Early morning fire kills four New York group home residents

Sunday, March 22, 2009

After an early morning fire began, four out of the nine people living at the Riverview Individual Residential Alternative group home located in Wells, New York were killed by the blaze. The Sunmount Developmental Disabilities Services Office, which supervises the home, told the media that the fire started at approximately 5:30 AM Eastern Daylight Time. Two staff members were at the home at the time, who safely evacuated four of the five survivors.

The names of the residents killed in the fire were not able to be released due to New York’s Mental Hygiene Law, but are able to be identified as two adult men, aged 32 and 52, and two adult women, aged 43 and 60. A 71-year-old male was injured in the fire, and was taken to a hospital in Utica, a nearby city. The other four residents have been relocated to an unnamed group home. Both staff members are also being examined at the hospital.

“On behalf of all New Yorkers, I wish to extend my heartfelt condolences to the families, loved ones and friends of the four victims and to continue to pray for the full recovery of those five people and two staff members who survived this incident. I also want to express my thanks and appreciation for the first responders and volunteers who worked swiftly and diligently to respond to this tragedy,” David Patterson, the governor of New York, said to the media.

The exact cause of the fire has yet to be determined. However, the New York Civil Liberties Union stated that “the blaze appears to have been an electrical fire and the sprinkler system was knocked out immediately.” They also called for “an immediate investigation into the causes of and contributing factors of the fire.”

The New York State Department of State Office of Fire Prevention and Control is currently investigating the causes of the blaze, with help from New York State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the New York State Commission on Quality of Care and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities.

Best Cosplay Wigs To Suite Your Appearance

Best cosplay wigs to suite your appearance

by

Samantha Dale

Costume play also known as Cosplay is a type of art performance where people who act takes up the role of some characters with accessories and with costumes that suit their character. And cosplay wig belong to the category of accessory that goes in Costume plays. The trends of these wigs also got changed with the changing trend in fashion. The latest trend includes wigs created by taking ideas from science fiction and also from cartoons. Cosplay wigs are created to change the entire appearance of the person instantly and with good wigs comes the creativity of the person portraying a particular character.

Cosplay wigs play a big role in the costume plays as it is this accessory that changes the look of the person and also gives them the appearance of that unique character. There are some points that you should keep in mind while selecting the right cosplay wig. With the wide collections of wigs in the market nowadays it is easy to select the wig. There are many online stores that have come with huge collections of these cosplay wigs and help you to select the one that can go well with your appearance in the costume play.

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There are both expensive as well cheap wigs available hence select one that suits your budget. In case you are going in for an online purchase then gets yourself cleared with all the details related to the wig and the purchase as return options are rare. It is always good that you select a cosplay wig that depicts your character in the play. Resemblance with the character you play is very important when you select your wig else it can t have the right impact in the play as well as with the audience. There are many costume designers who can help you in selecting the right accessory and the right cosplay wig for making your performance and play a better one. Matching of costume and its accessories is very important for the entire show.

Selecting the cosplay wigs is simple with the online shops and firms available and that provides you with a wide variety of choices. The wigs are available in different colours, sizes; designs etc so selecting one for your character should be done accordingly. Do a small research on the net to get an idea about selecting the right cosplay wig as there are several blogs and websites that gives valuable information on the same. So get the right cosplay wig for your play and make your character a memorable one and make the play the best.

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Nine dead after armed Santa Claus opens fire in LA suburb

Monday, December 29, 2008

At least nine people have been killed in a two-story house in Covina, California, after a man dressed in a full Santa Claus outfit opened fire at a Christmas Eve party and then set the house ablaze. Covina is a city in Los Angeles County, California about 22 miles (35 km) east of downtown Los Angeles.

According to local police, the Christmas party at the 1100 block of East Knollcrest Drive was attended by about 25 people. Trend News Agency said that the gunman fired two semi-automatic handguns and used an apparently home-made pressurized device to spread some kind of accelerant. As the guests tried in vain to escape, the gunman used his ‘present’ to spray inflammable liquid that started the raging blaze. Reports from the scene said Molotov cocktails were also used by the madman.

Media reports said the gunman was plotting vengeance against his ex-wife. Prime suspect, Bruce Jeffrey Pardo, age 45, six-foot-three-inch, 250 pound (1.9 meter, 113 kilogram), an electrical engineer, is long time Roman Catholic church usher and a laid-off aerospace worker. He worked with ITT Electronic Systems, Radar Systems, in Van Nuys from February 2005 to July 2008, and as an engineer at Northrop Grumman for five months in 2005, according to Court records. He had also worked for about nine years at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena until 1994.

Pardo’s ex-sister-in-law, who escaped from the Covina house alive with her injured daughter, called 911. Police on Friday released her 911 audio.

