Tornado touches down in New York City

Thursday, August 9, 2007

During heavy rainstorms that flooded rail lines and subways, a tornado touched down in New York City, the National Weather Service reports. It sustained winds around 111 mph to 135 mph, causing damage to buildings and vehicles. Starting from the Bay Ridge area, the tornado continued for two miles through Brooklyn. At least one person was killed.

The roof of a Nissan dealership had been ripped off, as was that of a Brooklyn church. At least 16 homes were damaged.

Torrential rain had drenched the region early Wednesday, causing delays at Newark, JFK, and LaGuardia airports. Wind and rain caused major slowdowns in the mass transit lines, virtually halting services. The brunt of the storm struck the city during morning rush hour, a time when hundreds of thousands of vehicles and people are in transit to work. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said that in some flooded subways, police resorted to crowd control tactics to stop rioting.

Trees were torn from the ground and some cars were crushed.

In a damage assessment tour of Brooklyn, Mayor Michael Bloomberg remarked, “I don’t know that God had rush hour in mind when the storms hit.”

The Metropolitan Transit Authority expects service to return to normal by Thursday. At a press conference MTA chairman Elliot “Lee” Sander said the pumps located citywide in the rail and subway lines are adequate to handle 1.5 inches of rain per hour. He said the rain, however, came “too fast and with little warning.”

“The storm took us by surprise because it was not predicted by the National Weather Service.”

ACTA rejected by European Parliament; protesters rejoice

Friday, July 6, 2012

The proposed Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) was defeated in a plenary session of the European Parliament with 478 votes against versus 39 supporting; 165 parliamentarians chose to abstain.

Pressure and activist groups across Europe celebrated the defeat of the legislation, attributing their success to mobilising the public to bring pressure to bear on MEPs. In thanking supporters, the UK’s Open Rights Group (ORG) cautioned that Karel de Gucht, current European Commissioner for Trade, deferred any decision as to how the Commission will move forward until after a ruling from the European Court of Justice on ACTA’s compatibility with European law.

The controversial copyright- and trademark-related trade agreement previously provoked massive rallies and demonstrations across Europe. A petition against ACTA accrued two million signatures. In an editorial on the resounding defeat, where MEPs held up placards post-vote which read “Hello Democracy Goodbye ACTA”, The Guardian’s technology editor Charles Arthur said the agreement “didn’t stand a chance”. Arthur pointed out that some of the counterfeiting problems ACTA was, in part, supposed to address are ones which should concern people, particularly the risks associated with fake drugs. However, with the vague wording of the trade agreement raising the possibility of travellers’ electronic devices being searched for copyright-infringing content at customs and border checkpoints, he concluded the secretly-negotiated deal “never stood a chance against the internet tidal wave” of opposition.

Arthur also highlighted that secrecy surrounding the drafting of ACTA encouraged widespread public opposition; negotiations began under the presidency of George W. Bush, which rebuffed requests from the Electronic Frontier Foundation stating that all but ten of 800+ pages of related material were “classified in the interest of national security”. Following Barack Obama taking office, another Freedom of Information request was filed; again, access was denied with the Obama administration asserting that national security concerns justified the entire draft and related documents remaining secret.

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“ACTA has become a symbol for policy made in secrecy”((de))German language: ACTA ist ein Symbol für Politik im Hinterzimmer geworden, stated Sebastian Nerz, vice-president of the Pirate Party of Germany. “We are hopeful now that Brussels has taken a stance against lobbyist interests. Upholding fundamental rights and civil liberties online seems no longer to be merely empty words for the European Members of Parliament.”((de))German language: Dass sich Brüssel nun gegen die Interessen der Lobbyisten stellt, gibt Hoffnung. Die Wahrung der Grundrechte und Bürgerfreiheiten im Netz scheint zumindest für die Abgeordneten des Europäischen Parlaments nicht nur ein leeres Wort.

Protesters criticised the vague wording and legal uncertainty ACTA would have introduced. Widespread censorship of the internet and curtailment of freedom of speech were feared; patent regulations were highlighted as having potentially adverse impact on access to medicines and crop seeds. The trade agreement, which US-based pressure group Accessnow.org described as “giving the U.S. a structural competitive advantage over other countries”, had already amongst its signatories Australia, Canada, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, and the United States.

