Letters to the Editor

LETTERS/COLUMNS: Send letters for the editor for publishing to frontpagenews1@yahoo. Please include day/evening phone, and home and email address. APPEARANCE REQUESTS: All writers are available to speak on radio, television, and in print. They are also available to speak or appear at your next event. Contact Van Stone frontpagenews1@yahoo.com or (267)293-9201 to submit a request for any writer. Do not contact the writer directly! All appearance requests go through the Managing Editor’s office. COPYRIGHT: The use of any submissions appearing on this site for monetary gain is strictly prohibited. To learn more. Philadelphia Front Page News www.fpnnews.us. Your Top Stories Of The Day (267) 293-9201.

You can now listen to Power WVSR over the Phone

You can now listen to Power WVSR over the Phone

Power WVSR 1360

Philly Funk Radio

CLICK THE BLACK RADIO STATION BOX OR TRIANGLE TO LISTEN TO THE POWER WVSR1360.US RADIO STATION

FPN NEWS “TAKE TIME FOR WINNERS IN ANY COMMUNITY!”

FEATURED TOP EVENTS & COMMUNITY ADS


FEATURED HOT NEWS REPORTS: YEADON MAYOR ROHAN HEPKINS SPEAKS AT YEADON BOROUGH HALL NEWS CONFERENCE

YEADON BOROUGH MAYOR ROHAN HEPKINS AT WAR WITH WILLIAM PENN SCHOOL DISTRICT OVER UNCONTROLLED RAISING TAXES.

Attention Android Users: Tech Support Page Is For Cell Phone, Tablet, Laptop Users.

Attention Android Users: Tech Support Page Is For Cell Phone, Tablet, Laptop Users.
MUST HAVE ANDROID 4.0 OR HIGHER. HAVING TROUBLE LISTENING TO THE STATION ON YOUR CELL PHONE? POWER WVSR1360 RADIO STATION IS NOT PLAYING WHEN YOU TRY TO TUNE IN ON YOUR CELL PHONE? COULD BE THAT YOU NEED TO INSTALL SOMETHING ON YOUR PHONE. CLICK ON THE IMAGE ABOVE TO EITHER DOWNLOAD ANDROID APP ON GOOGLE PLAY OR XIIALIVE APP ON INTERNET RADIO. THANKS FOR LISTENING.

From Van Stone Dominican Republic and USA: Fashion and Beauty Collection www.frontpagenews.us

From Van Stone Dominican Republic and USA: Fashion and Beauty Collection www.frontpagenews.us
Newspaper Billboard: Above- 1 original lady who is a Van Stone Fashion and Beauty Collection Model. Philadelphia County/Delaware County,- Out On The Town Wear. In the image is Nina Milano! She is Van Stone's Selected Princess Model out and about traveling the town scene showing women how to dress for the fun and fantastic occasion- whatever it is. Follow the beautiful women of Color as she share with you the Van Stone look- From Bold Colors and Prints to Cool Jewels! Apparel, Accessories and Jewelry Trends. Also, look for her on the Power WVSR 1360.us Radio Station Webpage. Show Your Care By Listening To The Internet Radio Station. It's Philly Internet Radio.

Philadelphia Front Page News www.fpnnews.us Your Top Stories Of The Day (267) 293-9201

Philadelphia Front Page News www.fpnnews.us Your Top Stories Of The Day (267) 293-9201
Above: New Blood Pressure Guidelines May Take Millions of Americans Off Meds. Study estimates impact of controversial changes that raised treatment threshold.

"PROMOTE YOURSELF. DO IT YOURSELF."

VAN STONE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC & USA:

Van Stone Dominican Republic & USA: Fashion and Beauty Collection

Van Stone Dominican Republic & USA: Fashion and Beauty Collection
If you are interested in wear and style by Van Stone or wish to promote your own brand or logo click on the Van Stone Logo to go the VSP member page. We can make a simple logo of your name for you. Thanks.

WE'RE NO 1

WE'RE NO 1
Click on logo to listen to Power WVSR 1360 Internet Radio Station And Visit The Webpage.

POWER WVSR: POPULAR HITS PLAYED BY DJ VAN STONE AND DJ WUDDLIVE


DJ Wuddlive -A King of Music for the Battles: Funky & Remix Worldwide Music of The Year

DJ Wuddlive -A King of Music for the Battles: Funky & Remix Worldwide Music of The Year
The Rise of the Mixtape DJ Battles across Philly to South America. DJ Wuddlive plays the DJs’ music you should hear. Swing by Power WVSR 1360 Philly Internet radio, www.fpnnews.us and www.frontpagenes.us, weekdays and weekends, hear DJ Wuddlive play and discuss popular track: mixtape beats, crossover hits, funk, pop rhythms, dance, Hip-Hop and R and B, throwback classics, old school, - jams from late ‘60s through ‘90s, oldies, reggae, soul by some of our favorite DJs from Philly, New York, Los Angeles, Oakland -on the East Coast, on the West Coast and new songs from across the Latin world. Join DJ host Wuddlive and guest host as they discuss new musical creations and what they say about our days and nights.

Philadelphia Front Page News PRESS

Philadelphia Front Page News PRESS
LETTERS/COLUMNS: Send letters to the editor for publishing to frontpagenews1@yahoo.com. Please include day/evening phone and home and email address. APEARANCE REQUESTS: All writers are available to speak on radio, television, and in print. They are also available to speak or appear at your next event. Contact Van Stone frontpagenews1@yahoo.com or (267) 293-9201 to submit a request for any writer. Do not contact the writer directly! All appearance requests go through the Managing Editor’s office. COPYRIGHT: The use of any submissions appearing on this site for monetary gain is strictly prohibited. Click on the Van Stone Kids image above to complete the membership form or submit your request.

FPN News -Woman, Man, Teen/Kid Of The Year: Send Us Your Best Of The Year Shots

Share your women, man, teen/kid photos and help FPN promote the best of people to radio, entertainment, car shows, school, parents, and the general public. The magazine cover images are just below for news readers and music listeners to view.

FPN will be promoting the benefits of being a winner to radio, entertainment, car shows, school, parents, and the general public through this year’s theme, "Take Time for Winners in Any Community."

We would like to feature pictures of real, awesome women, men, teens/kids from across the country and beyond and need your help –and your donation for the photo.

Please consider sending your high-resolution, quality photos of your best person to FPN. Click on any of the magazine cover images to go to the VSP form submit page. Please complete the form and include the name of the individual for your image. Someone will return your submission to your email requesting that you complete the submission by emailing your picture and donation amount. Thank you for supporting the best of the year shots.

Potencia WVSR 1360.us

Potencia WVSR 1360.us
Haga clic en el logo para escuchar Poder WVSR 1360 la estación de radio por Internet y visitar la página web.

Van Stones' Beautiful World Images -Latinamerica, South Asia, and USA Fashion and Beauty Collection

Van Stones' Beautiful World Images -Latinamerica, South Asia, and USA Fashion and Beauty Collection
Family Modeling -modelado de la familia

Van Stones' Beautiful World Images -Hermosas World Images Van Stones

Van Stones' Beautiful World Images -Hermosas World Images Van Stones
Family Modeling -modelado de la familia

WE'RE #1

WE'RE #1

Van Stones' Beautiful World Images -Hermosas World Images Van Stones

Van Stones' Beautiful World Images -Hermosas World Images Van Stones
Family Modeling -modelado de la familia

Van Stones' Beautiful Tween Images-Hermosas Imágenes Tween Van Stones

Van Stones' Beautiful Tween Images-Hermosas Imágenes Tween Van Stones
Family Modeling -modelado de la familia

WE'RE NO 1

WE'RE NO 1

Van Stones' Beautiful Youth Images -Van Stones imágenes hermosas de la Juventud

Van Stones' Beautiful Youth Images -Van Stones imágenes hermosas de la Juventud
Family Modeling -Modelado de la familia

WE'RE NO 1

WE'RE NO 1

Van Stones' Beautiful Child Images -Van Stones Niño hermoso Imágenes

CHILD OF THE YEAR

WE'RE #1

Van Stones’ Beautiful Children Images - Van Stones imágenes hermosas Madre

Van Stones’ Beautiful Children Images - Van Stones imágenes hermosas Madre
Family Modeling -modelado de la familia

LEARN A NEW LANGUAGE WITH VAN STONE: (ESL) ENGLISH SECOND LANGUANGE TRAINING.

Click on the subscribe to FPN Magazine image above. Look for it at the left hand column of the page to fill out a request form.

Enjoy The Interactive Internet Radio Station

Enjoy The Interactive Internet Radio Station
Become a guest at the Power WVSR 1360.US Internet Radio Station. Click on the image to go to the radio station online and visit the webpage.

