Tag Archive: Associated Press


Amy Winehouse performing in Berlin in 2007

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Amy Winehouse‘s family has released the results of the late singer‘s toxicology tests, which reveal that no illegal drugs were present in the singer’s system at the time of her death, the AP reports.

The final tests showed that alcohol was present, but how it affected Winehouse has yet to be determined. Chris Goodman, a Winehouse family spokesman, released a statement today saying, “Toxicology results returned to the Winehouse family by authorities have confirmed that there were no illegal substances in Amy’s system at the time of her death.”

It was previously suspected that Winehouse died of alcohol withdrawal while others have reported that she had taken hard drugs the night before her death. The new report does not detail why the singer died. Her family is awaiting the full investigation, which is set to begin in October.

 

Shooting

Authorities on Sunday identified a person of interest in one of two shootings at a preseason football game between cross-bay rivals the San Francisco 49ers and the Oakland Raiders on Saturday night at Candlestick Park, an event peppered with numerous fights in the stands and an assault that left a man unconscious in a bathroom.

Authorities were still sifting through evidence and puzzling over whether any of the incidents involved fans from the opposing teams. One of the shooting victims was wearing a T-shirt imprinted with a derogatory phrase about the 49ers, according to police.

The violence occurred during and after the 49ers’ 17-3 victory in their home stadium. Videos taken by fans and posted online depict fights and aggressive behavior in the stands during the game. Callers to a Bay Area radio show Sunday described navigating a gantlet of drunk and abusive fans in order to reach the restroom.

Sgt. Michael Andraychak of the San Francisco Police Department said Sunday that police and stadium security officials take note of games between teams with a particularly strong rivalry or whose fans have a history of violence. The 49ers-Raiders fit both those criteria and extra police were assigned to Candlestick Park on Saturday.

In the two parking lot shootings, a 24-year-old man was shot multiple times in the stomach about 8 p.m. and managed to drive himself to a stadium security office for help, Andraychak said. He was hospitalized in critical condition. In another attack, a man in his 20s was shot numerous times but sustained lesser injuries, according to police.

About an hour before the shootings, a 26-year-old man from San Rafael was assaulted and beaten  unconscious in a bathroom. He was hospitalized in serious condition, police said. The suspect in that incident was described by police as a Samoan or Pacific Islander between 25 and 30 years old, weighing 225 to 260 pounds and 6-foot-3 to 6-foot-5-inches tall.

The names of the victims have not been released.

Andraychak said no suspects were in custody and that although the shootings were being investigated as separate incidents, they were possibly related.

Man Swallows Ring

A home repairman who swallowed a diamond wedding ring he was trying to steal earlier this month has been sentenced to 12 days in prison.

Wilfredo Gonzalez-Cruz was performing repairs at a couple’s home in Cicero, Illinois when the husband approached him and said that his wife’s ring had gone missing. Gonzalez-Cruz had apparently stolen the ring and stashed it in his shoe.

The two men struggled for a moment, during which time the handyman got the ring out of his shoe and swallowed it, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Cicero police took Gonzalez-Cruz to MacNeal Hospital in Berwyn, where X-rays revealed that the ring was in his stomach, NBC Chicago reports (see photo). He was then locked in a rubber room with multiple bedpans and given medication to “force the ring’s expulsion,” according to Cicero town spokesman Ray Hanania.

Gonzalez-Cruz could have faced a sentence of up to three years for the felony theft charge. Instead, he was given a 12-day stint in prison, according to the Associated Press, with two years of additional probation.

The ring, meanwhile, was returned to the couple on August 8th, “after thorough cleaning,” Hanania said.

Robert ‘Sandy’ Vietze had been scheduled to compete on the national ski team's developmental squad for the 2011-12 season.

An 18-year-old was dismissed from the U.S. Ski Team‘s development squad after he was accused of getting drunk and then urinating on a 12-year-old girl aboard a JetBlue flight.

Robert “Sandy” Vietze, of Warren, Vt., was detained by police at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport on Wednesday morning after arriving on a red-eye flight from Portland, Ore.

He faces a federal misdemeanor charge of indecent exposure, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Brooklyn.

“Based on the information we have, Sandy Vietze is in violation of the USSA code of conduct and team agreement, and has been dismissed from the team,” U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association Executive Vice President of Athletics Luke Bodensteiner said in an email sent to The Associated Press on Friday.

The AP’s attempts to reach Vietze and his parents for comment have been unsuccessful. The phone has been ringing unanswered at the family’s home since Thursday, when news of the incident was first reported in the New York Post.

