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July 6, 2013

Asiana Boeing 777 crashes upon landing at San Francisco International Airport

Asiana Boeing 777 crashes upon landing at San Francisco International Airport

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Saturday, July 6, 2013

Smoke coming from the wreckage of the Asiana Boeing 777 at San Francisco International Airport.
Image: Jkhoo.

An Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 airplane crashed upon landing at San Francisco International Airport around 11:30 AM local time today. Flight #214, coming from Seoul, carrying 291 passengers — including one infant, and 16 crew members — crashed on runway 28L. Two deaths are reported and 10 passengers were taken to San Francisco General Hospital critically injured. In total, officials report 181 people were hospitalized and one person remains unaccounted for.

It is reported that when the airplane took off from Seoul, smoke was coming from the airplane. The weather was good as the plane was landing in San Francisco. According to David Eun, a passenger on the airplane and the executive vice president of Samsung, the tail came off of the plane upon landing. A non-passenger witness, Anthony Castorani, has reported that a fireball formed upon the plane landing and that the plane flipped over. A large portion of the passenger area of the plane was on fire and has burned out. Most of the plane’s tail is gone. Passengers were seen using emergency slides to escape the wreckage.

The cause of the crash is is unknown. There have been no reports stating that the airplane pilot made distress calls before the accident. Law enforcement does not believe the accident was the result of terrorism or criminal activity. The National Transportation Safety Board will be investigating the crash. Deborah Hersman will lead the investigation.

The airport was closed to all incoming and outgoing air and vehicle traffic until 3:30 PM local time, when it opened 2 runways. Over 330 flights were canceled at the airport. More than 70 flights headed to San Francisco were not allowed to land at the airport and were sent to other cities. Some flights have been diverted to Sacramento International Airport and Delta Air Lines has canceled 10 flights to and from San Francisco. United Airlines and Virgin America offered passengers the opportunity to change the flights at no extra cost until Monday.

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook Chief Operating Officer, was supposed to travel on the Asiana flight. She rescheduled, along with colleagues, her flight to fly on United Airlines instead. Her flight landed 20 minutes before the Asiana crash.

A Boeing 777 can hold as many as 300 passengers. Asiana is the second largest airline in South Korea.



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April 2, 2011

Southwest Airlines flight diverts due to \’rapid decompression in the cabin\’

Southwest Airlines flight diverts due to ‘rapid decompression in the cabin’

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Saturday, April 2, 2011

Southwest Airlines Flight 812 carrying 118 passengers between Phoenix, Arizona and Sacramento, California was forced to divert to the Yuma Marine Corps Air Station in Arizona, after a hole appeared in the top of the aircraft; the plane landed safely at Yuma.

The plane was forced to make an emergency descent down to 11,000 feet and reportedly descended 16,000 feet in one minute. One passenger identified as Cindy said, “[t]hey had just taken drink orders when I heard a huge sound and oxygen masks came down and we started making a rapid decent. They said we’d be making an emergency landing. There was a hole in the fuselage about three feet long. You could see the insulation and the wiring. You could see a tear the length of one of the ceiling panels.”

In a statement issued by Southwest Airlines they informed that, “Southwest Airlines Flight 812, the scheduled 3:25 pm departure from Phoenix to Sacramento today, diverted to Yuma, Ariz due to loss of pressurization in the cabin. Upon safely landing in Yuma, the flight crew discovered a hole in the top of the aircraft. There are no reported Customer injuries. One of the Flight Attendants, however, received a minor injury upon descent.”

Southwest Airlines have provided a replacement aircraft to take the 118 passengers to Sacramento. The National Transportation Safety Board confirmed it is investigating “an in-flight fuselage rupture.”



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May 15, 2010

California governor Schwarzenegger presents new budget plan

California governor Schwarzenegger presents new budget plan

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Saturday, May 15, 2010

California
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A map of California

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Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2008.
Image: Nate Mandos.

California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger unveiled a new budget plan for California on Friday, claiming that the Californian economy faces growth and budget problems like eurozone countries such as Greece and Ireland.

Schwarzenegger said in a Sacramento press conference that California must cut spending to US$12.4 billion.

