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Justice department calls Megaupload case a success despite catastrophic flaws

Kim Dotcom
© Agence France-Presse/Pool
Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom
Even as the US government's case against Kim Dotcom and the vast copyright infringement conspiracy they allege he orchestrated crumbles in their hands, the Justice Department has only nice things to say about their take-down of Megaupload.

The Obama administration has all but thrown in the towel in the federal copyright infringement suit against Megaupload.com, but Attorney General Eric Holder is celebrating the seizure of the file storage site nearly a year later even despite a steady series of setback both domestically and abroad expected to heavily jeopardize the outcome of the case.

Speaking at the Intellectual Property Law Enforcement Grant Award Event in Towson, Maryland on Wednesday, Attorney General Holder praised the DoJ's attempts at prosecuting Megaupload and its associates for copyright infringement, calling the case yet another example in the courts' "record of success" when it comes to fighting and preventing IP crimes.

At this week's ceremony, Mr. Holder said, "In this year alone, we have prosecuted a number of significant IP cases," citing specifically the seizure of Dotcom's file-storage locker as a significant accomplishment under the Obama administration.


Dozens arrested at San Francisco protest

© flickr/Steve Rhodes
About 22 protesters were arrested in an "unpermitted" San Francisco march while police officers tried to disperse them for blocking traffic. Demonstrators wore black clothing, masks and threw rocks, paint and flares at police, injuring one officer.

The protest started Saturday as anti-capitalist and anti-colonialist march in San Francisco's financial district that was reportedly part of the Columbus Day actions.

© flickr/Steve Rhodes
The protest began with an unsanctioned rally, according to police department spokesman Officer Gordon Shyy. When officers tried to approach the crowd, demonstrators began to throw objects at the officers, injuring one.

Also, protesters smashed the window of a local Starbucks coffee shop.

Police encircled the protesters in a roadway and began to detain them. Some protesters managed to flee, but were later found and arrested as well.


Police nab alleged TSA thief, hundreds already fired

Los Angeles, California - A TSA employee working in a Los Angeles airport could become the 382nd worker fired from the security agency for allegedly stealing from travelers, a years-long problem highlighted in a recent ABC News investigation.

Los Angeles police released a statement late Friday saying a passenger came to the authorities after he said money had been taken out of his wallet while he was going through airport security at Los Angeles International Airport. After a brief investigation, police arrested 47-year-old TSA employee Clyde Reese for the alleged theft.

As of Friday, the TSA said Reese would be removed from screening duties and could be fired should wrongdoing be proven, according to a report by the Los Angeles Times. Reese was reportedly booked in Los Angeles on a misdemeanor theft charge.

The alleged theft occurred just a day after Sen. Charles Schumer (D-New York) called on the TSA to strengthen its internal anti-theft policies in response to the ABC News investigation.

As part of the investigation, ABC News tracked an iPad that was purposefully left behind at an airport security checkpoint to the home of a TSA agent who was later fired for the alleged theft. That officer was the 381st TSA employee fired for alleged theft since the agency's founding a decade ago, the TSA said.


California gov. takes action as gas prices keep rising

© The Associated Press/Noah Berger
Gasoline prices higher than $5 per gallon are posted at a Menlo Park, Calif., Chevron station on Friday, Oct. 5, 2012.
Los Angeles - Gov. Jerry Brown is taking action in an effort to drive down the cost of gasoline as California drivers cope with record-breaking prices at the pump.

For the second straight day Sunday, the statewide average price for a gallon of regular rose to an all-time high, hitting $4.655, according to AAA.

That topped Saturday's price of $4.6140, which broke the previous record high of $4.6096 per gallon set on June 19, 2008.

Due to a temporary reduction in supply, California gas prices in recent days have surpassed those in Hawaii to become the highest in the nation.

