"Great Rotation"- A Wall Street fairy tale?

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wall Street's current jubilant narrative is that a rush into stocks by small investors has sparked a "great rotation" out of bonds and into equities that will power the bull market to new heights.


That sounds good, but there's a snag: The evidence for this is a few weeks of bullish fund flows that are hardly unusual for January.


Late-stage bull markets are typically marked by an influx of small investors coming late to the party - such as when your waiter starts giving you stock tips. For that to happen you need a good story. The "great rotation," with its monumental tone, is the perfect narrative to make you feel like you're missing out.


Even if something approaching a "great rotation" has begun, it is not necessarily bullish for markets. Those who think they are coming early to the party may actually be arriving late.


Investors pumped $20.7 billion into stocks in the first four weeks of the year, the strongest four-week run since April 2000, according to Lipper. But that pales in comparison with the $410 billion yanked from those funds since the start of 2008.


"I'm not sure you want to take a couple of weeks and extrapolate it into whatever trend you want," said Tobias Levkovich, chief U.S. equity strategist at Citigroup. "We have had instances where equity flows have picked up in the last two, three, four years when markets have picked up. They've generally not been signals of a continuation of that trend."


The S&P 500 rose 5 percent in January, its best month since October 2011 and its best January since 1997, driving speculation that retail investors were flooding back into the stock market.


Heading into another busy week of earnings, the equity market is knocking on the door of all-time highs due to positive sentiment in stocks, and that can't be ignored entirely. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.spx> ended the week about 4 percent from an all-time high touched in October 2007.


Next week will bring results from insurers Allstate and The Hartford , as well as from Walt Disney , Coca-Cola Enterprises and Visa .


But a comparison of flows in January, a seasonal strong month for the stock market, shows that this January, while strong, is not that unusual. In January 2011 investors moved $23.9 billion into stock funds and $28.6 billion in 2006, but neither foreshadowed massive inflows the rest of that year. Furthermore, in 2006 the market gained more than 13 percent while in 2011 it was flat.


Strong inflows in January can happen for a number of reasons. There were a lot of special dividends issued in December that need reinvesting, and some of the funds raised in December tax-selling also find their way back into the market.


During the height of the tech bubble in 2000, when retail investors were really embracing stocks, a staggering $42.7 billion flowed into equities in January of that year, double the amount that flowed in this January. That didn't end well, as stocks peaked in March of that year before dropping over the next two-plus years.


MOM AND POP STILL WARY


Arguing against a 'great rotation' is not necessarily a bearish argument against stocks. The stock market has done well since the crisis. Despite the huge outflows, the S&P 500 has risen more than 120 percent since March 2009 on a slowly improving economy and corporate earnings.


This earnings season, a majority of S&P 500 companies are beating earnings forecast. That's also the case for revenue, which is a departure from the previous two reporting periods where less than 50 percent of companies beat revenue expectations, according to Thomson Reuters data.


Meanwhile, those on the front lines say mom and pop investors are still wary of equities after the financial crisis.


"A lot of people I talk to are very reluctant to make an emotional commitment to the stock market and regardless of income activity in January, I think that's still the case," said David Joy, chief market strategist at Columbia Management Advisors in Boston, where he helps oversee $571 billion.


Joy, speaking from a conference in Phoenix, says most of the people asking him about the "great rotation" are fund management industry insiders who are interested in the extra business a flood of stock investors would bring.


He also pointed out that flows into bond funds were positive in the month of January, hardly an indication of a rotation.


Citi's Levkovich also argues that bond investors are unlikely to give up a 30-year rally in bonds so quickly. He said stocks only began to see consistent outflows 26 months after the tech bubble burst in March 2000. By that reading it could be another year before a serious rotation begins.


On top of that, substantial flows continue to make their way into bonds, even if it isn't low-yielding government debt. January 2013 was the second best January on record for the issuance of U.S. high-grade debt, with $111.725 billion issued during the month, according to International Finance Review.


Bill Gross, who runs the $285 billion Pimco Total Return Fund, the world's largest bond fund, commented on Twitter on Thursday that "January flows at Pimco show few signs of bond/stock rotation," adding that cash and money markets may be the source of inflows into stocks.


Indeed, the evidence suggests some of the money that went into stock funds in January came from money markets after a period in December when investors, worried about the budget uncertainty in Washington, started parking money in late 2012.


Data from iMoneyNet shows investors placed $123 billion in money market funds in the last two months of the year. In two weeks in January investors withdrew $31.45 billion of that, the most since March 2012. But later in the month money actually started flowing back.


(Additional reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch; Editing by Kenneth Barry)



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NFL's Goodell aims to share blame on player safety


NEW ORLEANS (AP) — NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wants to share the blame.


"Safety," he said at his annual Super Bowl news conference, "is all of our responsibilities."


Not surprisingly, given that thousands of former players are suing the league about its handling of concussions, the topics of player health and improved safety dominated Goodell's 45-minute session Friday. And he often sounded like someone seeking to point out that players or others are at fault for some of the sport's problems — and need to help fix them.


"I'll stand up. I'll be accountable. It's part of my responsibility. I'll do everything," Goodell said. "But the players have to do it. The coaches have to do it. Our officials have to do it. Our medical professionals have to do it."


Injuries from hits to the head or to the knees, Goodell noted, can result from improper tackling techniques used by players and taught by coaches. The NFL Players Association needs to allow testing for human growth hormone to go forward so it can finally start next season, which Goodell hopes will happen. He said prices for Super Bowl tickets have soared in part because fans re-sell them above face value.


And asked what he most rues about the New Orleans Saints bounty investigation — a particularly sensitive issue around these parts, of course — Goodell replied: "My biggest regret is that we aren't all recognizing that this is a collective responsibility to get (bounties) out of the game, to make the game safer. Clearly the team, the NFL, the coaching staffs, executives and players, we all share that responsibility. That's what I regret, that I wasn't able to make that point clearly enough with the union."


He addressed other subjects, such as a "new generation of the Rooney Rule" after none of 15 recently open coach or general manager jobs went to a minority candidate, meaning "we didn't have the outcomes we wanted"; using next year's Super Bowl in New Jersey as a test for future cold-weather, outdoor championship games; and saying he welcomed President Barack Obama's recent comments expressing concern about football's violence because "we want to make sure that people understand what we're doing to make our game safer."


Also:


— New Orleans will not get back the second-round draft pick Goodell stripped in his bounty ruling;


— Goodell would not give a time frame for when the NFL could hold a game in Mexico;


— next season's games in London — 49ers-Jaguars and Steelers-Vikings — are sellouts.


Goodell mentioned some upcoming changes, including the plan to add independent neurologists to sidelines to help with concussion care during games — something players have asked for and the league opposed until now.


"The No. 1 issue is: Take the head out of the game," Goodell said. "I think we've seen in the last several decades that players are using their head more than they had when you go back several decades."


He said one tool the league can use to cut down on helmet-to-helmet hits is suspending players who keep doing it.


"We're going to have to continue to see discipline escalate, particularly on repeat offenders," Goodell said. "We're going to have to take them off the field. Suspension gets through to them."


The league will add "expanded physicals at the end of each season ... to review players from a physical, mental and life skills standpoint so that we can support them in a more comprehensive fashion," Goodell said.


With question after question about less-than-light matters, one reporter drew a chuckle from Goodell by asking how he's been treated this week in a city filled with supporters of the Saints who are angry about the way the club was punished for the bounty system the NFL said existed from 2009-11.


