Child abuse case in West Virginia ends in jail time

Author: Admin  |  Category: Uncategorized

Friday, September 15, 2006

A 35-year old woman, Venus Critchfield of Philipippi, West Virginia, United States was convicted of child abuse and sentenced to two to six years in prison.

Critchfield was accused of beating her stepchildren with boards, and using hooks and ropes to secure them and force them to stand for long periods of time. Critchfield also forced the children to continuously eat food and drink, and then eat their own vomit. Her stepson, now aged 17, described the abuse in court.

Circuit Judge Alan D. Moats called this the worst case he has seen in 30 years. “You have never been a mother. You are the antithesis of everything that is a mother.” Moats said in court.

The abuse involved all six of Critchfield’s children, however only some were willing to testify against her.

Critchfield pleaded guilty and was convicted of two counts of child abuse, with injury. The charges pertained to abuse committed from January 2001 until January 2002. She was sentenced to the maximum possible term.

State welfare services had removed the children, now 11-16 years old, from the Critchfields’ care in previous cases.

Jenning Brian Critchfield, the father, is currently serving a 3-15 year sentence for abuse.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Child_abuse_case_in_West_Virginia_ends_in_jail_time&oldid=566990”

Wikinews interviews Steve Burke, U.S. Democratic Party presidential candidate

Author: Admin  |  Category: Uncategorized

Sunday, December 13, 2015

This article is a featured article. It is considered one of the best works of the Wikinews community. See Wikinews:Featured articles for more information.

Macomb, New York Councilman Steve Burke took some time to speak with Wikinews about his campaign for the U.S. Democratic Party’s 2016 presidential nomination.

Burke, an insurance adjuster and farmer, was elected councilman in Brookhaven, New York in 1979. He left the town after being accused and found not guilty of bribery in the 1980s. Since 1987 he has served as Macomb councilman off-and-on and currently holds the post. From 1993 to 1996 and 1999 to 2002 he worked as chairman of the Democratic Party of St. Lawrence County, New York. Among his many political campaigns, Burke unsuccessfully sought the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in 1992 and recently attempted to run for U.S. Congress in 2014 but too many of his ballot petition signatures were found invalid. Burke filed with the Federal Election Commission to run for president in the 2016 election on September 18, 2015 and has qualified for the first-in-the-nation New Hampshire Primary.

With Wikinews reporter William S. Saturn?, Burke discusses his political background, his 2016 presidential campaign, and his policy proposals.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Wikinews_interviews_Steve_Burke,_U.S._Democratic_Party_presidential_candidate&oldid=4698309”

Science curriculum director resigns from Texas Education Agency

Author: Admin  |  Category: Uncategorized

Friday, November 30, 2007

Christine Comer resigned this month as the director of the science curriculum for the Texas Education Agency‘s (TEA) director after more than nine years. Comer said her resignation was due to pressure from officials who claimed she had given the appearance of criticizing the teaching of intelligent design.

According to documents obtained by the Austin American-Statesman, “Comer was put on 30 days paid administrative leave shortly after she forwarded an e-mail in late October announcing a presentation by Barbara Forrest, a critic of the intelligent design/creationist movement. Forrest served as an expert witness at the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District trial. At Dover, intelligent design was ruled “a religious view, a mere re-labeling of creationism, and not a scientific theory.” There is widespread scientific support for evolution, while creationism has been described as pseudoscience by the scientific community.

Comer’s resignation comes shortly ahead of the TEA’s State Board of Education (SBOE) reviews of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), which determine what should be taught in the classrooms and what textbooks are bought.

The advocacy group Texas Citizens for Science have released a statement saying, in part, “The real reason [Comer] was forced to resign is because the top TEA administrators and some SBOE members wanted her out of the picture before the state science standards—the science TEKS—were reviewed, revised, and rewritten next year. Plans are underway by some SBOE members and TEA administrators to diminish the requirement to teach about evolutionary biology in the Biology TEKS and to require instead that biology instructors ‘Teach the Controversy’ about the ‘weaknesses’ of evolution, that is, teach the Creationist-inspired and -created bogus controversy about evolution that doesn’t exist within legitimate science.”

