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U.S. airman Is suspected of punching Japanese boy, police say

Koichiro Gemba
© Agence France-Presse
Japan's foreign minister Koichiro Gemba
Tokyo - Japanese leaders reacted angrily on Friday after the police on Okinawa said an American Air Force serviceman was suspected of breaking into an apartment while drunk and punching a 13-year-old boy, just weeks after two American sailors were accused of raping a woman on the same island.

Japan's foreign minister, Koichiro Gemba, called the suspected attack "outrageous," and he said hitting a boy was "completely unforgivable."

The assault took place early Friday morning, the police said. The airman was apparently in violation of a curfew imposed just last month by the American military on all of its roughly 50,000 military personnel in Japan following the rape accusation. The police did not release the name of the 24-year-old airman, who was in the hospital after apparently falling from a third-story window.

The back-to-back episodes have stirred outrage on Okinawa, the southern island that hosts three-quarters of the American bases in Japan. The episodes also threaten to complicate ties between the United States and its closest Asian ally at a time when both nations are trying to work together to face an increasingly assertive China.


Some relief? After controversy, Bloomberg calls off New York City Marathon

Update at 5:17 p.m. ET. Marathon Cancelled:

After receiving withering criticism, officials have decided to cancel the New York City Marathon, the largest 26.2 mile road race in the world.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who had insisted on allowing the marathon to continue, issued a statement saying he did not want to taint the event with shroud of controversy.

"While holding the race would not require diverting resources from the recovery effort, it is clear that it has become the source of controversy and division," Bloomberg said in a statement emailed to reporters. "The marathon has always brought our city together and inspired us with stories of courage and determination. We would not want a cloud to hang over the race or its participants, and so we have decided to cancel it."

NBC News points out that just hours earlier, Bloomberg asserted that the marathon would go on.

"If you think back to 9/11, I think Rudy [Giuliani] made the right decision to run the marathon," Bloomberg said. "It pulled people together and we have to find some ways to express ourselves and show solidarity to each other."

The mayor said New York Road Runners would issue more information later for the 45,000 runners.


Film producer has mass exorcism at Soho cinema

A producer has held a mass exorcism at a London cinema, claiming his film was being haunted by evil spirits.

Filmmaker Bill Bungay blamed several strange occurrences connected with his film When the Lights Went Out on "the effects of a demonic possession".

Two showings of the horror film at the Soho Screening Rooms were hit by blackouts, with Bungay deciding to hold an exorcism to cleanse the cinema.

Using the help of 100 male and female religious friends, he felt that exorcism needed to be held as it could not have been a "coincidence".

Bungay's film is based on the supposed haunting of a Yorkshire home that belonged to director Pat Holden's aunt Jean Pritchard in the 1970s.

The producer said: "It was one thing to put the first power failure down to a bit of bad luck.

"But to move cinemas and have exactly the same thing happen 20 minutes into the movie when the evil presence is first felt was beyond coincidence, and has caused much concern for the production."

However, cinema projectionist Paul Speed stated that the incidents were likely more technical than paranormal.

"In Soho, we get outages when there is a big demand for power for heating when the temperature drops," he said.

Eye 1

Young brothers swept to death by Sandy denied refuge minutes earlier


Glenda Moore, and her husband, Damian Moore, react as they approach the scene where at least one of their childrens' bodies were discovered in Staten Island, New York, Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012
As Superstorm Sandy ravaged New York, Glenda Moore drove frantically across Staten Island in an attempt to get her sons to safety.

Instead, Moore found herself and her boys -- Connor, four and Brandon, two -- caught in the full fury of the storm.

Buffeted by torrential rains and winds of up to 90 miles per hour, her Ford Explorer plunged into a hole. According to the account she would later give police, Moore carried her sons to a nearby tree, gripping branches along with her boys as she tried to shelter them from the storm surge.

She told police they clung together for hours, before Moore managed to make her way to a nearby property, and pleaded to be let inside. But according to her police account, rather than sheltering the desperate strangers, the occupant refused to let them enter.

In desperation, Moore told police she then went to the back of the house, and tried to break in using a flower pot, but was unable to do so. As the storm raged on, her sons were swept away by flood waters.

The bodies of the boys were found near each other Thursday, about a quarter of a mile from where Moore last held them.

Meanwhile, public anger has been directed at the homeowner who allegedly failed to help Moore and her children. The man, who told CNN's Gary Tuchman that his name is Alan but did not want his full name used, disputed Moore's account, saying he saw only a man outside.

Comment: A man's refusal to help a woman and her two young sons directly results in the death of the children and all he can do is blame the mother. This is everyday pathological behavior in action. This is the type of pathology that repulses normal human beings and is normalized by far too many people as the status quo.


Symbolic? UK chain store retailer 'Comet' sees website crash and suppliers commandeer stock

Retailer Comet was plunged into chaos on Thursday as its looming administration led to suppliers commandeering stock, its website crashing and shoppers being urged to spend vouchers soon to become worthless.

The company said a notice of intent to file for administration had been handed in at the high court with the formal appointment of administrators expected early next week. The crunch puts 6,500 jobs at risk and raises the spectre of one of the darkest days for the high street since the collapse of Woolworths in 2008. In an email to staff, Comet chief executive Bob Darke said the board was "urgently working with its advisers to seek a solution to secure a viable future".

