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Tue, 22 Sep 2020
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Passport

High taxes force more Americans to renounce their citizenship

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Angry about the latest tax hikes? Each year, thousands of Americans pack their suitcases, rip up their US passports and move permanently overseas to prevent Uncle Sam from taking their money.

In the first three quarters of 2012, more than 1,100 Americans renounced their citizenship and made their homes elsewhere, according to the Federal Register. Available data does not yet include those who left in the fourth quarter, but it is on track to surpass the 1,781 Americans who relinquished their passports in 2011. And the number of Americans who ditched the US in 2011 was seven times higher than those who left in 2008.

With 6 million US citizens living abroad and continuing to pay US taxes, expatriates increasingly abandon their citizenship for the sake of saving cash. The US is the only industrialized country that requires its overseas citizens to pay income taxes - even if their income is generated abroad.

And for wealthy expatriates, the financial consequences of remaining a US citizen are most severe. Individuals earning more than $400,000 a year and married couples earning more than $450,000 a year will be paying an income tax rate of 39.6 percent - which is up from last year's rate of 35 percent.

Bad Guys

At least 45 people, mostly women and children, kidnapped in Syria

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A group of armed men have attacked a bus in Syria and kidnapped 45 to 48 people, according to different estimates. The passengers were mostly women and children on the bus traveling from the Idlib province to Damascus.

Russia's RIA Novosti citing pan-Arab Al Mayadeen TV reported earlier that 45 people have been kidnapped.

At the same time RT's Arabic correspondent reports from Syria that there were 48 people in the vehicle. He also denied reports that appeared hours after the attack that all people involved have been freed.

Laptop

Cyber-gang extorted millions by posing as cops, copyright holders

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© Reutrers / Thomas Peter
European police have busted a cybercriminal ring that extorted millions of euros with a computer virus that locked machines up and demanded a ransom. They also posed as police, accusing victims of viewing child pornography and infringing copyrights.

Eleven suspects were detained in an operation by Europol and Spanish police, police reported on Wednesday. A 27-year-old Russian who allegedly created and distributed the virus was detained in the United Arab Emirates in December, while on vacation. Ten others were detained in Spain last week, including Russians, Ukrainians and Georgians, Spanish police said.

"This is the first major success of its kind against a very new phenomenon that we have only identified in the last two years," Europol Director Rob Wainwright said at a news conference at the Spanish Interior Ministry in Madrid.

The cyber-gang used so-called 'ransomware,' a type of malware that locks down an infected computer until a ransom is paid. This particular operation targeted users with false accusations from national and international police forces, and occasionally organizations defending copyright holders. A message would demand payment of a fine of 100 euro ($134) over alleged wrongdoings, including searching for child pornography, visiting terrorist websites and illegal file-sharing.

Health

Dagestan suicide bombing kills 4 road police, injures 5

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© RIA Novosti/NewsTeam/Abdula Magomedov
Four police officers have been killed and five others were injured when a vehicle exploded at a road police post in Russia's Republic of Dagestan. The explosion happened during a routine road inspection.

The initial blast killed three policemen, while the fourth died from his injuries in a hospital hours later. One person remains unaccounted for. The body of the suicide bomber was so badly damaged by the explosion that "nothing's left of him," a source told Interfax news agency.

Police estimated the yield of the explosive device to be about 100 kilograms of TNT. The blast left a crater 1.5 meters deep and 4 meters in diameter, and badly damaged a checkpoint building.

Hours after the explosion, local security forces spotted a gang of militants that may have been connected to the suicide bombing. The gang was cornered near a local village.

Six militants were eliminated following the attack, RIA Novosti reported.

Heart - Black

19-year-old pregnant woman gunned down with 'semi-automatic weapon' in Tennessee

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© J. MILES CARY
Shell casings are marked in front of 3941 Porter Ave. after a shooting Wednesday in East Knoxville.
A 19-year-old pregnant woman shot Wednesday during a domestic argument in East Knoxville has died.

Marcia Crider of Washington Avenue in Knoxville died Wednesday at the University of Tennessee Medical Center, according to Knoxville Police Department spokesman Darrell DeBusk.

Crider was 13 weeks pregnant, DeBusk said.

"The District Attorney's office said 13 weeks would not represent a viable fetus and would not support a second murder charge," DeBusk said this morning.

Crider's mother drove her to a nearby pay phone to call E-911 immediately after the attack, which was reported shortly before 11 a.m.

Boat

Disabled cruise ship previously had electrical problems, Carnival admits

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© AFP Photo
A cruise ship that lost power in the Gulf of Mexico, trapping more than 4,000 people aboard, had already suffered electrical problems as recently as a few weeks ago, its operator Carnival said Wednesday.