To achieve this goal, the governor proposed cutting the CalWorks welfare system; however, state lawmakers quickly rejected this. Schwarzenegger said cutting the state welfare system for low-income families would save the state government $1.6 billion.

The governor also proposed freezing funds to local public schools and cutting state workers’ incomes.

He wants to cut programs for the treatment of narcotics addiction for those using Medi-Cal and cut state mental heath services by 60%.

California is set to receive monetary aid from Washington, D.C. worth $3.4 billion.

California State Senate president Darrell Steinberg, a Democrat, said, “The cuts are absolutely unacceptable,” and the governor should focus on delaying business tax cuts.



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October 30, 2009

Nine missing after US Coast Guard plane and Navy helicopter collide

Nine missing after US Coast Guard plane and Navy helicopter collide

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Friday, October 30, 2009

A similar helicopter to the one involved

A search and rescue mission is underway off the coast of California for nine people missing after a US Coast Guard plane collided in midair with a Navy helicopter. The plane, a C-130 Hercules transport, was carrying seven and two were on the AH-1 SuperCobra assault helicopter.

A file photo of a C-130 transport plane

Searchers from the Navy and Coast Guard have found floating debris from the aircraft. The collision occurred roughly 15 miles from San Clemente Island, and a pilot in the area witnessed a fireball. Some debris is confirmed as coming from a C-130. The plane and crew were based at Coast Guard Air Station Sacramento and the helicopter and crew were from the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing presence at Camp Pendleton.

According to Petty Officer Henry Dunphy, the airplane was equipped with survival gear. “We’re hoping to find survivors. We’re not ruling that out,” he said.

The rescue operation is being conducted by both air and sea. Lieutenant Josh Nelson of the Coast Guard said that “we are throwing everything we can at this right now,” adding that the crews were trained in survival techniques.



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October 9, 2009

Bus driver convicted of killing eleven after falling asleep in California crash

Bus driver convicted of killing eleven after falling asleep in California crash

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Friday, October 9, 2009

A bus driver thought to have caused a 2008 crash after falling asleep behind the wheel in California has been convicted of killing eleven on board. Quintin Watts was found guilty of eleven counts of gross vehicular manslaughter and 21 counts of causing great bodily injury.

Watts was driving a coach carrying 41 Hmong and Mien people from Sacramento to the Colusa Casino Resort. The vehicle left the country road it was traveling on and rolled over in Colusa County. Most of those on board were elderly.

Watts’ stepfather Daniel Cobb, who owned the bus company, was amongst those killed. A jury took three hours to return guilty verdicts against the 53-year-old driver, who now faces a maximum of 76 years in jail at his November 4 sentencing.



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June 18, 2009

U.S. President Barack Obama fires Inspector General Gerald Walpin amid controversy

U.S. President Barack Obama fires Inspector General Gerald Walpin amid controversy

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Politics and conflicts
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Washington, DC was the scene of growing controversy Wednesday evening over the firing of former Inspector General for the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) Gerald Walpin. U.S. President Barack Obama, who ordered Walpin’s termination last week, has been accused of doing so for dubious reasons. The chief of these is that Walpin had been aggressively pursuing an investigation into Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson’s purported misuse of federal grants meant for a nonprofit education fund.

Johnson is one of Obama’s good friends and supporters. Some journalists and pundits have speculated that this creates a conflict of interests and that Obama fired Walpin for damaging the reputation of one of his key allies. Making matters worse is that Walpin was reportedly given only one hour’s notice prior to his termination. This is in direct violation of a law that Obama voted to enact while a U.S. Senator, in which an inspector general must be notified thirty days before being fired.

Declining to comment on the apparent illegality of the termination, Obama insisted that political favoritism played no part in the seventy-seven-year-old Walpin’s firing. Whilst he gave no further reason himself, a letter written by White House staff members to Senate congressional leaders intended to allay their concerns over the firing stated that Walpin lost his job because he had acted “confused” and “disoriented” in a board meeting of the CNCS on May the 20th, 2009.

These statements were re-iterated by White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, who also stated that they were supported by the other members of the board at the meeting. Both Alan Solomont and Stephen Goldsmith, chairman and vice-chairman of the CNCS board respectively, stated that they strongly endorsed Obama’s decision to fire Walpin. In an attempt to answer questions regarding the validity of Walpin’s termination, the White House proclaimed that it was completely legal, but did not elaborate on why.