Professor PZ Myers, biology professor at the University of Minnesota, Morris, wrote that Forrest is “exactly the kind of person boards of education ought to consult before going down the road of attempting to legislate religion into the public schools.”

In reaction to the news Forrest told National Center for Science Education, “In my talk, I simply told the truth — about the history of the ‘intelligent design’ movement, about the complete rejection of its claims by the scientific community, and about the Kitzmiller trial and my involvement in it. Maybe the TEA can’t afford to take a position on what constitutes good science education — maybe it must remain neutral on whether or not to lie to students about evolution — but if so, that’s just sad.”

Agency officials declined to comment, saying it was a personnel issue.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Science_curriculum_director_resigns_from_Texas_Education_Agency&oldid=583197”

Glazer caps Manchester United’s player transfer spending at £25m a year

Author: Admin  |  Category: Uncategorized

Saturday, June 11, 2005

The intentions of Manchester United’s new owner, U.S. sports tycoon Malcolm Glazer, for the club have been revealed. Although spokespersons for Mr. Glazer (including his son) have stressed that nothing has been finalised, it appears that he intends to raise ticket prices, income, profits whilst capping spending on player transfers.

Mr. Glazer – who owns over 76.2% of the club’s shares through his investment company, Red Football – enraged fans when he started to accumulate shares earlier this year in an attempt to gain control of the what amounts to the world’s most successful football club. Manchester United has more fans, a higher market value, a more valuable and more widely recognised brand and is more profitable than any other football club in the world.

To gain control of the club, Glazer used borrowed money and he is set to transfer this money to the club’s books when he gains full control. The borrowed money will result in large interest repayments – pushing the clubs finances into the red. To counter this Mr. Glazer apparently intends to raise ticket prices by about 50% and to increase revenues by 52% to £245.6m (from £161.5m this year) over the next five years. Apart from ticket price increases, this jump in revenue will be achieved by a 61% jump in match day sales, a 13% increase in media sales, and a 76% rise in sales of merchandise and other commercial activities.

As part of his plans, expenditure on player transfers will be capped at just £25m a year. This is a very low figure for a English football club endeavouring to win domestic and European trophies. Seven years ago the club spent £28m on players, since then expenditure in England on players has increased hugely.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Glazer_caps_Manchester_United%27s_player_transfer_spending_at_£25m_a_year&oldid=851889”

Large study provides new insights in autism’s genetic code

Author: Admin  |  Category: Uncategorized

Thursday, February 22, 2007

In the largest study of its kind, a genetic analysis of 1,168 families with multiple cases of autism has identified genetic links to autism. A previously overlooked stretch of DNA on chromosome 11 implicates a gene called neurexin 1 and increases the evidence for the involvement of neurexins and genes related to glutamate transmission in the brain.

Genetic studies of autism have previously been undertaken; however the new study involves the collaboration of more than 120 scientists from more than 50 institutions representing 19 countries who pooled their data as part of the Autism Genome Project. The findings were published in the Feb. 18 issue of Nature Genetics.

Bob Wright, co-founder of Autism Speaks, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing awareness of autism, said: “The identification of susceptibility genes will provide profound new insight into the basis of autism offering a route to breakthroughs in new treatments in support of families.” Autism Speaks funded this project in conjunction with the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

Joachim Hallmayer, MD, associate professor of psychiatry at Stanford and chair of the collaboration’s executive committee, explains what is next: “While promising, these results need to be followed up with more refined genetic maps to home in on other specific candidate genes. We also need to look more closely at chromosomal anomalies in large samples of children with autism.” In the paper, researchers caution that the genetic foundation of autism probably involves multiple genes and chromosomal abnormalities.

