Archive

Posts Tagged ‘The Kill’

Sherlock returns! Mini-episode grants fans early Xmas wish

December 25th, 2013 No comments

A haggard and unemployed Sgt. Anderson (Jonathan Aris) has become the biggest believer that Sherlock is alive.

In this seven-minute mini-episode “Many Happy Returns” of the hit TV show “Sherlock,” written by the show’s creators Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, we see Benedict Cumberbatch at it again as the great detective, Sherlock Holmes, as he makes his journey back to his roommate, colleague, and best friend Dr. John Watson (Martin Freeman).

Warning: Spoilers ahead, so if you’ve never watched “Sherlock” or are catching up, stop reading now.

After Sherlock disappears after faking his own death in “The Final Problem” to fool his archenemy Jim Moriarty’s henchmen — who vowed to kill those closest to Sherlock if he did not die — fans shared endless conspiracy theories on how clever the detective would have to be to convince even Watson (who sees Sherlock jump off the roof of St. Bartholomew’s Hospital) of his own demise.

We know Sherlock is indeed alive thanks to the last scene in “The Final Problem” where he lurks in behind trees hiding from Watson and his beloved landlady Mrs. Hudson (Una Stubbs) as they lament over his grave.

So what has Sherlock been up to since he’s been presumed dead and how have his friends and colleagues been coping this entire time? “Many Happy Returns” gives glimpses of Sherlock solving mysteries around the globe, starting in Tibet — which ironically mirrors Cumberbatch’s real-life adventures when he taught English in a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in his youth.

A very sad Watson (Martin Freeman) watching a DVD of an uncut message Sherlock made for his birthday during happier times.

The mini-episode hints that Sherlock (posing as a Buddhist warrior monk) ferrets out a blonde female drug smuggler who is hiding out amongst them. In New Delhi, we see a police press conference where it’s revealed the killer was discovered from the minutest of details – the depth of a chocolate flake had sunk into the victim’s ice cream cone. Not to mention the mysterious juror in Germany, who taps his fingers impatiently like you-know-who.

One of the most shocking transformations of a character belongs to Sgt. Anderson (Jonathan Aris) of the New Scotland Yard forensics team who was once insulted by Sherlock who accused him of “lowering the IQ of the whole street.” He’s no longer the defensive adversary of Sherlock, but has become the biggest believer that Sherlock is alive. Anderson, now haggard and unemployed, meets with DI Greg Lestrade (Rupert Graves) in a pub to discuss the unusual crimes he’s been tracking to try to convince him that Sherlock must still be alive to solve them all. It’s heartbreaking to see Anderson so desperately passionate to prove of Sherlock’s continued existence. But he may have just ingratiated himself into the hearts of Sherlock fans who have been tweeting #SherlockLives since his aired “death” on January 2012.

Lestrade leaves Anderson in the pub to deliver a few odds and ends of Sherlock’s to Watson in his new flat. He hands Watson an old DVD of an uncut message Sherlock made for Watson’s birthday during happier times. Later, alone with a drink in his hand, Watson pops in the DVD, to see that familiar wallpaper of their shared flat at 221B Baker Street. Sherlock talks to Lestrade, who is off camera, about why he’s missing Watson’s birthday party. When Lestrade urges him to elaborate, Sherlock replies “Only lies have detail.” Sherlock’s message to John might as well be a prelude to what is to come. “I’m sorry I’m not there at the moment,” Sherlock says. “I’m very busy. However, many happy returns. Oh don’t worry, I’m going to be with you again very soon.” Then cue doorbell, and a wink and a nod from Sherlock on the video.

A wink and a nod from Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch) on the video.


(Credit:
Screenshot by CNET)

Be sure to check out Watson’s blog, now updated about his feelings regarding Sherlock’s message on the DVD.

With only three episodes per season, this mere seven-minute mini-episode of “Sherlock” is just want fans need to keep us going until the third season premieres with “The Empty Hearse,” written by Mark Gatiss, on January 1, 2014 on BBC One in the UK and on January 19 on PBS in the United States.

The only thing better than this mini-episode, and the anticipation of a third season, is knowing that a fourth season is possibly also in the works, thanks to Cumberbatch letting the secret slip in a Radio Times interview: “All I know at the moment is we’re doing these three [episodes of the upcoming series] and another three,” Cumberbatch said. “I just don’t know what there is beyond that.”

All we can say is, “Welcome back, Sherlock. We missed you.”

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/cnet/pRza/~3/_Kj039Xs4Go/

From Romeo to JFK — in Legos

November 29th, 2013 No comments

John Wilkes Booth readies the killing shot on President Abraham Lincoln in the new book “Assassinated!” The book showcases the attempts on the lives of 12 US presidents.


(Credit:
Brendan Powell Smith/Assassinated!)

You’ve seen the picture a thousand times. John F. Kennedy and his wife Jackie, sit in the back of the limousine. It’s the final moments of JFK’s life, as seconds later, the president would be gunned down. But you’ve never seen it like this before — made entirely out of Legos.

That scene, and others from the assassination attempts on the lives of 12 American presidents, are featured in “Assassination!” in which Brendan Powell Smith tells the stories of every significant attack on a US president, including the killings of Kennedy and Abraham Lincoln, and the 1981 shooting of Ronald Reagan.

Shakespeare, tanks, and JFK’s motorcade, in Legos (pictures)

  • src="http://ripley.za.net/wp-content/plugins/rss-poster/cache/d37d8_Screen_shot_2013-11-27_at_1.19.16_PM_220x157.png" width="220" height="157" />

The book is oddly educational: Did you know that Osama bin Laden tried to kill Bill Clinton in Manila in 1996, for example?

“Assassination!” is just one of four new books from Skyhorse Publishing that showcase history and human achievement using nothing but Legos. In “Badass Bricks,” Jake Mackay shows us how to use Legos to build 35 different famous weapons, while in “Extreme Bricks,” Sarah Herman highlights dozens of gorgeous, artistic, Lego projects from a wide range of builders.

And finally, in “Brick Shakespeare,” Monica Sweeney, Becky Thomas, and John McCann present “Hamlet,” “Macbeth,” “Romeo and Juliet,” and “Julius Caesar” in Legos.

The new books follow on other recent Lego book projects, including “Beautiful Lego,” by Mike Doyle, and “Lego Space: Building the Future,” by Peter Reid and Tim Goddard.

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/cnet/pRza/~3/N-5hdwhvLhE/

From president assassinations to ‘Romeo and Juliet,’ in Legos

November 29th, 2013 No comments

John Wilkes Booth readies the killing shot on President Abraham Lincoln in the new book “Assassinated!” The book showcases the attempts on the lives of 12 US presidents.


(Credit:
Brendan Powell Smith/Assassinated!)

You’ve seen the picture a thousand times. John F. Kennedy and his wife Jackie, sit in the back of the limousine. It’s the final moments of JFK’s life, as seconds later, the president would be gunned down. But you’ve never seen it like this before — made entirely out of Legos.

That scene, and others from the assassination attempts on the lives of 12 American presidents, are featured in “Assassination!” in which Brendan Powell Smith tells the stories of every significant attack on a US president, including the killings of Kennedy and Abraham Lincoln, and the 1981 shooting of Ronald Reagan.

Shakespeare, tanks, and JFK’s motorcade, in Legos (pictures)

The book is oddly educational: Did you know that Osama bin Laden tried to kill Bill Clinton in Manila in 1996, for example?

“Assassination!” is just one of four new books from Skyhorse Publishing that showcase history and human achievement using nothing but Legos. In “Badass Bricks,” Jake Mackay shows us how to use Legos to build 35 different famous weapons, while in “Extreme Bricks,” Sarah Herman highlights dozens of gorgeous, artistic, Lego projects from a wide range of builders.

And finally, in “Brick Shakespeare,” Monica Sweeney, Becky Thomas, and John McCann present “Hamlet,” “Macbeth,” “Romeo and Juliet,” and “Julius Caesar” in Legos.

