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Last French combat troops leave Afghanistan, official says

December 19, 2012 by legitgov

Last French combat troops leave Afghanistan, official says 15 Dec 2012 France flew its last combat troops out of Afghanistan on Saturday, two years before allied nations in the 100,000-strong NATO mission led by the United States are due to recall their fighting forces. Around 200 soldiers of the 25th Belfort infantry regiment, responsible for overseeing the hastened French exit from the 11-year war, took off around 2:30 p.m. local time (1000 GMT), an airport official told AFP.

Bin Laden film leak was referred to Justice; leaker top Obama official

December 19, 2012 by legitgov

Bin Laden film leak was referred to Justice; leaker top Obama official 17 Dec 2012 Pentagon investigators concluded that a senior Defense Department official who's been mentioned as a possible candidate to be the next CIA director leaked restricted information to the makers of an acclaimed film about the hunt for 'Osama bin Laden,' and referred the case to the Justice Department, according to knowledgeable U.S. officials. The Justice Department received the case involving Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Michael Vickers in September, but so far it's declined to launch a criminal prosecution, said two senior U.S. officials who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

Orange County Commissioners Approve Paying for Armed Deputies at Elementary Schools

December 19, 2012 by legitgov

Orange County Commissioners Approve Paying for Armed Deputies at Elementary Schools --The estimated cost of the move is $2 million-$3 million for the rest of the school year 18 Dec 2012 Orange County commissioners in Florida have approved paying for armed deputies to be at elementary schools following last week's mass shooting at a Connecticut school. Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to pay for the deputies to be at the 60 elementary schools in unincorporated Orange County. The county is home to Orlando. Orange County middle and high schools already have school resource officers on campus.

Car backfires; 2 Texas schools put on lockdown

December 19, 2012 by legitgov

Car backfires; 2 Texas schools put on lockdown 18 Dec 2012 The Birdville Elementary School in Haltom City and nearby Shannon Learning Center were both on lockdown for about an hour Tuesday morning. Police said they initially received a report of a gun or gunfire near the school. A student had allegedly reported seeing a teenager fire a gun in the air. School administrators quickly confirmed that no shots were fired in the school and no one was injured. It was as police continued their investigation, after the lockdown was cancelled, that a parent came forward and told police he may have caused the loud bang that was thought to be gunfire.

Man Charged With Firing Shots Outside Calif Mall

December 19, 2012 by legitgov

Man Charged With Firing Shots Outside Calif Mall 19 Dec 2012 A man charged with firing 54 shots outside a Southern California mall has been linked to a similar shooting at the same mall in 2011. Marcos Sarinana Gurrola was charged Tuesday with 54 counts of discharging a gun in public and two counts of assault for injuries suffered by a mother and her 4-year-old daughter who were knocked down as they fled Saturday's gunfire, which hit no one. Prosecutors say police have linked the 42-year-old unemployed security guard to a similar shooting in 2011 at the Fashion Island mall in Newport Beach.

Police find no evidence Connecticut gunman was on medication

December 18, 2012 by legitgov

Police find no evidence Connecticut gunman was on medication 18 Dec 2012 Authorities said they found no evidence the [alleged] gunman who killed 26 people in Newtown, Connecticut, was being medicated for mental illness. Investigators searching the Connecticut home gunman Adam Lanza shared with his mother, Nancy Lanza, seized cell phones, computers and computer games, but found nothing at the residence to indicate he was taking medication, Hearst Connecticut Newspapers reported. Authorities armed with search warrants are still working to obtain the 20-year-old man's medical records, according to the report. Lanza's parents told friends and divorce mediators that their son had Asperger's syndrome, but it was unclear if he had ever been formally diagnosed.

Should people who spread falsehoods about Newtown shooting be prosecuted?

