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The Left Column


Bernie Sanders Announces Deadline on Presidential Decision

(Common Dreams) "Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) announced Friday that he will decide by March if he will enter the 2016 presidential race—and whether he'll run on a Democrat or Independent platform.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Sanders said his nomination would be more than a political game. "I don't want to do it unless I can do it well," he said. "I don't want to do it unless we can win this thing."


WBFF (FOX 45) apologizes for misleading edit on videotape of protest chant

(Baltimore Sun) WWBF (Fox45) apologized Monday night online and on-air for misleadingly editing and airing a video Sunday of a protest march in Washington to make it seem as if protesters were chanting “kill a cop.”

What the marchers were actually chanting in response to the lead of a Baltimore woman, Tawanda Jones, was “We won’t stop. We can’t stop ‘til killer cops are in cell blocks.”


“It may out-Ferguson Ferguson”: Why Milwaukee’s police violence will horrify you

(Salon) While the Hamilton case has not received as much media attention as the Michael Brown shooting, it may very well out-Ferguson Ferguson. Hamilton, an unarmed 31-year-old African-American man, was shot 14 times by white police officer Christopher Manney on the afternoon of April 30, 2014. Hamilton, who had a history of schizophrenia (which he had received treatment for), had been sleeping in downtown Red Arrow Park; two officers had checked on him earlier in the day and concluded that he was not a threat to himself or others. Toxicology reports found no drugs or alcohol in Hamilton’s system at the time of his death. Half of the bullets that hit Hamilton traveled in a downward direction before striking their target, with one shot hitting him in the back. According to Jonathan Safran, an attorney for the Hamilton family, no gunpowder residue was found near Hamilton’s 21 gunshot wounds – a finding that Safran suggests shows Manney fired from some distance when he discharged his weapon that day.


NYT Editorial Board: Prosecute Torturers and Their Bosses

The question everyone will want answered, of course, is: Who should be held accountable? That will depend on what an investigation finds, and as hard as it is to imagine Mr. Obama having the political courage to order a new investigation, it is harder to imagine a criminal probe of the actions of a former president.

But any credible investigation should include former Vice President Dick Cheney; Mr. Cheney’s chief of staff, David Addington; the former C.I.A. director George Tenet; and John Yoo and Jay Bybee, the Office of Legal Counsel lawyers who drafted what became known as the torture memos. There are many more names that could be considered, including Jose Rodriguez Jr., the C.I.A. official who ordered the destruction of the videotapes; the psychologists who devised the torture regimen; and the C.I.A. employees who carried out that regimen.

Judi Lynn

Ferguson prosecutor says he knew some witnesses were ‘clearly not telling the truth.’ They testified

(WaPo) St. Louis County prosecuting attorney Bob McColluch knowingly placed witnesses who were not telling the truth in front of grand jurors investigating this summer’s police officer-involved shooting death of Michael Brown, according to a radio interview he gave Friday.

After nearly a month of silence following the the grand jury’s decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, McCulloch told St. Louis radio station KTRS 550 AM that some of the witnesses were “clearly not telling the truth,” but were allowed them to testify anyway.


Obama is Finally Free

(Political Wire) “Obama’s turnaround in recent weeks – he’s seized the offensive with a series of controversial executive actions and challenges to leaders in his own party on the budget — can be attributed to a fundamental change in his political mindset, according to current and former aides. He’s gone from thinking of himself as a sitting (lame) duck, they tell me, to a president diving headlong into what amounts to a final campaign – this one to preserve his legacy, add policy points to the scoreboard, and – last but definitely not least – to inflict the same kind of punishment on his newly empowered Republican enemies, who delighted in tormenting him when he was on top.”


Obama Administration Issues Executive Order to Protect Transgender Rights in Public Employment

(Mediaite) President Barack Obama issued an executive order Thursday to prohibit transgender discrimination in public employment, another unilateral move by the administration in the wake of the 2014 midterms.

According to the new order, the Justice Department will now interpret the Civil Rights Act as covering transgender employees in workplace discrimination disputes, allowing the DOJ to bring suits against public employers for firing employees on the basis of gender identity.

