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'Toughest sheriff in America' under fire for warrantless arrests of critics in the middle of the night

Joe Arpaio
© Agence France-Presse/Getty Images/Spencer Platt
Joe Arpaio
Self-proclaimed "toughest sheriff in America" is facing a lawsuit for ordering police to break into the homes of two journalists and arresting them in the middle of the night.

The Phoenix New Times paper has long been a critical of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, whose questionable actions have included organizing detention facilities for illegal immigrants that some have compared to Nazi concentration camps. Apparently Arpaio got so annoyed with their criticism that he issued a subpoena demanding the newspaper to give up its sources. The subpoena, issued by Arpaio's office, "demanded that the paper reveal its confidential sources as well as produce reporters' and editors' notebooks, memoranda, and documents." When newspaper co-owners Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin refused to follow through, though, they received a surprise visit. Both men were arrested in the middle of the night in their own homes by sheriff's deputies and accused of a misdemeanor. Law enforcement didn't even bother to obtain a warrant for the arrest, however, so needless to say the charges were dropped the next day.

The sheriff is now facing a lawsuit for violating constitutionally-protected free speech by ordering the arrest of the two news executives in 2007.

"Sheriff Joe Arpaio's arrest and jailing of journalists is part of a pattern of trying to silence critics," Lacey told the Huffington Post. "It is an outrageous abuse of power. But he loves the publicity, even when it backfires. Arpaio relishes law enforcement by headlines. Today he rounds up Mexicans. Tomorrow's target is anybody's guess."

Although charges were dropped, Lacey and Larkin sued the sheriff for violating their freedom of speech. The newspaper co-owners also argued that they had been falsely arrested and targeted for selective prosecution.

On Wednesday, the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the newspaper executives could sue the sheriff for their arrests without a warrant.

Lacey and Larkin had tried to sue Arpaio for $15 million in 2008, but it was dismissed. The federal appeals court overturned the ruling.

Cut

Unscripted 'Violence:' Simpsons' Itchy and Scratchy Show Cut from Russian Broadcasts

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Itchy & Scratchy
They've been maiming and killing each other for decades - but the infamous cat and mouse from the Simpsons are about to be cut permanently, thanks to a new Russian law purportedly aimed at protecting children.

­The law was written with a view to protecting children and young adults from "information detrimental to their health and development," and calls for anything screened on television to have a clear-cut age restriction policy. The categories are similar to those already used in cinemas across the globe, and feature age guidelines like 6+, 12+ or 18+. Images of violence, bad and addictive habits like smoking or drinking, unlawful behavior, swearing, gambling and engaging in sexual activities - all those fall in 18+ category and have caused TV channels nothing but grief.

Because the law, sponsored by the ruling United Russia party, is vague and hasn't provided broadcasters with clear-cut rules on what is and isn't acceptable, the country's TV industry has been in a panic in the run-up to September 1st, when the law is to take effect.

No one wants to be fined - or, worse, taken off the air - for showing something that could be deemed inappropriate, so preparations for the law are in full swing.

Popular American animated series the Simpsons, for example, will have to say goodbye to The Itchy and Scratchy show - an integral show-within-the-show piece turning the traditional triumph of good over evil on its head.

Light Sabers

Samsung Wins Over Apple in Japanese Patent Case

samsung, apple
A Tokyo court has ruled that Samsung Electronics' smartphones and tablets didn't infringe an Apple invention for synchronizing music and video data with servers.

­"It's hard to believe the products belong to the range of technologies of the claimant," Tokyo District Judge Tamotsu Shoji announced in dismissing Apple's case. The judge also ordered Apple to pay the costs of the lawsuit.

The court ruling pushed Samsung shares up 0.7% on the Korean floor. "We welcome the court's decision, which confirmed our long-held position that our products do not infringe Apple's intellectual property," Samsung said in a statement. Meanwhile a representative of Apple in Japan didn't comment the verdict.

