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Stormtrooper

Israeli sniper posts pic of child in crosshairs

Sniper Posts Pic of Child in Crosshairs
© ABC News
Sniper Posts Pic of Child in Crosshairs
Jerusalem - A photo posted online by an Israeli soldier showing a child in the crosshairs of a rifle scope has created a firestorm on the internet, drawing widespread criticism.

The photo was reportedly posted on Jan. 25 by Mor Ostrovski, 20, a member of an Israeli sniper unit. It shows crosshairs zeroed in on the back of the head of what appears to be a Palestinian boy in a village. The photo has since been taken down and Ostrovski's account has been deactivated.

"There are no other images to suggest that the photographer actually fired at the person in the image in this case," wrote Palestinian activist Ali Abuminah who runs the site Electronic Intifada and drew much of the attention to the photo. "The image is simply tasteless and dehumanizing. It embodies the idea that Palestinian children are targets."

Before the account was taken down, Abuminah posted other photos from Ostrovski's account that showed him in his olive green uniform holding a variety of weapons, including a sniper rifle.

Black Cat 2

Drunk executive who slapped toddler on plane gets slapped with pink slip

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© ABC News
Joe Rickey Hundley from Idaho, shown in a photo from a previous arrest, has been charged with assaulting a minor.
An Idaho executive charged with slapping a toddler on a Delta Airlines flight has been slapped with a pink slip, his former employer says.

Joe Rickey Hundley, 60, is no longer employed by AGC Aerospace and Defense, Composites Group.

AGC's President and CEO Al Hasse said Sunday that reports of recent behavior by one of his unit executives is "offensive and disturbing."

"We have taken this matter very seriously and worked diligently to examine it since learning of the matter on Friday afternoon. As of Sunday, the executive is no longer employed with the company," Hasse said.

Hasse went on to say that such behavior is contradictory to the company's values. He said it was "embarrassing and does not in any way reflect the patriotic character of the men and women of diverse backgrounds who work tirelessly in our business."

AGC spokesman Daniel Keeney of DPK Public Relations told ABC News, "Since this is a personnel matter, we can't describe further the specifics of Mr. Hundley's departure from the company."

Black Cat

Woman awakens from meditation to find gym employee masturbating next to her

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A New York woman is suing her gym after she reportedly awoke from meditating to find a maintenance worker masturbating next to her, according to court documents.

Keiko Herskovitz, 55, of New York City, was lying down with her eyes closed in a studio room at Equinox's Pure Yoga West following her yoga class when an employee came in to clean the room. But when she opened her eyes, she allegedly saw "a maintenance associate, about two feet away, masturbating," court documents said.

After Herskovitz realized what he was doing, the employee "quickly covered himself with a yoga blanket and ran out of the room," according to court documents.

The suit alleges that Herskovitz, who takes classes at the studio about four times a week, alerted the studio's manager on duty. But the manager reportedly did not believe her.

Dollars

Wealthy widow who adopted and rejected Chinese child owes her part of $250M estate

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© Getty Images
A New York appeals court has found in favor of a Chinese teen who was adopted by a wealthy couple and then given up for adoption again, ruling that she is entitled to a portion of her first family's $250 million estate.

In 1996, John and Christine Svenningsen of Westchester, N.Y, adopted a baby girl from China, whom they named Emily Fuqui Svenningsen. Before finalizing the adoption, the couple, who already had four biological children, had one more biological child. Around that same time, John Svenningsen, a party goods magnate, was diagnosed with cancer, according to court documents.

On May 6, 1996, the Svenningsens signed an adoption agreement stating that they would not abandon Emily or "transfer or have [her] re-adopted," and that she would be deemed "a biological child," according to court papers in the case. The agreement also stated that Emily had the right to inherit the estate of her adopted parents, who had established a pair of trusts for their children, as well as one meant solely for Emily.

John Svenningsen died in May, 1997.

In December 2003, Christine brought Emily to The Devereux Glenholme School in Washington, Conn., a boarding school for children with special-needs. According to court papers, her lawyers talked to school administrators about putting Emily up for adoption; the school's assistant executive director, Maryann Campbell, and her husband, Fred Cass, expressed interest in adopting Emily.

On December 16, 2004, Christine voluntarily surrendered custody of Emily to Spence-Chapin Services to Families and Children, an adoption agency in New York. On May 18, 2006, Campbell and Cass formally adopted Emily.

Yoda

From cheerleader to enemy of the state

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The long, flouncy curls from Judy Davis's cheerleader days are gone. Her straight blonde hair is now cut short. Large blue eyes stand out in a face pale without makeup. Her soft Southern drawl has an undertone of determination. "It's taken me awhile, but now I'm glad to be considered an "unsuitable influence". That was how the school board justified my firing. That and "deviating from the curriculum. It's like they were implying I was a deviant. And according to their norms, I am."

The twenty-nine-year-old was fired for teaching her high school students how US foreign policy has provoked terrorism. This struggle with her school board turned her from a Republican into a revolutionary for peace.

