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China warns of 'severe challenges' to exports to West

Falling China exports
© Getty Images
Sales to Europe and the US comprise just under 40% of China's total exports, but have been falling
China faces "severe challenges" to its exports due to economic difficulties in key Western markets, the country's commerce ministry has warned.

Data due to be released on Saturday will show a sharp slowdown in export growth in November, the ministry said.

Sales to Europe and the US, which comprise about 40% of total exports, were not expected to recover next year.

The ministry said China would instead target exports to developing markets in Asia and Latin America.

Airplane

Plane Crashes into Philippine Slum Killing 12

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© Cheryl Ravelo/Reuters
Fire-fighters spray water as investigators examine the site of an aircraft crash in Paranaque City, Metro Manila December 10, 2011. Thirteen people were reported killed when a light aircraft crash-landed in a residential area, resulting in a fire that razed 50 houses, local media reported.
A four-seater cargo plane crashed into a crowded Philippine slum on Saturday, sparking a fire that killed 12 people including three children and left at least another 20 injured, officials said.

The crash killed the pilot and co-pilot, while the rest of the victims are thought to be residents of the shanty town, said police chief inspector Enrique Sy.

"The plane struck one house but the others also went up in flames. These are informal settlers, packed into rows of houses," Sy told reporters.

Resident Maribel Savedoria tearfully recounted on local radio how her husband perished in the blaze after pushing her and their four children out through the window of their rented room.

Che Guevara

Thousands Gather in Russia to Protest Legislative Elections

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© Yuri Kadobnov/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
Protesters gathered in Bolotnaya Square in central Moscow on Saturday.
Tens of thousands of Russians gathered peacefully in central Moscow on Saturday to shout "Putin is a thief" and "Russia without Putin," forcing the Kremlin to confront a level of public discontent that has not been seen here since Vladimir V. Putin first became president 12 years ago.

The crowd overflowed the square where it was held, forcing stragglers to climb trees or watch from the opposite riverbank, and organizers repeatedly cleared a footbridge out of fear it would collapse. It was the largest anti-Kremlin protest since the early 1990s.

The crowd united liberals, nationalists and Communists, a group best described as the urban middle class, so digitally connected that some were broadcasting the rally live using iPads held over their heads. The police estimated the crowd at 25,000 while organizers put the figure much higher, at 40,000 or more.

The rally was a significant moment in Russia's political life, suggesting that the authorities have lost the power to control the national agenda. The event was too large to be edited out of the evening news, which does not report criticism of Mr. Putin, and was accompanied by smaller demonstrations dozens of other cities, including St. Petersburg.

Pistol

Fears of US-Israeli Attack Rise in Iran

The constant rhetoric in the U.S. and Israel about potential military strikes against Iran, along with recent revelations about covert U.S. action inside Iran, has terrified a nation staring down the barrel of a superpowers gun.

Iran map
© n/a
"I don't think we can know just yet if war will break out, but I am concerned for my family and my country," university teacher Maryam Sofi, a mother of two, told Reuters. "I cannot sleep at night, thinking about destruction and bloodshed if Israel and America attack Iran."

Hyperbolic reactions to the recent IAEA report on Iran's nuclear program have prompted heightened war rhetoric from Israel and the United States. On Thursday, President Obama used a popular euphemism for international aggression, saying "No options off the table means I'm considering all options."

But the IAEA report put forth no definitive evidence of an imminent Iranian nuclear weapons capability, and in fact confirmed the non-diversion of fissile material.

Eye 1

Monsanto PR Firm Reportedly 'Ended' by Anonymous

hacking
© Unknown
It seems that Monsanto may be having a rough week. Not only was the company hit by a press release declaring them the worst company of 2011, but a group of Anonymous hackers claim to have actually completely disrupted the operations of a PR firm which manages Monsanto's own PR. The hackers infiltrated the PR firm, known as The Biving Group, due to "15+years of running marketing campaigns and helping some of the most corrupt corporations on the planet, as well as several governmental agencies, cover up their dirt."

Heart - Black

US: Ex-Amateur Athletic Union Leader Accused of Child Sex Abuse


Bobby Dodd
© ESPN
AAU president and chief executive officer Bobby Dodd, shown in a 2000 Outside the Lines report.
Two former basketball players have accused ex-Amateur Athletic Union president Robert "Bobby" Dodd of molesting them as children, according to an ESPN report.

The AAU confirmed late Friday that it is investigating the claims, which reportedly date from the 1980s. One of the players, 43-year-old Ralph West, told ESPN's Outside the Lines he was assaulted in Memphis in 1984.

Both West and a second unidentified man said news reports about the Penn State child sex abuse case prompted them to independently confront Dodd in November. The player, who spoke to ESPN on the condition of anonymity, said he called Dodd on Nov. 11 and that Dodd apologized for the alleged abuse. ESPN confirmed an eight-minute call to Dodd by examining telephone records.

Memphis police said in a statement that it had been contacted by the AAU and was looking into the allegations.

Stormtrooper

US: Occupy Boston Protesters Get Evicted, 46 Arrested

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© Rachael Cerrotti / Demotix
Defiant: Protesters line the streets as police remove hundreds of Occupy Wall Street demonstrators from Dewey Park on Saturday morning. It came after Thursday's midnight eviction deadline was ignored by many

Police officers swept through Dewey Square early Saturday, tearing down tents at the Occupy Boston encampment and arresting dozens of protesters, bringing a peaceful end to the 10-week demonstration.

Officers began moving into the encampment at about 5 a.m. to "ensure compliance with the trespassing law," police spokeswoman Elaine Driscoll said. The city had set a deadline for midnight Thursday for the protesters to abandon the site but police took no action until early Saturday, making Boston the latest city where officials moved to oust protesters demonstrating against what they call corporate greed and economic injustice.

As police moved in, about two dozen demonstrators linked arms and sat down in nonviolent protest and officers soon began arresting them, according to the Boston Globe.

Arrow Down

Canada in midst of largest-ever crackdown on illegal citizens

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© unknown
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said Canadians won't tolerate cheats on Friday, Dec. 9, 2011.
The Harper Conservatives have laid out plans to revoke 26 times more Canadian citizenships than all previous governments - combined.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said Friday his department is looking to pry citizenship away from more than 2,100 people he believes cheated the system. That total has climbed from 1,800 when the initiative was announced last July.

By comparison, Kenney said only around 80 individuals have been stripped of their citizenship between 1947 - when the Citizenship Act came into effect - and this year.

Canadian citizenship did not exist before the Act, meaning citizens of Canada, by both birth and naturalization, were British subjects.

Kenney described the sweep as the biggest citizenship-fraud crackdown in Canadian history.

"This is by far - by many orders of magnitude - the largest enforcement action ever taken in the history of Canadian citizenship," said Kenney, who spoke from a podium adorned with a sign that read: "Citizenship Not For Sale."

Bizarro Earth

US: 2nd child shot by mom in Texas welfare office dies

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© AP/Courtesy Jamie Rodriguez
This undated handout photo provided by Jamie Rodriguez shows Timothy Grimmer. Timothy's father, Dale Grimmer, spent time with the hospitalized boy Thursday in San Antonio, Texas, one day after the boy's 12-year-old sister died. The two children were shot by their mother after being denied food stamps in Texas.
McAllen - A 10-year-old son of a woman who shot her two children and then killed herself during a police standoff at a Texas welfare office died on Thursday, a day after his sister succumbed to her wounds.

Timothy Grimmer died Thursday evening at a San Antonio hospital after he was removed from life support, Laredo police investigator Joe Baeza said. His sister Ramie, 12, who authorities say was also shot by mother Rachelle Grimmer, died Wednesday night at the same hospital.

Their father, Dale Grimmer, spent time at his son's bedside Thursday before consulting with doctors and deciding to pull Timothy off of life support, said Mary Lee Shepherd, the children's grandmother.

"He spent hours with Ramie and finally had to let her go," Shepherd said. "He's just concentrating on saying goodbye to his children."

Phoenix

India Hospital Fire in Calcutta Kills Dozens

Image
© The Associated Press
Fire engines fought the blaze for five hours
At least 73 people have been killed in a fire that broke out in a hospital in the eastern Indian city of Calcutta (Kolkata), officials say.

Most of the victims were patients who were trapped after the flames spread through the AMRI hospital in the southern part of the city.

The fire started early on Friday in the multi-storey hospital's basement, where flammable materials were stored.

Fire engines fought the blaze for five hours before bringing it under control.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the licence of the hospital had been cancelled.

She said fire was an "unforgivable crime" and that those responsible would be given the harshest punishment.