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POSTED January 23, 2012 7:29 p.m.

CANADIAN PLEADS GUILTY IN VEGAS TO TAX REFUND SCAM: LAS VEGAS (AP) — A 51-year-old Canadian man pleaded guilty in Las Vegas to applying for and receiving IRS tax refunds even though he never worked in the United States.

Gaetano Fiore (guy-uh-TAHN-oh fee-OR-ee) admitted Monday in U.S. District Court he used techniques learned from a California-based tax guru now being held in federal prison in Washington state to apply for hundreds of thousands of dollars in refunds for himself and two other people.

Fiore pleaded guilty to two counts of receipt of stolen public money in a plea deal that could get him more than two years in prison at sentencing April 23. He'll also face deportation.

Defense lawyer Michael Gowdey says Fiore never questioned how he could receive a U.S. tax refund based on mortgage paid for a home in Montreal, Quebec.

TENN. POLICE OFFICER FIRED FOR SMOKING IN PRECINCT: NEWBERN, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee police department says it has fired an officer after 17 years on the force because he repeatedly smoked cigarettes inside the precinct in violation of the city's no smoking policy.

Newbern police Sgt. James Bishop was terminated last week. A 2007 city policy prohibits smoking inside all municipal offices and buildings.

According to the termination letter obtained by the State Gazette, Police Chief Harold Dunivant said he had complaints that his employees were smoking inside their offices and issued a warning that disciplinary action could be taken..

Dunivant said he continued to get complaints about Bishop smoking indoors and was forced to fire him.

ALABAMA HIT AGAIN BY TORNADOES; 2 DEAD, 100 HURT: OAK GROVE, Ala. (AP) — Knowing this community's history of tornadoes, Jhan Powers gets nervous anytime violent weather rolls in. While her house was spared this time, a tornado demolished nearby mobile homes — all of which were just a short drive from a path of destruction cut just last year by a deadly twister.

At least two tornadoes roared across the heart of Alabama on Monday, killing two people and injuring more than 100 others during the middle of the night. More than 200 homes were destroyed, the Red Cross said, and just as many houses were heavily damaged.

PA. WIFE BLAMES AIRLINE: MAN'S ASHES GONE FROM BAG: PHILADELPHIA (AP) — US Airways is apologizing to a suburban Philadelphia woman who says her husband's ashes went missing from her luggage as she flew to England to bury them in his hometown of Hull.

Angeline O'Grady, of Trumbauersville, says her husband, Brian, died of cancer in October. She says Transportation Security Administration officials told her on Nov. 1 that she couldn't take the ashes through airport security at Philadelphia International Airport.

She says she was directed to the US Airways counter and put the ashes in her checked luggage. She tells WCAU-TV that when she got off in England, the ashes were missing.

A spokesman for the Tempe, Ariz.-based airline says US Airways apologizes and is working to find out what might have happened with the remains.

UTAH BOY SHOT, KILLED BY MINIATURE TOY CANNON: TREMONTON, Utah (AP) — A 14-year-old Utah boy is dead after police say he accidentally shot himself with a miniature toy cannon.

Authorities say the boy was playing with the toy at about 7:30 a.m. Monday in his living room in Tremonton, about 75 miles north of Salt Lake City. Tremonton Police Chief David Nance says the boy was struck in the face after the cannon somehow went off.

The boy's older brother was in the room at the time, and the boy's father also was in the house. The boy, who hasn't been identified, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Investigators are still trying to determine how a propellant got into the cannon, which is described as an 18th century replica with a six-inch metal barrel and a wooden base. Nance says the toy has no shooting mechanism.

DEMOCRATS GET TO BREAK UP GOP SAND SCULPTURE IN SC: MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (AP) — In South Carolina, it's not just Republicans who have been bashing each other lately. Local Democrats picked up pink shovels and took a whack at a sand sculpture of six GOP hopefuls that had been erected at Myrtle Beach.

With the South Carolina primary over, a Democratic women's group used pink shovels Monday to begin dismantling the sand sculpture depicting the Republican contenders. The sculpture was a prominent feature of the GOP debate Jan. 16 and took more than 700,000 pounds of sand to make.

A bulldozer finished the demolition job Monday as the women in yellow hard hats cheered. The sand is to be recycled into future sculptures.

The women won the right to demolish the sculpture after making a donation to a local crime-fighting cause.

JFK LIBRARY TO RELEASE LAST OF HIS SECRET TAPES: BOSTON (AP) — President John F. Kennedy's library is releasing 45 hours of secretly recorded meetings and phone calls, providing a window into the final months of his life.

The tapes include discussions of conflict in Vietnam, Soviet relations and the race to space, plans for the 1964 Democratic Convention and re-election strategy. There also are moments with his children.

On one recording, made days before Kennedy's assassination, he asks staffers to schedule a meeting in a week. He tells them he's booked for the weekend, with no time to meet with an Indonesian general then, either.

"I'm going to be up at the Cape on Friday, but I'll see him Tuesday," JFK tells staffers.

The tapes, being released Tuesday by the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, are the last of more than 260 hours of recordings of meetings and conversations JFK privately made before his assassination in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963.

In the scheduling discussion three days before his killing, JFK also eerily comments on what would become the day of his funeral.

"Monday?" he asks. "Well that's a tough day."

"It's a hell of a day, Mr. President," a staffer replies.

Kennedy kept the recordings a secret from his top aides. He made the last one two days before his death.

6-YEAR-OLD GIRL MISSING IN FRIGID OREGON RIVER: ESTACADA, Ore (AP) — An Oregon man raced along the rain-swollen Clackamas River but couldn't keep up with his 6-year-old daughter who had fallen into the stream and was swept on downriver, authorities said.

Rescue workers looked for Vinesa Snegur on Sunday afternoon and resumed their search Monday morning along the waterway that's running fast and cold from a recent winter storm.

 

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