Commander of Canadian air base charged with murder, assault

Defence Minister Peter MacKay, General Walt Natynczyk – and Williams

The commander of Canada’s largest air force base has been charged with the murder of two women and the sexual assault of two others, police said.

Col Russell Williams, 46, appeared in court a day after his arrest. He was held in custody…One woman was found dead in her house in November and the other was reported missing 11 days ago.

He was charged with the first-degree murder of Jessica Lloyd, 27, a resident of Belleville, Ontario. She was reported missing on 28 January and her body was found on Monday, police said.

He was also charged with the murder of Marie Comeau, a 38-year-old corporal found dead in November at her home in Brighton, Ontario.

Authorities…linked the two murders to one suspect on the basis of similarities between the cases, and did not expect to make any more arrests, police said…

“We are certainly tracking the movements of where this man has been over the past several years and we’re continuing with our investigation,” Det Insp Nicholas said.

The Chief of the Air Staff, Lt Gen Andre Deschamps, said an interim commander would be appointed, pending the outcome of the trial.

What? Did you think they would keep him on with some sort of work-release program?

And a special Bravo! for good, old-fashioned police work. RTFA.

Surfing the green wave, Philips says “let there be LED”

More than a century into its existence, Philips is once again betting heavily on semiconductors. This time the consumer electronics firm is looking to harness their potential as a source of light.

The producer of one in four of the world’s lights, which sold its semiconductor business in 2006 after it was undercut by Asian rivals, has invested more than 4 billion euros to ride the clean-tech wave and defend its world-leading position. But this time, Philips is better prepared for competition.

The company is betting on a shift in the lighting market, away from inefficient incandescent light bulbs and toward light-emitting diodes or LEDs — perhaps best known for their use in the flashing indicators found on most consumer devices.

“In terms of value around 2015, LED will be bigger than conventional light sources,” said Philips executive Niels Haverkorn. In the fourth quarter of 2009, LED-based products made up more than 10 percent of Philips’ lighting sales for the first time…

To help draw attention to LEDs’ potential to scale up, come down in price and reduce carbon dioxide emissions, Philips at the turn of the year converted the famous numerals on the Times Square Ball — which is raised and lowered to signify the coming of a new year — to LED technology…

Analysts also warn competition in the market will be brutal. Philips’ main rivals in the sector are Siemens’ Osram, General Electric, Sharp, Samsung, and Cree of the United States.

Anticipating this — and building on lessons it learnt from sliding semiconductor prices — the 119-year old company is scaling up its LED output. Where before it used to sell just light bulbs, in LEDs the offer is a packaged “solution,” such as a luminaire, or the lamp and fitting combined…

But even if the company has a savvier strategy in approaching the modern LED market, the challenges it faces include current high prices which are deterring some retailers from stocking the products…

It expects the cost of producing LEDs to fall below that of compact fluorescent lamps in about 2013, but still be more expensive than an incandescent bulb.

Get near the price of a CFL and I’m already sold. Reducing the cost of electricity for my home is an important part of our future.

Today’s Darwin Award

A man’s body was found in the main landing gear storage compartment of a Boeing 777-200 jetliner that arrived at Narita Airport from New York on Sunday, prompting an investigation into the cause of his death.

Police said that the body of the black man was found in the Delta Air Lines plane during an inspection by a maintenance worker at about 6:05 p.m. on Sunday. They are investigating the man’s identity and his cause of death…

Narita Airport police said that the man was dressed in jeans and a shirt. There were no external injuries on his body but there were traces of frostbite believed to have occurred while the plane was airborne.

There is enough space for a person to hide in the main landing gear housing compartment, but the area is not pressurized. Accordingly, there have been cases in which stowaways have hidden in the housing compartment but died due to a shortage of oxygen and the freezing temperatures.

I doubt there are many stowaways who even contemplate the differences between pressurized or unpressurized compartments.

4 British lawmakers charged over expenses scandal

Prosecutors have announced criminal charges against four lawmakers over alleged abuse of parliamentary expenses, in a dramatic twist to a scandal that has rocked British politics.

Keir Starmer, the director of public prosecutions, said charges of false accounting would be brought against three Labour members of the elected House of Commons (MPs) and one Conservative member of the unelected House of Lords…

The men deny wrongdoing but have already been barred from standing for Labour at the next vote.

Lord Hanningfield, the Conservative peer who faces charges, also protested his innocence but immediately resigned as a business spokesman for his party and his membership was suspended, a party spokesman said.

The four men were due to appear in court on March 11 and if convicted, could face a jail sentence of up to seven years.

The expenses scandal erupted in May after the publication of leaked parliamentary expenses showing how lawmakers claimed for everything from flatscreen TVs to massage chairs.

What goes around, comes around. What major political parties in the industrial West have escaped the sleaze bug?

Wouldn’t it be great if we could come up with a vaccine against corruption, cronyism and graft?

Nurse to stand trial for whistleblowing on mediocre Doctor – UPDATED, Acquitted!

It occurred to Anne Mitchell as she was writing the letter that she might lose her job, which is why she chose not to sign it. But it was beyond her conception that she would be indicted and threatened with 10 years in prison for doing what she knew a nurse must: inform state regulators that a doctor at her rural hospital was practicing bad medicine…

But in what may be an unprecedented prosecution, Mitchell is scheduled to stand trial in state court Monday for “misuse of official information,” a third-degree felony in Texas.

Sounds about right for Texas.

The prosecutor, Scott M. Tidwell, said he would show that Mitchell had a history of making “inflammatory” statements about Dr. Rolando G. Arafiles Jr. and intended to damage his reputation when she reported him last April to the Texas Medical Board, which licenses and disciplines doctors.

Mitchell counters that as an administrative nurse, she had a professional obligation to protect patients from what she saw as a pattern of improper prescribing and surgical procedures – including a failed skin graft that Arafiles performed in the emergency room, without surgical privileges. He also sutured a rubber tip to a patient’s crushed finger for protection, an unconventional remedy that was later flagged as inappropriate by the Texas Department of State Health Services…

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Sinatra song strikes deadly response in the Philippines

Singing the U.S. hit “My Way” in a karaoke bar in the Philippines can result in death as part of a troubling trend across the country, authorities say.

The New York Times said Sunday while authorities do not have a definitive number of murder or assault cases involving individuals who sang the Frank Sinatra hit, at least six victims were reported by the media during the last decade alone.

Rodolfo Gregorio of the city of General Santos said while he enjoy singing karaoke, “My Way” remains one song he will never again attempt in public. “I used to like ‘My Way,’ but after all the trouble, I stopped singing it,” he said. “You can get killed…”

Within the last two years, eight people were killed by a man in Thailand because they sang “Take Me Home, Country Roads.”

I worked with business firms in Asia for a couple of decades. Words can’t express the dread that filled my heart when someone said, “Let’s go to a Karaoke Bar!’