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Syria’s Assad flattens pro-rebel districts

Written By kom nampuldu on Jumat, 31 Januari 2014 | 20.49

BEIRUT — The Syrian government used controlled explosives and bulldozers to raze thousands of residential buildings, in some cases entire neighborhoods, in a campaign that appeared designed to punish civilians sympathetic to the opposition, a human-rights group said Thursday.

The demolitions took place between July 2012 and July 2013 in seven pro-opposition districts in and around the capital, Damascus, and the central city of Hama, according to a 38-page report by Human Rights Watch.

The New York-based group said the deliberate destruction violated international law.

"Wiping entire neighborhoods off the map is not a legitimate tactic of war," said Ole Solvang, emergencies researcher for HRW. "These unlawful demolitions are the latest additions to a long list of crimes committed by the Syrian government."

HRW said thousands of families have lost their homes because of the destruction.

It said officials in President Bashar al-Assad's government and state media have described the demolitions as part of urban planning or an effort to remove illegally constructed buildings. But HRW said it found military forces supervised the demolitions, which each targeted areas recently hit by fighting and known to be pro-opposition.

The areas targeted were Masha al-Arbayeen and Wadi al-Jouz in Hama, Qaboun, Tadamoun, Barzeh and the Mezzeh military airport in Damascus, and Harran al-Awamid outside the capital.

The report includes satellite images of the neighborhoods before and after the demolitions.

Buildings in Masha al-Arbaeen are visible in a photo dated Sept. 28, 2012. In a second, from Oct. 13, the buildings have been pulverized, while adjacent neighborhoods remain untouched.

Residents told HRW the government bulldozers directed by the military moved in after the rebels retreated from the area.

Wadi al-Jouz met a similar fate.

HRW cited one woman who lived nearby and said the army came to her district afterward and announced "they would destroy our neighborhood like they destroyed Wadi al-Jouz and Masha al-Arbaeen should a single bullet be fired from here."

HRW said it based its report on 14 satellite images, interviews with 16 witnesses and owners of razed homes. It also reviewed media reports, government statements and videos posted online.

"No one should be fooled by the government's claim that it is undertaking urban planning in the middle of a bloody conflict," Solvang said. "This was collective punishment of communities suspected of supporting the rebellion. The UN Security Council should . . . send a clear message that cover-ups and government impunity won't stand in the way of justice for victims."

BEFORE: The Masha al-Abardeen section of Hama.

AFTER: The same district after Syrian forces swept in.


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Bloomberg tapped to be UN cities, climate change envoy: report

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been tapped to be U.N special envoy for cities and climate change, sources familiar with the situation said on Thursday.

Barring any last minute changes, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon – who is seeking to re-energize the global climate change debate and boost the United Nations' role – could make the announcement as early as Friday, the sources said on the condition of anonymity.

Bloomberg, a billionaire philanthropist who left office last month, made combating climate change a key focus during his 12 years leading the United States most populous city. He also advocated for national climate change legislation.

Bloomberg has played a leading role in the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, an international group of mayors created in 2005 and dedicated to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The C40 group, of which Bloomberg is president of the board, is due to meet in Johannesburg next week.

He announced last month that New York City's greenhouse gas emissions have dropped by 19 percent since 2005, putting the city nearly two-thirds of the way to meeting the goal that he set five years ago.

In the climate change blueprint he launched in 2007, called PlaNYC 2030, Bloomberg set a goal to slash citywide emissions 30 percent by 2030 through a number of initiatives, such as requiring hybrid taxi cabs, building bike lanes and retrofitting municipal buildings to make them more energy efficient.

Bloomberg pledged to continue focusing on promoting his key causes – combating climate change, gun control and immigration – after leaving office through his philanthropic work.

The United Nations will host a one-day climate change summit in New York on Sept. 23, 2014. Many developing nations want it to be a deadline for rich countries to outline planned cuts in greenhouse gases beyond 2020 as a key step towards a global climate deal in 2015.

Last month, Ban appointed former Ghana President John Kufuor and former Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg as special envoys on climate change to drum up support for the planned September conference.

Ever since the 2009 UN climate summit in Copenhagen failed to secure a deal on a binding treaty on reducing carbon emissions, the United Nations has been sidelined, UN diplomats and officials say.

Climate discussions have shifted away from the world body to bilateral talks between key world powers and the Group of 20 club of major developed and developing nations.

But Ban has long seen galvanizing support for global action on climate change as key to his legacy as secretary-general, the officials and diplomats say, and is eager to restore the United Nations' relevance to the climate negotiations.


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Arizona shelter takes in 36-pound cat

PHOENIX — An Arizona animal shelter has a rather large cat on its hands.

Meatball's girth is barely contained in the arms of his handler.Photo: Barcroft

The Maricopa County Animal Care and Control recently received a 36-pound cat at one of its shelters in the Phoenix area.

The cat named Meatball is temporarily staying in an office at the shelter because he's too large to fit into a standard kennel.

The shelter is trying to place the feline with a rescue organization that helps overweight cats.


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Killer busted in Tennessee after psych center breakout

The deranged killer who escaped from a Queens psychiatric facility was nabbed by police in Tennessee, cops said.

Raymond Morillo, 33, swapped outfits with a pal who was visiting him at Creedmoor on Jan. 28, around 11:30 a.m. at the Winchester Boulevard facility. Morillo was spotted by cops at a Greyhound bus terminal in Memphis around 10:30 p.m. last night.

He was busted in 1998 after he and an accomplice used razor blades to attack two men on an N-line subway platform in Astoria that left both victims permanently disfigured.

He was repeatedly denied parole while locked up for a fatal shooting and the vicious subway slashing.

He maxed out his sentence in December.


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Gunman’s doctor before Navy Yard rampage: ‘No problem there’

WASHINGTON — The gunman who killed 12 people in last year's rampage at Washington's Navy Yard lied so convincingly to Veterans Affairs doctors before the shootings that they concluded he had no mental health issues despite serious problems and encounters with police during the same period, according to a review by The Associated Press of his confidential medical files.

Just weeks before the shootings, a doctor treating him for insomnia noted that the patient worked for the Defense Department but wrote hauntingly "no problem there."

The AP obtained more than 100 pages of treatment and disability claims evaluation records for Aaron Alexis, spanning more than two years. They show Alexis complaining of minor physical ailments, including foot and knee injuries, slight hearing loss and later insomnia, but resolutely denying any mental health issues. He directly denied having suicidal or homicidal thoughts when government doctors asked him about it just three weeks before the shootings.

In a bizarre incident in Newport, R.I., Alexis told police on Aug. 7 that disembodied voices were harassing him at his hotel using a microwave machine to prevent him from sleeping. After police reported the incident to the Navy, his employer, a defense contracting company, pulled his access to classified material for two days after his mental health problems became evident but restored it quickly and never told Navy officials it had done so.

Aaron AlexisPhoto: AP/FBI

Just 16 days later, after Alexis told a VA emergency room doctor in Providence that he couldn't sleep, the doctor wrote that his speech and thoughts seemed "clear and focused" and noted that he "denies flashbacks, denies recent stress."

The medical records said Alexis, 34, was found sleeping in the VA waiting room in Providence on Aug. 23 while waiting to see a doctor. During that visit he was prescribed 50 milligrams of trazodone, an antidepressant and anti-anxiety medication that in such low doses can be used to treat insomnia.

"Denies any pain except discomfort rt (right) temple," a nurse wrote on Aug. 23. "Pt (patient) taking no medications including any otc (over-the-counter) medications."

An attending doctor provided additional details, saying Alexis suffered from fatigue after sleeping only two or three hours every night over the past three weeks.

"Speech and thoughts clear and focused. Denies flashbacks. Denies recent stress. Denies drugs, cocaine, heroin, caffeine product, depression, anxiety, chest pain, sob (shortness of breath), nightmares. He denies taking nap during the day. Denies SI (suicidal ideation) or HI (homicidal ideation)," the doctor wrote.

"He works in the Defense Department, no problem there," the doctor added.

The medical records showed that Alexis answered "no" when asked, "Do you have anything that could be considered a weapon?" The VA told the AP that was a standard question it asks veterans whom it treats in a triage setting.

Five days later, on Aug. 28, Alexis visited a VA medical facility in Washington, again complaining of sleeplessness: "Patient presents to ER with c/o (case of) awakening each morning about 4 a.m. like clockwork and he cannot figure out why this is happening."

He answered "no" when asked whether he was having feelings of hopelessness for the present and the future. Another doctor that night described the examination as "unremarkable." The VA gave him 10 more tablets of trazodone and sent him home just before 9 p.m.

Modal Trigger
A U.S. Park Police helicopter removes a man in a basket from the Washington Navy Yard. At least six people were fatally shot and eight more wounded in an attack at the Navy Yard.

AP/Jacquelyn Martin

Police respond to the attack.
Police and firefighters respond to a shooting at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C.

AFP/Getty Images

Navy Yard employees evacuated to underground parking deck.

Twitter photo via @Gerritt

A Park Police helicopter carries a sniper to the roof of a building on the Navy Yard complex.

Win McNamee/Getty Images

Police respond to the attack.

AFP/Getty Images

Emergency responders arrive at the scene.

Reuters/Jason Reed

People hold their hands to their heads as they are escorted out of the building where a gunman was reported.

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Armed police prepare to enter the Washington Navy Yard.

AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta

Shooting eyewitness Patricia Ward speaks to the media on M Street.

Mandel Ngan/Getting Images

Media reporters gather outside the US Navy Yard.

AFP/Getty Images

District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray briefs reporters on the shooting at the Washington Navy Yard.

