Homegrown terrorist murders soldier outside recruiting station

Daylife/AP Photo used by permission
Under arrest!

Little Rock, Arkansas… A 23-year-old man upset about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan opened fire from his truck at two soldiers standing outside a military recruiting station here on Monday morning, killing one private and wounding another, the police said.

The gunman, identified by the police as Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad of Little Rock, fled the scene and was arrested minutes later a short distance from the recruiting station, in a bustling suburban shopping center. The police confiscated a Russian-made SKS semiautomatic rifle, a .22-caliber rifle and a handgun from his black pickup truck.

The two privates, who were both from Arkansas, were in Little Rock as part of a recruiting program that typically uses soldiers recently out of basic training to promote the Army in their home regions, Army officials said.

They were serving their country,” said Lt. Col. Thomas F. Artis, commander of the Oklahoma City recruiting battalion, which includes Arkansas. “They were just standing outside, just taking a five-minute break, just minding their own business — and this happens.”

The dead soldier was identified as Pvt. William A. Long, 23, of Conway, about 30 miles north of Little Rock. The other victim, Pvt. Quinton Ezeagwula, 18, was in stable condition at Baptist Medical Center, Chief Stuart Thomas of the Little Rock Police Department said.

In a lengthy interview with the police, Mr. Muhammad said he was angry about the killing of Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan, Chief Thomas said. Previously known as Carlos Bledsoe, Mr. Muhammad told investigators that he had converted to Islam as a teenager, Chief Thomas said…

“I would say he was looking for any and all targets of opportunity that happened to be military,” the chief said in a telephone interview. “That may have well been the first place he found.”

Idiot. Profoundly ignorant, thoughtless fanatic. He defames his religion.

His defiance of the laws of the land deserves a life in prison. His murder of another young man guilty only of serving his country – is beyond defense.

Train didn’t stop at your station. Set fire to the one that does!

Daylife/AP Photo used by permission

Angry protesters in northern India set fire to a train and a railway station in protest at a move not to stop at remote stations, railway police say.

About 200 protesters attacked Khusrupur station in Bihar, It is not clear if anyone was injured. Local television channels showed flames and smoke billowing out of the burning train and stick-wielding protesters standing nearby.

Residents are said to have been incensed after watching the Patna-Calcutta train speed by without stopping.

“That train did not stop there, so they went berserk and attacked the Dhanapur intercity express,” senior railway police officer Rajender Singh told the Associated Press

New Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee said the protests were “unfortunate”.

“Unfortunate”? You’ve got to be kidding. It’s fracking anarchy.

She said she was unaware of where the order not to stop at certain stations had come from. Ms Banerjee said an inquiry would be held to establish who was behind the order…

Former railway minister Laloo Yadav is from Bihar and railway officials say he had many major trains halting at dozens of smaller stations during his tenure.

Railway ministers in India often reward their constituencies by launching new trains or halting existing trains at existing stations in their area.

Tibetan Buddhist order rejected by boy chosen by Dalai Lama

As a toddler, he was put on a throne and worshipped as by monks who treated him like a god. But the boy chosen by the Dalai Lama as a reincarnation of a spiritual leader has caused consternation – and some embarrassment – for Tibetan Buddhists by turning his back on the order that had such high hopes for him.

Instead of leading a monastic life, Osel Hita Torres now sports baggy trousers and long hair, and is more likely to quote Jimi Hendrix than Buddha.

Yesterday he bemoaned the misery of a youth deprived of television, football and girls. Movies were also forbidden – except for a sanctioned screening of The Golden Child starring Eddie Murphy, about a kidnapped child lama with magical powers. “I never felt like that boy,” he said.

