A wave of car bombs in the Iraqi capital on Thursday killed 31 people and wounded dozens, the latest attacks in a months-long surge in violence.
Attacks have been on the rise in Iraq since a deadly security crackdown in April on a Sunni protest camp. More than 3,000 people have been killed in violence during the past few months, raising fears Iraq could see a new round of widespread sectarian bloodshed similar to that which brought the country to the edge of civil war in 2006 and 2007.
In the deadliest of the blasts across Baghdad, police said one bomb struck near a bus station in the northern Shiite neighborhood of Khazimiyah, killing eight people and wounding 18 there.
Another car bomb exploded near a gathering of daily laborers in the Allawi area near the fortified Green Zone where government offices are located, killing five people and wounding 13. In eastern Baghdad, seven people were killed and 15 others were wounded when a car bomb went off near a traffic police office in Baladiyat neighborhood.
Associated Press television footage from the Baladiyat blast showed smoke rising from charred cars and people mourning one of those killed there.
Also, a car bomb hit a row of shops in the Bab al-Muadham area, killing 4 people and wounding 12. In western Baghdad, a sticky bomb attached to a cart selling gas cylinders, killed three people and wounded 8 others.
A car bomb hit near car repairing shops in the city’s northeastern suburb of Husseiniyah, killing four people and wounding 15, police said.
Mohammed Sabri, a retired government employee, was on his way to the market in Husseiniyah when he heard a thunderous explosion.
“I got closer and saw burning cars, two charred bodies and several people on the ground,” he said. “Security officials keep telling us that their forces are able to protect us, but this has not happened yet.”
Medical officials in a nearby hospital confirmed the casualty figures. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to journalists.
There was no claim of responsibility for Thursday’s bombings, but Sunni extremists such as al-Qaida’s Iraq arm that seek to undermine the Shiite-led government are frequently blamed for attacks targeting civilians.
Iraqi security forces have imposed tight security measures in and around the capital since two brazen jailbreaks in July, but so far these measures have failed to stop the attacks.
Paula Deen ordered African-American workers to “dress in an old-style Aunt Jemima outfit” and ring a dinner bell, according to a woman who is still employed at the disgraced cook’s Georgia restaurant.
Following Deen’s dramatic fall from grace after her admission that she had used racial slurs, The New York Times‘ Kim Severson went to Savannah to check out the former food network host’s crumbling empire. Severson spoke to Dora Charles, a black cook who helped Deen open her Lady & Sons restaurant over 20 years ago.
“She said, ‘Stick with me, one day if I get rich, you’ll get rich,’” Charles explained. “It just passed me by. You know, I’m not going to run behind her and say, ‘You promised me, you promised me. Where my half? Where my part?’ You know? It wasn’t all about that. Actually, all I was looking for was a good salary.”
But Charles said that when Deen launched her Food Network show, she was was only getting paid $6.50 an hour.
“I told her, at times, I didn’t even have enough money to buy my own medications,” she recalled, demonstrating how Deen once casually tossed a $100 bill at her when she complained that she couldn’t afford her medical bills.
“She was sitting across the table and she said — it didn’t reach me — and she said, ‘Here’s a hundred dollars, go buy your medicine.’”
“Yeah, she wanted [Employee Ineata Jones] ‘Jellyroll’ to dress like that as well,” Charles remarked.
And the slavery theme wasn’t just limited to Deen’s wedding fantasy, according to the Times:
Ms. Deen used Ms. Jones for restaurant theater. At 11 a.m., when the doors opened at the Lady & Sons, she stood in front and rang an iron dinner bell, something she had asked Mrs. Charles to do as well. An image of Ms. Jones doing just that was turned into a postcard sold at Paula Deen stores.
Ms. Jones was also in charge of making hoecakes, the cornmeal pancakes served to every guest. Ms. Deen had designed a station so diners could watch them being made. At both jobs, Mrs. Charles and other employees said, Ms. Deen wanted Ms. Jones to dress in an old-style Aunt Jemima outfit.
“Jellyroll didn’t want to hear that,” Mrs. Charles said. “She didn’t want to do that.”
“I said, ‘I’m not ringing no bell,’” Charles insisted. “That’s a symbol to me of what we used to do back in the day.”
“Do you feel like Paul Deen is racist?” Severson wondered.
“I do, I do,” Charles admitted after a long pause.
“Have you ever heard Paul Deen use the N-word?” Severson asked.
“I’ve heard her used the N-word,” Charles replied. “She say, ‘I tell all y’all n*ggers, that’s what’s wrong with y’all n*ggers now today.’”
Deen’s public relations team has argued that no employee was ever made to dress up like Aunt Jemima and ring a dinner bell.
“Fundamentally Dora’s complaint is not about race but about money,” they said in a statement. “It is about an employee that despite over 20 years of generosity feels that she still deserves yet even more financial support from Paula Deen.”
