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December 31, 2010

New Year’s Eve tornado slams northwest Arkansas, killing three

New Year’s Eve tornado slams northwest Arkansas, killing three

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Friday, December 31, 2010

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Washington County, Arkansas, where the tornado touched down

Three are dead after a tornado hit Cincinnati, a small town in Arkansas, about three miles from Oklahoma’s border. Around 6:00 local time, on Friday, the system, fed by warm winter air, caused several injuries, damaging the power grid.

Josh Howerton, the county’s sheriff’s dispatcher, stated that the storm touched down near the town’s center. “Lots of injuries” were reported. A tornado warning for Cincinnati and nearby towns was issued by the Tulsa weather center nine minutes before the storm struck.

“Any time you have a significant change in air mass there is going to be unsettled weather marking the two different air masses,” said Joe Sellers, a meteorologist from the National Weather Service in Oklahoma.

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Memorial service held for model found dead in Missouri mansion

Filed under: United States — admin @ 5:00 am

Memorial service held for model found dead in Missouri mansion

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Friday, December 31, 2010

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A memorial service was held Thursday for Adrienne Nicole Martin, the model found dead two weeks ago in the Missouri, US mansion of former Anheuser-Busch CEO August Busch IV. Martin, of Native American ethnicity, was 27 years old when she died of unknown causes, said investigators.

A promotional image of Adrienne Martin from her iStudio.com profile

Martin, who had been dating the 46-year-old Busch for “the last several months” according to friends, was a native of Springfield. She had previously been married to 45-year-old doctor Kevin J. Martin until February 2009, when they divorced, and had joint custody of their eight-year-old son. Adrienne Martin had a profile on iStudio, a modeling website, where she said she wanted to become an art therapist. She also expressed a desire to “to do beer advertising” and work in the modeling industry. At the time of her death, Martin had been working toward a master’s degree in art therapy.

The memorial service for Martin was held at South Haven Baptist Church in Springfield. Busch was not among the estimated 100 people attending the service, nor was he mentioned during it. The only speaker was the church’s pastor, Scott Watson, who read letters from Martin’s friends. Her son and other relatives sat in the front row while she was remembered as a gifted artist and dedicated mother. Lacy Elet, one of Martin’s friends, later said Martin was happy that “her life was finally in order.” Her obituary in the Springfield News-Leader called Busch “the love of her life.” However, one of Martin’s uncles, Andy Eby, said after the service, “There are too many questions and not enough answers.”

Martin was found unconscious by Michael Jung, who worked at Busch’s mansion, at 12:30 p.m. local time (18:30 UTC) on December 19. At 1:12 p.m., Jung called emergency services, saying, “This girl’s just not waking up.” When asked if she was breathing, Jung responded with, “We don’t know. It’s dark back there. I’m gonna get a light and try and see.” At 1:26 p.m., Martin was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency workers. Law enforcement officials said the room was dark because there were blackout “curtains drawn in the bedroom.”

An autopsy on Martin’s body did not find any trauma-related injuries, and the official cause of death has not been established by investigators. A toxicology report, expected to take several weeks, will likely be used to determine the reason Martin died. Police said Martin’s body did not exhibit any “apparent signs of trauma or other indications of cause of death.” According to her ex-husband, Adrienne Martin had a rare heart condition, called Long QT syndrome, which can cause palpitations and sudden cardiac death. Kevin Martin said his ex-wife never sought medical advice on her condition and did not talk about it with friends.

Police said that Busch was home at the US$2 million mansion when Martin was discovered, and that the ongoing investigation is being handled by the Frontenac Police Department and the St. Louis County Medical Examiner’s Office. Art Margulis, a lawyer for August Busch IV, said Martin was visiting the Huntleigh residence and that there is “absolutely nothing suspicious” surrounding her death.



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December 30, 2010

US pool player Wade Crane dies in car accident age 66

US pool player Wade Crane dies in car accident age 66

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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Wade Crane in 2003
Image: RailbirdJAM2.