December 18, 2012 by legitgov

Should people who spread falsehoods about Newtown shooting be prosecuted? 17 Dec 2012 At a news conference Sunday, Connecticut State Police warned about misinformation [?!] about the school shooting in Newtown being spread over social media and said those spreading falsehoods could be prosecuted under the law. "One thing that is becoming somewhat of a concern is misinformation that is being posted on social media sites," said Lt. Paul Vance at a news conference. In the hours after news of the Newtown shooting broke, many details of the crime, its alleged perpetrator and its victims were spread around social media and have since been proven wrong.

KBR case keeps percolating with charges of gag order violations

December 18, 2012 by legitgov

KBR case keeps percolating with charges of gag order violations 17 Dec 2012 Though a Portland jury last month awarded 12 Oregon National Guard veterans $85 million because it found that defense contractor KBR Inc. was negligent in exposing them to a hazardous chemical, the case continues to simmer in federal court in Portland. On Friday, KBR's lawyers charged that the soldiers' lawyers had violated the gag order imposed by Magistrate Judge Paul Papak, who has instructed lawyers not to discuss the case. They produced an email flyer touting a DVD by a jury consultant to the soldiers' law firm, Doyle Raizner of Houston.

Hagel Said to Top Obama's List to Take Over at Pentagon

December 18, 2012 by legitgov

Hagel Said to Top Obama's List to Take Over at Pentagon 13 Dec 2012 Former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel has emerged as the leading candidate to become President Barack Obama's next secretary of defense and may be nominated as soon as this month, according to two people familiar with the matter. Hagel, who served as an enlisted Army infantryman in Vietnam, has passed the vetting process at the White House Counsel's office, said one of the people. The former Nebraska senator has told associates that he is awaiting final word from the president, said the other person.

Echidna Puggles Born at Perth Zoo Reportedly Mark Breeding Milestone

December 18, 2012 by legitgov

Echidna Puggles Born at Perth Zoo Reportedly Mark Breeding Milestone 17 Dec 2012 If you need a pick-me-up this week, these delightful echidna puggles may be able to lend a chubby hand. According to Australia's Herald Sun, a pair of baby short-beaked echidnas were born at Perth Zoo this August... While short-beaked echidnas are not considered to be endangered (though they are protected under Australian law), their long-beaked cousins are. As conservation group EDGE notes, the "three species of long-beaked echidna...are classified as Critically Endangered -- one category away from "Extinct" -- by the IUCN.

LAPD Chief Wants to Start Program Where Officers Visit Schools at Least Once Per Day

December 18, 2012 by legitgov

The overfunded US police state kicks into high gear: LAPD Chief Wants to Start Program Where Officers Visit Schools at Least Once Per Day --Chief also hopes to extend program to private schools 17 Dec 2012 Speaking at a graduating class of nearly 500 police cadets, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck reflected on the shooting massacre in Connecticut. He told CBS2 and KCAL9 that he wanted to implement a new program where officers would check in to elementary and junior high schools at least once a day. The announcement of the program was unexpected. Beck told Finnstrom he was hoping to implement the program by the time students returned from Winter break.

US Democratic Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii dead at 88

December 18, 2012 by legitgov

US Democratic Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii dead at 88 17 Dec 2012 U.S. Democratic Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, a decorated veteran of World War Two and one of the longest-serving members of Congress, died on Monday at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. He was 88. Inouye, who was chairman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, died of complications from a respiratory illness, according to a statement issued by his office, which said "Aloha" was the last word he spoke. Inouye's death was announced on the Senate floor by Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, who hailed him as one of the "greats of this body."

Tulsa police officers instructed to park outside schools anytime they have downtime

December 17, 2012 by legitgov

Tulsa police officers instructed to park outside schools anytime they have downtime --Newtown massacre sparks school security alerts nationwide 17 Dec 2012 Schools around the nation are heightening security and reviewing safety protocols following Friday's shooting massacre in which 20 children and six adults were gunned down inside a Connecticut elementary school. Grim echoes of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy in Newtown, Conn., reverberated Monday through jittery school districts from Green Bay, Wis., to Huntsville, Ala., where frayed nerves and anxious hand-wringing were more the norm than an exception. In Tulsa, Okla., police officers were instructed to park outside schools anytime they have downtime in their vehicles, according to NewsOn6.com.

