The Daily Astorian | http://www.dailyastorian.com The Daily Astorian Sun, 23 Nov 2014 07:38:39 -0500 en http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/staticimage/images/rss-logo.jpg The Daily Astorian | http://www.dailyastorian.com AP Top News At 10 a.m. EST http://www.dailyastorian.com/ap-top-news-at-10-am-est-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world9ad63d00e0ad4c778021ed7b1876b545 http://www.dailyastorian.com/ap-top-news-at-10-am-est-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world9ad63d00e0ad4c778021ed7b1876b545#Comments Sun, 23 Nov 2014 07:00:45 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014311239904 Buffalo residents urged to prepare for floodingFerguson tense ahead of grand jury decisionDamage worse than thought in Japanese earthquakeOfficial: Man who killed deputy had made threatsShifting attitudes at play in Cosby allegationsDoes bad behavior really hurt business?Cops: Naked suspect assaults man, 84, at airportSuicide bomber kills at least 45 Afghans]]> Suicide bomber kills at least 45 Afghans http://www.dailyastorian.com/suicide-bomber-kills-at-least-45-afghans-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world9d89a4fe61034d5992230f97cd540658 http://www.dailyastorian.com/suicide-bomber-kills-at-least-45-afghans-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world9d89a4fe61034d5992230f97cd540658#Comments Sun, 23 Nov 2014 07:02:16 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014311239933 KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) A suicide bomber attacked a volleyball tournament in eastern Afghanistan on Sunday, killing at least 45 people, officials said.

Dozens more were wounded when the bomber, who was on foot and mingling with the crowd, detonated his explosives, said Mokhis Afgha, the spokesman for the governor of Paktika province.

He said the attack happened during an inter-district volleyball tournament attended by large crowed in Yahyakhail district late Sunday afternoon.

"There were too many people gathered in the one place to watch the game. Dozens of others are wounded and we have reports that many of them are in critical condition," Afghan said.

"We need urgent help from the central government because we might need to transfer wounded people to Kabul for treatment," he added.

Paktika, bordering Pakistan, is one of Afghanistan's most volatile regions, where a Taliban-led insurgency is waging an intensifying war against the government in Kabul.

Sunday's attack is one of the deadliest so far this year, a time when attacks are escalating alongside a contentious election and the inauguration of President Ashraf Ghani in September.

Afghanistan's parliament approved agreements Sunday with the U.S. and NATO allowing international troops to remain in the country past the end of this year.

Ghani's first act after becoming president was to sign the agreements, which are bitterly opposed by the Taliban and other insurgent groups.

U.S. President Barack Obama wants all U.S. troops to be out of Afghanistan by the end of 2016, as his presidency draws to an end.

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Ukulele enthusiasts strum happy tunes http://www.dailyastorian.com/ukulele-enthusiasts-strum-happy-tunes-da-ap-webfeeds-news-entertainmentc76611442261436299e3a999dec2e3fd http://www.dailyastorian.com/ukulele-enthusiasts-strum-happy-tunes-da-ap-webfeeds-news-entertainmentc76611442261436299e3a999dec2e3fd#Comments Sun, 23 Nov 2014 07:02:27 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014311239899 BERRYVILLE, Va. (AP) Hawaiian singer and musician Don Ho would be proud.

On a recent Monday evening, 14 people sat around a table at Opus Oaks, an Art Place on First Street, strumming or plucking the strings of that symbol of the Aloha State, the ukulele.

"This instrument makes you happy," said Janet Tolin, who invited anyone interested in playing the instrument to meet to form Berryville's first ukulele club.

The ukulele is a member of the guitar family.

Portuguese immigrants brought their version of the guitar to the Hawaiian Islands in the late 19th century, where the islanders adapted it to their needs.

The ukulele is now as much a part of Hawaiian culture as the hula or the flowered lei. The late Don Ho strummed one at his popular Waikiki nightclub show.

Tolin, a Berryville resident, became interested in the instrument several years ago because her 6-year-old daughter wanted to learn to play. On a vacation trip to California, the young girl had seen her aunt play the ukulele and asked her mother for one.

"It's a very easy instrument to learn," said Tolin, adding that her daughter was playing pretty well in just a few weeks.

Tolin had "fiddled with" the guitar and piano, but said "I had no solid musical background."

She bought her daughter the cheapest ukulele she could find and showed her "a couple of chords," and the child was on her way.

And Tolin was intrigued.

"There are hundreds, if not thousands, of sites (on the Internet) to teach you to play," she said.

When she and her husband Barry moved to Berryville, she took her ukulele to D.G. Cooley Elementary School to play for the students.

The school's music teacher was attracted by the ease that students picked up instrument and got a grant to purchase some ukuleles for them.

Even Tolin's husband succumbed to the happy sounds his daughter was making with the instrument.

"She's the reason I started," Barry Tolin said, adding that the learning curve was "effortless."

Ukuleles come in a wide range of tones, from soprano and tenor to baritone. And they range in size from minis to hefties. There are even electric ukuleles.

Janet Tolin has built her own ukulele, using scrap material. Her interest in the instrument has also led her to writing songs, starting with parodies of popular tunes targeted to the youngsters she entertains in Clarke County schools.

What kid could resist a song about a raccoon named Scrooge, set to the tune of "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown?"

At the first meeting of the new ukulele club earlier this month, everyone got to strumming right away.

As leader, Tolin passed out music for three songs, showed what fingers to place on which strings to produce the needed chord and the "basic" strum, down, down, up, up, down, up to be used on the "sweet spot" where the ukulele's neck meets the body.

Those who were experienced on the ukulele helped those who were just beginning, and a rock 'n' roll song, a western ditty and a popular Hawaiian tune kept everyone strumming away.

Each song was repeated at least three times, for lots of practice, and everyone sang along.

Terrie Sheaffer, of Berryville, was one of the newbies.

"I'm a singer," she said, adding that she works with a local band. She wants to learn the ukulele so she can accompany herself, which is easier than rounding up another musician.

Don Shaw picked up the ukulele three years ago, after the professional musician said he "blew out" his lip playing the trumpet.

He considered learning the banjo, but said, "That's a very complicated instrument. At my age, I don't want complicated."

The ukulele, on the other hand, was perfect, and, he added, affordable. For less than $100, he found a concert-sized instrument and tuner.

Shaw actually leads a ukulele club at a senior center in Purcellville in neighboring Loudoun County.

Larry and Linda Burke, who have been playing the instrument for two years, drove from Poolesville, Maryland, to jam at the Berryville ukulele club's first meeting.

With Chantilly resident David Bartell, they led the group through the western song "My Rifle, My Pony and Me," which was featured in the John Wayne movie "Rio Bravo."

Even after three repetitions, the players demanded to "play it again."

The Berryville Ukulele Club meets the first and third Mondays of the month at 6 p.m. at Opus Oaks, 109 First St, Berryville. There is no fee to attend. A few ukuleles are available for people to try.

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Information from: The Winchester Star, http://www.winchesterstar.com

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Charleston boy publishes neighborhood newspaper http://www.dailyastorian.com/charleston-boy-publishes-neighborhood-newspaper-da-ap-webfeeds-news-entertainmentba78764c13ce46d590d07adf2467525d http://www.dailyastorian.com/charleston-boy-publishes-neighborhood-newspaper-da-ap-webfeeds-news-entertainmentba78764c13ce46d590d07adf2467525d#Comments Sun, 23 Nov 2014 07:02:32 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014311239998 CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) The Gazette-Mail has some competition.

John Edward Leef recently created The Neighborhood Times a weekly South Hills-based newspaper.

He publishes out of his home on Grosscup Road and hand-delivers an average of 20 papers every Saturday or Sunday, depending on his schedule.

The content, which is produced with the help of several of his friends, is comprehensive: national and local news blurbs, with puzzles, jokes and recipes in every edition.

There's even some commentary on major issues like Ebola. "I personally don't think that anyone around our city will get it, but you never know!," a contributor writes in the paper's second edition.

The latest weather forecast is based off of a John Adams Middle School science class lesson, and the comics are drawn by John Edward's best friend Charlie.

John Edward is 9.

"One small thing turned into a big thing," he said about the launch of his business, as he sat in front of his laptop at the family's kitchen table. "If anything is happening, I type it up into the computer and make a newspaper."

When John Edward claimed he was creating a newspaper, his mother, Margaret, didn't take it too seriously. But soon he was getting an email from a local baby-sitter about buying advertisements for her business and is already considering increasing the price of the paper.

