Armed gunmen attack cruise ship off Somali coast
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Armed gunmen attack cruise ship off Somali coast

Saturday, November 5, 2005

The Seabourn Spirit, a cruise ship sailing off the coast of Somalia, narrowly escaped an attack by gunmen believed to be pirates.

The pirate attack occurred on Saturday, when two boats approached the ship and began firing automatic weapons and rocket propelled grenades, injuring one crew member.

The crew took evasive action and escaped safely by employing an acoustic bang which caused the gunmen to flee believing they were under fire.

302 passengers and crew, mostly from the United States, Canada, and Australia, were onboard when the gunmen opened fire. The attack took place 160km (100 miles) off the Somali coastline, which has a reputation for pirate activity.

Deborah Natansohn, president of the Seabourn Cruise Line told CNN Radio, “The occupants of those boats did not succeed in boarding the ship and eventually turned away … our captain and crew did a terrific job taking responsive action.”

Edith Laird, from Seattle, told the BBC, “My daughter saw the pirates out our window. […] There were at least three RPG that hit the ship, one in a stateroom four doors down from our cabin.”

According to Mike Rogers, a passenger from Vancouver, the captain opted not to sound the alarm and instead announced the attack over the speakers, fearing the sound would drive people to the deck and place them in the line of fire.

Natansohn has stated that the company will re-evaluate future trips to the area.

The Seafarers Assistance Program (SAP) is planning on highlighting the incident and its potential costs for tourism on Monday.

Pirate attacks have been an increasing problem in the area, with 23 hijackings and attempted seizures recorded by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB). Two of the attacks were on ships carrying aid for the United Nations World Food Program. One attack involved a ship carrying 935 tons of rice for Asian tsunami victims. The crew had been held for three months before being released. According to the IMB, the pirates – mostly made up of the Horn of Africa’s former navy as well as former fishermen – represent a serious threat to commercial shipping.

Somalia has been a volatile area since the ousting of former dictator Mohamed Said Barre. The country has been operating without a central administration since 1991 and is now controlled by warlords.

Australian media has speculated that the attack on the ship may be an act of terrorism rather than one of piracy.

Pre-election call in Canada, Conservatives start ads, including during kids TV
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Pre-election call in Canada, Conservatives start ads, including during kids TV

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper may not have dropped the writ for an election yet, but his party is airing advertisements on both television and radio.

Canadian Federal Elections 2008

Day
Stories from the 2008 Canadian Federal Elections
  • 13 October 2008: CanadaVOTES: Libertarian John Kittridge in St. Paul’s
  • 13 October 2008: Canadian scientists protest Harper’s attacks on science
  • 10 October 2008: CanadaVOTES: NDP candidate Paul Arbour in Carleton—Mississippi Mills
  • 10 October 2008: CanadaVOTES: NDP candidate Jo-Anne Boulding in Parry Sound—Muskoka
  • 10 October 2008: CanadaVOTES: NDP candidate David Sparrow in Don Valley West
National Parties

Because the election is not yet official — though it is scheduled for October 19, 2009 and could be held as soon as October of this year — the ads do not count against the Conservative Party’s campaign spending limit. They have been airing since Thursday.

The advertisement includes various Canadians making statements about Harper, as opposed to the Conservative platform. One woman shown in a parking lot says that she likes “the idea that he’s a family man with young children.”

The Canadian Press notes that all four major party leaders are married and have children.

Other statements include “[h]e’s doing a good job,” “I’ve never been so proud to be Canadian,” “[h]e’s on the right track” and “I like him.”

Political communication expert Jonathan Rose of Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario told the Canadian Press: “By relying on typical Canadians in the ads, the Conservatives are hoping that the voter will find the connection powerful. Unfortunately, these kind of ads are based on assertions, not arguments. There is no evidence given to support the claims made in them.”

A writer for The Montreal Gazette comments that, “at the end, it’s hard to tell whether Stephen Harper is trying to smile or grimacing with the effort to convey warmth.”

The Conservative Party ads are airing during children’s programming, amongst other air times, presumed to be an attempt to reach parents.

Gazette writer Elizabeth Thompson noted that her daughter had seen one of the ads during an airing of SpongeBob SquarePants on television station YTV. Thompson criticized the choice to air the ads in the time slot, after her daughter repeated the ad claims “matter-of-factly”.

