Gunman shoots during board meeting in Florida, then kills self

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

An armed gunman took hostages and fired shots during a school board meeting in Panama City, Florida at the Bay District Schools’ Nelson Building Tuesday. The gunman has been identified as Clay Duke, 56, whose wife had been fired by the school district. Duke fired at board members until he was shot and wounded by district security chief Mike Jones. Shortly afterwards Duke shot himself in the head.

Only Duke was injured in the fray even though he shot at Superintendent Bill Husfelt and other board members at close range. Duke opened fire, after rambling on about the firing of his wife and sales tax. Husfelt pleaded with Duke to let the others go as he was responsible for his wifes firing, however Duke raised the gun and began to fire. After firing on the board members, Duke was shot several times by former School Board member and district security chief Mike Jones. Jones was not in the room at the time, and was alerted of the situation. After being shot by Jones, Duke proceeded to place the gun to his head and shot himself. Duke was pronounced dead shortly after at a local hospital and an autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday. Jones, although not physically injured, was admitted to hospital for observation.

After the shooting Superintendent Husfelt admitted that he “really didn’t know what he [Duke] was talking about.” Husfelt believes that Duke used a combination of blanks and live rounds, however the police are adamant that Duke used only live rounds. Panama City police chief, John Van Etten, described the gun as a small caliber handgun, however superintendent Husfelt said, “It looked like a shotgun when it was pointed at me”

A spokesperson for the school board, Karen Tucker, described Duke as “a large guy” and reported that she had seen him sitting at the back of the room. A member of the board, Ginger Littleton, along with the other women and children, were sent out of the room, however she returned to the room as she could not leave the others behind. She tried to disarm Duke by hitting him with her heavy handbag, however it was not heavy enough as Duke knocked her down. She said that he aimed “directly at my [Littleton’s] brain”, but he did not fire at her and she eventually escaped the room unharmed.

A SWAT team burst into the meeting room and were initially thought to have shot Duke, but it was later determined that Duke had shot himself, according to police. The gunman was taken out of the meeting room on a stretcher.

Witness have said that shots were heard, however there are reports circulating that the gunman shot blanks instead of live rounds. A reporter who was in the room at the time thinks the weapon may have been a “cap gun”, but police say that the weapon was a pistol loaded with live rounds. The gunman allegedly spray painted the letter ‘V’ on the meeting room wall. The ‘V’ is the same symbol used in the movie V for Vendetta.

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Volunteers and food needed for flooded Manitoba, Canada

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Local municipal and provincial volunteers in Manitoba, Canada are exhausted in their efforts to divert the rising waters of the Red River of the North.

It has been hard work with little sleep for the residents who live on the shores of the Red River to shore up their defences with sandbags, build dikes, clear frozen culverts and break ice jams

Volunteers to spell relief for local volunteers and food are desperately needed.

“It’s a week now we’ve been doing this … you’re talking four, five, six public works guys. In my one community we’ve got 25 volunteer firefighters and those guys have been going 24/7, so of course it’s wearing them down.” said Paul Guyader, Manitoba’s emergency measures coordinator.

“We’re dealing with one of the biggest floods the province has ever seen,” said Steve Strang, mayor of St. Clements, Manitoba “We’ve put out hundreds of thousands of bags already. The municipalities are working very well, we’re working with the provincial government, we’ve brought in every possible resource we could to address this issue. The volunteerism within the community has been phenomenal.”

The Portage Diversion has taken some spring waters from the Assiniboine River and diverted the flow to Lake Manitoba.

Roseau River Anishinabe First Nation has been totally evacuated, as well as many homes near the Canada – United States border.

The cold weather is freezing the ice jams into place. Guyader has had 2 Amphibex Excavators operating on the river breaking up ice.

The Red River is right now 16.7 feet (5 metres) above spring ice conditions. The Red River Floodway gates cannot be opened with the current ice jams.

