United States: State of Hawaii criticized by head of Federal Communications Commission over incoming missile alert mistake

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United States: State of Hawaii criticized by head of Federal Communications Commission over incoming missile alert mistake

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

On Sunday, the head of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Ajit Pai, described the erroneous alert, sent on Saturday, warning of an imminent nuclear missile strike, as an “absolutely unacceptable” mistake by the Emergency Management Agency of the state of Hawaii. He emphasized that the FCC would “focus on what steps need to be taken to prevent a similar incident from happening again.”

At 8:07 am local time on Saturday, the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA) sent out the following alert: “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.” It appeared on people’s mobile phones throughout the state and caused widespread panic. It took 38 minutes for the state to retract the warning, which Pai said made the error worse. Vern Miyagi, the HI-EMA’s administrator, stated that an employee had mistakenly sent out the alert during a test performed at shift change. On Sunday, Cindy McMillan, communications director for state governor David Ige, clarified that after accidentally pressing the button to send the alert, the employee had gone on to accidentally confirm the command. Richard Rapoza, spokesperson for HI-EMA, said the employee had since been reassigned.

Pai said that FCC analysis of the incident showed that the state had failed to put “reasonable safeguards or process controls” in place to prevent a false alert from being sent. According to The New York Times, the state will now require two people to authorize the issuance of an alert. Also, a “cancellation template” will be created to solve the problem of quickly sending corrections over the mobile phone networks.

Both HI-EMA administrator Miyagi and Hawaii governor Ige apologized for the mistake, with Ige saying “I, too, am extremely upset about this.” Tulsi Gabbard, a House Representative from Hawaii, referred to an “epic failure of leadership” in an interview with ABC News.

Tests by North Korea of missiles that, according to a report in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, could strike Hawaii 20 minutes after launch have heightened tensions in the state. Air raid sirens used in the Cold War have been reactivated there.

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Canada, U.S. to tighten security between ‘cross-border’ library

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Canada, U.S. to tighten security between ‘cross-border’ library

Sunday, May 27, 2007

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the United States Border Patrol and local officials from both sides are looking into tightening security at a Quebec library. The library has been deliberately on the border of Canada and the U.S. since it was built in 1904 by American sawmill owner Carlos Haskell and Canadian wife Martha Stewart Haskell for availability to both countries.

At Haskell Free Library and Opera House, in Rock Island, Quebec, a black line diagonally runs across the center of the library to mark the international border. Ironically the line puts the seats in the U.S. and the opera stage in Canada.

Both towns share the same water supply, sewer systems and emergency crews thus they cross the border without going against the law. In total, there are three streets that cross the border and there are cameras on both sides to monitor illegal activity, but that doesn’t tighten border security enough officials say.

“There’s been an increase in illegal activity, both north and south, in the last little while,” said operations officer for the Border Patrol’s Swanton sector, Mark Henry.”There have been some significant cases. This all fits in to the larger picture of the Border Patrol strategy to gain operational control of our borders.”

“I don’t think they’re aiming at people who go pick up groceries and come back. It’s people that want to use this in a bad way,” says Cpl. Luc Bessette, a spokesman for the RCMP.

To enter the U.S. at Haskell Free Library and Opera House, in Rock Island, Quebec, all one needs is directions to go to Stanstead, Quebec, directions to the local library and walk through the doors; they have illegally entered Derby Line, Vermont, U.S. If one walks across from Stanstead St. to Derby Line they will be at the checkout in the U.S., go to the library from Derby Line to Stanstead St. and they have officially entered back into Canada. The international border also is on Canusa St., a residential street in Stanstead, Quebec and Beebe Plain, Vermont.

If someone wants to see their neighbour across the street, they would be re-entering the U.S. Anyone who comes from Stanstead St. to Derby Line, to visit their neighbour, must report to Customs or they could be sent to jail for illegally entering. However, residents do not need to notify Customs if they cross the border inside buildings.

Currently, the front door is in Vermont and if Quebecers couldn’t enter the front they would have to go through the back way. If Americans wanted to park in the parking lot they couldn’t because it is legally in Canada.

A meeting will take place this 19 June at 7 p.m. local time asking whether residents want to prevent people from crossing the border regularly or, in some cases, illegal crossings. During a meeting last Thursday in Stanstead, Quebec, local officials from both countries (towns) said border walls and fences will not be put up due to local residents’ concerns. They say there are other alternatives.

There is also a movement to separate Vermont from the U.S. or to make it the 11th province of Canada, with three territories. The website “Vermont Canada” says the state should join Canada due to its remaining liberal policies as opposed to the U.S.