The long-running campaign against ACTA can in part be traced to publication of a leaked draft of the agreement on whistleblowing site Wikileaks. Their analysis concluded one part of the document was “a ‘Pirate Bay killer’?”, and the then-leaked draft would force internet service providers to provide “perfunctionary[sic] disclosure of customer information” and would “likely outlaw multi-region CD/DVD players.”

Stowaway killed by aircraft landing gear; leg lands in homeowner’s backyard

Wednesday, June 8, 2005

An airline stowaway, possibly of Senegalese origin was found dead this morning by U.S. customs and NY Port Authority personnel, his body badly mangled by the landing gear of a South African Airways aircraft.

A Nassau County woman returned home from work to find part of the man’s leg lying on her lawn.

The identity and nationality of the man are not yet known. The flight on which he stowed away originated in Johannesburg, South Africa and made one stopover in Dakar, Senegal.

Romanian oil company claims Iran has seized one of its rigs

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

An Orizont oil platform in the Persian Gulf, owned by the Grup Servicii Petroliere (GSP) of Romania, has allegedly been boarded by Iranian troops after being fired at by a helicopter. Romanian officials have not “heard anything” from the workers on the platform “since then [the attack].”, according to a company statement. The Iranian news agency IRNA claims that the personnel who boarded the platform were not “troops” but “police”.

“We were called by one of our employees at 9.15 a.m. local time (0615 GMT), who told us a military helicopter opened fire against the Orizont rig, and by 9.45 Iranian troops got on board. Since then, we haven’t heard anything from them,” said Radu Petrescu, a spokesman for Servicii Petroliere.

According to a representative of GSP, Lulu Tabanesku, “Iranian [troops] used machine guns” and Iran is “in control of the rig. We cannot contact the rig.” There were at least 26 workers on the 13,000-ton platform when it came under fire. There is no word on whether there are any casualties.

The Foreign Minister of Romania is scheduled to have a meeting to discuss the attack with Iranian officials on Wednesday, but so far Iran has yet to release an official statement regarding the attack. Romanian president Traian B?sescu was unable to reach Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Tuesday, the day of the rig’s seizure. August 22 is an Iranian National holiday.

The Romanian company GSP operates the Orizant and Fortuna rigs that are both subjects of a legal dispute with the Oriental Oil Company who rents the oil rights to Petro Iran Development Company (PEDCO), a broker for the National Iranian Oil Company. According to PEDCO, an Iranian court ruling in the contract dispute between the two companies found that both rigs should remain in Iranian waters. GSP moved the Fortuna rig on August 15, claiming the contract was cancelled illegally, Iran accused the Romanians of “hijacking” the platform.

Inflation in Zimbabwe becomes world’s highest at 11,000% and rising

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Inflation in Zimbabwe is now the world’s highest at 11,000 percent and rising. Reports first came in that the value of the Zimbabwean dollar had reached an all-time low two days ago, at which point the official inflation rate was 4,500 percent. Even though this was already high enough to be the world’s highest, to make matters worse, independent financial sources estimated the figure to be closer to 9,000 percent. Yesterday, reports came in that inflation had risen to 11,000 percent.

US Ambassador to Zimbabwe Christopher Dell is reported to have told The Guardian newspaper over the telephone that he believes inflation “will hit 1.5 million percent by the end of 2007, if not before,” adding that he “know(s) that sounds stratospheric but, looking at the way things are going, I believe it is a modest forecast.” Dell went on to predict that president Robert Mugabe would be forced out of power by the hyperinflation, a prediction also made by opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

Dell added that he felt Mugabe would be out in “a matter of months, if not weeks” and justified his comments with the rationale that “It destabilises everything. People have completely lost faith in the currency and that means they have completely lost faith in the government that issues it.” Tsvangirai comments to the Associated Press were that: “He’s got an economy that’s down on its knees, he knows he cannot sustain it.” Despite this, Mugabe has expressed intentions to stand for the next election.

Exchange rates for the U.S. dollar have reached an official 15,000-1, but on the black market, according to one anonymous illicit money trader, deals have reached 140,000-1 in cash, with a shortage of bank notes creating a 200,000-1 premium on bank transfers and large overseas deals reaching as much as 300,000-1. Meanwhile, in the course of a week the black market exchange for the UK£ has risen from 160,000-1 to 400,000-1. Despite these increases, Mugabe remains adamant that his currency should not be devalued, and is keeping official exchange rates fixed, with the rate for the US$ fixed at 250-1.

