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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Female Kicker Set For NFL Regional Combine Tryout

Female Kicker Set For NFL Regional Combine Tryout
 
(Credit: Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

(AP) – Lauren Silberman has scant chance at making the NFL.
Silberman never kicked anything more than a soccer ball in an organized game and she just started practicing long-range field goals.

Even so, the first female kicker scheduled to try out at an NFL regional scouting combine would like to see where her new hobby will take her. In an era where Danica Patrick can contend against men in motor sports, Silberman is about to take a big kick forward for female athletes, even if the odds are clearly stacked against her. The 28-year-old Silberman will kick Sunday at the New York Jets’ training facility in Florham Park, N.J.

For full story go to:  http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Police Believe Arrest Imminent In Murder Of Philadelphia Community Leader

Police Believe Arrest Imminent In Murder Of Philadelphia Community Leader















PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A community leader was gunned down late Wednesday night, just steps from his home in the Cobb’s Creek section of the city and police say they have a strong person of interest in the case.

Investigators say 55-year-old Gregory Scott, a husband, father of five and community activist, was involved with helping recovering drug addicts. But police say he was ambushed as he exited his car as he returned home from work. His family heard the gun shots.

For full story go to:  http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

GI pleads guilty in WikiLeaks case, faces 20 years

GI pleads guilty in WikiLeaks case, faces 20 years

AP Photo
FILE - In this June 25, 2012 file photo, Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, right, is escorted out of a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md. The Army private charged in the largest leak of classified material in U.S. history says he sent the material to WikiLeaks to enlighten the public about American foreign and military policy on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013.


FORT MEADE, Md. (AP) -- Bradley Manning, the Army private arrested in the biggest leak of classified material in U.S. history, pleaded guilty Thursday to charges that could send him to prison for 20 years, saying he was trying to expose the American military's "bloodlust" and disregard for human life in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Military prosecutors said they plan to move forward with a court-martial on 12 remaining charges against him, including aiding the enemy, which carries a potential life sentence.

"I began to become depressed at the situation we found ourselves mired in year after year. In attempting counterinsurgency operations, we became obsessed with capturing and killing human targets on lists," the 25-year-old former intelligence analyst in Baghdad told a military judge.

He added: "I wanted the public to know that not everyone living in Iraq were targets to be neutralized."

It was the first time Manning directly admitted leaking the material to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks and detailed the frustrations that led him to do it.

The slightly built soldier from Oklahoma read from a 35-page statement through his wire-rimmed glasses for more than an hour. He spoke quickly and evenly, showing little emotion even when he described how troubled he was by what he had seen.

The judge, Col. Denise Lind, accepted his plea to 10 charges involving illegal possession or distribution of classified material. Manning was allowed to plead guilty under military regulations instead of federal espionage law, which knocked the potential sentence down from 92 years.

He will not be sentenced until his court-martial on the other charges is over.

Manning admitted sending hundreds of thousands of Iraq and Afghanistan battlefield reports, State Department diplomatic cables, other classified records and two battlefield video clips to WikiLeaks in 2009 and 2010. WikiLeaks posted some of the material, embarrassing the U.S. and its allies.

He said he was disturbed by the conduct of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the way American troops treated the populace. He said he did not believe the release of the information would harm the U.S.

"I believed that if the general public, especially the American public, had access to the information ... this could spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy in general," Manning said.

Manning said he was appalled by 2007 combat video of an assault by a U.S. helicopter that killed 11 men, including a Reuters news photographer. The Pentagon concluded the troops mistook the camera equipment for weapons.

"The most alarming aspect of the video to me was the seemingly delightful bloodlust the aerial weapons team 
happened to have," Manning said, adding that the soldiers' actions "seemed similar to a child torturing ants with a magnifying glass."

As for the State Department cables, he said they "documented backdoor deals and criminality that didn't reflect the so-called leader of the free world."

"I thought these cables were a prime example of the need for a more open diplomacy," Manning said. "I believed that these cables would not damage the United States. However, I believed these cables would be embarrassing."

The battlefield reports were the first documents Manning decided to leak. He said he sent them to WikiLeaks after contacting The Washington Post and The New York Times. He said he felt a reporter at the Post didn't take him seriously, and a message he left for news tips at the Times was not returned.

Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy said Thursday of the purported phone call: "This is news to us."

The Obama administration has said the release of the documents threatened valuable military and diplomatic sources and strained America's relations with other governments. The administration has aggressively pursued people accused of leaking classified material, and Manning's is the highest-profile case.

Manning has been embraced by some left-leaning activists as a whistle-blowing hero whose actions exposed war crimes and helped trigger the Middle Eastern pro-democracy uprisings known as the Arab Spring in 2010.

The soldier told the court that he corresponded online with someone he believed to be WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange but never confirmed the person's identity.

WikiLeaks has been careful never to confirm or deny Manning was the source of the documents.

Reached by telephone in Britain on Thursday, Assange would not say whether he had any dealings with 
Manning but called him a political prisoner and said his prosecution was part of an effort by the U.S. to clamp down on criticism of its military and foreign policy.

Assange himself remains under investigation by the U.S. and has been holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London for the better part of a year to avoid extradition to Sweden on sex-crimes allegations.


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Rosa Parks statue unveiled at Capitol

Rosa Parks statue unveiled at Capitol 

AP Photo
President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio applaud at the unveiling of a statue of Rosa Parks, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, on Capitol Hill in Washington.
 
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The nation's most powerful politicians honored Rosa Parks on Wednesday by unveiling her statue in a permanent place in the U.S. Capitol. President Barack Obama praised Parks as an enduring reminder of what true leadership requires, "no matter how humble or lofty our positions."


Parks became the first black woman to be depicted in a full-length statue in the Capitol's Statuary Hall. A bust of another black woman, abolitionist Sojourner Truth, sits in the Capitol Visitors Center.

"We do well by placing a statue of her here," Obama said. "But we can do no greater honor to her memory than to carry forward the power of her principle and a courage born of conviction."

The unveiling brought Obama, House Speaker John Boehner and other congressional leaders together in the midst of a fierce standoff over automatic spending cuts set to go into effect on Friday.

Setting that conflict aside, Obama and Boehner stood on either side of a blue drape, tugging and pulling in opposite directions on a braided cord until the cover fell to reveal a 2,700-pound bronze statue of a seated Parks, her hair in a bun under a hat, her hands crossed over her lap and clasping her purse. Obama gazed up at it, and touched its arm.

At the same time across the street, conservative Supreme Court justices voiced skepticism about the relevance of the Voting Rights Act, one of the major legislative victories of the movement to which Parks devoted her life.

Parks' civil rights movement colleague Jesse Jackson, whose son former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. sponsored the bill to place Parks' statue in the Capitol, said Parks "fought her way into history," and on three occasions, took literacy tests required of blacks who wanted to vote. She passed all three, Jackson said.

Parks' statue is positioned between those of suffragist Frances E. Willard and John Gorrie, considered the father of refrigeration and air conditioning. Boehner, R-Ohio, pointed out that Parks' gaze seems to fall directly onto a statue of Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy.