"My picture, as you point out, is in every restaurant. I had a float in the Mardi Gras parade. We got a voodoo doll," Goodell said.


But he added that he can "appreciate the passion" of the fans and, actually, "couldn't feel more welcome here."


___


Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich


Read More..

Climate Change May Shrink Bat Moms’ Range






Each the spring, female Indiana bats leave the cool caves where they spend the winter hibernating and head north, gathering together in trees to form maternity colonies to have their young. A new study shows that climate change could squeeze these bat moms into a much smaller range over the next 50 years.


The endangered bats are currently found over most of the eastern half of the United States, but researchers found that much of Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio will become inhospitable for the species’ maternity colonies under most climates they modeled.






“We found that due to projected changes in temperature, the most suitable summer range for Indiana bats would decline and become concentrated in the northeastern United States and the Appalachian Mountains,” ecologist Susan Loeb, of the U.S. Forest Service’s Southern Research Station, said in a statement.


Previous studies have shown that animals worldwide are shifting their habitats to try to outrun climate change. But species like Indiana bats might be more vulnerable than other mammals in the face of global warming, because their reproductive cycles, hibernation patterns and migration are highly dependent on temperature, the researchers said.


“Our model suggests that once average summer (May through August) maximum temperatures reach 27.4 degrees C (81.3 degrees F), the climatic suitability of the area for Indiana bat maternity colonies declines,” Loeb said. “Once they reach 29.9 degrees C (85.8 degree F), the area is forecast to become completely unsuitable. Initially, Indiana bat maternity colonies may respond to warming temperatures by choosing roosts that have more shade than the roosts that they currently use. Eventually, it is likely that they will have to find more suitable climates.”


The tiny bats, which weigh about the same as three pennies but can have a wingspan up to 11 inches (28 centimeters), were listed as endangered in the United States in 1967. After decades of decline, the bats’ population picked up from 2000 to 2005, largely thanks to conservation efforts, but species’ numbers plunged again with the spread of the devastating white nose syndrome. Nicknamed for the powderlike fungal growth that appeared on the hibernating bats’ snouts, the mysterious bat-killing disease was first documented in New York in 2006 and has since spread to caves across the Northeast. In 2011, the number of Indiana bats reported hibernating in the northeastern United States was down by 72 percent.


According to the new study, maternity colonies in the western portion of the bats’ range likely will begin to decline, and possibly vanish, in the next 10 to 20 years, and by 2060, much of the region will be wholly unsuitable for roosting. The grim forecast has important implications for wildlife managers in the Northeast and the Appalachian Mountains, Loeb said, since these areas will likely become refuges for the bats when regions in the Midwest get too warm.


“Management actions that foster high reproductive success and survival will be critical for the conservation and recovery of the species,” she said.


The findings were detailed online in January in the journal Ecology and Evolution.


Follow LiveScience on Twitter @livescience. We’re also on Facebook & Google+.


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Hillary: Secretary of empowerment




Girls hug U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a 2010 tour of a shelter run for sex trafficking victims in Cambodia.




STORY HIGHLIGHTS


  • Donna Brazile: Clinton stepping down as Secretary of State. Maybe she'll run for president

  • She says as secretary she expanded foreign policy to include effect on regular people

  • She says she was first secretary of state to focus on empowering women and girls

  • Brazile: Clinton has fought for education and inclusion in politics for women and girls




Editor's note: Donna Brazile, a CNN contributor and a Democratic strategist, is vice chairwoman for voter registration and participation at the Democratic National Committee. She is a nationally syndicated columnist, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University and author of "Cooking with Grease." She was manager for the Gore-Lieberman presidential campaign in 2000.


(CNN) -- As Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton steps down from her job Friday, many are assuming she will run for president. And she may. In fact, five of the first eight presidents first served their predecessors as secretary of state.


It hasn't happened in more than a century, though that may change should Clinton decide to run. After all, she has been a game changer her entire life.


But before we look ahead, I think we should appreciate what she's done as secretary of state; it's a high profile, high pressure job. You have to deal with the routine as if it is critical and with crisis as if it's routine. You have to manage egos, protocols, customs and Congress. You have to be rhetorical and blunt, diplomatic and direct.



CNN Contributor Donna Brazile

CNN Contributor Donna Brazile



As secretary of state you are dealing with heads of state and with we the people. And the president of the United States has to trust you -- implicitly.


On the road with Hillary Clinton


Of all Clinton's accomplishments -- and I will mention just a few -- this may be the most underappreciated. During the election, pundits were puzzled and amazed not only at how much energy former President Bill Clinton poured into Obama's campaign, but even more at how genuine and close the friendship was.


Obama was given a lot of well-deserved credit for reaching out to the Clintons by appointing then-Sen. Hillary Clinton as his secretary of state in the first place. But trust is a two-way street and has to be earned. We should not underestimate or forget how much Clinton did and how hard she worked. She deserved that trust, as she deserved to be in the war room when Osama bin Laden was killed.


By the way, is there any other leader in the last 50 years whom we routinely refer to by a first name, and do so more out of respect than familiarity? The last person I can think of was Ike -- the elder family member who we revere with affection. Hillary is Hillary.


It's not surprising that we feel we know her. She has been part of our public life for more than 20 years. She's been a model of dignity, diplomacy, empathy and toughness. She also has done something no other secretary of state has done -- including the two women who preceded her in the Cabinet post.


Rothkopf: President Hillary Clinton? If she wants it



Hillary has transformed our understanding -- no, our definition -- of foreign affairs. Diplomacy is no longer just the skill of managing relations with other countries. The big issues -- war and peace, terror, economic stability, etc. -- remain, and she has handled them with firmness and authority, with poise and confidence, and with good will, when appropriate.


But it is not the praise of diplomats or dictators that will be her legacy. She dealt with plenipotentiaries, but her focus was on people. Foreign affairs isn't just about treaties, she taught us, it's about the suffering and aspirations of those affected by the treaties, made or unmade.








Most of all, diplomacy should refocus attention on the powerless.


Of course, Hillary wasn't the first secretary of state to advocate for human rights or use the post to raise awareness of abuses or negotiate humanitarian relief or pressure oppressors. But she was the first to focus on empowerment, particularly of women and girls.


She created the first Office of Global Women's Issues. That office fought to highlight the plight of women around the world. Rape of women has been a weapon of war for centuries. Though civilized countries condemn it, the fight against it has in a sense only really begun.


Ghitis: Hillary Clinton's global legacy on gay rights


The office has worked to hold governments accountable for the systematic oppression of girls and women and fought for their education in emerging countries. As Hillary said when the office was established: "When the Security Council passed Resolution 1325, we tried to make a very clear statement, that women are still largely shut out of the negotiations that seek to end conflicts, even though women and children are the primary victims of 21st century conflict."


Hillary also included the United States in the Trafficking in Person report. Human Trafficking, a form of modern, mainly sexual, slavery, victimizes mostly women and girls. The annual report reviews the state of global efforts to eliminate the practice. "We believe it is important to keep the spotlight on ourselves," she said. "Human trafficking is not someone else's problem. Involuntary servitude is not something we can ignore or hope doesn't exist in our own communities."


She also created the office of Global Partnerships. And there is much more.


She has held her own in palaces and held the hands of hungry children in mud-hut villages, pursuing an agenda that empowers women, children, the poor and helpless.


We shouldn't have been surprised. Her book "It Takes a Village" focused on the impact that those outside the family have, for better or worse, on a child's well-being.


