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Tue, 14 Jul 2020
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Top Christian shrine may shut down over unpaid water bills

© Agence France-Presse/ Gali Tibbon
A general view showing one of Christianity's holiest site, The Church of the Holy Sepulchre
One of the holiest sites in the Christian world, believed to be the place of Jesus Christ's crucifixion and resurrection, is now under threat of being closed over unpaid water bills.

Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre, also known as the Church of the Resurrection, was founded during the rule of Emperor Constantine the Great in the 4th century and withstood invasions, fires and earthquakes. But now, more than 1,600 years later, the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, which maintains most of the complex, may close the temple's doors as the city's water company Hagihon demands payment of a US$2.3 million bill dating back 15 years, including interest.

"If nothing changes we intend to announce within a few days, for the first time in centuries, that the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is closed," Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III said on Friday, as quoted by RIA Novosti news agency.

People 2

New Jersey kicks out Sandy volunteers because they aren't unionized

© European Pressphoto Agency/Allison Joyce/Getty Images
Volunteers stock basic supplies like diapers, food and water November 1, 2012 in New York City.
Utility workers from across the US are descending on the Northeastern states left ravaged by Superstorm Sandy, but some volunteers making the trek are being told they can't pitch in since they don't belong to a union.

According to a report published late Thursday by WAFF News out of Seaside Heights, crews coming to assist all the way from Alabama's Decatur Utilities were turned away because they aren't unionized, despite making the 800-mile jaunt to lend a hand.

WAFF quotes Decatur worker Derrick Moore, who tells the network that he and his colleagues "are frustrated being told, in essence, 'thanks, but no thanks.'"

Left with nothing to do in New Jersey, Moore and other members of the Decatur team are reportedly waiting in Roanaoke, Virginia to see if Seaside Heights authorities will change their mind. Meanwhile, though, millions of residents up and down the East Coast remain without power after a powerful tropical storm downed power lines and flooded streets from North Carolina to New England.


Atlanta police sniper shoots suicidal boy instead of saving him

Andrew Messina

Andrew Messina
The parents of a suicidal 16-year-old boy who was shot to death by a SWAT team sniper in suburban Atlanta have spoken out for the first time against the unjustified actions of the police.

Andrew Messina had threatened to kill himself after getting a bad grade in school last May. He took his father's .357 Magnum, took swigs of alcohol from a bottle of Martini, and phoned his father to relay his suicidal thoughts - all while recording himself with a video camera.

"I do know personally I really don't want to live," Andrew told his father on the phone. "So you should just let this happen if you really love me."

While he was on the phone, Lisa Messina, the boy's mother, called the police and told the 911 operator that they should send "just one" police car to make sure her son wouldn't panic.

"It just happened so fast, and then he went upstairs," Lisa Messina told CBS Atlanta. "He had a gun in his hand, and he had bullets in the other hand."

But instead of sending a police officer, the SWAT team showed up at the suburban Atlanta home, together with an armored tank and a sniper. Law enforcement officers cut off the telephone lines and put negotiators on the line to talk to the distraught teen while the house was surrounded.


Screams of joy as power restored to Sandy's hard hit victims

Screams of joy erupted through the canyons of lower Manhattan today when the lights came back on through a large section of the city, four days after Sandy's flood waters knocked out power to the city's financial district.

The power surge will allow greater movement of the city's crippled subway system and was a major step in the recovery from the killer storm, whose death toll had topped 90, according to the Associated Press.

When traffic lights came on, screams of joy could be heard in Soho, Chelsea and other Manhattan neighborhoods that have had to go without heat, light, elevators and restaurants since Monday.

Increasingly impatient Sandy survivors got another glimmer of hope when New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that a flotilla of ships and barges began unloading gasoline in an effort to reduce long lines of gas-desperate motorists.

"The issue of gasoline has created concern and anxiety and practical problems all throughout the region," Cuomo said at a news conference today. "People can't get gas. It's slowed down the delivery of service, it's increased the stress level all across the region."


Utility workers pelted with eggs after Bridgeport, Connecticut, mayor blasts provider

utility workers, power
© The Associated Press
Connecticut - Angry residents pelted utility crews with eggs as they tried to restore power in Bridgeport, Conn., after the mayor claimed the local power company had "shortchanged" the state's largest city as it tries to recover from superstorm Sandy.

United Illuminating workers reported eggs and other objects being thrown at them a day after Mayor Bill Finch said the utility was taking care of wealthy suburbs while his constituents suffered. The unrest caused United Illuminating to pull its workers out until the city agreed to provide police protection.

"Citizens began throwing things at the crews," Michael West, a spokesman for United Illuminating, told FoxNews.com. "It started to get pretty hairy. They did not feel safe."

West said it started with verbal abuse and escalated.

Eye 1

Police say teen girls responsible for recent robberies occurring on University of Minnesota campus

Minneapolis - A series of brazen robberies by suspects you might not expect has caused police to issue a crime alert on the University of Minnesota campus.

There's been a total of four robberies in the past couple weeks near the campus.

Police say they believe in two of the cases, a pair of teenage girls are responsible for assaulting students in an attempt to steal their cell phones.

  • Eighteen-year-old Odessa Richmond was booked at Hennepin County Jail last weekend.

    The other girl's name isn't being released because she's not eighteen.

