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Sat, 23 Sep 2023
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Disabled cruise ship previously had electrical problems, Carnival admits

© AFP Photo
A cruise ship that lost power in the Gulf of Mexico, trapping more than 4,000 people aboard, had already suffered electrical problems as recently as a few weeks ago, its operator Carnival said Wednesday.

With the ship and its passengers still at sea being towed to safety, news of the Carnival Triumph's previous woes will increase pressure on the company, but a spokesman insisted the two sets of problems were unrelated.

"Carnival Triumph previously experienced an electrical issue with one of the ship's alternators," spokesman Vance Gulliksen told AFP.

"Repairs were conducted by the alternator supplier and were fully completed on February 2. There is no evidence at this time of any relationship between this previous issue and the fire that occurred on February 10."

Carnival said it has canceled several upcoming sailings of the stricken Triumph, which is being towed to a US port three days after finding itself adrift following Sunday's mishap.


Olympic runner Oscar Pistorius charged with murder

© Photo: Johannes Eisele, AFP/Getty Images
Oscar Pistorius competes in the London 2012 Olympic Games. He was charged with murder on Tursday for allegedly shooting his girlfriend at his home.
Britain's Sky News first named the woman as Reeva Steenkamp, a model and recent contestant on Tropika Island of Treasure 5, a South African reality TV show. Sarit Tomlinson, described by AP as Steenkamp's publicist, was quoted as saying, "We can confirm that Reeva Steenkamp has passed away." Police, however, have yet to confirm the woman's relationship with the Olympic and Paralympic athlete.

Representatives for Pistorius in South Africa and the United Kingdom could not immediately be reached for comment by USA TODAY Sports.

Earlier, multiple media outlets in the country, including the Mail & Guardian and the South African Press Agency, citing local police, said the woman, 30, died at the scene at the athlete's house in Pretoria. The original source of the report appears to be Beeld, an Afrikaans-language daily newspaper. Local radio also reported on the fatal shooting.


Man shot, killed by police suffered 14 gunshot wounds

A coroner's report shows that a Colorado Springs man who was shot and killed by police during a chase suffered 14 gunshot wounds, 7 of them in his back.

23-year-old Robert Kresky was killed on December 4th. Police said they saw Kresky driving a stolen vehicle near Powers Boulevard and Astrozon Drive and he refused to pull over. Officers chased him for about five miles, and the pursuit ended when Kresky crashed with a police car. Police said Kresky was shot during a foot chase after he got out of the car and started running.

Kresky's family told KRDO NewsChannel 13 on Wednesday that they still have many unanswered questions. The family said they've been told police thought Kresky was armed, but no weapon was found.

Mr. Potato

Pat Robertson: Islam not religion but 'demonic political system'

Controversial conservative Christian leader Pat Robertson told viewers on Tuesday that Islam is not a religion but a demonic political and economic system with only a religious veneer.

Right Wing Watch reports that Pat Robertson, an influential leader in the US right-wing evangelical movement, passed judgement on Islam during an episode of his TV program "The 700 Club," in which he was responding to a news story about the war in Mali.

According to Right Wing Watch, Robertson, referring to Islam as religion of chaos, said:
"Every time you look up - these are angry people, it's almost like it's demonic that is driving them to kill and to maim and to destroy and to blow themselves up," Robertson said of Islam. "It's a religion of chaos... I hardly think to call it a religion, it's more of - well, it's an economic and political system with a religious veneer."


Police brutality: Queens teen claims NYPD brutality during January arrest - vicious beating caught on tape

Robert Jackson's attorney said he will ask the Queens DA to drop resisting arrest charges. The case against cops has been referred to Civilian Complaint Review Board.

Robert Jackson, 19, said he suffered serious facial injuries during an arrest in Flushing on Jan. 8 when cops pushed his face to the pavement. This photo was taken days after the incident, his lawyer said.
A Queens teen with a checkered past said Tuesday he was unnecessarily roughed up by cops during an arrest last month.