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Oct 16

No assassination plot against US presidential candidate Barack Obama

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No assassination plot against US presidential candidate Barack Obama

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Police in Denver, Colorado located in the United States say that three men who were arrested on August 25 for possessing drugs and weapons were not involved in a plot to assassinate US presidential candidate Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention that night.

“[There was] insufficient evidence of any kind of plot or threat [against Obama]”, stated Troy Eid, Colorado’s district attorney who also said the men were making “racist rants” while high on methamphetamines.

“The alleged threats, hateful and bigoted though they were, involved a group of… methamphetamine abusers, all of whom were impaired at the time. The evidence involving the alleged threats does not warrant federal charges now,” said Eid. Authorities in Colorado will continue to investigate the individuals. “The law recognizes a difference between a true threat – one that can be carried out – and the reported racist rantings of a drug addict,” added Eid.

The alleged threat began when an unnamed female who was with the men stated to authorities that they were shouting racists words and remarks about Obama. At least two of the men are claimed to have ties to white supremacists.

The three men are identified as Tharin Gartrell, 28, Nathan Johnson, 32, and Shawn Robert Adolf, 33. Gartrell was the first suspect arrested. Police found him driving a rental truck while weaving around the road on August 25 and with him rifles,ammunition, drugs, disguises, 2-way radios, a bullet proof vest and identification badges for three unnamed people. Johnson was arrested a short time later and Adolf was arrested trying to escape from police by jumping out of a hotel window on the sixth floor. He broke his ankle and was taken to a local hospital for treatment.

Gartrell is facing charges of possessing drugs. Adolf and Johnson are charged with illegally possessing firearms and possessing methamphetamines. Johnson was also additionally charged with possessing body armor illegally.

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Oct 16

Citizenship of Australian terrorists overseas under question

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Citizenship of Australian terrorists overseas under question

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Yesterday, Australia’s Prime Minister proposed his government might strip individuals of their Australian citizenship if authorities consider them involved in terrorist activity.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott stated, “As flagged by me in my national security statement in February, we will be legislating within a few weeks to strip dual citizens involved in terrorism of their Australian citizenship”.

The Coalition government’s bill aims to empower the immigration minister to revoke Australian citizenship of dual nationals suspected of involvement in terrorist activity.

Speaking of procedural for stripping individual citizenship, immigration minister Peter Dutton said he would take advice from intelligence agencies, such as the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation.

Dutton said, “We would gather as much evidence as was possible and we would make a decision whether or not we thought somebody was captured by what is a tight definition in relation to somebody committing an act of terrorism, an act preparatory to, fundraising or supporting a terrorist organisation or providing financial support or indoctrinating young people into the ways of one of these cults.”

This news comes as the Australian wife of Islamic State fighter Khaled Sharrouf, Tara Nettleton, attempts to re-enter the country with her children. Khaled’s seven-year-old son appeared in an internet image Khaled posted last year — in which the boy was holding a severed human head.

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Oct 16

Australian man to be executed in Singapore

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Australian man to be executed in Singapore

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Supporters of convicted Australian drug trafficker, Van Nguyen, gathered outside the State Library in Melbourne yesterday to display thousands of messages of opposition to his death sentence.

Callers to talkback radio in Melbourne were overwhelmingly against the death penalty of Nguyen, who immediately admitted his guilt and has cooperated with authorities since being caught smuggling heroin into Singapore. Many called for a boycott of Singaporean products.

25-year-old Nguyen was arrested at Changi Airport in 2002 for carrying heroin and sentenced to death in March. Nguyen claims he carried the 396 grams of heroin strapped to his body in an attempt to pay off his brother Khoa’s $30,000 legal debts.

The Singapore government have announced they will execute Nguyen at dawn on December 2nd. Singapore President S. R. Nathan rejected Nguyen’s clemency four weeks ago. The Melbourne salesman was sentenced to death under Singapore law which determines a mandatory death sentence for anyone found guilty of possessing 15 grams of heroin or more.

Nguyen’s mother was informed on Thursday by registered mail from the Singapore prisons service of the execution date. The letter stated that she should start making funeral arrangements. She will get to see her son in the three days leading up to the execution.

Despite repeated pleas for clemency from many thousands of supporters; religious groups; human rights organisations; the Pope; and the Australian Government – including Prime Minister, John Howard – Singapore officials have said Nguyen’s execution is irreversible.

Mr Howard had argued that Nguyen should be spared, citing mitigating circumstances in his case which pointed to the fact that he was not a serial drug trafficker but had merely been trying to pay off his brother’s debts.

The Victorian Attorney-General, Rob Hulls, says the Singaporean Government has shown no compassion whatsoever in its treatment of Van Nguyen and his family.