New: Live Weather from Berks County, Pa

New: Live Weather from Berks County, Pa
WFMZ TV Weather Channel

Live Weather Radio

Like Us On Facebook

Weekly Press/Bullying Prevention News/Philadelphia Front Page News

Friday, May 22, 2015

Mexican official: About 40 dead in shootout in cartel area

Mexican official: About 40 dead in shootout in cartel area 
  

MEXICO CITY (AP) -- About 40 people were killed Friday in what authorities described as a large-scale shootout between law enforcement and criminal suspects in western Mexico.

Almost all the dead were suspected criminals, said a Federal Police official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk with journalists.

There were few details of the reported gunbattle, but video obtained by The Associated Press showed federal police coming under fire and bodies strewn throughout a ranch. A local police official in the neighboring town Puerto de Vargas said the location is called Rancho del Sol. The official wouldn't give his full name to the AP but said his department received a report of the confrontation from fellow police in the neighboring town Ecuandureo and was told to keep everyone calm.

With dozens dead, it was the most violent confrontation between authorities and alleged drug traffickers in recent memory.

The confrontation started when federal police officers tried to pull over truck on the highway near the ranch, and as they got close people inside the truck opened fire, Michoacan Gov. Salvador Jara told Radio Formula.

According to an account of events circulated among federal police units, the first report of the confrontation came in at about 8 a.m. Friday. The government dispatched special forces and a Black Hawk helicopter as reinforcements.

The confrontation occurred near the border of Michoacan and Jalisco states, an area known as being dominated by the Jalisco New Generation cartel, which has mounted several large-scale attacks on federal and state forces in recent weeks.

While there was no immediate confirmation on the identity of the suspects, Jara told Milenio television that "it was most likely" the Jalisco cartel was involved.

The scene of the shootout is close to the community of La Barca, a Jalisco town where authorities in 2013 found more than five dozen bodies in mass graves linked to the Jalisco cartel. According to the federal police account, which was not immediately confirmed by top officials, units confiscated dozens of high-caliber weapons and a rocket launcher.

In April, gunmen believed linked to the cartel ambushed a police convoy in Jalisco, killing 15 state police officers and wounding five. Earlier this month, the New Generation cartel shot down a military helicopter with a rocket launcher in Jalisco, killing eight aboard.

The area, about two hours from the Lake Chapala communities of Canadian and U.S. expatriates, has also been marked by killings of politicians. In 2014, gunmen killed the mayor of a nearby town, Tanhuato.


US officials: Iran enters Iraqi fight for key oil refinery

US officials: Iran enters Iraqi fight for key oil refinery 
 

AP Photo
Displaced civilians from Ramadi wait to receive humanitarian aid from the United Nations in a camp in the town of Amiriyat al-Fallujah, west of Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, May 22, 2015. The United Nations World Food Program said it is rushing food assistance into Anbar to help tens of thousands of residents who have fled Ramadi after it was taken by Islamic State militant group.
  
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Iran has entered the fight to retake a major Iraqi oil refinery from Islamic State militants, contributing small numbers of troops - including some operating artillery and other heavy weapons - in support of advancing Iraqi ground forces, U.S. defense officials said Friday.

Two U.S. defense officials said Iranian forces have taken a significant offensive role in the Beiji operation in recent days, in conjunction with Iraqi Shiite militia. The officials were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

One official said Iranians are operating artillery, 122mm rocket systems and surveillance and reconnaissance drones to help the Iraqi counteroffensive.

The Iranian role was not mentioned in a new U.S. military statement asserting that Iraqi security forces, with U.S. help, had managed to establish a land route into the Beiji refinery compound. The statement Friday by the U.S. military headquarters in Kuwait said Iraqis have begun reinforcing and resupplying forces isolated inside the refinery compound.

Iran's role in Iraq is a major complicating factor for the Obama administration as it searches for the most effective approach to countering the Islamic State group. U.S. officials have said they do not oppose contributions from Iran-supported Iraqi Shiite militias as long as they operate under the command and control of the Iraqi government.

Friday's U.S. military statement quoted Brig. Gen. Thomas Weidley as saying that over the past three days Iraqi security forces and federal police have made "steady, measured progress" in regaining some areas leading to the Beiji refinery compound, in the face of suicide vehicle-borne bombs and rocket attacks. 
Weidley, chief of staff of the U.S.-led military headquarters in Kuwait, recently described the oil refinery as a "key infrastructure and critical crossroads."

The U.S. statement said Iraqis, enabled by the U.S. and its coalition partners, have "successfully cleared and established a ground route" into the refinery to resupply Iraqi troops. It listed U.S. and coalition contributions as including airstrikes, reconnaissance and the use of "advise and assist elements."

Asked about the newly emerging role of Iranian forces in Beiji, the U.S. command in Kuwait declined to comment directly, citing "operational security reasons." It added that all forces involved in Beiji are "aligned with the government of Iraq" and under the control of Iraqi security forces.

Separately, the Pentagon said Friday that the cost of U.S. military operations in Iraq and Syria since U.S. airstrikes began in August is $2.44 billion as of May 7.

IS fighters recently gained substantial control over the Beiji oil refinery, a strategically important prize in the battle for Iraq's future and a potential source of millions of dollars in income for the militants. They also control the nearby town of Beiji, on the main route from Baghdad to Mosul, along the Tigris River.

The militants' move on Beiji largely coincided with its successful offensive in Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, last week. Iraqi forces withdrew from Ramadi on Sunday, leaving behind large numbers of U.S.-supplied vehicles, including several tanks. The U.S. said Friday that its airstrikes in Ramadi overnight hit an IS fighting unit, destroying five armored vehicles, two tanks and other military vehicles, as well as nine abandoned tanks and other armored vehicles.

Together, the Ramadi and Beiji losses have fueled criticism of the Obama administration's Iraq strategy and prompted the White House to authorize an acceleration of U.S. weapons transfers to Baghdad, including expedited shipments of 2,000 shoulder-fired missiles for use against armored suicide vehicles.

Iran had contributed advisers, training and arms to Iraqi Shiite militias in an attempt to retake the city of Tikrit in March, but that effort stalled. In April, after the U.S. joined the effort with airstrikes, Iraqi security forces and allied Shiite militias succeeded in regaining control of the city.

Tony Cordesman, a Middle East expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said that while some in Tehran see the advantages of a Shiite-led Iraqi government that deals equitably with the Sunni and Kurdish populations in order to achieve national unity, Iranian hardliners do not.

"At best, they are still pursuing a policy of competing with the United States for military influence over the Iraqi military and police, Shiite militias, and even influence over Iraq's Kurds," Cordesman wrote in an analysis published Thursday. "At worst - and `at worst' now seems more likely than `at best' - Iran's leaders are seeking an Iraq where Iran has dominant influence" after the Islamic State threat has been overcome.


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Black Children Models


DEA raids clinics, pharmacies in 'pill mill' crackdown

DEA raids clinics, pharmacies in 'pill mill' crackdown 

AP Photo
A Drug Enforcement Administration officer walks into a medical clinic in Little Rock, Ark., Wednesday, May 20, 2015. The DEA began wrapping up a multistate crackdown on prescription drug abuse with raids at pain clinics, pharmacies and other locations in the South.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) -- Authorities raided medical clinics, pharmacies and other locations across the South on Wednesday as part of a Drug Enforcement Administration attempt to thwart illegal prescription drug sales.

The raids in Arkansas, Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi were the latest stage of an operation launched last summer by the Drug Enforcement Administration's drug diversion unit, which has now netted 280 arrests over more than a year, including 22 doctors and pharmacists.

"We have people who have taken an oath to do no harm who are throwing that oath out the window," DEA Special Agent in Charge Keith Brown said after the early morning raids.

The DEA's "Operation Pilluted" had focused on the illegal distribution of oxycodone, hydrocodone and Xanax by medical professionals, and does not target addicts. Agents arrested 48 people Wednesday: 22 in Louisiana, nine each in Alabama and Arkansas and eight in Mississippi.

Since January 2014, half of the overall arrests have occurred in Arkansas. It and the other three states involved in Wednesday's raids each ranked among the top 11 states for hydrocodone prescriptions in 2014, according to DEA data.

"Arkansas is unfortunately not only not immune from this epidemic, but in some ways, we are a leading cause of it," U.S. Attorney Chris Thyer said. He said the state has 146 million hydrocodone pills distributed annually.

In Little Rock, agents raided the KJ Medical Center within sight of the DEA's local office, detaining seven people, and also swept into the Bowman Curve Pharmacy a mile away, where one woman was brought out in handcuffs.

Thyer said at a news conference that customers at the KJ clinic were told in November to take their prescriptions to Bowman Curve after a major chain pharmacy raised questions.

He said that, of the 1,484 prescriptions filled at Bowman Curve Pharmacy between December and March, only six were not sent from the KJ clinic.

