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June 30, 2007

Wife of missing soldier receives green card

Filed under: Archived,Crime and law,John Kerry,North America,United States — admin @ 5:00 am

Wife of missing soldier receives green card

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Saturday, June 30, 2007

Yaderlin (Hiraldo) Jimenez, the wife of missing US soldier Spc. Alex Jimenez, who was due to be deported has been granted a Green Card by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Mrs. Jimenez’s Immigration troubles began shortly after her wedding to Spc. Jimenez on June 14, 2004, at Fort Drum, NY where his U.S. Army unit was stationed. When the couple attempted to cross the border between the U.S. and Canada on their honeymoon, the newlyweds were detained, held for several hours and released.

In 2006, the couple were granted a deferment of immigration proceedings until Spc. Jimenez returned from his second tour of duty in Iraq. However on June 20 the government announced its intent to deport Yaderlin Jimenez, despite the fact that her husband was declared missing along with two other soldiers, last month.

The case quickly received national attention and the involvement of influential U.S. Senators Ted Kennedy and John Kerry. Two days later, Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff announced that he had instructed immigration authorities to take immediate action to resolve the case of Yaderlin Jimenez.

Yesterday, while standing victorious with his client on the steps of Citizenship and Naturalization Services building in downtown Buffalo, NY, Jimenez’s attorney Matthew Kolken said now that this ordeal is behind her, she can return to “using all of her focus and energies to hope and pray that her husband’s going to come home alive.”

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Two American soldiers charged in Iraqi murders

Two American soldiers charged in Iraqi murders

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Saturday, June 30, 2007

Iraq War
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On Saturday, the US military announced the arrests of two American soldiers alleged to have been involved in three separate premeditated murders of Iraqi civilians, and the planting of weapons around the crime scene to pretend the victims were insurgents.

The incidents occurred over the past two months in Iskandariyah, 50 kilometres south of Baghdad. The investigation began when fellow soldiers in the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment reported the alleged events to their superiors.

Spc. Jorge G. Sandoval, 22, was arrested Tuesday while on a 2-week leave at his family’s home in Laredo, Texas and charged with one count of premeditated murder and one count of placing a weapon on the victim.

Staff Sgt. Michael A. Hensley, who comes from Candler, North Carolina, was arrested at a military base in Kuwait on Thursday and charged with three counts of premeditated murder, three counts of obstruction of justice and three counts of placing weapons around the victims.

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Spain\’s Ibiza airport evacuated after bomb alert

Spain’s Ibiza airport evacuated after bomb alert

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Saturday, June 30, 2007

ETA incidents
Location of Basque Country, an autonomous community in Spain.
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Euskadi Ta Askatasuna, or ETA, is a Basque nationalist paramilitary organization active in Spain and France. The organization’s goal is sovereignty for Basque Country and it uses both political and violent means to further its cause.

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Police have detonated a suspicious package in the airport of Ibiza, (Spain), which had been evacuated after a newspaper received a bomb threat made in the name of Basque separatist group ETA. About 3,000 tourists were evacuated from the airport, and hundreds of flights have either been delayed or cancelled.

Spain has been on a heightened alert since ETA declared an end to a unilateral ceasefire on June 5.

Ibiza is a very popular tourist destination, especially due to its legendary nightlife. Thousands of people flood in during the summer for the big summer club nights.

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MI5 terror threat warning level raised to \’critical\’

MI5 terror threat warning level raised to ‘critical’

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Saturday, June 30, 2007

Cquote1.svg I can confirm that the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC) has raised the national threat level to critical. This is in response to the events of the last 48 hours. Cquote2.svg

—Home Secretary Jacqui Smith

The United Kingdom’s Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC), a division of the security agency MI5, has raised its threat level to critical. Critical denotes that a terrorist attack is expected imminently. The threat is noted as being from al-Qaida, groups associated with al-Qaida, and other Islamic extremists. The change was made as a result of an earlier incident where a burning jeep drove into Glasgow Airport, which has been linked to the attempted London car bombings of the previous day.

MI5 also indicated that, although the threat comes principally from al-Qaida and related networks, Northern Ireland-related terrorism remains a threat.

In a press release Saturday, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said, “I can confirm that JTAC has raised the national threat level to critical. This is in response to the events of the last 48 hours. Critical is the highest level of threat, and the threat level will be closely reviewed on a regular basis. Appropriate security measures have been put in place.”