The Neighborhood Times is currently free, but could soon cost 25 cents.

"I think it's great when you can have the opportunity to support your kids' creativity and their interest in the world and support things they want to try," Margaret Leef said. "It really generated a lot of interest, and I think kids just naturally want to be involved in what's going on. They have a natural curiosity and love to be engaged and hands-on, so I think he struck that nerve with the kids around us, which is pretty exciting."

John Edward likes to involve as many student contributors as he can, hosting news meetings at his house. He leans on 13-year-old brother Henry for design and editing advice.

Sister Lucy, 7, has a good business mind suggesting they preview their lemonade sale this summer to bring in more customers.

Brother Ethan, 15, "doesn't help at all," John Edward said.

John Edward has already learned a bit about writer's block: "We couldn't really think of anything, and then we did," and also about news judgment: Don't print how many pieces of candy you collected on Halloween. It's rude. (It was a lot.)

Even though John Edward doesn't plan to stay in the newspaper business when he's a grown-up (the business is not lucrative enough) he hopes to keep The Neighborhood Times going and get as many kids involved as possible.

He wants people who might think a 9-year-old boy can't run a paper to know that they're wrong, and also has some advice for other young entrepreneurs.

"Try it, like, a little bit at first, and then if people start liking it, you can see if they want to be part of it," he said. "And then they will have ideas and then it will turn into a real thing, like what happened with my newspaper."

For more information about The Neighborhood Times, contact margaretleef@gmail.com.

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Information from: The Charleston Gazette, http://www.wvgazette.com

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Ferguson tense ahead of grand jury decision http://www.dailyastorian.com/ferguson-tense-ahead-of-grand-jury-decision-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world0e561d0511764f2b8cac032d8e6b04dd http://www.dailyastorian.com/ferguson-tense-ahead-of-grand-jury-decision-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world0e561d0511764f2b8cac032d8e6b04dd#Comments Sun, 23 Nov 2014 07:01:46 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014311239932 FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) Crews erected barricades around the building where a grand jury has been considering whether to indict the Ferguson police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown, even as a grand jury decision seemed unlikely this weekend.

Tension has been mounting in Ferguson and elsewhere in the St. Louis area in recent days, with many speculating that the grand jury's decision would be announced on Sunday. That seemed increasingly unlikely by late Saturday, although there was a noticeable uptick in the preparations being made.

Downtown STL Inc., a St. Louis civic group that promotes downtown businesses, told members in an email Saturday that the grand jury will reconvene Monday to continue deliberating whether charges are warranted against Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson in the Aug. 9 fatal shooting of Brown.

The email did not explain how the group knew the information, and a spokeswoman declined comment. Ed Magee, a spokesman for St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch, didn't respond to several messages Saturday.

The Brown family's attorney, Ben Crump, said Saturday that he hadn't heard a decision had been reached and that prosecutors had promised to tell him when that happened.

Wilson is white and Brown, who was unarmed, was black. There have been many demonstrations in the months since Brown's death, including some that were violent. On Saturday, authorities set up barricades around the Buzz Westfall Justice Center in Clayton, which is where the grand jury has been meeting.

Barricades also went up in the shopping center parking lot on West Florissant Avenue in Ferguson, which was where police set up a makeshift command center in the immediate aftermath of Brown's death.

Several dozen protesters marched in Ferguson on Saturday evening, praying, playing music and chanting slogans including, "No justice, no peace" and "Mike Brown means, we've got to fight back." Cars stopped and drivers honked, slowing traffic.

Brown's mother, Lesley McSpadden, spoke to protesters through a bullhorn and urged people to be careful.

"Don't agitate them, and don't let them agitate y'all," she said. "I don't want nobody getting hurt. We're all willing to do something, but I don't want nobody getting hurt."

Later, several protesters gathered outside of Ferguson's police station, where they blocked South Florissant Avenue. Officers warned the crowd not to impede traffic, and the demonstrators moved to the sidewalk before eventually spilling back into the street. Two people were arrested for unlawful assembly, said St. Louis County Police spokesman Brian Schellman.

Several businesses in Ferguson and Clayton have boarded up their windows, and some residents admitted to feeling anxious.

Jamie Freeman of Ferguson, 38, a registered nurse and mother of four, said she was especially concerned since her 20-year-old son lives in the neighborhood where Brown was shot.

"I just hope it stays peaceful," Freeman said of protests that will follow the grand jury decision. "We all have human emotions, but there's a way to do things, and violence, you can't get peace from violence."

The FBI has sent nearly 100 additional agents to Ferguson to help law enforcement agencies, according to a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to discuss the FBI plans.

But things were calm during the day on Saturday. Brown's father, Michael Brown Sr., joined a church group in passing out free turkeys to needy residents in the area where his son was shot. A day earlier, a video of Brown Sr. was released urging peace, regardless of how the announcement goes.

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Salter reported from St. Louis. Associated Press writer Eric Tucker in Washington contributed to this report.

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Islamic State group recruits, exploits children http://www.dailyastorian.com/islamic-state-group-recruits-exploits-children-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world9699644610bf4a3d920eb9a6737ce9d7 http://www.dailyastorian.com/islamic-state-group-recruits-exploits-children-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world9699644610bf4a3d920eb9a6737ce9d7#Comments Sun, 23 Nov 2014 07:01:06 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014311239902 BEIRUT (AP) Teenagers carrying weapons stand at checkpoints and busy intersections in Iraq's second-largest city, Mosul. Patched onto the left arms of their black uniforms are the logos of the Islamic Police.

In Raqqa, the Islamic State group's de facto capital in Syria, boys attend training camp and religious courses before heading off to fight. Others serve as cooks or guards at the extremists' headquarters or as spies, informing on people in their neighborhoods.

Across the vast region under IS control, the group is actively conscripting children for battle and committing abuses against the most vulnerable at a young age, according to a growing body of evidence assembled from residents, activists, independent experts and human rights groups.

In the northern Syrian town of Kobani, where ethnic Kurds have been resisting an IS onslaught for weeks, several activists told The Associated Press they observed children fighting alongside the militants. Mustafa Bali, a Kobani-based activist, said he saw the bodies of four boys, two of them younger than 14. And at least one 18 year old is said to have carried out a suicide attack.

In Syria's Aleppo province, an activist affiliated with the rebel Free Syrian Army said its fighters encountered children in their late teens "fairly often" in battles against the rival Islamic State group.

It is difficult to determine just how widespread the exploitation of children is in the closed world of IS-controlled territory. There are no reliable figures on the number of minors the group employs.

But a United Nations panel investigating war crimes in the Syrian conflict concluded that in its enlistment of children for active combat roles, the Islamic State group is perpetrating abuses and war crimes on a massive scale "in a systematic and organized manner."

The group "prioritizes children as a vehicle for ensuring long-term loyalty, adherence to their ideology and a cadre of devoted fighters that will see violence as a way of life," it said in a recent report. The panel of experts, known as the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, conducted more than 300 interviews with people who fled or are living in IS-controlled areas, and examined video and photographic evidence.

The use of children by armed groups in conflict is, of course, nothing new. In the Syrian civil war, the Free Syrian Army and Nusra Front rebel groups also recruit children for combat, said Leila Zerrougui, the U.N. secretary-general's special representative for children and armed conflict.

But no other group comes close to IS in using children in such a systematic and organized way. And the effect is that much greater because IS commands large areas in which the militants inculcate the children with their radical and violent interpretation of Shariah law.

"What is new is that ISIS seems to be quite transparent and vocal about their intention and their practice of recruiting children," said Laurent Chapuis, UNICEF regional child protection adviser for the Middle East and North Africa, using an alternate acronym for the group. "Children as young as 10, 12 years old are being used in a variety of roles, as combatants as messengers, spies, guards, manning checkpoints but also for domestic purposes like cooking, cleaning, sometimes providing medical care to the wounded."

"This is not a marginal phenomenon. This is something that is being observed and seems to be part of the strategy of the group," Zerrougui said in a phone interview from New York.

She said some children join voluntarily for various reasons but others are targeted.

"They are abducting children and forcing them to join, they are brainwashing children and indoctrinating them to join their group. All the tools used to attract and recruit children are used by this group," she said, adding that children as young as 9 or 10 are used for "various roles."

In areas of Syria and Iraq under their control, the Sunni extremists have closed schools or changed the curriculum to fit with their ideology. Their goal, according to the U.N., is to use education as a tool of indoctrination to foster a new generation of supporters.