As secretary of state, she did all she could to make sure our impact as a nation would be for the better.


Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion


Join us on Facebook/CNNOpinion


The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Donna Brazile.






Read More..

$1 million lottery jackpot waits to be claimed









SPRINGFIELD ——





Last St. Patrick's Day, four $1 million lottery tickets were drawn in Illinois, but so far only three of the buyers have claimed their pots o' gold.


The luck of the Irish will run out March 17, the anniversary of the sale, if nobody turns in the fourth ticket that was bought at a gas station in west suburban Wood Dale.





It's far from unusual that somebody buys a winning ticket and fails to collect. Illinois amasses tens of millions of dollars in unclaimed lottery prizes each year. But winners usually cash in early rather than risk misplacing the ticket before the anniversary — and losing their windfall along with it.


Jim Batson, owner of the Marathon station on Irving Park Road where the unclaimed ticket was sold, hopes the buyer will claim the Millionaire Raffle prize before it's too late.


"We tell everybody who comes in to check between their couches and anywhere else," Batson said. "Sure feels like someone lost it."


Lottery agents have even put up a flier alerting customers to the prize and deadline.


The Millionaire Raffle is exactly what it sounds like, with 500,000 individually numbered tickets sold at $20 a pop. A computerized drawing spits out four winning tickets, each worth $1 million. The odds of capturing the top prize are 1 in 125,000.


After the drawing last year, winning tickets were turned in from convenience stores in Pocahontas, near St. Louis, and Robinson, in southern Illinois near the Indiana border. In an odd coincidence, the other winning ticket was bought less than four miles from Batson's store, at another Marathon station on Busse Road in Elk Grove Village.


The Millionaire Raffle prize is not even the largest one unclaimed and still valid. Someone bought a $6.5 million Lotto ticket at a Road Ranger truck stop in Roscoe, near the Wisconsin border, in August, but no one has turned in the winning ticket. The largest unclaimed prize in Illinois history was a $14 million Lotto ticket sold in Frankfort in January 2004. No one ever collected.


The state sold nearly $2.7 billion worth of tickets in the budget year that ended June 30, but unclaimed totals for that period are still being tallied. The previous year, the unclaimed prize winnings hit $32.4 million. The vast majority of that unclaimed cash goes into the common school fund, according to the lottery.


Most states have a similar approach with unclaimed prizes, said David Gale, executive director of the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries. But some states throw unclaimed winnings back into future jackpots, and others use the money for different funds, such as helping to support programs to battle gambling addictions.


There's still a chance someone will turn in that outstanding ticket from Wood Dale as time ticks down to the expiration date. In 2011, for example, a South Side man claimed a $9 million Lotto prize just days before the winning ticket expired.


"Most people don't typically wait the full year," said Mike Lang, lottery spokesman. "But once in a while, we do get one."


Batson holds out hope for his patrons. "It would be nice if one of my regulars had won it," he said.


Whether or not the prize is claimed, Batson already has collected a lucky reward. He received the standard 1 percent commission for selling a winning ticket — a payday worth $10,000.


raguerrero2@tribune.com


Twitter @ChiTribCloutSt





Read More..

Turkish leftist group claims U.S. embassy bombing: website


ISTANBUL (Reuters) - A Turkish leftist group claimed responsibility on Saturday for a suicide bomb attack on the U.S. embassy and accused Washington of using Turkey as its "slave", according to a statement posted on the internet.


The Revolutionary People's Liberation Army-Front (DHKP-C) said it carried out Friday's attack, in which a suicide bomber detonated explosives strapped to his body at the embassy in Ankara, killing himself and a Turkish security guard.


In a statement on "The People's Cry" website, the DHKP-C, which is listed as terrorist organization by the United States and Turkey, warned Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan he too was a target.


"Murderer America! You will not run away from people's rage," the statement said, next to a picture of the bomber, named as Alisan Sanli, wearing a black beret and military-style clothes and with an explosives belt around his waist.


Erdogan, who said hours after the attack that the DHKP-C were responsible, met with his interior and foreign ministers as well as the head of the army and state security service in Istanbul on Saturday to discuss the bombing.


Interior Minister Muammer Guler said the attacker had served time in jail on domestic terrorism charges in Turkey in the past, re-entered the country using false documents and was wanted by the authorities.


"(The bomber) was demanding to pass through the guest and staff gate of the U.S. embassy using a fake ID when he detonated the explosives," the provincial governor's office in Ankara said in a statement.


It said he had also detonated a hand grenade.


The White House condemned the bombing as an "act of terror", while the U.N. Security Council described it as a heinous act.


U.S. officials said the DHKP-C were the main suspects in Friday's bombing but did not exclude other possibilities.


Islamist radicals, extreme left-wing groups, ultra-nationalists and Kurdish militants have all carried out attacks in Turkey in the past.


U.S. PATRIOT MISSILES


The DHKP-C, formed in 1978, is virulently anti-American.


It called on Washington to remove Patriot missiles, due to go operational on Monday as part of a NATO defense system, from Turkish soil. The missiles are being deployed alongside systems from Germany and the Netherlands to guard NATO-member Turkey against a spillover of the war in neighboring Syria.


"Our action is for the independence of our country, which has become a new slave of America," the statement said.


Turkey is a key U.S. ally in the Middle East with common interests ranging from energy security to counter-terrorism and has been one of the leading advocates of foreign intervention to end the civil war in Syria.


It was the second attack on a U.S. mission in four months. On September 11, 2012, U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three American personnel were killed in an Islamist militant attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.


The DHKP-C was responsible for the assassination of two U.S. military contractors in the early 1990s in protest against the first Gulf War and launched rockets at the U.S. consulate in Istanbul in 1992, according to the U.S. State Department.


It has been blamed for previous suicide attacks, including one in 2001 that killed two police officers and a tourist in Istanbul's central Taksim Square, and has carried out a series of deadly attacks on police stations in the last six months.


Friday's attack may have come in retaliation for an operation against the DHKP-C last month in which Turkish police detained 85 people. A court subsequently remanded 38 of them in custody over links to the group.


(Writing by Nick Tattersall; Editing by Andrew Roche)



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S&P 500 rises one percent as Wall Street rallies


NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks hit five-year highs with each of the three major indexes up at least 1 percent on Friday, after jobs and manufacturing data showed the economy's sluggish recovery is still on track.


The Dow Jones industrial average <.dji> gained 139.22 points, or 1.00 percent, to 13,999.80. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.spx> rose 15.04 points, or 1.00 percent, to 1,513.15. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.ixic> advanced 35.47 points, or 1.13 percent, to 3,177.60.


(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Kenneth Barry)



Read More..

Goodell says agreement close on HGH testing


NEW ORLEANS (AP) — NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says he believes there will be an agreement soon with the players' union for testing for human growth hormone.


At his annual state of the NFL news conference Friday, Goodell said he expects an agreement for the tests to be reached in time for the start of the 2013 season.


Goodell noted that the league and union agreed to the testing two years ago in the collective bargaining agreement. He said it is important to have testing to retain the integrity and the brand of the league.


Goodell also said he is not going to give up his authority to discipline players for various offenses, something he said has served the league well over the years.


Read More..

Hillary: Secretary of empowerment




Girls hug U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a 2010 tour of a shelter run for sex trafficking victims in Cambodia.




