- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 17, 2015

6 young California balcony collapse victims had entire lives ahead of them

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) - A group of Irish and Irish-American young men and women were enjoying their last blast summer in California before cracking down with college and careers, a rite of passage tens of thousands from the Emerald Isle have taken over the past five decades.

At a 21st birthday party early Tuesday morning, a fifth floor balcony broke loose from a stucco apartment house, tossing 13 people about 50 feet onto the pavement and stealing those adventures. Six people were killed and seven seriously injured.

“For many of my countrymen this is a favorite experience and to have this happen at the start of the season has left us frozen in shock,” said Ireland’s San Francisco-based Consul General Philip Grant.

“My heart breaks for the parents,” said Prime Minister Enda Kenny from Dublin.

Word of the tragedy spread quickly back to Ireland, and phone lines lit up as panicked parents called to check on their kids throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.


Civil rights activists in Spokane area worry about impact of Dolezal story on their work

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - Civil rights leaders in this largely white city that lies between the Cascade and Rocky mountains are worried that the ruse perpetrated by former NAACP leader Rachel Dolezal will hurt efforts to move the region beyond a troubled racial past.

Dolezal resigned her NAACP post this week after her parents revealed she was a white woman who for years posed as black.

“I think it is a setback,” said Virla Spencer, 36, of Spokane, who is black. “It’s sad we have to focus so much on this when there is so much more work to do.”

Spokane, a city of 210,000, is 90 percent white and the major population center of the intermountain region known as the Inland Northwest. Only about 2 percent of Spokane, which is about 270 miles east of Seattle, is black. The Aryan Nations, a neo-Nazi organization, was for decades based north of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Its members exported violence and crime throughout the region.

The group was bankrupted in 2000 following a lawsuit pursued by the Southern Poverty Law Center, and it largely ceased to exist. Its legacy persists, however, to the frustration of many. Some members of the movement remained in the area, including one who said he wanted to build a new compound in northern Idaho.


10 Things to Know for Today

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:


A group of Irish and Irish-American young men and women were enjoying their last blast summer in the U.S. before cracking down with college and careers.


Prosecutors: Man charged in shootout at anti-Islam event in Texas wanted to attack Super Bowl

PHOENIX (AP) - Calling him “off-the-charts dangerous,” authorities outlined the evidence against a Phoenix man who they say helped orchestrate a shootout on an anti-Islam event in Texas and had aspirations to join the Islamic State terrorist organization and attack the Super Bowl.

Abdul Malik Abdul Kareem, 43, was arrested last week on charges related to the shootout at a Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest that led to the deaths of two roommates from Phoenix. An indictment filed in federal court in Phoenix says Kareem hosted the gunmen in his home beginning in January and provided the guns they used in the May 3 shooting in Garland, Texas.

At a hearing in federal court, FBI special agent Dina McCarthy described how a witness and a confidential informant learned about Kareem’s interest in the Islamic State, including watching the group’s videos with Texas shooters Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi. McCarthy said a 2012 investigation into Kareem determined he had a terrorism training document on his computer. She said he wanted to attack the Super Bowl when it was in Arizona this year, but provided no specifics about how serious he was.

The magistrate denied bail for Kareem, who is charged with conspiracy, making false statements and interstate transportation of firearms with intent to commit a felony.

“This is an individual who is apt to incite violence,” prosecutor Kristen Brook said. “This defendant, based on all these facts, is dangerous, he is off-the-charts dangerous.”


Swiss attorney general cites 53 possible money-laundering incidents in FIFA World Cup probe

BERN, Switzerland (AP) - Swiss banks have noted 53 possible money-laundering incidents in the investigation of FIFA’s 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding contests, the country’s attorney-general said Wednesday

Michael Lauber said the “suspicious bank relations” were reported within the framework of Switzerland’s anti-money laundering regulations.

Lauber said he “does not exclude” interviewing FIFA President Sepp Blatter and secretary-general Jerome Valcke in the future, though neither are currently under suspicion.

Addressing the media for the first time since the Swiss investigation into FIFA was announced three weeks ago, Lauber said the case is “huge and complex.”

Lauber declined to discuss a timetable for the case, which targets “criminal mismanagement and money-laundering” in the bidding contests which sent the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 tournament to Qatar.


State police to expand search for escaped murderers in NY even as rain hampers progress

DANNEMORA, N.Y. (AP) - State police plan to expand the search for two escaped murderers beyond a 16-square-mile area of woods, fields and swamps where the manhunt has been most intense, even as rainy weather hampers their progress.

Clinton County Sheriff David Favro said Tuesday that rain has been washing away any scent dogs might find and interfering with thermal imaging devices being used to detect body heat.