Stock Down

Wal-Mart Says February Sales "Total Disaster", Worst Monthly Start Since 2006; Stock Drops

Wal-Mart
© The Economic Collpase
Wal-Mart shares are plunging as the firm reports a 'total disaster' in its February sales. Bloomberg obtained internal emails that note:
"In case you haven't seen a sales report these days, February MTD sales are a total disaster," Jerry Murray, Wal-Mart's vice president of finance and logistics, said in a Feb. 12 e-mail to other executives, referring to month-to-date sales. "The worst start to a month I have seen in my ~7 years with the company.... That points to our competitive landscape, which means everyone is suffering and probably worse than we are"
It gets better:
"We have to fight against the tougher economic environment to earn a bigger share of a smaller consumer spending pie"
Obviously in WMT speak, "tougher" is what Obama would call "much better and rapidly improving."

Things must not be serious over in Bentonville for this much truth to suddenly hit the tape.

One senior executive summed it up perfectly - "Well, we just had one of those weeks here at Walmart U.S. Where are all the customers? And where's their money?" The company notes the end of the payroll tax cut by Obama and asks "We need to stop the stupid."

Black Magic

Human skull, bones found in backyard altar in Los Angeles

Human Bones
© KSEE24 News
Los Angeles County Coroner's officials on Sunday were examining a human skull and bones found at a burned makeshift backyard altar at the home of a woman who police said practices Santería.

The discovery was made Sunday before 1 p.m. when the Pasadena Police Department responded to a report of a possible trespasser in the 800 block of North Oakland Avenue, police said.

Che Guevara

Rafael Correa re-elected for third term as president of Ecuador

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© Cecilia Puebla/EPA
Rafael Correa celebrates with his son, Miguel, daughter, Anne and wife Anne Malherbe in Quito, Ecuador, after the first results of the presidential elections.
Ecuador's president Rafael Correa has been elected to a third term in power.

The leftwing incumbent, who first took office in 2007 and was re-elected in 2009, won 58% of the vote, well ahead of his closest challenger, former banker Guillermo Lasso, with 24%.

A beaming Correa appeared on state TV hugging jubilant supporters at the Carondelet presidential palace less than an hour after polls closed. "This victory is yours. It belongs to our families, to our wife, to our friends, our neighbours, the entire nation," Correa said. "We are only here to serve you. Nothing for us. Everything for you, a people who have become dignified in being free."

Fireball 2

Russian scientists claim meteorite remains, meteor black market thrives

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© Press Service of the Ural Federal University/ Alexandra Khlopotova
The site of a meteorite hit in the Chelyabinsk Region. Small 0.5-1 cm pieces of black matter resembling rock were found around the ice hole caused by the meteorite.
Scientists have confirmed the extra-terrestrial origin of dozens of tiny fragments found near Chebarkul Lake in Russia's Chelyabinsk region. Local opportunists meanwhile began selling alleged pieces of the space rock in a bid to make a quick fortune.

­"We have just finished the research and confirm that the fragments found by our expedition in the area of Chebarkul Lake are meteorite by nature," Viktor Grohovsky of the Ural Federal University told RIA.

The space object exploded into at least seven large pieces and hundreds of small ones, researchers claimed. One of the big fragments fell into the Chebarkul Lake, and is believed to have formed an ice-hole 8 meters in diameter.

The team was not allowed to inspect the ice crater itself, but around the hole scientists collected several dozens small fragments of the rock about 0.5 - 1 centimeter in diameters which were sent for examination.

So far the researchers were able to confirm the samples' celestial origin out of the 53 small particles sampled.

"This is a stone meteorite, an ordinary chondrite. We have diagnosed all the common minerals found there- the metallic iron, and olivine, and sulfite," Grohovsky elaborated. The scientists at the "Nanotech" center evaluated that over eight percent of the mass of the examined samples consisted of these metals.

ice hole, Chabarkul, meteorite
© RIA Novosti
An ice hole in Lake Chabarkul, Chelyabinsk Region, where pieces of a meteorite could allegedly fall December 15.
The researchers aim to conduct further analysis before registering "Chebarkul Meteorite" in the international catalogue.

Earlier, a team of Emergency Ministry divers have examined the floor bed of the lake in search of the meteorite, but were unable to find anything resembling a big fragment of the rock, which is now rumored to further break-up upon impact.

Meanwhile, residents of the region are still speculating about the incident and putting forward their own theories on what really happened, RT producer Lida Vasilevskaya reported from Chelyabinsk.

"No, it definitely wasn't a meteor. I don't know what it was, but not that," one local stated. "It was a stage for a missile. For sure!" another claimed.

A rock estimated to weigh around 7,000 tons and be traveling at 40,000mph exploded over the Urals Mountains on Friday, scattering debris for miles and injuring some 1,240 people, including 299 children.

Heart

Chavez makes surprise return from Cuba

Hugo Chavez
© Reuters
Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez smiles in between his daughters, Rosa Virginia (R) and Maria while recovering from cancer surgery in Havana in this photograph released by the Ministry of Information on February 15, 2013.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez made a surprise return from Cuba on Monday more than two months after surgery for cancer that has jeopardized his 14-year rule of the South American OPEC member.

The 58-year-old socialist leader underwent a six-hour operation in Cuba on December 11. He had not been seen or heard in public since then until photos were published of him on Friday.

"We have arrived back in the Venezuelan fatherland. Thanks, my God! Thanks, my beloved people! Here we will continue the treatment," Chavez said via Twitter after flying in.

There had been speculation Chavez was unwell enough to travel despite wanting to return for continued treatment for the disease he was first diagnosed with in mid-2011.