The new books follow on other recent Lego book projects, including “Beautiful Lego,” by Mike Doyle, and “Lego Space: Building the Future,” by Peter Reid and Tim Goddard.

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/cnet/pRza/~3/SqPhg1OKda0/

Batman: Arkham Origins Review

October 29th, 2013 No comments


Batman: Arkham Origins ReviewDeveloper: WB Montreal
Publisher: Warner Brothers
Platforms: PC, X360, PS3
Price: £39.99

If there’s any topic across all of fiction that is absolutely sewn shut, it’s origin stories in the Batman Universe. There’s no living human unclear about who Batman or The Joker are. We’ve reached maximum saturation point. Babies are born and immediately handed a copy of Frank Miller’s Year One in exchange for their umbilical cord.

Thankfully, this prequel-follow up to the Batman: Arkham series largely avoids filling in Batman’s past by taking place two years into his career as Gotham’s protector. Sadly, the game scores near entire passages liberally from Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke in order to showcase The Joker’s backstory. Dialogue and themes are rehashed so extensively this feels more like loving fanfiction than a legitimate attempt to shed any new light on the character.

On Christmas Eve, at a point in time decades in the past while also still close enough to modern day to retain all of our technological advances, Batman intends to fend off an attack by eight assassins hired by lesser-known villain Black Mask. Batman’s identity remains a secret, and so he could easily stay home and wait until the air clears, but he rationalises doing so will only put innocent people in danger in an attempt to draw him out of hiding.

Batman: Arkham Origins Review
This is one of Arkham Origins biggest failings. It doesn’t provide a compelling sense of purpose or place. Batman’s justification that innocent people will be harmed is undermined by the game’s unwillingness to display more than a handful of innocent people throughout the entire run-time. There are no civilians other than the few who are taken hostage already. This story takes place in a fully inhabited Gotham City, which should be absolutely filled with random pedestrians and cars (even during the heavy Christmas snow). Instead it’s functionally the same as the later Arkham City, where the majority of inhabitants are hardened criminals needlessly staking out rooftops and street corners.

The dearth of world building extends to Gotham itself, which is seemingly made from recycled content from the previous game but is somehow smaller now with less for the player to do. A fast-travel system is introduced, but it seems unnecessary when the game world is so bunched together. Most of Origins takes place indoors, with gameplay cycling between the series’ famous hand-to-hand combat, predatory stealth sections and some arduous level traversal.

Batman: Arkham Origins Review
Combat isn’t necessarily enhanced by any of the new character-type additions, it’s instead just made slightly more complex. The stealth is a nearly-exact replica of previous games and it’s still a highlight of the entire experience to stake-out enemies, grab them and leave them hanging upside down from a wall-ornament. Making your way between these sections is starting to drag, with level design put together in a way where you clearly see your objective and are just tasked with using the correct item on the correct part of the map. You shoot a grappling hook on things you should pull down. You create a zipline in pre-determined areas. You don’t make your own path, you simply create the path designed for you.

This level traversal worked slightly differently in Arkham Asylum, where different equipment gated off areas of the map you would later return to rather than being the core way you get around. It wasn’t just a way to give the player a key to unlock a door, but actually giving them an ability instead.

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/bit-tech/gaming/~3/x4t-aZmNeA8/1

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/GamingRipplesWeb/~3/Kxrxh3en9B8/

U.N. Security Council passes chemical weapons measure

September 28th, 2013 No comments


.cnn_html_media_utility::before{color:red;content:’’;font-size:9px;line-height:12px;padding-right:1px}
.cnnstrylccimg640{margin:0 27px 14px 0}
.captionText{filter:alpha(opacity=100);opacity:1}
.cnn_html_slideshow_media_caption a,.cnn_html_slideshow_media_caption a:visited,.cnn_html_slideshow_media_caption a:link,.captionText a,.captionText a:visited,.captiontext a:link{color:outline:medium none}
.cnnVerticalGalleryPhoto{margin:0 auto;padding-right:68px;width:270px}
]]

The U.N. Security Council votes to approve a resolution that will require Syria to give up its chemical weapons during a meeting on Friday, September 27, at the United Nations. The vote comes after assertions by the United States and other Western nations that the Syrian government used chemical weapons in an August 21 attack outside Damascus that U.S. officials estimate killed 1,400 people.The U.N. Security Council votes to approve a resolution that will require Syria to give up its chemical weapons during a meeting on Friday, September 27, at the United Nations. The vote comes after assertions by the United States and other Western nations that the Syrian government used chemical weapons in an August 21 attack outside Damascus that U.S. officials estimate killed 1,400 people.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the world community was imposing a binding obligation on the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to get rid of its chemical weapons stockpile.U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the world community was imposing a binding obligation on the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to get rid of its chemical weapons stockpile.

A man mourns over the bodies of those killed in a suspected chemical weapon attack in a suburb of Damascus, Syria, on Wednesday, August 21. Syrian rebels said poisonous gas rained down from rockets, but authorities have denied the allegations that they used chemical weapons and accused the opposition of staging the attacks. U.S. officials, however, said there were strong indications that there was a chemical weapons attack by the government.A man mourns over the bodies of those killed in a suspected chemical weapon attack in a suburb of Damascus, Syria, on Wednesday, August 21. Syrian rebels said poisonous gas rained down from rockets, but authorities have denied the allegations that they used chemical weapons and accused the opposition of staging the attacks. U.S. officials, however, said there were “strong indications” that there was a chemical weapons attack by the government.

People attend to the victims of the attack on August 21 in Damascus. British intelligence said at least 350 people died, while rebel leaders have put the death toll at more than 1,300. People attend to the victims of the attack on August 21 in Damascus. British intelligence said at least 350 people died, while rebel leaders have put the death toll at more than 1,300.

Constricted pupils was listed as a symptom in victims of the alleged attack on August 21. Constricted pupils was listed as a symptom in victims of the alleged attack on August 21.

Victims of the attack are laid in the back of a truck in the Hamoria area of Damascus on August 21.Victims of the attack are laid in the back of a truck in the Hamoria area of Damascus on August 21.

A young survivor takes shelter in a mosque in the Duma neighborhood of Damascus on August 21. A young survivor takes shelter in a mosque in the Duma neighborhood of Damascus on August 21.

Victims are buried in a suburb of Damascus on August 21. Victims are buried in a suburb of Damascus on August 21.

People search for the dead to collect samples to check for chemical weapon use in the Zamalka area of Syria on Thursday, August 22. People search for the dead to collect samples to check for chemical weapon use in the Zamalka area of Syria on Thursday, August 22.

A group of young Salafists chants and waves black flags during a protest against the Egyptian and Syria regimes in the southern Gaza Strip on August 22. A group of young Salafists chants and waves black flags during a protest against the Egyptian and Syria regimes in the southern Gaza Strip on August 22.

A young woman holds a Syrian revolution flag and a candle during a protest of President Bashar al-Assad in front of the U.N. headquarters in Gaza City on Friday, August 23. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon intends to conduct a thorough, impartial and prompt investigation into the alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria.A young woman holds a Syrian revolution flag and a candle during a protest of President Bashar al-Assad in front of the U.N. headquarters in Gaza City on Friday, August 23. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon intends to conduct a “thorough, impartial and prompt investigation” into the alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria.

Pigeons' bodies litter the ground in the Damascus suburbs of Arbeen on Saturday, August 24.Pigeons’ bodies litter the ground in the Damascus suburbs of Arbeen on Saturday, August 24.

Syrian soldiers are deployed in the Jobar neighborhood of Damascus on August 24.Syrian soldiers are deployed in the Jobar neighborhood of Damascus on August 24.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad speaks with the Russian newspaper Izvestia in Damascus, Syria, on Monday, August 26. He told the newspaper that Western accusations that the Syrian government used chemical weapons are an insult to common sense.Syrian President Bashar al-Assad speaks with the Russian newspaper Izvestia in Damascus, Syria, on Monday, August 26. He told the newspaper that Western accusations that the Syrian government used chemical weapons are an insult to common sense.