No vehicles were reported stolen in the area, which led searchers to believe convicts David Sweat and Richard Matt were still near the prison. Search dogs caught the scent of the men and authorities found evidence indicating they may have spent time there.

The more than 800 law enforcement officers combing the rural area now have shifted their focus eastward along Route 374 leading from the village of Dannemora, home of the Clinton Correctional Facility, in far northern New York.

Matt and Sweat escaped June 6 from the maximum-security prison near the Canadian border.


Central, North Texas brace for more heavy rain as remnants of Tropical Storm Bill move inland

SAN ANTONIO (AP) - Flood-weary Texans were bracing for heavy rain and possible flooding as the remnants of Tropical Storm Bill crept further inland early Wednesday.

The center of the storm was expected to move northward just west of the Interstate 35 corridor, dropping 4 to 5 inches of rain on areas of Central Texas still cleaning up and recovering from Memorial Day weekend floods that left 14 dead and two missing along the Blanco River alone in Blanco and Hays counties.

The National Hurricane Center said early Wednesday the storm was about 45 miles south of Waco and moving north at about 13 mph. Flash flood watches and warnings were in effect for the area, and Gov. Greg Abbott was expected to receive a briefing from state emergency officials Wednesday morning in Austin.

Meanwhile, in North Texas, Dallas authorities were monitoring road conditions and Arlington residents were picking up sandbags being offered for free by city officials.

According to projections by the National Weather Service, average rainfall through noon Wednesday for portions of Texas will be 3 to 6 inches, but isolated areas could see up to 12 inches. Arkansas and Oklahoma could get up to 9 inches of rain in the coming days, and Missouri could get more than 7. After last month’s historic rains and floods, the forecast was expected to complicate ongoing flood-containment efforts.


Kamikaze survivors debunk stereotype with stories of self-sacrifice, love for family and peace

KASAMA, Japan (AP) - The pilots filed into the room and were presented with a form that asked if they wanted to be kamikaze. It was multiple-choice, and there were three answers: “I passionately wish to join,” ”I wish to join,” and “I don’t wish to join.”

This was 1945. Many were university students who had been previously exempt from service, but now Japan was running out of troops.

Hisashi Tezuka recalls that a few of his colleagues quickly wrote their replies and strutted away. But he and most of the others stayed for what felt like hours, unable to decide.

He did not know then if anyone had dared to refuse. He learned later that the few who did were simply told to pick the right answer.

Tezuka so wanted to be honest to his feelings he crossed out the second choice and wrote his own answer: “I will join.”


Psychiatrist did not have theater shooter detained, but did call his mother

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (AP) - The psychiatrist who treated James Holmes before he attacked a Colorado movie theater said she did not have enough evidence to have him detained, but was so concerned after he confessed his homicidal thoughts that she violated his health care privacy to call his mother.

Dr. Lynne Fenton testified Tuesday that Holmes told he was having homicidal thoughts as often as three or four times a day, but never let on that he was building a weapons arsenal and planning a mass killing. If he revealed his intent, “I likely would have put him on a mental health hold and contacted the police,” Fenton said.

But her concerns remained, even after he abruptly walked out of her office in June 11, 2012, about a month before he sprayed bullets into the audience at a Batman movie, killing 12 people and wounding 70 more.

Fenton called Holmes’ mother, but was told that her patient had been shy and socially awkward for many years, diminishing the apparent risk that he would be a danger to himself or others.

“I thought it was much less likely this was a sudden, new psychotic break,” Fenton said. Freed from patient-client privilege by Holmes’ insanity plea, Fenton testimony in Holmes’ death penalty trial marked her first public statements about him. Among other things, she described his behavior as anxious, hostile, bizarre and so worrisome that she took it upon herself to alert campus police but didn’t find the evidence needed to hold someone against his will.


San Francisco Bay Area fans dance, shout in streets to celebrate first NBA title in 40 years

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - Warriors’ fans honked their horns and danced in streets throughout the San Francisco Bay Area to celebrate their team’s first NBA title in 40 years.

The party began as soon as the Golden State Warriors beat the Cleveland Cavaliers to claim the title in six games Tuesday night.

A rowdy crowd gathered in an Oakland intersection and some were running through the streets of San Francisco’s Mission District waving the team’s blue and gold flags. There were no immediate reports of any violence, vandalism or arrests.

“Is this real? Is this real?” said 40-year-old Peter Boyd, a fourth-generation Oakland resident who was practically a newborn when the team won its last title. On Tuesday night he celebrated in the streets outside an Oakland sports bar.

“I sat through decades of awful garbage,” Boyd told the Los Angeles Times. “This is for Oakland.”

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide