Instability Across Egypt Results in Deaths

Andrew Pochter Dead
US Student Andrew Pochter Killed In Egypt

There are a minimum of four deaths in Egypt that include a 14-year-old boy, following antigovernment protests that included ransacking the offices of the Muslim Brotherhood on Friday while thousands of followers and adversaries of President Mohamed Morsi held clashing gatherings in Cairo, the countries capitol.

Although the rallies in Cairo were non-violent, In the port city of Alexandria, fatal conflicts exploded when protesters torched the Brotherhood’s headquarters. Security officials reported that an American citizen, Andrew Pochter 21, was stabbed to death close to the Brotherhood headquarters while photographing clashes between the opponents and the supporters.

Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, posted a statement on their website that Mr. Pochter was a 21-year-old student from Chevy Chase, Md., who was working interning in Egypt with a non-profit education organization. They also posted that the internship was not a Kenyon program.

Reports were conflicting about how Pochter died. Reuters reported that “Gen. Amin Ezz Eddin, a senior Alexandria security official, said he was stabbed in the chest in Sidi Gabr Square while using his mobile phone camera near an office of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, which opponents had sent on fire and that he then died later in a military hospital.”

They also reported that an nameless medical official told the Associated Press that he died from a gunshot wound.

Spokespersons from the United States Embassy reported that he died during altercations between opponents and supporters of President Morsi. Two more people were reported killed in Alexandria, including 14-year-old Ahmed el-Deeb, and a 26-year-old laborer Mahmoud Suleiman, a who was pronounced dead from birdshot in the head in the hospital on Saturday.

The violent outbreak is a precursor building up to the planned Sunday protests against President Morsi. Protestors demand that Morsi voluntarily relinquish his position as president and schedule early elections for the countries top position.

Concerns about potential violent behaviour that could erupt at the rallies has left the country on pins and needles for weeks and additionally divided Egypt’s extremely polarized political class of the population.

Recently, Egypt’s highest religious authority and the military have cautioned about the likelihood of lethal social discord. US President Obama articulated his apprehension regarding the disturbances and said his administration’s main concern was the safety of its personnel in the American Embassy and consulates. On Friday the State Department advised Americans to postpone “unnecessary” visits to Egypt saying that it was permitting some staff members and their families to depart the country.

Speaking from South Africa, Mr. Obama, said his government supported “peaceful protests” and advised all sides to condemn any violence.

Mr Obama said, “We do not take sides in terms of who should be elected by the Egyptian people, or in terms of observing a process for democracy and the rule of law.”

Somber Days For South Africa’s Nelson Mandela

Although Nelson Mandela was reported to be in improved health overnight, he continues to be in critical but stable condition.  It was reported by one of his daughters that he continues to open his eyes and respond to the touches of his family members.  His condition remains uncertain for the time being.

There is an increasing feeling in South Africa that Mandela is close to the end of his life. The hospital in Pretoria where he is receiving treatment continues to receive multitudes of flowers and well-wishes.  On Thursday prayer vigils were held all over the country.

The South African president’s office reported that President Zuma heard the encouraging news from Mandela’s medical team. Zuma resolved not to go on an international trip on Thursday, deciding to pay Mandela a second visit in two days.

Zuma said, “I cancelled my visit to Mozambique today so that I could see him and confer with the doctors. He is much better today than he was when I saw him last night. The medical team continues to do a sterling job. We must pray for Tata’s health and wish him well. We must also continue with our work and daily activities while Madiba remains hospitalized.”

Nelson Mandela
A Country Waits For Tata, “Nelson Mandela”

Zuma requested all people to say prayers for the failing Mandela, and carry on with their normal work and activities while Mandela remains hospitalized.

Zuma’s office said it was troubled by the numerous rumours of Mandela’s health and requested the public to respect the former president’s privacy and dignity.  Unsubstantiated reports have flying over social media about Mandela’s state.

Presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj has refused to confirm or deny reports that Mandela’s condition is recognized as sombre and that he remain’s on life support systems, as reported by television networks and anonymous sources.

Mandela’s daughter, Makaziwe Mandela, resonated the condemnation, commenting that foreign media coverage of her father’s poor health are invasive, especially at the Pretoria hospital at which numerous journalists have congregated.

She said in the SABC interview, “There’s sort of a racist element with many of the foreign media, where they just cross boundaries. It’s like truly vultures waiting when a lion has devoured a buffalo, waiting there for the last carcasses. That’s the image that we have, as a family.”

She added: “We don’t mind the interest. But I just think it has gone overboard.”

Comments by Makaziwe Mandela, posted on the SABC website, said “anything is imminent” because her father, referred to affectionately by many South Africans as “Tata,” or “Father,” is in a very critical state.

“I want to emphasize again that it’s only God who knows when the time to go is,” she said. “So we will wait with Tata. He’s still giving us hope by opening his eyes, he’s still reactive to touch, we will live with that hope until the final end comes.”

President Barack Obama, on a trip to Senegal in Africa on Thursday commented his “thoughts and prayers were with South Africans and in particular the Mandela family”.

As a student of law in the early part of the1990’s, Obama said he was inspired to witness Mandela stepping into the forefront following decades of imprisonment, to help convey democracy in the true spirit of reconciliation with the regime that had subjugated him for so many years.

Obama described Mandela as a personal hero and said “It gave me a sense of what is possible in the world when righteous people, when people of good will, work together on behalf of a larger cause.  And if and when he passes from this place, one thing I think we’ll all know is that his legacy is one that will linger on throughout the ages.”

Cody The Screaming Dog… “Chilling!!!”

Cody The Screaming DogThe latest viral video traveling through hyperspace is “Cody The Screaming Dog”.

This little dog screams like a man in serious distress and pain. The initial reaction upon seeing this video was that the screaming sound was being dubbed in, but we’ve come to realize that this is real. This cute little pup seems very happy screaming like a man of fire while wagging his tail.

Is the video funny? Yes. Is this pup cute? Yes… But frankly everyone we asked said this cute little dog would drive them crazy. We couldn’t agree more.

Death of The Penny!

Canadian One Cent
“Your Last Cent!”

A penny For your thoughts?

Monday, February 4, 2012 marks the last day of the Canadian penny.  The one cent coin is coming to an end and distribution will cease on Monday.  The Canadian population has mixed feelings about this event, but the government says that the coin has just become too costly to produce.

The Royal Canadian Mint is discontinuing production as part of the government’s Economic Action Plan 2012 and reported that the savings to the Canadian taxpayer will be $11 million dollars per year.  Read more here.  http://www.mint.ca/store/mint/learn/eliminating-the-penny-6900002#.UQ9Kc2fPS1w

The Vancouver Province reported that with six billion of the coins in circulation, it will be difficult to say how long the coins will stay in circulation. http://www.theprovince.com/news/Canada+penny+heads+into+retirement/7912245/story.html

Watch this video from YouTube… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fETAG61wV4k

O Canada.com likened the event to an inevitable execution “barring a miraculously stay of execution”.
http://o.canada.com/2013/02/03/canadian-penny-stares-into-terrifying-abyss-of-permanent-oblivion/

What ever your personal feelings are, the repercussions to the demise of this Canadian icon remain to be seen.  There are varying points of view and opinion amongst the population, some saying “it’s about time”, while others say it’s another sign of the fall of the Canadian identity.

9 Year Old Brampton Boy Gunned Down

Kesean Williams
Paramedics rush 9-year-old Kesean Willaims to Sick Kids Hospital

A 9-year old boy was killed by gunfire Wednesday night in Brampton.  This afternoon Peel Regional Police said that the townhouse where a 9-year-old Kesean Williams was killed had been intentionally targeted.

