Category: cases


Gunmen kill 8 in attack on minibus in Pakistan

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110325/ap_on_re_as/as_pakistan

By HUSSAIN AFZAL, Associated Press Hussain Afzal, Associated Press Fri Mar 25, 7:59 am ET

PARACHINAR, Pakistan – Gunmen attacked a minibus carrying mostly Shiite Muslims and killed eight people on Friday in a stretch of northwestern Pakistan that has seen a recent peace deal between rival Sunni and Shiite tribes, a government official said.

The gunmen who carried out the ambush in the Bagan area of the Kurram tribal region also kidnapped 18 people from the bus, said Javid Khan, a local administrator. The attack was the latest blow to the peace deal, which was meant to end a four-year conflict that cost hundreds of lives, but has failed to extinguish violence in the area.

The bus was attacked as it was traveling on the main road that runs through Kurram that connects the main town in the region, Parachinar, with Peshawar, the capital of nearby Khyber Pakhtunwkha province, said Khan.

Violence had kept the road closed until the peace deal was struck in February.

Five people were wounded in the attack, said Khan. The bus was mostly carrying people from the Toori tribe, one of the main Shiite tribes that struck the peace deal, he said.

A similar attack killed nine people in mid-March who were traveling on the road from Parachinar, a Shiite-dominated town.

It is unclear how the Shiite tribes will respond following Friday’s incident and whether the peace deal will be scrapped.

Tribesmen in Kurram have reported that the Haqqani network — a fiercely independent branch of the Afghan Taliban and a major enemy of U.S. and NATO forces — had helped cut the deal with the Shiites so it could use Kurram as a staging ground for fighting in Afghanistan.

The Taliban, who adhere to a hard-line interpretation of Sunni Islam, have at times exploited sectarian and tribal feuds to spread their influence along the Pakistan-Afghan border.

Also in the northwest, a roadside bomb struck a tribal police patrol in the Munda area of Lower Dir district, killing two policemen and wounding two others, police official Naveed Ahmed said Friday. The attack occurred overnight, he said.

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http://finance.yahoo.com/family-home/article/112284/subway-passes-mcdonalds

by Julie Jargon
Monday, March 7, 2011

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    It’s official: the Subway sandwich chain has surpassed McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCDNews) as the world’s largest restaurant chain, in terms of units.

    At the end of last year, Subway had 33,749 restaurants worldwide, compared to McDonald’s 32,737. The burger giant disclosed its year-end store count in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing late last month.

    The race for global dominance is an important one for an industry that’s mostly saturated in the U.S. High unemployment and economic uncertainty have battered the restaurant industry in the U.S., and chains are increasingly looking overseas for growth, particularly in Asia.

    [More from WSJ.com: Where to Put Your Cash Now.]

    Starbucks Corp. Honda (Nasdaq: SBUXNews) recently said it plans to triple its number of outlets in China, for example. Dunkin’ Brands Inc., parent of Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins, plans to open thousands of new outlets in China in coming years as well as its first stores in Vietnam in the next 18 months. Subway just opened its 1,000th location in Asia, including its first in Vietnam.

    Subway, which opened its first international restaurant in 1984, in Bahrain, expects its number of international restaurants to exceed its domestic ones by 2020, says Don Fertman, Subway’s Chief Development Officer. The chain currently has just over 24,000 restaurants in the U.S., where it generated $10.5 billion of its $15.2 billion in revenue last year.

    [More from WSJ.com: The Most Expensive Town in America.]

    The closely held company, owned by Doctor’s Associates Inc., does not disclose its profits.

    McDonald’s is still the leader when it comes to sales. The burger chain reported $24 billion in revenue last year. “We remain focused on listening to and serving our customers, and are committed to being better, not just bigger,” a McDonald’s spokeswoman says.

    Subway, which surpassed the number of McDonald’s in the U.S. about nine years ago, expects China to eventually become one of its largest markets. The sandwich shop only has 199 restaurants in China now, but expects to have more than 500 by 2015.

    [More from WSJ.com: TV’s Next Wave: Tuning In to You.]

    Subway has achieved its rapid growth, in part, by opening outlets in non-traditional locations such as an automobile showroom in California, an appliance store in Brazil, a ferry terminal in Seattle, a riverboat in Germany, a zoo in Taiwan, a Goodwill store in South Carolina, a high school in Detroit and a church in Buffalo, New York.

    “We’re continually looking at just about any opportunity for someone to buy a sandwich, wherever that might be. The closer we can get to the customer, the better,” Mr. Fertman says, explaining that it now has almost 8,000 Subways in unusual locations. “The non-traditional is becoming traditional.”

    // The company has some concerns about the economies of certain international markets, such as Germany and the United Kingdom. The company is trying to develop more affordable offerings in those countries, similar to the $5 foot-long sandwiches that have been successful in the U.S.

