NOWHERE TO RUN: Oscar Pistorius gets 5 years in jail for girlfriend’s death

South Africa Pistoriu_Cham(18)640360.jpg

October 21, 2014: Oscar Pistorius arrives in court in Pretoria, South Africa. (AP Photo/Herman Verwey, Pool)

A South African judge sentenced former Olympic and Paralymic sprinter Oscar Pistorius to a maximum of five years in prison Tuesday for the culpable homicide of his girlfriend last February. 

Judge Thokozile Masipa also gave the athlete once known as “The Blade Runner” a three-year suspended sentence on a firearms charge. She had found Pistorius guilty of culpable homicide, or negligent killing, but had acquitted him of the more serious crime of murder. 

Masipa based the sentence on what she called the “gross negligence” of Pistorius, who shot Steenkamp multiple times through a toilet cubicle door in his home early on the morning of Feb. 14, 2013. Pistorius had testified that the shooting was an accident because he mistook his girlfriend for a nighttime intruder.

Pistorius stood as the judge announced his sentence, and then left the courtroom and walked down a flight of stairs leading to holding cells. His sentence starts immediately.

Legal experts said the section Judge Masipa quoted when she handed down Pistorius’ sentence provides that his prison term be a maximum of five years and the runner could be eligible for house arrest after serving as few as ten months in jail.

Masipa had a range of options for Pistorius’ punishment. She could have issued a suspended sentence and a fine, meaning Pistorius would not have gone to jail. She could also have ordered him to go under house arrest or she could have sent him to prison for up to 15 years.

Pistorius’ lawyers had argued for a three-year period of correctional supervision, where the runner would have been under house arrest. Prosecutors asked the judge to send him to prison for at least 10 years.

Pistorius was escorted through crowds of onlookers and into the Pretoria courthouse by police officers wearing blue berets. The parents of Steenkamp were also in court to hear the sentence.

The courtroom was packed, reflecting heightened media and public interest ahead of the sentencing. Police officers stood guard in the aisles.

Before proceedings started, Dr. Lore Hartzenberg, a psychologist, held Pistorius’ hand and spoke softly to him. Hartzenberg had testified for the defense that Pistorius was a “broken man” after killing his girlfriend and had suffered emotionally and financially.

A Pistorius supporter laid three white roses near Pistorius.

“I just wanted to bestow a little bit of inner happiness on Oscar,” said the supporter, who added that she thought he had lost a lot of self-respect.

Outside the courthouse, a man in orange garb carried chains and a large sign that read: “Are certain offenders more equal than other offenders before the law?”

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/10/21/oscar-pistorius-sentenced/

STUTTERING START Obama’s Ebola point man to skip House hearing

America’s newly appointed Ebola ‘czar’ is not yet in the House — at least not the ones on Pennsylvania Avenue or Capitol Hill.

Ron Klain, appointed last Friday by President Obama to direct the nation’s response to the Ebola crisis, sent his regrets Monday to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which had invited him to testify this Friday, a committee aide told Fox News.

Klain was invited to join Defense and Health and Human Services department officials also slated to testify at the hearing.

“The White House has informed us that he has not yet officially started and will not be able to attend Friday,” the committee aide told Fox News.

Klain, a former chief of staff to vice presidents Al Gore and Joe Biden, has yet to formally start his new assignment — though he was spotted on the White House campus on Saturday. Fox News was told, however, that he did not meet with the president – and was not part of an all-hands-on-deck Ebola meeting that same day.

He is expected to start sometime this week.

Despite bipartisan calls for an Ebola czar, however, the selection of Klain angered some Republicans, who complained he has no health care experience. Klain, after leaving Biden’s staff, went into the private sector, serving as president of Case Holdings and general counsel for venture-capital firm Revolution LLC. 

“That the president chose a political operative rather than a health care expert to head up his administration’s response to an outbreak of a deadly disease says a lot – and nothing positive – about the White House’s line of thinking,” Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., said in a statement on Friday.

Health officials, though, have defended Klain as someone who brings needed managerial experience to a complex task.

“He’s a highly experienced, highly talented manager. He’s been chief of staff for Vice President Gore, for Vice President Biden, has had experience in the Congress,” Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Monday at a town hall-style meeting. “He will be coordinating the interactions among a multi-agency endeavor that are involved, each of which have their own responsibility.”

Fauci also stressed that Klain is not a “czar.”

“It’s an Ebola response coordinator is the title for Ron Klain,” Fauci said.

Fox News’ Mike Emanuel contributed to this report.

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/10/21/ebola-czar-to-skip-house-hearing-aide-says/

TERROR IN CANADA? Authorities say driver who hit 2 soldiers ‘radicalized’

Canadaradicalized640.jpg

October 20, 2014: A Surete du Quebec officer investigates an overturned vehicle in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, where authorities say a ‘radicalized’ man was killed after striking two Canadian military members with his car (REUTERS/Christinne Muschi)

A Quebec man who struck two Canadian military members with his car before being fatally shot by police Monday had been “radicalized,” authorities said. 

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said that Martin Rouleau, 25, of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, was known to provincial and federal law enforcement agencies, according to CBC News. Police declined to provide further details, citing the ongoing investigation. 

A statement from the office of Prime Minister Stephen Harper late Monday said that authorities “have confirmed that there are indications that this is clearly an individual who has been radicalized … Canadians should remain vigilant.” Harper was briefed about the incident by the head of Canada’s national police force, the head of the military and his national security adviser.

One neighbor told reporters that Rouleau stopped wearing jeans and started wearing a tunic and that he changed over the last year and was alone a lot. Another neighbor said Rouleau converted to Islam a little over a year ago.

Rouleau was shot after striking two members of the military in a parking lot mall near Montreal. He died a few hours later.

Quebec provincial police Lt. Michel Brunet said earlier that police shot the suspect after a car chase in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, about 26 miles southeast of Montreal, ended with the man losing control and his car rolling over several times.

Brunet said the man exited the car and was shot. He said they found a knife on the ground but he could not say if he had it in his hand when police fired their weapons. Television images showed a large knife in the grass near his flipped over car.

Police said one of the soldiers was seriously injured, while the other’s injuries were less serious. Brunet said he didn’t know if the soldiers were wearing uniforms at the time they were struck.

The case is similar to one in London, England, last year in which an Al Qaeda-inspired extremist and another man ran over a soldier with a car before hacking the off-duty soldier to death. Images of Michael Adebolajo, 29, holding a butcher knife and cleaver with bloodied hands in the moments after the May 2013 killing of Fusilier Lee Rigby shocked people around the world and sparked fears of Islamist terrorism in Britain.

The self-described “soldier of Allah” was sentenced along with his accomplice to life in prison. The pair were convicted of murdering Rigby, 25, who was walking near his barracks in south London when the men ran him over with a car. They then dragged his body onto the road, and repeatedly stabbed him with knives.

The Islamic State group has urged supporters to carry out attacks against Western countries, including Canada, that are participating in the U.S.-led coalition fighting the militants who have taken over large swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria. It was not known whether the suspect in the Quebec attack had any ties to Islamic militant groups.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Click for more from CBC.ca.

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/10/21/driver-shot-dead-after-hits-2-canadian-soldiers/

Government workers on paid leave costing taxpayers $775M, GAO finds

Thousands of federal workers who have been put on administrative leave for more than a month have been allowed to collect a paycheck, accrue vacation days and pensions benefits while taxpayers were forced to foot the $775 million bill, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office.

Some government employees who broke the rules – meaning they were cited for being untrustworthy or had ongoing issues with co-workers or their bosses – were allowed to remain on leave for large chunks of time while they challenged their demotions, the 62-page report said.

The study, released publicly on Monday, marks the first time auditors have taken a look at the scope of administrative leave and its cost to taxpayers.

During a three-year period, more than 57,000 employees were told to go home – and stay home – for 30 days or more costing taxpayers $775 million in salary alone.  The report found that 53,000 civilian employees were kept home for one to three months. Another 4,000 were kept off the job for three months to a year and hundreds more for one to three years.

The report also identified a disparity among how paid leaves were granted and recorded.

The report listed the Department of Defense as having the highest number of paid leaves on record. During the three fiscal years that ended in September 2013, DOD put 8,600 employees on leave for one to three months, close to 900 for three months to a full year and 123 employees for more than a year.

Federal agencies have the discretion to put employees on administrative leave for a number of different reasons, including blood donations and snow days.

Republican Sens. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, Tom Coburn, R-Okla, and Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., requested the GAO report. Grassley, along with Montana Democrat Sen. Jon Tester, have been working together on legislation that would define which employees would be allowed to stay home, reasons paid leave would be granted and the duration.  

The number of federal employees put on paid leave typically eclipses the number at private companies. Private companies will rarely pay employees while investigating claims and in the cases where they do, the leave lasts for only a few days.

“The private sector is focused on operating efficiently,” Kathy Albarado, chief executive of Helios HR, a consulting firm located in Northern Virginia, told The Washington Post in an interview.

Jeffrey Neal, a federal personnel manager who retired in 2011 as the Department of Homeland Security’s human capital chief, told the paper, “Unless you think somebody is going to get a gun and shoot people, then send them to work.”

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/10/21/gao-report-finds-thousands-government-workers-on-paid-leave-costing-taxpayers/

STUTTERING START Obama’s Ebola point man to skip House hearing

America’s newly appointed Ebola ‘czar’ is not yet in the House — at least not the ones on Pennsylvania Avenue or Capitol Hill.

Ron Klain, appointed last Friday by President Obama to direct the nation’s response to the Ebola crisis, sent his regrets Monday to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which had invited him to testify this Friday, a committee aide told Fox News.

Klain was invited to join Defense and Health and Human Services department officials also slated to testify at the hearing.

“The White House has informed us that he has not yet officially started and will not be able to attend Friday,” the committee aide told Fox News.

Klain, a former chief of staff to vice presidents Al Gore and Joe Biden, has yet to formally start his new assignment — though he was spotted on the White House campus on Saturday. Fox News was told, however, that he did not meet with the president – and was not part of an all-hands-on-deck Ebola meeting that same day.

He is expected to start sometime this week.

Despite bipartisan calls for an Ebola czar, however, the selection of Klain angered some Republicans, who complained he has no health care experience. Klain, after leaving Biden’s staff, went into the private sector, serving as president of Case Holdings and general counsel for venture-capital firm Revolution LLC. 

“That the president chose a political operative rather than a health care expert to head up his administration’s response to an outbreak of a deadly disease says a lot – and nothing positive – about the White House’s line of thinking,” Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., said in a statement on Friday.

Health officials, though, have defended Klain as someone who brings needed managerial experience to a complex task.

“He’s a highly experienced, highly talented manager. He’s been chief of staff for Vice President Gore, for Vice President Biden, has had experience in the Congress,” Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Monday at a town hall-style meeting. “He will be coordinating the interactions among a multi-agency endeavor that are involved, each of which have their own responsibility.”

Fauci also stressed that Klain is not a “czar.”

“It’s an Ebola response coordinator is the title for Ron Klain,” Fauci said.

Fox News’ Mike Emanuel contributed to this report.

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/10/21/ebola-czar-to-skip-house-hearing-aide-says/

TERROR IN CANADA? Authorities say driver who hit 2 soldiers ‘radicalized’

Canadaradicalized640.jpg

October 20, 2014: A Surete du Quebec officer investigates an overturned vehicle in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, where authorities say a ‘radicalized’ man was killed after striking two Canadian military members with his car (REUTERS/Christinne Muschi)

A Quebec man who struck two Canadian military members with his car before being fatally shot by police Monday had been “radicalized,” authorities said. 