"Here in the hall, she casts an unlikely silhouette - unassuming in a lineup of proud stares, challenging all of us once more to look up and to draw strength from stillness," Boehner said.

Parks died in 2005 at age 92. Dozens of her family members, many of them nieces and nephews, attended Wednesday's ceremony and said they were pleased to see their ancestor honored.

"Racism is a continual struggle," said Zakiya McCauley Watts, 28, of Detroit. "We have the laws, but we have to have the mindset to back that up. People see all types of injustice happening and no one is doing anything about it," Watts said.

Watts' cousin Faye Jenkins, 28, of Cincinnati, Ohio, said she volunteers with inner-city youth providing counseling, helping teenage moms and working with the homeless. She said the statue of Parks will tell the younger generation "to always just do the right thing."

On Dec. 1, 1955, Parks refused to give up her seat on a city bus to a white man in segregated Montgomery, Ala. She was arrested, touching off a bus boycott that stretched over a year.

Her act of disobedience, and the masses of protesters who walked for months on end rather than break the boycott, are the reason "that I stand here today," the president said.

"It is because of them that our children grow up in a land more free and more fair, a land truer to its founding creed," Obama said. "And that is why this statue belongs in this hall - to remind us, no matter how humble or lofty our positions, just what it is that leadership requires."

Some at the event echoed Obama's sentiment.

"The struggle goes on. The movement continues. The pursuit is not over. To honor Rosa Parks in the fullest manner each of us must do our part to protect that which has been gained," said Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C.

Dorthula Green, 58, took an early train from New Haven, Conn., to join a line of ticketholders waiting in the Rotunda to see the statue on its debut.

"When I heard that this was happening, I said, `I gotta be here,'" Green said. "I grew up in South Carolina. I knew the history and the kinds of things she went through."


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Lawsuit: More Water, Less Buzz In Certain Beers

Lawsuit: More Water, Less Buzz In Certain Beers
 
Photo Credit: Thinkstock.com
Thinkstock.com

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Beer lovers across the country have filed $5 million class-action lawsuits accusing Anheuser-Busch of watering down its Budweiser, Michelob and other brands.

The suits were filed in Pennsylvania, California and other states on behalf of consumers allegedly cheated out of the beverage’s stated alcohol content. Budweiser and Michelob each boast being 5 percent alcohol, while some “light” versions are said to be just over 4 percent.

For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Fans injured at NASCAR race explore legal options

Fans injured at NASCAR race explore legal options

AP Photo
A spectator, center, is transported from the grandstands by emergency personnel after Kyle Larson's car hit the safety wall and fence along the front stretch on the final lap of the NASCAR Nationwide Series auto race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla., Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013. Several fans were injured when large chunks of debris flew into the grandstands.

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- The attorney for three NASCAR fans injured last weekend during a race the day before the Daytona 500 says they are exploring a possible lawsuit, but some experts say they could face tough obstacles in winning damages.

Matt Morgan, the Orlando-based lawyer for the fans, said at a news conference Tuesday than any suit would focus on the safety fence used along the track at Daytona International Speedway. He said he hopes to reach a settlement with NASCAR to avoid a lawsuit.

More than 30 people were injured last Saturday after a horrific wreck in a second-tier NASCAR series race sent chunks of debris, including a heavy tire, into the stands. Morgan declined to provide the identities of his clients, but said two of them were seated directly in front of the crash and sustained injuries ranging from a fractured fibula to abdominal swelling. All have been released from the hospital.

Some experts say there could be grounds for a lawsuit, and that courts have looked past liability waivers written on the backs of sporting event tickets. Others maintain the ticket is a legal contract that could be hard to overcome in court.

"Ultimately, I believe it would be gross negligence," Morgan said. "We all know that when you go to a race you assume a certain amount of risk. But what people don't assume is that a race car will come flying into the stands... That's why they make the fences."

Asked to comment on the fans' retention of a law firm, NASCAR spokesman David Higdon wrote in a statement, "We are unaware of any lawsuits filed."

Daytona International Speedway is owned by International Speedway Corp., a NASCAR sister company. Spokesman Andrew Booth said, "As per company policy, we do not comment on pending litigation."

Donnalynn Darling, a New York-based attorney who has been practicing personal injury law for 30 years, said there is a theory that a spectator who buys tickets to a sporting event assumes the risk of objects coming out of the field of play, such as a foul ball at a baseball game.

But she said there is also a foreseeable risk question that promoters of events also accept.

"Did the sporting event promoter take action to prevent that specific risk?" Darling asked. "In terms of this fence...it was put up to prevent people from being hurt. You have people who were not only injured by falling debris, but by the failure of the fence."

Others say such restrictive clauses on the back of tickets are generally disfavored by Florida courts.

"If it's just something written on the back of the ticket and not called to the attention of the person purchasing, there's reason to believe many courts in Florida won't hold that they consented efficiently," said University of Florida emeritus law professor Joseph Little.

Still, Paul Huck, an adjunct professor at the University of Miami School of Law, said contract law could take precedence.

"A ticket to one of these events is like a contract - and its provisions limiting liability are generally enforceable," he said. "We enter into these types of contracts on a regular basis, and we often don't give it a second thought that we may be limiting or even giving up certain legal rights when we do so."

Darling also said that the fence's manufacturer at Daytona would likely be "very much responsible" because of it being foreseeable that debris could go through a fence that has holes in it.

That seems to be theory that Morgan is adopting. He referenced a 2009 crash at NASCAR's racetrack in Talladega, Ala. in which a car that launched into the catch fence sent debris into the stands and injured several fans.

"At that point in time a group of engineers got together and they said `It's time for us to manufacture a safer fence,'" Morgan said. "To my knowledge, that was done. But what we have to investigate at this point in time is what was done...If you can ever point to monetary considerations being put ahead of people, then there's a big problem."

Darling predicted that NASCAR would try to settle with the injured fans.

NASCAR "had an obligation to protect the fans that are so loyal, and it is bad from a public relations standpoint," Darling said. "So they're going to do something."

2nd major snowstorm paralyzes parts of Midwest

2nd major snowstorm paralyzes parts of Midwest 

AP Photo
An unidentified man carries coffee to his vehicle across an unplowed street in Lawrence, Kan., Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. The second major snowstorm in a week battered the nation's midsection Tuesday, dropping a half-foot or more of snow across Missouri and Kansas and cutting power to thousands. Gusting winds blew drifts more than 2 feet high and created treacherous driving conditions for those who dared the morning commute.
  
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- For the second time in a week, a major winter storm paralyzed parts of the nation's midsection Tuesday, dumping a fresh layer of heavy, wet snow atop cities still choked with piles from the previous system and making travel perilous from the Oklahoma panhandle to the Great Lakes.

The weight of the snow strained power lines and cut electricity to more than 100,000 homes and businesses. At least three deaths were blamed on the blizzard.

The Missouri Department of Transportation issued a rare "no travel" advisory, urging people to stay off highways except in case of a dire emergency. Conditions were so bad that some snowplows slid into ditches, underlining the danger even to well-equipped travelers.

