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November 28, 2003

Staffers caught hacking Senate computers
Washington Post | Submitted by: WDON
"The Senate sergeant-at-arms has opened an investigation into Republicans obtaining and publicizing internal memos from the computer and network resources of two Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Late Tuesday, Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) confirmed that his inquiry had found that a member of his staff 'had improperly accessed some of the documents' and a second former staff member 'may also have been involved.' ... Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (Vt.), ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee along with Kennedy and Durbin, requested that [the sergeant-at-arms] hire security experts to determine who retrieved the documents. They also asked for an audit of logs to determine who may have been trying to access the files or directories from which the memos had been copied. Two days later, the senators complained to Hatch that he had not yet given consent for the committee hard drives to be turned over."

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Amsterdam scheduled to stop selling pot to tourists
Washington Times | Submitted by: Downs
"Holland will be allowed to keep its 'coffee' shops, where marijuana is openly sold and smoked, under a new European Union drugs control law... But only Dutch residents with identity cards will be allowed to use the cannabis cafes. Dutch justice minister Piet Hein Donner said his government would restrict coffee shop owners from selling soft drugs to non-residents, in order to combat drug tourists."

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Union fights dismissal of worker gone postal
Globe and Mail | Submitted by: Alex
"Seven days after George Pavlovsky was fired from his job as a senior tree cutter with the City of Moncton, the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 51 filed a grievance to his employer challenging the dismissal... The 44-year-old arrived at the Moncton Public Works Operation Centre on April 10 extremely intoxicated and carrying a sawed-off shotgun and a handgun. He was looking for two senior managers. The two were not in their offices, but in meetings at the time. As he stormed through the sprawling operations centre, his two dozen co-workers ran for cover or fled the building... A co-worker disarmed the disgruntled employee and Mounties arrived shortly afterward and arrested him."

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Naked bleeder winds up on Cal Ripken's doorstep
CNN | Submitted by: jimbo
"A naked man who was shot in the back showed up at the home of retired Baltimore Orioles shortstop Cal Ripken on Thanksgiving night and pleaded for help, police said. Ripken said he called 911, though police did not identify him by name... The wounded man, Brian Robins, 20, of Baltimore, was found on Ripken's porch around 9 p.m. Thursday. He was taken by helicopter to a hospital and was released early Friday, officials said. Robins told police that he was kidnapped Thursday by three men who held him captive for nine hours, forced him into the trunk of their car, then ordered him to strip and run, Vinson said. Robins said he was shot as he ran away."

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Sadist convicted of torture
Waikato Times | Submitted by: Reid Fleming
"In April 2002, Major Wilson, 35, took an 18-year-old man in as a boarder to work on his Morrinsville farm but then subjected him to months of cruelty, which Judge Robert Spear described as close to torture... During one incident at the milking shed, apparently as punishment for taking too long to clean up, Wilson hosed the man down before repeatedly hitting him with a hammer and then jumping on his head with steel-capped gumboots. Wilson left him lying unconscious on jagged concrete... On December 18 he ordered the man to wear a dog collar and leash, pulling him around the house and punching him as he went."

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Girl Scouter's underage sex party
Gainesville Sun | Submitted by: Reid Fleming
"Debra Favre, 39, who was a registrar with the Girl Scouts of Palm Glades Council, was arrested in May with her friend Amy Duane, 37, for hosting parties for boys in which they supplied alcohol, watched adult movies and had sex. Favre, of Greenacres, faces between eight and almost 16 years for one court of sexual misconduct with a minor and four counts of providing alcohol to minors... The charges were filed after sheriff's officials learned that Duane and Favre hosted several parties over a four-month period at Duane's home in which women provided rum, vodka and beer to the boys, ages 12 and older, under the condition that they abided by 'Amy's rule' - that they wouldn't get too drunk."

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CIA hires temps to catch Bin Laden
Boston Globe | Submitted by: Reid Fleming
"William Carlson and Christopher Glenn Mueller were retired military commandos hired by the CIA as contractors to hunt Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters near Shkin, in eastern Afghanistan. They were killed in an ambush Oct. 25 while taking part in a larger military offensive in the area. It appears they were hired by the CIA during the rapid growth of the agency's covert paramilitary force after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. They were among an undisclosed number of former special operators hired to augment the CIA's own employees... Some analysts wonder whether the CIA contractors are subject to proper oversight from the CIA and Congress."