AP/Susan Walsh

District of Columbia Police Chief Cathy Lanier briefs reporters on the shooting at the Washington Navy Yard.

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Mayor Vincent Gray and Police Chief Cathy Lanier addresses the media during a press briefing.

Zuma Press

A family member of a Navy Yard worker who was evacuated during a shooting arrives hoping to find him at a makeshift shelter at the Nationals Park baseball stadium.

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

An official from the Office of the Medical Examiner wheels a body on a gurney out of the emergency room at George Washington University Hospital shortly after it was announced that the first victim of the shooting had died. Hospital officials refused to either positively confirm or deny that the body bag contained the victim's remains.

Reuters/Gary Cameron

U.S. Capitol Police personnel keep watch on the East Plaza of the Capitol.

AP/J. Scott Applewhite

A U.S. Capitol Police officer keeps watch on the East Plaza of the Capitol.

AP/J. Scott Applewhite

Police units walk on a rooftop

Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty

Police tactical units leave after responding to the Navy Yard shooting

Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty

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Alexis, a defense contractor and former Navy reservist, went on a deadly shooting rampage at the Navy Yard on Sept. 16, spraying bullets in a hallway and firing on workers from a balcony. He died in a gunbattle with police.

He had purchased the shotgun he used two days before the shooting from a gun shop in Virginia. Alexis had been involved in at least two earlier shooting-related incidents, in 2004 when he was arrested in Seattle and charged with malicious mischief for shooting the tires on a construction worker's vehicle and in 2010 when he was arrested in Fort Worth, Texas, for firing a rifle into a neighbor's apartment.

No charges were filed in those two cases, but it was not immediately clear whether Alexis was answering honestly on Aug. 23 when he was asked whether he still had any weapons. The FBI told the AP it found no weapons when it searched the hotel where Alexis had been staying after the shootings.

Before the Navy Yard shootings, Alexis left behind a note that FBI agents recovered saying he had been targeted by ultra-low frequency radio waves for the previous three months — the period that covered his visits to the VA medical facilities when he denied he was experiencing any stress or violent thoughts.

Sidney Matthew, a lawyer representing the family of one of the shooting victims, told the AP it's possible that Alexis was evasive with his doctors but expressed skepticism that physicians adequately questioned Alexis about why he wasn't sleeping.

"There doesn't appear to be very much curiosity about what the ideology of the insomnia is," said Matthew, who represents the family of Mary Frances DeLorenzo Knight in a federal lawsuit. The lawsuit claims the VA failed to treat Alexis' mental illness.

Matthew noted that Alexis aggressively confronted a family at Norfolk (Va.) International Airport on Aug. 4, just days before his encounter with police on Aug. 7 that was so bizarre that police contacted the Navy about their concerns. Alexis' family also had concerns about his mental health during the period.

If doctors were perplexed about the cause of a patient's problem, there are limits as to how far they can investigate. The executive director of the National Center for Veteran Studies, Dr. Craig Bryan, said conducting an online search of a patient would be time-consuming and unlikely to help. That's particularly the case for a doctor working in an emergency room setting treating a condition as common as insomnia, he said. With few exceptions, it would be illegal to contact others, such as family, friends or an employer to search for clues, Bryan said.

Other experts agreed. "In an emergency setting, a patient with insomnia who does not report stressors or substance use, who denies suicidal or homicidal thoughts and who otherwise does not have urgent psychiatric or medical issues would typically be referred for further, full evaluation of the insomnia in a nonemergency setting," said Dr. William E. Narrow, acting director of quality improvement for the American Psychiatric Association.

The AP obtained 114 pages of Alexis' medical records under the Freedom of Information Act after requesting them a few weeks after the shootings. It is unusual for the government to disclose anyone's medical files, but the Veterans Affairs Department agreed that the public interest in the mass killing outweighed Alexis' privacy rights in keeping his treatment records secret after his death. In the records the AP obtained, the government withheld the names of all the doctors and others who treated Alexis to protect their privacy.

Congress and the Pentagon are investigating the shootings, including whether faulty security clearance procedures allowed him to get and maintain his job. Some lawmakers have said Alexis fell through the cracks at the VA and should have been treated by mental health professionals, but they have stopped short of specifying what government doctors should have done differently.

The medical records also describe Alexis' efforts to qualify for disability payments because of ringing in his ears and orthopedic problems. In February 2011, almost immediately after Alexis received an honorable discharge from the Navy, he complained about tinnitus, which he said was "annoying and can be distracting." He said it began in 2009 when he was still serving in the Navy. An audiologist in Dallas determined that his hearing in both ears was "within normal limits" and said any hearing loss or tinnitus probably didn't occur when he was serving in the military.

In October 2011, Alexis filed another disability claim for what he said was a broken right foot he suffered when he fell down stairs in 2009, causing him mild to moderate pain daily. The Navy alleged in a nonjudicial punishment in July 2009 that Alexis was drunk when he leaped off stairs and suffered a broken ankle, but Alexis appealed the disciplinary action and it was removed from his record six months later because there was insufficient evidence he had been intoxicated. Alexis also complained to the VA about a spine problem and conditions with his knee and shoulder. An examiner concluded that Alexis had a degenerative disc in his back and less movement than normal in his shoulder and knee.

The government granted him a 20 percent disability rating for orthopedic issues in December 2011. He was awarded an additional 10 percent for tinnitus and received $395 in monthly benefits retroactive to his leaving the Navy, or about $4,740.


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Rihanna, Shakira bedfellows in new video

The collaboration between Shakira and Rihanna finally has a video and you can truly say that it's a cigar moment.

The two superstars get up close and very personal in the newly released promo for "Can't Remember To Forget You." The classy clip features the two draped over a bed while smoking a couple Cubans. It's not something that will make anti-smoking groups happy, but the singers' fans are guaranteed to be thrilled.

Look out for Shakira rocking out towards the end, too. She looks like a pretty useful drummer. Who knew?


18.18 | 0 komentar | Read More

30 Super Bowl trivia questions to stump your friends

Test your Super Bowl knowledge with our tour of the record book and your memory banks.

RECORD-SETTERS

1. Which player has participated in the most Super Bowls?

2. Which player has won the most Super Bowls?

3. Who has been the head coach in the most Super Bowls?

4. Name the four head coaches tied with the most Super Bowl losses (4).

5. Who is the only player to score three touchdowns in a Super Bowl game twice?

6. Which kicker holds the records for most field goals attempted (10) and made (7) in the Super Bowl?

7. Who kicked the longest field goal in Super Bowl history?

8. Who is the only player to rush for three touchdowns in a Super Bowl game?

9. Which quarterback threw the most passes in a Super Bowl game?

10. Which quarterback and receiver hooked up for the longest completion in Super Bowl history?

11. Which four receivers share the record for the most receptions in a Super Bowl game (11).

12. Of the nine players to return kickoffs for touchdowns, only one won the MVP in that game. Who was it?

13. Has there ever been a punt returned for a touchdown in a Super Bowl?

14. Who is the only player with three interceptions in a Super Bowl game?

15. What were the highest- and lowest-scoring Super Bowls (combined points)?

WHODUNIT?

16. In Super Bowl XVIII, which two little-known L.A. Raiders scored return touchdowns, one on a recovery of a blocked punt in the end zone, and the other on a 5-yard interception return of Joe Theismann?

17. Which Ram tackled Titans WR Kevin Dyson at the 1-yard line as time expired in Super Bowl XXXIV?

18. Which Redskin intercepted Dolphin Garo Yepremian's infamous throw on a botched field goal and raced 49 yards for a touchdown in Super Bowl VII?

19. Which Jets DB had two interceptions in Super Bowl III?

20. Which player scored the first and last points of two Super Bowls, 11 years apart?

21. Which Bills WR forced showboating Cowboy Leon Lett to fumble at the 1-yard line in Super Bowl XXVII?

22. Which four players have won both the Heisman Trophy and Super Bowl MVP?

23. Which two Patriots were covering David Tyree when he made his miraculous "Catch 42"?

24. Which 10 franchises have won the Super Bowl in their first try?

25. Which three players scored touchdowns on returns in a span of 36 seconds in the third quarter of Super Bowl XXXV (Ravens-Giants)?

26. Which future Super Bowl winning head coach caught a touchdown pass from Roger Staubach in Super Bowl VI?

27. Who is the last player to win MVP without figuring in the scoring of a touchdown?

28. Which Giants backup quarterback ran for a momentum-changing first down on a fake punt against the Broncos in Super Bowl XXI?

29. Name the player who won a Super Bowl MVP after he played for the Jets, and the player who won the award before he joined the Jets.

30. Which five assistant coaches on Bill Parcells' staff in Super Bowl XXV went on to become NFL head coaches?

(Answers below the photo.)

David Tyree made the Helmet Catch … but who were the other guys?