Che Guevara

Western peace activists protest in Pakistan against drone strikes

© T. Mughal/European Pressphoto Agency
The Pakistani opposition politician Imran Khan greeted supporters on Saturday as their convoy headed to South Waziristan to protest U.S. drone strikes in the tribal area.
Dozens of Western peace activists, including 32 Americans, participated in a convoy in Pakistan over the weekend to protest deadly American drone strikes in the tribal belt between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The motorcade was turned away Sunday from entering South Waziristan and reaching the town of Kotkai, the hometown of the founder of the Pakistani Taliban. The Pakistani government, as my colleague Salman Masood reported, had been expected to block the group.

The activists, most of them from the group Codepink, object to the civilian deaths that occur in the aerial strikes against Taliban fighters and other militants. (Rendezvous recently explored the controversy over drone warfare in a piece, "Are Drone Strikes Worth the Costs?")

"We kill a lot of innocent people," said Medea Benjamin, a cofounder of Codepink and part of the delegation in Pakistan. She called the attacks "barbaric assassinations."

Speaking of the tribal areas, she said, "This is a culture that very much believes in revenge, and then they seek revenge by trying to kill Americans. So we are just perpetuating a cycle of violence and it's got to stop somewhere, and that's why we are putting our bodies on the line by trying to go to Waziristan to say no."


Maine Senate candidate slammed for World of Warcraft fandom

© The Associated Press
The state GOP will mail pieces to be sent to voters attacking Lachowicz this week.

Maine state Senate candidate Colleen Lachowicz is not a witch.

She is, however, an orc assassination rogue with a potty mouth - and the Maine Republican Party believes that disqualifies her from public office.

In an unusual press release issued Thursday, the Maine GOP attacked Lachowicz for a "bizarre double life" in which she's a devotee of the hugely popular online role-playing game World of Warcraft. In the game, she's "Santiaga," an "orc assassination rogue" with green skin, fangs, a Mohawk and pointy ears.

Lachowicz is a Democrat running against incumbent state Sen. Tom Martin in south-central Maine, a heavily Democratic district of about 80,000 people. Martin, elected in 2010, is the first Republican to hold the seat since the 1960s, and his seat is one Democrats are eager to flip back.

Lachowicz has blogged under her own name about her World of Warcraft achievements as well as left-wing politics in a dedicated section of the liberal DailyKos.Com. The Maine GOP excerpted several provocative lines form her posts including one on tax policy that concludes, "Now if you'll excuse me, I may have to go and hunt down Grover Norquist and drown him in my bathtub."

Other postings use curse words and make to the joy of "stab[bing] things," joke about "being in a Socialist guild" and admit to "seriously slacking off at work."

Eye 2

Sandusky's back for his sentencing, and facing more accusers

The convicted ex-coach heads to court Tuesday to hear his sentence. Diane Dimond reports on the new accusers who have stepped forward since the trial - including his own adopted son, whose birth mother speaks exclusively about why Matt Sandusky is remaining silent. Plus, local law enforcement's fears of keeping Sandusky safe from vengeful attacks, and what he's been up to in jail.
Jerry Sandusky
© The Associated Press/Gene J. Puskar
Former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, center, leaves the Centre County Courthouse in custody with Centre County Sheriff Denny Nau, left, after being found guilty of multiple charges of child sexual abuse in Bellefonte, Pa. on June 22, 2012.
No matter what sentence is ultimately imposed upon 68-year-old Jerry Sandusky, it seems likely the former Penn State football coach will die in prison. The challenge for local law enforcement tasked with transporting him from the Centre County Correctional Facility to the Bellefonte, Penn., courthouse on Tuesday is to keep him alive long enough to hear the sentence.

"My big concern is that we get him in and out of there without someone shooting him," Sheriff Denny Nau told The Daily Beast. "We worry about someone who wasn't necessarily abused by him but abused by someone during their life breaking through. I told my officers, 'We don't need another Jack Ruby here.'"

There has already been bloodlust directed at Sandusky. In anticipation of the June verdict that found Sandusky guilty of 45 charges of sexual abuse against young boys, hundreds of former abuse victims and local residents converged on the courthouse, waiting until well past 10 p.m. to raucously cheer their approval. Some of the demonstrators carried or held the hands of small children. One told The Daily Beast that evening, "Sandusky should rot in hell. Or let him loose - we'll take care of him!"


