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US, Alabama: Twin sisters face murder charges in burning deaths of 3 toddlers

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© unknown
Twin sisters face three counts each of reckless murder in connection with the burning deaths of three of their children in Atmore, Alabama.

Akeevia Lajoseia Abner and Tekeevia Lajoseialan Abner, 18, were taken into custody on Monday by the state fire marshal. A bond hearing has not yet been set.

Escambia County District Attorney Steve Billy said the women left 3-year-old Aniyia Abner, 3-year-old Takia Abner and 22-month-old Michael Coleman alone on Wednesday night last week.

The fire marshal's preliminary investigation indicated an oven left open -- possibly as a heat source -- could be the source of the blaze that killed the unattended children.

Network

US: Small-biz community divided on protest movement

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© Karen Bleier/AFP - Getty Images
Occupy DC supporters read an adult comic book at the protest in Washington this week. Many small business owners support the movement, according to one survey.
The Occupy Wall Street movement now active in some 400 cities nationwide is a cry of protest against the concentration of power among big companies in general and big banks in particular.

So how is it playing on Main Street, where small business often holds sway?

The surprising answer is that many small businesses support the movement, although the community is sharply divided, with some opponents citing the anti-capitalist rhetoric of the protesters.

The survey from e-mail marketing company VerticalResponse, which says most of its customers are small businesses, found that 49 percent support the loosely defined OWS movement and 47 percent oppose it.

While the 212 survey respondents were nearly evenly divided, respondents who disagree with the message of OWS were more negative in their perception of the movement, according to VerticalResponse.

Comment: Whether real or not, the divide appears more between those who are seeing things as they are and those who prefer their blinders. Some history on how the fed works, and other topics, can be found here.


Arrow Down

US wealth gap between young and old is widest ever

The wealth gap between younger and older Americans has stretched to the widest on record, worsened by a prolonged economic downturn that has wiped out job opportunities for young adults and saddled them with housing and college debt.

The typical U.S. household headed by a person age 65 or older has a net worth 47 times greater than a household headed by someone under 35, according to an analysis of census data released Monday.

While people typically accumulate assets as they age, this wealth gap is now more than double what it was in 2005 and nearly five times the 10-to-1 disparity a quarter-century ago, after adjusting for inflation.

The analysis reflects the impact of the economic downturn, which has hit young adults particularly hard. More are pursuing college or advanced degrees, taking on debt as they wait for the job market to recover. Others are struggling to pay mortgage costs on homes now worth less than when they were bought in the housing boom.

Wolf

Congress Figures Out Sneaky Way To Raise Taxes And Cut Social Security Benefits Without Anyone Noticing

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© commons.wikimedia.org

Washington - Just as 55 million Social Security recipients are about to get their first benefit increase in three years, Congress is looking at reducing future raises by adopting a new measure of inflation that also would increase taxes for most families - the biggest impact falling on those with low incomes.

If adopted across the government, the inflation measure would have widespread ramifications. Future increases in veterans' benefits and pensions for federal workers and military personnel would be smaller. And over time, fewer people would qualify for Medicaid, Head Start, food stamps, school lunch programs and home heating assistance than under the current measure.

Taxes would go up by $60 billion over the next decade because annual adjustments to the tax brackets would be smaller, resulting in more people jumping into higher tax brackets because their wages rose faster than the new inflation measure. Annual increases in the standard deduction and personal exemptions would become smaller.

Heart - Black

US, Texas: Man Guilty of Marrying Girl to Polygamist Sect Leader

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© Reuters/Jud Burkett/Pool
U.S. polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs reacts as he listens to the jury being polled after handing down the verdicts against him, in St. George, Utah, September 25, 2007.
Ex-bishop Fredrick Merril Jessop was found guilty on Monday of marrying a 12-year-old girl to polygamist leader Warren Jeffs, who is serving a life term for sexually assaulting two child brides.

Jeffs, 55, leader of a breakaway Mormon sect, was convicted in August of sexually assaulting that girl and a 15-year-old he had taken as so-called "spiritual" wives. Prosecutors said the girls were among two dozen underage brides Jeffs had acquired over the last decade.

A rural West Texas jury found Jessop, 75, guilty of performing an illegal marriage ceremony, a third-degree felony punishable by two to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.

Jessop, a former bishop with the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, was excommunicated by Jeffs in January.

Jeffs' polygamist sect, which experts estimate has 10,000 followers in North America, has been condemned by the mainstream Mormon Church and is accused of promoting marriages between older men and girls.