A video recently published by an IS media arm shows what it says is a graduation ceremony for boys, who appear to be in their teens. Dressed in military uniforms, they are lined up to shake hands with a sheikh. Another scene shows the boys posing with AK-47s, their faces hidden under black masks. The video touts the children as a "generation of lions, protectors of religion, dignity and land."

Residents of IS-controlled areas said the militants are teaching children at school to become fighters.

One resident in the Iraqi city of Fallujah described seeing his 6-year-old son playing with a water pistol in front of the house and screaming: "I am a fighter for the Islamic State!"

"I waved him to come to me and I broke the gun in two pieces," said the man, who spoke on condition of anonymity out of fear of his life.

He also said he and his son recently stopped at an IS checkpoint. His son shouted, "We love the State!" and one of the fighters asked, "Which state?" When the son replied, "the Islamic State," the fighter "told him, 'Good boy,' and let us through," the resident said. The incident persuaded the man to move his family to the northern city of Kirkuk, now in Kurdish hands.

"The boys are studying, not to learn, but to become mujahedeen," he said.

Earlier this year in Syria, the Islamic State group abducted more than 150 Kurdish boys, held them in a school in Aleppo province and showed them videos of beheadings and attacks, while subjecting them to daily instruction on militant ideology for five months, the U.N. and Kurdish officials said. The boys were later released.

In Raqqa province, an anti-IS activist collective has documented the presence of at least five known youth training camps, one specifically for children under 16 in the town of Tabqa. The collective, named Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently, has released a video showing children crawling under barbed wire as part of their military training. The video could not be independently confirmed but is consistent with AP reporting on the subject.

Residents in IS-controlled areas in Iraq, such as Mosul and Fallujah, say it is not uncommon to see gun-toting boys in their late teens standing at checkpoints and even younger ones riding in militant convoys, usually accompanying their fathers in parades.

Another resident of Fallujah said many boys as young as 11 volunteer to join the group, but that IS often seeks the parents' consent for those under 16. He said others join under pressure or in exchange for money.

"Once they're done training, their skills and abilities are tested before they decide where to send them off. Many want to be on the front lines," said the man, who identified himself as Abu Abdullah al-Falluji.

In a report released earlier this year, Human Rights Watch interviewed four former IS child fighters in Syria who described military training with the group. One, Bassem, who joined the group at 16, said he left after being seriously wounded by shrapnel in battle. A 17 year old, Amr, told the group that children in his unit signed up for suicide missions and that he reluctantly did so as well under pressure.

Thousands of foreign fighters have flocked to IS areas from all over the world, many of them with their families.

A video emerged this month showing two boys, both speaking perfect French, holding guns aloft and claiming to be in Raqqa. They stand on a dusty street; a man walks by and takes no notice of their weapons. The boys, who look much younger than 10, say they're from Strasbourg and Toulouse. French prosecutors have opened a formal investigation to identify the children.

"Over there, you're in a country of infidels. Here, we're mujahedeen. We're in Syria, we're in Raqqa here," one of the boys says in the video. "It's war here."

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Salama reported from Baghdad. Associated Press writer Lori Hinnant in Paris contributed to this report.

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Buffalo residents urged to prepare for flooding http://www.dailyastorian.com/buffalo-residents-urged-to-prepare-for-flooding-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world888696d4351446e2bf384c2a3b7c8279 http://www.dailyastorian.com/buffalo-residents-urged-to-prepare-for-flooding-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world888696d4351446e2bf384c2a3b7c8279#Comments Sun, 23 Nov 2014 07:01:38 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014311239903 BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) Buffalo is making significant progress clearing streets still clogged from an epic storm left more than 7 feet of snow even as a flooding threat looms, the city's mayor said Sunday.

A ban on driving will continue in hard-hit South Buffalo as hundreds of dump trucks, loaders and other snow removal equipment continue to work around the clock, Mayor Byron Brown said.

Temperatures in the Buffalo area climbed into the 40s Sunday, raising fears of flooding in the region. A flood warning from the National Weather Service is in effect until Monday afternoon.

"We are preparing for the worst but hoping for the best," Brown said.

Hundreds of volunteers turned out in a "shovel brigade" Saturday to help beleaguered Buffalo residents dig out after they were pummeled by a lake effect snow from Lake Erie.

"They're like angels," said Kevin Masterson, 61, after a handful of volunteers swarmed in to free his and his brother-in-law's cars from the drifts. "I was out shoveling and ... all of the sudden I had all these people."

One of the volunteers, Greg Schreiber, said he'd keep going "until the back gives out."

City officials said residents should prepare for the possibility of flooded basements in the coming days. Rain was expected Sunday and temperatures were forecast to approach 60 degrees on Monday, accompanied by more rain.

National Weather Service meteorologist Jon Hitchcock said there might be trouble with drainage as snow and uncollected autumn leaves block catch basins. The threat of rain also heightened fears of roof collapses on already strained structures. Thirty major collapses have been reported.

The state already is moving stockpiles of pumps, sand bags and other flood provisions into the region.

The snow, which began late Monday and finally cleared out of all areas by daybreak Friday, has been blamed for at least a dozen deaths.

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Does bad behavior really hurt business? http://www.dailyastorian.com/does-bad-behavior-really-hurt-business-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world981e2a56fa7648719538f26627748518 http://www.dailyastorian.com/does-bad-behavior-really-hurt-business-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world981e2a56fa7648719538f26627748518#Comments Sun, 23 Nov 2014 07:02:13 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014311239900 NEW YORK (AP) Silicon Valley seems to have more than its share of companies behaving badly. Among up-and-comers in the tech world, privacy abuses and executive gaffes have become viral sensations. But is all that bad behavior actually bad for business?

Last week, Uber sparked controversy after a top executive suggested spending $1 million to dig up dirt on a journalist critical of the driver-on-demand company. It's only the latest time Uber has been called out, either for actions by its drivers or its corporate culture. The company also is investigating one of its New York employees for tracking another journalist's ride, which has raised fears that Uber is misusing customers' private location information. So far Uber's investors, which include Google Ventures and prominent venture capital firms that poured $1.2 billion into the company at its latest funding round, have remained quiet. So is Uber's much-criticized "bro culture" just part of the package, a reason even, for its meteoric rise and ability to go after smaller rivals and the taxi establishment? Or is it a liability for the company, its Ayn Rand-loving CEO and its backers?

"I think it's going to alienate some potential customers but I doubt, given what's happened to date, that it's going to make a big difference," said Robert Hurley, director of the Consortium of Trustworthy Organizations at Fordham University in New York.

So far, the controversies haven't put the brakes on Uber's skyrocketing valuation ($17 billion at last count, and reportedly heading to nearly double that), or its popularity among people who can use the app to hitch rides. There are calls to boycott the company on Twitter, and many have vowed to go to its smaller rival Lyft. But on Friday Uber was ranked 35th among the most popular free apps on iTunes up from 37th on Monday.

"If it's a brand (people) like and Uber is a brand (people) like they have a few get out of jail cards," said Allen Adamson, managing director of the branding firm Landor Associates.

Not that Uber is an anomaly in the industry. Some tech companies have had executives with domestic violence charges or who have gone on ham-fisted Facebook and Twitter rants. Earlier this year, the hot dating app Tinder settled a sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit filed by a co-founder. It claimed that Tinder's founders engaged in "atrocious sexual harassment and sex discrimination" against a former vice president at the company, calling her names and threatening to strip away her co-founder title. The suit hasn't crimped Tinder's style: the product reportedly makes over 14 million matches a day.

PR problems aren't limited to startups. Last month, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella told women they shouldn't ask for a raise and just trust "good karma" instead. The punchline? He made the statement, for which he later apologized, at a conference celebrating women in computing.

"You have these CEOs that don't have much filter and get in trouble," said John Challenger, CEO of the outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. But unlike in the old days, it's hard for things to get buried in the age of blogs, Twitter and Reddit. "There is much less ability to wipe the slate clean," he notes.

Some established tech companies have rolled out new features without disclosing privacy implications, all while professing respect for customers' personal data and privacy. Take Google, for example. The company, which was founded with the motto "don't be evil," has faced scrutiny from European regulators for secretly scooping up users' personal data transmitted over unencrypted Wi-Fi networks in cities around the world for at least two years. In the U.S., Google paid $500 million to settle a U.S. Justice Department investigation that alleged the company's top executives allowed ads for illegal pharmaceutical drugs to be distributed through its marketing network. Yet it is far and away the leader in online search and owns other widely used services such as Android and Chrome.

