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Thieves steal thousands in Christmas packages meant for troops in Afghanistan

US troops, Afghanistan
© Reuters/Susan Walsh
US troops in Kandahar, Afghanistan
Thousands of dollars' worth of presents wrapped and ready to be sent to US servicemen stationed overseas were stolen from a California warehouse this week.

The Move America Forward charity was preparing last minute holiday care packages to be mailed to troops in Afghanistan on Monday when it discovered that around 25 parcels had been stolen from a locked trailer within a warehouse in the capital city of Sacramento.

Scott Raab of Move America Forward says someone must have broken into the facility before Monday morning and physically broke the lock that was securing a portion of the almost 400 packages.

"You know it's really sad that someone would take this from the troops," Raab tells a local CBS affiliate.

Move America Forward sends care packages regularly to US troops stationed overseas throughout the year, but the latest shipment was special in that it included hand-written notes meant to raise the spirits of the servicemen during the holiday season.


Report recommends France legalize 'accelerated deaths'


Staff members and patients gather at the entrance of the CHU (University Hospital) of the French northwestern city of Caen in September 2012. France should allow doctors to "accelerate the coming of death" for terminally ill patients, a report to President Francois Hollande recommended.
France should allow doctors to "accelerate the coming of death" for terminally ill patients, a report to President Francois Hollande recommended Tuesday.

Hollande referred the report to a national council on medical ethics which will examine the precise circumstances under which such steps could be authorised with a view to producing draft legislation by June 2013.

"The existing legislation does not meet the legitimate concerns expressed by people who are gravely and incurably ill," Hollande said.

The report said physicians should be allowed to authorise interventions that ensure quicker deaths for terminal patients in three specific sets of circumstances.

In the first case, the patient involved would be capable of making an explicit request to that effect or have issued advance instructions in the event of him or her becoming incapable of expressing an opinion.

The second scenario envisages medical teams withdrawing treatment and/or nourishment on the basis of a request by the family of a dying patient who is no longer conscious and has not made any instructions.

The third would apply to cases where treatment is serving only to sustain life artificially.


Chavez has respiratory infection, now 'controlled'

Hugo Chavez
© Reuters/Miraflores Palace
Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez takes part in a meeting with members of the political coalition "Great Patriotic Pole" at Miraflores Palace in Caracas October 8, 2011.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has a respiratory infection after undergoing cancer surgery in Cuba and must have "complete rest" for the next few days, the government said Tuesday.

The socialist leader is in stable condition after being diagnosed with the respiratory infection on Monday, Information Minister Ernesto Villegas said on television, reading a government statement.

"It has been controlled," Villegas said. "In the opinion of the doctors, this type of ailment is one of the consequences that appear with the greatest frequency in patients who have undergone complicated surgeries."

The infection appeared a week after a six-hour operation that the government has said involved complications.

"The medical team has said that President Chavez should have complete rest in the coming days and receive ... the prescribed medical treatment, with the purpose of maintaining the stability of his vital signs that he currently enjoys," Villegas said.

Concluding the statement, he said: "Long live Chavez!"

Tuesday's announcement came amid uncertainty and concern over the 58-year-old president's health.

Chavez hasn't spoken publicly since his Dec. 11 surgery for an undisclosed type of pelvic cancer. It was his fourth cancer-related operation since June 2011.

Eye 1

Four St. Louis area schools locked down after gunman seen stalking woods

Four St. Louis area schools were locked down on Monday after an unidentified gunman was seen in a nearby wooded area.
KSDK reported:

Police called in tactical SWAT units, police helicopters and canine units due to the threat.

A suicidal man forced four St. Louis area schools to go on lock down Monday afternoon.

KSDK reported:
A suicidal man that caused four Parkway School District schools to go on lock out has been captured.

Hanna Woods Elementary School, Southwest Middle School, Parkway South High School, and Wren Hollow Elementary School locked their doors shortly before 5 p.m. Monday and would not let anyone enter the schools as a precaution after a call was made to police about a suicidal man in a wooded area.

Students inside the schools for after-school activities were allowed to leave if a parent is present.

Chief Tim Fitch says a distraught 19-year-old male from Webster Groves was texting with this girlfriend and threatened to kill himself.
Another local school near St. Louis in Granite City, Illinois was locked down Monday after receiving threats.


Elementary school student brings handgun to school

Kearns, Utah - A 6th grade student brought an unloaded handgun to West Kearns Elementary School Monday.

The 11-year-old boy allegedly told other students his parents encouraged him to bring a gun to school for protection following the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut on Friday.

The boy reportedly pulled the gun, a .22-caliber pistol, out of his backpack during recess Monday morning.

"At recess, he pointed a gun to my head and said he was going to kill me," said Isabel Rios, one of the boy's fellow 6th grade students.

Granite School District officials say students didn't notify teachers about the weapon until 3 p.m.

"Once the teacher knew there was a weapon in the classroom, the student was apprehended in 30 to 45 seconds and immediately brought down to the office and the police were on site within five to 10 minutes," said Granite School District Spokesman Ben Horsley.

