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Tom Kludt

Tom Kludt is a reporter for Talking Points Memo based in New York City, covering media and national affairs. Originally from South Dakota, Tom joined TPM as an intern in late-2011 and became a staff member during the 2012 election. He can be reached at tom@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Tom

A violence monitoring group on Friday said that more than 40,000 people have been killed in the fighting between rebels and President Bashar al-Assad's forces, Reuters reports

The head of Syrian Observatory for Human Rights provided Reuters with a breakdown of the death toll, contending that 40,000 may actually be a low estimate:

Rami Abdelrahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said about half the fatalities were civilians and the other half split about evenly between rebels and government soldiers.

"The figure is likely much higher as the rebels and the government lie about how many of their forces have died to make it look like they are winning," Abdelrahman told Reuters.

 

A horde of customers gather in the early morning hours at Macy's in New York City on Friday, as "Black Friday" sales across the country heralded the arrival of the holiday shopping season. 

 

(Photo: Kyodo/Newscom)

An early morning Thanksgiving fire at an apartment building in Wheaton, Mo., left five people dead, including a 7-year -old child, the Associated Press reports

The fire was reported at 3:20 a.m. Thursday morning, and the cause is still the subject of an investigation.

The nation's capital has become a decidedly less violent place over the last few decades, and the improvement to public safety has the city on track to make 2012 a milestone year.

With the number of killings for 2012 currently at 78, the District of Columbia is on pace to finish the year with fewer than 100 homicides for the first time since 1963, the Associated Press reports

Israeli troops killed a 20-year-old Palestinian and wounded nine others on Friday in a clash on the southern border of Gaza, the New York Times reports. The death comes fewer than two days after a cease-fire was struck between Israel and Hamas. 

The Times provides details of Friday's deadly clash:

Maan, the Palestinian news agency, reported that a group of Palestinians went to Abassan, a border area east of the southern town of Khan Younis, on Friday to pray on their land, and ended up throwing stones at soldiers, who responded with gunfire. Ashraf al-Qedra, a spokesman for the Health Ministry, identified the man who was killed as Ahmad Qudih.

 

Update: The Associated Press is reporting that 19 Palestinians were wounded in the clash, the first since Wednesday's cease-fire between Hamas and Israel. Hamas security reportedly tried to alleviate the tense situation at the border, an indication that the incident will likely not undermine the cease-fire.

 

Hamas political leader Khaled Meshaal on Wednesday praised Egypt for its role in brokering a cease-fire with Israel and thanked Iran for supplying his organization's militants with arms during the eight-day conflict.

Meshaal asserted emphatically that Israel failed to reach its goals during the aerial bombardment of Gaza — an assessment diametrically opposed to the response from the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), which declared its military operation a success shortly after the cease-fire agreement was reached.

"After eight days, God stayed their hand from the people of Gaza, and they were compelled to submit to the conditions of the resistance," Meshaal told reporters in a Cairo hotel. "Israel has failed in all its goals."

 

Some Republicans still want answers from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) for his embrace of President Obama just days before the election and in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. But the tough-talking governor has won plenty of other allies for his handling of the storm's aftermath.

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The spokesperson for the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) took to Twitter shortly after the cease-fire with Hamas militants began on Wednesday to proclaim that it had "accomplished its goals" in its eight-day aerial bombardment of Gaza.

 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday praised the efforts of President Barack Obama for helping to broker a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas.

Netanyahu said Obama was steadfast in his support for Israel's right to defend itself, as well as in Iron Dome, the country's air defense system that the prime minister said successfully intercepted most of the rockets aimed at the country from Gaza. The U.S. has helped provide funding for Iron Dome. Netanyahu added that Obama pledged to help Israel prevent the smuggling of arms to terrorist groups — "the vast majority of which," according to Netanyahu, come from Iran.

“I have to say all this was done with the firm support on the part of the leaders of the international community," Netanyahu said during the press conference. "And I would like especially to thank President Barack Obama for his unreserved support for Israel’s actions in the operation and for Israel’s right to defend itself, as well as his support for the Iron Dome systems."

Netanyahu offered similar praise for the work of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and expressed his "appreciation" for Egypt's role in the agreement. 

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