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Police deaths in U.S. rise to 173 in 2011

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WASHINGTON — Police fatalities in the United States rose in 2011 for a second year running, with shootings overtaking traffic accidents as the principal cause of death, a year-end report said Wednesday.

The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund said 173 local, state and federal law enforcement officers, including prison guards, died in the line of duty, up from 153 deaths in 2010 and a four-decade low of 141 in 2009.

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For the first time in 14 years, gun-related incidents were the leading cause of death with 68 officers shot and killed — up from a 50-year low of 40 in 2008, and including 14 officers shot while carrying out arrests.

Traffic-related fatalities, the leading cause of death among on-duty police officers for 13 years, slipped back to 64 in 2011, with 44 officers dying in car crashes and 11 struck by other vehicles.

Reacting to the statistics, Attorney General Eric Holder, who oversees the Justice Department in Washington, said: “This is a devastating and unacceptable trend.”

“Each of these deaths is a tragic reminder of the threats law enforcement officers face each day, and the fact that too many guns have fallen into the hands of those who are not legally permitted to possess them,” he said.

Craig Floyd, chairman of the Memorial Fund, cited the figures as he voiced concern over “drastic budget cuts” which he said were putting law enforcers “at grave risk” across the country.

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“At a time when officers are facing a more cold-blooded criminal element and fighting a war on terror, we are cutting vital resources necessary to ensure their safety and the safety of the innocent citizens they protect,” he said.

One in three police deaths this year took place in five hotspot states — Florida (14 deaths), Texas (13), New York (11), California and Georgia (10 each). Female officers accounted for 11 deaths.

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‘Hell no’: Texans join forces to stop Trump from stealing their land

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President Donald Trump's pledge to build a wall at the southern border with Mexico has been a huge winner with his base. But there is one group of people who are not happy: the Texans who actually live in the region where the wall would be built.

According to the Washington Post, many people in the region have no intention of letting the federal government seize their land to construct the wall, like Afghanistan war veteran Salvador Castillo of Brownsville, who received a letter from officials demanding unlimited access to and use of his land, which gradually escalated into a lawsuit.

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Pearl Harbor veteran to be interred on sunken ship

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It was an attack that shaped history, leaving more than 2,400 Americans dead and forcing the United States to enter a war it had been reluctant to join.

On Saturday, the 78th anniversary of the 1941 sneak attack by Japan on Pearl Harbor, the remains of one of the survivors of the assault will be interred on his sunken ship, the USS Arizona.

Lauren Bruner, who was among the last sailors rescued from the Arizona as it exploded into flames and sank, died in September at age 98.

He had expressed in years past his wish to be buried alongside fellow sailors who died on that fateful day.

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Suspect swallows poison after verdict in French murder case

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The suspect for the rape and murder of a young woman in northern France almost two decades ago was under guard in hospital Saturday after he swallowed pesticide in an apparent suicide bid following his conviction.

Willy Bardon, on trial over the murder of Elodie Kulik in 2002 in a case that has attracted strong interest in France for years, ingested the substance at the courthouse in the northern city of Amiens late on Friday.

Bardon had been sentenced to 30 years jail for kidnapping and holding a person against their will followed by death. He was however acquitted of murder.

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