Robert Jackson, 19, was collared on Jan. 8 outside of the Flushing YMCA for spewing profanities at an officer and ignoring requests to show his hands, according to court documents.

But during the arrest, police punched and mashed his face on the sidewalk, Jackson said, causing a sizeable C-shaped wound to his left cheek.

A small Ziploc bag of marijuana was found on Jackson, according to the criminal complaint.

"When I first saw my face, I was shocked," Jackson said Tuesday at a news conference in Flushing, still sporting facial abrasions.

Jacques Leandre, Jackson's defense attorney, said he plans to meet with Queens District Attorney Richard Brown this week and ask him to drop the charges.

Leandre, a Rosedale-based lawyer, is a candidate in next week's special election in the crowded race to fill the vacant City Council District 31 seat in southern Queens.


Struggling Caribbean islands selling citizenship

© The Associated Press
Map locates St. Kitts and Nevis and Dominica
Kingston, Jamaica - Hadi Mezawi has never set foot on the Caribbean island of Dominica, has never seen its rainforests or black-sand beaches. But he's one of its newest citizens.

Without leaving his home in the United Arab Emirates, the Palestinian man recently received a brand new Dominican passport after sending a roughly $100,000 contribution to the tropical nation half a world away.

"At the start I was a little worried that it might be a fraud, but the process turned out to be quite smooth and simple. Now, I am a Dominican," said Mezawi, who like many Palestinians had not been recognized as a citizen of any country. That passport will help with travel for his job with a Brazilian food processing company, he said by telephone from Dubai.

Turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa has led to a surge of interest in programs that let investors buy citizenship or residence in countries around the world in return for a healthy contribution or investment. Most are seeking a second passport for hassle-free travel or a ready escape hatch in case things get worse at home.

Nowhere is it easier or faster than in the minuscule Eastern Caribbean nations of Dominica and St. Kitts & Nevis.


MPs say horsemeat discoveries "tip of the iceberg"

© Tescos/sott.net
Supermarkets such as Tesco's may have been selling horse burgers for years
London - Discoveries so far of horsemeat in products sold as beef are likely to be the "tip of the iceberg", a parliamentary report into the scandal said on Thursday.

"The scale of contamination emerging in the meat supply chain is breathtaking," said Anne McIntosh, a legislator who chairs the cross-party Food and Rural Affairs Committee, which published the report. "More revelations will doubtless come to light in the UK and across the European Union."

Growing revelations about the use of horsemeat in products labelled beef have raised questions about the safety of the European food supply chain and prompted governments to send out a European Union (EU)-wide alert.

The EU's health chief said on Wednesday all companies that have handled falsely-labelled horsemeat were under suspicion, adding that the European Commission was considering strengthening EU rules on product labelling.

The British parliamentary report concluded there were strong signs horsemeat had been intentionally substituted for beef.

"British consumers have been cynically and systematically duped in pursuit of profit by elements within the food industry," it said.

The issue first came to light on January 15 when routine tests by Irish authorities discovered horsemeat in beef burgers made by firms in Ireland and Britain and sold in supermarket chains including Tesco, Britain's biggest retailer.

Concern grew last week when the British unit of frozen foods group Findus began recalling its beef lasagne on advice from its French supplier, Comigel, after tests showed concentrations of horsemeat ranging from 60 to 100 percent.


Mexico arrests six suspects for rape of Spanish tourists

© Reuters / Jacobo Garcia
Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam (L) and Guerrero state governor Angel Aguirre attends a news conference in Acapulco February 13, 2013.
Acapulco - Mexico has arrested six men who confessed to the rape of six female Spanish tourists in Acapulco, a crime that drew global attention to the popular Mexican resort.

"We have six detainees who have confessed, totally confessed," Mexican Attorney General Jesus Murillo said on Wednesday at a news conference in Acapulco.

