Archive for the ‘shooting’ Category

In Hijack Attempt, Somali Pirates Shoot At U.S. Cruise Liner

December 2, 2008

Pirates near Somalia chased and shot at a U.S. cruise liner with more than 1,000 people on board but failed to hijack the vessel, a maritime official said Tuesday.

The liner, carrying 656 international passengers and 399 crew members, was sailing in the Gulf of Aden on Sunday when it encountered six pirates in two speedboats, said Noel Choong who heads the International Maritime Bureau’s piracy reporting center in Malaysia.

By ELIZABETH A. KENNEDY, Associated Press Writer

 

The pirates fired at the passenger liner but the larger boat was faster than the pirates’ vessels, Choong said.

“It is very fortunate that the liner managed to escape,” he said, urging all ships to remain vigilant in the area.

The U.S. Navy‘s 5th Fleet, based in Bahrain, said it was aware of the failed hijacking but did not have further details.

Ship owner Oceania Cruises Inc. identified the vessel as the M/S Nautica.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081202/ap_on_re_af/pirac
y;_ylt=AtEfOsRh56UBoizZNCCURcms0NUE

In a statement on its Web site, the company said pirates fired eight rifle shots at the liner as it sailed along a maritime corridor patrolled by an international naval coalition, but that the ship’s captain increased speed and managed to outrun the skiffs. All passengers and crew are safe and there was no damage to the vessel, it said.

From Cruise Critic:

On November 30, 2008, at approximately 0928 local time, 0528 GMT, M/S NAUTICA was transiting through the Gulf of Aden within the prescribed Maritime Safety Protection Area which is patrolled by international anti-piracy task forces. As the vessel sailed past several groups of non-hostile fishing vessels, two small skiffs were sighted by the Officer on Duty and deemed potentially hostile. The skiffs, approaching from a range of approximately 1000 meters, attempted to intercept the vessel’s course.

“Captain Jurica Brajcic and his officers immediately began evasive maneuvers and took all prescribed precautions. NAUTICA was immediately brought to flank speed and was able to out run the two skiffs. One of the skiffs did manage to close the range to approximately 300 yards and fired eight rifle shots in the direction of the vessel before trailing off. No one aboard NAUTICA was harmed and no damage was sustained.

“All guests and crew onboard are safe and there were no injuries. All requisite international authorities have been notified and all anti-piracy precautions were in place prior to the event and all necessary measures were taken during the event.”

The Gulf of Aden lies between the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea. Bordered by Djibouti and Somalia to the south west, and Yemen, to the north, this waterway is a mere 18 miles wide at its narrowest point (the Bab el Mandab Strait). It’s one of the most dangerous places in the world for ships, cargo and cruise vessels alike, to pass through due to increased piracy in the area.

This is actually the second time this year that pirates have zeroed in on a cruise ship. Le Ponant, a three masted luxury vessel, was seized in April by Somali pirates. That vessel was carrying 30 crew members — though no passengers — and after an eight day standoff those onboard were rescued. The ship ultimately was also rescued and pirates were captured.

Seabourn Spirit successfully outran a pirate attack in December 2005.

Most cruise ships that transit this most dangerous of international waterways are equipped with anti-piracy weaponry. A cruise captain whose ship traveled from the Mediterranean to the Seychelles already this fall, told Cruise Critic that particularly effective is a sonic device that is in essence like a heavy duty stereo speaker. It sends a sonic wave out to a directed target, punishing with a sound so potentially powerful that it bursts eardrums and shocks pirates into dropping weapons and losing focus.

Read the rest:
http://www.cruisecritic.com/news/news.cfm?ID=2961

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Holiday Stress? Two Dead At Toy Store

November 29, 2008

Two men pulled guns and shot each other to death in a crowded toy store Friday after the women with them erupted into a bloody brawl, witnesses said. Scared shoppers fled but no one else was hurt.

