Global Drought Information System Warns “The WORLD” Of Serious Drought

Current Conditions

At the end of February 2016, El Nino continues to exert its influence across the earth and is expected to continue at least through spring of 2016. February was the warmest February on record (137 year history) for the earth, according to NOAA and NASA.

In Europe, drought conditions further intensified around the Mediterranean Sea this month.  In Asia, drought remains entrenched across the Indian sub-continent, around Mongolia, and in the West. Tree ring research in the Middle East indicate the present drought, beginning in 1998, is likely the most severe in the last 900 years, according to NASA. In Vietnam, the Mekong River is at its lowest level since 1926. In Africa, short-term drought intensified again this month in the northern portion of the continent, around the Mediterranean, and remains intense in the South. In Zambia and Zimbabwe, Victoria Falls are being affected by the Zambezi River flowing at a 30-year low. If the drought continues, downstream hydroelectric power is expected to be reduced or stopped in the next six months. In Morocco, drought has reduced the wheat harvest by half. In North America, drought remains entrenched in the higher latitudes, while the Southwestern U.S.  experienced some drying. In the US Pacific Northwest, an ample snowpack has improved, and is expected to further improve, drought conditions there.  In South America, drought remains in the northern part of the continent while the South saw much-needed rain again this month. In Colombia, farmers from the Bolivar Province have abandoned their land after drought ruined their crops. In Oceana, drought continues in Southern Australia and Papua New Guinea. Australian beef sales to the U.S. have increased over the past three years, while drought in the U.S. Southwest reduced livestock there.

NASA Finds Drought in Eastern Mediterranean Worst of Past 900 Years

A new NASA study finds that the recent drought that began in 1998 in the eastern Mediterranean Levant region, which comprises Cyprus, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, and Turkey, is likely the worst drought of the past nine centuries.

Scientists reconstructed the Mediterranean’s drought history by studying tree rings as part of an effort to understand the region’s climate and what shifts water to or from the area. Thin rings indicate dry years while thick rings show years when water was plentiful.

map of mediterranean with land colored with ground-water data and color bar
For January 2012, brown shades show the decrease in water storage from the 2002-2015 average in the Mediterranean region. Units in centimeters. The data is from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment, or GRACE, satellites, a joint mission of NASA and the German space agency.
Credits: NASA/ Goddard Scientific Visualization Studio

In addition to identifying the driest years, the science team discovered patterns in the geographic distribution of droughts that provides a “fingerprint” for identifying the underlying causes. Together, these data show the range of natural variation in Mediterranean drought occurrence, which will allow scientists to differentiate droughts made worse by human-induced global warming. The research is part of NASA’s ongoing work to improve the computer models that simulate climate now and in the future.

“The magnitude and significance of human climate change requires us to really understand the full range of natural climate variability,” said Ben Cook, lead author and climate scientist at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University in New York City.

“If we look at recent events and we start to see anomalies that are outside this range of natural variability, then we can say with some confidence that it looks like this particular event or this series of events had some kind of human caused climate change contribution,” he said.

Cook and his colleagues used the tree-ring record called the Old World Drought Atlas to better understand how frequently and how severe Mediterranean droughts have been in the past. Rings of trees both living and dead were sampled all over the region, from northern Africa, Greece, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and Turkey. Combined with existing tree-ring records from Spain, southern France, and Italy, these data were used to reconstruct patterns of drought geographically and through time over the past millennium. The results were accepted for publication in the Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres, a publication of the American Geophysical Union.

Between the years 1100 and 2012, the team found droughts in the tree-ring record that corresponded to those described in historical documents written at the time. According to Cook, the range of how extreme wet or dry periods were is quite broad, but the recent drought in the Levant region, from 1998 to 2012, stands out as about 50 percent drier than the driest period in the past 500 years, and 10 to 20 percent drier than the worst drought of the past 900 years.

Having such a large area covered allowed the science team not only to see variations in time, but also geographic changes across the region.

In other words, when the eastern Mediterranean is in drought, is there also drought in the west? The answer is yes, in most cases, said Kevin Anchukaitis, co-author and climate scientist at the University of Arizona in Tucson. “Both for modern society and certainly ancient civilizations, it means that if one region was suffering the consequences of the drought, those conditions are likely to exist throughout the Mediterranean basin,” he said. “It’s not necessarily possible to rely on finding better climate conditions in one region than another, so you have the potential for large-scale disruption of food systems as well as potential conflict over water resources.”

In addition, the science team found that when the northern part of the Mediterranean—Greece, Italy, and the coasts of France and Spain—tended to be dry when eastern North Africa was wet, and vice versa. These east-west and north-south relationships helped the team understand what ocean and atmospheric conditions lead to dry or wet periods in the first place.

The two major circulation patterns that influence when droughts occur in the Mediterranean are the North Atlantic Oscillation and the East Atlantic Pattern. These airflow patterns describe how winds and weather tend to behave depending on ocean conditions. They have periodic phases that tend to steer rainstorms away from the Mediterranean and bring in dryer, warmer air. The resulting lack of rain and higher temperatures, which increase evaporation from soils, lead to droughts.

“The Mediterranean is one of the areas that is unanimously projected [in climate models] as going to dry in the future [due to man-made climate change],” said Yochanan Kushnir, a climate scientist at Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, who was not involved in the research. “This paper shows that the behavior during this recent drought period is different than what we see in the rest of the record,” he said, which means that the Levant region may already be feeling the affects of human-induced warming of the planet.

