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Wed, 27 Jan 2021
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Foreigners complain of harassment by Libya rebels

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© Associated Press
Tripoli, Libya: A Ghanaian teacher cowers in his house, certain he will be grabbed at a checkpoint because of his dark skin. Armed rebels detain 19 Ukrainian cooks and oil workers for several days on unsupported claims that they are really snipers for Moammar Gadhafi.

They're among thousands of foreigners caught in a web of suspicion as rebel fighters pursue the remnants of Gadhafi's forces. Gadhafi hired some foreigners as mercenaries, but many others held ordinary jobs in Libya, and the rebels who ousted the Gadhafi regime from most of Tripoli last month often seem to make little effort to tell them apart.

"How can we be snipers?" cook Maksim Shadrov asked angrily at a training center for oil workers in Tripoli where he, his wife and 17 other Ukrainians were being held.

Family

US: Newborn Fatally Mauled by Family Dog Near Houston, Texas

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© Unknown
A two-week-old Houston-area boy has died after being mauled by the family dog.

The incident happened Saturday night as the baby sat in an infant carrier on the floor of a room in the family house. Harris County sheriff's spokesman Thomas Gilliland says the dog, a Labrador mix, began sniffing the child and attacked him before the parents could pull it away.

The child was airlifted to Memorial Hermann Hospital, where he died early Sunday. Animal control officers have taken custody of the dog for quarantine.

Question

What could Obama have done differently to create jobs and improve the economy?

obama
© Unknown
When President Obama stands before Congress on Thursday to lay out his new ideas for the improving the economy, he will face a daunting task. Job growth ground to a halt in August, unemployment remains above 9 percent, and the president's approval ratings have fallen to around 40 percent. How much blame does Obama deserve for the bleak position the country is in?

For the last year or so, a debate has unfolded about where--and whether--the president's policies went wrong in trying to revive the economy. The implications are anything but academic.

The latest volley took place over the past couple of weeks, when Bloomberg View's Jonathan Alter and the Washington Post's Ezra Klein each called on Obama's critics, on the left and the right, to get specific about what they would have done differently if they were the president. In response, David Frum, who served as a speechwriter for President Bush but lately has been sharply critical of the Republican Party, and Mickey Kaus, a self-described contrarian liberal who blogs for the conservative Daily Caller website, took up the challenge. And in response to that, Jared Bernstein, a former top economic adviser to Vice President Joe Biden, pushed back against Frum's criticisms.

What are Obama's critics suggesting he should have done to improve the economy? And what's the evidence that their favored approaches would have been more effective?

People

Libyan rebels round up black Africans

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© Associated Press/Francois Mori
Tripoli, Libya: Rebel forces and armed civilians are rounding up thousands of black Libyans and migrants from sub-Sahara Africa, accusing them of fighting for ousted strongman Moammar Gadhafi and holding them in makeshift jails across the capital.

Virtually all of the detainees say they are innocent migrant workers, and in most cases there is no evidence that they are lying. But that is not stopping the rebels from placing the men in facilities like the Gate of the Sea sports club, where about 200 detainees - all black - clustered on a soccer field this week, bunching against a high wall to avoid the scorching sun.

Handling the prisoners is one of the first major tests for the rebel leaders, who are scrambling to set up a government that they promise will respect human rights and international norms, unlike the dictatorship they overthrew.

Mail

US: Postal Service Is Nearing Default as Losses Mount

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© Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Labor represents 80 percent of the agency's expenses.
The United States Postal Service has long lived on the financial edge, but it has never been as close to the precipice as it is today: the agency is so low on cash that it will not be able to make a $5.5 billion payment due this month and may have to shut down entirely this winter unless Congress takes emergency action to stabilize its finances.

"Our situation is extremely serious," the postmaster general, Patrick R. Donahoe, said in an interview. "If Congress doesn't act, we will default."

In recent weeks, Mr. Donahoe has been pushing a series of painful cost-cutting measures to erase the agency's deficit, which will reach $9.2 billion this fiscal year. They include eliminating Saturday mail delivery, closing up to 3,700 postal locations and laying off 120,000 workers - nearly one-fifth of the agency's work force - despite a no-layoffs clause in the unions' contracts.

The post office's problems stem from one hard reality: it is being squeezed on both revenue and costs.

As any computer user knows, the Internet revolution has led to people and businesses sending far less conventional mail.

At the same time, decades of contractual promises made to unionized workers, including no-layoff clauses, are increasing the post office's costs. Labor represents 80 percent of the agency's expenses, compared with 53 percent at United Parcel Service and 32 percent at FedEx, its two biggest private competitors. Postal workers also receive more generous health benefits than most other federal employees.

Bizarro Earth

US: Police: Kids Found Living In Trash-Filled Car; 2 Arrested

Mount Dora Police Discover Incident In Walmart Parking Lot



Mount Dora, Florida - A man and woman were arrested early Monday after they were found living with three children, one of whom had second-degree burns, inside a garbage-filled car in the parking lot of a Mount Dora Walmart, according to authorities.

Justin Hamilton, 31, of Paisley, and Kristin Harris, 26, of Eustis, were arrested and charged with child neglect.

According to Mount Dora police, officers were called around 7:40 a.m. to the Walmart on U.S. Highway 441 in connection with a suspicious vehicle.

Cult

US, Wisconsin: Heavy police presence for West Allis neo-Nazi rally


More than 130 law enforcement officers from seven different agencies saturated the area around West Allis City Hall Saturday - all an effort to keep the peace during a neo-Nazi rally in response to the State Fair mob attacks.

"They (officers) were basically everywhere," said Deputy Chief Charles Padgett with West Allis Police Department.

Padgett said federal agencies also aided. The FBI helped local law enforcement develop a strategy.

Camcorder

US,Illinois: You Can't Videotape Police in a Police State

A man in Illinois faces a possible 75-year sentence for video- and audio recording his interaction with police officials. The man had brought a lawsuit against the local police department for selectively and illegally targeting him for various minor citations.


People

Trinidad and Tobago: What a Sorry State We're In

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© Andrea De Silva/Reuters
A policeman checks a vehicle on a main street in Trinidad and Tobago, which is under night-time curfew.
Well, well, well - Trinidad and Tobago is now in a State of Emergency in an attempt at reducing crime, or at least, so they say.

In the 7 p.m. newscast on Monday 22 August, I saw numerous police officers performing their duties. This was excellent, and cements the statement which I've always made concerning crime and the police. This statement is, "if the police officers will simply do their duty, crime would reduce, full stop".

Why did it take a State of Emergency to get these cops to work, to suddenly have sufficient vehicles to be everywhere? Poor management is the simple answer; because as with any failing business, the cause is always a managerial issue.

Bizarro Earth

Trinidad Declares State of Emergency in Crime Hot-Spots

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A limited state of emergency is in force in several areas of Trinidad, as the government moves to tackle a recent spike in violent crime.

The measures, announced on Sunday by Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, include an overnight curfew.

She said they were targeting what she called "hot spots" as part of efforts to tackle "wanton acts of lawlessness".

The opposition said it was a "panic response" by the government.

The declaration of emergency rule in six areas in Trinidad, which will last 15 days, came after the country saw 11 murders in just a couple of days.

Ms Persad-Bissessar said the killings were a reaction by drug gangs to recent major seizures by the police of consignments worth millions of dollars.