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December 16, 2003

Rescuers accidentally decapitate trapped coworker
Newsday | Submitted by: MikeW
"A construction worker was decapitated when co-workers tried to dig him out of a collapsed ditch with an excavating machine, officials said. The 39-year-old man, whose name was not released, became trapped in the ditch Monday afternoon at the intersection of Taylor Street and DeGroot Place on Staten Island. Colleagues tried to free him and another trapped worker with a backhoe, accidentally severing the first man's head... It had not yet been determined whether the man died because of the decapitation or when the trench's walls collapsed, said Paul Iannizzotto, a fire department spokesman."

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Fire figures prominently in DIY exorcism
Lawton Constitution | Submitted by: heptapod
"While [Master Officer Russell Hampton] and another officer cleared out the residents of the adjoining apartments, the woman allegedly was 'yelling out of control, yelling "fuck it!"' Hampton said... '[she] said she started it so it would burn down because her apartment is haunted by a ghost and she wants to kill it.' The officer notes in his report that the alleged ghost lives in the woman's bathtub. He said that the woman, who has been taken into custody 10 times prior on emergency orders of detention, allegedly made no attempt to notify her neighbors of the fire she allegedly had started."

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Saddam allegedly turned in by wife 2 of 4
News Corporation | Submitted by: Drunaus
"Saddam Hussein was captured in a filthy underground hole because of the demands of the one woman he still trusted. She is Samira Shahbander, the second of his four wives. And now she may receive part of, if not all, of the $25 million bounty the US government promised for information that led to the capture of the Iraqi dictator... During their marriage, Saddam showered her with gifts, including two palaces. The marriage was cemented by the birth of Ali. The child's arrival deepened the hatred of Saddam's elder son's, Uday and Qusay, towards Samira. On the day they died, the Mossad eavesdroppers heard Samira laugh for the first time."

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Israel planned to assassinate Saddam
Canadian Broadcasting | Submitted by: przem
"Israel called off a plan to assassinate Saddam Hussein in 1992 after five soldiers died training for the mission, Israeli officials said Tuesday... The late Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin ordered the mission in retaliation for the 39 Scud missiles Iraq fired at Israel during the 1991 Gulf War. Members of Sayeret Matkal, an elite Israeli special operations force, were to sneak into Iraq and kill Saddam with special missiles while he attended a funeral. The commandos, all volunteers, were supposed to commit suicide rather than be captured alive... The plan was cancelled when five commandos were killed while training for the mission. A live missile had been wrongly substituted for a dummy missile during the training exercise."

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Bus slams full-speed into adult store
San Francisco Chronicle | Submitted by: stultas
"Seventeen people were injured Monday night when a Municipal Railway bus swerved off Mission Street and crashed into an adult video store, police said. One of the injured, a 60-year-old man, was in critical condition with head injuries. The accident occurred at about 10:15 p.m. at Mission and Sixth streets when a 14-Mission double electric bus slammed into the Golden Gate Adult Superstore... 'I was in the back of the bus. The next thing I know, I'm flying through the air,' said a man who declined to be identified. 'It was a big bang. No brakes, we went full speed into the building.'"

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Toddler allegedly killed by neighbor's obesity
New York Daily News | Submitted by: Peter Piper
"'I'm very sorry about what happened,' said Novella Williams, who crushed the 21-month-old girl in the accident, according to cops. India (Nini) Bryan died at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center on Sunday night after suffering internal bleeding and brain trauma. The dancing tyke had been the life of a tenants association party inside a vacant apartment at her W. 160th St. building the night before. The festivities were winding down with a slow song by R. Kelly when Nini had fallen behind Williams. 'When I bent down to pick up the baby, I fell,' said Williams, 46, who lives across from the child's fifth-floor apartment... She disputed that she landed on the girl, and was unsure how the child was hurt."

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Former death row inmate running for state office
Chicago Sun-Times | Submitted by: Drunaus
"A former Death Row inmate and ex-Chicago street gang leader pardoned this year by former Gov. George Ryan filed to run for the state Legislature Monday. Aaron Patterson filed for the March 16th Democratic primary against first-term state Rep. Patricia Bailey (D-Chicago), who represents parts of Englewood, Canaryville, Bridgeport and Back of the Yards on the South Side... While state law bars convicted felons from seeking municipal office, that restriction doesn't apply to races for the Legislature or other higher office... [Also filing was] Former Rep. Mel Reynolds, [who] served five years in prison for bank fraud and having sex with an underage campaign volunteer."