"Until a company does something that personally impacts the consumer, this kind of bad behavior will only influence the decisions of customers for whom these are highly sensitive issues," said Maclyn Clouse, University of Denver's Daniels College of Business.

Fordham's Hurley doesn't think Uber is completely immune to customer disapproval forever, though.

"You want to create a culture that creates positive reputational capital for the company, particularly if you are a startup," he said. "There is some evidence that they have some excessive testosterone in their culture and they need to have a handle on that."

Uber did not respond to requests for comment.

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AP Technology Writer Michael Liedtke contributed to this story from San Francisco.

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Danville post office named for Thaddeus Stevens http://www.dailyastorian.com/danville-post-office-named-for-thaddeus-stevens-da-ap-webfeeds-news-entertainmentded7891749c14156be806677d90da9c7 http://www.dailyastorian.com/danville-post-office-named-for-thaddeus-stevens-da-ap-webfeeds-news-entertainmentded7891749c14156be806677d90da9c7#Comments Sun, 23 Nov 2014 07:02:34 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014311239898 DANVILLE, Vt. (AP) The post office in Danville is being renamed for Thaddeus Stevens, the Vermont native who became known for his efforts to abolish slavery.

Vermont's congressional delegation announced that Congress has passed legislation to make the change in honor of Stevens, who was born in Danville in 1792.

Stevens led efforts in the Civil War-era to pass a constitutional amendment to abolish slavery.

The Academy Award winning movie "Lincoln" provided a fresh look at Stevens' role in fighting for the passage of the 13th Amendment to end slavery.

In a statement, the delegation described Stevens as "a true Vermont hero."

Stevens was elected to Congress from Pennsylvania and served seven terms.

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University of Washington fraternity to disband http://www.dailyastorian.com/university-of-washington-fraternity-to-disband-da-ap-webfeeds-news-northweste8c1f4e736714d80866da021f916b066 http://www.dailyastorian.com/university-of-washington-fraternity-to-disband-da-ap-webfeeds-news-northweste8c1f4e736714d80866da021f916b066#Comments Sun, 23 Nov 2014 07:00:15 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014311239901 SEATTLE (AP) A fraternity at the University of Washington is disbanding because of hazing incident earlier this year.

The Seattle Times reports (http://is.gd/4QqFaw ) that all members of Beta Theta Pi must move out of the house about a block north of campus as part of a decision by its international organization.

There are 126 members of the fraternity, 80 of whom live in the chapter house.

Details of the hazing have not been made public. The UW chapter has been suspended since October while the international office investigated.

Judson Horras, administrative secretary of that office, which is located in Oxford, Ohio, said the chapter has been cooperative and taken responsibility, which he calls "rare and refreshing for undergraduate men."

He said the organization is waiting on the university to decide how long the Beta Theta Pi chapter should remain disbanded. When the fraternity regroups, he said, all the former members will have to reapply and be thoroughly vetted to understand what their role in the hazing was.

Also this week, a fraternity at Washington State University, Phi Kappa Tau, lost its recognition until August 2017 after allegations of hazing and conduct violation. That investigation was done by the WSU's Office of Student Standards and Accountability. The fraternity has said it will appeal the decision in Whitman County court.

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Information from: The Seattle Times, http://www.seattletimes.com

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UK police: up to 5 terror plots foiled this year http://www.dailyastorian.com/uk-police-up-to-5-terror-plots-foiled-this-year-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world8b34b92d749f46eb872e35b0d9770a8d http://www.dailyastorian.com/uk-police-up-to-5-terror-plots-foiled-this-year-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world8b34b92d749f46eb872e35b0d9770a8d#Comments Sun, 23 Nov 2014 06:00:57 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014311239905 LONDON (AP) The head of London's police force said Sunday that as many as five terror plots were foiled this year, as he warned of increasing pressure on resources amid the rising threat.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe told the BBC that normally security services disrupt one plot annually. However, he said this year alone authorities have disrupted "we think four or five."

Police have become increasingly concerned about young people traveling to fight in Syria and becoming radicalized by the Islamic State group. The fear is that they will return and wage attacks at home. Authorities estimate that some 500 British jihadists have traveled to Syria.

Hogan-Howe's comments come as authorities prepare for a nationwide terrorism awareness campaign in which the police will attempt to build grass-roots support in a bid to prevent attacks. Briefings at some 80 venues such as schools, airports and shopping centers are planned.

The Scotland Yard chief said police are increasingly worried about the possibility of a "lone wolf" attack and that thwarting such attacks is putting pressure on resources because police need to move fast.

"It doesn't take an awful lot of organizing, doesn't take too many to conspire together, there's no real complexity to it," he said. "What that means is we have got a very short time to interdict, to actually intervene and make sure that these people don't get away with it. So, that is causing real pressure on us in terms of resources."

Hogan-Howe's comments came as Home Secretary Theresa May said she would propose a bill in the House of Commons this week forcing Internet firms to retain data linking Internet Protocol or IP addresses to individual users.

May said the Anti-Terrorism and Security Bill would boost national security.

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Iran: Nuclear talks may focus on an extension http://www.dailyastorian.com/iran-nuclear-talks-may-focus-on-an-extension-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-worlde1ded918e71d4d1582bcbb7268a4454e http://www.dailyastorian.com/iran-nuclear-talks-may-focus-on-an-extension-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-worlde1ded918e71d4d1582bcbb7268a4454e#Comments Sun, 23 Nov 2014 06:02:27 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014311239913 VIENNA (AP) With a deadline approaching for a nuclear deal, an Iranian official said Sunday that the discussion may soon have to shift from trying to reach an agreement to extending negotiations past the target date.

The official, a member of the Iranian delegation in Vienna, said the tipping point could come Sunday night, with Iran and six world powers deciding that their differences are too big to meet the Monday deadline, and switching to extension mode.

From that point on, he said, the negotiations would focus on reaching a "general political agreement" on what both sides are committed to resolving. The official, who demanded anonymity as a condition for briefing the media, said that talks would then be held in the near future to sign that agreement, leading to more negotiations on outstanding issues.

Should such a plan be agreed upon, one possibility for a resumption of talks would be the first week in December when U.S. Secretary of State Kerry plans to return to Europe for a previously scheduled NATO foreign ministers meeting in Brussels, and an international conference in London.

Foreign ministers for most of the seven nations taking part in the Austria talks are adding their political muscle to try and advance the negotiations.

Since landing in Vienna on Thursday, Kerry has met repeatedly with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and other key officials.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier arrived Saturday, while Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his French, German and British counterparts are scheduled to join in later Sunday.

Kerry also was meeting with Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal, whose country is vying for Middle East influence with Iran. Diplomats said Saud flew to Vienna from Paris solely for the briefing, planned to leave immediately afterward, and the two were talking in his plane parked on the Vienna Airport tarmac.

Other diplomats familiar with the negotiations said that since Friday night sizable gaps have remained between the U.S. and Iran on the key issue of how deeply Tehran would have to reduce nuclear activities that could be turned to making arms.

Iran denies any interest in such weapons but is negotiating because it wants an end to nuclear-related international sanctions.

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Margaret Childs contributed from Vienna.

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Damage worse than thought in Japanese earthquake http://www.dailyastorian.com/damage-worse-than-thought-in-japanese-earthquake-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-worlde6269614be8b4c909e6a5a8283b2d104 http://www.dailyastorian.com/damage-worse-than-thought-in-japanese-earthquake-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-worlde6269614be8b4c909e6a5a8283b2d104#Comments Sun, 23 Nov 2014 06:01:55 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014311239922 TOKYO (AP) The damage from an overnight earthquake in a mountainous area of central Japan that hosted the 1998 winter Olympics proved more extensive than initially thought.

A daylight assessment Sunday found at least 50 homes destroyed in two villages, and 41 people injured across the region, including seven seriously, mostly with broken bones, officials said.

The magnitude-6.7 earthquake struck shortly after 10 p.m. Saturday west of Nagano city at a depth of 5 kilometers (3 miles), the Japan Meteorological Agency said. The agency revised the magnitude and depth from initial estimates. The U.S. Geological Survey recorded a magnitude of 6.2. Since the quake occurred inland, there was no possibility of a tsunami.

