"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


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Biofuel stocks rise after EPA boosts mandate






NEW YORK (AP) — Shares of biofuels and ethanol companies surged Friday after the government proposed increasing required use of renewable fuels.


The Environmental Protection Agency standards would require production of 14 million gallons of cellulosic biofuels made from grasses and woody material. The EPA wanted 8.7 million gallons in 2012, but actual production was near zero. Currently most ethanol is made from corn.






The oil industry objected quickly to the EPA move, saying that the Obama administration was ignoring an appeals court ruling just last week that overturned the 2012 requirement for cellulosic biofuels. The use of renewables is intended to reduce the amount of carbon emissions produced when vehicles use gasoline and other oil-based fuels.


Separately, renewable-fuel producer Amyris Inc. said Friday that its plant in Brazil made its first commercial shipment of farnesene, which is used in specialty chemicals and fuels. The plant makes the product with sugarcane and expects it to be used in diesel-powered buses in Brazil.


Investors bid up biofuels stocks, some of which are tiny companies.


In afternoon trading shares of Amyris Inc. rose 23 cents, or 7.5 percent, to $ 3.27. Renewable Energy Group Inc. picked up 27 cents, or 3.9 percent, to $ 7.05. Gevo Inc. surged 25 cents, or 10.9 percent, to $ 2.55. BioFuel Energy Corp. gained 41 cents, or 8.8 percent, to $ 5.11 and Pacific Ethanol Inc. rose 4 cents, or 9.7 percent, to 40 cents.


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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.






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Shootings leave 1 dead, 3 hurt









Three shootings in the city since Friday night have left a 21-year-old man dead and three people hurt, Chicago police said.


The fatal shooting happened about 8:30 p.m., Chicago Police Department News Affairs Officer Ron Gaines said.


Officers found the man in a hallway of a three-story apartment building in the 3900 block of North Central Avenue, in the Northwest Side's Portage Park neighborhood.





He was taken to Our Lady of the Resurrection Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 8:58 p.m., according to the Cook County medical examiner's office.


The medical examiner's office identified the man as Manuel Hernandez and listed his address as where the shooting happened.


A woman entering the building found Hernandez on the floor of the vestibule, according to a police report.


When she tried to push the door open, the victim, whose back was up against the entry door, fell over and she asked him if he was OK, according to the report.


She called 911 and responding police officers looking around the building found a bullet hole in the front door of his home, the report said. A relative told police she’d last spoken with Hernandez at 5:05 p.m. and he’d told the relative he was on his way home, the report said.


Other officers searching the building spoke with at least two people, one of whom said they heard three or four shots, and another person who’d heard two gunshots. The victim’s bicycle was found on the north side of the building, according to the report.


Later, as snow coated Central Avenue and several squad cars parked near the scene, police searched for evidence and photographed a bike lying by an entrance on the building's north side.


It appeared the man had collapsed shortly after being shot near where the bike was found, police said.


Police have launched a homicide investigation in the shooting.


In a separate shooting, a 19-year-old and a 20-year-old were wounded about 11:30 p.m. in an alley west of the 5200 block of South Fairfield Avenue.


Someone opened fire from inside an SUV as the two walked home from a party, striking the 19-year-old man twice in the back and the 20-year-old man in the stomach and arm, police said.


The 19-year-old was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, and the 20-year-old was taken to John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County. Police said their conditions had stabilized.


The shooting happened in the Gage Park neighborhood on the Southwest Side.


A female was also shot in the foot just before 5 a.m. near the intersection of West 16th Street and South Kedvale Avenue in the Lawndale neighborhood, police said.


She appeared to be in her early 20s, Chicago Police Department News Affairs Officer Robert Perez said.


Further information about her condition was not immediately available.


asege@tribune.com


Twitter: @AdamSege





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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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Nasdaq rises one percent, Wall Street extends rally


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)



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NBA union head Hunter placed on indefinite leave


NEW YORK (AP) — Billy Hunter is being placed on an indefinite leave of absence as executive director of the NBA players' association, following a report that was critical of his leadership and decision making.


The union is forming an interim executive committee and advisory committee, president Derek Fisher says in a statement released Friday.


Fisher pushed for the outside review of Hunter and the union, which found no illegal use of funds but cited Hunter for a number of poor choices and urged players to consider whether he should remain in charge during their All-Star weekend meetings.