Autism affects about one in every 150 children, and the CDC has called it an “urgent health concern”. Autism is a developmental disorder which impairs social interaction, communication and features restricted and repetitive interests and activities. Twin studies and other research clearly suggest a genetic basis for the condition. Currently there is no cure for autism, but both behavioral or sensory interventions and drugs can influence the symptoms.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Large_study_provides_new_insights_in_autism%27s_genetic_code&oldid=1982993”

North Korean funds released

Author: Admin  |  Category: Uncategorized

Friday, June 15, 2007

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has received US$25,000,000 frozen in 2005 as part of the general crackdown on the communist state.

The funds had been frozen in a Macau bank after the United States earlier alleged that the money was gained from activities including money laundering and counterfeiting.

The DPRK had demanded return of the money as a precondition to engaging in the six-party talks. In February, the U.S. agreed to allow North Korea to retrieve their funds.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=North_Korean_funds_released&oldid=1671434”

Canada’s Don Valley West (Ward 25) city council candidates speak

Author: Admin  |  Category: Uncategorized

Friday, November 3, 2006

On November 13, Torontonians will be heading to the polls to vote for their ward’s councillor and for mayor. Among Toronto’s ridings is Don Valley West (Ward 25). Three candidates responded to Wikinews’ requests for an interview. This ward’s candidates include John Blair, Robertson Boyle, Tony Dickins, Cliff Jenkins (incumbent), and Peter Kapsalis.

For more information on the election, read Toronto municipal election, 2006.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Canada%27s_Don_Valley_West_(Ward_25)_city_council_candidates_speak&oldid=435105”

“Woofstock” dog festival in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Author: Admin  |  Category: Uncategorized

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

North America’s largest outdoor dog festival came back to Toronto last weekend for its fifth year. It ran from the 9th of June to the 10th of June at Toronto’s historical St. Lawrence Market. A Wikinews reporter was there on Sunday to report on some of the events that happened on the last day.

The “Woofstock” dog festival attracted as many as 140,000 people with their dogs. The festival had tons of accessories, sold under tents, to buy for dogs; food, toys, designer clothes, and more. About 400 vendors and exhibitors were there to promote their products, which also gave private dog companies or groups a chance to show their new products. The local SPCA and some animal rescues were under tents answering questions from visitors. While walking, all visitors could see the CN Tower and other very tall buildings.

One of the local TV stations, Citytv, was there. They hosted a live event at the show which was broadcast on TV. People came up on the stage and asked questions regarding their dogs and the host and co-host answered them.

A man, who called himself the “Chalk Master”, drew two pictures on pavement with chalk. He did it for free but donations were welcome. One was a picture of a girl’s head beside a dog’s head, and another with a wolf.

“Hello Humans. I’ve been invited here to provide your eyeball(s), with some pretty colours. I don’t get paid as I work this weekend strictly for tips… so, if you like what you see please make a DONATION. If you don’t like it simply reach into the pocket of the person next to you and give me their money. CHALK MASTER.”

A contest called “Canada’s top dog” had its own tent with a professional photographer taking pictures of dogs behind a white screen; the winning photo is to be published on the cover of “Puppy and dog basics” magazine.

Large “Gourmet” dog bones were also served from a cart and table.

Next year’s festival is expected to be bigger and better with even more attractions.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=%22Woofstock%22_dog_festival_in_Toronto,_Ontario,_Canada&oldid=724933”

US Court of Appeals reduces sentence for former Philippines officer in spy case

Author: Admin  |  Category: Uncategorized

Monday, February 9, 2009

Michael Ray Aquino, a former Philippines National Police officer serving six years imprisonment in McRae, Georgia for espionage could now be eligible for immediate release after a United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit judge panel Friday modified a United States District Court for the District of New Jersey‘s judgment, ordering a resentence of the accused under more lenient guidelines.

“I feel relieved for Michael Aquino and his family. We won the appeal. Michael will be resentenced. His new sentencing range will be 36-46 months (that is, essentially time served). Aquino has now served exactly 41 months in prison to the day on Feb. 9, 2009,” Aquino’s lawyer, Mark A. Berman, Esq. said. “The accused pleaded guilty to merely to possessing military secrets, and a three-judge panel of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals agreed that Walls erred in using harsher sentencing guideline reserved gathering or transmitting classified documents,” Berman added.

