New York Post Cover for March 29, 2015 ‘VILLAGE IDIOTS: Selfies at Tragic Blast Site’

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Saw This One Coming: Possibility Growing of Criminal Charges in NYC Building Explosion

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As searchers and cadaver dogs sift through the rubble looking for victims and evidence, New York City officials tell ABC News that the possibility is growing that criminal charges could be filed as a…(read more)

 ABCNews

Josh Margolin


Statements from Amanda Knox and Her Family

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Statements from #AmandaKnox and her family

Statement from Amanda Knox:

“I am tremendously relieved and grateful for the decision of the Supreme Court of Italy. The knowledge of my innocence has given me strength in the darkest times of this ordeal. And throughout this ordeal, I have received invaluable support from family, friends, and strangers. To them, I say: Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your kindness has sustained me. I only wish that I could thank each and every one of you in person.”

Statement from Amanda Knox’s family:

“We want to express our profound gratitude to all of those who have supported Amanda and our family. Countless people – from world-renowned DNA experts, to former FBI agents, to everyday citizens committed to justice – have spoken about her innocence. We are thrilled with and grateful for today’s decision from the Supreme Court of Italy. And we are grateful beyond measure for all that so many of you have done for her.”

King5.com


THE PANTSUIT REPORT: THAT SERVER IS TOTALLY WIPED CLEAN BABY!

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Hillary Clinton wiped “clean” the private server housing emails from her tenure asPANTSUIT-REPORT secretary of state, the chairman of the House committee investigating the 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi said Friday.

Clinton was under a subpoena order from the Select Committee on Benghazi for all documents related to the 2012 attacks on the American compound there. But David Kendall, an attorney for Clinton, said the 900 pages of emails previously provided to the panel cover its request.

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Kendall also informed the committee that Clinton’s emails from her time at the State Department have been permanently erased. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Amanda Knox Murder Conviction Overturned by Italy’s Highest Court

Los Angeles (AFP) – American Amanda Knox expressed “tremendous” relief Friday after Italy’s top court cleared her of the 2007 murder of British student Meredith Kercher, drawing a line under the eight-year legal saga.

“I am tremendously relieved and grateful for the decision of the Supreme Court of Italy,” Knox said in a statement shortly after Italy’s Court of Cassation cleared her and Italian ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito.

Amanda Knox waves to supporters as she makes her first appearance at SeaTac Airport after arriving in Seattle following her release from prison in Italy on October 4, 2011 (AFP Photo/Kevin Casey)

Amanda Knox waves to supporters as she makes her first appearance at SeaTac Airport after arriving in Seattle following her release from prison in Italy on October 4, 2011 (AFP Photo/Kevin Casey)

“I am tremendously relieved and grateful for the decision of the Supreme Court of Italy.”

Knox, convicted with Sollecito for a second time last year for taking part in the brutal knife slaying of Kercher, has always vehemently maintained her innocence.

“The knowledge of my innocence has given me strength in the darkest times of this ordeal.”

“The knowledge of my innocence has given me strength in the darkest times of this ordeal,” Knox said.

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“And throughout this ordeal, I have received invaluable support from family, friends and strangers. To them, I say: Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

“And throughout this ordeal, I have received invaluable support from family, friends and strangers. To them, I say: Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

“Your kindness has sustained me. I only wish that I could thank each and every one of you in person.”

“Your kindness has sustained me. I only wish that I could thank each and every one of you in person.”

A separate statement from Knox’s family expressed “profound gratitude” to those who had championed the former student’s innocence. Read the rest of this entry »


‘Perfect: As Italy Continues to Hound Amanda Knox and Rafael Sollecito For a Brutal Murder They Didn’t Have Anything to Do With, They Release Rudy Guede, The Actual Murderer, from Prison’

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The DNA results from the crime scene come in. It turns out there’s lots and lots of DNA at the crime scene. Unfortunately, not a speck of it is Knox’s or her boyfriend’s. Not. A. Speck.

Incredible.