“If we operate now, we can get ice jamming going into the floodway, jamming up against the St. Mary’s bridge, as such, the floodway capacity would be reduced and would cause higher water levels in the city of Winnipeg.” said Steve Topping, Manitoba Water Stewardship spokesman

The floodway was constructed in 1968 following the 1950 flood to divert the overflow spring flooding waters of the Red River. The floodway has been widened the since the 1997 “flood of the century” and the expansion is expected to be completed this spring. As well Manitoba built permanent dikes around communities within the flood plain since the last two major floods..

The Red River waters will crest between the beginning of April to mid April, at which time also the weather should be warming up. Communities are bracing for higher water levels, more ice jams as well as melting snow in the warmer spring temperatures.

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NZ Government passes bill to legalise controversial electioneering overspending

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

A new law to govern how New Zealand political parties spend money in the run up to an election has just been passed in Parliament.

The Appropriation Bill was passed by 61 votes to 50 after hours of debate.

Parliament’s been under urgency to allow Member of Parliaments (MPs) to discuss the new legislation, which now validates the $1.2 million of unlawful spending before last year’s election.

National, ACT and the Maori Party opposition failed to stop the passage of the Appropriation (Parliamentary Expenditure Validation) Bill and it passed by 61 votes to 50. The Green Party abstained.

The Government rushed the bill through under urgency in two days, despite National putting up 130 amendments to try to slow it down.

A key National amendment to make the validation conditional on all parties paying back the money was among those that failed.

The bill prompted fiery scenes in parliament with many MPs ejected from the Chamber for disorderly and inappropriate behaviour.

All parties but New Zealand First have agreed to pay back the money they were pinged for. Labour’s $824,000 bill is by far the biggest.

The bill validates all types of spending under the Parliamentary Service budget for MPs’ support going back to 1989, and extends beyond the advertising and publicity Auditor-General, Kevin Brady scrutinised to regular MPs expenses such as travel and accommodation.

It also provides a temporary definition for parliamentary purposes and electioneering to preserve what the Government says MPs had generally understood these to mean before Mr Brady’s inquiry.

Dr Donald Brash, leader of the National Party, has said that the bill effectively over-rode Mr Brady’s report and Labour had been trying to defend the indefensible.

He again argued that Mr Brady’s view that Labour’s $446,000 pledge card was outside the rules for parliamentary funding meant the card should have been counted as campaign expenses, putting Labour in breach of the election spending cap under the Electoral Act.

This meant Labour had stolen the election by breaking two laws, he said “It’s a fraudulent illegitimate government and I believe that Helen Clark should go the Governor-General, offer her resignation and invite the Governor-General to call a general election.”

The bill contained no legal obligation for anybody to pay anything back, Dr Brash said, and he questioned if Labour would get around to paying.

“What has come through this debate is a fierce and ugly sense of entitlement on the part of the Labour Party . . . that they are able to do with taxpayers money whatever they like to serve Labour Party interests,” English, said.

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Pennsylvania state trooper found guilty of first-degree murder

Friday, March 20, 2009

In the United States, a suspended Pennsylvania state trooper has been convicted of first-degree murder for killing his girlfriend’s estranged husband.

Kevin Foley, 43, faces a mandatory life sentence without parole for slashing to death John Yelenic, a Blairsville dentist who was in the final stages of divorcing his wife, Michele. Foley’s attorney said he plans to appeal the decision. Prosecutors did not seek the death penalty.

Foley previously said he “loathed Dr. Yelenic” and asked another fellow trooper to help kill him. During his testimony, which lasted several hours, Foley claimed he was joking and had no true intention of carrying out the threat, but the Indiana County jury rejected that defense after about six hours of deliberations.

John Yelenic was found dead in his home on April 13, 2006, one day before he was planning on signing his divorce papers. Charges were brought against Foley in September 2007, more than 17 months after the murder.

