viernes, 31 de agosto de 2012

'Real World' star Joey Kovar dead at age 29? overdose

Click To Watch Full Video at oey Kovar dead disputes drug-suspicion claim Real World star dies Joey Kovar died Joey Kovar dead allegedly Viagra cocaine overdose "Real World" news update: Joey Kovar was found dead Friday at a friend's Chicago home. New information from authorities shed light on a cause of death. While an autopsy report is pending, police believe the ex-MTV cast member died of a fatal mix of Viagra, cocaine and alcohol. Joey Kovar found dead: Details before the "Real World" star died Saturday, TMZ posted new information gathered from Chicago police investigating the death of the star, who also appeared on "Celebrity Rehab." Shortly before midnight, Joey went to a friend's home in Chicago Ridge, according to sources. Stacey Achterhof said Kovar told her he had been doing cocaine and wanted her to take him to a spot to get more drugs. Joey's friend said she asked him to stay at her home instead because he was in no shape to leave on his own. After a while, the "Real World" star reportedly took some Viagra and began making out with Achterhof, but no sex was involved.Obituaries, Video, Joey Kovar, Joey Kovar Celebrity Rehab, Joey Kovar Dead, Joey Kovar Dies, Joey Kovar Drug Overdose, Joey Kovar Drugs, Joey Kovar Found Dead, Joey Kovar Real World, Joey Kovar Reality Star, Slideexpand, Celebrity News joey Kovar dead disputes drug-suspicion claim Real World star dies Joey Kovar died Joey Kovar dead allegedly Viagra cocaine overdose
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Time: 01:53 More in People & Blogs

Three killed in Kenya's Mombasa riots after cleric shot dead!

Two Kenyan police officers and a civilian were killed when rioters hurled a grenade at officers in the port city of Mombasa on Tuesday after two days of violence over the killing of a radical Muslim cleric. Mobs of youths had fired at police with machineguns just before throwing the grenade into a police truck, Benedict Kigen, a senior police intelligence officer said. The riots broke out on Monday after Aboud Rogo, accused by the United States of helping al Qaeda-linked Islamist militants in Somalia, was shot dead. Gunmen sprayed Rogo's car with bullets in an attack many Muslims in Mombasa blamed on the police, who denied involvement. Police said at least 16 police officers were wounded in the grenade attack in Kisauni, a predominantly Muslim area, where youths set two churches on fire and barricaded roads with burning tyres as the riots spread to the outskirts of Kenya's second-biggest city, a tourist hub and major Indian Ocean port. "These are pure criminals, and now terrorists are infiltrating within to launch grenades at us. They are looting even chicken," Kigen told Reuters. The city's main streets, usually thronged with shoppers and foreign tourists, were deserted and some shops were shuttered. Shopkeepers reported looting in some areas of the city and police said rioters had looted and set fire to a bank. "People are breaking into our shops and looting our property and police are doing nothing," said Francis Mutua, 33, a kiosk owner who said he and his colleagues <b>...</b>
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Time: 02:30 More in News & Politics

Empire Shooting Jeffrey Johnson 10 Shot At Empire State Building

A shooter opened fire outside of New York's popular tourist attraction. a At least four people shot at the famous landmark in New York City. Empire State Building Shooting Suspect Kept Firing After Victim Fell The gunman who triggered a wild shootout in front of the Empire State Building today gunned down a former work acquaintance without saying a word, and stood over his prone victim to pump more bullets into him, police said today. The shooter, identified by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg as Jeffrey Johnson, pulled his gun a second time when confronted by two police officers a half block away and pointed it at the police. He was cut down in a hail of 16 bullets that left Johnson riddled with 10 bullet holes. Nine bystanders were also wounded by what police believe were ricochets, police said. Johnson, 58, was lurking outside a building adjacent to the Empire State Building, ABC News station WABC in New York reported. The building housed Hazan Imports Corp., which had once contracted with Johnson to design T-shirts, police told WABC. Johnson's relationship with the company ended bitterly a year ago in a dispute with the company's account executive, Steven Ercolino, 41, police said. A friend of Ercolino's who witnessed the shooting told police that she noticed Johnson, who was wearing a suit and carrying a black bag, outside the building. She saw him walk up to Ercolino and without saying a word, fire five times at the victim and keep firing as Ercolino slumped to <b>...</b>
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Time: 02:58 More in News & Politics

WAR before Elections? US MILITARY source claims US & ISRAEL already have WAR PLANS against IRAN!

WAR before Elections? US MILITARY source claims US & ISRAEL already have WAR PLANS against IRAN! Time is running out to contain the Iranian threat, Israel's defense minister has warned. Israel is raising the alarm following a new US National Intelligence Estimate which says Tehran has made significant strides towards joining the nuclear club. US President Barrack Obama was supposed to have received the latest National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) weeks ago, but it was delayed in order to include "new and alarming intelligence information" concerning the military nature of Iran's nuclear program, Haaretz reports. The report's conclusions are said to converge with those of the Israeli intelligence community. The NIE reportedly concluded that Iranian efforts to develop a nuclear capability had made considerably greater progress than initially thought. Israel's defense minister, Ehud Barak, said he was aware of an unspecified intelligence report circulating in Washington whose conclusions converged with Israel's own assessment of Iran's nuclear intentions. There probably really is such an American intelligence report -- I don't know if it is an NIE one -- making its way around senior offices (in Washington)," Reuters cites Barak as telling Israel Radio. "As far as we know it brings the American assessment much closer to ours ... it makes the Iranian issue even more urgent and (shows it is) less clear and certain that we will know everything in time about their steady progress <b>...</b>
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Time: 02:29 More in News & Politics

Authorities ID man killed in Reliant escalator fall - Houston Chronicle

Authorities have identified a 25-year-old Houston man who fell to his death while horsing around on an escalator at Reliant Stadium while attending the Texans preseason finale Thursday.

The man allegedly was trying to slide down the outside of the handrail on the escalator at the Coca-Cola Gate near the northeast side of the stadium at about 8:10 p.m. when he fell three stories, landing on the pavement. He was identified as Jonathan Kelly by the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences.

Houston police could not confirm the man was horse-playing before he fell.

Kelly was attending the game with some friends, said a coworker who was not at the event and asked that his name not be published.

The coworker said Kelly had worked for about three months as a plant operator at a private water and wastewater utility company.

Reliant Park issued a statement confirming an escalator accident involving a fan. The victim was taken to a hospital.

The man was on the escalator on a northeast side of the stadium descending from level five to level three when he fell about 60 feet, Mark Miller, General Manager SMG Reliant Park, said during news conference Friday morning.

Miller said he didn't have details about what the man was doing before he fell because the investigation into the incident is ongoing.

Miller said staff is posted on each landing at escalators and signs on the equipment encourage safety.

The stadium staff will review safety procedures and the escalators will be inspected to make sure they are working properly and are safe, Miller said. He said the northeast escalators will be shut down while they are inspected. They won't be operating during a high school football game scheduled for Friday night, he added.

Miller expressed sympathy for the man and his family.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this moment," he said.

Jamey Rootes, president of the Houston Texans, echoed Miller's sympathy for the family.

The organization, he said, expresses "our deep sadness at this tragic accident."

Houston Fire Department officials said the man was taken by a private ambulance to the hospital.

Houston police said that according to initial information they received, the victim died at the hospital.

Kelly's death comes just more than a year after 39-year-old Shannon Stone fell to his death during a Texas Rangers baseball game in Arlington in July 2011. Stone had grabbed a baseball tossed by an outfielder toward the stands and toppled over the railing, falling about 20 feet to concrete below.

