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2 adults shot to death inside Alabama nightclub

Hoover, Alabama - A police captain says two people have been shot to death inside a nightclub in a suburb of Birmingham, Alabama.

Hoover police Capt. Jim Coker tells Al.com that the two people were pronounced dead at the scene. The shootings happened around 11:30 p.m. EST at Martini's nightclub in Hoover.

Few other details were immediately available in the investigation, which Coker says is in its early stages. He says both victims are adults but didn't say whether they are male or female.

Pistol

Update: Gunman kills woman at Pennsylvania church, 2 men elsewhere before being shot dead by state troopers

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© The Associated Press/Altoona Mirror, J.D. Cavrich
Local law enforcement block off road along Rt. 22 near the Canoe Creek State Park, Pa. while investigating a shooting on Friday, Dec. 21, 2012.
Hollidaysburg - A man fatally shot a woman decorating for a children's Christmas party at a tiny church hall and killed two men elsewhere in a rural township on Friday before he was shot dead in a gunfight with state troopers.

Three troopers in patrol cars were injured in a pursuit that began after the gunman, driving a pick-up truck, fired at them, police said. One trooper injured a wrist and then was hit in the chest but was saved by a bulletproof vest.

The gunman was killed during a final exchange of gunfire after ramming his truck head-on into another police cruiser, authorities said.

The shootings began in Frankstown Township, in central Pennsylvania, at about 9 a.m., and investigators were processing five crime scenes within about a 1.5-mile radius, authorities said at a news briefing Friday afternoon. Troopers were responding to a 911 call of a shooting in the township when they heard calls reporting at least one other shooting elsewhere, state police said.

"It's going to take us some time to put this all together ... and know exactly what occurred," said Lt. Col. George Bivens, deputy state police commissioner.

Authorities did not release the names of the victims or the shooter, though they did say the man lived in Blair County.

State police said they were still trying to piece together a timeline and motive. The gunman and the victims weren't related, though the victims may have been, at least distantly, Blair County District Attorney Rich Consiglio said.

Pistol

Mass shootings have long history

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© Unknown
He came along with a shotgun on his shoulder while a group of children were playing in front of the school. Without warning or provocation, he raised the gun to his shoulder, took deliberate aim, and fired into the crowd of boys.

Although it sounds sadly modern, the account was published in the New York Times more than a century ago.

Dated April 10, 1891, the article described an elderly man firing a shotgun at children playing in front of St. Mary's Parochial School in Newburgh, NY.

"None of the children were killed, but several were well filled with lead," the report said.

More than a century earlier, on July 26, 1764, a teacher and 10 students were shot dead by four Lenape American Indians in Greencastle, Pennsylvania, in what is considered the earliest known U.S. mass school shooting.

Indeed, killing or trying to kill a mass of people is not a modern phenomenon. For as long as there has been history, there have been gruesome mass murders.

Comment: Read the following articles to learm more about the recent Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre

Connecticut massacre, two shooters? Look to Aurora, Colorado
Sandy Hook massacre: Official story spins out of control
Sandy Hook psy-ops: Police state here we come
Sandy Hook massacre: Evidence of official foreknowledge?


Arrow Down

Hunger and homelessness rise in the U.S.

Homeless
© Reuters/Jason Redmond
Bennie Thomas, who is homeless, eats a free Thanksgiving meal for the Skid Row homeless and needy at the Los Angeles Mission in Los Angeles, California November 21, 2012.
Homelessness and poverty is on the rise, with 84 percent of US cities reporting that requests for emergency food assistance increased in 2012. Of those seeking emergency food, 51 percent were families and 37 were employed.

The news comes just a few days before millions of Americans get together for Christmas. With homelessness and poverty reaching record levels this year, many families may not be able to afford the feast they were able to prepare in the past.

The Hunger and Homelessness Survey released by the US Conference of Mayors states that of 25 cities surveyed, 21 have seen an increase in homelessness this year and the remaining three said it remained at the same level. Cities of all sizes, regions and wealth levels were surveyed, including Boston, Dallas, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Salt Lake City.

