KRISTV.com http://www.kristv.com/ KRISTV.com World News World News en-us Copyright 2014, KRISTV.com. All Rights Reserved. Feed content is not avaialble for commercial use. () () Thu, 18 Sep 2014 19:09:16 GMT Synapse CMS 10 KRISTV.com http://www.kristv.com/ 144 25 Scots Decide Whether to Declare Independence http://www.kristv.com/news/scots-decide-whether-to-declare-independence/ http://www.kristv.com/news/scots-decide-whether-to-declare-independence/ World News Thu, 18 Sep 2014 4:24:40 AM Scots Decide Whether to Declare Independence

SCOTLAND - Voters in Scotland are going to the polls today to cast their ballots in an Independence Referendum.

Ballot boxes and other supplies were delivered to polling places in Edinburgh on Wednesday.

The fate of the United Kingdom rests on the results of today's vote.

Hundreds of thousands of Scottish voters are said to be wavering.

Opinion polls show supporters of the 307-year-old union are just slightly ahead of secessionists.

 


Permalink| Comments


]]>
Australian Police: Raids Thwarted Beheading Plot http://www.kristv.com/news/australian-police-raids-thwarted-beheading-plot/ http://www.kristv.com/news/australian-police-raids-thwarted-beheading-plot/ World News Thu, 18 Sep 2014 4:24:35 AM Australian Police: Raids Thwarted Beheading Plot

SYDNEY (AP) - Police said they thwarted a plot to carry out beheadings in Australia by supporters of the radical Islamic State group by detaining 15 people and raiding more than a dozen properties across Sydney on Thursday.

The raids involving 800 federal and state police officers - the largest in the country's history - came in response to intelligence that an Islamic State group leader in the Middle East was calling on Australian supporters to kill, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said.

Abbott was asked about reports that the detainees were planning to behead a random person in Sydney.

"That's the intelligence we received," he told reporters. "The exhortations - quite direct exhortations - were coming from an Australian who is apparently quite senior in ISIL to networks of support back in Australia to conduct demonstration killings here in this country."

ISIL refers to the al-Qaida splinter group leading Sunni militants in Iraq, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which now calls itself simply Islamic State.

"This is not just suspicion, this is intent and that's why the police and security agencies decided to act in the way they have," Abbott said.

The raids came just days after the country raised its terrorism threat to the second-highest level in response to the domestic threat posed by supporters of the Islamic State group. At the time, Abbott stressed that there was no information suggesting a terror attack was imminent.

Later Thursday, Attorney General George Brandis confirmed that a person born in Afghanistan who had spent time in Australia and is now working with the Islamic State group in the Middle East ordered supporters in Australia to behead people and videotape the executions.

"If the ... police had not acted today, there is a likelihood that this would have happened," Brandis told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

Abbott and Brandis did not name the Australian. But Mohammad Ali Baryalei, who is believed to be Australia's most senior member of the Islamic State group, was named as a co-conspirator in court documents filed Thursday. Police have issued an arrest warrant for the 33-year-old former Sydney nightclub bouncer.

One of those detained, 22-year-old Omarjan Azari of Sydney, appeared briefly in a Sydney court on Thursday.

Prosecutor Michael Allnutt said Azari was involved in a plan to "gruesomely" kill a randomly selected person - something that was "clearly designed to shock and horrify" the public. That plan involved an "unusual level of fanaticism," he said.

Azari is charged with conspiracy to prepare for a terrorist attack. The potential penalty was not immediately clear.

In court documents, Azari was accused of conspiring with Baryalei and others between May and September to prepare for a terrorist attack. Allnutt said the charge stemmed from the interception of a phone call a couple days ago.

Azari did not apply for bail and did not enter a plea. His next court appearance was set for Nov. 13.

Dozens of police spent Thursday searching Azari's home and a car parked across the street from his house. One officer pulled a memo out of the car from the Australian National Imams Council outlining concerns about Australia's new anti-terrorism proposals. The council did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.

The Australian Security Intelligence Organization's director-general, David Irvine, said the threat of terrorism in the country had been rising over the past year, mainly due to Australians joining the Islamic State movement to fight in Syria and Iraq.

"Police believe that this group that we have executed this operation on today had the intention and had started to carry out planning to commit violent acts here in Australia," said Federal Police Deputy Commissioner Andrew Colvin. "Those violent acts particularly related to random acts against members of the public."

Police declined to reveal exact details of the attack they believe was being plotted. New South Wales Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said only that it was to be carried out against a member of the public on the street and was at "a very high level."

"Right now is a time for calm," Scipione said. "We need to let people know that they are safe, and certainly from our perspective, we know that the work this morning will ensure that all of those plans that may have been on foot have been thwarted."

A separate series of raids was conducted Thursday in the eastern cities of Brisbane and Logan. Last week, Australian police arrested two men in Brisbane for allegedly preparing to fight in Syria, recruiting jihadists and raising money for the al-Qaida offshoot group Jabhat al-Nusra, also known as the Nusra Front.

Colvin said the raids conducted in Brisbane on Thursday were a follow-up to that operation. Queensland Police Commissioner Ian Stewart said the operations in Sydney and Brisbane were linked, but declined to release details.