The dealer said that added uncertainty had arisen from talks held between the current government and the opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change. The official press services published propaganda describing the talks as the opposition negotiating “in bad faith” for its own political gain.

Shops are running out of goods due to the huge cost of imported goods and the lack of local ones due to the closure of inflation-crippled factories. “If it goes on like this, we’ll have nothing to sell, we’ll have no staff and we’ll have to close down completely,” said one store manager, who was unnamed because he feared retaliation by the state for being a “prophet of doom”. Other shops have been closing down temporarily to change their prices.

Hyperinflation is also worsening already crippling poverty in Zimbabwe, with people unable to afford the necessary goods for survival. State regulations limit bank money withdrawals to Z$1.5 million per day, hopelessly inadequate given current currency values. One person’s pension company informed him he would no longer receive statements because the value of his pension fund had decreased to less than that of a postage stamp.

The state daily Chronicle in the second city of Bulawayo reported that Western countries were planning to become involved with the situation upon Mugabe’s departure with a rescue package valued at US$3 billion. Western officials have confirmed that budget proposals exist relating to, according to the Associated Press, “food support, public services reform and the rebuilding of agriculture and general infrastructure over five years in a new political landscape led by reformist Zimbabwean politicians.” However, state media again ran propaganda-based stories, saying that Western powers and their close political friends, who state media call the “Fishmongers Group”, were “working overtime to destroy the economy, mutilate the Zimbabwe dollar, foment civil unrest and then dangle a rescue package to win the support of gullible politicians.”

Bat for Lashes plays the Bowery Ballroom: an Interview with Natasha Khan

Friday, September 28, 2007

Bat for Lashes is the doppelgänger band ego of one of the leading millennial lights in British music, Natasha Khan. Caroline Weeks, Abi Fry and Lizzy Carey comprise the aurora borealis that backs this haunting, shimmering zither and glockenspiel peacock, and the only complaint coming from the audience at the Bowery Ballroom last Tuesday was that they could not camp out all night underneath these celestial bodies.

We live in the age of the lazy tendency to categorize the work of one artist against another, and Khan has had endless exultations as the next Björk and Kate Bush; Sixousie Sioux, Stevie Nicks, Sinead O’Connor, the list goes on until it is almost meaningless as comparison does little justice to the sound and vision of the band. “I think Bat For Lashes are beyond a trend or fashion band,” said Jefferson Hack, publisher of Dazed & Confused magazine. “[Khan] has an ancient power…she is in part shamanic.” She describes her aesthetic as “powerful women with a cosmic edge” as seen in Jane Birkin, Nico and Cleopatra. And these women are being heard. “I love the harpsichord and the sexual ghost voices and bowed saws,” said Radiohead‘s Thom Yorke of the track Horse and I. “This song seems to come from the world of Grimm’s fairytales.”

Bat’s debut album, Fur And Gold, was nominated for the 2007 Mercury Prize, and they were seen as the dark horse favorite until it was announced Klaxons had won. Even Ladbrokes, the largest gambling company in the United Kingdom, had put their money on Bat for Lashes. “It was a surprise that Klaxons won,” said Khan, “but I think everyone up for the award is brilliant and would have deserved to win.”

Natasha recently spoke with David Shankbone about art, transvestism and drug use in the music business.


DS: Do you have any favorite books?

NK: [Laughs] I’m not the best about finishing books. What I usually do is I will get into a book for a period of time, and then I will dip into it and get the inspiration and transformation in my mind that I need, and then put it away and come back to it. But I have a select rotation of cool books, like Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés and Little Birds by Anaïs Nin. Recently, Catching the Big Fish by David Lynch.

DS: Lynch just came out with a movie last year called Inland Empire. I interviewed John Vanderslice last night at the Bowery Ballroom and he raved about it!

NK: I haven’t seen it yet!

DS: Do you notice a difference between playing in front of British and American audiences?

NK: The U.S. audiences are much more full of expression and noises and jubilation. They are like, “Welcome to New York, Baby!” “You’re Awesome!” and stuff like that. Whereas in England they tend to be a lot more reserved. Well, the English are, but it is such a diverse culture you will get the Spanish and Italian gay guys at the front who are going crazy. I definitely think in America they are much more open and there is more excitement, which is really cool.