Anna-Megan Raley and Carol Christian contributed to this report.

Pakistani officials confirm US drone killed key militant - Christian Science Monitor

On Aug. 24, the son of the founder of the Happani militant network was killed by a US drone strike. He had been the commander of the organization's day-to-day operations.

By Sebastian Abbot, Associated Press / August 30, 2012

A Pakistani Taliban militant holds a rocket-propelled grenade at the Taliban stronghold of Shawal, in Pakistani tribal region of Waziristan, Pakistan Aug. 5. Pakistani officials said the son of the founder of the powerful Haqqani militant network, Badruddin Haqqani, was killed in a US drone strike this week.

Ishtiaq Mahsud/AP/File



Pakistani intelligence officials confirmed Thursday that a US drone strike last week near the Afghan border killed the son of the founder of the powerful Haqqani militant network, a major blow to one of the most feared groups fighting American troops in Afghanistan.

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Badruddin Haqqani, who has been described as the organization's day-to-day operations commander, was killed Aug. 24 in one of three strikes that hit militant hideouts in the Shawal Valley in Pakistan's North Waziristan tribal area, said two senior intelligence officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

A US official confirmed that Badruddin Haqqani was killed in a CIA drone strike. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the drone program publicly.

The presence of the mostly Afghan Haqqani network in North Waziristan has been a major source of friction between Pakistan and the U.S. The Obama administration has repeatedly demanded that Pakistan prevent the group from using its territory to launch attacks in Afghanistan, but Islamabad has refused — a stance many analysts believe is driven by the country's strong historical ties to the Haqqani network's founder, Jalaluddin Haqqani.

The Pakistani intelligence officials didn't specify which strike on Aug. 24 killed Badruddin, but said he was leaving a hideout when the U.S. missiles hit. The confirmation of his death came from their sources within the Taliban, which is allied with the Haqqani network, and agents on the ground, they said. But neither the officials nor their sources have actually seen Badruddin's body.

Pakistani intelligence officials previously said they were 90 percent sure Badruddin was killed in a drone strike in a different part of North Waziristan on Aug. 21. It's unclear what caused the discrepancy.

Afghanistan's intelligence agency said several days ago that its operatives had confirmed Badruddin's death. A senior Taliban commander has also confirmed the militant's death.

A Taliban spokesman in Afghanistan, Zabiullah Mujahid, has however rejected reports of Badruddin's death, calling them "propaganda of the enemy."

The U.S. does not often comment publicly on the covert CIA drone program in Pakistan.

The areas where the American drone strikes generally occur are extremely remote and dangerous, making it difficult to verify a particular person's death.

Badruddin was considered a vital part of the Haqqani structure.

The U.S. State Department has designated Badruddin, along with his father and brothers — Nasiruddin and Sirajuddin — as terrorists. The State Department said in May 2011 that Badruddin sits on the Miram Shah Shura, a group that controls all Haqqani network activities and coordinates attacks in southeastern Afghanistan.

Badruddin is also believed to have been responsible for the 2008 kidnapping of New York Times reporter David Rohde, the department said.

Hip-hop mogul Chris Lighty dies in NYC at 44 - CBS News

NEW YORK — Chris Lighty, a hip-hop mogul who helped the likes of Sean "Diddy" Combs, 50 Cent and Mariah Carey attain not only hit records, but also lucrative careers outside music, was found dead in his New York City apartment Thursday in an apparent suicide. He was 44.

He was found at his home in the Bronx with a gunshot to the head and was pronounced dead there, police said. No note was recovered, but a 9 mm handgun was found and there was no sign of forced entry, said Paul Browne, New York police spokesman. The shooting appears to be self-inflicted, authorities said.

Lighty had been a part of the scene for decades, working with pioneers like LL Cool J before starting his own management company, Violator. But he was in the midst of a divorce and had been having recent financial and personal troubles.

Twitter was abuzz with condolences just hours after the body was found around 11:30 a.m.

"R.I.P. Chris Lighty," Fat Joe posted on his account. "The man that saved my life!" Diddy wrote: "In shock." Rihanna posted: "Rest peacefully Chris Lighty, my prayers go out to family and loved ones! Dear God please have mercy." And Mary J. Blige wrote: "U never know what can send a person over the edge or make them want 2 keep living. take it easy on people."

50 Cent said in a statement issued through his publicist that he was deeply saddened by the loss.

"Chris has been an important part of my business and personal growth for a decade," he said. "He was a good friend and advisor who helped me develop as an artist and businessman. My prayers are with his family. He will be greatly missed."

Lighty was raised by his mother in the Bronx as one of six children. He ran with a group called The Violators, the inspiration for the name of his management company, according to the company website. He was a player in the hip-hop game since he was a kid DJ. He rose through the ranks at Rush Management — mogul Russell Simmons' first company — before eventually founding Violator Management in the late 1990s.

"Today, we lost a hip-hop hero and one of its greatest architects," Simmons tweeted.

Lighty's roster ranged from Academy Award-winners Three 6 Mafia to maverick Missy Elliott to up-and-comer Papoose and perpetual star Carey. He made it his mission not so much to make musical superstars, but rather multifaceted entertainers who could be marketed in an array of ways: a sneaker deal here, a soft drink partnership there, a movie role down the road.

In a 2007 interview with The Associated Press, Lighty talked about creating opportunities for his stars — a Chapstick deal for LL Cool J, known for licking his lips, and a vitamin supplement deal for 50 Cent.

"As music sales go down because kids are stealing it off the Internet and trading it and iPod sales continue to rise, you can't rely on just the income that you would make off of being an artist," he said at the time.

Survivors include his two children. He and his wife, Veronica, had been in the process of divorcing. The case was still listed as active, but electronic records show an agreement to end it was filed in June.

He was also having financial trouble. City National Bank sued Lighty, whose given name is Darrell, in April, saying he had overdrawn his account by $53,584 and then refused to pay the balance. The case was still pending.

He also owed more than $330,000 in state and federal taxes, according to legal filings. His tax problems were much steeper a year ago, but he cleared away millions of dollars in earlier IRS liens last October, after selling his Manhattan apartment for $5.6 million.

Larry Mestel, the CEO of Primary Wave Music, the entertainment company that created the joint venture Primary Violator management last fall with Violator Management, said: "We are extremely shocked and sadden by this tragic news. Chris was a friend, business partner and most of all, an icon, role model and true legend of the music and entertainment industry. He will be missed by many and we send love and support to his family."


Associated Press writers Jennifer Peltz, David B. Caruso and Mesfin Fekadu contributed to this report.

Cardinal Martini, liberal papal contender, dies - Fox News

Italian Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, a rare liberal within the highly conservative Catholic Church hierarchy who was nevertheless long considered a papal contender in the last conclave, died Friday. He was 85.

Martini, a Jesuit and former archbishop of the important archdiocese of Milan, had been battling Parkinson's disease for several years. His death was announced by the Milan archdiocese, which said his condition had worsened Thursday evening.

Martini frequently voiced openness to divisive issues for the church, such as using condoms to fight HIV/AIDS, priestly celibacy and homosexuality, which, while not at odds with church teaching, nevertheless showed his progressive bent. He was an intellectual and a noted biblical scholar, yet he nevertheless was warm and personable and seemed to connect with his flock like few high-ranking prelates.