SpongeBob SquarePants was shown in a recent poll to be watched by 24 percent of parents with their child. About 41 percent of YTV’s audience is above the age of majority, and 68 percent of its reach composition, according to fall 2007 statistics by BBM Nielsen Media Research.

UK teens cleared of school massacre plot
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UK teens cleared of school massacre plot

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Two teenagers in the United Kingdom have been acquitted of planning a high school massacre similar to the 1999 Columbine High School massacre in the United States. Police and the Crown Prosecution Service have been criticised for bringing the case to trial.

Matthew Swift, 18, and Ross McKnight, 16, were cleared of accusations they planned a copycat attack at their school in Manchester to coincide with the April 20 anniversary of the original mass shooting. They had been charged with conspiracy to murder and conspiracy to cause explosions likely to endanger life or cause serious injury to property. Swift and McKnight have spent the last six months behind bars on remand, Swift in prison and McKnight a young offenders institute.

Police had thought they had found a criminal plot when they were alerted after a girl received a drunken phone call from one boy talking about a school shooting. They discovered a second girl had received a text saying “If I ever text you not to come into school don’t question it, just don’t go in.” The pair were found to be in possession of The Anarchist Cookbook and a BB gun . No guns or explosives were found even though the prosecution alleged to have video footage of the pair manufacturing explosives.

The prosecution case further focused on diary entries and plans talking of how they would perpetrate the “greatest massacre ever.” “Audenshaw high,” wrote Swift “will be no more. Unlike Columbine, my propane bomb will actually fucking explode and I will walk from classroom to classroom killing the fuck out of everybody, then maybe people will learn.”

The 2007 plans were alleged by prosecutors to have included a diversion bomb away from the school, which was the main target, even though they also suggested attacks on several other buildings. Swift explained that his writings were “naive and pathetic ways to channel my teenage angst. I was 16 with a vivid imagination.” The defense had focused on the notion that the plot was pure fantasy.

Supporting this was testimony, including that of McKnight’s police officer father Ray, that the duo had plenty of other weird and wonderful schemes. Much as the shooting idea had come from Michael Moore‘s documentary Bowling for Columbine, so too had they discussed living off the land in Alaska after watching Into the Wild. Other ideas included a winter mission to climb Ben Nevis and launching a dinghy service on local canal routes.

The five men and seven women that comprised the jury agreed, and took just 45 minutes to reject the charges. They even waited for defence counsel so they could wave and smile at them. It was, according to McKnight’s lawyer Roderick Carus QC, perhaps the “quickest acquittal of this apparent gravity” he had ever witnessed. He said the case was a weak one that should never have gone to court. One of the lawyers on the case described the teens as victims of an “unnecessary, heavy-handed prosecution” that was a waste of several hundred thousand pounds.

British officers working the case flew to the United States to speak with those that worked upon the Columbine massacre. Later, the former head of the Columbine investigation traveled to the UK.

Ray McKnight did not comment on the decision to try the case, but he did say both defendants had experienced “purgatory” and “absolute agony” while imprisoned. “We are all just incredibly relieved,” he said, stating that he never doubted his son’s innocence for a moment. His son read the following statement outside Manchester Crown Court: “I would like to make it clear that at no time was any person put at risk. This was just a fantasy. This was never a reality. I would just like to say that during my time in custody, I have taken my GCSEs. I hope that my wish to join the army has not been harmed.”

Viktor Schreckengost dies at 101
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Viktor Schreckengost dies at 101

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Viktor Schreckengost, the father of industrial design and creator of the Jazz Bowl, an iconic piece of Jazz Age art designed for Eleanor Roosevelt during his association with Cowan Pottery died yesterday. He was 101.

Schreckengost was born on June 26, 1906 in Sebring, Ohio, United States.

Schreckengost’s peers included the far more famous designers Raymond Loewy and Norman Bel Geddes.

In 2000, the Cleveland Museum of Art curated the first ever retrospective of Schreckengost’s work. Stunning in scope, the exhibition included sculpture, pottery, dinnerware, drawings, and paintings.

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Tips For Choosing Office Chairs In Salt Lake City

byAlma Abell

One of the biggest, and most important decisions, you will make is choosing your office chair when you are setting up on new office. If you are searching for Office Chairs in Salt Lake City then there are a few tips that you might want to follow to ensure that you get the right chair for you. It is imperative to choose the office chair that is the most comfortable as you will be spending a lot of your day in that very same chair. Safety is a number one consideration in choosing your office chair as well.