Answers: 1. Mike Lodish, 6 (Buffalo SB 25-28, Denver SB 32-33); 2. Charles Haley, 5 (San Francisco SB 23-24, Dallas SB 27-28, 30); 3. Don Shula, 6 (Baltimore SB 3, Miami SB 6-8, 12, 19); 4. Bud Grant (Minnesota), Don Shula (Baltimore, Miami), Marv Levy (Buffalo), Dan Reeves (Denver, Atlanta); 5. Jerry Rice (San Francisco, SB 26 vs. Denver and 29 vs. San Diego); 6. Adam Vinatieri (New England, Indianapolis); 7. Steve Christie (Buffalo, 54 yards, SB 28 vs. Dallas); 8. Terrell Davis (Denver vs. Green Bay, SB 32); 9. Jim Kelly 58 (Buffalo vs. Washington, SB 26); 10. Jake Delhomme and Muhsin Muhammad (Carolina vs. New England, SB 38); 11. Dan Ross (Cincinnati vs. San Francisco, SB 16), Jerry Rice (San Francisco vs. Cincinnati, SB 23), Deion Branch (New England vs. Philadelphia, SB 39), Wes Welker (New England vs. Giants, SB 42); 12. Desmond Howard (Green Bay vs. New England, SB 31); 13. No; 14. Rod Martin (Oakland vs. Philadelphia, SB 15); 15. Most 75 (San Francisco 49, San Diego 26, SB 29), least 21 (Miami 14, Washington 7 in SB 7)

16. Derrick Jensen (punt recovery), Jack Squirek (pick six); 17. Mike Jones; 18. Mike Bass; 19. Randy Beverly; 20. Matt Bahr (Steelers, SB 14; Giants, SB 25); 21. Don Beebe; 22. Roger Staubach (Navy, Cowboys), Jim Plunkett (Stanford, Raiders), Marcus Allen (USC, Raiders), Desmond Howard (Michigan, Packers); 23. Rodney Harrison, James Sanders; 24. Packers, Jets, Cowboys, Steelers, 49ers, Bears, Giants, Ravens, Buccaneers, Saints; 25. Duane Starks, Ravens (49-yard interception, 11:11); Ron Dixon, Giants (97-yard kickoff, 11:29); Jermaine Lewis, Ravens (84-yard kickoff, 11:47); 26. Mike Ditka; 27. Deion Branch, Patriots (SB 39); 28. Jeff Rutledge; 29. John Riggins, Santonio Holmes; 30. Ray Handley, Tom Coughlin, Bill Belichick, Romeo Crennel, Al Groh (plus, Ron Erhardt had been a head coach previously, and Charlie Weis became the head coach at Notre Dame)


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Microsoft to name new chief

Microsoft's board is preparing to name cloud-computing head Satya Nadella, a 22-year veteran of the software company, as its next chief executive, Bloomberg reported on Thursday, citing unnamed sources it said were briefed on the CEO search process.

The board is also considering replacing Chairman Bill Gates, possibly with independent lead director John Thompson, Bloomberg said.

Sources had previously told Reuters that Microsoft was down to a "handful" of candidates, including Nadella, executive vice president of the Cloud & Enterprise group, and Tony Bates, executive vice president of Business Development and Evangelism.

Bloomberg added the Nadella plans had not been finalized. Microsoft declined to comment.

In a blog post on the company's website in December, Microsoft lead independent director John Thompson emphasized the need for a CEO with good tech bona fides and "an ability to lead a highly technical organization and work with top technical talent."

Thompson, who leads the four-member CEO search committee, said at the time he expected the panel to reach a decision "in the early part of 2014."

Some investors have been urging Thompson to consider the CEO role himself. A source close to the board told Reuters that Thompson was not in the frame to lead the company, but did not rule out a senior executive role, such as chairman.

The appointment of a company veteran which follows a months-long search and long flirtation with outsiders such as Ford Motor Chief Executive Alan Mulally, could disappoint some investors who were hoping for a more radical transformation at the software giant.


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Incognito: Texts show Martin wasn’t bullied

Richie Incognito isn't just planning a comeback — he also feels he can clear his name.

The Dolphins offensive lineman, who was suspended in November for the alleged bullying of teammate Jonathan Martin, plans to return to the NFL as a free agent next season, according to Fox News, who spoke to people close to Incognito.

Incognito has hired a high-powered public relations firm, Sitrick & Co., to fight back against the bullying charge alleged by Martin. His attorneys have given the NFL information that paints Martin as a "troubled player" who made "inflammatory and vulgar comments" via text messages to Incognito.

Ted Wells, who is investigating the matter for the league, has all but wrapped up the probe, people with direct knowledge of the investigation told Fox News.

Wells is expected to release his findings after the Super Bowl. One snag holding up the release is said to be evidence that apparently exonerates Incognito, as it points to two friends who engaged in "crude locker room banter over a period of many months."

Incognito's lawyers also are claiming Martin only accused Incognito of bullying after it appeared Martin would be losing his starting job as the team's left tackle."

"The coarse and unacceptable comments and text messages that were sent to Jonathan Martin were of the same poor taste as those sent by him," Mark Schamel, one of Incognito's attorneys, told the network. "All of these communications were provided to Ted Wells and the NFL investigation. What they show is banter between friends, not bullying.

"Martin sent text messages to Incognito which included threats to send someone over to Incognito's home with a 'tranquilizer gun and sandpaper condoms' to homosexually rape him. Martin sent another that said he would 'kill [Richie's] whole family.' There was another where Martin indicated he would ejaculate in Richie's face."

Martin's lawyer, David Cornwell, declined to comment to Fox and Martin's spokesman, Ann Marchant, told the network Wells and the NFL "have the entire series of texts and it's more accurate to look at all of them," while acknowledging that though Martin made crude comments to Incognito, it was in the context of trying "to be a friend to Richie and to fit in" with the team.


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Crook robs man one day, forces him to cash checks the next

An armed robbery turned into a two-day nightmare after a thug stole a man's wallet one day — and then forced him to drive him to New Jersey at gunpoint to cash the victim's checks the next day, cops say.

According to police, the incident began on January 14th, when police say the 30-year-old victim was walking along 188th Street in the Bronx when a man armed with a gun approached him and demanded his money, debit card, and personal information.

The victim complied and the suspect fled. But according to authorities, the robbery was far from over.

The next day, police say the suspect contacted the victim by phone and demanded to see him. According to cops, the victim was in fear of his life, and met with the suspect later that day.

"This guy was terrified," a police source said. "I mean he didn't just give over money or credit cards, he gave the guy his personal information at gun point. He was afraid and just wanted the problem to go away, but it kept getting worse."

The scheme concluded after the suspect forced his victim to drive him to New Jersey, where the armed man forced him to deposit forged checks into the victim's own bank account.

According to police, the victim was then released unharmed.

Cops describe the suspect as a male, standing 5-foot-9 and weighing around 135 pounds.


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Man convicted in decades-old Bronx murder

Written By kom nampuldu on Kamis, 30 Januari 2014 | 18.18

Bronx jurors convicted a man Wednesday for a two-decade-old murder that was only recently solved by DNA, authorities said.

Angel Guridy-Cabral, 51, was nailed on a second-degree murder charge for the March 16, 1993, stabbing of former gal pal Altagracia Valdez, 24, said Bronx DA Robert Johnson.

Jurors deliberated for two days following the three-week trial. The killer, facing 25 years to life, is scheduled to be sentenced on March 5. David K. Li

Valdez was fatally knifed inside her Gerard Avenue apartment. In 1993, there was no DNA database to check against forensic evidence recovered at the scene, according to Johnson.

Dets. Mark Tebbens and Anthony Padilla of the NYPD Cold Case Apprehension Squad re-opened the case years later and got the fortunate DNA hit, Johnson said.

Detectives traced Guridy-Cabral to the Dominican Republic. He was indicted in 2010 and finally returned to the Bronx in May 2012 after a long extradition fight.


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“Nymphomaniac II” movie banned in Romania

BUCHAREST, Romania — The Romanian cinema board has declared Lars von Trier's "Nymphomaniac II" unfit for public viewing, a decision the distributor says is unique in Europe.

The movie was due to be released Feb. 7 but the National Center of Cinematography on Wednesday told the distributor the film would be labeled IM 18 XXX — banned to minors and the general public.

Distributor Independence Film called it "a case of censorship which is unique in Europe," and said it would appeal. Chairman of the Senate's Culture Committee Georgica Severin criticized the decision, saying "Nymphomaniac I" was already running in Romanian cinemas.

The two-part film is a drama about a woman's erotic journey from birth to the age of 50.


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De Blasio swipes at Bloomberg over education

Mayor de Blasio took a string of swipes at his predecessor's education policies Wednesday while vowing to deliver on his promise for significant change to the schools system.

In his first address to more than 1,000 public-school principals, the mayor depicted the Bloomberg administration as one that imposed a corporate model on public schools, didn't listen to parents or educators and that made many educational blunders.

"This extraordinary leadership team is going to go through with me the process of actually resolving and addressing a lot of things that went unresolved in the last 12 years," Hizzoner said at Brooklyn Tech HS. I'm not here to make a partisan speech, I'm not going to do that," he added. "We're here as part of a process of change that the people of this city have demanded."

Bloomberg had been the first New York City mayor to seize control of the schools system after Albany gave him the power to call most of the shots.

His supporters say he took on a dysfunctional system, made it safer and boosted graduation rates. His detractors said the focus on numbers — which they claim were exaggerated — lowered morale and created a needlessly tense environment at schools.

Even as de Blasio acknowledged that "some" good had been done in the past 12 years, he jabbed at his predecessor's approach to reform.

"I'll say it very simply — I am not trying to bring an outside model, a corporate model, a private-sector model to a public-sector [endeavor]," he said.

"I loved it. I loved it," said Repertory Company HS for Theatre Arts principal Manual Urena. "To hear the mayor and chancellor start off with such a message is encouraging – what I hear is support."

To that end, Chancellor Carmen Farina announced that new principals would be required to have seven years of education experience in order to be hired – a dramatic shift from recent years.

She did not specify what type of experience she meant.

By contrast, Bloomberg and his chancellors sought to shake-up the traditional model by bringing in experts from other fields — who they fast-tracked into leadership positions through intense training.

De Blasio also talked about repairing the relationship between the Department of Education and educators and parents.