Peel Police Superintendent George Koekkoek said, “Based on the physical evidence we have, we are satisfied that the residence was targeted. We’re just not sure — and we’re working to determine — who the actual person or persons was that the shooter was targeting.”

The boy was in Grade 4 at Sir Winston Churchill Public School.  He was mortally shot while inside his family’s town home in Brampton when he was sitting in the living room watching TV. He received a gunshot wound in his head from a bullet fired into his family’s home just before 10:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013.  Also in the home at the time, were his mother and 15-year-old brother who were not injured.
Williams died of his injuries after paramedics rushed him to Sick Kids hospital in Toronto.

Superintendent Koekkoek said it does not appear to be a drive-by shooting. He said that the family had only moved into the townhouse last week and investigators are presently investigating the possibility that the previous occupants of the townhouse may have been the targets of the shooting.

Koekkoek added, “We’re throwing every available resource to it to try and see what we can locate. It’s appalling. It’s unfathomable to think that a young child sitting in the comfort of his own home […] that something as tragic as this could happen.”

Neighbours reported hearing a loud argument prior to the shooting. One neighbour said his wife heard a loud bang, and then a short time later, police officers and other emergency personnel swarmed the street.

A number of people have been questioned but no one has been charged and the investigation is continuing.   Police have not provided any suspect descriptions to this point.

Sir Winston Churchill Public School has placed the school’s flags at half-mast and set up a memorial table to permit students and staff to write messages of remembrance and condolence in tribute to Kesean.  Grief counsellors will be assisting students and school staff for as long as they are required.

Police said they are requesting help from the public to solve the child’s murder. Anyone who may have information about the shooting is asked to call the Peel Regional Police homicide bureau at 905-453-2121  ext. 3205 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS  (8477).

Kesean Williams is the third homicide victim of 2013 in Peel Region.

Charlie Brown A Stalker?

Peter Robbins
Charlie Brown voice actor, Peter Robbins charged with stalking & threatening.

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Charlie Brown, what have you done?

The actor who was the 1960’s voice of Charlie Brown of “Peter Robbins” fame, has be charged with threatening his girlfriend and the surgeon who performed breast enhancement surgery upon her.  The 56 year old actor, Peter Robbins pleaded not guilty to the charges in San Diego Superior Court on Wednesday.  He was facing charges of 2 counts of stalking and 10 counts of criminal threat.  He could receive as much as 9 years in prison if found guilty, said Deputy District Attorney Elizabeth McClutchey.

On Sunday U.S. Customs officers at the San Ysidro port of entry arrested Robbins, who remains incarcerated, when he returned to San Diego from Mexico for outstanding warrants.

According to McClutchey, Robbins threatened Dr. Lori Saltz, a plastic surgeon he paid for performing breast enhancement surgery upon his girlfriend, Shawna Kern on Dec. 31.

The prosecution also alleged Robbins placed multiple threatening messages on Kern’s phone, stating in one, “You better hide Shawna, I’m coming for you … and I’m going to kill you.” On January 13, Robbins also allegedly threatened to kill the police sergeant who arrested him when he declined to pay the bill in the restaurant of the San Diego hotel where he was staying.

He was given a January 28th court date and released on $50,000 bond the next day. McClutchey recommended to Judge David Szumowski that he maintain Robbins’ bail be set at $550,000 for the reason that Kern and Saltz thought Robbins to be a “desperate man” and “had nothing to lose.”

Robbins’ attorney Marc Kohnen stated that the bail amount was extreme because Robbins had no criminal record and had never been in trouble with the law.

In 1965 Robbins, a 9 year old, became the voice of the world-weary yet optimistic main character of the first of many animated Television specials that were based on the popular Charles Schulz “Peanuts” comic strip, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” featured a jazz-inflected music score.  The storyline revolved around Charlie Brown’s search for the true meaning of Christmas amidst the corruption of commercialism. It went on to become a holiday Television classic.