    “Finding that kind of value proposition in those countries is essential,” Mr. Fertman says.

    I heard about this last night. I’m sad because I love McDonald’s. But, theres nothing I can do about it. So please comment and tell me what you think.

    APNewsBreak: Veterans say rape cases mishandled

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110215/ap_on_re_us/us_military_sexual_abuse

    By KIMBERLY HEFLING, Associated Press Kimberly Hefling, Associated Press 1 hr 20 mins ago

    WASHINGTON – A group of U.S. veterans who say they were raped, insulted and otherwise abused by their comrades want to force the Pentagon to change how it handles such cases.

    More than a dozen female and two male current or former service members say servicemen get away with rape and other sexual abuse and victims are too often ordered to continue to serve alongside those they say attacked them.

    In a federal class-action lawsuit to be filed Tuesday, they want an objective third party to handle such complaints because individual commanders have too much say in how allegations are handled.

    The alleged attackers in the lawsuit include an Army criminal investigator and an Army National Guard commander. The abuse alleged ranges from obscene verbal abuse to gang rape.

    In one incident, an Army Reservist says two male colleagues raped her in Iraq and videotaped the attack. She complained to authorities after the men circulated the video to colleagues. Despite being bruised from her shoulders to elbows from being held down, she says charges weren’t filed because the commander determined she “did not act like a rape victim” and “did not struggle enough” and authorities said they didn’t want to delay the scheduled return of the alleged attackers to the United States.

    “The problem of rape in the military is not only service members getting raped, but it’s the entire way that the military as a whole is dealing with it,” said Panayiota Bertzikis, who is a plaintiff in the lawsuit and claims she was raped in 2006. “From survivors having to be involuntarily discharged from service, the constant verbal abuse, once a survivor does come forward your entire unit is known to turn their back on you. The entire culture needs to be changed.”

    Although The Associated Press normally does not identify the victims of sexual assault, the plaintiffs in the lawsuit have publicly discussed the cases.

    Bertzikis, 29, of Somerville, Mass., now is executive director of the Military Rape Crisis Center. She says she was raped by a Coast Guard shipmate while out on a social hike with him in Burlington, Vt. Bertzikis complained to her commanding officer, but she said authorities did not take substantial steps to investigate the matter. Instead, she said, they forced her to live on the same floor as the man she had accused and tolerated others calling her a “liar” and “whore.”

    Pentagon spokeswoman Cynthia Smith said she hasn’t seen the lawsuit and couldn’t comment on any issues in pending litigation.

    Smith said the military had already planned to roll out a new hotline victims can call in April. It has another initiative that encourages service members to help those who are assaulted or raped. In 2005, the military created an office charged with preventing sexual assault. Victims can opt to file a “restricted” or confidential report that allows them to get medical attention without an investigation being triggered.

    “We are aggressively doing everything we can because one sexual assault is too many,” Smith said.

    In many of the described cases, like Bertzikis’, no charges were filed. In other cases, the alleged attackers faced lesser charges and were allowed to remain in the military, according to the lawsuit.

    Kori Cioca, 25, of Wilmington, Ohio, described being hit in the face by a superior in one incident in 2005 and being raped by the same man in a second incident soon after while serving in the Coast Guard in Bay City, Mich.

    Even though the man confessed to having sex with her, Cioca said in the lawsuit she was told if she pressed forward with reporting the sex as a rape, she would be court-martialed for lying. She said the man pleaded guilty only to hitting her and his punishment was a minor loss of pay and being forced to stay on the base for 30 days. She said she was discharged from the military for a “history of inappropriate relationships.”

    “You think of a Coast Guardsman, you think of somebody in the military holding themselves at a certain level,” Cioca said. “When somebody walks up to you and shakes your hand and says, `Thank you for your service,’ little do they know they’re shaking the hand of a man who rapes and beats women in the military. ”

    She said she continues to suffer from numbness in her jaw and has nightmares.

    “My body hurts every day. My face hurts. I get the most horrible headaches. My body has been trespassed. The honor that I had was stripped from me. I’m no longer proud of myself. People tell me thank you for your service, but my service wasn’t what it was supposed to be,” Cioca said.

    Anuradha Bhagwati, 35, executive director of the Service Women’s Action Network, said the Defense Department’s own statistics show that fewer than one in five of these cases are even referred for court martial. She said unit commanders are the judge and the jury in these types of cases. Too often, she said, perpetrators are given non-judicial punishments.

    “A lawsuit like this is needed because change cannot happen on the inside. DoD has had literally decades, perhaps more, to change the culture within the military. They’ve proven that they can’t, and even the minor changes they’ve made the last few years are so superficial,” Bhagwati said.

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