But Federal prosecutors had argued for Walls’ sentence, alleging “his guilty plea included acknowledging the stolen documents could have been used to harm the United States, making him eligible for the stiffer sentence,” Christopher J. Christie, U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey submitted. “Crimes like these strike at the heart of our national security because they involve our keeping our secrets secret. These defendants will face the full weight of federal prosecution,” said US Attorney Christie.

“The arrests of Leandro Aragoncillo and Michael Ray Aquino affirm the FBI’s commitment to apprehending those who would seek to reveal classified information to foreign nationals,” explained FBI Special Agent in Charge Leslie Wiser Jr. Both accused were ordered in judicial custody without bail by United States Magistrate Judge Patty Shwartz in September 2005.

“While Aragoncillo was an active participant in the offense, Aquino’s role was purely passive,” wrote Circuit Judge Maryanne Trump Barry in a written opinion promulgated Friday, in “US v Aquino” (No. 07-3202), an appealed case originating from D.C. Crim. No. 05-cr-00719. In the judgment, federal judges Barry, Michael Chagares and Jane A Restani, Chief Judge of the United States Court of International Trade, sitting by designation, have acknowledged that Judge William H. Walls’ interpretation of the harsher sentencing guideline was understandable, but the statute is imprecise. “Accordingly, we will vacate the judgment of sentence and remand for resentencing,” the panel ruled.

“The Honorable Maryanne Barry” is a United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit judge, daughter of Mary MacLeod Trump, who hails from Tong, Western Isles. Barry is the older sister of real estate mogul Donald Trump and the mother of David Desmond, who is a neuropsychologist and the author of the satirical novel Oliver Booth.

The espionage case was the first of its kind, obliging the Court to turn to the dictionary instead as a legal tool to resolve the landmark case. Circuit Judge Barry then used the 1993 version of the Webster’s Third New International Dictionary to define the word “obtain.” The pertinent part, pages 9 to 10 of the 13-page decision provides as follows:

First, Aquino never admitted—at least in so many words—that he “obtained” the documents found in his possession. According to Webster’s, “to obtain” means “to gain or attain possession or disposal of usu[ally] by some planned action or method.” Webster’s Third New International Dictionary 1559 (1993). This has an active connotation. At his sentencing hearing, Aquino answered in the affirmative when asked whether he had “receiv[ed]” documents (App. 44) that Aragoncillo “was providing” (App. 45) or “transmit[ting]” (App. 46). At no point was “planned action or method” on Aquino’s part even suggested. While Aragoncillo was an active participant in the offense, Aquino’s role was purely passive. In short, there is no sound textual basis for selecting either § 2M3.2 or § 2M3.3 to address Aquino’s retention offense at Step One. Fortunately, at Step Two, the Sentencing Commission provided guidance that makes it functionally irrelevant whether we begin our analysis at § 2M3.2 or § 2M3.3. Critically, the District Court did not heed what the Commission had said.—”USA v. Michael Ray Aquino,” Case No. 07-3202, Circuit Judge Maryanne Trump Barry

Judge Walls sentenced Aquino to 76 months imprisonment for violation of 18 United States Code 793(e), punishable under the harsher United States Sentencing Guidelines, 2M3.2, (Gathering National Defense Information, which imposes 35 years sentence if top secret and 30 years, if not) instead of the more lenient 2M3.3 (Transmitting National Defense Information, etc.)

Because of the Barry decision which modified the original Hall’s sentence, Aquino now faces 37 to 46 months imprisonment when he is resentenced by the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. Since he has already served 40 months, he could be immediately released.

But since he was initially arrested in September 2005 for tourist visa rules violations, he will be delivered by the judicial authorities to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services when he leaves McRae Correctional Institution in Georgia. Aquino will be processed for deportation. McRae is a city in Telfair County, Georgia, United States.