ATF Says Conn. Gunman Not at Ranges Recently - AP

December 17, 2012 by legitgov

ATF Says Conn. Gunman Not at Ranges Recently - AP 17 Dec 2012 Federal agents say the gunman in the Connecticut school shooting fired guns at shooting ranges over the past several years, but there's no evidence he did so recently as practice for the rampage. Debora Seifert, a spokeswoman for Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, says Adam Lanza and his mother each fired at shooting ranges. They also visited ranges together. But Seifert tells the AP that ATF investigators have no indication now "that the shooter engaged in shooting activities in the past six months."

Shots fired at San Antonio theater, two wounded

December 17, 2012 by legitgov

Shots fired at San Antonio theater, two wounded 17 Dec 2012 Gunfire broke out at a San Antonio movie theater late Sunday, leaving two people wounded and sending panicked moviegoers rushing for the exits and ducking for cover, according to CBS San Antonio affiliate KENS, which cites police and witnesses. Witnesses tell kens numerous shots were fired inside and outside the Santikos Mayan Palace 14 theater complex around 9:25 p.m., setting off the scramble to safety before police and EMS arrived. The complex was evacuated and sealed off for several hours. Bexar Xounty Sheriff's spokesman Louis Antu says the incident started when the man fired shots inside a nearby restaurant "and carried on into the theater." It's not clear what led to the shooting.

After Sandy Hook: Seeking the Definitive Cause and Solution for Rage Massacres

December 17, 2012 by legitgov

After Sandy Hook: Seeking the Definitive Cause and Solution for Rage Massacres by Michael Rectenwald 18 Dec 2012 Our political leaders regularly tell us that violence never solves anything. Yet, we live under a government that, in service to the ruling elite, resorts to violence to pursue its imperialist agenda, on a daily basis.

Mine blast kills 10 girls in eastern Afghanistan

December 17, 2012 by legitgov

Mine blast kills 10 girls in eastern Afghanistan 17 Dec 2012 At least ten girls have been killed in a landmine explosion as they were collecting firewood in eastern Afghanistan's Nangarhar province. According to Chaparhar district governor Mohammad Sediq Dawlatzai, the blast took place on Monday when one of the girls, all aged between nine and 11, accidentally struck the mine with an axe. "An old mine left over from the time of the jihad (against Soviet troops in the 1980s) exploded, killing 10 girls and wounding two others," he said.

Huge explosion hits area near NATO base in Kabul

December 17, 2012 by legitgov

Huge explosion hits area near NATO base in Kabul 17 Dec 2012 A large explosion has struck an area near a NATO base in the Afghan capital city of Kabul in the latest attack on foreign forces in the Asian country.

Man Fires Some 50 Shots at Calif. Mall Parking Lot

December 17, 2012 by legitgov

Man Fires Some 50 Shots at Calif. Mall Parking Lot 17 Dec 2012 A man who fired about 50 shots in the parking lot of a crowded Southern California shopping mall, sending shoppers sprinting for safety, was cooperative when officers took him into custody, authorities said Sunday. Witnesses said people ran, screaming and ducking for cover, when 42-year-old Marcos Gurrola fired into the air and onto the ground Saturday afternoon near the Macy's department store at the open-air Fashion Island mall in Newport Beach. He paused to reload several times, police said.