Eye 2

Professor confesses to killing two women, bloody pro-Pussy Riot message meant to confuse cops

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© RIA Novosti / Maksim Bogodvid
A house at 68, Fuchik Street in Kazan where two women were murdered and a slogan "Free Pussy Riot" was left on the kitchen wall
A man detained by Russian police in Kazan has confessed to a double murder, and to scrawling 'Free Pussy Riot!' in blood on the wall of victims' apartment.

"Igor Danilevskiy was detained by detectives from the Criminal Investigation Department of Tatarstan's Interior Ministry early on August 31," a police statement said. "He has been identified as a 38-year-old Kazan university teacher with a Ph.D."

Danilevskiy was arrested in the capital of the Russian Republic of Tatarstan. The bodies of two women, a mother and daughter, were discovered in the city dead from stab wounds a day earlier. 'Free Pussy Riot' was written on the wall of the apartment, presumably in blood, the Russian Investigative Committee said.

The suspect confessed to police that he was a former classmate of one of the victims, Liliya Zaripova, 38, and was on friendly terms with her. The man had also persuaded the woman to pay off some of his debt by taking out bank loans worth several hundred thousand rubles.

Danilevskiy may have been involved romantically with the woman, promising to take her on vacation to Egypt - a popular destination for Russian tourists - investigators said. He then cancelled the vacation, blaming his difficult financial situation, and suggested they go to Ukrainian Black Sea resort instead.

Wolf

Man Pleads Guilty to Slaughter of Sled Dogs Near Whistler, British Columbia

Robert Fawcett
© The Canadian Press/Darryl Dyck
Robert Fawcett, accused of killing 56 sled dogs after the 2010 Olympics, leaves B.C. Provincial Court after pleading guilty to a charge of causing unnecessary pain and suffering to animals, in North Vancouver, B.C., on Thursday August 30, 2012.
Canada, North Vancouver - A man charged with the slaughter of more than 50 sled dogs near Whistler, B.C., two years ago has pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary pain and suffering to animals.

Sled-dog operator Robert Fawcett entered his plea while standing next to his lawyer in a North Vancouver court Thursday afternoon. Outside, about a dozen animal-rights advocates gathered to call for a prison sentence for Fawcett.

Fifty-six dogs were dug up in a mass grave after details of the cull leaked out in January 2011, following a post-traumatic stress disorder claim made by Fawcett through workers' compensation.

The leaked documents from the workers' compensation claim described a bloody scene of how the dogs were shot or had their throats slit before being dumped in the grave site.

The slaughter prompted the B.C. government to bring in tough new anti-cruelty laws to protect sled dogs, with penalties that include fines up to $75,000 and two years of prison time.

The Crown prosecutor has asked for a psychological assessment for Fawcett, who is expected to be sentenced in November.

Crown spokesman Neil MacKenzie did not specify what sentence Crown counsel will ask for.

Arrow Up

Supply fears push cocoa to 10-month high

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Cocoa prices hit a 10-month high on Wednesday as uncertainty about supplies from Ivory Coast, the world's largest exporter of the commodity used to produce chocolate, triggered a rush to cover bearish positions among investors.

The benchmark cocoa price in London has jumped almost 8 per cent this week on worries that the west African country, which has overhauled the way it markets the beans, would not be able to meet its contracts, leaving trading firms without enough supplies.

NYSE Liffe December cocoa hit £1,715 a tonne on Wednesday, rising above the £1,700 level for the first time since November last year.

Cocoa traders noted the absence of natural sellers of the commodity after Ivory Coast and Ghana, which account for nearly 60 per cent of the world's production, already sold most of their crops for the 2012-13 season.

"There's not much left to stop the market going higher," said Eric Sivry, head of agricultural options at London-based brokers Marex Spectron.