By GILLIAN FLACCUS, Associated Press Writer

Police and emergency personnel are seen outside the Toys 'R' ... 
Police and emergency personnel are seen outside the Toys ‘R’ Us store in Palm Desert, Calif. on Friday, Nov. 28, 2008. Two people were shot to death in a crowded toy store on Black Friday in a confrontation apparently involving rival groups, city officials said.(AP Photo/Michael Snyder, The Desert Sun)

The violence erupted on Black Friday, the traditional post-Thanksgiving start of the holiday shopping surge, but authorities indicated the shooting wasn’t related to a shopping frenzy.

Riverside County sheriff’s Sgt. Dennis Gutierrez said the fight was not over a toy. He said handguns were found by the men’s bodies, but he released little other information. He would not answer a question about whether the shooting was gang-related.

Witnesses Scott and Joan Barrick said they were checking out of the store when the fight began between two women, each with a man. The women were near the checkout area, but the Barricks did not think the women had purchases.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081129/ap_on_re_us/toy
_store_shooting;_ylt=AmT8dweOrqZV57Xl1ZQVGFSs0NUE

Vladimir “By The Balls” Putin Runs Russia; Dmitry “Tinkerbell” Medvedev Follows the Big Dog

November 18, 2008

It is pretty clear to even outside observers not paying too much attention to the international scene that the man running Russia is one Vladimir Putin. 
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The “former” president and current Prime Minister hand picked his successer in the top post, Dmitry Medvedev, who is the former head of the biggest Russian state money maker, Gazprom, the oil giant.

Medvedev, thanks to Putin, went from Gazprom to Putin’s chief of staff and then to the presidency of Russia.  Medvedev has already said he will ask parliament to lengthen the term Russian president’s serve so that the next president, whom all analysts believe will be Putin (Part Deux), can have a longer Kremlin tour.

Putin, a former KGB intelligence operative, is the strong man of the Kremlin and all of Russia.  After he sparked the Russian invasion of South Ossietia and Georgia last summer, he was quoted by the Times in London as saying he wanted to “hang by the balls” Georgia’s President Mikheil Saakashvili.

Putin made the “by the balls” remark to a man he considers to be a lightweight: French President Sarkozy.  Peace and Freedom was told by a source inside the Moscow leadership that Putin refers to “lightweights” using derisive, feminine terms and names from fairy tales and stories. 

Sarkozy and Medvedev have been called “Tinkerbell” by Putin, we were told.

Walt Disney’s version of “Tinkerbell” 

Putin showed who had the balls in the Georgia invasion all right.  Kremilin insiders said the attack was Putin’s brainchild and not of Medvedev’s making.

“Tinkerbell” just followed orders.

Then we have Mr. Putin’s he-man media blitz.  Photographs of Putin hunting, fishing, swimming, lifting weights, skinning game and shooting have appeared routinely in the Russian media.

Putin’s “manliness” is rivaled on the world media stage only by Sarah Palin’s moose hunting….





Above: Putin the he-man hunter

Putin also engineered the intimidation of Barack Obama just hours after the American Presidential election, threatening Eastern Europe with Iskander ballistic missiles unless the U.S. backed off of its missile defense plan in Poland and the Czech Republic.

What does this all mean?  It isn’t entirely clear.

But one thing is certain: inside Russia Putin is “the man.”  The average Russian considers Putin a strong man who represents Russia very well.  “He is bringing back Soviet greatness” one veteran told us.

And if weak-sister Tinkerbells in the West don’t like it, Russia and Putin don’t much care.

Related:
“Technically” No Longer President, Russia’s Putin Continues Some Functions

Russia’s Putin and the Great Deception

In Russia’s Putin-Medvedev shuffle, Putin is the lead dancer
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Russia’s Putin threatened to hang Georgia’s leader ‘by the balls’

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and President of the Russian ...
Putin’s favorite “Tinkerbells.”  French President Nicolas Sarkozy and President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev are seen during the EU-Russia summit, in Nice, southern France, Friday, Nov. 14, 2008.(AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)

Life After Virginia Tech

September 6, 2007

By Larry Gordon
Los Angeles Times
September 4, 2007

Discussions about social life, academic success and meal plans still dominate college freshmen orientations, but a more somber note also is being heard this season as new students lug their laptops and mini-fridges into dorm rooms.

