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US, New York: Ex-Officer Kills His Wife, a State Tax Agent, in Queens

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© Robert Stolarik / The New York Times
A Christmas tree decorated by Tracey Young, her building's “go-to person,” who was shot and killed on Saturday night.
A state tax agent who specialized in investigating the trafficking of illegal cigarettes was shot to death by her husband, a former New York police officer, the authorities said on Sunday.

The body of the investigator, Tracey Young, 42, was discovered by the police and paramedics shortly after 11 p.m. Saturday in her apartment on the eighth floor of 143-41 84th Drive, in Briarwood, Queens. She had been shot several times in the head and torso, and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Early Sunday, Ms. Young's husband, Clarence Cash, 49, turned himself in to the police and was charged with murder and criminal possession of a weapon, according to a spokeswoman for the Queens district attorney's office.

Ms. Young worked in the Criminal Investigations Division of the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. She was involved in surveillance work and undercover stings against illicit cigarette importers. "She was an energetic, enthusiastic, constantly upbeat investigator," said William Comiskey, a former deputy commissioner of the department. "Her focus was on combating bootleg cigarettes, and it put her into regular contact with people who had the potential for doing violence. She is really going to be missed."

Sheriff

US: Facing Budget Cuts, Pennsylvania State Police Forecast Possibility of Laying Off 500 Troopers

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© Joe Hermitt/The Patriot-News
Imagine calling 911 for the Pennsylvania State Police and not seeing a trooper for hours, even days.

It's a scenario that state lawmakers and troopers foresee if the department's budget is cut 5 percent next year, forcing what would be the first layoffs in the state police history.

An internal department document obtained by The Patriot-News forecasts the potential for 400 to 500 trooper layoffs under a budget proposal to trim the department's spending. That's approximately 10 percent of the nearly 4,400 troopers currently employed by the department. The cuts would also force stations around the state to close.

The department provides full- or part-time police service to two-thirds of the state's municipalities and is relied upon by virtually all police departments to provide specialized services such as DNA, drug and ballistics testing.

The situation doesn't appear to look much better even if the department's $900 million budget holds steady next year, according to the document.

The document identifies the elimination of state police academy cadet classes until at least July 2013, closing five barracks and a freeze on civilian hiring among the cuts that scenario would require.

Sherlock

US: 18-month-old mystery over Shannan Gilbert's disappearance may be over; reaction in Hudson

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© The Jersey Journal
Family photo of Shannan Gilbert
Missing for 18 months from Jersey City, Shannan M. Gilbert may soon rest in peace.

Suffolk County police announced today that they believe they found the skeletal remains of the 24-year-old woman who went missing May 1, 2010 in marshland near Oak Beach, a gated community in Long Island where Gilbert, a prostitute, was visiting a client.

Last Wednesday police announced a major breakthrough in the search for Gilbert after finding her pocketbook with an ID, a pair of jeans, shoes and a cellphone in a swampy area northeast of the gated community.

Today, Suffolk County police detectives and Department of Public Works employees spotted the corpse from an amphibious vehicle one quarter-mile northeast of the belongings found last week, in an area of marshland that had been drained last Thursday to enable the search.

Police had resumed their search last week after studying images of clothing taken by an FBI plane that flew over and photographed the area, police said.

Gilbert's driver, who was one of the last people to see her alive, told The Journal that the morning she disappeared, he had driven Gilbert to the gated community at about 2 a.m. and then waited until 5 a.m., when he received a call from her.

He then went to the john's apartment where Gilbert -- who is bipolar, and has a history of cocaine abuse -- was on the phone making a 23-minute 911 call, "acting "delirious" and "irrational" before fleeing the house, said the driver, who did not want to be identified.

Evil Rays

US, Florida: Broward to TSA: Convince Us Airport Scanners Are Safe

TSA
© Transportation Security Administration
County worried about radiation

Federal officials insisted Tuesday that X-ray scanners used at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport are safe for travelers, but Broward County commissioners weren't convinced.