And, despite his liberal views in a College of Cardinals that grew increasingly conservative under Pope John Paul II, he was considered a possible contender in the 2005 conclave that brought the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, to the papacy.

Martini was well known and well-liked by Italians, many of whom got to know him by his frequent contributions to leading daily Corriere della Sera, which for three years ran a popular column "Letters to Cardinal Martini," in which Martini would respond directly to questions submitted by readers.

The topics covered everything from the clerical sex abuse scandal to whether it was morally acceptable for a Catholic to be cremated ("it's possible and allowed," he wrote). His responses were filled with Biblical citations and references to church teachings, but were accessible as well, written as if he were chatting with his reader rather than preaching.

But Martini was divisive as well.

In 2006, he raised eyebrows at the Vatican when he told the Italian weekly L'Espresso magazine that condoms could be considered a "lesser evil" in combatting AIDS, particularly for a married couple. Four years later, Benedict himself would come close to echoing the sentiment when he said a male prostitute who intends to use a condom might be taking a step toward a more responsible sexuality because he was looking out for the welfare of his partner.

In 2009, Martini insisted he was misquoted by a German publication as calling for a re-evaluation of priestly celibacy as a means to combat pedophilia among priests.

But he returned to the topic of priestly celibacy earlier this year-- as well as a host of other thorny issues like artificial procreation, embryo donation and euthanasia -- in his last book "Believe and Know," a conversation with a left-leaning Italian politician and doctor who had been his same interviewer for the 2006 Espresso article.

As a result of his openness to discuss issues many cardinals would rather leave undisturbed, liberal Catholics had pinned their hopes on Martini going into the 2005 conclave, and some reports in the Italian media said he had received significant votes in the initial rounds of balloting.

But according to the most detailed account of the conclave to emerge -- that of a purported diary kept by an unnamed cardinal -- Martini was never really in the running. Instead, Ratzinger's main challenger was another conservative, Argentine Cardinal Jorge Maria Bergoglio.

Martini retired as Milan archbishop in 2002 and moved to Jerusalem, where he hoped to devote himself to prayer and study. He had long established relations with the Jewish community, writing books and articles on the relations between Christianity and Judaism.

"Without a sincere feeling for the Jewish world, and a direct experience of it, one cannot fully understand Christianity," he wrote in the book "Christianity and Judaism: A Historical and Theological Overview." "Jesus is fully Jewish, the apostles are Jewish, and one cannot doubt their attachment to the traditions of their forefathers."

Born on Feb. 15, 1927 in Turin, Martini was ordained a priest in the Society of Jesus in 1952. He was named archbishop of Milan in 1979 and held the post until his retirement in 2002; within that time he was also head of the European Bishops' Conference for six years, until 1993.

Despite his desire to spend his final years in Jerusalem, he returned to Italy a few years ago as his Parkinson's worsened.

In June, he announced he could no longer continue with his "Corriere della Sera" Q&A column, saying "The time has come in which age and sickness have given me a clear signal that it's time to resign from earthly things and prepare for the next coming of the Kingdom," he wrote his readers. "I assure you of my prayers for all the questions that went unanswered."

Afghan intelligence thwarts terror plots in Kabul, Logar, and Parwan - Long War Journal

Over the past two days, Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS) operatives thwarted four terror plots; two of the plots were aimed at targets in Kabul City, another was to take place in Parwan province, and yet another in Logar province.

NDS personnel have arrested nine suspected Taliban insurgents with links the plots, including six suspects who were arrested on Aug. 28 in Kabul's 8th district, according to an NDS statement obtained by Bakhtar News Agency.

The six-man cell had carefully placed potassium chloride-based homemade explosives inside a washing machine, various kitchen appliances, a mattress, pillows, and a gas cylinder. According to Pajhwok Afghan News, the six-man cell had also rigged an unknown number of vehicles with explosives to be used in their planned attacks in Kabul and Parwan.

NDS officials believe the explosives were smuggled into Afghanistan from Pakistan. Among those arrested were Mohammad Wali, from Kabul province; and Zaboor, Abdul Jabar, Marouf, and Khair Mohammd from Panjshir province.

In a separate raid on Aug. 30, NDS operatives arrested three suspected Taliban members in Kabul who were planning attacks in the Shar-e-Now area of Kabul City and in Logar province. Those arrested were identified as Gulam Dastagir and Ajmal from the Mohammad Agha district of Logar, and Abdul Munir, a resident of the Jablul Siraj district in Parwan province, according to Pajhwok Afghan News. Several embassies are located in the Shar-e-Now area of Kabul, including the Indian, Dutch, Belgian, and Indonesian embassies. However, it was not revealed which locations the suspects had planned to attack, or if attacks were planned against embassies.

The NDS raids in Kabul follow a series of successful operations by NDS personnel that have disrupted several high-profile terror plots against urban targets and Afghan officials this month. Earlier in August, NDS personnel killed five suspected Haqqani network cell members during a night raid against the group's safe house in Kabul's Pul-i-Charki area. The raid resulted in the confiscation of a large quantity of explosives and small arms, as well as the seizure of numerous vehicles rigged with explosives.

On or about Aug. 12, another NDS raid prevented the Taliban from conducting coordinated suicide bomb attacks on the Afghan Parliament and the Afghan Presidential palace, and disrupted an assassination attempt against Afghan Second Vice President Mohammad Karim Khalili.

In early July, NDS deputy spokesman Shafiqullah Tahiri revealed that as many as 241 would-be suicide bombers planning to assassinate government and parliamentary members had been arrested between 2010 and 2012. Among those the Taliban had planned to assassinate with suicide bombers were both of Afghanistan's vice presidents, Balkh province governor Atta Mohammad Noor, numerous cabinet members, and parliamentarians Abdul Rasul Sayyaf and Sibghatullah Mujadidi .

For previous coverage of NDS operations, see the following Long War Journal and Threat Matrix reports:

A Frenzy of War Talk--Israel's Outrageous Threats to Attack Iran - OpEdNews

by Larry Everest

        "Decision by Netanyahu, Barak to strike Iran is almost final-Israel TV"

        (Times of Israel , August 11 )

        "Israeli speculation over Iran strike reaches fever pitch"

        (Guardian , August 14 )

Over the past several weeks there has been an eruption of alarming reports, high-level meetings, and public debate over whether Israel is close to deciding--or has already decided--to launch a military assault on Iran before the November U.S. presidential election.

On August 10, Channel 2 News, Israel's leading news program, stated that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Barak were on the verge of making a decision to go to war.   "Insofar as it depends on [Prime Minister] Benjamin Netanyahu and [Defense Minister] Ehud Barak," the Guardian UK, citing Israel's largest daily Yedioth Ahronoth, reported, "an Israeli military strike on the nuclear facilities in Iran will take place in these coming autumn months, before the U.S. elections in November."  

The week before, The New York Times reported, "In Israel, there remains feverish speculation that Mr. Netanyahu will act in September or early October." A former head of Israeli intelligence commented, "If I was an Iranian, I would be very fearful of the next 12 weeks."

In the midst of these threats, the BBC reported that a document purporting to be an Israeli plan was leaked describing a "shock and awe, Israel-style" assault including a massive cyber-attack, barrages of ballistic and cruise missiles, and follow-on attacks by Israeli war planes.