Walpin, however, does not agree with the Obama Administration’s assessments of his mental health or job performance and accused Obama of blatantly lying to the public about both. Giving credibility to Walpin’s defense is his attentive and alert behavior during numerous appearances on radio and television programs over the past seventy-two hours. During all of these appearances, he sharply refuted the Obama Administration’s claims about his mentality. In an exclusive interview with Fox News Channel on Wednesday, Walpin not only accused Obama of lying about him but said that the claims themselves were “absolutely wild”. He also said that he is now “the target of the most powerful man in this country” and that it seems like Obama’s primary goals are “to attack….and get rid of me”.

Other reasons given by the White House for firing Walpin, which he equally denies, include statements made by Norman Eisen, Special Counsel to the President for Ethics and Government Reform, in a letter to two Senators. In the letter, Eisen says that Walpin had insisted upon working from home, in New York, over the objections of the board and had “exhibited a lack of candor in providing material information to decision makers,” engaging in “troubling and inappropriate conduct.”

Walpin states that he worked from home with the agreement of the board, travelling to the office two or three times per week, adding that he had, in fact, intentions of resigning his position before Obama became president because of the difficulties the commute to work had caused between him and his wife.

He fully expects new attacks to be made against him by the Obama Administration in the coming days.



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August 8, 2008

Nader chosen as the presidential nominee of the Peace and Freedom Party

Nader chosen as the presidential nominee of the Peace and Freedom Party

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Friday, August 8, 2008

2008 United States Presidential Election
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2008 U.S. Presidential Election stories

Peace and Freedom Party presidential nominee Ralph Nader

Independent United States presidential candidate Ralph Nader and his running mate Matt Gonzalez were selected as the presidential and vice-presidential nominees of the California Peace and Freedom Party during its convention on August 2. Nader won the nomination with 46 votes or 60.7% of the ballots, edging out challengers Gloria La Riva, Brian Moore and Cynthia McKinney. The nomination guarantees ballot access for Nader in California, which accounts for 10% of the national vote.

Prior to the convention, Nader participated in a forum in Sacramento on August 1 with his three challengers. The meeting lasted three hours in a standing-room packed to capacity. After the forum, delegates from the party cast their ballots among the four candidates. Following Nader, La Riva, the nominee of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, received 27 votes. Moore, the nominee of the Socialist Party, received 10 votes and Green Party nominee McKinney finished in last place with 6 votes.

Following the nomination, the Peace and Freedom Party praised Nader and Gonzalez, arguing that, “both nominees agree with the fundamentals of the Peace and Freedom platform and bring with them a strong combination of experience, credibility, and legislative accomplishment.”

The party platform includes support for socialism, feminism and environmentalism.




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June 12, 2007

Bail denied in Laos overthrow plot, Hmong protest

Bail denied in Laos overthrow plot, Hmong protest

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Laos
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  • 28 December 2009: Thailand begins repatriation of Hmong migrants to Laos
  • 9 August 2009: Wikinews Shorts: August 9, 2009
  • 20 June 2007: Suspect in Laos plot detained in Thailand; suspects plead not guilty in California
  • 15 June 2007: 11th suspect arrested in Laos overthrow plot; indictments handed down
  • 12 June 2007: Bail denied in Laos overthrow plot, Hmong protest
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Tuesday, June 12, 2007 File:Vangpao.png

Vang Pao circa 1962 to circa 1964.
(Image missing from commons: image; log)

Vang Pao, the Hmong military leader charged with plotting to overthrow the government of Laos, was ordered yesterday by a United States federal court judge to remain in custody without bail.

U.S. Magistrate Edmund Brennan ruled that Vang Pao, 77, despite his age and ill health, posed too great a danger and a flight risk to be released.

“It’s not up to private groups to decide which countries the United States should be at war with and at peace with,” Brennan said.

Vang Pao and nine other people, mostly members of the Hmong immigrant community in California’s Central Valley, were arrested last week in a sting operation by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Authorities say the group was planning to buy a cache of arms, ship them to Thailand and then smuggle them into Laos, where they would blow up government buildings in Vientiane, the Laotian capital.