Msnbc.com has reported that Pardo “has brown hair and blue eyes, and known to frequent La Crescenta and La Verne.” Court records reveal that Mr Pardo’s wife acrimoniously divorced him last September. The divorce decree was finalized December 18. Until earlier this year, he lived in the Sylmar house with his ex-wife and her three children. The marriage lasted barely a year. However, Pardo held no criminal record and had no history of violence.

There is some speculation that the divorce may have been caused by Pardo concealing a paraplegic child from a previous relationship. Matthew, his nine-year-old son, by another former girlfriend, Elena Lucano, became brain damaged when he fell into a backyard swimming pool on Jan. 6, 2001. Pardo kept this child a secret from his wife. Pardo owed her $10,000 as part of the divorce settlement, according to court documents that detailed a bitter split. He also lost a dog he doted on and did not get back a valuable wedding ring. Pardo complained in a court declaration that Sylvia Pardo was living with her parents, not paying rent, and had spent lavishly on a luxury car, gambling trips to Las Vegas, meals at fine restaurants, massages and golf lessons.

After the mass murder, Pardo put on his street clothes and drove his rental Dodge Caliber car to the house of his brother, Jimmy Pardo, in Sylmar, approximately 30 miles away from the crime scene, where he committed suicide from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. His brother was not present in the home and he broke inside to enter in. It was believed that Pardo intended to flee to Canada by plane as he had bought an airline ticket to a flight there from Los Angeles to Moline, Illinois. However due to suffering from severe third-degree burns on both arms stemming from the blaze, he decided to go against the initial plan.

Police had found $17,000 cling-wrapped on his legs inside a girdle, the car key, and his rental car that had been parked on Herrick Avenue, one block from his brother’s house, which had been rigged by remnants of his Santa suit that would ignite a flame and detonate the car with black powder if removed. Also recovered from the scene were four 13-round capacity handguns that were each empty, and at least 200 rounds of ammunition. Suggesting that what had been inside the car was being treated as a threat, police fired an incendiary device into it, destroying and burning it.

The police found on early Thursday, Mr Pardo bore a single gunshot wound to the head. According to LA County coroner’s official Ed Winter, the bodies found in the ashes were “extremely charred and burned.” All three of Sylvia Pardo’s children — Selina, Sal and Amanda — survived. According to the Scott Nord, the Ortega family lawyer, “the entire family was wiped out, and there’s basically like 16 orphans.”

Three other party guests have injuries, according to police. A 16-year-old girl was shot in the back, and an eight-year-old girl suffered facial gunshot wounds that were not life-threatening, while a 20-year-old woman had a broken ankle, after jumping from a second-story window, the police specified. About 80 firefighters put off the fire that soared fifteen metres (40 to 50 feet) high for more than one hour. The police discovered two handguns at the scene, and found two more in the in-laws’ house. Media reports on Friday said the 16-year-old daughter of Sylvia Pardo was released from Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center.

Meanwhile, investigators served a search warrant at Pardo’s Montrose house, where they retrieved evidence of high-octane racing fuel, five empty boxes for semi-automatic handguns, as well as two shotguns.

Covina police Lt. Pat Buchanan on Saturday said they are looking for Pardo’s rented gray 1999 RAV4, with California license plate 5RYD562. Police have found the second rental car Saturday night in a Glendale, California but found no bombs nor any explosives.

The police also revealed Saturday the names of nine people missing since the Christmas Eve massacre occurred. They are Pardo’s ex-wife, Sylvia Pardo, 43; her parents, Joseph Ortega, 80, and Alicia Ortega, 70; Alicia Ortiz, 46, and her son, Michael Ortiz, 17; Sylvia’s brother, Charles Ortega, 50, and his wife, Cheri, 45; another brother, James Ortega, 52, and his wife, Teresa, 51, according to Lt. Buchanan. “Hopefully, we’ll get positive identifications early next week,” Covina Police Chief Kim Raney said.

A murder-suicide is an act in which an individual kills one or more other persons immediately before, or at the same time as, killing him or herself. According to the psychiatrist Karl A. Menninger, murder-suicide or murder and suicide are interchangeable acts – suicide sometimes forestalling murder, and vice versa.

Kidnapped British couple “need urgent help”

Monday, February 1, 2010

A British couple kidnapped by Somali pirates last October require urgent help, according to AFP. Rachel and Paul Chandler, who were sailing to Tanzania from the Seychelles in their yacht when they were captured by pirates, told an AFP reporter that they did “are being badly treated”. The photographer for the news agency was accompanying a surgeon, Mohamed Helmi Hangul, who was permitted to visit the couple briefly on Thursday.

The couple have been separated from each other, and are suffering signs of stress. The wife is suffering from insomnia and is “mentally unwell” and “disorientated”. “I’m old, I’m 56 and my husband is 60 years old. We need to be together because we have not much time left,” she said.