Police said at the time there was no terrorist threat to the Group of 20 leaders' summit to be hosted by Brisbane in November that will bring President Barack Obama and other leaders of the world's 20 biggest economies to the Queensland state capital.

Australia has estimated about 60 of its citizens are fighting for the Islamic State group and the Nusra Front in Iraq and Syria. Another 15 Australian fighters had been killed, including two young suicide bombers.

The government has said it believes about 100 Australians are actively supporting extremist groups from within Australia, recruiting fighters and grooming suicide bomber candidates as well as providing funds and equipment.

___

Associated Press writer Rod McGuirk in Canberra, Australia, contributed to this report.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 


Permalink| Comments


]]>
US Man Held for Alleged Attempt to Swim to North Korea http://www.kristv.com/news/us-man-held-for-alleged-attempt-to-swim-to-north-korea/ http://www.kristv.com/news/us-man-held-for-alleged-attempt-to-swim-to-north-korea/ World News Wed, 17 Sep 2014 4:32:20 AM US Man Held for Alleged Attempt to Swim to North Korea

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - South Korean border guards arrested an American man who they believe was attempting to swim across a river to rival North Korea, a South Korean defense official said Wednesday.

The man was apprehended Tuesday night while lying on a bank of the Han River in a restricted military area near the border, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to office policy.

The man told investigators that he tried to go to North Korea to meet leader Kim Jong Un, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported, citing an unidentified government source. It said the man, aged around 29, is a computer repairman from Texas who came to South Korea 10 days ago.

South Korea's Defense Ministry and the National Intelligence Service said they couldn't confirm the report.

Americans are occasionally arrested after entering North Korea illegally from China, but a U.S. citizen trying to get in from South Korea is unusual.

In the 1960s, several U.S. soldiers walked into North Korea while on a patrol near the mine-strewn Demilitarized Zone, or DMZ. Those army deserters later appeared in North Korean propaganda films and taught English there.

In 1996, American Evan C. Hunziker entered North Korea by swimming across the Yalu River that marks the Chinese border. Hunziker, who apparently made the swim on a drunken dare, was accused of spying and detained for three months.

Hunziker, 26 at the time, was eventually freed after negotiations involving a special U.S. envoy. The North Koreans wanted to slap Hunziker with a $100,000 criminal fine but eventually agreed on a $5,000 payment to settle a bill for a hotel where he was detained. He killed himself about one month after his release.

About 27,000 North Koreans have defected to South Korea to avoid poverty and political suppression since the end of the Korean War. Some South Koreans have attempted to defect to the impoverished, authoritarian North, but such cases are rare.

Last year, South Korean soldiers shot and killed a man with a South Korean passport who officials said ignored warnings while swimming across the Imjin River toward North Korea.

Some Americans recently detained in North Korea include missionaries aiming to spread the gospel or draw attention to human rights abuses. On Christmas Day in 2009, Korean-American missionary Robert Park defiantly walked into North Korea from China calling for the dismantling of the North's prison camps. Park, who was deported from North Korea in February 2010, said he was tortured by interrogators.

North Korea is currently holding three Americans. The country's Supreme Court sentenced one of them, Matthew Miller, on Sunday to six years of hard labor after finding him guilty of illegally entering the country to commit espionage. North Korea says Miller tore up his tourist visa upon arrival at Pyongyang's airport in April.

The Korean Peninsula remains technically at war because the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty. About 28,500 U.S. troops are stationed in South Korea to deter potential aggression from North Korea.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 


Permalink| Comments


]]>
US Airstrikes Target Islamic Militants in Iraq http://www.kristv.com/news/us-airstrikes-target-islamic-militants-in-iraq/ http://www.kristv.com/news/us-airstrikes-target-islamic-militants-in-iraq/ World News Tue, 16 Sep 2014 4:44:48 PM US Airstrikes Target Islamic Militants in Iraq

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Defense Department says the U.S. military on Tuesday pressed its expanded campaign against Islamic State militants with five airstrikes across Iraq.

U.S. Central Command says military forces using fighter aircraft launched two airstrikes northwest of Irbil and hit an armed truck and fighters. Three other airstrikes southwest of Baghdad hit anti-aircraft artillery, a truck and two boats on the Euphrates River that were resupplying the militants.

The strikes are part of the new broader military mission in Iraq authorized by President Barack Obama that began Monday. Under the new mission, U.S. forces are going after Islamic State militants wherever they are. Previously, the strikes were limited to protecting U.S. interests and personnel, assisting Iraqi refugees and securing critical infrastructure in Iraq.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 


Permalink| Comments


]]>
Powerful Typhoon Hits China http://www.kristv.com/news/powerful-typhoon-hits-china/ http://www.kristv.com/news/powerful-typhoon-hits-china/ World News Tue, 16 Sep 2014 3:37:44 AM Powerful Typhoon Hits China

CHINA - A powerful typhoon swept over China's island of Hainan today bringing heavy rain and high winds.

Chinese authorities said around 90,000 people were evacuated from low-lying areas before the storm hit.