Robbins later voiced Charlie Brown in “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” “You’re In Love, Charlie Brown” and “A Boy Named Charlie Brown,” which aired in the 1960s. He was eventually replaced in later versions of the animated specials.

Houston Texas Shooting at Lone Star College

Lonestar College Shooting
Gunfire at Houston Lonestar Community College!

Authorities report that Texas law enforcement have captured one person and placed them into custody in relation to the shooting on the Lone Star College campus in Houston Texas.  The local police believe there maybe a second shooter involved and still on the loose.
The official who remained anonymous, did not have authorization to release information of the ongoing case but said there are reports of multiple injuries.
College spokesperson Jed Young reported that a shooting occurred at the school involving 2 people, injuring 2 other people who were wounded in the crossfire.
Young believed that one of the gunmen was shot but was placed in custody but he thought the second gunman had escaped.
The community college was immediately placed in lockdown and has posted a warning on its website advising north Harris County campus students and faculty to find immediate refuge or completely keep away from the campus.
Local television stations aerial footage broadcasted ambulances local law enforcement police cars parked all over the campus, first response personnel treating people on stretchers and a minimum of one person being loaded into an ambulance. Also seen were police leading other people from one of the buildings.
The college’s website lists 90,000 students enrolled in the Lone Star College System which includes 6 college campuses. The North Harris campus is approximately 30 kilometres north of downtown Houston.

BC Coast Rattled By Another Earthquake

“Monday night’s quake was located just off the southwest coast of the Haida Gwaii island chain.” (Google)

 

The British Columbia northern coastline was hit with another 6.2 magnitude earthquake on Monday evening at 7:20PM Pacific time.  The quake was recorded by the United States Geological Survey, as being 10 kilometres underground approximately 260 kilometres to the southwest of Prince Rupert.

This is in the same area as the 7.7 magnitude earthquake that occurred on Saturday.  So far there have been no reports of injuries or damage.

The U.S. National Weather Service announced that this quake is not likely to cause a tsunami.

The British Columbia government is under fire for the slow response to the Saturday quake which took over thirty minutes to issue a tsunami warning, long after a warning was issued along the US Coastline.  This new quake only serves to highlight that issue.

Seismologists report that aftershocks of this nature are normal but Stephen Grosse, Masset fire chief, commented that gives very little comfort to local residents.

Grosse said, “People are like pins and needles around here right now. People are too nervous. It scared them pretty bad. They still don’t know who to trust, or if they should trust anybody.”

He added that residents were panicking to stock up on gas, water and non-perishables and one service station was emptied of supplies over the weekend.

Disappointing World Series Leaves Fans Dismayed!

 beaned by a foul ball during batting practice
Sportsnet reporter Ian Mendes gets beaned by a foul ball during batting practice at the World Series.

The TV Ratings of the San Francisco Giant’s overpowering sweep of the Detroit Tigers set a record for an all time low viewership.

Nielsen Media Research said on Monday that the four games broadcast on Fox averaged a 7.6 rating and 12 share.  Prior to that the previous record low of 8.4 was the five game series in 2008 between the Phillies and the Rays   which tied with the 2010  five game series between the Giants and the Rangers.

This Associated Press story in the San Francisco Chronicle provides some more background.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/tv/article/World-Series-TV-ratings-a-record-low-3994505.php#ixzz2ApbiLcZZ

It seems that the lackluster performance of the Tigers had fans feeling the perhaps the ending was fitting as Detroit Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera struck out looking as the final pitch whizzed past him to end the 4th game of the boring series.  World Series?  Get serious! Is this the climax of a season that fans waited for.

Chris Jenkins of U-T Sports shared his thoughts on it.

Read more here…

http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/oct/30/world-series-had-its-fitting-finish/

The 2012 World Series will go down in history and stay down.  This is a series that fans would rather forget than remember. The climax of a year suffered from a premature explosion of boredom that didn’t deliver on the promise of a good season.  The Tigers forgot to show up and nobody bothered to remind them.  Is this what a multi-million dollar contract buys in athletics?  It’s this kind of thing that makes ordinary people like you and me shake our heads… but we keep coming back for more.