Outside the federal courthouse in Sacramento, California yesterday, about 2,000 white-clad supporters rallied for Vang Pao’s release, holding portraits of the former Royal Lao Army general and waving signs saying “Honor your war heroes – don’t jail them” and “Free our leader.”

“He is to us like George Washington is to American citizens,” Vang Zang, a Hmong leader from Minnesota was quoted as saying to the crowd by the Sacramento Bee. “The government has wrongly accused our father. But the moment he is released, he will go up ten times in popularity.”

Vang Pao led a covert Hmong army backed by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency during the Laotian Civil War, or the “Secret War”, which paralleled the U.S. fight against communism in Vietnam and the Vietnam War.

Since immigrating to the U.S. after the fall of Laos to communism in 1975, Vang Pao has become an American citizen and is viewed as a folk hero by the Hmong people.

Vang Pao’s attorneys are Thomas Heffelfinger, a former federal prosecutor hired by Vang Pao’s supporters, and John Balazs, a court-appointed defense lawyer from Sacramento. They argued that Vang Pao is “a man of peace” and too old and infirm to be jailed. Doing so, Balazs said, “could be a death sentence.”

It’s possible that Vang Pao could safely be released to house arrest and that access to communications devices be restricted, Balaz told the magistrate.

Nonetheless, Balazs also described his client as “a warrior, this is a legal battle, and he’s in it to the end.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Bob Twiss argued that Vang Pao is too dangerous and influential, and could still organize a plot no matter what restrictions were placed on him if he were freed.

“Thousands of people came here on the day of his detention hearing,” Twiss was quoted as saying in an interview with Associated Press. “If General Vang Pao were to pick up a cellphone, is there any doubt they wouldn’t execute his order? To me, it was an indication of his ability to effectuate action indirectly.”


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June 5, 2007

Ten charged with plot to overthrow Laos government

Ten charged with plot to overthrow Laos government

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Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Laos
Other stories from Laos
  • 28 December 2009: Thailand begins repatriation of Hmong migrants to Laos
  • 9 August 2009: Wikinews Shorts: August 9, 2009
  • 20 June 2007: Suspect in Laos plot detained in Thailand; suspects plead not guilty in California
  • 15 June 2007: 11th suspect arrested in Laos overthrow plot; indictments handed down
  • 12 June 2007: Bail denied in Laos overthrow plot, Hmong protest
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Pha That Luang in Vientiane, the national symbol of Laos.
Image: Siren-Com..

Ten people, including former Royal Lao Army general Vang Pao, 77, and a former United States Army officer Harrison Jack, 60, were arrested Monday in six different cities in California, USA after authorities with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), uncovered a plot to bring down the government of Laos.

Suspects were arrested in Chico, Fresno, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Stockton and Woodland.

The plot, said prosecutors, involved obtaining C-4 explosives, AK-47 rifles, rockets, land mines and Stinger missiles, which were to be shipped to Thailand, and then used to take down the main branch of the Laotian government by blowing up the government’s main buildings in Vientiane, the capital of Laos.

The bombs would be deployed using “special operation mercenaries,” but undercover agents working with the ATF foiled the plot when the suspects were tricked into buying the weapons and supplies they needed from the undercover agents. The government’s investigation was dubbed “Operation Tarnished Eagle”.

“These defendants had developed an audacious plan to overthrow the government of Laos, and were seeking to arm themselves with automatic rifles, rockets and surface-to-air missiles,” said the assistant to the U.S. Attorney General, Kenneth Wainstein in a statement to the press.

“The individuals arrested today thought an arms dealer would provide the necessary weapons and personnel to assist them in the violent overthrow of another government. An undercover ATF agent led them to believe he could fulfill their needs,” said acting ATF director Michael Sullivan in a statement to the press.

According to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court, the plot was put together by a Lao liberation movement known as Neo Hom, led in the U.S. by Vang Pao, and had conducted extensive fund-raising activities, surveillance operations and an insurgent force within Laos.