Agents also said that, during Wednesday's raid, officers seized four loaded guns and a money counter from the KJ clinic.

The KJ Medical Center was often protected by a security guard while another employee was often stationed outside to direct traffic when patients started showing up around 6:45 each morning. Agents arrested one uniformed guard and another man identified as security personnel, two nurses, a doctor, a man identified as the office manager and a man accused of recruiting homeless people and others to obtain unneeded prescriptions.

Reporters asked the doctor if he was selling pills illegally. He responded, "No," as he was led away in handcuffs and placed in a prisoner van.

A DEA official had told The Associated Press on Tuesday that, in Mobile, Alabama, agents targeted two doctors accused of running multiple pain clinics.

Thyer said about 130 previous Arkansas arrests were linked to the operation, including one Monday by Lonoke County officials. Police began investigating a Little Rock doctor after a patient's death was blamed on a prescription drug overdose. He was arrested Monday and charged with 187 counts of fraudulent practices.

The list also includes a 2014 raid on an oxycodone distribution ring that netted 33 indictments.

At a Montgomery, Alabama, press conference, Gov. Robert Bentley, a dermatologist, held up a copy of the license that allows him to prescribe painkillers to patients.

He said that while drugs can help patients, doctors who overprescribe them to aid abusers "change from being a physician to really being a drug dealer."

"These physicians are an embarrassment to the medical profession," Bentley said.

Prosecutors said four of the nine people arrested in Alabama on Wednesday were doctors, as were two in Louisiana.

DEA officials said 40 doctors, pharmacies and others have surrendered their DEA registration numbers as part of the crackdown, and two immediate suspension orders were issued. A registration number is required to prescribe certain medications.

Those arrested Wednesday face a variety of state and federal criminal charges, including distribution of a controlled substance and conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance.

Law enforcement officials also have warned that people who become addicted to prescription painkillers often turn to heroin when it becomes too difficult to get a prescription.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Black Women Models



Saturday, May 16, 2015

Black Women Models





Friday, May 15, 2015

New mystery in train crash: Was it hit by a flying object?

New mystery in train crash: Was it hit by a flying object? 
 

AP Photo
New rail lines are stacked up in an area near the site where a deadly train derailment occurred earlier in the week, Friday, May 15, 2015, in Philadelphia. Amtrak is working to restore Northeast Corridor rail service between New York City and Philadelphia. Service was suspended after a train derailed in Philadelphia on Tuesday night, killing eight passengers and injuring more than 200.


PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- The Amtrak train that derailed along the nation's busiest tracks may have been struck by an object in the moments before it crashed, investigators said Friday, raising new questions about the deadly accident.

National Transportation Safety Board member Robert Sumwalt said an assistant conductor told investigators that she heard Amtrak engineer Brandon Bostian talking over the radio with an engineer for a regional railroad just before the crash.

The regional engineer, who was in the same area as the Amtrak train, said his train had been hit by a rock or some other projectile. The conductor heard Bostian say the same had happened to his Amtrak train, according to Sumwalt.

The windshield of the Amtrak train was shattered in the accident but one area of glass had a breakage pattern that could be consistent with being hit by an object, he said, and the FBI is investigating.

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority does not yet know what caused the damage to its train that night, said Jerri Williams, a spokeswoman for the agency.

SEPTA trains traveling through the area - including one of the poorest and most violent parts of the city - have had projectiles thrown at them in the past, whether by vandals or teenagers, she said. It was unusual that the SEPTA train was forced to stop on Tuesday night.

The deadly Amtrak wreck has made it clear that despite the train industry's widespread use of electronic signals, sensors and warning systems, safety still sometimes comes down to the knowledge and experience of the engineer at the controls.

Those skills would have been critical on the curve where the New York-bound train derailed, killing eight and injuring more than 200 in the deadliest U.S. train accident in nearly six years.

Instead of high-tech signals or automatic controls, engineers on that stretch of track have to rely on their familiarity with the route and a printed timetable they carry with them, not unlike engineers a century ago.

"We're depending heavily on the human engineer to correctly obey and interpret the signals that he sees and also speed limits and other operating requirements," said David B. Clarke, a railroad expert at the University of Tennessee.

The engineer of the train has told investigators that he does not recall the moments leading up to Tuesday night's crash.

The conductor told the NTSB in an interview Friday that he felt comfortable with the train and was not fatigued, Sumwalt said.

In the minute before the derailment, the Amtrak train accelerated from 70 mph to more than 100 mph, even though the curve where it came off the tracks has a maximum speed of 50 mph.

Experts say the railroad's signaling system would have slowed the train automatically if it had hit the maximum speed allowed on the line, but older cab-signal and train-control systems do not respond to localized speed restrictions.

Investigators are also conducting drug tests. Bostian's lawyer has said he was not using drugs or alcohol.

Preliminary checks have not found any pre-existing problems with the train, the rail line or the signals.

Because of his experience, Bostian should have known the route, even if there's not so much as a speed limit sign on the side of the tracks, said Howard Spier, a Miami-based lawyer who is a former president of the Academy of Rail Labor Attorneys.

"It's engrained in them. He knew it," Spier said. "I'm convinced he knew he was entering a speed-restrictive curve."

The wreck has raised questions about positive train control, a system that automatically brakes trains going too fast. It is installed on the tracks where the train derailed, but it had not been turned on because further testing was needed, Amtrak President Joseph Boardman said.
 
Boardman said this week that he intends to have the system running across Amtrak by the end of this year, as Congress mandated back in 2008.

The system is already operating in other parts of the Northeast Corridor, the busy stretch of tracks between Boston and Washington. An older, less robust automatic-control system is in place for southbound trains in the same area as the derailment.

The last wrecked railcars from the deadly accident were removed Friday as Amtrak prepares to resume service on the line next week.

Also Friday, the first funeral was held for one of those killed in the wreck. U.S. Naval Academy midshipman Justin Zemser, 20, was laid to rest on Long Island. About 150 classmates from the academy joined his family and students from his New York City high school.


Jury orders death for the Boston Marathon bomber

Jury orders death for the Boston Marathon bomber 


AP Photo
FILE - This undated photo released by the FBI on April 19, 2013 shows Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. On Friday, May 15, 2015, Tsarnaev was sentenced to death by lethal injection for the 2013 Boston Marathon terror attack.
   
BOSTON (AP) -- A jury sentenced Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death Friday for the Boston Marathon bombing, sweeping aside pleas that he was just a "kid" who fell under the influence of his fanatical older brother.

Tsarnaev, 21, stood with his hands folded, his head slightly bowed, upon learning his fate, sealed after 14 hours of deliberations over three days. It was the most closely watched terrorism trial in the U.S. since the Oklahoma City bombing case two decades ago.

The decision sets the stage for what could be the nation's first execution of a terrorist in the post-9/11 era, though the case is likely to go through years of appeals. The execution would be carried out by lethal injection.

"Now he will go away and we will be able to move on. Justice. In his own words, `an eye for an eye,'" said bombing victim Sydney Corcoran, who nearly bled to death and whose mother lost both legs.

Karen Brassard, who suffered shrapnel wounds on her legs, said: "We can breathe again."

Three people were killed and more than 260 wounded when Tsarnaev and his brother set off two shrapnel-packed pressure-cooker bombs near the finish line of the race on April 15, 2013. The Tsarnaevs also shot an MIT police officer to death during their getaway.

The 12-member federal jury had to be unanimous for Tsarnaev to get the death penalty. Otherwise, the former college student would have automatically received a sentence of life in prison with no chance of parole.

In weighing the arguments for and against death, the jurors decided among other things that Tsarnaev showed a lack of remorse. And they emphatically rejected the defense's central argument - that he was led down the path to terrorism by his big brother.

"Today the jury has spoken. Dzhokhar Tsrnaev will pay for his crimes with his life," said U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz.

Tsarnaev's father, Anzor Tsarnaev, reached by phone in the Russian region of Dagestan, let out a deep moan upon hearing the news and hung up. Tsarnaev's lawyers had no comment as they left the courtroom.

The attack and the ensuing manhunt paralyzed the city for days and cast a pall over the marathon - normally one of Boston's proudest, most exciting moments - that has yet to be lifted.

With Friday's decision, community leaders and others talked of closure, of relief, of resilience, of the city's Boston Strong spirit.

"Today, more than ever, we know that Boston is a city of hope, strength and resilience that can overcome any challenge," said Mayor Marty Walsh.

Tsarnaev was convicted last month of all 30 charges against him, including use of a weapon of mass destruction. Seventeen of those charges carried the possibility of a death sentence; ultimately, the jury gave him the death penalty on six of those counts.

Tsarnaev's chief lawyer, death penalty specialist Judy Clarke, admitted at the very start of the trial that he participated in the bombings, bluntly telling the jury: "It was him."

