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December 7, 2008

The Missing Somali teens suspected of leaving to fight civil war

Friends and family member are speaking out about where several missing Somali teens may have gone to.

The loved ones confirmed Saturday the teenagers left Minneapolis together on Nov. 4. The men were identified as Burhan Hassan, 17, Mohamoud Hassan, 18, and Abdisalam Ali, 19, according to an article on the MyFox9 site.

The three boys and others, collectively known as The Missing, vanished in November and are thought to have returned to their homeland to fight civil war, stated the article.

FOX 9 learned DNA tests confirmed Shirwa Ahmed was one of five suspected suicide bombers who killed himself and 29 others October 29 in northern Somalia. Ahmed was buried December 3 at a Burnsville cemetery, according to the article.

Ahmed was a Minnesotan resident and a naturalized U.S. citizen.

Authorities are calling this one of the first instances in which a U.S. citizen has acted as a suicide bomber, said a U.S. law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The FBI helped to return Ahmed's remains to his family.

U.S. intelligence is investigating whether any of the teenagers who have vanished, at least 20, have attended a terrorist training camp, the article said.

The Abubakar As-Saddique Islamic Center in Minneapolis is under suspicion, according to the article.

However, the mosque is adamant that they did not recruit anyone to fight in Somalia, said an attorney for the mosque.

"They did not fund any trips. They didn't arrange for any meetings with anybody. They didn't encourage anybody to go there," Mahir Sherif, the attorney, said. "They have done nothing."

Family members said Burhan Hassan, the 17-year-old, was a senior at Roosevelt High School; 18-year-old Mohamoud Hassan was studying engineering at the University of Minnesota; and 19-year-old Abdisalam Ali was studying health care at the University of Minnesota.

Only once had each teen contacted his family after disappearing, saying he was either in Somalia or in its capital city of Mogadishu. The teens haven't been heard from since, according to the article.

Actor Will Smith to arrive in Twin Cities

Will Smith is reported to attend the red carpet event for the premiere of his newest movie "Seven Pounds" in the Twin Cities.

According to the Kare 11 news, Smith will appear Friday at AMC Southdale 16 in Edina.

He will also donate 300 turkeys to Second Harvest Heartland, a hunger-relief organization serving Minnesota and western Wisconsin, according to the Kare 11 article.

Minnesota Viking Bernard Berrian will be joining Smith.

Berrian has recently pledged to donate up to $10,000 to Second Harvest Heartland, according to the article.

The presentation starts at 6 p.m., and the first 250 to arrive with a non-breakable, non-perishable food item will have the chance to receive a screening pass to the movie.

"Seven Pounds" comes to theaters on Dec. 19.

Child photo causes blockage of Wikipedia article in UK

Child pornography concerns block British internet surfers from accessing an article on Wikipedia, the country's Internet watchdog and Wikipedia said Saturday.

The article on a heavy metal music group was added by Britain's Internet Watch Foundation because they found a picture of a nude girl to be pornographic, said Sarah Robertson, a spokesperson for the foundation.

Robertson estimated that the foundation's list affected 95 percent of British residential Internet users, according to the Associated Press article on the topic.

According to Jay Walsh, a spokesman for the Wikimedia Foundation, the blocking of the article has caused many British users to be unable to edit any other articles.

Robertson was not completely sure on that matter, saying "There shouldn't have been any collateral damage."

The text of the article has also been blocked.

"Blocking text is a whole new thing — it's the first time they've done this on such a visible site," Wikipedia volunteer David Gerard said

Pearl Harbor commemoration about US response

Usually focusing on the attacks on USS Arizona and Pearl Harbor, this year's commemoration will focus on the months following the raid, said Eileen Martinez, chief of interpretation for the National Park Service, in an Associated Press article.

"We're moving into the Pacific War, the first strike back," she said in the article.

On that note, one key speaker will be Thomas Griffin, a survivor who answered to the Pearl Harbor attack four months later as a part of Lt. Col. James H. Doolittle' bomber raid on Tokyo, according to the article.

Admiral Robert F. Willard, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, is the other keynote speaker.

At 7:55 a.m., when the attack began 67 years ago, a moment of silence will be observed.

Honors will be observed for the USS Arizona, which still lies beneath the harbor with its dead, according to the article.

Almost 2,400 Americans were killed and nearly 1,180 injured when Japanese fighters bombed and sank 12 naval vessels and heavily damaged nine others on Dec. 7, 1941. The Arizona, which sank in less than nine minutes after an armor-piercing bomb breached its deck and exploded in the ship's ammunition magazine, lost 1,177 sailors and marines. About 340 of its crew survived.

Th existing Arizona visitor center is sinking, and a new center has started being built a couple weeks ago.

The new visitor's center is scheduled to open Dec. 7, 2010.