Foley, who had been on suspension from the Pennsylvania State Police, was himself the final witness to take the stand Wednesday in the trial. Foley insisted he was innocent during his testimony, and even made jokes that the jury laughed at on a few occasions.

“I never made a threat with the intention of carrying it out,” Foley said under cross-examination by the prosecution.

When Senior Deputy Attorney General Anthony Krastek pressed Foley for what was funny about asking another state trooper to help him kill Yelenic, Foley answered, “There isn’t any joke. It’s just my personality, my behavior (with co-workers).”

Prosecutors said Foley killed Yelenic after going to the dentist’s house to confront him over the terms of the divorce. Prosecutors claim Foley slashed Yelenic several times with a knife and pushed his head through a small window. Yelenic bled to death.

“John has his justice tonight,” Mary Ann Clark, a cousin of Yelenic, told MSNBC. “John deserved this; he was the most wonderful person in the world. He died the most horrible death and tonight, this is his night. The system worked.”

Foley had been living with Michele Yelenic for two years at the time of the homicide. Prosecutors previously said Foley and Michele helped perpetuate rumors that Dr. Yelenic molested their son. John and Michele Yelenic had been separated in 2002. Michele Yelenic stood to collect Dr. Yelenic’s estate and a US$1 million life insurance policy, and could lose about $2,500 a month in support if the divorce was finalized, a Pennsylvania grand jury previously determined.

Michele Yelenic, who has not appeared at the trial, may face legal action herself, media reports indicated. A sentencing hearing for Foley is scheduled for June 1.

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Inflation in Zimbabwe becomes world’s highest at 11,000% and rising

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Inflation in Zimbabwe is now the world’s highest at 11,000 percent and rising. Reports first came in that the value of the Zimbabwean dollar had reached an all-time low two days ago, at which point the official inflation rate was 4,500 percent. Even though this was already high enough to be the world’s highest, to make matters worse, independent financial sources estimated the figure to be closer to 9,000 percent. Yesterday, reports came in that inflation had risen to 11,000 percent.

US Ambassador to Zimbabwe Christopher Dell is reported to have told The Guardian newspaper over the telephone that he believes inflation “will hit 1.5 million percent by the end of 2007, if not before,” adding that he “know(s) that sounds stratospheric but, looking at the way things are going, I believe it is a modest forecast.” Dell went on to predict that president Robert Mugabe would be forced out of power by the hyperinflation, a prediction also made by opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

Dell added that he felt Mugabe would be out in “a matter of months, if not weeks” and justified his comments with the rationale that “It destabilises everything. People have completely lost faith in the currency and that means they have completely lost faith in the government that issues it.” Tsvangirai comments to the Associated Press were that: “He’s got an economy that’s down on its knees, he knows he cannot sustain it.” Despite this, Mugabe has expressed intentions to stand for the next election.

Exchange rates for the U.S. dollar have reached an official 15,000-1, but on the black market, according to one anonymous illicit money trader, deals have reached 140,000-1 in cash, with a shortage of bank notes creating a 200,000-1 premium on bank transfers and large overseas deals reaching as much as 300,000-1. Meanwhile, in the course of a week the black market exchange for the UK£ has risen from 160,000-1 to 400,000-1. Despite these increases, Mugabe remains adamant that his currency should not be devalued, and is keeping official exchange rates fixed, with the rate for the US$ fixed at 250-1.

The dealer said that added uncertainty had arisen from talks held between the current government and the opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change. The official press services published propaganda describing the talks as the opposition negotiating “in bad faith” for its own political gain.

Shops are running out of goods due to the huge cost of imported goods and the lack of local ones due to the closure of inflation-crippled factories. “If it goes on like this, we’ll have nothing to sell, we’ll have no staff and we’ll have to close down completely,” said one store manager, who was unnamed because he feared retaliation by the state for being a “prophet of doom”. Other shops have been closing down temporarily to change their prices.