The 900-year record of drought variability across the Mediterranean is an important contribution that will be used to refine computer models that are used to project drought risk for the coming century, Kushnir said.

The paper is available at the Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres.

Source –  global drought information system

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61-year-old Homeless Man Dies Saving Female Hostage

A 61-year-old homeless man in Brazil has fought with a gunman to save a woman. He was killed after the gunman shot him in the chest. The woman held hostage has survived.

The homeless man, Francisco Erasmo Rodrigues de Lima, sacrificed his life to fight off a gunman who was threatening to kill a woman outside the famous Sao Paulo Cathedral in Brazil.

The gunman has been identified as Luiz Antonio da Silva (49) and he was shot and injured by police as Francisco bravely intervened. Silva has previously spent 22 years in prison for theft, damage of property and causing bodily harm.

Francisco received at least two bullets to the chest and died at the scene.

Thousands of online users are now urging authorities to honour Francisco by giving him a decent burial.

A video of the shooting is below. [DISTURBING CONTENT]

 

Heartless Journalist (Petra László) Caught kicking two refugee children and tripping a man with child (VIDEO)

N1TV’s Hungarian Journalist Petra László caught tripping over man carrying child in his arms – and kicking young girl and boy – goes viral and horrifies country

A camera operator for a Hungarian nationalist television channel closely linked to the country’s far-right Jobbik party has been filmed kicking two refugee children and tripping up a man at the border hotspot of Rőszke on Tuesday.

Petra László of N1TV was filming a group of refugees running away from police officers, when a man carrying a child in his arms ran in front of her. László stuck her leg out in front of the man, causing him to fall on the child he was carrying. He turned back and remonstrated with László, who continued filming.

A 20-second video of the scene was posted on Twitter by Stephan Richter, a reporter for the German television channel RTL and soon went viral, leading to the creation of a Facebook group “The Petra László Wall of Shame”.

Hungary’s leading news website Index had also caught László kicking a young girl and boy.

N1TV said László had been dismissed due to “unacceptable behaviour”. The channel’s editor in chief Szabolcs Kisberk said in a statement posted on the station’s website: “The camerawoman’s employment has today been terminated with immediate effect, the case is now closed for us.”

As well as speeches made by the Jobbik leader Gábor Vona, the channel’s website also contains articles with such headlines as “migrants have swarmed all over the shops” and “Guantanamo = Hungary?”

Hundreds of angry comments appeared on the Facebook group set up to condemn László’s actions on Tuesday evening.

Opposition parties Együtt-PM and the Democratic Coalition have said that they will initiate charges of violence against a member of the community, which is punishable by up to five years in prison, against László.

 VIDEO

Hungarian Journalist Caught Tripping And Kicking Refugees

 

30-Year-Old Mother saves son before falling to her death in to collapsing escalator in China

A mother was killed when she fell into an escalator at a shopping mall in China, after she heroically threw her toddler to safety.

Xiang Liujuan, 30, was travelling up the escalator at Anliang department store in Jingzhou, in the central province of Hubei, with her two-year-old son.

When the pair reached the top, however, a floor-plate gave way and the woman fell through the floor, as captured by CCTV.

Seconds before falling to her death, the mother was able to thrust her toddler towards mall staff, who dragged the child to safety.

Danger: Mother Xiang Liujuan, 30, was killed when she fell into an escalator at the Anliang department store in Jingzhou. Maintenance workers are being blamed for failing to screw a floor plate back into place (file photo, not the department store)

Shocking: The mother and her two-year-old son rode up the escalator together, but when they step off the escalator at the top, the floor gives way beneath them 

Two staff members at the top of the escalator tried to help the woman, as half of her body dangled into the shaft above the machinery, but were unable to.

The woman was shopping with her husband on Sunday when the accident happened, reported the Wuhan Evening News, although he was not with them on the escalator.

Maintenance had just been carried out on the escalator, and initial reports claim workers forgot to screw the access cover back into place.

Rescue crews reportedly took four hours to remove the woman’s body from the escalator, which showed ‘no signs of life’.

Desperate to help: Staff at the department store in Jingzhou struggled to help the woman, after she thrust her child to safety as her body dangled over the escalator machinery

Aftermath: But the department store workers were unable to help the woman. Her body was recovered by rescue workers

Aftermath: But the department store workers were unable to help the woman. Her body was recovered by rescue workers

The accident was one of the top topics on China’s Twitter-like Sina Weibo on Monday with more than 6.6 million views.

Most comments expressed fury at the shop management.

‘Why didn’t the staffers stop customers at the entrance to the machine or just turn it off?’ wrote one. ‘The department store is definitely responsible.’

Others were moved by the woman’s final actions.

‘I was appalled when I saw her sink and at the same time felt the greatness of maternal love – the mother wasted no time pushing the child out when it happened,’ said one.

China is prone to safety accidents as regulations and standards are often flouted and enforcement is lax, sometimes due to corruption.

In 2012, a nine-year-old boy was killed after he got stuck in an escalator at a Beijing department store as horrified shoppers looked on.

In July 2011, a 13-year-old boy was killed and more than 20 others injured when an escalator in a Beijing underground station suddenly reversed direction during the rush hour.