A terror alert system was set up by the UK government to keep the public informed about the level of threat to the UK from terrorism. According to the Home Office, the likelihood of a terrorist attack taking place in the UK is identified in following threat levels:

  • critical – an attack is expected imminently
  • severe – an attack is highly likely
  • substantial – an attack is a strong possibility
  • moderate – an attack is possible but not likely
  • low – an attack is unlikely

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Four killed as missile strikes aircraft carrying Ivory Coast PM Guillaume Soro

Four killed as missile strikes aircraft carrying Ivory Coast PM Guillaume Soro

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Saturday, June 30, 2007

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The Prime Minister of the Ivory Coast, Guillaume Soro, has escaped uninjured after a missile struck his aircraft upon landing at Bouaké Airport, Ivory Coast, killing four others, according to eyewitnesses.

According to a United Nations (UN) employee who saw the attack, a total of three missiles were fired. One struck and rebounded off the fuselage and failed to explode, one flew over the top of the aircraft and exploded nearby and one burst through the fuselage and exploded inside the cabin. There were also some gunshots fired.

Shortly after the attack, the Forces Nouvelles de Côte d’Ivoire (New Forces of the Ivory Coast) announced several arrests had been made in connection to the failed assassination attempt.

One male New Forces administrative assistant from on board the plane who refused to be identified spoke to the media via telephone from a local hospital where he was being treated for an injury to his arm, and gave the following account of the attack: “There was an explosion and it was panic. The plane had just landed and we waited until the plane came to a stop. We tried to calm people down until the plane stopped…Those who fired must have been in the bush. I didn’t see anyone. I don’t know if anyone saw them.”

Allan Aliali, a journalist on board to cover the arrival of Soro, described seeing three dead bodies in the plane, but was unable to identify them. This was later confirmed by New Forces spokesman Sidiki Konate, who said a fourth victim died later from his injuries.

A planned ceremony to mark the official return of magistrates to the north under an Ivory Cost peace deal went ahead as scheduled, after which Konate told reporters “Be assured, the most important thing for us is to advance in this peace process and nothing can stop us. This process cannot be assassinated,”.

Currently, there is a military buffer zone splitting the country in two and policed by the UN, but a new peace deal in March is leading to progress in dismantling it.

The UN security council condemned the attack, and urged all involved in the current power conflict to respect the peace deal there. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also gave his personal condemnation of the attack, saying that the peace deal “represents a unique opportunity for a peaceful solution to the protracted Ivorian crisis.” The UN security council said it condemned and any attempt to destabilize the peace process by force” and that “The perpetrators of this criminal act must be brought to justice…(it is) critical that all parties continue to work within the framework of the March 4 peace agreement.”

Security was stepped up in Bouaké after the attack, with a security cordon set up around the New Forces headquarters, troops deployed at the airport and roadblocks set up at various points across the city. Meanwhile, in London and New York prices for cocoa, which the Ivory Coast is the biggest supplier of, rose to their highest levels in four years as news of the attack came through.

International Crisis Group analyst Gilles Yabi said of the attack “It’s too soon to know who was responsible, but clearly we’re thinking about people in Soro’s own movement who are not happy with the way things have turned out…The agreement was a real step forward in the peace process, but it was still fragile because the (citizen) identification process had not yet begun…and of course because of tensions in the rebel [New Forces] camp”.

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Car driven into Glasgow International Airport

Car driven into Glasgow International Airport

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Saturday, June 30, 2007

Glasgow International Airport in Renfrewshire, Scotland was evacuated after a green Jeep Cherokee struck the airport’s terminal building and burst into flames at 1511 BST.

An eyewitness told the BBC that “[A] man was on fire.” All flights are grounded, and two men have been arrested and the United Kingdom has raised the national threat level to “critical” which means another terror attack is imminent.

Eyewitnesses described a Jeep speeding toward the building with flames coming out from underneath. They also reported seeing two Asian men in the car, one of whom was on fire.

Cquote1.svg We saw a green Cherokee drive straight into the front door of the airport but it got jammed. They were obviously trying to get it further inside the airport as the wheels were spinning and smoke was coming from them. One of the men, I think it was the driver, brought out a plastic petrol canister and poured it under the car. He then set light to it. Cquote2.svg

—Lynsey McBean, 26

The BBC quoted an eyewitness as saying that two attempts were made to ram the Jeep through the wall, and that the passenger was holding a lit Molotov Cocktail and made several attempts to throw the bottle.

The front of the building where the attack took place

The Strathclyde Police Chief announced that the event is being linked to the earlier attempted car bombings in London, and as such is being treated as a terrorist investigation.

Eyewitnesses are now saying that one of the two men was pouring bottles of petrol into the car’s interior and onto himself, before running from the car, on fire, into the main terminal building. Witnesses have also reported that gas cylinders were removed by bystanders from the burning vehicle.

According to the BBC, the driver of the vehicle put up a violent struggle before being overpowered by the police and public. One person who tackled him was Stephen Clarkson, a member of the public.

Richard Gray, an eyewitness to the event, stated “There was an Asian guy who was pulled out of the car by two police officers.”