Michael Ray Aquino was a former Deputy Directory of the Philippines National Police Intelligence Group and former senior superintendent of the now-disbanded Philippines Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force under former Philippines president Joseph Estrada.

On November 24, 2000, PR man Bubby Dacer and his driver Emmanuel Corbito were kidnapped along the corner Zobel Roxas Street in Manila and the South Super Highway by gunmen believed to be members of the PNP. Four days after, the victims’ charred remains, consisting of burnt bones, metal dental plates and a ring, were later found in Barangay Buna Lejos, Indang, Cavite. Both victims were killed by strangulation.

P/Col. Glenn Galapon Dumlao, one of the accused, named former Po/Supt. Cezar O. Mancao II and former S/Supt. Michael Ray Aquino as the brains behind the crime. Mancao and Aquino were members of Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force or PAOCTF, headed by then Gen. Panfilo Lacson. Suspects Mancao and Aquino left the country after being implicated in the heinous crime. Dumlao disappeared afterwards but later resurfaced in the US.

In 2005, murder cases were filed in Philippine courts and arrests warrants were issued against accused Dumlao, Aquino and Mancao. Dumlao, a resident of Patchogue, New York was arrested and held without bail on November 20, 2008 by virtue of a warrant of arrest issued by Judge William D. Wall. On December 10, Dumlao was ordered extradited to the Philippines by Judge A. Kathleen Tomlinson of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York in Long Island, New York.

The initial hearing of the extradition case of Dumlao’s co-accused, Mancao II, now detained in Florida, was held on December 3, in the US District Court in Southern Florida in Fort Lauderdale. Justice Secretary Raul M. Gonzalez had requested the US Justice Department to extradite Mancao and Dumlao to face murder charges in the Philippines. An extradition hearing has yet to be initiated for Aquino, although, as trusted officer of then PNP chief, now senator, Panfilo Lacson, was also requested for extradition by the Philippine government to face trial for the Dacer-Corbito double murder.

“Sir, the other day Leandro ‘Lean’ Aragoncillo called me. … He wants to talk to you and give you some updates on the political situation in the country,” wrote Aquino in an e-mail of January 2005 to his former boss Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson. “I find all the information that you are sending me very useful. I hope you will continue sending more,” replied Sen. Lacson in an e-mail he allegedly sent in January 2005 to Aragoncillo. “By no means would you show this information. … I will be affected severely. Again, please protect the source – Me,” said Aragoncillo in an E-mail he allegedly sent in August 2005 to former Philippines President Joseph Estrada.

In March 2005, Aquino was arrested by immigration authorities for overstaying his visa. He contacted his friend, Leandro Aragoncillo, a Philippine-born civilian FBI Intelligence Analyst, who worked in the White House (between 1999 and 2002) as “administration chief” of the security detail assigned to the Vice President (Gore and then Cheney). However, Aragoncillo’s efforts on Aquino’s behalf eventually led to Aragoncillo being investigated by the FBI. In the course of that investigation, evidence of espionage against the United States Government was uncovered.

According to reports complied by Filipino intelligence professionals, there were indications of a link between Aragoncillo and the French intelligence service, Direction générale de la sécurité extérieure. Frequent visits by Aragoncillo to Manila allegedly were interspersed with clandestine meetings between identified, French operatives and several “illegals” (i.e. unregistered agents) around 2002 to 2004.

“What it means is that there is a hole in White House security. There are two kinds of people at the White House: Those that have been very well-vetted and those that have been extremely well-vetted and have access to the top secret computer network. This man had access to the top secret computer network.” said Richard A. Clarke, a former White House adviser.

“The FBI said Aragoncillo was concerned about e-mailing from his personal account so many classified documents from FBI computers, and he asked one recipient, Filipino opposition Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, whether he was a nuisance. “The reply, court records say, came back two days later in a cell phone message intercepted by the FBI: “What you are sending are never a nuisance to me. They are in fact informative and very useful,” Clark added.