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Latest Breaking News

NYPD chief calls for "a lot less rhetoric and a lot more dialogue" (+video)

5 sec ago - NEW YORK — A day after the funeral of one of two police officers gunned down in their patrol car, the city's police commissioner called Sunday for a "lot less rhetoric and a lot more dialogue" to defuse the tension between police officers and the pop ... (Christian Science Monitor)

One Dead, Hundreds Trapped in Greek Ferry Fire

1 min ago - Italian officials say the fire aboard a Greek ferry off the island of Corfu is under control as efforts to rescue hundreds of trapped passengers continue through the night. The Italian Coast Guard says at least one person has died. Rescuers have do ... (VOA News)

Seth Rogen ‘Thrilled’ by ‘The Interview’s’ $2.8 Million Box Office

24 min ago - Todd Cunningham “That people actually left their houses when they had the option of staying home is amazing,” Rogen says The controversial comedy “The Interview” would have shattered the record for biggest difference between media mania and box-off ... (The Wrap)

Franken takes on Obama

1 hr ago - Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) on Sunday called on supporters to reject one of President Obama's nominees to the Treasury Department. Franken criticized nominee Antonio Weiss in no uncertain terms, arguing Obama had nominated the wrong person for the job ... (The Hill)

Search and Rescue Operation Resume for Missing AirAsia Jet

1 hr ago - By DEAN SCHABNER, BILL McGUIRE and BEN CANDEA A massive search and rescue operation has resumed for an AirAsia Indonesia jet that lost contact with air traffic control over the Java Sea during a flight to Singapore shortly after the pilots requested ... (ABC News)

Doctors threaten national strike in 5 days

1 hr ago - NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 28 – Just a day after teachers threatened to go on strike, doctors gave the government five days within which to respond to their demands or also mobilise a nationwide medics’ strike. The Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists ... (Capital News)

North Side blaze kills 5, injures 10 (in San Antonio apartment building for seniors)

2 hrs ago - Five people died and 10 were injured after a 3-alarm-fire broke out Sunday at a senior living high-rise in the North Side suburb of Castle Hills, authorities said. The Castle Hills Fire Department first responded to the 6 a.m. blaze at Wedgwood Seni ... (San Antonio Express-News)

Malaria killing thousands more than Ebola in West Africa

2 hrs ago - By MICHELLE FAUL GUECKEDOU, Guinea (AP) — West Africa's fight to contain Ebola has hampered the campaign against malaria, a preventable and treatable disease that is claiming many thousands more lives than the dreaded virus. In Gueckedou, near the ... (AP-Excite)

Croatia presidency to be decided in runoff

2 hrs ago - By DARKO BANDIC Dec. 28, 2014 5:24 PM EST ZAGREB, Croatia (AP) — The liberal incumbent and a conservative rival are heading for a showdown in a runoff presidential election in Croatia, according to the preliminary count of the Sunday poll, held amid ... (The Associated Press)

Obama: Longest war in US history is ending

4 hrs ago - By JOSH LEDERMAN HONOLULU (AP) — President Barack Obama says the longest war in American history is coming to a responsible conclusion. Obama is welcoming the end of U.S. combat operations in Afghanistan. The war came to a formal end Sunday with a ... (AP-Excite)

Sony says PlayStation still has problems, gradually coming back online

4 hrs ago - BY JIM FINKLE AND LIANA B. BAKER Sony Corp's (6758.T) PlayStation Network suffered connection problems for a fourth straight day since hackers attacked the video game network, and the company said on Sunday that service was gradually being restored ... (Reuters)

Search to Resume Monday for Missing AirAsia Jet

5 hrs ago - A search operation in the Java Sea for a missing AirAsia plane with 162 passengers and crew aboard has been scaled back for the night, set to fully resume at daybreak Monday. The Airbus A320 disappeared Sunday morning, Asia time, on a flight from Su ... (VOA News)

Boko Haram militants stage attacks in northern Cameroon

5 hrs ago - (Reuters) - Some 1,000 suspected Boko Haram fighters from Nigeria attacked five towns in northern Cameroon over the weekend and briefly occupied a military camp on Sunday before being removed by the air force, an army spokesman said. The heavily arm ... (Reuters)

Iranian senior commander killed in Iraq

6 hrs ago - By ALI AKBAR DAREINI TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — A senior commander in Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard has been killed during a battle against the Islamic State extremist group in Iraq, the Guard said Sunday. Brig. Gen. Hamid Taqavi was "martyred while ... (AP-Excite)

Cyber-attacks on South Korean nuclear power operator continue

6 hrs ago - South Korea’s nuclear power operator has said cyber-attacks on non-critical operations at its headquarters are continuing but the country’s nuclear power plants are operating safely and are secure from attack. Cho Seok, president and chief executive ... (Reuters)

ING Bank staff demand job safety post merger, to strike on January 7

6 hrs ago - Employee unions of ING Vysya Bank on Sunday demanded safeguarding of their interests post-merger with Kotak Bank and threatened to go on strike on January 7, the day on which the Bengaluru-headquartered lender will seek shareholders' nod to approve t ... (DNA India)