Hugo Chávez wins Venezuelan election, securing fourth term in office

Hugo Chavez
© AFP/Getty Images/Leo Ramirez
Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez tweeted "Thank you, my God. Thanks to everyone. Thanks my beloved people!!! Viva Venezuela!!!! Viva Bolivar!!!!!
Venezuelan president retains power after 14 years in office, recording 54.5% of the vote against rival Henrique Capriles

Venezuela's Hugo Chávez has once again defied his doubters by winning a new term of office in this Sunday's presidential election after what had been billed as the closest race of his political life.

To the euphoria of supporters in and around his campaign headquarters, the National Electoral Council announced the president had secured 54.4% of the votes, while his rival Capriles was behind with 44.9%. Some votes were still to be counted, but the council said the result was not in doubt.

Chávez tweeted, "Thank you, my God. Thanks to everyone. Thanks my beloved people!!! Viva Venezuela!!!! Viva Bolivar!!!!!"

As the result was announced, his supporters burst into cheers and songs of "Viva Le Patria" and "Ooh Aah, Chávez won't go."

Heart - Black

Sexual abuse at BBC: Jimmy Savile's toxic legacy

The investigation into the DJ's alleged sexual abuse has unearthed a culture where celebrities exploited their power with impunity - and other names are cropping up

Jimmy Savile
© Rex
One senior BBC presenter at the time said: “I always thought he was a horrible man, quite frankly. We all knew he was up to something – we just didn’t know what”
When Vera McAlpine is buried on Wednesday, having died last week at the age of 90, the friends and relatives attending the service will cast their minds back to another death in the family 41 years ago. And as they gather, they will inevitably wonder why Vera went to her grave never having seen justice done over the death of her daughter.

Clair McAlpine, a dancer on Top of the Pops, was just 15 when she took her own life by swallowing two bottles of sleeping pills on March 29, 1971. Vera had discovered her daughter's body lying on the floor of her bedroom at their home in Watford in Hertfordshire.

Beside the corpse were the empty bottles and Clair's red diary; a diary that contained disturbing claims written in the girl's own hand that suggest she may have been a victim of Sir Jimmy Savile's alleged sexual predatory instincts.

Savile, almost a year after his own death at the age of 84, now stands accused by more than 40 women of rape or sexual assault. Most of his victims were at the time of the alleged offences still teenagers; young, impressionable girls whom Savile groomed and preyed upon. When he passed away last year, Savile's death was mourned by a nation.

Thousands lined the route as his coffin was driven though his home town of Leeds. In life, he had been a national treasure, one of Britain's most famous broadcasters, who had raised upwards of £40 million for charity. In death, his life and times are being properly investigated and make uncomfortable reading. There are serious questions over the role played by the BBC in possibly covering up his alleged offences and even in aiding and abetting them. The culture of the times suggests famous men like Savile and others, such as the pop star Gary Glitter and the record producer Jonathan King - in King's case he abused boys - could allow them to prey on children and, despite the rumours and innuendo, get away with it for years

Heart - Black

The documentary that should make every decent Israeli ashamed

Guy Davidi
© Tomer Appelbaum
Guy Davidi, director of 5 Broken Cameras, in Bi'lin
No moments of reprieve in the probing documentary by Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi, 5 Broken Cameras, which chronicles the struggle in the West Bank Palestinian village of Bil'in.

The soldiers arrive in the dead of night. They kick, they smash, they destroy. They break in, rudely awakening an entire house and its inhabitants, including children and babies. One officer pulls out a detailed document and declares: "This house is declared a 'closed military zone.'" He reads the order - in Hebrew and in a loud voice - to the sleep-dazed, pajama-clad family.

This young man successfully completed his officers' training course. Perhaps he even believes, deep down, that someone has to do this dirty work. And he reads out the order solely to justify why the father of the household, Emad Burnat, is forbidden to film the event on his own video camera.

There are no moments of respite or reprieve in the probing documentary by Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi, 5 Broken Cameras, which was screened, among other places, at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque last weekend after collecting a number of international prizes and having been shown on Channel 8.