Granite School District sent a pre-recorded message via telephone to the parents of West Kearns Elementary students at 5:30 p.m. By then, some of those parents had already heard about the incident from their children.

"There was no lockdown. No one was called. Nothing was done. And then we had to hear it from our kids," said John Klaus, the father of a student at West Kearns Elementary.

No Entry

Head O'Meadow school, Newtown closed after threat

Head O'Meadow School, an elementary school in Newtown, is closed after the school received a threat on Tuesday, according to the superintendent.

Public schools in Newtown were scheduled to open two hours late, so no students were at school when the threat was received.

School officials said police had predicted that there might be some threats and there was one.

All staff members are safe, school officials said. Police were at the scene as a precaution before the threat was made.

The threat was made on the day that Newtown public schools returned to school after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday.

No additional information has been released on what the threat was.


Car backfire believed to have caused school lockdown

© CBSDFW.com
Texas - The Birdville Elementary School in Haltom City and nearby Shannon Learning Center were both on lockdown for about an hour Tuesday morning.

Police said they initially received a report of a gun or gunfire near the school. A student had allegedly reported seeing a teenager fire a gun in the air. School administrators quickly confirmed that no shots were fired in the school and no one was injured.

It was as police continued their investigation, after the lockdown was cancelled, that a parent came forward and told police he may have caused the loud bang that was thought to be gunfire.

Birdville ISD spokesperson Mark Thomas quoted the man as saying, "My vehicle backfired at that time." Thomas said the possibility of the error makes sense. "The only thing that we can confirm at this point is we have a vehicle that backfired in the parking lot. There's no confirmation that there were any guns at all or any gunshots fired."

Comment: More evidence that everyone in the U.S. is on edge and fearful, which will probably result in them accepting more Police State mandates for "their protection".

For more information please read:

Sandy Hook psy-ops: Police State here we come
Sandy Hook massacre: Official story spins out of control
Don't Say a Word


Members of at Northern Illinois University fraternity have been charged with hazing following the death of a student after a night of drinking

David Bogenberger, 19, was found unresponsive at the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity house early on Nov. 2. Alcohol intoxication was a cause of his death, the ME said.
© handout
David Bogenberger, 19, died during a Northern Illinois University Pi Kappa Alpha hazing ritual in early November. Investigators say he had been going room to room chugging alcohol.
DeKalb, Illinois - Nearly two dozen fraternity members at Northern Illinois University have been charged with hazing-related counts after a freshman was found dead at their fraternity house following a night of drinking.

DeKalb police and prosecutors issued arrest warrants Monday for 22 members of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity in DeKalb. Five members are charged with felony hazing, while the other 17 members are facing misdemeanor hazing charges.

Phone messages and emails sent to local and national fraternity officials were not immediately returned.

The warrants were filed after David Bogenberger, 19, was found unresponsive at the fraternity house early on Nov. 2. The DeKalb County Coroner's Office said toxicology results found his blood alcohol content was about five times the legal limit for driving.

The coroner ruled Bogenberger's cause of death was cardiac arrhythmia, with alcohol intoxication as a contributing cause.


Dreams in infrared: The woes of an American drone operator

© Gilles Mingasson
Drone operators: A drone pilot, left, and a drone sensor operator practice on a simulator at Holloman Air Force base in New Mexico

A soldier sets out to graduate at the top of his class. He succeeds, and he becomes a drone pilot working with a special unit of the United States Air Force in New Mexico. He kills dozens of people. But then, one day, he realizes that he can't do it anymore.

For more than five years, Brandon Bryant worked in an oblong, windowless container about the size of a trailer, where the air-conditioning was kept at 17 degrees Celsius (63 degrees Fahrenheit) and, for security reasons, the door couldn't be opened. Bryant and his coworkers sat in front of 14 computer monitors and four keyboards. When Bryant pressed a button in New Mexico, someone died on the other side of the world.

The container is filled with the humming of computers. It's the brain of a drone, known as a cockpit in Air Force parlance. But the pilots in the container aren't flying through the air. They're just sitting at the controls.

Bryant was one of them, and he remembers one incident very clearly when a Predator drone was circling in a figure-eight pattern in the sky above Afghanistan, more than 10,000 kilometers (6,250 miles) away. There was a flat-roofed house made of mud, with a shed used to hold goats in the crosshairs, as Bryant recalls. When he received the order to fire, he pressed a button with his left hand and marked the roof with a laser. The pilot sitting next to him pressed the trigger on a joystick, causing the drone to launch a Hellfire missile. There were 16 seconds left until impact.

Cow Skull

French village pleads with Mayan apocalypse fanatics not to visit Bugarach

© Guillaume Horcajuelo/EPA
Believers see Bugarach as one of a few sacred mountains sheltered from the end of the world Photo:
French authorities have pleaded with New Age fanatics, sightseers and media crews not to converge on Bugarach, the tiny village some believe will be one of the few places spared when the world supposedly ends.

Jean-Pierre Delord, the mayor of Bugarach, said: "I am making an appeal to the world - do not come to Bugarach."

He added that police will from Wednesday block access to the southwestern village of 200 residents.