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Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 25,662

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Pro-Gun America Quiet, Contemplative In Wake Of Sandy Hook Massacre


Pro-gun organizations and politicians usually quick to counter calls for gun control in the wake of massacres involving assault-style weaponry have remained largely silent after Friday's Sandy Hook massacre, for the moment at least ceding their role in a vigorous gun control debate raging across the country.

Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh criticized gun control proponents as early as Friday for trying to exploit the tragedy for political gain, a tack that struck an awkward note in a country where even pro-gun rights Americans paused to consider the implications of America's long-running affinity for guns.

When David Gregory, host of NBC’s "Meet the Press," sent out 31 invitations to pro-gun Senators in the new Congress to talk about the issue on Sunday, no takers emerged. The Shooting Sports Foundation, a pro-gun rights group headquartered just a few miles from where the shootings took place, also remained silent, as did the National Rifle Association.

With the national gun lobbying voices quiet, some conservative bloggers reminded readers of several instances in recent years when legal gun carriers thwarted gunmen intent on killing many people. In Portland, Ore., one concealed weapons owner claims he brandished his gun after alleged mall shooter Jacob Roberts opened fire. According to the man, Roberts, whose rifle was jamming, fled the scene after seeing the gun and minutes later shot himself.



Lacking Money, Experience, Rebels Try To Run Syrian Town Plagued By Water, Power Shortages

Associated Press
5:30 p.m. EST, December 16, 2012

MAARET MISREEN, Syria (AP) — The anti-regime locals who have thrown together a ramshackle administration to run this northern Syrian town have one main struggle: Finding money to keep their community alive. Like other nearby rebel-held towns, Maaret Misreen is broke.

Many of the town's 45,000 residents are out of work. There's no cash to keep water or electricity running, so they come on only sporadically. Prices have skyrocketed. Long lines form at the only working bakery for miles around, creating vulnerable potential targets for airstrikes.

This week, the town's main mosque preacher, Abdel Rahim Attoun — who now doubles as the town judge — appealed to worshippers to chip in to buy fuel for communal water pumps. He asked each family to donate 200 Syrian pounds, a little under $3, the cost of a large bunch of bananas.

But even that's too much for many residents, so no one is being forced to donate, said 29-year-old Amer Ahmado, who is an electronics engineer but was picked by the newly formed local council for the job of managing the town's meager finances.



Illinois Concealed Carry Ruling Sets Stage For High Court Fight Over Right To Carry A Gun

WASHINGTON — The next big issue in the national debate over guns – whether people have a right to be armed in public – is moving closer to Supreme Court review.

A provocative ruling by a panel of federal appeals court judges in Chicago struck down the only statewide ban on carrying concealed weapons, in Illinois. The ruling is somewhat at odds with those of other federal courts that have largely upheld state and local gun laws, including restrictions on concealed weapons, since the Supreme Court's landmark ruling declaring that people have a right to have a gun for self-defense.

In, 2008, the court voted 5-4 in District of Columbia v. Heller to strike down Washington's ban on handgun ownership and focused mainly on the right to defend one's own home. The court left for another day how broadly the Second Amendment may protect gun rights in other settings.

Legal scholars say the competing appellate rulings mean that day is drawing near for a new high court case on gun rights.



Yeshiva U. President Apologizes for '70s, '80s Molest Allegations, Stops Short Of Confirming Crime

THE PRESIDENT of Yeshiva University apologized Thursday over allegations two rabbis at the college’s high school campus abused boys in the late 1970s and early ’80s.

Yeshiva was repeatedly notified that a Talmud teacher, Rabbi Macy Gordon, and a former principal, Rabbi George Finkelstein, abused students, alums of the High School for Boys told the Jewish newspaper the Forward.

University President Richard Joel stopped short of confirming the allegations but called the abuse described in published reports “heinous and inexcusable.”

“The thought that such behavior could have occurred at our boys’ high school, or anywhere at this institution, at any time in its past, is more than sufficient reason to express on behalf of the University, my deepest, most profound apology,” he wrote in a letter posted on the Yeshiva website.

But the apology did not placate Mordechai Twerksy, who attended the upper Manhattan school from 1977 to 1981 and said he was moved to write about the abuse after the Penn State scandal broke.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/yeshiva-university-president-apologizes-1970s-80s-molestations-article-1.1219938#ixzz2FFn80WfO

Palestinian PM Calls For Boycott Of Israeli Goods

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — The Palestinian premier called on his people Sunday to boycott Israeli products, the latest step in an economic battle between Palestinians and Israelis spurred by the Palestinians’ status upgrade last month at the United Nations.

Palestinian Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad, a US-educated economist, told reporters the call for a boycott is a protest against Israel’s withholding of funds to the cash-strapped Palestinian Authority.

