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POSTED December 27, 2011 8:20 p.m.

OCCUPY ACTIVISTS MEET IN IOWA, PLAN CAUCUS EVENTS: DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Already they have interrupted Michele Bachmann and drawn a withering putdown from Newt Gingrich as “all noise, no thought.”

Now, to the dismay of Iowa Republicans, Occupy activists in Des Moines are vowing to expand their protests as GOP presidential hopefuls converge on the state that speaks first in the race for the party’s presidential nomination.

“The 99 percent have woken up and we’re not going to take it anymore,” Occupy activist Stephen Toothman, of Des Moines, said as an advance guard met Tuesday to decide which candidates to target in the coming week.

Hundreds of Occupy activists from at least 10 states were expected to participate in a “People’s Caucus” near the Capitol to plot activities between now and the Jan. 3 caucuses. The activists are promising to interrupt candidates at events and camp out at their Iowa campaign offices. They say they want to change the political dialogue, but critics fear their tactics could tarnish Iowa’s reputation for civil political discourse ahead of the contest. Activists say mass arrests are possible.

They planned to break up into preference groups based on which candidates they want to target and present with a list of grievances.


RIDERS STUCK ON SNOW-TRAPPED TRAIN SUE NY AGENCY: NEW YORK (AP) — Subway riders stuck for eight hours in a train during a blizzard last year are suing a New York City transportation agency.

They say in court papers filed Tuesday they had no heat, food or water while the Metropolitan Transportation Authority kept promising help.

The city was all but paralyzed Dec. 26, 2010, because of the blizzard. Two feet of snow were piled around an A train in Queens. Inside were about 500 passengers. Twenty-two of them filed the suit in Queens state Supreme Court, seeking unspecified damages from a division of the MTA.


CHRISTMAS MESSAGE LANDS BOSTON WORKER IN HOT WATER: BOSTON (AP) — A Boston subway dispatcher who programmed an electronic message board in a station to scroll the lyrics of “Deck the Halls” instead of the normal service announcements on Christmas Day won’t face severe punishment.

Travelers seemed to get a chuckle out of the holiday levity. But Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority officials weren’t amused and initially said the dispatcher could be strongly disciplined.

State Transportation Secretary Richard Davey said on Tuesday any punishment will be light — perhaps just a reminder not to use the signs for anything other than their real purpose.


SUIT IN MASS. BULLYING CASE WAS SETTLED FOR $225K: NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (AP) — A lawsuit brought by the parents of Phoebe Prince, a 15-year-old Irish immigrant in Massachusetts who committed suicide after relentless bullying, was settled for $225,000, according to documents made public Tuesday.

The settlement with the town of South Hadley and its school department was reached more than a year ago, but the details were kept under wraps until a journalist won a court order for the release of the information.

The documents show that Prince’s parents settled claims against the town and its school department for $225,000. In return, the parents promised to release the plaintiffs from any further claims.


AS IRAQ WAR ENDS, NO PARADE FOR US TROOPS IN CARDS: WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans probably will not be seeing a huge ticker-tape parade anytime soon for troops returning from Iraq, and it is not clear if veterans of the nine-year campaign will ever enjoy the grand, flag-waving, red-white-and-blue homecoming that the nation’s fighting men and women received after World War II and the Gulf War.

Officials in New York and Washington say they would be happy to help stage a big celebration, but Pentagon officials say they haven’t been asked to plan one.

Most welcome-homes have been smaller-scale: hugs from families at military posts across the country, a somber commemoration by President Barack Obama at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.

With tens of thousands of U.S. troops still fighting a bloody war in Afghanistan, anything that looks like a big victory celebration could be seen as unseemly and premature, some say.

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