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said that Martin Rouleau, 25, of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, was known to provincial and federal law enforcement agencies, according to CBC News. Police declined to provide further details, citing the ongoing investigation. 

A statement from the office of Prime Minister Stephen Harper late Monday said that authorities “have confirmed that there are indications that this is clearly an individual who has been radicalized … Canadians should remain vigilant.” Harper was briefed about the incident by the head of Canada’s national police force, the head of the military and his national security adviser.

One neighbor told reporters that Rouleau stopped wearing jeans and started wearing a tunic and that he changed over the last year and was alone a lot. Another neighbor said Rouleau converted to Islam a little over a year ago.

Rouleau was shot after striking two members of the military in a parking lot mall near Montreal. He died a few hours later.

Quebec provincial police Lt. Michel Brunet said earlier that police shot the suspect after a car chase in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, about 26 miles southeast of Montreal, ended with the man losing control and his car rolling over several times.

Brunet said the man exited the car and was shot. He said they found a knife on the ground but he could not say if he had it in his hand when police fired their weapons. Television images showed a large knife in the grass near his flipped over car.

Police said one of the soldiers was seriously injured, while the other’s injuries were less serious. Brunet said he didn’t know if the soldiers were wearing uniforms at the time they were struck.

The case is similar to one in London, England, last year in which an Al Qaeda-inspired extremist and another man ran over a soldier with a car before hacking the off-duty soldier to death. Images of Michael Adebolajo, 29, holding a butcher knife and cleaver with bloodied hands in the moments after the May 2013 killing of Fusilier Lee Rigby shocked people around the world and sparked fears of Islamist terrorism in Britain.

The self-described “soldier of Allah” was sentenced along with his accomplice to life in prison. The pair were convicted of murdering Rigby, 25, who was walking near his barracks in south London when the men ran him over with a car. They then dragged his body onto the road, and repeatedly stabbed him with knives.

The Islamic State group has urged supporters to carry out attacks against Western countries, including Canada, that are participating in the U.S.-led coalition fighting the militants who have taken over large swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria. It was not known whether the suspect in the Quebec attack had any ties to Islamic militant groups.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Click for more from CBC.ca.

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/10/21/driver-shot-dead-after-hits-2-canadian-soldiers/

GRUESOME DISCOVERY Indiana cops eye ‘serial killer’ in at least 7 murders

Police in northwest Indiana identified the suspected serial killer believed to have murdered seven women over an unknown time period, and warned at a news conference that the body count could rise.

The man accused of killing a woman Friday at a Hammond, Ind., Motel 6, and then leading authorities to a string of dead bodies dumped in abandoned homes in nearby Gary, was identified as Darren Deon Vann, 43, of Gary. Officials said he was convicted of sexual assault in Texas in 2009 and sentenced to five years in prison. He was released on July 5, 2013, the Times of Northwest Indiana reported. The mayor of Hammond said Vann admitted to two murders in Indiana in the 1990s, but details involving those were unavailable. So far, he has only been charged with the murder of Afrika Hardy, 19, who police said was a prostitute found strangled in the motel Friday evening. But authorities said more charges are certain, and more bodies are possible.

“It is possible the investigation could lead to more victims,” said Hammond Police Chief John Doughty, who said Vann admitted that his crimes in Indiana go back two decades.

The flurry of grisly discoveries began Friday, when Hammond police responded to a call of an unresponsive person at a Motel 6 and found the body of Hardy. Hardy’s pimp gave police information that led them to execute a search warrant on a home in Gary, where they took Vann into custody, Doughty said.

Vann, who was not identified until Monday’s news conference, later confessed, police said, saying he “messed up” by killing a woman in Hammond. Vann told police where to find three other dead women, all in Gary, Doughty said. Acting on his information, police discovered the body of Anith Jones, 35, of Merrillville, late Saturday in an abandoned home in Gary. Her family had reported her missing on Oct. 8. It was not clear how long ago the other victims had been killed.

“The suspect Hammond arrested for the Motel 6 murder is an admitted serial killer.”

- Hammond, Ind., Mayor Thomas McDermott

Jones’ sister, Yolanda Nowell, previously described her as “very street savvy” and said she had moved 10 years ago from Chicago to Indiana, where she operated a stand at a nearby flea market.

Police found the next body around 1 a.m. Sunday and said the victim was Teairra Batey, 28, of Gary. Authorities found a third body less than an hour later, according to the Tribune.

Late Sunday, the coroner’s office confirmed the discovery of three additional Jane Does, all of which were found in Gary. The city is 10 miles from Hammond. Doughty identified one of those victims as Christine Williams, 36, of Gary.

All seven deaths have been ruled homicides, according to the coroner’s office. Most of the bodies were found in or around abandoned or fire-damaged homes in blighted neighborhoods, according to reports. The house near where Jones was found was described as being located in a thriving neighborhood, although it is unkempt, with overgrown grass and weeds.

A spokesman for the coroner’s office said Monday that Hardy and Jones died of ligature strangulation. The corner was conducting autopsies on the other bodies. “We’re actually doing the forensic work, carefully identifying with clothing or any tattoos,” the spokesman said.

Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. called Vann a “serial killer” in a Facebook post Sunday afternoon and said he has “admitted to a couple of homicides in Hammond,” that date back to 1994 or 1995. He also said in his posts that the man is a convicted sex offender. Reports said the man was convicted of sex crimes in Texas. 

“The suspect Hammond arrested for the Motel 6 murder is an admitted serial killer,” McDermott wrote. “The suspect gave up the location of a body in Gary that was confirmed found where he said it would be.”

In a statement, Gary Police Cpl. Gabrielle King sought to ease apprehension in the gritty city of 78,000, noting that the man is in custody and that Gary and Hammond police are working together to bring charges.

“We would like to dispel the rumor that there is a serial killer on the loose,” the statement read. “There is a 43-year-old man in the custody of The Hammond Police Department, who led officials to 3 deceased female victims who has claimed responsibility for their demise. Gary Police are closely working with Hammond Police to assist in covering every area of the investigation needed to pursue charges as expeditiously as possible. “

Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson and Gary Chief Larry McKinley in a joint statement asked for calm and patience.

“We commend the officers for their work thus far and ask the citizens to remain calm and patient as our teams work this investigation and do what they do best,” their statement said.

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/10/20/7-women-bodies-found-in-northwestern-indiana-linked-to-possible-serial-killer/

TERROR IN CANADA? Authorities say driver who hit 2 soldiers ‘radicalized’

Canadaradicalized640.jpg

October 20, 2014: A Surete du Quebec officer investigates an overturned vehicle in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, where authorities say a ‘radicalized’ man was killed after striking two Canadian military members with his car (REUTERS/Christinne Muschi)

A Quebec man who struck two Canadian military members with his car before being fatally shot by police Monday had been “radicalized,” authorities said. 

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said that Martin Rouleau, 25, of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, was known to provincial and federal law enforcement agencies, according to CBC News. Police declined to provide further details, citing the ongoing investigation. 

A statement from the office of Prime Minister Stephen Harper late Monday said that authorities “have confirmed that there are indications that this is clearly an individual who has been radicalized … Canadians should remain vigilant.” Harper was briefed about the incident by the head of Canada’s national police force, the head of the military and his national security adviser.

One neighbor told reporters that Rouleau stopped wearing jeans and started wearing a tunic and that he changed over the last year and was alone a lot. Another neighbor said Rouleau converted to Islam a little over a year ago.

Rouleau was shot after striking two members of the military in a parking lot mall near Montreal. He died a few hours later.

Quebec provincial police Lt. Michel Brunet said earlier that police shot the suspect after a car chase in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, about 26 miles southeast of Montreal, ended with the man losing control and his car rolling over several times.

Brunet said the man exited the car and was shot. He said they found a knife on the ground but he could not say if he had it in his hand when police fired their weapons. Television images showed a large knife in the grass near his flipped over car.

Police said one of the soldiers was seriously injured, while the other’s injuries were less serious. Brunet said he didn’t know if the soldiers were wearing uniforms at the time they were struck.

The case is similar to one in London, England, last year in which an Al Qaeda-inspired extremist and another man ran over a soldier with a car before hacking the off-duty soldier to death. Images of Michael Adebolajo, 29, holding a butcher knife and cleaver with bloodied hands in the moments after the May 2013 killing of Fusilier Lee Rigby shocked people around the world and sparked fears of Islamist terrorism in Britain.

The self-described “soldier of Allah” was sentenced along with his accomplice to life in prison. The pair were convicted of murdering Rigby, 25, who was walking near his barracks in south London when the men ran him over with a car. They then dragged his body onto the road, and repeatedly stabbed him with knives.

The Islamic State group has urged supporters to carry out attacks against Western countries, including Canada, that are participating in the U.S.-led coalition fighting the militants who have taken over large swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria. It was not known whether the suspect in the Quebec attack had any ties to Islamic militant groups.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Click for more from CBC.ca.

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/10/21/driver-shot-dead-after-hits-2-canadian-soldiers/

TERROR IN CANADA? Authorities say driver who hit 2 soldiers ‘radicalized’

Canadaradicalized640.jpg

October 20, 2014: A Surete du Quebec officer investigates an overturned vehicle in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, where authorities say a ‘radicalized’ man was killed after striking two Canadian military members with his car (REUTERS/Christinne Muschi)

A Quebec man who struck two Canadian military members with his car before being fatally shot by police Monday had been “radicalized,” authorities said. 

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said that Martin Rouleau, 25, of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, was known to provincial and federal law enforcement agencies, according to CBC News. Police declined to provide further details, citing the ongoing investigation. 

A statement from the office of Prime Minister Stephen Harper late Monday said that authorities “have confirmed that there are indications that this is clearly an individual who has been radicalized … Canadians should remain vigilant.” Harper was briefed about the incident by the head of Canada’s national police force, the head of the military and his national security adviser.

One neighbor told reporters that Rouleau stopped wearing jeans and started wearing a tunic and that he changed over the last year and was alone a lot. Another neighbor said Rouleau converted to Islam a little over a year ago.

Rouleau was shot after striking two members of the military in a parking lot mall near Montreal. He died a few hours later.

Quebec provincial police Lt. Michel Brunet said earlier that police shot the suspect after a car chase in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, about 26 miles southeast of Montreal, ended with the man losing control and his car rolling over several times.

Brunet said the man exited the car and was shot. He said they found a knife on the ground but he could not say if he had it in his hand when police fired their weapons. Television images showed a large knife in the grass near his flipped over car.

Police said one of the soldiers was seriously injured, while the other’s injuries were less serious. Brunet said he didn’t know if the soldiers were wearing uniforms at the time they were struck.

The case is similar to one in London, England, last year in which an Al Qaeda-inspired extremist and another man ran over a soldier with a car before hacking the off-duty soldier to death. Images of Michael Adebolajo, 29, holding a butcher knife and cleaver with bloodied hands in the moments after the May 2013 killing of Fusilier Lee Rigby shocked people around the world and sparked fears of Islamist terrorism in Britain.

The self-described “soldier of Allah” was sentenced along with his accomplice to life in prison. The pair were convicted of murdering Rigby, 25, who was walking near his barracks in south London when the men ran him over with a car. They then dragged his body onto the road, and repeatedly stabbed him with knives.

The Islamic State group has urged supporters to carry out attacks against Western countries, including Canada, that are participating in the U.S.-led coalition fighting the militants who have taken over large swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria. It was not known whether the suspect in the Quebec attack had any ties to Islamic militant groups.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Click for more from CBC.ca.

