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Muslim bashing: Walmart shopper shoots man with pellet gun because he looks Middle Eastern

An unidentified man was shot in the face twice with a pellet gun early on Wednesday morning by another man in the parking lot of a Walmart store in Lutz, Florida (video below).

The shooter allegedly asked the man: "Are you of Middle Eastern descent?" and "Are you Muslim?" before shooting him, reports MyFox Tampa Bay.

About 20 pellets were fired from the gun, but only two hit the man, who was not seriously injured.


Food prices push German inflation above ECB ceiling

© Fabian Bimmer/Reuters
Fruits and vegetables are offered at a grocer's shop in Hamburg in this file photo.
Germany's annual inflation rate rose for the first time in fourth months in December on increases in food and package holiday prices, breaching the European Central Bank's target threshold for the broader euro zone of 2 per cent.

Compared to the prior year period, prices increased by 2.1 per cent in the final month of 2012, preliminary data from the Federal Statistics Office showed. On the month, consumer prices rose 0.9 per cent.


Cost of food 'not going to stop' rising, warns UK chief scientist


With food inflation currently hovering at around five per cent, Sir John warned the volatility of prices would only get “worse”.
Food price inflation will only get worse as the rising global population and climate change add to the volatility faced by British consumers, the government's chief scientist warned today.

In a new blow to families struggling to pay their grocery bills, Prof Sir John Beddington said the cost of food was "not going to stop" rising in the foreseeable future.

During a radio discussion about food prices, he said much of world's agriculture was dependent on stable weather patterns, which have undergone "major changes" in recent years.

This, he warned, meant that food supplies were "extremely fragile" and that reserves were subjected to extremes in conditions caused by climate change.

With food inflation currently hovering at around five per cent, Sir John warned that as the world's population grew, and the fight against poverty became more successful, the volatility of prices would only get "worse".

"The concern [on rising food prices] has been there for some time and I think the message I got, is this is not going to stop," he told BBC Radio 4's World at One programme. "The volatility ... is also going to get worse."

Bacon n Eggs

Food price hikes predicted in 2013

© News services file photo
With several forecasts predicting food prices increasing anywhere from 1.5 per cent to 3.5 per cent in 2013, consumers will have to rethink how they will spend their hard-earned discretionary income, writes University of Guelph professor Sylvain Charlebois.
But competition among food retailers could provide some relief in the near term

With several forecasts predicting food prices increasing anywhere from 1.5 per cent to 3.5 per cent in 2013, consumers will have to rethink how they will spend their hard-earned discretionary income, writes University of Guelph professor Sylvain Charlebois. News services file photo

Last year, Canadian consumers enjoyed modest increases in food prices. In fact, not only did food prices barely increase, but prices of fruits and vegetables decreased by more than eight per cent.

Unfortunately, 2013 will be a different story. Several forecasts predict food prices will go up anywhere from 1.5 per cent to 3.5 per cent, likely exceeding our national inflation rate.

In other words, consumers will have to rethink how they will spend their hard-earned discretionary income. Indeed, meat and poultry lovers will be especially hard hit as prices for meats will likely increase by more than 4.5 per cent.


Deepwater Horizon owner Transocean settles gulf spill case for $1.4 Billion

© Photo: Rex Features
BP has already paid or agreed to pay $4.5bn in criminal penalties, including $1.3m in fines over the 2010 disaster
The driller whose floating Deepwater Horizon oil rig blew out in 2010 to cause the nation's biggest oil spill has agreed to settle civil and criminal claims with the federal government for $1.4 billion, the Justice Department announced Thursday.

The Deepwater Horizon exploded, burned and sank in April 2010. Eleven men were killed and millions of gallons of oil flowed into the Gulf of Mexico and fouled the shores of coastal states. The well, known as Macondo, was owned by British oil giant BP, which settled its own criminal charges and some of its civil charges in November for $4.5 billion.

While this settlement resolves the government's claims against Transocean, that company and the others involved in the spill still face the sprawling, multistate civil case, which is scheduled to begin in February in New Orleans. In a deal filed in federal court in New Orleans, a subsidiary, Transocean Deepwater, agreed to one criminal misdemeanor violation of the Clean Water Act and will pay a fine of $100 million. Over the next five years, the company will pay civil penalties of $1 billion, the largest ever under the act.

As part of the criminal settlement, Transocean also agreed to pay the National Academy of Sciences and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation $150 million each. Those funds will be applied to oil spill prevention and response in the Gulf of Mexico and natural resource restoration projects. The agreement will be subject to public comment and court approval. The company agreed to five years of monitoring of its drilling practices and improved safety measures.


Teen jokes about his drunken hit-and-run on Facebook, gets busted by cops

For most people, Facebook is a place to share your thoughts, boast about your accomplishments and show off pictures of you, your friends and your family.

But for one Astoria man, it was also a place to share his crime - a crime he had yet to be caught for, until now.
"Drivin drunk ... classsic ;) but to whoever's vehicle i hit i am sorry. :P"
That is what Jacob Cox-Brown, 18, of Astoria, posted on Facebook. That post was soon sent to Astoria Police Officer Nicole Riley by one of Cox-Brown's friends. Another friend soon called in the same thing to Sgt. Brian Aydt.