In the wake of the shooting rampage at Virginia Tech in April, many colleges and universities in California, and around the nation, are forcefully tackling issues of security and mental health during summer orientation seminars and greet-the-frosh gatherings with parents and new students before regular classes begin.

Some are introducing new emergency notification systems or reinforcing procedures already in place. Many are more explicitly telling students how and when to seek mental health counseling for themselves and urging them to report classmates who may need intervention, as the Virginia Tech gunman desperately did before he killed 32 people and himself in the campus massacre.

Read it all at:
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-
secure4sep04,1,5720052.story?track=rss

Leadership, Accountability and the Media

September 5, 2007

By John E. Carey
September 5, 2007

I became a believer in the “freedom of the press” and the great importance the media plays in good government and accountability during the last eleven years. It was eleven years ago this summer that I retired from the U.S. Navy, an organization with a sometimes jaundiced eye on the media. Just eleven years ago this summer I decided to become a journalist myself.

During this eleven year journey, I have seen the power of the free press “up close and personal,” as they say, here in the U.S.A. I have also witnessed the terrible and disgusting disregard for truth and free media in places like China and Vietnam. In those two countries and others, the lack of a free and open media allows government human rights abuses and downright malfeasance to thrive.

Here in the U.S. I am proud to say that I supported The Washington Post in its campaign to right the many wrongs of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and its lack of appropriate follow-up for soldiers under their care. We have also applauded many papers who stimulated the Congress to pay more attention to the equipment sent to support our soldiers during the current war.

Every now and again a journalist, even a fledgling like me, gets to see some small product of his or her work reflected in one of the great bastions of journalistic excellence.

Today I was reminded of something I wrote in 2003, which echoed across the pages of the Washington Post and New York Times just recently.

In the Washington Times on October 26, 2003 I was proud to see published my essay “District Leadership is a National Disgrace.” The piece pointed toward numerous leadership and management lapses on the part of the elected and appointed caretakers of the government of the District of Columbia.  A part of that essay dealing with the D.C. schools read, “As the school year started in 2003, School superintendent Vance was shocked to learn that the entire school system’s budget would only pay his system’s staff until Sept. 30. The superintendent is also a ‘fat cat’ with an enormous salary. Meanwhile, the schools are in a decrepit state of repair. Last winter, several school days were lost at more than one school because the furnaces wouldn’t start. Cost of educating the elementary school students in the District? Among the highest in the nation. Grades and measures of effectiveness? Among the lowest.”

Fast forward to 2007. In Fact, take a peak at the New York Times editorial of September 4, 2007, under the headline “National Disgrace.” That editorial reads in part, “remaking the schools [of the District of Columbia] will inevitably mean dismantling a central bureaucracy that has shown a disturbing talent for subverting reform while failing the city and its children in every conceivable way.”

Bravo New York Times. And Bravo also to the Washington Post, which earlier this summer ran a multiple part series exposing the many problems of the D.C. school system. And Bravo finally to the Washington Times, which has been exposing the malfeasance foisted upon the people of the District of Columbia by elected and appointed highly paid “public servants” for years.

In today’s Washington Times, a page one headline reads, “D.C. textbook chief appealed firing.” You see, one Donald Winstead, the lone manager of the school system’s often-troubled textbook department, was fired by former schools Superintendent Arlene Ackerman in 1998 after books were not delivered in a timely manner. The Times’ Gary Emerling wrote that, “Mr. Winstead was reinstated in his position Dec. 19, 2000, following a settlement reached a day earlier between Mr. Winstead and the school system through the D.C. Office of Employee Appeals.”

Needless to say, the textbook situation in D.C. schools is still a disaster. In an August 7, 2007 Washington Times article Mr. Gary Emerling wrote, “The new [D.C. school system] chancellor has faced several difficulties that have plagued the system for years, including news that at least half of the city’s 146 schools may not have textbooks by the time school starts and that others will not have air conditioning.”

So, to those who doubt that a free and open media is a good thing for our nation, our society and, in fact, all nations everywhere; we ask them to look no further than the capital of the United States of America. The New York Times, the Washington Post and the Washington Times may just help bring change to a very troubled and corrupt school system.

We are proud of these newspapers and the journalists who serve the people.

