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Mon, 06 Apr 2020
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Private Plane, Public Menace: Another reason Why Airport Security Doesn't Work

Wealthy travelers routinely bypass the TSA by flying on private jets. How long until al-Qaeda does the same?

Teterboro Airport, situated in the New Jersey Meadowlands, a short distance from the Lincoln Tunnel, is the LAX of the American plutocracy. It is an airport given over entirely to "general" aviation - general being a euphemism for "private." There are many different types of "general aviation" aircraft. A majority are very small, four- or six-seat propeller planes. A minority are much larger corporate jets of the sort found in great numbers on the Teterboro tarmac.

I do not ordinarily have access to corporate-aviation flights, but a few of my friends do, and I feel very warmly toward these friends when they ask me to join them aboard their planes, which is not often enough. Such an invitation came recently while I was in New York City for an appearance on The Colbert Report, during which I discussed our country's ludicrous aviation-security system. A friend let me know he was flying back to Washington that night on a private plane. Count me in, I said.

Ambulance

Update: Explosion kills 31 at Moscow airport

An explosion ripped through the international arrivals hall at Moscow's busiest airport on Monday, killing 31 people and wounding about 130, officials said. The Russian president called it a terror attack.

The state RIA Novosti news agency, citing law enforcement sources, said the mid-afternoon explosion at Domodedovo Airport may have been caused by a suicide bomber.

Bomb

Domodedovo blast: Explosion rocks Moscow's main airport

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© Unknown
Moscow's Domodedovo airport - the busiest in the Russian capital - has been rocked by an explosion that has reportedly killed at least 23 people.

More than 100 more are thought to have been injured in the blast, which reports suggest may have been the work of a suicide bomber.

Russia's chief investigator said the explosion was the work of terrorists.

The airport is 40km (25 miles) south-east of the city centre, and is popular with foreign workers and tourists.

Emergency services are on the scene and tending to the wounded.

Early local reports suggested the blast hit the baggage reclaim area of the international arrivals hall.

A RIA Novosti news agency correspondent at the scene reported that a lot of smoke could be seen in the area, and there was a smell of burning.

Dollar

Disadvantaged turn to disobedience in US

Caught in the eye of the financial crisis, underprivileged Americans have begun seeking ways to subvert system inequality by turning to the new tactic of economic disobedience.

Researchers and activists are documenting that wages in the US have been dropping while benefits and pensions are being cut. In the face of this, some have turned to a different form of protest that does not entail carrying placards or statement-making arrests. This form of resistance is happening in places hardly visible.

In poor neighborhoods in New York City, some residents organize to raise a little money to buy subway cards offering unlimited rides, and swipe as many people in as they can to give them a free ride.

For Ollie, one of the activists who organizes this form of disobedience, most importantly it is a response to an economic system that he sees as unfair.

"Taxes are cut for wealthy people and there are bailouts for banks and none of it reaches people in this neighborhood, and we think that is wrong," Ollie said.


Bizarro Earth

Gulf Coast Fighting for Recompense

shut down sign
© Erika Blumenfeld
Gulf Coast businesses are closing down as they fail to secure compensation payouts
Residents and fishermen outraged as BP's compensation fund administrator denies 'loss of income' claims.

"I just got off the phone with Feinberg's people and I'm really upset," says seafood merchant Michelle Chauncey from Barataria, Louisiana.

Her business, which sells wholesale and retail crabs, has not provided her with an income since the end of May, and her home is being foreclosed.

Attorney Kenneth Feinberg's Washington-based firm, Feinberg Rozen, has been paid $850,000 a month by BP to administer a $20bn compensation fund and claims process for Gulf residents and fishermen affected by the Deepwater Horizon explosion last April.

The Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF), which Feinberg manages, was set up after negotiations between BP and the Obama administration, but over recent months there has been growing concern among the Coast's residents that Feinberg is limiting compensation funds to claimants in order to decrease BP's liability.

Handcuffs

US: Woman Arrested For Sending Boy, 12, Into The Cold

police sirens
© CBS News
A woman was arrested after allegedly kicking her 12-year-old son out into the cold early Sunday morning in the Hill District.

According to the criminal complaint, officers were called to the corner of Chauncey Street and Webster Avenue for a juvenile not wearing shoes at 2:22 a.m.

Officers transported the boy to a home in the 700-block of Junilla Street. After officers knocked on the door several times, 32-year-old Camella Cosby answered.

She was asked about the events of the evening and stated, "He wanted to leave, so I let him leave."

Cosby was taken into custody after officers noticed "glassy blood shot eyes" and alcohol on her breath.

Officers searched the house and noticed no furniture, beds and minimal clothing for the children in the home.

Light Saber

People Power: Phil Mocek found "NOT GUILTY" by Albuquerque jury

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© unknown
Phil Mocek
A six-woman Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court jury has found Phil Mocek "NOT GUILTY" of all of the charges brought against him following his arrest in November 2009 at the TSA checkpoint at the Albuquerque airport.

We'll be posting more details as well as audio recordings and photos of the trial. The jury returned its verdict (video of verdict and Mr. Mocek's reaction) Friday evening after about an hour of deliberation, following a two-day trial we attended.