    University of Minnesota student Katie Johnson said after her car was recently broken into in this area, she started to get crime alerts texted to her.

    "Well, I live two blocks from here, and this is where it happened, so really close," Johnson said.

    She couldn't believe when she saw a pair of teen girls were partly responsible for recent robberies on campus.

    "It's just really scary," she said. "Usually it's a male-oriented crime, so it certainly shocked us when we saw that."


    Two sentenced to U.S. prison for copyright piracy

    Two members of an Internet piracy group were sentenced to prison Friday on charges stemming from unauthorized online distribution of first-run films, officials said.

    The Justice Department said a Virginia court sentenced Willie Lambert, 57, of Pennsylvania, to 30 months in prison and Sean Lovelady, 28, of California to 23 months.

    Lambert was ordered to pay $449,514 in restitution and Lovelady $7,500.

    Lambert and Lovelady were indicted along with two other defendants in April for their roles in the IMAGiNE Group, a ring that sought to copy and release to the Internet copies of movies only showing in theaters.

    Arrow Down

    Food worth millions for poor children siphoned off in Maharashtra, finds Supreme Court panel

    Poor Children
    © NDTV
    Mumbai -In a grim reminder of the continuing misery of the poor in India, a report by a Supreme Court panel has revealed that food worth thousands of crores meant for underprivileged children in Maharashtra has been siphoned off by private companies. Instead, the children, who were entitled to the benefit under the anganwadi scheme, were fed stale and low-quality food.

    The shocking revelations are part of a report submitted by the Supreme Court Commissioner who looked into widespread irregularities in the Maharashtra Anganwadi Yojana. As per the findings, tenders were intentionally awarded to three women's associations that were meant to supply food for children under the anganwadi scheme. However, the associations formed their own separate committees, which in turn delegated the work - supplying food and other nutritional supplements - to five private firms. These five companies, the report says, allegedly made massive profits by providing sub-standard food to poor children.

    The latest report is a further indicator of the deteriorating social index in Maharashtra - the state already suffers from the ignominy of having one of the highest number of deaths from malnutrition in the country. The alleged scam should also come as a worry for the Congress-led government in Maharashtra as well as at the Centre as the anganwadi project is part of the larger Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme which is centrally-sponsored with the state governments tasked to implement it.

    Heart - Black

    Madeleine Albright's scrap with pro-Serbian activists in a Prague bookstore

    © Youtube
    "You're a war criminal," she says. "Get out."
    Video has emerged showing Madeleine Albright in a verbal altercation with a group of pro-Serbian activists in Prague. The former U.S. Secretary of State got involved in a heated exchange with the activists who remonstrated with her over her role in the American-led 1999 NATO bombing of Yugoslavia and her reported interest in a Kosovar communications firm. At a book-signing event, promoting her memoir Prague Winter, in the Czech capital's Luxor bookstore on October 23, members of the civic group, "Friends of Serbs in Kosovo" entered into a verbal confrontation with Albright and her representatives.

    The two videos, which were uploaded to YouTube by the group were published by the Czech publication Parlamentni Listy on its website on October 25. The videos show the verbal jousting that ensued after one of the group's members, Czech film director Vaclav Dvorak who made the documentary Stolen Kosovo, walked up to Albright and asked her to sign a DVD copy of his film.

    In one video, Dvorak is accompanied by a cameraman as he comes up to Albright's desk and tells her: "I brought you a film I recorded in Kosovo and I also wanted to remind you of your other deeds," at which point he places posters on her desk with a picture of Albright and the logo of Kosovo's IPKO state telecommunications firm. Parlamentni Listy reports that one of the posters had photographs of Serbs killed during the NATO bombing of Serbia in 1999.

    Comment: The same Madeleine Albright who said:

    Lesley Stahl on U.S. sanctions against Iraq: We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that's more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?

    Secretary of State Madeleine Albright: I think this is a very hard choice, but the price--we think the price is worth it.

    --60 Minutes (5/12/96)


    Bankrupt billionaire Sean Quinn jailed for 'outrageous' contempt

    Sean Quinn
    © Agence France-Presse
    Sean Quinn built the Quinn Group conglomerate from scratch to become a global business empire spanning wind farms, cement plants and hotels
    Bankrupt ex-billionaire Sean Quinn will spend Christmas in prison after being handed a nine-week jail term over an "outrageous" asset-stripping scheme, in violation of court orders.

    The 66-year-old property entrepreneur, once Ireland's richest man, was sentenced at Dublin's High Court on Friday after being found in contempt of court.

    The conviction centred on his defiance of a court order that had demanded Quinn, his son Sean Junior and nephew Peter Darragh Quinn,stop keeping foreign property assets beyond the reach of creditors at the state-owned Irish Banking Resolution Corporation (IBRC), the former Anglo Irish Bank.

    In the contempt ruling, Judge Ms Justice Elizabeth Dunne said the men had defied and misled the courts to shift assets as far afield as Belize, Ukraine and Russia.

    She had sentenced Quinn's son and nephew to three months in prison in July, but delayed sentencing Quinn to see what measures he took to recover the assets. However, IBRC said that Quinn had not reversed the asset-stripping scheme and it had found evidence of continued efforts to frustrate the bank's attempts to recover the assets.

    IBRC is pursuing Quinn for €2.8bn (£2.24bn) he owes, while Quinn only admits owing €455m and is pursuing a counter-case against the bank.