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Monday, January 29, 2007

What's Going On (Jan. 29)

Hiking could be deadly. Last week a 70-year-old North California hiker was mauled by a mountain lion at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park in California.

Jim Hamm, 70, of Fortuna California, was attacked by a female mountain lion while he and his wife, Nell were hiking at the park, according to The mountain lion jumped on him, scalped him, mauled his face, scratched and wounded him.

Nell Hamm, 65, said she grabbed a four-inch-wide log and beat the animal with it, but it would not release its hold on her husband's head. She also said they are experienced hikers and had not seen a mountain lion before Jim was mauled.

Monday morning Jim was listed in critical condition, according to NBC affiliate KNTV. Over the weekend, Jim's condition worsened. Saturday night, Hamm was taken to Mad River Community Hospital in Arcata for emergency surgery, where doctors said his condition went from fair to serious. He was taken to intensive care on Sunday. A spokesman at the hospital said relatives requested that more details of Hamm's condition not be released.

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Mountain Lions and hiking are dangerous. I'm not sure which is more dangerous hiking with mountain lions or going over to Iraq to fight a never ending war.

In Baghdad, Iraq, Iraqi officials say 200 militants were killed, including a cult's religious leader near Najaf. Iraqi officials said that U.S.-backed Iraqi troops targeted the armed religious cult called "Soldier's of Heaven."

Mohammed al-Askari, the defense ministry spokesman, and an Iraqi military commander in charge of the Najaf area said 200 terrorists were killed and 60 wounded. Maj. Gen. Othman al-Ghanemi, the commander, said there were 150 prisoners and al-Askari said 120 people were taken captive.

Will there ever be peace in Iraq? I hope so. I don't think the United States is the great force that it would like to think that can keep peace among the Iraqi people. I think trust, effective communication, and cooperation is needed. I don't think that will happen anytime soon.

Mechanical errors were ruled out as a contributing factor to the fatal freeway crash last month involving R&B singer and actress Brandy Norwood. Police say that Brandy hit a car in traveling in front of hers, which caused the crash. Investigators are trying to figure out exactly what caused Brandy to hit the vehicle of Awatef Aboudihaj, 38, a married mother of one, was killed after Brandy's Land Rover struck her from behind. The singer was not hurt in the car crash.

Aboudihaj's car was forced into another car in front of hers before swerving into the freeway's center divider. She was hit by a fourth automobile. Investigators are trying to figure out what caused Aboudihaj's vehicle to go across four lanes of traffic, according to California Highway Patrol Spokesman Leland Tang.

It is not known whether Brandy will be found at fault or criminally negligent in the Dec. 30 accident, according to investigators.

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by Penn Peroud