Israeli soldiers assault two Reuters cameramen

December 17, 2012 by legitgov

Israeli soldiers assault two Reuters cameramen 13 Dec 2012 Israeli soldiers punched two Reuters cameramen and forced them to strip in the street, before letting off a tear gas canister in front of them, leaving one of them needing hospital treatment. Israel's military said on Thursday it took the allegations seriously, but offered no explanation for the assault that occurred on Wednesday evening in the heart of Hebron. Their car was clearly marked 'TV' and they were both wearing blue flak jackets with 'Press' emblazoned on the front.

Obama to visit grief-stricken Newtown as pressure grows to take action on gun controls

December 16, 2012 by legitgov

Obama to visit grief-stricken Newtown as pressure grows to take action on gun controls --Democrat[ic] lawmakers have shied away from discussing gun control in recent years, fearful of incurring the wrath of the National Rifle Association (NRA) 16 Dec 2012 As President Obama prepared to speak at a vigil in Newtown tonight, back in Washington there were growing calls for him to make good on his promise of "meaningful action" on gun control. Speaking to NBC's 'Meet the Press,' Senator Dianne Feinstein announced she would introduce a bill to ban assault weapons on the opening day of the new Congress next month. The bill, she explained, would ban "the sale, the transfer, the importation and the possession" of assault weapons, as well as magazines that carry more than 10 bullets.

Brazen attack: Taliban blitz Peshawar airport near PAF base

December 16, 2012 by legitgov

Brazen attack: Taliban blitz Peshawar airport near PAF base 16 Dec 2012 Militants launched a brazen assault on one of Peshawar's most tightly guarded installations late Saturday, killing four people, wounding dozens more and forcing the city to go in lockdown. The attack on Bacha Khan International Airport, which is attached to Peshawar Air Force (PAF) base, was marked by a prolonged exchange of gunfire between militants and army troops. The militants allegedly planned to enter the airport with suicide vests and an explosives laden vehicle in two separate groups.

'Polar bears could be extinct in 25 years'

December 16, 2012 by legitgov

'Polar bears could be extinct in 25 years' --Scientists feel that hunting and the trade in body parts are the most serious threat facing the polar bea [in addition to global warming] 09 Dec 2012 For a millennium, the majestic, lily-white polar bear has lorded over the frozen wastes of the Arctic. But if two Russian experts are to be believed, the enigmatic "monarch of the ice" could be extinct in 25 years due to global warming and human incursions into their traditional habitat. "If current policies are not changed, we can lose polar bears, which currently number 20,000-25,000 globally, within one (human) generation," Nikita Ovsyanikov, member of the polar bear specialist group of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), said.

Adam Lanza Shot Victims at Close Range with Semi-Automatic Rifle

December 16, 2012 by legitgov

Adam Lanza Shot Victims at Close Range with Semi-Automatic Rifle 15 Dec 2012 Adam Lanza used a Bushmaster .223 semi-automatic rifle at close range to kill children and adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut on Friday. "I believe everybody was hit more than once," said Dr. H. Wayne Carver, the state of Connecticut's Chief Medical Examiner. He said the bullets were uniquely damaging and that Lanza's victims died almost immediately."The bullets are designed in such a fashion the energy is deposited in the tissue so the bullet stays in," Carver said. He described the wounds as a "very devastating set of injuries." Two handguns were also found at the scene, but Carver described the Bushmaster as the killer's primary weapon. A fourth weapon was found nearby.

Unexpected Shutdown Reported at Pa. Nuclear Plant

December 16, 2012 by legitgov

Unexpected Shutdown Reported at Pa. Nuclear Plant 16 Dec 2012  An energy company says it's trying to figure out why a central Pennsylvania nuclear power plant reactor shut down unexpectedly. PPL Corp. says Unit 2 at the Susquehanna nuclear facility near Berwick shut down early Sunday morning. In a statement, Allentown-based PPL says the shutdown occurred during routine testing of a valve on the unit's main turbine system.