With the ship and its passengers still at sea being towed to safety, news of the Carnival Triumph's previous woes will increase pressure on the company, but a spokesman insisted the two sets of problems were unrelated.

"Carnival Triumph previously experienced an electrical issue with one of the ship's alternators," spokesman Vance Gulliksen told AFP.

"Repairs were conducted by the alternator supplier and were fully completed on February 2. There is no evidence at this time of any relationship between this previous issue and the fire that occurred on February 10."

Carnival said it has canceled several upcoming sailings of the stricken Triumph, which is being towed to a US port three days after finding itself adrift following Sunday's mishap.

Handcuffs

Olympic runner Oscar Pistorius charged with murder

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© Photo: Johannes Eisele, AFP/Getty Images
Oscar Pistorius competes in the London 2012 Olympic Games. He was charged with murder on Tursday for allegedly shooting his girlfriend at his home.
Britain's Sky News first named the woman as Reeva Steenkamp, a model and recent contestant on Tropika Island of Treasure 5, a South African reality TV show. Sarit Tomlinson, described by AP as Steenkamp's publicist, was quoted as saying, "We can confirm that Reeva Steenkamp has passed away." Police, however, have yet to confirm the woman's relationship with the Olympic and Paralympic athlete.

Representatives for Pistorius in South Africa and the United Kingdom could not immediately be reached for comment by USA TODAY Sports.

Earlier, multiple media outlets in the country, including the Mail & Guardian and the South African Press Agency, citing local police, said the woman, 30, died at the scene at the athlete's house in Pretoria. The original source of the report appears to be Beeld, an Afrikaans-language daily newspaper. Local radio also reported on the fatal shooting.

Sheriff

Man shot, killed by police suffered 14 gunshot wounds

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A coroner's report shows that a Colorado Springs man who was shot and killed by police during a chase suffered 14 gunshot wounds, 7 of them in his back.

23-year-old Robert Kresky was killed on December 4th. Police said they saw Kresky driving a stolen vehicle near Powers Boulevard and Astrozon Drive and he refused to pull over. Officers chased him for about five miles, and the pursuit ended when Kresky crashed with a police car. Police said Kresky was shot during a foot chase after he got out of the car and started running.

Kresky's family told KRDO NewsChannel 13 on Wednesday that they still have many unanswered questions. The family said they've been told police thought Kresky was armed, but no weapon was found.

Mr. Potato

Pat Robertson: Islam not religion but 'demonic political system'


Controversial conservative Christian leader Pat Robertson told viewers on Tuesday that Islam is not a religion but a demonic political and economic system with only a religious veneer.

Right Wing Watch reports that Pat Robertson, an influential leader in the US right-wing evangelical movement, passed judgement on Islam during an episode of his TV program "The 700 Club," in which he was responding to a news story about the war in Mali.

According to Right Wing Watch, Robertson, referring to Islam as religion of chaos, said:
"Every time you look up - these are angry people, it's almost like it's demonic that is driving them to kill and to maim and to destroy and to blow themselves up," Robertson said of Islam. "It's a religion of chaos... I hardly think to call it a religion, it's more of - well, it's an economic and political system with a religious veneer."

Stormtrooper

Police brutality: Queens teen claims NYPD brutality during January arrest - vicious beating caught on tape

Robert Jackson's attorney said he will ask the Queens DA to drop resisting arrest charges. The case against cops has been referred to Civilian Complaint Review Board.
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Robert Jackson, 19, said he suffered serious facial injuries during an arrest in Flushing on Jan. 8 when cops pushed his face to the pavement. This photo was taken days after the incident, his lawyer said.
A Queens teen with a checkered past said Tuesday he was unnecessarily roughed up by cops during an arrest last month.

Robert Jackson, 19, was collared on Jan. 8 outside of the Flushing YMCA for spewing profanities at an officer and ignoring requests to show his hands, according to court documents.

But during the arrest, police punched and mashed his face on the sidewalk, Jackson said, causing a sizeable C-shaped wound to his left cheek.

A small Ziploc bag of marijuana was found on Jackson, according to the criminal complaint.

"When I first saw my face, I was shocked," Jackson said Tuesday at a news conference in Flushing, still sporting facial abrasions.

Jacques Leandre, Jackson's defense attorney, said he plans to meet with Queens District Attorney Richard Brown this week and ask him to drop the charges.

Leandre, a Rosedale-based lawyer, is a candidate in next week's special election in the crowded race to fill the vacant City Council District 31 seat in southern Queens.