Suicide Bomb Instructor Accidentally Kills Pupils: New York Times: "A group of Sunni militants attending a suicide bombing training class at a camp north of Baghdad were killed on Monday when their commander unwittingly conducted a demonstration with a belt that was packed with explosives, army and police officials said. The militants belonged to a group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, which is fighting the Shiite-dominated army of the Iraqi government, mostly in Anbar Province. But they are also linked to bomb attacks elsewhere and other fighting that has thrown Iraq deeper into sectarian violence. Twenty-two ISIS members were killed, and 15 were wounded, in the explosion at the camp, which is in a farming area in the northeastern province of Samara, according to the police and army officials. Stores of other explosive devices and heavy weapons were also kept there, the officials said. ... The militant who was conducting the training was not identified by name, but he was described by an Iraqi Army officer as a prolific recruiter who was 'able to kill the bad guys for once.'"
More: BBC News: "The area around the mainly Sunni city of Samarra, in Salah al-Din province, has long been an insurgent stronghold. The head of the local Sunni pro-government militia, or Sahwa, told the AFP news agency that the insurgents had been filming a propaganda video of the would-be suicide attacker at the time of Monday's explosion. Meanwhile, a police officer told the Associated Press that security forces rushed to the area after hearing the sound of the explosion and arrested 12 wounded and another 10 suspected insurgents trying to flee."
Another Obamacare Delay: Politico: "The Obama administration Monday delayed part of the Obamacare employer mandate in 2015 and beyond, the latest move to counter a torrent of criticism from the business community about the health law’s impact on employers. Treasury Department said businesses with fewer than 100 workers would not be required to provide health care to its workers in 2015 or face a fine. It also gave big businesses with more than 100 workers more time to ramp up coverage. Small businesses with fewer than 50 workers have always been exempt from the new coverage requirements but the law originally required all other businesses to start covering their workers for face penalties beginning Jan. 1, 2014. The White House last July pushed that start date to 2015, in response to concerted pressure from the business community. ... The moves will be welcome news to many employer groups, who have been arguing that the law encourages them to cut workers hours to avoid the penalty. ... It’s just the latest in a series of major changes and delays the Obama administration has made leading up to the rocky launch of the new health insurance exchanges to accommodate both employers and consumers."
GOP Still Weighing Debt-Limit Options: Washington Post: "House Republicans will meet Monday night at the Capitol in a bid to finalize their debt-limit plan during a 'special conference meeting,' per an internal GOP memo sent to lawmakers’ offices. According to three individuals familiar with the meeting’s agenda, House GOP leaders will ask Republicans to come together and pass legislation this week to extend the federal government’s borrowing authority, which is set to expire later this month. House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), the individuals added, will address members about the leadership’s top option, which would link a restoration of recently cut military benefits with a one-year extension of the Treasury’s borrowing authority. The bargaining idea, first pitched last week over lunch, gained currency over the weekend among Republicans."
Atlanta Snowpocalypse, Part II: Associated Press: "Just two weeks ago, Atlanta became a national punch line when a few inches of snow crippled the city. ... On Monday, officials were quick to act as the winter weather zeroed in, determined not be the butt of jokes like the Saturday Night Live parody that referred to the 'devil's dandruff' and 'Yankee's slush.' Before a single drop of freezing rain or snow fell, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal had declared a state of emergency for nearly a third of the state, schools canceled classes and workers were told to stay home. ... This storm could be worse this time. A one-two punch of winter weather was expected for Atlanta and northern Georgia. Rain and up to several inches of snow were forecast Tuesday, followed by sleet and freezing rain Wednesday. Downed power lines and icy roads were a major worry."
What Happened to Nessie? BBC News: "For the first time in almost 90 years no 'confirmed sightings' have been made of the Loch Ness Monster, a veteran Nessie spotter has said. Gary Campbell, who keeps a register of sightings, said no-one had come forward in 18 months to say they had seen the monster. ... Campbell said it was the first time since 1925 that there had been no confirmed reports of the monster. He said: 'It's very upsetting news and we don't know where she's gone.' Campbell, a chartered accountant based in Inverness, has been logging Nessie sightings for 17 years after seeing something in the loch himself. As Nessie's registrar of sightings, he has put together a list of sightings going back 1,500 years. Irish missionary St Columba is said to have encountered a beast in the River Ness in 565AD."
The World: What Is China Up to In Antarctica?
"Dumb Starbucks": Los Angeles Times: "Starbucks is looking into a parody store that mocks the Seattle coffee giant with fake green and white cups and a full menu. 'Dumb Starbucks,' which the company said is not affiliated with actual the Starbucks, quietly opened Friday in Los Feliz and drew lines of people looking to grab a free cup of coffee or a selfie in front of the store. 'We are evaluating next steps and while we appreciate the humor, they cannot use our name, which is a protected trademark,' said Zack Hutson, a spokesman for the company. ... A list of frequently asked questions pegs the legality of the mock store to 'parody art' — an art gallery where the coffee is considered the art. ... But only iced coffees and lattes were available — free of charge — to promote the new business, an upbeat barista told customers Sunday after apologizing for the wait. Just two workers staffed the busy store, and merchandise was being delivered throughout the afternoon."
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