"We're going to actually have some discussion and debate about what's best for our kids," he said. "When people come to [school board policy] meetings it's not always going to be a foregone conclusion and a rubber stamp."

As with other new administrations that brought in high hopes that things would improve under their leadership, de Blasio's words were greeted with frequent applause.


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New e-mails show Christie’s aides pressured Hoboken mayor

Newly released e-mails indicate Gov. Chris Christie's administration pressured the mayor of Hoboken to approve a huge development project even during a meeting centered on Hurricane Sandy relief funds, according to a report.

One e-mail to Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer lists the first item on the agenda for a meeting about Sandy funds was "review of concepts for flood control measures at Rockefeller property," The New York Times reported Wednesday.

The property refers to a billion-dollar complex that was being proposed for the city by a Christie-connected developer.

Zimmer requested the meeting after a severe rainstorm last May flooded Hoboken and raised concerns that the city could be devastated again.

She said she would not discuss the project at the meeting, the Times said.

The next day, Zimmer received a call saying Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno would be visiting her in Hoboken.
At that infamous meeting, Zimmer claims Guadagno and another Christie staffer demanded she push forward the redevelopment plan or risk losing all the Sandy recovery money.

Guadagno has denied the claim, which came on the heels of the Bridgegate scandal that has been dogging Christie.

Christie is already facing heat over the "Bridgegate" scandal

Also Wednesday, termination of a separate Hurricane Sandy contract has led two New Jersey congressmen to request a federal investigation. Jersey Reps. Frank Pallone and Bill Pascrell Jr., both Democrats, asked US Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan to review the Christie administration's "sudden cancellation" of a $68 million deal with a Hammerman & Gainer Inc.

The New Orleans-based company was hired last May to oversee the distribution of $600 million in federal Sandy relief for homeowners after Hurricane Sandy devastated parts of New Jersey's coast in 2012.


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Syrian government has razed neighborhoods: report

Modal Trigger
This combination of three satellite images released by Human Rights Watch shows the Masha al-Arb'een,neighborhood in Hama, Syria on Sept. 28, 2012, top; on Oct. 3, 2012 and on Oct. 13, 2012.

AP

This combination of two satellite images released by Human Rights Watch shows Six-story residential building on fire likely from artillery shelling in the Tadamoun neighborhood of Damascus, Syria on July 16, 2012, left, and Sept. 22, 2012, right, and a six-story residential building demolished with controlled explosives, as visible on September 22, 2012.

AP

This combination of two satellite images released by Human Rights Watch shows dozens of high-rise residential and commercial buildings along the main road between Mezzeh Air Base and Daraya, a Damascus, Syria suburb on Feb. 4, 2013, left, and on July 1, 2013, right.

AP

This combination of two satellite images released by Human Rights Watch shows the Masha al-Arb'een neighborhood in Hama, Syria on Sept. 28, 2012, left, and on Oct. 13, 2012.

AP

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BEIRUT — The Syrian government used controlled explosives and bulldozers to raze thousands of residential buildings, in some cases entire neighborhoods, in a campaign that appeared designed to punish civilians sympathetic to the opposition or to cause disproportionate harm to them, an international human rights group said Thursday.

The demolitions took place between July 2012 and July 2013 in seven pro-opposition districts in and around the capital, Damascus, and the central city of Hama, according to a 38-page report by Human Rights Watch. The New York-based group said the deliberate destruction violated international law, and called for an immediate end to the practice.

"Wiping entire neighborhoods off the map is not a legitimate tactic of war," said Ole Solvang, emergencies researcher for HRW. "These unlawful demolitions are the latest additions to a long list of crimes committed by the Syrian government."

Human Rights Watch said many of the demolished buildings were apartment blocks, and that thousands of families have lost their homes because of the destruction.

It said government officials and media have described the demolitions as part of urban planning or an effort to remove illegally constructed buildings. But Human Rights Watch said its investigation determined that military forces supervised the demolitions, which in each instance targeted areas that had recently been hit by fighting and were widely understood to be pro-opposition.

There also is no indication, HRW said, that pro-government districts have been targeted for similar controlled destruction.

The neighborhoods targeted were Masha al-Arbayeen and Wadi al-Jouz in Hama, and Qaboun, Tadamoun, Barzeh and the Mezzeh military airport in Damascus as well as Harran al-Awamid outside the capital.

The report includes satellite images of the neighborhoods before and after the demolitions, providing a window on the scale of the destruction.

Buildings in the Hama neighborhood of Masha al-Arbaeen, a wedge-shaped district bordered by highways on three sides, are clearly visible in a photo dated Sept. 28, 2012. In a second photo from Oct. 13, the buildings have been pulverized into a white smudge, while the adjacent neighborhoods remain untouched.

Residents told Human Rights Watch that the government bulldozers directed by the military moved in after the rebels retreated from the area in the face of an army offensive.

Another Hama neighborhood, Wadi al-Jouz, faced a similar fate.

HRW cited one woman who lived near Wadi al-Jouz, who said the army came to her district afterwards and announced over loudspeakers "that they would destroy our neighborhood like they destroyed Wadi al-Jouz and Masha al-Arbaeen should a singled bullet be fired from here."

In the cases of both Hama neighborhoods, local residents told Human Rights Watch opposition fighters had used the districts to enter and leave the city because of their location on the outskirts.
The report also provided accounts and images of the Damascus neighborhoods of Qaboun, Tadamoun, Barzeh and the Mezzeh military airport, as well as Harran al-Awamid outside the capital.

Residents said government forces gave them little or no warning before razing their homes, and it was nearly impossible to remove their belonging before the demolitions, the report said. HRW also said that owners it interviewed reported receiving no compensation from the government.

Human Rights Watch said that noted that some of the demolitions took place near military facilities or in areas recently engulfed in fighting.

"It's not enough that there's some tangential military objective or benefit to conducting the demolitions," HRW's Lama Fakih said. "The standard really requires that it be militarily necessary, and even with that military necessity there's a manner in which these demolitions need to take place that does not disproportionately harm civilians, which has not been the case here."

Human Rights Watch said it based its report on 14 satellite images, interviews with 16 witnesses and owners of houses that were demolished. It also reviewed media reports, government statements, and videos posted online of the destruction and its aftermath.

"No one should be fooled by the government's claim that it is undertaking urban planning in the middle of a bloody conflict," Solvang said. "This was collective punishment of communities suspected of supporting the rebellion. The UN Security Council should, with an ICC referral, send a clear message that cover-ups and government impunity won't stand in the way of justice for victims."


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College athletes forming first union, call NCAA ‘dictatorship’

Written By kom nampuldu on Rabu, 29 Januari 2014 | 20.50

CHICAGO — Calling the NCAA a dictatorship, Northwestern's quarterback and the United Steelworkers announced plans Tuesday to form the first labor union for college athletes — the latest salvo in the bruising fight over whether amateur players should be paid.

Quarterback Kain Colter detailed the College Athletes Players Association at a news conference in Chicago, flanked by leaders of the Steelworkers union that has agreed to pay legal bills for the effort.

The NCAA and the Big Ten Conference both criticized the move and insisted college athletes cannot be considered employees.

Colter said the NCAA dictates terms to its hundreds of member schools and tens of thousands of college athletes, leaving players with little or no say about financial compensation questions or how to improve their own safety. That college football generates hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue only bolstered the argument for a union, he said.

"How can they call this amateur athletics when our jerseys are sold in stores and the money we generate turns coaches and commissioners into multi-millionaires?" Colter asked.

"The current model represents a dictatorship," added Colter, who just finished his senior year with the Wildcats. "We just want a seat at the table." Colter said "nearly 100 percent" of his teammates backed the drive to unionize. But only he spoke publicly, saying the others wanted to keep a low profile.


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Bryant Park shooter claims NYPD caught wrong man

The 16-year-old gangbanger accused of shooting two skaters at the Bryant Park ice rink last year is claiming they have the wrong guy, according to his attorney.

"We plan to pursue the defense of misidentification," lawyer Sam Roberts said after a court appearance Tuesday for Corey Dunton.

"To the extent that somebody identified him as the perpetrator, perhaps perfectly well intentioned, but ultimately incorrect identification."

Roberts has also argued that the alleged confessions Dunton made to police wouldn't be admissible at trial, since Dunton had requested counsel before he made themhand.

Roberts argues that many cases have been later overturned due to mistaken identification.

"The documented cases of wrongful convictions, proven later by DNA testing, seventy-five percent of them involve mistaken identity.

He plans to explore bringing in an expert witness in misidentification and in false confessions for the trial.

Dunton is accused of opening fire on the popular ice skating rink in Novemberof last year after he allegedly demandeding a jacket from victim Javier Contreras, 20, hand over his $680 green Marmot jacket, shooting him several times. A stray bullet also struck aspiring hoopster Adonis Mera, 14, in the back, paralyzing him.


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MLB approves a pitcher’s safety cap

Big league pitchers might feel safer on the mound this season.

Major League Baseball has approved a protective cap for pitchers, hoping to reduce the damage from line drives to the head that have brought some terrifying and bloody scenes in the last few years.

The heavier and bigger new hat was introduced Tuesday and will be available for testing during spring training on a voluntary basis. Major leaguers and minor leaguers won't be required to wear it — comfort is likely to be a primary concern.

"Obviously, it'd be a change," two-time Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers told the MLB Network. "I'm definitely not opposed to it.

"I think it'd take a lot of getting used to," he said. "You don't look very cool, I'll be honest."

The safety plates made by isoBLOX are sewn into the hat and custom fitted. They weigh an extra six to seven ounces — a baseball weighs about five ounces, by comparison — and offer protection to the forehead, temples and sides of the head. They will make the hats about a half-inch thicker in the front and around an inch wider on the sides.

