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NYPD: Man stabbed outside Queens mosque, attacker screamed anti-Muslim rant

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© Norman Y. Lono/New York Daily News
Scene of a stabbing attack on a Queens man outside the Masjid Al-Saaliheen mosque Sunday morning.
New York - A Queens man was stabbed repeatedly outside a mosque by a would-be killer who shouted anti-Muslim comments, police said.

The victim, identified by friends as Bashar Mohammod, 57, was attacked from behind while opening the Masjid Al-Saaliheen mosque for prayer around 4:45 a.m., police said. The attacker, described as a Hispanic man in his 40s, stabbed Mohammod repeatedly while shouting anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim slurs. The victim might have lost a finger in the attack, said a friend, Mohammad Omar, who visited Mohammod at Queens General Hospital where he was treated and released. "The person told him that he doesn't like Muslims," said Omar. "That person was trying to kill him."

Fellow worshippers described the victim, originally from Afghanistan, as a devout Muslim who often led morning prayer at the Kissena Blvd. mosque. "He prays five times a day. He's a very good guy." said fellow worshipper Dawood Mashriqi. "He's an early bird." Investigators had the mosque cordoned off late Sunday afternoon even as worshippers made their way to prayer. No arrests have been made.

People 2

Anti-gay marriage protesters rally in Paris

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People hold a banner during a Paris protest against same-sex marriage.
Thousands of Catholics and other opponents of French government plans to legalise gay marriage and same-sex adoption marched in Paris on Sunday, a day after more than 100,000 turned out across France for the cause.

The rally, organised by conservative Catholic group Civitas, was marred by accusations that journalists covering the rally and topless counter-protesters partially dressed as nuns had been roughed up by demonstrators.

French feminist writer and columnist Caroline Fourest said about a dozen topless activists from the Ukrainian-based women's movement Femen had shown up to the protest dressed as nuns and chanting "humourous" slogans.

"When they moved toward the demonstrators, some of (the protesters) ran after them, raging," Fourest said in a phone call with AFP from a police wagon, where the women had been taken for their own safety.

She claimed the women were hit by their pursuers, who also lashed out at journalists filming the scene.

Several photographers were roughed up, an AFP photographer said. The local police station said officers had made five arrests.

French Socialist party first secretary Harlem Desir denounced the aggression as "stupid".

People

Thousands of Chinese protest, smash police cars

Beijing - Thousands of residents protested in a southeastern Chinese city after a traffic accident, smashing police cars and overturning three police vans, police and residents said.

The reason for the protest in Fuan city in Fujian province was unclear. Police said it was instigated by "a handful of lawless people." One resident said people became angry because police and paramedics took nearly an hour to arrive to help the injured, while a Hong Kong-based human rights group said it was to do with corruption.

But such protests have become increasingly common in China, and Saturday's violence is another reminder that the country's new leadership has to deal with underlying social discontent that often boils over. People are fed up with corruption and high-handed officialdom, pensions that have not kept pace with inflation, and families being forced from their homes to make way for developments.

Residents said police were stopping cars and checking people for driving after drinking on Saturday evening when the accident happened on a main road in Fuan.

Wanting to avoid being tested, a driver in a sedan accelerated away and police started chasing the car, said a resident, who would give only his surname, Lin. About three motorcycles were hit during the chase, said Lin, adding he wasn't sure who hit them.

"About 10,000 to 20,000 onlookers became angry because police officers and paramedics took nearly one hour to arrive," said Lin.

He estimated that 1,000 to 2,000 people clashed with police and overturned three police vans.

Info

Britain defends shooting pigs for army medic training

pigs
Britain's Ministry of Defence on Sunday defended its practice of shooting pigs and giving the wounded animals to military surgeons to practice treating common battlefield injuries.

Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals spokesperson Klare Kennett said the training exercises, which take place twice a year in Denmark, were "abhorrent and shocking".

"Pigs are intelligent animals and most people would be appalled by this, especially as there is an alternative available which does not involve harming any animals," she said.

The ministry said the training gave surgeons "invaluable experience" and "helped save lives on operations".

The animals are heavily anaesthetised before being shot at close range "to damage organs but not kill the animals", and are then operated on before being killed humanely, the ministry said.

Pistol

Dolphins found shot, slashed, stabbed

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© The Associated Press/Institute for Marine Mammal Studies
This November 2012 photo provided by the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies of Gulfport Miss., shows a fatally wounded dolphin. A gunshot wound can be seen at lower left. Authorities are investigating several attacks on dolphins in the northern Gulf of Mexico after some were found with gunshot wounds, cuts and missing jaws.
Authorities are investigating several attacks on dolphins in the northern Gulf of Mexico after some were found with gunshot wounds, cuts and missing jaws.

The Sun Herald reports that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has issued a "heads up" directive. That puts officials on alert for an increase in human interaction with dolphins in the waters across Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

Authorities say cases of gunshot wounds, mutilations and other injuries have been detected in recent months.