"Astoria Police have an active social media presence," a press release from Astoria Police read Wednesday. "It was a private Facebook message to one of our officers that got this case moving, though. When you post ... on Facebook, you have to figure that it is not going to stay private long."

Green Light

1 in 24 drivers admit nodding off behind the wheel

© Credit: Flickr Creative Commons
The study also found drowsy driving was more common in men and people ages 25 to 34.

This could give you nightmares: 1 in 24 U.S. adults say they recently fell asleep while driving.

And health officials think the number is probably higher. That's because some people don't realize it when they nod off for a second or two behind the wheel.

In a government study released Thursday, a little over 4 percent of U.S. adults said they fell asleep while driving at least once in the previous month. Some earlier studies reached a similar conclusion, but the survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was far larger.


Three women killed in Swiss village shooting

© Olivier Maire / EPA / January 3, 2013
Police officers men walk in the village of Daillon, Switzerland, where three people were shot and killed.
Three women were shot and killed and two men were wounded before police in southern Switzerland disabled the gunman by shooting him in the chest, officials said Thursday.

Police said the alleged assailant, an unemployed 33-year-old who had been treated for psychiatric problems in the past, was arrested and hospitalized after the rampage late Wednesday in the village of Daillon.

The man began firing from his apartment down toward the street and through the windows of other houses before coming outside and continuing to fire, police in the Swiss canton of Valais said in an online statement.

The three women killed, identified as 32, 54 and 79 years old, were all struck at least twice, police said.

"It's inexplicable. It's just unbelievable," local government leader Christophe Germanier told reporters after the shooting, according to a recording from World Radio Switzerland.

Prosecutor Catherine Seppey told the station the alleged gunman had previously broken Swiss drug law; Valais police identified the crime as a marijuana offense.

Officials said it was unclear how the suspect obtained the two guns used in the killings, one a 20th century military rifle historically used by Swiss militiamen. Police confiscated his weapons when he went into a psychiatric ward in 2005; records show no weapons owned by the man since, authorities said.


Inmate ordered retried in 1980 'waiting ever since'

© Photo: Michael Graczyk / AP
In this Dec. 11, 2012 photo, Jerry Hartfield speaks from a visiting area at the Hughes Unit of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice outside Gatesville, Texas. Hartfield remains in the middle of a legal dispute between the Texas attorney general's office, which insists he's being legally held, and a federal appeals court that says he's been wrongly imprisoned for 30 years. Hartfield was convicted in 1977 of killing a woman in Bay City, Texas.
Jerry Hartfield was still a young man when an uncle visited him in prison to tell him that his murder conviction had been overturned and he would get a new trial.

Not long afterward, he was moved off of death row.

"A sergeant told me to pack my stuff and I wouldn't return. I've been waiting ever since for that new trial," Hartfield, now 56, said during a recent interview at the prison near Gatesville where he's serving life for the 1976 robbery and killing of a Bay City bus station worker. He says he's innocent.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals overturned Hartfield's murder conviction in 1980 because it found a potential juror improperly was dismissed for expressing reservations about the death penalty. The state tried twice but failed to get the court to re-examine that ruling, and on March 15, 1983 - 11 days after the court's second rejection - then-Gov. Mark White commuted Hartfield's sentence to life in prison.

At that point, with Hartfield off death row and back in the general prison population, the case became dormant.

"Nothing got filed. They had me thinking my case was on appeal for 27 years," said Hartfield, who is described in court documents as an illiterate fifth-grade dropout with an IQ of 51, but who says he has since learned to read and has become a devout Christian.


ICE agents arrest 245 alleged pedophiles; 44 children rescued

© Alex Wong/Getty Images
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director John Morton (R) speaks as National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) CEO John Ryan (L) listens during a news conference on Jan. 3, 2013 at the ICE headquarters in Washington, DC.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents announced today they have rescued 44 children from sexual abuse as part of a child pornography investigation that netted 245 arrests over five weeks late last year.

Agents have identified an additional 79 individuals who have been abused as children including 24 victims who now may be adults and are seeking the public's help to identify individuals who are alleged to be sexually abusing young children, with the images posted on the Internet.

"Many times, our investigations into people who possess and trade child pornography reveal new material that points to the ongoing sexual abuse of children. In these cases, our primary objective is to rescue the victim from their horrific situation. And our next step is to arrest and seek prosecution for their abusers," said ICE Director John Morton in a statement.

Among those arrested: Bradley Vaine from Fresno, Calif., who was allegedly abusing a 7-year-old girl who suffered from mental disabilities. Also arrested was Samuel Gueydan from Clovis, Calif., who allegedly had over 1.2 million images and 7,000 videos of child pornography on his computer, ICE said.

The investigation was dubbed Operation Sunflower to commemorate the anniversary of a case where agents discovered evidence that a child was in imminent danger of being raped by a relative. According to ICE, the tip initially came from Dutch investigators who found Internet postings suggesting the girl was in imminent danger.