STORY HIGHLIGHTS


  • Donna Brazile: Clinton stepping down as Secretary of State. Maybe she'll run for president

  • She says as secretary she expanded foreign policy to include effect on regular people

  • She says she was first secretary of state to focus on empowering women and girls

  • Brazile: Clinton has fought for education and inclusion in politics for women and girls




Editor's note: Donna Brazile, a CNN contributor and a Democratic strategist, is vice chairwoman for voter registration and participation at the Democratic National Committee. She is a nationally syndicated columnist, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University and author of "Cooking with Grease." She was manager for the Gore-Lieberman presidential campaign in 2000.


(CNN) -- As Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton steps down from her job Friday, many are assuming she will run for president. And she may. In fact, five of the first eight presidents first served their predecessors as secretary of state.


It hasn't happened in more than a century, though that may change should Clinton decide to run. After all, she has been a game changer her entire life.


But before we look ahead, I think we should appreciate what she's done as secretary of state; it's a high profile, high pressure job. You have to deal with the routine as if it is critical and with crisis as if it's routine. You have to manage egos, protocols, customs and Congress. You have to be rhetorical and blunt, diplomatic and direct.



CNN Contributor Donna Brazile

CNN Contributor Donna Brazile



As secretary of state you are dealing with heads of state and with we the people. And the president of the United States has to trust you -- implicitly.


On the road with Hillary Clinton


Of all Clinton's accomplishments -- and I will mention just a few -- this may be the most underappreciated. During the election, pundits were puzzled and amazed not only at how much energy former President Bill Clinton poured into Obama's campaign, but even more at how genuine and close the friendship was.


Obama was given a lot of well-deserved credit for reaching out to the Clintons by appointing then-Sen. Hillary Clinton as his secretary of state in the first place. But trust is a two-way street and has to be earned. We should not underestimate or forget how much Clinton did and how hard she worked. She deserved that trust, as she deserved to be in the war room when Osama bin Laden was killed.


By the way, is there any other leader in the last 50 years whom we routinely refer to by a first name, and do so more out of respect than familiarity? The last person I can think of was Ike -- the elder family member who we revere with affection. Hillary is Hillary.


It's not surprising that we feel we know her. She has been part of our public life for more than 20 years. She's been a model of dignity, diplomacy, empathy and toughness. She also has done something no other secretary of state has done -- including the two women who preceded her in the Cabinet post.


Rothkopf: President Hillary Clinton? If she wants it



Hillary has transformed our understanding -- no, our definition -- of foreign affairs. Diplomacy is no longer just the skill of managing relations with other countries. The big issues -- war and peace, terror, economic stability, etc. -- remain, and she has handled them with firmness and authority, with poise and confidence, and with good will, when appropriate.


But it is not the praise of diplomats or dictators that will be her legacy. She dealt with plenipotentiaries, but her focus was on people. Foreign affairs isn't just about treaties, she taught us, it's about the suffering and aspirations of those affected by the treaties, made or unmade.








Most of all, diplomacy should refocus attention on the powerless.


Of course, Hillary wasn't the first secretary of state to advocate for human rights or use the post to raise awareness of abuses or negotiate humanitarian relief or pressure oppressors. But she was the first to focus on empowerment, particularly of women and girls.


She created the first Office of Global Women's Issues. That office fought to highlight the plight of women around the world. Rape of women has been a weapon of war for centuries. Though civilized countries condemn it, the fight against it has in a sense only really begun.


Ghitis: Hillary Clinton's global legacy on gay rights


The office has worked to hold governments accountable for the systematic oppression of girls and women and fought for their education in emerging countries. As Hillary said when the office was established: "When the Security Council passed Resolution 1325, we tried to make a very clear statement, that women are still largely shut out of the negotiations that seek to end conflicts, even though women and children are the primary victims of 21st century conflict."


Hillary also included the United States in the Trafficking in Person report. Human Trafficking, a form of modern, mainly sexual, slavery, victimizes mostly women and girls. The annual report reviews the state of global efforts to eliminate the practice. "We believe it is important to keep the spotlight on ourselves," she said. "Human trafficking is not someone else's problem. Involuntary servitude is not something we can ignore or hope doesn't exist in our own communities."


She also created the office of Global Partnerships. And there is much more.


She has held her own in palaces and held the hands of hungry children in mud-hut villages, pursuing an agenda that empowers women, children, the poor and helpless.


We shouldn't have been surprised. Her book "It Takes a Village" focused on the impact that those outside the family have, for better or worse, on a child's well-being.


As secretary of state, she did all she could to make sure our impact as a nation would be for the better.


Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion


Join us on Facebook/CNNOpinion


The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Donna Brazile.






Read More..

March planned for Hadiya Pendleton; reward increased to $30K









As community members made ready to march in memory of Hadiya Pendleton today, officials announced the reward for information in the slaying of the King College Prep sophomore has been increased to $30,000.


Late this morning, Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy and other police officials were expected to join several pastors at her high school, King College Prep, to announce the increased reward. Soon after, an anti-violence march in Hadiya's honor was scheduled to start at King, 4445 S. Drexel Blvd.


Hadiya had just finished her final exams at King College Prep, and was hanging out with friends from the school's volleyball team when she was gunned down Tuesday in Harsh Park, in the 4400 block of South Oakenwald Avenue. Thursday afternoon, police announced the reward for information leading to an arrest in the shooting had increased to $24,000, up from $11,000 announced Wednesday.








Hadiya and the others had sought shelter from a rainstorm under a canopy at the park around 2:20 p.m. Tuesday when a gunman jumped a fence, ran toward them and opened fire, police said.

As the teens scattered, Hadiya and two teenage boys were shot. Hadiya was hit in the back and pronounced dead at Comer Children's Hospital less than an hour after the shooting. The wounds suffered by the boys were not life-threatening.


Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy stressed that neither Hadiya nor anyone in the group she was with were involved with gangs. But it appears the gunman mistook the students for members of a rival gang, he said. The shooter was last seen fleeing in a white Nissan.

“These were good kids by everything that I learned," McCarthy said at a Wednesday news conference. "Wrong place at the wrong time.”


Pastor Courtney Maxwell, the family’s pastor, has offered $6,000, increasing the reward to $30,000, according to the statement, which said Maxwell has called a press conference at Harsh Park at 11:45 a.m. 

Hadiya was shot a little more than a week after performing with the King College Prep band in Washington during President Barack Obama's inauguration festivities. The shooting occurred in a park about a mile north of Obama's Kenwood home.

The shooting has drawn the attention of both the White House, which is pushing for national gun control, and City Hall as Chicago closes on a violent January. Hadiya was the 42nd homicide victim this year in the city, where killings last year climbed above 500.

Hadiya's father, Nathaniel Pendleton, pleaded for someone to step forward and bring the 15-year-old's killer to justice.

"She was destined for great things," he said.

Hadiya was a majorette with the band at King, one of the city's elite selective-enrollment schools. She dreamed of going to Northwestern University and talked about becoming a pharmacist or a journalist, maybe a lawyer.

Police have reported no arrests.


chicagobreaking@tribune.com





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Suicide bomber kills guard at U.S. embassy in Turkey


ANKARA (Reuters) - A far-leftist suicide bomber killed a Turkish security guard at the U.S. embassy in Ankara on Friday, officials said, blowing open an entrance and sending debris flying through the air.


The attacker detonated explosives strapped to his body after entering an embassy gatehouse. The blast could be heard a mile away. A lower leg and other human remains lay on the street.


Interior Minister Muammer Guler said the bomber was a member of an illegal far-left group. The White House said the suicide attack was an "act of terror", but the motivation was unclear.


