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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Iranians Hit With More Travel Restrictions By US And Britain

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration has imposed new sanctions on Iran by announcing visa restrictions of Iranian government officials, military leaders and law enforcement officers.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says the travel ban on senior officials reflects a coordinated effort by the U.S. and Britain. She says Canada will take similar action.

Clinton said in a statement that the officials were targeted on Friday for participating in human rights abuses.

None of the Iranians was immediately identified. The list included judiciary and prison officials.

Clinton said the actions are an important reminder to Iran that those who commit abuses will be held accountable. She said the U.S. will stand up for the Iranian people until their government brings human rights violators to justice and protects its citizens.

1 Dead, 14 Injured After Dutch Stadium Collapses

ENSCHEDE, Netherlands (AP) — The roof of a Dutch sports stadium partially collapsed during off-season construction work Thursday, killing one person and leaving 10 others hospitalized, some with severe injuries, a local mayor said.

In all, 14 people were injured when the roof at the southern end of the FC Twente stadium collapsed around midday, said Peter den Oudsten, mayor of the Dutch town of Enschede where the stadium is located. Three people were treated at the scene, he said.

Two of the hospitalized workers had serious injuries, Den Oudsten said, without elaborating. News video showed at least one construction worker, apparently bleeding from a head wound, being taken away by paramedics.

Den Oudsten said sniffer dogs and cameras were being used to search for anybody else still trapped under the tangle of girders and red roof panels — the color of FC Twente’s shirts — behind the goal at the southern end of the Grolsch Veste stadium.

The cause of the collapse was not immediately known. The construction work aimed to increase the stadium’s capacity to 30,000 from 24,000 by adding a new tier above existing seating.

FC Twente director Jan van Halst said the club “is terribly upset. Our sympathy goes to the victims.”

He appealed to supporters of the soccer team not to visit the stadium while emergency services were still at work.

The FC Twente team, which was the Dutch national champion in 2010 and runner-up last season, was training in the southern province of Zeeland at the time of the collapse.

Twente is in the third qualifying round of next season’s Champions League and is scheduled to host a match in Europe’s most prestigious club tournament on July 26-27 or Aug. 2-3. The exact date will be decided by UEFA, the European soccer body, next week.

A friendly preseason match between Twente and a team from Zeeland was canceled.

The stadium is on the edge of Enschede, 100 miles (160 kilometers) east of Amsterdam.

Canada Ends Combat Mission in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Canada formally ended its combat mission in Afghanistan on Thursday after years of being on the front lines of the fight against Taliban insurgents in the south.

The withdrawal of 2,850 Canadian combat troops comes at a time the Taliban continue to show their resilience, peace talks are in their infancy and governance and development are lagging security gains on the battlefield.

Underscoring the persistent dangers, a roadside bomb killed eight Afghan policemen on a patrol in the northern district of Fayz Abad. The police chief of the surrounding Jawzjan province, Abdul Aziz Ghyrat, said six policemen, including the unit’s commander, were killed instantly and two died later at a hospital.

Northern Afghanistan had been relatively calm but has seen a rise in violence over the past two years.

Canada had been the sixth largest troop-contributing nation, behind the U.S. and European countries. While 2,850 Canadian combat troops are going home, 950 others have started streaming into the country to help train Afghan security forces.

Canada transferred its mission to the United States at Kandahar Air Field during a ceremony held in a hall decorated with Canadian maple leaf flags. After remarks, handshakes and the exchange of military paperwork, troops held a moment of silence for their fallen comrades. Since 2002, 157 Canadian troops have been killed in Afghanistan.

“It’s safe to say that the country of Afghanistan remains volatile,” Canadian Defense Minister Peter MacKay told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. “There have been very hard fought gains made as far as the stability and security, but it is fragile and much of the responsibility rests, of course, with the government of Afghanistan.”

MacKay said the process of training Afghan forces to take the lead in providing security across the country was well under way.

“But it is the professionalism and their ability to secure some of these particularly violent regions like Kandahar that will be the telling feature as to whether the security will last,” he said. “Certainly the desire is there on the part of the Afghans themselves.

“They are enormously respectful and grateful of the contributions that Canada has made, and of course they don’t want to see Canada leave.”

With more than 90,000, the United States has the largest number of troops in Afghanistan. President Barack Obama announced last month that 33,000 American troops will leave the country by the end of next summer.

British Prime Minister David Cameron announced Wednesday that the U.K. will withdraw 500 troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2012, a move that will reduce the size of the British contingent in the country to 9,000.

There currently are 4,812 troops in Afghanistan from Germany; 3,935 from France; and 3,880 from Italy.