Typhoon Kalmaegi caused heavy flooding in the Philippines yesterday.

The storm, with 85 to 90 mile-per-hour winds, is expected to make landfall in Vietnam tonight.

 


Permalink| Comments


]]>
Afghan Suicide Bomber Kills 3 http://www.kristv.com/news/afghan-suicide-bomber-kills-3/ http://www.kristv.com/news/afghan-suicide-bomber-kills-3/ World News Tue, 16 Sep 2014 3:45:36 AM Afghan Suicide Bomber Kills 3

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - The NATO-led international military coalition in Afghanistan says that a car bomb attack struck one of its convoys in Kabul, killing three troops and wounding five.

The statement from the military coalition known as ISAF did not say which nationalities the troops were. The attack happened next to an ISAF base that houses many Americans.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, which occurred just a couple hundred yards (meters) from the U.S. Embassy.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 


Permalink| Comments


]]>
First US Airstrikes in Expanded Iraq Fight http://www.kristv.com/news/first-us-airstrikes-in-expanded-iraq-fight/ http://www.kristv.com/news/first-us-airstrikes-in-expanded-iraq-fight/ World News Mon, 15 Sep 2014 6:09:44 PM WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. officials say the United States took the first step in the planned expanded fight against Islamic State militants Monday, going to the aid of Iraqi security forces south of Baghdad who were being attacked by enemy fighters.

The officials say Iraqi forces requested assistance when they came under fire from militants. Officials say the strike represents the newly broadened mission authorized by President Barack Obama to go on the offensive against the Islamic State group wherever it is.

Previous U.S. airstrikes in Iraq were conducted to protect U.S. interests and personnel, assist Iraqi refugees and secure critical infrastructure. Monday's strike was in direct support of Iraqi forces fighting the militants.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the mission publicly by name.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 


Permalink| Comments


]]>
New Fighting Leaves 6 Dead, 15 Wounded in Easter Ukraine http://www.kristv.com/news/new-fighting-leaves-6-dead-15-wounded-in-easter-ukraine/ http://www.kristv.com/news/new-fighting-leaves-6-dead-15-wounded-in-easter-ukraine/ World News Mon, 15 Sep 2014 11:44:39 AM Associated Press New Fighting Leaves 6 Dead, 15 Wounded in Easter Ukraine

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) - Shelling killed six people and wounded 15 others in the rebel stronghold of Donetsk, the city council said Monday - the worst reported violence since a cease-fire between Russian-backed rebels and Ukrainian troops took effect on Sept. 5.

Fighting around the eastern city's government-held airport has left its northern neighborhoods in the crossfire. Two northern neighborhoods were shelled heavily Sunday, leading to the casualties and damaging both homes and offices, the city council said.

Loud blasts could be heard from the direction of the airport all day Monday, and gunfire intermittently rang out downtown in the afternoon.

The Ukrainian government blamed the militants for the civilian casualties.

"Neither today, nor yesterday, nor in the previous days did Ukrainian forces shell any residential areas," said Lysenko.

Both the rebel and government sides have said they are rearming in case the fighting starts anew.

Ukraine and the West have repeatedly contended that Russia is fueling the separatist uprising with manpower, weapons and expertise, something that Moscow denies.

In an interview Monday, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told The Associated Press that "around 1,000" Russian soldiers remain in Ukraine.

"While the Russians may have withdrawn some of their troops in Ukraine, there is a still Russian military presence within Ukraine," Rasmussen said in Brussels, adding that several thousand Russian soldiers were also along the border with Ukraine.

Still, the cease-fire deal has brought some benefits. Another 73 Ukrainian soldiers were freed Sunday in exchange for 73 rebels, both sides reported Monday - the largest prisoner exchange so far.

And in neighborhoods away from the Donetsk airport, many more people and cars were out in the streets than have been for weeks.

The fighting in eastern Ukraine began in mid-April, a month after Russia annexed the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea. It has claimed at least 3,000 civilian lives, according to the U.N.

___

Peter Leonard in Donetsk, Ukraine, John Dahlburg in Brussels contributed reporting.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 


Permalink| Comments


]]>
500 Feared Dead as Boat Carrying Migrants Rammed http://www.kristv.com/news/500-feared-dead-as-boat-carrying-migrants-rammed/ http://www.kristv.com/news/500-feared-dead-as-boat-carrying-migrants-rammed/ World News Mon, 15 Sep 2014 10:35:15 AM GENEVA (AP) - About 500 Syrians, Palestinians, Egyptians and Sudanese are feared to have died after their boat was rammed and sank off the Malta coast last week, the International Organization for Migration said Monday.

The group of migrant workers was undertaking a perilous journey from the Egyptian port of Damietta, seeking a better life in Europe, when their boat was overtaken by human traffickers equipped with two vessels on Wednesday, said organization spokeswoman Christiane Berthiaume.

According to the organization's interviews with two of the survivors, the human traffickers rammed the boat carrying the migrants with one of their vessels. The two survivors, both Palestinian, said there had been a violent confrontation between the migrants and the traffickers. Berthiaume told The Associated Press the traffickers "used one boat to knock the other" and that there were about nine known survivors in all.

