Category Archives: Top News

17 soldiers, 4 children killed by bombs

A car bomb killed at least 17 soldiers in Pakistan and four children died in an explosion in Afghanistan, officials said.

The car bomb was detonated close to an army post near the town of Miranshah in North Waziristan, Pakistan, Saturday night, killing the soldiers and the driver of the car and injuring more than a dozen security personnel, Khaama Press reported.

Officials said the explosion went off next to two tankers that were supplying fuel to the post. The blast set the tankers on fire and destroyed a nearby barracks.

No group had claimed responsibility for the attack.

An explosion in the Mianshin district of the southern Kandahar province of Afghanistan killed at least four children and injured two others, Khaama Press said.

Local government officials said militants planted an improvised explosive device that was meant to kill security forces.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai called the explosion an inhumane act, Khaama Press said.

Copyright 2013 by United Press International

2012: At least 672 kids missing in U.S.

As 2012 was drawing to a close, 672 of the 715 children the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children had posted as missing on its website had vanished in the United States.

A center spokeswoman said that number was just a small fraction of the 10,628 reports of missing U.S. children it had received during the year. The bulk of the cases weren’t posted for a variety of reasons, including that they had been found or information was still being assembled.

A number of the U.S. cases made national news, including the search for California teenager Sierra LaMar.

Sierra disappeared on the morning of March 16 as she made her way to school in Morgan Hill; she was 15 at the time. Antolin Garcia Torres, 21, of Morgan Hill, was charged with kidnapping and murder in the case in May, but Sierra’s remains have yet to be found. In October, Sierra’s parents celebrated the teenager’s 16th birthday.

“We’re not in a real celebratory mood,” said Sierra’s mother, Marlene LaMar, told The Fremont Argus. “That’s probably going to be the toughest day in terms of missing her.”

In South Carolina, Gabrielle Swainson, 15, disappeared from her Northeast Richland home Aug. 18.

The main suspect in the case is Freddie Grant, 52, who was involved in a relationship with Gabrielle’s mother, Elvia, The (Columbia) State reported in September. Investigators found Gabrielle’s blood on used duct tape in Grant’s home and in an old junkyard near his house. He was charged with kidnapping in the case, as well as federal ammunition charges.

In early December, an online petition was started calling for Grant to start talking about the whereabouts of Gabrielle’s remains, WOLO-TV, Columbia, reported.

“Many people want to do something, trying to help and I appreciate that. I just don’t know how effective it is,” Elvia Swainson said.

Search efforts for missing Lisa Irwin, 11 months, who disappeared from her home in Northland, Mo., in October 2011, continued into 2012. In October, Lisa’s parents, Deborah Bradley and Jeremy Irwin, held a candlelight vigil, saying they will not give up hope that their daughter will be returned to them, The Kansas City (Mo.) Star reported.

“Lord, we ask again today like we do every day for you to safely return Lisa here to her parents and brothers,” said Jeremy Irwin’s sister, Ashley Irwin. “You’ve numbered the hairs on Lisa’s head, and Lord we know you are watching after her.”

In December, the remains of cousins Lyric Cook-Morrissey, 10, and Elizabeth Collins, 8, were discovered in a park about 25 miles north of Evansdale, Iowa, the Iowa medical examiner’s office confirmed.

Lyric and Elizabeth had not been seen since they went on a bicycle ride July 13. Their bikes were found near Meyers Lake in Evansdale.

Dylan Redwine, 13, disappeared on Nov. 19, shortly after he arrived in Vallecito, Colo., to visit his father, Mark Redwine, for Thanksgiving, The Denver Post reported. Extensive search efforts to find the teen, who had recently moved to Colorado Springs to live with his brother and mother, Elaine Redwine, have not been successful.

Mark Redwine, who Elaine Redwine accused of being involved in their son’s disappearance, hired a criminal lawyer in early December.

“I just want my son back,” Redwine told the Post. “I know it’s crossing all our minds — reality is starting to set in that that may not be a possibility.”

In the Houston-area, Amsal Dhuka, 9, was abducted in May as he made his way to school. He was found the next day at the Ismaili Center in Sugar Land. Kismat Momin, 34, was arrested and charged with kidnapping, KTRK-TV, Houston, reported.

The body of missing North Carolina teenager Kayla Campbell was found early Dec. 13 in a pond near her home in Mint Hill, police said. Her cellphone, bicycle and helmet were found near the pond earlier that week, police said.

Kayla, 16, disappeared Dec. 9 after she left her home. She told her parents she would be home in a couple of hours. That night her parents reported her missing, police said.