Representatives of Arab countries discuss Syria at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo, Egypt, on Tuesday, August 27. President al-Assad vowed to defend his country against any outside attack. The threats of launching an aggression against Syria will increase its commitments, and Syria will defend itself against any aggression, he said, according to Syrian state TV.Representatives of Arab countries discuss Syria at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo, Egypt, on Tuesday, August 27. President al-Assad vowed to defend his country against any outside attack. “The threats of launching an aggression against Syria will increase its commitments,” and “Syria will defend itself against any aggression,” he said, according to Syrian state TV.


1


2


3


4


5


6


7


8


9


10


11


12


13


14


15


16

United Nations (CNN) — The U.N. Security Council, capping a dramatic month of diplomacy, voted unanimously late Friday to require Syria to eliminate its arsenal of chemical weapons — or face consequences.

“Today’s resolution will ensure that the elimination of the Syrian chemical weapons program happens as soon as possible and with the utmost transparency and accountability,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said.

The U.N. resolution was based on a deal struck this month between the United States and Russia that averted an American military strike over allegations the Syrian government used sarin nerve gas in an August 21 attack on a Damascus suburb that U.S. officials said left at least 1,400 people dead.

The resolution did not authorize the automatic use of force if Syria is said to be in violation, as was previously sought by the United States.

The 15-member Security Council met shortly after the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, or OPCW, voted to fast-track Syria’s addition to the Chemical Weapons Convention, which bans such weapons.


Bill Clinton on Putin and Syria


U.S., Russia reach deal on Syria


Extremists gain influence among rebels

For nearly two years, the U.N. Security Council had been unable to reach a consensus over what to do to bring about an end to Syria’s civil war. Russia and China repeatedly vetoed resolutions dating back to October 2011 that condemned President Bashar al-Assad’s government and called for him to step down.

The turnaround came this month, when Russia called for Syria to divest itself of its chemical weapons arsenal after U.S. President Barack Obama accused Syria of crossing a “red line” with the use of nerve gas and threatened a strike.

Syria announced this month that it was willing to join the agreement.

A binding obligation

Both the United States and Russia warned that if Syria failed to adhere to the terms of the U.N. resolution, it would face consequences.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the world community was imposing a binding obligation on the government of al-Assad to get rid of its stockpile.

“This resolution makes clear that those responsible for this heinous act must be held accountable,” said Kerry.

If the resolution succeeds, the world “will have eliminated one of the largest chemical weapon arsenals on Earth, eliminating it from one of the most volatile places on Earth,” Kerry said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told the council that his country, long an ally of the Syrian government, “will stand ready to take action” if the resolution needs enforcement.

By agreeing to dismantle its chemical weapons program and provide documentation of its arsenal, “Damascus has shown its readiness to cooperate,” said Lavrov.

Syrian U.N. Ambassador Bashar Jaafari said the resolution holds all parties in Syria accountable for the use of chemical weapons.

Inspectors return to Syria

U.N. weapons inspectors returned to Syria this week to look into at least a half-dozen claims of chemical weapons use — some allegedly by the government, others allegedly by rebels.

U.N. inspectors have already confirmed the use of chemical warfare in the rural Damascus suburb of Ateibeh in August, but have not explicitly said who was responsible.

The al-Assad government has repeatedly accused rebels of using chemical weapons, an assertion that has been widely dismissed by most Western leaders.

The United Nations estimates more than 100,000 people have died since March 2011 when a brutal government crackdown against protesters devolved into an all-out civil war.

The Security Council vote followed action by the executive council of the OPCW, meeting in the Netherlands. That group adopted its measure by consensus in about 10 minutes.

“We now have a legal mandate to start a verification mission in Syria,” OPCW spokesman Michael Luhan.

The OPCW agreed to an “accelerated program for achieving the complete elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons by mid-2014,” it said in a statement. Inspections in Syria will begin Tuesday.

“The decision also calls for ambitious milestones for destruction, which will be set by the council by 15 November,” the organization said.

Obama: ‘Very hopeful’

Obama, speaking before the votes, said he was “very hopeful” about the developments, but warned much work remains to be done.

“I think, rightly, people have been concerned about whether Syria will follow through on the commitments that have been laid forth and I think there are legitimate concerns as to how technically we are going to be getting those chemical weapons out while there’s still fighting going on the ground,” Obama said.

Obama said the threat of U.S. military power pushed Syrian leaders to agree to destroy their chemical weapons and said the resolution “not only deters and prevents additional chemical use but actually goes beyond what could have been accomplished through any military action.”

The OPCW plans to send an advance team of inspectors to Damascus, an official with the organization, who declined to be identified while discussing delicate operations, told CNN on Friday.

The official said that in order to meet international deadlines for destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons, the group may opt for a “quick and dirty” program that would render the weapons unusable but wouldn’t destroy them, the official said.

U.S. official: Syrian CW list more complete than anticipated

‘Not a license to kill’

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has said his country is willing to transport and destroy Syrian chemical weapons, although only as part of an international coalition.

Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier in September took to The New York Times to argue against military intervention in Syria.

Striking Syria would have many negative ramifications, Putin argued in the piece, including the killing of innocent people, spreading violence around the Middle East, clouding diplomatic efforts to address Iran’s nuclear crisis and resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and “unleash(ing) a new wave of terrorism.”

In his remarks Friday night, Ban called on both the Syrian government and rebels to stop the fighting.

“As we mark this important step, we must never forget that the catalog of horrors in Syria continues with bombs and tanks, grenades and guns,” he said. “A red light for one form of weapons does not mean a green light for others. This is not a license to kill with conventional weapons.”

Syria submits ‘initial disclosure’ of chemical weapons program

‘No meaningful enforcement mechanisms’

Two Republican U.S. senators criticized the Security Council vote, saying it will do little to end the civil war.

“This resolution is another triumph of hope over reality,” John McCain and Lindsey Graham said in a statement. “It contains no meaningful or immediate enforcement mechanisms, let alone a threat of the use of force for the Assad regime’s noncompliance.”

The pair said al-Assad’s forces will continue to “use every weapon in their arsenal short of chemical weapons” on the Syrian people while receiving outside assistance from Russia, Iran and Hezbollah while doing so.

CNN’s Phil Gast, Chelsea J. Carter, Dana Ford, Andrew Carey and Jim Sciutto contributed to this report.


Article source: http://edition.cnn.com/2013/09/27/world/meast/un-syria-resolution/index.html?eref=edition

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/NewsRipplesWeb/~3/55KeYPMRl3E/u-n-security-council-passes-chemical-weapons-measure

How to end the elephant slaughter

September 27th, 2013 No comments

Editor’s note: Cristián Samper is the president and CEO of the Wildlife Conservation Society; Patrick Bergin is the president and CEO of the African Wildlife Foundation; Peter Seligmann is chairman and CEO of Conservation International; Azzedine Downes is the president and CEO of the International Fund for Animal Welfare; and Carter Roberts is the president and CEO of World Wildlife Fund

(CNN) — Dzanga Bai is a magical place of natural wonder. It is on the Central African Republic’s southwest border with the Republic of Congo and is widely considered the most important gathering place for forest elephants in the entire Congo basin. For decades — and probably centuries — elephants by the hundreds from across the region have congregated there, reconnecting with family members and drinking the mineral-rich waters.

Last May, a group of heavily armed men, believed to be linked to the Seleka rebel group, entered Dzanga Bai and slaughtered a reported two dozen elephants.

By the time Dzanga Bai’s elephant carcasses were discovered, the perpetrators were gone, leaving in their wake a horrific crime scene of heads carved up for their precious ivory. Tusks like these, typically destined for Asian markets, where growing demand has quickly driven up prices, have in recent years presented a new opportunity for quick cash to finance the operations of armed gangs from the Central African Republic east to Somalia. It is now widely understood that groups ranging from Darfur’s Janjaweed to Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army have turned to this revenue source.

The growth of these groups, with funds from illegal wildlife trafficking, is destabilizing African governments even as it devastates populations of elephants, rhinos and other high value wildlife. Operating through terror and intimidation, roving rebel armies undermine democratic governance and responsible resource management while devastating regional economies through disruptions to tourism and local livelihoods.

