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New York ferry crashes

NEW YORK -- A high-speed ferry loaded with hundreds of commuters from New Jersey crashed into a dock in lower Manhattan on Wednesday during the morning rush hour, seriously injuring 11 people, including one who suffered a severe head wound falling down a stairwell.

Scores of people who had been standing, waiting to disembark, were hurled to the deck or launched into walls by the impact, which came after the catamaran Seastreak Wall Street slowed following a routine trip across New York Bay and past the Statue of Liberty, passengers said. The cause of the accident was under investigation. The ferry, built in 2003, had recently undergone a major overhaul that gave it new engines and a new propulsion system, but officials said it was too soon to tell whether they played any role in the crash.

 

Monopoly over for one

NEW YORK -- The gig is almost up for one of the eight Monopoly tokens. But which will it be? Iron? Thimble? Top Hat?

Or another of their board game buddies?

Hasbro is holding a Facebook contest to eliminate one of the eight tokens that identify the players and introduce a new one.

Possible new tokens include a cat, diamond ring, guitar, toy robot and helicopter.

It's the latest effort by the toy maker to jazz up the game, which debuted almost eight decades ago.

Beginning Tuesday, Facebook fans of monopoly can vote on which piece to eliminate and which one to add. The voting ends Feb. 5.

Most tokens were introduced with the first Parker Brothers iteration of the game in 1935, and the Scottie dog and wheelbarrow were added in the early 1950s.

 

Prisoners exchanged

DAMASCUS, Syria -- Rebels freed 48 Iranians on Wednesday in exchange for more than 2,000 prisoners, including women and children, held by Syrian authorities -- a deal struck after rare negotiations involving regional powers Turkey, Qatar and Iran.

It was the first major prisoner swap since the uprising began against President Bashar Assad nearly 22 months ago.

Iran is one of Assad's main allies, and the Iranians, who were seized outside Damascus in August, were a major bargaining chip for factions trying to bring down Assad's regime in the civil war that has killed more than 60,000 people.

The exchange also highlighted the plight of tens of thousands of detainees languishing in Syrian prisons, many of whom were picked up at street protests and have not been heard of since.

 

Self-portraits of a killer?

CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- The suspected gunman in last year's Colorado theatre shooting used a cellphone to take self-portraits the night of the attack, sticking out his tongue, smiling and posing with a Glock pistol, prosecutors said Wednesday. The judge said he will rule by Friday on whether James Holmes will stand trial in one of the country's worst mass shootings.

The defence decided not to call witnesses to testify about Holmes' mental health at the hearing.

They have said the 25-year-old is mentally ill and are expected to present an insanity defence.

The July attack left 12 dead and 70 injured.

Prosecutors this week have argued Holmes acted with deliberation and extreme indifference, and on Wednesday they showed photos they say Holmes took of himself and his arsenal hours before the attack.

 

Lotto widow in family fight

CHICAGO -- The widow of an India-born Chicago lottery winner who authorities say was poisoned with cyanide has battled with his siblings over control of his estate, including his $425,000 prize money, court documents show.

Urooj Khan, who owned several dry-cleaning operations and some real estate, died suddenly on July 20, just days before he was to collect his winnings from the Illinois Lottery.

With no signs of trauma, authorities initially ruled he died of natural causes, but a relative came forward with suspicions that prompted a fuller examination that led to the startling conclusion he was intentionally poisoned.

 

-- from the news services

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 10, 2013 A13

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