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Stormtrooper

Canada: Toronto Police Officer Charged with Murder

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© CBC NewsToronto police Const. David Cavanagh, centre, is charged with second-degree murder.
A Toronto police officer has been charged with second-degree murder - the first time a member of the force has faced a murder charge for actions taken while on duty.

Crown prosecutors announced the charge against Const. David Cavanagh in a Toronto courtroom Thursday, after an investigation involving Ontario's police watchdog, the Special Investigations Unit.

Cavanagh had originally been charged with manslaughter in the shooting death of 26-year-old Eric Osawe in late 2010.

Osawe was shot in the early hours of Sept. 29, 2010, during a police search at a third-floor Etobicoke apartment near Dundas Street West and Kipling Avenue that led to the arrest of Osawe's younger brother, Ebony, on firearms-related offences.

The SIU alleges Cavanagh fatally shot Eric Osawe during that search, which was carried out by at least 15 officers from the Emergency Task Force and the guns and gangs squad. Osawe was taken to St. Michael's Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Heart - Black

Canada: Alleged British Columbia Rave Sex Assault Victim Says She's 'Devastated' After Charges Stayed

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© The Canadian Press/Darryl DyckA young woman, who cannot be identified due to a publication ban, the alleged victim of a rape at a rave party in 2010, reads a statement during a news conference in Pitt Meadows, B.C., on Wednesday February 22, 2012. On Tuesday, Crown prosecutors dropped charges against a 19-year-old, the only man accused of sexual assault in the incident.
A young woman whose life was upended after graphic photos depicting her alleged rape at a British Columbia rave party were spread over the Internet two years ago says she's devastated and repulsed that a sex assault charge in the case has been stayed.

The teen took the rare step of sitting before cameras on Wednesday to publicly plead for spectators to come forward who have maintained a "code of silence" and held back from telling police what they know and witnessed.

"No one in their right state of mind, including myself, would let something like that happen to them willingly," the teen told reporters, as her father sat next to her in a small community centre in Pitt Meadows, B.C., a bedroom community east of Vancouver.

"I've often wondered why women never reported when they were sexually assaulted, and now I know. It's a 'he-said, she-said' thing."

The teen was 16 years old when she went to the party in the rural area east of Vancouver on Sept. 11, 2010, where police said she was drugged and repeatedly raped while bystanders clicked photographs.

Pistol

US, Ohio: Actor Who Had Role on "Seinfeld" Shoots Self

Daniel von Bargen
© Daily MailDaniel von Bargen
Character actor Daniel von Bargen, who has appeared in dozens of movies and television shows including Seinfeld and Malcolm in the Middle, was hospitalized after shooting himself in the head at his Cincinnati-area condominium, authorities said Wednesday.

Von Bargen, 61, told a Cincinnati-area emergency dispatcher on Monday that he had shot himself in the temple with a .38-caliber pistol at his home and could not open his left eye.

"I shot myself in the head and I need help," von Bargen told the emergency dispatcher in a call from his home in Montgomery, Ohio, northeast of Cincinnati.

The Cincinnati-born actor told the dispatcher he was diabetic and had a scheduled hospital appointment later on Monday where at least a few toes could be amputated. He said he was lying on a bed with his head propped on a pillow.

"I was supposed to go to the hospital today and I didn't want to," von Bargen said.

Info

US - Big Profits: 7 Companies Cashing In on Americans' Obesity

Money Tape Measure
© Shutterstock
Once the domain of big and tall shops and companies hawking weight-loss products and services, the plus-size business is expanding about as rapidly as Americans' waist lines. Companies selling all manner of lifestyle and home products aimed at making life easier for overweight consumers are selling everything from super sturdy folding chairs to oversized toilets, sunglasses and caskets. Here are seven companies that are cashing in on America's obesity epidemic.

Big John

One California company is making a business out of helping those who are overweight do their business. Big John Products offers a specialty line of toilet seats and supports for plus-size customers. At 19 inches wide, the Big John Toilet Seat is 5 inches larger than a standard seat and can hold more than 500 extra pounds. Big John also offers specially designed supports for wall-mounted toilets that increase the weight capacity from the usual 350 pounds to more than 1,000 pounds.

"Our products are ideal for the oversize market," Big John Products President Scott Kramer told BusinessNewsDaily.

Over the last four years, Big John Products has increased distribution all over the world, reaching customers in countries including Europe, Australia and Canada, Kramer said.

"We have grown it by five times its size, which shows there is a significant demand for our products," Kramer said.

Kramer equates the demand to the general population becoming more accepting of large people.

"Overweight is no longer niche," he said. "It is quite mainstream."

The Big John toilet seats and supports are sold in a variety of retailers nationwide and on the Big John website. The toilet seats are sold for between $100 and $168; the toilet supports cost $200 each.

Heart - Black

US: Michigan: Father sexually assaulted infant, Mother took photos

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© WWJDaniel Hall and Alisha Hall
Authorities in the Flint area say they believe that a man sexually assaulted his infant daughter while his wife took pictures.

The 25-year-old Daniel Hall and 26-year-old Alisha Hall of Mount Morris were arraigned Tuesday in Genesee District Court on first-degree criminal sexual assault and child pornography charges.

