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AP : Against The Wall with JJink

Mortar shell lands near Chinese embassy in Syria

September 30, 2013 by  
Filed under General News

More attacks in Syria  the AP reports:

Syria’s state-run news agency says three mortar shells have hit the capital, Damascus, one of them landing near the Chinese embassy.

An Associated Press reporter at the scene said the shell fell about 100 meters (yards) from the embassy, setting two cars on fire and damaging others.

The location was also close to the American Cultural Center, which has been closed for two years.

Monday’s shelling came days after shells hit the Iraqi and Russian missions in central Damascus.

On Thursday, a mortar shell slammed into the Iraqi consulate building, killing an Iraqi woman and wounding three. Days before, rebels fired mortars that landed on the grounds of the Russian embassy, wounding three workers.

The governments of China, Russia and Iraq are strong backers of President Bashar Assad’s government.


70-Year-Old Court Employee Fired After Helping A Wrongly Convicted Man Seek DNA Tests

August 16, 2013 by  
Filed under General News

source:buisness insider.com

A Kansas judge fired a 34-year employee of the court — nine months before her  retirement — after she showed a wrongly convicted man a publicly available court  document on DNA testing, the Associated Press reported.


Robert Nelson, 49, used the information from Sharon Snyder, 70, to prove he  didn’t commit a rape that would have kept him behind bars for 70 years.

Nelson filed a motion in 2009 requesting DNA testing not available when the  court convicted him 25 years earlier in 1983. Jackson County judge David Byrn,  the same one who put him in prison, twice denied his request.

At that point, Nelson’s sister got in touch with Snyder. The  great-grandmother provided Nelson with a case where a judge sustained a motion  for retrospective DNA testing.

With this new information Nelson tried a third time, and Byrn granted his  motion and appointed a lawyer from the Innocence Project to represent him. Last month, the Kansas City police department’s crime lab  excluded Nelson as a source for the evidence found in the case.

Nelson calls Snyder his “angel,” the AP reported.

In his letter dismissing Snyder, the judge said she’d crossed a line by  giving advice to a defendant.

“The document you chose was, in effect, your recommendation for a Motion for  DNA testing that would likely be successful in this Division,” according to the  letter quoted by the AP. “But it was clearly improper and a violation of Canon  Seven … which warns against the risk of offering an opinion or suggested course  of action.”

Read more:  http://www.businessinsider.com/sharon-snyder-fired-after-helping-robert-nelson-2013-7#ixzz2c7yei1dP

Secret Service intercepts letter for Obama containing ricin

April 17, 2013 by  
Filed under General News

source :RT

The FBI has announced that an envelope addressed to the White House has tested positive for ricin, and has been quarantined by US Secret Service personnel. A coordinated investigation has since been initiated by the FBI.


Although the letter initially tested positive for the deadly poison, official test results will be available in 24 to 48 hours. According to a law enforcement official, preliminary tests are“unreliable” and often result in false positives.

Extracted from a castor oil plant, ricin is a highly toxic substance, even a dose as small as few salt grains – injected or inhaled – can kill adults.


First symptoms appear as early as 4-8 hours and as late as 24 hours after exposure, with death typically occurring within 3-5 days of the initial exposure. Ricin is harmful to the whole body, proving deadly by penetrating cells and preventing them from creating the proteins they need.


The toxin can be in the form of a powder, a mist, or pellets or it can be dissolved in water or weak acid.

In an intelligence bulletin obtained by AP, the FBI says that both letters say: “To see a wrong and not expose it, is to become a silent partner to its continuance.” Both are signed,“I am KC and I approve this message.”

Federal officials say they believe they know who sent the letters, but that no arrests have been made.

“A letter addressed to the president was received at a remote screening facility containing a suspicious substance. We are working closely with Capitol Police and the FBI in this investigation,” a Secret Service spokesman said in a statement.

The letter, which was received at an off-site location away from the White House on Tuesday, is currently under investigation after being intercepted at a postal screening center.
“This facility routinely identifies letters or parcels that require secondary screening or scientific testing before delivery,” White House spokesman Edwin Donovan said in a statement.