"It's straight hell. It's snowing, blowing, drifting, everything," said Robert Branscecum, a trucker from Campton, Ill., who was hauling Wal-Mart merchandise to Dallas. He had been stranded since Monday evening at Beto Junction, about 80 miles southwest of Kansas City.

"The cars are stuck in the parking lot. Some of the trucks that tried to leave got stuck," he said. "I'm not leaving anytime soon."

Up to 10 inches had fallen in and around Kansas City, Mo., by the time the snow tapered off before midday. Mayor Sly James declared a state of emergency.

For a second straight week, schoolchildren, government workers and others caught a break as most schools and office buildings were closed. Hospitals closed outpatient centers and urgent-care clinics.

Although the amount of snow was not unusual for late February, the snow was so heavy it stressed everything it fell on, especially the electrical grid. Power was slowly being restored as the thick clouds moved on.

In the northwest Oklahoma town of Woodward, a person was killed after 15 inches of snow brought down part of a roof. The storm was also blamed for the deaths of two people who were killed in rollover crashes Monday on Interstate 70 in Kansas.

Heavy snow pulled down large trees and caused roofs to cave in at businesses in Belton and Warrensburg, Mo., where 13 inches of snow piled up. In Columbia, a canopy over gas pumps collapsed at a convenience store.

By noon, the storm had arrived in the Great Lakes with a mixture of blowing snow, sleet and frigid rain that disrupted most forms of travel. Airlines canceled almost 500 flights at Chicago's O'Hare and Midway airports alone.

Elsewhere in Chicago, the heavy weather threatened to hold down voter turnout in a special election to choose the likely replacement for former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. The city deployed extra resources to keep polls accessible. Its full fleet of 284 snowplows was out clearing pavement.

The wintry mix also blew through Iowa, which had been expected to escape any serious snowfall. Parts of the state could now get as much as a foot.

Fueled by a strong low pressure system, the crescent-shaped storm began Sunday in Texas, then headed north. It was expected to drop up to 6 inches of snow on Chicago before crawling east across Michigan toward northern New England.

Schools and major highways in the Texas Panhandle remained closed for a second day Tuesday. Interstate 27 reopened between Amarillo and Lubbock, about 120 miles to the south, but the Texas National Guard was still working to clear much of Interstate 40 from the Oklahoma border to the New Mexico state line.
Some other roads reopened as sunny conditions began to thaw ice and snow-packed surfaces.

Just a day earlier, whiteout conditions had made virtually all Panhandle roads impassable. A hurricane-force gust of 75 mph was recorded in Amarillo, which got 17 inches. The heaviest snowfall was in Follett, Texas, with 21 inches.

In Oklahoma, 600 snowplows and trucks worked to reopen roads.

Because this was the second storm in as many weeks, weary Midwesterners were annoyed that a huge blizzard could so closely follow another major storm.

Climate scientists can't say that man-made global warming is the cause of individual extreme weather events, but they say climate change in general makes such storms more likely because of what it does to the thermodynamics of the air and water.

Warmer air in general holds more moisture, and when temperatures dance around the freezing mark - cold enough to fall as snow, but warm enough to hold lots of moisture - the storms dump more snow, especially if part of the system has been over unusually warm ocean water.

Since 1960, much of the United States has had twice as many extreme snowstorms as it had in the 60 years before, according to a new study by top scientists that will soon appear in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. But global warming is also shortening the snow season, dramatically reducing spring snow in the Northern Hemisphere, the Global Snow Lab at Rutgers University found.

"These storms didn't just occur in a vacuum. They are fueled by record amounts of moisture in the atmosphere," Pennsylvania State University climate scientist Michael Mann said Tuesday in an email.

Mann said the unusual warmth and moisture combine with cold air dipping down from the Arctic to produce heavy snow. He said some computer weather models predict the Midwestern storm may break a record for low-pressure, which is how meteorologists measure the strength of a storm.

The back-to-back storms have raised hopes that the moisture might ease the drought conditions that have gripped the Midwest for more than a year. The snowpack now resting on the Plains will help, but it's no drought-buster, experts say.

"If we get one more storm like this, with widespread 2 inches of moisture, we will continue to chip away at the drought," said meteorologist Mike Umscheid of the National Weather Service office in Dodge City. "But to claim the drought is over or ending is way too premature."
---
Associated Press writers Betsy Blaney in Lubbock, Texas, Nomaan Merchant in Dallas, Jill Zeman Bleed and Kelly P. Kissel in Little Rock, Ark., Daniel Holtmeyer in Oklahoma City, Steve Paulson in Denver, Paul Davenport in Albuquerque, N.M., Roxana Hegeman in Wichita, Kan., and Seth Borenstein in Washington, D.C., contributed to this report.


Monday, February 25, 2013

South Jersey Man Arrested For Attacking Cops After Calling 911

South Jersey Man Arrested For Attacking Cops After Calling 911














GLOUCESTER TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBS) – Police in Gloucester Township say four of their officers were assaulted when responding to a 911 call that came in just before 8 p.m. Sunday from a home in the LaCascata Housing Development.

And police say 28-year-old Ibrahim Dao, now charged with the assaults, is the man who made two 911 calls to police during a dispute with his girlfriend.

On the phone, a 911 operator can be heard asking Dao what his emergency is.

For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/.

NY wife: Officer wanted to kill me, eat others

NY wife: Officer wanted to kill me, eat others 

AP Photo
FILE - In this Oct. 25, 2012, file courtroom drawing, Federal Defender Julie Gatto requests bail for her client, New York City Police Officer Gilberto Valle, right, at Manhattan Federal Court in New York. The New York City police officer accused of kidnapping conspiracy admits to thinking about abducting, cooking and devouring young women. His own lawyer has shown prospective jurors a kinky staged photo of a woman trussed up in a roasting pan to test their tolerance for the officer’s "weird proclivities."

NEW YORK (AP) -- The estranged wife of a police officer struggled to keep her composure Monday as she testified about discovering shocking online chats and other evidence on his computer showing he had discussed killing her and abducting, torturing and eating other women.

"I was going to be tied up by my feet and my throat slit, and they would have fun watching the blood gush out of me because I was young," Kathleen Mangan-Valle told a Manhattan jury that one chat revealed.

Mangan-Valle, 27, also read about plans to put one friend in a suitcase, wheel her out of her building and murder her. Two other women were "going to be raped in front of each other to heighten their fears," while another was going to be roasted alive over an open fire, she said.

"The suffering was for his enjoyment, and he wanted to make it last as long as possible," she said.

Mangan-Valle broke down in tears several times, but the emotional peak of the day came when a defense attorney showed her pictures of Officer Gilberto Valle in uniform feeding their newborn daughter, prompting her and Valle to openly weep as the judge sent the jury away for an afternoon break.

The drama came on the first day of testimony at the closely watched trial of the 28-year-old Valle, a baby-faced defendant dubbed the "Cannibal Cop" by city tabloids.

Valle is accused of conspiracy to kidnap a woman and unauthorized use of a law enforcement database that prosecutors say he used to help build a list of potential targets. A conviction on the kidnapping count carries a possible life sentence.

The officer has claimed his online discussions of cannibalism were harmless fetish fantasies. But in opening statements Monday, a prosecutor said "very real women" were put in jeopardy.