Ace of Spades HQ writes:

Let me explain what happened. Under pressure to solve a brutal murder quickly — in a sleepy college town where such things were rare — Italian prosecutors fixated early upon Amanda Knox and her boyfriend Rafael Sollecito as Meredith Kercher’s murderers. They also thought a third man, a black nightclub owner with no criminal history, was involved, because Amanda had texted “See you later” to him on the night of the murder, but in Italian. Amanda worked at this guy’s bar, and the night wasn’t busy, so he had told her not to bother coming in, and she said “See you later,” literally translating the English phrase.

They thought this literally meant “see you later,” rather than “Until next time.” Or as the Italians would say it, arriverdercci.

I say he’s black because it’s relevant. I’ll explain later.

They interrogated Knox almost nonstop for three days, telling her that the killer was this black nightclub owner and they knew it, and that she was a coconspirator so why didn’t she just admit it before she went to jail for life?

[Read the full text here, at Ace of Spades HQ]

Finally, they asked her to envision what it would have been like to see this black nightclub owner at the murder scene, and she wrote out a statement speaking of herself “having a vision” of the man at the scene.

Case closed, they say in a dramatic press conference, in which very high ranking members of the Italian prosecutor corps and police are all flanking the main prosecutor. They then drive Amanda and Rafael around the town of Perugia, doing laps with them in the back of the squad car like Achilles dragging Hector behind his chariot, as the town cheers.

And bonus, they can lock up this black nightclub owner with no possible motive to kill Kercher and no history indicating he’d be interested in killing anyone at all.

Yeah one problem with that: The black nightclub owner was at his bar all night and at least nine witnesses could put him there all night.

So, the prosecutors decide their theory is still sound, but now they just need a different third man.

See, their theory has just been completely refuted, but no sweat, it just needs to be tweaked.

Well, after a few days, the DNA results from the crime scene come in. It turns out there’s lots and lots of DNA at the crime scene. Unfortunately, not a speck of it is Knox’s or her boyfriend’s. Not. A. Speck.

However, there is a ton of DNA material identified as that of one Rudy Guede, a drifter with a prior background of breaking into homes for petty theft while armed with a knife (on a previous burglary, he merely warned the startled occupant of the home away with the knife, rather than killing him).

He only casually knew Amanda Knox because he occasionally played basketball with Knox’s downstairs neighbors, some Italian boys. They had merely been present in the same room when the girls and Guede were watching tv with the downstairs boys.

Guede had murdered Kercher with a frenzied attack with the knife, and had cut himself on the hand with the blade (as happens). He had a cut on his hand when arrested. Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: ITALIAN COURT RULES NOT GUILTY, AMANDA KNOX ACQUITTED

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Amanda Knox’s conviction overturned by Italian court. She will not be sent back to prison

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Italy’s top court orders acquittal of Amanda Knox in Meredith Kercher murder case

ROME — Italy’s highest court overturned the murder conviction against Amanda Knox and her ex-boyfriend Friday, bringing to a definitive end the high-profile case that captivated people on both sides of the Atlantic.

‘‘Finished!’’ Knox’s lawyer Carlo Dalla Vedova exulted after the decision was read out. ‘‘It couldn’t be better than this.’’

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The decision by the supreme Court of Cassation is the final ruling in the case, ending the long legal battle waged by Knox and Italian co-defendant Raffaele Sollecito. Both Knox, who was awaiting the verdict in her hometown of Seattle, and Sollecito have long maintained their innocence in the death of British student Meredith Kercher.

The supreme Court of Cassation overturned last year’s convictions by a Florence appeals court, and declined to order another trial. The decision means the judges, after thoroughly examining the case, concluded that a conviction could not be supported by the evidence.

Their reasoning will be released within 90 days.

The case has aroused strong interest in three countries for its explosive mix of young love, murder and flip-flop decisions by Italian courts…(read more)

Boston Globe

TIME reports: The Italian Supreme Court overturned Amanda Knox’s conviction Friday for the 2007 murder of her roommate Meredith Kercher.

Knox and her then-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were convicted as co-conspirators in Kercher’s murder in the apartment they shared as exchange students in Perugia in 2009. But that conviction was overturned in 2011 and in 2014, after prosecutors argued that evidence had been omitted in the appeal, the original guilty verdict was reinstated.