FLDS men enter into so-called "celestial marriages" with multiple wives in a process known as "sealing." The FLDS, which broke off from the mainstream Mormon church in the early 20th Century, believes polygamy is necessary to advance to the highest level of heaven.

Arrow Down

US: Man With Sign Dangles Off New York's Tappan Zee Bridge

Ex-government worker accuses Rockland County officials of a 'cover-up'



A 54-year-old man who had been fired from his county job in 2008 spent more than three hours hanging from the Tappan Zee bridge on a rope ladder before he crashed into the water and was pulled into a police boat Monday.

Authorities told NBC New York the protester had picketed officials in upstate Rockland County for years. Rockland County officials identified the man as Michael A. Davitt.

Rockland County Sheriff James Kralik said he sent a deputy to provide security during meetings after Davitt sent legislators letters "which some people considered threatening."

"We decided to keep an eye on him to make sure he didn't step over the line, and he never did,'' Kralik said. "Today he not only stepped over the line, he jumped over it.''

Info

Official says 16 Hindus die in stampede during religious ceremony at Ganges in northern India

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© unknown
A stampede killed 16 Hindu pilgrims and injured about 50 during a religious ceremony Tuesday on the banks of the Ganges River in northern India, an official said.

The stampede at Haridwar in Uttar Pradesh state was triggered when some of the pilgrims tripped and fell while those behind continued to push forward, government spokesman Amit Chandola said.

Thousands of people had converged on the river banks for the prayer ceremony in the temple-filled town at the foothills of the Himalayas where the Ganges enters the sprawling plains of northern India. Haridwar is about 300 miles (500 kilometres) southwest of the state capital of Lucknow.

Dollar

US, Chicago: City Fines and Fees Double, Triple for Minor and Major Offenses

Rahm Emanuel
© unknown
Rahm Emanuel
Mayor Rahm Emanuel has said his plan to raise taxes, fines and fees by $220 million in 2012 includes higher fines for a laundry list of offenses, but he has yet to air that laundry list.

Now, the mayor's 2012 revenue ordinance makes the details public. It's a doozy.

If your car is impounded for carrying drugs, driving drunk, soliciting a prostitute or carrying a firearm registered to someone other than the driver, the penalty will double - to $2,000. But, if the violations occur within 500 feet of a park or school, the fine will triple - to $3,000.

If your car is seized for drag racing on Chicago streets, there's a new, $1,000 fine in addition to the towing and storage fee. For playing a radio too loud, the new fine will be anywhere from $500 to $750.

If the vehicle is snatched for driving with a suspended or revoked license or displaying altered temporary registration permits, the fine would double - to $1,000. Vehicles towed after being used in an unlawful attempt to flee or elude police officers would also double - to $2,000.

Tampering with parking meters or pay-and-display boxes - something motorists have done on occasion to vent their anger at the deal that privatized Chicago parking meters - would carry a fine ranging from $500 to $750.

Question

US, Chicago: Who is Cain accuser Sharon Bialek?


Sharon Bialek, who lives in suburban Mundelein, said Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain reached under her skirt 14 years ago when she was asked him about a job.

In this Intelligence Report: Who is Sharon Bialek? The Chicago-area woman has an extensive corporate and personal history in the area going back to the early 1990s.

It was her hope for a new job that Bialek says brought her to Herman Cain that day in 1997. Bialek's resume and a trail of public records indicates that changing jobs has been a regular occurrence for the Chicagoan. She has worked for at least nine different employers over the past 17 years and appears to have struggled financially.

Green Light

Australia Passes Controversial Carbon Pollution Tax

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© Agence France-Presse
anti-carbon tax protest, known as The Convoy of No Confidence is seen encircling the Parliament House ring road in Canberra, in August. Australia's upper house passed a controversial pollution tax on Tuesday in what the government called an "historic day" after years of bitter debate which felled a sitting prime minister.
Australia's upper house passed a controversial pollution tax on Tuesday in what the government called an "historic day" after years of bitter debate which felled a sitting prime minister.

Cheers and applause broke out as the Senate approved the Clean Energy Act by 36 votes to 32, requiring Australia's coal-fired power stations and other major emitters to "pay to pollute" from July 1 next year.

The laws -- 18 in total -- will now return for a final vote in the lower house, where they are expected to again be approved after winning approval last month 74 votes to 72.

Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer Wayne Swan said the passage through the Senate was a "victory for the optimists and... a defeat for the deniers."

"Today is an historic day for economic reform," he said ahead of the vote.

"No longer will the big polluters be able to pump carbon pollution into the atmosphere for free."