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Pickton charged with 7 more murders
Toronto Star | Submitted by: Lydia
"A former pig farmer accused of being Canada's worst serial killer will face seven more murder charges, bringing to 22 his alleged victims. Robert William Pickton, 54, sat expressionless during a video appearance in British Columbia Supreme Court yesterday as the crown announced the additional first-degree murder charges will be laid before the sensational trial begins."

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Alleged gunman accidentally suicides during robbery
Toronto Star | Submitted by: Lydia
"Randy Robinson, 19, of Brampton, died in hospital shortly after a Kwik Cab taxi driver was robbed at gunpoint, at about 1:10 a.m. on Adam St. near Bovaird Blvd. and Conestoga Rd. Peel police believe Robinson and another man robbed the cabbie and then fled the scene, but the handgun accidentally went off when the dead man tried to put the weapon into his pants."

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Ten Commandments judge wants old job back
Birmingham News | Submitted by: optional
"The Alabama Supreme Court's eight associate justices stepped down Monday from hearing Roy Moore's appeal of his removal from office as chief justice, and a special seven-member court will be named to decide the case... All eight justices signed an order which said they should step aside from hearing the Moore appeal because they all had been 'intimately involved in the events' surrounding the monument."

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Texas cops wasting time busting sex-toy dealers
San Francisco Chronicle | Submitted by: Reid Fleming
"Joanne Webb, a former fifth-grade teacher and mother of three, was in a county court in Cleburne, Texas, on Monday to answer obscenity charges for selling the vibrator to undercover narcotics officers posing as a dysfunctional married couple in search of a sex aid. Webb, a saleswoman for Passion Parties of Brisbane, faces a year in jail and a $4,000 fine if convicted... Webb said she was amazed that the town's narcotics squad would be put on the case. 'We have a real problem with drugs in our schools,' she said, 'and they're using our narcotics officers to entrap me for selling a vibrator.'"

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Motorists taking much fewer piss breaks, evidently
Tri City Herald | Submitted by: Reid Fleming
"Plastic jugs filled with urine are becoming a common sight along the highways, particularly at freeway interchanges... From March 4 to Nov. 27, 2002, one Adams County highway cleanup crew picked up 2,666 jugs of urine and 67 bags with human excrement in them. That's just one crew out of about 40 crews working in Adams County, and Cagle hasn't yet tallied the results for 2003."

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Guard quits following prison love affair
News Corporation | Submitted by: optional
"A Brisbane prison guard's love affair with a female inmate was exposed when she sent his love letters to his de facto wife. The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, worked as the intelligence officer at Brisbane Women's Prison and resigned several weeks ago after management confronted him with allegations of his relationship. Prison sources claimed he and the inmate were having a sexual relationship while she was housed in the residential section of the jail at Wacol in Brisbane's outer west. The inmate was eventually released from jail and the relationship continued for some time before the woman ended the affair with the officer."

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Former prisoner rearrested four days after release
CNN | Submitted by: Marla Jones
"Released from prison, Ronald A. Mahner's first mistake was driving back to get his stuff. Mahner returned to the Seminole County Jail to reclaim his personal property four days after being released. He had served a sentence for drunken driving, auto theft and habitually driving with a suspended or revoked license. But when asked to provide identification, Mahner handed a sheriff's deputy his license, which after routine computer check was found to have been revoked for life."

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Italian TV boycott successful
l'Unita | Submitted by: qwf
For three days, almost half a million of people in Italy boycotted television networks owned by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, to protest the Gasparri Bill which relaxes limits on media ownership. Critics say the law would allow Berlusconi, who already owns three TV stations, to strengthen his hold on the media. Article in Italian.

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Free Willy secretly buried on shore
CNN | Submitted by: optional
"Keiko, the killer whale star of the Free Willy movies, was buried Monday in a snow-bound pasture during the deep darkness of Nordic winter in a ceremony kept secret from the public. 'We wanted to let him be at peace,' said Dane Richards, one of his caretakers... Richards said the burial in a pasture just yards from where Keiko, about 26, died was done in secret to avoid a media circus."

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Internet doomed
msnbc.msn.com | Submitted by: A. P. Palled
"Picture, if you will, an information infrastructure that encourages censorship, surveillance and suppression of the creative impulse. Where anonymity is outlawed and every penny spent is accounted for. Where the powers that be can smother subversive (or economically competitive) ideas in the cradle, and no one can publish even a laundry list without the imprimatur of Big Brother... 'The social, economic and legal priorities are going to force the Internet toward security,' says Stratton Sclavos, CEO of VeriSign... 'It's not going to be all right not to know who's on the other end of the wire.'"

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