November 20, 2012

Nation Dispatches

NEW YORK

Officials considering request to halt Walmart walkouts

Federal labor officials said Monday that they will decide quickly whether to support a request by Walmart Stores Inc. to stop a union-backed group from encouraging worker walkouts at hundreds of stores Friday, the traditional start of the holiday shopping season.

The world’s largest retailer, based in Bentonville, Ark., filed an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board on Friday against the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union. It said the demonstrations organized by union-backed OUR Walmart threaten to disrupt its business and intimidate customers and other associates.

OUR Walmart, formed in 2010 to press the company for better working conditions, is made up of current and former Walmart workers.

Detectives look for suspect in killings of shopkeepers

Detectives on Monday searched for a balding, middle-aged man seen wearing an overcoat and carrying a duffel bag after a shopkeeper was shot dead. Investigators tried to figure out whether a violent armed robber or a serial killer had slain three business owners in the past four months.

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said nothing was being ruled out in the mysterious Brooklyn killings of shopkeepers of Middle Eastern descent. The most recent killing happened Friday when Rahmatollah Vahidipour, a Jewish man from Iran, was shot three times in the head and chest at his store, the She She Boutique.

After the latest killing, detectives discovered the same gun was used in the fatal shootings of two other shopkeepers when ballistics matched the .22-caliber gun shell casings on all three. On July 6, Mohamed Gebeli, 65, an Egyptian immigrant and a Muslim, was found shot in the back of his shop, Valentino Fashion Inc. On Aug. 6, Isaac Kadare, 59, also Egyptian but Jewish, was shot in the head in his store, Amazing 99 Cent Deal.

CHICAGO

Unemployment can cause damage to heart, study says

Unemployment hurts more than your wallet – it may damage your heart. That’s according to a study linking joblessness with heart attacks in older workers.

The increased odds weren’t huge, although multiple job losses posed as big a threat as smoking, high blood pressure and other conditions that are bad for the heart.

Researchers analyzed data on more than 13,000 men and women age 51 to 75 taking part in an ongoing health and retirement survey partly sponsored by the National Institute on Aging.

The new analysis has several limitations. The data show periods of unemployment but don’t indicate whether people were fired, laid off, out of work while switching jobs, or had voluntarily left a job. It’s likely the greatest risks for heart attacks were from being fired or laid off, said researcher Matthew Dupre, an assistant professor at Duke University and the lead author.

BISHOP, Calif.

Thieves steal rock carvings from American Indian site

Rock carvings that graced a sacred American Indian site in California’s Sierra Nevada for thousands of years have fallen prey to modern thieves armed with power saws.

A least four petroglyphs were hacked from lava cliffs in the Eastern Sierra, the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday. Visitors to the area, known as Volcanic Tableland, reported the theft to the federal Bureau of Land Management on Oct. 31.

In addition to the four carvings that were stolen, one was defaced with deep saw cuts on three sides, and another was removed but apparently broke during the theft and was left propped against a boulder near a visitor parking lot.

More than 3,500 years ago, Native Americans carved pictures of hunters, deer and other animals, and geometric and other designs into a half-mile-long volcanic escarpment.

The petroglyphs are probably worth only about $500 to $1,500 on the illegal market but are priceless to American Indians, authorities said.

– From news service reports

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