The Outrage of War--and Threatening War

There is widespread debate and speculation over what's really going on here. Is Israel actually preparing to attack in the coming weeks, calculating that on the eve of the Presidential elections it would be difficult if not impossible for the Obama administration to refuse to support or join such an assault? Are the threats by Israel's leaders part of a high-stakes ploy aimed at forcing the U.S. imperialists to take an even more aggressive stance toward Iran, with an even more clear cut and near-term commitment to take military action against Iran in order to head off a unilateral Israeli attack as The New York Times and others are suggesting? Is it some combination of both, or another scenario entirely? In any case, there is doubtless more going on behind closed doors than is being aired in public, and in all likelihood no one outside the highest levels of the Israeli and/or U.S. governments can answer these questions with certainty at this moment (and there may be uncertainty at these levels as well).

But three things can be said.

First, whether bluff, actual attack preparations, or some other machination, this flurry of threats represents a further escalation of a very dangerous overall trajectory toward confrontation and possible war against Iran by the world's main capitalist-imperialist powers and their creation and Middle East garrison state--Israel.

This dynamic has ratcheted up sharply in the past year and in certain ways the U.S., Israel and the European powers are already waging forms of war on Iran (sanctions, covert cyber-attacks, assassinations and the like). The stated and public focus of this clash has been Iran's nuclear enrichment program, but this is part of a bigger battle by the U.S. and Israel to maintain their domination and control over the entire Middle East-Central Asian region, including their military hegemony.

At present, this battle for dominance is concentrated in their clash with the Islamic Republic of Iran, which is posing an obstacle and challenge to the U.S. on many fronts. This is a clash between two reactionary, outmoded forces, with the U.S. and Israel posing the far greater danger to the planet. Stepped-up U.S. intervention in Syria, including possible military intervention, is linked to these efforts to weaken, isolate, and ultimately topple Iran's Islamist theocracy.   (See my analyses of the recent P5+1 negotiations with Iran, the accelerating U.S.-EU-Israeli campaign against Iran, and the role of Israel.)

Second, whatever Israel's motives, the moves against Iran are still outrageous and must be condemned. Threatening preemptive war is itself a form of aggression. Let's call it what it is: terrorism, aimed at terrorizing the people of Iran and the region. And it must be noted here that whatever differences do or don't exist between Israel and the U.S.--the Obama administration has neither condemned these threats, nor stated categorically that it opposes an Israeli strike and would not support such an action. Instead, Obama officials have talked of Israel's sovereign "right" to make its own decisions concerning its "defense."

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NJ supermarket shooting: Man who killed himself, 2 others was 'normal kid ... - The Star-Ledger -

By Sue Epstein and Richard Khavkine/The Star-Ledger

OLD BRIDGE — Three people are dead after an employee at the Old Bridge Pathmark armed with an AK-47 assault rifle and an automatic pistol opened fire inside the store early this morning, killing two young store workers before turning one of the weapons on himself, Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce Kaplan said.

The two victims, an 18-year-old woman and a 24-year-old man, were both from the township, Kaplan said.

The 18-year-old victim, Cristina LoBrutto, was a recent graduate of Old Bridge High School, where the superintendent described her as a bright student, active as a horn player in the music department. The other victim was Bryan Breen, 24, from the Laurence Harbor section of Old Bridge. He graduated from Old Bridge High School in 2006.

Neighbors and a law enforcement source identified the shooter as Terence Tyler, 23, a former Marine.

Accounts of the shooting paint a portrait of an employee who smashed into the front of the store, and then began aiming at coworkers while some of them managed to escape out the back of the supermarket, said Dragan Jovanovic, general manager of the Staples next to Pathmark.

About 7 a.m. Jovanovic couldn't get into the parking lot – so he went into a nearby McDonald's. There, he found a shaken Pathmark employee who described the beginning of the rampage and how he escaped the shooter.

The employee told Jovanovic that the gunman threw a shopping cart through a front store window, and then started shooting.

"He heard a 'loud bang,' then he ran out the back door," Jovanovic said the employee told him.

Jovanovic said the employee appeared traumatized by the eruption of violence around him, and in a familiar place.

"He knew all the employees, he knew the shooter, he knew all the people that got killed," Jovanovic said.

Jovanovic admitted he himself was shocked by the shooting, but added, "This could happen anywhere."

Terence S. Tyler served less than two years in the military, and never went overseas, according to Capt. Kendra Motz, a Marine spokeswoman.

His home was Brooklyn when he entered the Marines on March 24, 2008 – and his primary place of service was Twentynine Palms in California, home of the Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command, Motz added.

His specialty classification in the Marines was "0311 - Rifleman" — or the general infantry, Motz added.

He received the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal, Motz added.

He was discharged on Feb. 27, 2010. The Marines do not comment on whether personnel are honorable or dishonorably discharged, Motz added.

Tyler is said to have lived at the nearby London Terrace apartment complex, directly behind the store.

The gunman had apparently finished his shift, but returned about 3:30 a.m. armed with the weapons and multiple magazines. He started firing randomly, hitting the two employees, Kaplan said.

All three of the dead were assigned to the overnight shift at the store, on Route 9 near the Sayreville border.

"I don't believe they were specifically targeted. I believe everyone was targeted," Kaplan said.

This morning Breen's family gathered in the backyard of their home consoling one another.

June Launay lives next door to the Breen family and her son graduated from Old Bridge High School at the same time as Bryan.

"He was a really nice kid. He's always been polite. He's always been friendly and outgoing," Launay said, fighting back tears. "He's just a normal kid. He wasn't a kid you ever worried about. We're all shaken up over here."

Old Bridge police have parked a patrol car several houses away from LoBrutto's home. They asked reporters to stay back at the family's request. The family will make a statement when they are ready, the officers said.

Two women standing nearby were hugging and consoling each other, then quickly got into cars and drove away.

A 32-year-old neighbor who declined to give her name said she last saw LoBrutto three days ago washing her brand new car, a Nissan. The recent Old Bridge High School graduate was college-bound, although it wasn't clear where. She got the job and was "just looking to pay for some girlie things."

Video: Neighbor speaks about one of the victims in the Old Bridge Pathmark shooting Video: Neighbor speaks about one of the victims in the Old Bridge Pathmark shooting Carolyn Anders was a neighbor of the 18-year-old victim in the Pathmark shooting in Old Bridge. She says the victim had a "heart of gold" and she also speaks out in favor of gun control. Video by John Munson/The Star-Ledger Watch video
Video: Prosecutor gives some details on shooting at Old Bridge Pathmark Video: Prosecutor gives some details on shooting at Old Bridge Pathmark Middlesex County Prosector Bruce Kaplan speaks to the media with some details on the shooting this morning at a Pathmark supermarket in Old Bridge. The 911 call came at 4:01am and when police arrived they found two victims dead and also the body of the shooter, apparently from a self-inflicted gunshot. Video by John Munson/The Star-Ledger Watch video
Neighbors identify Pathmark shooter as Terence Tyler Neighbors identify Pathmark shooter as Terence Tyler Three people are dead after an employee at the Old Bridge Pathmark armed with an AK-47 assault rifle and an automatic pistol opened fire inside the store early this morning, killing two young store workers before turning one of the weapons on himself. Just a few blocks away, neighbors identified the shooter as Terence Tyler and said he was a quiet man who kept to himself. (Video by Michael Monday/The Star-Ledger) Watch video

"She was very friendly, very family oriented," said the female neighbor, who used to babysit the victim and her younger sister. "She had a lot of friends."

"Her parents lived for her and her sister," she said. "They are a very tight-knit family."

Seven people appearing to be in their late teens and early 20s walked up the block at 12:50 pm and asked a police officer if they could visit the family. The officer said he would ask. Minutes later, they appeared to enter the home. They declined to speak to a reporter on the scene.

