“This is an unbelievable tragedy,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters Saturday about a fire that killed seven children and seriously injured their mother and the children’s teenage sister in Brooklyn.
“It’s so painful, it’s so difficult . … Every New Yorker is feeling this pain right now,” de Blasio said after touring the site with fire officials early Saturday afternoon.
New York fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said that, from what he can tell, the fire would have made it “impossible” for the mother to have left her second-floor room to collect her children in other rooms on the floor, Nigro said.
A “hot plate” keeping food warm in a kitchen overnight apparently started a fire that killed seven children in two-story house in Brooklyn early Saturday, New York City’s fire commissioner said.
The family apparently had been trying to keep food warm with a “hot plate” device, and an unspecified malfunction happened, Nigro said.
Nigro was asked why food was being warmed overnight.
“I believe it’s the Sabbath, and people keep food warm that way. They don’t have to operate a stove,” Nigro answered.
Stupid religious rules cause yet more death and suffering.
In 1984, I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning. To borrow a phrase from Al Pacino in the movie “And Justice for All,” “Winning became everything.”
After the death verdict in the Ford trial, I went out with others and celebrated with a few rounds of drinks. That’s sick. I had been entrusted with the duty to seek the death of a fellow human being, a very solemn task that certainly did not warrant any “celebration.”
In my rebuttal argument during the penalty phase of the trial, I mocked Mr. Ford, stating that this man wanted to stay alive so he could be given the opportunity to prove his innocence. I continued by saying this should be an affront to each of you jurors, for he showed no remorse, only contempt for your verdict.
How totally wrong was I.
I speak only for me and no one else.
I apologize to Glenn Ford for all the misery I have caused him and his family.
I apologize to the family of Mr. Rozeman for giving them the false hope of some closure.
I apologize to the members of the jury for not having all of the story that should have been disclosed to them.
I apologize to the court in not having been more diligent in my duty to ensure that proper disclosures of any exculpatory evidence had been provided to the defense.
Glenn Ford deserves every penny owed to him under the compensation statute. This case is another example of the arbitrariness of the death penalty. I now realize, all too painfully, that as a young 33-year-old prosecutor, I was not capable of making a decision that could have led to the killing of another human being.
No one should be given the ability to impose a sentence of death in any criminal proceeding. We are simply incapable of devising a system that can fairly and impartially impose a sentence of death because we are all fallible human beings.
The clear reality is that the death penalty is an anathema to any society that purports to call itself civilized. It is an abomination that continues to scar the fibers of this society and it will continue to do so until this barbaric penalty is outlawed. Until then, we will live in a land that condones state assisted revenge and that is not justice in any form or fashion.
Having served in the Utah legislature, I have been asked several times what role the LDS Church really plays when it comes to Utah politics, and until now I have remained largely silent. While in the legislature I was a faithful member of the LDS Church; to speak of things that might bring embarrassment to the church would have been unwise, not to mention political suicide. Today, the issue is very topical with the recent passage of the pro-LGBT legislation, and I feel it is time to break the silence and provide some insight.
Many of us watched 9/11, and accepted the government and media’s definition of the attack as a act of war rather than a criminal action. A smaller portion, drifting along passively thought a major war was coming, that people we knew were going to fight and die. Some of us maybe worried about our younger brother being drafted, despite being in college. Now, it seems stupid, but in the 72 hours after 9/11, some Americans, maybe suffering from depression, certainly with a mind shaped by comic books and action movies, ate up the “us vs. them” good vs. evil rhetoric spouted by the cowboy in chief. After all, he was the president, and no matter how bright you might think yourself, you can still be swayed by passion and emotion, led to terrible decisions.
Some of us, therefore, left our dorm rooms, and walked down Main Street to the recruiter’s office. Some of us were genuinely surprised the office wasn’t full to bursting of young men eager to avenge their fallen countrymen. Some of us were genuinely surprised when we had to push the recruiter to stop trying to sell desk jobs and just let us join the damn Infantry.
The most extensive land-based study of the Amazon to date reveals it is losing its capacity to absorb carbon from the atmosphere.
The results of this monumental 30-year survey of the South American rainforest, which involved an international team of almost 100 researchers, are published today in the journal Nature.
Over recent decades the Amazon forest has acted as a vast ‘carbon sink’ – absorbing more carbon from the atmosphere than it releases – helping to put a brake on the rate of climate change. But a new analysis of forest dynamics shows a huge surge in the rate of trees dying across the Amazon.
