More than three out of four Afghans said they would "be afraid when encountering international forces," according to the latest annual poll by the Asia Foundation. By comparison, nearly nine in 10 said the NATO-trained Afghan National Army was "honest and fair with the Afghan people" and helped "improve security," the non-profit international development group's survey found. About 72 percent of those polled felt the same levels of confidence in the Afghan National Police. Although more than half of Afghans questioned said they were afraid to vote or attend peaceful protests, an increasing number felt their country was headed in the right direction. About 46,000 U.S. troops remain in Afghanistan, with the U.S. urging President Hamid Karzai to soon sign a bilateral security agreement that will determine the future of the U.S. military effort in the country after 2014.
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A University of New Haven student accused of bringing loaded guns to campus this week told police he had the guns to protect himself from mass shootings that had been happening, according to a police source close to the investigation.
William Dong, 22, was arrested on Tuesday after prompting a campus lockdown and a building-by-building search at the West Haven, Conn. school, police said. No one was hurt in the scare.
A search of Dong's padlocked bedroom at his family home found newspaper clippings of the Aurora, Colo., movie theater mass shooting and 2,700 rounds of ammunition, police said.
Lindsey Vonn declared Thursday that she is ready to race for the first time in 10 months. In an interview with The Associated Press and USA Today Sports, Vonn said she will return to competition in a World cup downhill Friday, the latest major step in her push to get ready for the Sochi Olympics. She has not raced since a high-speed crash at the world championships in February, when she tore two ligaments in her right knee and broke a bone in her lower leg. About two and half weeks ago, Vonn partially re-tore one of those reconstructed ligaments in a crash while training in Colorado. "You kind of know if your body is ready or not, and I feel like mine's ready," Vonn said Thursday.
The billionaire heiress to the Mars candy fortune will not serve any jail time for an accident authorities say resulted in the death of a 86-year-old woman. Jacqueline Mars, a co-owner of the privately held candy company Mars Inc., entered the courtroom Thursday using a walker and pleaded guilty to the reckless driving charge she faced. The judge could have sentenced Mars to a year in jail for the misdemeanor charge, but three of Irene Ellisor's family members read statements in court, forgiving Mars for the October accident and asked that she not be jailed. The judge followed their request but ordered Mars to pay a $2,500 fine and suspended her license for six months.
The National Security Agency inadvertently gathers the location records of "tens of millions of Americans who travel abroad" annually, along with the billions of other records it collects through cellphones, The Washington Post reported Wednesday. The NSA is tapping into worldwide mobile network cables, allowing the controversial program to track the movements of almost any cellphone around the world, and map the relationships of the cellphone user. The Post said a powerful analytic computer program called CO-TRAVELER crunches the data of billions of unsuspecting people, building patterns of relationships between them by where their phones go. That can reveal a previously unknown terrorist suspect, in guilt by cellphone-location association, for instance. As the NSA doesn't know which part of the data it might need, the agency keeps up to 27 terabytes, or more than double the text content of the Library of Congress' print collection, the Post said.
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Toronto Mayor Rob Ford may have offered cash and a car to buy a video allegedly showing him using crack cocaine, according to notes from police wiretaps, Reuters reported. A 450-page police document that unveils details of the offer was released on Wednesday by an Ontario Superior Court judge after a petition by media lawyers. The existence of an alleged video was first reported by media sources in May, however Ford said at the time that he could not comment on a video he had not seen "or does not exist." But according to police notes of a recorded phone conversation involving two suspected gang members, Ford was aware of the video's existence in March, and offered to buy it. The Toronto city council, which does not have the power to fire Ford, last month voted to remove much of his authority and give it to deputy mayor Norm Kelly. Ford has admitted smoking crack in a "drunken stupor."
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Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis took home about $284,000 in 2012, more than double what she reported making in 2010, according to tax records released Wednesday by her campaign.
The federal filings show the state senator's Newby Davis law firm, which she founded with former Gov. Rick Perry chief of staff Brian Newby, has become her most lucrative source of income. She reported earning more than $154,000 last year from the partnership, which has multiple public-sector clients.