But the defense argued that Dzhokhar was an impressionable 19-year-old led astray by his volatile and domineering 26-year-old brother, Tamerlan, who was portrayed as the mastermind of the plot to punish the U.S. for its wars in Muslim countries.

Tamerlan died days after the bombing when he was shot by police and run over by Dzhokhar during a chaotic getaway attempt.

Prosecutors depicted Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as an equal partner in the attack, saying he was so coldhearted he planted a bomb on the pavement behind a group of children, killing an 8-year-old boy.

To drive home their point, prosecutors cited the message he scrawled in the dry-docked boat where he was captured: "Stop killing our innocent people and we will stop." And they opened their case in the penalty phase with a startling photo of him giving the finger to a security camera in his jail cell months after his arrest.

"This is Dzhokhar Tsarnaev -unconcerned, unrepentant and unchanged," prosecutor Nadine Pellegrin said.

The jurors also heard grisly and heartbreaking testimony from numerous bombing survivors who described seeing their legs blown off or watching someone next to them die.

Killed in the bombing were Lingzi Lu, a 23-year-old Boston University graduate student from China; Krystle Campbell, a 29-year-old restaurant manager; and 8-year-old Martin Richard, who had gone to watch the marathon with his family. Massachusetts Institute of Technology police Officer Sean Collier was gunned down in his cruiser days later. Seventeen people lost legs in the bombings.

The speed with which the jury reached a decision surprised some, given that the jurors had to fill out a detailed, 24-page worksheet in which they tallied up the factors for and against the death penalty.

The possible aggravating factors included the cruelty of the crime, the killing of a child, the amount of carnage and lack of remorse. The possible mitigating factors included Tsarnaev's age, the influence of his brother, and his turbulent, dysfunctional family.

The jury agreed with the prosecution on 11 of the 12 aggravating factors cited. In weighing the mitigating factors, only three of the 12 jurors found Tsarnaev acted under the influence of his brother.

Tsarnaev did manage to escape a death sentence in the killing of the MIT officer, after prosecutors admitted they do not know which brother pulled the trigger.

Tsarnaev did not take the stand at his trial, and he slouched through most of the case, a seemingly bored look on his face. In his only flash of emotion during the months-long case, he cried when his Russian aunt took the stand.

The only evidence of any remorse on his part in the two years since the attack came from the defense's final witness, Sister Helen Prejean, a Roman Catholic nun and staunch death penalty opponent portrayed in the movie "Dead Man Walking."

She quoted Tsarnaev as saying of the victims: "No one deserves to suffer like they did."

Tsarnaev's lawyers also called teachers, friends and Russian relatives who described him as a sweet and kind boy who cried during "The Lion King." The defense called him a "good kid."

The defense argued that sparing his life and sending him instead to the high-security Supermax federal prison in Colorado would be a harsh punishment and would help the victims move on with their lives without having to read about years of death row appeals.

The outcome of the penalty phase was wrapped in high suspense.

Massachusetts is a liberal, staunchly anti-death penalty state that hasn't executed anyone since 1947, and there were fears that a death sentence for Tsarnaev would only satisfy his desire for martyrdom. Even the grieving parents of the 8-year-old boy publicly urged prosecutors to drop their push for death.

But others argued that if capital punishment is to be reserved for "the worst of the worst," Tsarnaev qualifies.
U.S. District Judge George O'Toole Jr. will formally impose the sentence at a later date during a hearing in which bombing victims will be allowed to speak. Tsarnaev will also be given the opportunity to address the court.

The Tsarnaevs - ethnic Chechens - lived in the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan and the volatile Dagestan region, near Chechnya, before moving to the U.S. about a decade before the bombings. They settled in Cambridge, just outside Boston.

On The Spot Praying Hands: by Van Stone Philadelphia Front Page News Magazine And Media Key 307 Magazine

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Malaysia turns away 800 boat people; Thailand spots 3rd boat

Malaysia turns away 800 boat people; Thailand spots 3rd boat 
 

AP Photo
An ethnic Rohingya man carries a plastic bag containing his belongings at a temporary shelter in Lapang, Aceh province, Indonesia, Thursday, May 14, 2015. More than 1,600 migrants and refugees from Myanmar and Bangladesh have landed on the shores of Malaysia and Indonesia in the past week and thousands more are believed to have been abandoned at sea, floating on boats with little or no food after traffickers literally jumped ship fearing a crackdown.
 

LANGKAWI, Malaysia (AP) -- Rohingya and Bangladeshis abandoned at sea following a crackdown on human traffickers had nowhere to go Thursday after Malaysia turned away two wooden boats crammed with hundreds of hungry people. Thailand, too, made it clear the migrants were not wanted.

"What do you expect us to do?" asked Malaysian Deputy Home Minister Wan Junaidi Jafaar. "We have been very nice to the people who broke into our border. We have treated them humanely, but they cannot be flooding our shores like this."

"We have to send the right message," he said, "that they are not welcome here."

Thai Prime Minister Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha, meanwhile, said his country couldn't afford to host the refugees.

"If we take them all in, then anyone who wants to come will come freely," he said. "Where will the budget come from?"

He had no suggestions as to where they should go, saying: "No one wants them."

Southeast Asia for years tried to quietly ignore the plight of Myanmar's 1.3 million Rohingya but finds itself caught in a spiraling humanitarian crisis that in many ways it helped create. In the last three years, more than 120,000 members of the Muslim minority, who are intensely persecuted in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, have boarded ships to flee to other countries, paying huge sums to human traffickers.

But faced with a regional crackdown, some captains and smugglers have abandoned the ships, leaving an estimated 6,000 refugees to fend for themselves, according to reliable aid workers and human rights groups.

Around 1,600 have washed to shore in recent days - a thousand on Langkawi, a resort island in northern Malaysia, and another 600 arriving surreptitiously in Indonesia.

But nearly just as many have been sent away. And now food and water supplies are running low.

"This is a grave humanitarian crisis demanding an immediate response," said Matthew Smith, executive director of nonprofit human rights group Fortify Rights. "Lives are on the line."

Denied citizenship by national law, Myanmar's Rohingya are effectively stateless. They have limited access to education or adequate health care and cannot move around freely. They have been attacked by the military and chased from their homes and land by extremist Buddhist mobs in a country that regards them as illegal settlers.

Despite appeals by the U.N. and aid groups, no government in the region - Thai, Indonesian or Malaysian - appears willing to take the refugees, fearing that accepting a few would result in an unstoppable flow of poor, uneducated migrants.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is "alarmed by reports that some countries may be refusing entry to boats carrying refugees and migrants," a statement from his office said Thursday. It said Ban urged governments in the region to "facilitate timely disembarkation and keep their borders and ports open in order to help the vulnerable people who are in need."

Days after Malaysia let in a few boats carrying around migrants, Wan Junaidi announced that a vessel carrying 500 people on a boat found Wednesday off northern Penang state were given provisions and sent on their way. Another carrying about 300 migrants was turned away near Langkawi island overnight, according to two Malaysian officials who declined to be identified because they weren't authorized to speak to the press.

Indonesia's navy also sent away a boat carrying 400 people this week, giving them food, water and directions to Malaysia - the country migrants allegedly said they were trying to find.

Phil Robertson of Human Rights Watch Asia accused Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia of playing "a three-way game of human ping pong."

Though Thailand has a "help-on policy" - give people provisions and then send them on their way - its navy got a green light Thursday from Prayuth's government to rescue a vessel spotted along the Thai-Malaysian maritime border in Satun province, said Jeffrey Labovitz, the International Organization for Migration's chief of mission in Bangkok, Thailand.

The migrants had been begging for help by phone for days, but when sailors finally arrived, offering to bring them to land, they said they were fine.

"None of them wanted to go to the Thai shore," said Maj. Gen. Sansern Kaewkamnerd, deputy government spokesman. "They said they wanted to travel to a third country."

Chris Lewa, director of the Arakan Project, said relatives of some of those on board - including a 16-year-old boy - were crushed to learn their loved ones were not disembarking.

She said they believe the decision was made by a person who appeared to be controlling everyone on the boat.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Investigators: Train in deadly wreck was speeding 106 mph

Investigators: Train in deadly wreck was speeding 106 mph 
 

AP Photo
Emergency personnel walk near the scene of a deadly train wreck, Wednesday, May 13, 2015, in Philadelphia. Federal investigators arrived Wednesday to determine why an Amtrak train jumped the tracks in Tuesday night's fatal accident.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- The Amtrak train that crashed in Philadelphia, killing at least seven people, was hurtling at 106 mph before it ran off the rails along a sharp curve where the speed limit drops to just 50 mph, federal investigators said Wednesday.