"Make no mistake," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Randall Jackson. "Gilbert Valle was very serious about these plans."

Defense attorney Julia Gatto argued that her client "never intended to kidnap anyone." She added: "You can't convict people for their thoughts, even if they're sick."

A college graduate and New York Police Department patrolman, Valle appeared to be leading a normal life before "things got bad," his wife said. "Weird stuff started happening."

Mangan-Valle testified her husband began asking questions about where she liked to jog, what the lighting was like and whether other people were around. Using spyware on his computer, she said, she uncovered gruesome photos and the names, heights and weights of women.

She also found that he had visited a fetish website that featured images of dead women.

"I was scared. ... I'd never seen that before," she said.

Once Mangan-Valle fled her home and reported his strange behavior to the FBI last year, agents uncovered "a heinous plot to kidnap, rape, murder and cannibalize a number of very real women," Jackson said.

The officer had attempted to contact potential victims, including a New York City elementary school teacher, to learn more about their jobs and residences, the prosecutor said. His Internet research also included the best rope to tie someone up with, recipes, human flesh, white slavery and chemicals that can knock someone out, Jackson said.

Gatto countered in her opening statement that there was "no proof of a crime here. The charges are pure fiction."

Valle, she said, had always been aroused by "unusual things," including the thought of a woman boiled down on a platter with an apple in her mouth. He found a home at a fetish website with 38,000 registered members, where regulars discuss "suffocating women, cooking and eating them," she said.

The defense has denied that Mangan-Valle was a potential victim. Valle had made clear that his wife "was unavailable for any kidnapping fantasy," the defense has said in court papers.

On cross-examination, Gatto asked Mangan-Valle if she declined to meet with the defense before the trial began.

"You're representing the man who wants to kill me," she responded. "No, I don't want to talk to you."

Valle is expected to take the stand to make the case that it was all role-playing fantasy. The defense also is planning to call experts to explain the fetish subculture and to show jurors the videotaped testimony of the fetish website's co-founder Sergey Merenkov.

Merenkov called the site "a clone of Facebook, but it is oriented to people with fetishes that are not considered standard." Asked about the most popular fetishes, he responded, "All sorts of asphyxiation" and "peril cannibalism."

Tiger Howard Devore, a psychologist and certified sex therapist who specializes in dealing with sexual dysfunction and fetishes, said the cannibalism fetish known as voreaphilia isn't common.

"For most laymen, they're going to think about it as cannibalism," Devore told The Associated Press in an interview Monday. "But what it really is, is an obsession about consuming the flesh of the other, and this can have a whole range of expressions. ... It is mostly played out in fantasy, mostly played out in role-playing."

There are well-known criminal extremes like Jeffrey Dahmer, who saved pieces of his victims' body parts and ate the flesh, Devore said, though "the instances of this kind of violence are extremely rare."


Friday, February 22, 2013

Happy Birthday Julius ‘Dr. J’ Erving

Happy Birthday Julius ‘Dr. J’ Erving
 













Philadelphia 76ers

PHILADELPHIA – 1980: Julius Erving #6 of the Philadelphia 76ers takes a break during an NBA game at the Spectrum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1980.

For full story go to:  http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Thursday, February 21, 2013

State Supreme Court Justice Convicted On Charges Of Using Taxpayer Resources For Campaign

State Supreme Court Justice Convicted On Charges Of Using Taxpayer Resources For Campaign

(credit: Getty Images) 
 
PITTSBURGH, Pa. (CBS) — A jury in Pittsburgh has convicted a state Supreme Court justice on charges of using taxpayer resources for campaign work.

State Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin and her sister, Janine Orie, were convicted of theft of services and conspiracy for allegedly using Melvin’s judicial staff – and legislative staffers of another sister, former Republican state Senator Jane Orie – to campaign for Melvin. Jane Orie was convicted last year. The jury foreman in this trial, Matt Mabon, says the strongest evidence was against Janine Orie.

For full story go to: http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

AP writers pick 'Argo' for Oscar best picture

AP writers pick 'Argo' for Oscar best picture 

AP Photo
FILE - This publicity image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows John Goodman, left, Alan Arkin, center, and actor-director Ben Affleck in a scene from "Argo." The film has dominated the awards picture with wins at the Golden Globes and ceremonies held by the Directors Guild of America, the Screen Actors Guild and the Producers Guild of America. "Argo" now is poised to do what only four movies have managed before at the Oscars: win best picture without a nomination for its director.
 
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Surprises and snubs on nominations day held the promise of an unpredictable Academy Awards night. But things have settled into the usual predictability, with clear favorites emerging in key categories.


Associated Press movie writers Christy Lemire and David Germain prefer to disagree, but they're in harmony on the top prizes for Sunday's show. Here are their picks, with Lemire sounding off on best picture, actor and supporting actress and Germain offering their take on director, actress and supporting actor.

BEST PICTURE
Nominees: "Amour," `'Argo," `'Beasts of the Southern Wild," `'Django Unchained," `'Les Miserables," `'Life of Pi," `'Lincoln," `'Silver Linings Playbook."
LEMIRE: The road to the top prize at the Academy Awards is a long haul full of ups and downs, front-runners and underdogs, and it's been especially eventful this year. Back in November, Steven Spielberg's stately "Lincoln" looked like the safe bet. Then the gripping "Zero Dark Thirty" figured into the mix. Then when Oscar nominations were announced, and the quirky romance "Silver Linings Playbook" received seven including one for best picture, it looked like a contender. Accusations of inaccuracy plagued some of these films and eventually were shot down, adding further drama.

Which brings us to "Argo," whose makers have acknowledged since that they tweaked some details in depicting the daring rescue of six American embassy workers during the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis. Ben Affleck's film steadily and deservedly has been racking up key prizes leading to the big night and has unstoppable momentum. That Affleck weirdly didn't receive a director nomination for the film, which I (and many other critics) named the year's best, won't matter; as a producer, he'll walk away with a trophy Sunday night anyway. Plus "Argo" is a sure thing because it seamlessly blends Hollywood satire with thrilling action, and this industry loves to honor itself for teasing itself.
BEST DIRECTOR
Nominees: Michael Haneke, "Amour"; Benh Zeitlin, "Beasts of the Southern Wild"; Ang Lee, "Life of Pi"; Steven Spielberg, "Lincoln"; David O. Russell, "Silver Linings Playbook."
GERMAIN: We'll never know what might have happened if not for the surprise directing snubs that included 

Ben Affleck for "Argo" and Kathryn Bigelow for "Zero Dark Thirty."
Without them - and particularly Affleck - in the picture, best-director becomes a third coronation for Steven Spielberg, who won previously for "Schindler's List" and "Saving Private Ryan." Another win would put Spielberg in rare company, tying him with Frank Capra and William Wyler, who each won three directing Oscars, and putting him just behind record-holder John Ford, who won four.

Despite a monumental performance by Daniel Day-Lewis as the 16th president, "Lincoln" is more academically than emotionally engaging. Yet the film still is an epic period saga, with Spielberg masterfully marshaling his own filmmaking army to recreate the capital in the last days of the Civil War.

