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US: Michael Jackson Likely Caused His Own Death, Witness Testifies

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© The Associated Press
Paul White
A leading anesthesiologist on Friday told jurors in the trial of Michael Jackson's personal physician that the singer probably caused his own death by injecting himself with a dose of the drug while his doctor wasn't looking.

In his testimony, defense expert Paul White directly challenged the theory put forth by the government's main medical witness, Dr. Steven Shafer. The prosecution expert testified that the only plausible scenario was that Dr. Conrad Murray had left a large intravenous drip of the anesthetic propofol running into the singer's bloodstreams for three hours, even after he stopped breathing.

On Friday, White said Shafer's theory was ruled out by the level of the drug found in Jackson's urine at autopsy. Given the urine levels and evidence at the scene, the more likely explanation was that the singer gave himself the drug, said White, one of the first U.S. researchers to study the drug.

Phoenix

US, Florida: Woman Guilty of Trying to Burn Husband to Death During Nap

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© unknown
Kimberly Boone was found guilty on all counts Friday.
A Florida woman was convicted of trying to murder her husband by setting the couple's bedroom on fire while he napped, in one of two suspected attempts to kill him, authorities said on Saturday.

Kimberly Boone, 46, who investigators believe tried twice over four months to kill Robert Boone for his life insurance money, was convicted of attempted murder and arson, a spokesman for the Seminole County Jail booking center said. She is scheduled to be sentenced on December 5. A jury deliberated four hours on Friday before issuing the verdict.

Prosecutors said Kimberly Boone, a college financial aid manager from Winter Springs, Florida, set the couple's bedroom on fire in December 2008 while Robert Boone slept. She drugged her husband with the anti-anxiety medication Xanax, making it harder for him to escape the fire, they said.

Investigators found search records on her laptop for information on making someone violently ill, poisoning, making a house explode, overdosing on Xanax, and how fire marshals determine the cause of a fire, according to the arrest affidavit.

Wall Street

Libya to Ban Interest on Loans

Mustafa Abdul Jalil
© AP
Mustafa Abdul Jalil, the chairman of the National Transitional Council

Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, the chairman of the National Transitional Council and de fact president, had already declared that Libyan laws in future would have Sharia, the Islamic code, as its "basic source".

But that formulation can be interpreted in many ways - it was also the basis of Egypt's largely secular constitution under President Hosni Mubarak, and remains so after his fall.

Mr Abdul-Jalil went further, specifically lifting immediately, by decree, one law from Col. Gaddafi's era that he said was in conflict with Sharia - that banning polygamy.

Bizarro Earth

Syria Has One of Bloodiest Days of Uprising

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© Reuters
Demonstrators protesting against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad march through the streets after Friday prayers in Hula, near Homs October 28, 2011. Picture taken October 28, 2011.
Syrian tanks pounded an old district in the city of Homs on Saturday and three people were killed, activists said, after one of the bloodiest days of the seven-month-old uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.

Activists and residents said Syrian forces shot dead 40 civilians on Friday when they fired on demonstrators calling for international protection from Assad's crackdown.

The Arab League and United Nations condemned the violence.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Assad must respond to demands for change with serious reform, "not repression and violence," and called for an immediate halt to military operations, his spokesman said.

One activist group said fierce fighting broke out in Homs on Friday night between dozens of army deserters and forces loyal to Assad. Seventeen soldiers were killed when the defectors attacked two security posts in the city, it said.

The report by the British-based Syrian Organization for Human Rights highlights the emerging element of armed insurgency alongside mainly peaceful street protests demanding an end to 41 years of Assad family rule.

The United Nations says 3,000 people, including nearly 200 children, have been killed in the unrest. Since the start of protests in March, Syrian authorities have blamed the violence on gunmen they say have killed 1,100 soldiers and police.

People

US: Incentives And Cultural Bias Fuel Foster System

The dirt roads on the Crow Creek Indian reservation in South Dakota blow dust on the window frames of simple houses.

The people who live here are poor - in a way few Americans are poor. There are no grocery stores or restaurants. There's only electricity when it's possible to pay the bill.

This is where Janice Howe grew up, on a barren stretch of land that has belonged to the Dakota people for more than 100 years.

"I'm the eldest of nine kids," she explains, settling into a chair in the kitchen. "I went to college and I got my bachelor's degree in nursing."

Her sister lives across the street. Her parents live across the road. Her daughter lives two doors down with her four grandchildren - two young granddaughters and two twin babies.