DS: How many instruments do you play and, please, include the glockenspiel in that number.

NK: [Laughs] I think the number is limitless, hopefully. I try my hand at anything I can contribute; I only just picked up the bass, really—

DS: –I have a great photo of you playing the bass.

NK: I don’t think I’m very good…

DS: You look cool with it!

NK: [Laughs] Fine. The glockenspiel…piano, mainly, and also the harp. Guitar, I like playing percussion and drumming. I usually speak with all my drummers so that I write my songs with them in mind, and we’ll have bass sounds, choir sounds, and then you can multi-task with all these orchestral sounds. Through the magic medium of technology I can play all kinds of sounds, double bass and stuff.

DS: Do you design your own clothes?

NK: All four of us girls love vintage shopping and charity shops. We don’t have a stylist who tells us what to wear, it’s all very much our own natural styles coming through. And for me, personally, I like to wear jewelery. On the night of the New York show that top I was wearing was made especially for me as a gift by these New York designers called Pepper + Pistol. And there’s also my boyfriend, who is an amazing musician—

DS: —that’s Will Lemon from Moon and Moon, right? There is such good buzz about them here in New York.

NK: Yes! They have an album coming out in February and it will fucking blow your mind! I think you would love it, it’s an incredible masterpiece. It’s really exciting, I’m hoping we can do a crazy double unfolding caravan show, the Bat for Lashes album and the new Moon and Moon album: that would be really theatrical and amazing! Will prints a lot of my T-shirts because he does amazing tapestries and silkscreen printing on clothes. When we play there’s a velvety kind of tapestry on the keyboard table that he made. So I wear a lot of his things, thrift store stuff, old bits of jewelry and antique pieces.

DS: You are often compared to Björk and Kate Bush; do those constant comparisons tend to bother you as an artist who is trying to define herself on her own terms?

NK: No, I mean, I guess that in the past it bothered me, but now I just feel really confident and sure that as time goes on my musical style and my writing is taking a pace of its own, and I think in time the music will speak for itself and people will see that I’m obviously doing something different. Those women are fantastic, strong, risk-taking artists—

DS: —as are you—

NK: —thank you, and that’s a great tradition to be part of, and when I look at artists like Björk and Kate Bush, I think of them as being like older sisters that have come before; they are kind of like an amazing support network that comes with me.

DS: I’d imagine it’s preferable to be considered the next Björk or Kate Bush instead of the next Britney.

NK: [Laughs] Totally! Exactly! I mean, could you imagine—oh, no I’m not going to try to offend anyone now! [Laughs] Let’s leave it there.

DS: Does music feed your artwork, or does you artwork feed your music more? Or is the relationship completely symbiotic?

NK: I think it’s pretty back-and-forth. I think when I have blocks in either of those area, I tend to emphasize the other. If I’m finding it really difficult to write something I know that I need to go investigate it in a more visual way, and I’ll start to gather images and take photographs and make notes and make collages and start looking to photographers and filmmakers to give me a more grounded sense of the place that I’m writing about, whether it’s in my imagination or in the characters. Whenever I’m writing music it’s a very visual place in my mind. It has a location full of characters and colors and landscapes, so those two things really compliment each other, and they help the other one to blossom and support the other. They are like brother and sister.

DS: When you are composing music, do you see notes and words as colors and images in your mind, and then you put those down on paper?

NK: Yes. When I’m writing songs, especially lately because I think the next album has a fairly strong concept behind it and I’m writing the songs, really imagining them, so I’m very immersed into the concept of the album and the story that is there through the album. It’s the same as when I’m playing live, I will imagine I see a forest of pine trees and sky all around me and the audience, and it really helps me. Or I’ll just imagine midnight blue and emerald green, those kind of Eighties colors, and they help me.

DS: Is it always pine trees that you see?

NK: Yes, pine trees and sky, I guess.

DS: What things in nature inspire you?

NK: I feel drained thematically if I’m in the city too long. I think that when I’m in nature—for example, I went to Big Sur last year on a road trip and just looking up and seeing dark shadows of trees and starry skies really gets me and makes me feel happy. I would sit right by the sea, and any time I have been a bit stuck I will go for a long walk along the ocean and it’s just really good to see vast horizons, I think, and epic, huge, all-encompassing visions of nature really humble you and give you a good sense of perspective and the fact that you are just a small particle of energy that is vibrating along with everything else. That really helps.