This brings us to the case of Virginia Tech.  Parents, in good faith, entrusted the University and the Commonwealth of Virginia leadership with the safety, care and education of their children.  Last April, many of those children died unnecessarily.

Last April 16, at Virginia Tech, two students were found dead in a campus dorm room.  This had never before occurred.  Not on this campus.  Not at Virginia Tech.

The police “assumed” a domestic dispute was the cause.  The campus remained un-alerted.

During the last academic year, at Virginia Tech, an English teacher had a student exhibiting such unusual, some said evil, writing and actions that other students would not come to class if he attended.  The teacher alerted the university and nothing happened.

The school sent the student for medical care — a mental evaluation in fact — and then never checked to verify his status or condition.  He may have been diagnosed as a threat to the university population yet the school didn’t follow up.

The Virginia Tech study panel that reported to Virginia Governor Tim Kaine recommended no accountability from anybody following scores of deaths on the campus.

Kaine said the school’s officials had “suffered enough” without losing their jobs.

The parents of the dead have questions.

USA Today asked, in a September 4, 2007 editorial, “Why did so many keep Cho’s [the Virginia Tech killer] problems to themselves? Certainly they underestimated the threat. But more important, many incorrectly believed that privacy laws prevented sharing the information. Interpreting the law narrowly is the ‘least risky’ path for a university to take, the report concludes.”

We wonder why more news media members and commentators have not spoken out about the lack of accountability at Virginia Tech?  Where is the uproar similar to the one that engulfed Senator Larry Craig and maybe will cost him his job?  More than thirty innocent students and teachers are dead and nobody is accountable.  Yet because of the media a Senator has offered his resignation.

The relatives of the Victims in the Virginia Tech massacre deserve to be heard.  And they deserve more appropriate action from the Commonwealth of Virginia.
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District Leadership is a National Disgrace

By John E. Carey
The Washington Times
October 26, 2003

Just after hurricane Isabel passed, there was some talk that the leadership of the District of Columbia had been less than cordial in its dealings with the federal government throughout the crisis. Metro, some said with city blessing, shut down on Thursday at 11 a.m. without very much consultation with the federal government. Consequently, the feds were compelled to cancel the workday entirely.

After the hurricane, city officials cited city ordinances in an effort to get more of the FEMA financial aid pie than their neighbors in Maryland or Virginia. FEMA and its parent, the Department of Homeland Security, rightly rebuffed District officials.

Here are a few tidbits of information we have learned about the District of Columbia during the last few years (much of it from The Washington Times).

–The police chief continues to collect perks and pay raises year after year. He was hired to reduce crime. In fact, crime is up. The crime rate in D.C. is about 50 percent greater than other cities with similar populations. What is down is the police department’s success rate in crime-solving (one of the lowest in the nation). The disgracefully inept execution of the Chandra Levy case reminds us of how badly the police department functions.

–Our fire chief a few years back, one Ronny Few, had apparently “padded” his resume to secure his job. When exposed by the newspaper, he blamed the mayor’s office. Finger-pointing in City Hall ensued but nobody took responsibility for the shoddy way candidates for city jobs are vetted. The chief had also hired several cronies. Their resumes, we discovered, were also inflated, falsified or otherwise inaccurate.Meanwhile, several fire stations were in a decrepit state, a house fire had to be doused by a nearby garden hose because the fire truck had so many problems, and someone actually died due to the inefficiency of the 911 operators.

–Recently, the District’s inspector general resigned. His resume was also inflated. Do we see a trend beginning to emerge? The incumbent mayor’s re-election committee forged many of the required signatures to get the mayor on the ballot. If he is such a great leader, how can he tolerate such conduct? And why was fraud preferred over obtaining legal signatures?

–The president of the University of the District of Columbia lives in a publicly owned mansion. The taxpayers recently paid for a “renovation” of this estate that cost more than $215,000. “Repairs” included the addition of Italian granite and marble countertops worth more than $9,000. The university president also has a handsome salary. Yet the University of the District of Columbia’s Law School is rated dead last among more than 230 law schools rated by the American Bar Association. The percentage of graduates that pass the bar the first time is 22 percent. Only two colleges have rates in the 30th percentile and two schools are in the 40th percentile. All other law schools can boast that at least half the graduates pass the bar on the first try. The cost of educating a law student at UDC? The highest in the nation.