The U.S.-led coalition reported that a service member died Thursday as a result of a non-battle related injury in southern Afghanistan. No other details were disclosed about the death, the 10th so far this month. A total of 281 coalition troops have died so far this year.

In eastern Afghanistan, a NATO helicopter crashed Thursday in Parnwan province, but the crew was recovered and no one was injured, the coalition said.

NATO said the cause of the incident was under investigation.

The Taliban claimed its fighters shot down the aircraft, but the coalition said that initial reports indicated no militant activity in the area.

Also in the east, several hundred villagers, chanting slogans against the U.S. and Afghan governments, protested the deaths of civilians in a coalition airstrike earlier this week in Khost province.

The civilians were killed Tuesday during a fight between insurgents and an Afghan-led security force, which was searching for a leader of the Haqqani network, a militant group affiliated with the Taliban and al-Qaida.

A coalition helicopter was called to support ground troops, who were being hit with rocket-propelled grenades and small arms fire. The coalition said the helicopter killed several of the insurgents and unintentionally, some members of the insurgents’ families who were living with the fighters.

Gen. Raz Mohammad Oryakhail, an Afghan army commander in Khost, said 13 people — including the Haqqani leader, six of his fighters and members of their families — were killed in the strike in Shamul district.

Government Suspects Terrorists Looking To Implant Bombs in Humans

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. government is warning airlines that some terrorists are considering surgically implanting explosives into humans to carry out attacks.

There is no intelligence pointing to a specific plot, but the U.S. has shared this information with executives at domestic and international carriers.

The Transportation Security Administration says that people traveling to the U.S. from overseas may experience additional screening at airports.

Placing explosives and explosive components inside humans is not a new idea. But a U.S. security official says there is new intelligence pointing to a fresh interest in using this tactic.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive security information.

Warning: This Magazine Cover Can Be Dangerous To Your Health

The American Medical Association recently voted to push advertising agencies and advocacy groups to draft guidelines that discourage the use of photo retouching in teen-oriented publications.

“The appearance of advertisements with extremely altered models can create unrealistic expectations of appropriate body image,” AMA Board Member Barbara L. McAneny said. “In one image, a model’s waist was slimmed so severely, her head appeared to be wider than her waist. We must stop exposing impressionable children and teenagers to advertisements portraying models with body types only attainable with the help of photo editing software.”

AMA members said they hoped their recommendation would curb problems such as eating disorders associated with exposure to unrealistic body images.

For a gallery of photoshop disasters, visit — where else? — The New York Post.

Cuomo’s Approval Rating Soars Over Other Governors

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is riding high over other governors with an approval rate of 64 percent among New York voters according to a Quinnipiac University poll.

Cuomo’s approval rating is the highest since Governor George Pataki’s rating reached 66 percent in 2002. Cuomo was also highest among top governors surveyed by Quinnipiac, including Virginia’s Bob McDonnell (55 percent), New Jersey’s Christopher Christie(44), Connecticut’s Dannel Malloy (38), Pennsylvania’s Tom Corbett (39), Florida’s Rick Scott (29) and Ohio’s John Kasich (38).

Obama’s Approval Rating on Economy Reaches New Low

With only 37 percent of registered voters approving his handling of the economy — his lowest numbers yet — according to a McClatchy Newspapers-Marist poll, President Barack Obama is in an uncertain position coming into the 2012 election season. Overall, 45 percent of voters approve of his job performance, and 47 percent disapprove; these numbers have been roughly steady since the end of 2009.

The poll surveyed 1,003 adults, including 801 registered voters, from June 15-23 and also found that nearly two out of three voters disapprove of how Obama is handing the federal budget deficit, which hit a record high of $1.5 trillion. On a hopeful note, the poll found that 50 percent of voters had a favorable impression of him, and two out of three Americans said the country’s economic conditions did not stem from the president’s own policies.

Approval ratings of Congress were also low, with 63 percent of voters disapproving of Republican representatives and 60 percent disapproving of Democrats.

Florida Governor Dismisses Teachers Union’s Class Action Suit

Florida Governor Rick Scott said the three percent pay cut for teachers in the state does not violate any contractual obligations and called it “the right thing to do for the state,” dismissing a class action lawsuit filed today by the Florida Education Association. The three percent pay cut would help pay for teachers’ pension plans and balance the state budget.

“The participation by people in their pension plan makes all the sense in the world,” Scott said. “”It’s what’s fair to the private sector. Very few private sector employees have pension plan that is 100 percent. It’s the right thing to do for our state.” [The Miami Herald]