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Iraqi army retakes town from rebels

Baghdad

Iraqi army retakes town from rebels

Iraqi airstrikes pounded a town near Fallujah that had been seized by al-Qaida-linked militants, and commandos swept in Wednesday to clear the area, senior military officials said. It was a rare victory for government forces that have been struggling for nearly three weeks to regain control of the mainly Sunni area west of Baghdad. North of the capital, a bomb tore through a funeral of an anti-al-Qaida Sunni militiaman, the deadliest in a series of attacks that killed at least 50 people nationwide. Violence has risen sharply as extremist Islamic militants try to exploit growing anger among the Sunni minority over what they perceive as mistreatment by the Shiite-led government. Wednesday's counterattack came a day after al-Qaida militants blew up an explosives-laden fuel tanker at an army checkpoint, killing three soldiers, on a small bridge just north of Fallujah.

New Mexico

Police: School shooter warned some students

The 12-year-old boy who opened fire in a New Mexico middle school gym warned some students away just before the attack, State Police Chief Pete Kassetas said Wednesday. Kassetas said the attack at Berrendo Middle School in Roswell was planned. But he said it appeared the boy's victims — an 11-year-old boy and 13-year-old girl who remain hospitalized— were chosen randomly. During a press briefing, Kassetas declined to speculate on a motive or say when charges would be filed. But he said the boy got the shotgun from his family's home and had three rounds of ammunition.

New York

Westminster dog show to add mixed breeds

Long the province of the purebred, the Westminster Kennel Club dog show is opening a doggie door this year to mixed-breed competitors. While Labradoodles, puggles and who-knows-whats won't be able to vie for the prestigious Best in Show award, they'll be included in its new agility trial.

Chicago

Church releases clergy sex abuse files

The release of 6,000 pages of documents by the Archdiocese of Chicago raised hopes Wednesday among sex abuse victims and their lawyers that new light will be shed on what the Catholic Church knew and did — or didn't do — about decades of allegations against priests. The archdiocese handed over to victims' attorneys a trove of complaints, personnel documents and other files for about 30 priests.

Washington

Marines investigate validity of war photos

The Marine Corps says it is attempting to determine the authenticity of photos published by TMZ.com that the entertainment website says show Marines appearing to burn bodies of dead Iraqi insurgents in Fallujah in 2004. A Marine spokesman said Wednesday the Marine Corps also is attempting to identify the Marines shown.

Times wires

Iraqi army retakes town from rebels 01/15/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 15, 2014 11:27pm]
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  1. Judge throws out $458,000 condo sale, says Clearwater attorney tricked bidders

    Real Estate

    CLEARWATER — Pinellas County Circuit Judge Jack St. Arnold on Monday threw out the $458,100 sale of a gulf-front condo because of what he called an "unscrupulous" and "conniving" scheme to trick bidders at a foreclosure auction.

    John Houde, left, whose Orlando copany was the high  bidder June 8 at the foreclosure auction of a Redington Beach condo, looks in the direction of Clearwater lawyer and real estate investor Roy C. Skelton, foreground,  during a hearing Monday before Pinellas County Circuit Judge Jack St. Arnold.  [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times ]
  2. Vision Zero plan to make Hillsborough roads safer to be unveiled

    Transportation

    TAMPA — Vision Zero, the coalition trying to make Hillsborough County safer for bicyclists and pedestrians, is set to unveil its action plan on Tuesday morning.

    Members of the Vision Zero workshop cross Hillsborough Avenue and Kelly Road during a on-street audit of Town 'N Country roads in January. [JAMES BORCHUCK  |   Times]
  3. Pasco EDC names business incubator head in Dade City, will open second site

    Business

    Pasco County economic development officials are busy reigniting their business start-up resources following the departure earlier this year of Krista Covey, who ran the Pasco Economic Development Council's SMARTStart business incubator in Dade City.

    Andrew Romaner was promoted this summer to serve as program director of the Dade City SMARTStart Entrepreneur Center, a start-up incubator service of the Pasco Economic Development Council. He succeeds Krista Covey, who relocated to Texas for another startup position. [Courtesy of Pasco EDC]
  4. Clearwater lawyer and real estate investor Roy C. Skelton, center, attends a hearing on Monday Circuit Court Judge Jack St. Arnold at the Pinellas County Courthouse in Clearwater. The hearing was requested by attorneys representing John Houde, left, who filed a motion to invalidate the sale of a $458,000 Redington Beach condo, a deal orchestrated by Skelton, who stands accused of deliberately misleading bidders in a the June 8 foreclosure auction. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times]
  5. Sarasota GOP names Dick Cheney 'Statesman of the Year'

    Blogs

    Former Vice President Dick Cheney will be honored as "Statesman of Year" by the Sarasota GOP, a title that twice went to Donald Trump.

    Dick and Liz Cheney