DS: Are there man-made things that inspire you?

NK: Things that are more cultural, like open air cinemas, old Peruvian flats and the Chelsea Hotel. Funny old drag queen karaoke bars…

DS: I photographed some of the famous drag queens here in New York. They are just such great creatures to photograph; they will do just about anything for the camera. I photographed a famous drag queen named Miss Understood who is the emcee at a drag queen restaurant here named Lucky Cheng’s. We were out in front of Lucky Cheng’s taking photographs and a bus was coming down First Avenue, and I said, “Go out and stop that bus!” and she did! It’s an amazing shot.

NK: Oh. My. God.

DS: If you go on her Wikipedia article it’s there.

NK: That’s so cool. I’m really getting into that whole psychedelic sixties and seventies Paris Is Burning and Jack Smith and the Destruction of Atlantis. Things like The Cockettes. There seems to be a bit of a revolution coming through that kind of psychedelic drag queen theater.

DS: There are just so few areas left where there is natural edge and art that is not contrived. It’s taking a contrived thing like changing your gender, but in the backdrop of how that is still so socially unacceptable.

NK: Yeah, the theatrics and creativity that go into that really get me. I’m thinking about The Fisher King…do you know that drag queen in The Fisher King? There’s this really bad and amazing drag queen guy in it who is so vulnerable and sensitive. He sings these amazing songs but he has this really terrible drug problem, I think, or maybe it’s a drink problem. It’s so bordering on the line between fabulous and those people you see who are so in love with the idea of beauty and elevation and the glitz and the glamor of love and beauty, but then there’s this really dark, tragic side. It’s presented together in this confusing and bewildering way, and it always just gets to me. I find it really intriguing.

DS: How are you received in the Pakistani community?

NK: [Laughs] I have absolutely no idea! You should probably ask another question, because I have no idea. I don’t have contact with that side of my family anymore.

DS: When you see artists like Pete Doherty or Amy Winehouse out on these suicidal binges of drug use, what do you think as a musician? What do you get from what you see them go through in their personal lives and with their music?

NK: It’s difficult. The drugs thing was never important to me, it was the music and expression and the way he delivered his music, and I think there’s a strange kind of romantic delusion in the media, and the music media especially, where they are obsessed with people who have terrible drug problems. I think that’s always been the way, though, since Billie Holiday. The thing that I’m questioning now is that it seems now the celebrity angle means that the lifestyle takes over from the actual music. In the past people who had musical genius, unfortunately their personal lives came into play, but maybe that added a level of romance, which I think is pretty uncool, but, whatever. I think that as long as the lifestyle doesn’t precede the talent and the music, that’s okay, but it always feels uncomfortable for me when people’s music goes really far and if you took away the hysteria and propaganda of it, would the music still stand up? That’s my question. Just for me, I’m just glad I don’t do heavy drugs and I don’t have that kind of problem, thank God. I feel that’s a responsibility you have, to present that there’s a power in integrity and strength and in the lifestyle that comes from self-love and assuredness and positivity. I think there’s a real big place for that, but it doesn’t really get as much of that “Rock n’ Roll” play or whatever.

DS: Is it difficult to come to the United States to play considering all the wars we start?

NK: As an English person I feel equally as responsible for that kind of shit. I think it is a collective consciousness that allows violence and those kinds of things to continue, and I think that our governments should be ashamed of themselves. But at the same time, it’s a responsibility of all of our countries, no matter where you are in the world to promote a peaceful lifestyle and not to consciously allow these conflicts to continue. At the same time, I find it difficult to judge because I think that the world is full of shades of light and dark, from spectrums of pure light and pure darkness, and that’s the way human nature and nature itself has always been. It’s difficult, but it’s just a process, and it’s the big creature that’s the world; humankind is a big creature that is learning all the time. And we have to go through these processes of learning to see what is right.

American teenage girl charged with murder of her mother

Sunday, December 19, 2004

CRAIG, Alaska –Rachelle Waterman, (aka Rachelle Ann Monica Waterman and “smchyrocky”), a 16-year-old girl from Craig, Alaska, USA, has been charged with the first degree murder of her mother.