“What’s happening is brutal, is inappropriate. I, and the Victorian Government, vehemently oppose the death penalty in any circumstances”, he told ABC Radio. “This is a young kid who has assisted the police all the way… In any other country, he would get a discount in relation to the penalty. But because there is a mandatory death penalty for drug offences in Singapore, this young man may well be executed. It is just grossly inappropriate.”

“Singapore maintains that capital punishment is a criminal justice issue; it is the sovereign right of every country to decide whether or not to include capital punishment within its criminal justice system,” a Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

Singapore argues that there was no international consensus that capital punishment should be abolished. At the most recent meeting of the UN Commission on Human Rights, 66 countries dissociated themselves from a resolution calling for the abolition of capital punishment.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong affirmed Singapore’s position by saying that it has to “stand firm on drugs to protect its citizens from the scourge and to ensure the country does not become a conduit for the trafficking of illicit drugs.”

In reply to a letter appealing for clemency from his Australian counterpart Alexander Downer, Singapore Foreign Minister George Yeo said: “Mr Nguyen imported almost 400gm of pure heroin which would have supplied more than 26,000 doses to drug addicts.”

No one will be permitted to see Nguyen on the morning of his execution. His body will be released to his mother.

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Oct 15

Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with Family Coalition Party candidate Daniel Kidd, Don Valley West

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Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with Family Coalition Party candidate Daniel Kidd, Don Valley West

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Daniel Kidd is running for the Family Coalition Party in the Ontario provincial election, in the Don Valley West riding. Wikinews’ Nick Moreau interviewed him regarding his values, his experience, and his campaign.

Kidd did not answer multiple questions.

Stay tuned for further interviews; every candidate from every party is eligible, and will be contacted. Expect interviews from Liberals, Progressive Conservatives, New Democratic Party members, Ontario Greens, as well as members from the Family Coalition, Freedom, Communist, Libertarian, and Confederation of Regions parties, as well as independents.

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Oct 15

Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with Freedom Party candidate David McGruer, Ottawa-Orleans

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Ontario Votes 2007: Interview with Freedom Party candidate David McGruer, Ottawa-Orleans

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

David McGruer is running for the Freedom Party of Ontario in the Ontario provincial election, in the Ottawa-Orleans riding. Wikinews’ Nick Moreau interviewed him regarding his values, his experience, and his campaign.

Stay tuned for further interviews; every candidate from every party is eligible, and will be contacted. Expect interviews from Liberals, Progressive Conservatives, New Democratic Party members, Ontario Greens, as well as members from the Family Coalition, Freedom, Communist, Libertarian, and Confederation of Regions parties, as well as independents.

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Oct 13

SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket blasts Elon Musk’s personal Tesla into solar orbit

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SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket blasts Elon Musk’s personal Tesla into solar orbit

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

At 3:45 p.m. Tuesday, Eastern Time (2045 UTC), the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, United States. Its cargo: a US$100,000 Tesla sportscar, the personal property of SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, which he hopes will soon be in its own orbit around the Sun. This is the most powerful rocket since the Saturn V of Project Apollo was retired in 1970. The rocket is meant to follow a course called a Hohmann transfer orbit.

“It’ll be a really huge downer if it blows up,” Musk told the press the day before the launch, but went on to say, “If something goes wrong, hopefully it goes wrong far into the mission so we at least learn as much as possible along the way. I would consider it a win if it just clears the pad and doesn’t blow the pad to smithereens. That’s four million pounds of TNT equivalent so there’s probably not going to be much left if that thing lets loose on the pad.” The car was equipped with a fully space-suited dummy, cameras to monitor its trip into space, a copy of Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and a radio blasting Space Oddity by David Bowie.

The Falcon Heavy has a total of 27 engines and stands 230 feet (70.1 m) tall. According to SpaceX, the Falcon Heavy uses three boosters, the same kind as the company’s smaller cargo rockets. After the rocket exited the Earth’s atmosphere, two of these boosters detached from the main body of the rocket and, in a first for space technology, were successfully guided back down to the landing pad about ten minutes after launch. The third was to have landed on a drone ship, but missed by around 100 yards (about 90 meters) and hit the ocean “at around 200 miles per hour,” according to Musk. The reusability of the boosters makes an enormous difference in the cost of the launch.

Even the relatively heavy-hauling U.S. Space Shuttle program, which was closed in 2013, did not rely on rockets as powerful as those used in Project Apollo, the program in which NASA, the U.S. Government space agency, sent manned missions to the Moon in the 1960’s and 70’s. Most recent space projects have focused on smaller, lighter machinery, such as Scaled Composites’ SpaceShipOne in 2004, which reached space after being carried part of the way by a carrier jet instead of launching from the ground. As of last week, the most powerful rocket in use was the Delta IV, operated by the United Space Alliance. It costs about US$435 million per launch, while SpaceX says the Falcon Heavy will cost US$90 million per launch.

