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Body parts found in garbage bags along snowy Michigan roads

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(CNN) – Human body parts have been found in garbage bags dumped along snowy roads in a rural area of Michigan, authorities said.

The body parts are believed to belong to one white male, St. Clair County Sheriff Tim Donnellon said Friday. An autopsy was scheduled for Friday afternoon.

For the sheriff’s office, the sinister case began Thursday afternoon.

A woman called to tell them she had “located something suspicious” in an area a few miles from the Canadian border, said Deputy Steven Campau.

When they arrived on the scene, law enforcement officers discovered the garbage bags and their gruesome contents on two adjoining roads.

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Amanda Knox vows to fight murder conviction, won’t ‘go willingly’ to Italy

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Florence, Italy (CNN) – Amanda Knox vowed Friday to fight her conviction for the murder of British student Meredith Kercher ”until the very end” and said she “will never go willingly” back to Italy.

Speaking on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Knox said news of the guilty verdict Thursday “really has hit me like a train.”

“I did not expect this to happen. I really expected so much better from the Italian justice system,” she said. “They found me innocent before. How can they say that it’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt?”

An appeals court found Knox and her former boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, guilty of murder in the Italian city of Florence after a retrial.

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U.S. Seeking Death Penalty in Marathon Bombing

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department said Thursday that it would seek the death penalty against Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, the man accused of killing and maiming people with homemade bombs at the Boston Marathon finish line last year.

The decision sets in motion the highest-profile federal death penalty case since Timothy J. McVeigh was prosecuted and executed for the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.

The decision, however, is not cast in stone. In nearly half of federal death penalty cases, prosecutors withdraw the threat of execution before trial, typically because of a plea deal, according to the Federal Death Penalty Resource Counsel.

Prosecutors explained their decision in an eight-page document filed in federal court in Boston.

 

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Hamas Facing Tightened Cash Flow, Israeli Official Says

TEL AVIV — Hamas, the Islamic militant group that controls Gaza, is in severe economic straits, having lost a major source of income in recent months because of an Egyptian clampdown on hundreds of smuggling tunnels, a high-ranking Israeli military official told reporters at army headquarters here on Thursday.

Dozens of tunnels running beneath Gaza’s border with Egypt are still operating, he said, but the $200 million that Hamas collected annually in tax revenues from the tunnel trade has been reduced to a few million dollars at most.

The Israeli official, from the military’s southern command, which deals with Gaza and Israel’s border with Egypt, was speaking on the condition of anonymity in line with military protocol.

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At sentencing, cantaloupe growers apologize for deadly listeria outbreak

(CNN) – A pair of Colorado farmers were sentenced Tuesday to five years’ probation, including six months in home detention, for their role in a 2011 listeriosis outbreak that killed roughly three dozen Americans who consumed infected cantaloupe, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Brothers Eric and Ryan Jensen, who grew up cultivating cantaloupes on Jensen Farms, a fixture in the dry plains of southeastern Colorado since the early 1900s, also were sentenced to 100 hours of community service and ordered to pay $150,000 in restitution in connection with the deadliest food outbreak in the United States in nearly 100 years.

Each apologized in court to the victims’ families.

“My most sincere apologies and deepest regrets. I hope the victims’ meeting helped,” Ryan Jensen said, according to CNN affiliateKMGH. “I do know that much has been gained in food safety understanding both here and outside the country because of this.”

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Obama hits the road to push State of the Union message

(CNN) – Another State of the Union address, another road trip for President Barack Obama to push now-familiar policies that he said he would pursue on his own if Congress won’t cooperate. At a Costco in suburban Maryland on Wednesday, Obama amplified his call for an increase in the minimum wage. He then traveled to Pennsylvania for another event staged around the economy. “Americans overwhelmingly agree, nobody who’s working full time should ever have to raise a family in poverty,” the President said. “And that is why I firmly believe it is time to give America a raise.” Obama heads to Wisconsin and Tennessee on Thursday, continuing a tradition of selling his policy prescription directly to the public after the ceremonial report to the nation. (continue reading…)

Mexico’s ‘water monster’ the axolotl may have vanished from natural habitat

Axolotl

Mexico‘s salamander-like axolotl may have disappeared from its only known natural habitat in Mexico City’s few remaining lakes.

It is disturbing news for the amphibian which has a slimy tail, plume-like gills and mouth that curls into an apparent smile.

Growing up to a foot long (30 cm) and known as the “water monster” or the “Mexican walking fish”, its only natural habitat is the Xochimilco network of lakes and canals, which are suffering from pollution and urban sprawl.

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White House Must Address Petition to Deport Justin Bieber

PHOTO: Justin Bieber is pictured after exiting from the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center on Jan. 23, 2014 in Miami, Fla.

 

After topping more than 100,000 signatures on “We the People,” the White House is now obligated to respond to a petition to “Deport Justin Bieber and revoke his green card.”

As of this afternoon, the petition had 104,700 signatures and climbing.

On all petitions, “We the People” states, “If a petition meets the signature threshold [in this case, 100,000], it will be reviewed by the Administration and we will issue a response.”

The petition says about the Canadian pop star, “We the people of the United States feel that we are being wrongly represented in the world of pop culture. We would like to see the dangerous, reckless, destructive, and drug abusing, Justin Bieber deported and his green card revoked.”

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Ukraine chaos unwelcome jolt for confident Putin

Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been waging one of the most furious diplomatic battles of his career to keep Ukraine from signing an historic deal with the European Union.

But Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s sacking of his trusted prime minister in the face of two months of protests over his decision to keep closer ties with Russia now raises the prospect of the pro-EU opposition coming to head the government.

The sudden reversal of fortunes in Kiev puts the Russian leader’s seeming victory in doubt. Here is a closer look at what rests behind Putin’s fierce determination to keep Ukraine in the Kremlin’s orbit.

The Russian leader has made the formation of an economic alliance of ex-Soviet nations that could rival the (continue reading…)

Royal Caribbean cruise ship returns home — with a sickness record

(CNN) – The ill-fated Royal Caribbean cruise ship returned home Wednesday with an ignoble mark.

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Nearly 700 crew and passengers fell ill aboard the Explorer of the Seas, the highest number of sick people reported on any cruise ship in two decades, Centers for Disease Control and Preventiondata show.

At least 630 passengers and 54 cruise workers got sick, but not all at the same time.

Some passengers suggested that the outbreak may have been worse than reported.

“They claim there were 600; I think there could have as many as 1,000″ sick people on board, passenger Sal Panto Jr. told CNN. “Some people I know didn’t bother going down to the infirmary. They weren’t feeling well, so they went to the state room. They didn’t report it.” (continue reading…)