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Iran rejects U.S. request to return spy drone

Iran has--unsurprisingly--rejected an American request to return its downed spy drone.

President Obama, speaking at a news conference with the visiting Iraqi prime minister Monday, said the United States had asked Iran to give the downed American reconnaissance plane back.

"We've asked for it back," President Obama said of the drone Monday. "We'll see how the Iranians respond."

Iranian news agencies ridiculed the request on Tuesday as Iranian officials made clear they had no intention of giving back the American drone.

"Obama begs Iran to give him back his toy plane," proclaimed a headline from Iran's Fars News Agency Tuesday.

Comment: So Jennifer, they don't have 10 of your agents? Hezbollah controls a news agency, wouldn't that be cause they are a political body vs. American claims of being a terrorist organization? The Government of tiny Lebanon allows Hezbollah to operate and is not out trying to prosecute them. Why is that? Why is no one consistently sounding the alarm bells? Because they are a threat to no one but those who threaten it. Stop the threats, make peace and you have the recipe for something good to last. Continue to threaten, attack and you have a recipe for more of the same. And more of the same is all the Western nations want, in the hope that it keeps us from realizing what is going on at home (Empiricism, Police State(s), Militarism and Pathocracy).


US: Gun from passenger's bag in Atlanta airport accidentally fired

© unknown
Richard Popkin forgot that he had a loaded pistol in his bag while at the airport
A pistol discovered in a passenger's carry-on bag was accidentally fired inside the Atlanta airport, grazing a police officer, authorities said on Monday.

Security screeners at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport spotted the .22-caliber pistol Sunday via an X-ray machine and notified Atlanta police, Transportation Security Administration spokesman Jonathan Allen said.

Authorities said the gun was loaded with five rounds of ammunition known as "snake shot," which typically is used to kill small animals. As a police officer tried to remove the rounds while pointing the weapon at a screening table, the gun was unintentionally fired, according to an incident report.

"I was grazed by a pellet fragment on the left side of my face," the officer wrote in the report.

The passenger, a 43-year-old Georgia man, was arrested on weapons charges and remained in jail early on Monday. He told police that he "travels to Florida often on business and keeps the weapon on him for protection, not to kill anyone but in an attempt to scare people off," the report said.

So far this year, TSA has discovered more than 1,100 firearms at airport security checkpoints, the agency said.


More Than 900 Police Make Early Morning Raids Across Canada in Huge Criminal Probe

© Brett Gundlock / Globe and Mail
Toronto police say they'll release details this afternoon of a massive investigation that resulted in raids this morning in Ontario, Alberta and B.C.

Early today, more than 900 officers executed 67 search warrants simultaneously across Ontario and in Western Canada.

Police say nearly 400 tactical officers were involved in the raids in Toronto, across Ontario in London, Hamilton, Durham Region, York Region, Peel Region, Windsor and Ottawa, and in Calgary and Surrey, B.C.

Investigators say Project Marvel involved criminal organization offences, attempted murder, firearms trafficking and importation, drug trafficking, robbery, shootings, prostitution and other crimes.

Police say the probe initially involved investigators from Toronto, London, Ont., Ontario's Waterloo Region and Ontario Provincial Police.


Please Can We Have Our Ball Back? Barack Obama demands Iran return downed US drone

© unknown
President Barack Obama on Monday acknowledged a US drone was in Iranian hands for the first time and said the United States has asked Tehran to return the sophisticated spy aircraft.

"We've asked for it back. We'll see how the Iranians respond," Obama said at a news conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

It was the first open confirmation by the Obama administration that Iran was in possession of the drone, which Tehran says it brought down as the plane was flying over the country's territory.

Obama, however, shed no further light on the plane's mission or why it failed to return to a base in Afghanistan.

"With respect to the drone inside of Iran, I'm not going to comment on intelligence matters that are classified," he said.

The bat-winged RQ-170 Sentinel, designed to evade radar for surveillance flights, was on a CIA mission when it went missing, US officials, speaking anonymously, have said previously.

Comment: Quite laughable behaviour that sounds like a childhood playground request to ask for their ball back from a neighbour or a murderer asking for his knife back left at the crime scene.


US, California: 5-Year-Old Handcuffed, Charged With Battery On Officer

Boy Cuffed With Zip Ties On Hands, Feet

Earlier this year, a Stockton student was handcuffed with zip ties on his hands and feet, forced to go to the hospital for a psychiatric evaluation and was charged with battery on a police officer. That student was 5 years old.

Michael Davis is diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD. His mother says it has led to fights at school. But when the school district said it had a plan to change Michael's behavior, his mother says things went wrong.

"Michael is energetic," Thelma Gray said. "He is one big ball of energy."

Gray calls Michael a comedian. She says his biggest problem is his ADHD stops him from thinking before he acts or speaks.

"He's very loving," Gray said. "He's a good kid and he's not the discipline problem that he was made out to be."

Those discipline problems include fights with other students, even throwing a chair.


U.S. Proposes Unmanned Border Entry With Mexico

Oct. 31, 2011: The Rio Grande river flows past Big Bend National Park, Texas.

