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Jan. 26, 2013 at 6:31 PM   |   Comments

Tom Harkin announces he is leaving Senate

CUMMING, Iowa, Jan. 26 (UPI) -- U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, announced Saturday he will not run for a sixth term in 2014.

In a statement, Harkin said that he will be 75 by the time his current term ends and will have been in the House and Senate for 40 years.

"After 40 years, I just feel it's somebody else's turn." he said. "I can't put into words what an honor it is to serve Iowa. And I don't by any means plan to retire completely from public life at the end of this Congress. But I am going to make way for someone new in this Senate seat. I think that is right not just for me, but for Iowa, as well."

Harkin, who chairs the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, said he has important goals for his remaining two years in the Senate. They include implementing President Obama's health care plan, pushing for a new pension plan, the USA Retirement Plan, and advancing legislation to improve employment for people with disabilities and education.

Born in Iowa, where his father was a coal miner, Harkin attended law school after military service and a stint as a congressional aide. During a trip to Vietnam with U.S. Rep Neal Smith, Harkin photographed and helped publicize the "tiger cage" prisons used by South Vietnam.

After an unsuccessful run for Congress in 1972, Harkin became one of the "Watergate babies," Democrats elected in 1974 after President Richard Nixon's resignation.

President Obama praised Harkin's work in Congress.

"During his tenure, he has fought passionately to improve quality of life for Americans with disabilities and their families, to reform our education system and ensure that every American has access to affordable health care," Obama said.


Riots rage in Egypt over death sentences

PORT SAID, Egypt, Jan. 26 (UPI) -- At least 30 people were dead and 300 were injured as riots raged in the Egyptian city of Port Said after 21 soccer fans were sentenced to death, officials said.

By nightfall Saturday, the city of 600,000 people was in chaos, The New York Times reported, with most residents afraid to leave their homes. At 8 p.m., the military said troops had secured the Suez Canal, the port and other critical facilities.

The rioting was sparked by the sentences handed down after the verdict on 21 fans charged with a riot at a match between Port Said and Cairo that left 74 dead and 1,000 injured. The trial was moved to Cairo because of fears of violence.

Saturday's unrest marred the second anniversary of the toppling of President Hosni Mubarak. The current president, Mohamed Morsi, planned to address the restive nation by television Saturday, Egyptian media said.

Security forces fired tear gas to disperse the crowd as it attempted to break into the Port Said prison where most of the defendants were being held, Ahram Online reported.

A police dorm was looted and set on fire. A police station and a television news minivan were also torched.

"All the shops are closed, and the city is under complete paralysis," a midtown hotelier who declined to give his name told the Washington Post.

Three executives and nine security guards of the al-Masry soccer team were among the 73 defendants charged in the soccer riot deaths. The rest of the defendants expect to hear their verdicts in March.


Police officer killed by gunman in La.

CHARENTON, La., Jan. 26 (UPI) -- A police officer was killed and two deputies critically wounded when they were shot by a gunman as they responded to a house fire in Louisiana, police said.

A Louisiana State Police spokesman, Stephen Hammons, said a man began firing at the three officers when they arrived at the fire Saturday in Charenton, about 60 miles west of New Orleans, The Times-Picayune of New Orleans reported. The shots killed an officer from the Chitimacha Indian Reservation in Charenton and wounded two St. Mary Parish sheriff's deputies.

A suspect was arrested, Hammons said.

In late December, a man set his house on fire in the town of Webster, N.Y., near Rochester, and shot at firefighters as they arrived, killing two of them. William Speight, who had been convicted years before of killing his grandmother, then took his own life.

Hammons said the two injured officers were in critical condition, one in a New Orleans hospital and the other in Lafayette.


No. Korea threatens another nuclear test

PYONGYANG, North Korea, Jan. 26 (UPI) -- North Korea sent a strong signal Saturday it is planning to carry out another nuclear test in the near future.

Rodong Shinmun, the country's major newspaper and, like all other news media in North Korea, controlled by the government, ran an opinion piece saying the population is calling for another test, the South Korean Yonhap news agency reported. The newspaper is officially published by the ruling Workers Party.

"A nuclear test is the demand of the people and no other choice can be made," the newspaper said. "It is the people's demand that there should be something even greater than a nuclear test."

The U.N. Security Council passed a resolution Tuesday that calls for tightening existing sanctions against North Korea and banned financial transfers that would be used to support more advanced technology in the country. The unanimous vote was a response to North Korea's successful rocket launch in December.

"The U.N. Security Council gave us no other choice," Rodong Shinmun said. "We have no choice but to go to the very end."

The U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University has reported that the Punggye-ri launch site in North Korea appears to be ready for another test.

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