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Glen Campbell blames the pills
BBC | Submitted by: unaesthetic
"Country singer Glen Campbell has blamed his recent drink-driving arrest on accidentally drinking alcohol while on prescribed medication for anxiety. He was arrested in Phoenix, Arizona, on Monday after allegedly crashing his car and then driving off... 'I'm taking Lexapro and you can't have alcohol with it, and I did. I forgot.' the United States star told the East Valley Tribune newspaper. He said he had been taking the medication for at least seven months to treat anxiety. When tested, his blood-alcohol level was two-and-a-half times above the legal limit for Arizona, according to court documents... In a recent interview, Mr Campbell said he gave up drugs and alcohol in the late 1970s after taking cocaine in Las Vegas and almost killing himself."

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Gloria Trevi's manager extradited
Wire Services | Submitted by: Reid Fleming
"The former manager of Mexican pop singer Gloria Trevi was extradited to Mexico on Friday to face charges of rape, kidnapping and corruption of minors. Sergio Andrade, 48, was accompanied by Mexican police on a flight from Sao Paulo to Mexico City, Brazilian federal police said... Prosecutors say Trevi and Andrade sexually abused girls who joined their entourage in hopes of become pop stars. One of the girls abandoned a baby in Spain in 1998, claiming Andrade was the father. Trevi and Andrade then disappeared... After a long legal battle, Trevi was extradited to Mexico in December. She is being held in a maximum security prison in Chihuahua, 760 miles northwest of Mexico City."

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Chinese rappers praising Mao
BBC | Submitted by: unaesthetic
"China's authorities want to inject new life into a song collection by former leader Mao Zedong, by releasing a brand new version sung by 20-year-olds... The state-run Beijing Times said the songs, which include a rap track, were being released in an effort to extend Mao's legacy to Chinese youth... Mao, who ruled China from 1949 until his death in 1976, is considered the founder of Chinese Communism and the modern Chinese state. Correspondents say he still has godlike status in some parts of China. However, he was also responsible for the Cultural Revolution, a 10-year campaign of violence and chaos begun in 1966 to renew the spirit of Communism."

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Newest fad: female embezzlers with gambling problems
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel | Submitted by: Reid Fleming
"[Rebecca Piekarski], 38, was charged in Milwaukee with embezzling $518,000 from Gesu Church, where she was the bookkeeper and spending "thousands and thousands" of it at Potawatomi Bingo Casino. [Sharon Wertz] 38, another former bookkeeper, has been accused in Waukesha of stealing more than $600,000 from her former employer during the same period. She and her husband spent more than $420,000 at the casino, the criminal complaint says. [Carol Braun], 64, a former Goodwill Industries controller, was sentenced in Oshkosh to five years in prison for stealing more than $500,000 from the charity for the disabled and spending much of it at casinos."

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Females the 'dominant sex'
National Geographic | Submitted by: Reid Fleming
"Females are the dominant sex in most primate communities. Far from being passive bystanders in a world governed by machismo, a new study suggests females may determine social evolution in primates... Scientists believe communal living is particularly beneficial to females because a ready food supply is crucial for successful reproduction. A primate 'sisterhood' would be better equipped to locate and defend food resources than individual animals."

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California county election officials paperphobic
Wired News | Submitted by: Reid Fleming
"[California Secretary of State Kevin Shelley] announced Friday that any e-voting machines purchased after July 1, 2005, must produce a voter-verifiable receipt. Machines purchased before then must be retrofitted with printers to produce a receipt by July 1, 2006... Tom Hiltachk, an election law expert with the law firm Bell, McAndrews, Hiltachk & Davidian, said the secretary of state was within his authority to mandate a paper audit trail. He said the counties are objecting to Shelley's decision without giving the secretary an opportunity to show how the solution will be implemented."

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Utter loathing for The Cat in the Hat
Guardian UK | Submitted by: Reid Fleming
"'An abomination, impure and simple.' ... 'Like being run over by a garbage truck that backs up and dumps its load on top of you.' ... 'If the producers had dug up Ted Geisel's body and hung it from a tree, they couldn't have desecrated the man any more.' ... 'Charmless, pointless and all but witless adaptation, with even less charisma than that flesh-eating virus of holiday films, 2000's How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Take someone you hate... Perhaps the worst holiday movie ever made.' ... 'They might as well have skipped the hassle of securing licensing rights and simply called this mess Mike Myers: Asshole in Fur.'"

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