It arrived the same day as an envelope addressed to US Senator Roger Wicker, which tested positive for ricin. The envelope was postmarked Memphis, Tennessee and did not have a return address. The newest letter is believed to be from the same sender.

The FBI says that it has not found a link between the two letters and Monday’s attack at the Boston Marathon.

Meanwhile, Arizona Senator Jeff Flake has received two suspicious letters at his Phoenix office, AP reported.

Emergency crews have evacuated people from parts of the building while police investigate whether the packages are dangerous.

Michigan Senator Carl Levin and Alabama Senator Richard Shelby have reportedly received suspicious letters, as well.

US ambassador, 3 others killed in attacks on Libya mission, Libyan officials tell AP

September 12, 2012 by  
Filed under General News


The U.S. ambassador and three other Americans have been killed in an attack on the U.S. consulate in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi by protesters angry over a film that ridiculed Islam’s Prophet Muhammad, The Associated Press reported Wednesday.

Three named Libyan officials told the AP that Ambassador Chris Stevens was killed Tuesday night when he and a group of embassy employees went to the consulate to try to evacuate staff. The protesters were firing gunshots and rocket-propelled grenades.

NBC’s Richard Engel, citing a Libyan security source, also reported early Wednesday that the ambassador was among those killed.

The State Department has only confirmed one death so far.

The three Libyan officials cited by the AP hold senior security positions in Benghazi. They are deputy interior minister for eastern Libya, Wanis al-Sharaf; Benghazi security chief Abdel-Basit Haroun; and Benghazi city council and security official Ahmed Bousinia.

Demonstrations also broke out Tuesday in Egypt, where protesters scaled the walls of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, and tore and replaced the American flag with an Islamic banner.

read more:http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/09/12/13824089-us-ambassador-3-others-killed-in-attacks-on-libya-mission-libyan-officials-tell-ap?lite

Bristol-Myers ends hepatitis C drug development

August 24, 2012 by  
Filed under General News


NEW YORK  — Drugmaker Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. says it has scrapped a potential hepatitis C treatment after a patient participating in a test of the drug died of heart failure.

The New York company said it decided to discontinue development of the drug in the interest of patient safety.

The patient’s heart failure prompted Bristol-Myers to voluntarily suspend a mid-stage study of the drug on Aug 1.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration subsequently placed the drug on a clinical hold.

Nine patients, including the one who died, were hospitalized. Two remain under hospital care.

The company identified heart and kidney toxicity as a key factor.

Bristol-Myers says it is working with the FDA to monitor the patients involved in the study.


Police: Man Shot in Squad Car Called Girlfriend

August 24, 2012 by  
Filed under General News


By JEANNIE NUSS Associated Press

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. August 23, 2012 (AP)
 Police in Jonesboro say the girlfriend of a man shot to death in the back of a squad car told an investigator he had called her from the car and said he had a gun.

In a four-page statement police offered several new details about the investigation into the July 28 death of Chavis Carter, 21. Earlier this week, an autopsy report ruled that Carter’s death was a suicide.

Carter’s girlfriend, who was not identified in the report, also told the investigator that Carter said he loved her and that he was scared, according to the police statement. Phone records showed Carter made two calls, at least one of which was from the back of the patrol car, police said.

Benjamin Irwin, a Memphis, Tenn., lawyer representing Carter’s family, said in an emailed response early Thursday that “in previous reports and information we had about (the girlfriend) was that no mention of a gun during the call was included. …

“After watching the other witness interviews, I can only speculate that the interview involved a lot of leading questions by the investigator.”

Police have been facing criticism since they said officers searched Carter twice but didn’t find a gun before he was fatally shot in a patrol car. Race is also an issue in the case because Carter was black and police have said the two officers who stopped the truck he was in are white.

Patrol Car Shooting.JPEG
Bree Coleman, right, wears a tee shirt with a… View Full Caption
Bree Coleman, right, wears a tee shirt with a picture imprinted on it she says she made of Chavis Carter, in Jonesboro, Ark., as Sakhiya Bell, 4, runs past Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2012. About 20 people marched in protest of the July 28 death of Carter that was ruled a suicide in the back of a Jonesboro Police Department car. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston) Close

The police statement said there appears to be no doubt that an officer missed the gun when he initially patted Carter down.

