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Nov. 22, 2012 at 8:20 AM
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Tense calm prevails in Israel, Gaza

JERUSALEM, Nov. 22 (UPI) -- A tense calm prevailed in southern Israel less than 24 hours after the Egyptian brokered cease-fire.

Two warning sirens alerted residents to rocket fire Thursday morning, but it was unclear whether it was a false alarm or rockets fell in Palestinian controlled areas, Israel Radio said. A number of rockets were fired after the truce was announced Wednesday night, but quiet had returned to southern Israel area by 11 p.m.

Amid celebratory gunfire in Gaza, an Islamic Jihad spokesman said the organization will continue to arm itself with weapons while Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, Mahmoud a-Zahar and others emerged from underground hiding places where they had remained during the past week, Israel Radio said.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu faced fierce criticism from political officials and residents of the South Thursday for agreeing to a truce with Hamas. Residents said they fear it is only a matter of time before they will again be confronted with barrages of rockets from Gaza.

Ashdod Mayor Yehiel -- whose city was hit by rockets -- told Ynetnews.com he was concerned "this lull will last only for a short while. This wasn't the conclusion we prayed for."

Sderot Mayor David Buskila echoed similar sentiments.

Yair Lapid, head of the newly established political party Yesh Atid, accused Netanyahu of failing to live up to his promises.

"After it was promised that Hamas would be eliminated, and that we would not negotiate with it, the State of Israel negotiated with Hamas and failed to eliminate it, " he told Ynetnews.com.

"The operation's goals haven't been met. It's only a matter of time before the next round occurs. This is not how you end a battle against terrorism," Opposition leader Knesset member Shaul Mofaz told Ynetnews.com.

Yedioth Ahronoth reported more than 1,000 buildings and residential homes and apartments in the South were damaged by rocket fire during the eight day Operation Pillar of Defense. Damages are estimated around 100 million shekels ($25.57 million). Netanyahu ordered the establishment of a special committee to aid residents in the South whose property was damaged by the rocket fire.

Addressing the Nation Wednesday night Netanyahu said the operation had achieved all its goals and dealt a painful blow to Hamas and other terror organizations in Gaza. Netanyahu failed to reveal details of the Egyptian brokered agreement.

Reports out of Egypt said Israel and Hamas agreed to a cessation of all hostilities and Israel agreed to refrain from targeting terrorist leaders. Israel agreed to lift restrictions on border crossings into Gaza and facilitate the entry of goods and merchandise and the passage of people, the reports said. Other issues will be discussed between the sides at a later date.

Not all Black Friday prices are lowest

SEATTLE, Nov. 22 (UPI) -- Many U.S. retailers' Black Friday deals were available at lower prices earlier in the year, an analysis for The Wall Street Journal indicates.

Seattle price-data firm Decide Inc. examined more than 500 "doorbuster" deals advertised in Black Friday circulars by large retailers including Sears, Target and Best Buy and found nearly a third of the discounted products were sold at lower prices earlier in the year, the Journal said.

For instance, a KitchenAid Artisan Series Stand Mixer is to be sold at Sears Friday for $319.99. But the retailer offered the same mixer for $296 in March, Decide told the Journal.

A Sears spokesman told the newspaper in an email: "We believe our advertised prices are competitive and we are well positioned to give our customers great value. Like any retailer, our pricing varies throughout the year."

Sears sometimes changes its appliance prices several times a week.

Home Depot touted a General Electric Adora dishwasher for $598 Black Friday but sold it for $538 over the Columbus Day weekend, Decide found. A Home Depot spokeswoman said most Black Friday deals are its best of the year.

Retailers don't generally promise Black Friday prices are the lowest ever.

Decide found many bargains were genuine, with most doorbuster deals it checked the lowest prices of the year, the Journal said.

McKinsey & Co. marketing and sales practice senior expert Rob Docters told the Journal retailers probably count on consumers assuming advertised sales are the best of the year.

"People associate Black Friday with good prices, and that eliminates the need to check price," he said.

Up to 147 million people plan to shop Black Friday weekend, down from 152 million who planned to do so last year, the National Retail Federation trade group said.

Emails detail bin Laden's burial

WASHINGTON, Nov. 22 (UPI) -- Osama bin Laden's body was buried at sea following traditional Islamic procedures, emails between high-ranking U.S. military officials said.

The emails revealed only a few "leadership" members were on hand for the May 2, 2011, burial on the USS Carl Vinson, and most officers and enlisted personnel were unaware of the event taking place, CNN reported Thursday.

"Any sailors watch the burial?" one Navy commander asked the public affairs officer on the carrier.

"Only a small group of the leadership was informed -- less than a dozen," the public affairs officer replied.

One email detailed the exact procedures of the burial.

"Traditional procedures for Islamic burial was followed," it said, adding, "The deceased's body was washed (ablution) then placed in a white sheet. The body was placed in a weighted bag. a military officer read prepared religious remarks, which were translated into Arabic by a native speaker. After the words were complete, the body was placed on a prepared flat board, tipped up, whereupon the deceased's body slid into the sea."

The 10 emails were released by the Department of Defense in response to a Freedom of Information lawsuit filed by watchdog group Judicial Watch, CNN reported.

Bird crashes through plane's windshield

HYANNIS, Mass., Nov. 22 (UPI) -- A loon crashed through the windshield of a small plane, bloodying the passengers and forcing the craft to return to an airport in Massachusetts, officials said.

The red-throated loon came through the co-pilot's side of the front windshield of the Cessna 402C Wednesday above the coastline from Hyannis to Nantucket, Mass., Barnstable Municipal Airport manager Roland Breault told the Cape Cod (Mass.) Times.

The co-pilot was scratched by flying glass, but the pilot and two passengers were not injured.

"They all got a little bit bloody from the bird splatter," Breault said.

The pilot turned the plane around and returned to Barnstable Municipal Airport, from where it originated. The passengers changed their clothes and were put on another flight to Nantucket, the Times reported.

"This is the worst one I've seen since I've been here," Breault said about the accident. "That's why I thought they did a great job getting that plane back on the ground."

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