Early on February 4, hooded gunmen forced their way into a beach house the women rented, roughed up their seven male companions and raped the women.

Murillo said one of the suspects was apprehended on Tuesday, and the other five were detained overnight. Local officials said there was physical evidence that implicated the suspects.


RCMP accused of rape in report on British Columbia aboriginal women

The RCMP says it wants to get to the bottom of abuse allegations against its officers in British Columbia involving aboriginal women and girls, but says individuals making the claims must come forward to allow police to conduct a proper investigation.

Those comments followed the release Wednesday of a report by New York-based Human Rights Watch detailing the claims - which include police threats, torture and sexual assault. The report calls on the federal government to launch a national inquiry.

© CBC News
B.C.'s Highway 16 and a complex of routes linked to it have collectively come to be known as the Highway of Tears
Two researchers - one from Canada and one from the U.S. - spent five weeks last summer in the province's north, visiting 10 communities between Prince George to Prince Rupert and hearing accounts from aboriginal women of alleged mistreatment at the hands of police.

First Nations communities they visited are all linked to B.C.'s so-called "Highway of Tears," where 18 women have disappeared over the past several decades.

Meghan Rhoad, a U.S. researcher with Human Rights Watch, told reporters in Ottawa on Wednesday she is hopeful the RCMP will take the recommendations seriously.

"We met with the RCMP yesterday, and I am encouraged by the level of seriousness in how they are reviewing this report," Rhoad said.

RCMP Chief Supt. Janice Armstrong said in a statement released Wednesday the force is taking the allegations "very seriously," but added it needs more help to investigate further.

"In a written response to a series of questions posed by Human Rights Watch in fall 2012, the RCMP emphasized the seriousness of allegations of police misconduct and that these allegations must be brought forward for proper investigation.

"We also explained that complaints could be made to the RCMP directly, to the Commission of Public Complaints against the RCMP or to other independent investigative bodies without fear of retaliation."

The researchers interviewed 50 aboriginal women and girls, plus family members and service providers in northern B.C. They heard stories of police pepper-spraying and using Tasers on young aboriginal girls, and of women being strip-searched by male officers.

Heart - Black

Cardinal Peter Turkson, possible pope successor, has defended legislation like Uganda's 'kill the gays' bill

Cardinal Peter Turkson
© AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis
Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana has defended anti-gay legislation, like Uganda's "Kill the Gays" bill. Here, he poses for a photograph following an interview with the Associated Press in Rome on Feb. 2013. One of Africa's brightest hopes to be the next pope, Ghanian Cardinal Turkson, says the time is right for a pontiff from the developing world.
One of the frontrunners to succeed Pope Benedict XVI has defended anti-gay legislation like Uganda's so-called "Kill the Gays" bill.

GayStarNews notes that Cardinal Peter Turkson, 64, of Ghana is a supporter of homophobic legislation and has defended Africa's anti-gay laws on the basis of African culture.

Turkson claimed during a United Nations summit last February that such laws could be permissible in society because the "intensity of the reaction is probably commensurate with tradition," according to the National Catholic Register. "Just as there's a sense of a call for rights, there's also a call to respect culture, of all kinds of people," he said when discussing the stigma surrounding homosexuality in Africa. "So, if it's being stigmatized, in fairness, it's probably right to find out why it is being stigmatized."

Turkson also criticized U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who has called for Africa to decriminalize homosexuality and end discrimination based on sexual orientation. "When you're talking about what's called 'an alternative lifestyle,' are those human rights?" said Turkson, according to NCR. "He [Ban Ki-moon] needs to recognize there's a subtle distinction between morality and human rights, and that's what needs to be clarified."

Uganda's "Kill the Gays" bill, which would make gay relations punishable by death, might be one of the most contested pieces of proposed legislation, but it doesn't stand alone. Homosexuality is criminalized in 37 African countries.