The pirates responsible have threatened to execute the couple if their demands for a $7m ransom are not met. However, the British Foreign Office say that they will not pay any ransoms or “substantial concessions” to pirates. In a statement, the British Foreign Office said that they “remain in regular contact with the family and are providing support”. They are calling for the “safe and swift release” of the couple.

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Grandmother of Barack Obama dies at 86

Monday, November 3, 2008

Madelyn Dunham, the maternal grandmother of United States 2008 presidential candidate Barack Obama, has died of cancer at 86, just one day before the election.

Dunham, who was born in Peru, Kansas in 1922, helped to raise Obama from the age of 10. She lived in Honolulu, Hawaii for most of her life, where she died peacefully in her apartment shortly before midnight local time.

She was the cornerstone of our family, and a woman of extraordinary accomplishment, strength, and humility.

“It is with great sadness that we announce that our grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, has died peacefully after a battle with cancer. She was the cornerstone of our family, and a woman of extraordinary accomplishment, strength, and humility,” said Obama and his sister Maya Soetoro-Ng in a joint statement to the press.

During his acceptance speech for Democratic presidential nominee he noted her with the words, “She’s the one who put off buying a new car or a new dress for herself so that I could have a better life… She poured everything she had into me.”

Obama took time out from his presidential campaign in October to visit her at her bedside a week before she died.

Obama’s opponent John McCain also issued a statement saying his “thoughts and prayers go out” to Obama and his family.

“We offer our deepest condolences to Barack Obama and his family as they grieve the loss of their beloved grandmother. Our thoughts and prayers go out to them as they remember and celebrate the life of someone who had such a profound impact in their lives,” said McCain in a statement to the press.

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U.S. appeals court upholds Honolulu aerial ad ban

Thursday, May 25, 2006

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday ruled that Honolulu‘s ban on aerial advertising is constitutional and rejected the arguments of a pro-life/anti-abortion group that contended that the ban restricts free speech.

In a unanimous ruling, the court ruled that the city’s ban on aerial advertising is not pre-empted by federal law and violates neither the free speech provisions of the First Amendment nor the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Writing for the court, Judge Margaret McKeown wrote that “Honolulu’s airspace is a nonpublic forum, and the Ordinance is reasonable, viewpoint neutral, and rationally related to legitimate governmental interests.” (“Nonpublic forum” is defined as a place that is not traditionally or explicitly opened to free expression.)

The Center for Bioethical Reform (CBR) challenged Honolulu’s ban, claiming that the ban infringes on their right to public advocacy. The group planned to fly a plane towing a 100-foot banner showing graphic images of aborted fetuses, and contended that authorization they sought and received from the Federal Aviation Administration authorized the group to fly in all fifty states and Puerto Rico.

The CBR has driven vans with such images around Honolulu in the past few years.

Judge David Ezra, U.S. District Judge for Hawaii, ruled in November 2004 that the ordinance was constitutional. The appeal was argued before the 9th Circuit in Honolulu in November 2005.

Announcing their intent to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, Gregg Cunningham, executive director of the CBR, said, “We never expected to get justice in the U.S. District Courts or in Honolulu. Our goal has always been to get to the U.S. Supreme Court. It’s the only place we feel we’ll get a fair hearing.

“If the environmental groups and political leftists who are trying to suppress the truth about abortion think we’re going to go away because we lost two cases that we fully expected to lose, they’re in for a rude awakening,” Cunningham said.

Hawaii has had a statewide prohibition on billboards and similar forms of advertising since 1927, and is unique among U.S. states in this regard. In addition, since 1957, Honolulu has had a comprehensive law regulating the size and content of signs. Honolulu’s ban on all aerial advertising was enacted in 1978.

Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann praised the decision, saying, “This obviously has strong implications for our visitor industry to know that when people come here they’re going to see things here that really make for an island paradise type of vacation. This is great news for us.”

Mary Steiner, head of the Outdoor Circle, an environmental group that supports the ban, said, “We have never doubted for a moment the importance of the scenic environment that it is just as important as any of the rest of the environmental issues that are out there. We’re not going to stand by and let it be destroyed in any way, shape or form.”

Ecuador planning to end asylum for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno Tuesday, met with British officials laying the framework for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to be handed over when his asylum ends and is forced out of London’s Ecuadorian Embassy being immediate arrested for espionage.

Moreno has since flown to London for a disabilities conference, however did meet with British Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt. According to embassy officials, the eviction of Assange is ‘imminent’. Once Assange has no diplomatic status and exits the Ecuadorian Embassy grounds, London police will immediately arrest him with charges of espionage, but will likely be extradited to United States (US) facing similar charges carrying a maximum 45 year sentence.