On a split vote Tuesday, a majority of commissioners asked the federal Transportation Security Administration to do more to assure Broward's travelers that the X-ray scanners are safe, or to ban them from use if they're not.

The county's request of the TSA: Find the studies that led Europe to ban the scanners, and explain why the TSA agrees or disagrees; determine whether frequent fliers are at a higher cancer risk from passing through the scanners, and if so, post alerts at the airport informing frequent fliers about how many scans a week might be safe; and if the TSA finds the European Union's studies show a heightened risk, consider banning the use of the backscatter scanners here.

With those actions, Broward County and its airport become the first in the United States to take a stand in an international debate about the so-called "backscatter" airport security scanners, which some studies say would cause cancer in a few travelers out of the millions who fly each year.

Handcuffs

US: My Occupy LA Arrest

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© N/A
My name is Patrick Meighan, and I'm a husband, a father, a writer on the Fox animated sitcom Family Guy, and a member of the Unitarian Universalist Community Church of Santa Monica.

I was arrested at about 1 a.m. Wednesday morning with 291 other people at Occupy LA. I was sitting in City Hall Park with a pillow, a blanket, and a copy of Thich Nhat Hanh's Being Peace when 1,400 heavily-armed LAPD officers in paramilitary SWAT gear streamed in. I was in a group of about 50 peaceful protestors who sat Indian-style, arms interlocked, around a tent (the symbolic image of the Occupy movement). The LAPD officers encircled us, weapons drawn, while we chanted "We Are Peaceful" and "We Are Nonviolent" and "Join Us."

As we sat there, encircled, a separate team of LAPD officers used knives to slice open every personal tent in the park. They forcibly removed anyone sleeping inside, and then yanked out and destroyed any personal property inside those tents, scattering the contents across the park. They then did the same with the communal property of the Occupy LA movement. For example, I watched as the LAPD destroyed a pop-up canopy tent that, until that moment, had been serving as Occupy LA's First Aid and Wellness tent, in which volunteer health professionals gave free medical care to absolutely anyone who requested it. As it happens, my family had personally contributed that exact canopy tent to Occupy LA, at a cost of several hundred of my family's dollars. As I watched, the LAPD sliced that canopy tent to shreds, broke the telescoping poles into pieces and scattered the detritus across the park. Note that these were the objects described in subsequent mainstream press reports as "30 tons of garbage" that was "abandoned" by Occupy LA: personal property forcibly stolen from us, destroyed in front of our eyes and then left for maintenance workers to dispose of while we were sent to prison.

Cell Phone

US, Atlanta: Urgent: Call Emory University Campus Police to Protest!

Please call and email to protest the arrest of Joe Diaz, a PhD student at Emory University, who was brutally assaulted in the University Library by campus police, arrested, and held under degrading and punitive conditions. In the library he saw his diminutive friend Alice, surrounded by hulking uniformed officers standing over her as she sat peacefully on the floor. As you can see in the video, he stepped in in a non-confrontational manner, identified himself, and asked if his friend was OK. It immediately escalated into a violent confrontation, initiated by the police, who might have following the script of soldiers storming a living room in a house-to-house search of occupied Baghdad. The cop's behavior was that of an Alpha Male dog confronting someone who didn't roll over and show their belly fast enough.

As you can see in the video, Joe did not obstruct police business. That accusation was a lie, coming from someone so hyped on his own adrenaline and authority that he could see only a red haze before his eyes. Joe was not resisting. That was another obvious lie barked by the snarling animal in uniform. The cops also lied when they said it was illegal to videotape them, and when they accused those recording them of having a camera "in my face" - but that lie's standard police operating procedure, repeated as a matter of course regardless of what "the law" is. Because, you see, "the law" only applies to people who aren't wearing uniforms and carrying guns.

Here's Joe's written account of the events. Here's the video.