And then one evening two years ago, Howe's phone rang.

It was a social worker from the Department of Social Services. She said her daughter Erin Yellow Robe was going to be arrested for drugs.

Red Flag

"Suicide Bomber" Kills Three in South East Turkey


A female suicide bomber in southeast Turkey killed three people and wounded around 20 in Bingol, a town in the mainly Kurdish region on Saturday, police said.

The blast occurred at a tea house close to the office of the ruling AK Party in the town's main street at around 6.20 a.m. EDT, Interior Minister Idris Naim Sahin said.

Police said the woman had detonated explosives strapped to her body. They also said they were hunting for another suspected bomber, and a cordon had been thrown round the town, 110 km north of Diyarbakir, the region's main city.

"It was a very quiet. There was nothing extraordinary. There were no policeman, no (paramilitary) gendarme in the street," one bystander told Reuters.

"Suddenly we heard an explosion and screaming. People ran toward there to help people injured. Then we saw paramedics coming."

Bomb

"Suicide Bomber" Kills 13 Americans in Afghanistan

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© Muhammed Muheisen
US soldiers walk at the site of a suicide car bomber in Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, Oct. 29, 2011.
A Taliban suicide bomber rammed a van into an armored NATO bus Saturday, killing 13 American troops and four Afghans in the deadliest attack on coalition forces in Kabul since the war began - a major setback for the U.S.-led coalition as it begins to draw down combat troops.

The explosion sparked a fireball and littered the street with shrapnel and twisted metal hulks. Heavy black smoke poured from burning wreckage at the site along the four-lane highway frequently used by foreign military trainers in the southwestern section of the city.

Underscoring the difficulties ahead, the brazen assault occurred on the same day that top NATO and Afghan officials were meeting elsewhere in Kabul to discuss the second phase of shifting security responsibilities to Afghan forces in all or part of 17 of the country's 34 provinces.

It also was a blow to efforts by the U.S. and President Hamid Karzai to forge peace with the fundamentalist Taliban movement as NATO plans to withdraw all its combat troops from the country by the end of 2014, with support for the costly war reaching new lows in the West.

Vader

US: NYPD Cops Demand the Right To Be Corrupt

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They're not even pretending anymore.
A three-year investigation into the police's habit of fixing traffic and parking tickets in the Bronx ended in the unsealing of indictments on Friday and a stunning display of vitriol by hundreds of off-duty officers, who converged on the courthouse to applaud their accused colleagues and denounce their prosecution.

As 16 police officers were arraigned at State Supreme Court in the Bronx, incensed colleagues organized by their union cursed and taunted prosecutors and investigators, chanting "Down with the D.A." and "Ray Kelly, hypocrite."

As the defendants emerged from their morning court appearance, a swarm of officers formed a cordon in the hallway and clapped as they picked their way to the elevators. Members of the news media were prevented by court officers from walking down the hallway where more than 100 off-duty police officers had gathered outside the courtroom.

The assembled police officers blocked cameras from filming their colleagues, in one instance grabbing lenses and shoving television camera operators backward.

Wall Street

Credit union flap may reveal Goldman Sachs is bullying community banks

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When it was announced recently that Goldman Sachs had withdrawn its sponsorship of the small community bank at which Occupy Wall Street had set up an account for its donations, it appeared to be merely a petty act of vindictiveness.

According to investigative reporter Greg Palast, however, the motivations go much deeper and may involve that Goldman Sachs is misusing TARP bailout funds as a "political weapon" to bully smaller banks.

Back in 2008, Goldman Sachs received $10 billion from the US Treasury under the TARP program that had been established to bail out failing commercial banks. The firm was neither failing nor a commercial bank, but the Secretary of the Treasury at that time, Henry Paulson, was a former Goldman Sachs chairman, and that was sufficient.

Eye 1

US: Scott Olsen suffered brain damage and is unable to speak

scott olsen

Scott Olsen

The Iraq veteran seriously wounded Tuesday night at "Occupy Oakland" sustained minor brain damage and has been rendered unable to speak, doctors said Friday, adding that he will likely be able to make a full recovery in time.

Scott Olsen, 24, was said to be otherwise lucid and able to communicate with his family by writing notes, but his ability to spell is also damaged, according to sources who spoke with The Guardian. He is, however, able to understand what's being communicated to him.

Keith Shannon, Olsen's roommate who served with him in Iraq, explained that "He cannot talk right now, and that is because the fracture is right on the speech center of his brain," the paper added. "However, they are expecting he will get that back."