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   KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Officials say a helicopter owned by an Afghan company has made an emergency landing in a Taliban-controlled area of eastern Afghanistan, and the insurgents took all nine people who were aboard hostage.

   A district administrator in the area says the helicopter landed on Sunday afternoon in strong winds and rain in a village of Logar province, southeast of Kabul and about 30 kilometers (or 20 miles) from the Pakistan border.

   Hamidullah Hamid said on Monday that the Taliban captured all nine aboard the aircraft and took them from the area. He says the crew and passengers are all civilian.

   Logar deputy police chief, Rais Khan Abdul Rahimzai, says the helicopter is owned by the Khaorasan company. He didn't know what cargo it was carrying or where it was heading.

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   Should local communities have the power to ban indoor smoking in public places?  

   A group of St. Charles County lawmakers apparently don't think so.  Republican State Representative Kathie Conway has introduced a bill that would levy fines against cities and counties with local smoking bans.  Seven other lawmakers from St. Charles County have signed on as co-sponsors.

   The measure would force the communities to give up any property or sales tax revenues from businesses affected by the ban.  The money would go to local school districts instead. Conway told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that she plans to narrow that to include only bars, restaurants, bowling alleys, casinos and other entertainment-related businesses, because they're the ones who lose money because of smoking bans.  

   The bills opponents call it an attempt to intimidate local governments.

   Only two communities in St. Charles County have smoking bans in place: O'Fallon and Lake St. Louis.  St. Louis County and the City of St. Louis also have smoking bans in place.  They would be subject to the fines too, since it's a state-wide measure.

Monday, 22 April 2013 01:46
Published in Local News
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PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Erik Kratz hit a three-run home run to break the game open in the eighth inning and lead the Philadelphia Phillies to a 7-3 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday night.

   Mike Adams (1-1) tossed a scoreless eighth inning to help the Phillies split the four-game series. The Phillies snapped a 3-3 tie with a four-run eighth that put the game away.

   Michael Young extended his hitting streak to 12 games with an infield single off reliever Mitchell Boggs (0-2). Dom Brown singled to put runners on the corners with one out. Ben Revere made it 4-3 on a go-ahead single up the middle.

   Kratz then hit the first pitch deep into the left-field seats for a three-run homer and a 7-3 lead.

 
Monday, 22 April 2013 01:15
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   A flood warning remains in effect for communities along the Mississippi River, including St. Louis.  

   As of 9:30 PM Sunday, the river was at at 33.7 feet in St. Louis, 3.7 feet above flood stage.

   The sight of so much water swamping the levy is drawing gawkers, locals as well as tourists, to the Arch grounds.

   Plenty of sightseers spent a sunny Sunday afternoon snapping pictures of the rising river, the water covering Lenore K. Sullivan Blvd. and the lower steps of the Arch just off the roadway.

   But the high river levels mean the current is so swift, huge logs and debris are being swept downstream, a reminder of why it is called the Mighty Mississippi.

   That strong current pulled more than 100 barges loose Saturday night, several hitting the JB Bridge, forcing its closure while an inspection was conducted.  MoDOT's check of the bridge showed no damage, so the span was reopened.  

   The river, however, remains closed to traffic because of concerns that some sunken barges may be blocking the navigation channel.  And more rain, expected Monday night and Tuesday, means it could be closed for some time.

Monday, 22 April 2013 00:49
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