NASA is also working on a heavy-duty rocket, the Space Launch System, but there have been delays.

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Oct 13

Iran: Wreckage found of plane crashed in mountains; all believed dead

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Iran: Wreckage found of plane crashed in mountains; all believed dead

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Yesterday, the Iranian military announced the wreckage of an Aseman Airlines airplane, which went missing on Sunday morning shortly before it was due to land in Yasuj, had been located at an elevation of about 13,000 feet (4,000 m) in the Zagros Mountains. All 65 people on board were presumed dead. Crews were searching for the aircraft’s two black boxes to try to determine why it crashed.

Ramezan Sharif, a spokesman for Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, said wreckage of the ATR 72-500 twin-engine turboprop had been sighted by a military drone and helicopters had then been sent to the location. Helicopter pilot Captain Soheili said on state television the wreckage was only some 100 feet (30 m) from a peak on Mount Dena, and “large parts of the plane, which were labeled with the Aseman company logo” were visible. The Revolutionary Guards released photos in which they said bodies of victims could be seen. Regional medical center director Ghafoor Rastinrooz told the official IRNA news agency that helicopters were unable to land at the site because of “deep and dangerous crevices in the area of the crash”. General Kiumars Heidari, chief of ground forces in the Iranian Army, told the Fars News Agency the dead would have to be brought down the mountain by commandos using specialized ground vehicles.

The plane took off at about 0430 UTC on Sunday from the Iranian capital, Tehran, on Aseman Airlines route EP3704 to Yasuj, in the southwest of the country. It vanished from controllers’ radar screens at about 8:52 local time, 0522 UTC, and there were reports from people in the area of Samirom, about 14 miles (22 km) from its destination in Isfahan Province, of seeing it attempting an emergency landing in a pasture and of hearing the crash. Hundreds of searchers organized by the Red Crescent and using drones and dogs combed the mountainous terrain but were hampered by windy, foggy conditions and heavy snow. The search had to be suspended on Sunday. It resumed at dawn on Monday but weather then forced grounding the helicopters. At one point on Monday local officials announced searchers had found the wreckage, only to have the national civil aviation agency and the Red Crescent indicate the statement had been premature. A demonstration was reported by more than 100 people outside a Dena Kooh government office, demanding resignations.

The plane reportedly had a crew of six — a pilot and a co-pilot, two flight attendants, and two security guards — and 59 passengers, one of them a child. A man who recounted missing the flight told the Tabnak news site “God has been really kind to me”, expressing his sadness over those who had died.

The aircraft was 24 years old. Aseman Airlines, Iran’s third largest air carrier and owned by the national civil service pension foundation, said it had been in storage for seven years before recently being placed in operation again. Iran’s aircraft are aging and the country has been prevented from buying spare parts by international sanctions imposed in response to its nuclear program. Those sanctions were to be lifted under an agreement from 2015, and Iranian airlines, including Aseman, have ordered new planes from both Airbus and Boeing. However, since becoming US President, Donald Trump has declined to recertify the agreement.

There have been a number of serious Iranian air accidents in modern times. In 2011, at least 77 people died when an Iran Air Boeing 727 crashed during an emergency landing.

The pilot in the current crash, Captain Hojjatallah Foulad, successfully landed an ATR 72 at the airport in Yasuj in 2013 after one of the engines failed.

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Oct 12

Documents reveal al-Qaeda wants war between U.S. and Iran, Iraq insurgency weakening

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Documents reveal al-Qaeda wants war between U.S. and Iran, Iraq insurgency weakening

Friday, June 16, 2006

Documents found at the hideout of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi revealed al-Qaeda‘s desire to force a war between the U.S. and Iran. The document was translated by Iraqi National Security Adviser Mouwafak al-Rubaie, but the authenticity of the information could not be confirmed to be from al-Qaeda.

The documents reveal that al-Zarqawi was planning to destroy the relationship between the Shi’ite Iraqis and the United States. The document also said the U.S. military was hurting the insurgency by seizure of weapons, disrupting their financial outlets, massive arrests, and training Iraqi security forces.

The translated document said, “Generally speaking and despite the gloomy present situation, we find that the best solution in order to get out of this crisis is to involve the U.S. forces in waging a war against another country or any hostile groups.”

Mowaffaq al-Rubaie said, “These documents have given us the edge over al-Qaeda and (they) also gave us the whereabouts of their network, of their leaders, of their weapons and the way they lead the organization and the whereabouts of their meetings.”

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