(Breaking News) Daughter of Famous Singer Whitney Houston Bobbi Kristina Brown Dies At 22

Born and raised in the shadow of fame and litigation, shattered by the loss of her mother, Whitney Houston, Bobbi Kristina was overwhelmed by the achievements and demons of others before she could begin to figure out who she was.

Her demise was the most awful inheritance of all.

Bobbi Kristina died on Sunday at Peachtree Christian Hospice in Duluth, Georgia, about six months after she was found face-down and unresponsive in a bathtub in the suburban Atlanta townhome she shared with Nick Gordon, the man she called her husband. She was 22-years-old.

“Bobbi Kristina Brown passed away July, 26 2015, surrounded by her family. She is finally at peace in the arms of God. We want to again thank everyone for their tremendous amount of love and support during these last few months,” Kristen Foster, a representative for the Houston family said Sunday.

Police said she was found Jan. 31 in the suburban Atlanta townhome she shared with Gordon. A police report described it as a “drowning.”

Bobbi Kristina was the only child between Houston and Brown.

She was hospitalized for months in Atlanta — eventually being placed in hospice care — after being found in a manner grimly similar to the way her megastar mother died three years earlier. The police report called it a “drowning,” and Gordon said at the time it seemed she wasn’t breathing and lacked a pulse before help arrived.

Brown — the sole heir of her mother’s estate — did have dreams.

She identified herself on Twitter as “Daughter of Queen WH,” ”Entertainer/Actress” with William Morris & Co., and “LAST of a dying breed.” She told Oprah shortly after her mother’s death in 2012 that she wanted to carry on her mother’s legacy by singing, acting and dancing. But her career never took off. Actor and producer Tyler Perry said she had a future as an actress after her debut on his TV show “For Better or Worse” in 2012, but she only appeared in one episode. Aside from two ill-fated reality TV shows and the occasional paparazzi video, her image mostly showed up in the “selfies” she posted online.

She attended award shows and appeared on red carpets with her mother and father. She performed a duet on TV with her mother in 2009, singing “My Love Is Your Love” in New York’s Central Park. She became social media sensation, sending more than 11,000 tweets and attracting 164,000 followers.

As the news of her death spread across social media, several celebrities tweeted their condolences.

Grammy-winning performer Missy Elliot tweeted, “My heart is truly heavy. May u rest in peace with your mommy #BobbiKristina sending prayers 2 the Brown/Houston family.”

“Empire” star Taraji P. Henson tweeted, “Rest in heaven.”

“RIP #BobbiKristina My deepest sympathies 2 your father #BobbyBrown n your GrandMa #CissyHouston We will miss ya 4sho darling 😉 Actress Vivica A. Fox said on Twitter.

And Oprah Winfrey tweeted, “Peace at Last!”

Whitney Houston, known as “America’s Sweetheart,” was an impossible act to follow.

The late singer sold more than 50 million records in the United States alone during her career. Her voice, an ideal blend of power, grace and beauty, made classics out of songs like “Saving All My Love For You,” ”I Will Always Love You” and “The Greatest Love of All.” She earned six Grammys and starred in the films “The Bodyguard” and “The Preacher’s Wife.”

Bobby Brown had a bad-boy image but also became a huge star, selling platinum records with New Edition and going solo before drugs and legal woes derailed his career.

Bobbi Kristina appeared alongside both parents in 2005 on the Bravo reality show “Being Bobby Brown,” which captured her parents fighting, swearing and appearing in court. The Hollywood Reporter said it revealed that Brown was “even more vulgar than the tabloids suggest,” and managed “to rob Houston of any last shreds of dignity.”

Years earlier, as Houston was preparing to give birth to Bobbi Kristina, she expressly left Bobby Brown out of her will, putting everything in a trust “for the benefit of her children and more remote descendants,” according to the Houstons’ 2012 petition.

After their divorce in 2007, Houston kept custody of Bobbi Kristina and raised her alongside Gordon, an orphan three years older than her daughter. Houston brought Gordon into her family, and while she never formally adopted him or included him in the will, both teenagers called her “mom.”

The threesome’s tight bond was shattered when Houston’s assistant found the singer’s lifeless body face-down in a foot of water in her bathtub at the Beverly Hills Hotel just before the Grammy Awards in 2012. Authorities found prescription drugs in the suite, and evidence of heart disease and cocaine in her body, but determined that it was an accidental drowning.

Bobbi Kristina, then 18, was at the hotel and became so hysterical she had to be hospitalized. “She wasn’t only a mother, she was a best friend,” she told Winfrey.

She and Gordon then went public with their romance, posting defiant messages online after the tabloids accused them of incest.

The Houstons tolerated their relationship, appearing with them on television that year in Lifetime’s reality show “The Houstons: On Our Own.”

But in one telling episode, the late singer’s relatives lectured the pair about drinking after they show up in an obviously altered state, and accuse Gordon of failing to take care of the grieving girl.

Relations between Gordon and some other relatives continued to sour over the past year after Bobbi Kristina was hospitalized. A protective order barred him from being within 200 feet of Pat Houston, Bobbi Kristina’s aunt. A feud erupted over whether Gordon could visit Bobbi Kristina while she stayed in the hospital.

On June 24, Bobbi Kristina’s court-appointed representative sued Gordon, accusing him of misrepresenting his relationship with Bobbi Kristina. The complaint accused him of being violent toward her and taking more than $11,000 from her account while she was in a medically induced coma after the Jan. 31 tragedy.