Ryo Nishino, a restaurant owner in Hakuba, a ski resort village west of Nagano, told Japanese broadcaster NHK that he had "never experienced a quake that shook so hard. The sideways shaking was enormous." He said he was in the restaurant's wine cellar when the quake struck, and that nothing broke there.

Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority said no abnormalities were reported at three nuclear power plants in the affected areas. All of Japan's nuclear plants are offline following a magnitude-9.0 earthquake and massive tsunami in 2011 that sent three reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant into meltdown. Fukushima is about 250 kilometers (155 miles) northeast of where Saturday's earthquake occurred.

The hardest-hit area appeared to be Hakuba, which hosted events in the 1998 winter games. At least 43 homes were destroyed there, and 17 people injured, national and local disaster agencies said. Another seven homes were lost in Otari, a nearby village to the north. Non-residential buildings were also destroyed, with officials assessing the extent.

Japanese television footage showed buildings in various states of collapse, some flattened and others leaning to one side, and deep cracks in the roads. A landslide spilled onto a railroad track, forcing service to stop. About 200 people from Hakuba and Otari had evacuated to shelters.

Shigeharu Fujimori, a Nagano prefecture disaster management official, said it was fortunate there haven't been any deaths reported despite the extent of the damage.

More than 20 people trapped under collapsed houses were rescued, the National Police Agency told Japan's Kyodo news agency. Japanese television showed police going house to house Sunday morning, calling out to make sure that inhabitants were accounted for.

"The hardest-hit area was in the mountains and sparsely populated, where neighbors have a close relationship and help each other," Fujimori said. "So I don't think anyone has been forgotten or left isolated."

Shinkansen bullet train service in the region was restored after a short interruption. Chubu Electric Power Co. said 200 homes remained without power on Sunday.

The quake has been followed by more than 60 aftershocks, and Meteorological Agency official Yohei Hasegawa urged residents to watch out for landslides. The area was struck by a magnitude-6.7 earthquake the day after the huge March 2011 quake.

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Washington poison experts want e-cigarette rules http://www.dailyastorian.com/washington-poison-experts-want-e-cigarette-rules-da-ap-webfeeds-news-northwestd4b33da631d7472a8785084404d3e82e http://www.dailyastorian.com/washington-poison-experts-want-e-cigarette-rules-da-ap-webfeeds-news-northwestd4b33da631d7472a8785084404d3e82e#Comments Sun, 23 Nov 2014 06:00:29 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014311239906 TACOMA, Wash. (AP) State health officials say too many children in Washington are being poisoned by contact with the liquid nicotine used in electronic cigarettes.

Now, the state's poison center wants the Legislature to adopt standards for making liquid nicotine packages child-resistant, as well as subject to consistent labeling rules.

E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that vaporize liquid nicotine to recreate the sensation of smoking a cigarette. They have exploded in popularity in recent years as an alternative for smokers trying to kick the tobacco habit.

The Washington Poison Center received no emergency calls reporting poisonings from e-cigarettes prior to 2010. In 2014, the agency has already received 154 calls reporting poisonings from e-cigarette exposure, more than two-thirds of which involved children.

Alexander Garrard, clinical managing director of the Washington Poison Center, said because calls to the Washington Poison Center are made voluntarily, the agency's statistics probably reflect only a fraction of the true number of exposures in the state.

He said that the problem with e-cigarette exposure in children doesn't often come from kids puffing on them.

More commonly, Garrard said, children are getting into the bottles of concentrated liquid nicotine that are used to refill e-cigarettes. Children may drink directly from the small bottles, or ingest the liquid after playing with it on their skin and touching their hands to their mouth and face, he said.

Many nicotine liquids come in candy or fruit flavors and are marketed using colorful labels, which Garrard said can make the products especially attractive to young children.

Ingesting even a mouthful of the liquid nicotine is highly toxic for children, and can cause vomiting, nausea, seizures and in extreme cases death, Garrard said. Fifty-six cases of nicotine poisoning reported to the Washington Poison Center in 2014 required hospital treatment, according to the agency.

"There's just a lack of regulation on these particular products to ensure safety for kids," Garrard said. "It's just going to be a matter of time before we have a child that has a more serious outcome than nausea, vomiting and an overnight stay in the hospital."

Garrard told a Senate health care committee last week that he'd like to see clearer and more consistent warning labels on liquid nicotine containers, as well as packaging that makes them more difficult for children to open. Most of the child nicotine exposures reported to the Washington Poison Center this year involved children between ages 1 and 3, he said.

At least some manufacturers and sellers of the products are supportive of additional regulations.

Kyle Chapman, a manager at Mt. Baker Vapor in Bellingham, said his company is "100 percent" in favor of standardized warning labels. He said the company already outfits its liquid nicotine products with child-resistant caps, and supports regulations that would require other manufacturers to do the same.

"This product is intended for adults, and should be packaged as such," Chapman said.

Marc Jarrett, a co-founder of Banzai Vapors in Lakewood, said he, too, supports additional safety regulations for liquid nicotine packaging, as long as they aren't excessive. But he said it is also important for parents to be informed about the products they are purchasing.

"I think it is a responsibility of the manufacturers to educate the public and educate parents, but I also think there should be some personal responsibility on behalf of the parents," Jarrett said. "Reasonable regulation is really what we're trying to see here, and not to demonize something that has helped so many people in our community not smoke anymore."

State Sen Bruce. Dammeier, R-Puyallup, said that he expects there will be legislation introduced next year that aims to regulate packages of liquid nicotine. The Legislature reconvenes for a 105-day session starting in January.

The call to regulate liquid nicotine comes at a time when the e-cigarette industry is facing more rules overall. Three years after it said it would regulate e-cigarettes, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced this year that it would require warning labels and ban free samples, vending machine sales and sales to minors, among other rules.

Washington state started prohibiting sales of e-cigarettes to minors in 2013.

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Information from: The News Tribune, http://www.thenewstribune.com

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Cops: Naked suspect assaults man, 84, at airport http://www.dailyastorian.com/cops-naked-suspect-assaults-man-84-at-airport-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-worlda138f9c34fe04e42ba0d92cf3a93ad37 http://www.dailyastorian.com/cops-naked-suspect-assaults-man-84-at-airport-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-worlda138f9c34fe04e42ba0d92cf3a93ad37#Comments Sun, 23 Nov 2014 06:02:18 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014311239993 BOSTON (AP) A naked man fell through the ceiling of a women's bathroom at Logan Airport on Saturday, then ran out of the restroom and viciously assaulted an elderly man while he was still in the buff and bleeding, before being arrested, state police said.

Cameron Shenk, 26, of Boston, was charged with attempted murder, mayhem, assault and battery on a person over 60, assault and battery on a police officer, lewd and lascivious conduct and malicious destruction to property.

The bizarre behavior began shortly before noon when a woman using a restroom located before the security checkpoint in Terminal C reported that a naked man had fallen through the ceiling and landed in the stall area, state police spokesman David Procopio said. The man had apparently sneaked into the bathroom, undressed inside one of the stalls and climbed into the crawl space above the restroom before crashing through the ceiling, Procopio said.

The man, later identified as Shenk, then fled the bathroom and assaulted an 84-year-old man he encountered, biting the man's ear and attempting to choke him with his own cane, Procopio said.

The reason for the attack was unknown. Shenk scuffled with responding troopers who arrested him, leaving one trooper with a minor hand injury, Procopio said. The 84-year-old man was taken to a hospital to have his injured ear treated.

Shenk was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital under police guard for treatment of the injuries he suffered when he fell through the ceiling. Police said he would be booked upon release and arraigned in East Boston District Court.

It was not known Saturday night if Shenk had retained an attorney. A telephone number for him could not be located.

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AP Top U.S. News At 8 a.m. EST http://www.dailyastorian.com/ap-top-us-news-at-8-am-est-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world5eb91d3f289340d192dddf11ffb9d0dc http://www.dailyastorian.com/ap-top-us-news-at-8-am-est-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world5eb91d3f289340d192dddf11ffb9d0dc#Comments Sun, 23 Nov 2014 05:00:41 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014311239911 Ferguson grand jury unusual in many waysShifting attitudes at play in Cosby allegationsOfficial: Man who killed deputy had made threatsWinners and losers under Obama's immigration planCleanup on, flood threat looms after huge NY snowRhodes scholars for class of 2015 announcedRhodes scholars named for 2015Cops: Naked suspect assaults man, 84, at airport]]> Stenson retains World Tour Championship title http://www.dailyastorian.com/stenson-retains-world-tour-championship-title-da-ap-webfeeds-news-pro-sports5b67c6890e3e42afbe8e7ea47ffe578f http://www.dailyastorian.com/stenson-retains-world-tour-championship-title-da-ap-webfeeds-news-pro-sports5b67c6890e3e42afbe8e7ea47ffe578f#Comments Sun, 23 Nov 2014 05:02:01 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014311239907 DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) Henrik Stenson has successfully defended his DP World Tour Championship title at the European Tour's season-ending event.

