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Fri, 25 Sep 2020
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Iraqis Mark End of US Occupation

Thousands of Iraqis have taken into the streets in the western city of Fallujah to celebrate the withdrawal of US troops from the country.
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© unknown
Iraqi protesters burned Israeli and US flags during a rally in Fallujah to celebrate the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, Dec. 14, 2011.

Burning US and Israeli flags and carrying photos of Fallujah residents killed by US forces after the 2003 US-led invasion, the demonstrators on Wednesday described resistance against American invaders key to their country's freedom.

The demonstration was dubbed the first annual "festival to celebrate the role of the resistance".

"Celebrations mark a historical day for the city of Fallujah and we should remember in pride the martyrs who sacrificed their blood for the sake of this city," Reuters quoted Dhabi al-Arsan, deputy governor of Anbar province, as saying.

Handcuffs

US: '5,000-Plus Occupy Protesters Arrested'

The US police have arrested over 5,000 people attending anti-corporatism protests across the country over the past three months, a report says.
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© unknown
A protester is arrested near the Occupy Portland encampment in the city of Portland, Oregon in northwestern US on November 13, 2011.

There have been 5,425 arrests during Occupy protests in 94 cities across the United States up to December 12, according to St. Pete for Peace, an Occupy-affiliated group from St. Petersburg, Florida.

The group says it only tracks 'confirmed arrests.'

It says its list represents "a running total of the number of Occupy protesters arrested around the US since the Occupy Wall Street movement began [in September]."

Info

Egyptians Head to Polls Again in Landmark Election

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© Agence France-Presse/Mohammed Abed
Balloting began Wednesday with a "large voter turnout," said Hamdi Badeen, a member of the ruling council
Egyptians were headed to the polls again on Thursday in a phased election to choose the first post-revolution parliament, as liberals faced an uphill battle to compete with Islamist parties.

Ten months after a popular uprising ended Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule, the country's new political landscape looks set to be dominated by Islamist parties which clinched two thirds of the votes in the opening stage of the election.

Polling stations are due to open at 8:00 am (0600 GMT) in a third of the country's 27 provinces.

Voters are required to cast three ballots: two for individual candidates and one for a party or coalition, in the assembly's 498 seats. The ruling military council which took power when Mubarak was ousted in February will nominate a further 10 deputies.

The second round of the three-stage polls takes place in Cairo's twin city of Giza; Beni Sueif south of the capital; the Nile Delta provinces of Menufiya, Sharqiya and Beheira; the canal cities of Ismailiya and Suez and the southern cities Sohag and Aswan.

Airplane

US: F.A.A. Approves iPads in Cockpits, but Not for Passengers

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© unknown
The Federal Aviation Administration said Tuesday that pilots on American Airlines flights would be allowed to use iPads instead of paper flight manuals in the cockpit starting Friday, as reported by ZDNet, even during takeoff and landing. But passengers are still required to shut down anything with the slightest electronic pulse from the moment a plane leaves the gate until it reaches an altitude of 10,000 feet.

The rule barring passengers from using a Kindle, an iPad or even a calculator were originally made to protect the electronics of an aircraft from interference. Yet pilots with iPads will be enclosed in the cockpit just a few inches from critical aviation equipment.

There is some thought that the rule forbidding devices during takeoff and landing was made to ensure that passengers paid attention. The F.A.A. has never claimed this. (If this was the case, passengers would not be allowed to have books, magazines or newspapers during takeoff and landing.)

The F.A.A.'s stance regarding devices on planes has been revised several times. Last month, in my weekly Disruptions column, I noted that the rules requiring passengers to turn off devices, like Kindles and iPads, seem outdated. At the time I spoke with Les Dorr, a spokesman for the F.A.A., who said the reason for the ban was that the agency would rather err on the side of caution when it came to allowing digital devices on planes.

Dollar

US: Salvation Army Issues Urgent Plea For Help

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© Getty Images
Salvation Army Bell Ringers collect funds for charity.
Times are tough in metro Detroit, so much so that red kettles are as silent as mice, with very little cheerful clanging of change.

The Salvation Army of Metro Detroit is still $5 million away from reaching its $8.2 million 2011 Red Kettle Campaign fundraising goal, and 9 percent below its fundraising pace from last year. Scrambling, the charity issued an "urgent plea" for help Wednesday.

"With 16.8 percent of Michigan residents living in poverty - the highest percentage in four decades - we simply can't afford to miss making our goal of $8.2 million this year," said Major Mark Anderson, general secretary and metro Detroit area commander for The Salvation Army of Metro Detroit.

"We are counting on the generosity of metro Detroiter's to help us keep doing the most good this holiday season and throughout the entire year."

The financial goal of this year's kettle campaign is slightly higher than the funds collected last year, said Major Curtiss Hartley, divisional youth officer of the Salvation Army in Metro Detroit. Why raise the goal when money is so hard to come by?

Pistol

US: Firearm Sales Way Up During Holiday Season


If you've pulled the trigger on a new firearm this holiday season, join the club.

As in your neighborhood shooting club, because faster than a speeding bullet, guns are going out the door.

Well, not right away, of course - there is that 10-day waiting period, 11 here at TDS Guns in Rocklin, where Bob Norgard wasn't caught off-guard.

He's making his purchase today so he'll have his firearm under the Christmas tree as he joins a growing number of people who say they're simply "doing what they need to do to protect themselves and their family."

This surge in gun sales - the best holiday sales season in three years, according to the Firearms Dealers Association - got a shot in the arm on Black Friday.

Cheeseburger

US, California: Shooting Doesn't Scare Drivers From In-N-Out

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© North County Times/Hayne Palmour IV
A shooting wasn't enough to scare drivers away from an In-N-Out drive thru in Pinole.
Pinole Police Department is forced to send burger-lovers home after shooting.

Would you wait in line just feet away from where a shooting took place to eat a burger?

Apparently some people in Pinole will if its an In-N-Out Burger.

On Monday evening at 5 a man in his 20s reportedly shot another man in his 20s just outside the In-N-Out Burger driver thru in Pinole.

The shooter ran away and was not caught but the victim suffered injuries serious enough that he had to be airlifted to a regional trauma center and is in critical condition.

Bizarro Earth

US, South Carolina: Horror as Walmart stays open after husband 'stabs wife to death in front of shoppers in the middle of the store'


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© WYFF4
Arrested: Avery Blandin, 46, will be taken to Greenville County Detention Center to await a bond hearing on Monday
A South Carolina man has been charged with murder in the death of his wife, who was fatally stabbed inside a Greenville County Walmart this weekend.

But as shoppers looked on in horror, store management roped off the area for homicide investigators and continued to operate as usual.

Avery L Blandin, 46, is accused of killing Lilia Blandin, 38, who worked at the Woodforest Bank inside the discount retail store in Berea.

Greenville County Sheriff's Office Master Deputy Jenning said police were called to at 1:21pm on Saturday to the Walmart at 6134 White Horse Road, where they found Mrs Blandin with stab wounds.

She was transported to the hospital but died shortly after.

Heart - Black

US, New York: Ex-Officer Kills His Wife, a State Tax Agent, in Queens

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© Robert Stolarik / The New York Times
A Christmas tree decorated by Tracey Young, her building's “go-to person,” who was shot and killed on Saturday night.
A state tax agent who specialized in investigating the trafficking of illegal cigarettes was shot to death by her husband, a former New York police officer, the authorities said on Sunday.

The body of the investigator, Tracey Young, 42, was discovered by the police and paramedics shortly after 11 p.m. Saturday in her apartment on the eighth floor of 143-41 84th Drive, in Briarwood, Queens. She had been shot several times in the head and torso, and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Early Sunday, Ms. Young's husband, Clarence Cash, 49, turned himself in to the police and was charged with murder and criminal possession of a weapon, according to a spokeswoman for the Queens district attorney's office.

Ms. Young worked in the Criminal Investigations Division of the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. She was involved in surveillance work and undercover stings against illicit cigarette importers. "She was an energetic, enthusiastic, constantly upbeat investigator," said William Comiskey, a former deputy commissioner of the department. "Her focus was on combating bootleg cigarettes, and it put her into regular contact with people who had the potential for doing violence. She is really going to be missed."

Sheriff

US: Facing Budget Cuts, Pennsylvania State Police Forecast Possibility of Laying Off 500 Troopers

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© Joe Hermitt/The Patriot-News
Imagine calling 911 for the Pennsylvania State Police and not seeing a trooper for hours, even days.

It's a scenario that state lawmakers and troopers foresee if the department's budget is cut 5 percent next year, forcing what would be the first layoffs in the state police history.

An internal department document obtained by The Patriot-News forecasts the potential for 400 to 500 trooper layoffs under a budget proposal to trim the department's spending. That's approximately 10 percent of the nearly 4,400 troopers currently employed by the department. The cuts would also force stations around the state to close.

The department provides full- or part-time police service to two-thirds of the state's municipalities and is relied upon by virtually all police departments to provide specialized services such as DNA, drug and ballistics testing.

The situation doesn't appear to look much better even if the department's $900 million budget holds steady next year, according to the document.

The document identifies the elimination of state police academy cadet classes until at least July 2013, closing five barracks and a freeze on civilian hiring among the cuts that scenario would require.