The lawsuit accused Gordon of assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, unjust enrichment and conversion.

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said he and his office are interested in reviewing the investigative file to determine whether any charges will be filed.

Also on June 24, Pat Houston said Bobbi Kristina had been placed in hospice care.

Bobbi Kristina was fabulously wealthy for a teenager, but her money was in a spendthrift trust, designed to keep creditors and predators from taking advantage of people who can’t manage their money. Bobbi Kristina’s grandmother, Cissy Houston, and aunt, Pat Houston, eventually took over control of the trust and then took Bobbi Kristina to court to protect the estate.

The Houstons called Bobbi Kristina “a highly visible target for those who would exercise undue influence over her inheritance and/or seek to benefit from (her) resources and celebrity,” and urged a judge to delay how quickly she could control the money.

Bobbi Kristina agreed to the delay, and the judge granted their request to seal the case.

The size of Houston’s estate is a privately held secret.

In May, a judge appointed Bobby Brown and Pat Houston as co-guardians of Bobbi Kristina, giving them joint responsibility in decisions related to her care and medical needs. Lawyer Bedelia Hargrove was appointed conservator to oversee Bobbi Kristina’s assets, including her rights and legal claims.

Houston signed a $100 million record deal in 2001, but failed to deliver, and lost two homes to foreclosure toward the end of her life. But her early death revived a hunger for her music, and her name and likeness generated revenue that became part of Bobbi Kristina’s inheritance.

By January 2014, the young couple who grew up as brother and sister were sharing a townhome in Roswell, Georgia, and calling themselves husband and wife.

They posted images of their hands wearing wedding rings, with the caption “#HappilyMarried. So #InLove. If you didn’t get it the first time that is.” They got identical “WH” tattoos with flying doves on their wrists, and Gordon added a large portrait of Houston’s face on his arm.

Their marriage announcement troubled Pat Houston, who obtained a restraining order against Gordon two months later.

“Damn, lol, it’s incredible how the world will judge you 4ANY&EVERYthing,” Bobbi Kristina tweeted at the time.

By last September, Pat Houston said she was “very proud of Krissy.”

“Young people today are up against so much with social media and everything else that presents itself to them,” Pat Houston told The Associated Press. “We try to be there for her, just to try to guide and direct her.”

Judging from her postings online, Bobbi Kristina was focused on the approaching anniversary of her mother’s death. In one of her last tweets, she said, “Littlelady&yourgrowing young man @nickdgordon miss you mommy ..:’) SOmuch.. loving you more every sec. #Anniversary!”

Scientists say philae’s comet may host alien life

The icy surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, home to the famous Philae lander, may also host alien life, according to astrobiologists.

Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe, director of the U.K.’s Buckingham Centre for Astrobiology, and Max Wallis of the University of Cardiff say that the comet could be home to living microbes. The scientists presented their research at the Royal Astronomical Society’s National Astronomy Meeting in Llandudno, Wales on Monday.

“The case we’re building includes what’s being discovered about comet CG’s [Churyumov-Gerasimenko’s] surface layers — mineral and carbonaceous dust forming a protective crust over a mix of complex carbon compounds and H2O,” explained Wallis, in an email to FoxNews.com. “[This] makes a positive habitat for micro-biology as the comet warms on nearing the sun.”

Wallis also cites the emission of gases from the comet last September before its “subcrust” had warmed as evidence of stored bio-gases being released.

Philae made headlines in November 2014 when it became the first probe to landon a comet, the culmination of an audacious 10-year mission. But when the lander settled into the shadow of a cliff three days later its solar panels were deprived of sunlight and it entered into “idle mode.” Last month, however, the European Space Agency lander began “waking up,” intermittently sending data to the Rosetta spacecraft orbiting the comet.

 “Rosetta has already shown that the comet is not to be seen as a deep-frozen inactive body, but supports geological processes and could be more hospitable to micro-life than our Arctic and Antarctic regions,” said Wallis, in a statement released by the Royal Astronomical Society.  The experts cite further evidence of life in Philae’s detection of complex organic molecules on the comet’s surface and in infrared images taken by Rosetta.

According to the scientists’ research, the comet’s micro-organisms probably require liquid water bodies to colonize the comet and could inhabit cracks in its ice and “snow.”

The comet, which is travelling at more than 73,000 mph, is currently about 176.7 million miles from Earth, according to Sky News

Indonesian air force plane (C-130 Hercules) crashes in Northern Sumatra killing over 100 people

Indonesian officials say 141 bodies have been recovered after a military transport plane crashed in a residential area of Medan on Tuesday.

The military says none of the 122 people on board the Hercules C-130 survived when it hit houses and a hotel before bursting into flames.

Many of the victims are thought to have been relatives of servicemen and women.

But the latest death toll indicates there were at least 19 people killed on the ground.

The BBC’s Alice Budisatrijo in Jakarta says the military has repeatedly revised the passenger list, a sign of how loosely the military keeps track of who gets on its planes.

It is also investigating whether some of those on board were paying passengers which is not permitted, she adds.

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The plane ploughed into the newly built residential area, causing a huge fireball
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Emergency services rushed to extinguish the flames and reach any possible survivors
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The bodies were taken to the Adam Malik hospital in Medan, where relatives waited to collect them

Police official Agustinus Tarigan told reporters at a Medan hospital on Wednesday morning that 141 bodies had been received.