He is now studying film in Madrid and has denounced the Buddhist order that elevated him to guru status. “They took me away from my family and stuck me in a medieval situation in which I suffered a great deal,” said Torres, 24, describing how he was whisked from obscurity in Granada to a monastery in southern India. “It was like living a lie,” he told the Spanish newspaper El Mundo. Despite his rebelliousness, he is still known as Lama Tenzin Osel Rinpoche and revered by the Buddhist community. A prayer for his “long life” still adorns the website of the Foundation to Preserve the Mahayana Tradition, which has 130 centres around the world. The website features a biography of the renegade guru that gushes about his peaceful, meditative countenance as a baby.

At six, he was allowed to socialise only with other reincarnated souls – though for a time he said he lived next to the actor Richard Gere’s cabin.

Government by theocracy is absurd enough. Reason enough for adherents of a life as taught by the Buddha to reject the political flavor so popular with supporters of ideologies ranging from the 19th Century backwards into the mists of time.

Government by theocracy – determined by reincarnation – is damned near criminal.

Mediterranean diet in a tomato pill ‘beats heart disease’

Click image for Ateronon website

Scientists say a natural supplement made from tomatoes, taken daily, can stave off heart disease and strokes. The tomato pill contains an active ingredient from the Mediterranean diet – lycopene – that blocks “bad” LDL cholesterol that can clog the arteries.

Ateronon, made by a biotechnology spin-out company of Cambridge University, is being launched as a dietary supplement and will be sold on the high street.

Preliminary trials involving around 150 people with heart disease indicate that Ateronon can reduce the oxidation of harmful fats in the blood to almost zero within eight weeks…

Neuroscientist Peter Kirkpatrick, who will lead a further research project at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge on behalf of Cambridge Theranostics Ltd, said the supplement could be much more effective than statin drugs that are currently used by doctors to treat high cholesterol.

But Professor Peter Weissberg of the British Heart Foundation said: “As always, we caution people to wait for any new drug or modified ‘natural’ product to be clinically proven to offer benefits before taking it. In the meantime, our advice to heart disease patients or those at high risk is to rely on proven medications prescribed by their doctor, and aim to get the benefits of a Mediterranean diet by eating plenty of fresh fruit and veg…”

Professor Anthony Leeds, trustee of the cholesterol charity Heart UK, said: “The new lycopene product Ateronon represents an entirely new approach to the treatment of high blood cholesterol and opens up the exciting possibility…”

Ateronon contains a refined, more readily absorbed version of lycopene that was originally developed by Nestle.

Hey. You ain’t likely to harm yourself eating too many tomatoes.

I’d probably try this supplement – being the sort of ancient crank who would benefit – if it works and I could afford it. Buying it direct – online – is over a quid a day! I may just wait until there’s a generic version in the States or a knock-off in Mexico.

Chrysler’s sale to Fiat approved, end of bankruptcy process

Fiat Bravo starts at prices below Saturn in Europe

Chrysler has secured court approval to sell most of its assets to a consortium led by Italy’s Fiat. The move, which is backed by both the US and Canadian governments, should enable Chrysler to exit bankruptcy protection in the near future.

Under the terms of the deal, Fiat will control 20% of Chrysler, while 68% will be owned by a union trust, and the two governments will share 12%.

It comes as General Motors is about to file for its own bankruptcy protection.

Under the terms of the Fiat-led deal, creditors holding $6.9 billion of Chrysler debt will receive only $2bn. However, 90% of them backed the deal.

Fiat is not paying anything for its 20% stake, which will give it access to the US car market. It has the option to increase its shareholding in Chrysler in the future. In return, Chrysler will be able to take advantage of Fiat’s expertise in making smaller, more fuel-efficient cars in its existing US factories.

The introduction of much of the broad Fiat line should get some factories back up to production. Though part of the equation depends on Americans learning from changing world circumstances and refusing to dash back to gas guzzlers every time the price of gasoline drops 5¢ a gallon.

Being part of an extended family that has beaucoup Dodge trucks on board, I hope no one gets really stupid and screws up the truck side of Dodge. Although Chrysler [and Daimler] did their best to destroy Jeep in recent years.

