increasingly likely.

Federal agencies are currently preparing for the possibility of such an event, but questions about the tangible impact of a government shutdown loom - particularly in terms of what it means for millions of Americans who are employed by or rely on the federal government for services.

Below, Hotsheet takes a look at who and what would be directly affected by a government shutdown - who gets paid, who goes home, and whose blackberries go dark - and how that could affect the rest of us.

Penis Pump

US: Obama's good friend busted in prostitution sting

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© Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
Bobby Titcomb while playing golf with friends at the Mid Pacific Country Club in Kailua, Hawaii, December 28, 2010.
One of President Barack Obama's high school friends from Hawaii was caught in a prostitution sting Monday night, according to reports from local television stations.

Robert Richard "Bobby" Titcomb, 49, is scheduled to appear at Honolulu District Court next month, after he allegedly solicited sex from an undercover officer posing as a prostitute.

Titcomb and Mr. Obama frequently go golfing when the president visits Hawaii, and Titcomb is often seen at family picnics with the whole Obama family.

Wolf

US: Long Island Serial Killer? A "hedonistic lust killer," says profiler

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© CBS/WCBS
Authorities look for remains near Gilgo Beach, on Long Island, N.Y.
Investigators scouring dense undergrowth for victims of a suspected serial killer along a remote Long Island beach area found three more sets of remains Monday, authorities said, bringing the total number of bodies to eight.

Criminologist Casey Jordan told CBS News' The Early Show Tuesday that the killer or killers may have a sexual motivation.

Jordan said the police are likely dealing with a "power control killer" or "hedonistic lust killer," because the women were lured through Craigslist.

The new remains are in addition to the remains of a victim found in the area last week, about 45 miles east of New York City. That victim has not been identified, and police have not positively connected those remains to the bodies of four prostitutes found nearby in December.

Police discovered the bodies while searching for 24-year-old Shannan Gilbert, who went missing in May in the area, and are investigating whether any of the newly-discovered remains are hers.

Heart - Black

US: Mom slept while toddlers were locked out during storm, say Kentucky. cops

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© WLKY
Ashley White
After locking her two children outside during Monday's severe storms, Louisville woman Ashley White is charged with endangering the welfare of a minor, police say.

While the children, ages 1 and 3, were locked out near an "extremely high traffic street," White was reportedly sleeping. Police say although Good Samaritans knocked on her door, there was no answer.

According to CBS affiliate WLKY, the children remained outside in the rain for 10-15 minutes before neighbors heard them crying from across the street.

Dany Jones told WLKY that her daughter brought the children home and called the police, then fed and bathed the kids.

"The little girl, she said, 'I want my mommy. I want my mommy,' and I felt so bad," Jones recalls. "Oh, that poor child."