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/10/21/driver-shot-dead-after-hits-2-canadian-soldiers/

TERROR IN CANADA? Authorities say driver who hit 2 soldiers ‘radicalized’

Canadaradicalized640.jpg

October 20, 2014: A Surete du Quebec officer investigates an overturned vehicle in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, where authorities say a ‘radicalized’ man was killed after striking two Canadian military members with his car (REUTERS/Christinne Muschi)

A Quebec man who struck two Canadian military members with his car before being fatally shot by police Monday had been “radicalized,” authorities said. 

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said that Martin Rouleau, 25, of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, was known to provincial and federal law enforcement agencies, according to CBC News. Police declined to provide further details, citing the ongoing investigation. 

A statement from the office of Prime Minister Stephen Harper late Monday said that authorities “have confirmed that there are indications that this is clearly an individual who has been radicalized … Canadians should remain vigilant.” Harper was briefed about the incident by the head of Canada’s national police force, the head of the military and his national security adviser.

One neighbor told reporters that Rouleau stopped wearing jeans and started wearing a tunic and that he changed over the last year and was alone a lot. Another neighbor said Rouleau converted to Islam a little over a year ago.

Rouleau was shot after striking two members of the military in a parking lot mall near Montreal. He died a few hours later.

Quebec provincial police Lt. Michel Brunet said earlier that police shot the suspect after a car chase in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, about 26 miles southeast of Montreal, ended with the man losing control and his car rolling over several times.

Brunet said the man exited the car and was shot. He said they found a knife on the ground but he could not say if he had it in his hand when police fired their weapons. Television images showed a large knife in the grass near his flipped over car.

Police said one of the soldiers was seriously injured, while the other’s injuries were less serious. Brunet said he didn’t know if the soldiers were wearing uniforms at the time they were struck.

The case is similar to one in London, England, last year in which an Al Qaeda-inspired extremist and another man ran over a soldier with a car before hacking the off-duty soldier to death. Images of Michael Adebolajo, 29, holding a butcher knife and cleaver with bloodied hands in the moments after the May 2013 killing of Fusilier Lee Rigby shocked people around the world and sparked fears of Islamist terrorism in Britain.

The self-described “soldier of Allah” was sentenced along with his accomplice to life in prison. The pair were convicted of murdering Rigby, 25, who was walking near his barracks in south London when the men ran him over with a car. They then dragged his body onto the road, and repeatedly stabbed him with knives.

The Islamic State group has urged supporters to carry out attacks against Western countries, including Canada, that are participating in the U.S.-led coalition fighting the militants who have taken over large swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria. It was not known whether the suspect in the Quebec attack had any ties to Islamic militant groups.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Click for more from CBC.ca.

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/10/21/driver-shot-dead-after-hits-2-canadian-soldiers/

GROUND GAME GRIND Dems, GOP push for votes in midterm homestretch

The candidates have made their pitches. They’ve sparred on the debate stage. They’ve blanketed the airwaves.

Two weeks before Election Day, it’s all about the ground game now.

In battleground Iowa, where the Senate race is one of several that could determine the balance of power in Congress, both parties are making a serious push to get out the vote in the final stretch of the 2014 campaign. The contest between Republican Joni Ernst and Democrat Bruce Braley is tight, with the Real Clear Politics average of recent polling showing Ernst up 2.5 points.

Democrats say they’re bringing in significantly more voters who sat out the 2010 midterm election. Early voting is underway, with nearly 200,000 ballots already cast – the stats show 42.5 percent of them are from Democrats, about 2 points ahead of Republicans.

But the GOP says it is surging.

At Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington, officials say they learned from a shellacking in 2012.

“One thing that’s a lot different this time around than two years ago — about 75 percent of the data that we are collecting out in the field is through one of our mobile canvassing apps, which means we are getting real-time information from the field back here,” RNC National Field Director Matt Mason told Fox News. 

In the “war room” at RNC headquarters, staffers are working 24/7, combing through that data — plus analyzing social media trends, to micro-target and mobilize potential voters. 

“We have to be very nimble, and planning is a big part of this, so we are able move in real time when we have things planned in advance,” said Lori Brownlee, part of the RNC social media team. “We have creative that’s ready, art that’s ready, we have messages that we know are going to work based on what we’re seeing and what we’re testing.” 

A new Wall Street Journal-NBC News/Annenberg survey reveals voters likely to cast ballots in the midterm elections favor a Republican-led Congress over a Democratic one – 49-44 percent. And among all voters, the GOP has taken its first lead of this cycle. A Fox News poll released last week also showed, in a generic ballot test, likely voters prefer the Republican candidate over the Democrat in their House district by 45-42 percent. Likely voters also want to see Republicans win control of the Senate, 47-43 percent.

“Even our low-propensity Republicans are turning out at a higher rate than the Democrats are at our early-voting satellite locations. Very good signs,” Mason said. “Everything is pointing to a good turnout for us and our low-propensity, presidential-year Republicans are very much engaged, even more so than the Democrats.”

“Low-propensity” refers to voters who don’t often participate in elections.

Democrats hope their edge that delivered an Obama re-election victory in 2012 will still be there this time.

“You really need voters, not just to come out because they’re excited to come out — voters who you’ve identified otherwise wouldn’t come out. That’s the advantage that Democrats have. I’m not sure Republicans have that yet,” Democratic strategist Chris Kofinis said.

But Kofinis acknowledges there is an enthusiasm gap, particularly in states where President Obama’s approval ratings are in the low 30’s. Recent polling consistently has shown that Republican voters are more interested in this election than Democratic voters.

“Republicans are more energized, Democrats are not,” Kofinis said. “And unless that closes in the coming weeks, that’s gonna be a problem. Because at the end of the day, you can only bring out voters who want to come out.”

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus declared on “Fox News Sunday” his side now has the edge.

“We are winning on the ground,” Priebus said. “The Democrat advantage in Iowa is all but evaporating. And then in no other Senate state on the ground are we losing.”

Mike Emanuel currently serves as chief congressional correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC). He joined FNC in 1997 as a Los Angeles-based correspondent.

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/10/21/operation-ground-game-parties-drive-to-get-out-vote-in-final-stretch/

$775 MILLION BILL GAO report: Gov’t workers on paid leave rake in $$

Thousands of federal workers who have been put on administrative leave for more than a month have been allowed to collect a paycheck, accrue vacation days and pensions benefits while taxpayers were forced to foot the $775 million bill, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office.

Some government employees who broke the rules – meaning they were cited for being untrustworthy or had ongoing issues with co-workers or their bosses – were allowed to remain on leave for large chunks of time while they challenged their demotions, the 62-page report said.

The study, released publicly on Monday, marks the first time auditors have taken a look at the scope of administrative leave and its cost to taxpayers.

During a three-year period, more than 57,000 employees were told to go home – and stay home – for 30 days or more costing taxpayers $775 million in salary alone.  The report found that 53,000 civilian employees were kept home for one to three months. Another 4,000 were kept off the job for three months to a year and hundreds more for one to three years.

The report also identified a disparity among how paid leaves were granted and recorded.

The report listed the Department of Defense as having the highest number of paid leaves on record. During the three fiscal years that ended in September 2013, DOD put 8,600 employees on leave for one to three months, close to 900 for three months to a full year and 123 employees for more than a year.

Federal agencies have the discretion to put employees on administrative leave for a number of different reasons, including blood donations and snow days.

Republican Sens. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, Tom Coburn, R-Okla, and Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., requested the GAO report. Grassley, along with Montana Democrat Sen. Jon Tester, have been working together on legislation that would define which employees would be allowed to stay home, reasons paid leave would be granted and the duration.  

The number of federal employees put on paid leave typically eclipses the number at private companies. Private companies will rarely pay employees while investigating claims and in the cases where they do, the leave lasts for only a few days.

“The private sector is focused on operating efficiently,” Kathy Albarado, chief executive of Helios HR, a consulting firm located in Northern Virginia, told The Washington Post in an interview.

Jeffrey Neal, a federal personnel manager who retired in 2011 as the Department of Homeland Security’s human capital chief, told the paper, “Unless you think somebody is going to get a gun and shoot people, then send them to work.”

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/10/20/gao-report-finds-thousands-government-workers-on-paid-leave-costing-taxpayers/

STYLE ICON PASSES Fashion designer Oscar de la Renta dies at 82

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FILE – In this Sept. 11, 2011 file photo, designer Oscar de la Renta attends the Diane von Furstenberg Spring 2012 fashion show during Fashion Week in New York. (AP Photo/Diane Bondareff, File)

Oscar de la Renta, the fashion designer whose red carpet gowns and evening wear made him a favorite with everyone from luminaries of the stage and screen to first ladies, died Monday. He was 82.

De la Renta died at home Monday evening in Connecticut surrounded by family and friends and “more than a few dogs,” according to a handwritten statement signed by two of his company’s executives, Alex Bolen and Eliza Bolen.

“While our hearts are broken by the idea of life without Oscar, he is still very much us. Oscar’s hard work, his intelligence and his love of life are at the heart of our company,” the statement said. “All that we have done, and all that we will do, is informed by his values and his spirit. Through Oscar’s example we know the way forward. We will make Oscar very proud of us by continuing in an even stronger way the work that Oscar loved so much.”

The Dominican-born de la Renta designed dresses for numerous first ladies, including Jackie Kennedy, Betty Ford, Nancy Reagan, Hillary Clinton and Laura Bush, with the latter two wearing de la Renta gowns to inaugural balls. Most recently, he designed the wedding dress for Amal Alamuddin to wear when she married George Clooney last month.

Laura Bush released a statement late Monday saying in part, “We will miss Oscar’s generous and warm personality, his charm, and his wonderful talents.

“My daughters and I have many fond memories of visits with Oscar, who designed our favorite clothes … We will always remember him as the man who made women look and feel beautiful.”

The late `60s and early `70s were a defining moment in U.S. fashion as New York-based designers finally carved a look of their own that was finally taken seriously by Europeans. De la Renta and his peers, including the late Bill Blass, Roy Halston and Geoffrey Beene, defined American style — and their influence is still spotted today.

De la Renta’s specialty was eveningwear, though he also was known for chic daytime suits favored by the women who would gather at the Four Seasons or Le Cirque at lunchtime. His signature looks were voluminous skirts, exquisite embroideries and rich colors.

De la Renta’s path to New York’s Seventh Avenue took an unlikely route: He left his native Dominican Republic at age 18 to study painting in Spain but soon became sidetracked by fashion. The wife of the U.S. Ambassador to Spain saw some of his sketches and asked him to make a dress for her daughter — a dress that landed on the cover of Life magazine.

That led to an apprenticeship with Cristobal Balenciaga, and then de la Renta moved to France to work for couture house Lanvin. By 1963, he was working for Elizabeth Arden couture in New York and in 1965 had launched his own label.

He told the AP in 2004 that his Hispanic roots worked their way into his designs.

“I like light, color, luminosity. I like things full of color and vibrant,” he said.

And while de la Renta made Manhattan his primary home, he often visited the Dominican Republic and kept a home there. Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour was a frequent visitor and she has said traveling with him was like traveling with the president. “He’s a superstar,” she said.

He also had a country home in northwestern Connecticut. Gardening and dancing were among his favorite diversions from work. “I’m a very restless person. I’m always doing something. The creative process never stops,” he said.

As a designer, De la Renta always catered to his socialite friends and neighbors — as the designer and his wife, Annette, were fixtures on the black-tie charity circuit — but he did make occasional efforts to reach the masses, including launching a mid-priced line in 2004 and developing a dozen or so perfumes, the first, called Oscar, was introduced in 1977 and more recently, Rosamor.

He was an avid patron of the arts, serving as a board member of The Metropolitan Opera and Carnegie Hall, among others, and he devoted considerable time to children’s charity, including New Yorkers for Children. He also helped fund schools and day-care centers in La Romana and Punta Cana in his native country.