Islamist radicals, extreme left-wing groups, ultra-nationalists and Kurdish militants have all carried out attacks in Turkey in the past. There was no claim of responsibility.


"The suicide bomber was ripped apart and one or two citizens from the special security team passed away," said Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, who was attending a ceremony in Istanbul when the blast happened.


"This event shows that we need to fight together everywhere in the world against these terrorist elements," he said.


Turkish media reports identified the bomber as Ecevit Sanli, a member of the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) leftist group, who was involved in attacks on a police station and a military staff college in Istanbul in 1997.


The DHKP-C opposes what it sees as U.S. influence over Turkish foreign policy.


Turkey is a key U.S. ally in the Middle East with common interests ranging from energy security to counter-terrorism and has been one of the leading advocates of foreign intervention to end the conflict in neighboring Syria.


Around 400 U.S. soldiers have arrived in Turkey over the past few weeks to operate Patriot anti-missile batteries meant to defend against any spillover of Syria's civil war, part of a NATO deployment due to be fully operational in the coming days.


"HUGE EXPLOSION"


U.S. Ambassador Francis Ricciardone emerged through the main gate of the embassy, which is surrounded by high walls, shortly after the explosion to address reporters, flanked by a security detail as a Turkish police helicopter hovered overhead.


"We're very sad of course that we lost one of our Turkish guards at the gate," Ricciardone said, describing the victim as a "hero" and thanking Turkish authorities for a prompt response.


A U.S. national security source said U.S. officials believed the incident was a suicide bombing but said security measures had worked properly, in that the attacker was not able to get past the outer perimeter of the compound and neither the embassy buildings were damaged, nor were U.S. personnel injured.


It was the second attack on a U.S. mission in four months. On September 11, 2012, U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three American personnel were killed in an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.


The attack in Benghazi, blamed on al Qaeda-affiliated militants, sparked a political furore in Washington over accusations that U.S. missions were not adequately safeguarded.


A well-known Turkish journalist, Didem Tuncay, who was on her way in to the embassy to meet Ricciardone when the attack took place, was in a critical condition in hospital.


"It was a huge explosion. I was sitting in my shop when it happened. I saw what looked like a body part on the ground," said travel agent Kamiyar Barnos, whose shop window was shattered around 100 meters away from the blast.


OPPOSED TO U.S. INFLUENCE


The DHKP-C, deemed a terrorist organization by both the United States and Turkey, has been blamed for suicide attacks in the past, including one in 2001 that killed two police officers and a tourist in Istanbul's central Taksim Square.


Guler said the bomber could have been from the DHKP-C which has carried out a series of deadly attacks on police stations in the last six months, or a similar group.


The attack may have come in retaliation for an operation against the DHKP-C last month in which Turkish police detained 85 people. A court subsequently remanded 38 of them in custody over links to the group.


The U.S. consulate in Istanbul warned its citizens to be vigilant and to avoid large gatherings, while the British mission in Istanbul called on British businesses to tighten security after what it called a "suspected terrorist attack".


In 2008, Turkish gunmen with suspected links to al Qaeda, opened fire on the U.S. consulate in Istanbul, killing three Turkish policemen. The gunmen died in the subsequent firefight.


The most serious bombings in Turkey occurred in November 2003, when car bombs shattered two synagogues, killing 30 people and wounding 146. Part of the HSBC Bank headquarters was destroyed and the British consulate was damaged in two more explosions that killed 32 people less than a week later. Authorities said those attacks bore the hallmarks of al Qaeda.


(Additional reporting by Daren Butler and Ayla Jean Yackley in Istanbul, Mark Hosenball in Washington; Writing by Nick Tattersall; Editing by Jon Hemming)



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Wall Street dips on profit taking, Friday data eyed

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stocks edged lower on Thursday as investors took profit after a mixed bag of economic data, while stellar earnings from Qualcomm helped buoy the Nasdaq.


Even with the retreat, the S&P 500 is on track to post its best month since October 2011 and its best start to a year since 1997.


Investors are expecting a pullback in equities after recent gains, though they have bought on dips over the past four weeks, analysts said. The largest daily decline on the S&P 500 so far in 2013 was Thursday's 0.39 percent drop, after data showed the economy contracted in the last quarter of 2012.


"This is a highly rotational market," said Janelle Nelson, portfolio analyst at RBC Wealth Management in Minneapolis, noting how investors dive into beaten-down sectors on the smallest encouraging news.


Job market data released earlier on Thursday showed mildly positive signs for a still-fragile economy, with jobless claims slightly higher and incomes growing at the best pace since 2004.


Those reports come ahead of Friday's payrolls report, which is expected to show employers added 160,000 jobs in January after an increase of 155,000 in December. Friday will also bring reports on consumer confidence, U.S. manufacturing, construction spending and car sales.


"The market's lack of movement is due in part to the large number of economic releases coming out tomorrow," said Nelson.


Qualcomm Inc gained 4.6 percent to $66.43 as the top boost to the Nasdaq Composite after the world's leading supplier of chips for cellphones beat analysts' expectations for quarterly profit and revenue, and raised its targets for the year.


Facebook Inc lost 2.5 percent to $30.47, a day after the social network company said it doubled its mobile advertising revenue in the fourth quarter. However, growth trailed some of Wall Street's most aggressive estimates.


The Dow Jones industrial average <.dji> fell 34.71 points or 0.25 percent, to 13,875.71; the S&P 500 <.spx> lost 4.04 points or 0.27 percent, to 1,497.92 and the Nasdaq Composite <.ixic> dropped 1.74 points or 0.06 percent, to 3,140.57.


The S&P 500 has advanced 5 percent in January after legislators in Washington temporarily sidestepped a "fiscal cliff" of automatic tax increases and spending cuts that could have derailed the economic recovery, and in the wake of better-than-expected corporate earnings.


United Parcel Service Inc lost 2 percent to $79.63 after reporting fourth-quarter earnings that were below analysts' estimates on Thursday and forecasting weaker-than-expected profit for 2013.


Kirby Corp added 6.6 percent to $70.87 and Ryder Systems Inc climbed 2.9 percent to $55.81 after posting quarterly results.


Thomson Reuters data through Thursday morning shows that of the 231 companies in the S&P 500 that have reported earnings this season, 69.3 percent have exceeded expectations, a higher proportion than over the past four quarters and above the average since 1994.


Overall, S&P 500 fourth-quarter earnings are forecast to have risen 3.7 percent. That's above a 1.9 percent forecast at the start of the earnings season, but well below a 9.9 percent profit growth forecast on October 1, the data showed.


WMS Industries Inc surged 52.6 percent to $24.98 after the company agreed to be acquired by Scientific Games Corp for $26 per share in cash. Scientific Games jumped 11.9 percent to $9.99.


(Additional reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Bernadette Baum)



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49ers' Culliver apologizes for anti-gay remarks


NEW ORLEANS (AP) — San Francisco 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver apologized Thursday for anti-gay comments he made to a comedian during Super Bowl media day, saying "that's not what I feel in my heart."


"I'm sorry if I offended anyone. They were very ugly comments," Culliver said during an hour-long media session. "Hopefully I learn and grow from this experience and this situation."


He said he would welcome a gay teammate to the 49ers, a reversal of his remarks to Artie Lange two days earlier during an interview at the Superdome.


"I treat everyone equal," Culliver said. "That's not how I feel."


He added that he realized his comments were especially offensive to many people in San Francisco and the Bay Area, which is home to a large gay community.


