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September 28, 2010

Utah police investigate polygamist family from reality show ‘Sister Wives’

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

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The polygamist family at the center of the new TLC reality television series Sister Wives are now the subject of a criminal investigation. Yesterday, following Sunday’s debut of Sister Wives, police in Lehi, Utah, where the show is set, announced they are investigating Kody Brown and his four wives for possible charges of bigamy.

Sister Wives focuses on Brown, his four wives—Meri, Janelle, Christine and Robyn—and his 13 children and three step-children. The family has said they are participating in the show to bring more public awareness to polygamist families and fight societal prejudices.

Brown has claimed the arrangement is not illegal because he is only legally married to Meri, and the other marriages are only spiritual unions. However, Lehi police said yesterday that state laws identify bigamy through cohabitation, not just legal contracts. The department plans to turn their findings over to the Utah Attorney General’s office at the conclusion of their investigation.

TLC contacted the state attorney general’s office before the series was broadcast in anticipation of potential legal issues. The office has not explicitly stated they will not charge the Browns, but has stated they do not have the resources to prosecute polygamists unless they are suspected of serious crimes, like child abuse and child trafficking.



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September 27, 2010

Titanic actress Gloria Stuart dies at age 100

Titanic actress Gloria Stuart dies at age 100

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Monday, September 27, 2010

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Gloria Stuart in the 1934 comedy-drama film Here Comes the Navy.

Gloria Stuart, US Academy Award nominated film actress, has died at the age of 100. Stuart died at her home in West Los Angeles, and her death was announced by her daughter, Sylvia Thompson. Stuart had been suffering from lung cancer for five years before her death.

She appeared in films such as The Invisible Man (1933) Here Comes the Navy (1934), and Titanic (1997).

Stuart started her career in the 1930s as one of Hollywood‘s leading ladies. Between 1932 and 1939, Stuart appeared in 42 films. During the prime of her career, Stuart appeared with actresses such as Shirley Temple, Warner Baxter, and Dick Powell. She officially retired in 1946, after only making four films during the 1940s.

Despite her retirement, Stuart appeared in James Cameron‘s 1997 adaptation of Titanic, where she was cast as Old Rose, a survivor of the disaster and narrator of the film. Stuart was then nominated for an Academy Award, becoming the oldest ever person to be nominated, at the age of 87.

After her appearance she found new fame, being given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2000, and People Magazine listed her as one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the World.



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Southwest Airlines to purchase AirTran Airways for US$1.4 billion

Southwest Airlines to purchase AirTran Airways for US$1.4 billion

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Monday, September 27, 2010

A Southwest Airlines aircraft. Currently, the airline only serves the US market; however, if they successfully purchase AirTran Airways they will gain international routes to Mexico and the Caribbean.
Image: Luiz Eduardo.

An AirTran airplane. The company flew 23,998,000 passengers in 2009.
Image: Cubbie_n_Vegas .

Low-cost US airline Southwest Airlines announced Monday that it would buy its low-cost rival AirTran Airways for US$1.4 billion. The merger announcement comes just days after United Airlines sealed a merger deal with Continental Airlines.

“The acquisition of AirTran represents a unique opportunity to grow Southwest Airlines’ presence in key markets we don’t yet serve and takes a significant step towards positioning us for future growth,” Gary Kelly, CEO of Southwest, said after the merger was announced.

The Southwest-AirTran deal, which awaits antitrust regulatory approval, will gain Southwest a larger US network. By merging with AirTran, Southwest will also be a strong competitor in Eastern United States cities such as New York City, New York, Charlotte, North Carolina, Atlanta, Georgia and Washington, D.C., cities that Southwest had previously not touched much. Southwest also will be going international for the first time, inheriting AirTran’s Mexican and Caribbean routes. The newly merged company would keep Southwest’s name and livery.

Southwest will be offering AirTran stockholders US$7.69 per share. That’s 69% more than AirTran’s Friday, September 24 closing price. However, AirTran stock shot up 62% to $7.36 on Monday, while Southwest’s stock rose more modestly to US$14.01. Delta Air Lines stock declined by 2% on Monday, as Southwest will gain an AirTran hub at Atlanta, which is also Delta’s primary hub.