The Dominican Republic honored de la Renta with the order al Merito de Juan Pablo Duarte and the order of Cristobol Colon. Here in the U.S., he received the Coty American Fashion Critics Award twice, was named womenswear designer of the year by the Council of Fashion Designers of America in 2000 and also received a lifetime achievement award from the CFDA — an organization for which he served as president in the 1980s.

In addition to his own label, de la Renta spearheaded the Pierre Balmain collection from 1993-2002, marking the first time an American designed for a French couture house, and he was awarded the French Legion d’Honneur as a Commandeur. He also received the Gold Medal Award from the king and queen of Spain.

De la Renta gave up the title of chief executive of his company in 2004, handing over business duties to stepdaughter Eliza Reed Bolen and her husband, Alex Bolen, but he remained active on the design end, continuing to show his collections during New York Fashion Week.

De la Renta also is survived by an adopted son, Moises, a designer at the company.

De la Renta’s first wife, French Vogue editor Francoise de Langlade, died in 1983.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2014/10/21/oscar-de-la-renta-fashion-designer-dies-at-82/

GRUESOME DISCOVERY Indiana cops eye ‘serial killer’ in at least 7 murders

Police in northwest Indiana identified the suspected serial killer believed to have murdered seven women over an unknown time period, and warned at a news conference that the body count could rise.

The man accused of killing a woman Friday at a Hammond, Ind., Motel 6, and then leading authorities to a string of dead bodies dumped in abandoned homes in nearby Gary, was identified as Darren Deon Vann, 43, of Gary. Officials said he was convicted of sexual assault in Texas in 2009 and sentenced to five years in prison. He was released on July 5, 2013, the Times of Northwest Indiana reported. The mayor of Hammond said Vann admitted to two murders in Indiana in the 1990s, but details involving those were unavailable. So far, he has only been charged with the murder of Afrika Hardy, 19, who police said was a prostitute found strangled in the motel Friday evening. But authorities said more charges are certain, and more bodies are possible.

“It is possible the investigation could lead to more victims,” said Hammond Police Chief John Doughty, who said Vann admitted that his crimes in Indiana go back two decades.

The flurry of grisly discoveries began Friday, when Hammond police responded to a call of an unresponsive person at a Motel 6 and found the body of Hardy. Hardy’s pimp gave police information that led them to execute a search warrant on a home in Gary, where they took Vann into custody, Doughty said.

Vann, who was not identified until Monday’s news conference, later confessed, police said, saying he “messed up” by killing a woman in Hammond. Vann told police where to find three other dead women, all in Gary, Doughty said. Acting on his information, police discovered the body of Anith Jones, 35, of Merrillville, late Saturday in an abandoned home in Gary. Her family had reported her missing on Oct. 8. It was not clear how long ago the other victims had been killed.

“The suspect Hammond arrested for the Motel 6 murder is an admitted serial killer.”

- Hammond, Ind., Mayor Thomas McDermott

Jones’ sister, Yolanda Nowell, previously described her as “very street savvy” and said she had moved 10 years ago from Chicago to Indiana, where she operated a stand at a nearby flea market.

Police found the next body around 1 a.m. Sunday and said the victim was Teairra Batey, 28, of Gary. Authorities found a third body less than an hour later, according to the Tribune.

Late Sunday, the coroner’s office confirmed the discovery of three additional Jane Does, all of which were found in Gary. The city is 10 miles from Hammond. Doughty identified one of those victims as Christine Williams, 36, of Gary.

All seven deaths have been ruled homicides, according to the coroner’s office. Most of the bodies were found in or around abandoned or fire-damaged homes in blighted neighborhoods, according to reports. The house near where Jones was found was described as being located in a thriving neighborhood, although it is unkempt, with overgrown grass and weeds.

A spokesman for the coroner’s office said Monday that Hardy and Jones died of ligature strangulation. The corner was conducting autopsies on the other bodies. “We’re actually doing the forensic work, carefully identifying with clothing or any tattoos,” the spokesman said.

Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. called Vann a “serial killer” in a Facebook post Sunday afternoon and said he has “admitted to a couple of homicides in Hammond,” that date back to 1994 or 1995. He also said in his posts that the man is a convicted sex offender. Reports said the man was convicted of sex crimes in Texas. 

“The suspect Hammond arrested for the Motel 6 murder is an admitted serial killer,” McDermott wrote. “The suspect gave up the location of a body in Gary that was confirmed found where he said it would be.”

In a statement, Gary Police Cpl. Gabrielle King sought to ease apprehension in the gritty city of 78,000, noting that the man is in custody and that Gary and Hammond police are working together to bring charges.

“We would like to dispel the rumor that there is a serial killer on the loose,” the statement read. “There is a 43-year-old man in the custody of The Hammond Police Department, who led officials to 3 deceased female victims who has claimed responsibility for their demise. Gary Police are closely working with Hammond Police to assist in covering every area of the investigation needed to pursue charges as expeditiously as possible. “

Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson and Gary Chief Larry McKinley in a joint statement asked for calm and patience.

“We commend the officers for their work thus far and ask the citizens to remain calm and patient as our teams work this investigation and do what they do best,” their statement said.

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/10/20/7-women-bodies-found-in-northwestern-indiana-linked-to-possible-serial-killer/

Iran’s military weaponry, promoted in parade, panned as junk and knockoffs

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It’s called “Rategh,” which means “opener,” and is basically a civilian bus with armor plates, loudspeakers and a small plow to clear obstacles during urban protests. (War is Boring)

Iran’s annual parade and commemoration of its 1980s war with Iraq featured the Islamic Republic’s most modern weaponry, an arsenal experts say is a collection of knockoffs, junk and gear suited for display only.

“Sacred Defense Week,” which marks the beginning in 1980 of Iran’s long and bloody war with Iraq and began at the end of last month, features a nationwide parade, war remembrance gatherings and what the authoritative military blog War Is Boring called “theatrical unveiling events for new weaponry.”

The oddest-looking tool in the Iranian military’s arsenal may be the armor-plated bus called Rategh, or “opener.” War is Boring described it as a fortified civilian bus with loudspeakers and a small plow mounted on the front, a vehicle best suited for democracy protests and not battlefield skirmishes.

Tehran’s vaunted Shahed-285 attack helicopter, which the regime has touted for two decades, is a gilded Bell 206, according to the blog. At this year’s event, the chopper performed a rare demonstration flight from Al Ghadir, an Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Air Force base near Tehran.

Although there are five known Shahed versions, including a naval version with anti-ship missiles and an anti-tank model, War is Boring cautions, “Don’t get too excited. You can hang all the stuff you want off of a Bell 206. It’s still a Bell 206.”

It was the first ceremony since last February, when Mohammad Ali Al-e Hashem, head of the Army’s Ideological and Political Organization, boasted that Iran is a full-scale producer of war equipment.

“Iran imported nearly all its military hardware from abroad before the victory of the Islamic Revolution, but today it is a manufacturer of advanced military hardware in the world,” Al-e Hashem said.

The weeklong event also featured the Asefeh Gatling gun. Iranian military officials claim matte-black gun, whose name means “tornado,” fires 23-millimeter shells at a rate of 1,000 rounds per minute. The Asefeh was trotted out in 2013 as an anti-cruise missile weapon, but this year, it was re-introduced as a heavy assault gun for use against ground targets.

Iran has its own version of the American-made Bushmaster Adaptive Combat Rifle, in the 5.56-millimeter Fatih assault rifle. The Iranian defense industry has designed at least a dozen similar rifles in the past decade in an effort to replace old AK-47s, according to War is Boring. The Fatih failed this year, jamming after firing a few demonstrative shots at its own inauguration ceremony.

During Sacred Defense Week, Iran also unveiled at least one new Unmanned Aerial Vehicle—probably a target drone—and a new all-terrain version of the Safir jeep.

While much of the conventional gear Iran displayed is no match for the world’s top militaries, it also is not likely Iran’s most formidable weaponry, said Frank Gaffney, president and founder of the Center for Security Policy, a Washington-based research institute.

“They’re putting on a Potemkin village display on the one hand, while they’re also working on a lot of asymmetrical components that could be quite formidable,” Gaffney said, listing the regime’s work on electro-magnetic pulse, cyber and satellite warfare, in addition to its ongoing pursuit of nuclear weapons.

“They are formidable for many reasons, but I don’t know that I would put a whole lot of stock in the missiles and equipment they are rolling out on the streets of Tehran.”

Iran recently appeared to overstate its conventional military power when it claimed to be sending two warships toward U.S. waters — one of which barely survived a 1988 run-in with an American fighter jet. The ships, the frigate Sabalan and Kharg, a supply ship capable of carrying helicopters, are believed to have turned back early into their journey.

A photo of Iran’s Qaher 313 stealth fighter jet, which the regime calls “one of the most sophisticated fighter jet in the world,” was roundly dubbed a Photoshop fake after it was published in the state-controlled Khouz News.

Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi angrily lashed out at the criticism in an interview last year.

“The western media policy is to tell you that the Qaher is a mock-up,” he said. “This is a cheap talk and shows that enemies are worried about Iran’s advancements in several fields, including defense industries.”

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/10/20/junk-and-knockoffs-iran-military-weaponry-panned-but-regime-still-formidable/

Fashion legend Oscar de la Renta dies at 82

Oscar de la Renta, whose fashion designs were worn by film stars and royal figures died Monday night. He was 82.

De la Renta died at home Monday evening in Connecticut surrounded by family and friends and “more than a few dogs,” according to a handwritten statement signed by two of his company’s executives, Alex Bolen and Eliza Bolen. A family member confirmed to CBS News that de la Renta died peacefully at 7:40 p.m.

He was a fashion giant whose designs became a standard of elegance. Widely called “the sultan of chic,”his clothes became the garments of choice for some of the best dressed and most beautiful women in the world.

“The most important thing about fashion is to have the memory of a mosquito. Don’t ever look back; always look forward,” he told Gotham magazine in an interview. “You are as good as your last collection. “

An industry icon, de la Renta spent five decades dressing the world’s most regal women. Known for designs that graced the figures of the fabulous, he was especially known in America for dresses worn by First Ladies Nancy Reagan, and also inaugural gowns worn by Hillary Clinton and Laura Bush.

Born in the Dominican Republic, he left when he was 18 for Spain to study painting at Academy of San Fernando in Madrid. Soon he became interested in fashion design and became an apprentice to Cristobal Balenciaga, founder of the Balenciaga fashion house.

By the early 1960s, he moved to New York and began work with the Elizabeth Arden fashion house and in 1965 he ventured out and started his own label.

The late ’60s and early ’70s were a defining moment in U.S. fashion as New York-based designers finally carved a look of their own that was finally taken seriously by Europeans. De la Renta and his peers, including the late Bill Blass, Roy Halston and Geoffrey Beene, defined American style – and their influence is still spotted today.

His notoriety for dressing the rich and famous reached the White House when he first dressed Jaqueline Kennedy, then later Betty Ford, eventually becoming a favorite of First Ladies. Some of his works were featured at the Clinton Presisdential Library in Arkansas.

When presenting him with Carnegie Hall’s Medal of Excellence earlier this year, Hillary Clinton joked about his ability for grace and style.

“This man has been working for more than 20 years to turn me into a fashion icon … despite his best efforts,” she said.

One first lady that he always wanted to dress was Michelle Obama.

“I would love to dress Mrs. Obama,” he said on “CBS This Morning” last year. “I think she’s a very stylish lady…only in this country we pay so much attention to what the First Lady wears.”

De la Renta also was well known for his designed aimed at younger women as well. In fact, one of his most famous pieces was the focal point of an episode of “Sex in the City.”