Hyperinflation is also worsening already crippling poverty in Zimbabwe, with people unable to afford the necessary goods for survival. State regulations limit bank money withdrawals to Z$1.5 million per day, hopelessly inadequate given current currency values. One person’s pension company informed him he would no longer receive statements because the value of his pension fund had decreased to less than that of a postage stamp.

The state daily Chronicle in the second city of Bulawayo reported that Western countries were planning to become involved with the situation upon Mugabe’s departure with a rescue package valued at US$3 billion. Western officials have confirmed that budget proposals exist relating to, according to the Associated Press, “food support, public services reform and the rebuilding of agriculture and general infrastructure over five years in a new political landscape led by reformist Zimbabwean politicians.” However, state media again ran propaganda-based stories, saying that Western powers and their close political friends, who state media call the “Fishmongers Group”, were “working overtime to destroy the economy, mutilate the Zimbabwe dollar, foment civil unrest and then dangle a rescue package to win the support of gullible politicians.”

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An account of the Esperanza Fire from an animal rescuer

This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.

Saturday, December 2, 2006

As families fled their homes in the early morning hours on Thursday October 26, there was no warning. The Esperanza Fire southeast of Los Angeles and West of Palm Springs, California, had ballooned under the influence of Santa Ana winds to more than 19,000 acres as of the morning of October 27. No time to get the animals, no time for crates or even a leash. Sadly, owners left behind not only their horses, lamas, donkeys, chickens, rabbits, but also their dogs and cats.

Many of the families who did manage to evacuate their pets found themselves in the parking lot at the Fellowship in the Pass Church Red Cross Shelter where a MuttShack Animal Rescue team caught up with them.

Pam Anderson, Director of the emergency Red Cross shelter said that many people with animals had come and left.

The air was thick with smoke, and ash was raining down on the parking lot where dog owners, not able to take their dogs into the shelter were camping out in pup tents andin their cars.

Those who could afford it checked themselves into pet friendly hotels in nearby towns.

Some were prepared. Jane Garner, a small dog breeder was able to get all her animals out, and had set up her puppy runs alongside her RV in the parking lot. Others were not doing too well, having left home without as much as a leash.

The same scenario played out at the Red Cross shelter at Hemet High School. Animals were being boarded in vans, trailers and cars and small travel crates.

When MuttShack Animal Rescue arrived, a small fracas had sent several dogs off in different directions, running out of the school parking lot down busy streets necessitating an instant rescue response.

The Incident Command for the Esperanza Animals, Ramona Humane Society in San Jacinto welcomed MuttShack‘s offer to help at the shelters.

Ramona Humane Society had recently published a notice in their Newsletter about the newly passed “PETS Act”and warned owners not wait until a major disaster such as an earthquake or fireto prepare. “Be proactive to ensure that your pet will be taken care of.”

MuttShack and PetSmart Charities set up ad hoc facilities for the animals at both shelters.

The Red Cross shelter, run by Madison Burtchaell of the Orange County Red Cross was very accommodating about allowing a small emergency pet shelter adjacent to the School.

Barbara A. Fought of PetSmart Charities, an organization that works with animal welfare organizations and provide assistance in disasters, provided crates and emergency supplies.

MuttShack and Red Cross volunteers, Martin St. John, Tom Hamilton, and Steve Meissner helped assemble the crates to secure a safe environment for evacuated pets.

It was a great relief for evacuees who had camped out in the parking lot to finally leave their vehicles and relax at the shelter, setting up their cots to grab some sorely needed rest.

Firefighters and residents reported loss of wildlife and animals. The Esperanza fire burned 34 homes, consumed 40,000 acres and cost five Firefighters their lives before it was contained four days later on October 30. Firefighting operations cost nearly $10 million.

MuttShack Animal Rescue is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization active in disasters and dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and care of lost or discarded dogs, cats and other animals.

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U.S. President given clean bill of health at 2005 annual checkup

Sunday, July 31, 2005

U.S. president released the results of high annual medical checkup July 31. The doctors said the president was in “excellent health”.