Vietze was nominated to the development team this spring after excelling as an alpine skier at the Green Mountain Valley School, a top ski academy and high school in Waitsfield, Vt., where tuition runs as much as $42,384 per year. He had been scheduled to compete on the national ski team’s developmental squad for the 2011-2012 season.

A Port Authority Police Department detective wrote in court documents that Vietze told him he had consumed five or six beers and two rum and cola cocktails before boarding the flight. He said he passed out in his seat and awoke to find himself being yelled at by the father of a 12-year-old girl.

The girl’s father told the detective that when he returned from a trip to the bathroom at 2:30 a.m., he found Vietze urinating on his daughter.

The man described Vietze as “out of it.”

The Port Authority initially told the AP and other news outlets Thursday that federal prosecutors had decided to drop the indecent exposure charge, but a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office, Robert Nardoza, said Friday that the case is still pending.

The charge carries a maximum fine of $1,000 and a possibility of up to a year in jail, although time behind bars would be very unusual in such a case.

A spokesman for Libya‘s rebel movement has told the Reuters news agency that Muammar Qaddafi‘s son Khamis was killed in a NATO air strike.

Libya NATO bombing state tv

Soldiers and dozens of tanks from the Libyan military’s elite Khamis Brigade, led by Qaddafi’s youngest son Khamis Qaddafi, take positions and check vehicles after arriving hours earlier on the road in Harshan, 10km east of Zawiya, in Libya, Monday, Feb. 28, 2011. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

Khamis leads the “Khamis Brigade,” described by Al Jazeera as the Libyan army’s best trained and equipped elite special forces unit.

 

In another report, rebel spokesman Mohammad al-Rajali told the Associated Press that Khamis’ death was still unconfirmed by rebel fighters on the ground, but that he had also heard similar accounts.

 

The missile strike took place near the front line of the fight between the rebels and Qaddafi’s forces, in the town of Ziltan, between rebel-held Misurata and the capital city of Tripoli, which is firmly in the hands of regime loyalists.

 

NATO confirmed the strike in a statement to CBS News, saying an ammunition storage facility and a military police compound “within a combat area” were targeted Friday morning.

“We are aware of the news reports” of Khamis Qaddafi’s death, said the statement. NATO would not confirm any casualties in the strike, reitterating official NATO policy that the alliance “does not target individuals.”

NATO said takes “all allegations about civilian casualties very seriously and we are looking into it, as we always do.”

 

Complete coverage: Anger in the Arab World
NYT: Qaddafi’s son Seif al-Islam seeks bond with Islamists
Media group condemns bombing of Libya TV

 

Reuters says Khamis’ brigade was known to have been fighting in the area.

 

Ironically, Khamis was given a VIP tour of the U.S. Air Force Academy just eight days before the uprising against his father began in Libya.

 

The Air Force Academy confirmed he had visited the school in February during a U.S. tour that included businesses and other schools.

 

Academy spokesman Lt. Col. John Bryan said Khamis Qaddafi got a standard VIP tour of the schools facilities on Feb. 7, but that he saw and learned nothing which could have helped the regime in the uprising.

 

U.S. Admiral Samuel Locklear described the brigade as a “premier force for Colonel Qaddafi” that “we have been watching closely.”

The father of a 16-year-old protester shot and killed by police gasped quietly when he saw 83-year-old Hosni Mubarak enter the defendants’ cage for his trial. In a fleeting moment of sympathy, his eyes welled with tears.

Then he smiled and called his wife. “She laughed for the first time. She told me that Mubarak picked his nose and his interior minister almost had tears in his eyes,” chuckled Ramadan Ahmed, a retired naval officer.

For Ahmed and hundreds of other Egyptians who hold Mubarak responsible for the deaths of their relatives during the 18-day uprising that forced the longtime president to step down, the spectacle was both cathartic and spellbinding.

“It is a pivotal moment for Egypt. If this didn’t happen, people would have gone wild. It would have been chaos for real this time,” said Ahmed, 51, who watched Wednesday’s televised proceedings at the Cairo offices of The Associated Press at AP’s invitation. “But he did this to himself.”

Seeing the man who ruled Egypt for nearly three decades now on trial “is difficult and emotional for a moment,” Ahmed said. “He deserves this. His political stupidity and arrogance did this to him. It blinded and deafened him.”

Ahmed said he never understood the ugliness of the regime until the death of his son Mohammed.

“As a man of the armed forces, I had a relatively good living and I had no time to think of all the injustice that he had created in this country,” Ahmed said.