He served twice as president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America from 1973 to 1976, and from 1986 to 1988.

The fashion world sent out its thanks to de la Renta for his powerful influence.

De la Renta was married twice. In 1967, he married Francoise de Langlade, editor-in-chief of French Vogue. She died in 1983 of bone cancer.

Soon after , he adopted a son he found in an orphanage in his native Dominican Republic. De la Renta married in 1990 for the second time, to philanthropist Annette Engelhard Reed.

Source Article from http://feeds.cbsnews.com/~r/CBSNewsMain/~3/cgkKj015sL8/

Iran’s military weaponry, promoted in parade, panned as junk and knockoffs

iranweapons5.jpeg

It’s called “Rategh,” which means “opener,” and is basically a civilian bus with armor plates, loudspeakers and a small plow to clear obstacles during urban protests. (War is Boring)

Iran’s annual parade and commemoration of its 1980s war with Iraq featured the Islamic Republic’s most modern weaponry, an arsenal experts say is a collection of knockoffs, junk and gear suited for display only.

“Sacred Defense Week,” which marks the beginning in 1980 of Iran’s long and bloody war with Iraq and began at the end of last month, features a nationwide parade, war remembrance gatherings and what the authoritative military blog War Is Boring called “theatrical unveiling events for new weaponry.”

The oddest-looking tool in the Iranian military’s arsenal may be the armor-plated bus called Rategh, or “opener.” War is Boring described it as a fortified civilian bus with loudspeakers and a small plow mounted on the front, a vehicle best suited for democracy protests and not battlefield skirmishes.

Tehran’s vaunted Shahed-285 attack helicopter, which the regime has touted for two decades, is a gilded Bell 206, according to the blog. At this year’s event, the chopper performed a rare demonstration flight from Al Ghadir, an Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Air Force base near Tehran.

Although there are five known Shahed versions, including a naval version with anti-ship missiles and an anti-tank model, War is Boring cautions, “Don’t get too excited. You can hang all the stuff you want off of a Bell 206. It’s still a Bell 206.”

It was the first ceremony since last February, when Mohammad Ali Al-e Hashem, head of the Army’s Ideological and Political Organization, boasted that Iran is a full-scale producer of war equipment.

“Iran imported nearly all its military hardware from abroad before the victory of the Islamic Revolution, but today it is a manufacturer of advanced military hardware in the world,” Al-e Hashem said.

The weeklong event also featured the Asefeh Gatling gun. Iranian military officials claim matte-black gun, whose name means “tornado,” fires 23-millimeter shells at a rate of 1,000 rounds per minute. The Asefeh was trotted out in 2013 as an anti-cruise missile weapon, but this year, it was re-introduced as a heavy assault gun for use against ground targets.

Iran has its own version of the American-made Bushmaster Adaptive Combat Rifle, in the 5.56-millimeter Fatih assault rifle. The Iranian defense industry has designed at least a dozen similar rifles in the past decade in an effort to replace old AK-47s, according to War is Boring. The Fatih failed this year, jamming after firing a few demonstrative shots at its own inauguration ceremony.

During Sacred Defense Week, Iran also unveiled at least one new Unmanned Aerial Vehicle—probably a target drone—and a new all-terrain version of the Safir jeep.

While much of the conventional gear Iran displayed is no match for the world’s top militaries, it also is not likely Iran’s most formidable weaponry, said Frank Gaffney, president and founder of the Center for Security Policy, a Washington-based research institute.

“They’re putting on a Potemkin village display on the one hand, while they’re also working on a lot of asymmetrical components that could be quite formidable,” Gaffney said, listing the regime’s work on electro-magnetic pulse, cyber and satellite warfare, in addition to its ongoing pursuit of nuclear weapons.

“They are formidable for many reasons, but I don’t know that I would put a whole lot of stock in the missiles and equipment they are rolling out on the streets of Tehran.”

Iran recently appeared to overstate its conventional military power when it claimed to be sending two warships toward U.S. waters — one of which barely survived a 1988 run-in with an American fighter jet. The ships, the frigate Sabalan and Kharg, a supply ship capable of carrying helicopters, are believed to have turned back early into their journey.

A photo of Iran’s Qaher 313 stealth fighter jet, which the regime calls “one of the most sophisticated fighter jet in the world,” was roundly dubbed a Photoshop fake after it was published in the state-controlled Khouz News.

Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi angrily lashed out at the criticism in an interview last year.

“The western media policy is to tell you that the Qaher is a mock-up,” he said. “This is a cheap talk and shows that enemies are worried about Iran’s advancements in several fields, including defense industries.”

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/10/20/junk-and-knockoffs-iran-military-weaponry-panned-but-regime-still-formidable/

$775 MILLION BILL GAO report: Gov’t workers on paid leave rake in $$

Thousands of federal workers who have been put on administrative leave for more than a month have been allowed to collect a paycheck, accrue vacation days and pensions benefits while taxpayers were forced to foot the $775 million bill, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office.

Some government employees who broke the rules – meaning they were cited for being untrustworthy or had ongoing issues with co-workers or their bosses – were allowed to remain on leave for large chunks of time while they challenged their demotions, the 62-page report said.

The study, released publicly on Monday, marks the first time auditors have taken a look at the scope of administrative leave and its cost to taxpayers.

During a three-year period, more than 57,000 employees were told to go home – and stay home – for 30 days or more costing taxpayers $775 million in salary alone.  The report found that 53,000 civilian employees were kept home for one to three months. Another 4,000 were kept off the job for three months to a year and hundreds more for one to three years.

The report also identified a disparity among how paid leaves were granted and recorded.

The report listed the Department of Defense as having the highest number of paid leaves on record. During the three fiscal years that ended in September 2013, DOD put 8,600 employees on leave for one to three months, close to 900 for three months to a full year and 123 employees for more than a year.

Federal agencies have the discretion to put employees on administrative leave for a number of different reasons, including blood donations and snow days.

Republican Sens. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, Tom Coburn, R-Okla, and Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., requested the GAO report. Grassley, along with Montana Democrat Sen. Jon Tester, have been working together on legislation that would define which employees would be allowed to stay home, reasons paid leave would be granted and the duration.  

The number of federal employees put on paid leave typically eclipses the number at private companies. Private companies will rarely pay employees while investigating claims and in the cases where they do, the leave lasts for only a few days.

“The private sector is focused on operating efficiently,” Kathy Albarado, chief executive of Helios HR, a consulting firm located in Northern Virginia, told The Washington Post in an interview.

Jeffrey Neal, a federal personnel manager who retired in 2011 as the Department of Homeland Security’s human capital chief, told the paper, “Unless you think somebody is going to get a gun and shoot people, then send them to work.”

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/10/20/gao-report-finds-thousands-government-workers-on-paid-leave-costing-taxpayers/

FASCINATING HISTORY Auction of SciTech’s past includes Apple-1 computer

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Apple-1 Computer. (Image courtesy of Bonhams)

From one of the first Apple computers to a Charles Darwin letter discussing Barnacle sex, a major auction of technological and scientific artifacts this week will give a fascinating glimpse into the great minds that helped shape our world.

Spanning centuries, the 288 items in the sale are estimated to raise around $2 million when they go under the hammer at auction house Bonhams on Oct. 22.

One of the key items in the New York auction is one of the first Apple-1 computers, which still works, a product which helped lay the foundations for the Cupertino, Calif.-based consumer tech giant.

“This is pretty much on the top of the list for technological artifacts,” Cassandra Hatton, Bonhams senior specialist in fine books, manuscripts, and the history of science, told FoxNews.com. “It’s one of the first 50 Apple Computers that were made.”

Bonhams estimates that the Apple-1 motherboard, which comes with a vintage keyboard, monitor, and power supply, will be sold for between $300,000 and $500,000. The seller is John Anderson, founder of the AppleSiders Apple user group in Cinncinati.

“It could very easily go to an institution or very easily go to a private collection,” said Hatton, noting that that the last operational Apple-1 computer sold for $672,000.

Built in 1976 by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, the computer is still operational.  

According to the Apple-1 Registry run by computer expert Mike Willegas, there are only 63 surviving authentic Apple-1’s. Only 15 of the 63 are said to have been successfully operated since 2000.

“The condition on this is really just fantastic,” said Hatton. “Hobbyists would really tinker with these things – so often, you see them burnt and scratched, but this is a really clean [mother] board.”

A rare 1857 letter from Charles Darwin will also be auctioned this week. In the four-page letter to zoologist and dentist Charles Spence Bate, Darwin inquires about Barnacle reproduction.

“This is really a classic Charles Darwin piece,” noted Hatton. “Darwin letters of this length are not commonly found.”

Signed “C.Darwin,” the letter forms part of the naturalist’s extensive research into barnacles, which helped hone his theory of evolution.

The letter is expected to raise between $20,000 and $30,000 at auction.

Another item of great historical importance in the sale is a large viewing window from the Manhattan Project. Originally used to view the production of plutonium at a Manhattan Project’s site in Hanford, Washington State, the 1500-pound window is six-inches thick.

Hatton told FoxNews.com that the window, which is not radioactive, is 70% lead oxide.

“Because the lead oxide is such a high percentage, it reacts more like a metal than glass,” she explained. “If you took a grinder to the window, in the same way that a metal would crumble – it wouldn’t shatter.”

Bonhams predicts that the window will sell for between $150,000 and $250,000.

Other items on sale this week include the Helmholtz sound synthesizer, described as the world’s first electric keyboard, and the extensive archive of pioneering astronomer George Willis Richey.

The auction house is also selling dozens of globes, some of which are miniature and date back to the eighteenth century. More modern items on sale include an Apple flag from the company’s European headquarters in France and a portrait of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. Painted in 2000 for the cover of Wired magazine, the portrait has an estimated value of $700 to $900.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

 

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2014/10/20/auction-offers-fascinating-glimpse-into-history-science-and-technology/

GRUESOME DISCOVERY Indiana cops eye ‘serial killer’ in at least 7 murders

Police in northwest Indiana identified the suspected serial killer believed to have murdered seven women over an unknown time period, and warned at a news conference that the body count could rise.

The man accused of killing a woman Friday at a Hammond, Ind., Motel 6, and then leading authorities to a string of dead bodies dumped in abandoned homes in nearby Gary, was identified as Darren Deon Vann, 43, of Gary. Officials said he was convicted of sexual assault in Texas in 2009 and sentenced to five years in prison. He was released on July 5, 2013, the Times of Northwest Indiana reported. The mayor of Hammond said Vann admitted to two murders in Indiana in the 1990s, but details involving those were unavailable. So far, he has only been charged with the murder of Afrika Hardy, 19, who police said was a prostitute found strangled in the motel Friday evening. But authorities said more charges are certain, and more bodies are possible.

“It is possible the investigation could lead to more victims,” said Hammond Police Chief John Doughty, who said Vann admitted that his crimes in Indiana go back two decades.

The flurry of grisly discoveries began Friday, when Hammond police responded to a call of an unresponsive person at a Motel 6 and found the body of Hardy. Hardy’s pimp gave police information that led them to execute a search warrant on a home in Gary, where they took Vann into custody, Doughty said.

Vann, who was not identified until Monday’s news conference, later confessed, police said, saying he “messed up” by killing a woman in Hammond. Vann told police where to find three other dead women, all in Gary, Doughty said. Acting on his information, police discovered the body of Anith Jones, 35, of Merrillville, late Saturday in an abandoned home in Gary. Her family had reported her missing on Oct. 8. It was not clear how long ago the other victims had been killed.

“The suspect Hammond arrested for the Motel 6 murder is an admitted serial killer.”