The teenager’s family said the pond was one of her favorite hang outs. Police are now investigating what happened to Kayla and what caused her death.

In Cleveland, a grand jury indicted Camilia Terry, 20, in early December on aggravated murder and multiple other charges for the death of her 3-year-old son Emilliano, whom Terry originally reported missing on Nov. 25.

FBI agents discovered Emilliano’s body in garbage bags that had been picked up from a trash bin near Terry’s home, The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer reported.

A Cuyahoga County grand jury Tuesday charged Terry with two counts of aggravated murder, two counts of murder, two counts of child endangerment, one count of felonious assault, one count of tampering with evidence, one count of making false alarms and one count of gross abuse of a corpse.

Police in Bentonville, Ark., in November found the body of missing 6-year-old Jersey Bridgeman in an abandoned house. She was reported missing on Nov. 20.

Jersey’s father, David Bridgeman, made national headlines in 2011 when it was discovered he had chained the girl to a dresser in their home.

He and his wife Jana, Jersey’s stepmother, have been in custody since December 2011 on abuse and child abuse charges.

Zachary Holly, 28, of Bentonville was arrested Nov. 26 and charged with capital murder, kidnapping and residential burglary in Jersey’s death.

Investigators in Detroit found two bodies that were identified as missing teenagers Jacob Kudla, 18, and Jourdan Bobbish, 17, who vanished after visiting Kudla’s uncle in mid-July, The Detroit News reported.

Kudla’s car was discovered stripped July 23 on the west side of Detroit

Police said the teens were likely forced to remove their shirts, pants and shoes and were then shot, execution-style.

Copyright 2012 by United Press International

2012: Anniversaries in the year ahead

We look forward to 2013 with resolutions, hopes and clean calendars, but we’ll be looking back as well. A new year is always an opportunity to celebrate the anniversary of something, and plenty of remembrances are upcoming.

Civil War enthusiasts will enjoy a big year, with the 150th anniversary of a number of events. The Emancipation Proclamation, President Lincoln’s military order freeing the slaves, was issued Jan. 1, 1863. Prominent battles that year — and get ready for their recreations — include the Battle of Chancellorsville, Va., in May, Gen. Ulysses Grant’s campaign in the Vicksburg, Miss., area in May, the Battle of Gettysburg, Pa., in July, the Battle of Chickamauga on the Tennessee-Georgia border in September, the Union attack on Chattanooga, Tenn., in October and the Siege of Knoxville, Tenn., in November.

How we choose to remember it is a matter of individual choice, but Feb. 3 is the 100th anniversary of the ratification of Article 16 to the U.S. Constitution, the one giving Congress the “power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived,” better known as the federal income tax.

It’s also the 100th anniversary of the rise of modern art. Yes, you can pin a date on it, the centennial of the International Exhibition of Modern Art at New York City’s 69th Armory. Known historically as The Armory Show, it brought modern European painting and sculpture, abstract and subjective, to America for the first time. Works by Marcel Duchamp, Paul Cezanne and Wassily Kandinsky, among others, were exhibited, and suddenly Impressionism, portraiture, landscapes and other realistic art took a back seat to a new way of seeing things.

“It will throw a bomb into our art work and a good many leaders will be hit,” a headline of a newspaper review said, and it was right. Art in America was never the same.

Something similar occurred in the world of classical music, with the premiere of Igor Stravinsky’s “the Rite of Spring,” a symphonic piece for accompaniment to a dance by the Ballet Russes, in Paris on May 29, 1913. This dissonant and avant-garde work caused a riot in the audience, it was reported, one of the rare times a brawl could be observed at a ballet. More importantly, its startling diversion from traditional form influenced much of classical music thereafter.

Famous citizens were born in 1913, including civil rights leader Rosa Parks, President Richard M. Nixon and Hollywood’s Lloyd Bridges, Danny Kaye, Loretta Young, Red Skelton and Burt Lancaster. So were football’s Vince Lombardi and the labor movement’s Jimmy Hoffa. “How ’bout that!” as sportscaster Mel Allen would say (also born 1913).

The year 2013 puts us in the middle of the bicentennial of the nearly three-year War of 1812. Expect remembrances of the frigate Chesapeake’s capture by the British outside Boston Harbor, in which the mortally wounded Captain David Lawrence exclaimed: “Don’t give up the ship! Hold on, men!” The of the settlements of York (now Toronto) and Buffalo, among others, were burned.