He now says it is gratifying to watch “the lion in a cage” but takes pains to explain that his fight for retribution is no longer personal.

“I no longer want this to be about Mohammed,” Ahmed said. “But Mohammed and the hundreds others must be immortalized. People must see gains in moments like these. When people see hope, they will pray for Mohammed and the others. If they don’t, they will only call them reckless youth and curse them.”

“We now don’t have much in common with our ancestors the Pharaohs, but people look at them and say look at the great history. I hope these youths can bring this,” he said.

As he spoke, Ahmed went through photos of Mohammed on his mobile phone, chronologically organized and labeled.

A photo titled “The joy of my life” shows Ahmed holding the newborn Mohammed after delivering him late one winter night at their home.

“I took him to my chest,” Ahmed recalled. “There was something special between me and him from then on,” he said. “I was also the last one to kiss him before his burial.”

A picture called “The moment of goodbye” shows Mohammed’s head bandaged in the hospital after the shooting.

Ahmed said his son had begun grumbling about his slim chances for a better future under Mubarak’s regime. He told his father he wanted to quit school because there were no job opportunities even after graduation. When the protests began, Mohammed joined without telling his father because he knew he would object.

On Jan. 28, the protesters were gathered outside the police station in Alexandria‘s Muntazah neighborhood.

Ahmed wasn’t there to see how his son died. But witnesses told him how Mohammed and his best friend, Karim, were taking cover in the courtyard of a mosque to dodge a hail of bullets coming from the police station. A bullet hit Karim in the stomach, and he fell to the ground.

Ahmed said his son became visibly upset and was quickly shot with a single bullet that cracked his skull. Mohammed died a week later.

“I tried to sue Mubarak at first. But the prosecutor told me no. You can’t sue the president.”

He said he declined bribes from mediators to drop court cases against police officers accused of shooting his son.

“It is not about money,” said Ahmed, who was in Cairo on Wednesday as part of a campaign for the families of the victims. His wife, Nabila, watched the coverage at their home in Alexandria.

Ahmed and others have helped organize a nearly monthlong campaign of sit-ins in main squares in Egyptian cities, accusing the country’s new military rulers of stalling on bringing former regime officials to justice.

They and other demonstrators also are challenging what they consider the slow justice and warped prosecution process of police officers being tried separately in the killing of 90 protesters in Alexandria, including Mohammed. Six of the defendants have been freed without bail until trial, raising fears that they would use their positions to threaten the families of victims.

Ahmed sees this as part of the legacy of Mubarak’s regime when rarely, if ever, was a police officer brought to justice for crimes.

For Ahmed and many like him, Mubarak’s trial is the first step. On Wednesday, they are bidding each other farewell over a collective meal to break the Ramadan fast, and will call off their sit-in in Alexandria, for now.

“Now judges are trying the president himself,” he said. “The first bead on the strand has fallen. The rest will follow.”

Anders Behring Breivik

 

One week after the Oslo drama, Anders Behring Breivik’s 1518-page manifesto reveals a detailed portrait of the suspected Norway shooter and of what he himself describes as his “privileged upbringing.”

Breivik was born in 1979 in London, where his father Jens Breivik was stationed at the Norwegian embassy. Less than a year after his birth Breivik’s father and mother divorced, prompting his mother Wenche Behring to return to Oslo. Breivik’s father remarried and remained in Europe, accepting a position in Paris where Breivik used to visit him during school vacations.

According to the Telegraph, Breivik described growing up with his mother in his manifesto, saying: “I do not approve of the super-liberal, matriarchal upbringing as it completely lacked discipline and has contributed to feminise me to a certain degree.”

In school Breivik seemed to have been a rather quiet child. Friends told Time magazine that he became a bit of an outsider at the end of sixth grade. “He was getting bullied,” a friend told the magazine.

By the age of 15, Breivik lost contact with his father. “I tried to contact him five years ago,” theTelegraph quotes him writing in the document. “But he said he was not mentally prepared for a reunion.” He did keep in touch with his stepmother, Tove Oevermo, who had divorced his father three years before. In an exclusive interview with the Associated Press, Oevermo said she said she had never seen any violent behavior in her former stepson. She did remember him talking about a book he was writing. In the manifesto , he describes his stepmother as “intelligent” but “obviously a traitor.” According to the Daily Mail he said: “Although I care for her a great deal, I wouldn’t hold it against the KT (Knights Templar) if she was executed during an attack.”