One official told the Jakarta Globe newspaper that some of the victims were having to be identified by blood samples.

‘Fire and smoke’

The cause of the crash is not yet known, but witnesses said the plane appeared to run into trouble shortly after taking off from Medan – Indonesia’s third largest city – for Tanjung Pinang, an island off Sumatra.

“It passed overhead a few times, really low,” a witness named Elfrida Efi told the Reuters news agency.

“There was fire and black smoke. The third time it came by it crashed into the roof of the hotel and exploded straight away.”

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Air Force head Agus Supriatna said on Tuesday that the pilot had asked to return to base because of technical difficulties.

“The plane crashed while it was turning right to return to the airport,” he said.

President Joko Widodo used Twitter to send his condolences to the families, wishing them “patience and strength”.

Air Force cargo plane crashed in Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia - 1Air Force cargo plane crashed in Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia - 2Air Force cargo plane crashed 4Air Force cargo plane crashed 3Air Force cargo plane crashed 2

Engine trouble might have caused crash

Authorities are still investigating what caused the disaster. Supriatna said Wednesday that they suspect engine trouble might have been to blame.

Maj. Gen. Fuad Basya, an Indonesian military spokesman, had said Tuesday that the aircraft, built in the United States in the 1960s, had been inspected and cleared to fly before it took off from Medan.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo called for a review of military equipment in light of the disaster.

“Following several plane crashes, we should conduct a total audit and modernize the (old) planes,” Jokowi said, according to Indonesia’s national news agency, Antara.

Plane was carrying people, supplies between islands

The plane was carrying people and logistical supplies to bases on other Indonesian islands.

It began its multistop journey Tuesday in Jakarta, the capital, and had made two stops along the way to Medan, in Pekanbaru and Dumai. Sometimes, Indonesian civilians also hitch rides on military flights to get to islands which might otherwise be inaccessible.

The military has set up command posts in Jakarta and Medan to help the victims’ families, Supriatna said.

Antara reported that the plane hit a busy road that connects Medan with the highland tourist resort of Brastagi.

The crash site is about 5 kilometers (3 miles) from the air base, Basya said.

VIDEO

History of crashes

The Hercules transport plane was manufactured in 1964, but a military spokesman said he was convinced that it was in good condition.

This is the fourth crash involving the military in three years, says our correspondent, and many Indonesians are demanding an upgrade of its mostly outdated defence equipment.

It is also the second time in 10 years that a plane has crashed in Medan.

In September 2005, a Boeing 737 came down in a crowded residential area shortly after take-off from Medan’s Polonia airport, killing 143 people including 30 on the ground.

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Indonesian military aircraft crashes since 2009:

  • April 2015: An F-16 fighter jet catches fire as it takes off from an airbase in Jakarta
  • March 2015: Two air force planes from an Indonesian aerobatics team crash during a practice session
  • November 2013: An army helicopter crashes near the Indonesian-Malaysian border, killing 13 people
  • August 2013: A door from a training helicopter falls onto a residential area of Jakarta
  • 2012: Nine people killed after an Indonesian air force plane crashed into a housing complex in Jakarta
  • 2009: Military transport plane carrying troops and their families crashed in Java, killing 98 people

Source

BBC – CNN

Bollywood superstar Salman Khan sentenced to five years in jail in hit-and-run case

An Indian judge has sentenced Bollywood superstar Salman Khan to five years in jail over the killing a homeless man in a 2002 hit-and-run after a night out drinking.

Judge DW Deshpande found Khan guilty of culpable homicide after driving his Toyota Land Cruiser into a group of homeless men sleeping rough in suburban Mumbai after spending the evening in an upmarket bar.

One man was killed and several others were injured in the incident.

Khan, the star of blockbusters such as Dabangg (Fearless), looked stunned as the sentence was read out, according to reporters inside the courtroom.

He had always denied being behind the wheel, but now faces up to 10 years in prison, potentially bringing the career of one of the Indian movie industry’s biggest box-office stars to a shuddering halt.

Khan’s lawyer Shrikant Shivade argued against prison for his client. He said Khan had given generously to charity and was also suffering from a neurological condition.

But prosecutor Pradeep Gharat said that “fines are not enough”, adding that “the punishment has to be a deterrent” to others.

The sentence was expected to be passed later Wednesday.

Trial finally begins after 12 years

The trial began in earnest in 2014 after a series of court hearings and legal hold-ups.

A string of prosecution witnesses, including survivors of the crash, testified that Khan was driving the vehicle when it ploughed at speed into the men sleeping on the street near a bakery in September 2002.

When 49-year-old Khan finally took the stand in March, he pleaded not guilty and told the court that his driver was responsible for mounting the pavement in the upmarket suburb of Bandra West.

The driver testified in court last month that he had been behind the wheel, and that the crash occurred after the front left tyre burst, making steering and braking difficult.

But the judge found him guilty of all charges including driving while under the influence of alcohol.

Khan is likely to appeal the verdict, while the court was now hearing submissions from his lawyers on the length of sentence to be decided by the judge.

A constable attached to Khan’s security detail said in his statement to police that the drunk actor lost control of the car while driving at about 90 kilometres per hour.

“The people were sleeping on the footpath. Salman and (his cousin) Kamaal ran away from the spot,” the constable, who died in 2007 of tuberculosis, said.