Lead author Dr Roel Brienen, from the School of Geography at the University of Leeds, said: “Tree mortality rates have increased by more than a third since the mid-1980s, and this is affecting the Amazon’s capacity to store carbon.”
January 21, 2009:
The Obama administration set a new record again for more often than ever censoring government files or outright denying access to them last year under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, according to a new analysis of federal data by The Associated Press.
The government took longer to turn over files when it provided any, said more regularly that it couldn’t find documents, and refused a record number of times to turn over files quickly that might be especially newsworthy.
It also acknowledged in nearly 1 in 3 cases that its initial decisions to withhold or censor records were improper under the law – but only when it was challenged.
Video footage has emerged of Dallas police shooting dead a mentally ill black man holding a screwdriver six seconds after encountering him at his home.
According to a legal filing, Jason Harrison’s mother, Shirley Marshall, called emergency services on the morning of 14 June 2014, telling the dispatcher that her son was bipolar and schizophrenic and that she was worried about him, and he might need to be hospitalised.
Within two minutes of the officers’ arrival at the house, Harrison lay dying. He was killed by six gunshot wounds to the chest, arm and back, an autopsy found.
It’s not just the harsh environs of outer space that tardigrades can survive in. The little critters seem adept at living in some of the harshest regions of Earth. They have been discovered 5546m (18,196ft) up a mountain in the Himalayas, in Japanese hot springs, at the bottom of the ocean and in Antarctica. They can withstand huge amounts of radiation, being heated to 150 C, and being frozen almost to absolute zero.
How do these seemingly insignificant creatures survive in such extreme conditions, and why have they evolved these superpowers? It turns out that tardigrades have a host of tricks up their sleeves, which would put most organisms to shame.
It’s hard to believe freshman Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) caused such a stir in the Senate with his letter to Iran even before his maiden floor speech. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who led an unsuccessful fight against Obamacare, couldn’t even do that.
But Cotton — now famous for orchestrating the controversial letter to Iran with the signatures of 46 of his GOP colleagues — finally got the chance to do just that on Monday evening. Cotton began, as one does, with Adolf Hitler.
If you want to stand out amongst the current batshit insane GOP you have to ramp the crazy up to eleven right out of the gate.
And this is the same guy that a few years back copied Best Korea when it comes to punishment proposals:
Rep. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) on Wednesday offered legislative language that would “automatically” punish family members of people who violate U.S. sanctions against Iran, levying sentences of up to 20 years in prison.
The provision was introduced as an amendment to the Nuclear Iran Prevention Act of 2013, which lays out strong penalties for people who violate human rights, engage in censorship, or commit other abuses associated with the Iranian government.
Cotton also seeks to punish any family member of those people, “to include a spouse and any relative to the third degree,” including, “parents, children, aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces, grandparents, great grandparents, grandkids, great grandkids,” Cotton said.
“There would be no investigation,” Cotton said during Wednesday’s markup hearing before the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “If the prime malefactor of the family is identified as on the list for sanctions, then everyone within their family would automatically come within the sanctions regime as well.
The White House is removing a federal regulation that subjects its Office of Administration to the Freedom of Information Act, making official a policy under Presidents Bush and Obama to reject requests for records to that office.
The 36-year-old Eritrean-born American was finally back in Portland at the end of a five-year odyssey that began with a simple business trip but landed him in an Arab prison where he alleges he was tortured at the behest of US anti-terrorism officials because he refused to become an informant at his mosque in Oregon.
Fikre is suing the FBI, two of its agents and other American officials for allegedly putting him on the US’s no-fly list – a roster of suspected terrorists barred from taking commercial flights – to pressure him to collaborate. When that failed, the lawsuit said, the FBI had him arrested, interrogated and tortured for 106 days in the United Arab Emirates.
As shocking as the claims are, they are not the first to emanate from worshippers at Fikre’s mosque in Portland, where at least nine members have been barred from flying by the US authorities.
“The no-fly list gives the FBI an extrajudicial tool to coerce Muslims to become informants,” said Gadeir Abbas, a lawyer who represents other clients on the list. “There’s definitely a cluster of cases like this at the FBI’s Portland office.”
