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Japanese prime minister 'speechless' after video claims IS hostage deadBelichick on deflated balls: 'We try to do everything right' (Yahoo Sports)

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, right, speaks to reporters at his official residence following a new message purported to be from the Islamic State group, in Tokyo early Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015. Japanese officials are working to verifying the new message purported to be from the Islamic State group holding two Japanese hostages. The Associated Press could not verify the contents of the message, which varied greatly from previous videos released by the Islamic State group, which now holds a third of both Syria and Iraq. (AP Photo/Kyodo News) JAPAN OUT, CREDIT MANDATORYShinzo Abe says the video is likely authentic and offers condolences to the family.


New England Patriots football head coach Bill Belichick speaks during an NFL football news conference at Gillette Stadium, Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015, in Foxborough, Mass., where he defended the way his team preps its game balls. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Saying his team ''followed the rules to the letter,'' New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick described in detail how his team prepares its footballs on game day and defended his players from chatter that they made it to the Super Bowl by cheating. In an unscheduled availability on Saturday afternoon, eight days before the Patriots will play the Seattle Seahawks for the NFL championship, Belichick revealed the results of an internal study into how the footballs are prepared to quarterback Tom Brady's liking. ''There have been questions raised, and I believe now, 100 percent, that I have personally and we have as an organization have absolutely followed every rule to the letter,'' Belichick said. ''At no time was there any intent to compromise the integrity of the game.'' The Patriots reached the Super Bowl for the sixth time in Belichick's tenure when they beat the Colts 45-7 in the AFC championship on Sunday.


Police: Third person dies after shooting at Nebraska partyTrail Blazers' Aldridge to put thumb surgery on hold (Yahoo Sports)

A crime lab investigator carries bags of evidence past markers on the road at the scene of a shooting in Omaha, Neb., Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015. Two women were shot to death and six people were wounded early Saturday at a house party in Omaha. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Gunfire erupted during a crowded party in a vacant house in Omaha early Saturday, leaving three people dead and five wounded, and most witnesses refusing to help investigators, according to police.


PORTLAND, OR -  JANUARY 19: LaMarcus Aldridge #12 of the Portland Trail Blazers looks to defend the basket against the Sacramento Kings during the game on January 19, 2015 at Moda Center in Portland, Oregon . (Photo by Cameron Browne/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Portland Trail Blazers say that forward LaMarcus Aldridge has decided to put off thumb surgery and play Saturday night against Washington. Aldridge said on Thursday that he needed surgery to repair a ligament in his left thumb and was expected to miss from six to eight weeks. Aldridge hurt his thumb when his hand came down on the knee of Sacramento's DeMarcus Cousins in the second quarter of the Blazers' 98-95 victory on Monday night. The 6-foot-11 power forward leads Portland with averages of 23.5 points and 10.4 rebounds and 1.18 blocks per game.


Bill Belichick doubles down on Patriots' innocence in deflate-gateBooker leads No. 1 Kentucky to 58-43 win (Yahoo Sports)


Kentucky guard Devin Booker (1) shoots a jump shot over South Carolina's Mindaugas Kacinas (25) in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015, at the Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Willis Glassgow)

Devin Booker found a way to make an impact for No. 1 Kentucky. He did it again Saturday, leading the Wildcats (19-0, 6-0 Southeastern Conference) with 18 points in a 58-43 victory at South Carolina. The win matched the team's best start under coach John Calipari and kept the Wildcats from another ''House of Horrors'' moment at the Colonial Life Arena where they'd lost three of their previous five games. Booker scored seven points in Kentucky''s 14-0 run that spanned both halves, closing the surge with a 3-pointer that put the Wildcats ahead 37-24 with 18:28 remaining.


Winter storm spreads snow, traffic woes in NortheastOn song: Djokovic, Williams sisters advance at Aussie Open (Yahoo Sports)

A snow shoveler crosses a street during a winter snowstorm in CambridgeA winter storm spread freezing rain and snow and snarled traffic from the Middle Atlantic states into New England on Saturday, and forecasters said they expected a second system to lash the region early next week. Winter storm warnings were in place for much of Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire. Up to 8 inches of snow were expected in the area by Saturday night as the storm system headed east, said National Weather Service (NWS) meteorologist Brian Hurley in College Park, Maryland.


Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates a point won against Fernando Verdasco of Spain in their third round match at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

Novak Djokovic fine-tuned his voice and his game at the Australian Open on Saturday, advancing to the fourth round with a straight-sets win over Fernando Verdasco and then urging the crowd of 15,000 to sing Happy Birthday to his mother back home. After his 7-6 (8), 6-3, 6-4 win, the four-time Australian champion had a lengthy on-court interview with Jim Courier discussing a range of topics including his childhood memories of tennis, when ''I was constructing little trophies out of plastic and pretending I was a Wimbledon champion.'' The flashback jogged his memory. The Williams sisters had their own celebration of sorts, progressing together to the fourth round of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time since Wimbledon in 2011. Two other Americans joined them, with 19-year-old Madison Keys upsetting two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova with a 6-4, 7-5 victory and Madison Brengle beating Coco Vandeweghe 6-3, 6-2 in an all-U.S. match.


U.S. airline flights land in Atlanta after bomb threatsAP Interview: Selig says MLB could expand internationally (Yahoo Sports)
Bomb threats against two U.S. airline flights on Saturday prompted North American air defense fighter planes to scramble to accompany them to their destination in Atlanta, an airport spokesman said. The planes landed safely at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, no bombs were found aboard either flight and the Atlanta airport has returned to normal operations, said airport spokesman Reese McCranie. Threats against Delta Air Lines flight 1156, coming from Portland, Oregon, and Southwest Airlines flight 2492, from Milwaukee, had been deemed credible, McCranie said. Atlanta's WSB-TV News reported that the threats were made on Twitter Inc, without citing a source.

Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig looks on during an interview with The Associated Press in New York, Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015. On the final day of his nearly 22 1-2 years in charge of baseball, Selig talked about his legacy. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Bud Selig began his 8,173rd and final day in charge of baseball by waking up in a Manhattan hotel, having breakfast and working out. ... If one uses a lot of vision it could.'' Selig headed the group that forced Commissioner Fay Vincent's resignation in September 1992. Owner of the Milwaukee Brewers since 1970, he was put in charge as chairman of the executive council and finally elected commissioner in July 1998 after years of saying he would never take the job. His reign saw expanded playoffs and wild-card teams, interleague play, video review to aid umpires, expansion to Arizona and Tampa Bay, the formation of baseball's Internet and broadcast companies and the start of drug testing - too late for some critics.




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 Cedar Rapids Views and Opinions
Why U.S. Engagement Policy Is The Correct One

Invariably, when one thinks of the efficacy of a nation’s military, the mind’s eye is drawn to the ability of that country to deliver a \"warhead onto the forehead\" of their enemies. Indeed, owing to the Pentagon’s slick packaging of the First Gulf War, modern conflict, in the American mind, became synonymous with high-tech toys, grainy videos of successful missile shots, and a quick resolution of hostilities.

Capitalism and The Wealth Gap

When it comes to the efficient delivery of goods and services, capitalism is the proven economic model that puts people to work and products on the shelves. Whether those jobs end up paying enough money to purchase the items on those shelves is another matter, however.

Living Wages Are A Global Problem

The recent protests for an increased minimum wage are part of a larger global protest. The purpose is the same for low wage earners all over the world; increase wages to match the cost of living, and allow workers to form unions if desired and needed. The global protest has gained media attention all over the world, but critics claim that is the only accomplishment the movement will have.

Ukraine: Not What It Seems

After tense days of fighting this week, people in Ukraine are mourning the dead and celebrating the removal of President Victor Yanukovych from power. The final struggle that began on February 18, was the bloodiest endured by the protesters of Euromaidan. By February 22 the fighting was over.

Religious Freedom Bill - Protecting The Faithful or Legalized Discrimination?

After a much heated national debate, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed the controversial bill that would have allowed people and businesses in the state to refuse services to LBGT people based on their religious belief.

Coup Or Civil War In Egypt

The day after new protests erupted in Egypt the military in a show of support presented an ultimatum to Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood-led government. Morsi was to step down from power and meet all of the demands of the Egyptian people, or face being removed by the military on Wednesday. As the ultimatum deadline draws closer in Egypt, Morsi refuses to leave, insisting that parliamentary elections are needed before he should be removed, and that he doesn't have permission from the United States to remove himself from power. Most recently he stated he will pay with his life to preserve the sanctity of the ballot box.

 
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