The engineer applied the emergency brakes moments before the crash but slowed the train to only 102 mph by the time the locomotive's black box stopped recording data, said Robert Sumwalt, of the National Transportation Safety Board. The speed limit just before the bend is 80 mph, he said.

The engineer, whose name was not released, refused to give a statement to law enforcement and left a police precinct with a lawyer, police said. Sumwalt said federal accident investigators want to talk to him but will give him a day or two to recover from the shock of the accident.

Mayor Michael Nutter said there was "no way in the world" the engineer should have been going that fast into the curve.

"Clearly he was reckless and irresponsible in his actions," Nutter told CNN. "I don't know what was going on with him, I don't know what was going on in the cab, but there's really no excuse that could be offered."

More than 200 people aboard the Washington-to-New York train were injured in the wreck, which happened in a decayed industrial neighborhood not far from the Delaware River just before 9:30 p.m. Tuesday. Passengers crawled out the windows of the torn and toppled rail cars in the darkness and emerged dazed and bloody, many of them with broken bones and burns.

It was the nation's deadliest train accident in nearly seven years.

Amtrak suspended all service until further notice along the Philadelphia-to-New York stretch of the nation's busiest rail corridor as investigators examined the wreckage and the tracks and gathered evidence. The shutdown snarled the commute and forced thousands of people to find other ways to reach their destinations.
The dead included an Associated Press employee, a midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy, a Wells Fargo executive and a CEO of an educational startup. At least 10 people remained hospitalized in critical condition.

Nutter said some people were unaccounted for but cautioned that some passengers listed on the Amtrak manifest might not have boarded the train, while others might not have checked in with authorities.

"We will not cease our efforts until we go through every vehicle," the mayor said.

He said rescuers expanded the search area and were using dogs to look for victims in case someone was thrown from the wreckage.

The NTSB finding about the train's speed corroborated an AP analysis done earlier in the day of surveillance video from a spot along the tracks. The AP concluded from the footage that the train was speeding at approximately 107 mph moments before it entered the curve.

Despite pressure from Congress and safety regulators, Amtrak had not installed along that section of track Positive Train Control, a technology that uses GPS, wireless radio and computers to prevent trains from going over the speed limit. Most of Amtrak's Northeast Corridor is equipped with Positive Train Control.

"Based on what we know right now, we feel that had such a system been installed in this section of track, this accident would not have occurred," Sumwalt said.

The notoriously tight curve is not far from the site of one of the deadliest train wrecks in U.S. history: the 1943 derailment of the Congressional Limited, bound from Washington to New York. Seventy-nine people were killed.

Amtrak inspected the stretch of track on Tuesday, just hours before the accident, and found no defects, the Federal Railroad Administration said. Besides the data recorder, the train had a video camera in its front end that could yield clues to what happened, Sumwalt said.

As for the engineer, Sumwalt said: "This person has gone through a very traumatic event, and we want to give him an opportunity to convalesce for a day or so before we interview him. But that is certainly a high priority for us, to interview the train crew."

The crash took place about 10 minutes after the train pulled out of Philadelphia's 30th Street Station with 238 passengers and five crew members listed aboard. The locomotive and all seven passenger cars hurtled off the track as the train made a left turn, Sumwalt said.

Jillian Jorgensen was seated in the second passenger car and said the train was going "fast enough for me to be worried" when it began to lurch to the right. Then the lights went out, and Jorgensen was thrown from her seat.

She said she "flew across the train" and landed under some seats that had apparently broken loose from the floor.

Jorgensen, a reporter for The New York Observer who lives in Jersey City, New Jersey, said she wriggled free as fellow passengers screamed. She saw one man lying still, his face covered in blood, and a woman with a broken leg.

She climbed out an emergency exit window, and a firefighter helped her down a ladder to safety.

"It was terrifying and awful, and as it was happening it just did not feel like the kind of thing you could walk away from, so I feel very lucky," Jorgensen said in an email. "The scene in the car I was in was total disarray, and people were clearly in a great deal of pain."

Among the dead were award-winning AP video software architect Jim Gaines, a father of two; Justin Zemser, a Naval Academy midshipman from New York City; Abid Gilani, a senior vice president in Wells Fargo's commercial real estate division in New York; and Rachel Jacobs, who was commuting home to New York from her new job as CEO of the Philadelphia educational software startup ApprenNet.

Several victims were rolled away on stretchers. Others wobbled as they walked away or were put on buses.

"It's incredible that so many people walked away from that scene last night," the mayor said. "I saw people on this street behind us walking off of that train. I don't know how that happened, but for the grace of God."

The area where the wreck happened is known as Frankford Junction, situated in a neighborhood of warehouses, industrial buildings and homes.

Amtrak carries 11.6 million passengers a year along its busy Northeast Corridor, which runs between Washington and Boston.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Obama library locale a lift to Chicago hometown's South Side

Obama library locale a lift to Chicago hometown's South Side 
 

AP Photo
U.S. Rep Bobby Rush, D-Ill., looks on as Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel speaks during a news conference announcing the future of the Barack Obama Presidential Center, Tuesday, May 12, 2015, in Chicago.

CHICAGO (AP) -- President Barack Obama will establish his presidential library on the South Side of Chicago, a part of the city where his political career began and where some of the issues that he plans to devote himself to when he leaves the White House are playing out on the streets.

The Barack Obama Foundation made official Tuesday what had been widely expected, that the library will be erected on a site proposed by the University of Chicago. The location was selected over bids made by Columbia University in New York, the University of Hawaii and the University of Illinois at Chicago.

"With a library and a foundation on the South Side of Chicago, not only will we be able to encourage and effect change locally, but what we can also do is to attract the world to Chicago," Obama said in a video accompanying the release. "All the strands of my life came together and I really became a man when I moved to Chicago."

The library, to be located in one of two public parks near campus, is expected to be a boon to nearby communities that struggle with gang violence, drugs, and unemployment. The University of Chicago has said the library and its 800,000 expected visitors a year will translate into dozens of new businesses, thousands of jobs and tens of millions of dollars in revenue.

While the choice was not a surprise - people with direct knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press and other media nearly two weeks ago that it was the winner - sewing up the deal was less smooth than expected. Questions lingered for months about whether the library could legally be built on park land as the university proposed, because the university had not secured the land.

Those questions triggered a flurry of activity, with the City Council approving an ordinance to transfer the land and state lawmakers passing a bill reinforcing the city's right to use the park land for the library as well as "Star Wars" creator George Lucas' proposed lakefront museum.

But the bid was still considered a front-runner, in large part because the president once taught constitutional law at the university, the first lady once worked as an administrator at the University of Chicago Medical Center and they still have a family home nearby.

In the video, Obama cited Chicago as the place he was able to apply his "early idealism to try to work in communities in public service" as well as being where he met his wife and their children were born.

Added first lady Michelle Obama: "Every value, every memory, every important relationship to me exists in Chicago. I consider myself a South Sider."

As a place to tell the president's life story, Mayor Rahm Emanuel noted that the chapter about the president's days as a community organizer happened just outside what will be the doors of the library.

"This is where President Obama's journey began in public life," Emanuel said Tuesday. "He walked these streets, knocked on these doors."

That connection remains a strong one. After the videotaped beating death of a 16-year-old honor student in 2009, for example, Obama dispatched his attorney general and education secretary to discuss teen violence. Four years later, after honor student Hadiya Pendleton was shot to death in a park about a mile from the Obama home, Michelle Obama returned to Chicago to declare in a deeply personal speech that "Hadiya Pendleton is me and I was her."

Much was said Tuesday about the powerful effects the library will have for a part of the city, both as an inspiration for local children and as an economic boost to an area that "suffers the effects of systematic neglect and disinvestment," as Carol Adams, former president of the DuSable Museum of African American History, said.

The South Side is also widely viewed as an opportune spot for Obama to base his post-presidential plans to create and broaden educational and other opportunities for boys and young men of color.

"On the South Side he's going to be right in the middle of the lives of young black men, not in some remote place but right down there where this is a big issue," said Willard Boyd, a former president of Chicago's Field Museum and past chairman of the(Harry S.) Truman Library Institute in Independence, Missouri.

One remaining question is which of two proposed sites near the campus, Washington Park or Jackson Park, will be chosen. Foundation Chairman Marty Nesbitt, a friend of Obama, said Tuesday that he expects the selection to come within nine months and expects the library to be finished in 2020 or 2021.

Nesbitt said the university and foundation would be independent entities but, "we will be good neighbors."

Another deadly earthquake spreads fear and misery in Nepal

Another deadly earthquake spreads fear and misery in Nepal 
 

AP Photo
A Mexican rescue worker stands at the site of a building that collapsed in an earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal, Tuesday, May 12, 2015. A major earthquake has hit Nepal near the Chinese border between the capital of Kathmandu and Mount Everest less than three weeks after the country was devastated by a quake.
  
KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) -- A new earthquake killed dozens of people Tuesday and spread more fear and misery in Nepal, which is still struggling to recover from a devastating quake nearly three weeks ago that left more than 8,000 dead.

A U.S. Marine Corps helicopter carrying six Marines and two Nepalese soldiers was reported missing while delivering disaster aid in northeastern Nepal, U.S. officials said, although there have been no indications the aircraft crashed.

Tuesday's magnitude-7.3 quake, centered midway between Kathmandu and Mount Everest, struck hardest in the foothills of the Himalayas, triggering some landslides, but it also shook the capital badly, sending thousands of terrified people into the streets.

Nepal's Parliament was in session when the quake hit, and frightened lawmakers ran for the exits as the building shook and the lights flickered out.

At least 37 people were killed in the quake and more than 1,100 were injured, according to the Home Ministry. But that toll was expected to rise as reports began reaching Kathmandu of people in isolated Himalayan towns and villages being buried under rubble, according to the U.N.'s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Tremors radiated across parts of Asia. In neighboring India, at least 16 people were confirmed dead after rooftops or walls collapsed onto them, according to India's Home Ministry. Chinese media reported one death in Tibet.

The magnitude-7.8 earthquake that hit April 25 killed more than 8,150 and flattened entire villages, leaving hundreds of thousands homeless in the country's worst-recorded quake since 1934. The U.S. Geological Survey said Tuesday's earthquake was the largest aftershock to date of that destructive quake.

Tuesday's temblor was deeper, however, coming from a depth of 18.5 kilometers (11.5 miles) versus the earlier one at 15 kilometers (9.3 miles). Shallow earthquakes tend to cause more damage.

At least three people were rescued Tuesday in Kathmandu, while another nine pulled to safety in the district of Dolkha, the government said.

Rescue helicopters were sent to mountain districts where landslides and collapsed buildings may have buried people, the government said. Home Ministry official Laxmi Dhakal said the Sindhupalchowk and Dolkha districts were the worst hit.

Search parties fanned out to look for survivors in the wreckage of collapsed buildings in Sindhupalchowk's town of Chautara, which had become a hub for humanitarian aid after last month's quake.

Impoverished Nepal appealed for billions of dollars in aid from foreign nations, as well as medical experts to treat the wounded and helicopters to ferry food and temporary shelters to hundreds of thousands left homeless amid unseasonal rains.

In Washington, Navy Capt. Chris Sims said the missing Huey helicopter was conducting disaster relief operations near Charikot, Nepal.

A nearby Indian helicopter heard radio chatter about a possible fuel problem, said U.S. Army Col. Steve Warren. The Huey, carrying tarps and rice, had dropped off supplies and was headed to a second site when contact was lost, he said, adding that there has been no smoke or other signs of a crash.

A Nepalese air brigade unit had seen the Huey, so Marines in V-22 Osprey aircraft searched unsuccessfully near its last known location for about 90 minutes, Warren said. Members of the Nepalese army are searching on foot because of darkness, he added.

Due to the rugged terrain, the helicopter could have landed in an area where the crew was unable to get a beacon or radio signal out, Warren said.

Tuesday's quake was followed closely by at least 10 strong aftershocks, according to the USGS.

Early reports indicated at least two buildings had collapsed in Kathmandu, though at least one had been unoccupied due to damage it sustained on April 25. Experts say the earlier quake caused extensive structural damage even in buildings that did not topple, and that many could be in danger of collapse.

Frightened residents in the capital, who had returned to their homes only a few days ago, once again set up tents Tuesday night with plans to sleep in empty fields, parking lots and on sidewalks.

"Everyone was saying the earthquakes are over. ... Now I don't want to believe anyone," said 40-year-old produce vendor Ram Hari Sah as he searched for a spot to pitch the orange tarpaulin to shelter his family. "We are all scared, we are terrified. I would rather deal with mosquitoes and the rain than sleep in the house."

Extra police were sent to patrol ad-hoc camping areas, while drinking water and extra tents were being provided, according to Kathmandu administrator Ek Narayan Aryal.

"I thought I was going to die this time," said Sulav Singh, who rushed with his daughter into a street in the suburban neighborhood of Thapathali. "Things were just getting back to normal, and we get this one."

Paul Dillon, a spokesman with the International Organization for Migration, said he saw a man in Kathmandu who had apparently run from the shower with shampoo covering his head. "He was sitting on the ground, crying," Dillon said.

Meanwhile, new landslides blocked mountain roads in the district of Gorkha, one of the regions hit hardest on April 25, while previously damaged buildings collapsed with the latest quake.

Residents of the small town of Namche Bazaar, about 50 kilometers (35 miles) from the epicenter of 
Tuesday's quake and well known to high-altitude trekkers, said a couple of buildings damaged earlier had collapsed there as well. However, there were no reports of deaths or injuries.

The earth also shook strongly in neighboring Tibet, unleashing a landslide that killed one person and injured three, according to China Central Television. Two houses collapsed, the state broadcaster said, quoting disaster officials of the regional Tibetan government.

Black Models


Sunday, May 10, 2015

2 Mississippi officers fatally shot; 3 suspects arrested

2 Mississippi officers fatally shot; 3 suspects arrested

AP Photo
Law enforcement officers lead Curtis Banks, center, into Troop J of the Mississippi Highway Patrol in Hattiesburg, Miss., early Sunday, May 10, 2015. Banks and his brother, Marvin Banks, were arrested in connection with the fatal shootings of two Hattiesburg police officers. Warren Strain, a spokesman for the Mississippi Department of Public Safety, told The Associated Press that 29-year-old Marvin Banks and 22-year-old Joanie Calloway were each charged with two counts of capital murder. Curtis Banks, was charged with two counts of accessory after the fact of capital murder.



HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) -- Two Mississippi police officers were shot to death during an evening traffic stop turned violent, a state law enforcement spokesman said Sunday. Three suspects were in custody, including two who are charged with capital murder.

The deaths of the officers - the first to hit Hattiesburg in three decades - were felt far and wide in this small southern Mississippi city. Gov. Phil Bryant released a statement saying he was "mourning" the loss of the officers.

"This should remind us to thank all law enforcement for their unwavering service to protect and serve. May God keep them all in the hollow of his hand," Bryant said.

Warren Strain, a spokesman for the Mississippi Department of Public Safety, said Marvin Banks, 29, and Joanie Calloway, 22, were each charged with two counts of capital murder. Banks was also charged with one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm and with grand theft for fleeing in the police cruiser after the shooting, Strain said.

"He absconded with a Hattiesburg police cruiser. He didn't get very far, three or four blocks and then he ditched that vehicle," Strain said.

Banks' 26-year-old brother, Curtis Banks, was charged with two counts of accessory after the fact of capital murder.

The three Hattiesburg residents were arrested without incident at different locations overnight following the shooting, Strain said. They were expected to face initial court appearances Monday. The three were being held at undisclosed jails in the state and could not be reached for comment. It was not immediately known if they had lawyers.

Strain said both officers died of their wounds at a hospital.

Lt. Jon Traxler, a Hattiesburg Police Department spokesman, identified the officers who died as 34-year-old Benjamin Deen, 34, and Liquori Tate, 25. Local reports identified Deen as a past department "Officer of the Year," and Tate was a newcomer to the force who Strain said was a 2014 graduate of the law enforcement academy.

The preliminary investigation indicated that Deen had pulled over the vehicle on suspicion of speeding and then called for backup, which is when Liquori arrived. Strain said it was too early to say who shot the officers or how many shots were fired.

For many in this small community of Hattiesburg the first death of an officer in the line of duty in three decades was a shock. The pain hit particularly close to home for Erica Sherrill Owens. Her mother - Sgt. 

Jackie Dole Sherrill - was killed in the line of duty in 1984 while trying to serve a warrant on a suspect.
When she heard the news of the two officers, Sherrill Owens said, her first thought was that she hoped it was someone she didn't know.

"I know that sounds so selfish because you don't want to hear of any police officer losing their lives. Then when I heard one of the names, my heart just sank because I went to high school with him."
She was referring to Deen, who had graduated from Sumrall High School in 1998, one year ahead of Sherrill Owens.

"We were great friends in high school. He married his high school sweetheart and he's got two kids and a great family," she said. "It's just heartbreaking."

Tate grew up in a tough part of Starkville, 150 miles north of Hattiesburg, and decided to become a police officer so he could make a difference in the black community, said Jarvis Thompson, who knew him from childhood in church.

"He wanted to become an officer because we've seen so much of our peers get killed or end up in jail," said Thompson, 24, of Starkville. "He was talking all the time about how he wanted to do better and make the place better."

At a news conference, Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree asked the community to pull together and support the families of the fallen officers.