Fisher says "immediate change is necessary."


Union attorney Ron Klempner was appointed acting executive director.


Read More..

US says warming climate threatens survival of snow-loving wolverine






BILLINGS, Mont. – The tenacious wolverine, a snow-loving carnivore sometimes called the “mountain devil,” is being added to the list of species threatened by climate change — a dubious distinction that puts it in the ranks of the polar bear and several other animals that could see their habitats shrink drastically due to warming temperatures.


U.S. wildlife officials on Friday will propose Endangered Species Act protections for the wolverine in the contiguous 48 states, a step denied under the Bush administration.






The Associated Press obtained details of the government’s long-awaited ruling on the rare, elusive animal in advance of the announcement.


Wildlife advocates, who sued to force the government to act on the issue, said they hope the animal’s plight will be used by the Obama administration to leverage tighter restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions. As with the polar bear, the government could sidestep that thorny proposition by not addressing threats outside the wolverine’s immediate range.


Only 250 to 300 wolverines roam the contiguous U.S., clustered into small, isolated groups primarily in the Northern Rockies of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and Washington. Larger populations persist in Alaska and Canada.


Maxing out at 40 pounds (18 kilograms) and tough enough to stand up to grizzly bears, the animals will be no match for anticipated declines in deep mountain snows that female wolverines need to establish dens and raise their young, scientists said.


Yet because that habitat loss could take decades to unfold, wildlife officials said there’s still time to bolster the population, including by reintroducing them to the high mountains of Colorado.


A special rule proposed by the Fish and Wildlife Service would allow Colorado’s wildlife agency to reintroduce an experimental population of the animals that eventually could spill into neighbouring portions of New Mexico and Wyoming.


Federal officials also want to shut down wolverine trapping in Montana, the only one of the 48 affected states where the practice is still allowed.


Federal officials said other human activities — from snowmobiling and skiing to infrastructure development and transportation corridors — are not significant threats to wolverines and would not be curtailed under Friday’s proposal.


Once found throughout the Rocky Mountains and in California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range, wolverines were wiped out across the 48 states by the 1930s due to unregulated trapping and poisoning campaigns, said Bob Inman, a wolverine researcher with the Wildlife Conservation Society.


In the decades since, they’ve largely recovered in the Northern Rockies but not in other parts of their historical range, he said.


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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.






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Reward at $24K for info leading to arrest in shooting of teen

The best friend of Hadiya Pendleton talks about the moments before her friend was shot in Chicago on January 31, 2013. (Heather Charles, Chicago Tribune)









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. 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, where a reward of $11,000 was announced. "Wrong place at the wrong time.”








Friday morning, that reward has been increased to $30,000, according to a statement from police News Affairs.


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.





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


ANKARA (Reuters) - A suicide bomber from a far-left group killed a Turkish security guard at the U.S. embassy in Ankara on Friday, blowing the door off a side entrance and sending smoke and debris flying into the street.


The attacker blew himself up inside U.S. property, Ankara Governor Alaaddin Yuksel said. The blast sent masonry spewing out of the wall and could be heard a mile away.


Interior Minister Muammer Guler said the bomber was a member of a far-left group. The U.S. State Department said it was working with Turkish police to investigate what it described as "a terrorist blast".


Islamist radicals, far-left groups, far-right groups and Kurdish separatist 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 Turkish 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.


Far-left groups in Turkey oppose what they see 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.


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 are very sad of course that we lost one of our Turkish guards at the gate," Ricciardone said, thanking the Turkish authorities for a prompt response.


A Reuters witness saw one wounded person being lifted into an ambulance as police armed with assault rifles cordoned off the area.


"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


State broadcaster TRT said the attacker was thought to be from The Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C), which wants a socialist state and is vehemently anti-American, according to the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC).


The group, deemed a terrorist organization by both the United States and Turkey, was blamed for a suicide attack 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 or a similar group.


The DHKP/C has in the past attacked Turkish official targets with bombs, but arrests of some of its members in recent years have weakened its capabilities, according to the NCTC.


The date of the DHKP-C's most recent attack, on an Istanbul police station, was September 11, 2012, seen as a symbolic strike to coincide with the 11th anniversary of the al Qaeda attacks on the United States.


Despite some strains, Washington and Ankara have long had a strong strategic alliance. U.S. President Barack Obama chose Turkey as his first Muslim nation to visit after he took office five years ago.