Rudy Giuliani calls on Bill de Blasio to apologize to cops

7 hrs ago - Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani said current mayor Bill de Blasio owes New York City police an apology for creating "an impression with police that he was on the side of the protesters." "Mayor de Blasio, please say you're sorry to them for ... (CBS News)

US And NATO Formally End War In Afghanistan

7 hrs ago - Caption under photo: International forces mark the start of a new supportive mission after a conflict which has claimed the lives 3,485 foreign troops. The United States and NATO have formally ended the 13-year war in Afghanistan with a ceremony at ... (SkyNews)

Algeria calls for OPEC to cut production

7 hrs ago - By AOMAR OUALI ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — Algeria's oil minister on Sunday called on OPEC to cut production and raise the price of oil, which has plunged dramatically in the last six months. The call by Youcef Yousfi to the Organization of Petroleum E ... (AP-Excite)

Bird Flu Return: Hong Kong Confirms First Deadly Case of Winter

8 hrs ago - A woman is critically ill in Hong Kong with the lethal H7N9 strain of bird flu, the first confirmed case in the city this winter, Hong Kong government officials said. The city's influenza pandemic response level was elevated to "serious." The woman, ... (NBC News)

‘Harry Potter’ Actor David Ryall Dead; Daughter Asks Fans To Remember Wide Career

8 hrs ago - English actor David Ryall, best known for his role in the “Harry Potter” film series, died Christmas Day at the age of 79. The news was confirmed by actor and writer Mark Gatiss, as well as Ryall’s daughter, Charlie Ryall. Gatiss, a writer for “Sher ... (ibtimes)

Egypt: Biblical epic 'Exodus' banned over errors

8 hrs ago - CAIRO (AP) — Egypt says it banned Ridley Scott's biblical epic "Exodus: Gods & Kings" because it gives the wrong idea about Egypt's history and presents a "racist" image of Jews. The Culture Ministry explained its decision for the first time in a st ... (AP-Excite)

Iranian military tests suicide drone

14 hrs ago - Iran’s army said Saturday it has deployed a suicide drone for the first time in massive ongoing military drills near the strategic Strait of Hormuz at the entrance to the Persian Gulf. Gen. Ahmad Reza Pourdastan, the army’s chief commander of ground ... (Associated Press)

Critical decisions after 9/11 led to slow, steady decline in quality for Secret Service

17 hrs ago - By Carol D. Leonnig December 27 at 10:47 PM The Secret Service began struggling to carry out its most basic duties after Congress and the George W. Bush administration expanded the elite law enforcement agency’s mission in the wake of the Sept. 11, ... (Washington Post)

Pakistan: Gunmen kill man from targeted minority sect

17 hrs ago - Dec. 28, 2014 2:35 AM EST SLAMABAD (AP) — A Pakistani police officer says unknown gunmen have shot dead a young man from a targeted religious minority community in eastern Pakistan. Rifaqat Hussain says gunmen killed Luqman Shahzad on Sunday as he ... (The Associated Press)

US, NATO to mark end of mission to Afghanistan

17 hrs ago - Dec. 28, 2014 3:12 AM EST KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The United States and NATO will mark the formal end of the war in Afghanistan on Sunday with a ceremony at their military headquarters in Kabul as the insurgency they fought for 13 years remains a ... (The Associated Press)

Hundreds trapped as ferry burns in heavy seas off Greece

18 hrs ago - Hundreds of passengers were trapped on a burning car ferry off Greece on Sunday, pleading to be rescued by a flotilla of nearby ships that battled storm conditions in open water to try to reach them. The Greek coastguard said 150 people had been sav ... (Reuters)

California man suspected of vandalizing Islamic center

21 hrs ago - By SCOTT SMITH Dec. 27, 2014 10:45 PM EST FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — A 28-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of vandalizing the Islamic Cultural Center of Fresno on Christmas day, causing investigators at first to suspect a hate crime, police sa ... (The Associated Press)

Sony Admits PlayStation Taken Down by Cyberattack

21 hrs ago - Sony has appeared to admit for the first time that the disruption to its PlayStation network that ruined Christmas for untold children was the result of a cyberattack. "The video game industry has been experiencing high levels of traffic designed to ... (NBC News)

Syria 'ready to participate' in Moscow peace talks

21 hrs ago - By ALBERT AJI and DIAA HADID DAMASCUS (AP) — Syrian state-run TV said Saturday that the government is prepared to take part in peace talks hosted by Russia next month, but the unnamed foreign ministry official it cited suggested the scope of the neg ... (AP-Excite)