–As the school year started in 2003, School superintendent Vance was shocked to learn that the entire school system’s budget would only pay his system’s staff until Sept. 30. The superintendent is also a “fat cat” with an enormous salary. Meanwhile, the schools are in a decrepit state of repair. Last winter, several school days were lost at more than one school because the furnaces wouldn’t start. Cost of educating the elementary school students in the District? Among the highest in the nation. Grades and measures of effectiveness? Among the lowest.

–The D.C. coroner recently resigned. The morgue is in such disastrous condition that opportunities for forensics resolution to many crimes is seriously doubted. Overall, working for the District of Columbia government provides the best pay, bonus and retirement structure of almost any city in the nation.

Finally, the District of Columbia would like to tax commuters who come to the city to work. This is one way the banana republic preys upon its neighbors. Traffic enforcement cameras, predatory parking enforcement, towing and other practices contribute to the city coffers and to the ill will the city engenders in the neighborhood.

So I ask the voters in the District of Columbia, “Do you have the best government money can buy? Are you satisfied and content? Are you proud of your city and your flag?”

Related:

D.C. Schools: A National Disgrace

Rhee raps D.C. schools ‘bureaucracy’
http://www.washingtontimes.com/article/20070807/
METRO/108070064/1004/metro

D.C. textbook chief appealed firing
http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070905/METRO/109050074/
1001&template=nextpage

Virginia Tech: No Accountability

Life After Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech: ‘Least Risky’ Path Raises Risk

China: ‘Trust but verify’ needed

China Saying No to News

Pentagon says it acts as quickly as it can to meet needs
*******************

The article above was written before the full implications of the sex scandal in D.C. fire houses was completely understood.

See:

Sex in The City

Virginia Tech: ‘Least Risky’ Path Raises Risk

September 5, 2007

USA Today
Editorial
September 4, 2007

In the wake of any tragedy, the natural instinct is to lament that things might have been different if only some danger — obvious in hindsight — had been noticed sooner.

April’s massacre at Virginia Tech University spawned many such musings. If only police hadn’t zeroed in on the wrong suspect after the first two victims were found — more than two hours before 23-year-old Seung Hui Cho opened fire in a classroom building, killing 30 more. If only the campus had been put on alert faster. If only someone else had had a gun.

Read it all at:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/usatoday/20070904/
cm_usatoday/leastriskypathraisesrisk

Virginia Tech: No Accountability

August 31, 2007

Two students found dead in a campus dorm.  This had never before occurred.  Not on this campus.  Not at Virginia Tech.

The police “assumed” a domestic dispute was the cause.  The campus remained un-alerted.

My F.B.I. Dad taught me at the age of six: never assume.

An English teacher had a student exhibiting such unusual, some said evil, writing and actions that other students would not come to class.  The teacher alerted the university and nothing happened.

The school sent the student for medical care then never checked to verify his status or condition.  He may have been diagnosed as a threat to the university population yet the school didn’t follow up.

The Virginia Tech study panel that reported to Virginia Governor Tim Kaine yesterday recommended no accountability from anybody following scores of deaths on the campus.

Kaine said the school’s officials had suffered enough without losing their jobs.

That is not the point.

The point is that “we,” the people, have a right to safe, proper, careful, thoughtful leadership and administration.

In Washington DC Republican Senators are recommending that one of their fellows step down for a lack of judgment.

Just a two hour, maybe less, car ride south in Richmond, Virginia, after scored of student deaths on on Virginia state-run college campus, there is zero accountability.

Why?  Why should the president of the university be allowed to retain his job after running a campus with slipshod security, safety, and human services?

We have written about this several times in the past and ask readers to think this through, read more and comment.

John E. Carey
August 30, 2007

Virginia Tech: ‘Least Risky’ Path Raises Risk

Virginia Tech President Should Resign or Be Fired

The Campus Security Question

Parents Demand Firing of Virginia Tech President, Police Chief Over Poor Handling of Mass Shooting