I’ve said it enough times. An old geezer like me really doesn’t need to buy another car unless I figure on living to 100. Though I could be tempted by a Dakota pickup with the 3-litre Cummins turbo-diesel – or smaller.

Recession or not – tidal power continues to progress


Ocean power has suffered some setbacks recently, such as Pelamis’ bellyflop in Portugal and the UK’s WaveHub losing a developer, but the industry isn’t slowing down — in fact, it’s been a busy month for tidal technology. While there are only a small number of wave or tidal power projects in oceans and rivers right now, and large-scale projects remain a few years away, the race is on for companies hoping to get a first-mover’s advantage.

Alstom jumped into the tidal game this week when it teamed up with Clean Current Power Systems, and Verdant Power said earlier this month that it has moved closer to expanding its New York project. And developers of the Bay of Fundy site in Canada, which will include a turbine from Clean Current, are busy setting the stage for the first turbine to go in the water this fall.

Vancouver, British Columbia-based Clean Current now has a big-name partner in its corner, which could give it a leg up over the competition. France’s Alstom, a major railroad and power infrastructure company is getting an exclusive worldwide license to Clean Current’s technology for ocean power applications, and plans to commercialize its first tidal power products by 2012. Financial terms weren’t disclosed, but Alstom is not taking an equity stake in Clean Current as part of the deal…

Ocean power is likely to face some more bumps on the road to commercialization — the more projects that are in the water, the more chances there will be for kinks to show up in the technology — but if this pace continues, there could be plenty of momentum to keep things going forward.

Overdue. Like so many alternatives within the fossil fuel-based economy, engineers and scientists have had these ideas for decades – and no financial backers. Not that various governments encouraged the work either. They stayed comfortably in the pockets of the old economy.

Glad to see tidal projects getting a boost. Anyone like me who grew up in a coastal environment – especially if you fished for sustenance – knows firsthand the power of tides. Transforming motion and mass into energy ain’t exactly rocket science. But, rocket scientists always had the budget.

UDA condemn McDaid killing, prepare to decommission

Amid fears of resurgent sectarian tensions this summer, following the murder of a Catholic youth worker last week, one of the most dangerous factions of the Ulster Defence Association has revealed it is about to decommission its arms.

The UDA’s rebel South East Antrim Brigade confirmed this weekend that it is preparing to hand over guns, ammunition and explosives before the British government’s decommissioning deadline in August. In an exclusive interview with the Observer, the leader of the UDA brigade said the weaponry will be surrendered to Canadian General John de Chastelain and his team of international arms decommissioning experts.

While the UDA’s South East Antrim Brigade refuses to recognise the authority of the mainstream UDA leadership based in Belfast, the faction said loyalist disarmament was inevitable and desired by the entire Northern Irish community. The area controlled by the faction has been home to some of the most hardline and notorious loyalist terrorists of the Troubles. They included John “Grugg” Gregg, the UDA gunman who shot and wounded Gerry Adams during an assassination attempt on the Sinn Féin leadership in 1984. Gregg was shot dead in 2003 during an internal UDA feud by members of Johnny “Mad Dog” Adair’s C-Company faction…

McDaid was set upon by a gang of up to 15 loyalists after the climax of the Scottish Premier League football season. “No one should lose their life because of a football match. There should be full co-operation with the police investigation into this murder,” the UDA man said.

On disarmament, he said: “Everybody wants to do this, everybody is now on board. Something has to be done by August, so it’s better we take the initiative and do it before then. It’s right, not only inevitable, to do it now.” He added that handing over the illegal arsenal to General de Chastelain’s commission was part of the “going-away exercise” aimed at ending loyalist paramilitarism.

“The last report by the Independent Monitoring Commission noted that the South East Antrim Brigade was moving in the right direction. That ends with the arms given up and the group becoming an old ex-comrades’ association and nothing more. You have to remember that in this brigade area a lot of our former members are now in their 60s and 70s. They want all the trappings of paramilitarism gone, including the guns. No one needs them.