The year 1963 will be most prominently noted for the “I Have a Dream” speech of Dr. Martin Luther King on Aug. 28 and the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on Nov. 22, but don’t forget the first comic book appearance of Marvel Comics’ Iron Man and the X-Men, the first cartoon animation of Japanese manga in “Astro Boy,” the first Beatles album — not the iconic “Meet the Beatles” but the more obscure “Please Please Me” — and rollout of the diet cola known as Tab.

It was also the year commercial artist Harvey Ball designed the ubiquitous “Smiley Face,” urging us to have a nice day or something similar.

As for 25th anniversaries, 1988 brought us the first noticeable spread of crack cocaine, the first use of laser eye surgery, the first Internet-distributed worm (known as the Morris Worm) and the highest point of Michael Dukakis’ career, as Democratic nominee for the presidency (he lost to George H.W. Bush). The first foreign car manufacturer to build in America, Volkswagen, left its Pennsylvania factory after 10 years. It also brought us the last shooting spree in an elementary school before the recent events in Newtown, Conn., the assault committed by Laurie Dann in Winnetka, Ill., north of Chicago that left one child dead and several injured.

We’re still sorting out the significance of the events of 2003 but it was marked by the destruction of the Space Shuttle Columbia and the deaths of seven U.S. astronauts, the capture of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, the last flight of the supersonic transport aircraft Concorde and the death of television’s Mr. Rogers.

Copyright 2012 by United Press International

Report: U.N. needs access to Iran refugees

Human Rights Watch issued a report Friday asking Turkey to allow officials from the U.N. Human Rights Council to interview Iranian refugees in the country.

The report, written by Faraz Sanei, the Iran researcher at Human Rights Watch said it is vital for U.N. special rapporteur Ahmed Shaheed to have access to the refugees to learn more about the human rights conditions in Iran, Today’s Zaman reported.

Turkey should “allow Shaheed access to the country in his official capacity so that he may meet with Iranian refugees and document cases of rights abuses per his mandate,” the report said.

The Iranian government has not allowed Shaheed to enter the country, so he has had to conduct his investigation in France, Germany and Belgium, where there are many Iranians,Today’s Zaman said.

A UNHCR report in April 2012 said there are 5,736 Iranian refugees in Turkey, making up about 22 percent of the country’s total refugee population.

The report also called on Turkey “to create conditions that will allow registered asylum-seekers to live and work comfortably while they are waiting for resettlement to a third country.”

Not allowing refugees residence permits and making them pay residence fees prevents them from access to healthcare, education, social assistance and employment, the report said.

Copyright 2012 by United Press International

Los Angeles opens first toll lanes

Los Angeles officials hope that charging drivers to use some “carpool lanes” on what had been freeways will relieve some of the region’s legendary traffic jams.

The first tollway, from downtown Los Angeles to South Bay, was scheduled to open Saturday night on the 110 Freeway, the Los Angeles Times reported. With congestion pricing, the tariff for the

11-mile trip could be as much as $15.40 at peak times with officials saying drivers who pay up could save 2 to 3 minutes every mile.

Los Angeles County is a latecomer to congestion pricing in Southern California, which has already been adopted in Orange County. Doug Failing of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said officials are now examining all the designated carpool lanes to see if they should become tollways.

At least 30,000 drivers have paid $40 for transponders, which are required to use the toll lanes. Drivers with the required number of passengers will not have to pay the tolls but must still purchase the transponders.

While some drivers said they resent the additional charges, one planner welcomed the tollways.

“It’s about time,” Donald Shoup, an urban planner at UCLA, said. “They work in San Diego; they work in many other cities. We have the worst congestion … and it’s odd that we’re one of the last cities to try it out.”

Copyright 2012 by United Press International

Bing: Detroit has new financial threat

Detroit Mayor David Bing said the repeal of Michigan’s emergency management law threatens his city’s efforts to get its fiscal house in order.

In an interview with The Detroit News, Bing said Friday that unions representing municipal employees will be able to stall cuts in wages and benefits.

“Now that the law is not in effect anymore, all of the 25 initiatives that we had are probably up for a legal interpretation,” Bing said. “It’s a waste of money, it’s a waste of time, and it’s going to keep us from moving our agenda forward.”

The Detroit Police Officers Association sent a letter to the city Thursday, two days after the vote on the law, asking for restoration of cuts in salaries and benefits for police officers.

The emergency management law allowed the governor to replace elected officials with appointed managers. Detroit bypassed having a manager by entering a consent agreement with the state.

