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9/11 firefighter dies of cancer linked to toxic dust

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© Family Photo
New York firefighter Randy Wiebicke lived "in a way that inspired everyone around him," his wife says.
New York -- Firefighter Randy Wiebicke who, like so many New York City firefighters, toiled in and around ground zero in the months after 9/11, died Wednesday following a nearly three-year battle with multiple myeloma, an aggressive and fatal blood cancer.

Wiebicke underwent an experimental stem cell transplant procedure last summer, when his cancer was in remission. But just two months after the transplant, he developed viral infections that, ultimately, his weakening body could no longer fight.

Wiebicke's wife, Madeline, said Randy was "a man who lived his life in the spirit of what being a firefighter meant to him. When others were in danger, running out of a burning building, he was there to run in," she wrote in an e-mail. "He lived his life beautifully, in a way that inspired everyone around him. Having Randy around not only made you want to be a better person, but it showed you how to get there," she wrote.

Comment: For more information regarding the toxic dust effects of 911, see this Sott link:

Toxic World Trade Center dust linked to lung disease in rescue workers


Radar

Tunisia Revokes Ban On Islamist Outfit

A moderate Islamist outfit banned by Tunisia's ousted former government has been granted legitimacy by the country's interim administration, reports said on Tuesday.

Following political recognition, Ennahda, will be able to contest polls scheduled to take place later this year. The withdrawal of the ban on Ennahda was one of the demands raised by protesters who brought down the unpopular government headed by former President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.

Ennahda's supremo Rachid Ghannouchi returned to the country only last month after living in exile abroad for over 20 years. The 69-year old was greeted on his arrival by legions which showed the outfit's wide acceptability among the Tunisian people.

The Islamist outfit had finished second behind the ruling Central Democratic Rally (RCD) party winning about 17% of the total votes cast in Tunisian general elections of 1989.

However, a crackdown ordered by the Ben Ali government soon after the elections forced Ghannouchi to flee the country, while Ennahda was proscribed by authorities.

Life Preserver

Skyrocketing water bills mystify, anger residents

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© Unknown
Atlanta -- Imagine paying as much for water as you do for your mortgage.

Residents throughout Atlanta are outraged by hundreds, even thousands of dollars in monthly spikes in their water bills, and have questioned the legitimacy of the charges for years. Now, they're demanding answers.

"I thought we were sinking in a hole of water," said Debbi Scarborough. "It scared me to death. I thought we had a major leak when I got the bill."

Over two months last summer, her family's monthly water bill, shot up to $1,805 In July and then $1,084 in August, leaving a balance due of more than $3,000. She said in the past her bill has averaged $200 to $250.

"I'm not paying a $3,000 bill. And for those three months, we were pretty much out of town most of the time and there's no leaks," she said, showing CNN a copy of her plumber's report.

Attention

Libya Rebels March West as Fronts Firm

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© The Associated Press
Recruits to the Libyan rebel forces learn how to use an anti-aircraft gun at a training base in Benghazi on Tuesday.

Gadhafi Opponents Are Seen Moving Out of Benghazi; Pentagon Orders Two Warships to Mediterranean

A ragtag army of opponents to Col. Moammar Gadhafi began moving west toward Tripoli from the east and the U.S. ordered two warships to the Mediterranean Sea, as the prospect of an extended war loomed over Libya.

A convoy of armed youth, including what appeared to be rebel military forces, was seen heading Tuesday night toward the pro-Gadhafi stronghold city of Sirte, witnesses said. The forces were viewed passing westward through Ajdabiya, a city about 75 miles from the opposition stronghold of Benghazi, said four residents, including a volunteer rebel soldier and an official on the city's local leadership council. It was unclear how many rebels were on the move.

Also Tuesday, the U.S. ordered two warships and 1200 Marines to the waters off of Libya, but a top Obama administration official stopped short of saying the forces would intervene in the clashes that have consumed the country following anti-Gadhafi protests here in recent weeks.

At a Pentagon briefing, Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced he had ordered to the Mediterranean the USS Ponceand the USS Kearsarge, an amphibious-assault ship that typically carries infantrymen and troop-transport helicopters. Those ships currently have 800 marines, in addition to 400 U.S.-based Marines who will be airlifted to meet the ships. He said the ships would be ready to perform evacuations and humanitarian relief.

Arrow Down

UK: Meat from Chimpanzees 'is on Sale in Britain' in Lucrative Black Market

chimp
© BBC
Illegal bushmeat: The chimpanzee meat, which can cost more than £20 a kilogram, is part of a lucrative black market trade
Chimpanzee meat is for sale in restaurants and market stalls in Britain, it has emerged.

Trading standards officials uncovered the illegal bushmeat from the endangered species whilst testing samples believed to be seized from vendors in the Midlands.

The meat, which can cost more than £20 a kilogram, is part of a lucrative black market trade that experts describe as 'rife' in Europe.

Last year, the first research on the import of bushmeat into Europe found over 270 tonnes passing through the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris alone.