Scientists from the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport have responded to four dolphin strandings. And on Friday, a team went to Deer Island and found a second dolphin dead with a portion of his jaw missing.

A dolphin found dead earlier near Gautier had a 9mm bullet wound.

People 2

Thousands of LAX workers set for walkout on Thanksgiving Eve

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© Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
California - Employees at Los Angeles International Airport were considering plans Friday to walk off the job ahead on what is traditionally the busiest traveling day of the year.

A coalition of Southland labor and community leaders are calling for the protest of alleged violations by LAX contractor Aviation Safeguards (AVSG) after breaking their contract with the airport earlier this year.

Andrew Gross-Gaitan, the director of the Southern California Airports Division of SEIU, told KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO that AVSG left more than 400 LAX workers without affordable family health care when it failed to comply with the city's Living Wage Ordinance.

Handcuffs

TSA stops, jails man with 'strange watch' at airport, charges him with having bomb-making materials

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© Santa Rita Jail
Geoffrey McGann
A Southern California man was arrested at Oakland International Airport after security officers found him wearing an unusual watch they said could be used to make a timing device for a bomb, authorities said Friday.

Geoffrey McGann, 49, of Rancho Palos Verdes was taken into custody Thursday night after he tried to pass through airport security with an ornate watch that had switches, wires and fuses, according to Sgt. J.D. Nelson, a spokesman for the Alameda County Sheriff's Department.

A bomb squad arrived within five minutes and determined there were no explosive materials in the watch, Nelson said. The checkpoint was closed while officers secured the area.

McGann was taken to Santa Rita Jail in Dublin where he was charged with possessing materials to make an explosive device, sheriff's officials said. He was still in custody Friday night and could not be reached for comment.

Cloud Grey

Aid pours into New Jersey as many residents still struggle to stay warm

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© Robert Sciarrino/The Star-Ledger
Utility workers pick up supplies stored in the staging area located in the Essex County Shopping Center in he early morning hours. West Orange, NJ
Traveling from one storm-ravaged city to another, a "Train of Hope" steamed into Newark from New Orleans Saturday afternoon, nearly two weeks after Hurricane Sandy tore through New Jersey. Instead of passengers, however, the Amtrak train came laden with relief supplies.

It was just one ray of light on an otherwise mild, gray day, as many New Jerseyans struggled to get back to normalcy, crowding malls and supermarkets, while others continued to struggle just to get by.

Residents of Long Beach Island were finally allowed back in to see the damage caused by the superstorm, while about 113,000 homes and businesses statewide remained without power.

About 90,000 Jersey Central Power & Light customers were expected to have their electricity restored last night, according to Chris Eck, a company spokesperson. However, for many customers in the barrier island communities "the damage is so great that it's going to be awhile," he said.

Erica Lembo, a spokeswoman for Public Service Electric & Gas, said most of the roughly 15,800 customers still in the dark and cold would also be back online last night.

While some waited for light and heat and others sifted through debris, what became abundantly clear over the weekend was that aide was continuing to pour into the state. From all corners of America, by car, by bus and by rail, volunteers extended hands and hearts, offering food, supplies or just hard work. Sometimes the impetus to assist was as simple as the text exchanged between two Louisiana women:

"We've got to help these people."

That was the message Kim Bergeron received from her friend, Donna O'Daniels, nine days ago.

"We got the idea about midnight last Thursday," said Bergeron, director of cultural and public affairs for Slidell, La., a city of about 30,000, some 34 miles northeast of New Orleans. She jumped at the chance and the next day she and Bergeron got to work.

Pyramid

The Great Convergence at the Pyramids in Egypt on December 21st 2012

Convergence Logo
© The Confluence Group
The other day I received this email to my personal blog from one of the organizers of THE GREAT CONVERGENCE 2012 in Egypt, a three-day festival that is taking place at the Great Pyramids of Giza followed by a five-day Nile cruise over the Winter Solstice, Dec 20-28, 2012. Here it is with my reply:

2 + 2 = 4

Subprime students: How Wall Street profits from the college loan mess

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© commondreams.org
Five years after Wall Street crashed the economy by irresponsibly securitizing and peddling mortgage debt, the financial industry is coming under growing scrutiny for its shady involvement in student loan debt.

For a host of reasons, including a major decline in public dollars for higher education, going to college today means borrowing - and all that borrowing has resulted in a growing and heavy hand for Wall Street in the lending, packaging, buying, servicing and collection of student loans. Now, with $1 trillion of student loans currently outstanding, it's becoming increasingly clear that many of the same problems found in the subprime mortgage market - rapacious and predatory lending practices, sloppy and inefficient customer service and aggressive debt collection practices - are also cropping up in the student loan industrial complex.

This similarity is especially striking in the market for private student loans - which currently make up $150 billion of the $1 trillion of existing student loans.