Copyright 2012 by United Press International

Canadian admits voting in U.S.

An Austrian native and naturalized Canadian has been sentenced to five months in prison for voting illegally in at least two U.S. presidential elections.

Josef Sever, 53, who moved to Florida in 1992, is likely to be deported when he is released, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported. He said as much at a sentencing hearing Friday in Miami.

“I am deeply sorry,” he told U.S. District Judge Ursula Ungaro. “This will certainly never happen again in any society that accepts me.”

Sever’s lawyer said he had a mistaken sense of his duty to his adopted country. But a prosecutor said his vote “nullified” one cast by a legitimate citizen.

Sever acknowledged voting, by absentee ballot, in the 2004 and 2008 elections. He registered as an independent.

He has also admitted illegally stating he was a citizen to buy guns and to get a permit.

Copyright 2012 by United Press International

Mubarak said to be in good health

Hosni Mubarak’s personal physician found the imprisoned former Egyptian president healthy in a recent examination, a prison official said.

Mohamed Eleiwa, a spokesman for the Egyptian Prisons Authority, said the examination was routine and that the 84-year-old former leader’s health has been good recently, the Middle East News Agency reported.

Gulf News said the Egyptian newspaper al-Masry al-Youm had reported Tuesday that Mubarak had suffered minor injuries when he fell in a prison bathroom.

Mubarak, who is being held in the Tora prison hospital, was reported to have been in seriously deteriorating health in June.

Mubarak was ousted from the presidency last year. This year, he was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of corruption.

Copyright 2012 by United Press International

4.3 earthquake rattles Kentucky

A 4.3-magnitude earthquake, the strongest in Kentucky in more than 30 years, rattled the eastern and central part of the state Saturday, seismologists said.

The earthquake was centered 8 miles west of Whitesburg, Ky., and 46 miles north-northwest of Kingsport, Tenn., the U.S. Geological Survey reported. It hit just after noon.

An earthquake in the 4.0-4.9 range is considered light, strong enough to be felt but unlikely to cause significant damage. Craig Dixon, a miner, lives about 2 miles from the epicenter and said the shaking cracked the foundations in some of his neighbors’ homes.

“I was sitting at home, on my computer, my wife was feeding the dogs, when it sounded like a 747 was crashing into the house,” Dixon told the Lexington Herald-Leader. “Everything in the house started shaking and rattling for about 15 seconds.”

He added that the quake was followed by “hundreds of spiders and bugs that came out of the ground and started climbing on the outside of the house.”

State Police Dispatcher Ryan Adams said there were reports of broken ceramic figurines and of pictures falling from the wall.

The USGS said the quake was felt as far away as Georgia.

Chris Dixon, head meteorologist at WKYT-TV in Lexington, said a 5.2-magnitude earthquake hit Kentucky in 1980. The area is generally not considered seismically active, although four earthquakes, all believed to have been over magnitude 7, struck near New Madrid in what is now Missouri in late 1811 and early 1812.

Copyright 2012 by United Press International

Sheriff Arpaio wants to talk to Hispanics

UPI/Mike Theiler

Phoenix-area Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who won a sixth term in office Tuesday, says he wants to try to explain his controversial policies on immigration to Latinos.

However, Arpaio also promised to continue the policies that have angered many Arizona Hispanics, The Arizona Republic reported Saturday.

Carlos Sierra, who was involved in an effort to defeat Arpaio — although both men are Republican — told the newspaper he found the sheriff”s attempt to make peace unconvincing.

“You remember exactly what he said: ”As long as they don”t yell at me.” If he”s trying to reach out, he already kind of insulted us by saying we only shout at him,” Sierra said. “I think the damage is done. I”m sure there are some people in the Hispanic community who might meet with him. He”s not bringing anything to the table for us. He”s already said he”s not going to change.”

Arpaio first gained a national reputation for his harsh treatment of jail inmates in Maricopa County. He has also been on a crusade to arrest illegal immigrants, leading to U.S. Justice Department charges of racial profiling, and more recently launched his own “investigation” into President Barack Obama”s Hawaiian birth certificate.

A post-election article in the online magazine Slate put Arpaio at the top of a short list of people and institutions credited with helping re-elect Obama, by making the Republican Party look racist, extreme or silly. Arpaio beat out Donald Trump and conservative pundit Ann Coulter.

In an interview with the Republic after the election, Arpaio blamed the news media for his problems with Hispanics. He suggested his policies have been misrepresented and he has failed to communicate the truth.

Copyright 2012 by United Press International