"I love San Francisco," Culliver said.


During the interview with Lange, Culliver responded to questions by saying he wouldn't welcome a gay player in the locker room. He also said the 49ers didn't have any gay players, and if they did those players should leave.


San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh met privately with Culliver to discuss the remarks.


"I reject what he said," Harbaugh said. "That's not something that reflects the way the organization feels, the way the rest of the players feel."


The coach would not discuss if Culliver would face discipline from the team, such as a fine or loss of playing time.


"He pledged to grow from it," Harbaugh said.


The interview began with Lange asking Culliver about his sexual plans with women during Super Bowl week. Lange followed up with a question about whether Culliver would consider pursuing a gay man.


"I don't do the gay guys, man. I don't do that," Culliver said during the one-minute taped interview. "Ain't got no gay people on the team. They gotta get up outta here if they do. Can't be with that sweet stuff."


Lange asked Culliver to reiterate his thoughts, to which the player said, "It's true." He added he wouldn't welcome a gay teammate — no matter how talented.


"Nah. Can't be ... in the locker room, nah," he said. "You've gotta come out 10 years later after that."


The 24-year-old Culliver, a third-round draft pick in 2011 out of South Carolina, made 47 tackles with two interceptions and a forced fumble this season while starting six games for the NFC champion Niners (13-4-1).


He had his first career postseason interception in San Francisco's 28-24 win at Atlanta for the NFC title.


The 49ers participate in the NFL's "It Gets Better" anti-bullying campaign. Three organizations working for LGBT inclusion in sports — Athlete Ally, You Can Play, and GLAAD — reacted to Culliver's remarks and later acknowledged his apology.


"Chris Culliver's comments were disrespectful, discriminatory and dangerous, particularly for the young people who look up to him," said Athlete Ally Executive Director Hudson Taylor. "His words underscore the importance of the athlete ally movement and the key role that professional athletes play in shaping an athletic climate that affirms and includes gay and lesbian players."


Calling Lange's questions "real disrespectful," Culliver said he realized he was speaking to a comedian and not a journalist.


"That was pretty much in a joking manner," the player said. "It's nothing about how I feel."


___


Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963


___


Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP_NFL


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Chevron fined nearly $1M for Calif. refinery fire






SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Chevron was fined nearly $ 1 million by the state on Wednesday in connection with a fire last year at the company’s San Francisco Bay area refinery that sent a cloud of gas and black smoke over residential areas.


Investigators found “willful violations” in Chevron Corp.‘s response before, during and after the Aug. 6 fire in Richmond caused by an old, leaky pipe in one of the facility’s crude units, said Ellen Widess, chief of the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health.






“Our … investigation showed that Chevron had repeated warnings and recommendations from its own metallurgists and pipe inspectors about the condition of this pipe,” Widess said.


“Chevron was in a unique position to really know the hazards that they deal with from their dynamic technologies and processes, many of which are proprietary. They alone were in position to have addressed these hazards.”


The agency filed 25 citations against oil giant, and said the $ 963,200 in fines were the largest allowed by state law. The company said it planned to appeal some of the violations.


Among the findings, the agency said the company didn’t follow recommendations of its own inspectors and scientists made in 2002 to replace the corroded pipe that ultimately ruptured and caused the fire.


“Chevron had pervasive violations in its leak repair procedures throughout the refinery,” the agency found. “Investigators identified leaks in pipes that Chevron had clamped as a temporary fix. In some cases the clamps remained in place for years, rather than replacing the pipes themselves.”


Cal-OSHA also cited Chevron for not following its own emergency shutdown procedures when the leak was first spotted, and said the company exposed workers to harm by not ensuring they wore proper safety equipment when going back into the burnt out crude unit following the blaze.


No workers were seriously injured in the incident.


Eleven of the violations have been classified as “willful” because investigators found that Chevron had not taken actions to eliminate dangerous conditions for employees, including replacement of the pipe that ruptured.


The investigation also cited the company for failing to file in writing its mandated “thorough review” of a new type of pipe that it wants to use in replacement of the old one that failed.


Company spokesman Sean Comey said Chevron disagreed with some of the violations.


“Although we acknowledge that we failed to live up to our own expectations in this incident, we do not agree with several of the (Cal-OSHA) findings and its characterization of some of the alleged violations as ‘willful,’” he said in an email. “Chevron intends to appeal.”


Smoke and gas from the fire prompted thousands of people to seek medical treatment, with many complaining of eye irritation and breathing problems.


The fire was caused by a decades-old pipe that the company had neglected to replace, even after inspecting areas near the segment that failed less than a year earlier.


Chevron has paid $ 10 million in connection to nearly 24,000 claims from residents and to nearby hospitals and local government agencies in Richmond and Contra Costa County, the company said in a report filed earlier this week.


Most of that money went to the hospitals to pay for medical exams and treatments following the incident.


While the fines may not be a major deterrent for a company that earned an estimated $ 25 billion in 2012, the agency said industry is often more sensitive to a violations classification, such as “willful,” than monetary penalties.


“There’s a huge stigma to willful violations with all industries,” Erika Monterroza, a Cal-OSHA spokeswoman.


Chevron’s El Segundo refinery and its oilfield near Bakersfield are also under investigation by Cal-OSHA.


___


Follow Jason Dearen on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/JHDearen


Energy News Headlines – Yahoo! News





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Fear and loathing in Egypt's Port Said

























Behind the mask


Scales of justice


Moment of truth


Fans celebrate


Armed and ready


Rally at the club


Portrait of the dead


ACAB


Down with Morsi


Army in control


Port Said women protest


Al Masry ultras


The sound of machine guns


Aftermath


Protest


Shots fired


Empty stands


Harrowing reminder





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STORY HIGHLIGHTS


  • Chaos erupted in Egypt after 21 people were sentenced to death following a football riot

  • More than 70 people died after match in Port Said between local club Al Masry and Al Ahly

  • Egyptian league was suspended and has yet to restart due to threats of further violence

  • Verdicts for 52 other defendants who were arrested after riot is expected March 9




(CNN) -- The faces of more than 70 young men and boys bore down on the crowd of thousands outside Al Ahly's training complex in Cairo.


As many as 15,000 members of the Ahlawy, the organized ultras fan group of Egypt's most popular soccer club, had gathered here early for the news they, and the country, had been waiting almost a year to hear.


At 10 a.m. a judge was to deliver a verdict on one of the darkest moments in the history of the game.


It happened on February 1, 2012, when more than 70 -- those young men and boys whose faces now appear on a billboard high above the entrance of the club -- lost their lives after a match in the Mediterranean city of Port Said, against local club Al Masry.


Most of the dead were crushed when the Al Masry fans stormed the pitch.








The players sprinted for their lives, finding sanctuary in the dressing room. And then the floodlights went out.


When the lights came back on 10 minutes later, the dead lay piled in a tunnel, in front of a locked, metal gate that had prevented escape before it collapsed under the weight of bodies.


Direct action


Seventy-three people were arrested, many accused of murder. They were mostly Al Masry fans, but included several members of the security forces.


The man allegedly responsible for cutting the power to the lights was also arrested. The Ahlawy suspected that a hidden hand was at work.


There were conspiracy theories, many asked questions: was this just a football rivalry gone very wrong? Or did police allow the violence as payback against the ultras for their part in the revolution?


Read: Clashes erupt after Egypt court sentences


The Ahlawy had played a crucial role in the revolution. They were an organized group of tens of the thousands of young men willing to fight the police -- as they had both inside and out of Egypt's soccer stadiums for the previous four years -- to make their voices heard.