"We want to ask everybody to pray for these families. We want everybody to pray for police officers not only here but around the United States," DuPree said.

Tony Mozingo, a local judge, left red roses near the scene of the shooting.

"We all just are heartbroken because we know and work with these officers every day," said Mozingo, who was accompanied by his wife and two daughters. Deen was a "consummate law enforcement professional."

The state's chief law enforcement agency, the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, has taken up the investigation.

Hattiesburg resident Tamika Mills was quoted by The Clarion-Ledger as saying some bystanders came upon the officers on the ground, and that one of the officers asked "... `Am I dying? I know I'm dying. Just hand me my walkie-talkie,'" Mills told the paper.

She added, according to the account, that seeing the officers down was "shocking and heartbreaking."


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Baltimore mayor seeks federal civil-rights probe of police

Baltimore mayor seeks federal civil-rights probe of police 
  

BALTIMORE (AP) -- Baltimore's mayor was emphatic last week: She did not want federal oversight of her police department.

"Nobody wants the Department of Justice to come in here and take over our city," Stephanie Rawlings-Blake declared as the National Guard enforced a 10 p.m. curfew.

But it was hard to find any opposition Wednesday after she softened her tone and asked the U.S. Justice Department to launch a broad civil rights investigation that could eventually force the city to make changes under the oversight of an outside monitor.

The Democratic mayor now says she'll accept outside intervention to rebuild public trust in a city torn by riots over the death of Freddie Gray, a black man who suffered a fatal spinal injury in police custody.

"I am determined not to allow a small handful of bad actors to tarnish the reputation of the overwhelming majority of police officers who are acting with honor and distinction," she wrote in a letter to the new U.S. attorney general, Loretta Lynch.

The mayor's announcement came the day after her closed-door meeting at City Hall with Lynch, who pledged to improve the police department and told faith and community leaders that "we're here to hold your hands and provide support."

Lynch has received the mayor's request and is considering it, Justice Department spokeswoman Dena Iverson said Wednesday.

"I think that's probably a step in the right direction," Republican Gov. Larry Hogan said.

The city's police union and City Council president also welcomed the development.

A key figure who didn't immediately respond was Police Commissioner Anthony Batts, brought in from Oakland, California, by the mayor 2 1/2 years ago to reform the department.

The mayor's request could put Batts' leadership under a microscope. A police spokesman had no immediate response to requests for the commissioner's reaction. An email and a text message were not immediately returned.

Baltimore suffered days of unrest after Gray died April 19 after a week in a coma following his arrest. Protesters threw bottles and bricks at police the night of his funeral on April 27, injuring nearly 100 officers. More than 200 people were arrested as cars and businesses burned.

Baltimore has already been participating in a voluntary Justice Department review, requested by Rawlings-Blake and Batts last fall. It would enable police to implement reforms without a court order or independent monitor.

But City Council President Jack Young said he's been warning since October that police won't change unless they're forced to.

"The police commissioner could have said, `Well, now, I don't want to do that,' and he didn't have to do it," Young said. "In my opinion, it was a toothless tiger."

The Justice Department also is investigating whether Gray's civil rights were violated, a much narrower review than what Rawlings-Blake sought Wednesday.

Meanwhile, six officers face state charges ranging from assault to second-degree murder in Gray's death. At least two of them have filed motions challenging the prosecutor's assertion that Gray was arrested illegally.

The investigation the mayor now wants is a wide-ranging civil-rights probe, examining how police use force, and search and arrest suspects. A similar investigation followed the shooting of an unarmed, 18-year-old black man by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. The department ultimately concluded that Ferguson's police and courts engaged in patterns of racial profiling, bigotry and profit-driven law enforcement, and directed local authorities to make changes. Local authorities still insist they did nothing wrong.

At least 20 police departments have been investigated this way for a variety of suspected systemic misconduct in the past five years, more than twice the number of cases opened in the previous five years, the Justice Department said when it opened the Ferguson inquiry.

Baltimore police union president Gene Ryan said the union also has "issues with many of the current policies and procedures of the department," and pledged to cooperate with any investigation that could lead to improvement in the department and officers' morale.

City Council Member Brandon Scott also welcomed the federal involvement.

"Like they have in most places, they're going to find some things we're doing well, they're going to find some things we're doing not so well, and they're going to have to be stern and hard on our city to correct those," Scott said.

Stephen Rushin, a visiting assistant professor of law at the University of Illinois who is working on a book about police reform, said Rawlings-Blake's announcement shows she's serious about fixing the department. 

He said mayors don't typically request civil-rights investigations, but it can be smart to embrace them.

"It's to everyone's benefit if it comes up as a collaborative, unified effort to make reform," Rushin said. "If the city feels this is going to happen either way, it's to their advantage to support it."

The Rev. C.D. Witherspoon, who leads the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Baltimore, said he's been asking for years for the Justice Department to run the city's police force from Washington.

"If this is just a probe and bring forth recommendations, as they have done in the past, that won't be helpful. 

If they find things that are potentially problematic, I wonder if they will be willing to put the department under receivership and take the reins," Witherspoon said.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said it's up to Lynch to decide what to do next.

"She has a very good understanding of the way that those law enforcement and prosecutorial enterprises should conduct themselves," Earnest said.


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Obama administration approves first ferry service to Cuba

Obama administration approves first ferry service to Cuba 

AP Photo
FILE - In this March 19, 2015, file photo, a woman jogs on the Malecon as the Thomson Dream cruise ship arrives in Havana bay. The Obama administration has approved on Tuesday, May 5, 2015, the first ferry service in decades between the United States and Cuba, potentially opening a new path for the hundreds of thousands of people and hundreds of millions of dollars in consumer goods that travel between Florida and Havana each year.
  
HAVANA (AP) -- The Obama administration approved the first ferry service in decades between the United States and Cuba on Tuesday, potentially opening a new path for the hundreds of thousands of people and hundreds of millions of dollars in goods that travel between Florida and Havana each year.

Baja Ferries, which operates passenger service in Mexico, said it received a license from the U.S. Treasury Department. Robert Muse, a lawyer for Baja Ferries, said he believed other ferry service petitions had also been approved. The Treasury Department said it could not immediately confirm that, but the Sun-Sentinel newspaper in Florida said approvals also were received by Havana Ferry Partners of Fort Lauderdale, 

United Caribbean Lines Florida in the Orlando area and Airline Brokers Co. of Miami.

Muse said Baja had yet to request approval from Cuba, but added that he was optimistic the service would allow a significant increase in trade and travel between the two countries.

The Cuban government made no immediate comment on the news and it is far from clear that it is willing or able to allow a major new channel for the movement of goods and people between the two countries.

"I think it's a further indication of the seriousness of the Obama administration in normalizing relations with Cuba," said Muse, an expert on U.S. law on Cuba. "We're now going from the theoretical to the very specific."

Before Cuba's 1959 revolution, ferries ran daily between Florida and Cuba, bringing American tourists to Havana's hotels and casinos and allowing Cubans to take overnight shopping trips to the United States.

That ended with the revolution, and the more than 600,000 people who travel between the U.S. and Cuba each year depend on expensive charter flights. About 80 percent of U.S .travelers to Cuba are Cuban-Americans visiting relatives, and a large number travel with huge amounts of consumer goods unavailable in communist Cuba, from baby clothes to flat-screen TV sets. That cargo has become increasingly expensive and difficult to bring in recent years due to the high prices charged by charters and tightened Cuban customs rules.

Muse said he believed ferries would allow lower-priced passenger and cargo service and provide a potential conduit for new forms of trade allowed by Obama when he announced a series of loopholes in the trade embargo on Cuba late last year. Among other measures, Obama allowed the import of some goods produced by Cuba's new private sector and allowed the virtually unlimited export of products to entrepreneurs.

Ferries also provide a new route for U.S. travelers to Cuba, who also depend on the charter services. Travel from the U.S. has been rising since Obama's Dec. 17 announcement, and new pressure groups are pushing for Congress to end all travel restrictions and allow pure tourism, currently prohibited by law.


Moments from safety, migrants die trying to reach Europe

Moments from safety, migrants die trying to reach Europe 

AP Photo
Dramatic footage emerged Tuesday May 5, 2015, filmed by a crew member, showing a Mediterranean Sea rescue of migrants on a sinking rubber boat desperately clambering up ropes and a ladder from the cargo ship Zeran that came to their aid on May 3, 2015, in the sea between Libya and Sicily. Five bodies were recovered and were brought ashore Tuesday along with the migrant survivors to the port in Catania, Sicily, Italy.
  
CATANIA, Sicily (AP) -- Young men piled over each other, some shimmying up ropes dangling from the towering rescue ship and others falling into the churning sea. Women and children were the last off the stricken dinghy during a chaotic Mediterranean rescue in which at least five migrants were crushed to death and more were feared drowned.