The Swede shot a final round 2-under 70 on Sunday to win by two strokes with an overall 16-under 272 on the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates.

Three of Stenson's teammates on Europe's victorious Ryder Cup team top-ranked Rory McIlroy (68), Victor Dubuisson (68) and Justin Rose (69) shared second on 14-under 274.

The victory means Stenson finishes second to McIlroy in the Race to Dubai.

Rafa Cabrera-Bello (75) was leading with three holes to play but the Spaniard tumbled down the board with back-to-back double bogeys at Nos. 16 and 17 to finish tied for ninth with an overall 277.

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Cleanup on, flood threat looms after huge NY snow http://www.dailyastorian.com/cleanup-on-flood-threat-looms-after-huge-ny-snow-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world0732f9c66c9945e78f7a5164d150c03b http://www.dailyastorian.com/cleanup-on-flood-threat-looms-after-huge-ny-snow-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world0732f9c66c9945e78f7a5164d150c03b#Comments Sun, 23 Nov 2014 05:01:50 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014311229939 BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) The weekend offered the Buffalo region a chance to dig out of record levels of deep snow before a flood warning took effect because of rising temperatures and rain.

With roughly the equivalent of six inches of rain tied up in the snowpack, volunteers moved through the area assisting residents.

Beth Bragg's home was spared the worst of a lake-effect storm that buried parts of the Buffalo area under more than 7 feet of snow. But she still was out first-thing Saturday with her shovel along with hundreds of other volunteers.

"I know that people really need to get shoveled out, especially some of the older folks, so I'm just doing my part to help out," said the bank manager and "shovel brigade" member.

Volunteers helped to clear as much snow possible before rain and warmer temperatures brought an increased threat of flooding. The National Weather Service issued a flood warning for early Sunday through Monday afternoon.

Buffalo lived up to its nickname, "The City of Good Neighbors," as the volunteers went to work.

"They're like angels," said Kevin Masterson, 61, after a handful of volunteers swarmed in to free his and his brother-in-law's cars from the drifts. "I was out shoveling and ... all of the sudden I had all these people."

One of the volunteers, Greg Schreiber, said he'd keep going "until the back gives out."

Seneca Street in south Buffalo was jammed with dump trucks, military vehicles and front loaders rumbling through the streets as they hauled away the canyon walls of snow.

"It's just a war zone here," said Eric Ginsburg, standing outside of his store, Ginzy's. "All the military here, the police. It's just crazy. Most snow I've ever seen."

Temperatures were expected to be near 50 degrees on Sunday and near 60 on Monday.

Weather Service meteorologist Jon Hitchcock said there might be trouble with drainage as snow and uncollected autumn leaves block catch basins. The threat of rain also heightened fears of roof collapses on already strained structures. Thirty major collapses have been reported.

"We don't have a crystal ball. We can't say exactly whether there will be a flooding problem. We can't say what kind of structure collapses we're going to have," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said after touring the region for a fourth day. "But we anticipate both to some extent."

The storm, which began late Monday and finally cleared out of all areas by daybreak Friday, has been blamed for at least a dozen deaths.

Officials urged people to put off nonessential travel as snow removal efforts went on. The state Thruway, however, was fully reopened Saturday four days after 132-mile stretch had to be closed and a number of motorists were stranded.

After visiting a Buffalo hospital, Sen. Charles Schumer said he would push for federal disaster assistance. He said he was moved by stories of good will, including of nurses who had been on duty for days because others couldn't make it in.

"Neighbors looking out for neighbors. Just amazing," he said.

Leonard Bishop walked for nearly four hours to deliver medicine to a friend's mother who was stuck at a hotel six miles away.

"I thought, 'I've got nothing else better to do, I'm going to do it,'" Bishop said. "She's got medical problems and I don't want to see anything happen to her."

Cuomo said such stories were "a whole rainbow" behind the storm.

After Margie Page, 81, paid $600 to have the snow cleared from the roof of her mobile home in suburban Cheektowaga, a group of volunteers from Mennonite Disaster Service arrived at the park ready to go to work.

"I should have waited," Page said, "but I was so afraid of my roof collapsing. I was so anxious to get it done."

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Associated Press Writer Carolyn Thompson contributed to this report.

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Seattle US attorney collects $6.9 million in cases http://www.dailyastorian.com/seattle-us-attorney-collects-69-million-in-cases-da-ap-webfeeds-news-northwest1395798366d441a48c18c23dfe23fea8 http://www.dailyastorian.com/seattle-us-attorney-collects-69-million-in-cases-da-ap-webfeeds-news-northwest1395798366d441a48c18c23dfe23fea8#Comments Sun, 23 Nov 2014 05:00:17 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014311239908 SEATTLE (AP) Federal prosecutors in Seattle say they collected $6.9 million in criminal and civil cases in the 2014 fiscal year.

Annette Hayes, the acting U.S. attorney for the Western District of Washington, says federal authorities took in an additional $12.2 million in forfeited assets related to criminal activity. She says the collections show the Justice Department's commitment to protecting public safety and tax dollars.

Among the largest penalties collected was a $500,000 payment from Alaska Airlines to settle a Federal Aviation Administration complaint over a maintenance issue that caused an electrical fire in a Boeing 737-400 while it was parked at the gate in Anchorage, Alaska.

Hayes also highlighted some environmental settlements, including $334,000 paid by Stowe Construction for permit violations that caused landslides on the West Valley Highway in Sumner, and $250,000 from a septic tank business that illegally dumped 2 million gallons of waste and pollutants into the Longview sewer system.

One of the biggest forfeiture actions involved the seizure of three crime-ridden motels in Tukwila. The value of the properties exceeds $3 million, and the city plans to redevelop the motels.

Forfeited assets are used to help recompense crime victims and for law enforcement purposes.

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Shifting attitudes at play in Cosby allegations http://www.dailyastorian.com/shifting-attitudes-at-play-in-cosby-allegations-da-ap-webfeeds-news-entertainmentc2eee33880f447c8b3b01c0c5fd37ffd http://www.dailyastorian.com/shifting-attitudes-at-play-in-cosby-allegations-da-ap-webfeeds-news-entertainmentc2eee33880f447c8b3b01c0c5fd37ffd#Comments Sun, 23 Nov 2014 04:01:52 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014311239917 Tamra Wade struggled mightily over whether to go to the police more than a decade ago, when, she says, a trusted professor forced himself on her in an empty classroom. Ultimately she couldn't bring herself to do it.

But if it happened now, she says, she'd be a lot bolder not just because she's older, but because she feels there's less of a stigma connected to being a victim of sexual assault.

And this, say advocates for sexual assault victims, may be one reason why the allegations against Bill Cosby have exploded into public consciousness now so much more than they did when they emerged a decade ago: an evolving cultural understanding of the crime of sexual assault, and increased empathy toward those claiming to be victims.

"I think our society really has changed," says Wade, a data analyst who now mentors young assault victims. "Ten years ago, it was much harder for a victim to get an audience listening to her. Now there's less of a stigma, and that gives people more confidence to come forward."

A key element in the cultural shift, say some advocates, have been a series of high-profile cases like the Penn State molestation scandal, stories of abuse in the military or the Catholic Church, and cases of date rape at university campuses. Particularly when a number of people come forward, it's harder for the public to ignore, they say.

"People may have an easy time rationalizing away only one victim, but not when there are a number of them," says Scott Berkowitz, president of Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network in Washington, D.C.

In recent weeks, at least seven women have publicly accused the 77-year-old Cosby of sexual assault years ago. Cosby has not been charged in connection with any of the allegations. Only one woman has filed suit Andrea Constand, who sued in 2005 and settled for an undisclosed amount before the case went to trial.

Cosby's attorney, Martin Singer, has criticized previous "decades-old discredited allegations" and denied some others. He suggested in a Friday statement that Cosby's accusers may have another agenda.