“It is presumed that Carter secreted the gun in the rear of the car after the pat-down but before the cuffing and second search,” the statement said.

The statement said it was meant to be “a brief preliminary investigative summary” and noted that the investigation into Carter’s death isn’t complete. However, the statement said evidence and witness statements support the medical examiner’s conclusion that Carter killed himself.

“I think the critical points still remain that this young man was in police custody,” Irwin said Wednesday. “He lost his life at a time when they had a responsibility and duty to protect him.”

Spokesman Sgt. Lyle Waterworth didn’t respond to an email or phone message seeking further comment.

Police also said they tracked down a man from a video on Carter’s phone who said he sent Carter a text message asking him to bring him a gun shortly before his run-in with the officers. That man also said Carter was involved with a drug deal involving 4 ounces of marijuana, police said.

Police have said officers found marijuana on Carter when they searched him. The autopsy report also said he tested positive for meth and other drugs.

The police statement also said blood spatter on Carter’s right hand showed his hand was close to the contact wound on his right temple. Blood was also on a rear passenger door of the patrol car, police said.

Officers and bystanders said the patrol car doors and windows were closed and that the officers weren’t near the car until Carter was found, police said.

“This virtually eliminates any possibility that the fatal wound was caused by any weapon other than the one recovered in the rear of the vehicle and that its discharge was caused by Carter,” police said in the statement.

The Arkansas state crime lab confirmed Wednesday that it did not perform gunshot residue testing on Carter, saying it doesn’t do that kind of analysis on victims of homicides or suicides.

read more:http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/police-man-called-girlfriend-ark-squad-car-17060791

‘Insider attacks’ won’t deter U.S.-Afghan teams

August 24, 2012 by  
Filed under General News

source:USA today

The United States and its allies are sticking to a strategy that depends on building a close partnership with Afghan forces despite a recent spate of “insider attacks” on coalition forces by Afghan troops or impersonators, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan said Thursday.

  • Marine Gen. John R. Allen, commander of the International Security Assistance Force, speaks during a news conference at the Pentagon on May 23.By Haraz N. Ghanbari, AP

    Marine Gen. John R. Allen, commander of the International Security Assistance Force, speaks during a news conference at the Pentagon on May 23.

By Haraz N. Ghanbari, AP

Marine Gen. John R. Allen, commander of the International Security Assistance Force, speaks during a news conference at the Pentagon on May 23

“At this juncture, my initial belief is that we should not pull back in our contact with the Afghans,” Marine Gen. John Allen said during a video conference with Pentagon reporters. “We perhaps need to be more watchful, Afghans and coalition, for the emergence of a threat and be able to react quickly to that.”

A key element of coalition strategy in Afghanistan is the development of Afghan security forces so they will be prepared to assume responsibility for securing the country before 2015, when most U.S. troops will have left.

Trust between coalition and Afghan forces is central to that strategy. “The closer the relationship the more secure, ultimately, our troops will be,” Allen said.

This year, there have been 32 insider attacks that killed 40 coalition servicemembers, according to the coalition command. Last year, there were 21 attacks that killed 35.

Some of the increase in insider attacks may reflect the growing number of Afghan security forces being trained by coalition forces. The mission of coalition forces is changing from combat to training and supporting local security forces, often putting coalition troops into closer contact with Afghan forces.

The size of Afghan security forces, which include soldiers and police, is scheduled to grow to 352,000 by Oct. 1

read more:http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/afghanistan/story/2012-08-23/afghan-attacks-us-troops/57257996/1

Top Obama campaign donor accused of fraud

April 2, 2012 by  
Filed under General News


WASHINGTON (AP) — A major donor to President Barack Obama has been accused of defrauding a businessman and impersonating a bank official, creating new headaches for Obama’s re-election campaign as it deals with the questionable history of another top supporter.

The New York donor, Abake Assongba, and her husband contributed more than $50,000 to Obama’s re-election effort this year, federal records show. But Assongba is also fending off a civil court case in Florida, where she’s accused of thieving more than $650,000 to help build a multimillion-dollar home in the state — a charge her husband denies.