US professional pool player Wade Crane has died after a one-car accident in Tennessee, USA. He was 66 years old. Crane’s Volkswagen crossed three lanes of traffic into the concrete retaining wall, then bounced back across five more lanes of traffic into another retaining wall.

It is believed that Crane suffered from an undiagnosed medical condition. News of the crash was broken by The Knoxville News Sentinel.

Crane was a former world champion of both 9-ball and 8-ball pool. A self-taught player, for 21 years he was the only person in pool history to shoot a perfect score in the finals of a major tournament.

Fellow pool players including Nick Varner, Johnny Archer, and Shannon Daulton paid tribute to Crane.



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Sergei Sidorsky replaced as Belarusian prime minister

Sergei Sidorsky replaced as Belarusian prime minister

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Thursday, December 30, 2010

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The current President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, replaced his Prime Minister

Belarusian Prime Minister Sergei Sidorsky has been sacked by President Alexander Lukashenko after a cabinet reshuffle following last week’s disputed Presidential election. His successor is Mikhail Myasnikovich, a former Deputy Prime Minister of Belarus back in the 1990s.

Sidorsky was the Prime Minister of Belarus since July of 2003 when he was appointed by President Lukashenko. He is Belarus’ longest serving Prime Minister, having served over seven years. Before that he was Deputy Prime Minister from 2001 to 2002.

This comes a week after the Presidential election which saw the re-election of the incumbent Alexander Lukashenko who has ruled Belarus since the establishment of the office in 1994. Foreign observers called the election, “fraudulent” and “unfair”. Following the elections, an estimated 600 people were detained by the government, including 11 Russian nationals.



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December 28, 2010

Over 200 skiers trapped as lift breaks at Maine resort

Over 200 skiers trapped as lift breaks at Maine resort

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Ski lift at the Sugarloaf ski resort

Rescue efforts are underway to free more than 200 skiers trapped Tuesday at Maine’s Sugarloaf ski resort, which is located 120 miles north of Portland. Several injuries were reported after a ski lift broke down; an employee at the resort said this caused several people to fall to the ground.

The Spillway East lift reportedly came to a halt during high winds due to a derailment. Around 10:30 a.m. ET, a cable slid over one tower’s pulley leading to five chairs falling about 30 feet.

Ethan Austin, a resort spokesperson, revealed that several individuals were taken to near-by hospitals with non-life-threatening conditions. At the time, winds originating from this month’s blizzard were blowing up to 43 miles per hour, according to the National Weather Service. Austin confirmed Tuesday afternoon that the lift was carrying around 220 people at the time of the breakdown.

Efforts to remove trapped skiers are in progress Tuesday afternoon.


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Gunman dies, police officer injured after stand-off ends in West Yorkshire, England

Gunman dies, police officer injured after stand-off ends in West Yorkshire, England

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Crime and law
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Correction — March 21, 2014
 
Kirkheaton is not a part of Huddersfield. It is a village nearby.
 

A gunman has been killed and a police officer hospitalised following a stand-off in West Yorkshire, England which concluded this morning. The gunman, who, according to police, “continually” fired at officers, sustained serious injuries after police returned fire; he died in hospital.

Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, where the incident occurred.
Image: Richard Harvey.

Police attended a property in Kirkheaton, Huddersfield yesterday, to arrest a man for allegedly threatening a person at a nearby property. Upon their arrival, the man inside fired with a handgun from his doorstep at police, injuring one officer. Armed police then surrounded the building.

Reports suggest the gunman fired on police throughout the stand-off, which involved negotiators. Around 0530 GMT armed police returned fire, seriously injuring the gunman. He was transported to hospital where he later died. “There were three loud bangs—possibly gunfire,” a news cameraman said. “Then the police started shouting and I heard them smashing glass as they went into the house. They were shouting at the gunman to show them his hands.”