The authorities denied any collusion. It was a tragic accident, they said. Hooliganism and ineptitude, no more, no less, no hidden hand.


But many of the Ahlawy fans were not convinced. The Egyptian soccer league was canceled and the Ahlawy waged a successful direct action campaign to prevent its restart until justice had been served.


The young men waited for the verdict on Saturday. Several had come armed, in anticipation of a further postponement or, worst still, a not guilty verdict. Some carried clubs, others homemade pistols and double-barreled sawn-off shotguns.


Tear gas


At 10 a.m. the judge rose on national television and delivered his verdict. Twenty-one of the accused were sentenced to death. The verdicts for the remaining defendants are expected March 9.


The news swept through the crowd, reducing those in its path to tears of joy; teenagers who had lost friends, mothers who had lost sons, wives who had lost husbands.











Scores dead in Egypt soccer riot














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"It's a very good decision by the court," said Mihai, a member of the Ahlawy who had come to hear the verdict. As with all the ultras, he declined to give his last name.


The guns that had been brought in anticipation of violence were fired into the sky in celebration.


One fan fired an automatic pistol until it jammed. He inspected the piece of failing, unfamiliar equipment. Unable to fix it, he tucked it into his belt and jumped into the sea of celebrating men.


"We hope it will be a perfect ending for this story. We have been waiting for this for so long. For 21 to get executed is a very good decision. So now we wait for the police decision. For sure it wasn't just them that made this," Mihai said.


Back in February, with the raw memories of Port Said just a few weeks old, the Ahlawy had demanded that those responsible should be put to death.


With the court verdict, they received their wish. Justice, they believed, had been served. At least partially.


"The police will be (put to) trial on March 9," said Mohamed, a founding member of the Ahlawy.


The previous night -- on the Egyptian revolution's anniversary -- Cairo was blanketed in tear gas as protesters roamed the streets surrounding Tahrir Square, venting their anger at President Mohamed Morsy and what they see as a lack of any real reforms.


Many, including the Ahlawy, expected further confrontations after the verdict.


But as the crowd moved inside the complex, holding a rally on the club's main soccer pitch, it became clear that no fighting would take place that day.


"I feel satisfied that some of those who committed what we suffered a year ago are going to face what they deserve," said Ahmed, another founding member of the Ahlawy who believed that the right decision had been made.


"It's a strong verdict but they don't deserve less than a strong verdict. Nobody ever wants to see someone dying but when someone kills he deserves a death sentence. He deserves that his life is taken. I don't see a way the police can get away with this."


Port Said ignited


Not everyone was happy, especially those who saw the verdict as a potential springboard to challenge Morsy, whom many of the Ahlawy view as no different from Hosni Mubarak, the former dictator who ruled Egypt for almost 30 years.


"They are giving us something of a painkiller to take out the anger from the young lads -- for me it is not enough," said Hassan, an Ahly fan standing on the training ground pitch.









Egypt unstable after days of protest











































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"All the other political movements and parties were looking at what was going to happen today. Everyone had their hopes for the ultras and now they have given us this painkiller and it has lost its momentum of something really happening against the new regime," he added.


But what had -- if only temporarily -- calmed the Ahlawy, it ignited Port Said.


The verdicts were greeted with astonishment, disbelief, and anger by Al Masry's fans and the families of the 73 accused who had gathered outside the prison in Port Said where the suspects were held.


Like the Ahlawy supporters in Cairo, they too had come prepared. Two policemen were shot dead as the relatives tried to storm the prison. The police fired back. At least 30 people were killed in clashes. Among them was a former Al Masry player.


President Morsy addressed the nation and announced a 30-day curfew, from 9 p.m. until 6 a.m. in the cities worst effected by the violence.


A few hours before the first curfew was due to fall, a storm rolled into Port Said. The streets were empty, the skies dark and pregnant with rain as 9 p.m. approached.


The only sound was the faint, periodic burst of gunfire. It emanated from near the Al Arab police station by the sea.


Smoldering barricades


On approaching it, the dead streets suddenly came alive, as if the entire energy of the city had been focused on one point. Barricades made from burning tires separated the police from groups of young men, exchanging rocks for gunfire.


The clashes had followed the funeral of more protesters, killed the day after the violence outside the prison.


"There are some injuries here," a member of the Red Crescent said as he sheltered from the gunfire in a side street. Ambulances flew by, their sirens blaring.


"We've seen gun bullets from the government. In four days we have seen more than 450 (injured)."


The prospects of a hastily arranged march to defy Morsy's curfew, looked bleak.


But at 8.30 p.m. a crowd of thousands gathered near the same spot the Red Crescent had been waiting to ferry the injured to hospital. They marched through the smoldering barricades towards where the gunfire had previously come from.


Now the army, not the police, was in charge.


Armored personnel carriers and armed troops were stationed on street corners and outside important military and civilian buildings.


At its core were the fans of Al Masry ultras group the Green Eagles. But they were by no means alone. The marchers had come from all sections of Port Said. Several hundred women marched together, denouncing Morsy and Cairo.


The curfew came and went, the crowd mocking its passing. "It's 9 o'clock!" they chanted as they passed the stationed troops.


But there was no animosity towards the army. The police was the enemy. Protesters took it in turns to hug and kiss the young soldiers.


Few would readily admit to being Al Masry fans, nor say whether they were there on that fateful night almost a year ago that set in motion this chain of deadly events.


Vendetta


What they would say is that they believed a miscarriage of justice had taken place, that Morsy had sacrificed Port Said to prevent chaos in Cairo, that traditional antipathy towards Port Said was at play.


"People are truly sure that these people (the 21 sentenced to death) didn't kill anyone. We didn't do it and they (the Ahlawy) don't believe we didn't do this," said Tariq Youssef, a 32-year-old accountant who was on the march with a friend.


"Al Masry will not be back for five years. I'm a big Masry fan. But I can't go anywhere. All the supporters for the big teams in Cairo or anywhere believe that Al Masry supporters did this."


For Tariq, admitting to being an Al Masry supporter outside of Port Said was impossible.


"They say, 'You killed them the Ahly supporters. You are like a terrorist.' Nobody believes us we didn't do anything here. There will be no football in the next five years."


As the march moved back towards the place it had started, machine gun fire rang out once again.


This time it was all around the march, front and back. The crowd scattered. A protester had been shot dead at the back of the march, next to the Al Arab police station.


"In three days we have lost 21 people, judged to be executed, and also about 39 murdered and many injured so there is no family which have not lost a friend, a colleague, a neighbor.


"You can consider this a sort of vendetta between the people and the police," said Muhammad el Agiery, an English tutor who had stayed until the end.


"People are going to stay out all of the night, every day for a month. They reject and refuse the curfew imposed by Morsy," he added.


The next morning the storm was gone and the sun was shining. But the cycle of violence continues. Another funeral march will begin, another barricade will likely be set on fire, and another curfew broken.







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Slain girl made anti-gang video









The sixth-grader can barely keep from smiling, self-conscious in front of the camera as she delivers a very serious message.

"Hi, my name is Hadiya. This commercial is informational for you and your future children," she begins. "So many children out there are in gangs and it's your job as students to say no to gangs and yes to a great future."






The video then shows shots of a boy slumped in a stairwell, another boy sprawled against a locker, a girl lying on the floor against a wall as a classmate next to Hadiya says, "So many children in the world have died from gang violence. More than 500 children have died from being in the wrong place at the wrong time."