"This is a real tragedy," said Old Bridge Superintendent Timothy Brennan. "Cristina LoBrutto was a member of the class of 2012 and she has siblings in the district at the secondary and middle school levels."

Brennan said LoBrutto was a bright student who was active in the school's music department, playing in the horns section of multiple bands.

Miranda Miranda, 19, was scheduled to work the morning shift at Pathmark today. But after she got another job, LoBrutto took her shift.

This morning, at the nearby London Terrace Apartment complex, Miranda was shaken.

"What keeps coming into my mind is that it could have been me," Miranda said.

Miranda said she knew both victims and had met the shooter, who only began working at the supermarket earlier this month.

Right away, she said the ex-Marine made her uneasy.

"The way he looked at me, that gave me a very bad feeling," she said. "He gave me an uneasy vibe."

Old Bridge, Sayreville and Perth Amboy police were quickly on scene, Kaplan said, but all three were already dead when officers arrived.

An assistant manager inside the store got 10 to 12 other store employees out quickly, said John Niccollai, the president of Local 464A of the United Food and Commercial Workers, which represents some store workers.

"He immediately got them out the back door," Niccollai said. "Who knows what could have happened if not for some quick thinking?"

A nearby resident, Jitender Yadv, was walking through the complex about 6 a.m. when he saw police questioning relatives of the suspected gunman outside an apartment in building 3.

"They were questioning three people. I think his parents and a cousin," Yadv said. "They picked up a lot of items and put them in police cars."

The suspected gunman had lived in the complex for about a month, other residents said.

A police officer was stationed outside the apartment this morning.

Manase Acheampong, 25, of Old Bridge, said Tyler was the cousin of a friend of his and that he had recently moved to the township from Brooklyn.

"He was a normal kid," Acheampong said. "We had drinks. He never got into a fight or started one. I would never have guessed."

A Pathmark spokeswoman said company representatives were assisting authorities in their investigation.

"We express our deepest sympathies to the families of the victims and our appreciation to local law enforcement," the spokeswoman, Marcy Connor said. "Our main concern is the safety of our associates and customers."

Police this morning had escorted a number of store employees and brought them to chairs outside the nearby TGIF restaurant along.

The adjacent Old Bridge Park & Ride, which was closed earlier while police investigated, has reopened. Buses are again stopping there, but the parking lots on the northbound side of Route 9 remain closed.

Caroline Anders, who knew LoBrutto, said the young woman recently started working at Pathmark.

"She has a heart of gold," said Anders of the woman. "She was just beginning her life. She always had a smile on her face and now some clown who is thrown away by society takes her life. Let's all just pray for all of them."

Staff writers Susan K. Livio, Tom Haydon, Jessica Calefati, Julia Terruso and Seth Augenstein and staff writer Anthony G. Attrino contributed to this report.

Related coverage:

Gunman kills 2 workers before committing suicide at Old Bridge Pathmark

Old Bridge police investigating apparent shooting near Pathmark

'Civil War' Among Muslims Shakes Russia's South - Voice of America

MOSCOW — Three recent attacks that left 30 people dead and 15 wounded have cast a spotlight on the growing religious warfare in Dagestan, Russia's southernmost republic.
First, a border guard serving near Azerbaijan killed seven colleagues before he was shot dead himself. Superior officers said they had tried twice but failed to have him discharged because he was constantly reading about Wahhabism, a conservative form of Islamic fundamentalism.

Then Georgian special forces said they intercepted a heavily armed unit of Islamic insurgents crossing over from Dagestan. A firefight near the border killed three Georgian soldiers and 12 militants.

In the most politically significant case, a female suicide bomber attacked Sheikh Said Atsayev, a leading moderate Muslim cleric in Dagestan who had been leading peace talks with militant adherents of Wahhabism, the form of Sunni Islam that is widely practiced in Saudi Arabia. The suicide bomber, the widow of another militant, killed Atsayev and six other people, as well as herself.

Mark Galeotti, a Russian security specialist at New York University, sees an increasingly violent split among the 15 percent of Russians who follow Islam.

"There is an increasing threat that we will really see a Muslim civil war - not just in Dagestan, but across the North Caucasus," Galeotti said.
Violence in Tatarstan

The latest attack in Dagestan followed an incident in Tatarstan, in northern Russia, where assailants tried to kill two moderate Muslim leaders who were seeking the expulsion of Muslim clerics trained in Saudi Arabia. Tatarstan's deputy mufti was killed. The republic's senior mufti was wounded.
President Vladimir Putin traveled to Tatarstan on Tuesday and declared on national television: "Terrorists and militants of all kinds, whatever ideological slogans they may hide behind, always act cynically, behind one's back, and have only one aim - to spread fear and mutual hatred."

The same day, the suicide bomber blew herself up near Sheikh Atsayev.

Alexey Malashenko, an expert on Islam at the Carnegie Moscow Center, says the insurgents' goal is to break away from Russia and its dominant Orthodox Christian faith. "Their main target is the creation of an Islamic state, or caliphate, or Islamic territory," Malashenko said.

But the extremists are hard to fight, because they are often leaderless, and they follow an ideology that glorifies resistance.

"The point of this ideology of jihad is that it encourages individuals to go out and do their own violent thing," Galeotti said. Noting that violence wins publicity, and sometimes draws in recruits to the militants' cause, Galeotti added: "This acts as one of the ways for them to get their message out. Terrorism is, after all, almost always a communicative event."

Unrest Centered in Dagestan

After separatist violence ebbed in Chechnya in the late 2000s, Dagestan emerged as the epicenter of political unrest in southern Russia's four predominantly Muslim republics. Last month, Dagestan accounted for about two-thirds of the 78 people killed in armed violence in the north Caucasus region.  
Following the sheikh's assassination, Dagestan's president, Magomedsalam Magomedov, proposed that young men form "self-defense units" and go out on "search and destroy" missions against fundamentalists. There are fears that Atsayev's death may provoke a further escalation of violence. The 75-year-old, white-bearded leader had tens of thousands of devoted followers, many of whom were his former students.

Carnegie analyst Malashenko says a backlash will only provoke more violence, but he contends that doing nothing would be equally bad. "It proves - and it is very important - that Islamic opposition, the so-called Salafis or Wahhabis, can do anything, if they want," Malashenko added.

Moscow's Kommersant newspaper said 80,000 people attended the Sheikh Atsayev's funeral. The newspaper headlined its story: "In Dagestan, Sheikh and Peace Blown Up."

Steve Franken dies at 80; portrayed rich pal of 'Dobie Gillis' - Los Angeles Times

Steve Franken, a veteran character actor whose long career included playing the spoiled young millionaire Chatsworth Osborne Jr. on the popular situation comedy "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis" in the early 1960s, has died. He was 80.

Franken died of cancer Friday at a nursing and rehabilitation center in Canoga Park, said his wife, Jean.

In a more than 50-year career that began in New York, Franken appeared in scores of TV shows and several movies, including "The Party," "The Americanization of Emily," "The Missouri Breaks" and the Jerry Lewis comedies "Which Way to the Front?" and "Hardly Working."

But for many TV fans, Franken may be best remembered as Chatsworth Osborne Jr. on "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis."

The series, which aired on CBS from 1959 to 1963, starred Dwayne Hickman in the title role of the girl-crazy grocer's son, whose beatnik friend, Maynard G. Krebs, was played by Bob Denver.

Franken joined the series in 1960, replacing the young actor who had played Milton Armitage, the show's original rich kid: Warren Beatty.