Cquote1.svg Then the police started shouting and I heard them smashing glass as they went in to the house. They were shouting at the gunman to show them his hands. Cquote2.svg

—News cameraman

A spokesperson for West Yorkshire Police confirmed the stand-off had come to an end. “The man produced a gun and fired at the officers. A male officer in his 20s was hit and attended hospital for minor injuries,” he said. “We regret that the incident at the house did not conclude peacefully as we had hoped and can confirm that the man taken to hospital from the address has now died.”

The road remains closed as the investigation continues. Neighbours said they were shocked; one said about eight or nine shots were fired throughout the night. “The police then just told us to stay inside but I could see what was going on opposite,” he said. “Loads of police turned up—some carrying machine guns. They lit the house up like a Christmas tree and the armed police were behind hedges.” The Independent Police Complaints Commission is to investigate.



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December blizzard slams Northeastern United States

December blizzard slams Northeastern United States

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

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F5 tornado Elie Manitoba 2007.jpg
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An infrared satellite image of the storm
Image: NOAA.

Snow covered Journal Square in Jersey City, New Jersey.
Image: Rajkumarth.

The United States’ first major blizzard of the winter season has left much of the New England region covered in snow. Stretching from Virginia to Maine, the storm, packing winds of over 50 miles per hour (80.5 kilometres per hour), dropped more than two feet of snow in some areas.

Residents prepared for what would be one of the worst nor’easters in quite some time. The storm contained similar conditions to a category 2 hurricane. Wellfleet, Massachusetts saw an 80 miles per hour wind gust, the strongest recorded throughout the storm. Connecticut, New York and Maine all recorded wind gusts of over 60 miles per hour and gusts of over 70 miles per hour blasted Cape Cod.

A total of 32 inches (81.3 centimetres) fell in Rahway, part of the hardest-hit state in the storm’s path. Most New Jersey cities received over a foot of snow, while Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, and Maryland all had snow totals topping out at around 1 foot (30.48 centimetres) with Massachusetts topping out at a foot and a half.

On Monday, travel proved difficult, with flights from Philadelphia, Newark, New York City, Hartford, Boston, Portland, and Washington, D.C. canceled. Drivers also ran into problems on major highways as accidents were unavoidable on the slick roads.


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  • Over 200 skiers trapped as lift breaks at Maine resort – Wikinews

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Boat sinks off New Jersey coast, killing one

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Boat sinks off New Jersey coast, killing one

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

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An MH-65 rescue helicopter similar to this one was used by the US Coast Guard to rescue the men.

A Florida man was killed and another man hospitalized after their boat sank off Cape May, New Jersey, US.

The Sea Wolf sent a distress signal via emergency satellite beacon at about 1:35 AM on Thursday, seven miles off Cape May. A member of the State Police informed the Coast Guard who sent out an MH-65 rescue helicopter and two rescue launches.

The helicopter managed to save Steve Hopkins of the District of Columbia but was unable to do the same for Gregory Arlotta of Florida. The 62 year old disappeared among the debris in eight-foot waves.

Arlotta had recently bought the vessel in New York; its previous owner was in his seventies and had decided to sell the ship. The Sea Wolf had been operating for a couple of decades prior to the sinking, and was described by one local as unfit for the voyage it was undertaking to New Orleans. A 1963 Gilligan, it was designed for use within ten miles of shore for fishing.



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December 24, 2010

U.S. vice president Joe Biden says positive consensus on same-sex marriage is \’inevitable\’

U.S. vice president Joe Biden says positive consensus on same-sex marriage is ‘inevitable’

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Friday, December 24, 2010

In an interview on the United States television show Good Morning America today, U.S. vice president Joe Biden said that a positive consensus on same-sex marriage is “inevitable” as the country “evolves.”

Cquote1.svg [There is] inevitability for a national consensus on gay marriage. I think the country’s evolving. Cquote2.svg

—Joe Biden

“[There is] inevitability for a national consensus on gay marriage. I think the country’s evolving. And I think you’re going to see, you know, the next effort is probably going to be to deal with so-called DOMA,” said Biden.