- Hammond, Ind., Mayor Thomas McDermott

Jones’ sister, Yolanda Nowell, previously described her as “very street savvy” and said she had moved 10 years ago from Chicago to Indiana, where she operated a stand at a nearby flea market.

Police found the next body around 1 a.m. Sunday and said the victim was Teairra Batey, 28, of Gary. Authorities found a third body less than an hour later, according to the Tribune.

Late Sunday, the coroner’s office confirmed the discovery of three additional Jane Does, all of which were found in Gary. The city is 10 miles from Hammond. Doughty identified one of those victims as Christine Williams, 36, of Gary.

All seven deaths have been ruled homicides, according to the coroner’s office. Most of the bodies were found in or around abandoned or fire-damaged homes in blighted neighborhoods, according to reports. The house near where Jones was found was described as being located in a thriving neighborhood, although it is unkempt, with overgrown grass and weeds.

A spokesman for the coroner’s office said Monday that Hardy and Jones died of ligature strangulation. The corner was conducting autopsies on the other bodies. “We’re actually doing the forensic work, carefully identifying with clothing or any tattoos,” the spokesman said.

Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. called Vann a “serial killer” in a Facebook post Sunday afternoon and said he has “admitted to a couple of homicides in Hammond,” that date back to 1994 or 1995. He also said in his posts that the man is a convicted sex offender. Reports said the man was convicted of sex crimes in Texas. 

“The suspect Hammond arrested for the Motel 6 murder is an admitted serial killer,” McDermott wrote. “The suspect gave up the location of a body in Gary that was confirmed found where he said it would be.”

In a statement, Gary Police Cpl. Gabrielle King sought to ease apprehension in the gritty city of 78,000, noting that the man is in custody and that Gary and Hammond police are working together to bring charges.

“We would like to dispel the rumor that there is a serial killer on the loose,” the statement read. “There is a 43-year-old man in the custody of The Hammond Police Department, who led officials to 3 deceased female victims who has claimed responsibility for their demise. Gary Police are closely working with Hammond Police to assist in covering every area of the investigation needed to pursue charges as expeditiously as possible. “

Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson and Gary Chief Larry McKinley in a joint statement asked for calm and patience.

“We commend the officers for their work thus far and ask the citizens to remain calm and patient as our teams work this investigation and do what they do best,” their statement said.

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/10/20/7-women-bodies-found-in-northwestern-indiana-linked-to-possible-serial-killer/

Iran’s military weaponry, promoted in parade, panned as junk and knockoffs

iranweapons5.jpeg

It’s called “Rategh,” which means “opener,” and is basically a civilian bus with armor plates, loudspeakers and a small plow to clear obstacles during urban protests. (War is Boring)

Iran’s annual parade and commemoration of its 1980s war with Iraq featured the Islamic Republic’s most modern weaponry, an arsenal experts say is a collection of knockoffs, junk and gear suited for display only.

“Sacred Defense Week,” which marks the beginning in 1980 of Iran’s long and bloody war with Iraq and began at the end of last month, features a nationwide parade, war remembrance gatherings and what the authoritative military blog War Is Boring called “theatrical unveiling events for new weaponry.”

The oddest-looking tool in the Iranian military’s arsenal may be the armor-plated bus called Rategh, or “opener.” War is Boring described it as a fortified civilian bus with loudspeakers and a small plow mounted on the front, a vehicle best suited for democracy protests and not battlefield skirmishes.

Tehran’s vaunted Shahed-285 attack helicopter, which the regime has touted for two decades, is a gilded Bell 206, according to the blog. At this year’s event, the chopper performed a rare demonstration flight from Al Ghadir, an Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Air Force base near Tehran.

Although there are five known Shahed versions, including a naval version with anti-ship missiles and an anti-tank model, War is Boring cautions, “Don’t get too excited. You can hang all the stuff you want off of a Bell 206. It’s still a Bell 206.”

It was the first ceremony since last February, when Mohammad Ali Al-e Hashem, head of the Army’s Ideological and Political Organization, boasted that Iran is a full-scale producer of war equipment.

“Iran imported nearly all its military hardware from abroad before the victory of the Islamic Revolution, but today it is a manufacturer of advanced military hardware in the world,” Al-e Hashem said.

The weeklong event also featured the Asefeh Gatling gun. Iranian military officials claim matte-black gun, whose name means “tornado,” fires 23-millimeter shells at a rate of 1,000 rounds per minute. The Asefeh was trotted out in 2013 as an anti-cruise missile weapon, but this year, it was re-introduced as a heavy assault gun for use against ground targets.

Iran has its own version of the American-made Bushmaster Adaptive Combat Rifle, in the 5.56-millimeter Fatih assault rifle. The Iranian defense industry has designed at least a dozen similar rifles in the past decade in an effort to replace old AK-47s, according to War is Boring. The Fatih failed this year, jamming after firing a few demonstrative shots at its own inauguration ceremony.

During Sacred Defense Week, Iran also unveiled at least one new Unmanned Aerial Vehicle—probably a target drone—and a new all-terrain version of the Safir jeep.

While much of the conventional gear Iran displayed is no match for the world’s top militaries, it also is not likely Iran’s most formidable weaponry, said Frank Gaffney, president and founder of the Center for Security Policy, a Washington-based research institute.

“They’re putting on a Potemkin village display on the one hand, while they’re also working on a lot of asymmetrical components that could be quite formidable,” Gaffney said, listing the regime’s work on electro-magnetic pulse, cyber and satellite warfare, in addition to its ongoing pursuit of nuclear weapons.

“They are formidable for many reasons, but I don’t know that I would put a whole lot of stock in the missiles and equipment they are rolling out on the streets of Tehran.”

Iran recently appeared to overstate its conventional military power when it claimed to be sending two warships toward U.S. waters — one of which barely survived a 1988 run-in with an American fighter jet. The ships, the frigate Sabalan and Kharg, a supply ship capable of carrying helicopters, are believed to have turned back early into their journey.

A photo of Iran’s Qaher 313 stealth fighter jet, which the regime calls “one of the most sophisticated fighter jet in the world,” was roundly dubbed a Photoshop fake after it was published in the state-controlled Khouz News.

Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi angrily lashed out at the criticism in an interview last year.

“The western media policy is to tell you that the Qaher is a mock-up,” he said. “This is a cheap talk and shows that enemies are worried about Iran’s advancements in several fields, including defense industries.”

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/10/20/junk-and-knockoffs-iran-military-weaponry-panned-but-regime-still-formidable/

Iran’s military weaponry, promoted in parade, panned as junk and knockoffs

iranweapons5.jpeg

It’s called “Rategh,” which means “opener,” and is basically a civilian bus with armor plates, loudspeakers and a small plow to clear obstacles during urban protests. (War is Boring)

Iran’s annual parade and commemoration of its 1980s war with Iraq featured the Islamic Republic’s most modern weaponry, an arsenal experts say is a collection of knockoffs, junk and gear suited for display only.

“Sacred Defense Week,” which marks the beginning in 1980 of Iran’s long and bloody war with Iraq and began at the end of last month, features a nationwide parade, war remembrance gatherings and what the authoritative military blog War Is Boring called “theatrical unveiling events for new weaponry.”

The oddest-looking tool in the Iranian military’s arsenal may be the armor-plated bus called Rategh, or “opener.” War is Boring described it as a fortified civilian bus with loudspeakers and a small plow mounted on the front, a vehicle best suited for democracy protests and not battlefield skirmishes.

Tehran’s vaunted Shahed-285 attack helicopter, which the regime has touted for two decades, is a gilded Bell 206, according to the blog. At this year’s event, the chopper performed a rare demonstration flight from Al Ghadir, an Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Air Force base near Tehran.

Although there are five known Shahed versions, including a naval version with anti-ship missiles and an anti-tank model, War is Boring cautions, “Don’t get too excited. You can hang all the stuff you want off of a Bell 206. It’s still a Bell 206.”

It was the first ceremony since last February, when Mohammad Ali Al-e Hashem, head of the Army’s Ideological and Political Organization, boasted that Iran is a full-scale producer of war equipment.

“Iran imported nearly all its military hardware from abroad before the victory of the Islamic Revolution, but today it is a manufacturer of advanced military hardware in the world,” Al-e Hashem said.

The weeklong event also featured the Asefeh Gatling gun. Iranian military officials claim matte-black gun, whose name means “tornado,” fires 23-millimeter shells at a rate of 1,000 rounds per minute. The Asefeh was trotted out in 2013 as an anti-cruise missile weapon, but this year, it was re-introduced as a heavy assault gun for use against ground targets.

Iran has its own version of the American-made Bushmaster Adaptive Combat Rifle, in the 5.56-millimeter Fatih assault rifle. The Iranian defense industry has designed at least a dozen similar rifles in the past decade in an effort to replace old AK-47s, according to War is Boring. The Fatih failed this year, jamming after firing a few demonstrative shots at its own inauguration ceremony.

During Sacred Defense Week, Iran also unveiled at least one new Unmanned Aerial Vehicle—probably a target drone—and a new all-terrain version of the Safir jeep.

While much of the conventional gear Iran displayed is no match for the world’s top militaries, it also is not likely Iran’s most formidable weaponry, said Frank Gaffney, president and founder of the Center for Security Policy, a Washington-based research institute.

“They’re putting on a Potemkin village display on the one hand, while they’re also working on a lot of asymmetrical components that could be quite formidable,” Gaffney said, listing the regime’s work on electro-magnetic pulse, cyber and satellite warfare, in addition to its ongoing pursuit of nuclear weapons.

“They are formidable for many reasons, but I don’t know that I would put a whole lot of stock in the missiles and equipment they are rolling out on the streets of Tehran.”

Iran recently appeared to overstate its conventional military power when it claimed to be sending two warships toward U.S. waters — one of which barely survived a 1988 run-in with an American fighter jet. The ships, the frigate Sabalan and Kharg, a supply ship capable of carrying helicopters, are believed to have turned back early into their journey.

A photo of Iran’s Qaher 313 stealth fighter jet, which the regime calls “one of the most sophisticated fighter jet in the world,” was roundly dubbed a Photoshop fake after it was published in the state-controlled Khouz News.

Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi angrily lashed out at the criticism in an interview last year.

“The western media policy is to tell you that the Qaher is a mock-up,” he said. “This is a cheap talk and shows that enemies are worried about Iran’s advancements in several fields, including defense industries.”

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/10/20/junk-and-knockoffs-iran-military-weaponry-panned-but-regime-still-formidable/

$775 MILLION BILL GAO report: Gov’t workers on paid leave rake in $$

Thousands of federal workers who have been put on administrative leave for more than a month have been allowed to collect a paycheck, accrue vacation days and pensions benefits while taxpayers were forced to foot the $775 million bill, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office.

Some government employees who broke the rules – meaning they were cited for being untrustworthy or had ongoing issues with co-workers or their bosses – were allowed to remain on leave for large chunks of time while they challenged their demotions, the 62-page report said.

The study, released publicly on Monday, marks the first time auditors have taken a look at the scope of administrative leave and its cost to taxpayers.

During a three-year period, more than 57,000 employees were told to go home – and stay home – for 30 days or more costing taxpayers $775 million in salary alone.  The report found that 53,000 civilian employees were kept home for one to three months. Another 4,000 were kept off the job for three months to a year and hundreds more for one to three years.

The report also identified a disparity among how paid leaves were granted and recorded.

The report listed the Department of Defense as having the highest number of paid leaves on record. During the three fiscal years that ended in September 2013, DOD put 8,600 employees on leave for one to three months, close to 900 for three months to a full year and 123 employees for more than a year.

Federal agencies have the discretion to put employees on administrative leave for a number of different reasons, including blood donations and snow days.