"Warren Beatty did about four or five shows and wanted to go do movies," Hickman told The Times on Thursday. "Once he had done that, he wasn't going to come back and do 'Dobie Gillis.' But because he was gone, we got Steve, and he was wonderful."

As the snobbish Chatsworth, "he wore clothes that were expensive, polo outfits and a polo stick and all that," said Hickman. "He was a great character. He was the only person to call me 'Dobie-do.' Chatsworth Osborne Jr. — what a great name. And, of course, everything was grand and he was so rich. Steve played it very well."

When Hickman appeared at an autograph show with Franken a few years ago, he said, "Steve told me people were still coming up to him on the street asking for his autograph and calling him Chatsworth."

But, Hickman said, Franken did many things in his career and was "a very serious actor."

Jean Franken said her husband was especially proud of his performance in director Blake Edwards' film "The Party," the 1968 comedy starring Peter Sellers, in which Franken played a drunken waiter who never speaks a word.

"He and Peter Sellers worked out most of the improvisations themselves for that," she said. "Blake let them go."

Franken was a versatile actor who studied at the Actors Studio in New York and later did a lot of theater work in Los Angeles, much of it dramatic.

Born in Queens, N.Y., on May 27, 1932, Franken graduated from Cornell University and launched his acting career against his parents' wishes.

"They wanted him to go to medical school, but he went straight to New York," his wife said. "He was obsessed with the idea of being an actor."

As chemotherapy gave him another eight months of life, she said, he continued to audition for TV and movie roles and do theater work until a month before he died.

In addition to Jean, his wife of 25 years, Franken is survived by their daughter, Anne; two daughters from a previous marriage that ended in divorce, Emily Franken and Abigail Glass; and two grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m Sept. 22 at Theatre West, 3333 Cahuenga Blvd. West, Los Angeles.

Only an attack will deter Iran - News & Observer

Yet a significant school of American "realists" remains absolutist on deterrence and is increasingly annoyed with those troublesome Israelis who are sowing fear, rattling world markets and risking regional war by threatening a pre-emptive strike to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Don't they understand that their fears are grossly exaggerated? After all, didn't deterrence work during 40 years of Cold War?

Indeed, a few months ago, columnist Fareed Zakaria made that case by citing me writing in defense of deterrence in the early 1980s at the time of the nuclear freeze movement. And yet now, writes Zakaria, Krauthammer (and others on the right) "has decided that deterrence is a lie."

Nonsense. What I have decided is that deterring Iran is fundamentally different from deterring the Soviet Union. You could rely on the latter but not on the former.

The reasons are obvious and threefold:

1) The nature of the regime.

Did the Soviet Union in its 70 years ever deploy a suicide bomber? For Iran, as for other jihadists, suicide bombing is routine. Hence the trail of self-immolation from the 1983 Marine barracks attack in Beirut to the Bulgaria bombing of July 2012. Iran's clerical regime rules in the name of a fundamentalist religion for whom the hereafter offers the ultimate rewards. For Soviet communists – thoroughly, militantly atheistic – such thinking was an opiate-laced fairy tale.

For all its global aspirations, the Soviet Union was intensely nationalist. The Islamic Republic sees itself as an instrument of its own brand of Shiite millenarianism – the messianic return of the "hidden Imam."

It's one thing to live in a state of mutual assured destruction with Stalin or Brezhnev, leaders of a philosophically materialist, historically grounded, deeply here-and-now regime. It's quite another to be in a situation of mutual destruction with apocalyptic clerics who believe in the imminent advent of the Mahdi, the supremacy of the afterlife and holy war as the ultimate avenue to achieving it.

The classic formulation comes from Tehran's fellow (and rival Sunni) jihadist al-Qaida: "You love life and we love death." Try deterring that.

2) The nature of the grievance.

The Soviet quarrel with America was ideological. Iran's quarrel with Israel is existential. The Soviets never proclaimed a desire to annihilate the American people. For Iran, the very existence of a Jewish state on Muslim land is a crime, an abomination, a cancer with which no negotiation, no coexistence, no accommodation is possible.

3) The nature of the target.

America is a nation of 300 million; Israel, 8 million. America is a continental nation; Israel, a speck on the map, at one point 8 miles wide. Israel is a "one bomb country." Its territory is so tiny, its population so concentrated that, as Iran's former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has famously said, "application of an atomic bomb would not leave anything in Israel but the same thing would just produce damages in the Muslim world." A tiny nuclear arsenal would do the job.

In U.S.-Soviet deterrence, both sides knew that a nuclear war would destroy them mutually. The mullahs have thought the unthinkable to a different conclusion. They know about the Israeli arsenal. They also know, as Rafsanjani said, that in any exchange Israel would be destroyed instantly and forever, whereas the ummah – the Muslim world of 1.8 billion people whose redemption is the ultimate purpose of the Iranian revolution – would survive damaged but almost entirely intact.

This doesn't mean that the mullahs will necessarily risk terrible carnage to their country in order to destroy Israel irrevocably. But it does mean that the blithe assurance to the contrary – because the Soviets never struck first – is nonsense. The mullahs have a radically different worldview, a radically different grievance and a radically different calculation of the consequences of nuclear war.

The confident belief that they are like the Soviets is a fantasy. That's why Israel is contemplating a pre-emptive strike. Israel refuses to trust its very existence to the convenient theories of comfortable analysts living 6,000 miles from its Ground Zero.

Washington Post Writers Group

Chris Lighty, 44, dies - Washington Post (blog)

Hip-hop flags are at half-staff Thursday as one of the brick workers in building the foundation of hip-hop has died. Chris Lighty, the
FILE - This Feb. 28, 2007 file photo shows hip-hop mogul Chris Lighty in his office in New York. Lightly died of an apparent gunshot wound on Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012 at his home in the Bronx borough of New York. He was 44. (Jim Cooper - AP)
founder of Violator Management, was found dead in what several news sources are calling an apparent suicide. According to the NY Daily News, cops found the 44-year-old Lighty in his Bronx N.Y. apartment around 11:30 a.m.

Lighty literally had a hand in working with, crafting, or influencing the sound that is played on radios today.

In 2008 he was profiled in Crain's New York, 40 under 40. In the interview he credited his tough Bronx upbringing for making him hungry to succeed. He turned down a college scholarship in order to stay behind and help his family with bills. During the day, he would work as an electrician and at night he would tote album crates for Kool DJ Red Alert, the staunch business magazine reported.

In the early 80's Lighty worked with Native Tongue affiliates Jungle Brothers where he described himself as everything from the manager to the garbage man, in an documentary. From there he started working at Rush Management having a hand in all projects from Big Daddy Kane to Brand Nubian. He later started Violator, a management company that would also branch into a music label. Lighty worked with such artist as, Mariah Carey, Q-tip, Busta Rhymes, LL Cool J, Nas and more.

The news hit Twitter like a scratched break beat.

Questlove, the eccentric drummer from The Roots, was on a plane when the news found him. He tweeted, "Just landed, why am I getting all these Chris Lighty texts…"

His next tweet was simply, "Oh No."

Although reports are still unclear as to the nature of his death, Lighty was recently divorced. The NY Daily News reported that in 2008 he was believed to be worth some $200 million dollars but was currently in debt to the IRS for about $5 million.

In Crain's 40 under 40 feature, which lauded the hip hop mogul as a true American success, he said: "When you're growing up in the Reagan era, you really learn the value of a food stamp—and you never want to go back there."