The chimpanzee meat is understood to have been discovered following raids by trading standards in the Midlands.

A Government whistleblower revealed: 'It is well known this practice is underway in the region but I was shocked to discover the meat that was tested was once a chimpanzee.

'Dubious meat is often tested, and has turned out to be things like rats and vermin in the past - but chimpanzee is unbelievable.'

It is not known how the bushmeat arrived in the Midlands, but experts believe it was probably flown into the country from Africa, possibly concealed in personal luggage.

Dr Marcus Rowcliffe, research fellow at the Zoological Society of London and an expert on the trade, said at least five tonnes of bushmeat arrives in Europe every week to be distributed across the continent.

He said: 'I'm not at all surprised that bushmeat is on sale in the Midlands because we know the trade is going on in the UK and that there is a regular flow of smuggled meat into the country.

Question

Fire Tornado Caught on Camera in Hungary

Fire Tornado
© Reuters
A fire tornado is created during a blaze at a plastic processing factory in Kistarcsa near Budapest, Hungary.

These striking photos were captured during a huge fire at a plastic processing plant in Kistarcsa, a suburb of the Hungarian capital Budapest.

Around 70 firefighters were sent to tackle the blaze, which engulfed an entire industrial unit and sent a terrifying tower of flames swirling into the sky.

A witness at the scene said that 15 foot high flames also ravaged the building, and several explosions were heard.

So far, no casualties have been reported in the inferno, which broke out at 8pm local time on Tuesday night. The cause of the fire is unknown.

People

Wisconsin Voters Launch Recall Campaign Against Eight GOP State Senators

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Last month, ThinkProgress reported that Wisconsin law allows any elected official who has served at least one year of their current term to be recalled from office. Today, a group of Wisconsin voters took the first step towards invoking this recall process. According to a Wisconsin Democratic Party e-mail that was obtained by ThinkProgress:
This morning citizens from around the state took the first steps by filing recall papers against key Republican Senators who have stood with Scott Walker and pushed his partisan power grab that will strip thousands of middle class teachers, nurses, librarians and other workers of their right to collective bargaining. And we learned just last night that their disastrous budget that will cut millions from our schools and universities. . . .

Make no mistake, these Republican Senators are vulnerable to recall for their radical partisan overreach. Senator Randy Hopper won his last election by just 184 votes. And Alberta Darling won her last race by only 1,007. By recalling just three of the eight Senators [Democrats] are targeting, [Democrats] can regain control of the Senate.

Heart - Black

US: Colorado boy, 12, in custody after deadly shootings

Burlington - A 12-year-old boy who reported shots fired at his eastern Colorado home was in custody Wednesday after officers arrived to find his parents dead and two of his siblings in critical condition.

The boy called 911 Tuesday evening to report at least three people had been shot at his Burlington home, said Steve Johnson of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

When officers arrived, they found the bodies of 50-year-old Charles Long and his wife, 51-year-old Marilyn Long. Two of their children were wounded - a 5-year-old girl and a 9-year-old boy.

It was unclear whether the 12-year-old suffered any injuries.

People

Egypt's Labor Unrest Extends Even to Nation's Famous Antiquities Showman

Zahi Hawass
© Testo/Silvia Dogliani
Zahi Hawass
The man in charge of Egyptian antiquities starred in a TV show about his exploits, sports an "Indiana Jones"-style fedora and triumphantly declared that the nation's heritage was mostly unscathed after the revolt that toppled the president.

On Monday, however, he was under siege, the target of angry protesters who want him to quit.

"Get out," a crowd of 150 archaeology graduates chanted outside the office of Antiquities Minister Zahi Hawass, who threw in his lot with the old order when he accepted a Cabinet post in the last weeks of Hosni Mubarak's rule.

Whether Hawass, entrusted with preserving Egypt's museums and monuments, will go the way of Mubarak and resign is uncertain. But the scorn directed him at personifies the messy business of transition in a nation, now ruled by the military, where much of the old governing structure remains intact.

The demonstration in a leafy enclave of Cairo was one of many protests and strikes that have sprung up in Egypt as people voice their grievances for the first time after Mubarak's heavy-handed reign over the last three decades.

Mr. Potato

Libya: Gaddafi's nurse has passport confiscated after drunken rant

Galyna Kolotnytska
© Reuters
Galyna Kolotnytska arrives at her appartment block in Brovary town outside Kiev on Monday this week

Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's personal nurse had her passport confiscated on returning to her native Ukraine on Sunday after allegedly verbally abusing fellow passengers and crew in a drunken rant.

Witnesses told the Ukrainian daily newspaper Segodnya that 38-year-old Galyna Kolotnytska was drunk when she got on the plane that took her from Tripoli to Kiev and needed help to stand on her own two feet.

She flew into a drunken rage, they added, when she realised that the plane was a military cargo plane and not a passenger liner.

"She began to shout the odds ... demanding the pilots' names and threatening to fire them. She was very aggressive and said that she was Gaddafi's woman and that he would not permit her to be insulted," one witness claimed.