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US, California: New San Francisco Sheriff Charged with Domestic Violence

© unknown
Jan. 13, 2012: San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi walks away after speaking to reporters at City Hall in San Francisco.
San Francisco's new sheriff is vowing to fight domestic violence and other misdemeanor charges that prosecutors allege are related to a New Year's Eve incident with his wife.

Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi faces one count each of domestic violence battery, child endangerment and dissuading a witness, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon said Friday.

Mirkarimi was booked at San Francisco County Jail, said San Francisco police Sgt. Michael Andraychak. He was released on $35,000 bail. A police mugshot showed Mirkarimi with his eyes closed.

The sheriff, 50, vowed to remain in office while he fights the charges. He told reporters outside his office Friday afternoon the he denies the allegations.

"The charges are very unfounded," he said calmly. "We will fight the charges."

"We are cooperating," he said.


US: Mall Shooting at Independence Center in Kansas City Metro, Two Injured

© unknown
Another mall shooting is starting to trickle out through the news from the Kansas City area. The mall shooting took place on January 14th, 2011 in the late afternoon. The mall was the Indepence Center shopping mall located in Independence, MO which is part of the Kansas City metro area.

The mall had been put in full lockdown as police attempted to find the suspect who has shot at least two people. A phone interview of a man live on the news revealed that most of the shooting happened in the end of the Independence Mall where Sears Deparment store is located.

Stores had started to pull down lock gates as the shooting took place. Some stores in the Independence, Missouri mall allowed customers to come in and stay in the back of the stores until things calmed down.

Personal accounts are mentioned at The Examiner reported by Kelly Evenson. The interview of three sisters revealed the girls heard three shots in the mall and they quicly returned into the CJ Banks store to take shelter as the store locked the customers down. The three sisters said that after the shots were heard shoppers were seen, "screaming and running like a herd of cattle."


US: Priest Gets 3 Years in Prison for Stealing from Church

© Jeff Scheid/Las Vegas Review-Journal
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Msgr. Kevin McAuliffe, left, outside the courthouse in Las Vegas.
Msgr. Kevin McAuliffe stole about $650,000 from his Las Vegas-area parish over nearly a decade to feed a gambling addiction. His parishioners had urged the judge to show mercy.

For years, Msgr. Kevin McAuliffe lived something of a double life.

He was widely admired by his flock at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, which he helped build into one of the largest Roman Catholic parishes in the Las Vegas area. But at the same time, he was stealing money from the church.

Over nearly a decade, he pocketed about $650,000. His motive was all too familiar in Nevada. McAuliffe was a gambling addict.

On Friday, U.S. District Judge James C. Mahan judge waved off the defense's request to give McAuliffe probation. He sentenced the priest, who pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the thefts, to more than three years in prison and ordered him to pay restitution.

McAuliffe's attorney, Margaret Stanish, had asked the court to consider his lifelong devotion to the Catholic Church, which started with helping nuns when he was a schoolboy. McAuliffe has also been diagnosed with social anxiety disorder and depression, she said, but in recent months had "excelled" in gambling addiction treatment.


US: Billionaire Detroit Bridge Owner Released from Jail

© Reuters/Wayne County Sheriff's Office
Manuel ''Matty'' Moroun (L), an owner of the company that controls the Ambassador Bridge connecting Detroit with Windsor, Canada, and company executive Dan Stamper are seen in a combination of booking photos
The billionaire owner of the Ambassador Bridge, the busiest crossing between the United States and Canada, was released after one night from the jail where a judge ordered him held for failing to complete a road construction project.

Manuel "Matty" Moroun, 84, who controls the Detroit International Bridge Co, and company President Dan Stamper were ordered jailed on Thursday by a Wayne County judge until they complied with his order in February 2010 to complete the project or until they no longer have the power to do so.

The Michigan Court of Appeals on Friday ordered both men freed while they appealed the contempt ruling by Wayne County Judge Prentis Edwards. The court scheduled oral arguments in the appeal on February 2.

"All other aspects of the order are not stayed during the pendency of this appeal," the appeals court ruled.


US: Occupy 'Will Never Die': Protesters in Washington

Occupy Wash protestors
© flickr
Protesters with the "Occupy" movement in the US capitol said Friday the authorities' efforts to evict them would fail, after the city mayor called for their removal.