The two Palestinians were rescued by a Panamanian-flagged commercial ship that brought them to Pozzallo, Italy. The other seven survivors were picked up by other boats that brought them to Crete, Greece and Malta.

Berthiaume said another boat carrying at least 250 African migrants to Europe capsized before the leaving the coast near the Libyan capital on Monday, and that most were feared dead. A coast guard spokesman, Qassim Ayoub, told AP that dozens of bodies were being retrieved 18 kilometers (11 miles) off the coast of Tripoli's Tajoura district and that 36 African migrants, including three women - one of them pregnant - were rescued.

The International Organization for Migration estimates that so far this year 2,200 people have died trying to cross the Mediterranean, compared to 700 in all of 2013. However that does not include the two incidents off Malta and Libya, which could put the grim toll close to 3,000. More than 100,000 people have been rescued since January, the U.N. refugee agency said.

Refugee numbers have swelled as thousands of people flee conflicts in Syria, Iraq and across the Middle East and Africa, many of them boarding unsafe smugglers' boats in Libya. So far, nearly 110,000 people have been rescued since January, the U.N. refugee agency said.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 


Permalink| Comments


]]>
Category 3 Hurricane Odile Makes Landfall http://www.kristv.com/news/category-3-hurricane-odile-makes-landfall/ http://www.kristv.com/news/category-3-hurricane-odile-makes-landfall/ World News Mon, 15 Sep 2014 7:00:48 AM Category 3 Hurricane Odile Makes Landfall

MEXICO - A powerful Hurricane closed in on the resort area of Los Cabos as Mexican authorities evacuated vulnerable coastal areas and readied shelters for up to 30,000 people.

David Korenfeld, the Director of CONAGUA (the National Water Commission) described the hurricane as "dangerous", saying it was expected to pass "very near or on top of the southern part of Baja California."

Businesses covered their windows to protect them from damage, while people stayed in temporary shelters which have been set up in the area.

Rain began falling at mid-afternoon on Sunday, hours before the storm's expected arrival. Gusty winds whipped palm trees, waves pounded the rocky shore and fluttering black flags signaled that beaches were closed due to high surf.

After reaching Category 4 strength on Sunday, Odile was downgraded to Category 3.

But it was still a major storm that threatened to bring high winds, deadly surf and heavy rains to Baja and parts of the mainland, and forecasters said it could strengthen again as it approached land.

Some 800 marines were on standby, and officials readied heavy equipment to help out in areas where mudslides could occur.

Long lines formed at petrol stations and supermarkets as residents stocked up on food, bottled water, flashlights and batteries.

 


Permalink| Comments


]]>
6 Killed, 14 Wounded in East Ukraine City http://www.kristv.com/news/6-killed-14-wounded-in-east-ukraine-city/ http://www.kristv.com/news/6-killed-14-wounded-in-east-ukraine-city/ World News Mon, 15 Sep 2014 5:18:18 AM 6 Killed, 14 Wounded in East Ukraine City

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) - Shelling killed six people and wounded 15 others in rebel-held Donetsk, the city council reported Monday - the worst violation yet of the cease-fire between Russian-backed rebels and Ukrainian troops that took effect Sept. 5.

Two northern neighborhoods were heavily shelled Sunday, leading to the casualties and damaging both residential and administrative buildings, the council said.

Fighting centered on Donetsk's government-held airport has left many northern neighborhoods in the crossfire. Over the weekend, Ukraine said its troops repelled an attack of 200 rebel fighters, but suffered no military casualties.

Observers from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe say they were 200 meters (650 feet) away from four shells bursting Sunday in Donetsk. The team saw one woman lying on the ground, and said a rebel fighter on the scene told them four people had been killed that day.

The government has not confirmed the number of casualties.

The fighting began a month after Russia annexed the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea in March. It has claimed at least 3,000 civilian lives and forced hundreds of thousands to flee, according to the U.N.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 


Permalink| Comments


]]>
Pistorius Not Guilty of Murder but was Negligent http://www.kristv.com/news/pistorius-not-guilty-of-murder-but-was-negligent-379506/ http://www.kristv.com/news/pistorius-not-guilty-of-murder-but-was-negligent-379506/ World News Thu, 11 Sep 2014 7:44:10 PM Pistorius Not Guilty of Murder but was Negligent

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) - During his trial, Oscar Pistorius sometimes retched and sobbed. The double-amputee Olympian sobbed again on Thursday, this time in apparent relief as a judge said the evidence did not support a murder conviction for killing girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

The judge could still convict Pistorius of a negligent killing - a crime that can carry a lengthy jail term or just a suspended sentence and fine - when she likely finishes reading her lengthy conclusions in court on Friday. Some legal analysts were surprised, saying the runner could at least have been convicted of a lesser murder charge, rather than the premeditated murder charge leveled by the state.

The Pretoria courtroom was packed for the ruling in the case against 27-year-old Pistorius, once a globally admired celebrity who competed against able-bodied athletes at the 2012 Olympics in London. His brother, Carl, was there in a wheelchair because of injuries suffered in a recent car crash. So were Steenkamp's parents, June and Barry.

Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model, had been seeing the star athlete for only a few months before he killed her by shooting four times through a closed toilet door in his home in the pre-dawn hours of Valentine's Day last year. Pistorius said he thought an intruder was in the toilet and about to attack him; the prosecution said he intentionally killed her after an argument.

Judge Thokozile Masipa, wearing a red robe, unveiled her analysis of the case after saying little throughout the sensational six-month trial as lawyers argued and witnesses testified about the shocking killing. South Africa does not have a jury system, and judges customarily issue verdicts only after explaining their reasoning.

"The accused cannot be found guilty of murder," the judge said, noting there were "just not enough facts" to support the finding of guilt for premeditated murder, which carries a sentence of 25 years to life in prison, or an unplanned murder, considered a less severe crime.

To support her view that the state had not proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt, the judge said some neighbors' accounts of hearing a woman's screams on the night of Steenkamp's death - a key part of the prosecution's case - were unreliable. The defense had argued that it was Pistorius who was screaming in horror in a high-pitched voice after discovering he had fatally shot Steenkamp.

Masipa cited what she called an "objective" timeline of telephone calls made after the shooting, some involving Pistorius, that the defense had compiled in an attempt to discredit witness accounts about the sequence of purported screams and gunshots. She noted that Pistorius was reported to be in genuine distress in the immediate aftermath of the shooting, and that he could not have been "play-acting."

Even so, the judge appeared to lay the groundwork for a conviction for culpable homicide, which is the killing of someone through reckless or negligent behavior. She described Pistorius' conduct as negligent, and said he could have telephoned security or screamed for help on the balcony instead of grabbing his gun and heading to confront a perceived danger in the bathroom.

"I am of the view that the accused acted too hastily and used excessive force," Masipa said. She also said that many people in South Africa have personally experienced the traumatic effects of the country's high crime rate but do not sleep with guns nearby.

Five years in prison is a guideline for a culpable homicide conviction in which a firearm is used, though the sentence is at the judge's discretion, according to legal experts. Pistorius also faces two separate counts of unlawfully firing a gun in a public place in unrelated incidents and one count of illegal possession of ammunition.

If he is convicted on any charge, the case will be postponed until a later sentencing hearing.

Kelly Phelps, a senior lecturer in the public law department at the University of Cape Town, said the judge's rulings so far were sound because prosecutors "never had very much evidence" to support their central allegation that Pistorius carried out a premeditated murder.

Martin Hood, a South African lawyer and firearms expert, disagreed, saying there was a strong case to convict Pistorius on a lesser charge of unplanned murder, which carries a minimum sentence of 15 years in jail. Under that scenario, Hood said, Pistorius may not have intended to kill Steenkamp because he testified that he didn't think she was in the toilet, but he did intend to kill a perceived intruder by firing multiple times into a small space.

"This was always going to be a showcase for South Africa," Hood said of the trial. "I think there's a lot of uncertainty as to the correctness of the judgment."

He added: "We have a problem in this country with violent crime. This sends the wrong message about the way we deal with violent crime."

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 


Permalink| Comments


]]>
Judge: Pistorius Can't be Found Guilty of Murder http://www.kristv.com/news/judge-pistorius-can-t-be-found-guilty-of-murder/ http://www.kristv.com/news/judge-pistorius-can-t-be-found-guilty-of-murder/ World News Thu, 11 Sep 2014 6:21:41 AM Judge: Pistorius Can't be Found Guilty of Murder

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) - The judge in Oscar Pistorius' murder trial appeared to be heading for a culpable homicide finding Thursday after ruling out both both premeditated murder and murder verdicts in the shooting death of the double-amputee Olympic athlete's girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

Judge Thokozile Masipa said prosecutors have not proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Pistorius, 27, is guilty of premeditated murder.

"Culpable homicide is a competent verdict," the judge said, but did not deliver any formal verdicts in the shooting death of Pistorius' 29-year-old girlfriend before calling for a lunch break in the proceedings.

Culpable homicide refers to a negligent killing. If Pistorius is formally acquitted of murder, he could still be sent to jail for years if it's found he acted negligently in Steenkamp's death. Pistorius has admitted firing the four shots that killed Steenkamp on Valentine's Day last year.

Pistorius says he mistook his girlfriend, a model and budding reality TV star, for an intruder and killed her accidentally. The prosecution alleges the athlete intentionally killed her after a loud argument, which was heard by neighbors.

Masipa was explaining her reasoning behind the upcoming verdicts in the case against Pistorius. Masipa said there were "just not enough facts" to support the finding of premeditated murder in Steenkamp's fatal shooting.

As the judge spoke, Pistorius wept quietly, his shoulders shaking as he sat on a wooden bench.

Masipa earlier told Pistorius he could remain seated on a wooden bench while she read her verdict out and until she asked him to stand. She then proceeded to explain her assessment of the testimonies of some of the 37 witnesses who testified. The process

Casting doubt on witness accounts of hearing a woman's screams, Masipa said "none of the witnesses had ever heard the accused cry or scream, let alone when he was anxious," apparently acknowledging the possibility that the defense argument that Pistorius had been screaming in a high-pitched voice after discovering he had fatally shot Steenkamp.