Stephen A. Crockett Jr is a regular contributor to TheRootDC.

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Miners charged in deaths of 34 killed by police in South Africa - Fox News

About 270 miners were charged Thursday with the murders of 34 striking colleagues who were shot by South African police officers, authorities said, a development that could further infuriate South Africans already shocked and angered by the police action.

The decision to charge the miners comes under an arcane Roman-Dutch common purpose law used under the apartheid regime, and it suggests President Jacob Zuma's government wants to shift blame for the killings from police to the striking miners.

Firebrand politician Julius Malema, who has seized on the shootings to score political points, told supporters of miners outside the courthouse that the charges were "madness."

"The policemen who killed those people are not in custody, not even one of them. This is madness," said Malema, who was expelled from the governing African National Congress in April. "The whole world saw the policemen kill those people."

The Mail and Guardian newspaper quoted constitutional law expert Pierre de Vos as saying the decision to charge the miners with the murders was "bizarre and shocking and represents a flagrant abuse of the criminal justice system in an effort to protect the police and/or politicians like Jacob Zuma and (Police Minister) Nathi Mthethwa."

National Prosecuting Authority spokesman Frank Lesenyego told The Associated Press that "It's the police who were shooting, but they were under attack by the protesters, who were armed, so today the 270 accused are charged with the murders" of those who were shot.

More than 150 of the arrested miners have filed complaints that they have been beaten up in police cells by officers, the Independent Police Complaints Directorate reported earlier this week.

Directorate spokesman Moses Dlamini said the complainants accused police of beating them with batons and fists and kicking and slapping them to force them to give the names of miners who hacked two police officers to death in a week of violence preceding the shootings. Eight other people were killed, including three miners and two mine security guards whom striking miners burned alive in their vehicle.

The strike, apparently rooted in rivalry between two trade unions, had rock drill operators demanding a minimum wage of 12,500 rand ($1,560) and complaining that their take-home pay was only about 5,500 rand ($688).

On Aug. 16, police said they had failed to persuade the strikers to disarm and that it was "D-Day" to end the strike at the London-registered Lonmin PLC platinum mine. That afternoon, striking miners armed with clubs, machetes and at least one gun allegedly charged at police, who opened fire, killing 34 and wounding at least 78.

Some survivors said many of the miners were fleeing police tear gas and water cannons when they were shot.

Dlamini has refused to comment on local news reports that autopsies show many of those killed were shot in the back.

Police Commissioner Gen. Riah Phiyega has been criticized for saying her officers "did nothing wrong." She said they acted in self-defense, using live bullets only after they were fired upon and had failed to stop a charge of miners with water cannons, stun grenades, tear gas and rubber bullets.

Prosecution spokesman Lesenyego said the 270 miners were charged under Roman-Dutch law that held sway in South Africa before a new liberal constitution was adopted after apartheid ended in 1994. He said it was case law, meaning it has been used in previous cases and that there is legal precedent even though it is not in the constitution.

The police killings were the worst public display of state-sponsored violence since apartheid was overthrown and have traumatized a nation that hoped it had seen the last of such scenes.

The common purpose law being used to charge the miners was fought by the African National Congress when it was a liberation movement, accusing the white minority government of using it to make victims of a crime its perpetrators. The ANC has been in power for 18 years and the miserable living conditions of miners has highlighted its failure to transform the wealth of Africa's richest nation into better lives for the majority of its 48 million citizens, who continue to battle unemployment, housing shortages and poor health and education services.

In the fallout from the killings, the bitter mine strike has strengthened. Lonmin reported an average of 6.6 percent of workers showed up across various shifts Thursday, down from 13 percent on Monday and 50 percent on Saturday.

Lonmin said many workers were being intimidated and feared for their safety if they returned to work. The company has suffered a serious hit to its share price and has said it probably cannot meet debt payments, due next month, because of the strike that started Aug. 10.

Woman dies during Nebraska wildfire evacuation - Omaha World-Herald

MAP: Where the fires are.

UPDATE: The Sheridan County Sheriff's Office has issued a mandatory evacuation for anyone living in the west and south area of the Metcalf Wildlife Area, which is 9 miles north of Hays Springs, because of a third fire in that area.

* * * UPDATE: Ronni Davis, 64, died Wednesday night during a fire evacuation process for the West Ash Creek Fire, according to the Dawes County Attorney's Office.

Chadron dispatch received a call at 10:17 p.m. that a neighbor discovered Davis having difficulty breathing when they went to check on her during the evacuation. The Chadron ambulance and the Dawes County Sheriff responded to her home and attempted resuscitation and transported her to the Chadron Community Hospital. She was pronounced dead there.

A preliminary investigation indicates Davis likely died of natural causes from a cardio-pulmonary event.

* * *

CHADRON, Neb. — A pair of rapidly growing wildfires forced authorities to evacuate about 150 Dawes County residents, close Chadron State Park and cancel classes in Chadron Thursday.

Combined, the fires have burned an estimated 25,000 acres, said Beth Hermanson, fire information officer for the Rocky Mountain interagency incident management team. The team has been called in to relieve exhausted local firefighters.

"We're looking at zero percent containment right now," she said. "We've got a lot of work to do."

The fires were estimated at only 1,300 acres as of Wednesday, but grew quickly as hot winds propelled flames through dry timber and grasslands.

Hot, windy weather forecast for Thursday is not expected to help control efforts, Hermanson said.

One fire, dubbed the West Ash fire, is burning an area south of Chadron, stretching from U.S. Highway 385 to West Ash Road. Most of the area lies within U.S. Forest Service land, but private lands also were affected, Hermanson said.

That fire forced the evacuation and closure of Chadron State Park Wednesday night, said Cyd Janssen, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Forest Service. The park remained closed Thursday.

The second fire, called the Douthit fire, was burning between Harrison and Crawford in timber, rough canyons and inaccessible areas. Janssen said it was threatening the main railroad line into Crawford but had not forced the line to shut down.

Both Chadron State College and Chadron Public Schools canceled Thursday and Friday classes because of uncertainty over the wildfires.

"The campus is in no imminent danger, but when we're dealing with something as uncertain as wildfires we want to be extremely cautious," said Dale Grant, the college's vice president for administration and finance.

Chadron State freshman Yadira Gurrola was among the students who chose to leave campus Thursday morning.

"Our RA (resident assistant) knocked on our door at 5:30 a.m. telling us classes were cancelled, and there was a pre-evacuation," Gurrola said.

The pre-evacuation was an effort to get as many students out of Chadron as possible so there would be fewer students to worry about in case there were to be mandatory evacuation, she said.

Gurrola said that before she left — at about 9:30 a.m. Central time — she and her roommate had opened the windows of their dorm room.

"We can't see part of the hills and it's all smoky," she said. "All the smoke made our eyes burn and it was kind of hard to breathe."

College officials said the campus would remain open and students living in the residence halls are not required to leave. But they encouraged students planning to go home for the Labor Day weekend to leave as soon as possible.

Gurrola said she couldn't take her usual route on U.S. 385 to her hometown of Scottsbluff because of the fire.

Hermanson said the fire jumped U.S. 385 during the night. As of Thursday morning, the highway was reduced to one-lane traffic in a stretch south of Chadron.

Some county roads have been closed in the area of the Douthit fire, Janssen said.

She said about 150 residents from 102 rural homes were evacuated during the night. In addition, residents on the east side of the West Ash fire were notified about a potential evacuation.

No towns in the area were in danger as of Thursday morning, Hermanson said.