Perhaps the real entertainment was on the sidelines and that’s where the fans should have focused their attention as evidenced in this video of Sportsnet reporter Ian Mendes getting beaned by a foul ball during batting practice during a broadcast.

Hurricane Sandy Grips America’s Attention As One Woman Dies In Canada

Hurricane SandyEven before Hurricane Sandy crosses the US coastline, one woman in Toronto becomes the first victim of the oncoming superstorm.  In Toronto’s west end a woman was killed by an impact to the head from debris when a sign blew apart in the building wind.

Toronto police reported that the woman, who is thought to be in her 30s, was discovered with “obvious head trauma” shortly after 7 PM close to a “Staples” store sign that is affixed to a pole towering over the store’s parking lot at Keele St., south of St. Clair Ave. W.

The woman was pronounced dead at the scene, but police have not identified her as of yet.

One panel of the sign is missing but the other panel is still hanging precariously and swinging in the wind Toronto police reported.  Sgt. Stella Karras said, “It is a little treacherous with the rain and the wind”.

There are no known witnesses to the incident and police were still attempting to remove the remaining panel form the sign as the investigation continued.

City officials announced on a Monday news conference, that Superstorm Sandy would be a test of Toronto’s capability to react to the unparalleled approaching storm.

City manager Joe Pennachetti commented that it’s “the length and scope of this storm that is different.”

Toronto Hydro vice-president, Blair Peberdy, a said he’s never witnessed anything like it before. “Certainly not in my career if the forecasts are what they say they are.  I’ve been with Toronto Hydro for 25, 30 years. So I don’t think we’ve seen one come through as strong as this one,” he said.

Toronto Hydro spokeswoman Jennifer Link said at least 6,000 customers had lost power on Monday night. “We’re sending crews out to assess and repair the damage,” Link said. “But if it gets too dangerous, we’ll have to pull out the crews.”

Toronto Hydro predicted that some tens of thousands of people could experience outages from a few hours to a number of days.

Link said that because of an increase in calls and the potentially and increasingly dangerous weather, some customers could be without power into the afternoon Tuesday.

CTV News reported the progression of the approaching storm from October 22nd through 29th…

Oct. 22: Tropical Depression 18 forms over the south-western Caribbean, about 515 kilometres south-southwest of Kingston, Jamaica. Six hours later, the U.S. National Hurricane Center says it has grown to tropical storm force and names it Sandy.

Oct. 23: Jamaica and Cuba begin making preparations for the strengthening storm.

Oct. 24: Sandy becomes a hurricane with winds of 130 km/h just before slamming into Jamaica west of the capital, Kingston, at about 3 p.m. EDT. The fast-moving storm crosses the island within five hours, killing one person, blowing off roofs and cutting power to half the country. Forecasters begin warning that Sandy could combine with two other weather fronts in the U.S. to create a “super storm.”

Read more: http://www.ctvnews.ca/world/ctv-reporters-on-the-track-of-the-big-storm-1.1015900#ixzz2AlLY0iCG

This magnitude of this storm is unprecedented and has kept the continent enthralled since its approach was first reported days ago.  It has put the presidential election on hold due to its sheer magnitude.

North America has never experienced a storm of this mass.  On Monday, the crew of the tall ship “Bounty” had to abandon ship and watch the “Bounty” sink into the depths of the ocean.  All crew members were rescued with the exception of the captain at this time.  One female crew member later died in hospital.

The “Bounty” was a replica ship built in Nova Scotia for the 1962 movie “Mutiny on the Bounty” starring Marlon Brando.  The female crew member who died is purported to be a descendant of the officer Fletcher Christian who lead the mutiny in 1787.

The two North American nations wait in unison for Sandy to unleash her fury.

 

NEWS