Both the Times and and New York Magazine, however, obtained promotional photos from Lady & Sons of Ineata Jones wearing an Aunt Jemima-style apron and ringing a dinner bell.
At the time of publication, Charles was reportedly still employed by Deen’s Lady & Sons restaurant, but she said she realized that her time there was almost over. She hopes to one day open her own restaurant.
Joan and I and our friend Linda went to see the Hillsboro Hops Class A baseball team on Monday night. They were playing the Tacoma Indians. Hillsboro is just west of my former location of Beaverton, which is just to the west of my current location of Portland. It's a small stadium (heck, we're talking Class A) but brand new and very nice.
It was a fun game, with the Hops leading 3-1 until the seventh inning. At that point the Hops' starting pitcher started walking guys. Then they brought in a reliever who just kept walking people. He finally got a guy out and I turned to Joan and said, I hope now that he's gotten an out that he doesn't groove one across the plate. Moments later he grooved one across the plate and the batter launched a grand slam. 3-1 turned into 10-3.
Still, all was not lost. They've got a special beer that's only on tap there at the ballpark. And on the way out I got a picture with Barley, the Hops' mascot.
A secret Pakistani report leaked online on Monday provides a series of stunning revelations about the life and death of terror mastermind Osama bin Laden, the long-time Al-Qaeda leader responsible for the 9/11 attacks against the United States in 2001.
The report, placed online by the Al Jazeera news network, recounts the testimony of more than 200 witnesses including bin Laden's family members.
On one occasion during 2002 or 2003, bin Laden was almost caught while headed to a market with his security guard Ibrahim al-Kuwaiti and the guard's wife Maryam. The car he was riding in - it's unclear who was driving - was pulled over for speeding, but bin Laden 'quickly settled the matter,' according to Maryam's testimony, and the al-Qaeda leader was once again off and running.
One of bin Laden's relatives said 'The Shaikh,' as he was known, often 'wore a cowboy hat to avoid detection from above' by overhead U.S. drones, and that 'a complete collapse of local governance' allowed him to hide inside the country for six years before U.S. President Barack Obama gave the order to have him killed in a Navy SEAL raid.
That 'kill mission,' Pakistan's official inquiry declared, was 'a criminal act of murder which was condemned by a number of international lawyers and human rights organizations.'
'Due process was deliberately denied the victims,' the commissioners wrote - referring to bin Laden as a victim - 'and their killing was explicitly ordered by the President of the US.'
The US Navy SEALs raid that killed the al Qaida founder in the town of Abbottabad outraged Pakistani officials because they were not told about it beforehand.
US officials have said they kept Pakistan in the dark because they were worried that bin Laden would be tipped off.
Isobel Parke has no proof, but she has a hunch that a purse-snatching black bear may be on the loose in her neighborhood.
Several bear sightings have been reported in town in recent weeks, including in the area of the 699 blueberry bushes at her farm on Blake Road.
When her purse turned up missing Sunday night after she accidentally left it sitting on the steps in front of the door at her house, Parke began to suspect that a bear may be to blame.
She was so convinced, that she reported her suspicion to police this week.
“I have no proof that a bear took it, but there’s no other explanation that I can think of,” Parke said.
A bear has been spotted wandering around her property and even ripped down one of her bird feeders and another feeder at a neighbor’s house.
Police have received reports of bear sightings on Main Street, Elm Street, and in the area of Long Meadow Farm Drive near Hamilton Heights.
While there have been numerous sightings, police Capt. Jason Newman said there have been no incidents.
“We suggest staying away from them and consider bringing in bird feeders and storing trash where the bear cannot get to it,” Newman said.
Parke’s purse vanished after she arrived home around 8 p.m. Sunday and set it down on the steps while opening her door.
“I dropped my bag on the steps and then forgot to pick it up,” she said.
Parke discovered her purse missing Monday and began to suspect a bear. Her house sits off the road and she doesn’t believe anyone would have seen the purse sitting there.
Parke hopes her purse shows up soon, but at the moment she hasn’t found any sign of it.
“It’s just puzzling,” she said.
Mark Ellingwood, chief of the state Fish and Game’s Wildlife Division, said a bear carrying off a purse wouldn’t be a common behavior, but then again, bears are known to haul away bird feeders and other things with scents that attract them.
He’s not aware of any cases involving bears stealing purses, but he said it’s possible that a bear found an “interesting scent” and carried it off.
“It would be an extraordinarily uncommon event, but that said, who knows?,” he said.
When bears do take items, they often bring them to a spot where they rifle through them in their hunt for food. They could carry the item 35 yards or even 100 yards away, Ellingwood said, and once they find what they’re looking for, they’ll take what they want and leave the rest behind.
“They’re not collectors of interesting things. They don’t carry things that don’t provide them with the right source of nutrition,” he said.