They include Jamal Tarhuni, a 58 year-old Portland businessman who travelled to Libya with a Christian charity, Medical Teams International, in 2012. He was blocked from flying back to the US and interrogated by an FBI agent who pressed him to sign a document waving his constitutional rights.
“The no-fly list is being used to intimidate and coerce people – not for protection, but instead for aggression,” said Tarhuni after getting back to Portland a month later. He was removed from the no-fly list in February after a federal lawsuit.
Another member of the mosque, Michael Migliore, chose to emigrate to live with his mother in Italy because he was placed on a no-fly list after refusing to answer FBI questions without a lawyer or become an informant. He had to take a train to New York and a ship to England. In the UK, he was detained under anti-terrorism legislation. Migliore said his British lawyer told him it was at the behest of US officials.
The Wall Street bonus pool for last year is roughly double the total earnings of all Americans who work full time at the federal minimum wage.
More than a decade after Cameron Todd Willingham was executed for the arson murder of his three young daughters, new evidence has emerged that indicates that a key prosecution witness testified in return for a secret promise to have his own criminal sentence reduced.
In a previously undisclosed letter that the witness, Johnny E. Webb, wrote from prison in 1996, he urged the lead prosecutor in Willingham’s case to make good on what Webb described as an earlier promise to downgrade his conviction. Webb also hinted that he might make his complaint public.
Within days, the prosecutor, John H. Jackson, sought out the Navarro County judge who had handled Willingham’s case and came away with a court order that altered the record of Webb’s robbery conviction to make him immediately eligible for parole. Webb would later recant his testimony that Willingham confessed to setting his house on fire with the toddlers inside.
“Yeah. The only statement I want to make is that I am an innocent man – convicted of a crime I did not commit. I have been persecuted for 12 years for something I did not do. From God’s dust I came and to dust I will return – so the earth shall become my throne. I gotta go, road dog. I love you Gabby.”
Governor Perry refused to grant a stay of execution, saying through a spokesperson that “The Governor made his decision based on the facts of the case.” Governor Perry said that the “supposed experts” (using finger quotes) were wrong and not to listen to anti-death penalty “propaganda”.
An 11-year-old boy at Bedford Middle School was suspended for 364 days after being caught with a substance that tested negative for marijuana.
The couple — both are schoolteachers — have filed a federal lawsuit against Bedford County Schools and the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office. It refers to their son only by the initials R.M.B.
It alleges Bedford Middle School Assistant Principal Brian Wilson and school operations chief Frederick “Mac” Duis violated his due process rights under the U.S. Constitution.
“Essentially they kicked him out of school for something they couldn’t prove he did,” said Roanoke attorney Melvin Williams, the Bays’ lawyer.
It also accuses the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office of malicious prosecution, because Deputy M.M. Calohan, a school resource officer, filed marijuana possession charges against the boy despite field tests that indicated otherwise.
“The field test came back not inconclusive, but negative,” Williams said. “Yet she went to a magistrate and swore he possessed marijuana at school.”
Recruiters for the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham are attempting to lure Canadian girls — some as young as 13 — to travel abroad to marry them, using tactics straight out of the playbooks of sex traffickers and pedophiles, says a new documentary to be broadcast this weekend.
In Wives of ISIS, which airs on the Global News investigative series 16×9 Saturday, a producer poses as a young girl online, attracting the attention of an alleged ISIS recruiter.
The team created a fake social media profile, that of a 15-year-old conservative Muslim girl and ISIS supporter. It wasn’t long before she attracted the attention of a man believed to be a recruiter for the group.
“You say you’re gonna have a weekend sleepover,” he says, explaining how she can get away. The key is not to make her parents suspicious.
In the video, the man lays out the route: Edmonton to Calgary, Calgary to Frankfurt, Frankfurt to Istanbul. “It sounds complicated but it’s so simple,” he tells her.
I was born in Krakow, Poland, in 1928. With the exception of my older sister Lola and myself, the rest of my family was killed by the Nazis.
Over the 5 years of the war, I was fortunate to survive several ghettos, as well as the notorious camps of Auschwitz, Buchenwald, and finally be liberated in Dachau.
After the war, in 1947 I immigrated to the United States where a few years later, in 1950, I met and married my wife Jean. Over the years, I became a successful realtor in Los Angeles and after retiring in 1995, I have devoted my time to being a volunteer to speak in colleges and schools about the Holocaust.
The true scale of the disaster in Vanuatu after cyclone Pam has begun to reveal itself as aircraft from Australia arrive to survey the scene and deliver the first wave of urgently needed relief.