Mount Morris police Chief Keith Becker said an investigation that began in Saginaw County last year led to police finding 745 child pornography images on computers at the couple's home.

Becker said 13 images showed Daniel Hall engaging in sexual acts with the infant, who was 6-months-old when the photos were taken several months ago.

People

War and Neglect Leaves 500,000 Afghans Homeless

Afgan boy
© AFP
Half a million Afghans displaced by war have been left homeless and struggling to survive because of government and international neglect, Amnesty International said Thursday.

Around 400 people join makeshift shelters around the country every day, Amnesty said in a report entitled "Fleeing war, finding misery", based on three years of research.

The Afghan government estimates that more than 40 people froze to death this winter, the harshest in 15 years, with at least 28 children dying in camps around Kabul.

The government is "not only looking the other way but even preventing help from reaching them" in an attempt to avoid making the settlements permanent, Amnesty researcher Horia Mosadiq said.

"Local officials restrict aid efforts because they want to pretend that these people are going to go away. This is a largely hidden but horrific humanitarian and human rights crisis," she said.

Attention

US: Retired autoworker in Flint, Michigan dies after utilities are shut off

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John Morgan’s truck where he was found
dead parked in front of his house at 730 Parkway Ave.
Early Monday morning neighbors found 86-year-old John Morgan, a retired Flint autoworker, dead in his truck parked outside in his driveway on Parkway Avenue. Morgan died a few days after the local utility company shut off his electricity for a bill of $291.

Flint is a city where the autoworkers union made history 75 years ago in its struggle against the largest company in the world at that time, General Motors. Today, it is a ghost town, with many areas blighted, including the street Morgan lived on, because of the massive job cuts carried out by the automaker in the 1980s and 1990s.

Officials say they are awaiting autopsy reports to determine the exact cause of death, as Morgan had various health problems. However, there was immediate widespread anger that another elderly worker has died because he was trying to stay warm.

Stop

US: Mountain man scares owners of remote Utah cabins

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© AP/Iron County Sheriff
He's eluded authorities for more than five years, a mountain man who roams the wilderness of southern Utah, breaking into remote cabins in winter, living in luxury off hot food, alcohol and coffee before stealing provisions and vanishing into the woods.

Investigators have clawed for clues, scouring cabins for fingerprints that match no one and chasing reports of brief encounters only to come up short, always a step behind the mysterious recluse.

They've found abandoned camps, dozens of guns, high-end outdoor gear stolen from the homes and trash strewn around the forest floor.

But the man authorities say is armed and dangerous and responsible for more than two dozen burglaries has continued to outrun the law across a swath of mountains not far from Zion National Park. He's roamed across 1,000 square miles of rugged wilderness where snow can pile 10 feet deep in winter.

And while there have been no violent confrontations, detectives say he's a time bomb. Lately he has been leaving the cabins in disarray and riddled with bullets after defacing religious icons, and a recent note left behind in one cabin warned, "Get off my mountain."

Document

US: Virginia Passes Toned-Down Abortion Ultrasound Bill

Bob McDonnell
© Agence France-Presse/Mandel NganVirginia Governor Bob McDonnell
Lawmakers in Virginia, faced with a national uproar approved a watered-down version of a hotly contested bill requiring women to undergo an ultrasound prior to an abortion.

By a 65-32 vote, the Republican-dominated House of Delegates gave its green light to 11th hour revisions proposed by Governor Bob McDonnell to tame the furor over the so-called "informed consent" legislation.

In its original form, every Virginia woman seeking an abortion would have had to submit to a transvaginal ultrasound, in which a probe is inserted deep into the vagina.

The resulting fetal image would remain in a woman's medical file for seven years, and any doctor who failed to perform an pre-abortion ultrasound would be liable to prosecution and fines.

But under pressure from pro-choice activists, and stinging ridicule from late-night television comics, McDonnell tweaked the bill to make only non-intrusive abdominal ultrasounds mandatory.

Phoenix

Afghans Angry Over Quran Burnings Attack US Base

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© The Associated Press/Musadeq SadeqBlack smoke rises into the sky from tyres that were burnt by protesters during an anti-US demonstration in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012.
Afghan police on Thursday fired shots in the air to disperse hundreds of protesters who tried to break into an American military base in the country's east to vent their anger over this week's Quran burnings incident.

The fresh violence came one day after clashes between Afghan troops and protesters broke out in the capital and in three eastern provinces over the incident, leaving at least seven people dead and dozens wounded.

The Quran burnings have roiled Afghans and set off riots in an illustration of the intensity of the anger at what they perceive as foreign forces flouting their laws and insulting their culture. The U.S. has apologized for the burnings, which took place at a military base near Kabul, and said it was a mistake.

In the eastern Laghman province, protesters hurled rocks on Thursday and tried to remove the razor wire from the perimeter of the American base in Mehterlam, the provincial capital.

The demonstrators failed to push through and get inside the walls of the facility, which also houses a U.S.-run provincial reconstruction team - a mix of military and international civilians who work to improve local governance, services and infrastructure.