The report found that 46.2 million Americans, or 15 percent of the population, were living in poverty, and the number of homeless people on a single night in January 2012 was 633,782. The struggling US economy has caused many workers to move from full-time work to part-time, scraping by and living from paycheck to paycheck.

"In the last year, we saw a brand-new 26,000 households [about 56,000 individuals] needing food who never did before," Steveanna Wynn, executive director of the SHARE food program in Philadelphia, told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The increase in poverty and homelessness is "the worst it's ever been," she added. "These people never in their wildest dreams through they'd have to go to a food cupboard."

Dollar

Facebook now charging some users to send messages

Thumbsdown
© WordTracker.com
Facebook has begun testing a pilot program where users have to pay a fee for each message they want to send over the social networking site.

The website, one of the most visited in the world, published a press release on Thursday that explains a "small experiment" that will require users to fork over a small sum if they want to contact persons that aren't directly linked to.

Since 2010, Facebook has implemented a feature where messages from unfamiliar users are routed to an "Other" folder instead of the traditional inbox where emails from users had always ended up until then. Facebook says that automatically separating messages into one folder or another by using specially designed algorithms has allowed the site to ensure that spam and other unwanted messages are absent from the actual inboxes of users.

Because users are not notified automatically when messages land into the "Other" folder, emails sent from friends of friends or other people with legitimate inquiries are easily missed. By charging users to ensure messages are routed to the primary inbox, Facebook hopes that fewer messages of actual important won't go unnoticed. It also, however, opens the door for advertisers to have one more way of targeting users.

Arrow Down

Threatening online comments spur UK crackdown

Online Comments
© Dreamstime
Casual online comments on Twitter or Facebook could bring serious legal consequences.
Tapping out an angry screed on Twitter? Posting a scathing restaurant review on your blog? Or just dissing a frenemy in a Facebook post?

Though it might feel satisfying to vent by writing angry, demeaning or threatening online comments, a growing number of people have found out the hard way those posts can have severe legal ramifications.

British lawmakers have issued new guidelines covering the way they prosecute people who post online comments that are demeaning or threatening, according to the Los Angeles Times. United Kingdom law enforcement has typically taken a hard line against offensive posts by aggressively prosecuting people for crude online jokes and comments.

In the process, however, lawmakers have sparked a fiery civil-liberties debate - activists have accused the government of censoring free speech. One young British man, for example, was sent to prison for 12 weeks after posting a tasteless joke about a kidnapping, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Nuke

Seawater leak shuts down Swedish nuclear reactor

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© Agence France-Presse/Bjorn Larsson Rosvall / Sweden out
Sweden's Ringhals atomic power station
Swedish authorities have ordered the shutdown of a reactor at its largest nuclear power plant near Gothenburg following a seawater leak. The leak is the latest in a string of similar incidents that have plagued the Swedish nuclear industry.

­"There is no safety problem" at Reactor 4 of the Ringhals plant, nuclear authority inspector Jan Gällsjo told the national TT news agency. However, the presence of saltwater in the pressurized water system is an irregularity that needs to be repaired, Gällsjo added.

The Ringhals power station is located on Sweden's southwest coast near Gothenburg, the country's second largest city.

Earlier this month, the Radiation Safety Authority ordered the shutdown of reactor O2 at the Oskarshamn plant due to safety concerns, the Local reported. Several days later, an investigation found cracks in two of the 10 pools in which nuclear waste is stored. Nuclear waste management contractor SKB was ordered to review security and safety requirements before the reactor can be brought back online.

A report published in October by environmental organization Greenpeace heavily criticized safety conditions at Sweden's nuclear plants.

Dollar Gold

Peter Madoff gets 10 years, is ordered to pay $143B, for his role in brother's Ponzi scheme

Peter Madoff
© Rick Maiman/Bloomberg/Getty Images
Peter Madoff was the former chief compliance officer and a senior managing director at his brother's firm.
Imposing a sentence that had been agreed to months earlier, at a Thursday hearing that gave victims a chance to make their feelings known, a federal judge in Manhattan gave Peter Madoff a 10-year prison term for his role in his brother Bernard Madoff's infamous Ponzi scheme.