"They are trying to annoy us, to get our spirits down but I really think it's not working," said Sam Mellot from Virginia who has been camping at McPherson Square, a few blocks from the White House, one of two downtown sites being used for an encampment by "Occupy Washington" and "Occupy DC" demonstrators.

"Evict us, we'll multiply - Occupy will never die," he said.

Washington Mayor Vincent Gray asked the National Park Service on Thursday to remove protesters from McPherson Square, saying he wants the protesters removed to eliminate rats and trash and allow restoration of the park.


US: Police Believe Man in Custody is Responsible for California Homeless Killings

© The Associated Press
January 13, 2012: A crowd gathers at the intersection of Imperial Highway and La Palma in Anaheim, Calif. Friday night following the discovery of a dead man behind a Carl's Jr.
Police in Southern California said Saturday they believe a man in their custody is responsible for all four recent killings of homeless men in Orange County.

Anaheim police said at a news conference that investigators have tied 23-year-old Itzcoatl Ocampo of Yorba Linda to the killings.

Ocampo was detained Friday night after a fourth homeless man was found slain in the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant.

Three other homeless men have been found stabbed to death in north Orange County since mid-December, and a task force of police officers, sheriff's deputies and FBI agents had been looking for the single suspect they believed was responsible for all three.

Ocampo could not immediately be reached for comment. A phone number listed in his name rang without an answer, and no one answered the door at two addresses listed in his name.


India: Shrine Stampede Leaves Ten Dead

A stampede during a religious ceremony in central India has left at least 10 people dead, an official said.

According to Senior police officer Rajesh Vyas said the stampede occurred early Saturday when a large number of people surged forward to gain entry into a Muslim shrine.

Vyas said some pilgrims fell down and were crushed to death.

The shrine is near Ratlam, a town in Madhya Pradesh state nearly 480 miles southwest of New Delhi. Police in the region could not be immediately reached for details.

Deadly stampedes are relatively common at religious places in India, where large crowds gather in tiny areas with no safety measures or crowd control.

Bizarro Earth

Two Years On, Haiti Still Reeling from Earthquake

Fabiola Leocal's story ought to be uncommon, but in post-earthquake Haiti, it's not.

All she has left of her previous life are a stack of photographs and a few other things scavenged off the rubble of the building she called a home.

When the catastrophe struck, as the Haitians say, her house tumbled, along with many others that dotted the hillside in the Port-au-Prince neighborhood of Canape Vert. Her husband of nine years, Rene, was crushed under concrete.

She lived in a camp for a while but returned to where she belonged. Now she has a tin shack and memories -- photographs carefully tucked away in loose, laminated photo album pages of herself and Rene. He, in a suit. She, in a much finer dress than the black sleeveless top and printed skirt she has on now.


US, New York: Homeless Long Island Teenager Is Intel Competition Semifinalist

© Sophia Hall / WCBS 880
Samantha Garvey and her father at Brentwood High School - Brentwood, NY - Jan 12, 2012
Samantha Garvey has good reason to be the recipient of high fives and congratulations from the faculty and students in the hallways at Brentwood High School.

The 17-year-old senior says she cannot believe that she is one of the semifinalists in the highly prestigious Intel Science Competition, in part because she lives in a Bay Shore homeless shelter with her parents, brother, and twin sisters.

"I am currently homeless. Like I've said, this motivates me to do better. I do well and I pursue my passion because it's what I have and it's a way out, you know, and it'll lead to better things," Garvey told WCBS 880 reporter Sophia Hall.


US: Home Seizures May Jump 25% This Year as U.S. Foreclosures Resume

foreclosure sign
© n/a
Banks may seize more than 1 million U.S. homes this year after legal scrutiny of their foreclosure practices slowed actions against delinquent property owners in 2011, RealtyTrac Inc. said.

About 1.89 million properties received notices of default, auction or repossession last year, down 34 percent from 2010 and the lowest number since 2007, the Irvine, California-based data seller said today in a statement. One in 69 U.S. households received a filing.

While the seizure process has been "highly dysfunctional," there were "strong signs in the second half of 2011 that lenders are finally beginning to push through some of the delayed foreclosures in select local markets," RealtyTrac Chief Executive Officer Brandon Moore said in the statement.

The number of home repossessions is likely to rise about 25 percent from the more than 804,000 properties seized last year as lenders resume foreclosure actions, Daren Blomquist, a spokesman for RealtyTrac, said in a telephone interview. Settlement talks are continuing with state attorneys general over documentation flaws, known as "robo-signing," that surfaced in October 2010.