In meetings in the United States, Asia and Africa this year, we have listened as leaders have shared their growing anxiety. The new poachers are tied to criminal syndicates. Rifles and machetes have been enhanced or replaced with helicopters, night visions goggles, sophisticated telecommunications and automatic weapons. Local communities are terrified and national governments fear losing large swaths of territory to these gangs.

Out of these conversations has emerged a challenge to the world—from African nations–to stop buying ivory. Representatives of the governments of Botswana, Cote d’Ivoire, Gabon, Liberia, Malawi, Tanzania and Uganda, along with the international nongovernmental organizations we represent, have gathered in New York this week to announce an important commitment through the Clinton Global Initiative. Together, we have three straightforward goals: (1) stop the killing; (2) stop the trafficking; and (3) stop the demand.

To stop the killing and the trafficking, the international community can help states that make up the present range of the African elephant by providing equipment, training and expertise. President Obama recently dedicated $10 million for law enforcement efforts and the creation of a wildlife trafficking task force at the highest levels of the U.S. government, complementing existing U.S. initiatives. European and other nations, along with private citizens, need to join him in committing emergency resources to enforcement efforts in elephant landscapes and ivory trafficking ports.


Kenya’s first lady saves elephants


Kenya’s first lady saves elephants


Saving Kenya’s elephants

Despite a ban on international trade in ivory imposed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora in 1989, domestic sales remain legal in a number of countries, including the United States. Because these legal markets can provide a front for laundering illegal ivory into the trade, moratoria on domestic sales of ivory are also a vital part of anti-trafficking efforts.

Stopping the demand requires new strategies. Removing the prestige associated with buying ivory requires creative new uses of social media and other tools to change consumption behavior in China and elsewhere. Once the demand for ivory is curtailed there will be little financial incentive for criminal groups to continue elephant poaching and trafficking.

Yet because carved ivory is a centuries-old cultural tradition, this change will take time — something the world’s dwindling elephant populations don’t have. That is why African nations with the greatest remaining elephant populations have begun to call for nations across the globe to stop selling and purchasing ivory until all African elephant populations have recovered to healthy levels.

The devastating poaching crisis that has gripped Africa over the past decade has left multiple tragedies in its wake: the loss of roughly three-quarters of all remaining African forest elephants; the murder of hundreds of courageous wildlife guards; regional government resources stretched to their limits as villagers across sub-Saharan Africa live in daily terror.

The initiative launched this week by representatives of elephant range states, ivory consumer nations, and our organizations has been endorsed by an unprecedented group of conservation partners that include the African Parks Network, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the Frankfurt Zoological Society, the Freeland Foundation, the International Conservation Caucus Foundation, National Geographic, Save the Elephants, TRAFFIC, WildAid, and Wildlife Direct.

This effort is our best bet at saving these majestic, highly intelligent and socially complex creatures while bringing much-needed stability to governments whose hopes for a brighter future require that armed gangs no longer operate within their borders. Before it’s too late, let’s stop the killing, stop the trafficking and stop the demand.

Follow @CNNOpinion on Twitter.

Join us at Facebook/CNNOpinion.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of its authors.


Article source: http://edition.cnn.com/2013/09/27/opinion/samper-elephant-preservation/index.html?eref=edition

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/NewsRipplesWeb/~3/k7jAMjeVtAg/how-to-end-the-elephant-slaughter

Al-Shabaab breaks new ground

September 23rd, 2013 No comments

(CNN) — The Al-Shabaab assault on a mall in Nairobi, Kenya, is alarming for its audacity, its scale and the sophisticated planning that went into it. Both the choice of target and method of attack exactly fit the new al Qaeda playbook.

Few counterterrorism experts are surprised that the Somali group launched another attack in the Kenyan capital. It has threatened to take revenge ever since Kenyan forces entered Al-Shabaab’s heartland in southern Somalia. Small-scale attacks, frequently with hand grenades, have already brought bloodshed to Nairobi’s streets. Back in September of last year, Kenyan authorities said they had disrupted a major plot to attack public spaces in Nairobi in its final stages of planning. Authorities also broke up a plot by the group against Western tourists in the city in late 2007.

But the scope of the assault on the Westgate Mall — and especially its eerie similarities to the attack in Mumbai, India, in 2008 — show that Al-Shabaab has taken its ability to strike outside Somalia to a new level.

Only once before has the group caused such carnage in East Africa, when bombers attacked bars and restaurants in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, on the night of the World Cup Final in 2010. More than 60 people were killed. Al-Shabaab said the attacks were in retaliation for Uganda’s leading role in the African Union force supporting Somalia’s weak government in Mogadishu.

But the attack on the Westgate Mall is very different, involving perhaps 10 or more heavily armed assailants, using multiple entrance points to lay siege to a high-profile venue in an upscale neighborhood. The assault then evolved into a hostage-taking to garner maximum publicity.

Al-Shabaab grew amid Somalia’s lawlessness

Al-Shabaab says the attack took months of planning and training, and as it unfolded the group kept up a running commentary on its Twitter feed.

Kenyan paramilitary police officers patrol the area near the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, where hostages are being held for the second day on Sunday, September 22. Gunmen burst into the mall and opened fire in a deadly attack on September 21. Kenyan government and Western diplomatic sources said Al-Shabaab militants were holding about 30 hostages inside the shopping center on Sunday. As grim-faced Kenyan soldiers warily searched the five-story building -- and as Al-Shabaab maintained its defiant stance -- the siege was no closer to a resolution. Kenyan paramilitary police officers patrol the area near the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, where hostages are being held for the second day on Sunday, September 22. Gunmen burst into the mall and opened fire in a deadly attack on September 21. Kenyan government and Western diplomatic sources said Al-Shabaab militants were holding about 30 hostages inside the shopping center on Sunday. As grim-faced Kenyan soldiers warily searched the five-story building — and as Al-Shabaab maintained its defiant stance — the siege was no closer to a resolution.

Soldiers from the Kenya Defense Forces arrive outside the Westgate Mall on September 22.Soldiers from the Kenya Defense Forces arrive outside the Westgate Mall on September 22.

A woman shields a baby as a soldier stands guard inside the Westgate Mall on Saturday, September 21.A woman shields a baby as a soldier stands guard inside the Westgate Mall on Saturday, September 21.

A rescue worker helps a child outside the mall on September 21.A rescue worker helps a child outside the mall on September 21.

People who had been hiding inside the mall during the gunfire flee the scene. People who had been hiding inside the mall during the gunfire flee the scene.

An armed official takes a shooting position inside the mall.An armed official takes a shooting position inside the mall.

An armed official crouches on September 21.An armed official crouches on September 21.

Bodies lie on the ground inside the mall.Bodies lie on the ground inside the mall.

Men help a wounded woman outside the mall on September 21.Men help a wounded woman outside the mall on September 21.

Officials carry an injured man in the mall.Officials carry an injured man in the mall.

Soldiers move up stairs inside the Westgate Mall.Soldiers move up stairs inside the Westgate Mall.

A soldier directs people up a stairway inside the Westgate on September 21.A soldier directs people up a stairway inside the Westgate on September 21.

An injured man is wheeled into the Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi.An injured man is wheeled into the Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi.

People run from the Westgate Mall.People run from the Westgate Mall.

A Kenyan woman is helped to safety after the masked gunmen stormed the upscale mall and sprayed gunfire on shoppers and staff. A Kenyan woman is helped to safety after the masked gunmen stormed the upscale mall and sprayed gunfire on shoppers and staff.

Crowds gather outside the upscale shopping mall. The interior ministry urges Kenyans to keep off the roads near the mall so police can ensure everyone inside has been evacuated to safety. Crowds gather outside the upscale shopping mall. The interior ministry urges Kenyans to keep off the roads near the mall so police can ensure everyone inside has been evacuated to safety.

A policeman carries a baby to safety. Authorities said multiple shooters were at the scene. A policeman carries a baby to safety. Authorities said multiple shooters were at the scene.

