Tens of thousands protest over poor social conditions

Tens of thousands of Israelis in smaller cities across the country took to the streets Saturday night, in an attempt to prove that the socioeconomic discontent sweeping the country is nationwide and not confined to the main cities.

At least 60,000 people were reported to have marched in 15 smaller cities. For the first time since the nonviolent protests began, nearly a month ago, no large rally was scheduled in Tel Aviv.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has appointed a 22-member committee to meet the protesters. It is then to submit proposals to a 16-minister socioeconomic panel.


More food relief needed in Somalia, official says

The World Food Program said Saturday that it is expanding its food distribution efforts in famine-struck Somalia, where the U.N. estimates that only 20 percent of people needing aid are getting it.

In Geneva, World Health Organization officials said Friday that Somalia faces a cholera epidemic as dirty water and poor sanitation are leading to an increase in outbreaks of the disease.

Some of those from Somalia’s outlying regions have walked for days to the capital for help, only for it to be too late.

That’s why aid agencies urgently need to increase their efforts to reach families beyond the Somali capital, Valerie Amos, the U.N.’s top humanitarian official, said Saturday. “We have to start getting aid out to them to avoid a massive influx of people into the city,” she said.

The U.N. estimates that 2.8 million Somalis need food aid, and 2.2 million of them live outside the capital in areas controlled by Islamist rebels, who have forbidden many aid agencies to work in their territory, including the U.N.’s World Food Program.

But WFP is already getting aid to some areas in southern Somalia that had been inaccessible a month ago, said one official.


Greyhound bus overturns; 14 people taken to hospital

The driver of a Greyhound bus bound for St. Louis lost control on the Pennsylvania Turnpike early Saturday, sending the bus careering across the highway and up an embankment before it landed on its side on the interstate, briefly trapping a woman and sending 14 people to hospitals, authorities said.

Rescue crews freed the woman who was trapped in the wreckage in a rural area about a mile east of the Lebanon-Lancaster exit, turnpike spokesman Carl DeFebo said.

Twenty-nine people, including the driver, were aboard, said Greyhound spokeswoman Maureen Richmond, though a turnpike spokesman said he had information that the total might be 25 because of possible duplicates on the driver’s manifest.

State police said the driver, whom they identified as Kareem Edward Farmer, 24, of Philadelphia, lost control of the bus while traveling in the passing lane.


New arrest holds up thief’s heart transplant attempt

A thief who was released from a New York jail so she could get a heart transplant is back behind bars — possibly for good — after she was caught shoplifting again.

A lawyer for the dying Long Island woman tells Newsday the new arrest has probably cost her any chance of getting a new heart.

Diane McCloud of Hempstead was freed by a judge in January after a doctor said she had only six months to live if she didn’t get a transplant.

After her release, she got into trouble with the court for continuing to smoke cigarettes. Then she was arrested in July for stealing beauty products from a store in Oceanside.

McCloud, 48, pleaded guilty Friday.

Now she has to finish serving her original sentence, plus more time in the new theft case — if she lives.

— From news service reports