Assange’s espionage charges stem from allegedly conspiring with Pfc. Bradley Manning, with a name change to Chelsea Manning post-gender reassignment surgery, when Manning was found guilty for distributed classified material to Assange for publishing. Charged with four counts under the US’s Espionage Act, Manning was sentenced to 35 years on August 21, 2013. Manning sentence would be later commuted to 7 years as one of the last acts of outgoing US President Barack Obama.

Swedish officials pursued and won an extradition battle regarding rape allegations in 2012. Prior to deportation, Assange arrived at the Ecuadorian Embassy with a Global Positioning System (GPS) device around his ankle. Asylum was granted and the GPS device was cut off. Even with diplomatic immunity, Assange is unable to leave the embassy for security and the possibility of arrest for charges not covered by diplomatic status. In an effort to monitor Assange’s whereabouts, a police guard was placed outside the embassy until October of 2015, with an overall cost of €13 million.

Embassy employees have complained about and dealt with Assange’s residency including constant complaints about noise resulting in a women’s restroom being converted into a living quarters forcing staff to share a single restroom with him. As early as 2012, Assange’s former associate Jérémie Zimmermann reported, “unless the people around him force him to shower, he might not change his clothes for days.”

While still acting as editor for Wikileaks, others like close aid and friend Daniel Domscheit-Berg said, “Julian ate everything with his hands and he always wiped his fingers on his pants. I have never seen pants as greasy as his in my whole life.” confirming embassy reports. A moratorium on all computers, internet access, and phones was recently placed on Assange with visitor privileges restricted to only his lawyers.

Sparse reports also claim Assange’s health is poor, increasing the total cost of his asylum to €3.7million. The revocation and expulsion from the Ecuadorian Embassy may come as early as next week according to sources close to Moreno.

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Ban on YouTube spreads to Google services in Turkey

Monday, June 7, 2010

Access to search engine Google has been limited and most of Google’s online services cannot be accessed in Turkey. The access limitation happened due to the blocking of an IP set that belongs to Google. These IP addresses were shared between YouTube and other Google services.

The Turkish news site Hürriyet Daily News reports that Turkey’s Telecommunications Communication Presidency (TCP) (a government agency that manages Turkish ISPs) indefinitely shut off access to several Google services. The shut-off came after the banning of YouTube for alleged insults against Turkish Republic founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. TCP released an official statement Friday, saying it had blocked access to some Google IP addresses “because of legal reasons”. Under Turkish law, it is an offence to “insult Turkishness.”

Softpedia states that the limited access to Google could be a result of the government trying to block specific DNS addresses that relate to Google, as part of its ongoing attempts to block YouTube. Since Google services share common software and IP addresses, the search engine itself suffers from access restrictions. Turkish citizens are concerned that this move of the governmental agency was another step towards a complete ban on Google, as exists in China.

Several Internet sites have been banned in Turkey in recent years, and although some of them were subsequently unbanned, most of them remain inaccessible. Engelli Web, a website listing banned sites reports that currently YouTube (since May 2008), Last.fm (since June 26, 2009), and Spanish newspaper El Mundo (since May 14, 2010) are among the banned sites in Turkey. MySpace and WordPress were also among banned sites for a period of time. Websites will be blocked following a court decision or if TCP decides to block on its behalf.

RetweetToday reports that Turkish citizens on Twitter have also reported access problems. Comments about the blockage are being shared using hashtags such as TurkeyCensorGoogle and TurkeyGoogleBan, as well as NoGoogleNoWeb.

Chinese government to safeguard old Beijing

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Beijing’s city legislature has approved a bill, one year in the making, to safeguard the historical and cultural heritage of old Beijing. The new 41-article set of regulations will come into effect May 1, requiring the city to protect listed heritage sites and unlisted sites deemed of historical or cultural value. It also guarantees protection for the area within the city’s Second Ring Road.

Director of the Beijing Administrative Bureau of Cultural Heritage, Mei Ninghua, said “the most encouraging content of the regulations is that Beijing will pay more attention to protecting the old city’s landscape in its entirety, rather than just focussing on scattered heritage sites.” This means the old city layout, colours of buildings, and the names of houses and lanes will have legal protection.

“We took measures to protect the city’s siheyuan courtyard houses by tagging protection plates on more than 650 of them in 2003, preventing them from being demolished or damaged during the city’s massive housing reconstruction projects,” said Mei.

“Now the new regulations give legal buttress to the protection of siheyuan courtyard homes, as well as other unmovable ancient treasures, that have yet to be listed but are at risk of being demolished during urban renovation.”

Modern Beijing, capital of China for 850 years, was built by Mongul Emporer Kublai Khan in 1267 AD. In the vicinity of the current city once was Ji (?), the capital of the State of Yan (?), a power of the Warring States Period – but it has been lost in the mists of time.