When he was about 15, Breivik got into graffiti. CNN reports he claimed to be the most active graffiti artist in the Norwegian capital by 15. Of that time he also wrote: “Unless you had Muslim contactsyou could easily be subject to harassment, beatings and robbery,” according to CNN. The network also points at some of the more paradoxical paragraphs in the document. Breivik writes: “As all my friends can attest I wouldn’t be willing to hurt a fly and I have never used violence against others … If we wanted to we could have harassed and beaten up dozens of Muslim youth. However, as we didn’t share their savage mentality, violence was pointless.”

Breivik’s right-wing political views seem to have fully developed in his late twenties, childhood friends saying that he had friends of Middle Eastern descent earlier on. A friend told the Guardian that it was only then that Breivik began posting right wing opinions on Facebook.

America Less Soda

Despite the increases in childhood obesity in the United States, Americans are technically consuming less sugar than they did about a decade earlier, according to a new report.

And two-thirds of this decrease is due to people drinking fewer sugar-sweetened sodas.

The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, shows that the percentage of our diets that is comprised of sugar dropped from 18 percent between 1999 and 2000 to 14.6 percent between 2007 and 2008.

“We were surprised to see that there was asubstantial reduction over the years,” study researcher Dr. Jean Welsh, of Emory University in Atlanta, told Reuters.

Researchers analyzed data from a study of 42,316 people ages 2 and older to see how much added sugar – that is, sugars that are not naturally included in foods, like fruit — they consumed.

People consumed about 100 grams of added sugar a day during 1999 to 2000, while they consumed 77 grams of added sugar a day during 2007 to 2008, Reuters reported.

But while this study shows that we’re technically consuming less sugar, that doesn’t mean that the total amount we consume is low. An American Heart Association statement in 2009 said that Americans consume the equivalent of 22 teaspoons of sugar a day, with teens consuming 34 teaspoons a day.

But women should only be getting, at the most, 6 teaspoons of sugar a day, while men should only be getting 9 teaspoons a day, the AP reported.

“Take a good hard look at your diet,” statement author Rachel K. Johnson, professor of nutrition at the University of Vermont, told the AP. “Figure out where the sources of added sugars are and think about how to cut back on that.”

All this is not to say that sugar is inherently evil though, David Katz, M.D. director of the Yale Prevention Research Center, wrote on The Huffington Post. Rather, it’s the AMOUNT of sugar that we consume that causes the problems: “An excess of sugar — fructose or any other — is harmful. That is what “excess” means. The dose makes the poison.”

 

5min.com

A New York man was forced to tread water for a whopping 18 hours in Lake Huron after his 2-seat Cessna plane crashed into the lake.

42-year-old Michael Trapp swam in Lake Huron without a life jacket for nearly a day as he “wasn’t ready to die yet,” the Associated Press reports.

The auto mechanic from Gouverneur, New York, left home on Tuesday to attend a family reunion in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. He decided to fly his own plane because a round-trip ticket cost $922. “I said: I can fly there and back for 400 bucks and I wanted to do it,” Trapp told reporters while recovering at a Saginaw hospital.

All was fine with the flight as he crossed over Canada, but the plane’s engine started to sputter over Michigan. He contacted flight officials in Lansing to tell them he was going down while the plane was at 3,000 feet, Trapp told local Fox affiliate WWNY. He crashed near Harbor Beach, 105 miles north of Detroit.

“I just kept struggling and struggling,” he said. He told reporters that he tried to use a credit card to reflect the sun to get the attention of nearby boats.

“It’s amazing what goes on in your mind when you’re laying in water and you look up at the skies and watch the shooting stars and watch meteorites go round. Gives you time to realize what’s important in life at that point,” Trapp told local New York station WWNY-TV while recovering.

Finally, at around 10:20am on Wednesday, Dean and Diane Petitpren, a couple from Grosse Pointe Farms near Detroit, saw him waving his sock in the water and took him aboard their yacht.

 

A man identified as a Fort Wayne pastor and radio personality has been arrested on three charges of dealing cocaine.Fort Wayne police said the department had received several complaints about the Rev. Curtis White III selling cocaine, and the Vice and Narcotics Section investigated him for a month before making an arrest Friday.

According to a written statement, police served a warrant at White’s hotel room in the 4900 block of Bluffton Road and found 6.6 grams of crack cocaine in the room and 6.5 grams of crack cocaine“secreted in a body cavity of Mr. White.”

White has been Sunday morning host of the Gospel Train Unity Inspirational Hour on 102.9 The River, the station confirmed Monday. It said he paid for the time, and the payment was listed in connection with Divine Faith Baptist Church, 1433 McCulloch St.

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