Several pitchers have been hit in the head by line drives recently. Brandon McCarthy sustained a brain contusion and skull fracture after being struck in 2012 and Doug Fister was hit during the World Series that October.

Toronto's J.A. Happ and Tampa Bay's Alex Cobb were sidelined after being hit last year.

McCarthy tweeted he already had tried out the fortified cap and that it was "headed in right direction but not game ready."

In an email to The Associated Press, he said, "If you're not 100 percent focused on executing your pitches, you have almost no chance of success. And that hat is uncomfortable enough that it would be a big distraction to wear it."


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Westhoff: I won’t be back with Jets

Mike Westhoff won't be returning to the Jets as their special teams coordinator.

Westhoff told The Post on Tuesday he had "listened" to apparent overtures from Gang Green about reclaiming the job he held for 11 years before retiring after the 2012 season, but decided his heart wasn't in it.

Westhoff said he will instead consult with coach Rex Ryan on special teams only during the offseason (Westhoff works for ESPN during the season), and he already has recommended "a couple of people" as candidates to replace Ben Kotwica, who left this month to become the Redskins' special teams coach.

"No, I'm done," Westhoff told The Post while making an appearance Tuesday afternoon at the Super Bowl media center in Midtown. "With the way the league is going with special teams, it just doesn't interest me anymore to coach them."

Westhoff was referring to indications from the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell in recent months that everything from kickoffs to the extra point could be eliminated in the next few years out of concerns for player safety and as a way to take "useless" plays out of the game.

"It doesn't sound like there's going to be much [for special teams coaches] to coach in a few years," Westhoff said.

Speculation about Westhoff returning to the Jets was sparked by an interview he gave earlier this month, in which he said he would consider going back to the team.


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Wounded war hero is State of Union high point

WASHINGTON — Wounded veteran Cory Remsburg had met President Barack Obama three times before Tuesday night— once in France and twice since a roadside bomb in Kandahar, Afghanistan, on his 10th deployment. Number four was at Obama's State of the Union address, when the Army Ranger inspired the emotional high point of the evening.

Toward the end of Obama's policy-heavy address, the president gestured toward the uniformed man from Phoenix seated next to first lady Michelle Obama and described the difference between the Remsburg he'd met the first time— "sharp as a tack"— and the wounded warrior his fellow soldiers found face-down in a canal, underwater, with shrapnel in his brain.

"The next time I met him, in the hospital, he couldn't speak; he could barely move," Obama said to the now-silent crowd in the House chamber. "Over the years, he's endured dozens of surgeries and procedures, and hours of grueling rehab every day."

As Obama spoke, the heads of lawmakers, Supreme Court justices and Cabinet members swiveled to their right and upward toward Remsburg, who had been clapping all evening by patting his right hand on his chest. His left hand lay curled in a brace.

President Obama gives the thumbs up to Army Ranger Sergeant First Class Cory Remsburg during the State of the Union.Photo: UPI

Remsburg, seated beside his father, Craig, is still blind in one eye and struggles on his left side, Obama said. But he's slowly learned to speak, stand and walk again. He's been awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.

"Like the Army he loves, like the America he serves, Sgt. 1st Class Cory Remsburg never gives up and he does not quit," Obama said.

Everyone in the chamber stood and applauded Remsburg for a minute and 44 seconds, the most sustained applause of the evening.

Wearing a bow tie under his uniform, Remsburg stood, waved and gave a thumbs-up. Obama returned it.

As Obama made his way out of the House chamber, Remsburg was helped up the steps of the gallery by his father. What was left of the crowd turned toward him again and applauded.


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Mobster begs but still gets slapped with jail time

The son-in-law of jailed Colombo crime-family boss Carmine Persico was slapped Tuesday with a 15-month prison term for racketeering and gambling raps, despite his pleas for probation.

Mob associate Angelo Spata, 39, faced up to 31 months behind bars after pleading guilty to extorting vendors at the Santa Rosalia festival in Brooklyn and taking part in illegal gambling.
S
pata — who used his potent family connections to ascend the Colombo ranks — lobbied Brooklyn federal Judge Kiyo Matsumoto for a no-jail deal, and pointed to his charitable works and family responsibilities as grounds for leniency.

"Hopefully, Your Honor will give me the opportunity to take care of my three young children," Spata told the court as his tearful brood looked on nervously from the gallery.

Spata aggravated prosecutors while out on bail when he allegedly lifted $164 in lighting accessories from a Brooklyn Home Depot. That case is still pending in Brooklyn Supreme Court.

Federal prosecutor Gina Parlovecchio pushed for incarceration Tuesday and argued that Spata had more juice in the crime crew than he was letting on.

"He is a more powerful member for the Colombo crime family than he has sought to portray in these proceedings," she said. "These are serious crimes that warrant serious punishment."

Matsumoto opted for the lower end of federal sentencing guidelines but made sure Spata tasted prison in handing down the 15-month sentence as well as a $7,500 fine.


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Reputed head of Philly mob free after two deadlocked trials

PHILADELPHIA — The reputed boss of the Philadelphia mob walked free Tuesday after beating two racketeering trials in a case the Justice Department began pursuing more than a decade ago.

Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi, 74, quietly left the city's federal courthouse Tuesday morning with his brother and nephew and took the front seat in a waiting black car. He said he planned to "relax" Tuesday night after spending 2 1/2 years in prison.

Justice Department officials decided not to take Ligambi to trial a third time.

"It was a non-violent case. They were not looking to put away blood-thirsty criminals," defense lawyer Ed Jacobs told The Associated Press. "These were, at most, economic crimes, if they were crimes."

The indictment, described by one defense attorney as "mob lite," detailed relatively small-scale loansharking and gambling operations, such as efforts to control illegal poker machines inside South Philadelphia bars and collect sports bets in the neighborhood. Defendants could be heard on tape complaining that the mob was broke, and that the spread of legal casinos had taken a toll in their enterprise.

"Reasonable people can disagree on whether this was racketeering conspiracy," Jacobs said. "Ten of 12 jurors said it was not."

Ligambi allegedly took over Philadelphia's La Cosa Nostra after the younger, flashier Joey Merlino went to prison in 1999. Mob observers said he focused on business, not mayhem, unlike the bloody reigns attributed to earlier bosses Merlino and the imprisoned Nicky Scarfo.

Federal prosecutors unsealed a sweeping indictment in 2011, charging more than a dozen people in an investigation begun about a decade before.

Two juries deadlocked on the central racketeering charge against Ligambi while acquitting him of lesser counts. The second trial ended Friday. A judge on Tuesday dismissed the remaining counts, given the Justice Department's decision.

Overall, 11 defendants were convicted in the case, including Ligambi's alleged underboss and enforcer. Reputed underboss Joseph "Mousie" Massimino was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

The Italian mob "is not just a rag-tag bunch of guys hanging on a corner in South Philadelphia," Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank Labor argued at his sentencing. "It's a large, well-established, entrenched criminal enterprise" around the world.

Yet Jacobs and other questioned the resources devoted to the 14-year FBI investigation. Jurors, speaking to The Philadelphia Inquirer over the weekend, doubted the reliability of mob turncoats and debtors who testified for the government.

Ligambi's only co-defendant at the second trial, his nephew and alleged consigliere George Borgesi, was acquitted Friday and released. He had been accused of helping Ligambi from prison, where he's spent the last 14 years in the Merlino case.

U.S. Attorney Zane Memeger said Friday that the 11 convictions were an "excellent result."

"The government has shown throughout this prosecution that members of the Philadelphia La Cosa Nostra family have engaged in substantial criminal activity that warrants serious punishment," he said.


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Police open fire on driver after he tries to run them down

Police opened fire at a reckless driver in The Bronx after he failed to yield to a pedestrian and then tried to run over two officers with his minivan, cops said.

The 39-year-old driver, in a black Chrysler Town & Country, failed to stop for a pedestrian in a crosswalk as he turned at the corner of Morris Park Avenue and White Plains Road in the Van Nest section at about 5 p.m., police said.

When the two officers attempted to pull him over, the driver took off, plowing into a parked car and beginning a dramatic police pursuit.

The driver eventually turned the vehicle toward the two cops approaching him on foot, prompting them to open fire, ­police said.

The shots missed the driver, who then took off down Morris Park Avenue, where he finally crashed into a telephone pole.

"It was craziness out here," said witness James Vargas. "There was a helicopter out here with a searchlight and everything. They really wanted to get this guy."

The driver was taken into custody and 100 OxyContin pills were found in the vehicle, police said.
Charges were pending.


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NYPD targets drivers in pedestrian safety sting

Less than a week after the NYPD's infamous ticket blitz of jaywalkers, cops switched gears and targeted rogue drivers — going undercover to pose as pedestrians to see if they stopped for them in crosswalks.

Cops in Brooklyn's 78th Precinct in Park Slope — where Mayor de Blasio lived before ascending to the city's top spot — spent Thursday and Friday strolling the streets in the sting, officials said.

One undercover police officer would walk through an intersection while another nearby cop would issue a summons to any driver who failed to yield to him.

The officers found plenty of scofflaw drivers flouting the law . They slapped 17 drivers with summonses over the two days for "failure to yield" to someone in a crosswalk.

That number represents nearly 18 percent of the total 96 similar summonses handed out for all of last year in the same precinct.

"Drivers should know that the next pedestrian you fail to yield to may be an undercover cop," said local Councilman Brad Lander.

The sting came on the heels of last week's NYPD jaywalking ticket spree on the Upper West Side.

