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Russia's myth of "remote suicide bomber": Text message blows up suicide bomber by accident

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© Andrey Smirnov, AFP/Getty Images
Vans of the Russian Emergencies Ministry wait outside Moscow's Domodedovo international airport on January 24, 2011, shortly after a deadly explosion.
A "Black Widow" suicide bomber planned a terrorist attack in central Moscow on New Year's Eve but was killed when an unexpected text message set off her bomb too early, according to Russian security sources.

The unnamed woman, who is thought to be part of the same group that struck Moscow's Domodedovo airport on Monday, intended to detonate a suicide belt near Red Square on New Year's Eve in an attack that could have killed hundreds.

Security sources believe a message from her mobile phone operator wishing her a happy new year received just hours before the planned attack triggered her suicide belt, killing her at a safe house.

Yoda

US: An Elderly Couple's Defiant Stand Against Armed Robber

A 91-year-old Minnesota man and his 82-year-old wife say they weren't scared, but the guy trying to rob them sure was.


A masked intruder wanting money barged into Wally and Betty's apartment in St. Charles over the weekend. However, he got something in return.

Wally was sitting at his computer when the man entered his home.

"He just stood there in that doorway, standing there with a shovel," said Wally. "I thought, 'what the hell is going on here?' I thought it was a joke!"

After hearing all the commotion, his wife, Betty, went to the front of the house and found him on the floor. Wally had been punched in the nose and it was bleeding.

"I sat on the edge of the bed. He says, 'give me your hands! I'm going to tie you up!' And I said, 'No, I don't think so," Betty said.

They both resisted. It happens to be in Wally's blood. The World War 2 veteran wasn't about to give in to the guy's demands - his wife wasn't either.

After a couple minutes of struggling, the man ran out the door with nothing.

"I'm damn near 92 years old. So, I've lived my life. He's got his ahead of him, and it might not be too rosy, you know?" Wally said.

Crusader

Anti-government protest in Albania

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© Associated Press
Flowers lie in front of the Prime Minister's office in Tirana, Albania as police officers seal off a planned opposition protest march
Tens of thousands of demonstrators have started a silent protest in the Albanian capital Tirana, a week to the day after clashes during an opposition rally killed three.

The demonstrators, headed by the leadership of the opposition Socialists and the families of the victims, started a march on the government buildings. People continued to pour into the downtown area near the government, bringing traffic in central Tirana to a standstill. Many protesters carried flowers.

Fish

Commercial trawlers kill thousands more striped bass off the Outer Banks

fish kill
© Jeffrey Weeks
Thousands of dead striped bass killed by commercial trawlers.

Taking advantage of a NC Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) decision to allow them back into the ocean, commercial striped bass trawlers off of Oregon Inlet again killed and discarded thousands of striped bass today in a tragic and wasteful repeat of last month's fish kill.

Despite the massive striped bass kill last month, DMF director Dr. Louis Daniel reopened the ocean trawler striper season and once again the commercial trawlers left a miles-long trail of wasted, dead stripers.

"There are thousands of discarded striped bass covering an area approximately 1-1 ½ miles wide and 3-5 miles long," said one eyewitness observer who flew over the fish kill in a helicopter. "There is no disputing the fact that these fish came from the trawler fleet as there were no other boats in the area."

Bulb

US: Why Was Cowboys Stadium Exempt From Blackouts?

Cowboys Stadium
© Michael Heiman/Getty Images
The outside of Cowboys Stadium on February 2, 2011 in Arlington, Texas
As brief power outages rolled across the state on Wednesday, certain places were intended to be exempt from a temporary loss of electricity. That included hospitals, nursing homes, fire stations, police stations, other emergency response facilities... and Cowboys Stadium?

When officials with Oncor said that the Arlington site of Sunday's Super Bowl XLV would not be a part of the rolling outages, many residents became furious. But this was not entirely a choice made by the local utility company.

With thousands of reporters huddled in North Texas hotels and thousands of rabid football fans attending the NFL Experience at the Dallas Convention Center, and two football teams preparing to do battle on the field of Cowboys Stadium this Sunday, the North Texas Super Bowl XLV Host Committee had a big request to make. "It is vitally important we don't have blackouts," said committee vice president Tony Fay.

Fay asked the City of Dallas, the City of Fort Worth and the City of Arlington to ensure that rolling blackouts did not prevent planned events from happening at Super Bowl venues. That news really steamed up some homeowners who were left without power for hours. "We're not prioritizing," said frustrated Plano resident Allen Hooser. "Hospitals and the grocery store, which is out. But for a PR stunt, where you can go throw a football, you have power and heat."