Lincoln was the man needed to preserve the union. Spielberg was the man needed to make this film. His third directing trophy will be an awfully nice consolation prize for missing out on best picture.

BEST ACTOR
Nominees: Bradley Cooper, "Silver Linings Playbook"; Daniel Day-Lewis, "Lincoln"; Hugh Jackman, "Les Miserables"; Joaquin Phoenix, "The Master"; Denzel Washington, "Flight."

LEMIRE: From the first moment you see Daniel Day-Lewis on screen as the revered 16th president of the United States, it's clear he's destined to win the best-actor Oscar. He totally immerses himself in portraying this storied figure - no shocker there from one of the greatest actors of our time - from his appearance and voice to his carriage and gait. And in playing Abraham Lincoln as he charms, lobbies and cajoles his way to the historic passage of the 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery, Day-Lewis will make some history of his own by becoming the first person ever to win the Academy Award for best actor three times. As good and as deeply committed as the other nominees in this category are, none of them stands a chance.

BEST ACTRESS
Nominees: Jessica Chastain, "Zero Dark Thirty"; Jennifer Lawrence, "Silver Linings Playbook"; Emmanuelle Riva, "Amour"; Quvenzhane Wallis, "Beasts of the Southern Wild"; Naomi Watts, "The Impossible."

GERMAIN: This is such a close call between Jessica Chastain, who's almost demonic as a CIA operative obsessively tracking Osama bin Laden, and Jennifer Lawrence, who's one of the most endearing damaged souls to hit the big-screen in ages.

Chastain's a lone-wolf through much of "Zero Dark Thirty," interacting with scores of minor characters but never really connecting with anyone as she sinks into a cold, calculating, compulsive and lonely world of her own.

Because of that, Chastain connects less with the audience than Lawrence, who's an open book of tics, anxieties, desires and doubts. Chastain is extraordinary in extraordinary circumstances; Lawrence is extraordinary in ordinary circumstances. The latter is harder, and Lawrence not only manages that, but also outshines a remarkable cast that includes Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver.

Dominating your scenes when you're alongside De Niro? Lawrence goes home with an Oscar.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Nominees: Alan Arkin, "Argo"; Robert De Niro, "Silver Linings Playbook"; Philip Seymour Hoffman, "The Master"; Tommy Lee Jones, "Lincoln"; Christoph Waltz, "Django Unchained."

GERMAIN: The big Oscar certainty: supporting actor goes to a previous Oscar winner. All five nominees have won before, and Robert De Niro has won twice.

The prize probably comes down to the two guys in Civil War-era times, Tommy Lee Jones as abolitionist firebrand Thaddeus Stevens and Christoph Waltz as a genteel bounty hunter.

Waltz has a disadvantage in that his supporting-actor win for 2009's "Inglourious Basterds" is fresh in people's minds, so in a way, he's up against himself along with the other current nominees. It was clear from the premiere of "Basterds" that no one could top Waltz's turn as a gleefully evil Nazi. He's a delight again in "Django Unchained," but it's just not as good a role.

Jones, however, is as good as ever as grouchy, uncompromising crusader Stevens. He's mastered the art of playing noble curmudgeons and should join De Niro as a two-time Oscar winner for the effort.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Nominees: Amy Adams, "The Master"; Sally Field, "Lincoln"; Anne Hathaway, "Les Miserables"; Helen Hunt, "The Sessions"; Jacki Weaver, "Silver Linings Playbook."

LEMIRE: It sounds so cynical to suggest that if you cut all your hair off, lose a bunch of weight AND play a prostitute, you're guaranteed to win an Academy Award. But Anne Hathaway does indeed do all of this - and she sings! Live, on camera! As the doomed Fantine in the musical favorite "Les Miserables," Hathaway isn't on screen very long before she dies a hacking, wrenching death amid the squalor and tumult of 19th-century France. (Not that screen time matters in this situation: Judi Dench famously won the supporting-actress Oscar for appearing in only seven minutes of "Shakespeare in Love.") But she has one powerful scene in which she sings the remorseful "I Dreamed a Dream" all in one tear-choked take. It's not subtle, but it's effective, and it's the reason she'll win.





Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Upper Darby Teen Held In Strongarm Robbery Of High School Teacher

Upper Darby Teen Held In Strongarm Robbery Of High School Teacher















UPPER DARBY, Pa. (CBS) — An Upper Darby teen faces numerous charges for allegedly assaulting and robbing a teacher in a classroom yesterday at Upper Darby High School.

According to police superintendent Michael Chitwood, 19-year-old Darlington James walked into the school through a back door, then was let into a classroom by a 32-year-old female teacher after school had let out for the day.

James is accused of pushing her inside the room and swinging at her with a claw hammer.

For full story go to:  http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Obama considers weighing in on gay marriage case

Obama considers weighing in on gay marriage case 

AP Photo
FILE - In this Feb. 15, 2013 file photo, President Barack Obama speaks in Chicago. The Obama administration is quietly considering urging the Supreme Court to overturn California’s ban on gay marriage, a step that could be a major political victory for advocates of same-sex unions.


WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Obama administration is quietly considering urging the Supreme Court to overturn California's ban on gay marriage, a step that would mark a political victory for advocates of same-sex unions and a deepening commitment by President Barack Obama to rights for gay couples.

Obama raised expectations among opponents of the Proposition 8 ban when he declared in last month's inaugural address that gays and lesbians must be "treated like anyone else under the law." The administration has until Feb. 28 to intervene in the case by filing a "friend of the court" brief.

The Proposition 8 ballot initiative was approved by California voters in 2008 and overturned a state Supreme Court decision allowing gay marriage. Twenty-nine other states have constitutional amendments banning gay marriage, while nine states and Washington, D.C., recognize same-sex marriage.

An administration brief alone is unlikely to sway the Justices but the federal government's opinion does carry weight with the court.

A final decision on whether to file a brief has not been made, a senior administration official said. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli is consulting with the White House on the matter, said the official, speaking only on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to address the private deliberations publicly.

While the Justice Department would formally make the filing, the president himself is almost certain to make the ultimate decision on whether to file.

Obama has a complicated history on gay marriage. As a presidential candidate in 2008, he opposed the California ban but didn't endorse gay marriage. As he ran for re-election last year, he announced his personal support for same-sex marriage but said marriage was an issue that should be decided by the states, not the federal government.

To some, Obama's broad call for gay rights during his Jan. 21 inaugural address was a signal that he now sees a federal role in defining marriage.

"Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law," Obama said during his remarks on the steps of the U.S. Capitol. "For if we are truly created equal, than surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well."

But administration officials said Obama - a former constitutional law professor - was not foreshadowing any legal action in his remarks and was simply restating his personal belief in the right of gays and lesbians to marry.

Seeking to capitalize on growing public support for gay marriage, advocates are calling on the administration to file a broad brief not only asking the court to declare California's ban unconstitutional but also urging the Justices to make all state bans illegal.

"If they do make that argument and the court accepts it, the ramifications could be very sweeping," said Richard Socarides, an attorney and advocate.

The administration could also file a narrower brief that would ask the court to issue a decision applying only to California. Or it could decide not to weigh in on the case at all.