Republican Sens. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, Tom Coburn, R-Okla, and Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., requested the GAO report. Grassley, along with Montana Democrat Sen. Jon Tester, have been working together on legislation that would define which employees would be allowed to stay home, reasons paid leave would be granted and the duration.  

The number of federal employees put on paid leave typically eclipses the number at private companies. Private companies will rarely pay employees while investigating claims and in the cases where they do, the leave lasts for only a few days.

“The private sector is focused on operating efficiently,” Kathy Albarado, chief executive of Helios HR, a consulting firm located in Northern Virginia, told The Washington Post in an interview.

Jeffrey Neal, a federal personnel manager who retired in 2011 as the Department of Homeland Security’s human capital chief, told the paper, “Unless you think somebody is going to get a gun and shoot people, then send them to work.”

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/10/20/gao-report-finds-thousands-government-workers-on-paid-leave-costing-taxpayers/

$775 MILLION BILL GAO report: Gov’t workers on paid leave rake in $$

Thousands of federal workers who have been put on administrative leave for more than a month have been allowed to collect a paycheck, accrue vacation days and pensions benefits while taxpayers were forced to foot the $775 million bill, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office.

Some government employees who broke the rules – meaning they were cited for being untrustworthy or had ongoing issues with co-workers or their bosses – were allowed to remain on leave for large chunks of time while they challenged their demotions, the 62-page report said.

The study, released publicly on Monday, marks the first time auditors have taken a look at the scope of administrative leave and its cost to taxpayers.

During a three-year period, more than 57,000 employees were told to go home – and stay home – for 30 days or more costing taxpayers $775 million in salary alone.  The report found that 53,000 civilian employees were kept home for one to three months. Another 4,000 were kept off the job for three months to a year and hundreds more for one to three years.

The report also identified a disparity among how paid leaves were granted and recorded.

The report listed the Department of Defense as having the highest number of paid leaves on record. During the three fiscal years that ended in September 2013, DOD put 8,600 employees on leave for one to three months, close to 900 for three months to a full year and 123 employees for more than a year.

Federal agencies have the discretion to put employees on administrative leave for a number of different reasons, including blood donations and snow days.

Republican Sens. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, Tom Coburn, R-Okla, and Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., requested the GAO report. Grassley, along with Montana Democrat Sen. Jon Tester, have been working together on legislation that would define which employees would be allowed to stay home, reasons paid leave would be granted and the duration.  

The number of federal employees put on paid leave typically eclipses the number at private companies. Private companies will rarely pay employees while investigating claims and in the cases where they do, the leave lasts for only a few days.

“The private sector is focused on operating efficiently,” Kathy Albarado, chief executive of Helios HR, a consulting firm located in Northern Virginia, told The Washington Post in an interview.

Jeffrey Neal, a federal personnel manager who retired in 2011 as the Department of Homeland Security’s human capital chief, told the paper, “Unless you think somebody is going to get a gun and shoot people, then send them to work.”

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/10/20/gao-report-finds-thousands-government-workers-on-paid-leave-costing-taxpayers/

FASCINATING HISTORY Auction of SciTech’s past includes Apple-1 computer

Apple1Computer2.jpg

Apple-1 Computer. (Image courtesy of Bonhams)

From one of the first Apple computers to a Charles Darwin letter discussing Barnacle sex, a major auction of technological and scientific artifacts this week will give a fascinating glimpse into the great minds that helped shape our world.

Spanning centuries, the 288 items in the sale are estimated to raise around $2 million when they go under the hammer at auction house Bonhams on Oct. 22.

One of the key items in the New York auction is one of the first Apple-1 computers, which still works, a product which helped lay the foundations for the Cupertino, Calif.-based consumer tech giant.

“This is pretty much on the top of the list for technological artifacts,” Cassandra Hatton, Bonhams senior specialist in fine books, manuscripts, and the history of science, told FoxNews.com. “It’s one of the first 50 Apple Computers that were made.”

Bonhams estimates that the Apple-1 motherboard, which comes with a vintage keyboard, monitor, and power supply, will be sold for between $300,000 and $500,000. The seller is John Anderson, founder of the AppleSiders Apple user group in Cinncinati.

“It could very easily go to an institution or very easily go to a private collection,” said Hatton, noting that that the last operational Apple-1 computer sold for $672,000.

Built in 1976 by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, the computer is still operational.  

According to the Apple-1 Registry run by computer expert Mike Willegas, there are only 63 surviving authentic Apple-1’s. Only 15 of the 63 are said to have been successfully operated since 2000.

“The condition on this is really just fantastic,” said Hatton. “Hobbyists would really tinker with these things – so often, you see them burnt and scratched, but this is a really clean [mother] board.”

A rare 1857 letter from Charles Darwin will also be auctioned this week. In the four-page letter to zoologist and dentist Charles Spence Bate, Darwin inquires about Barnacle reproduction.

“This is really a classic Charles Darwin piece,” noted Hatton. “Darwin letters of this length are not commonly found.”

Signed “C.Darwin,” the letter forms part of the naturalist’s extensive research into barnacles, which helped hone his theory of evolution.

The letter is expected to raise between $20,000 and $30,000 at auction.

Another item of great historical importance in the sale is a large viewing window from the Manhattan Project. Originally used to view the production of plutonium at a Manhattan Project’s site in Hanford, Washington State, the 1500-pound window is six-inches thick.

Hatton told FoxNews.com that the window, which is not radioactive, is 70% lead oxide.

“Because the lead oxide is such a high percentage, it reacts more like a metal than glass,” she explained. “If you took a grinder to the window, in the same way that a metal would crumble – it wouldn’t shatter.”

Bonhams predicts that the window will sell for between $150,000 and $250,000.

Other items on sale this week include the Helmholtz sound synthesizer, described as the world’s first electric keyboard, and the extensive archive of pioneering astronomer George Willis Richey.

The auction house is also selling dozens of globes, some of which are miniature and date back to the eighteenth century. More modern items on sale include an Apple flag from the company’s European headquarters in France and a portrait of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. Painted in 2000 for the cover of Wired magazine, the portrait has an estimated value of $700 to $900.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

 

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2014/10/20/auction-offers-fascinating-glimpse-into-history-science-and-technology/

FASCINATING HISTORY Auction of SciTech’s past includes Apple-1 computer

Apple1Computer2.jpg

Apple-1 Computer. (Image courtesy of Bonhams)

From one of the first Apple computers to a Charles Darwin letter discussing Barnacle sex, a major auction of technological and scientific artifacts this week will give a fascinating glimpse into the great minds that helped shape our world.

Spanning centuries, the 288 items in the sale are estimated to raise around $2 million when they go under the hammer at auction house Bonhams on Oct. 22.

One of the key items in the New York auction is one of the first Apple-1 computers, which still works, a product which helped lay the foundations for the Cupertino, Calif.-based consumer tech giant.

“This is pretty much on the top of the list for technological artifacts,” Cassandra Hatton, Bonhams senior specialist in fine books, manuscripts, and the history of science, told FoxNews.com. “It’s one of the first 50 Apple Computers that were made.”

Bonhams estimates that the Apple-1 motherboard, which comes with a vintage keyboard, monitor, and power supply, will be sold for between $300,000 and $500,000. The seller is John Anderson, founder of the AppleSiders Apple user group in Cinncinati.

“It could very easily go to an institution or very easily go to a private collection,” said Hatton, noting that that the last operational Apple-1 computer sold for $672,000.

Built in 1976 by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, the computer is still operational.  

According to the Apple-1 Registry run by computer expert Mike Willegas, there are only 63 surviving authentic Apple-1’s. Only 15 of the 63 are said to have been successfully operated since 2000.

“The condition on this is really just fantastic,” said Hatton. “Hobbyists would really tinker with these things – so often, you see them burnt and scratched, but this is a really clean [mother] board.”

A rare 1857 letter from Charles Darwin will also be auctioned this week. In the four-page letter to zoologist and dentist Charles Spence Bate, Darwin inquires about Barnacle reproduction.

“This is really a classic Charles Darwin piece,” noted Hatton. “Darwin letters of this length are not commonly found.”

Signed “C.Darwin,” the letter forms part of the naturalist’s extensive research into barnacles, which helped hone his theory of evolution.

The letter is expected to raise between $20,000 and $30,000 at auction.

Another item of great historical importance in the sale is a large viewing window from the Manhattan Project. Originally used to view the production of plutonium at a Manhattan Project’s site in Hanford, Washington State, the 1500-pound window is six-inches thick.

Hatton told FoxNews.com that the window, which is not radioactive, is 70% lead oxide.

“Because the lead oxide is such a high percentage, it reacts more like a metal than glass,” she explained. “If you took a grinder to the window, in the same way that a metal would crumble – it wouldn’t shatter.”

Bonhams predicts that the window will sell for between $150,000 and $250,000.

Other items on sale this week include the Helmholtz sound synthesizer, described as the world’s first electric keyboard, and the extensive archive of pioneering astronomer George Willis Richey.

The auction house is also selling dozens of globes, some of which are miniature and date back to the eighteenth century. More modern items on sale include an Apple flag from the company’s European headquarters in France and a portrait of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. Painted in 2000 for the cover of Wired magazine, the portrait has an estimated value of $700 to $900.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

 

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2014/10/20/auction-offers-fascinating-glimpse-into-history-science-and-technology/

GRUESOME DISCOVERY Indiana cops eye ‘serial killer’ in at least 7 murders

Police in northwest Indiana identified the suspected serial killer believed to have murdered seven women over an unknown time period, and warned at a news conference that the body count could rise.

The man accused of killing a woman Friday at a Hammond, Ind., Motel 6, and then leading authorities to a string of dead bodies dumped in abandoned homes in nearby Gary, was identified as Darren Deon Vann, 43, of Gary. Officials said he was convicted of sexual assault in Texas in 2009 and sentenced to five years in prison. He was released on July 5, 2013, the Times of Northwest Indiana reported. The mayor of Hammond said Vann admitted to two murders in Indiana in the 1990s, but details involving those were unavailable. So far, he has only been charged with the murder of Afrika Hardy, 19, who police said was a prostitute found strangled in the motel Friday evening. But authorities said more charges are certain, and more bodies are possible.

“It is possible the investigation could lead to more victims,” said Hammond Police Chief John Doughty, who said Vann admitted that his crimes in Indiana go back two decades.

The flurry of grisly discoveries began Friday, when Hammond police responded to a call of an unresponsive person at a Motel 6 and found the body of Hardy. Hardy’s pimp gave police information that led them to execute a search warrant on a home in Gary, where they took Vann into custody, Doughty said.

Vann, who was not identified until Monday’s news conference, later confessed, police said, saying he “messed up” by killing a woman in Hammond. Vann told police where to find three other dead women, all in Gary, Doughty said. Acting on his information, police discovered the body of Anith Jones, 35, of Merrillville, late Saturday in an abandoned home in Gary. Her family had reported her missing on Oct. 8. It was not clear how long ago the other victims had been killed.

“The suspect Hammond arrested for the Motel 6 murder is an admitted serial killer.”

- Hammond, Ind., Mayor Thomas McDermott

Jones’ sister, Yolanda Nowell, previously described her as “very street savvy” and said she had moved 10 years ago from Chicago to Indiana, where she operated a stand at a nearby flea market.

Police found the next body around 1 a.m. Sunday and said the victim was Teairra Batey, 28, of Gary. Authorities found a third body less than an hour later, according to the Tribune.

Late Sunday, the coroner’s office confirmed the discovery of three additional Jane Does, all of which were found in Gary. The city is 10 miles from Hammond. Doughty identified one of those victims as Christine Williams, 36, of Gary.