Vang Pao led Hmong forces backed by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency against the communist Pathet Lao in the “Secret War” in Laos in the 1960s and 1970s. He served in the Royal Army of Laos, holding the rank of major general. After the fall of Laos to the communists in 1975, Vang Pao immigrated to the U.S., where he is a folk hero among Laotian refugees. There were plans to name an elementary school after him in Wisconsin, which is home to many Hmong people.

Map of Laos showing the capital, Vientiane.

Another man named in the charges, Jack, is a former California National Guard lieutenant colonel and a 1968 West Point graduate. He was involved in covert operations during the Vietnam War. Jack acted as an arms broker and organizer of the plot, according to the criminal complaint.

Most of the remaining suspects had fought in Laos with Vang Pao, the complaint said. Among those named in the complaint are seven prominent members of the Hmong community in California’s Central Valley. They are:

  • Lo Cha Thao, 34, of Clovis in Fresno County. Had worked as an aide to a former Wisconsin state senator.
  • Lo Thao, 53, of Sacramento County, president of United Hmong International (also known as the Supreme Council of the Hmong 18 Clans).
  • Youa True Vang, 60, of Fresno, founder of Fresno’s Hmong International New Year.
  • Hue Vang, 39, of Fresno, a former Clovis police officer. Director of United Lao Council for Peace, Freedom, and Reconstruction.
  • Chong Yang Thao, 53, a Fresno chiropractor.
  • Seng Vue, 68, of Fresno, member of United Hmong International.
  • Chue Lo, 59, of Stockton, member of United Hmong International.

A tenth person arrested, but not yet charged, was Nhia Kao Vang of Rancho Cordova, California.

Laotian and Thai reaction

The Laotian government welcomed the arrests. “We praise the U.S. government as the group committed wrong doing against the Laos government which has good relations with the US,” said Yong Chanthalangsy, Laotian Foreign Ministry spokesman.

Thailand, which was to be used as a transit country for the arms, said it would investigate the plot as well. “Thailand has a clear policy not to allow any party to use our territory as a lunching pad against our neighbors,” said Tharit Charungvat, Thai Foreign Ministry spokesman.

In the past year, Thailand has had to deal with a stream of Hmong refugees, and has been forcibly repatriating them to Laos. Many of the refugees said they were associates of Secret War veterans and were fleeing from persecution. They hoped to follow other Hmong refugees to the West.

Laos spokesman Yong said the Hmong in Thailand were not fighters but victims of human traffickers, and that dissident groups had been long ago been suppressed in Laos. “The arrest of Vang Pao and his group might not have direct impact to Laos as we have nothing to do with them, but it would be a good news for Hmong minorities since the traffickers would have no excuse to lure them to Thailand to seek resettlement in the U.S. with Vang Pao,” Yong said.

On Monday, Thai and Laotian officials met in Bangkok to discuss border security issues, and the two countries agreed to deport the Hmong in Thailand to Laos, Yong said.

Both Laos and Vietnam remain under communist governments. In 2005, the U.S. normalized trade agreements with Laos.

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May 17, 2007

Whales that swam into Sacramento River are injured

Filed under: Archived,California,Sacramento,Science and technology,World — admin @ 5:00 am

Whales that swam into Sacramento River are injured

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

A Humpback Whale.

Marine biologists say that the two lost, mother and male calf Humpback Whales that swam into the Sacramento River in Sacramento, California, have sustained injuries from a boat propeller blade and need medical attention if they do not return to their homes in the Pacific Ocean.

The injuries were first spotted when pictures were taken of the whales by biologists at the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, California. They then enlarged all the photographs using a computer and determined the extent of the injuries.

“The injury on the female is about 2 feet long, 6 inches deep, and has sharp edges typical of a propeller wound. We don’t think it’s life-threatening. The calf has a wound that looks a little bit more severe than the female,” said Director of Veterinary Science at the Mammal Center, Frances Gulland who added that the calf was a bit more difficult to assess because the injuries are located on his back side which remains under water.

Biologists will attempt to lure the whales back into the ocean using sounds recorded from other Humpback Whales. A boat will be used to send the sounds underwater during low tide. No boats or ships are allowed in the river during the operation.

The two whales are reported to have traveled from the waters off Baja California, Mexico.

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