The Supreme Court, which will take up the case on March 26, has several options for its eventual ruling. Among them:
- The justices could uphold the state ban on gay marriage and say citizens of a state have the right to make that call.
- The court could endorse an appeals court ruling that would make same-sex marriage legal in California but apply only to that state.
- The court could issue a broader ruling that would apply to California and seven other states: Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon and Rhode Island. In those states, gay couples can join in civil unions that have all the benefits of marriage but cannot be married.
- The broadest ruling would be one that says the Constitution forbids states from banning same-sex unions.
For weeks, supporters and opponents of Proposition 8 have been lobbying the administration to side with them.

Last month, Theodore Olson and David Boies, lawyers arguing for gay marriage, met with Verrilli and other government lawyers to urge the administration to file a brief in the case. A few days later, Charles Cooper, the lawyer defending Proposition 8, met with the solicitor general to ask the government to stay out of the case. Those kinds of meetings are typical in a high court case when the government is not a party and is not asked by the court to make its views known.

Boies and Chad Griffin, president of the advocacy group Human Rights Campaign, also had a meeting at the White House on the case.

Ahead of next week's deadline, nearly two dozen states have filed briefs with the Supreme Court asking the Justices to uphold the California measure.

"There's a critical mass of states that have spoken out and believe states should continue to have the right to define marriage as between one man and one woman," said Jim Campbell, legal counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, which represents supporters of Proposition 8.

Public opinion has shifted in support of gay marriage in recent years. In May 2008, Gallup found that 56 percent of Americans felt same-sex marriages should not be recognized by the law as valid. By November 2012, some 53 percent felt they should be legally recognized.

Obama has overwhelming political support among those who support same-sex marriage. Exit polls from the November election showed that 49 percent of voters believed their states should legally recognize gay marriage. More than 70 percent of those voters backed Obama over Republican nominee Mitt Romney.

One day after the court hears the California case, the justices will hear arguments on another gay marriage case, this one involving provisions of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, known as DOMA. The act defines marriage as between a man and a woman for the purpose of deciding who can receive a range of federal benefits.

The Obama administration abandoned its defense of the law in 2011 but continues to enforce it. Because DOMA is a federal law and the government is a party to the case, the administration does not have to state its opposition through a friend of the court brief.



Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Philadelphia Police Searching For Missing 8-Year-Old Boy

Philadelphia Police Searching For Missing 8-Year-Old Boy

Missing 8-year-old Abraham Davis (Family Photo provided by Philadelphia Police) 
Missing 8-year-old Abraham Davis.

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Police are searching for a young boy who went missing during dismissal time at his school in Northwest Philadelphia.

8-year-old Abraham Davis was last seen at approximately 3:15 Tuesday afternoon at the Pennypacker Elementary School along the 1800 block of East Washington Lane in the West Oak Lane section of the city.

For full story go to:  http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/

Shooting spree across Calif county leaves 4 dead

Shooting spree across Calif county leaves 4 dead 

AP Photo
Orange County coroner's officials remove a body from the scene in Orange, Calif., Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013. Police say a chaotic 25-minute shooting spree through Orange County left a trail of dead and injured victims before the shooter killed himself. Orange County sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino say there are at least six crime scenes with three people, including the suspected gunman, dead and several others wounded. Tustin police Supervisor Dave Kanoti said the shootings started with an apparent carjacking just after 5 a.m. Tuesday in an unincorporated Ladera Ranch area of Orange County.

TUSTIN, Calif. (AP) -- A violent rampage that left four dead in suburban Orange County began in the pre-dawn hours Tuesday when a 20-year-old killed a woman in his home and sped away in his parents' car, authorities said.

An hour later, it was over - but not before Ali Syed had killed two more people during carjackings, shot up vehicles on a busy freeway interchange and left three others injured in a trail of carnage that stretched across 25 miles.

One driver was forced from his BMW at a stop sign, marched to a curb and shot in the back of the head as other commuters watched in horror.

"He was basically executed," Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna said. "There were at least six witnesses."

Syed later killed himself. He lived with his parents at the Ladera Ranch residence where the first victim, an unidentified woman in her 20s, was slain, Tustin police Chief Scott Jordan said. He was unemployed, taking one class at a local community college, Jordan said.

The woman was not related to the shooter and it wasn't known what she was doing at the home, said Orange County sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino.

Syed's parents were in the house at the time, fled the residence when shots were fired, and reported it, he said.

Jordan said Syed stated to one carjacking victim: "I don't want to hurt you. I killed somebody. Today is my last day."

Jordan said there was no indication of a motive, but he sought to assure residents that the violence was over.
"There is no conspiracy here, there are no outstanding suspects, it was a very, very unfortunate situation, but I don't think the people here in Orange County have to be worried about their safety," he said.

The violence began at 4:45 a.m., when deputies responded to a call from Ladera Ranch, a sleepy inland town about 55 miles southeast of Los Angeles. They found the woman shot multiple times.

Jason Glass, who lives across the street, said he couldn't sleep and was watching TV in his garage with the door partly open when he heard what sounded like gun shots.

Then he heard a commotion and the sound of a car speeding away.

Hours later, his neighborhood was flooded with police, and crime scene tape sectioned off the street.

"I just happened to be in here when this happened," Glass said about his garage. "To think he could have rolled under my door or needed a car or needed to hide is crazy. It's freaking me out."

From Ladera Ranch, police said the gunman headed north and pulled off Interstate 5 in Tustin, about 20 miles away, with a flat tire and other damage to his parents' car.

A man who was waiting in a shopping center parking lot to carpool with his son saw Syed had a gun and tried to escape in his Cadillac, Jordan said. Syed ran after the car as it drove away and fired his shotgun through the back window, striking the driver in head but not killing him.

The driver "noticed that he was loading his shotgun, so he simply gets back in his car and tries to escape," Jordan said. "He's driving through the parking lot trying to get away and the suspect is actually chasing him on foot, taking shots at him."

Syed then crossed the street to a Mobil gas station, where he approached the driver of a pick-up and asked for his keys, Jordan said.

"He says something to the effect of, `I've killed somebody. Today's my last day. I don't want to hurt you. Give me your keys,'" he said. "He hands over the keys and he gets in the truck and leaves."

Syed got back on the freeway, where he pulled to the side of the road at the busy I-5 and State Route 55 interchange and began firing at commuters, Jordan said.

One driver was struck in the mouth and hands. He didn't have a cellphone, but was able to drive home and call police. Two other cars were hit but their drivers weren't injured, Jordan said.

"All of this is happening so quickly," he said, estimating that Syed shot at drivers from the side of the freeway transition for about a minute.

The shooter then exited the freeway in nearby Santa Ana but ran the curb and got his car stuck, authorities said.

He approached Melvin Edwards, a 69-year-old from Laguna Hills who was on his way to his Santa Ana business, as Edwards sat in his BMW at a stop sign. Syed forced Edwards to get out of his car, marched him across the street and shot him three times, including in the back of the head and the back, as horrified drivers looked on, Jordan said.

"They tried to get away. They saw what was going on, they tried to get away and they called police," he said.