Seven people have been taken to local hospitals with injuries.

Police said that this incident was a deliberate attempt and not a road accident. Officials have also said that the incident is connected to earlier attempted car bombings in London the day before.

Two people have been arrested, one of whom was badly burned. Seven known casualties, including the Asian male have been taken to the Royal Alexandra Hospital, Paisley.

While the suspect was being treated in the hospital, a suspect device was discovered in the hospital, resulting in the partial evacuation of the building while the device was moved to a safe area. This object later turned out to be mundane, although initial reports believed it to be a suicide belt.

Cquote1.svg The first duty of the Government is the security and safety of all the British people, So it is right to raise the levels of security at airports and in crowded places in the light of the heightened threat. I know that the British people will stand together: united, resolute and strong. Cquote2.svg

—Gordon Brown

The BBC announced that the Prime Minister is being kept fully informed. He chaired a meeting of Civil Contingencies Committee (COBRA) at 1900 (BST), after which the Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, announced that the national threat level been elevated from “Severe” to “Critical”, meaning another attack is expected “imminently.”

Officials at Edinburgh Airport have said that all cars are being turned away from the airport, and at Heathrow in London, passengers are being advised not to bring private cars near to the terminal buildings. Some passengers were kept waiting in planes while the area was secured.

The first bomber, who was taken to Govan high security prison, has now been interviewed, though no further statements from Strathclyde police have been forthcoming. The second bomber, who was taken to the Royal Alexandria hospital in Paisley, is listed in critical condition tonight, and is being kept under 24-hour guard.

2,300 passengers who were due to set off from Glasgow Airport today have been driven by coach to a conference centre, where a reception area has been set up for them.

Two people were arrested by The Metropolitan Police Anti-Terrorist Branch on the M6 motorway in Cheshire in connection with the Glasgow International Airport attack and attempted London car bombings.

The Prime Minister Gordon Brown is expected to hold another COBRA meeting with other members of the Cabinet today. This will be the fifth COBRA meeting in 48 hours.

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Police Incident Room
The public inquiry number for the Strathclyde Police is: 0800 056 0944
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Anti-Terrorist Hotline Number
For providing information to authorities about terrorist activities, contact the anti-terrorism hotline at: 0800 789 321

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America\’s Cup: Alinghi are fifth race victors

America’s Cup: Alinghi are fifth race victors

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Saturday, June 30, 2007

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The America’s Cup Trophy.
Image: Bob Covarrubias..
(Image missing from commons: image; log)

Team New Zealand’s boat with Alinghi in the background.
Image: Rick Rowland.

The Swiss yachting team, Alinghi, have defeated Team New Zealand in the fifth race for the 32nd America’s Cup. The overall score is now 3-2 to Alinghi.

Alinghi won the race by 19 seconds, though throughout the pre-start race each yacht was within close distance of each other. Team New Zealand, racing with NZL-92, crossed the start line first and reached a 12 second lead at the first mark. But when Team New Zealand were preparing to fly a new kite, their spinnaker ripped in two and went flying into the air. Their second spinnaker was not tied on properly and the third one got tangled half way up.

Team New Zealand managed to free the first two and untangle the third to continue the race, making up some of the 140 metres Alinghi had created in the three minute hold up.

Grant Dalton, managing director of Team New Zealand, said, “That was an important race and it wasn’t one we should have lost on a mistake on a move we’ve practised time and again.”

The team first to five wins, wins the “Auld Mug“.

Related news

  • “America’s Cup: Team New Zealand wins third race” — Wikinews, June 27, 2007
  • “America’s Cup: Team New Zealand wins over Alinghi in second race” — Wikinews, June 25, 2007
  • “America’s Cup: Alinghi wins first race over Team New Zealand” — Wikinews, June 24, 2007

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Mississippi Gulf Coast may soon lose landmark

Mississippi Gulf Coast may soon lose landmark

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Saturday, June 30, 2007

During Hurricane Camille in 1969, a 72-foot tugboat named the East Point washed ashore on Gulfport’s West Beach. Lucille Moody, a beachfront property owner renamed the boat the S.S. Hurricane Camille and built a gift shop behind it, after moving it on specially built railroad tracks. The boat and gift shop became a popular attraction for tourists visiting the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

But on August 29, 2005 Hurricane Katrina came ashore pushing a 20-plus foot storm surge leaving mostly everything on the beachfront destroyed. Only a few things were standing including the Biloxi Lighthouse, the Friendship Oak, and the S.S. Hurricane Camille. Lucille Moody decided not to rebuild the gift shop, so there the S.S. Camille stands, a rusted hulk on a beachfront that is quickly rebuilding.