Oct. 31, 2011: The Rio Grande river flows past Big Bend National Park, Texas.

Big Bend National Park, Texas - The bloody drug war in Mexico shows no sign of relenting. Neither do calls for tighter border security amid rising fears of spillover violence.

This hardly seems a time the U.S. would be willing to allow people to cross the border legally from Mexico without a customs officer in sight. But in this rugged, remote West Texas terrain where wading across the shallow Rio Grande undetected is all too easy, federal authorities are touting a proposal to open an unmanned port of entry as a security upgrade.

By the spring, kiosks could open up in Big Bend National Park allowing people from the tiny Mexican town of Boquillas del Carmen to scan their identity documents and talk to a customs officer in another location, at least 100 miles away.

The crossing, which would be the nation's first such port of entry with Mexico, has sparked opposition from some who see it as counter intuitive in these days of heightened border security. Supporters say the crossing would give the isolated Mexican town long-awaited access to U.S. commerce, improve conservation efforts and be an unlikely target for criminal operations.

Comment: A little odd! Why now? What's up?


Butter Shortage in Norway: Bids to Roughly $465 Per Pound

© n/a
An acute butter shortage in Norway, one of the world's richest countries, has left people worrying how to bake their Christmas goodies with store shelves emptied and prices through the roof.

The shortfall, expected to last into January, amounts to between 500 and 1,000 tonnes, said Tine, Norway's main dairy company, while online sellers have offered 500-gramme packs for up to 350 euros ($465).

The dire shortage poses a serious challenge for Norwegians who are trying to finish their traditional Christmas baking -- a task which usually requires them to make at least seven different kinds of biscuits.

The shortfall has been blamed on a rainy summer that cut into feed production and therefore dairy output, but also the ballooning popularity of a low-carbohydrate, fat-rich diet that has sent demand for butter soaring.

"Compared to 2010, demand has grown by as much as 30 percent," Tine spokesman Lars Galtung told AFP.

Last Friday, customs officers stopped a Russian at the Norwegian-Swedish border and seized 90 kilos (198 pounds) of butter stashed in his car.


Canada Bans Burqas and Niqab Veils at Citizenship Ceremonies

© Christopher Furlong/Getty Images/Postmedia News
Jason Kenney, right, said on Monday that Niqabs, such as the one left, could not be worn during Canadian citizenship ceremonies.
Muslim women will be banned from wearing face coverings such as burka and niqab veils when swearing the oath of citizenship, under new rules announced Monday.

"Starting today, any individual will have to show his or her face when taking the oath of citizenship," Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced in Montreal.

"Allowing a group to hide their faces while they are becoming members of our community is counter to Canada's commitment to openness, equality and social cohesion," he explained.

Currently at airports, veiled Muslim women may opt to show their face only to a female security screener. They may also vote in elections without showing their face. But Kenney said from today all women must remove any face coverings before crossing the final hurdle in becoming a Canadian citizen.

Eye 2

US: Child sex abuse scandal rocks Orthodox Jewish community after 85 arrested

child abuse orthodox jews
© Reuters
Hushed up: The Orthodox Jewish community has been reluctant to turn suspected child abusers over to authorities in the past but an initiative in Brooklyn aims to help victims come forward
117 alleged victims spoke out from tight-knit religious society

An Orthodox Jewish community has had to face up to claims of child sex abuse after 83 men and two women were arrested.

An initiative was set up to encourage victims to come forward despite pressure from the close-knit religious society to hush up the crimes.

Some 117 male and female victims have approached authorities in Brooklyn, New York since 2006.

According to the New York Post, one suspect Andrew Goodman, 27, worked with Jewish charities involving vulnerable young people and the disabled.

He was charged with sexually abusing two Orthodox boys at his home in the Flatbush neighbourhood last September.

One child was abused between the ages of 11 and 15, the other from 13 until he was 16 years old.

Goodman reportedly filmed sex acts with the boys on a webcam after plying them with alcohol in his bedroom and making them watch child porn.

Neighbours had filmed Goodman sneaking the children into the home he shared with his parents and sister between 3am and 5.30am.


Occupy protesters halt work at some West Coast ports

Occupy Vancouver to join West Coast protests
© Kimberly White/Getty
Protesters attempt to block an entrance to the Port of Oakland on Dec. 12, 2011 in Oakland, California.

Hundreds of Wall Street protesters blocked gates at some of the West Coast's busiest ports on Monday, causing the partial shutdown of several in a day of demonstrations they hope will cut into the profits of the corporations that run the docks.

The closures affected some of the terminals at the ports in Oakland, Calif., Portland, Ore., and Longview, Wash., though it was not immediately clear the how much the shutdowns would affect operations and what the economic loss would be.

From California to as far away as Vancouver, British Columbia, protesters picketed gates at the ports, causing longer wait times for trucks. There were no major clashes with police.

In Oakland, shipping companies and the longshoremen's union agreed to send home about 150 workers, essentially halting operations at two terminals. In Portland, authorities shuttered two terminals after arresting two people who were carrying weapons.

And in Longview, Wash., workers were sent home out of concerns for their "health and safety."