Obama continues holiday traditions
President Barack Obama has spared two turkeys from the brine and the oven, fulfilling the annual tradition of a presidential pardon for a couple of lucky birds ahead of Thanksgiving Day.
Obama pardoned Popcorn, who shared the stage with the president on the North Portico of the White House on a cold, drizzly day. An alternate turkey, named Caramel, also received a pardon, though it did not have the benefit of a face-to-beak meeting with the president.
Later, Obama continued an annual family tradition by helping to pack bags of food and distribute them to the needy on Thanksgiving eve.
Obama, his wife, Michelle, daughters Malia and Sasha and his mother-in-law, Marian Robinson, dropped in on the Capital Area Food Bank, one of the largest serving the Washington area.
They dropped bundles of sweet potatoes, onions, carrots and apples into reusable bags people held open as they walked by. They also handed out small white boxes stamped with the presidential seal that contain M&M’s candy.
Heavy sentences for Islamist women
Nearly two dozen Islamist women and girls, some as young as 15, were handed heavy prison sentences Wednesday for protesting in a court ruling that came a day after police beat and terrorized prominent female activists in a crackdown on secular demonstrators under a tough new anti-protest law.
The harshness of the sentences and the scenes a day earlier were new signs that the military-backed government is becoming bolder in silencing dissent, turning to abuses reminiscent of the Hosni Mubarak era. Authorities have been justifying tougher measures as needed to fight terrorism and bring stability — while they also appear to be exploiting divisions among secular democracy activists.
Navy suspends another contractor
The Navy has suspended another contractor that services and supplies Navy ships and submarines, this time for what the Navy called “questionable business integrity.”
The Navy announcement Wednesday evening provided no details on allegations against the company, Inchcape Shipping Services Holding Ltd., whose website describes it as one of the world’s leading maritime- services providers, doing business in 66 countries.
The suspension prevents the Department of the Navy and all other federal agencies from entering into any new contracts with Inchcape.
The Navy already is investigating a number of senior Navy officers in connection with a purported overbilling scheme by another maritime-services contractor, Glenn Defense Marine Asia, whose chief executive was arrested in September on charges that he bribed Navy officers.
Former radio DJ faces sex charges
A tearful former New York City radio personality made his first appearance in federal court Wednesday, five weeks after he was arrested in the U.S. Virgin Islands and charged with trying to arrange to have sex with a 7-year-old girl.
David Herman didn’t enter a plea before U.S. Magistrate Mark Falk and will remain jailed pending a hearing to determine whether he will be released on bail while he awaits trial. Herman was caught in a sting operation, and his attorney said investigators pushed his client into implicating himself.