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Your chair should be considered the foundation of your office environment and the safety of your office chairs in Salt Lake City should be your top concern above the way the chair looks. You want to choose a chair that has the maximum amount of adjustments possible. You want a chair that you are able to adjust from height to seat depth.

You want to be sure that the chair has a good quality base. Most Office chairs are made out of aluminum or steel. Aluminum is lightweight and steel is durable. Aluminum is strong and steel is scratch resistant. Decide which option you want to go with, but make sure that the quality of the base is topnotch as well.

Test the chair to make sure that you feel comfortable. If your feet can’t touch the floor or you feel cramped then you will want to keep on looking for the perfect chair for you. It is also wise to judge the overall comfort of the chair. Remember you will be in this chair for at least eight hours a day, or more, and want to be as comfortable as you can be when you are working.

Choosing an office chair isn’t all that hard if you follow the tips above. Remember that safety has to come first, then the comfort of the chair, and finally you can look at the different colors and designs. An office chair is an important part of your office routine, take your time and choose the right one for you.

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Three killed amongst Birmingham, England riots
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Three killed amongst Birmingham, England riots

Friday, August 12, 2011

A car fatally crashed into three individuals in the British city of Birmingham, England. The three men, aged 31, 30, and 21, died during a second consecutive night of violent events in Birmingham.

The incident occurred at approximately 0100 BST (0000 UTC) Wednesday morning in the Birmingham inner-city region of Winson Green. The men were attempting to protect property from nearby riots. Witness reports say that the vehicle contained as many as three passengers and drove at a speed of fifty miles per hour without stopping after the crash.

Police have since recovered a vehicle and arrested a 32-year-old male in association with the incident, on a charge of murder. According to Chief Constable Chris Sims, the details of the incident West Midlands Police have would indicate that “the car was deliberately driven”.

Tariq Jahan, the father of one of those killed, said his son, 21-year-old Haroon Jahan, was attempting to protect the area from nearby violence and unrest. Jahan said he had attempted to perform CPR at the scene of the incident. Jahan said his son was “a very good lad, a good man starting at the beginning of his life and had his whole life ahead of him. I’ve got no words to describe why he was taken and why this has happened and what’s happening to the whole of England.” Jahan said violent acts like this which killed innocent bystanders made “no sense”.

[There is] simply no excuse whatsoever for the violence, looting and destruction

A statement released from West Midlands Police says that “detectives are treating [this incident] as murder. Three men were taken to hospital where two later died from their injuries. A third man was in a critical condition but confirmed dead at around 6:30AM. West Midlands Police have launched a murder inquiry, arrested one man in connection with the incident and recovered a vehicle nearby which will be examined by forensics experts,” the force stated. Police have requested that individuals contact them if they have any information about the incident. About 200 people from the Asian community have gathered at the hospital where the victims were transported after the crash. Two of the victims were known to be brothers. All three of them were reported to be Pakistani Muslims.

The West Midlands has seen other instances of violent behavior. Thefts have taken place in the city centre of Birmingham, West Bromwich and in Wolverhampton. The charges being brought against suspects on remand for court appearances include public disorder offences, such as violent disorder and aggravated burglary. Six police officers have experienced minor injuries as a result of the violence.

According to police, a scrapyard fire which occurred in Birmingham is unrelated to recent violence. Two ambulances were attacked in two separate incidents with objects being thrown at the vehicles. Ambulance staff were left uninjured in both cases. Ambulances have appeared on thirty-five occasions in West Bromwich, Wolverhampton and various parts of Birmingham. Thirty-one individuals were given ambulance staff treatment, with nineteen receiving hospital treatment, albeit for practically minor assaults in most cases.

In Wolverhampton and West Bromwich, there have been reports of roads and streets being closed. Wolverhampton and Birmingham have experienced significant travel disruption, with buses not entering city centres last night. One vehicle in Birmingham and two in West Bromwich have been set alight amongst the violence. Various businesses have also been targeted, such as M&S and a high fidelity shop in Birmingham. A jewelry business in Wolverhampton has been robbed of ornaments, watches and money.

Yesterday, British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg condemned the violent actions of individuals, claiming there was “simply no excuse whatsoever for the violence, looting and destruction”. Below is a picture gallery of the damage caused by public disorder in Birmingham Tuesday night:

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Various buildings in Birmingham have been damaged by rioting, including this hairdressing shop. Image: Clare Lovell.

This ATM has been left destroyed by rioting. Image: Clare Lovell.

A window of this mobile phone store has been badly damaged by violence. Image: Clare Lovell.