But Italy’s Supreme Court ruled Friday afternoon to finally acquit the American of the long-hanging charges over her. She had faced extradition to Italy if the conviction had been upheld. Read the rest of this entry »


Still Waiting for Ruling in Amanda Knox Case

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ROME – Italy’s highest court was expected to decide Friday whether to uphold the murder convictions of Seattle resident Amanda Knox and her Italian ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito. But by noon Seattle time — 8 p.m. in Italy — nothing had been heard from the justices.

While Knox is watching what is happening from Seattle, Sollecito is in Italy. His lawyer made a last-ditch appeal to overturn the pair’s convictions for the 2007 slaying Meredith Kercher, Knox’s British roommate.

Attorney Giulia Bongiorno began her defense of Sollecito by offering what she called a “little sampling” of the errors and contradictions of “colossal proportions” in the 2014 Florence appeals court verdict that convicted her client and Knox.

Bongiorno noted, for example, that trial documents indicate that there were “no traces of Sollecito in the room” where Kercher, 21, was sexually assaulted and fatally stabbed.

A one-hour warning will be given before the verdict is read. Read the rest of this entry »


Breaking: Harry Reid Trips Out

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From this morning’s New York Times:

Senator Harry Reid, the tough tactician who has led Senate Democrats since 2005, will not seek re-election next year, bringing an end to a three-decade congressional career that culminated with his push of President Obama’s ambitious agenda against fierce Republican resistance.

Mr. Reid, 75, who suffered serious eye and facial injuries in a Jan. 1 exercise accident at his Las Vegas home, said he had been contemplating retiring from the Senate for months. He said his decision was not attributable either to the accident or to his demotion to minority leader after Democrats lost the majority in November’s midterm elections.

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“I understand this place,” Mr. Reid said. “I have quite a bit of power as minority leader.”

The National Republican Senatorial Committee responds to Harry Reid’s retirement:

“On the verge of losing his own election and after losing the majority, Senator Harry Reid has decided to hang up his rusty spurs. Not only does Reid instantly become irrelevant and a lame duck, his retirement signals that there is no hope for the Democrats to regain control of the Senate. With the exception of Reid, every elected statewide official in Nevada is Republican and this race is the top pickup opportunity for the GOP.”

Hot Air‘s Ed Morrissey comments:

“…The contrast of Reid’s obstructionism on budgets through most of his reign and the easy way in which Republicans settled back into normal order would have proved embarrassing when the GOP used it on the campaign trail next year, and Reid would have become the poster boy for the kind of dysfunction voters would get if they chose Democrats in Senate races.

Senate Majority leader Harry Reid, nearing retirement, is reportedly using LSD regularly. Pictured here is one of Reid's drug-inspired pause to study his own hand during a floor speech

Senate Majority leader Harry Reid, nearing retirement, is reportedly using LSD regularly. Pictured here is one of Reid’s drug-inspired pause to study his own hand during a floor speech

Now, after announcing his retirement, Reid’s clout will recede even further. A Minority Leader who doesn’t plan on running again will hold fewer cards for whipping his caucus into line. Other Democrats will look to those who will control committee assignments in future sessions, and the jockeying for leadership slots will necessarily push Reid to the sidelines. Procedurally, Reid might be able to cause some problems, but the more he does that the more he damages Democrats in the next election cycle, especially to the extent that it’s seen as running interference for a lame-duck President who suffered two successive midterm disasters. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Dramatic Video Captures Chaos in Moments After East Village Explosion

EAST VILLAGE, Manhattan – Dramatic cellphone video shows the terrifying moments after an explosion rocked an East Village building Thursday afternoon.


Seattle Cops Take 10 Goats into Custody

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SEATTLE — It must be spring break in South Seattle, because there was a ‘goats gone wild’ situation Thursday.

Police said they took 10 goats into custody after a “brief hoof chase” in the 5000 block of South Wallace Street.

The goats reportedly chased a group of children before they were captured.

Fun fact: a group of goats can also be called a tribe, trip, drove, or flock. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Explosion Rocks New York City Neighborhood


Explosion and Fire in the East Village

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 reports: Firefighters were on the scene of an apparent explosion on Thursday afternoon in the East Village, and a building at the site appeared to have been partially destroyed while another building was engulfed in flames.

