Saturday, Dec 10th

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All hospitals in eastern Aleppo out of action after bombardments: officials

Hospitals gone in Eastern AleppoAll hospitals in Syria's besieged rebel-held eastern Aleppo are out of service after days of heavy air strikes, its health directorate and the World Health Organisation (WHO) said, though a war monitor said some were still working.

White House national security adviser Susan Rice said the United States condemned "in the strongest terms" the latest air strikes against hospitals and urged Russia, an ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, to take steps to halt the violence.


Pope decries 'epidemic of animosity' against immigrants and other faiths

Pope FrancisPope Francis on Saturday said an "epidemic of animosity" against people of other races or religions was hurting the weakest in society, striking a note of caution against the rise of populist nationalism.

Little more than a week after Donald Trump was elected the next U.S. president, buoying anti-immigrant parties in Europe and elsewhere, the pope noted "how quickly those among us with the status of a stranger, an immigrant or a refugee become a threat, take on the status of an enemy...


Feds: 2 teens, 3 women held as sex slaves behind steel gate, Michigan man in custody

Five held as sex slavesA  sex-trafficking case involving two teen girls and three suburban women is unfolding in federal court where a 67-year-old parolee was charged Friday with holding the females against their will, drugging them, selling them into prostitution — and beating them if they didn't perform well.

The victims include two teenage girls — one 15;  the other 12 to 14 — who remain missing after one of the  women helped them escape from a bathroom window, according to the criminal complaint. One of the young girls had been beaten in the face, a source told the Free Press. The adult victims — one of whom is 31 and two others who are 21  — are all from Downriver.


Wells Fargo faces new restrictions from banking regulator

Wells Fargo A federal banking regulator has imposed tighter restrictions to Wells Fargo & Co.'s settlement regarding the company's fraudulent account sales scandal.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency released a statement announcing the bank will be required to seek permission before changing business plans, directors and senior executive officers and will be banned from offering "golden parachute" payments to departing employees.


New York debt collection company co-owner pleads guilty in $31M scheme

NY debt collection schemeThe co-owner of Buffalo, N.Y.-based 4 Star Resolution debt-collection firm and 13 other company employees pleaded guilty to the largest debt collection scheme ever prosecuted, the U.S. Attorney's Office said Friday.

Maurice Sessum, 40, the co-owner, chief financial officer and chief operating officer of the company, along with company managers Jimmy Stokes, 39, and Tacoby Thomas, 34, pleaded guilty to their roles in the $31 million scheme that convinced thousands of consumers they would be arrested, among other things, because of outstanding debt. All 14 people who have been charged for their participation in the fraud have pleaded guilty, officials said.


Trump opponents try to beat him at the Electoral College

Melinda SmyserGrassroots campaigns have sprung up around the country to try to persuade members of the Electoral College to do something that has never been done in American history — deny the presidency to the clear Election Day winner.

Activists are circulating online petitions and using social media in hopes of influencing Republican electors to cast their ballots for someone other than President-elect Donald Trump and deprive him of the 270 Electoral College votes needed to become the next occupant of the White House.


Congressman's grandson fatally shot over shoes

Rep. Danny DavisChicago police say a dispute over basketball shoes led to the fatal shooting of the grandson of Illinois U.S. Rep. Danny Davis.

Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi (gooh-YEHL'-meeh) says the attackers went to the home of 15-year-old Jovan Wilson in the Englewood neighborhood Friday night and shot him in the head after an argument. Guglielmi says Wilson knew the attackers and that the incident was not a home invasion, as reported previously.


Black Belt voter fraud case in Alabama shaped Sen. Jeff Sessions' career

Jeff SessionsBeing U.S. Attorney General in President-elect Donald Trump’s administration would be the dream job for Sen. Jeff Sessions, the Eagle Scout from small town Alabama who openly professes his love of the law, his conservative ideology and his intense partisan loyalty.

Trump announced Friday he will nominate Sessions to lead the Department of Justice, an agency in which he worked as a U.S. Attorney in south Alabama for 14 years before entering politics. It is a part of his biography he mentions more frequently than any other.


Alex Baer: The New Abnormal

New normalWe pretty much imagined life would change the minute we had seen Orange-Head's numbers tallying on the Electoral College board.  Not long after, we saw the popular vote's run-up, noted the disconnect -- once again -- shook our heads briskly, and were certain life had veered off course.  Having lived through the opening salvos of Post Election (and Electoral College) Stress Disorder, we are test-flying on a new era, no doubt about it.

This era's airplane, we keep noting, has no wings or engine, we keep noticing -- and the pilot-emperor has no clothes...


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