Turkish support and bases have helped U.S. forces in Afghanistan, while Turkey hosts a NATO radar system, operated by U.S. forces, in its eastern province of Malatya to help defend against any regional threat from Iran.


More recently, it has led calls for international intervention in neighboring Syria and is hosting hundreds of NATO soldiers who are manning the Patriot missile defense system near the Syrian border, hundreds of kilometers from the capital.


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".


The most serious bombings of this kind in Turkey occurred in November 2003, when car bombs shattered two synagogues, killing 30 people and wounding 146. Authorities said the attack bore the hallmarks of al Qaeda.


Part of the HSBC Bank headquarters was destroyed and the British consulate was damaged in two more explosions that killed a further 32 people a week later.


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



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Wall Street flat after mixed data; Qualcomm lifts Nasdaq

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stocks were little changed on Thursday as investors mulled a mixed bag of economic data, though earnings from Qualcomm helped lift the Nasdaq.


Data showed the labor market improved modestly; the number of Americans filing new claims last week for unemployment benefits rose, beating expectations and bouncing off five-year lows in the prior week.


That comes 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.


A separate report showed incomes climbed in December by the most in eight years, in an encouraging sign that the economy may be propelled forward through consumer spending.


A gauge of business activity in the U.S. Midwest showed a pick up in January from a more than three-year low in December as new orders jumped. The report followed a disappointing survey from the mid-Atlantic and New York regions.


Qualcomm Inc gained 5.9 percent to $67.25 as the top boost to the Nasdaq 100 <.ndx> 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.


The worst performer on the Nasdaq was Facebook Inc , which lost 5.9 percent to $29.39. The social network company said Wednesday it doubled its mobile advertising revenue in the fourth quarter; however, that growth trailed some of Wall Street's most aggressive estimates.


The Dow Jones industrial average <.dji> gained 22.88 points, or 0.16 percent, to 13,933.30. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.spx> gained 0.21 points, or 0.01 percent, to 1,502.17. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.ixic> gained 8.43 points, or 0.27 percent, to 3,150.73.


The S&P 500 <.spx> has gained 5.3 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 amid improving economic data and better-than-expected corporate earnings.


But the benchmark index has stalled recently and is virtually flat for the week, hovering near the 1,500 mark, as investors look for fresh trading incentives to justify further gains.


"Unfortunately it's still a mixed picture, it appears we are just getting a lot of conflicting data right now," said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank in Chicago.


"There is certainly a lot of information coming out this week - a lot of economic data, a lot of earnings and of course we have the employment number looming Friday, so with 1,500 right here, my guess is there is just not enough conviction to push us substantially higher yet."


United Parcel Service Inc lost 1.6 percent to $79.95 after the world's largest parcel delivery reported fourth-quarter earnings below analysts' estimates on Thursday and forecast weaker-than-expected profit for 2013.


But the Dow Jones Transportation average <.djt> gained 0.5 percent as Kirby Corp added 7.6 percent to $71.57 and Ryder Systems Inc climbed 4.7 percent to $56.79 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 52.5 percent to $24.96 after the company agreed to be acquired by Scientific Games Corp for $26 per share in cash. Scientific Games jumped 19 percent to $10.63.


(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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Power outages in U.S. Northeast after blustery rainstorm






CONWAY, Massachusetts (Reuters) – Rain and high winds lashed U.S. Northeast and mid-Atlantic states early Thursday, knocking out power to more than 330,000 homes and businesses bracing for a coming snowstorm.


Gusty winds of up to 77 miles per hour battered parts of New England and a high wind advisory remains in effect until 6 p.m. for northern Connecticut, most of Massachusetts, and southern New Hampshire, the National Weather Service said.






Thunderstorms rolled across the Northeast early on Thursday morning, toppling trees and downing utility lines. Among the hardest hit areas were Connecticut, where about 71,000 customers had no electricity, Long Island, with about 34,000 customers out, and New Jersey, where about 27,000 customers were without power, according to utility reports.


Raging winds tore the roof off of an elementary school in Fall River, Massachusetts, sending bricks and other debris crashing to the street below, local media reported. A large section of the roof of another elementary school, this one in Raynham, south of Boston, also was blown off, with some debris landing across the street. No one was reported injured.