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Category:February 27, 2008
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Citizenship of Australian terrorists overseas under question
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Citizenship of Australian terrorists overseas under question

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Yesterday, Australia’s Prime Minister proposed his government might strip individuals of their Australian citizenship if authorities consider them involved in terrorist activity.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott stated, “As flagged by me in my national security statement in February, we will be legislating within a few weeks to strip dual citizens involved in terrorism of their Australian citizenship”.

The Coalition government’s bill aims to empower the immigration minister to revoke Australian citizenship of dual nationals suspected of involvement in terrorist activity.

Speaking of procedural for stripping individual citizenship, immigration minister Peter Dutton said he would take advice from intelligence agencies, such as the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation.

Dutton said, “We would gather as much evidence as was possible and we would make a decision whether or not we thought somebody was captured by what is a tight definition in relation to somebody committing an act of terrorism, an act preparatory to, fundraising or supporting a terrorist organisation or providing financial support or indoctrinating young people into the ways of one of these cults.”

This news comes as the Australian wife of Islamic State fighter Khaled Sharrouf, Tara Nettleton, attempts to re-enter the country with her children. Khaled’s seven-year-old son appeared in an internet image Khaled posted last year — in which the boy was holding a severed human head.

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Man auctions his life on eBay, is disappointed at sale price
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Man auctions his life on eBay, is disappointed at sale price

Monday, June 30, 2008

After auctioning off his entire life on eBay for A$399,300 (244 912.148) Ian Usher says he is “a little bit disappointed” at the final selling price.

The 44-year-old British immigrant living in Perth, Australia, put all of his worldly belongings up for sale on the popular auction website, including his three-bedroom house and all its contents, his car, motorcycle, jetski, skydiving gear, and his job at a rug store, for which he offered a two week trial period. He even offered introductions to his friends living in Perth.

Usher made the decision to sell his life after his five-year marriage suddenly ended. On his website, alife4sale.com, he explains that “despite my life being busy and fulfilled, I still miss my wife so much. Everything in my home is a reminder of the wonderful past we shared. So, after a year in this house I decided that it is time to sell it and move on.”

It was as much about moving on as it was about selling it for as much as I could get.

During the 7 day auction, which ended on Sunday, there were several bogus bids which brought the sale price as high as A$2.2 million, but the final price ended up at A$399,300, which was around A$100,000 less than Usher had hoped for. “I’m a little bit disappointed, but I’m still excited. It’s still enough to move forward and do what I said I was going to do, which is move on to the next part of my life,” Usher said. “It was as much about moving on as it was about selling it for as much as I could get.”

According to Reuters, the winning bidder, whose username is “mslmcc”, also lives in Australia, and has a 100 percent feedback rating. Usher says he hasn’t yet been able to figure out who the buyer is, because of the TV crews lined up in front of his home. “I’m trying to find some time to get on the computer and check it out … I haven’t looked (up) anything about them yet,” he said.

Usher now plans to go off in search of a new life. His initial plan, as he describes on his website, was to just walk out his front door with just his wallet and a passport and board a train, with no idea of where to go. He has since launched 100goals100weeks.com, which will document his attempt to complete 100 of his life goals in a span of 100 weeks. Some of these goals include getting a pilot’s license, climbing the Eiffel Tower, learning to play the didgeridoo, and shaking hands with billionaire Richard Branson.

“I was pretty aimless when I started this, and I had a vague notion of adventure, but I’ve come up with a much more solid plan, which is still very adventurous,” Usher says. He invites anyone who is interested to join him on his adventures.

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Dozens killed after gunmen storm Turkish wedding reception
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Dozens killed after gunmen storm Turkish wedding reception

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

As many as 45 people have been killed and six others were injured after at least four gunmen with grenades stormed a wedding reception in the village of Bilge located in Turkey. Many of those killed were women and children. The attack is not believed to be related to terrorism.

“According to our investigations so far nothing indicates that this is a terror attack but a larger investigation is being run by the regional prosecutor,” said the interior minister of Turkey, Besir Atalay. The attack is believed to be part of an ongoing blood feud between two families. Al Jazeera says the attack may also be related to rival gangs of village guards.

According to one unnamed witness as quoted by Reuters, “a few people” wearing masks entered the house where the reception was being held, “spraying the place with bullets” and began to shoot people, with the attack lasting at nearly 15 minutes. At least 200 people were believed to have been attending the reception.

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