GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

October 5, 2012

Turkey authorizes military to operate inside Syria


The Eagle-Tribune

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Turkey authorizes military operations inside Syria

AKCAKALE, Turkey (AP) — Turkey sanctioned further military action against Syria yesterdayand bombarded targets across the border with artillery for a second day, raising the stakes in a conflict that increasingly is bleeding outside Syrian territory.

Although both sides moved to calm tensions, Turkey's parliament overwhelmingly approved a bill allowing the military to conduct cross-border operations into Syria — making clear that Ankara has military options that do not involve its Western or Arab allies.

It was the most dramatic escalation in tensions between the countries, which were close allies before the revolt against Syrian President Bashar Assad began in March 2011. Over the past 18 months, however, Turkey has become one of the strongest critics of the Syrian regime, accusing it of savagery and massacres against the opposition.

The rebels who are trying to bring down Assad have used Turkey as their base, enraging a regime that accuses foreign countries of fomenting the unrest inside Syria.

The spark for the latest hostility was a mortar shell fired from Syria that slammed into a house in the Turkish border village of Akcakale on Wednesday, killing two women and three children.

Official: Mexico holds 2 in shooting of US Border Patrol agent

PHOENIX (AP) — Federal police have arrested two men who may be connected with the fatal shooting of a U.S. Border Patrol agent just north of the Mexico-Arizona border, a Mexican law enforcement official said yesterday.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information, said it was unclear if there was strong evidence linking the men to the shooting of Agent Nicholas Ivie.

Ivie and two other agents were fired upon Tuesday in a rugged hilly area about five miles (eight kilometers) north of the border near Bisbee, Ariz., as they responded to an alarm that was triggered on one of the sensors that the government has installed along the border.

The wounded agent was shot in the ankle and buttocks and released from the hospital after undergoing surgery. The third agent wasn't injured.

Brenda Nath, an FBI spokeswoman in Arizona, and Border Patrol officials in Arizona declined to comment on the detention of the two men in Mexico. The Cochise County Sheriff's Office, which is also investigating the shooting, didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

Doctors urged not to use any drugs from Mass. company tied to meningitis outbreak

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. health officials ramped up warnings yesterday about a Massachusetts specialty pharmacy linked to a widening outbreak of a rare kind of meningitis, urging doctors and hospitals not to use any products from the company.

Investigators this week found contamination in a sealed vial of the steroid at the New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Mass., according to Food and Drug Administration officials.

Tests are under way to determine if it is the same fungus blamed in the outbreak that has sickened 35 people in six states. Five of them have died. All received steroid shots for back pain.

"Out of an abundance of caution, we advise all health care practitioners not to use any product" from the company, said Ilisa Bernstein, director of compliance for the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

The company recalled the steroid medication last week and has shut down operations. The recalled steroid had been shipped to facilities in 23 states since July.

Nearly 3 dozen states don't meet federal sex offenders tracking rules

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Nearly three dozen states have failed to meet conditions of a 2006 federal law that requires them to join a nationwide program to track sex offenders, including five states that have completely given up on the effort because of persistent doubts about how it works and how much it costs.

The states, including some of the nation's largest, stand to lose millions of dollars in government grants for law enforcement, but some have concluded that honoring the law would be far more expensive than simply living without the money.

"The requirements would have been a huge expense," said Doris Smith, who oversees grant programs at the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration. Lawmakers weren't willing to spend that much, even though the state will lose $226,000.

The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, named after a boy kidnapped from a Florida mall and killed in 1981, was supposed to create a uniform system for registering and tracking sex offenders that would link all 50 states, plus U.S. territories and tribal lands. When President George W. Bush signed it into law, many states quickly realized they would have to overhaul their sex offender registration systems to comply.

Some lawmakers determined that the program would cost more to implement than to ignore. Others resisted the burden it placed on offenders, especially certain juveniles who would have to be registered for life. In Arizona, for instance, offenders convicted as juveniles can petition for removal after rehabilitation.

Police want to see computer of boy killed by father

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — An attorney for a Connecticut man who fatally shot his 15-year-old son, thinking he was an intruder, said testerdat that state police want access to a computer and phone used by the teen to try to determine why he was out at night wearing a ski mask and armed with a knife.

Gene Zingaro said his client Jeffrey Giuliano is cooperating with the request because he and his wife want the same answers.

Police say Giuliano went outside with a gun around 1 a.m. on Sept. 27 when his sister called to say someone was trying to break into her house next door in New Fairfield. Authorities say Giuliano saw a masked person holding a shiny object come toward him in a threatening manner and shot him.

He later was told the person he killed was his son Tyler. Police said the weapon was a knife.

Police are investigating the shooting and declined to comment on details. No charges have been filed.

Study: Free birth control means fewer abortions, fewer teen births

WASHINGTON (AP) — Free birth control led to dramatically lower rates of abortions and teen births, a large study concluded yeserday, offering strong evidence for how a bitterly contested Obama administration policy could benefit women's health.

The project tracked more than 9,000 women in St. Louis, many of them poor or uninsured. They were given their choice of a range of contraceptive methods at no cost — from birth control pills to goof-proof options like the IUD or a matchstick-sized implant.

When price wasn't an issue, women flocked to the most effective contraceptives — the implanted options, which typically cost hundreds of dollars up-front to insert. These women experienced far fewer unintended pregnancies as a result, reported Dr. Jeffrey Peipert of Washington University in St. Louis in a study published yesterday.

The effect on teen pregnancy was striking: There were 6.3 births per 1,000 teenagers in the study. Compare that to a national rate of 34 births per 1,000 teens in 2010.

There also were substantially lower rates of abortion, when compared with women in the metro area and nationally: 4.4 to 7.5 abortions per 1,000 women in the study, compared with 13.4 to 17 abortions per 1,000 women overall in the St. Louis region, Peipert calculated. That's lower than the national rate, too, which is almost 20 abortions per 1,000 women.

'Idol' divas take behind-the-scenes feud public

NEW YORK (AP) — Is this "Idol" threat an idle threat?

Mariah Carey told Barbara Walters her fellow "American Idol" judge Nicki Minaj threatened to shoot her, Walters reported on ABC's "The View" yesterday morning.

Consulting her notes, Walters recounted a phone conversation with Carey just before the ABC talk show went on the air, with new details of Tuesday's blowup between Carey and Minaj that was partly captured on video made public on the TMZ website.

Walters said Carey told her that "when Nicki walked off the set, multiple people heard Nicki say, 'If I had a gun I would shoot the (adjective unspoken by Walters) bitch.'"

After a meeting on Wednesday attended by the pair, Minaj said to Carey, "I love you, but we might fight again," according to Walters. "Mariah responded, 'No, we will not.'"

Lawmakers seek look at Lou Gehrig's medical records for concussion link

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Some Minnesota lawmakers hope to force the release of Lou Gehrig's medical records, saying they might provide insight into whether the Yankees star died of the disease that came to take his name or whether repetitive head trauma played some kind of role.

Their effort comes despite opposition from Mayo Clinic, which holds the records, and skepticism from experts that the records alone would prove anything.

Rep. Phyllis Kahn, a Minneapolis Democrat and self-described baseball fanatic, conceded that the records "probably won't show anything."

"But just in case they might it's ridiculous not to look at them," she said yesterday.

Gehrig's death is attributed to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, a debilitating neurological disease that after his death in 1941 became commonly known by his name.