The new airline would carry over 100 million passengers, creating the world’s fourth largest airline. Last year, Southwest carried 101,338,000 passengers, while AirTran carried 23,998,000 fliers. Southwest will be 25% larger after the merger is completed.

Debate over airfare hikes

Though some people worry that airfares will go up, as people worried about during the United-Continental merger, others, including Southwest, aren’t too worried. “America needs this now. You could go from Rochester, N.Y., to somewhere on AirTran, and from Charlotte to somewhere on AirTran. But with this deal you can now go just about anywhere in the country, and to the Caribbean and Mexico, on Southwest.. . With the more than 100 destinations that Southwest will now have, all the legacy airlines will have to set their prices based on whatever Southwest does,” says Tom Parsons of BestFares.com. Parsons also said that “I think America is going to very happy that now they can fly coast-to-coast between 100 U.S. cities and make the legacy airlines be more competitive with the style of Southwest and their low fees.”

Consumer advocate Clark Howard also weigned in with a positive remark on the deal. “It’s so good for the flying public. This is an opportunity for a discounter to have the kind of heft and national reach of the full-fare airlines,” he said.

Southwest even has said that fares could go down, as the “Southwest effect”, which is supposed to stimulate competition, “has the potential to stimulate over two million new passengers and over US$200 million in consumer savings, annually” in Atlanta, according to the company. After the merger, Southwest also plans to drop AirTran’s checked baggage fees of US$20-25. Southwest currently does not charge for checked baggage.

Others aren’t as thrilled with the merger of the low-cost airlines. “This is truly a shocker, and it can only mean further consolidation. I don’t think anyone really saw this coming. More than any recent merger, it spells bad news for low fares, since both airlines were leaders in the low fare space and had frequent, almost weekly, sales. I can only imagine that now pressure is on for American to find a partner, and also US Airways, and that will lead to even less fare competition.” says George Hobica, of airfarewatchdog.com. Hobica also said that “The era of irrational, stupid, destructive fare sales is over. This is the new normal. JetBlue now has permission to raise prices between Baltimore and Boston. Other airlines now have permission to raise prices between Washington, D.C., and Florida.”

Though Hobica was generally pessimistic about the deal, he did state that the Southwest takeover would be a win for AirTran customers, “because Southwest has better service than AirTran and lower fees.”


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President of Kosovo Fatmir Sejdiu resigns over breach of constitution

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President of Kosovo Fatmir Sejdiu resigns over breach of constitution

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Monday, September 27, 2010

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Fatmir Sejdiu was the second President of Kosovo

Fatmir Sejdiu, the President of Kosovo, has resigned from his post. He resigned after a court ruled that he had breached the constitution by holding the post of president and being the leader of a political party at the same time. President Sejdiu is also the leader of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK).

Sejdiu announced his resignation during a press conference. He said “I presented my resignation for the post of Kosovo president today. I was convinced that keeping the function of the president of the Democratic League of Kosovo without exercising it did not violate the constitution, the court had a different opinion and I respect the ruling.”

A complaint against Sejdiu had attracted the support of 32 members of parliament. Today the constitutional court of Kosovo ruled that Sejdiu breached the constitution by holding the posts of president of Kosovo and of the LDK.

Sejdiu became president in February 2006 after the death of Ibrahim Rugova and the nation declared independence from Serbia in 2008, subsequently becoming recognised by over 70 countries. At the time of his resignation Sejdiu was preparing for talks with Serbia over the possibility of joining the European Union.



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Owner of Segway Jimi Heselden dies after scooter cliff fall aged 62

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Owner of Segway Jimi Heselden dies after scooter cliff fall aged 62

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File photo of a Segway PT – Heselden acquired the company in 2010
Image: Gawrisch.

The British millionaire businessman and owner of Segway, Inc., the manufacturer of Segway PT, Jimi Heselden OBE, has died after apparently crashing one of the company’s electric scooters over a cliff in West Yorkshire, England. He was 62 years old. Heselden, who was pronounced dead at the scene, is thought to have crashed his scooter into the River Wharfe while riding around his estate.