Man with 47 guns arrested after school threat

December 16, 2012 by legitgov

Man with 47 guns arrested after school threat --Police said in statement they notified school officials and boosted security at all area schools Friday 16 Dec 2012 A northern Indiana man who allegedly threatened to "kill as many people as he could" at an elementary school near his home was arrested by officers who later found 47 guns and ammunition hidden throughout his home. Von. I. Meyer, 60, of Cedar Lake, was arrested Saturday after prosecutors filed formal charges of felony intimidation, domestic battery and resisting law enforcement against him. He was being held Sunday without bond at the Lake County Jail, pending an initial hearing on the charges, police said in a statement.

More than a dozen state troopers armed with assault rifles enter Newtown church after threat

December 16, 2012 by legitgov

More than a dozen state troopers armed with assault rifles enter Newtown church after threat --Newtown Church Evacuated After Threat 16 Dec 2012 Police gave the "all clear" at St. Rose of Lima Church in Newtown after it was evacuated during a noon mass on Sunday due to a threat. Someone made a very menacing phone call to the church, according to Brian Wallace, a spokesperson for the diocese. Rev. Luke Suarez was giving the homily around 12:30 p.m. when the church pastor, Monsignor Robert Weiss, interrupted him and told parishioners they had to evacuate. More than a dozen state troopers armed with assault rifles entered the church and then the church's education center on Church Hill Road, according to NBC Connecticut.

Riddle me this: Adam Lanza, 'computer genius,' left no online footprint

December 16, 2012 by legitgov

Riddle me this: Adam Lanza, 'computer genius,' left no online footprint by Lori Price, www.legitgov.org 16 Dec 2012 According to numerous media reports and witnesses, alleged Newtown, Connecticut shooter Adam Lanza was a 'genius' with computers. And yet, we are told that Lanza apparently left no online footprint. The question must be asked: Was the electronic history of Adam Lanza scrubbed?

Prime suspect in U.S. sniper shootings boasted of being CIA agent and sharpshooter

December 16, 2012 by legitgov

Here's a little jog down the Bushmaster .223 memory lane: Prime suspect in U.S. sniper shootings boasted of being CIA agent and sharpshooter (AP) 26 Oct 2002 When John Allen Muhammad's life started unraveling, he sought refuge in Antigua, living in a sparsely furnished room while he boasted of being a CIA agent and sharpshooter who could "take out a man" from a quarter of a mile (hundreds of meters). To Randy Nelson, the 41-year-old U.S. Army veteran of the Gulf War was a miracle worker who got his aging pickup truck back on the road and the bearer of gifts like blank CDs and batteries. He said they got talking about guns because Muhammad told him he was in the U.S. Army and had worked with the FBI and CIA. Muhammad was trained as a mechanic, combat engineer and specialist metal worker. He never received sniper training but qualified as an expert with the M-16. A Bushmaster .223-caliber rifle, the civilian version of the M-16, was found when he was arrested Thursday in Fredericksburg, Maryland.

Bushmaster rifle used in CT shootings was same weapon used in Washington, D.C. sniper killings in 2002

December 16, 2012 by legitgov

Bushmaster rifle used in CT shootings was same weapon used in Washington, D.C. sniper killings in 2002 --Agents visit Conn. gun shops after school massacre 16 Dec 2012 Federal agents planned to fan out to dozens of gun stores and shooting ranges across Connecticut, chasing leads they hoped would cast light on the life of [alleged] school shooter, Adam Lanza. The rifle used was a Bushmaster .223-caliber [described all day Friday as the weapon 'left on the car seat'], according to an official with knowledge of the investigation who was not authorized to speak about it and talked on condition of anonymity. The gun is commonly seen at shooting competitions and was used in a series of sniper killings in the Washington, D.C., area in 2002. Also found in the school were two handguns, a Glock 10 mm and a Sig Sauer 9 mm. [Yes, and we all know that D.C. sniper, John Allen Muhammad, was in the U.S. Army and worked for the FBI and CIA, so this is a real 'puzzler,' to say the least.]

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