An attorney by training, Peter Madoff, now 67, served as chief compliance officer for a swindle that reportedly cost investors nearly $20 billion in principal and previously earned mastermind Bernard Madoff, now 74, a 150-year term. The younger brother admittedly falsified books and records for the purported hedge fund that served as a front for the Ponzi scheme operated by Bernard Madoff's investment firm, but said he had no idea that a wholesale fraud was ongoing on his watch, according to Bloomberg, the DealBook page of the New York Times and Reuters.

As investigators found after the fraud came to light, the hedge fund, despite purportedly purchasing large amounts of stock, had made no trades whatsoever for years. Thus, any effort, either by Peter Madoff or the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which several times looked into the Madoff firm's operations, to spot-check claimed stock purchases should have revealed the swindle some time before Bernard Madoff confessed it to his sons in late 2008. By that time, the scheme's assets had dwindled to $300 million and Peter Madoff reportedly participated in a plan to pay out those funds to employees, family members and friends. However, Bernard Madoff's sons alerted authorities and the firm collapsed before the payouts were executed.

U.S. District Court Judge Laura Taylor Swain also ordered Madoff to pay $143 billion in restitution, which will strip him of assets and, the judge said, assure his "financial ruination," although he has no realistic prospect of paying this amount.

2 + 2 = 4

And now, the Police State - NRA calls for armed officers in schools


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© CNN
No new regulations: NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre broke his organization's silence today rejecting new gun control measures and calling for more security and guns in schools
Washington - The nation's most powerful gun-rights lobby called Friday for armed security guards in schools, saying that children had been left vulnerable in their classrooms.

Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, said that "the monsters and the predators of the world" have exploited the fact that schools are gun-free zones. Other important institutions - from banks to airports to sports stadiums - are protected with armed security, he said, but this country has left students defenseless.

"The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun," Mr. LaPierre said at a news conference Friday morning.

The comments were the most extensive statements the NRA has made since the Dec. 14 killings at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., that left 20 children and six adults dead. The gunman also killed his mother and himself. The organization issued a statement earlier this week expressing shock and sadness over the shootings.

In the aftermath of the attack at Sandy Hook Elementary School, much of the national conversation has focused on gun-control measures. But on Friday, Mr. LaPierre said that time should not be wasted on legislation that won't work.

Mr. LaPierre said that the media rewards monsters who would shoot school children by giving them the attention that they crave, and he suggested that some other deranged individual already is planning the next attack.

"The truth is that our society is populated by an unknown number of genuine monsters, people that are so deranged, so evil, so possessed by voices and driven by demons that no sane person can ever possibly comprehend them," Mr. LaPierre said.

Pistol

Four killed, including suspected gunman, in Pennsylvania shooting

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Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania - A prosecutor says four people are dead, including the suspected gunman, in a shooting along a rural road in central Pennsylvania.

Blair County District Attorney Rich Consiglio says three people were shot Friday morning in Frankstown Township, about 110 kilometres west of Harrisburg.

Mr. Consiglio says two men and a woman were shot and killed and the suspected gunman also died.

State police say one trooper was struck by gunfire but escaped serious injury because the shot struck his bulletproof vest.

Mr. Consiglio says a second trooper was hit by shattered glass and a third was in a crash involving the gunman.

He says the public isn't at risk. Township supervisor Mark Schroyer says nearby schools weren't placed on lockdown.

The identities of the victims and gunman weren't immediately released.

The shootings, exactly a week after a massacre of 20 children and six adults at a school in Connecticut, "happened over a large area" near Geeseyetown, in a remote part of the eastern U.S. state, Diane Meling, a spokeswoman for the Blair County Emergency Management Agency, told AFP.

Source: The Associated Press ; With a report from Agence France-Presse