Dramatic footage shot by a seaman aboard the Maltese freighter showed the weekend rescue of more than 100 West Africans aboard the flimsy boat off the coast of Libya. Survivors were brought Tuesday to the Sicilian port of Catania.

The video, obtained by The Associated Press, highlights the danger of marine rescue, where safety and tragedy too often lie just moments apart. With tens of thousands trying to cross the sea on small boats launched by human traffickers from Libya - and hundreds dying in the attempt - the question of how best to save migrants from drowning has taken center stage in Europe.

Crew members interviewed by the AP said everyone aboard the cargo ship Zeran had undergone rescue training. But while a previous rescue several weeks ago happened calmly without any loss of life, on Sunday elation at the prospect of being saved quickly turned to panic.

Unaware that they would be thrown a ladder, frantic migrants trampled over one another to reach the ropes that were meant to hold it in place, with some dangling precariously as they clambered along the lines to reach the tall freighter.

Some jumped or fell overboard to catch lifesavers tossed into the water by crew members. Others emptied jerry cans of gasoline to use as floats, as the dinghy - already deflated at the front - began taking in water.
"Easy! Easy!" implored a crew member from Zeran's deck.

"There was the big ship there and they threw down ropes," Astou Fall Dia, a 24 year-old migrant from Senegal, told the AP after disembarking from the cargo ship.

"Someone grabbed onto the rope. All the other people started pushing to try to save themselves but the people started falling in the water."

Dia said she survived because she stayed close to the dinghy, and because she knew how to swim - unlike most of the migrants who come from poor African countries.

Five bodies were recovered from inside the dinghy, floating amid garbage and water that had seeped in. A crew member said they died in the final rush to be rescued and the Catania prosecutor's office said late Tuesday that a preliminary investigation showed they were crushed to death.

At least another five to nine people fell into the water and drowned, said the seaman who shot the video, though one man floating away with the current and clinging to a lifesaver was rescued by crew on a Zeran lifeboat.

The seaman and other crew members spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Save the Children, which interviewed the survivors upon their arrival, said the migrants reported "dozens" of people died in the rescue 25 miles off the Libyan coast.

The weekend saw a dramatic increase in rescues as smugglers in Libya took advantage of calm seas and warm weather to send thousands of would-be refugees out into the Mediterranean in overloaded rubber boats and fishing vessels. The coast guard reported that nearly 7,000 people were rescued in the three days ending Sunday.

On Tuesday, the Italian Mission to the United Nations tweeted that coast guard just rescued 300 migrants in the Mediterranean, 80 miles (130 kilometers) off the Italian coast.

The latest deaths come on top of the estimated 800 migrants who are believed to have drowned last month when their boat capsized off Libya with hundreds of passengers locked in the hold by smugglers. A few days earlier, some 400 people were feared drowned in another capsizing.

After those deaths, the European Union held an emergency summit and agreed to contribute more boats and patrol aircraft to Mediterranean rescue efforts.

Even with the increased EU response, commercial cargo ships are increasingly being called on by Italy's coast guard to respond to migrants in need, as required by the law of the sea.

Catania prosecutor Giovanni Salvi complained last month that the commercial crews sometimes aren't trained or equipped to conduct rescues and that lives can be lost when migrants suddenly rush to one side of their unseaworthy boats as they try to get off.

Salvi later backtracked and praised the work and commitment of the commercial vessels.

But when the coast guard rescues migrant boats, it usually sends out inflatable speedboats and crews use loudspeakers to implore the passengers in various languages to stay calm and in their place.

It was clear from the footage obtained by the AP that either there was a language barrier, or the migrants couldn't hear the crew's instructions from high up on the deck - or both - in Sunday's rescue.

A second dinghy, picked up by the Italian navy the same day, suffered no casualties. Those migrants were later transferred to the Zeran.

Alpha Sisse, a 17-year-old from Ivory Coast who was among those rescued from the second boat, said he had talked to survivors from the stricken vessel.

"At least five people drowned, more are missing," he said. "They say maybe 20 people died."

Sisse said he left Libya because of the growing danger from fighting there.

Asked where he hoped to go from here, Sisse said: "Anywhere there is work."


Monday, May 4, 2015

Black Women Models



We"re Looking For Volunteers

News, and more about youth, education, political analyst, schools, anti-violence, social justice, grass roots democracy, ecological protection, seniors, Historic Preservation & Restoration, (Black, Latinos, Asian, Pakistani, Italian, and other)Arts, Books, Super Heroes, Trading Cards, Youth, College, and Pro Sports, Nonprofits and Real-estate.

Support The Philadelphia Front Page News

Daily Publishing/Readership Online 190,000

Inquire About FPN

ADS/Gifts

Creative Services

Marketing/Entertainment News

Action Groups

Volunteers

BY PHONE:

In Delaware

County, PA And Philadelphia County, PA

Van Stone

267-293-9201

In Harrisburg, PA

Diane White

717- 232-4381

In Philadelphia

County, PA

Michael Morgan

267-322-8764

In Philadelphia County, PA

James Sullivan

215-416-0862

In Haverford Township, PA

Joel Perlish

610-789 -7673


By EMAIL:

frontpagenews1@yahoo.com

diane@dlighten.com

joelperlish@aol.com

xtremelybrown@gmail.com

sullivancoach@yahoo.com

vspfoundation@yahoo.com

wvsr1360@yahoo.com jeromemaida@hotmail.com


FPN Contact Address: 537 South 16th Street

Harrisburg, PA

17104


Front Page News

P.O. Box 395

E. Lansdowne, PA 19050


Phila. Front Page News

Editorial Board



Van Stone, Volunteer Editor

Diane White, Volunteer Editor

James Sullivan, Volunteer Editor

and Publisher

Joel Perlish, Volunteer Proofing


BY FAX:

215-474-5165

PRINT DEADLINES:

Daily

7PM Monday to Friday

(Space and Published)

4PM Saturday to

Sunday

(Space and Published)

All materials published at least 2 days or less after submission








Blog Archive

About Us

  • FPN can reach out to Representatives from your side of: The Village, The Township, or The City
  • FPN features
    Sports
    Cars
    Family Entertainment
    Neighborhood News
    Scholastic News
    Regional News
    National News
    Citywide News
    Legal News
    Alternative Green Energy Education News
    Superhero & Comic Strip News
  • Teen Stars
  • Humanitarian/Ministers/Political
  • Community Services
  • Women & Men & Kids

  • You acknowledge and agree that you may not copy, distribute, sell, resell or exploit for any commercial purposes, any portion of the Newspaper or Services. Unless otherwise expressly provided in our Newspaper, you may not copy, display or use any trademark without prior written permission of the trademark owner.

    FPN/VSP® is in no way responsible for the content of any site owned by a third party that may be listed on our Website and/or linked to our Website via hyperlink. VSP/FPN® makes no judgment or warranty with respect to the accuracy, timeliness or suitability of the content of any site to which the Website may refer and/or link, and FPN/VSP® takes no responsibility therefor. By providing access to other websites, FPN/VSP® is not endorsing the goods or services provided by any such websites or their sponsoring organizations, nor does such reference or link mean that any third party websites or their owners are endorsing FPN/VSP® or any of the Services. Such references and links are for informational purposes only and as a convenience to you.

    FPN/VSP® reserves the right at any time to modify or discontinue, temporarily or permanently, the Website and/or Services (or any part thereof) with or without notice to you. You agree that neither FPN/VSP® nor its affiliates shall be liable to you or to any third party for any modification, suspension or discontinuance of the Website and/or Services.

    You agree to indemnify and hold harmless FPN/VSP®, its subsidiaries, and affiliates, and their respective officers, directors, employees, shareholders, legal representatives, agents, successors and assigns, from and against any and all claims, actions, demands, causes of action and other proceedings arising from or concerning your use of the Services (collectively, "Claims") and to reimburse them on demand for any losses, costs, judgments, fees, fines and other expenses they incur (including attorneys' fees and litigation costs) as a result of any Claims.

    The Website is © 2009 by VSP®, or its designers. All rights reserved. Your rights with respect to use of the Website and Services are governed by the Terms and all applicable laws, including but not limited to intellectual property laws.

    Any contact information for troops overseas and/or soldiers at home provided to you by FPN/VSP® is specifically and solely for your individual use in connection with the services provide by Van Stone Productions Foundation VSP.

    FPN/VSP® soldiers contact information for any other purpose whatsoever, including, but not limited to, copying and/or storing by any means (manually, electronically, mechanically, or otherwise) not expressly authorized by FPN/VSP is strictly prohibited. Additionally, use of FPN/VSP® contact information for any solicitation or recruiting purpose, or any other private, commercial, political, or religious mailing, or any other form of communication not expressly authorized by FPN/VSP® is strictly prohibited.