Early morning bursts of wind and rain also caused traffic accidents. In Centerville, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod, a teenage girl crossing the street to board a school bus was seriously injured after being hit by a car in what police called a weather-related crash, local media said. In Boston, a toppled tree fell on an ambulance on its way to pick up a patient. No injuries were reported.


From Friday through the weekend, a series of storms threatens to dump snow from the Midwest to New England and the mid-Atlantic, according to meteorologist Alex Sosnowski on Accuweather.com. Slick conditions could snarl the Friday morning commute to Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, he said.


(Additional reporting by Scott DiSavino; Writing by Barbara Goldberg; Editing by Nick Zieminski)


Weather 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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80 fire departments battle 8-alarm blaze in Wisconsin




















Emergency officials are on the scene of a 5 alarm fire at a plant in Burlington Wisconsin.




















































More than 300 firefighters and paramedics from 80 departments across two states battled an 8-alarm fire overnight at Echo Lake Farms Produce Company in Burlington, Wis.

The fire broke out about 6:05 p.m. Wednesday was still smoldering this morning, with firefighters pouring water on hot spots, officials said.






“As of right now, we have departments from Racine to Milwaukee and Waukesha and Kenosha counties, and some from northern Illinois,” said Burlington City Administrator Kevin Lahner.

The factory processes egg products, Lahner said. There was some “ammonia present” and a hazardous materials team from Racine was monitoring air quality around the site.

Ten homes and an apartment complex nearby were evacuated because of smoke, Lahner said, displacing about 50 people.

Fireghters were regularly checked for symptoms of cold exposure because of the frigid temperatures, Lahner said.

The plant covers about 70,000 square feet and is one of the town's largest employers, according to Lahner. The plant's 300 workers were told to stay home today.

pnickeas@tribune.com
Twitter: @peternickeas






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Syrian rebels make slow headway in south


AMMAN (Reuters) - The revolt against President Bashar al-Assad first flared in Deraa, but the southern border city now epitomizes the bloody stalemate gripping Syria after 22 months of violence and 60,000 dead.


Jordan next door has little sympathy with Assad, but is wary of spillover from the upheaval in its bigger neighbor. It has tightened control of its 370-km (230-mile) border with Syria, partly to stop Islamist fighters or weapons from crossing.


That makes things tough for Assad's enemies in the Hawran plain, traditionally one of Syria's most heavily militarized regions, where the army has long been deployed to defend the southern approaches to Damascus from any Israeli threat.


The mostly Sunni Muslim rebels, loosely grouped in tribal and local "brigades", are united by a hatred of Assad and range from secular-minded fighters to al Qaeda-aligned Islamists.


"Nothing comes from Jordan," complained Moaz al-Zubi, an officer in the rebel Free Syrian Army, contacted via Skype from the Jordanian capital Amman. "If every village had weapons, we would not be afraid, but the lack of them is sapping morale."


Insurgents in Syria say weapons occasionally do seep through from Jordan but that they rely more on arsenals they seize from Assad's troops and arms that reach them from distant Turkey.


This month a Syrian pro-government television channel showed footage of what it said was an intercepted shipment of anti-tank weapons in Deraa, without specifying where it had come from.


Assad's troops man dozens of checkpoints in Deraa, a Sunni city that was home to 180,000 people before the uprising there in March 2011. They have imposed a stranglehold which insurgents rarely penetrate, apart from sporadic suicide bombings by Islamist militants, say residents and dissidents.


Rebel activity is minimal west of Deraa, where military bases proliferate near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.


Insurgents have captured some towns and villages in a 25-km (17-mile) wedge of territory east of Deraa, but intensifying army shelling and air strikes have reduced many of these to ruin, forcing their residents to join a rapidly expanding refugee exodus to Jordan, which now hosts 320,000 Syrians.


However, despite more than a month of fighting, Assad's forces have failed to winkle rebels out of strongholds in the rugged volcanic terrain that stretches from Busra al-Harir, 37 km (23 miles) northeast of Deraa, to the outskirts of Damascus.


Further east lies Sweida, home to minority Druze who have mostly sat out the Sunni-led revolt against security forces dominated by Assad's minority, Shi'ite-rooted Alawite sect.


"KEY TO DAMASCUS"


As long as Assad's forces control southwestern Syria, with its fertile, rain-fed Hawran plain, his foes will find it hard to make a concerted assault on Damascus, the capital and seat of his power, from suburbs where they already have footholds.