Four years after Hadiya Pendleton made that public service video at Carter G. Woodson Elementary School, police are saying the same thing about her.

Hadiya had just finished her final exams at King Prep High School, where she was a sophomore, and was hanging out with friends from the school's volleyball team when she was gunned down in a park in the 4400 block of South Oakenwald Avenue.

Hadiya and the others had sought shelter from a rainstorm under a canopy at the park around 2:20 p.m. Tuesday when a gunman jumped a fence, ran toward them and opened fire, police said.

As the teens scattered, Hadiya and two teenage boys were shot. Hadiya was hit in the back and pronounced dead at Comer Children's Hospital less than an hour after the shooting. The wounds suffered by the boys were not life-threatening.

Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy stressed that neither Hadiya nor anyone in the group she was with were involved with gangs. But it appears the gunman mistook the students for members of a rival gang, he said. The shooter was last seen fleeing in a white Nissan.

“These were good kids by everything that I learned," McCarthy said at a Wednesday news conference, where a reward of $11,000 was announced. "Wrong place at the wrong time.”

Hadiya was shot a little more than a week after performing with the King College Prep band in Washington during President Barack Obama's inauguration festivities. The shooting occurred in a park about a mile north of Obama's Kenwood home.

The shooting has drawn the attention of both the White House, which is pushing for national gun control, and City Hall as Chicago closes on a violent January. Hadiya was the 42nd homicide victim this year in the city, where killings last year climbed above 500.

Hadiya's father, Nathaniel Pendleton, pleaded for someone to step forward and bring the 15-year-old's killer to justice.

"She was destined for great things," he said.

Hadiya was a majorette with the band at King, one of the city's elite selective-enrollment schools. She dreamed of going to Northwestern University and talked about becoming a pharmacist or a journalist, maybe a lawyer.

Police have reported no arrests.



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Syria warns of "surprise" response to Israel attack


BEIRUT/AMMAN (Reuters) - Syria warned on Thursday of a possible "surprise" response to Israel's attack on its territory and Russia condemned the air strike as an unprovoked violation of international law.


Damascus could take "a surprise decision to respond to the aggression of the Israeli warplanes", Syrian ambassador to Lebanon Ali Abdul-Karim Ali said a day after Israel struck against Syria.


"Syria is engaged in defending its sovereignty and its land," Ali told a website of the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah. Syria and Israel have fought several wars and in 2007 Israeli jets bombed a suspected Syrian nuclear site, without a military response from Damascus.


Diplomats, Syrian rebels and regional security sources said on Wednesday that Israeli jets had bombed a convoy near the Lebanese border, apparently hitting weapons destined for Hezbollah. Syria denied the reports, saying the target had been a military research center northwest of Damascus.


Hezbollah, which has supported Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as he battles an armed uprising in which 60,000 people have been killed, said Israel was trying to thwart Arab military power and vowed to stand by its ally.


"Hezbollah expresses its full solidarity with Syria's leadership, army and people," said the group which fought an inconclusive 34-day war with Israel in 2006.


Israel has remained silent on the attack and there has been little reaction from its Western backers, but Syria's allies in Moscow and Tehran were quick to denounce the strike.


Russia, which has blocked Western efforts to put pressure on Syria at the United Nations, said that any Israeli air strike would amount to unacceptable military interference.


"If this information is confirmed, then we are dealing with unprovoked attacks on targets on the territory of a sovereign country, which blatantly violates the U.N. Charter and is unacceptable, no matter the motives to justify it," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.


Iranian deputy foreign minister Hossein Amir Abdullahian said the attack "demonstrates the shared goals of terrorists and the Zionist regime", Fars news agency reported. Assad portrays the rebels fighting him as foreign-backed, Islamist terrorists, with the same agenda as Israel.


"It is necessary for the sides which take tough stances on Syria to now take serious steps and decisive stances against this aggression by Tel Aviv and uphold criteria for security in the region," Abdullahian said.


An aide to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Saturday that Iran would consider any attack on Syria as an attack on itself, but Abdullahian made no mention of retaliation.


Hezbollah said the attack showed that the conflict in Syria was part of a scheme "to destroy Syria and its army and foil its pivotal role in the resistance front (against Israel)".


BLASTS SHOOK DISTRICT


Details of Wednesday's strike remain sketchy and, in parts, contradictory. Syria said Israeli warplanes, flying low to avoid detection by radar, crossed into its airspace from Lebanon and struck the Jamraya military research centre.


But the diplomats and rebels said the jets hit a weapons convoy heading from Syria to Lebanon, apparently destined for Assad's ally Hezbollah, and the rebels said they - not Israel - hit Jamraya with mortars.


The force of the dawn attack shook the ground, waking nearby residents from their slumber with up to a dozen blasts, two sources in the area said.


"We were sleeping. Then we started hearing rockets hitting the complex and the ground started shaking and we ran into the basement," said a woman who lives adjacent to the Jamraya site.


The resident, who declined to be named because of the sensitivity over Israel's reported strike on Wednesday morning, said she could not tell whether the explosions which woke her were the result of an aerial strike.


Another source who has a relative working inside Jamraya reported that a building inside the complex had been cordoned off after the attack and that flames were seen rising from the area after the attack.


"It appears that there were about a dozen rockets that appeared to hit one building in the complex," the source, who also asked not to be identified, told Reuters. "The facility is closed today."


Israeli newspapers quoted foreign media on Thursday for reports on the attack. Journalists in Israel are required to submit articles on security and military issues to the censor, which has the power to block any publication of material it deems could compromise state security.


Syrian state television said two people were killed in the raid on Jamraya, which lies in the 25-km (15-mile) strip between Damascus and the Lebanese border. It described it as a scientific research centre "aimed at raising the level of resistance and self-defense".


Diplomatic sources from three countries told Reuters that chemical weapons were believed to be stored at Jamraya, and that it was possible that the convoy was near the large site when it came under attack. However, there was no suggestion that the vehicles themselves had been carrying chemical weapons.


"The target was a truck loaded with weapons, heading from Syria to Lebanon," said one Western diplomat, echoing others who said the convoy's load may have included anti-aircraft missiles or long-range rockets.


The raid followed warnings from Israel that it was ready to act to prevent the revolt against Assad leading to Syria's chemical weapons and modern rockets reaching either his Hezbollah allies or his Islamist enemies.


A regional security source said Israel's target was weaponry given by Assad's military to fellow Iranian ally Hezbollah.


"This episode boils down to a warning by Israel to Syria and Hezbollah not to engage in the transfer of sensitive weapons," the source said. "Assad knows his survival depends on his military capabilities and he would not want those capabilities neutralized by Israel - so the message is this kind of transfer is simply not worth it, neither for him nor Hezbollah."


Such a strike or strikes would fit Israel's policy of pre-emptive covert and overt action to curb Hezbollah and does not necessarily indicate a major escalation of the war in Syria. It does, however, indicate how the erosion of the Assad family's rule after 42 years is seen by Israel as posing a threat.


Israel this week echoed concerns in the United States about Syrian chemical weapons, but its officials say a more immediate worry is that the civil war could see weapons that are capable of denting its massive superiority in airpower and tanks reaching Hezbollah; the group fought Israel in 2006 and remains a more pressing threat than its Syrian and Iranian sponsors.


(Additional reporting by Mariam Karouny and Oliver Holmes in Beirut, Gabriela Baczynska in Moscow and Marcus George in Dubai; editing by David Stamp)



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