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As Bahrain stifles protest movement, U.S.'s muted objections draw criticism

Two months after the eruption of mass protests in Bahrain, the kingdom has largely silenced the opposition, jailing hundreds of activists in a crackdown that has left the Obama administration vulnerable to charges that it is upholding democratic values in the Middle East selectively.

Bahrain's monarchy, since calling in Saudi troops last month to help crush the protest movement, has been quietly dismantling the country's Shiite-led opposition. On Friday, the Sunni government announced an investigation into the activities of Bahrain's largest political party, the Shiite-dominated al-Wefaq, which could lead to its ban.

The Obama administration has repeatedly appealed to the Bahraini government for restraint, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton this week called for a political process that "advances the rights and aspirations of all the citizens of Bahrain." But the administration has neither recalled its ambassador to Manama nor threatened the kinds of sanctions it imposed on Libya - a striking disparity that is fueling ­anti-U.S. sentiment among Bahraini opposition groups.

"Even though the American administration's words are all about freedom and democracy and change, in Bahrain, the reality is that they're basically a protection for the dictatorship," said Zainab al-Khawaja, a prominent human-rights activist who began a hunger strike after her father, husband and brother-in-law were arrested at her apartment over the weekend.

Attention

US: FAA changing air controllers' schedules after another falls asleep

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© Clif Owen/AP
The FAA control tower at Reagan National Airport is seen in Arlington.
The crisis that has engulfed the nation's air-traffic system deepened Saturday as another air-traffic controller was discovered sleeping on the job, the government announced.

In this case, the controller was working a midnight shift at a crowded facility in Miami. No flights were threatened during the episode, but federal officials also announced they're instituting schedule changes to minimize fatigue among the thousands who work during the wee hours.

In what has become a wave of bad publicity for the nation's aviation system, the Federal Aviation Administration announced Saturday that it had discovered the sixth case of controllers suspected of sleeping on the job this year. None of the incidents has come close to triggering an accident, but the cases have undermined public confidence in the system and prompted widespread criticism.

Nuke

Testimony from Japan: "A Ship with no Captain". Evolving Coverup of a Nuclear Disaster...

Earthquake and Nuke Fatigue: "Time For The Rich To Leave Tokyo"

It appears there is a cover-up as to the severity of the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster. We in Japan are being told by the government that there is a plan to monitor food safety to ensure the public will not be exposed to dangerous levels of radiation. Yet some experts dispute whether there is any such thing as a "safe dose." Further, the government is not honestly telling the public the extent of the problem or how they propose to resolve it (see this rolling update from a resident living near the Fukushima plant: http://candobetter.net/node/2428 ).

Any intelligent layperson who considers the technical aspects of the disaster will be at a loss as to how the plant operators will be able to restore the cooling system, which may be badly damaged, to reactors that themselves may be unrepairable or in various states of melt-down. If the nuclear fuel in the reactors has melted through to the floor, what would be the point of setting up a cooling system to a dysfunctional reactor and a pool of melted fuel?

No one in the government clearly answers these questions nor has the international community come forth with a possible solution.

Dollar

US: 3 online poker houses face fraud charges in New York

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Federal authorities busted the three largest online poker websites in the United States on Friday with charges of bank fraud and illegal gambling against 11 people, accusing them of manipulating banks to process billions of dollars in illegal revenue.

Prosecutors in Manhattan said they've issued restraining orders against more than 75 bank accounts in 14 countries used by the poker companies, interrupting the illegal flow of billions of dollars.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said the defendants "concocted an elaborate criminal fraud scheme, alternately tricking some U.S. banks and effectively bribing others to assure the continued flow of billions in illegal gambling profits."

The companies, all based overseas, were identified as PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker. The indictment sought $3-billion in money laundering penalties and forfeiture from the defendants.

The indictment said the companies ran afoul of the law after the U.S. in October 2006 enacted the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, which makes it a crime for gambling businesses to knowingly accept most forms of payment in connection with the participation of another person in unlawful Internet gambling.

Pistol

US: Ohio police: Man killed wife, 3 young kids, then self; grandma says couple had marital trouble

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© The Assoicated Press/JD Pooley
Ottawa County Sheriff Bob Bratton pauses while speaking to the media, Saturday April 16, 2011, in Port Clinton, Ohio. Authorities say Alan Atwater killed his three children, wife and himself inside an Ohio farmhouse.
A man who recently told a relative he was having marital problems called 911 and informed a dispatcher that he had fatally shot his wife and three young children and was getting ready to kill himself, too, authorities and his grandmother said Saturday.

The 911 call came in just after midnight, the Ottawa County Sheriff's Department said, and deputies arrived within minutes at the white-sided, two-story farmhouse in Oak Harbor, about 25 miles southeast of Toledo. They didn't enter the home until two hours later, after they'd tried to contact the people inside by phone and through a loudspeaker.