"If this area is liberated, the supply routes from the south to Damascus would be cut," said Abu Hamza, a commander in the rebel Ababeel Hawran Brigade. "Deraa is the key to the capital."


Fighters in the north, where Turkey provides a rear base and at least some supply lines, have fared somewhat better than their counterparts in the south, grabbing control of swathes of territory and seizing half of Aleppo, Syria's biggest city.


They have also captured some towns in the east, across the border from Iraq's Sunni heartland of Anbar province, and in central Syria near the mostly Sunni cities of Homs and Hama.


But even where they gain ground, Assad's mostly Russian-supplied army and air force can still pound rebels from afar, prompting a Saudi prince to call for outsiders to "level the playing field" by providing anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons.


"What is needed are sophisticated, high-level weapons that can bring down planes, can take out tanks at a distance," Prince Turki al-Faisal, a former intelligence chief and brother of the Saudi foreign minister, said last week at a meeting in Davos.


Saudi Arabia and its fellow Gulf state Qatar have long backed Assad's opponents and advocate arming them, but for now the rebels are still far outgunned by the Syrian military.


"They are not heavily armed, properly trained or equipped," said Ali Shukri, a retired Jordanian general, who argued also that rebels would need extensive training to use Western anti-tank or anti-aircraft weapons effectively even if they had them.


He said two powerful armored divisions were among Syrian forces in the south, where the rebels are "not that strong".


It is easier for insurgents elsewhere in Syria to get support via Turkey or Lebanon than in the south where the only borders are with Israel and Jordan, Shukri said.


Jordan, which has urged Assad to go, but seeks a political solution to the crisis, is unlikely to ramp up support for the rebels, even if its cautious policy risks irritating Saudi Arabia and Qatar, financial donors to the cash-strapped kingdom.


ISLAMIST STRENGTH


"I'm confident the opposition would like to be sourcing arms regularly from the Jordanian border, not least because I guess it would be easier for the Saudis to get stuff up there on the scale you'd be talking about," said a Western diplomat in Amman.


A scarcity of arms and ammunition is the main complaint of the armed opposition, a disparate array of local factions in which Islamist militants, especially the al Qaeda-endorsed Nusra Front, have come to play an increasing role in recent months.


The Nusra Front, better armed than many groups, emerged months after the anti-Assad revolt began in Deraa with peaceful protests that drew a violent response from the security forces.


It has flourished as the conflict has turned ever more bitterly sectarian, pitting majority Sunnis against Alawites.


Since October, the Front, deemed a terrorist group by the United States, has carried out at least three high-profile suicide bombings in Deraa, attacking the officers' club, the governor's residence and an army checkpoint in the city centre.


Such exploits have won prestige for the Islamist group, which has gained a reputation for military prowess, piety and respect for local communities, in contrast to some other rebel outfits tainted by looting and other unpopular behavior.


"So far no misdeeds have come from the Nusra Front to make us fear them," said Daya al-Deen al-Hawrani, a fighter from the rebel al-Omari Brigade. "Their goal and our goal is one."


Abu Ibrahim, a non-Islamist rebel commander operating near Deraa, said the Nusra Front fought better and behaved better than units active under the banner of the Free Syrian Army.


"Their influence has grown," he acknowledged, describing them as dedicated and disciplined. Nor were their fighters imposing their austere Islamic ideology on others, at least for now. "I sit with them and smoke and they don't mind," he said.


The Nusra Front may be trying to avoid the mistakes made by a kindred group, Al Qaeda in Iraq, which fought U.S. troops and the rise of Shi'ite factions empowered by the 2003 invasion.


The Iraqi group's suicide attacks on civilians, hostage beheadings and attempts to enforce a harsh version of Islamic law eventually alienated fellow Sunni tribesmen who switched sides and joined U.S. forces in combating the militants.


Despite the Nusra Front's growing prominence and its occasional spectacular suicide bombings in Deraa, there are few signs that its fighters or other rebels are on the verge of dislodging the Syrian military from its southern bastions.


Abu Hamza, the commander in the Ababeel Hawran Brigade, was among many rebels and opposition figures to lament the toughness of the task facing Assad's enemies in the south: "What is killing us is that all of Hawran is a military area," he said.


"And every village has five army compounds around it."


(Writing by Alistair Lyon; Editing by Alastair Macdonald)



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