Davis launched her campaign to replace Perry in October after months of speculation and pleas from Democrats, who haven't won a statewide office since 1994. She became a national political star following an 11-hour filibuster this summer that temporarily blocked new abortion restrictions in Texas.
Singtao Daily/Na Li
A man accused of a fatal shooting in San Francisco over a PlayStation 4 game console made his initial appearance in court Wednesday to face charges of murder and attempted robbery.
Ronnie Collins, 21, is accused of shooting 22-year-old Ikenna Uwakah at about 3:30 p.m. Sunday near the city's Bayview District.
Collins declined to enter a plea to the charges Wednesday and will return to court on Monday.
Uwakah had agreed to meet with Collins to sell him the gaming console, but instead the suspect stole it and shot Uwakah while he was still in his car, according to police.
He was taken to San Francisco General Hospital and pronounced dead a short time later, police said.
A Jersey Shore community hit hard by Superstorm Sandy is using a new method to protect their beach from future violent storms.
Ocean Gate is the first New Jersey town to use beach prisms. The heavy pieces of concrete, which are shaped similarly to highway barriers, act as giant brakes for waves.
“There’s a built-in parabolic curve right here and when the wave hits that parabolic curve it scatters away as spray,” said Jay McKenna, the Beach Prisms regional sales manager.
Thirty-five of the beach prisms, which are precast with triangular openings, will be placed inside the Toms River in Ocean Gate. Once nearly submerged in the water, about 50 feet from the sand, the prisms are designed to prevent beach erosion when waves kick up during coastal storms.
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The U.S. economy grew at a 3.6 percent annual rate from July through September instead of the 2.8 percent pace reported earlier, the Commerce Department said on Thursday. The third-quarter pace is the fastest since the first quarter of 2012 and marked an acceleration from the April-June period's 2.5 percent rate. Businesses accumulated $116.5 billion worth of inventories, the largest increase since the first quarter of 1998. That compared to prior estimates of only $86 billion. Separate data also showed the number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week, a hopeful sign for the labor market recovery. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 23,000 to a seasonally adjusted 298,000, declining for a third straight week, the Labor Department said. Claims for the prior week were revised to show 5,000 more applications received than previously reported.
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Bill Bratton, who served as NYPD commissioner under Rudy Giuliani, has been chosen for the post for a second time to serve under Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio, who campaigned on a promise to change police tactics.
Bratton first held the job in 1994, and is credited with leading the development of CompStat, a crime mapping database begun in New York City that has been copied by police in other cities. Crime dropped significantly during his tenure, but civilian complaints about police misconduct and brutality went up while he led the department.
Bratton was also remembered for his theatrics, including proposing a police parade on his birthday.
He left the job for the private sector in 1996, creating his own law enforcement consulting business.
Bratton, a Vietnam veteran who began his career as a Boston police officer, served as chief of the LAPD from 2002 to 2009, when he returned to his private consulting group.
One of the women who survived Sunday's deadly Metro-North derailment said she didn't think that one of the four passengers who died in the crash "felt any pain." The passenger, who asked to be identified only as "Anna," told NBC 4 New York that she and other passengers tried to help Kisook Ahn, a nurse who was killed after the train went off the rails around a sharp curve in the Spuyten Duyvil section of the Bronx. Anna said she and other passengers grabbed a stethoscope from Ahn's own work bag and tried unsuccessfully to find a heartbeat while the Queens woman was pinned inside the train car. "I don't think she felt any pain," she said. "She was finishing dying while we were with her." She added, "We were there for her. We tried to help her but we couldn't and I'm sorry I couldn't, but I did pray for her."
A man who worked more than 30 years as a White House plumber was left paralyzed and jobless after a car accident in Maryland.
"This isn't what you call the golden years," said James Plakas, whose career at the White House Plumbing Shop was cut short just a few months before the assistant foreman qualified for full retirement benefits.
A driver experiencing a medical emergency caused the 8-car pile-up on Rockville Pike, Montgomery County police said, leaving Plakas with severe injuries that left him a quadriplegic.
The state's attorney's office decided not to press charges against the driver responsible for the accident, so Plakas took matters into his own hands by hiring a lawyer and suing for damages.