Handcuffs

Former boyfriend charged in Guang Hua Liu slaying

Guang Hua Liu
© The Canadian Press
Guang Hua Liu, 41, disappeared from Toronto's east end in August.
A Toronto man has been charged in the death of his former girlfriend, just over two weeks after parts of her body were found in two separate Ontario cities.

Peel Regional Police announced Monday that Chun Qi Jiang, 40, has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of Guang Hua Liu, 41.

Police said Jiang was arrested on Sunday, just over two weeks from the day that Liu was last seen alive.

"Mr. Jiang is a construction labourer and the recently estranged boyfriend of the victim," said Insp. George Koekkoek.

"This investigation is ongoing and is far from over," Koekkoek told a news conference at police headquarters in Mississauga.

Jiang lived in Scarborough near the townhome where Liu lived with her eldest son.

Neighbours told CBC News that police had recently been making inquiries about the garbage pickup routines in the area where Jiang lived.

Some of Liu's remains have yet to be found.


Sherlock

Woman's Torso Found in Niagara River Sparks Homicide Probe

WARNING: This story contains details that some readers may find disturbing
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© David Duprey/Associated Press
Niagara Police pulled a woman's torso from the Niagara River between the Maid of the Mist and the Rainbow Bridge on Thursday.
Canada - A woman's torso has been recovered from the lower Niagara River, and police say her death was a result of homicide.

Niagara Regional Police said the torso was spotted floating in the river on Wednesday afternoon.

Const. Derek Watson told CBC News in a telephone interview that "citizens saw what they believed to be a torso floating in the lower Niagara River between the Maid of the Mist and the Rainbow Bridge."

When pulled from the water, the torso was missing its arms, legs and head, Watson said.

Preliminary results from a post-mortem examination have determined that the victim is "a middle-aged Caucasian female," police reported in a news release on Thursday.

The news release said the victim had a pierced navel and "at least one caesarean section and a tubal ligation procedure."

Sherlock

Texas surgeon accused of hiring man to kill doctor dating his ex charged with capital murder

Dr. Thomas Michael Dixon, David Neal Shepard
© Lubbock Police Department
Dr. Thomas Michael Dixon (left) and David Neal Shepard
Lubbock, Texas - A plastic surgeon was charged with capital murder Thursday after prosecutors said he hired a man to kill another doctor who was dating his ex-girlfriend and paid for the murder using silver bars.

Dr. Thomas Michael Dixon of Amarillo, along with the accused gunman, David Neal Shepard, were each indicted on capital murder charges in the July death of Dr. Joseph Sonnier III, who was found fatally shot and stabbed in his home. Both men are each being held in lieu of a $10 million bond in the Lubbock County Jail.

An arrest warrant affidavit suggests a love triangle involving Dixon, Sonnier and Dixon's ex-girlfriend, who was dating Sonnier. Sonnier's family members have said he had told them that his girlfriend's ex-boyfriend had been causing problems. The woman's name isn't included in court documents.

District Attorney Matt Powell said prosecutors haven't decided whether to seek the death penalty.

Dixon's two attorneys and Shepard's public defender all declined comment Thursday. Court records describe Shepard as Dixon's business associate but don't provide details about how the men knew each other.

Sheriff

Police Brutality? Man Kicked by Cop Now Faces Own Charges for Stalking Roseville Girlfriend

But man's ex-girlfriend had little sympathy. "I'm a victim of his brutality every day," she maintained.

A YouTube video of a St. Paul police officer macing and kicking a man during an arrest for stalking a Roseville woman has gone viral.

The video is making news across the country, prompting St. Paul Police to launch a brutality investigation and suspend an officer, Jesse Zilge. (Note: Video contains obscenities and violence.)


At the same time, Eric Hightower, 30 was charged Thursday with aggravated stalking, terroristic threats and fourth-degree criminal damage to property, according to the Pioneer Press, for harassing his 20-year-old ex-girlfriend.

Hightower's girlfriend told a WCCO-AM reporter, in an interview conducted near her Roseville home, that Highwater had violated a protection order she had obtained against him.