At one point, Masipa said: "I continue to explain why most witnesses got their facts wrong."

Masipa also said she was disregarding text messages between Steenkamp and Pistorius that had been entered as evidence. Prosecutors had submitted text messages that showed tension between them while the defense submitted messages that indicated mutual affection. That evidence, the judge said, doesn't prove anything.

"Normal relationships are dynamic and unpredictable most of the time, while human beings are fickle," she said.

Pistorius faced 25 years to life in prison if convicted of premeditated murder for fatally shooting Steenkamp in his home in the pre-dawn hours of Feb. 14, 2013. He also faces years in jail if found guilty of murder without pre-planning, or of negligent killing. Pistorius could also be acquitted if Masipa believes he made a tragic error.

Pistorius has said he mistakenly shot Steenkamp through the closed door of a toilet cubicle, thinking there was an intruder in his home and pleaded not guilty to murder.

A key part of the prosecution's case was its assertion that Steenkamp screamed during a late-night alleged fight with Pistorius before he killed her. But Masipa said some of those witnesses who testified to hearing a woman scream in the pre-dawn hours of Feb. 14, 2013 were "genuinely mistaken in what they heard, as the chronology will show."

That appeared to indicate that the defense had succeeded in raising doubts that Steenkamp ever screamed. The defense says the screaming was instead Pistorius, who was traumatized and desperately calling for help in a high-pitched voice after realizing he had shot Steenkamp in error.

Masipa also cited testimony of an acoustics expert called by the defense, saying it cast "serious doubt" on whether witnesses who were hundreds of meters (yards) away in their homes - as some state witnesses were - could have differentiated between the screams of a man or a woman.

Earlier, Masipa began by outlining in detail the four charges against the Olympic runner: Murder, two counts of unlawfully firing a gun in a public place in unrelated incidents and one count of illegal possession of ammunition.

Before the session began, Pistorius hugged his brother Carl, who was seated in a wheelchair because of injuries suffered in a recent car crash.

The parents of Steenkamp were also in the packed gallery. Other members of Pistorius' family, including his father Henke, sat behind him.

If Pistorius is convicted on any charge, the case will likely be postponed until a later sentencing hearing.

There were many journalists at the courthouse, where the sensational trial has unfolded over the last six months.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 


Permalink| Comments


]]>
Bull Interrupts Kids' Swim Meet http://www.kristv.com/news/bull-interrupts-kids-swim-meet/ http://www.kristv.com/news/bull-interrupts-kids-swim-meet/ World News Wed, 10 Sep 2014 12:45:43 PM Bull Interrupts Kids' Swim Meet

INDIA - A swim competition for some young children in India took a surprising turn when an unexpected visitor made a big splash!

If you look closely at the video, you'll see a bull leading the pack heading to the other end of the pool. Witnesses say it just came out of nowhere for a dip.

Far from frightened, the kids were thrilled to have such an unusual interruption to their swim meet.

The bull appeared to enjoy the water, swimming around for nearly an hour. However, eventually local authorities removed the bull from the water.

Nobody knows where the bull came from.

 


Permalink| Comments


]]>
Oscar Pistorious Verdict Expected Tomorrow http://www.kristv.com/news/oscar-pistorious-verdict-expected-tomorrow/ http://www.kristv.com/news/oscar-pistorious-verdict-expected-tomorrow/ World News Wed, 10 Sep 2014 7:08:41 AM Oscar Pistorious Verdict Expected Tomorrow

SOUTH AFRICA - The verdict in the murder trial of "Bladerunner" Oscar Pistorius is due on Thursday.

If he's found guilty of pre-meditated murder, he could be sentenced to life in prison.

If the judge rules he's not guilty, Pistorius could still face a lesser charge.

 


Permalink| Comments


]]>
Police Arrest 2 Men on Terror Charges http://www.kristv.com/news/police-arrest-2-men-on-terror-charges/ http://www.kristv.com/news/police-arrest-2-men-on-terror-charges/ World News Wed, 10 Sep 2014 4:35:42 AM Police Arrest 2 Men on Terror Charges

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) - Australian police have arrested two men for allegedly preparing to fight in Syria, recruiting jihadists and with raising money for a terrorist group after raids on several properties, including an Islamic center, in two east coast cities.

Australian Federal Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Gaughan said 180 police took part in the raids on Wednesday on nine properties in Brisbane city and neighboring Logan.

The raids come after Australia's domestic spy chief warned that the nation may elevate its terrorism threat to the second-highest level within days because of the growing danger posed by Islamic State group supporters.

Gaughan said men, aged 21 and 31, will appear in a court Thursday.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 


Permalink| Comments


]]>
Bombing Kills Head of Syrian Rebel Group http://www.kristv.com/news/bombing-kills-head-of-syrian-rebel-group/ http://www.kristv.com/news/bombing-kills-head-of-syrian-rebel-group/ World News Tue, 9 Sep 2014 1:42:50 PM Associated Press Bombing Kills Head of Syrian Rebel Group

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) - The head of one of Syria's largest rebel groups was killed in a suicide bombing alongside many of his leading fighters, activists and state media reported Tuesday night, an attack likely to further weaken the country's already shaky armed opposition.