The Vanuatu lands minister, Ralph Regenvanu, said the government of the shattered South Pacific archipelago regarded the “entire population” of about 266,000 people as having been affected by the huge category five storm system that ripped through on Friday night and into Saturday.
In the city of Ferguson, nearly everyone is a wanted criminal.
That may seem like hyperbole, but it is a literal fact. In Ferguson — a city with a population of 21,000 — 16,000 people have outstanding arrest warrants, meaning that they are currently actively wanted by the police. In other words, if you were to take four people at random, the Ferguson police would consider three of them fugitives.
That statistic should be truly shocking. Yet in the wake of the Department of Justice’s withering report on the city’s policing practices, it has gone almost entirely unmentioned. News reports and analysis have focused on the racism discovered in departmental emails, and the gangsterish financial “shakedown” methods deployed against African Americans. In doing so, they have missed the full picture of Ferguson’s operation, which reveals a totalizing police regime beyond any of Kafka’s ghastliest nightmares.
The Department of Justice’s 102-page report is a rich source of damning facts about the Ferguson criminal justice system. But tucked halfway in and passed over quickly is a truly revelatory set of figures: the arrest warrant data for the Ferguson Municipal Court.
As others have noted, the Ferguson courts appear to work as an orchestrated racket to extract money from the poor. The thousands upon thousands of warrants that are issued, according to the DOJ, are “not to protect public safety but rather to facilitate fine collection.” Residents are routinely charged with minor administrative infractions. Most of the arrest warrants stem from traffic violations, but nearly every conceivable human behavior is criminalized. An offense can be found anywhere, including citations for “Manner of Walking in Roadway,” “High Grass and Weeds,” and 14 kinds of parking violation. The dystopian absurdity reaches its apotheosis in the deliciously Orwellian transgression “failure to obey.” (Obey what? Simply to obey.) In fact, even if one does obey to the letter, solutions can be found. After Henry Davis was brutally beaten by four Ferguson officers, he found himself charged with “destruction of official property” for bleeding on their uniforms.
There was a scathingly daft story about the Apple Watch in the Guardian yesterday where someone who’d never seen it or used it opined about it being a major mistep and, to double-down on the daftness, trotted out the vapidly cliched “this would never have happened with Steve” line.
The sad part is, Jim Dalrymple of The Loop discovered the writer was actually a marketing consultant for the watch industry
A German biologist who offered €100,000 (£71,350; $106,300) to anyone who could prove that measles is a virus has been ordered by a court to pay up.
Stefan Lanka, who believes the illness is psychosomatic, made the pledge four years ago on his website.
The reward was later claimed by German doctor David Barden, who gathered evidence from various medical studies. Mr Lanka dismissed the findings.
But the court in the town of Ravensburg ruled that the proof was sufficient.
Reacting to the verdict by the court in the southern town, Mr Lanka said he would appeal.
“It is a psychosomatic illness,” he told regional paper Suedkurier. “People become ill after traumatic separations.”
Stanford University researchers were stunned when they awoke Tuesday to find that 11,000 people had signed up for a cardiovascular study using Apple Inc.’s ResearchKit, less than 24 hours after the iPhone tool was introduced.“To get 10,000 people enrolled in a medical study normally, it would take a year and 50 medical centers around the country,” said Alan Yeung, medical director of Stanford Cardiovascular Health. “That’s the power of the phone.”
Lawyers, journalists and three small telecoms firms went to court in a bid to get the legislation set aside. They argue that internet firms should not be keeping information about the communications of everyone in the country, whether or not they are suspected of a crime.
Companies have been required to keep the information for a year since 2009. The EU found in 2014 that the mass storage of information is a serious breach of privacy and put its data retention legislation on hold.
This put Dutch telecoms firms in a difficult position. They were required to keep the information under Dutch law even though it was not allowed in European legal terms.
‘Dutch law conflicted with European law and that has now been put right,’ a lawyer for the complainants told broadcaster Nos.
Fantasy author Terry Pratchett has died aged 66 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
“The world has lost one of its brightest, sharpest minds,” said Transworld Publishers’ Larry Finlay.
Sir Terry, best known for the Discworld series, wrote more than 70 books over his lengthy career.
He was first diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2007, but continued writing, completing his final book last summer.
The author died at home, surrounded by his family.