A spokeswoman from West Yorkshire Police released a statement confirming Heselden’s death. She said “Police were called at 1140 yesterday to reports of a man in the River Wharfe, apparently having fallen from the cliffs above.” She added that a “Segway type” vehicle had been recovered from the water.

After working in the mines after leaving school, he founded Hesco Bastion after being made redundant in the 1980s. He acquired Segway PT in 2010 with Hesco Bastion. A spokesperson for the company said: “It is with great sadness that we have to confirm that Jimi Heselden OBE, has died in a tragic accident near his home in West Yorkshire. Jimi is perhaps best known for his charity work with Help for Heroes and the Leeds Community Foundation. A £10m gift to the foundation earlier this month saw his lifetime charitable donations top £23m. Our thoughts go out to his family and many friends, who have asked for privacy at this time.”



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Genetic link to migraines discovered by researchers

Genetic link to migraines discovered by researchers

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Monday, September 27, 2010

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New research published in the journal Nature Medicine has shown a link between a faulty gene and migraines. Scientists hope that this discovery will lead to improved pain management treatments for sufferers, with possible benefits for pain treatment generally.

The breakthrough involves a gene known as TRESK, thought to control the brain’s reaction to pain: if it is defective, then many normal activities and actions will be painful. Migraine sufferers (thought in the United Kingdom to number about eight per cent of men and eighteen per cent of women) often complain that light, noise and touch cause pain. TRESK can potentially be affected by drugs that would change the point at which it reports pain, which would alleviate the suffering of those with migraines. Now researchers will need to find such a drug.

The study involved scientists from the Medical Research Council Functional Genomics Unit at the University of Oxford and from Canada. They looked at the DNA of 110 people with migraine and members of their family, and found that TRESK was a major component in migraines. One of the Oxford researchers, consultant neurologist Zameel Cader, described it as a “once in a generation find” and said that it could “potentially lead to a treatment for pain in general.” Before this study, no genes had been directly linked to migraines, although parts of the DNA that raised the general risk had been found.

Migraines are described by the World Health Organisation as a major worldwide cause of disability. In Britain, it is estimated that migraines affect 20 per cent of the population, with about 190,000 migraines occurring daily and over 25 million lost days from work every year. Lee Tomkin, director of a sufferers’ charity, Migraine Action, described the news as “fantastic” and “genuinely a really great step forward.” Professor Peter Goadsby from the Migraine Trust termed it “a novel direction to consider new therapies in this very disabling condition.”



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Fernando Alonso wins 2010 Singapore Grand Prix

Fernando Alonso wins 2010 Singapore Grand Prix

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Monday, September 27, 2010

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Marina Bay Street Circuit

Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso won the FIA 2010 Singapore Grand Prix from pole position owned a day before. This became his second win in Singapore since 2008 and fourth win of the season.

Alonso was closely chased by Sebastian Vettel up to the finish line — both Red Bull‘s were not able to catch Ferrari this weekend.

Lewis Hamilton‘s McLaren car broke suspension after hitting Vettel’s teammate Mark Webber, racing him for third place. Another McLaren driver Jenson Button rushed to chase Webber after Hamilton found himself out of the race.

Nico Rosberg once again beat his Mercedes team mate, as the seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher finished only on 13th place. Rosberg ended up 5th.

WilliamsCosworth drivers Rubens Barrichello and Nico Hülkenberg clinched [Robert Kubica 7th place for Renault.

Pole Kubica was forced to visit Renault pits from sixth place with a tyre puncture but easily regained all but one lost positions on a set of his new tyres.

Alonso teammate Felipe Massa started from the rear of the starting grid after setting no time in the first qualifying session stopping on the circuit. Massa then done well in the race to come 9th.

Adrian Sutil owned one point for Force India finishing on the 10th place.

Mark Webber now heads the Drivers’ championship with 202 points, 11 points ahead of Fernando Alonso. Constructors’ сhampionship standings is lead by Red Bull with 383, 24 points ahead of McLaren and 67 ahead of Ferrari. Vettel’s words to his team crew about the current win by Ferrari after he saw the chequered flag were “We will get there, don’t you worry”.