Bodies lie outside the shopping mall.Bodies lie outside the shopping mall.

A security officer helps a wounded woman outside. A security officer helps a wounded woman outside.

Elaine Dang of San Diego is helped to safety after the attack. The military asked local media not to televise anything live because the gunmen are watching the screens in the mall.Elaine Dang of San Diego is helped to safety after the attack. The military asked local media not to televise anything live because the gunmen are watching the screens in the mall.

Paramedics treat an injured man outside the mall. Paramedics treat an injured man outside the mall.

Medical personnel carry a body away. Medical personnel carry a body away.

A body lies outside the mall. Gunmen shot people outside the mall as they entered itA body lies outside the mall. Gunmen shot people outside the mall as they entered it

A woman is pulled by a shopping cart to an ambulance.A woman is pulled by a shopping cart to an ambulance.

A wounded man is escorted outside the mall. A wounded man is escorted outside the mall.

A police officer carries a baby as people keep low and run to safety. Crowds dashed down the streets as soldiers in military fatigues, guns cocked, crawled under cars to get closer to the mall. A police officer carries a baby as people keep low and run to safety. Crowds dashed down the streets as soldiers in military fatigues, guns cocked, crawled under cars to get closer to the mall.

People run away from the scene. People run away from the scene.

Armed Kenyan forces take position to secure the area around the shopping mall as ambulances move in to carry the injured. Armed Kenyan forces take position to secure the area around the shopping mall as ambulances move in to carry the injured.

Family members who were trapped inside manage to escape. One mall visitor said people ran outside but would return inside upon hearing gunfire coming from outdoors. Family members who were trapped inside manage to escape. One mall visitor said people ran outside but would return inside upon hearing gunfire coming from outdoors.

A woman reacts after she is rescued from the mall. A woman reacts after she is rescued from the mall.

A couple flee the area. As night fell, authorities said they had cornered the gunmen in the mall.A couple flee the area. As night fell, authorities said they had cornered the gunmen in the mall.

Armed police leave after entering the mall. At least one suspect has been killed, a government official said. Police have said another suspected gunman has been detained at a Nairobi hospital.Armed police leave after entering the mall. At least one suspect has been killed, a government official said. Police have said another suspected gunman has been detained at a Nairobi hospital.

Armed police take cover behind escalators as smoke fills the air. Witnesses say tear gas was thrown in the corridors. Armed police take cover behind escalators as smoke fills the air. Witnesses say tear gas was thrown in the corridors.

A woman who had been hiding during the attack runs for cover after armed police enter the mall. A woman who had been hiding during the attack runs for cover after armed police enter the mall.

A body is seen on the floor inside the smoke-filled four-story mall.A body is seen on the floor inside the smoke-filled four-story mall.

An injured person is helped on arrival at the Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi after the attack at the upscale mall. An injured person is helped on arrival at the Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi after the attack at the upscale mall.

An armed police officer takes cover during a volley of gunfire outside the mall. An armed police officer takes cover during a volley of gunfire outside the mall.


1


2


3


4


5


6


7


8


9


10


11


12


13


14


15


16


17


18


19


20


21


22


23


24


25


26


27


28


29


30


31


32


33


34


35


36


37

Photos: Kenya mall attackPhotos: Kenya mall attack


Terrorists attack mall in Kenya


Shooting witness: We crawled under cars


Witness: We saw lots of blood

“The Mujahideen entered #Westgate Mall today at around noon and are still inside the mall, fighting the #Kenyan Kuffar (infidels) inside their own turf,” it said.

Al Qaeda Template

The operation ticks the boxes that al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri listed in a message published just over a week ago.

1. Ensure the target is Western. The Westgate Mall has several Israeli establishments and is popular with expatriates. Those killed include three British citizens, two French nationals and two Canadians, their governments said. In his September 13 message, al-Zawahiri warned against attacks on non-Western states unless the regime was part of “the American forces.” Kenya, with its long tradition of pro-Western governments and close relationships with Western militaries, fits that bill.

2. Take hostages where possible. Al-Zawahiri recommended taking “the citizens of the countries that are participating in the invasion of Muslim countries as hostages so that our prisoners may be freed in exchange.”

3. Try to avoid Muslim casualties. Al-Shabaab claimed on its Twitter feed that the gunmen escorted Muslims out of the mall, before turning on the “disbelievers” inside. Witnesses said the gunmen at the Westgate tried to identify Muslims by asking shoppers the name of Mohammed’s mother. They shot those who didn’t know.

Nairobi is vulnerable to Al-Shabaab attacks not least because of the large Somali community, many of them refugees from the country’s long-running clan warfare, that lives in the Eastleigh district. Known as “little Mogadishu,” Eastleigh is now home to an estimated 250,000 Somalis. And Al-Shabaab is well established there, raising money, finding recruits and setting up safe houses.

Al-Shabaab also has an ally in the militant Kenyan group al Hijra, formerly the Muslim Youth Center, which has a strong presence in Eastleigh and in the coastal city of Mombasa. Investigators will be examining whether al Hijra played a role in the attack on the Westgate mall. Kenyan al Hijra militants are suspected to have been responsible for several of the small-scale terrorist attacks that have hit the country.

Bergen: How Al-Shabaab picks its targets

This is a worrying trend, analysts say. While Al-Shabaab’s Somali fighters are not used to operating abroad, non-Somali East Africans have been training with the group in southern Somalia. Al Hijra is the most potent outgrowth of that training. Founded in an Eastleigh mosque in 2008, al Hijra took advantage of growing radicalization among a minority of Kenya’s 4.3 million Muslims to build a significant presence in Nairobi and Mombasa. Investigators established the group had close links to the attacks in Kampala in July 2010. According to the U.N. Monitoring Group on Somalia, most of the operatives who conspired in the attack were Kenyan and close to al Hijra leaders.

A crackdown against al Hijra by Kenyan authorities, helped by the United States, has weakened the group. According to a 2013 United Nations report, “Al Hijra members were plagued by unexplained killings, disappearances, continuous ‘catch and release’ arrest raids and operational disruptions.” But al Hijra is far from defeated. According to the U.N. report, it has established links with Al-Shabaab affiliates elsewhere in East Africa and is enlisting the services of fighters returning from Somalia “to conduct new and more complex operations.” Its leadership has become closer to al Qaeda through figures such as Abubakar Shariff Ahmed, known as “Makaburi,” who is said to favor large-scale attacks in Kenya in support of Al-Shabaab.

Al-Shabaab has other valuable alliances in the region, including the government of Eritrea, which sees it as a useful ally against its arch-enemy Ethiopia. A United Nations Monitoring Group reported in 2011 that financial records and shipping movements indicated Eritrea’s support for Al-Shabaab went far beyond the humanitarian.

In a 400-page report, it concluded that Eritrea’s relationship with Al-Shabaab seemed designed to “legitimize and embolden the group rather than to curb its extremist orientation or encourage its participation in a political process.”

Al-Shabaab has also established a relationship with al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen, from which it obtains weapons and training, according to counterterrorism officials and former members of both AQAP and Al-Shabaab. One former jihadist tells CNN the relationship began in 2008 when he linked up a senior figure in Al-Shabaab, Ahmed Warsame, with the Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.

In September 2011, the U.S. Africa Command warned that Al-Shabaab, Boko Haram in NIgeria and al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb were trying to synchronize their efforts to launch attacks on U.S and Western interests.

Kenyan incursion

The Kenyan capital became much more vulnerable to retaliation when Kenyan troops and tanks, supported by airstrikes, moved into Somalia in October 2011 in response to growing cross-border violence. Al-Shabaab immediately warned that the incursion would have “cataclysmic consequences.”

What was meant to be a limited engagement dragged on. It took a year for Kenyan forces to capture the port of Kismayo, but in doing so they dramatically raised the stakes for Al-Shabaab. According to the U.N., Al-Shabaab used to collect an estimated $35 million to $50 million annually in custom tolls and taxes on businesses in Kismayo and two secondary ports higher up the coast — about half its entire estimated annual income.