Biden’s remarks come just days after U.S. president Barack Obama signed into law, the repeal of Don’t ask, don’t tell (DADT). The repeal, which was signed by Obama on Thursday, will now allow gay and lesbian service members to serve openly in the country’s military, without fear that they will be discharged from service. A report by The Pentagon earlier this month concluded most U.S. service personnel do not believe reform of the rules on gays and lesbians serving in the military would affect morale, unit cohesion or military effectiveness. The report found only 30% believed that changing the law would have a negative effect. DADT, in effect for 17 years, was repealed by the United States Senate on Saturday. The military will cease enforcement of the policy in 60 days time, after the Pentagon has certified to Congress that it, and the military are ready to implement the new law.

“This is a very good day,” Obama told a crowd of soldiers and senior military officials on Thursday. “This morning I’m proud to sign a law that will bring an end to ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’. No longer will tens of thousands of Americans be asked to live a lie in order to serve the country that they love.” Obama added that the government would “not drag their feet” and they were “committed to implementing this change swiftly and efficiently.”

Currently, same-sex marriage is only legal in five of the 50 U.S. states; Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, including the District of Columbia (Washington D.C.). In 2008, same-sex marriage was banned in California after voters approved Proposition 8. It was later overturned by a federal judge in San Francisco who deemed the measure unconstitutional.



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Scottish politician going to jail after perjury conviction

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Scottish politician going to jail after perjury conviction

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Friday, December 24, 2010

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Tommy Sheridan, a former Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP), has been told to expect a prison sentence in the new year. Sheridan was yesterday convicted of perjury before Glasgow High Court, the jury ruling he lied in a libel case against The News of the World (NotW).

Tommy Sheridan

Sheridan, 46, sued the paper in 2006 over allegations he had been in extra-marital affairs, visited a sex club and participated in orgies. He was awarded £200,000. Thought to be the longest-running perjury trial in Scotland’s history, the twelve-week case started with Sheridan facing eighteen allegations. By the end of the trial, he faced six in a single charge; the jury ruled he was guilty of five of them. His wife Gail, 46, was also charged but this was dropped by the prosecution as part of proceedings.

The case dates back to 2004, when the NotW ran a series of articles. Central to these were claims he had visited Manchester sex club Cupids. He would later claim in court he had not confessed to former friends about these visits, but the jury decided yesterday this was a lie. They said he was also lying when he said he did not have an affair with Katrine Trolle, a former activist with the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP). Trolle claimed they had sex in the Sheridan marital bed at their Glasgow home, but the jury did not accept this part of the allegation.

The jury cleared him totally of lying when he said he did not have an affair with Anvar Khan, a NotW columnist whose memoirs sparked the original reports. The relationship was alleged to have begun in 1994 and carried on until 2003; Tommy and Gail married in 2000.

Cquote1.svg I have and will always stand by Tommy Cquote2.svg

—Tommy Sheridan’s wife, Gail

A former friend of Tommy Sheridan, George McNeilage, made a tape recording said to be of Sheridan admitting visits to Cupids. Sheridan claimed it was faked. Conducting his own defence after releasing his counsel, Maggie Scott, QC, within two weeks of the trial starting, he said there was a “vendetta” against him. Several SSP members said he had confessed to affairs. Sheridan also provided his own counsel in his successful libel action, which is now being appealed against.

Trial judge Lord Bracadale is seeking background reports prior to sentencing, which will be on January 26. Sheridan can make any submissions he wishes to then. “You have been convicted of the serious offence of perjury,” Lord Bracadale told Sheridan “and must return to court expecting to begin a prison sentence.”

“We have an appeal lodged against that defamation verdict and we now look forward to that appeal succeeding in Scotland’s Court of Session,” the paper said in respect of the libel action. NotW has paid £200,000 for the tape of Sheridan’s confession that was used in the trial.

“I have and will always stand by Tommy,” vowed his wife.



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  • “Scottish politician to face perjury trial” — Wikinews, January 28, 2009
  • “Sex scandal rocks Scottish politics” — Wikinews, July 12, 2006

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