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September 26, 2010

Man released following bomb-scare forced flight diversion, warning a possible hoax

Man released following bomb-scare forced flight diversion, warning a possible hoax

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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Authorities have said that an anonymous phone call warning of a potential terrorist threat aboard an aircraft may have been a hoax call. Swedish police detained a passenger aboard a Boeing 777 on suspicion of preparing an attack on the aircraft, but he was later released. A police spokesperson said: “The man who was the suspect for the bomb case was released by the district attorney. They couldn’t find any crime done, therefore [they] decided to release the man and he’s free to go where he wants.” A statement released by Swedish prosecutors confirmed that “the prosecutor on duty decided not to keep the man suspected of having explosives on the airplane in detention. The suspicions against this man are not sufficiently solid to keep him in detention and so he is free to leave Sweden. No further information can be given for [the] moment”.

The Pakistan International Airlines jetliner, which was carrying 273 people according to an airport spokesperson, was flying Flight 782, which travels from Toronto to Karachi, when it was diverted to Stockholm-Arlanda Airport in Stockholm after Canadian officials were informed that a passenger had explosives on his person. Passengers were reportedly informed that they had to divert for technical reasons, but were only told on the ground why they had to land in Stockholm. “The pilot only informed us that he’s landing there due to security reasons. All passengers and crew members are well,” a spokesperson for the airport said. Upon landing, the aircraft was evacuated, and the suspect was arrested by a SWAT team. Passengers were taken away from the aircraft, which was encircled by armed police, by buses. 35-year-old Irfan Ahmed, a passenger on the flight said: “We really got scared, especially when we saw a large number of commandos wearing masks coming in.”

AP-BGY, the aircraft which was forced to land in Stockholm, photographed last year. Following the incident, one man of Pakistani origin was detained by police.

Anonymous tip-off

A police spokesperson said that two calls were received from a payphone in Canada, but no explosives were found on the man or in the aircraft, which was searched by a bomb squad. Police warned that the warnings may in fact have been made by a prank caller, but said they had to divert the aircraft because they take such threats “very seriously.” The man, according to police official Stephan Radman, was being questioned at a police station. Earlier, he said that police were ” searching the plane with bomb technicians to see if there is something we can find but so far we haven’t found anything, neither on the plane nor on the man,” he said. The flight crew and some passengers were also interviewed. They were later allowed back aboard the aircraft to continue their flight. The suspect was released several hours after being taken into custody, and reports suggest officials are helping him book a flight to continue his journey to Pakistan.

Radman stated that police had learnt of the threat from a Canadian woman, who allegedly made two calls to police from a payphone after the plane had lifted off. “The aircraft started in Toronto at 05:15 local time and when the aircraft was in Swedish territory, a woman called the Canadian police and said that this man could probably have a bomb on board the aircraft,” said Janne Hedlund, a police official. “She called through a payphone, so the Canadian authority don’t really know who the woman is. The Canadian authority alerted the pilot and he landed in Arlanda airport. The aircraft is evacuated and the suspect is under control by the police authorities in Arlanda. We are going to question him now.” A police spokesperson said: “A woman called police from a pay phone in Canada and told Canadian police about the man. She said the man may have had explosives, but he passed security checks.”

‘Unknown reliability’

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, however, announced that the call may have been a “terrorism hoax,” and said it was investigating. According RCMP spokeswoman Sgt. Julie Gagnon, the tip-off was of “unknown reliability”, adding that if it was found that the tip-off was a hoax, the woman who made the call will likely be prosecuted under public mischief charges. “There’s an ongoing investigation related to the information to see whether it was deemed to be a hoax or not. If the person who passed on that information was mischievous, then they can be charged with public mischief,” she said. Police later said that they were attempting to find out whether the anonymous woman had a grudge against the suspect.