Hassan Aboud of Ahrar al-Sham, an ultraconservative Syrian rebel group, was killed in the northwestern town of Ram Hamdan in the Syrian province of Idlib, an activist collective called the Edlib News Network and the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.

Both groups said that other leading group members were killed after a suicide bomber detonated his explosives belt in a meeting of Ahrar al-Sham's leaders. The Observatory bases its information from a network of activists on the ground.

The group previously fought against the extremist Islamic State group, which now holds a swath of territory across Syria and Iraq. Ahrar al-Sham had blamed the Islamic State group for the killing of one of their leaders in February, a man known as Abu Khaled al-Souri.

Ahrar al-Sham advocates the implementation of an ultraconservative interpretation of Islam, but had worked with more moderate rebel groups trying to oust President Bashar Assad.

It had become the most prominent member of a broader rebel coalition known as the Islamic Front. But that group was struggling in recent months after it appeared that donor funding had dried up.

___

Hadid reported from Beirut.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 


Permalink| Comments


]]>
Families Attempting to Settle Jenni Rivera Lawsuit http://www.kristv.com/news/families-attempting-to-settle-jenni-rivera-lawsuit/ http://www.kristv.com/news/families-attempting-to-settle-jenni-rivera-lawsuit/ World News Tue, 9 Sep 2014 1:41:14 PM Associated Press Families Attempting to Settle Jenni Rivera Lawsuit

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Attorneys for singer Jenni Rivera's company and relatives of some of those killed alongside her in a plane crash say they are trying to settle a lawsuit against the late Mexican-American superstar's company.

Attorney Steven Archer represents the families of Rivera's lawyer, hairstylist, makeup artist and publicist. He told a Los Angeles judge on Tuesday that he was attempting to resolve the lawsuit against Jenni Rivera Enterprises Inc. and a company that performed maintenance on the plane.

Superior Court Judge Holly E. Kendig scheduled a Dec. 10 hearing for an update on settlement talks, or to schedule a trial in the case.

Anthony Lopez, an attorney for Rivera's company, confirmed settlement discussions are ongoing.

The 43-year-old Rivera's career was peaking when she and six others died in the northern Mexico crash.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 


Permalink| Comments


]]>
Shark Kills Man in Australia Despite Rescue Bid http://www.kristv.com/news/shark-kills-man-in-australia-despite-rescue-bid/ http://www.kristv.com/news/shark-kills-man-in-australia-despite-rescue-bid/ World News Tue, 9 Sep 2014 4:00:35 AM Shark Kills Man in Australia Despite Rescue Bid

SYDNEY (AP) - A man was killed in a shark attack Tuesday at the popular tourist destination of Byron Bay on Australia's east coast despite a beachgoer's rescue attempt, police said.

The beachgoer, Mark Hickey, swam 15-20 meters (50-65 feet) from the shore of Clarkes Beach to retrieve the man, who had sustained severe wounds to his right leg, Police Inspector Bobbie Cullen said.

The victim, a local man in his 50s whose name has not been released, received medical treatment on the beach but did not survive, Cullen said.

"A gentleman who was on the beach went out and located the gentleman and pulled him in," Cullen told reporters. "Absolutely it is (an extraordinary act of bravery) and we can only thank him for his efforts."

Hickey, a lawyer on vacation at Byron Bay, told Ten Network television news that he saw the shark and its bloodied victim and swam out to try to attempt a rescue as the shark attacked again.

"I went out there and, I don't know, I just thought I've got to get this guy in and that's what I tried to do," Hickey said.

He said he dragged the victim onto the beach and attempted to resuscitate him for 20 minutes, but the man had apparently bled to death in the water. Ten reported that the shark had bitten through the victim's wetsuit on his upper right thigh, tearing off much of his leg.

The leg wounds were being examined to identify the size and species of the shark.

Cullen said the crew of a rescue helicopter spotted what appeared to be a great white shark in the area after the suspected attack, but had lost sight of it. She said all Byron Bay beaches would be closed for 24 hours due to the potential danger.

Byron Bay is a renowned surfing location near Cape Byron, the most easterly point of the Australian mainland, about 800 kilometers (500 miles) north of Sydney.

The death is the first fatal attack in Australia since April 3, when a 63-year-old woman was taken by a 3-to-4-meter (10-to-13-foot) shark near the village of Tathra, 340 kilometers (210 miles) south of Sydney.