Syed took Edwards' BMW and next popped up at the Micro Center, a Tustin business, where he shot and killed construction worker Jeremy Lewis, 26, of Fullerton. Lewis' co-worker rushed to intervene and was shot in the arm, Jordan said.

Syed took the second construction worker's utility truck and fled to Orange, this time with California Highway Patrol officers in pursuit. He jumped from the moving utility truck at an intersection in Orange, about five miles away, and shot himself immediately, Jordan said.

A shotgun was recovered at the scene.

A message left at Syed's parents' home wasn't immediately returned on Tuesday.


Monday, February 18, 2013

Tiger Woods Joins Barack Obama For A Round Of Golf


Tiger Woods Joins Barack Obama For A Round Of Golf














PALM CITY, Fla. (AP) — President Barack Obama teed it up with Tiger Woods on Sunday.
The White House confirmed that the President and the world’s most famous golfer played a round at a secluded, exclusive yacht and golf club on Florida’s Treasure Coast.

Once the sport’s dominant player before his career was sidetracked by scandal, Woods joined Obama at the Floridian, where Obama is spending the long Presidents Day weekend. The two had met before, but Sunday was the first time they played together.

For full story go to:  http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/







 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Jackson Jr.'s downfall tied to objects, not power

Jackson Jr.'s downfall tied to objects, not power 

AP Photo
FILE - In this Oct. 16, 2011 file photo, Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., D-Ill., attends the dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington. For all the talk of Jesse Jackson Jr. aspiring to be a U.S. senator or mayor of the nation’s third-largest city, his career wasn’t ended by attempts to amass political power. Instead, it was the former congressman’s desire for flashy items like a gold-plated Rolex watch and furs, and collectibles, such as Eddie Van Halen’s guitar.

CHICAGO (AP) -- For all the talk of Jesse Jackson Jr. aspiring to be a U.S. senator or mayor of the nation's third-largest city, his career wasn't ended by attempts to amass political power.


Instead, it was the former congressman's desire for flashy items - a gold-plated Rolex watch, furs and collectibles, such as Eddie Van Halen's guitar.

In a state where stop-at-nothing political ambition has been well documented - and often rewarded - the seemingly frivolous cause of Jackson's undoing is seen by political observers and former colleagues as both nonsensical and sad.

"When you have a magic name like that, he was in position, waiting for the gun to go off, for mayor, the Senate ... he was playing with the big guys," said Paul Green, a longtime political scientist at Roosevelt University in Chicago who moderated Jackson's first congressional campaign debate. "To go down for this, you just feel sad."

Federal prosecutors on Friday charged Jackson Jr. with one count of conspiracy for allegedly spending $750,000 in campaign money on personal expenses. The Chicago Democrat's wife, former alderman Sandra Jackson, was charged with one count of filing false joint federal income tax returns.
Authorities say the returns, for the years 2006 through 2011, knowingly understated the income the couple received.

Both agreed to plead guilty in deals with federal prosecutors. Their sentencing dates have not been set, but the charges both carry possible sentences of several years in prison. Jackson Jr. also could be ordered to repay thousands of dollars in fines and forfeitures.

While former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich went to prison because he tried to trade President Barack Obama's U.S. Senate seat for a more prestigious job or millions in campaign donations, Jackson could go to prison for, in part, buying memorabilia tied to martial arts movie star Bruce Lee.

The son of a civil rights icon, Jackson represented Illinois' 2nd District, which includes part of Chicago's South Side and south suburbs, for 17 years. He was wildly popular in his heavily Democratic district, consistently winning elections with more than 80 percent of the vote.

Jackson served as national co-chair of Obama's presidential campaign in 2008 and had his eyes on becoming mayor or a senator. But those hopes were dashed when his name surfaced as part of the Blagojevich corruption investigation and with revelations that Jackson had been involved in an extramarital affair.

Jackson denied any wrongdoing in the Blagojevich matter, which involved unproven allegations that he was involved in discussions to raise campaign funds in exchange for being appointed to Obama's vacated U.S. Senate seat.

Suddenly last summer, Jackson disappeared from public view for several weeks. His staff eventually revealed he was being treated for bipolar disorder and other medical issues.

When Jackson resigned from office in November, he cited his bipolar disorder and acknowledged he also was under federal investigation. Sandi Jackson resigned from her Chicago alderman seat in January.

U.S. Rep. Danny Davis, who represents a neighboring district and visited Jackson Jr. shortly after his release from treatment at the Mayo Clinic, said the charges against the Jacksons "couldn't be more unfortunate."

"I think things probably just got out of hand for them and they got involved in making decisions that just didn't make a lot of good sense," Davis said.

Davis wondered whether the long list of luxury purchases mentioned in the federal criminal complaint were "an indication that his bipolar condition kind of was manifesting itself even then."

If so, he said, it's unfair to compare this situation to other Illinois corruption.

"It's hard to rationalize it," Davis said. "Not all elected officials in Illinois are corrupt or building any kind of political dynasty or trying to develop political power. Most individuals elected to public office are citizens who want to make the most effective use of themselves and make this world a better place in which to live."

Delmarie Cobb, a Chicago political consultant who worked on Jackson Jr.'s first campaign and was an aide to his father when he ran for president in 1988, said Saturday she was "absolutely astonished" by the news. She, too, believes Jackson Jr.'s actions were triggered by his bipolar disorder.

"It is just not the Jesse Jr. I knew," said Cobb, who's known Jackson Jr. since he was a senior in college and was present when he met Sandi.
 "It's a very sad ending for everybody."

Friday, February 15, 2013

Others Still Being Sought in West Philadelphia Schoolgirl’s Abduction

Others Still Being Sought in West Philadelphia Schoolgirl’s Abduction
















PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Now that an arrest has been made in the abduction of a five-year-old girl last month from a West Philadelphia elementary school, investigators are asking for the public’s help in tracking down others who may have been involved.

According to police, 19-year-old Christina Regusters of the 6200 block of Walton Street, in the Cobbs Creek section of the city, first came into contact with the girl at a day care center where Regusters worked.

For full story go to:  http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/



Meteor explodes over Russia, 1,100 injured

Meteor explodes over Russia, 1,100 injured

AP Photo
In this frame grab made from a video done with a dashboard camera, on a highway from Kostanai, Kazakhstan, to Chelyabinsk region, Russia, provided by Nasha Gazeta newspaper, on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013 a meteorite contrail is seen. A meteor streaked across the sky of Russia’s Ural Mountains on Friday morning, causing sharp explosions and reportedly injuring around 100 people, including many hurt by broken glass.

MOSCOW (AP) -- With a blinding flash and a booming shock wave, a meteor blazed across the western Siberian sky Friday and exploded with the force of 20 atomic bombs, injuring more than 1,000 people as it blasted out windows and spread panic in a city of 1 million.

While NASA estimated the meteor was only about the size of a bus and weighed an estimated 7,000 tons, the fireball it produced was dramatic. Video shot by startled residents of the city of Chelyabinsk showed its streaming contrails as it arced toward the horizon just after sunrise, looking like something from a world-ending science-fiction movie.