A Canadian police spokesperson said that they had received two calls. “The first call provided vague information,” he said. “It did lay out that there was an individual on that specific flight in possession of explosives and then the second call provided more details with regards to the identity of the person.” He said that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police “take any call of this nature very seriously,” and said that the call may have been a hoax. “We have to ascertain the credibility and reliability of the call and try to determine whether there was a deliberate intent on behalf of the caller to mislead the police or if it falls into the definition of a terrorism hoax,” he said. While it is not known if the man has a criminal record, it has been reported that he is not on any international no-fly lists, and no concerns were raised when he went through airport security in Canada. “He is not on any list [of people banned from flying] and he’s been through the security check in Canada,” a police spokesperson said, confirming that the man was a Canadian citizen of Pakistani origin. A man who sat next to the suspect on the flight said he was returning to Pakistan after a very long time to get married. The suspect was apparently happy, and was a bit drunk. “When he was arrested, he remained calm and did not react much,” said the passenger.

It was later reported that all the passengers—excluding the suspect—were transported back to the aircraft, which was to fly to Manchester, England, where the crew will be changed, and then continue to Karachi. “We were very concerned and it’s good news they were all safe,” said airline spokesperson Sultan Hasan. He added that there was no further risk to anyone aboard the flight. “The plane would not have taken off unless it was cleared by the security team,” he said. Stockholm-Arlanda Airport released a statement stating that the incident had “no impact on air traffic, public transport or traffic on the roads to and from the airport.”



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Documentary suggests nuns were excommunicated for exposing paedophilic priest

Documentary suggests nuns were excommunicated for exposing paedophilic priest

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Sunday, September 26, 2010

A documentary set to be shown on October 10, 2010 in Australia about the life and times of the soon to be canonised Mary MacKillop — who will be the first Australian to be made a saint — suggests that nuns including MacKillop of the Sisterhood of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart in South Australia were condemned and even excommunicated by high-ranking priests for informing the authorities of the apparent paedophilic acts of Father Patrick Keating at a local public school in Kapunda, South Australia.

The excommunication of MacKillop and other nuns was performed by the Bishop of Adelaide, Laurence Bonaventure Sheil, in 1871, but the documentary is set to suggest that the influence of Father Charles Horan was the driving force behind the act. “She submitted to a farcical ceremony where the bishop was, I’m not sure you should use this word, gaga, but he had lost it and he was being manipulated by malicious priests,” Father Paul Gardiner, a prominent figure in the canonisation of Mary McKillop, claims.

According to Ignatius Fennessy in the Journal of the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society:

“One Thursday evening, 21 September 1871, Horan told Mary MacKillop that the bishop (who had called while she was out that day) wanted her to go to another convent. She could not go that night and wanted to discuss matters with the sisters and the bishop as well. Horan told her that the bishop would not see her and added, ‘I suppose you won’t go.’ She answered: ‘Father, how can I under these circumstances.’ Horan led her to believe that she was excommunicated. The next morning the bishop arrived with four priests and, in a ranting mood, amid the hysteria of some of the sisters, and with MacKillop kneeling down on her knees in the chapel, he excommunicated her and sent her back into the world.”

Bishop Shiel renounced the excommunications on his deathbed five months later. The alleged paedophile priest, Father Keating, returned to Ireland, where he continued in fatherhood in the Catholic Church.

Mary MacKillop officially becomes the first sainted Australian on October 17, 2010 in a ceremony at The Vatican.



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Delta flight makes emergency landing at JFK, no injuries

Delta flight makes emergency landing at JFK, no injuries

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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Delta Airlines flight 4951 made a safe emergency landing at JFK International Airport in New York City yesterday after the aircraft’s right landing gear failed. There were 64 passengers and crew members aboard as well as 3,000 gallons of flammable fuel.

The pilot maintained composure as he radioed air traffic control. He reported “The right gear is stuck up. The other two are down”. When asked which runway he wanted to land on, he stated “Whichever one would be better for you all.” They settled on Runway 31 Right.

Flight crew members prepped passengers for the emergency landing by telling them “heads down stay down!” in the crash position. The captain told them to brace for impact over the intercom.

Rescuers on the ground feared the worst on account of the 3,000 gallons of flammable fuel. As the plane landed, sparks flew from the righthand side but the plane did not catch fire.

All 64 people were shuttled safely from the aircraft to the airport.



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