All seven deaths have been ruled homicides, according to the coroner’s office. Most of the bodies were found in or around abandoned or fire-damaged homes in blighted neighborhoods, according to reports. The house near where Jones was found was described as being located in a thriving neighborhood, although it is unkempt, with overgrown grass and weeds.

A spokesman for the coroner’s office said Monday that Hardy and Jones died of ligature strangulation. The corner was conducting autopsies on the other bodies. “We’re actually doing the forensic work, carefully identifying with clothing or any tattoos,” the spokesman said.

Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. called Vann a “serial killer” in a Facebook post Sunday afternoon and said he has “admitted to a couple of homicides in Hammond,” that date back to 1994 or 1995. He also said in his posts that the man is a convicted sex offender. Reports said the man was convicted of sex crimes in Texas. 

“The suspect Hammond arrested for the Motel 6 murder is an admitted serial killer,” McDermott wrote. “The suspect gave up the location of a body in Gary that was confirmed found where he said it would be.”

In a statement, Gary Police Cpl. Gabrielle King sought to ease apprehension in the gritty city of 78,000, noting that the man is in custody and that Gary and Hammond police are working together to bring charges.

“We would like to dispel the rumor that there is a serial killer on the loose,” the statement read. “There is a 43-year-old man in the custody of The Hammond Police Department, who led officials to 3 deceased female victims who has claimed responsibility for their demise. Gary Police are closely working with Hammond Police to assist in covering every area of the investigation needed to pursue charges as expeditiously as possible. “

Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson and Gary Chief Larry McKinley in a joint statement asked for calm and patience.

“We commend the officers for their work thus far and ask the citizens to remain calm and patient as our teams work this investigation and do what they do best,” their statement said.

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/10/20/7-women-bodies-found-in-northwestern-indiana-linked-to-possible-serial-killer/

GRUESOME DISCOVERY Indiana cops eye ‘serial killer’ in at least 7 murders

Police in northwest Indiana identified the suspected serial killer believed to have murdered seven women over an unknown time period, and warned at a news conference that the body count could rise.

The man accused of killing a woman Friday at a Hammond, Ind., Motel 6, and then leading authorities to a string of dead bodies dumped in abandoned homes in nearby Gary, was identified as Darren Deon Vann, 43, of Gary. Officials said he was convicted of sexual assault in Texas in 2009 and sentenced to five years in prison. He was released on July 5, 2013, the Times of Northwest Indiana reported. The mayor of Hammond said Vann admitted to two murders in Indiana in the 1990s, but details involving those were unavailable. So far, he has only been charged with the murder of Afrika Hardy, 19, who police said was a prostitute found strangled in the motel Friday evening. But authorities said more charges are certain, and more bodies are possible.

“It is possible the investigation could lead to more victims,” said Hammond Police Chief John Doughty, who said Vann admitted that his crimes in Indiana go back two decades.

The flurry of grisly discoveries began Friday, when Hammond police responded to a call of an unresponsive person at a Motel 6 and found the body of Hardy. Hardy’s pimp gave police information that led them to execute a search warrant on a home in Gary, where they took Vann into custody, Doughty said.

Vann, who was not identified until Monday’s news conference, later confessed, police said, saying he “messed up” by killing a woman in Hammond. Vann told police where to find three other dead women, all in Gary, Doughty said. Acting on his information, police discovered the body of Anith Jones, 35, of Merrillville, late Saturday in an abandoned home in Gary. Her family had reported her missing on Oct. 8. It was not clear how long ago the other victims had been killed.

“The suspect Hammond arrested for the Motel 6 murder is an admitted serial killer.”

- Hammond, Ind., Mayor Thomas McDermott

Jones’ sister, Yolanda Nowell, previously described her as “very street savvy” and said she had moved 10 years ago from Chicago to Indiana, where she operated a stand at a nearby flea market.

Police found the next body around 1 a.m. Sunday and said the victim was Teairra Batey, 28, of Gary. Authorities found a third body less than an hour later, according to the Tribune.

Late Sunday, the coroner’s office confirmed the discovery of three additional Jane Does, all of which were found in Gary. The city is 10 miles from Hammond. Doughty identified one of those victims as Christine Williams, 36, of Gary.

All seven deaths have been ruled homicides, according to the coroner’s office. Most of the bodies were found in or around abandoned or fire-damaged homes in blighted neighborhoods, according to reports. The house near where Jones was found was described as being located in a thriving neighborhood, although it is unkempt, with overgrown grass and weeds.

A spokesman for the coroner’s office said Monday that Hardy and Jones died of ligature strangulation. The corner was conducting autopsies on the other bodies. “We’re actually doing the forensic work, carefully identifying with clothing or any tattoos,” the spokesman said.

Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. called Vann a “serial killer” in a Facebook post Sunday afternoon and said he has “admitted to a couple of homicides in Hammond,” that date back to 1994 or 1995. He also said in his posts that the man is a convicted sex offender. Reports said the man was convicted of sex crimes in Texas. 

“The suspect Hammond arrested for the Motel 6 murder is an admitted serial killer,” McDermott wrote. “The suspect gave up the location of a body in Gary that was confirmed found where he said it would be.”

In a statement, Gary Police Cpl. Gabrielle King sought to ease apprehension in the gritty city of 78,000, noting that the man is in custody and that Gary and Hammond police are working together to bring charges.

“We would like to dispel the rumor that there is a serial killer on the loose,” the statement read. “There is a 43-year-old man in the custody of The Hammond Police Department, who led officials to 3 deceased female victims who has claimed responsibility for their demise. Gary Police are closely working with Hammond Police to assist in covering every area of the investigation needed to pursue charges as expeditiously as possible. “

Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson and Gary Chief Larry McKinley in a joint statement asked for calm and patience.

“We commend the officers for their work thus far and ask the citizens to remain calm and patient as our teams work this investigation and do what they do best,” their statement said.

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SEARCH FOR HANNAH Suspect in Graham case charged in 2005 rape

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    Jesse Matthew Jr., center, is a suspect in the disappearance of Hannah Graham, right. Virginia State Police said Monday he is linked forensically to the 2009 disappearance of Morgan Harrington, left.

  • Harringtonsketch.jpg

    These sketches, released by police, show the suspect in the 2009 disappearance of Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington, whose body was later found on a farm 10 miles outside of Charlottesville, Va.

The prime suspect in the disappearance of a University of Virginia student was charged Monday in an unsolved 2005 rape case.

Jesse Leroy Matthew Jr., the suspect in custody for the abduction of 18-year-old Hannah Graham, was indicted on charges related to a 2005 rape in Fairfax, Va., Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Ray Morrogh said in a press conference. 

Searchers found human remains on Saturday that could be those of Graham, a University of Virginia sophomore, who has been missing since Sept. 13, police said. Her disappearance is being treated as a “death investigation,” as police wait for identification of the remains found in a heavily wooded area of Albemarle County that is home to horse farms.

Morrogh announced Matthew is also charged with attempted capital murder and sexual penetration with an object against the victim’s will in the Fairfax case. 

Matthew has already been charged with abduction with intent to defile in the Graham case. The 32-year-old hospital worker was last seen on surveillance video with Graham on the night she disappeared.

Matthew is also forensically linked to the murder of Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington — whose body was found in Albemarle County in 2009.

In 2010, authorities announced that a 2005 abduction and sexual assault in Fairfax was forensically linked to the 2009 murder of Harrington, who was last seen in Charlottesville.

The victim in the 2005 attack helped police create a sketch of her attacker.

The similarities between the disappearances of Graham and Harrington are striking. Harrington, from Roanoke, was last seen by her friends as she was leaving a Metallica concert at UVA’s John Paul Jones Arena in search of a restroom. When friends later called her cellphone, Harrington said she’d been locked out of the arena and would find a ride home. Witnesses later reported seeing a woman matching Harrington’s description walking along a bridge not far from the arena.

Harrington’s remains were found Jan. 26, 2010, at Anchorage Farm in Albemarle County, 10 miles outside of Charlottesville and a short distance from where a second set of remains was found Saturday. While police released few details about Harrington’s death, her family said in 2010 her murder had been violent, with several bones broken. She had also been raped, they said.

Graham also disappeared after becoming separated from her friends. Surveillance video showed Graham as she walked or ran alone past a bar and a service station, then onto Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall. She sent friends a string of text messages, saying she was lost after leaving an off-campus party, according to police. Witnesses later told detectives she was seen with Matthew at a bar.  

Matthew, a hospital worker, had a taxi license at the time Harrington disappeared.

A preliminary hearing is set for Dec. 4 on the charge in the Graham case. In the meantime, Matthew is being held in the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail.

 

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CALIPHATE JUSTICE Female police impose ISIS sharia vision on women

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A brigade of women enforce Sharia law in the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa. (Reuters)

The Islamic State’s bid to impose Dark Ages law on the women within its so-called caliphate depends on a merciless cadre of young women who roam the streets of Raqqa, terrorizing females who fall short of the standard of strict Shariah.

Known as the Al-Khansa brigade, the group consists of about 60 armed women between the ages of 18 and 24 who patrol the Islamic State’s Syrian stronghold. Their job, which they are said to perform with cruel relish, is to arrest and beat women who commit such transgressions as allowing ankles or wrists to show or being seen without a male chaperone.

“This is a case of the morality police enforcing their strict version of Islam on other woman,” said Dan O’Shea, of GROM Technologies, a Florida-based international security firm specializing in recovering kidnap victims. “This is all part of ISIS’ social media campaign and (the brand) they are trying to sell.”

“This is a case of the morality police enforcing their strict version of Islam on other woman.”

- Dan O’Shea, GROM Technologies

The women are lured in with a monthly salary of a couple hundred dollars, as well as receive food, shelter, basic firearms training and of course – a promise of spiritual rewards, O’Shea said.

Formed around February, the small militia is named after 7th century female Arab poet Al-Khansa, a contemporary of the Prophet Mohammed. More recently, the brigade has expanded its role into overseeing brothels where thousands of kidnapped Yazidi women are forced to service Islamic State jihadists, as well as assisting at military checkpoints. Their role at the posts is to catch infiltrators disguised in female clothing, because men are forbidden from searching women.

Abu Ahmad, a Raqqa-based Islamic State official, told Syrian conflict news website Syria Deeply that the brigade was established to “raise awareness of our religion among women and punish women who do not abide by the law,” insisting that “Jihad is not a man-only duty.”

Kamal Nawash, founder of the Free Muslims Coalition, which seeks to promote a modern, secular interpretation of Islam and denounces all terrorist groups and leaders, said women may soon take on a more aggressive role in the promotion of Islamic State.

“There is a history of Muslim women taking up arms, or even leading armies, since the 7th century,” Nawash said. “In light of the increasing number of women fighting ISIS, such as Kurdish women, ISIS will most likely have their female supporters fight. The use of women will increase as the number of men increases.”

But according to Tim Furnish, an Atlanta-based, independent analyst of the Islamic World who has been a Pentagon consultant, there is still some confusion as to whether women are technically permitted to engage in jihad fighting. He said it is possible the women are policing other females because they are proscribed from fighting on the frontlines.

“[The brigade] is more likely just giving women something to do aside from having babies,” he said.

Journalist, author and filmmaker Robert Young Pelton, whose work has taken him to war zones around the globe, including Syria, said the women of the Al-Khansa brigade also provide support in fundraising, smuggling weapons and intelligence gathering. But he said they are not treated well, and not considered integral to the movement.

“Women are more likely to be in refugee camps than at the front lines and are not part of any Islamic insurgency,” Pelton added. “They are mostly the victims of fundamentalists both physically and culturally.”

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