The largest recorded meteor strike in more than a century occurred hours before a 150-foot asteroid passed within about 17,000 miles (28,000 kilometers) of Earth. The European Space Agency said its experts had determined there was no connection between the asteroid and the Russian meteor - just cosmic coincidence.

The meteor above western Siberia entered the Earth's atmosphere about 9:20 a.m. local time (10:20 p.m. EST Thursday) at a hypersonic speed of at least 33,000 mph (54,000 kph) and shattered into pieces about 30-50 kilometers (18 to 32 miles) high, the Russian Academy of Sciences said. NASA estimated its speed at about 40,000 mph, said it exploded about 12 to 15 miles high, released 300 to 500 kilotons of energy and left a trail 300 miles long.

"There was panic. People had no idea what was happening," said Sergey Hametov of Chelyabinsk, about 1,500 kilometers (930 miles) east of Moscow in the Ural Mountains.

"We saw a big burst of light, then went outside to see what it was and we heard a really loud, thundering sound," he told The Associated Press by telephone.

The shock wave blew in an estimated 100,000 square meters (more than 1 million square feet) of glass, according to city officials, who said 3,000 buildings in Chelyabinsk were damaged. At a zinc factory, part of the roof collapsed.

The Interior Ministry said about 1,100 people sought medical care after the shock wave and 48 were hospitalized. Most of the injuries were caused by flying glass, officials said.

Scientists estimated the meteor unleashed a force 20 times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb, although the space rock exploded at a much higher altitude. Amy Mainzer, a scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said the atmosphere acted as a shield.

The shock wave may have shattered windows, but "the atmosphere absorbed the vast majority of that energy," she said.

Emergency Situations Ministry spokesman Vladimir Purgin said many of the injured were cut as they flocked to windows to see what caused the intense flash of light, which momentarily was brighter than the sun.
There was no immediate word on any deaths or anyone struck by space fragments.

President Vladimir Putin summoned the nation's emergencies minister and ordered immediate repairs. "We need to think how to help the people and do it immediately," he said.

Some meteorite fragments fell in a reservoir outside the town of Chebarkul, the regional Interior Ministry office said. The crash left an eight-meter (26-foot) crater in the ice.

Lessons had just started at Chelyabinsk schools when the meteor exploded, and officials said 258 children were among those injured. Amateur video showed a teacher speaking to her class as a powerful shock wave hit the room.

Yekaterina Melikhova, a high school student whose nose was bloody and whose upper lip was covered with a bandage, said she was in her geography class when a bright light flashed outside.

"After the flash, nothing happened for about three minutes. Then we rushed outdoors. ... The door was made of glass, a shock wave made it hit us," she said.

Russian television ran video of athletes at a city sports arena who were showered by shards of glass from huge windows. Some of them were still bleeding.

Other videos showed a long shard of glass slamming into the floor close to a factory worker and massive doors blown away by the shock wave.

Meteors typically cause sizeable sonic booms when they enter the atmosphere because they are traveling so much faster than the speed of sound. Injuries on the scale reported Friday, however, are extraordinarily rare.

"I went to see what that flash in the sky was about," recalled resident Marat Lobkovsky. "And then the window glass shattered, bouncing back on me. My beard was cut open, but not deep. They patched me up. It's OK now."

Another resident, Valya Kazakov, said some elderly women in his neighborhood started crying out that the world was ending.

The many broken windows exposed residents to the bitter cold as temperatures in the city were expected to plummet to minus 20 Celsius (minus 4 Fahrenheit) overnight. The regional governor put out a call for any workers who knew how to repair windows.

Russian-language hashtags for the meteorite quickly shot up into Twitter's top trends.

"Jeez, I just woke up because my bed started shaking! The whole house is moving!" tweeted Alisa Malkova.

Social media was flooded with video from the many dashboard cameras that Russians mount in their cars, in case of pressure from corrupt traffic police or a dispute after an accident.

The dramatic event prompted an array of reactions from prominent Russians.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, speaking at an economic forum in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, said the meteor could be a symbol for the forum, showing that "not only the economy is vulnerable, but the whole planet."

Vladimir Zhirinovsky, a nationalist leader noted for his vehement statements, blamed the Americans.

"It's not meteors falling. It's the test of a new weapon by the Americans," the RIA Novosti news agency quoted him as saying.

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said the incident showed the need for leading world powers to develop a system to intercept objects falling from space.

"At the moment, neither we nor the Americans have such technologies" to shoot down meteors or asteroids, he said, according to the Interfax news agency.

Meteoroids are small pieces of space debris - usually parts of comets or asteroids - that are on a collision course with the Earth. They become meteors when they enter the Earth's atmosphere. Most meteors burn up in the atmosphere, but if they survive the frictional heating and strike the surface of the Earth they are called meteorites.

NASA said the Russian fireball was the largest reported since 1908, when a meteor hit Tunguska, Siberia, and flattened an estimated 80 million trees. Chelyabinsk is about 5,000 kilometers (3,000 miles) west of Tunguska. The Tunguska blast, attributed to a comet or asteroid fragment, is generally estimated to have been about 10 megatons.

Scientists believe that a far larger meteorite strike on what today is Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula may have been responsible for the extinction of the dinosaurs about 66 million years ago. According to that theory, the impact would have thrown up vast amounts of dust that blanketed the sky for decades and altered the climate on Earth.

The object hailed from the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, becoming a meteor as it streaked through the earth's atmosphere, Bill Cooke, head of the Meteoroid Environments Office at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, said.

Paul Chodas, research scientist at the Near Earth Object Program Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said that ground telescopes would have needed to point in the right direction at the right time to spot Friday's incoming meteor.

"It would be very faint and difficult to detect, not impossible, but difficult," Chodas said.

The 150-foot space rock that safely hurtled past Earth at 2:25 p.m. EST Friday was dubbed Asteroid 2012 DA14 and was discovered a year ago. It came closer than many communication and weather satellites that orbit 22,300 miles up.

The asteroid was invisible to astronomers in the United States at the time of its closest approach on the opposite of the world. But in Australia, astronomers used binoculars and telescopes to watch the point of light speed across the clear night sky.

Jim Green, NASA's director of planetary science, called the back-to-back celestial events an amazing display.

"This is indeed very rare and it is historic," he said on NASA TV. "These fireballs happen about once a day or so, but we just don't see them because many of them fall over the ocean or in remote areas. "

Experts said the Russian meteor could have produced much more serious problems in the area hosting nuclear and chemical weapons disposal facilities.

Vladimir Chuprov of Greenpeace Russia noted that the meteor struck only 100 kilometers (60 miles) from the Mayak nuclear storage and disposal facility, which holds dozens of tons of weapons-grade plutonium.

The panic and confusion that followed the meteor quickly gave way to typical Russian black humor and entrepreneurial instincts. Several people smashed in the windows of their houses in the hopes of receiving compensation, the RIA Novosti news agency reported.

Others quickly took to the Internet and put what they said were meteorite fragments up for sale.

One of the most popular jokes was that the meteorite was supposed to fall on Dec. 21, 2012 - when many believed the Mayan calendar predicted the end of the world - but was delivered late by Russia's notoriously inefficient postal service.


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