Its expulsion from Kismayo changed the dynamics for Al-Shabaab. Previously the group held off plotting large-scale attacks in Kenya because of Kenya’s importance for recruitment, logistics and fund-raising. Al-Shabaab commanders realized a crackdown by law enforcement on Somali interests in Kenya would be devastating to the Somali business community, creating a backlash against it in Somalia. But after they lost control of Kismayo, the gloves came off.

In March, Al-Shabaab warned Kenyans they would not “sleep safely” in Nairobi as long as their soldiers were in Somalia. And in the midst of the siege, the group tweeted: “For long we have waged war against the Kenyans in our land, now it’s time to shift the battleground and take the war to their land.”

“The attack at #WestgateMall is just a very tiny fraction of what Muslims in Somalia experience at the hands of Kenyan invaders,” another tweet said.

It’s notable that Al-Shabaab was able to plan and train for such a sophisticated attack despite losing much territory in southern Somalia and around the capital, Mogadishu. As it has lost ground, the group has resorted to suicide bombings. Earlier this month it carried out a bomb attack against a restaurant popular with Westerners in Mogadishu, killing more than a dozen people.

A U.N. report issued in July noted that Al-Shabaab “has shifted its strategic posture to asymmetrical warfare in both urban centres and the countryside” but added that it “continues to control most of southern and central Somalia.” The report estimated the military strength of Al-Shabaab at about 5,000 fighters, with a functioning chain of command, and said it had “preserved the core of its fighting force and resources.”

After years of infighting and feuds, the Nairobi attack may also confirm the ascendancy of Al-Shabaab’s most militant faction and its leader Mukhtar Abu al Zubayr (aka Ahmed Abdi Godane). Zubayr attended a madrassa in Pakistan as a young man and merged the group with al Qaeda in February 2012. He sees Al-Shabaab as part of al Qaeda’s global jihad.

Dissenters have defected or been killed. Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys of Al-Shabaab’s old guard surrendered to Somali authorities. And earlier this month Zubayr reportedly ordered the killing of two Western militants who were critical of his leadership style and had aligned themselves with Aweys — Omar Hammami and Osama al Brittani. Hammami was an American from Alabama who had become a prominent mouthpiece for Al-Shabaab before publicly criticizing Zubayr last year.

Zubayr’s increasingly tight grip on Al-Shabaab — thanks to his ruthless use of the group’s intelligence wing in hunting down opponents — appears to have forestalled the collapse of Al-Shabaab, and may have made it more dangerous.

Zubayr has threatened a direct attack on the United States, and last year the U.S. offered a $7 million reward for information locating him. It would be very surprising if the attack in Nairobi did not receive his blessing, and it may be a sign of things to come as Al-Shabaab takes its war to other parts of East Africa.

Of more immediate concern to Kenyan authorities, in a country where political violence can explode quickly, is a likely backlash against Somali and Kenyan Muslims, which could create a new cycle of radicalization and unrest.


Article source: http://edition.cnn.com/2013/09/22/world/meast/kenya-mall-al-shabaab-analysis/index.html?eref=edition

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/NewsRipplesWeb/~3/7YyMTb88mcM/al-shabaab-breaks-new-ground

IDF: Soldier killed in bargaining ploy

September 23rd, 2013 No comments

(CNN) — A young Israeli soldier was killed as part of a macabre bargaining ploy, the Israeli military said Sunday.

The Palestinian who killed him knew the soldier, and wanted to use the body to secure the release of the Palestinian’s brother, who is in prison for involvement in terror attacks, the Israel Defense Forces said.

Sgt. Tomer Hazan, 20, went missing Friday. Concerned, his family phoned police.

Soon, Israeli authorities brought in Nadal Amer, a 42-year-old Palestinian from the West Bank village of Beit Amin, for questioning, the IDF said.

The two men had once worked at the same restaurant.

“Amer confessed to leading the soldier to an open area, where he murdered the soldier and concealed his body in a water well,” the IDF said in a statement.

Amer said he wanted to trade Hazan’s body for his brother’s freedom, the statement said.

In 2003, Amer’s brother began serving a lengthy prison sentence for “involvement in several terror attacks.”

Amer led Israeli troops to the body north of the village of Siniria, according to the IDF.

“Additional detentions of individuals suspected for involvement in the incident are anticipated,” the IDF said.

A spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted that the prime minister spoke to Hazan’s family, saying, “This crime proves that the fight against terror never stops.”

“This is a horrific terrorist attack carried out by one murderer trying to free another,” IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said in a statement. “The IDF will continue to battle the agents of evil wherever they are, to safeguard the Israeli way of life.”

There was no mention of the killing in the Palestinian state-run news agency WAFA.

But the Israeli paper Ma’ariv quoted Amer’s mother as saying, “I still don’t believe he did it. He was a good kid who got mixed up in stupid things.”

Ma’ariv also published a statement from the head of Beit Amin, Taki Omar, emphasizing his community’s ties with its Jewish neighbors and condemning the killing.

“The village must not be given a bad name because of one crazy person,” Omar said.

In a separate incident, an Israeli soldier died after he was hit by hostile gunfire in Hebron, the IDF said Sunday. The soldier was participating in “routine activities defending the Jewish Neighborhood of Hebron and approximately 11,000 civilians visiting the area during the holiday of Sukkot” when he was hit, the IDF said.

The wounded soldier later died at a hospital in Israel. The IDF launched a search for the attackers and movement in the vicinity of the shooting was restricted, the IDF said.


Article source: http://edition.cnn.com/2013/09/22/world/meast/israeli-solider-killed/index.html?eref=edition

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/NewsRipplesWeb/~3/xuioQqAzFx4/idf-soldier-killed-in-bargaining-ploy

Greek PM calls for calm after violence

September 20th, 2013 No comments


Anti-fascist protesters hold signs reading

Athens, Greece (CNN) — Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras pleaded for calm Thursday after rising anger at Greece’s right-wing Golden Dawn party exploded into violence in a working-class Athens suburb.

“This is not a time for internal fighting, nor for tension,” Samaras said in the televised speech.

“Any political differences should be resolved through democratic dialogue, not fiery arguments, nor violence, no matter where it stems from.”

On Wednesday, crowds protesting the earlier stabbing death of a popular anti-fascist figure in Keratsini — allegedly at the hands a Golden Dawn supporter — hurled rocks at police and burned trash bins outside their station.

The clashes came despite police raids of Golden Dawn offices and the arrest of a 45-year-old party supporter who police say admitted killing Pavlos Fyssas, a well-known hip-hop artist with the stage name Killah P.

Fyssas’ death inflamed already growing concerns about the rising influence of Golden Dawn, an ultranationalist, anti-immigration party that has been linked to street violence and neo-Nazism.

In 2012, the party rode a wave of dissatisfaction among some Greeks over internationally imposed austerity measures amid the country’s deep financial crisis, winning 7% of the vote and gaining seats in parliament for the first time.

READ: Greek minister: Country may need extra 10 billion euros

Golden Dawn MP Ilias Kassidiaris denied his party’s involvement in Fyssas’ death, calling it a “heinous crime.”

He accused politicians of “exploiting a tragic event to win votes and divide Greek society.”

The singer’s death has nevertheless led to renewed calls to ban Golden Dawn.

Greek Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias described the killing as an “abominable murder … by an attacker who, according to his own statement, sympathizes with Golden Dawn, thus illustrating in the most obvious way the intentions of neo-Nazism.”

Dendias said the government is looking to amend the country’s criminal code to make it easier to prosecute political attacks and better define what constitutes an “armed gang.”

READ: Europe’s public health disaster: How austerity kills

Deputy Prime Minister Evangelos Venizelos, whose socialist Pasok party is part of the governing coalition, said Golden Dawn “must be dealt with as a criminal organization.”

And an Austrian member of the European Parliament, Hannes Swoboda, also urged lawmakers to ban the party

“Golden Dawn’s openly xenophobic, neo-Nazi hatred goes as far as murdering political opponents. This is shocking and intolerable by any standards, and more so in a European Union country,” he said.