One ticketed pedestrian, Kang Chun Wong, 84, was left bloodied after cops stopped him for jaywalking across West 96th Street at Broadway and he apparently didn't understand their commands to stop.

He has since filed a $5 million lawsuit against the city and NYPD.

Police and City Council members declined Tuesday to identify the Brooklyn intersections where drivers were being targeted, citing ongoing sting efforts. It was unclear whether the NYPD is conducting its stings in other parts of the city.

The traffic-safety initiatives come as De Blasio has vowed to bring traffic-related deaths down to zero.

On the Upper West Side at 96th Street and Broadway — an intersection where there have been three pedestrian fatalities in the past nine days — residents on Tuesday said the crackdown was welcome.

Matthew Carabello, 27, who works as a sales associate in a store at the intersection, lamented that there was a large police presence in the immediate aftermath of the fatalities but that it has now tapered off.

At one point, "There were at least two cops at each corner and a traffic cop directing traffic," he said. "Then it was down to two traffic cops, and now it's down to one."

"I feel safer with them here because there are reckless drivers out there," he said. "There are children, blind and elderly people crossing here every day."

"They should do it everywhere. If a driver knows it is going to cost them, they won't do it [fail to yield,]" said Albert Telaku, 32, who works in real estate. "A car is a weapon. A life is a precious thing."


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Van has blood, DNA of slain slumlord

Blood and DNA from slain Brooklyn slumlord Menachem Stark were discovered inside the van that cops believe was used to abduct him off a Brooklyn street, a source said Tuesday.

The DNA and other unspecified evidence found inside the Dodge Caravan shows that Stark was there, according to the law-enforcement source.

The van was sitting on a Brownsville street one week after Stark was seen on surveillance video being forced into the vehicle outside his Williamsburg real-estate office on Jan 2.

His burning body was found in a Long Island dumpster the next day.

Stark owed more than $60 million to a string of creditors, including $2 million to loan sharks and business associates in the city.

People living in Stark's shoddy buildings complained of vermin, leaky ceilings and broken heaters.

Police are eyeing a former contractor to whom Stark owed money as a possible suspect.


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Why ScarJo’s sexy ad was banned from the Super Bowl

Written By kom nampuldu on Selasa, 28 Januari 2014 | 20.49

A commercial featuring Hollywood starlet Scarlett Johansson won't be making an appearance at the Super Bowl.

The ad for drink company SodaStream was rejected long before the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks take to the field next week.

The commercial was given the flick not because it features Johansson, or even because SodaStream is a rival to key sponsors.

It was rejected because Johansson's takes aim at those sponsors with her final words in the 30-second ad: "Sorry, Coke and Pepsi".

This article originally appeared on News.com.au.


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Lynch faces $100K fine if he’s mute for Media Day

One of the subplots to Super Bowl Media Day on Tuesday is whether notoriously media-shy Marshawn Lynch will even be there — and how much he would be fined if he does not show up.

The Seahawks star running back is not among the five prominent Seattle players scheduled to get a Media Day podium from the NFL at Newark's Prudential Center — the rest of the players will be available in another area of the arena — leading to speculation Lynch might skip the high-profile event altogether and pay the resulting fine from the league.

NFL officials indicated Monday night they have been assured by the Seahawks Lynch will attend Media Day and speak with the more than 5,000 reporters and photographers in attendance while roughly 7,000 fans — who paid $28 a ticket — listen in from the stands.

"He will be there and will do media, yes," NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy wrote in an email to The Post.

Lynch was fined $50,000 by the league this month for violating the NFL's written media policy by refusing to speak to reporters all season. The league put the fine on hold pending an appeal, but with the stipulation it would increase to $100,000 with Lynch's next violation.

Lynch has spoken only rarely since the fine, and just briefly. He blared rap music at his locker during media availability in Seattle last week and refused to turn down the volume when asked by team officials. He also wore a Jason mask from "Friday the 13th" in case reporters didn't get the hint.

The league does not take kindly to players missing any media availability during its signature event. The Giants' Osi Umenyiora was fined $20,000 by the league at the Super Bowl in 2012 for missing a Wednesday media session, which he attributed to misunderstanding the schedule.


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Egypt’s ex-president Morsi in rage-filled rant during trial

CAIRO  – Egypt's toppled President Mohammed Morsi appeared at a new trial Tuesday wearing a white prison uniform in soundproof glass-encased metal cage, pacing and shouting angrily at the judge in apparent disbelief: "Who are you? Tell me!"

In a half hour of recorded footage aired on state television, Morsi protested being in a cage for his trial on charges related to prison breaks in 2011, yelling: "Do you know where I am?"

The trial coincides with the third anniversary of one of the most violent days of Egypt's revolution that year that broke the country's police force and caused it to abandon patrolling the country's streets. Morsi supporters, meanwhile, clashed with police Tuesday in central Cairo as gunmen killed an aide to the country's interior minister.

The former president, ousted in a popularly backed July 3 coup, also declared to the judges that he remains Egypt's legitimate leader during an unaired portion of the hearing, a state television reporter inside the courtroom said. In aired footage, defendants chanted that their trial was "invalid." Earlier, the defendants turned their back to the court to protest their prosecution, the state television journalist said.

Morsi raised his hands in the air and angrily questioned why he was in the court. Judge Shabaan el-Shami responded: "I am the head of Egypt's criminal court!"

Morsi paced in a metal cell separated from other defendants. Earlier, a promised live feed was cut, something a senior state television official told local media that security forces demanded.

This is the second time Morsi has appeared in court since the coup. At his first appearance in November, Morsi wore a trim, dark suit and appeared far less agitated, though he interrupted the judge and gave long speeches.

Authorities apparently resorted to the glass-encased cage to muffle the defendants' outbursts, which have disrupted the previous hearing. The judge controls the microphone to the cage.

Morsi already faces three other trials on various charges, some of them carrying the death penalty.

Tuesday's case is rooted in the 2011 escape of more than 20,000 inmates from Egyptian prisons – including Morsi and other Muslim Brotherhood members, during the early days of the 18-day uprising against ousted President Hosni Mubarak. Morsi and the other Brotherhood leaders were detained three years ago Monday as Mubarak's security tried to undercut the planned protests.

At the time, authorities also cut off Internet access and mobile phones networks for four days, crippling communication between protesters and the outside world.

In court Tuesday, 19 other defendants appeared with Morsi. Another 110 defendants, including members of the Palestinian militant group Hamas and Lebanon's Hezbollah, are being tried in absentia.

Authorities have said the jailbreaks were part of an organized effort to destabilize the country. Rights groups have called for an independent investigation into the chaotic events, saying they hold the police responsible for the pandemonium. A Brotherhood lawyer has said the trial appears aimed at "denigrating" Morsi and the Brotherhood.

The hearing is at a police academy complex in eastern Cairo, where a heavy security presence stood guard Tuesday.

Tuesday marked the third anniversary of "Friday of Rage," one of the most violent days of the 2011 uprising when protesters and police clashed for hours before police withdrew from the streets and the military deployed. Morsi supporters clashed Tuesday with police forces in central Cairo, miles from the courtroom, with police lobbing tear gas to disperse the crowd that had burned tires in a main busy street.

Meanwhile, the interior ministry said two gunmen on a motorcycle shot and killed a senior police officer as he left his home in the Haram district of Giza, a Cairo neighborhood. Maj. Gen. Mohammed El-Said was the head of the technical office in the interior ministry, which is in charge of police.

Also Tuesday, MENA reported that gunmen blew up a natural gas pipeline Monday night in the volatile Sinai Peninsula south of el-Arish, the capital of the North Sinai governorate. It said firefighters rushed to the scene to extinguish a fire there.

Gas pipelines have come under attacks several times since Mubarak's downfall, which led to a fracturing of Egypt's security agencies. Suicide bombings also have spiked and spilled into the capital, Cairo, and other cities. An al Qaeda-inspired group called Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, or Champions of Jerusalem, has claimed responsibility for most of those attacks.


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Boss ties year-end bonuses to workers’ ability to out-drink him

One boss has surprised his employees by handing out bonuses based on who could drink him under the table.

An employee surnamed Zhang from Jinhua, Zhejiang Province, China, said that his boss placed a pile of money on the table saying that people would get their bonuses based on how much they drank.

"Men were given 500 yuan ($82) for a shot of liquor, 200 yuan ($33) for a glass of red wine and 100 yuan for a beer. Women were given twice as much money for consuming the same amounts," Zhang told the Global Times.

"We worked hard all year only to learn our bonuses would be decided by our alcohol tolerance. It was absolutely unfair to people who can't drink much."

The boss said that the company's business success was rooted in employees being able to hold their liquor with clients.

Many employees became drunk. Mr Zhang said those with high alcohol tolerance could pocket over 10,000 yuan ($16,000, while others had to settle for 1000 yuan ($160).

"I couldn't get a bonus if I didn't drink, but it is bad for one's health to drink too much. Everyone ended up drinking and some people vomited," said Mr Zhang, who described the unusual bonus system as "unreasonable and inhumane."

Legal experts said there are no laws related to the distribution of year-end bonuses, which is determined at the discretion of employers.

This article originally appeared on News.com.au.


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Google Glass to come with frame, prescription options

Google Glass is getting glasses.

Google is adding prescription frames and new styles of detachable sunglasses to its computerized, Internet-connected goggles known as Glass.

The move comes as Google Inc. prepares to make Glass available to the general population later this year. Currently, Glass is available only to the tens of thousands of people who are testing and creating apps for it.

Glass hasn't actually had glasses in its frame until now.