In an upstairs bedroom, they found Alan Atwater, 31; his wife, Dawn, 30; and their three children - 4-year-old Ashley, 2-year-old Isaac and 1-year-old Brady. The parents and two older children were on the floor, while the youngest was in a bed. All had gunshot wounds, authorities said.

"There has been a terrible accident at my house. My wife and three children are dead," Alan Atwater said in the 911 call, according to the sheriff's office. He told the dispatcher he had shot them.

Eye 2

US: Woman Allegedly Kills Cat For Lady Gaga Concert Outfit

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© unknown
Lady Gaga
A 20-year-old Oklahoma woman was receiving treatment in a hospital Thursday after being charged with animal cruelty for allegedly killing the family cat and using the blood for an outfit she planned to wear to a Lady Gaga concert.

A relative of Angelina K. Barnes returned to her home in Oklahoma City and found the woman wearing a long coat, with her face covered in blood -- later determined to be cat's blood -- ready to attend the concert, KFOR reported.

The light switches in the house had been covered in duct tape to make them almost impossible to turn on.

It was later determined the cat had been drowned in the bathroom, before being sliced open and its eyes mutilated.

The liver of the animal was found in a makeup case on the bathroom's vanity.

Police said Barnes was taken to Griffin Memorial Hospital where she was receiving treatment. She did not attend the Lady Gaga concert.

Although Barnes was diagnosed with depression, neighbors said the violence was "completely out of character."

Newspaper

13 soldiers in Algeria killed by militants

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© Reuters
Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika listens to the speech of Libya's leader Muammar Gaddafi at the start of the third European Union-Africa summit in Tripoli November 29, 2010.
Algiers, Algeria - Islamist extremists attacked an army post and killed at least 13 soldiers watching the Algerian president's televised speech promising reforms, security officials said Saturday.

Two militants in the group were killed by soldiers at the post in Kabyle, some 80 miles east of Algiers, the officials said Saturday. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak to the press.

On Saturday, security forces swept areas including the Yakourene forest, a hideout of al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, in a search for other suspects, the officials said.

It was the deadliest attack on security forces since July 2009, when at least 14 soldiers were reported killed in an ambush on a military convoy in Damous, near the northern coastal city of Tipaza.

Question

Egypt dissolves Mubarak's former ruling party

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© Unknown
Cairo - A court ordered the dissolving of Egypt's former ruling party on Saturday, meeting a major demand of the protesters who wanted to ensure that the party that monopolized the country's politics and government for decades is definitively broken after the fall of President Hosni Mubarak.

The court verdict against the National Democratic Party appeared to signal that the Egypt's ruling military was trying to move more swiftly to meet protester demands. It came only days after the ousted Mubarak and his sons were put under detention for interrogation on allegations of corruption and responsibility for the killings of protesters by police.

The protest movement had been pushing for both steps for weeks, with little response from the Armed Forces' Supreme Council, the body of top generals that has held power since Mubarak's Feb. 11 fall. In the meantime, tensions grew between the council and the protesters, some of whom accused the generals of protecting the former president.

The tensions peaked a week ago, when troops attacked protesters massed in Cairo's central Tahrir Square in a pre-dawn raid, killing at least one.

Che Guevara

30,000 Croatians protest against war crime verdicts

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© Agence France-Presse
A Croatian veterans' leader told the rally "We do not recognise The Hague court"
Tens of thousands of Croatian war veterans staged protests in main cities Saturday, a day after a UN court handed down heavy war crimes sentences for two ex-generals, seen by many Croats as heroes.

On the central square in a rainy Zagreb up to 30,000 protesters gathered around a central stage to listen to fiery speeches condemning both the verdicts and the Croatian government.

"We do not recognise The Hague court and its ruling, those who bear guilt for such verdicts are here", veterans' leader Mario Slavicek told the crowd.

The war veterans and their supporters who gathered to show their outrage at Friday's verdict blame present and previous governments for handing over the generals to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

They chanted "traitors" and "Jadra get out" in reference to current Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor.

Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac were jailed for 24 and 18 years respectively after the court in The Hague found they had conspired with the Croatian wartime leadership to commit crimes against ethnic Serbs.

Attention

Canada: West Edmonton bodies ID'd as missing couple

Two bodies found in a west Edmonton field on Wednesday have been identified as a missing city couple.

A man riding an ATV found the bodies of Perry Kit Wong, 72, and his common-law wife Eloise Fendelet, 71, at a sprawling construction site near the Lewis Estates subdivision at about 5:20 p.m. MT.

Edmonton police said Friday that autopsies have determined the manner of death to be homicide, but the cause of death isn't being released.

The couple lived in the downtown area and ran their own dental business. A friend last saw them on Dec. 27, 2010.