Both fires were started by lightning from a Tuesday afternoon thunderstorm and were burning on public and privately owned land.

One building near the Box Butte and Dawes County line, northeast of Hemingford, received minor damage. Siding melted after the fire reached within 30 feet of the house. Entire pastures and haystacks were lost in the fires.

T.J. Thomson and Ashley Swanson of the Chadron State Eagle contributed to this report.

Contact the writer:


Being killed while the 'civilized world' turns a blind eye - Al-Arabiya

The news coming from Syria, including those about the daily killing in a civil war that may spillover to neighboring countries, receives daily and round-the-clock coverage in the international media. But as I followed up the most important news of last week, I noticed that two other stories were competing with the coverage of the Syrian developments: The fact that the government of Ecuador granted Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, political asylum after he took refuge in its embassy in London; and the jail sentence against three young women from a Russian punk rock band called Pussy Riot - whom I identify by their first names for the readers: Yekaterina, 30, Maria, 24, and Nadezhda, 22.

The general impression is that Assange's problem is apparently with Sweden, where two young women accused him of sexually assaulting them. But I believe that his real problem is with the U.S. administration and Congress, first and foremost.

WikiLeaks uncovered official corruption scandals in Kenya, toxic waste in West Africa, documents belonging to the Church of Scientology, and two million Syrian e-mail messages. But no one is prosecuting WikiLeaks for any of these or other issues.

Instead, WikiLeaks' entire problem is that in April, 2010, it published 250,000 U.S. diplomatic cables from one hundred countries it had received from Bradley Manning, an intelligence analyst in the U.S. army who has been detained for 800 days and who faces up to 52 years in prison if convicted.

Sweden has not charged Assange with anything yet, and only wants to question him in relation to the charges pressed by the two young women. But I noticed that these charges were not publicized until near the end of 2010, after WikiLeaks' rise to fame, and not when the alleged assault occurred.

More importantly, U.S. officials have described Assange as a "Techno-Terrorist". The U.S. Senate wants him tried under espionage laws, and the U.S. government is urging Sweden every day to demand his extradition, and will most probably ask Sweden to hand him over to the U.S. if he gets there. Furthermore, Assange has agreed to being questioned by Sweden in Britain, or at the Embassy of Ecuador in London, but the Swedish authorities have refused.

Assange knows that his main problem is with the United States, which wants to punish him after he exposed the administration's conspiracies, and after WikiLeaks posted video footage of a U.S. attack helicopter firing at and killing Iraqi civilians in a street in Baghdad. For this reason, I noticed that when Assange addressed the world from the balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy, he directed his statement primarily to the United States, even when Sweden is requesting his extradition and Britain is threatening to arrest him if he steps out of the embassy.

The successive U.S. administrations talk about the absence of democracy in our countries, which is true. They call for freedoms to be enhanced, including the freedom of speech, and specifically the freedom of the press. Yet, the United States does not want the press to be free to expose the secrets of its wars and aggression against Arabs and Muslims.

The case of Assange and WikiLeaks is important in many ways. By contrast, the Pussy Riot debacle seems to be a kind of a social news story, except that the Western media has chosen to push it to compete with other news, including the news on Syria.

What happened was that the three band members sang against President Vladimir Putin and danced inside the most important cathedral in Moscow.

Personally, I support them in criticizing Putin, but I do not understand the choice of an Orthodox cathedral for singing and dancing, unless the girls were seeking fame; but their attempt has backfired. Indeed, the Russian Orthodox Church is immensely popular, and all priests and many people deplored what the three singers did. Ultimately, the band members ended up in court, which sentenced each one of them respectively to two years in jail.

The sentence was not handed out because they criticized Putin, but because they sang and danced in a cathedral. One can only imagine the magnitude of reactions if a similar group had violated the sanctity of a mosque, synagogue or a Buddhist temple.

The Western press ignored the cathedral, to focus instead on Putin's dictatorship, and published political opinions by the singers about an upcoming revolution. There were several demonstrations in front of Russian embassies around the world, and conferences and events were held in solidarity with the three singers, amid a deliberate omission of the obscene act they perpetrated in violation of the sanctity of a cathedral, which offended millions of Russians.

There is a news story about Assange and Pussy Riot every day, when Syrians are being killed while the 'civilized' Western world turns a blind eye to their ongoing tragedy, doing nothing to help them more than statements and rubbing its hands.

(Jihad al-Khazen is a writer for Dar al-Hayat where this article was published on August 30, 2012)

AfPak Australia experiences deadliest day since start of Afghan war - Foreign Policy (blog)

New Post: Khalid Mafton, "The folly of reconciliation in Afghanistan" (FP).

Dark day down under

A man wearing an Afghan Army uniform and identified as Hekmatullah opened fire on Australian soldiers as they approached an Afghan Army base in Uruzgan Province on Wednesday where they planned to spend the night, killing three and wounding two (ReutersAPPostTelNYT). And early Thursday morning, just hours after the deadly "insider attack" two more Australian soldiers were killed in a helicopter crash in Helmand Province. The spate of deaths marked Australia's deadliest 24 hours in the 11-year war, and prompted Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard to cut short talks with Pacific nation leaders in the Cook Islands.

Reuters' Mirwais Harooni reported Wednesday on the soaring numbers of allegations against members of the Afghan Local Police (ALP) concerning human rights abuses and the violent settling of personal conflicts (Reuters).

Confirmation consensus

U.S. officials confirmed Wednesday that the number three commander of the Pakistan-based Haqqani Network, Badruddin Haqqani, was killed by a U.S. drone strike in North Waziristan last week, though they did not specify the date (Post). The Obama administration holds Badruddin responsible for planning a number of attacks against coalition troops in Afghanistan, including the siege of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul last September. Pakistani officials also confirmed the militant leader's death, and said it took place on August 24 in one of three consecutive strikes on militant hideouts in the Shawal Valley (AP).

Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari arrived in Tehran late Wednesday night for the Non-Aligned Movement Summit, on the sidelines of which he is expected to hold talks with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on improving relations between the two neighboring countries (ETBBC).

The judge hearing the case of Rimsha Masih, a young Pakistani Christian girl with possible mental illness accused of burning Islamic religious material, postponed her bail hearing on Thursday on the grounds that the government was trying to influence it (APCNNET). And gunmen in Balochistan ambushed a car carrying a Shi'a judge at a railway crossing as he traveled to work on Thursday, killing him, his driver, and his police bodyguard (AFP).

An account of the death of Osama bin Laden written under the pseudonym Mark Owen by a member of the SEAL team that conducted the raid on his compound last May gives a slightly different version of events than that of the White House, saying that bin Laden was shot immediately on sight and did not appear to pose a threat to the U.S. forces (NYTPost). While Owen's first-hand account of the raid is largely consistent with what is already public knowledge, Peter Bergen points out in a new CNN opinion piece that two other recently released books discussing the operation give off-base descriptions of not only the raid itself, but the entire planning and decision process leading up to it (CNN). Bergen reviews the Owen book in the Washington Post Thursday (Post).

Educational or misleading?

Pakistan's National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) has conducted a review of Pakistani school textbooks to identify disciminatory content against religions other than Islam, and recently published their findings in the hope that they will start a national debate on tolerance (ET). The review found a significant amount of biased material in the textbooks, including a line on Eid in an Islamic Studies book used in Sindh Province that says "people of other religions usually stay busy in useless activities during their religious festivals. There is no concept of God or submission among them."

-- Jennifer Rowland