One of the sleeping labourers injured in the accident said in his statement that “Salman was so drunk he fell. He stood but he fell again and then he… ran away”.

Khan was ‘only drinking water’

Khan’s lawyers said the action and romantic comedy star had in fact been drinking water all evening and had climbed out of the driver’s seat after the accident because the passenger side door had been damaged.

They also said that the victim, Nurulah Mahbob Sharif, was killed during an operation to move the car, rather than the crash itself, when the bumper fell off and landed on him.

Television news channels carried virtually non-stop coverage on Wednesday, with camera crews parked outside Khan’s home and surrounding the court.

Khan, the son of a respected film writer, has starred in more than 100 films and television shows since his first hit Maine Pyar Kiya (I Fell in Love) in the 1980s.

But the body building actor is no stranger to controversy off screen and he spent more than a week behind bars for killing an endangered Indian gazelle in 1998 during a hunting trip.

The verdict has been keenly awaited both by his fans and Bollywood studios who stand to lose millions of dollars if they have to cancel filming for movies he has been signed up to.

One report by the Press of Trust of India said more than $US31 million was riding on the verdict.

If he were to be jailed, Khan would become the second big-name Bollywood actor to be imprisoned in the last two years.

Sanjay Dutt, the star of a series of gangster movies, is behind bars over possession of weapons linked to several bombings in Mumbai in 1993.

Suspected wildlife smuggler arrested for jamming Cockatoos inside small size water bottles

Indonesian police have arrested a suspected wildlife smuggler after discovering nearly two dozen rare birds jammed inside plastic water bottles in his luggage.

The 37-year-old man was stopped by police on Monday as he alighted from a passenger ship in Surabaya, a city on the main island of Java.

Photographs show the birds, mostly yellow-crested cockatoos, peering out of the bottles after being found by officers. The bottoms of the bottles had been cut off to squeeze the birds inside.

The head of the criminal investigation unit at the Tanjung Perak port, Aldy Sulaiman, said police found the live birds stashed inside the man’s luggage.

“We found 21 yellow-crested cockatoos and one green parrot,” he said.

“All the birds were found inside water bottles, which were packed in a crate.”

A police officer holds a water bottle which with a yellow-crested cockatoo put inside for illegal trade

The birds have since been sent to Indonesia’s natural resources conservation office, which deals with wildlife-trafficking cases.

Mr Sulaiman said the man — whose identity was not disclosed in line with normal criminal procedure in Indonesia — had admitted to carrying two birds for a friend but claimed to know nothing about the other animals.

If found guilty of smuggling, the man, from near Surabaya, could face up to five years in prison.

Yellow-crested cockatoos are native to Indonesia and neighboring East Timor and considered critically endangered, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

They are different to the larger and more common sulfur-crested cockatoo which is mostly found in Australia and New Guinea.

The Queen arrives at Kensington Palace to meet her newborn great-granddaughter for the first time

The Queen has been introduced to her great-granddaughter Princess Charlotte at Kensington Palace.

In a somewhat brief meeting, the 89-year-old monarch travelled to London this afternoon just after 2.30pm to meet with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s newborn daughter. The princess, who was born three days ago, is the Queen’s fifth great grandchild.

Yesterday, the princess’s name was finally revealed to the world as Charlotte Elizabeth Diana. The name Elizabeth is a touching nod to the Queen – whom Prince William deeply respects – while Diana has been used in tribute to honour the memory of William’s late mother, the Princess of Wales.

The Queen was driven to Kensington Palace this afternoon where she was introduced to her great-grandaughter, Princess Charlotte 

The Queen was driven to Kensington Palace this afternoon where she was introduced to her great-grandaughter, Princess Charlotte

The little girl, who was born on Saturday, was officially introduced to the world yesterday as Charlotte Elizabeth Diana 

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge outside the Lindo wing on Saturday

The princess (left), who was born on Saturday, was officially introduced to the world yesterday as Charlotte Elizabeth Diana. William and Kate made a brief appearance with their daughter outside the Lindo wing on Saturday (right)

The wait is finally over. The Duchess of Cambridge has given birth to a little princess – an 8lb 3oz sister for George.

Fashion Finder was excited to catch a glimpse of the new addition to the Royal family who will no doubt follow in her fashionable mother’s footsteps. But we were just as thrilled to see the Duchess herself, absolutely glowing as she stepped out of St Mary’s Hospital.

Kate may have just given birth, but she looked as elegant and stylish as always wearing a spring fresh dress by Jenny Packham. Duchess devotees will remember that she wore a blue polka dot frock by the same designer when she left the hospital with Prince George almost two years ago and both were custom made.

Better known for her showstopping evening and bridal wear, Packham is a favourite of Kate’s and this very pretty dress with it’s loose fitting shift silhouette is a lovely choice for her first appearance with her baby daughter. The sunny floral print is a motif from Packham’s SS15 collection but as Kate’s dress is bespoke it’s not available to buy online.

So click (right) to check out some of the label’s ready-to-wear dresses at Net-a-Porter or recreate Kate’s look with our edit of similar dresses below. From Erdem to L.K. Bennett and Asos to New Look there’s a blooming lovely option for every budget.