Glass is basically a small computer, with a camera and a display screen above the wearer's right eye. The device sits roughly at eyebrow level, higher than where eyeglasses would go.

It lets wearers surf the Web, ask for directions and take photos or videos. Akin to wearing a smartphone without having to hold it in your hands, Glass also lets people read their email, share photos on Twitter and Facebook, translate phrases while traveling or partake in video chats. Glass follows some basic voice commands, spoken after the worlds "OK, Glass."

The gadget itself is not changing with this announcement. Rather, Google plans to make various attachments available. Starting Tuesday, the Mountain View, Calif., company is offering four styles of prescription frames and two new types of shades available to its "explorers" — the people who are trying out Glass. The frames will cost $225 and the shades, $150. That's on top of the $1,500 price of Glass.

The new Google Glass "Classic" sunglasses frame.Photo: AP

Users can take the frames to any vision care provider for prescription lenses, though Google says it is working with insurance provider Vision Service Plan to train eye-care providers around the U.S. on how to work with Glass. Google says some insurance plans may cover the cost of the frames.

Isabelle Olsson, the lead designer for Google Glass, says the new frames open the spectacles up to a larger audience.

She demonstrated the new frames to The Associated Press last week at the Google Glass Basecamp, an airy loft on the eighth floor of New York City's Chelsea Market. It's one of the places where Glass users go to pick up their wares and learn how to use them. Walking in, visitors are greeted, of course, by a receptionist wearing Google Glass.

"We want as many people as possible to wear it," she said.

To that end, Glass's designers picked four basic but distinct frame styles. On one end is a chunky "bold" style that stands out. On the other is a "thin" design — to blend in as much as possible.

Olsson said Google won't be able to compete with the thousands of styles offered at typical eyeglasses stores. Instead, Glass's designers looked at what types of glasses are most popular, what people wear the most and, importantly, what they look good in.

The latter has been a constant challenge for the nascent wearable technology industry, especially for something like Google Glass, designed to be worn on your face. When Google unveiled Glass in a video nearly two years ago, it drew unfavorable comparisons to Bluetooth headsets, the trademarks of the fashion-ignorant technophile.

In designing Google Glass, Olsson and her team focused on three design principles with the goal of creating something that people want to wear. These were lightness, simplicity and scalability. That last one means having different options available for different people — just as there are different styles of headphones, from in-ear buds to huge aviator-style monstrosities.

Google Glass currently comes in five colors — "charcoal," a lighter shade of gray called "shale," white, tangerine and bright blue "sky." The frame attachments out Tuesday are all titanium. Users can mix and match.

"People need to be able to choose," Olsson said. "These products need to be lifestyle products."


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Gorilla raised by humans thriving in new zoo home

CINCINNATI — A baby gorilla initially raised by humans acting as surrogate parents is thriving in the company of other gorillas as she reaches her first birthday, officials at the Cincinnati Zoo say.

Gladys and her new family of Western lowland gorillas enjoyed a treat that included fruits, rice and sweet potato ahead of her birthday Wednesday, The Cincinnati Enquirer (http://cin.ci/1fpRqkk ) reported.

The gorilla was born at the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Texas, and her mother rejected her. She was moved last February to Cincinnati. Caregivers there dressed in furry vests and kneepads to act as surrogate mothers until an older female gorilla took over that role in June.

"She's thriving. She's happy," said Ashley O'Connell, the senior primate keeper and one of the surrogates. "It's what we envisioned, and it has happened."

Gladys socializes with three other female gorillas, and keepers hope to eventually put her in a gorilla group that includes a male and several females.

Zoos have learned over the years the importance of keeping newborn gorillas close to their mothers, but if they have to be removed because of illness or rejection, they try to help them make a transition to being with their own kind.

The human surrogates walked on their knuckles and made gorilla-like grunting sounds to help teach Gladys behavior to blend in. Other gorillas were able to see, hear and smell Gladys, who in June was joined by a 31-year-old female gorilla named M'Linzi.

The Cincinnati keepers drew from experiences of the Columbus Zoo in surrogacy projects. Ron Evans, the Cincinnati Zoo's curator of primates, said they knew it was important to minimize the amount of time before getting Gladys together with other gorillas.

"No matter how well you think you can imitate an ape, you cannot duplicate what they learn from being with (others)," Evans said.

The success with Gladys is expected to help other zoos. The zoo has made 29 videos of Gladys' development for its YouTube channel. A compilation video will be shared, said Dusty Lombardi, an animal care specialist in Columbus.

"We watched those. They were terrific," said Roseann Giambro, primate keeper at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, where keepers hand-raised a baby gorilla for four months last year because of the mother's breast inflammation.


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Denver County adds cannabis contests to 2014 summer fair

DENVER — Pot at the county fair? Why not?

Colorado's Denver County is adding cannabis-themed contests to its 2014 summer fair. It's the first time pot plants will stand alongside tomato plants and homemade jam in competition for a blue ribbon.

There won't actually be any marijuana at the fairgrounds. The judging will be done off-site, with photos showing the winning entries. And a live joint-rolling contest will be done with oregano, not pot.

But county fair organizers say the marijuana categories will add a fun twist on Denver's already-quirky county fair, which includes a drag queen pageant and a contest for dioramas made with Peeps candies.

"We thought it was time for us to take that leap and represent one of the things Denver has going on," said Tracy Weil, the fair's marketing and creative director.

The nine marijuana categories include live plants and clones, plus contests for marijuana-infused brownies and savory foods. Homemade bongs, homemade roach clips and clothing and fabric made with hemp round out the categories.

Judges will look only at plant quality, not the potency or quality of the drugs they produce. Other contests — patterned after Amsterdam's famed Cannabis Cup — already gauge drug quality and flavor.

Top prize is $20, plus of course a blue ribbon. The fair already has a green ribbon — awarded for using environmentally conscious methods.

The entries will be shown in a "Pot Pavilion" open only to people over 21. Alongside the pot entrants will be 24 categories of homemade beer, four categories for homemade wine and one category for "spirits and liqueurs."

Prizes will also be given for speedy joint-rolling, though fair organizers insist there won't be any marijuana consumption on-site. Competitors in the live Doritos-eating contest will have to acquire their munchies elsewhere.

Even the photographs of the winning plants will be viewable only by adults 21. Organizers don't want 4-H competitors in the popular rabbit and goat contests wandering by a pot display.

"We have a lot of families and kids at the fair, of course, and we wanted to be respectful of that," Weil said.

Denver's fair is far from traditional, though. Denver County didn't have a county fair until 2011. Organizers wanted an urban, hip element alongside traditional fair favorites like a Ferris wheel and cotton candy.

There's a speed text-messaging contest, and the highlight staple of a Western fair, a rodeo, has been replaced with a bicycle rodeo and a troupe of performing pigs. About 20,000 people attended last year.

The marijuana contests aren't likely to spread to other fairs in Colorado. Officials in Routt County, in western Colorado, voted last year to expressly ban marijuana from its county fair.

And Colorado State Fair organizers have expressed no interest in marijuana competition.

California holds an Emerald Cup at the fairgrounds in Sonoma County, Calif., where guests with medical clearance are able to sample the drug. That contest is held at the fairgrounds but isn't a part of the county fair.


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Ukraine has no plans to declare state of emergency

KIEV — Ukraine's government has no immediate plans to declare a state of emergency, its foreign minister said Monday, despite persistent fears that authorities were preparing to end a series of spreading protests by force.

"Today, such a measure is not on the table," Foreign Minister Leonid Kozhara told journalists.

Earlier, Justice Minister Elena Lukash said she would ask for a state of emergency to be declared if protesters did not leave the ministry building they seized overnight.

Protesters, who have demonstrated largely peacefully since November, left the building in Kiev in the afternoon, but continued to picket outside.After Yanukovych approved the new anti-protest laws, demonstrations spread into other parts of the country, including to some cities in the Russian-speaking east, the base of Yanukovych's support.

Although the building's seizure ended, it underlined protesters' growing inclination to take radical action after two months of largely peaceful demonstrations.

Long-brewing anger boiled over into violence a week ago when protesters launched into clashes with police, infuriated by harsh new anti-protest laws hurriedly pushed through by President Viktor Yanukovych.

Three protesters died in the clashes last week, two of whom were shot by hunting rifles, which police insist they do not use. With protesters now willing to risk injury, a state of emergency would be likely to set off substantial fighting on the streets of the capital.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said in a statement that she was alarmed by reports about the government considering a state of emergency and warned that such a move "would trigger a further downward spiral for Ukraine which would benefit no one."

Ashton, who is set to travel to Ukraine on Tuesday, called for a dialogue and urged the opposition leaders to dissociate themselves from those who resort to violence.

The protesters still occupy three sizable buildings in downtown Kiev, including City Hall. One of the buildings was seized in a spectacular assault early Sunday, when hundreds of protesters threw rocks and firebombs into the building where about 200 police were sheltering. The crowd eventually formed a corridor through which the police left.

Lukash, in a televised statement, noted that protesters seized the building as justice employees were working on measures to grant amnesty to protesters and to make changes in the constitution to restore more power to the prime minister.

Yanukovych on Saturday offered the prime minister's post to Arseniy Yatsenyuk, one of the opposition's most prominent leaders. Yatsenyuk, while not flatly rejecting the offer, said protests would continue and that a special session of parliament called for Tuesday would be "judgment day."

It's not clear if constitutional changes will be on the agenda for that session, but granting more power to the prime minister could both sweeten the offer and allow Yanukovych to portray himself as offering genuine compromise.

The fears of a state of emergency come after other official statements suggesting the government is considering forceful moves against the protesters.