In his speech Thursday, Samaras called Fyssas’ death an “inhuman assassination” and said the government is “determined to not allow the descendants of the Nazis to poison our social life, to commit crimes, terrorize and undermine the foundations of the country that gave birth to democracy.”


Article source: http://edition.cnn.com/2013/09/18/world/europe/greece-clashes/index.html?eref=edition

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/NewsRipplesWeb/~3/dw9sBUztGr4/greek-pm-calls-for-calm-after-violence

U.S. shooting suspect’s mom: ‘So sorry’

September 20th, 2013 No comments

Washington (CNN) — John Weaver remembers the exact moment Washington Navy Yard gunman Aaron Alexis shot his friend.

“He aimed and shot directly at her,” he told CNN’s Anderson Cooper during an interview that aired Wednesday night.

The bullet struck behind her ear.

“She told me that the force of the blast was so strong it drove her into the ground, and now she has a black eye and bits of her scalp are scattered all over her cubicle,” Weaver said. “It was that close to her being killed.”

A police officer runs near the scene of the shooting rampage at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday, September 16. Authorities said at least 12 people -- and the suspect -- were killed in the shooting.A police officer runs near the scene of the shooting rampage at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday, September 16. Authorities said at least 12 people — and the suspect — were killed in the shooting.

A U.S. Park Police officer stands guard near the scene of the shooting.A U.S. Park Police officer stands guard near the scene of the shooting.

Military security observes the scene from a nearby rooftop.Military security observes the scene from a nearby rooftop.

The White House flies the U.S. flag at half-staff following the shooting.The White House flies the U.S. flag at half-staff following the shooting.

A police boat patrols the waters at the Washington Navy Yard.A police boat patrols the waters at the Washington Navy Yard.

Late Monday afternoon the FBI identified Aaron Alexis, a 34-year-old military contractor from Texas, as the dead suspect involved in the shooting.Late Monday afternoon the FBI identified Aaron Alexis, a 34-year-old military contractor from Texas, as the dead suspect involved in the shooting.

Workers who had been sheltered during a lockdown exit the Navy Yard.Workers who had been sheltered during a lockdown exit the Navy Yard.

People step off buses at Parking Lot B of Nationals Park, which was set up as a gathering point for family members of Navy Yard employees in the wake of the shooting.People step off buses at Parking Lot B of Nationals Park, which was set up as a gathering point for family members of Navy Yard employees in the wake of the shooting.

A man and woman embrace at the gathering point inside Nationals Park.A man and woman embrace at the gathering point inside Nationals Park.

A man walks with a woman after they were reunited at Nationals Park.A man walks with a woman after they were reunited at Nationals Park.

A woman reunites with her child inside Nationals Park.A woman reunites with her child inside Nationals Park.

Washington Mayor Vincent Gray and Washington Police Chief Cathy Lanier speak to the media near the Washington Navy Yard.Washington Mayor Vincent Gray and Washington Police Chief Cathy Lanier speak to the media near the Washington Navy Yard.

Police officers walk on a rooftop at the Washington Navy Yard.Police officers walk on a rooftop at the Washington Navy Yard.

A member of the military stands guard at the scene of the shooting.A member of the military stands guard at the scene of the shooting.

A woman watches from an office building as police respond to the shooting.A woman watches from an office building as police respond to the shooting.

Police officers leave the scene after responding to the shooting.Police officers leave the scene after responding to the shooting.

A police officer and police canine inspect vehicles in a parking lot outside the Washington Navy Yard.A police officer and police canine inspect vehicles in a parking lot outside the Washington Navy Yard.

A Homeland Security officer tells a woman where to park and wait for her husband, who works in the Washington Navy Yard.A Homeland Security officer tells a woman where to park and wait for her husband, who works in the Washington Navy Yard.

A police helicopter hovers above snipers on the roof of a building at the Washington Navy Yard.A police helicopter hovers above snipers on the roof of a building at the Washington Navy Yard.

Police stand guard on M Street in Washington.Police stand guard on M Street in Washington.

Police boats patrol the Anacostia River off the Washington Navy Yard complex.Police boats patrol the Anacostia River off the Washington Navy Yard complex.

A U.S. Capitol Police officer keeps watch on the East Plaza of the Capitol in Washington.A U.S. Capitol Police officer keeps watch on the East Plaza of the Capitol in Washington.

Troops stand guard in front of a parking garage near the Washington Navy Yard.Troops stand guard in front of a parking garage near the Washington Navy Yard.

Police vehicles move toward the Navy Yard.Police vehicles move toward the Navy Yard.

Armed agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives work on the 11th Street Bridge adjacent to the Washington Navy Yard.Armed agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives work on the 11th Street Bridge adjacent to the Washington Navy Yard.

Emergency vehicles fill the streets around the Washington Navy Yard.Emergency vehicles fill the streets around the Washington Navy Yard.

A helicopter lifts a person off a roof at the Navy Yard.A helicopter lifts a person off a roof at the Navy Yard.

A police officer carries an automatic rifle at the Washington Navy Yard.A police officer carries an automatic rifle at the Washington Navy Yard.

Police officers adjust their gear.Police officers adjust their gear.

Police block off a road leading to the Washington Navy Yard.Police block off a road leading to the Washington Navy Yard.


1


2


3


4


5


6


7


8


9


10


11


12


13


14


15


16


17


18


19


20


21


22


23


24


25


26


27


28


29


30

Photos: Mass shooting at D.C. Navy YardPhotos: Mass shooting at D.C. Navy Yard


Navy Yard shooter’s security clearance


Conversation with the Navy Yard shooter


Hagel: We’ll fix security gaps

His comments came two days after Alexis, a military contractor, shot and killed 12 people at the historic Navy base. Eight people were injured.

“I got lucky. It was my birthday, and I consider myself the second luckiest person on that day because my friend was the first luckiest person. But all those other people, they did not deserve that death,” said Weaver, who knew six of the 12 people killed.

Federal investigators are working to piece together exactly what might have triggered Monday’s shooting spree.

They have collected Alexis’ computer and other possessions from the hotel where he spent his last days, a senior law enforcement source said. They have also worked to talk to people he’d met since coming to Washington three weeks before the rampage.

Alexis made etchings into the shotgun used in the attack, according to a federal law enforcement official. The etchings read “better off this way” and “my elf weapon,” the source said. Investigators don’t know what the engravings refer to.

So far, nothing has pointed to a specific motive for the killings, a second law enforcement source told CNN.

There are potential clues: In August, Alexis told police in Newport, Rhode Island, that he was hearing voices and was convinced that someone was using a “microwave machine” to send vibrations into his body to keep him awake, according to an incident report.

Read the police report

He had sought help from Veterans Affairs hospitals.

Alexis received treatment on August 23 when he visited the emergency room at the VA Medical Center in Providence, Rhode Island, according to a statement from the Department of Veterans Affairs. He had complained of insomnia and was given a small amount of medication to help him sleep. On August 28, he went to the VA Medical Center in Washington to request a refill.

In both instances, the statement said, Alexis was asked whether he was struggling with anxiety or depression, or had thoughts about harming himself or others. He reportedly said he did not.

His checkered history as a Navy sailor and run-ins with police also seemed to offer evidence of a sometimes troubled personality.

But even that, Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said, offered no hint that Alexis was dangerous.

“Looking at the offenses while he was in the Navy, the offenses while he was in uniform, none of those give you an indication that he was capable of this sort of brutal, vicious violence,” Kirby told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.

Aaron Alexis’ mother: ‘My heart is broken’

Alexis’ mother apologized Wednesday for her son’s actions, saying she was glad that he is “now in a place where he can no longer do harm to anyone.”

“I don’t know why he did what he did, and I’ll never be able to ask him why,” Cathleen Alexis said in a statement recorded by CNN.

“I’m so, so very sorry this has happened. My heart is broken,” she said.

Meanwhile, hospital officials said one of the three hospitalized victims of the attack had been released. The woman had been injured by a bullet that struck behind her ear, doctors previously said.