In September 2005, Aragoncillo, a retired US Marine Gunnery Sergeant with 21 years service was suspended by the FBI, and arrested for violation of Title 18 of the US Code, Sections 371 and 951, admitting espionage activities from August 2000 to August 2005, and taking files while working under VP Cheney from 2001-2002, including giving information to another country.

In July 2007, Aragoncillo, age 50, a naturalized US citizen residing in Woodbury, New Jersey was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for “transferring classified information to assist in overthrow of Philippines government.” Aragoncillo, admitted passing information by cellphone text messages and e-mail messages through Hotmail and Yahoo accounts, to Aquino, former President Joseph Estrada, Sen. Panfilo Lacson, and opposition politicians, who wanted to oust Mrs. Arroyo, including former House Speaker Arnulfo Fuentebella, according to court documents. He will be released from Federal Correction Institute in Big Spring, Texas on May 28, 2014.

The court fined Aragoncillo $40,000. “I never intended to cause harm or injury to the United States,” Aragoncillo told the judge. In July 2007, Sen. Panfilo Lacson as well as deposed president Joseph Estrada have admitted to receiving information from Aquino, but they denied any conspiracy. “Aquino is determined not to return to the country,” said Sen. Lacson, who admitted extending financial support to Aquino and his family.

In July, 2008, Sabina and Carina Dacer, the daughters of missing public relations man Salvador “Bubby” Dacer testified at the Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC), after almost eight years of self-exile in the United States. “In his exact words he said, ‘mga anak, kung may mangyari sa akin, walang ibang may kakagawan noon kundi si Ping Lacson, (my daughters, if anything happens to me, no one but Ping Lacson is responsible)” Sabina Dacer told ABS-CBN News and Current Affairs. “Hindi naman kilala ng daddy ko si Michael Ray Aquino as far as we know eh. So kung hindi siya kilala ng daddy ko, sino yung kilala niya na kilala ng daddy ko? (My dad does not know Michael Ray Aquino as far as we know. So, if my dad does not know him, whom does he know that my dad knows?)” Carina Dacer said.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson has vehemently denied any involvement in the Dacer-Corbito murder case. “For the Nth time, I will assert the truth that I had nothing to do with it,” said Lacson in a text message. “They can lie and make people lie even under oath and before a court of law to make me look bad and guilty in the Dacer case. In fact, right after Dacer disappeared, the family sought my help… And I responded the way I should as a law enforcement officer at that time,” Lacson explained.

On Saturday, September 10, 2005, Aquino was also arrested at Queens, New Jersey and was charged with conspiracy and acting as an agent of a foreign official in the jurisdiction of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, presided by U.S. District Judge William H. Walls. Aquino was accused of helping Aragoncillo transmit classified United States documents regarding President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to her opponents in the Philippines, including both former President Joseph Estrada and current opposition leader, Panfilo Lacson, who had been Aquino’s superior in the police force.

In an indictment of 6 Oct 2005 signed and filed by United States Attorney Christopher J. Christie, the Grand Jury sitting at Newark, New Jersey, accused Aquino with charges of – “knowingly communicating classified information by a government employee to an agent or representative of a foreign country (i.e. receiving classified information), acting as an agent of a foreign official without notification of the Attorney General, in violation of Title 18 of the US Code, Section 951, conspiracy to commit all of the above offenses in violation of Title 18 of the US Code, Section 371, and not cooperating with authorities, under Title 18 of the US Code, Section 2.

Under an eventual plea-bargain agreement, Aquino entered a plea of guilty to illegal possession of classified documents, but avoided the more serious charge of espionage which Aragoncillo received. On July 17, 2007, Aquino was sentenced to six years and four months in prison by U.S. District Judge William H. Walls. Federal prosecutors had sought the maximum 10-year term.

Aquino “did subject our nation to some peril,” ruled Judge Walls. “I am sorry for what I did. I never had the intention to harm the United States. I love this country,” said Aquino who addressed the court for three minutes before sentencing, and apologized. On November 21, 2008 his reduced sentence request was submitted to the appellate court.