Although sharks are common off Australia's coasts, the country has averaged fewer than two fatal attacks per year in recent decades. But fatal attacks are becoming more common. Two men were killed in shark attacks off the east and west coasts in the space of a week in November last year. They were the only fatalities in 2013.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 


Permalink| Comments


]]>
Obama to Broaden US Effort to Compact Militants http://www.kristv.com/news/obama-to-broaden-us-effort-to-compact-militants/ http://www.kristv.com/news/obama-to-broaden-us-effort-to-compact-militants/ World News Mon, 8 Sep 2014 6:00:45 PM Obama to Broaden US Effort to Compact Militants

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama will go on the offensive against the Islamic State group with a broader counterterror mission than he previously has been willing to embrace, U.S. officials said Monday. The new plan, however, still won't commit U.S. troops to a ground war against the brutal insurgency and will rely heavily for now on allies to pitch in for what could be an extended campaign.

Obama's more aggressive posture - which officials say will target Islamic State militants comprehensively and not just to protect U.S. interests or help resolve humanitarian disasters - reflects a new direction for a president who campaigned to end the war in Iraq and has generally been deeply reluctant to use U.S. military might since he took office in 2009.

"Almost every single county on Earth has a role to play in eliminating the ISIL threat and the evil that it represents," Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters Monday night, using an acronym for the Islamic State. He said nations around the world are seeking to defeat the militancy with a coalition "built to endure for the months, and perhaps years, to come."

The U.S. has already launched more than 100 airstrikes against militant targets in Iraq, including a new series that the military said killed an unusually large number of Islamic State fighters. A Central Command statement Monday said the strikes hit targets near the Haditha Dam, and a spokesman, Maj. Curtis Kellogg, said 50 to 70 fighters were targeted and most were believed to have been killed.

Now, after the beheadings of two American freelance journalists, Obama is considering expanding the airstrikes campaign into Syria, where the Islamic State has a safe haven. Obama has long avoided taking military action in Syria, concerned about indirectly assisting President Bashar Assad and his government in Damascus. But White House spokesman Josh Earnest suggested Monday that the U.S. could be moving in that direction, saying Obama was willing "to go wherever is necessary to strike those who are threatening Americans."

Obama is to describe his plans in a speech on Wednesday. By that time, Kerry will be headed to Saudi Arabia and Jordan to meet with Mideast leaders and gauge their level of commitment to a growing worldwide coalition that is uniting against the Islamic State. Kerry said nations from Canada to Estonia to Kuwait to Australia have already contributed a mix of assistance.

In a call Monday evening, Obama congratulated new Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi for the approval of a new government. The White House said al-Abadi "expressed his commitment to work with all communities in Iraq as well as regional and international partners to strengthen Iraq's capabilities" to fight the Islamic State militants.

But beyond airstrikes, much of the international strategy against the Islamic State covers the same ground as it has for the past several months.

Two senior U.S. officials said it will continue to curb foreign fighters and funding flowing to militants, aim to persuade the new government in Baghdad that was seated Monday to give more power to its Sunni citizens in hopes of discouraging them from joining the insurgency, and strengthen Iraqi government forces and moderate Syrian rebels in their respective battles against the Islamic State.

Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates have for months worked to combat the Islamic State either by sharing intelligence, sending humanitarian aid, providing military assistance to rebels, or punishing suspected foreign fighters. Broadened U.S. airstrikes would help cover Iraqi military forces, particularly the Peshmerga forces in the country's Kurdish north, and Western-backed elements of the Syrian opposition, aiming to help them make gains against the militants.

But Western leaders still appear divided on whether to launch airstrikes in Syria. U.S. officials said Obama is leaning toward doing so as part of an international effort, and British Prime Minister David Cameron last week said he has not ruled them out. It's likely that the airstrikes, if they occur, would aim to avoid any of Assad's aircraft, landing strips or other assets that are part of Damascus' campaign to attack Sunni rebel groups that include the Islamic State.

Obama is also expected to press congressional lawmakers to approve $500 million in lethal aid to the Syrian rebels. He proposed the aid earlier this year, but his request has stalled on Capitol Hill.

The U.S. also has pressured Sunni rulers in Qatar to prosecute private financiers in their nations who are believed to be funneling money to the militants. And the West is pressing Turkey to shut its borders with Syria and Iraq to restrict the travel of Islamic State militants and keep foreign fighters from joining the battle.

In Cairo, meanwhile, the 22-nation Arab League agreed to take urgent measures to combat the Islamic State through political, defense, security and legal means. A resolution outlining the league's intent did not specify how that might happen, and it did not explicitly back American military action against the extremists.

The bulk of the strategy is expected to be hammered out later this month at the annual meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, where a Western diplomat said it's possible the world leaders will adopt a new Security Council resolution on how to deal with the Islamic State. That would give the Obama and his allies the legal cover and broad international backing they desire to launch airstrikes.

But two U.S. officials cautioned Monday that Obama may not wait until then, and he has remained non-committal about the prospect of seeking congressional authorization for an expanded mission. He also did not seek congressional approval for the strikes underway in Iraq, citing a request for military assistance from the Iraqi government and the need to protect U.S. personnel in the country.

___

Associated Press Writers Donna Cassata in Washington and Lolita C. Baldor in Ankara, Turkey, contributed to this report.

___

Follow on Twitter: Lara Jakes at https://twitter.com/larajakesAP and Julie Pace at https://twitter.com/jpaceDC

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 


Permalink| Comments


]]>