The 80-year-old company started as Comet Battery Stores, which charged batteries for wireless sets, and pioneered out-of-town retailing, opening its first superstore in Hull in 1968. In the first of a series of ownership changes, Comet was bought by B&Q owner Kingfisher in 1984 for £129m and, by the mid-1990s, had become a national chain. Amstrad founder Lord Sugar tweeted: "Sad to see the demise of Comet. They were my first serious trade customer when I started my first electronics factory in the early 70s."


Facebook censors Navy SEALs for claiming Obama denied them help


Facebook page of Special Operation Speaks PAC
Social media giant Facebook has removed a message by the Special Operations Speaks PAC (SOS), which shed negative light on US President Obama for denying a request for military support in Benghazi before the deadly attack on the consulate.

The message came in the form of a meme, accompanied by an image of Obama, smiling while holding his ears, next to an image of former al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

"Obama called the SEALs and THEY got bin Laden," the meme states. "When the SEALs called Obama, THEY GOT DENIED."

The message sheds light on Obama's failure to provide backup when the SEALs called for it in Benghazi, shortly before four Americans were killed in an attack that killed the US Ambassador to Libya.

Sources who were present during the six-hour assault claim that military assistance, which was only two hours away, was requested and denied even when the CIA safe house was under attack. The assault has become a controversial topic, with the White House having been unclear about how much it actually knew about the attack and the motivations behind it.

SOS is an anti-Obama group consisting of "veterans, legatees, and supporters of the Special Operations communities of all the Armed Forces," the Facebook page states. After the page garnered 30,000 shared and 24,000 likes for the meme in just 24 hours, it was deleted by Facebook.


Hollywood wages war against legitimate Megaupload customers

police line tape @ megaupload
© n/a
A federal judge is considering how legitimate users of the Megaupload online storage site may be allowed access to files hosted on seized servers, but Hollywood is still adamant about doing everything possible to prevent that from happening.

Kyle Goodwin says he uploaded personal files to the Megaupload.com cyber locker that were vital to his small business, but he's been unable to access that data ever since authorities shut-down the site and arrested its founder, Kim Dotcom of New Zealand, in January. Ten months after the fact, Goodwin can't access his files and is now being represented by attorneys from the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

"The government engaged in a overbroad seizure, denying Mr. Goodwin access to his data, along with likely millions of others who have never been accused of wrongdoing," EFF staff attorney Julie Samuels says in a statement this week. "Access to the government's warrant application and related materials can help us learn how this could have happened and provide assistance in our efforts to get Mr. Goodwin his property back."

A judge is now being tasked with deciding if those court files can be opened to assess the situation fully, but the Hollywood bigwigs who were opposed to the site say that might not be the best idea.

Brick Wall

New York mulls $6 bln water gate in the wake of Sandy

© Agence France-Presse/Don Emmert
As New York City remains devastated from the destruction brought on by Superstorm Sandy, officials are optioning the installation of barriers that could prevent further catastrophes - at a cost estimated in the billions.

Now that this week's storm has proven that Manhattan and the other boroughs of New York aren't impermeable to Mother Nature, scientists are looking to find solutions that could keep another Sandy from shutting down the city. The answer, some say, might be a system of barriers jetting into the bodies of water surrounding New York that could help stop any future frankenstorms.

"With the kind of protection that has been considered so far, you cannot protect a multimillion-inhabitant city that runs part of the world economy," Piet Dirck of the Dutch engineering firm Arcadis tells the Associated Press.

Oceanography professor Malcolm J. Bowman from Long Island's Stony Brook University tells the AP that he has warned what could happen to New York for years if a storm such as Sandy moved up the East Coast. He's also advocated for a barrier and implies now that the time is finally right for officials to start heeding his call.

"The time has come. The city is finally going to have to face this," he says.

Heart - Black

Surveillance video shows man beaten, robbed in NYC as Hurricane Sandy struck

Warning: Video Contains Graphic Content

Disturbing video posted online
shows a man being beaten by a group of men as Hurricane Sandy struck New York City.

The incident happened Monday in the Crown Heights section of New York.

NyDailyNews.com identified the victim as 21-year-old Jeremy Furchtgott.

Furchtgott can be seen in surveillance video posted by CrownHeights.info being assaulted by at least five men.

According to the article, Furchtgott was forced to turn over his iPhone and money to the assailants.

Police, at this time, have no suspects.


Homeland Security worker charged with soliciting kids on Facebook

Robert B. Rennie Jr.

Robert B. Rennie Jr.
A 43-year-old Department of Homeland Security worker allegedly used Facebook to solicit more than 70 area children for sexual acts, according to authorities.

Robert B. Rennie Jr., a Loudoun County resident, was charged Oct. 24 with five counts of using a computer to solicit a child under the age of 15, after a school resource officer was tipped off to suspicious activity on a Mercer Middle School student's Facebook page.

The student, a young girl, had accepted a friend request from someone she believed was a fellow Mercer student: an account under the name Kyle Kirts, according to the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office.

The girl's parents alerted school officials that "Kirts" had solicited sexual activity from the girl in conversations on Facebook, authorities said. The school in turn alerted the Sheriff's Office.

An investigation revealed that Rennie, who worked for the agency's National Protection and Programs Directorate, was the sole user of the fictitious account, which under the name Kirts had friended mostly young girls.