Meantime, the Philippine National Police (PNP) is monitoring developments in the Aquino espionage case. “Of course we are interested in his case, but all we can do is to wait for the outcome of the case of Michael Ray in the US,” said a police official.

The Alliance for A Just and Lasting Peace in the Philippines has criticized the judgment: “For the AJLPP the news of the release proves that the charade of injustice is ever present when it comes to the cabal of AFP men who served as worst human rights violator and proven puppets of the United States military like the Lacson boys,” the AJLPP said. “On the other cases of oppressed immigrants like the Baoanan case languishes in courts and not acted upon. So much for double standard of American justice system.” The AJLPP statement concluded.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=US_Court_of_Appeals_reduces_sentence_for_former_Philippines_officer_in_spy_case&oldid=4515710”

Major explosions at UK oil depot

Author: Admin  |  Category: Uncategorized

Sunday, December 11, 2005

A series of large explosions have occurred close to Hemel Hempstead Hertfordshire, UK. The source of the explosions has been confirmed as the Hertfordshire Oil Storage Terminal (HOSL), Hemel Hempstead, known locally as the Buncefield complex. Up to 150 fire fighters are reported to be at the scene with 10 fire appliances and 1 specialist foamer.

The first ‘blast’ was heard near Hemel Hempstead on Sunday 11 Dec at 6 am. Further smaller explosions followed at 6:24am , 6:26am, 6:30am. BBC News 24 reported an additional, fourth large explosion. Hertfordshire Police Constabulary are currently treating the explosion as an accident.

Reports say the explosion, which registered 2.4 on the Richter scale, was heard as far away as Oxford, and Whitehall, Central London which is 60km (38 miles) away. Eyewitness statements report that the explosion was heard from at least 160km (100 miles) away and as far away as France and The Netherlands. Pilots reported noticing the blast from the North Sea and the West Country area of the UK. The M1 motorway which runs close by has been closed in both directions near the blast which is causing travel chaos as other roads become congested.

Malcom Stewart, a BBC News24 eyewitness who is a tanker driver for the site has reported that the site supplies several oil companies and is a joint operation between Total UK and Texaco, it is also used by BP, Shell and the British Pipeline association. The complex is not a refinery but a storage facility for refined petroleum awaiting distribution to airports and filling stations. The eyewitness reports that the depot has approximately 20 tanks which can hold about 3 million gallons (11 million litres or 70,000 barrels) each. Another News24 eyewitness has just reported that he has seen at least 5 of these tanks on fire.

The depot operates on a 24 hour basis and is split into 2 parts – aviation fuel and domestic fuel. A number of eyewitnesses have reported on UK news that the aviation fuel side appears to be the part of the site that has been affected.

Local authorities were not immediately available for comment but there have been reports of casualties.

Some reports on live television state that, “Several other neighbours said they did see a plane go into the depot.” BBC News 24 were also discussing the idea a possible plane crash as the cause of the explosions. Hertfordshire police have now gone on the record to say that there is no plane involved (BBC News24).

The police have issued a contact number 0800 096 0095 and asked that people do not call the emergency services in Hertfordshire directly unless it is an emergency.

In addition to being an oil storage depot, it is a major hub on the UK oil pipeline network with pipelines to Killingholme Lindsey Oil Refinery (LOR), Humberside (10 inch), Merseyside (10 and 12 inch), Coryton on the Thames Estuary (14 inch) and Heathrow (6 and 8 inch) and Gatwick airports radiating from it.

The disaster is believed to be the worst explosion at a petrochemical plant in the UK since the Flixborough disaster of 1974.Hertfordshire’s Chief Fire Officer Roy Wilsher said: “This is possibly the largest incident of its kind in peacetime Europe.”

A firefighting press officer said that they are stock piling foam from neighboring regions for a prolonged attach which they hope will stop the spread of the fire, however, the inferno itself will have to burn out which could take between 24 hours and a few days.

Despite the authorities saying that there is no need to panic buy petrol, filling stations have had above average queues since this morning and some small garages have ran out.

Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott has visited the scene.

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