Health

US: Blackouts Anger Dallas Hospitals

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© unknown
They are the critical care safety nets for North Texas: Parkland, Baylor, Methodist and Presbyterian Dallas. So, during Wednesday's rolling outages, why was the power cut to these vital hospitals?

Jorie Klein runs disaster management for Parkland Hospital, and is still upset that her hospital was included in the rotating outages. "We were not happy," she said. "You can't just go down for 15 minutes and come back up. It really does disrupt hospital care."

Because of the sensitive life-saving equipment, hospitals are considered "critical care facilities," and supposed to be exempt from rolling blackouts. That's exactly what Presbyterian Dallas was led to believe. "We were of the understanding that hospitals and other critical-care providers were not supposed to be affected by planned outages," said hospital spokesman Stephen O'Brien.

Oncor admits that a mistake was made. "We are sorry this happened. We are in a process of refining our processes, so in the unlikely event of future mandates for rotating outages, hospitals will be excluded," said Oncor spokeswoman Catherine Cuellar.

Dollar

Madoff trustee: Chase was complicit in scheme

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© Unknown
New York - E-mails and other internal documents show that executives at JPMorgan Chase were complicit in Bernard Madoff's massive fraud, lawyers seeking to recover funds for his victims said Thursday.

The lawyers work for a court-appointed trustee who filed a $6.4 billion complaint under seal late last year against JPMorgan, the disgraced financier's primary bank for two decades. The parties agreed to make portions of it public on Thursday.

Among the e-mails cited is one in 2007 in which an unidentified JPMorgan Chase employee recounts being told "there is a well-known cloud over the head of Madoff and that his returns are speculated to be part of a (P)onzi scheme."

The material supports allegations that "the bank's top executives were warned in blunt terms about speculation that Madoff was running a Ponzi scheme," attorney Deborah Renner said in a statement. "Yet the bank appears to have been more concerned only with protecting its own investments in (the Madoff firm's) feeder funds."

In a statement on Thursday, JPMorgan said the complaint "is meritless and is based on distortions of both the relevant facts and the governing law."

Bad Guys

Egypt: ABC News Reporter Brian Hartman Threatened With Beheading

Egypt protest
© unknown
Attacks on Foreign Press Growing During Egyptian Uprising

A group of angry Egyptian men carjacked an ABC News crew and threatened to behead them today in the latest and most menacing attack on foreign reporters trying to cover the anti-government uprising.

Producer Brian Hartman, cameraman Akram Abi-hanna and two other ABC News employees were surrounded on a crowded road that leads from Cairo's airport to the city's downtown area.

While ABC News and other press agencies had been taking precautions to avoid volatile situations, the road to the airport had been a secure route until today. One of their two vehicles was carrying cameras and transmission equipment strapped to the roof, indicating they were foreign journalists.

Hartman says it was only through the appeal of Abi-hanna, who is Lebanese and a veteran ABC cameraman, that they were saved from being killed or severely beaten.

"We thought we were goners," Hartman said later. "We absolutely thought we were doomed."

Phoenix

UK: Mystery arsonist claims responsibility for five major fires

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© Unknown
Blaze: The anonymous caller claimed responsibility for a fire at the office of sports minister Hugh Robertson
An anonymous arsonist has contacted Kent Police to claim responsibility for five major fires in Maidstone.

The first blaze took place at Lenham Ironmongers on October 28, which spread to the constituency office of Faversham and Mid Kent MP Hugh Robertson.

Boughton Monchelsea service station was set alight on December 29, followed by a bathroom studio in Chart Sutton on January 28, garages off Headcorn High Street on January 30, and a car garage in Ulcombe between January 29 and 30.


Black Cat

Mubarak's Last Gambit - Manufacturing Chaos

egypt protest sign

There is a joke making the rounds in Egypt that Hosni Mubarak threatened to demonstrate in front of parliament and self-emulate himself if the Egyptian people refuse to step down and join the deposed Tunisian leader in Exile.

The octogenarian dictator is simply delusional if thinks he can hold onto power. By my estimates, he'll be gone in a week or two - hopefully sooner. But before he gives up his throne, he means to dole out a severe dose of punishment to the 80 million 'ingrates' who have delegitimized his corruption infested regime.

Mubarak is a desperate and stubborn man. The disbanding of the police last Friday was a calculated attempt to manufacture chaos and terrorize the populace. It was supposed to be the perfect state crime. The police suddenly vanished abandoning even the prisons which are administered by the Ministry of Interior. With the gates thrown wide open, the criminal elements were let loose as the state controlled media started spreading false rumors of hysterical citizens being attacked in their homes. The crooks were joined by some members of the police force that were 'on vacation.' They obviously weren't idiots. Instead of using the security void to attack apartments and homes, they targeted the national museum, upscale retailers, the gold market and malls.