Stop

Saudi Woman Beheaded for 'Witchcraft'

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© ABC News
A Saudi woman was beheaded after being convicted of practicing "witchcraft and sorcery," according to the Saudi Interior Ministry, at least the second such execution for sorcery this year.

The woman, Amina bint Abdulhalim Nassar, was executed in the northern Saudi province of al-Jawf on Monday.

A source close to the Saudi religious police told Arab newspaper al Hayat that authorities who searched Nassar's home found a book about witchcraft, 35 veils and glass bottles full of "an unknown liquid used for sorcery" among her possessions. According to reports, authorities said Nassar claimed to be a healer and would sell a veil and three bottles for 1500 riyals, or about $400.

According to the ministry, Nassar's death sentence was upheld by an appeals court and the Saudi Supreme Judicial Council.

Comment: Read Control of Uppity Women Behind Witchcraft Accusations? to learn how throughout the history women have been accused of being witches in order to eradicate the freedom of speech and expression, and particularly during times of calamity.


Info

US: Record Number of Americans Are Unmarried

Newly Weds
© Blend Images, Shutterstock
Wedding bells were less frequent in 2010, a Pew Research Center analysis finds.

Barely half of American adults are married, a record low for the country, a new analysis of Census data finds.

Following that same trend, the median age at first marriage is older than ever for both men and women, with the median age of marriage for women at 26.5 and the median age for men at 28.7.

Nonetheless, the majority of Americans will still experience marriage at some point in their lives. Although only 51 percent of American adults are currently married, 72 percent have been married at least once.

It's not clear from the analysis whether Americans are shunning marriage altogether or simply delaying it, although the proportion of never-married American adults has increased from 15 percent in 1960 to 28 percent today. Age at first marriage is on the rise in a number of nations across the globe, particularly in developed nations. According to the United Nations' 2009 World Fertility Report, the median age at first marriage for women in developed countries rose from 22.3 years old in the 1970s to 29.4 years old in the 2000s. The age of first marriage rose for men, as well.

Heart

Conjoined twins separated in televised 18-hour surgery

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© Associated Press
Chilean doctors separated 10-months-old conjoined twins Maria Paz and Maria Jose Paredes Navarrete who were joined at the chest, stomach and pelvis.
Santiago, Chile - Doctors successfully separated conjoined twin girls early Wednesday after a marathon 18-hour surgery widely followed in the South American country on television and the Internet.

The 10-month-old twins Maria Paz and Maria Jose are in stable condition even after losing a lot of blood and they are resting in the intensive care unit at Luis Calvo Mackenna Hospital, chief surgeon Francisco Ossandon said.

Parents Jessica Navarrete and Roberto Paredes kept an anxious vigil at the hospital in Santiago as doctors separated the twins at the thorax, stomach and pelvis. It was the seventh and most complex operation yet for the twins.

"Both were successfully separated," Ossandon said at a news conference. "We had a number of difficulties during the surgery, there were some surprises, but we were able to fix, solve the problems."

V

US: Occupy 2.0: Persisting In A Police State

"No government can exist for a single moment without the cooperation of the people, willing or forced, and if people withdraw their cooperation in every detail, the government will come to a standstill."
- Gandhi
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© Dustin Slaughter
Occupy Philadelphia marches in early morning hours after eviction.

The Occupy movement is now a genie that cannot be put back in its bottle.

And while it has certainly gone through growing pains, and will continue to do so, the adversity faced has only forced the movement to adapt and refocus.

After their first eviction, Occupy San Francisco decided to occupy sidewalks around the downtown financial district (the original strategy for Occupy Wall Street before 17 September, I should add.) Can't have an encampment? Adapt and take public sidewalks. There is now a nationwide movement to also throw the gauntlet at major banks like Bank of America, and re-occupy foreclosed homes for families thrown out by the financial criminal class. The move has even prompted Bank of America to fire out an email to its employees. And yes, the email's existence has indeed been confirmed by a Bank of America representative.