Obama is the only presidential contender this year who released his list of “bundlers,” the financiers who raise campaign money by soliciting high-dollar contributions from friends and associates. But that disclosure has not come without snags; his campaign returned $200,000 last month to Carlos and Alberto Cardona, the brothers of a Mexican fugitive wanted on federal drug charges.

Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt declined comment to The Associated Press. He instead referred the AP to previous statements he made to The Washington Post, which first reported the allegations against Assongba in its Sunday editions. LaBolt told the paper 1.3 million Americans have donated to the campaign, and that it addresses issues with contributions promptly.

Assongba was listed on Obama’s campaign website as one of its volunteer fundraisers — a much smaller group of about 440 people.

Assongba and her husband, Anthony J.W. DeRosa, run a charity called Abake’s Foundation that distributes school supplies and food in Benin, Africa. A photo posted on Assongba’s Facebook page shows the couple standing next to Obama at a May 2010 fundraiser.

In one Florida case, which is still ongoing, Swiss businessman Klaus-Werner Pusch accused Assongba in 2009 of engaging him in an email scam — then using the money to buy a multimillion-dollar home, the Post reported. The suit alleges Assongba impersonated a bank official to do it. Pusch referred the AP’s questions to his attorney, who did not immediately return requests seeking comment Sunday.

Meanwhile, Assongba has left a trail of debts, with a former landlord demanding in court more than $10,000 in back rent and damages for a previous apartment. She was also evicted in 2004 after owing $5,000 in rent, records show.

In an interview with the AP on Sunday, DeRosa said the allegations against his wife were untrue, although he couldn’t discuss specifics because of pending litigation. He said he and Assongba were “very perturbed” by the charges, and said the couple’s charity does important work in Africa.

Assongba has given more than $70,000 to Democratic candidates in recent years, an AP review of Federal Election Commission data shows. Her larger contributions include $35,000 to the Obama Victory Fund, a joint fundraising committee between Obama and the Democratic Party, and $15,000 to Democrats running for Congress. DeRosa also gave $15,000 to Obama’s victory fund in April 2011, records show.

Abake’s Foundation is listed by the IRS as a registered nonprofit organization; its financial reports were unavailable. A representative who picked up the phone at the foundation’s Benin office declined to answer questions, and instead referred the AP to Assongba.

Obama’s campaign declined to comment on whether its vetting procedures were thorough enough, or whether Assongba’s contribution would be refunded. All told, Obama has raised more than $120 million this election, not counting millions more from the Democratic Party — giving him a financial advantage thus far over any of his Republican challengers.

Karzai: US-Afghan Strategic Deal Makes Progress

March 6, 2012 by  
Filed under General News

Afghan President Hamid Karzai says there has been some progress on a deal that would outline the U.S. role in Afghanistan after international combat troops leave the country in 2014.
Afghan officials had earlier said that discussions on a long-term U.S.-Afghan strategic agreement had stalled due to disputes over the transfer of American-run detention centers and night raids conducted by U.S. and NATO forces.
President Karzai told reporters Tuesday he hoped both countries could reach a “positive result” for the benefit of Afghanistan. He said “there has been an improvement in our talks with the United States with regard to our strategic partnership.”
The Afghan leader spoke during a news conference in Kabul following talks with Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski.
Mr. Komorowski assured President Karzai that Poland’s support for Afghanistan would continue even after all of the country’s more than 2,000 troops leave Afghanistan in 2014.  The Polish president said “the Polish and Afghan friendship that was forged under very difficult conditions will definitely last longer than the presence of the last Polish soldier on the Afghan soil.”
Also Tuesday, President Karzai backed a “code of conduct” issued last week by a group of clerics in Afghanistan. The document issued by the Ulema Council allows husbands to beat their wives under certain circumstances and encourages segregation of the sexes.
Mr. Karzai told reporters at the press conference in Kabul that the code of conduct is in line with Islamic law and written in consultation with Afghan women’s groups. He added that the document did not put limitations on women and was simply “the Sharia (Islamic) law of all Muslims and all Afghans.”
His comments come as a new report released by the the Afghanistan Human Rights and Democracy Organization finds that women’s rights are increasingly under threat as international troops prepare to leave the country.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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