"There has never been a shortage of lawyers willing to represent people with claims against rich, powerful men, so it makes no sense that not one of these new women who just came forward for the first time now ever asserted a legal claim back at the time they allege they had been sexually assaulted."

Berkowitz, of RAINN, recalls when his organization, back in 1994, approached TV networks to air public service announcements for its sex assault hotline; they resisted, he says, fearing the mere word "rape" would lead to complaints. Finally NBC agreed, and there were no complaints, Berkowitz says in fact, there were thank-yous. Other networks followed suit.

"In the last decade, we've all been developing a greater awareness of just how common these crimes are," says Berkowitz.

Recent media coverage of the widening allegations against Cosby led to what RAINN said was a "significant increase" in calls to its National Sexual Assault Hotline something that also happened after the Penn State case. But there's been a measurable increase underway for several years, says Jen Marsh, who oversees the hotline, which includes a phone and online version.

"Our online hotline has seen a 25 percent increase every year," says Marsh, vice president of Victims Services at RAINN. "I think it has a lot to do with the dialogue happening around this issue." She, too, cites high-profile cases like the 2012 rape scandal involving high school football players in Steubenville, Ohio and the fact that students on college campuses have been more vocal about their experiences. "There is definitely a sea change of sorts with these activists being very open," she says, also citing attention to the issue from Congress and from the White House, which recently launched "It's On Us," a public awareness campaign about campus sexual assault.

"The focus has been unprecedented," says Marsh. "We're seeing some overwhelming support." But at the same time, she notes, it remains exceedingly difficult to report a sexual assault, "particularly if the perpetrator is well-known, or powerful, or well-liked, whether it's a principal in a local community or a famous football coach." Marsh adds that often as has been the case with some of the Cosby accusers people delay reporting assaults: "They try to get on with their lives, and sometimes it's not until later that they realize they need to do something."

Sometimes it's too late. When Wade, now 44 and living in Phoenix, went to police 10 years later, she was told that the type of contact she alleged would constitute sexual assault she hadn't known that, she says but the statute of limitations had passed. (Such statutes vary greatly from state to state.)

Out of every 100 rapes, only 40 get reported to police, RAINN says, citing Justice Department figures. Eight of those get prosecuted, and four lead to a felony conviction. The silver lining is that over the last 15 years or so, reporting rates have risen by a third. Some states have also lengthened or abolished statutes of limitations on prosecuting rape, especially when DNA evidence exists.

Christa Hayburn waited two years to report her alleged assault. It was complicated by the fact that she was a police officer and the man she was accusing of sexual assault was her superior someone she looked up to and viewed as a friend. She describes an evening celebration with colleagues that led to the man allegedly forcing her into sexual activity in his car in the parking lot.

Hayburn, who was married with two children, complained to her superiors, and when the case got to the district attorney, the decision was made not to prosecute. "I was told that I didn't say 'No' enough," says Hayburn. The experience left her with the feeling that "It was already pre-conceived that I was a liar." After six years she was fired from the force; she now is a life coach.

Both Hayburn and Wade say they felt paralyzed, at the time, by the fact that the men they accuse of assault were mentor figures. "Even while it was happening, I was trying to fathom that it was happening with someone I respected and trusted," Wade says, seeing the parallels with some of Cosby's accusers who have said they were young, impressionable, ambitious and cowed by the entertainer's power and star status.

Though she says that in 10 years, she's seen "great improvement," Wade adds: "The reality is we have a long, long way to go before victims will feel comfortable telling and getting help."

As for Hayburn, she acknowledges that she sees "more awareness out there now, and the victim blaming isn't possibly what it was." But she too adds that it's so difficult to come forward, she's not sure she would have any more courage now than she did then.

But she also feels it's crucial to speak out. "If nobody is out there sharing their story, how are we going to help the next one?" she says. "That's why I'm speaking to you."

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AP Top Entertainment News At 6:49 a.m. EST http://www.dailyastorian.com/ap-top-entertainment-news-at-649-am-est-da-ap-webfeeds-news-entertainmentf004560af5ee4c5b9d8eb261b2379da9 http://www.dailyastorian.com/ap-top-entertainment-news-at-649-am-est-da-ap-webfeeds-news-entertainmentf004560af5ee4c5b9d8eb261b2379da9#Comments Sun, 23 Nov 2014 04:01:38 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014311239918 As Cosby allegations spiral, fallout mountsBill Cosby controversy: A decade in the making'Blind Massage' big Golden Horse winner in TaiwanStatement: Bill Cosby's lawyer criticizes mediaHandler apologizes again, calls his remark racist'Wizard of Oz' Cowardly Lion costume up for saleHitler watercolor sold for $162,000 at auctionWoman on "My Five Wives" accuses father of abuse]]> Shifting attitudes at play in Cosby allegations http://www.dailyastorian.com/shifting-attitudes-at-play-in-cosby-allegations-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-worldc2eee33880f447c8b3b01c0c5fd37ffd http://www.dailyastorian.com/shifting-attitudes-at-play-in-cosby-allegations-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-worldc2eee33880f447c8b3b01c0c5fd37ffd#Comments Sun, 23 Nov 2014 04:01:11 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014311239919 Tamra Wade struggled mightily over whether to go to the police more than a decade ago, when, she says, a trusted professor forced himself on her in an empty classroom. Ultimately she couldn't bring herself to do it.

But if it happened now, she says, she'd be a lot bolder not just because she's older, but because she feels there's less of a stigma connected to being a victim of sexual assault.

And this, say advocates for sexual assault victims, may be one reason why the allegations against Bill Cosby have exploded into public consciousness now so much more than they did when they emerged a decade ago: an evolving cultural understanding of the crime of sexual assault, and increased empathy toward those claiming to be victims.

"I think our society really has changed," says Wade, a data analyst who now mentors young assault victims. "Ten years ago, it was much harder for a victim to get an audience listening to her. Now there's less of a stigma, and that gives people more confidence to come forward."

A key element in the cultural shift, say some advocates, have been a series of high-profile cases like the Penn State molestation scandal, stories of abuse in the military or the Catholic Church, and cases of date rape at university campuses. Particularly when a number of people come forward, it's harder for the public to ignore, they say.

"People may have an easy time rationalizing away only one victim, but not when there are a number of them," says Scott Berkowitz, president of Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network in Washington, D.C.

In recent weeks, at least seven women have publicly accused the 77-year-old Cosby of sexual assault years ago. Cosby has not been charged in connection with any of the allegations. Only one woman has filed suit Andrea Constand, who sued in 2005 and settled for an undisclosed amount before the case went to trial.

Cosby's attorney, Martin Singer, has criticized previous "decades-old discredited allegations" and denied some others. He suggested in a Friday statement that Cosby's accusers may have another agenda.

"There has never been a shortage of lawyers willing to represent people with claims against rich, powerful men, so it makes no sense that not one of these new women who just came forward for the first time now ever asserted a legal claim back at the time they allege they had been sexually assaulted."

Berkowitz, of RAINN, recalls when his organization, back in 1994, approached TV networks to air public service announcements for its sex assault hotline; they resisted, he says, fearing the mere word "rape" would lead to complaints. Finally NBC agreed, and there were no complaints, Berkowitz says in fact, there were thank-yous. Other networks followed suit.

"In the last decade, we've all been developing a greater awareness of just how common these crimes are," says Berkowitz.

Recent media coverage of the widening allegations against Cosby led to what RAINN said was a "significant increase" in calls to its National Sexual Assault Hotline something that also happened after the Penn State case. But there's been a measurable increase underway for several years, says Jen Marsh, who oversees the hotline, which includes a phone and online version.

"Our online hotline has seen a 25 percent increase every year," says Marsh, vice president of Victims Services at RAINN. "I think it has a lot to do with the dialogue happening around this issue." She, too, cites high-profile cases like the 2012 rape scandal involving high school football players in Steubenville, Ohio and the fact that students on college campuses have been more vocal about their experiences. "There is definitely a sea change of sorts with these activists being very open," she says, also citing attention to the issue from Congress and from the White House, which recently launched "It's On Us," a public awareness campaign about campus sexual assault.

"The focus has been unprecedented," says Marsh. "We're seeing some overwhelming support." But at the same time, she notes, it remains exceedingly difficult to report a sexual assault, "particularly if the perpetrator is well-known, or powerful, or well-liked, whether it's a principal in a local community or a famous football coach." Marsh adds that often as has been the case with some of the Cosby accusers people delay reporting assaults: "They try to get on with their lives, and sometimes it's not until later that they realize they need to do something."