It came as Princess Charlotte's birth was officially registered this afternoon at Westminster Register Office. The certificate was only signed by the Duke of Cambridge 

It came as Princess Charlotte’s birth was officially registered this afternoon at Westminster Register Office. The certificate was only signed by the Duke of Cambridge

William and Kate have also recognised the Duke’s father Charles – of which Charlotte is the feminine version – in the selected full name.

The monarch’s visit came as the Duke of Cambridge formally registered the birth of his baby daughter, in a near identical way to the manner in which Prince George’s birth was registered.

As with the royal birth in 2013, The Duke of Cambridge signed the birth register at Kensington Palace witnessed by a Registrar from Westminster Register Office. On the certificate, he gave his wife’s occupation as ‘Princess of the United Kingdom’.

Kate, 33, has rarely described herself as a princess, preferring to use the title Duchess of Cambridge, which was conferred on her by the Queen on her wedding day. But she is also Princess William of Wales, entitling her to be described as ‘Princess of the United Kingdom’.

The 32-year-old duke gave his occupation as ‘Prince of the United Kingdom’ rather than a helicopter pilot.

Normally, parents have to attend a register office within 42 days of a child being born. But in the case of Princess Charlotte, the deputy registrar of Westminster, Alison Cathcart, travelled to Kensington Palace.

The same registrar also visited the palace after George’s birth. She has presided over several celebrity marriages including those of Sylvester Stallone, Joan Collins, Paul McCartney, Barbara Windsor and David Walliams.

The Queen is believed to have travelled from her private estate in Norfolk for the meeting this afternoon

The Queen is believed to have travelled from her private estate in Norfolk for the meeting this afternoon

The Queen (pictured left and right) is believed to have travelled from her private estate in Norfolk for the meeting this afternoon

The meeting came three days after the little girl was born. The Queen has been in Sandringham on her estate in Norfolk over the weekend 

The meeting came three days after the little girl was born. The Queen has been in Sandringham on her estate in Norfolk over the weekend

The little girl has Elizabeth as a middle name, in tribute to her great grandmother

The Queen appeared to raise a smile as she was driven to the London palace today

The Queen appeared to raise a smile as she was driven to the London palace today (right). The little girl has Elizabeth as a middle name, in tribute to her great grandmother

William was given a standard certificate to register the birth of ‘Her Royal Highness Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana of Cambridge’. Miss Cathcart filled it in before it was signed by the duke.

The certificate states the date and place of Charlotte’s birth – May 2 and Paddington, Westminster. William’s full name, His Royal Highness Prince William Arthur Philip Louis Duke of Cambridge, is given, and the certificate includes Kate’s full name of Catherine Elizabeth Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge, her birthplace as Reading and her maiden name of Middleton.

The couple’s ‘usual address’ is described as Kensington Palace, London, and the duke signed the certificate simply ‘William’.

Kensington Palace said in a brief statement: ‘The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have formally registered the birth of Princess Charlotte.

‘The Duke of Cambridge signed the birth register at Kensington Palace this afternoon witnessed by a registrar from Westminster Register Office.’

Princess Charlotte’s birth register document will be kept, along with thousands of others, at the Westminster Registration Office.

Ms Cathcart said: ‘It was an honour to register the birth of Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana. Westminster City Council has a long history of registering royal births, including Prince George, and it’s a pleasure to formally welcome the latest addition to the family.’

The Princess, who is fourth in line to the throne, was born three days ago but the Queen was on royal duties. She attended a military event at Richmond Castle, North Yorkshire, on Saturday, where she was dressed appropriately in pink as William and Kate’s daughter was born.

She then spent the weekend at the Sandringham estate, where she was pictured yesterday. Now, with the election just two days away, Her Majesty is likely to have travelled back to London because she needs to be back at Buckingham Palace.

The Queen’s other grandchildren are Princess Charlotte’s brother Prince George, Savannah and Isla Phillips, the daughters of Peter Phillips and his wife Autumn, and Mia Grace Tindell, the daughter of Zara Phillips MBE and her husband Mike Tindell.

The newest Royal was born at 8.34am on Saturday weighing 8lbs and 3oz - less than three hours after the Duchess was admitted to hospital

Other members of the family have already met the new addition, including her grandfather the Prince of Wales and his wife Camilla, who drove down from Highgrove, the prince’s private residence in Gloucestershire,

Charles has openly spoken of his hope that his son and daughter-in-law would produce a granddaughter, saying last year: ‘I hope it will be a girl this time.’

Kate’s mother Carole Middleton, her sister Pippa and her father Michael also spent time with the newborn at Kensington Palace over the weekend.

Prince Harry, speaking from Australia where he has been working with the country’s armed forces, described his niece as ‘absolutely beautiful’ and said he could not wait to meet her.

He was informed of the baby’s safe delivery before a public announcement was made in the UK and abroad on the Kensington Palace Twitter account.

Although the Prince had hoped to be in England to greet his newest family member, duty called and he returned to Australia on Monday to resume his four-week placement with the Australian Defence Force.

Kate and William are now expected to head to Amner Hall in Norfolk, which is part of the Sandringham estate, where they are due to set up residence with their new daughter in the privacy of the sprawling estate.

The couple are expected to issue a family photograph with their daughter and 21-month-old Prince George in the coming weeks, but are otherwise expected to remain behind closed doors at their ten-bedroom property, away from the world’s media.