People want it gone, suggesting it is an “eyesore”, but others suggest this historic object be preserved, especially after the loss of historic sites including Grass Lawn and Tullis-Toledo Manor. They suggest a coat of paint and some repairs could make the boat much more appealing.

Sources

  • Joshua Joffrion. “[ S.S.Camille May Soon Be Gone]” — The Gulfport Gazette, June 13, 2007
  • John Jackson. “[ Save The S.S. Camille]” — The Sun Herald, June 21, 2007

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June 29, 2007

Lady Bird Johnson released from Austin hospital

Lady Bird Johnson released from Austin hospital

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Friday, June 29, 2007

White House portrait

Lady Bird Johnson and an unidentified woman look on as Muriel Humphrey, wife of Vice President Hubert Humphrey shovels dirt around a dogwood tree planted along I-95 in Virginia, during her “Landscape-Landmark Tour” on May 11, 1965.

Former First Lady “Lady Bird” Johnson was released Thursday after a week at Seton Hospital after being admitted for tests because she was not feeling well. She is the widow of Lyndon B. Johnson, President of the United States from 1963 to 1969. She is best known for her conservation and beautification efforts involving wildflowers and roadsides.

As President Johnson and his wife, Lady Bird Johnson, criss-crossed States by road during the 1964 presidential campaign, she informed her husband of her feelings about the roadside junkyards they saw along the way. Inspired by her comments and enthusiasm from audiences, he observed “If it’s beautifying they want, it’s beautifying they’ll get.” Recognizing that “ours is an automobile society,” the President did not want to curtail roads. He wanted to make roads the “highways to the enjoyment of nature and beauty.” Lady Bird thought that her love of seeing Texas highways in spring had influenced her husband. She enjoyed the results of Texan wildflower conservation programs which began in the 1930s.

One of the most prominent results of the President’s beauty initiative was the Highway Beautification Act of 1965. It created restrictions on billboards and junkyards. As expected, it had been controversial. When the House considered its version of the bill on October 7, the debate lasted into the early morning hours of October 8. A pointed but tongue-in-cheek amendment by Representative Robert Dole (R-Kan.) to strike out the term “Secretary of Commerce” wherever it appeared in the bill and insert the words “Lady Bird” lost by a voice vote. Saying, “Beauty belongs to all the people,” the President signed the bill and gave the first pen to Lady Bird, along with a kiss on the cheek.

In 1982, she founded the National Wildflower Research Center to continue the mission of changing public attitudes toward native plants. In 1997 it was renamed the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Former Japan Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa dies at 87

Filed under: Archived,Asia,Japan,Obituaries — admin @ 5:00 am

Former Japan Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa dies at 87

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Friday, June 29, 2007

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Kiichi Miyazawa, left, meets in 1999 with U.S. Secretary of Treasury Robert Rubin. At the time, Miyazawa was serving as minister of finance.

Former Japanese Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa died at his home in Tokyo yesterday at the age of 87.

He served as the prime minister of Japan from 1991 to 1993.

Miyazawa was born on October 8, 1919, in Fukuyama, Hiroshima Prefecture. He graduated from Tokyo Imperial University with a degree in law. He joined the Ministry of Finance in 1942, and in 1953, he was elected to the Diet of Japan.

In the 1970s and ’80s, he held a number of positions in government, including Minister of International Trade and Industry in 1970-71, Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1974 to 1976, Director General of the Economic Planning Agency in 1977-78, and Chief Cabinet Secretary from 1984 to 1986.

He was Minister of Finance under Prime Minister Noboru Takeshita in 1987, but resigned in 1988 amid the “Recruit” insider-trading scandal.

Elected prime minister in 1991 as a member of the conservative Liberal Democratic Party, he tried unsuccessfully to save the economy following the bursting of an asset-speculation “bubble” in the late 1980s, and also tried to push through political reform bills.

“A nation can be governed either by the rule of right or the rule of might. I will not stand by the rule of might. The position of prime minister should not be acquired by really trying to,” he was once quoted as saying.

It was during a state dinner on January 8, 1992 that U.S. President George H. W. Bush vomited in Miyazawa’s lap and then fainted. A new Japanese verb arose after incident: “bushu-suru” or “bushuru”, meaning “to commit an instance of embarrassing public vomiting” or literally “to do a Bush.”

Miyazawa stepped down as prime minister in June 1993 after a no-confidence motion against his Cabinet was submitted by opposition parties and approved by lower house of the Diet with the support of rival Liberal Democratic Party factions.

He subsequently served as finance minister in the Cabinets of Keizo Obuchi and Yoshiro Mori, who drafted him to rescue Japan from another financial crisis.

He retired as a legislator in October 2003 when he abandoned seeking re-election at the strong urging of then-prime minister Junichiro Koizumi.

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