The case has rapidly received a wide following on the Internet, partly because Waterman kept a public record of her thoughts and activities on LiveJournal, a popular blogging service. The last entry, which has since been removed from public view, was posted on November 18, 2004 and read:

Just to let everyone know, my mother was murdered.

I won’t have computer acess [sic] until the weekend or so because the police took my computer to go through the hard drive. I thank everyone for their thoughts and e-mails, I hope to talk to you when I get my computer back.

A diverse group of users, both friends and strangers, have posted over 5,000 comments on the journal, positive and negative, transforming the case into an Internet phenomenon. Every entry since March 2004 has apparently now been deleted or hidden, but a ZIP archive of the entire weblog, from before the entries were deleted, is available on Deadly Blogging.

Waterman was a tenth-grade honor (A-average) student in her second year at Craig High School. She was also a member of the Academic Decathlon team (ACDC) and sang in the choir, a profile that has left many people questioning her involvement in the killing and asking what motive there might be. At the time police say the killing occurred, Rachelle Waterman was apparently playing in a volleyball tournament in Anchorage, Alaska.

Apart from the online diary Rachelle kept, the case is also unusual because matricide committed by female minors is extremely rare.

Contents

  • 1 Family background
  • 2 The case
    • 2.1 Police investigation
    • 2.2 Arraignment
    • 2.3 The trial
  • 3 Alleged motive
  • 4 Incarceration
  • 5 Aftermath
    • 5.1 Juvenile crime
  • 6 See also
  • 7 References
    • 7.1 Rachelle Waterman on LiveJournal
    • 7.2 Police report on the case
    • 7.3 Press reports about the case
    • 7.4 Press reports which mention the case within a larger context
    • 7.5 Scholastic Accomplishments
  • 8 External links

The Waterman family is a locally prominent, middle-upper class family. Born on August 26, 1988, Rachelle showed an interest in acting, computers, movies and music, and was an honor roll student, involved in many extra-curricular activities, including choir, volleyball, and the decathlon team – advancing to upper levels and winning prizes in almost every endeavor. Her mother, Lauri, was a teachers’ aide and served on the board of the Little League and the town library. Rachelle Waterman’s 60-year-old father, Carl “Doc” Waterman, is a real estate agent and serves as president of the Craig School Board. Rachelle’s older brother, Geoffrey, lives out of town and is a student at Tacoma College.

Waterman and her alleged accomplices, Jason Arrant and Brian Radel, both 24 years old, are accused of murdering and conspiring to murder Waterman’s 48-year-old mother, Lauri Waterman.

Reportedly, Arrant dropped Radel off near the Waterman home shortly after 12:00 a.m. Sunday, November 13, 2004 (local time) where Radel proceeded to kidnap Lauri Waterman, force her into a minivan owned by the Waterman family, and kill her with a blunt object.

Arrant and Radel then allegedly met at Forest Service Road 3012 at about 2:30 a.m., and Arrant followed Radel to its dead end, where Radel had driven the Waterman’s van.

Arrant then allegedly watched as Radel doused the body and van with gasoline and then used a roll of paper towels to set it on fire, in an attempt to destroy the evidence.

Alaska State Police Lt. Rodney Dial has stated that a hunter discovered Lauri Waterman’s body and her burnt-out van, while driving on Forest Service Road 3012, a remote logging road, early in the afternoon of Sunday November 142004.

On Saturday, November 202004, Alaska State Police Trooper Robert Claus stated:

During … interviews all three made admissions as to their involvement in the murder. Physical evidence recovered at the various crime scenes corroborated many of the defendants’ statements … Radel, Arrant and Waterman have been charged with murder in the first degree. Due to the severity of the charges, Waterman has been waived into adult court. Additional charges of solicitation, conspiracy, tampering with physical evidence and other charges are pending. Arrant and Waterman will be arraigned in the District Court in Craig this morning.

On Saturday, November 20, 2004, Rachelle appeared in Craig District Court, dressed in an orange CCJF jumpsuit, for arraignment on the charges. Waterman and her alleged co-conspirators, Jason Arrant, and Brian Radel, faced a 10-count indictment, listing 26 felonies.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported that, “the complaint against Rachelle Waterman relied on statements by all three co-defendants. The complaint says the girl told one of the suspects when she and her father would be out of town.”