Interior Minister Vitali Zakharchenko, an official deeply despised by the protesters, on Saturday warned that demonstrators occupying buildings would be considered extremists and that force would be used against them if necessary. He also claimed demonstrators had seized two policemen and tortured them before letting them go, which the opposition denied.

The protests began in late November when Yanukovych shelved a long-awaited agreement to deepen ties with the 28-nation European Union and sought a bailout loan from Russia. The demonstrations grew in size and intensity after police violently dispersed two gatherings. Demonstrators then set up a large tent camp on Kiev's main square.


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Cokehead Florida congressman resigns

MIAMI — After going through rehab for cocaine and alcohol abuse and pledging that he'd work through his problems to regain his Florida constituents' trust, Trey Radel's short career in Congress ended with a whimper Monday.

Facing a House ethics investigation, a growing group of primary challengers and the steady drumbeat of a Republican establishment calling for him to step down, the 37-year-old, who pleaded guilty to cocaine-possession charges last year, quietly tendered his resignation letter.

"Regardless of some personal struggles in 2013, this year has already been tremendously positive as I focus on my health, family and faith," he wrote to House Speaker John Boehner. "Unfortunately, some of my struggles had serious consequences."

On Nov. 20, the freshman Republican pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of cocaine possession and was sentenced to a year of probation. He admitted to purchasing 3.5 grams of cocaine from an undercover officer Oct. 29 in Washington.

"While I have dealt with those issues on a personal level, it is my belief that professionally I cannot fully and effectively serve as a United States Representative to the place I love and call home, southwest Florida," Radel wrote in the letter.

Politico first reported the resignation Monday morning.

Several GOP leaders, including Gov. Rick Scott, had asked him to resign. But Radel had pledged to stay in office after taking a leave of absence and completing a monthlong in-patient treatment program for drug and alcohol abuse. In a defiant prime-time news conference last month, he defended his legislative record and pledged to redouble his congressional efforts "with a clearer focus and a stronger mind."

After returning to Congress this month, he apologized to Republican colleagues and assured them in a closed-door meeting that he was in a good place and had found a support group, according to House aides who spoke on condition of anonymity at the time because they weren't authorized to discuss the private meeting.

Political pressure, however, was building.

The House Ethics Committee announced last month that it was launching a formal investigation of the congressman, and at least one of his former rivals, former state Rep. Paige Kreegel, had vowed to challenge him in a GOP primary. On Monday, Scott lauded Radel's decision.

"I think he did the right thing for his family. He did the right thing for the state," Scott told reporters in Miami. "I'm glad he's getting taken care of" by undergoing treatment.

Meanwhile, the outlines of a crowded campaign to replace Radel in Florida's solidly Republican 19th District began to take shape. Scott will set a date for a special election to fill Radel's seat.

Lizbeth Benacquisto, the GOP majority leader of the state Senate, said she was weighing a congressional bid while former Rep. Connie Mack IV, who represented the area for eight years before a failed run for Senate, hinted at a potential run.

Kreegel, who announced his campaign earlier this month, said Radel's resignation gives constituents the chance to move on.

"Southwest Florida should expect a congressman who can lead, a congressman without distractions, and a congressman they can trust," he said in a statement.

Radel had been in office for 10 months when charged. His deeply conservative district includes the Gulf Coast cities of Fort Myers and Naples.

The drug arrest derailed a seemingly promising career.

After a stint as a TV news anchor, he started a media-relations firm and hosted an early-morning conservative talk-radio show in southwest Florida. He married another news anchor, and they had a baby.

When he decided to run for Congress, he became involved in a bruising, six-way GOP primary, openly targeting opponents on the Internet and facing criticism for his firm's ownership of explicitly named websites. But he was backed by the local tea party movement and clinched the GOP nomination. Supported by Republican luminaries, including Mack and Sen. Marco Rubio, he cruised to victory in November.

Things seemed to be going well for Radel. His wife was featured in a glowing local news segment about how the couple was adjusting to life in D.C. He sponsored a handful of bills and was interviewed by several inside-the-Beltway publications. He was active on Twitter and championed cuts in sheep-farm subsidies, keeping good on his conservative promise.

Then, on Oct. 29, Radel attempted to buy $250 worth of cocaine from an undercover police officer in a Washington neighborhood.

According to court documents, federal agents confronted the congressman and he invited them to his apartment, where he turned over a vial of the drug. A DEA official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release details of the case in his own name said Radel was identified to authorities as a cocaine buyer by his suspected dealer.

For the next three weeks, Radel didn't skip a beat. He held a re-election fundraiser at a Naples country club and continued to cast votes. He did not tell House leaders about the bust until Nov. 19, when reporters broke the news about the case.

When his arrest became public, Radel said during a news conference that he had struggled with drug and alcohol abuse "off and on for years."

While court documents said the lawmaker purchased cocaine on several occasions before the October incident, he maintained that he had used the drug only "a handful of times." His treatment, he said, was focused on alcoholism.

On Monday, Radel thanked Boehner and his colleagues for their support and said he is leaving Congress "with friendships and memories."

"As an eternal optimist, I know there are great things in store for our country when we find ways to work together," he wrote. "Whether it is as a father, a husband, or in any future endeavor, I hope to contribute what I can to better our country in the years to come."


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Commuters urged to e-mail, tweet issues to Metro-North

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — A train-commuter leader has launched an online effort, including social media, to air complaints directly to Metro-North Railroad and elected officials, saying commuters are fed up after recent derailments, service outages and stranded passengers.

Jim Cameron says the Commuter Action Group is encouraging commuters to immediately report problems such as late trains and lack of heat directly to the railroad and copy the complaint via e-mail to their elected official.

Complaints also are being tweeted to Metro-North.

The campaign comes after a train derailment at the Spuyten Duyvil station in The Bronx in December that killed four passengers and a derailment in May in Bridgeport that injured 73 passengers.

Passengers were stranded twice last week by a power outage and downed wires.

A railroad spokeswoman declined to comment.


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Traffic agent charged with theft of rented car

Written By kom nampuldu on Senin, 27 Januari 2014 | 20.50

An NYPD traffic-enforcement agent was arrested when cops found her driving a rental car that was reported stolen after she refused to give the ride back to the dealer, authorities said.

Police officers spotted Delores Brown, 37, driving the stolen 2013 Ford Fusion at Alice Court and Atlantic Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant at around 2 a.m. Sunday.

Brown rented the ride in Brooklyn weeks earlier, cops said.

The traffic agent proceeded to cruise around town in the brand-new sedan before the rental company reported the car stolen, cops said.

Brown was charged with grand larceny auto, criminal possession of stolen property and unauthorized use of a vehicle, cops said.


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Twice as many arthritic elderly women than men in NYC

Nearly half of the city's elderly women — 47 percent — are afflicted with osteoarthritis of the hips or knees, a new Health Department survey reveals.

Women aged 65 and over were twice as likely as their elderly male counterparts to suffer from arthritic conditions of the knee or hips, according to the city study. About one in four males over 65 have arthritis.

About one in six of all adult New Yorkers suffer from arthritis, a condition that worsens with age.

Even among younger adults, there was a gender disparity — 19 percent of all women had an arthritic diagnosis compared to 11 percent of men.


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‘Ride Along’ wins second straight box office week with $21.2M

"Ride Along," a buddy-cop comedy starring Kevin Hart and Ice Cube, raced to the top of the weekend box-office charts for the second week in a row, collecting $21.2 million in ticket sales.

The Afghanistan war tale "Lone Survivor" took the No. 2 spot, with $12.6 million, while animated film "The Nut Job" was third, with $12.3 million in sales.

"I, Frankenstein," the only major new release, opened in sixth place, with sales of $8.3 million.


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Man leaps to death from NYU dorm roof

A 20-year-old man jumped to his death from the roof of a New York University dormitory in the East Village, authorities said.

The unidentified man plummeted 15 stories from the Third North Residence Hall at 75 Third Avenue near East 11th Street about 3:20 a.m., cops said.

He was rushed to Bellevue Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

NYU officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

It was at least the fourth suicide at NYU in a little over a decade.

Two students jumped to their deaths in 2003 and another died in 2009, prompting school officials to take precautionary measures such as installing aluminum barriers in the university's main library to prevent people from jumping from the top floors into the atrium.


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Kim Jong Un ordered execution of uncle’s entire family

Murderous North Korean nutjob Kim Jong Un ordered the executions of the entire family of the uncle he earlier had killed, including women, kids and the country's ambassadors to Cuba and Malaysia, according to a new report.

Jang Song Thaek, the once-powerful uncle, was executed last month on charges of attempting to overthrow the communist regime through a military-backed coup.

All direct relatives of Jang have now also been executed, sources told Korea's Yonhap News Agency.

"Extensive executions have been carried out for relatives of Jang Song Thaek," one source said. "All relatives of Jang have been put to death, including even children."

The dead include Jang's sister Jang Kye Sun, her husband and Ambassador to Cuba Jon Yong Jin, and Ambassador to Malaysia Jang Yong Chol, a nephew of Jang, along with his two sons, the sources said.

All were recalled to Pyongyang in early December and executed, they said. The sons, daughters and even grandchildren of Jang's two brothers were also killed, the agency said.

"Some relatives were shot to death by pistol in front of other people if they resisted while being dragged out of their apartment homes," another source said.

Some relatives by marriage, including the wife of the ambassador to Malaysia, have been spared from executions and exiled to remote villages, according to the sources.

"The executions of Jang's relatives mean that no traces of him should be left," a source said. "The purge of the Jang Song Thaek people is under way on an extensive scale from relatives and low-level officials."


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