Mr. Mocek did not testify, and the defense rested on Friday without calling any witnesses or presenting any evidence. the jury found that even without rebuttal, the TSA and Albuquerque police had failed to satisfy their burden of proving any of the four charges: concealing his identity, refusing to obey a lawful order (it was never entirely clear whether this was supposed to have been an order to turn off his camera, an order to leave the airport despite having a valid ticket, or an order to show ID, none of which would have been lawful orders), trespassing, and disorderly conduct.

The best evidence in the case was the video from Mr. Mocek's digital camera (bellow) that both the TSA and the police had tried to stop Mr. Mocek from filming, and which ended when they seized his camera out of his hands and shut it off. In her closing argument, defense counsel Molly Schmidt-Nowara argued that the police and TSA witnesses were not credible, that their testimony was contradicted by the video and by common sense, that what they really objected to was having Mr. Mocek legally take pictures, and that any disorderly conduct was on the part of the police and TSA.


X

US teacher on leave as school investigates student accounts that 2nd graders had oral sex

Markham Elementary
© The Associated Press/Marcio Jose Sanchez
The exterior of Markham Elementary School is seen in Oakland, Calif., Friday, Jan. 21, 2011. A second-grade teacher in the Oakland school has been placed on leave while the school investigates reports that students engaged in oral sex and stripped off some of their clothes during class.
Oakland, California - A second-grade teacher in California was placed on leave while a school and police investigate accounts by students that classmates engaged in oral sex and stripped off some of their clothes during class, officials said Friday.

The investigation was under way at Markham Elementary School in Oakland, where the principal notified parents of the situation in a letter Thursday.

We believe if the reports are true, there was a serious lapse of judgment or lack of supervision in the classroom," said Troy Flint, a spokesman for the Oakland Unified School District. "We're investigating how could this have happened. It seems unthinkable to us, just the same way it does to the public."

Shoe

China Sports Brand Tries to Break Into US Market

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© The Associated Press / Ho, Li Ning
This handout photo taken on Aug. 25, 2009, shows Jay Li, General Manager of Li-Ning International sitting among shoes, at undisclosed location. Chinese athletic shoemaker Li-Ning knew it couldn't 'out-Nike' Nike, especially in the sporting giant's own backyard. So the company is going grassroots in its expansion to the U.S, using an irreverent YouTube video to play up it heritage while taking a lighthearted dig at the Li-Ning name.
Chinese athletic shoemaker Li-Ning knew it couldn't "out-Nike" Nike, especially in the sporting giant's own backyard. So the company is going low-budget edgy in its expansion to the U.S, using an irreverent YouTube video to play up its heritage while taking a lighthearted dig at the company name shared with its high-profile founder.

Li-Ning is among the first Chinese consumer product brands trying to build a following in the U.S., seeking to grab a slice of its saturated but highly coveted market. As China's economic might increases - it last year overtook Japan as the second-biggest economy after the U.S. - its companies are increasingly confident about expansion overseas. But corporate China has yet to produce a brand with the global name recognition of the likes of Apple, Sony or Google.

"It's a process of finding out - while staying true to our heritage, our brand - what side of our DNA is going to resonate with the American consumer," said Jay Li, general manager for Li-Ning International. "We're still searching, to be perfectly honest with you. And we're not in a hurry."

Americans might remember Li Ning (pronounced lee-NING) as the final torchbearer during the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics - the former gymnastics gold medalist who "ran" along the opening in the stadium roof while suspended by wires.

His namesake company is a top domestic brand in China's lucrative athletic shoe and apparel industry, with more than 7,900 stores across the country. Though it has forecast slumping sales and a one percentage point decline in gross profit margin in 2011, CEO Zhang Zhiyong recently told the Wall Street Journal that Li-Ning plans to invest $10 million in U.S. operations this year.

"Our founder Mr. Li Ning has always said his vision was never about building China's Nike, it's about building the world's Li-Ning," Li said. "You can't be global without having a legitimate claim of market share in the most mature sporting goods market."

There are significant hurdles to overcome: Americans are still smarting from the recession and spending less. Chinese goods are widely regarded as shoddily made, knockoffs or even dangerous. Li-Ning's logo recently underwent a redesign, but many consumers may still see a strong resemblance with the Nike "swoosh."

Family

US: 11 Teens Arrested in Mag Mile Robberies

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© unk
Chicago, Illinois-Some of the teens used Twitter to coordinate the grab-and-go robberies

Eleven teenagers are facing charges for bum-rushing Mag Mile stores and stealing $5,000 in loot.

The group targeted Filene's Basement at 830 N. Michigan Ave., The North Face at 875 N. Michigan Ave. and Ax Armani Exchange at 520 N. Michigan Ave. on Wednesday evening. Chicago police arrested the teens nearby that same night , the Sun-Times reports.

The five girls, ranging in age between 14 -16, and six boys, ranging in age between 15 - 17, are charged with retail theft as juveniles, police said.

The suspects stole $2,720 worth of products from The North Face, $2,247 from AX Armani Exchange and almost $300 from Filene's Basement, said police.