A report in The Ketchikan Daily News stated that, “The first seven counts of the indictment allege that all three defendants committed the crimes of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder; first-degree murder; second-degree murder; kidnapping; first-degree burglary; first-degree vehicle theft and tampering with physical evidence.” Other charges were made against Arrant and Radel. The same report went on to state, “Trooper Robert Claus, Klawock resident Jan Bush and Deputy State Medical Examiner Susan Klingler testified before the grand jury.”

Magistrate Kay Clark presided over the arraignment and set bail at $150,000. Clark also appointed a public defender to represent Rachelle, who was sent to the Juneau Department of Corrections facility.

Judge Patricia Collins, of the Juneau Superior Court, has been assigned to run the trial for the case. Judge Collins originally set a date of February 3, 2005 for the trial, but, at an arraignment that week, the trial was rescheduled for August 22. According to court officials, another postponement is likely.

Rachelle Waterman’s court-appointed attorney for the trial is Assistant Public Advocate Steven Wells. Assistant District Attorney Daniel Schally is assigned to prosecute the case.

No motive for the crime has been suggested. Readers are closely scrutinizing Rachelle’s online journal for clues.

As early as February 24th of 2004, she posted the following:

“Don’t you hate it when the little pieces of shit pile up to the point you’re at the breaking point, and you want to scream and cry at the same time. I don’t know weather to kill somebody, myself, or just curl up into a fetal[sic] position under my covers and lay there for a couple of days. Either way . . . I’m not good . . . “

Numerous readers have pointed to Rachelle’s negative comments concerning her mother’s wishes to send her to a “fat farm” to lose weight.

“My mom finally gave me back the right to eat but wants to send me to fat camp this summer. I think it’s rather hallarious[sic]. I mean, I agree I’m chunky but if she sends me off I”ll be the skinny girl and get sat apon[sic]. That part wouldn’t be funny, but overall it’s quite amusing. Silly mother,” (verbatim spelling).

In another incident, her mother grounded her (restricted her to home) for receiving an 89% score on a test. Rachelle posted these comments to her journal in response to this situation (verbatim spelling):

“well I’m grounded, last ngiht[sic] my mom went psycho bitch on me and cast me out. So I went to crash at someone’s house then she freaked [out], wanted me home incase[sic] I told someone. Wee for loving parental units”

“I even got to fly…down the stairs….”

Other readers have pointed to the title of Rachelle’s journal, “My Crappy Life (The Inside Look of an Insane Person)”, and her negative description of her hometown as “Hell, Alaska, United States”:

“I live in the suckiest[sic] place on earth, a shit hole in alaska[sic].”

Rachelle posted the following poem to her journal on August 24, 2004, with an indication that she was depressed:

they hold the key to my chamber
locked within it’s depths.
never to see the sunlight,
and contemplating death.
starving more than one way
soul and body combine,
the pain curses through
sending chills up the spine.
will I live to see the stars?
the sunrise once more?
or will I wither and rot
my heart gone forevermore

She also had a strong desire not to be at home:

“I just want a job, keep me occupied and not at home”

and even posted an “Ode to Suicide” under the following post:

“Ever feel completely alone? All the people who you care about and you thought cared about you just leave and you’re….just alone…nobody to connect with, nobody to comfort you when you find out you might die, nobody…nothing….”

Ode to Suicide

Pain consumes my body,
eating away like lye.
Tearing at my flesh,
no more tears left to cry.

Nobody loves me,
nobody cares.
Why continue on?
I want out of these snares.

Relief and release,
is what you bring to me.
No more matters to cry for,
I can finally be free.

“wow I suck amazingly at poetry”

Finally, the weekend before Rachelle left on a trip, during which time her mother was allegedly killed, she noted in her second-to-last entry, “I had a migraine from about 9am-6pm”.

Rachelle Waterman is currently incarcerated at the Lemon Creek correctional facility, in Alaska. She signed an agreement to be placed into the general population. Corrections Deputy Commissioner Portia Parker indicated that Waterman “is an adult in the eyes of the law.”

Alaska law places persons charged with first-degree murder at the age of 16 or older in the adult court system, and most of the records concerning this case are open to the public for inspection.

One of the last entries in Rachelle’s journal wonders whether anyone is reading her comments (verbatim spelling):

“Well not a lot has happened lately I jsut thought I should let people know I”m still alive, not like too many people care cus I’m not even sure if anyone reads these from me anymore.”