The doctors did note some minor skin lesions from spending too much time in the sun and suggested sunscreen for the President.

It is U.S. tradition for sitting presidents to make public the results of their annual health exams.

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James Bond star Roger Moore, 89, dies

Thursday, May 25, 2017

It is the heaviest of hearts, we must share the awful news that our father, Sir Roger Moore, passed away today. We are all devastated.

On Tuesday, British actor Roger Moore, best known for portraying Simon Templar of the 1960s series The Saint and the spy character James Bond, died in Switzerland at the age of 89.

Before his death, Moore fought recently diagnosed cancer. His family confirmed his death on Twitter saying, “It is the heaviest of hearts, we must share the awful news that our father, Sir Roger Moore, passed away today. We are all devastated.”

Other stars paid tribute to Roger Moore via Twitter, including Russell Crowe, Michael Ball, Mia Farrow, Boy George, and Duran Duran, who sang the eponymous theme song for Bond film A View to a Kill featuring Moore as Bond.

Moore was born in Stockwell, South London an only child to his working-class parents on October 14, 1927. During World War II, he and his mother mostly stayed in Amersham, 25 miles from London. Moore left grammar school in 1943 to work.

Moore’s father, a detective sergeant, came to the home of film director Brian Desmond Hurst that had been robbed. Moore was introduced by his father to Hurst and then started his acting career in summer 1944 as an extra in the film Caesar and Cleopatra. Impressed, Hurst helped Moore gain extra parts in two other films and then paid for Moore’s acting studies at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts.

Moore was assigned to the National Service in 1945 and then, after training, was ranked captain. Afterwards, he appeared in modeling engagements, like appearance in Women’s Own magazine.

Moore arrived in the United States in 1953 and then signed a contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) for mainly supporting roles. He portrayed the male lead in 1956 film Diane. He first appeared on television as the titular character of the late-1950s ITV series Ivanhoe. He later appeared in some western series, like Maverick from 1960 to 1961, replacing James Garner as the lead of the series.

Moore then portrayed Simon Templar, stealing from rich antagonists, in the ITV series The Saint. The series ran 118 episodes from 1962 to 1969. Due to his contract for The Saint, Moore was prevented from being cast as James Bond for the 1962 film Dr. No, which stars Sean Connery, the first actor to portray Bond.

Moore eventually became the third actor to portray Bond, and his first Bond film was the 1973 film Live and Let Die. He would appear again as Bond in six more films: The Man with the Golden Gun, 1974; The Spy Who Loved Me, 1977; Moonraker, 1979; For Your Eyes Only, 1981; Octopussy, 1983; and A View to a Kill, 1985.

In 1991 Moore became a UNICEF goodwill ambassador. His UNICEF work earned him Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the late 1990s. He was knighted in 2003 for that.

Throughout 2000s, Moore performed voiceovers in mostly animated films and made appearances in some other live-action films, like the 2002 film Boat Trip, portraying a gay man resembling Bond. Then he wrote his 2008 autobiography My Word Is My Bond and other books, including memoir One Lucky Bastard and Bond on Bond.

Moore married four times, to four different women. He was survived by his fourth wife, Danish-Swedish multimillionaire Kristina “Kiki” Tholstrup, and his three children.

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KKE: Interview with the Greek Communist Party

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Wikinews reporter Iain Macdonald has performed an interview with Dr Isabella Margara, a London-based member of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE). In the interview Margara sets out the communist response to current events in Greece as well as discussing the viability of a communist economy for the nation. She also hit back at Petros Tzomakas, a member of another Greek far-left party which criticised KKE in a previous interview.

The interview comes amid tensions in cash-strapped Greece, where the government is introducing controversial austerity measures to try to ease the nation’s debt-problem. An international rescue package has been prepared by European Union member states and the International Monetary Fund – should Greece require a bailout; protests have been held against government attempts to manage the economic situation.

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