Sometimes it's too late. When Wade, now 44 and living in Phoenix, went to police 10 years later, she was told that the type of contact she alleged would constitute sexual assault she hadn't known that, she says but the statute of limitations had passed. (Such statutes vary greatly from state to state.)

Out of every 100 rapes, only 40 get reported to police, RAINN says, citing Justice Department figures. Eight of those get prosecuted, and four lead to a felony conviction. The silver lining is that over the last 15 years or so, reporting rates have risen by a third. Some states have also lengthened or abolished statutes of limitations on prosecuting rape, especially when DNA evidence exists.

Christa Hayburn waited two years to report her alleged assault. It was complicated by the fact that she was a police officer and the man she was accusing of sexual assault was her superior someone she looked up to and viewed as a friend. She describes an evening celebration with colleagues that led to the man allegedly forcing her into sexual activity in his car in the parking lot.

Hayburn, who was married with two children, complained to her superiors, and when the case got to the district attorney, the decision was made not to prosecute. "I was told that I didn't say 'No' enough," says Hayburn. The experience left her with the feeling that "It was already pre-conceived that I was a liar." After six years she was fired from the force; she now is a life coach.

Both Hayburn and Wade say they felt paralyzed, at the time, by the fact that the men they accuse of assault were mentor figures. "Even while it was happening, I was trying to fathom that it was happening with someone I respected and trusted," Wade says, seeing the parallels with some of Cosby's accusers who have said they were young, impressionable, ambitious and cowed by the entertainer's power and star status.

Though she says that in 10 years, she's seen "great improvement," Wade adds: "The reality is we have a long, long way to go before victims will feel comfortable telling and getting help."

As for Hayburn, she acknowledges that she sees "more awareness out there now, and the victim blaming isn't possibly what it was." But she too adds that it's so difficult to come forward, she's not sure she would have any more courage now than she did then.

But she also feels it's crucial to speak out. "If nobody is out there sharing their story, how are we going to help the next one?" she says. "That's why I'm speaking to you."

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AP Top International News At 5:54 a.m. EST http://www.dailyastorian.com/ap-top-international-news-at-554-am-est-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world396f53ea60a64a5db01b7b46045d9868 http://www.dailyastorian.com/ap-top-international-news-at-554-am-est-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world396f53ea60a64a5db01b7b46045d9868#Comments Sun, 23 Nov 2014 03:00:33 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014311239916 Iraq premier orders aid for Islamic State fight2009 massacre haunts Philippines as trial slowsTunisians hold first fair presidential electionStrong quake in west China kills 5; 54 hurtIran: Nuclear talks may focus on extension soonSomalia's al-Shabab kills 28 non-Muslims in KenyaOfficial: 60 extremist backers from Germany deadMigrants rescued off Cyprus' north coast]]> Tunisians hold first fair presidential election http://www.dailyastorian.com/tunisians-hold-first-fair-presidential-election-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world0a75022c082543e4b59fcf92121c3e5c http://www.dailyastorian.com/tunisians-hold-first-fair-presidential-election-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world0a75022c082543e4b59fcf92121c3e5c#Comments Sun, 23 Nov 2014 03:00:50 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014311239915 TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) Tunisia took another step forward in its peaceful transition to democracy on Sunday by holding its first free presidential election, with voters hoping for more stability and a better economy.

Many Tunisians weighed security against the freedoms brought by their revolution and by its democratic transition, which has remained on track in sharp contrast to the upheavals brought by the Arab Spring elsewhere in the region, including the brutal military coup in Egypt and the conflicts in Syria, Yemen and Libya.

It hasn't been easy for Tunisia, however, and the nearly four years since the revolution have been marked by social unrest, terrorist attacks and high inflation that has voters punishing the moderate Islamists that first came to power.

The front runner of the nearly two dozen candidates for the presidency is Beji Caid Essebsi, an 87-year-old former minister from the previous administrations who many are hoping will get the country back on track.

"He is a veteran politician with experience that can ensure security and stability," said Mouldi Cherni, a middle age driver living in Tunis' Carthage suburb who voted for Essebsi. "The people are tired, life has grown expensive and Tunisians don't even have enough to make an ojja," the local omelet favored by the poor.

The strikes, social unrest and occasional political assassinations have kept away foreign investment and the economy foundered after the revolution as an Islamist-led coalition government struggled with the country's problems.

In the end, the Islamist Ennahda Party stepped down at the start of the year in favor of a government of technocrats, but they still completed one of the region's most progressive constitutions.

The Islamists, who won about a quarter of the seats in parliament, opted not to field a presidential candidate.

Voters have since turned to Essebsi's Nida Tunis party, a loose collection of liberal and leftist politicians, giving them nearly 38 percent of the new parliament last month.

There are fears, however, that Essebsi has authoritarian tendencies and that his domination of the parliament and the presidency could bring back the old one party state.

In Tunisia, the main power resides with the prime minister. The presidency is a largely symbolic post with some responsibilities for defense and foreign affairs.

Opposition to Essebsi has coalesced around the current interim president, Moncef Marzouki, a veteran rights campaigner who is respected for his long fight against tyranny.

"I voted for a man I thought was clean, with integrity and sincerity," said Azzedine Issaoui, in Tunis' working class district of Kram, who said he chose Marzouki.

The lines as voters gathered in the morning at polling stations were not as long as last month's parliamentary elections, and for the first half of the day younger voters were largely absent.

If no candidate gains an outright majority, there will be a runoff between the two top vote getters on Dec. 28.

Other possible candidates for a runoff include Hamma Hammami of the left-wing Popular Front coalition and millionaire football club owner Slim Riahi.

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Rhodes scholars named for 2015 http://www.dailyastorian.com/rhodes-scholars-named-for-2015-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world824dadce8a2b4ea790cea605281991ae http://www.dailyastorian.com/rhodes-scholars-named-for-2015-da-ap-webfeeds-news-nation-world824dadce8a2b4ea790cea605281991ae#Comments Sun, 23 Nov 2014 04:01:27 -0500 http://www.dailyastorian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2014311239909 The 32 American students chosen as Rhodes scholars for 2015, listed by geographical region:

District 1:

Noam Angrist, Brookline, Mass., Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Benjamin D. Sprung-Keyser, Los Angeles, Harvard University

District 2:

Matthew J. Townsend, Chappaqua, N.Y., Yale University

Ruth C. Fong, Somerset, N.J., Harvard

District 3:

Joseph W. Barrett, Port Washington, N.Y., Princeton

Gabriel M. Zucker, Brooklyn, N.Y., Yale

District 4:

Jordan R. Konell, Philadelphia, Yale

Kate I. Nussenbaum, Newton, Mass., Brown

District 5:

Fang Y. Cao, Silver Spring, Md., University of Maryland

Maya I. Krishnan, Rockville, Md., Stanford University

District 6:

Sarah M. Bufkin, Atlanta, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Ridwan Y. Hassen, Marietta, Ga., Dartmouth College and Emory University

District 7:

Ameen Barghi, Birmingham, Ala, University of Alabama at Birmingham

Jane Darby Menton, Tallahassee, Fla., Yale

District 8:

Sai P. Gourisankar, Atlanta, University of Texas at Austin

Abishek K. Kulshreshtha, Grapevine, Texas, Brown

District 9:

Jacob L. Burnett, Mishawaka, Ind., Wabash College

Alexander F. Coccia, Columbus, Ohio, University of Notre Dame

District 10:

Rachel V. Harmon, Champaign, Ill., Cornell University

Rebecca A. Esselstein, Dayton, Ohio., U.S. Air Force Academy

District 11:

David S. Moore, Holland, Mich., University of Michigan

Tayo A. Sanders II, Neenah, Wis., University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

District 12:

Anisha N. Gururaj, Chesterfield, Mo., Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Robert A. Fisher, Chattanooga, Tenn., The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

District 13:

Emily E. Witt, Greenwood Village, Colo., Stanford

Peter N. Kalugin, Albuquerque, N.M., Johns Hopkins University

District 14:

Aven P. Satre Meloy, Helena, Mont., Santa Clara University

William J. Rathje, Lake Oswego, Ore., University of Puget Sound

District 15:

Elliot H. Akama-Garren, Palo Alto, Calif., Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Rachel A. Skokowski, Palo Alto, Calif., Princeton

District 16:

David R.K. Adler, Encino, Calif., Brown

Sarah E. Yerima, Los Angeles, Princeton

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