The couple are fiercely protective of their children’s privacy and her christening, which will be in three or four months, is likely to be the next time Princess Charlotte is seen in public. Even then, that is unlikely to be a public event, with only a handful of photographs released to the media.

Prince Charles waved as he left Kensington Palace on Sunday after spending an hour-and-a-half getting to know his new granddaughter

Prince Charles waved as he left Kensington Palace on Sunday after spending an hour-and-a-half getting to know his new granddaughter

The Duchess of Cornwall smiled proudly for the cameras as she and Prince Charles left Kensington Palace with Prince Charles on Sunday

The Duchess of Cornwall smiled proudly for the cameras as she and Prince Charles left Kensington Palace with Prince Charles on Sunday

Kate's mother Carole and sister Pippa were the first of the royal couple's relatives to visit the newborn baby who was brought home to Kensington Palace just ten hours after being born

Kate's father Michael Middleton arrived at Kensington Palace shortly before 2pm on Sunday to meet his granddaughter for the first time

Kate’s father Michael Middleton arrived at Kensington Palace shortly before 2pm on Sunday to meet his granddaughter for the first time

Kensington Palace revealed the royal baby’s full name yesterday after days of speculation and close friends of Princess Diana immediately said the choice means the spirit of Prince William’s beloved mother ‘lives on’.

Kate and William sought the blessing of both the Queen and Prince Charles before announcing what they had decided to call their daughter.

Within minutes of the name being announced, Diana’s closest friend Rosa Monckton said: ‘Diana’s spirit lives on in her sons, and now her name lives on in her granddaughter #CharlotteElizabethDiana’. Diana was the godmother of Mrs Monckton’s daughter Domenica.

Royal aides told MailOnline that the baby’s second names were self-evident and would ‘speak for themselves’. As for Charlotte, they pointed out that much had been written about it being the feminine form of Charles.

Another royal source said they understood the couple simply liked the name – but admitted it was a ‘happy coincidence’ that both William’s father and mother would live on in their grand-daughter.

For William, naming his daughter after Charles will be seen as a clear public demonstration of his love for the prince.

William is protective of his father, defending him against criticism he has often faced and often speaking of his deep admiration for the amount of time the prince commits to his charitable work.

The Prince of Wales strove to protect William and Prince Harry following the death of their mother and backed them as they have worked to honour her memory through their charitable connections. They, in turn, accepted and supported him when he married Camilla Parker Bowles, now the Duchess of Cornwall.

Charlotte is also the middle name of Kate’s sister Pippa Middleton. In French, it means ‘petite’ and ‘feminine’ or ‘free man’.

In royal history, George IV named his only child Charlotte, but she died in childbirth at 21. George III’s wife was Queen Charlotte, who was born 1744 and founded Kew Gardens. She used it instead of her given first name, Sophie.

It is customary for royals to look to their past for name ideas, the repetition in each generation an effort to preserve the continuity of one of the world’s oldest institutions. With that in mind, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are likely to have chosen Elizabeth in tribute to the reigning Queen.

Her Majesty is held in great respect by her family and William has spoken of how she has become an even more important part of his life as he has grown older, while Kate, for her part, has forged a strong bond with the monarch since becoming a royal.

Other royals to have the name include the Queen Mother and the Duchess of Cambridge herself, who has it as her middle name. It is also Carole Middleton’s middle name.

Many thought it likely that William and Kate would use the name Diana, as a mark of respect to his mother, who always craved a daughter. The Duke places great importance on honouring her memory, having already used Diana’s sapphire and diamond engagement ring when he proposed to Kate.

After the name was announced, historians said the selection was ‘nicely-balanced compliment’.

Historian Dr Judith Rowbotham of the University of Plymouth said: ‘By using both Charlotte and Diana, Prince William is paying tribute to both his parents. And you have got a tribute to his much-loved grandmother Elizabeth, and indeed great-grandmother Queen Elizabeth (The Queen Mother). It is a nicely balanced compliment.’

Royal historian Hugo Vickers said there would have been ‘disappointment and surprise’ if Elizabeth and Diana had not been included.

He said: ‘Queen Elizabeth will become on September 9 the longest reigning British monarch and obviously she is the great matriarch of the family, highly respected by Prince William and no doubt by Catherine too. So I think we would have been very disappointed if that name hadn’t been there and I’m sure it was always their intention to include it.’

The newest royal will be known as Princess Charlotte of Cambridge. The Queen brought in a rule change, brought when the Duchess was pregnant with Prince George, to allow a girl to become and HRH – Her Royal Highness. Before this, the new princess would have been given the title Lady Charlotte Mountbatten-Windsor.

Her arrival will shunt her uncle, Prince Harry, down to fifth in the order of succession. Her great uncle, Prince Andrew, will fall out of the top five for the first time to sixth.

Although she is unlikely to ever become queen, it is not unheard of for a second child in the direct line of succession to accede to the throne.

Mostly recently the Queen’s own father, King George VI, replaced his elder brother, King Edward VIII, who abdicated over his love for the ‘unsuitable’ American divorcee Wallis Simpson.

Thanks to a recent change in the law, the couple’s daughter cannot be superseded in her claim to the throne by any younger brother who may yet come along.

The Succession to the Crown Act, passed in 2013, means that male heirs no longer precede their elder sisters in the line of succession

Many royal watchers had been desperately hoping for a girl – the last to be born in the direct line of succession was Princess Anne back in 1950.

Source – Dailymail