Israel is holding $100 million in taxes it collects on behalf of the Palestinians, based on an interim peace accord. It cut off the funds to protest the Palestinians’ successful bid last month at the United Nations, which granted the Palestinians non-state observer status. Israel said the Palestinian move was an attempt to bypass peace negotiations. Palestinians deny that.

Israel has briefly withheld tax transfers on previous occasions to pressure the Palestinians.



Egypt Evacuates 4,000 People From Syria

The Associated Press
CAIRO — Egypt's Foreign Ministry says that Cairo has more evacuated more than 4,000 of its nationals and their family members from Syria over the past several months.

The Sunday statement did not provide a more specific time frame for the evacuations. It cited one recent instance of 90 people, including Egyptian nationals and their Syrian spouses and children, who were given special passage through the Syria-Lebanon border before being taken to Beirut airport.



Egypt Narrowly Votes For New Constitution Amid Widespread Claims Of Ballot Box Fraud

-Muslim Brotherhood claims to be in lead with 56 per cent of 'yes' votes

-Rights groups call for repeat of votes as counting 'took place in darkness'

-120,000 army troops deployed to help the police protect polling stations

Egyptians voted narrowly in favour of a controversial new constitution yesterday amid accusations of widespread ballot box violations.

Rights groups today called for a repeat of the first round of the two-part referendum as Islamists, who back the disputed charter, claimed they were in the lead with a 56 per cent majority of ‘yes’ votes.

Representatives of the seven groups charged that there was insufficient supervision by judges in Saturday's vote in 10 of Egypt's 27 provinces and independent monitors were prevented from witnessing vote counts.

The representatives told a news conference that they had reports of individuals falsely identifying themselves as judges, of women prevented from voting and that members of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood were allowed inside polling stations.



Some Jews, Israel-Backers Fear Chuck Hagel

By KATIE GLUECK | 12/14/12 9:44 AM EST Updated: 12/14/12 11:59 AM EST
Some Jews and supporters of Israel voiced major concerns about the possible nomination of former Sen. Chuck Hagel to lead the Defense Department, taking to Twitter and the blogosphere this week to slam the Nebraska Republican.

“Send us Hagel and we will make sure every American knows he is an anti-Semite,” a senior Republican Senate aide told the Weekly Standard. The aide continued, “Hagel has made clear he believes in the existence of a nefarious Jewish lobby that secretly controls U.S. foreign policy. This is the worst kind of anti-Semitism there is.”

The Times of Israel reported that “The nomination of Hagel would likely worry Israel supporters, who have criticized the former Republican senator for what they see as a chilly stance toward the Jewish state.”

The English-language Israeli publication cited Hagel’s past positions on issues including the second Lebanon War in 2006 and Israel’s dealings with former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2012/12/jews-israel-backers-fear-hagel-85088.html#ixzz2F31Vsx2P

Mandela Remains Hospitalized As Questions Grow

JOHANNESBURG (AP) -- Where is Nelson Mandela?

As the 94-year-old patriarch of South Africa's democracy entered his seventh day of hospitalization Friday for a recurring lung infection, confusion grew as government officials appeared to contradict themselves over where he is being treated.

With the government refusing to say where Mandela is, concern grew across this nation of 50 million people about the health of the anti-apartheid icon.

Mandela, admitted Saturday to a hospital, was thought to have been at 1 Military Hospital near South Africa's capital, Pretoria, after Defense Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said she visited the leader there Monday. But when local media reported that Mandela wasn't at that hospital Thursday night, presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj declined to give the whereabouts of the ailing politician.

"President Mandela is being treated at a Pretoria hospital as said from the first statement we issued," Maharaj said. "We have refrained from disclosing the hospital in order to ensure privacy and also to allow doctors space to do their work of caring for (him) without interruptions or undue pressure."



U.N. Nuke Agency: Progress On Iran Nuclear Program

Source: Associated Press

VIENNA — A senior U.N. official announced progress Friday in long-stalled efforts to resume a probe of suspicions that Iran may have worked to develop nuclear arms, saying the investigation could be restarted by early next year.

Herman Nackaerts of the International Atomic Energy Agency spoke of headway after returning from talks with Iranian officials in Tehran, saying his team was “able to make progress” and the IAEA expects to “start implementing” an agreement on the probe shortly after new talks in Tehran on Jan. 16

He acknowledged that a key IAEA request — a visit to a site linked to suspected nuclear weapons research — was again denied. But he told reporters at Vienna airport that he expected IAEA experts to be allowed to go to Parchin, a military base southeast of Tehran, and follow up on suspicions it might have been used as part of secret arms-related experiments once the probe is resumed.

In Tehran, Iran’s state TV also reported that there was no agreement on visiting Parchin. But in comments to state TV, Iranian envoy Ali Asghar Soltanieh called the talks “constructive,” adding that “good progress was made.” He also said a new meeting was set for Jan. 16.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20121214/NEWS05/121219655/u-n-nuke-agency-progress-on-iran-nuclear-program
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