A witness reported hearing a large explosion at the five-story building, which is at the corner of Second Avenue and Seventh Street.

The authorities were closing down the surrounding streets, concerned about the building collapsing further and sending debris flying.

Officials said that they could not say yet if anyone was in the building when it collapsed or if anyone was in the neighboring building that was in flames. Read the rest of this entry »


U.S. Begins Airstrikes Against Islamic State Militants in Iraqi City of Tikrit

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Americans say move reflects failure of Iranian-backed forces to retake area from insurgents

Julian E. Barnes in Washington, Raja Abdulrahim in Samarra, Iraq, and Matt Bradley in Erbil, Iraq, report: U.S. warplanes began airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Tikrit in what American officials said was a sign of the failure of Iranian-backed forces to retake the city.

The offensive to retake the city has been stalled for more than a week and American officials on Wednesday said they began the strikes after the Iraqi government formally requested help. The U.S. in recent days began providing video feeds and other intelligence to Iraqi forces, drawing the Americans into closer coordination with Iranian-allied Shiite militias spearheading the campaign.

[Read the full text here, at WSJ.com]

The U.S. intervention is a blow to Iran, which has played a major role in commanding the Shiite militias and has also supplied weapons. Those militias account for about 20,000 of the 30,000-strong force involved in the operation.

U.S. officials said the difficulty in Tikrit exposed the weakness of Iranian support for Iraq’s government, adding that they hope to use those difficulties to drive a wedge between Iraq and Iran.

“Tikrit shows the complete failure by Iran to produce results on the ground,” said a senior U.S. official.

An Iraqi Shiite militiaman with the so-called Imam Ali Brigades in Tikrit on Wednesday, as the U.S. said it had begun airstrikes against Islamic State militants there because of the failure of Iran-backed Shiite fighters to retake the city. Photo: Khalid Mohammed/Associated Press

An Iraqi Shiite militiaman with the so-called Imam Ali Brigades in Tikrit on Wednesday, as the U.S. said it had begun airstrikes against Islamic State militants there because of the failure of Iran-backed Shiite fighters to retake the city. Photo: Khalid Mohammed/Associated Press

Iran’s powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has been assisting the Iraqi force, including planning help, artillery fire and other combat support. But Pentagon officials said the IRGC effort has produced little in the way of results for Iraqi forces.

The U.S. and allied warplanes struck between six and 10 targets in Tikrit, according to Pentagon officials, including the palace that Islamic State militants have been using as their headquarters. The buildings struck were all preselected targets that U.S. surveillance planes have been tracking for several days, officials said.

American officials held open the option that moving targets could be targeted in future strikes. Defense officials said they were working only with the Iraqi government and Iraqi security forces, not Shiite militias or Iranian forces. Read the rest of this entry »


Germanwings Co-Pilot Identified

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BREAKING: DEATH WISH? Germanwings Co-Pilot Appeared to Want to ‘Destroy the Plane’

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 and Corinne Cathcart report: The co-pilot of the doomed Germanwings plane appeared to want to “destroy the plane,” Brice Robin, Public Prosecutor of Marseille, said today.

The co-pilot of the Germanwings airbus that crashed in the French Alps Tuesday had 630 hours of flight experience and had started working in 2013, an airline spokeswoman told ABC News.

“You can hear he is trying to smash the door down.”

Germanwings would not provide any other information on the co-pilot’s identity.

One of the pilots may have been locked out of the cockpit, a senior military official involved in the investigation told The New York Times.

The official said the audio on the cockpit voice recorder indicated one of the pilots was outside of the cockpit and unable to re-enter, according to the paper. The unnamed official described hearing the pilot unable to re-enter the cockpit and lightly knock on the door at first, before pounding on it.

“You can hear he is trying to smash the door down,” he told the Times.

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ABC News was unable to independently confirm the report.

Recovery operations resumed today at daylight. Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: Saudi Arabia Launches Airstrikes in Yemen, Ambassador Adel al-Jubeir Says

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WASHINGTON –  The Saudi ambassador to the United States says his country has begun airstrikes against the Houthi rebels in Yemen, who drove out the U.S.-backed Yemeni president.

