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US: A Military Base 'On the Brink'

The toll of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars is catching up with the Washington state communities near Joint Base Lewis-McChord in the form of suicides, slayings and more.
Image
© unknown

Mary Coghill Kirkland said she asked her son, 21-year-old Army Spc. Derrick Kirkland, what was wrong as soon as he came back from his first deployment to Iraq in 2008.

He had a ready answer: "Mom, I'm a murderer."

He told her how his team had kicked in the door of an Iraqi house and quickly shot a man inside. With the man lying wounded on the floor, "my son got ordered by his sergeant to stand on his chest to make him bleed out faster," Kirkland said. "He said, 'We've got to move, and he's got to die before we move.'"

Not long after, Derrick told her, he had fallen asleep on guard duty, awakening as a car was driving through his checkpoint. He yelled for it to stop, but the family in the car spoke no English. "So my son shot up the car," she said.

Info

Kim Jong-il Memorial Service: Kim Jong-un Hailed as New Supreme Leader of North Korea

North Korea staged a vast memorial service for Kim Jong-il overnight, and formally declared his young son Kim Jong-un as the new supreme leader.


The nationwide memorial ceremony for North Korea's departed leader wrapped up two days of brilliantly choreographed mourning events while setting a very public seal on the successorship of the third-generation Kim family member to hold power in Pyongyang.

Thursday's memorial was less emotional than Wednesday's funeral, but like the previous event, demonstrated that the regime has not lost any of its power to mobilise masses. Hundreds of thousands of people were packed into Kim Il-sung Square in the heart of the capital.

Powertool

Cyprus confirms gas find, sparking Turkey tensions

cyprus drilling
© Associated Press
Exploratory drilling work will take 73 days, Cyprus's energy chief says
Cyprus has announced a major gas find which could help boost the country's struggling economy.

President Dimitris Christofias said exploratory drilling had revealed a field containing between 5 and 8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas under the Mediterranean Sea.

US firm, Noble energy, has been drilling at the field which is next to a larger Israeli discovery.

The find may provoke tension with Turkey, which opposes any drilling.

If exploited, the field could make Cyprus self-sufficient in energy for decades, or allow sizeable exports to Europe.

The gas field is located 115 miles south of the island.

People

Sexual assaults rise at US military academies

Image
© Agence France-Presse

Graduating Naval Academy cadets
The number of sexual assaults reported at the country's prestigious military academies rose sharply for the second year in a row, according to a Pentagon report issued Tuesday.

A total of 65 sexual assault cases were reported at the three academies in 2010-11 compared to 41 reports in the previous academic year, the report said.

The rise comes amid extensive efforts by the academies for the Army, Navy and Air Force to prevent sexual assaults and to raise awareness of the problem.

The Pentagon said it was unclear why the number of reported sexual assaults rose and that it was possible that due to recent initiatives, more victims were coming forward to notify authorities.

"The Department does not have the ability to conclusively identify the reasons for this increase in reporting behavior," said the report.

Arrow Down

5 die, dozens sickened, after eating poisoned soy sausage at a Mexican drug rehab centre

La Perla
© Associated Press/Bruno Gonzalez
Police and forensic workers work inside the La Perla drug rehabilitation center in the city of Guadalajara, Mexico, Monday Dec. 26, 2011.
Medical officials say five recovering drug addicts died and dozens of others were sickened by soy sausage served for Christmas dinner at a rehabilitation centre in western Mexico.

Authorities were investigating whether the poisoning at the centre in the city of Guadalajara was accidental or intentional. Drug cartels have taken over rehabilitation centres in parts of Mexico, forcibly recruiting addicts as hit men and smugglers. The invasions have led to mass shootings at the centres that have left dozens dead.

Alhy Daniel Nunez is a spokesman for the Red Cross in the western state of Jalisco, where Guadalajara is located. He said Monday that 37 people remained hospitalized, three of them in serious condition.

Stormtrooper

US Police Brutality: Report - Seattle police show 'pattern of excessive force'

Eleven months after pledging to "take a very deep dive" into allegations against the Seattle Police Department, U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan has released a highly critical report of a Department of Justice investigation into police brutality in Seattle.

The report said police have engaged in a pattern of unnecessary or excessive force that amounts to a violation of constitutional rights. But the Justice Department did not find a pattern of discrimination against minorities.

Video: The Seattle Police Department is investigating an officer's use of force during the arrest of a teenage suspect last month. The department said a plain-clothed officer kicked a 17-year-old suspect during a drug bust in downtown Seattle on Oct. 18.

Stormtrooper

US Police Brutality: Lawyer - Seattle's top cop should resign after new video surfaces

A local man called the cops on Seattle officers when he felt a traffic stop was spinning out of control - and the entire incident was captured on a police video that shows the man being yanked from his car and thrown to the ground.


Now the man's lawyer wants Seattle Police Chief John Diaz to step down because, he says, the problems just keep piling up.

The video shows Seattle police pulling a car over for speeding, then one officer walking up to the driver who was pulled over.

Although the dashboard camera captured the incident, the officer did not wear his microphone - a violation of department policy.

Stormtrooper

US Police Brutality: Unarmed 54-Year-Old Hospitalized In Raid, Home Wrecked

Tomas Torres 1
© Newhaven Independent
A state police raid on a Winthrop Avenue apartment netted no drugs or arrests - but it left Tomas Torres hospitalized and his apartment in tatters.

Torres (pictured), who's 54, said state cops broke down the door of his first-floor Winthrop Avenue apartment Wednesday afternoon, punched him in the face, stomped on his head, and then laughed at him as they tossed his apartment looking for drugs.

Police said he tried to jump out the window, then resisted their efforts to detain and handcuff him.

They had the wrong guy, said Torres. The police found nothing in his apartment and released him to go to the hospital, where he said he was told he has a fractured arm, he said.

Stormtrooper

US Police Brutality: Video Shows Joe Arpaio's Officer Used Taser On Latino Vet Who Later Died

More than eight hours of video footage released Friday showed it was one of Sheriff Joe Arpaio's officers who used a Taser on a Latino military veteran that later died. The video also showed the veteran was nearly lifeless when officers put him naked in a cell and left him alone for about 11 minutes.


Two agencies were involved in an altercation with Ernest "Marty" Atencio when they tried to book him into an Arizona jail on suspicion of assault last week. But until now, neither the Maricopa County Sheriff's office nor the Phoenix Police Department had admitted to using a Taser in the melee. That was despite the fact that an attorney for Atencio's family said doctors found obvious signs that some sort of stun gun had been used.

Now, video released Arpaio's office shows it was one of his men, not any of the Phoenix police officers, who used the Taser to try to subdue Atencio.

Stormtrooper

US: Heartless Sacramento police move to disperse homeless camp

Sacramento police evictions
© Manny Crisostomo
Sacramento police officers begin bagging up belongings as they clean up the area along the American River levee at North 10th Street where a tent city exists. Campers have until dark to leave the area, police said.
A showdown appears to be brewing as Sacramento police officers evict 150 homeless people from an illegal campground along the American River.

While most of the homeless appear to be complying with orders to pack up their tents and move somewhere else, some say they will stand their ground and face arrest because they have no place else to go.

The confrontation started about 8 a.m. Wednesday when around 40 police officers arrived at the site near the intersection of North 10th Street and the American River. The campers were warned earlier this month that eviction was imminent.

"They asked me what I'm going to do," said "Brother" Eli, a camp elder. "I said 'I don't have anywhere to go.' "