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NATO: Afghan civilians killed in attack

MARJAH, Afghanistan, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- NATO's International Security Assistance Force said Sunday that 12 Afghan civilians were killed when a rocket attack by coalition forces missed its target.


ISAF Commander U.S. Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal said two rockets missed their intended target in Afghanistan's Helmand Province, resulting in "regrettable" civilian casualties in the province's Nad Ali district, CNN reported.

"We deeply regret this tragic loss of life," McChrystal said in a statement. "The current operation in Central Helmand is aimed at restoring security and stability to this vital area of Afghanistan. It's regrettable that in the course of our joint efforts, innocent lives were lost."

Helmand Province spokesman Dawoud Ahmadi said coalition forces' ongoing anti-Taliban operation in southern Afghanistan has resulted in the deaths of 27 Taliban militants.

Meanwhile, a Taliban spokesman for the province's Marjah region said only six Taliban militants were killed, compared with 192 Afghan and coalition casualties.


"NATO forces have not captured any areas in Marjah from the Mujahadeen," Taliban spokesman Qari Yousif Ahmadi claimed.

Graham: Obama should ax terrorism adviser

WASHINGTON, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama should replace counterterrorism adviser John Brennan with someone the public can trust, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Sunday.

"He has lost my confidence and is the best evidence yet how disconnected this administration has come from the fact we are at war" with terrorists, Graham said on "Fox News Sunday."

Graham criticized Brennan for his role in giving Miranda rights to accused Christmas Day bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab and for suggesting a 20 percent rate of terrorists returning to the battlefield was acceptable.

On other issues, Graham said his colleague Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., was wrong to place a blanket hold last week on President Obama's nominees. Graham said he was glad the hold had been lifted and he also criticized Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., for partisan maneuverings of his own.

"Harry Reid has put more bills into the hopper ... than anybody I know of but we are all in this together," Graham said.

Protesters clash in Dresden, Germany

DRESDEN, Germany, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- German police said they were able to limit fighting between neo-Nazi demonstrators and their opponents during weekend demonstrations in Dresden.


Britain's Sky News said Saturday's protests came on the 65th anniversary of the devastating Allied bombing of Dresden during World War II. Nearly 5,000 neo-Nazi demonstrators had gathered to remember those killed in the firestorm.

A rival demonstration involving nearly 10,000 people took place across the Elbe River at the same time as the neo-Nazi gathering. Those demonstrators joined hands in order to stop the neo-Nazis from reaching the center of the city.

With nearly 5,000 officers on hand, police prevented the neo-Nazi demonstrators from reaching the city's restored center, citing security reasons for the decision.

Despite their efforts to keep peace, several individuals were injured as members of the rival groups became involved in skirmishes.

Some demonstrators were struck with rocks thrown during those clashes, and a number of barricades were burned, Sky News reported.

At least two killed in Alaska avalanches

SEWARD, Alaska, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- Alaska State Troopers said at least two people, including Conoco Phillips Alaska President Jim Bowles, died as a result of two avalanches.

Bowles, 57, was killed Saturday when an avalanche took place on the Kenai Peninsula near Seward, Alaska, the Anchorage (Alaska) Daily News reported Sunday.

A man identified as Alan Gage, 40, went missing during the deadly avalanche and is presumed dead, Alaska State Troopers said.


Meanwhile, a second avalanche Saturday near Anchorage, Alaska, buried a male skier. The skier, whose identity was not released, was pronounced dead after his body was recovered.

Conoco Phillips Alaska spokeswoman Natalie Lowman spoke about the loss of Bowles, head of the energy company since November 2004.

"He was a great leader for our company ... Our deepest sympathies go out to his family," Lowman said.

The Daily News said the search for Gage, a Conoco Phillips employee, resumed Sunday.

Power still out for 52,000 Texas residents

DALLAS, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- Nearly 52,000 residents in the Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas, area were still without power Sunday after a record snowstorm, an Oncor spokeswoman said.

A spokeswoman for the utility told the Dallas Morning News while power was restored to some homes following last week's storm, the timetable for restoration of all service remains undetermined.

Oncor spokeswoman Jeamy Molina said the company's crews were working around the clock to get power back to the tens of thousands of residents affected.

Dallas Department of Street Services director Gilbert Aguilar confirmed street crews have responded to nearly 400 of the estimated 700 emergency calls his office received since the snowstorm began Thursday.


The storm deposited 12.5 inches of snow on Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

Aguilar said a majority of the phone calls involved fallen trees and limbs littering roads.

"This is the worst one I have seen, aside from the New Year's Eve storm -- that was an ice storm -- in '79," he told the Morning News.

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