Ambassador Adel al-Jubeir says the operations began at 7 p.m. Eastern time.

He says the Houthis, widely believed to be backed by Iran, “have always chosen the path of violence.” He declined to say whether the Saudi campaign involved U.S. intelligence assistance.

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Al-Jubeir made the announcement at a rare news conference by the Sunni kingdom.

He says the Saudis “will do anything necessary” to protect the people of Yemen and “the legitimate government of Yemen.” Read the rest of this entry »


Police in Long Beach Have Arrested Four People in Connection with the Abduction and Murder of a 3-Week-Old Infant


BREAKING: Crash Report: One of the Pilots on Germanwings was Locked Out of the Cockpit

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Investigators scoured dangerous terrain in the French Alps Wednesday as they searched for clues in the wreckage of Germanwings Flight 9525.

Workers dropped to the crash site from helicopters and had to be tied together because the steep area in the French Alps is so treacherous, said Remi Jouty, head of the BEA, the French aviation investigative arm leading the probe.

There’s one key piece of evidence they’ve found so far that could help investigators determine why the Airbus A320 went down: the cockpit voice recorder, one of the aircraft’s so-called black boxes.

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Although the external orange casing was damaged, French aviation investigators accessed the computer chips inside, which contain an audio recording of the cockpit during the entire flight.

• 7:51 p.m. ET: One of the pilots on board Germanwings Flight 9525 was locked out of the cockpit when the plane crashed Tuesday, a senior military official told The New York Times, citing evidence from the cockpit voice recorder.

• Helicopters have airlifted some victims’ remains from the site of the Germanwings plane crash in the French Alps, the Gendarmerie said Wednesday, according to CNN affiliate France 2.

• FBI agents based in France, Germany and Spain are looking through intelligence sources and cross-referencing the passenger manifest of Germanwings Flight 9525, two senior law enforcement officials said. So far, their search hasn’t turned up anything that “stands out” or anything linking the passengers to criminal activity, according to one official.

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• The victims of the Germanwings crash came from 18 countries, Germanwings CEO Thomas Winkelmann told reporters Wednesday. He also vowed to provide flights for victims’ family members who want to travel to Germany or France and help them financially.

• Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr told reporters the company was struggling to understand how an airplane that “was in perfect technical condition” with two experienced pilots “was involved in such a terrible accident.” The crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps, he said, “represents the darkest hours in the 60-year history of our Lufthansa Group.”

That will provide important information like whether the pilots were talking in the moments leading up to the crash, what they were saying and what else was happening in the cockpit.

Finding the plane’s second black box will be critical to understanding the mystery of what went on inside the jet. Read the rest of this entry »


House Passes $3.8 Trillion Spending Plan

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The House on Wednesday approved a $3.8 trillion spending plan for fiscal 2016 that balances the budget in a decade, reforms Medicare and Medicaid, and eliminates Obamacare.

The resolution passed by a vote of 228 to 199, and over the objections of some conservatives who opposed additional defense money because it would increase funding for a special defense spending account that does not require reductions elsewhere in the budget.

Lawmakers passed the budget after hours of debate on a half-dozen spending plans, three from Democrats and three from Republicans.

“A budget is a vision of the future and Republicans are making our vision very clear,” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said.

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The GOP gave their rank and file the choice of voting for a budget blueprint that did not boost defense spending.

But that measure had little chance of passing because 77 defense-minded Republicans, citing the threat of terrorism at home and abroad, pledged to vote against it.

They cited warnings from the military that the current funding levels are too low to maintain the nation’s defense.

“It would be rather reckless of us to ignore those warnings and do less,” Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said.

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Some fiscal conservatives decided to back the measure with extra defense funding, authored by House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price, R-Ga., because the proposal includes a a bigger priority for the far Right: A provision that would make it easier for the Senate to repeal the Affordable Care Act with 51 votes, instead of 60.

The Senate is expected to approve its own budget blueprint early Friday morning. The plan is similar to the House version but not identical, so the two plans will have to be merged in a conference committee in April, when Congress returns from the two-week Easter recess. Read the rest of this entry »


TIME’s Self-Answering Question

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BREAKING: Desertion Charge for Bergdahl

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