Although Waterman has not yet been convicted, sociologists and forensic psychologists are beginning to study her journal and the circumstances of her writing it. (The police have seized her computer and are examining the contents of its hard drive for evidence.)

LiveJournal has subsequently restricted the viewing of her journal.

When interviewed by Alaskan television station KTUU about the nature of online journals, (in late November, 2004) forensic psychologist Susan LaGrande commented that “[i]t’s such an anonymous vehicle that you can be whoever or say whatever you want. You don’t have all the responsibilities that are inherent in a face-to-face real, legitimate relationship.

This same report pointed out that Rachelle Waterman had mentioned suicide in her online journal.

Criminologist Susan Magestro was interviewed by KTUU on the subject of juvenile crime, in late November, 2004, after Waterman became the second teenager within two months to be accused of murdering her own parent. She stated that “I think that we’re starting to see more violence with kids who are younger, and the behaviors that they’re exhibiting are more aggressive and more violent.” Magestro also opined that “we’ve got a lot more fetal alcohol and drug children who are growing up, and they don’t understand the consequences of some of their actions.” (There is no indication that Waterman was a so-called “fetal alcohol” or “drug” child.)

KTUU reported that Magestro “…blames violent movies, TV shows and videogames for desensitizing young people, making them unable to understand the consequences — or even the reality — of their actions.”

Although Waterman has been waived into the adult justice system due to the nature of the crime, the Governor of Alaska, Frank Murkowski, has proposed increasing the number of personnel assigned to the juvenile justice system.

Cruise ship sinks off Greek coast, two missing

Thursday, April 5, 2007

An evacuation operation was carried out today as a cruise ship ran aground off the coast of Santorini, a Greek island, leaving up to 1,167 passengers and 391 crew to abandon the ship.

The Sea Diamond took on water and listed twelve degrees after running aground, but had been stabilized. Fifteen hours after the grounding, the ship sank.

Cruise operator Louis Cruise Lines had announced earlier that all passengers and crew were accounted for. Officials are now reporting that two passengers are missing. A 45-year-old man, Jean-Christophe Allain, and his 16-year-old daughter, Maud, were reported missing by family members also on the cruise, according to a merchant marine ministry official.

BBC journalist Malcolm Brabant reported that the missing passengers had been in a lower-deck cabin when the ship ran aground. Allain’s wife and son escaped safely to the upper decks.

Most of the passengers on board the Sea Diamond ship are either American or German. Local news reported that the ship is taking on water after striking a reef in the volcanic island’s lagoon, similar to a lake, and issued a distress signal, launching an operation that led more than a dozen ships and five Greek Navy helicopters to evacuate all the people on board, with many boarding a small ferry.

The ship was about one nautical mile – 1.8km – from the island’s coast when it ran aground. The ship’s operators, Louis Cruise Lines, earlier said that a “controlled evacuation” was underway, but that “there is no danger to passengers”. The ship had left the Athenian port of Piraeus on Monday for a five-day tour of the islands. The sea was calm when the incident occurred.

“Some passengers have already reached the island and no-one has been hurt,” an official at the Santorini coastguard has said, whilst Merchant Marine Minister Manolis Kefaloyiannis said to reporters, “Thankfully, everything has gone well so far. Emergency services responded very quickly and very well.”

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Athletes prepare for 2012 Summer Paralympics at the Paralympic Fitness Centre

Monday, August 27, 2012

London, England — As Paralympians ready for the Games which are set to open later this week, they have access to a world class fitness center inside the Paralympic Village which is designed to maximise their pre-Game preparations.

According to volunteers staffing the center, instead of being a single large room, as in Beijing, the building has numerous rooms. It, along with the adjacent Village Services Centre, is designed to be converted into a school after the games conclude. Rooms have been structured as a gym, an auditorium, and science laboratories.

Gym equipment is supplied by Technogym, an Italian firm that has supplied gym equipment for the Olympics since 2000. Equipment has been provided not just for for the Fitness Centre, but for gyms at all the Olympic venues. The newest equipment is oriented toward maximum flexibility, allowing athletes to exercise the particular muscles that they most require for their sport.

In addition to the equipment, the Fitness Centre also provides instructors trained in the use of the equipment, the likes of which athletes from many countries have never seen before. There are also a number of instructors available to provide motivational training.

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