Two other people — a civilian and a Washington police officer — remain hospitalized in fair condition, doctors said. The officer, Scott Williams, is believed to have fired the shot that killed Alexis, ending his rampage.

Vice President Joe Biden arrived Wednesday at MedStar Washington Hospital Center to visit those injured in the shooting.

The White House announced President Barack Obama will attend a memorial service for the victims at the Navy Yard on Sunday.

“The president will want to mourn the loss of these innocent victims and share in the nation’s pain in the aftermath of another senseless mass shooting,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

Who were the victims?

Also Wednesday, Navy officials allowed employees back on the base to pick up personal belongings, Capt. Monte Ulmer, commander of Naval Support Activity Washington, told CNN affiliate WJLA. It was scheduled to resume normal operations on Thursday, he said.

The facility remained otherwise closed except for a handful of mission-essential workers.

Investigators scour crime scene, hotel and beyond

Authorities say Alexis entered the Navy Yard on Monday morning using a valid identification card. He went into Building 197, where the killings took place, carrying a bag that may have contained a disassembled shotgun, a federal law enforcement source said. Surveillance video shows him walking into a bathroom in the building and coming out with the shotgun, the official said.

Two days before Monday’s shooting, Alexis spent “a couple hours” shooting at Sharpshooters Small Arms Range in northern Virginia before paying $419 for a Remington 870 shotgun and a small amount of ammunition, said the store’s attorney, J. Michael Slocum. Alexis passed a federal background check for the purchase, Slocum said.

Witness: ‘He aimed his gun at us’ and fired


Police: Navy Yard shooter heard voices


Who was Aaron Alexis?


Tragedy at the Washington Navy Yard


Obama: Shooting was a ‘cowardly act’

While authorities have provided few details of what happened inside Building 197, witnesses reported seeing what appeared to be a determined gunman taking aim at seemingly random victims.

Federal law enforcement sources say authorities recovered three guns from the scene: a shotgun and two handguns. The two handguns, sources say, may have been taken from guards at the naval base.

FBI teams remained at the base Wednesday amid a nationwide investigation that U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen said could take “weeks and months.”

The damage inside Building 197 is significant, according to two Navy officials. There are bullet holes and broken doors and windows. There are also paint markings from law enforcement as they cleared certain areas.

“There is blood everywhere. There is damage everywhere,” said one of the officials.

Tactical controversy

Tactical officers with the U.S. Capitol Police attempting to help stop the deadly rampage Monday were told by a watch commander to return to their position at the Capitol, CNN has learned.

In a statement, the agency said its officers had “offered and provided mutual support and assistance,” adding that Chief Kim Dine had opened an investigation.

CNN affiliate WUSA first reported on the controversy.

The station cited an unnamed law enforcement source as saying the team was less than 30 seconds from the base gate when the first call went out alerting police of the shooting.

The team was preparing to enter the facility in a bid to stop the gunman when the commander called them back to the Capitol, the station reported without attribution.

Who is Navy Yard gunman Aaron Alexis?

Hearing voices

While Alexis’ employer, an information technology contractor called The Experts, said it had no reports of trouble with him from Navy bases where he had worked over the summer, a picture was building of an increasingly troubled mind.

On August 7, Alexis told police in Newport, Rhode Island, that he believed he was being followed by three people who had been dispatched by someone with whom he’d quarreled, a police report said.

He said they had been sent to “follow him and keep him awake by talking to him and sending vibrations into his body,” according to the report.

Alexis said he hadn’t seen any of these people, but insisted they’d followed him between three hotels in the area — the last being a Marriott, where police investigating a harassment complaint stopped to talk with him.

There, Alexis told authorities the unseen individuals continued speaking to him through walls and the floor. He said they used “some sort of microwave machine” to send vibrations into his body to keep him awake.


Shooting at Washington Navy Yard Shooting at Washington Navy Yard


Shooting at Washington Navy YardShooting at Washington Navy Yard

He added, according to the police report, that “he does not have a history of mental illness in his family and that he never had any sort of mental episode.” Nonetheless, a police sergeant alerted authorities at Naval Station Newport to Alexis “hearing voices.” Reached Tuesday, officials at the base referred CNN to the FBI, which declined to comment.

Benita Bell met Alexis last week at the Residence Inn where he was staying before the shootings.

On the Tuesday before the shootings, he seemed “engaging, present, connected,” Bell told CNN. On Wednesday, he seemed markedly different — stressed and hurried, she said.

“He said he was extremely tired, exhausted,” Bell said.

Alexis’ autopsy is expected to be completed by the end of the day Wednesday, according to a spokeswoman for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Washington.

Earlier incidents

The Navy moved to discharge Alexis in 2010 due to what two Navy officials described as a “pattern of misconduct.” Those incidents involved insubordination, disorderly conduct, unauthorized absences from work and at least one instance of drunkenness, a U.S. defense official told CNN.

Because of a lack of evidence, authorities were unable to get a general discharge that might have had an impact on his ability to get civilian work, the official said. Instead, he was given an honorable discharge and later hired as a civilian military contractor after passing security reviews.

There also were run-ins with police, beyond the Newport incident. Seattle police arrested Alexis in 2004 on accusations that he shot out the tires of another man’s vehicle in what he later told detectives was an anger-fueled “blackout.” He was arrested in 2008 in DeKalb County, Georgia, on a disorderly conduct charge.

Friends said Alexis didn’t seem capable of such violence.

“Aaron was a very polite, very friendly man,” said Kristi Suthamtewakul, a friend and former housemate.

But he was frustrated about pay and benefits issues after a one-month contracting stint in Japan last year, Suthamtewakul said.

“He got back and he felt very slighted about his benefits at the time,” she said. “Financial issues. He wasn’t getting paid on time, he wasn’t getting paid what he was supposed to be getting paid.”

“That’s when I first started hearing statements about how he wanted to move out of America,” Suthamtewakul said. “He was very frustrated with the government and how, as a veteran, he didn’t feel like he was getting treated right or fairly.”

Friend Melinda Downs described Alexis as “very intellectual” and of “sound” mind — saying if he did hear voices, “he hid it very well.” The two spoke as recently as a week ago, at which time Downs said she had no hints of what was to come.

“It is like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” she said. “Who was this guy?”

Security questions

Vetting military contractors: How did gunman get in?

The revelations about Alexis’ past have led to questions about whether he should have retained his security clearance after leaving the Navy or been allowed to obtain a job working on military bases.

The Experts — the contracting firm for which Alexis worked for about six months over the past year — said the last of two background checks it conducted in June on Alexis “revealed no issues other than one minor traffic violation.”

Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said Tuesday that he felt Alexis’ infractions “were kind of swept under the rug.”

“It is real easy to just pass the buck along to another military base or, in this instance, a defense contractor,” the Texas Republican said. “…There are so many red flags that popped up in this case.”

On Wednesday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced the agency would examine security at bases worldwide. He also said his deputy, Ashton Carter, will look at procedures for granting and renewing security clearances.

“There are many questions that are going to be asked, need to be asked, many reviews, and the intensity of those reviews have to go down to every aspect, the security of the physical premises, security clearance, standards of that security clearance, are they strong enough? Why do we do certain things the way we do?” Hagel said. “We need answers, and we will find those.”

Reddit shuts down community seeking shooter

CNN’s Michael Pearson and Ed Payne reported and wrote from Atlanta; Pamela Brown reported from Washington. CNN’s Dana Ford, Phil Gast, Catherine E. Shoichet. Greg Botelho, Chris Lawrence, Barbara Starr, Chris Cuomo, John King, Deborah Feyerick, Evan Perez, Tom Cohen, Dan Merica, Larry Shaughnessy, Brian Todd, Alan Silverleib, Susan Candiotti, Joe Johns, Eliott C. McLaughlin, Joe Sterling, Paul Courson, Yon Pomrenze and Ed Lavandera contributed to this report.


Article source: http://edition.cnn.com/2013/09/18/us/navy-yard-shooting-main/index.html?eref=edition

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/NewsRipplesWeb/~3/Zl072EOEbcU/u-s-shooting-suspects-mom-so-sorry